Archive for December, 2004

End of the Year Thought

WaiterPCI know that with this post I’m breaking the promise I made in the last one, but it was planned to be posted as an end of the year thought since a long time. After all this might be an example of the good and bad of being an independent software developer following the motto “it’s ready when it’s ready”. 😉

The 2004 has been a particular year, with some changes in my private life and pretty different from what I planned at the beginning, so it couldn’t end without some thoughts about the hard work as a waiter during the last months. I benefited from this experience in many ways, well beyond what people could think, especially the ones who don’t read the blog. 😉

This was an article published on the local daily newspaper La Provincia about a charity dinner held at Villa d’Este the last November. I worked voluntarily for that dinner but I didn’t like at all some of the things I saw there and the tone of the article, so I wrote a first letter to the director of the newspaper published in the feature with the same name. The letter was ironical and meant to propose a thought to the readers, but it wasn’t appreciated, to say the least, by some colleagues, who felt involved in some way, so I had to write a second letter to clarify my point of view. Fortunately someone caught the point and the discussion went on with a letter by Luciano Forni, a former senator, and with others from some readers here, and here.

I got compliments for the courage of writing something like that, but I’ve been also surprised by the venom tongues of some colleagues, people who are used to accept compromises to be able to work, think always about money (or the lack of it) or haven’t enough neurons to distinguish irony from charge. My letter was a general thought about the hypocrisy in the modern world, which is even more actual if you consider what’s happened with the Incredible Tide in South East Asia, the so called third world…

I close this post with a sentence inspired by the director of a restaurant I worked for during this summer, a long time friend, brilliant and always busy in keeping his old habits and his life style: in his opinion italians should return doing humble works like in the past, in particular young ones with a degree and the “stench under their nose”.

How true I can say and I appreciated his words even more since he was referring to me as an example of a good worker.

So let’s close with the sentence I remember from the movie Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni, said to the waiter-Guido (Benigni) by his Uncle: “You’re serving, but you’re not a servant. Serving is a supreme art, God is the first servant. God serves men, but he’s not a servant to men!

Back to work now, “le grand cirque” of the world must go on! 🙂

Update: irony inside irony, if you’ll have the patience to read my two letters, just take a look at the horoscope at the bottom of the page, I’m a Leo. 😉

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BatteryLife Activator Test

BatterylifeWhen I first read about the BatteryLife Activator I got immediately curious, although I admit I was pretty skeptic about its real capabilities until I read positive comments on some german websites. This mysterious black foil appeared to keep its promises of increasing the charge of a common lithium ion battery by up to 30%, which was pretty amazing actually.

But it wasn’t enough for me and I asked for a sample to make some tests. The guys at BatteryLife sent me the samples and then I’ve been able to use them on the batteries of my Axim X3 and of my Motorola MPx200. On the Axim I run the Spb Benchmark with the option “Max backlight, standard using” several times and if I got 3:05 hours without the Activator, once I applied it on the battery I got results up to about 3:35, which is exactly the increment the Activator promised to provide.

On the MPx200 I did a different test by playing the default video sample at full volume with the Media Player and I got the same percentage increase from about 4:00 to 4:35 hours until the device went off automatically. I’m very satisfied of this product and I hope it will be commercialized and promoted even in Italy. I also wrote an article about it for the local daily newspaper La Provincia, which you can find it here in PDF format.

The advantages of the Activator extend beyond increasing the standby and the talk times by even shortening the battery charging time up to 40%, something I’m glad to confirm, and providing a longer lifetime for the battery itself. Very interesting improvements especially considering a street price of only 9.90 Euro per foil.

Now that I’m fully back to my development schedule with the new workstation, I really hope to make old and new Ecpc users a nice Christmas present with the release of version 1.4.

The next update will be the one they’re waiting for! 😉

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Hardware Upgrade and EmEditor

SnailsIf used heavily, sooner or later a PC turns into a snail, and I don’t mean the nice gastropod featured in the game Snails by PDA Mill, which I installed on my Pocket PC and Smartphone thanks the special offer reserved to Pocket PC Thoughts subscribers.

That’s to say I’m in the middle of a complete hardware upgrade. In the building of the new workstation I took particular care of two aspects: a fast mass storage subsystem, the real bottleneck of modern PCs, by installing two Barracudas in RAID-0 mode, and a quality Chieftec case providing a good internal ventilation and most importantly silence through the use of quiet fans. 8)

The next step has been the installation of the Windows XP Pro operative system and the software I daily use, each one with its customizations, a procedure that’s time consuming if done properly.

This time however it has been easier thanks to Raxco’s FirstDefense ISR and PerfectDisk, the first one useful for testing drivers and applications without messing with the main snapshot and the second one to keep the Barracudas defragmented. 🙂

And speaking about useful tools to improve productivity, I’m happy since I’ve finally found a text editor with great general features and full Unicode support, EmEditor, useful to edit the language files of Ecpc. Even better is the fact that it’s free for academic and technical use, which includes shareware authors. Thanks to Yutaka Emura of Emurasoft for his policy and as you can read in the Ecpc Wishlist page now I recommend his software to translators. 😉

Update: since at Raxco they’re happy that PerfectDisk v7.0 just won the 2005 Redmond Magazine’s Readers Choice Award for the “Best Disk Defragmentation Tool” they’re offering a 25% discount off their products with the promo code REDMOND25 that they invited me to share. 😉

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