Me, myself, and whoever comes along

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Consultor em tecnologia por profissão, curioso por natureza.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Automating Web Access

Over the past few weeks I managed to resume reading about programming in general, and Python in particular. I've watched a great presentation by the BDFL himself, talking about Python 3.0. Great stuff is coming. Another thing that caught my interest is a library for automated web browsing, named "twill". Seems great for web application testing, and even for implementing something like "web pipes" or "mashups" over existing content (that is not accessible as XML, or SOAP, or whatever is the current acronym for such thing).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Honor and identity

I'm the kind of people that is often accused of being too confident, or even naive, regarding my posture towards other people. I prefer to start from the principle I should trust people. It makes sense in a practical way - it's just too much work and little added benefit to do otherwise. It has served me well most of the time; I reckon that the time that I saved, and also, the happiness that I experienced by having a trustful approach is much bigger than the eventual disappointments that I had over my life.

In the general sense, I believe that the concept of 'honor' in human relations is closely related to the viability (and scalability) of economical systems. A post by Seth Godin about
the honor system argues that this is true, but dangerous, for the Internet. He's right, but there's more to it.

The question with the Internet is one of anonymity. In real ife, word of mouth spreads quickly if you misbehave. But online, it's just to easy, either to be anonymous, or to create a fake identity, so many people feel that they can do whatever they want, and they will get away with it. It's easy to buy a product online, use it, and return; no other vendor will know about what I did. So people get away with it pretty easily.

At this point things get ideological. To put it bluntly, the respect for anonymity or privacy cannot be confused with lack of imputability, or worse - with impunity.

One funny thing about identity is that in the US, people are not used to the concept of carrying a mandatory ID card. It's in their history, they never trusted the government to issue such a thing. Here (in Brazil) and in many other countries, it's not such a big deal. So I reckon that it will be easier to implement a reliable identity system here, or in China, than it will be in the US. I may be wrong of course.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Changing roles

About one year and a half ago, I took an IQ test from Tickle. At the time, the result was a score of 127 and the personality type of "Visual Mathematician". Of course, these tests should not be taken too seriously, specially when done by automatic means. Anyway, at the time I thought the test described pretty well my personality and my working abilities. It gave me some insight on who I was, and in some ways, why did I do things in some particular ways, specially at work.

Since then, a lot of things changed. I faced a hard time, found a new job, and started to work Today I took the same test again (of course, the actual questions were different). The result today was a better IQ score (135) and different type, "Facts Curator".

While I'm sure that I didn't get any more intelligent in the past eighteen months, the personality type change was revealing. I've spent the best part of the past year transitioning from a technically oriented individual (acting as a consultor) to a project manager. Over the past six months, the transition was even bigger, and I started to work as a team manager. This is a transition that I've been trying to make since a very long time ago, perhaps since I first started running my own business (that is about 20 years ago!). But it just happened now. The whole process was painful, but I feel it was worth, even knowing that there's still a long way to go.

Monday, November 01, 2004

I'm a RPM!

After the "I am a Visual Mathemathician" post, another quiz -- this time a fun one -- to teel one which file extension he is. Think about a /usr/bin/file for people. My results? Oh, well:

src="" width="300" height="90"
border="0" alt="You are .rpm You have a nice package. You can be useful, but your many variations sometimes make you tough to find. You aren't apt to get jealous.">
Which File Extension are You?

Thursday, August 19, 2004

I am a Visual Mathematician!

Well... what's the hell is a Visual Mathematician, and what does it means to me? First of all.. how did I ended up at this wonderful conclusion?

I did a small online IQ test from Tickle. It's being announced at a number of top sites. Despite the fact that I liked the test, and that the result seemed true to my own self, I wouldn't recommend the test for one reason; the company invites you to do the test for free, but asks for personal info before showing you the result. It's actually clever on their part - you fill in the forms, and when you believe that you are going to see the results, "please fill in the form below". Damned, at this point we're too curious to stop it. So if you want to take the test yourself, beware. Nobody knows exactly what are they up to with the ability to cross my email address and birth date with the test results. I'm sure there's market potential here.

But anyway, I did the tests, and I was too curious to see the results, so I've filled in the registration form. Well, the result is the one I said above -- I'm a Visual Mathemathician with an above-average IQ score (no, I'm not going to say it out loud). Now, what does it mean for me? Tickle defines it as follows:

Your Intellectual Type is Visual Mathematician. This means you are gifted at spotting patterns — both in pictures and in numbers. These talents combined with your overall high intelligence make you good at understanding the big picture, which is why people trust your instincts and turn to you for direction — especially in the workplace. And that's just some of what we know about you from your test results.

Curious as I am (didn't you notice it?) I did a Google search for the term. The top listing is this blog entry, that must hold some type of record. The original post is from July 9, 2003. We're already mid-august, one year later, and there is still some people commenting there. Some of the traits seems to be surprisingly common: for instance, visual memory; ability to remember faces, but some trouble to remember names, unless associated with the faces; and a number of other traits. Some posters also have pointed out at how hard is to go through high school, for many VM's drop out of boredom (that's my case, too).

It seems that VMs are pretty common, and really share a number of personality traits. It also seems that some of the problems I've been through are common for people with the same intellectual type as myself. It's good to know it, as it will surely help me as I keep trying to understand myself and to get the better of my own potential.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Let's start coding again!

Python Notes is my newest blog, where I'm discussing Python coding. My own pet personal project in Python is an entirely new webapp framework for personal information management. It may sound weird, but it's a cross between a blog and wiki, with some advanced ideas regarding collaboration and interactive document sharing interspersed. It's my take on the blog revolution, let's see if I can make it work, at least for my own personal use.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

A few brand new blogs

It's now weird to think that I've created four blogs up to this moment, and that I'm about to create another bunch of blogs in the near future. I mean, I always thought about having a single site with all stuff of mine, but it's clear that keeping things in separate locations makes much more sense. This approach also helps to deploy things incrementally, instead of having to plan all of the site design at first. I still think that I may need to go over this again in the future; I may end up with a single site, with sections for each topic, but it will be much easier to do it using the experience that I'm getting now.

Now, for the real topic of this post. I'm going to start a few new blogs. The first one is about Firefox, the best browser that I've used for a long while. I intend to create a place to discuss improvements and usability-related request for new features. The Firefox community is responsive and tremendously capable, but I still think that a few rough edges can, and should be, polished as soon as possible. Usability is a must, and it is the Achilles's Heel for any project that don't take Microsoft's capability to hit back seriously enough.

In a similar vein, I'm thinking about starting a new blog to discuss GMail, Google's offer in the webmail arena. It's an outstanding piece of software as-is, and it has the potential to grow even better. But again, usability may be improved a lot, sometimes with simple fixes; and it seems that the GMail development team is submerging under the weight of help requests, and it's not very responsive (I've so far received only automated responses for all my requests, none of them was ever answered by a real engineer).

In both cases, the idea is to achieve critical mass for the project before starting. As such, both initiatives are still waiting for a few more volunteers. Anyone interested, please leave your comments here.

-- Outro, similar ao anterior em espírito, é sobre o GMail. Neste caso, queria fazer algo parecido: reunir sugestões de melhorias, discutir a interface, e submeter as sugestões para o Google, com mais peso por se tratar de um grupo de usuários.