Spasmodic

The man gazing at the stars is proverbially at the mercy of the puddles on the road.

The quote I oftentimes use was from Alexander Smith, a Scottish essayist and poet who lived from 1830 to 1867. I even wrote something posted in this blog which worked around that fine quote. Also last year a person, (I think it was Coreen,) actually bothered to ask who the hell that guy was. All I knew then was that he was a poet.

A peek at wikipedia revealed nothing much interesting: he was the son of a lace-designer, and born at Kilmarnock. Being too poor to send him to college, his parents placed him in a linen factory to follow his father’s trade of a pattern designer.

The only thing noteworthy about the guy apart from his work, (at least for me that is,) was him being associated with the Spasmodic School. From the same reference (wikipedia) Spasmodic is a term applied by William Edmonstoune Aytoun to a group of British poets of the Victorian era, certainly with some derogatory as well as humorous intention and was also applied by contemporary reviewers to Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh, Tennyson’s Maud, and the poetry of Arthur Hugh Clough although these poets are not generally included in the Spasmodic school by modern literary critics.

Hmmm… derogatory and humorous… definitely my cup of tea. No wonder I found the quote appealing!

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The Downside Of Certification

So for the longest time of being busy, I’ve had the chance to check all my emails. While weeding them out, I encountered an email with a link to this article. So goes the article:

The Q1 2006 Hot Technical Skills and Certifications Pay Index, released April 25 by Foote Partners, a New Canaan, Conn., IT compensation and workforce management firm, found that pay premiums for non-certified IT skills grew three times faster than for certified ones in a six-month period spanning 2005-2006.

The study suggests that there has been a change in employers’ acceptance of the value of non-certified tech skills versus certifications in maintaining competitive pay for their workers.

If ever this one’s correct, I’m going to be one of those who will actually benefit from the trend. Not that I actually care as there really are certified people who know their shit but there really are people without certifications who really are better than their certified counterparts. And I’ve always been for proving your worth with your work and not a piece of paper.

In the meantime, I’ve got more than 400 emails to go…

Open Source=Communism?

As I wrote before I’m already using Ubuntu Linux for my OS. I’m pretty surprised with how my machine turned out that I decided to write about more thoughts on Open Source technologies. While I was supposed to write something about open source as a form of communism reading some existing materials on the subject to be sure I was using the terms properly held me back. I decided I had to read further.

The reason for the hesitation is that much as I have a fairly good grasp of both concepts communism remains to be quite a hefty baggage for me to handle outright considering I’ve been only working with IT and not Sociology. It turned out that it’s a good thing I let my better sense have its way first because it seems that everything to be said has already been written. Going through articles such as this, this and this provided lots of insights on the subject.

As far as I have read on the matter it seems that a lot of people agree that communism is something negative. Maybe it was due to how the Russians and Chinese tried to achieve it. Nevertheless communism isn’t essentially negative; it’s just another economic system unlike say, Capitalism.

With that said I’m using the definition presented here for two primary reasons: it’s the closest definition to the communism Marx wrote about that I can easily find, and it’s safe to assume the definition is unbiased. So as written:

Communism refers to a conjectured future classless, stateless social organization based upon common ownership of the means of production, and can be classified as a multivariant branch of the broader socialist movement.

When viewed in this perspective then it seems communism shares a lot of similarities with the Open Source movement. After all Open Source technologies grow with the aid of online communities as much as communism is about the community.

As opposed to source codes of software viewed as propriety in nature by companies opposed to the Open Source movement source codes of Open Source technologies come with the software and as such can be customized according to the needs and preferences of the user, (or geek.) As a consequence one good thing going for the user with the emergence of Open Source Technology is that it’s free unlike proprietary software.

As Open Source technologies gain ground it’s not really surprising that one of the propaganda reeking out of top proprietary software company, Microsoft, is to exploit the misconception of communism and equate that with the Open Source movement. Now this is not really surprising considering that Microsoft practically monopolized the IT business in the previous years by devouring emerging competitors in the past. As such it stands so much to lose if Open Source grabs hold of the future of IT.

This is not to say that IT companies won’t get anything from the growth of the Open Source movement. On the contrary there are companies such as Sun, from which the Open Source Java technology came from, which actually earn because of them. The only ones at risk are those companies that don’t allow users to peek at the source codes of their software.

I still don’t get what people get from participating in Open Source projects though. There are people who participate during their own free time and as such would still be able to get their means of living from somewhere else. I don’t have the numbers to back this up unfortunately. Given this fact the Open Source=Communism equation will only hold true at least for the IT industry.

Nevertheless this is one problem going against IT companies in general: Open Source technologies don’t need to shell out anything in order to evolve. It’s very nature have people participate in Open Source development voluntarily.

My360@1

I didn’t realize that my space at the internet was already up for a year. I started this March 31 last year with the purpose of maintaining a blog. Just goes to show how much work eats up much of my time I guess.

Nevertheless I’m aiming for more time for this spot of the internet (or wherever my blog will eventually find its home if ever.) I really have so much to write about but I’m unfortunately too busy that some of it end up slipping out of the realms of my memory.

Call it some sort of a resolution but I find roughly 3 posts per month still few considering that I get to go out more often than the average geek as much as I get to check out technology like one.

Delight in Darkness

For almost three weeks now homes near my family’s humble abode have been hiding in the shadows every night. I’ve had to thread the darkness to reach home every evening since then because Meralco changed their power lines.

The number of houses left without electricity every night is vengeance for those few of us in the place who religiously in our obligation to pay for something we used. It’s really funny that there were people who in the process of intimidating linemen sent by the electric corporation, ended up getting humiliated in the process. So goes one exchange:

Lady: Bakit niyo tatanggalin yung mga linya ng kuryente? Sigurado bang hindi maaapektuhan ang kuryente namin diyan sa gagawin niyo?!!
Lineman: Basta may kuntador po kayo siguradong may kuryente kayo pagkatapos namin dito.

Priceless! Then there was one afternoon when I even saw a group of freeriders trying to check electric lines for another possible free source of the “commodity”. It was quite amusing to see how shameless these people have become in getting services for something they don’t bother to pay for.

Without any success for their painstaking at securing power from anywhere else the shameless leeches now have to wait for at least two months before Meralco approves their application before eventually giving them electricity.

Just when you thought you don’t get anything for being honest. I guess the universe has its way of beating the pragmatist in you at times.