Sunday, March 30, 2008

Some lessons learned

During the last few days I've been working hard in configuring a Pundit to be able to use a big LCD TV with DVI and S-video. The technicians from Grupo CPD developed a simple app for a local company. They sent a couple of pundits to me to test the app and place them in some offices. The app showes the departure and arrival time of the ships this company has to the passengers in the ship station.

Anyway, since the company bought some TVs different from what we told them to, with no analogic signal entry, I had to configure the dvi out of the pundit (with a debian sarge) so the video signal could show up on the TV. I decided to get into it eventhough I'm not an expert.

After a couple of hours reading and trying stuffs, I supposed that I had to buy an analog to digital signal converter. So I did and I spent another couple of hours trying to configure the xfree server. In fact, I tryed everything I knew and a lot more.

Since nothing I tryed worked fine I though that converting the analogic signal (that comes out from the VGA) into digital signal (that get into the TV from the DVI) was not the best approach. I tryed then to configure the dvi out from the pundit. I failed again. Since I do not know much about xfree, I switched to xorg. I failed once more. Then I tried with different distros (live-cd), different configurations, different digital monitors.... no result. I took it personal and I read a lot more about ati drivers and xorg. I spent another couple of afternoons working on it but couldn't make it.

After a couple of weeks (probably more) I gave up and sent back the computers to our technical department in Gran Canaria (from Tenerife). I was afraid they would solve it in 5 minutes and laugh at me the rest of the year.

They just called me today(I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago). They configured it in 30 minutes. After trying a couple of things, the plugged a simple vga-dvi adapter worked.

What have I learned from this?

1.- Don't take computers too personal. They have no feelings.
2.- I reafirm myself now in the idea that technicians must be well paid
3.- Don't try to emulate technicians. You won't get well paid doing so.
4.- Don't laugh at technicians when they fail doing something they do not get paid for if you use a computer as an everyday tool.
5.- Do not give them your personal mobile phone number

What has happened to me is probably good from a personal point of view once in a while (realice you have limits) and for the technicians (they laugh at you telling tons of jokes).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

We still have a lot to do

Just when you think we are beginning to win the battle, the enemy shows its weapons and get a step forward.

The Canary Islands Regional Gov. has made public a contract to buy MS Office licenses. They'll spend 3.3 mill €

We have improved a lot, but still have a lot more job ahead.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I'm moving out of the Canary Islands to Málaga for a migration project

I've been quiet lately....

I'm moving out the Canary Islands, where I've lived my entire life (except for one year I lived in the US). A friend of mine, Ramón Ramón (yes doubled Ramón), has called me to help him in a migration project to free software of La Axarquía, a group of municipalities close to Málaga, where Akademy 2005 took place, in Andalucía, Spain.

I will keep working in some of the projects I'm in right now in the Canaries, like trying to bring Akademy to these islands in 2009. I'm also going to be directly related with Grupo CPD as much as I can.

This is the first time such a migration project takes place in Spain. It is financed by Andalucía's regional Gov. and the company ITD was the one chosen to do it (they have contracted me as freelance) and Emergya, a free software company from Andalucía, is also involved.

My role will be to make the previous evaluation of each municipality and make the design of the migration project. That should take a year.

In Andalucía, GNOME rules, so it will be tough to introduce KDE, but now we have another warrior to try it. I leave a place where KDE is the most popular free desktop (Canary Islands) by a region where GNOME is, by far, the most popular.

Anyway, since Windows is the target...everything will be fine :)

This is a new milestone in my professional career so I'm excited about this new challenge. I hope we can do something that have impact in this region of Spain. We have the willing, the knowledge and the people to do it. If the politicians and the public workers of these municipalities want, we can make the difference moving from propietary to software libre.

What a nice project...isn't it? I feel lucky these days.