Brain backup for September 2007

The story continues at OctoberBlog

Sat, Sep 22nd

Compassion for Microsoft?

Today Rafael and I went through MIT to have lunch at the StattonBuilding.

Along the InfiniteCorridor, we've seen an ad inviting to a Microsoft conference on development tools. Scheduled for today and started a few minutes earlier in room 6-120. The ad said silly slogans such as "smart tools for smart people!" and "let's talk with Microsoft!" Clearly, they were trying to hire MIT grads!

So we went to see what this was about. The room was not exactly crowded: only a young man eating pizza and a woman wearing a Microsoft T-Shirt. We asked if the conference was still planned, and the woman told us: "yes, I've just started introducing XAML, the new lingua franca for user interface description".

So we got sited and watched a presentation which basically said they're still busy reinventing XUL and Glade... So they can deliver SilverLight, a Flash clone that depends on the .NET runtime.

"Questions?". There weren't any. She offered us a free DVD with developer tools. Me and Rafael each took a copy to be polite. The other guy didn't bother. I had never realized how pathetic Microsoft has become. These days, very few people are interested in what they do and what they say. Unexpectedly, today I felt some compassion for them... or at least for their employees.

Tue, Sep 11th


I've also been helping to enhance compatibility with BadVista.


I'm currently adding support for the EthiopianLocale, which isn't as easy as you would expect.

Sun, Sep 9th

Some big updates to GeekiGeeki, the software that runs this wiki. Notabily, authentication is now supported. Log in as AnonymousCoward if you don't have an account on DevelerCompany's servers.

Mon, Sep 3rd

Trip to MontReal, day 3

Boring day. We visited the SaintJosephsOratory, then we quickly headed back to Boston. We spent a lot of time at the border and in the traffic.

We arrived at night... everyone was quite tired.

Sun, Sep 2nd

Trip to MontReal, day 2

Day two of the trip to MontReal. They woke us up at 6 in the morning (groan) and we left for QuebecCity with no breakfast. This place's better be wonderful!

Yes, QuebecCity was rather cool, but they gave us little time to visit it properly.

Except for the old citadel, where we've seen the changing of the guard. Really a ridicolous cerimony: the soldiers wear a furry cap and a guy shouts orders in french. They have a live goat as a mascotte and they walk her around the plaza.

On the way back to Montreal, we stopped at the MontmorencyFalls... nice place, but I almost got lost there! I wasn't paying attention when the guide said the bus would have moved to pick us back on the top of the falls, so I walked back to the lower parking lot. Luckly, Juliette convinced the bus driver to come and see if I was there.

We had dinner again in the same chinese restourant. This time, the guide had silently arranged vegetarian food without me asking. Very kind of her. Unfortunately, Juliette found a black hair in her soup, and a few people left the table, disgusted.

Sat, Sep 1st

Trip to MontReal, day 1

On Monday, it will be labor day, so Juliette and Peter took advantage of this extended week-end to take a three day guided tour to MontReal:

So this was the last chance to visit French Canada with Juliette as a guide, as she'll be leaving for Saudi Arabia in a few days and we'll probably not see her for some time. I was lucky enough to join at the very last minute.

As usual, the bus departed from Boston's ChinaTown, but this time the cheap bus company of choice was SunshineTouring. The guide barely speaks English and is also not an expert of Canadian history and culture.

Along the way, we did two stops:

MontReal is as enchanting as they say. Approaching from the highway, you see the notorious bunch of skyscrapers in the distance, beautifully lit with colorful lights. Makes me think of U2's "The City of Blinding Lights".

We had dinner in a crappy chinese restourant. Fixed menu, no vegetarian food for me except for white rice. Anyway, all the food looked crappy so I don't think I've lost too much.

The hotel, at least, was ok. I shared my room with a retired man called Mr Chan. He's originally from HongKong, and moved to the USA before his city was given back to China. At that time, many people feared that communism would have taken over. Mr Chen arrived in the UnitedStates alone, and didn't speak English at all. He worked very hard for 15 years so he could retire at a reasonable age. His story makes me hope for the better.