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  • One-man Linux army
  • Tomorrow
  • Had tons of fun!
  • Also saw Diane today!
  • Tons of fun
  • Geek Love

One-man Linux army

My boyfriend is a one-man Linux army. While all the rest of the people talk about promoting Linux, he actually goes out there and does it all by himself! He’s writing press material, manning booths, giving talks and seminars… Wow.

That’s one of the things I really admire about him. He promotes Linux
and open source not because someone’s paying him or because he hates
certain proprietary software companies, but because he believes it can
make people’s lives better. Free software can help schools spend money
on more important things, like facilities, textbooks, and teacher
salaries. Open source software can help people learn and grow. He
wants people to discover it, so he’ll go ahead and stand under the
scorching sun and talk about Linux to people who don’t see why they
shouldn’t just go and pirate software.

It’s a thankless job among people who don’t appreciate it as anything
beyond an opportunity to get another signature for their visit sheets,
like the way many people attend seminars only for the certificate. But
there’s always the chance that he’ll get a kid interested in free and
open source software, and who knows what will happen then?

I love him even more for doing it, and I wish I could be there to
help. Dear reader, here is a man who cares about the world and does
something to help it, even when other people are apathetic or
pessimistic. This is one of the reasons why I think he’s just so
amazing, and I wanted to share it with you.

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Tomorrow

I hadn’t been particularly looking forward to tomorrow. I don’t know
why; a general malaise, perhaps. It’s hard to be cheery with a sore
throat and the knowledge that one has to get up early tomorrow morning
anyway. Then, reading through a small collection of letters from
Dominique, I came across this quote from one of his favorite authors
(whom I’ve also come to be quite fond of)—

“…it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets
tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness,
but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance,
in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially
enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not
absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality,
because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want
things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again'; and
the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead.”

I should remember that. Each day is not a dreary routine; it is an
expression of joy. I don’t do computer work because I _have_ to; I do
it because I can, and because it’s tons of fun. Take, for example,
that Internet cabling thing. I need to keep in mind not my mom’s face
as she’s asking me to do it, but the clients’ faces as convenient Net
access saves a shoot (or at least eases some of the tensions). I just
have to keep my users in mind; to think that what I do will matter.

Tomorrow is another day. Isn’t that such a cool thing?

E-Mail from Dominique Cimafranca

彼らは熱烈にいがみ合っている。 They fight like cat and dog.

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Had tons of fun!

I learned so much from the conference—proof that the best way to
receive knowledge is to give it away! I met a lot of people that I
should definitely keep in touch with because they’re doing really cool
things, like Dr. Maja, Justin, Pauline, Lawrence…

Here are some more conference notes:

Justin was a great speaker. He structured his talk to have some
interactivity, breaking the students up into groups so that they could
try out project planning. Slightly marred by students’ inertia, but a
good idea anyway. He then put forward a humorous scenario that neatly
highlighted the challenges of project management and explained the
basics of PM through jokes and stories. Excellent speaker, probably
the best presenter in the conference.

They asked me to repeat my Knoppix talk for the benefit of the
students, so I did my whizbang look-how-much-you-can-get-on-one-CD
presentation. That was fun, too.

Met Dominique’s landlady. She was really nice.

Had to buy a swimsuit. I came to Cebu without packing a swimsuit—what
was I thinking? Grabbed a pair of slippers, too.

Had dinner with the camera club. Dominique came as well. That was fun.

He’s teaching me Bisaya. If I can learn enough Japanese to make myself
understood, I should be able to learn enough Bisaya to charm people.
Here’s what I took up today:

Maayong hapon. Good afternoon
Lingaw ka-ayo. It’s lots of fun.
Nindot ka-ayo. It’s very nice.
Maski studyante, kaya ka-ayo. Even a student can do it.
Daghan ko natun-an gikan sa … I learned so much from … (hmm, I think I got the Bisaya part wrong. Maayon?)
Daghang salamat. Thank you.

(Thanks to James Lloyd Atwil for the corrections!)

I didn’t get to use the phrases during my talk, though. Got nervous. =)

More thoughts on software patents. In short, I think they really suck,
and that our government should focus on fixing copyright.

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Also saw Diane today!

Yay yay yay yay! Missed her greatly.

She beat Dominique at thumb-wrestling, so he still doesn’t have her complete approval…

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Tons of fun

Clair Ching‘s birthday party was tons of fun.
The scavenger hunt in UP was more of a leisurely stroll around famous
UP landmarks, and we enjoyed a great picnic on the grass after all our
work.

I’m assmilating JM into our collective. ;) He’s a good fit. He’s
interested in kinesthetic puzzles, chess, books, firespinning, and
writing. =)

Dominique has been absolutely wonderful. I’m torturing Marcelle by
being so obviously thrilled—but I can’t help it. He’s just
so… <smile>

I’m glad to be home.

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Geek Love

Revision from Dominique Cimafranca:

One of the hallmarks of the stereotypical male computer nerd is his
ineptitude with members of the opposite sex. Especially those of the
attractive kind. Most especially those of the attractive and intelligent
kind. Just read one of the many strips of Dilbert which deals with the
subject.

Cliched as the image may be, there’s some truth to it nonetheless. I
should know. I am a stereotypical male computer nerd.

At one point, I wished out loud to my friends that I could meet a girl
that came with an instruction manual. I meant it in jest, what with women
being so complex and all. But apparently, there was such a girl—and no,
she was not of the inflatable kind.

In doing advocacy work for Linux, I wrote a series of articles on
prominent Linux personalities in the Philippines. One of the people I
featured was Sacha Chua, a programming wunderkind who was very much in
touch with the pulse of geekdom. Sacha was into Linux, Emacs, and
wearable computing. Certainly she made good copy, and several people
posted links to that article on my web site.

I conducted the interview via email so we didn’t really get to meet.
Nevertheless, she came across as very intelligent, very articulate, and
very personable in our email exchanges.

Sacha also maintained a wiki — a sort of a blog — where she placed all
her code and her essays. One of her entries was entitled “On Love”, a
tongue-in-cheek how-to to on courting geek girls, particularly, Sacha
Chua. Finally, a girl with an instruction manual. Was this the answer to
my wish, I wondered.

Humorous as the tone was, the instruction manual was in earnest about
Sacha’s views on courtship. At the top of the list was intelligent
conversation that would increase her stock of knowledge. Getting to know
her family was also important to her. Flowers, stuffed animals, and other
girly-girly stuff were a no-no. The bar was set high, but it also gave a
clear indication as to what kind of person Sacha was. Was I interested?
Absolutely!

Of course, I didn’t start courting Sacha on the basis of that manual.
Distance was a problem as I was based in the South and was travelling all
over. But we did strike up a friendship facilitated by email. Through
that I learned of her other interests in books, quirky movies, and
puzzles.

We finally met when I moved to Manila. We would see each other from time
to time. It helped greatly that we were both speakers at Linux seminars.
Sacha introduced me to her wonderful family. She also brought me into her
circle of friends, something I deeply appreciated because finally I met
people of like minds.

I realized that we had something special when we reached that most
intimate moment in a geek’s life: after a dinner date, I asked her to set
up computer for a demo that I was running the following day. She threw
herself at the task, completing in half an hour what I knew would have
taken me two hours. For a geek guy, well, that’s nirvana.

Even though I know Sacha far better than before, the how-to guide still
serves as a handy reference. On occasion, I take a peek at it to gauge if
I’m doing things right. Not too shabby, I must say.

Then again, you know you love someone when you know when to break her
rules. She was positively giddy about the Tux stuffed toy I gave her.

Some expressions of geeky love:

1) The Sacha Chua instruction manual -
http://sacha.free.net.ph/notebook/wiki/OnLove.php

2) Valentine’s Day Challenge
http://sacha.free.net.ph/notebook/wiki/2005.02.14.php
http://villageidiotsavant.blogspot.com/2005/02/love-as-acm-problem.html

E-Mail from Dominique Cimafranca

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