Sunday, October 31, 2004

Mas que grande porra!

Esta história do Daylight Savings Time (DST para os amigos) é todos os anos a mesma merda. Mas a que propósito é que agora tenho que viver com um pôr-do-sol às 5:30? Porquê? Não basta a falta de sol que um gajo já tem nesta altura do ano, ainda tenho que começar a levantar-me mais cedo para ter ao menos um pouco de sol?

Isto só pode ser para chatear o pessoal. De certeza que quem inventou isto nunca viveu num país com sol o ano todo. Só pode.


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Why was this not a goal?

Was it because Porto would not win in Lisbon? Was it because the best keeper in Europe let the ball through his hands before he jumped back to desperately get the ball out (too late as the picture shows, but not late enough for the referree to validate)? Or just because of bad eye-sight?

That's life, I guess...

Friday, October 15, 2004

The week in review

In a week where I didn't have much time to breathe, and where I've driven over 1500 KM, here's a small review.

- Document Warehouse gone Live
My "pet" archiving project is gone live last monday, 315 users hammering down the system. The bad news is that users consider it slow-ish (me as well), the good news is that it is as slow with 2 users as with 300, so it must be something with Apache and/or the front-end part of the system.
- Output Management integration nearly finished
We can now print invoices in every type and format, AFP & PCL (PCL used internally, AFP for outsorced print shop), we're just waiting for the Billing engine to get its act together and start spewing correct data instead of the rubbish it gives us now.
- Great dinner in the Hague, with the most portuguese-like spanish guy I've met, thanks Maria for the lovely empadão.
- Nearly useless chat with some nice chaps in The Hague that - in their wildest dreams - actually thought I had money to spare and invest in some tax-haven offshore fund. They quickly realised that my idea of saving for retirement is more linked to getting to the end of the month with money than keeping 3 months of salary aside for a rainy day. A lot of rain in Brussels, you know?
- CV update time, with some friends trying to get me into Shell in The Hague. Would be just perfect, me says.
- Some discussions with end users trying to explain that when they answer "No" to the "Do you want to install Columbus Viewer" question prompt, they will not be able to use the system. Some of them got the picture...
- Portuguese national team got their forgiveness by beating Russia 7-1, Russia's worst result ever, in the stadium that will host the next UEFA Cup final, Estádio José Alvalade XXI.

Anyway it's friday, definitely not feeling like working too much today. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Now it gets interesting...

Back to production days... it just feels good to finally have a project passing to "Live" status, and seeing everything working (nearly) perfect.

So, it's clean-up time. We have to clean up the mess we did with our DEV & TEST environments, which are currently so messed up that the easiest is to start from scratch. So, I've asked the System Engineers to put me up an extra VM on that half-a-million-euros HP IA64 box to cleanly separate DEV from TEST and be able to promote stuff to PROD in 2 hours instead of 3 days, and their answer was:

"Well, we just don't know how to do that."

Isn't it great? Invest a million euros on top-of-the-notch machines, capable of god-knows-how-many GigaFlops and don't train your Engineers. Any "mildly" complex thing I ask they have to refer to HP to get it done (OK, I admit that adding a VM might not be a "mildly complex" task).

They asked HP how to set LD_LIBRARY_PATH correctly, because they couldn't do it on a per-profile basis, only at the box level.
I see that I should have continued my forays into Sys Admin instead of turning PM. Once again my career path seems to have a taken a wrong turn somewhere... ;-)


Monday, October 11, 2004


Aren't we the nicest people on Earth?

Nobody even speaks about the fact that the Netherlands drew 2-2 to Macedonia as well, do they?

Friday, October 08, 2004

Broken window - part 2

As with everything with me, nothing is quite finished until it is err... finished. So, yesterday I took my car to Carglass (I must praise their service, it's excellent) and was told it would be repaired in a few hours. I just had to pick it up before 17:30.

Well, guess what? It was just about 17:50 when I arrived and the garage was closed. Tough luck. Stuck in Brussels without a car.

Well, cutting a long story short, went to pick it up this morning just to learn that they couldn't finish the repair because the small engine that powers the window is broken, so I will have to go back next week's tuesday to get the repair finished.


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Saudades da vida simples...

Há dias assim, em que nos lembramos quão simples era a nossa vida há 5, 10, 15 anos. Tenho saudades do tempo em que tudo o que queria do dia era um sorriso teu. Tenho saudades do tempo em que sair do trabalho era para ir para casa e não para ir continuar a trabalhar (para nada). Tenho saudades do tempo que não tive contigo. Tenho saudades de não ter máquina de lavar em casa. Tenho saudades de ir de autocarro para o trabalho e ver-te fazer de pato quando saías. Tenho saudades de te ver redonda que nem um balão. Tenho saudades de te ver. Tenho saudades de ti.

Tenho saudades de ter objectivos simples. Tenho saudades de comprar móveis para a casa. Tenho saudades de ter tempo para respirar. Tenho saudades de não estar sozinho.

Não tenho saudades do tempo perdido.


This is not fun.

Some w***er broke into my car tonight, stole nothing and left a broken window behind. What goes through people's mind (if they have one) to do something like this? I don't really care about the broken window (it's not raining today) but the whole hassle around it is amazing. Insurance papers. Police reports. Absence from work. Frustration. For nothing.

Damn it.

On top of it, I had to drive to work anyway because of my Production Committee meeting and present my project for approval. My mindset was probably not the best, I guess. It got approved anyway, and I'll go to Carglass now to get the car fixed.

Bad mood Nuno

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Live from studio B

The archive migration project's phase 1 is going live next monday (finally)... Here's some interesting numbers:
- Total nr of documents: 140.136.097 (containing 153.041.004 pages)
- Compression rate: 70%
- Nr of volumes 672

Phase 2 will bring about 200 million more pages. Cool... ;-)
Printing directory trees

Ok, this is really dumb, but I had to search for it for a while. So here goes, it might help someone.

Today I had to find a way to print out the directory structure from one of our unix boxes. In DOS we used to have the amazing tree command, but you don't have that in unix. The following will also work:

find . -type d -print


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

So true...
This article at MSNBC is so on the spot that it's even scary. It discusses how big software failures are rarely linked to the quality of the developers, but more and more to the quality (or lack of) of the management, communication and training. Here's some gems:

"Often, however, the first step toward total disaster is taken before the first line of code is drawn up. "
“In 90 percent of the cases, it’s because the implementer did a bad job, training was bad, the whole project was poorly done”
"Another common theme in failures lies in the ranks of employees who actually must use the systems. Often they’re not given proper training. There’s also a chance that they don’t want the project to succeed, especially if they see it as a threat to employment."

Another reason I must add is the unrealistic budget control performed by some companies while trying to implement *any* product. Quality comes at a price, and not everyone's ready to pay for it - and loads of integrators, especially after dotcom boom, will be more than glad to do your project for your low budget and implement all your wrong design ideas just for the sake of having people being billable again.

Me says, it will not change.
I suppose this is funny...

We're a small company, basically with 3 people:
- One Technical Project Manager, 100% of the time outsourced (me)
- One System Architect, outsourced about 50% of his time
- One Business Developper (aka Salesman) doing sales all the time

...and the only stuff we actually sell is the business I find...
Changing Baselines...

My archiving project is delayed for about 3 months and, one week away from the Go-Live, I get asked to fill in a Baseline change request because of the delay. I'm ok with it, but:

- Why don't the System Engineers fill in a report of why they had no disks delivered on time?
- Why don't the wankers that developped the buggy software fill in a report stating why it took them 3 months to fix all the problems?
- Why doesn't the CEO answers to his platform choices?

;-) I guess I know why, and that's why I'll fill in my Baseline CR and shut up.


Friday, October 01, 2004


'nuff said...
2 out of 5 is not good

That's what you get with "weak" championships. 6 teams qualified for European competitions, one for the first time, two for their 2nd or 3rd time. The remaining 3 teams have all won some european competition: Porto (2 Champions), Sporting (1 Cup-Winners) and Benfica (2 Champions + 6 finals!!).

In other words, this portuguese championship is looking more and more like the scottish.

Thank god that Mourinho (and Boavista) gave us quite some points in the UEFA ranking for the past 2 seasons, which means we're safe in 6th position (about 7 points advantage over Greece).

And next season we'll have 2 teams straight into the CL Groups + a possible 3rd that must go through the 3rd qualifyer. But this year we'll be happy if we get to do 5 points. Porto will continue losing, Benfica and Sporting might get it through to next year, but certainly not past march/early april...

Anyway, enough of football. This blog will now enter a footy pause (for about 2 weeks - until the next Champions League night) and discuss more important and vital stuff, such as the crappy weather we have in Brussels, the traffic jams every morning and the reasons why Antwerp is today the roadworks' champion.


Portuguese European Cup Results:
Benfica 2 - 0 Dukla Bystrica (5-0 aggregate)
Rapid Vienna 0 - 0 Sporting (0-2 aggregate)
Braga 2 - 2 Hearts (3-5 aggregate)
Rangers 1 - 0 Marítimo (1-1 aggregate, Rangers through on penalties)
Nacional 1 - 2 Sevilla (1-4 aggregate)