Friday, December 28, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Season Greetings.... or NOT

Geek Gaucho decided not to "celebrate" Christmas anymore.

Anyway, since most of you readers surely do, here's my "gift" for this modern pagan consumerist festivity.

After the ORIGINAL "Badger Badger Badger", and the remixed Trance version, came also a Christmas version of it. I discovered it today, but it might be quite old. In any case, Xmas is also old and that doesn't prevent everyone from repeating the exercise.


[More about BadgerBadgerBadger on the Whackypedia.]

If you want to send me [or someone else you know] a gift anyway, here's an idea.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Installing dsniff in Fedora Core 6 / Blag 60000

apt-get install libpcap libpcap-devel libnet libnet-devel
wget -c
wget -c
# create symlink
ln -s /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/
# install dsniff ... now it can't complain about anything...
rpm --install --force --nodeps ./dsniff-2.3-0.rhel3.dag.i386.rpm > /dev/null

See? it works....

# /usr/sbin/dsniff --help

/usr/sbin/dsniff: invalid option -- -
Version: 2.3
Usage: dsniff [-cdmn] [-i interface] [-s snaplen] [-f services]
[-t trigger[,...]] [-r|-w savefile] [expression]

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Racism can kill you

This is one of the funniest music videos I've ever seen. And the remixed song by Fatboy Slim is cool as well.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Pride: Argentina's telecommunications ranking

While the right-wing press who misses the "pro-market" State-free 1990s tries to smear the current administration day after day... we read some good news thanks to PRMinds's report on telecommunications in Latin America:

2007 Latin America Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Mercosur, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela:

"Argentina: Argentina has one of the most solid state-of-the-art telecom infrastructures in South America. Fixed-line teledensity is around 22%, similar to Brazil and Chile. Like elsewhere in Latin America, the shift is away from traditional telephony and towards mobility. While fixed lines stagnate, mobile telephony is booming, reaching a penetration of over 82% – a figure that is well above the Latin American average, trailing only Chile and a few Caribbean islands. All telephony services are open to competition, requiring a single licence for any type of service. The country’s incumbents Telefónica de Argentina and Telecom Argentina still dominate the country’s fixed network [it's time to end Telefonica's Local Loop monopoly, Cristina!], but long distance telephony is highly competitive [who calls long distance from a fixed line?]. Three mobile operators, Movistar, CTI Móvil, and Telecom Personal, run a close competition for mobile market share. All three are planning network upgrades in 2007 to prepare for the launch of UMTS 3G technology. Argentina’s Internet market is the third largest in Latin America, and penetration is among the highest in the region."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fernando in South Park

Thanks to the amazing South Park Studio, here's a South Park rendition of me... ;)

I did my best... too bad they don't have a "total shaved bald" template for the head.

Thanks to fellow Argentine now-living-in-Euroland Open Kosmaczewski for the link!


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Building MIMMS on Fedora Core 6 / blag Linux - Download mms:// streams !

PROBLEM: You want to download a mms:// video stream to your Hard Disk
You find about MiMMS but found no up to date RPM for your system, and soon find that compiling it is a total nightmare.

I'm posting this in the interest of helping folks running blag Linux or Fedora Core 6 to build the MIMMS client on their systems. MiMMS is a Free Software program that downloads MMS:// video streaming URLs to your hard disk.

The original program is provided over here at The problem is that the build process (just running "make") will complain about AN AWFUL LOT of missing pieces and libraries, with no further help in finding what's missing.

Well, since I'm shaved bald, I've saved you from all the HAIR PULLING.

Here's an example of all the errors you might encounter (I'm pasting here so Google searches can find this entry).

Error #1: Missing QT4-make
# make
qmake-qt4 -o Makefile.qmake
make: qmake-qt4: Command not found
make: *** [Makefile.qmake] Error 127
[root@m6810 mimms-2.0.1]#

Error #2: Missing C++ compiler
# make
qmake-qt4 -o Makefile.qmake
make -f Makefile.qmake
make[1]: Entering directory `/incoming/mimms-2.0.1'
g++ -c -pipe -O2 -g -pipe -Wall -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -fstack-protector --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -m32 -march=i386 -mtune=generic -fasynchronous-unwind-tables -Wall -W -D_REENTRANT -DQT_NO_DEBUG -DQT_CORE_LIB -I/usr/lib/qt4/mkspecs/linux-g++ -I. -I/usr/include/QtCore -I/usr/include/QtCore -I/usr/include -I. -Ilibmms -I/usr/include/libmms -I/usr/include/glib-2.0 -I/usr/lib/glib-2.0/include -I. -I. -o mimms.o mimms.cpp
make[1]: g++: Command not found
make[1]: *** [mimms.o] Error 127
make[1]: Leaving directory `/incoming/mimms-2.0.1'
make: *** [build] Error 2
[root@m6810 mimms-2.0.1]#

Error #3: Missing libmms development libs
# make
make -f Makefile.qmake
make[1]: Entering directory `/incoming/mimms-2.0.1'
g++ -c -pipe -O2 -g -pipe -Wall -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -fstack-protector --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -m32 -march=i386 -mtune=generic -fasynchronous-unwind-tables -Wall -W -D_REENTRANT -DQT_NO_DEBUG -DQT_CORE_LIB -I/usr/lib/qt4/mkspecs/linux-g++ -I. -I/usr/include/QtCore -I/usr/include/QtCore -I/usr/include -I. -Ilibmms -I/usr/include/libmms -I/usr/include/glib-2.0 -I/usr/lib/glib-2.0/include -I. -I. -o mimms.o mimms.cpp
mimms.cpp:28:17: error: mms.h: No such file or directory
mimms.cpp:29:18: error: mmsh.h: No such file or directory
mimms.cpp: In function ‘int main(int, char**)’:
mimms.cpp:238: error: ‘mms_t’ was not declared in this scope
mimms.cpp:238: error: ‘mms’ was not declared in this scope
mimms.cpp:239: error: ‘mmsh_t’ was not declared in this scope
mimms.cpp:239: error: ‘mmsh’ was not declared in this scope
mimms.cpp:321: error: ‘mms_connect’ was not declared in this scope
mimms.cpp:330: error: ‘mmsh_connect’ was not declared in this scope
mimms.cpp:341: error: ‘mms_get_length’ was not declared in this scope
mimms.cpp:341: error: ‘mmsh_get_length’ was not declared in this scope
mimms.cpp:386: error: ‘mms_read’ was not declared in this scope
mimms.cpp:387: error: ‘mmsh_read’ was not declared in this scope
mimms.cpp:400: error: ‘mms_get_current_pos’ was not declared in this scope
mimms.cpp:400: error: ‘mmsh_get_current_pos’ was not declared in this scope
make[1]: *** [mimms.o] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/incoming/mimms-2.0.1'
make: *** [build] Error 2
[root@m6810 mimms-2.0.1]#

Error #4: Missing glib.h
# make
make -f Makefile.qmake
make[1]: Entering directory `/incoming/mimms-2.0.1'
g++ -c -pipe -O2 -g -pipe -Wall -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -fstack-protector --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -m32 -march=i386 -mtune=generic -fasynchronous-unwind-tables -Wall -W -D_REENTRANT -DQT_NO_DEBUG -DQT_CORE_LIB -I/usr/lib/qt4/mkspecs/linux-g++ -I. -I/usr/include/QtCore -I/usr/include/QtCore -I/usr/include -I. -Ilibmms -I/usr/include/libmms -I/usr/include/glib-2.0 -I/usr/lib/glib-2.0/include -I. -I. -o mimms.o mimms.cpp
In file included from /usr/include/libmms/mms.h:41,
from mimms.cpp:28:
/usr/include/libmms/bswap.h:25:18: error: glib.h: No such file or directory
make[1]: *** [mimms.o] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/incoming/mimms-2.0.1'
make: *** [build] Error 2
[root@m6810 mimms-2.0.1]# locate glib.h
[root@m6810 mimms-2.0.1]#

SOLUTION: Use apt-get to install all the required libs BEFORE running make:

apt-get install gnu-c++ qt4-devel glib-devel glib2-devel libmms libmms-devel

That's it!. Now we type make and everything's fine:


# make
make -f Makefile.qmake
make[1]: Entering directory `/incoming/mimms-2.0.1'
g++ -c -pipe -O2 -g -pipe -Wall -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -fstack-protector --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -m32 -march=i386 -mtune=generic -fasynchronous-unwind-tables -Wall -W -D_REENTRANT -DQT_NO_DEBUG -DQT_CORE_LIB -I/usr/lib/qt4/mkspecs/linux-g++ -I. -I/usr/include/QtCore -I/usr/include/QtCore -I/usr/include -I. -Ilibmms -I/usr/include/libmms -I/usr/include/glib-2.0 -I/usr/lib/glib-2.0/include -I. -I. -o mimms.o mimms.cpp
g++ -o mimms mimms.o -lmms -lQtCore -lpthread
make[1]: Leaving directory `/incoming/mimms-2.0.1'
[root@m6810 mimms-2.0.1]#


# make install
make -f Makefile.qmake
make[1]: Entering directory `/incoming/mimms-2.0.1'
make[1]: Nothing to be done for `first'.
make[1]: Leaving directory `/incoming/mimms-2.0.1'
install -m755 -D mimms //usr/local/bin/mimms
install -m644 -D mimms.1 //usr/local/share/man/man1/mimms.1


# mimms -h
MiMMS 2.0.1 - MiMMS isn't an MMS Message Sender.
It's an MMS (e.g. mms://) stream downloader.
Usage: mimms [options] [output]
-c, --clobber Allow overwriting an existing file;
by default, this is not allowed.
-t, --time Record for the given number of minutes;
by default, record until the end.
-v, --verbose Print verbose debug messages on stderr.
-q, --quiet Don't print status messages on stdout.
-h, --help Show this help message on stdout.
URL Argument:
mms (MMS) i.e. mms://[:port]/
will try all supported methods.
mmst (MMS TCP) i.e. mmst://[:port]/
will only try TCP method.
mmsu (MMS UDP) Not currently supported; (poorly suited
for streaming downloads anyway).
mmsh (MMS HTTP) i.e. mmsh://[:port]/
will only try HTTP method.
http (ASX HTTP) i.e. http://[:port]/[.asx]
only the first supported URL is used.
- (stdin) i.e. look for an MMS URL on stdin;
only the first supported URL is used.
Output Argument:
none Streams to file named based on the URL.
filename Streams to the given file.
- Streams to stdout. (Implies --quiet.)
[root@m6810 mimms-2.0.1]#


Monday, October 22, 2007

Fernando's outdoors adventure (Jungle computing)

Some people who know me personally have criticized me, saying I'm a home rat, a hermit, a computer geek inmerse in his private world of software and hardware... and in that sense, they have been for the most part right. Very few things force me out, besides the usual buying groceries, attending a show of some sort, or the evermore scattered- exercise walk.

However, that doesn't prevent me from embarking into journeys of dangerous exploration of the wilderness aka "the outside world".

Here's a pic of me yesterday, writing from what looks like the middle of a jungle (which is actually my parents' patio) to Mad Mike and some of our Mad Readers who chastised me because of my DELL opinion piece -and among other abuse, accused me of "not knowing that the dot is the decimal separator for currency amounts in Argentina" (of course, I was right, and he was wrong, as usual with the most vitrolic complainers who preach from their high horse).

[Click to enlarge]

Who said the life of a computer geek can't be dangerous?. Look at that pot above my head? It's about to crush me!.

PS: In case you're wondering, it's a beatiful old Lemon Tree.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Music for a Saturday Morning

Turn up the volume... what a way to end the day a Saturday morning!. Just in case you don't want to fall asleep!.

Paul Weller doing "Sunflower" !!

I think he's a UK version of "the Boss" Springsteen, with a heavier voice..

Enjoy "dudes"!! ;)

PS: Any studio / tv set recording of this same song sounds much better. There's more on YouTube.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bring back the 1920s

Public TV has a bonus, and it's that it's not subject to the influence of Hollywood and the special interests, and as thus can have a very broad view, and some gems that focus on history and true art, not just the latest-movie-of-the-week peddled by the film distributors.

Such is the case of Argentina's public TV channel, Canal 7. The only one that survived the privatization wave of the 1990s. Surely it's a long way from the Beeb, but it's been improving lately. Such is the case of "Filmoteca" a daily programme by film collectors, for film buffs.

Today, I had the pleasure of watching a series of Buster Keaton short films from the 1920s.

The best, IMHO, was "One Week", which you can watch on Google Video over here.

Buster and Sybil are newlyweds. Among their wedding gifts is a portable house you can easily put together in one week... but things won't be as easy as it seemed.

A great laugh and the amount of Busters' falls and hits is mind-blowing, specially considering he used no stunt performers. All the falls are real, and the programme presenters even explained that Buster Keaton broke a few bones several times during his career, only accepting to use a stunt performer on a jump once, because the length of a javelin jump would have been impossible for him to perform.

Thanks, Fernando Martin Peña, for letting us know about these gems from 1920s cinema.

[Fernando M. Peña and Pablo Manes host this daily view on the history of cinema]

I wholeheartedly recommend this programme dubbed "Filmoteca". It airs Mon-Fri after 01:00am on Canal 7 in Buenos Aires and its network of repeaters that spans several provinces (Mar del Plata in Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Cordoba, etc).


Friday, September 14, 2007

Blu-Ray PS3 wins in dollars/features ratio over HDDVD+Xbox360...

A lot has been written lately about the High-Definition standard wars of Blu-Ray vs HDDVD.

I only have enough money to buy a single console and HD movies player,
so I have done the math using prices from

Sony PS3 (60 Gb) console: $499

Sony PS3 Blu-Ray remote $24

Sony PS3 cordless Media Keyboard $65

Total: $ 589

Storage: 60GB
Full-size wireless Keyboard: Yes
Runs Linux without mod: Yes, [4, afaik] Yellowdog for PS3 , Fedora-PPC, Ubuntu-PPC, Gentoo


Xbox 360 - 20Gb: $349

Xbox 360 HD-DVD player add-on: $180

Xbox 360 Media Remote: $20

Tiny clumsy Xbox rubber mini-Keyboard: $30

Total: $579

Storage: 20GB

plays HD movies: YES, but with Bulky add-on

You fund an evil corporation which is also a convicted monopolist: YES
Runs Linux without mod?: NO
Full-size wireless keyboard: NO

Game over, Sony's PS3 wins. :)

Price difference:
Sony's $10 more expensive, big freaking deal. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Another 9/11 - but in Chile


When the new generations hear the words "September 11" they think about the attack on the twin towers in New York.

But there was another September 11 as painful -if not more- for Latin Americans...

Here goes my little homage to a man who valued and kept his words till the end. A man betrayed by power-hungry criminals because the Empire up North wanted to prevent him setting a "bad example" on the region.

Last words of Salvador Allende (Spanish):

Get this widget | Share | Track details

[English translation here]

Some related reading... :

CIA acknowledges involvement in Allende's overthrow, Pinochet's rise

Herald Tribune: Former aide links Pinochet and son to drug trade


Colin Powell: U.S. "not proud" of 1973 covert action in Chile

Riggs bank hid Pinochet's fortune

Tinker Bell, Pinochet and the Fairy Tale Miracle of Chile - Greg Palast

Chile's privatization failures

The fall of a myth - Chile reforms its privatized Education and Social Security systems [Spanish]

The Case Against Pinochet

New Evidence: U.S. OK'd Argentina's 'Dirty War'

"-This is admiral Caravajal, ¡I want to speak to the President!

-This is the president speaking
After a few moment, the president's voice
lashed out like a whip:

-¡What do you think, you sh*tty traitors!... ¡Take your plane up your ass!... ¡You're speaking to the President of the country. And the president, elected by the people, does not surrender!

--Salvador Allende, under siege by the military coup, in La Moneda presidental palace, Sept. 11, 1973

[From "Salvador Allende: how the white house caused his death"].
[Published by El Ateneo. ISBN 950-02-7452-3]

"History is not stopped by repression or crime. This is a stage that will be overcome. This is a hard and difficult moment: it is possible they will crush us. But tomorrow will belong to the people, will belong to the workers. Humanity advances to conquer a better life."

-Salvador Allende's last words message, from La Moneda, Sep-11-1973

(full translation at "Allende's Last Words")

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Humor: the "human age" of nations

[I received this as a chain letter. The original was in Spanish and claims to be written by someone by the name Hernán Casciari (supposedly from Argentina). Here's my attempt at an English translation]

I read once that Argentina is no worse or better than Spain, only younger.

I liked that theory so then I invented a trick to discover the true "mind age" of nations, taking the "dog system" as a base, and thus equaling countries' ages with human ages.

Since our childhood, we were told that to know if a dog was young or old, to get its "human age" we should multiply its biological age by 7. I found that to find the human age of a nation, we must divide its historical age by fourteen, to get the corresponding "human age" value.

Is it confusing? In this article I'll give you a few revealing examples:

Argentina was born in 1816, so it's already 190 years old. If we divide that age by 14, Argentina has a "human age" of 13 and a half years. That means it's a wanker, a rebel, questions authority, has no memory, answers everything without thinking, and it's full of pimples.

Almost all the countries in Latin America have the same age, and as it happens in that case, they get together, hang around doing nothing, and end up creating gangs.

The Mercosur* gang (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay) are a group of teenagers that formed its own rock band. They rehearse in a garage, make a lot of noise, and still haven't got any album released.

Venezuela, which just got its tiny tits, it's about to join them to do the chrorus. In reality, as happens in most cases, she wants to have sex... in this case with Brasil, which has 14 years and a big penis.

Mexico is also a teenager, but with Indian roots. That's why it laughs so little and doesn't even smoke a joint, as the rest of their friends do. Instead, Mexico chews peyote, and hangs around the United States, a brain-damaged spoiled 17 years old rich kid whose idea of fun is attacking younger, starving six year olds in other continents.

In the other extreme is ancient China. If we divide its 1,200 years by 14 we get a "human age" of 85. China is a conservative old woman, that smells of cat pee, and which spends all day eating rice because it still doesn't have -but soon will- enough money to afford the machinery to create herself her own false teeth.

China has an 8 years old grandchild, Taiwan, which gives her hell. China says Taiwan is a walking menace.

China has been long divorced with Japan, an old grumpy man, which is living with the Philippines, a young bitch that does anything for money.

Then... we have the countries that are just old enough to vote and which go for a ride in their father's BMW... for instance, Australia and Canada, typical countries which grew in the safety and protection of its fathers, the UK and France, with a strict and aristocrathic education, and whom are now living a fast life.

Australia is a 18 years old bimbo, doing topless and having sex with South Africa, while Canada us a gay child living on his own... exploring the option of adopting Groenland as a baby to form one of those "alternative" families so much in vogue these days.

France is a divorced 36 years old woman, a sex machine, but very respected in professional and intellectual circles. She has a 6 years old son: Monaco, which is still undecided between being gay, a ballet dancer, or both.

France sometimes goes to bed with Germany, a rich truck driver which is married with Austria, which knows Germany cheats on her, but doesn't care.

Italy has been a widow for a long time. She lives taking care of San Marino and Vatican, two identical twins, with an uncanny resemblance to the sons of Ned Flanders on The Simpsons.

Italy had a second marriage with Germany... it didn't last long, but they had a child: Switzerland.

Italy would like to be as Belgium: an independent, professional lawyer, wearing suits and talking politics with the men. Belgium, in turn, sometimes wishes she could cook good pasta.

Spain is the most beautiful womam in Europe -probably on par with France, but France loses points by using so much parfume-.

Spain likes to wander around naked and is often drunk. Sometimes, she gets fucked by England... Spain allows that, but then has second thoughts and goes crying to the police to denounce it.

Spain has offspring everywhere -most of them around 13 years old, that live far away, in South America, all wankers. She loves them a lot, but it bothers her that every time the kids are hungry, they show up at her door, get inside without saying hi, and take food from her fridge.

Another country with lots of offspring is England. He sails off at night and fucks with teens far away, and nine months later there appears a new tiny new island. These new babys are protected by the mother, which maintains them from afar.

Scotland and Ireland are brothers of England, living upstairs. They live drunk and they suck at football (soccer). They're the shame of the family.

Sweden and Norway are two lesbians in their 40s. They're very slim and attractive, besides their age, but they are very self-centered and don't talk to anybody else. They fuck each other and work, because they have a good paying job doing... well... something. Sometimes, they envite Holland to a party (when they need weed).

Other times they show themselves to Finland, which is an androgynous 30 years old who lives alone in a tiny attic with no furniture, and cares only for his mobile phone. Finland's only purpose in life is speaking on its mobile, most of the time with South Korea.

South Korea: she lives a separate life with her schizoid sister, North. They're twins. But North Korea swallowed amniotic fluid at birth, and got brain-damaged and delusional. She spent her childhood playing with real firearms and now, living alone and secluded, is capable of going postal any minute.

The United States, the rich 17 years old dimwit, keeps a close eye on her... not because he's afraid, but because he wants to take all her guns.

Israel is a 62 years old intellectual that lived a shitty life. Some years ago, Germany, the truck driver, ran over her. Since that day, Israel went bonkers. Now, instead of sitting on a rocking chair and reading books, she spends her days at her rooftop, trowing things in Palestine's general direction. Palestine is a poor, uneducated and religious girl who's only trying to do her laundry.

Iran and Iraq were two 16 year olds who nicked bikes and sold those as parts. Until one day they stole the United States' bike and now they're going thru hell and repenting.

The World was fine as is, until one day Russia coupled with Perestroika -without marrying- and they had about a dozen children, all odd, some retarded, others schizoid.

A week ago, and thanks to some shooting with plenty of deaths, we the inhabitants of the World discovered that there's a new country out there named Kabardino-Balkaria. Another new country. With its own flag, president, anthem, and flag. And even people!.

I'm a bit scared to see so many baby countries appearing without notice, all of a sudden. That we learn about them by pure chance... and we have to pretend that we knew about them all along, not to be taken as ignorants.

And I ask myself.... Why are new countries being born, if the existing ones haven't managed to get their acts together yet?


Note: I translated this as I received it. Before some moron without a sense of humor flames me, keep in mind it's a joke. I'm 90% certain the mention of Israel and Palestine will get emotions high on people without humor. If you want, feel free to switch descriptions around, and it'll be funny as well!. I didn't author this, just translated it.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Is the supply-side school downplaying the news about Argentina's continued growth?

I recently read an article by David R Butcher titled "Where the Offshore Outsourcers Offshore Outsource" and available HERE.

I had high hopes due to the title, and instinctively tried to read it while scrolling down to find what references about offshoring operations in Argentina were included. I was very disappointed, the word "Argentina" is not even there, despite the increase of Offshoring (IT, software and services) in Argentina, which surely added its part to the sinking unemployment rates and economic recovery the last four years'.

One paragraph reads: "where do India’s outsourcers outsource? China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brazil, Romania and Morocco — you name it. ". Well, I guess "you name it" also ought to include Argentina. In fact, India's TATA Consulting Services (TCS) arrived five years ago. And success stories of firms offshoring and investing in Argentina in the last four to five years are easy to find if you look hard enough. But no, not a single reference.

But it's not this writer's fault. (if you're reading this, it isn't about you, read on, it's just that your story and the strange lack of mention of Argentina kickstarted my thought process).

Thinking aloud:

There seems to be a strange "vacuum of good news" about Argentina on the English language mainstream media (and my standard for doing this is simply typing word pairs like "inversion, argentina" (investment argentina-unquoted-) into Google News Argentina ( then repeat the search with the same terms, this time in English language and into the international "Google News" search engine (

My unscientific tests showed that roughly nine out of ten times, all positive economic news about Argentina appear ONLY in the local Spanish language news sites, but those news stories are usually -and suspiciously- RARELY echoed in English for the global audience, while short-lived political scandals involving Miami millionaires --once against Chavez but then flip-flopped and doing business with Venezuela's PDVSA (until a few weeks ago)-- caught trying to enter with a bag full of cash ($800,000) into Argentina are regurgitated ad-nauseum as some sort of "further proof of Argentina's corruption and hopelessness". Hrmm ... smearing PR campaigns to weaken the ruling center-left coalition and impose a more "pro-market", "pro-White House" candidate..... where have I heard of that?.

Just for the record: In the last four years, the country's economy grew like never before, plummeting unemployment, the number of unemployed people receiving government unemplyment subsidies fell 50%, and the country has been enjoying for the first time in several decades (it didn't happen since the 1920s!) year-after-year consecutive growth coupled with simultaneous fiscal surplus and a trade surpluses, all this due in part to a competitive exchange rate for Argentina's industrial and agricultural exports.

So is the majority mainstream trade press talking about the "Argentina Miracle". Well, no. Or at least not that I could see. Only BusinessWeek ventured to say so back in 2002, but it was a timid article and the recovery just started back then. When the press speaks about the region it often says "Good times in general for Latin America" and then proceed to name Brazil and Chile, poster boys for "good behaviour" because they never broke paths with the IMF. Coincidence? Don't think so!. (OK, I admit I might be wearing my tinfoil hat now).

Before you accuse me of irrational flag-waving, oldskool right-wing nationalism let me be 100% clear that it's not about this. I'm complaining from the economic policy angle. The failure of ANY major English language mainstream media reporting about the economic progress in the country, and the economic policy angle.

Perhaps the problem for the US and other western media is that portraying that Argentina is doing very well by NOT following the path preached by the right wing think tanks and the IMF would set a "bad example" for the rest of the countries still suffering the anvil's weight of the IMF and its laisez faire policies?.

Think about it... a government with a more progressive, demand side economics policy, that doesn't ask Milton Friedman for advice. A country who asks world famous IMF-critic and long time Washington Concensus skeptic Joseph Stiglitz for advice.

To top it all the results have been good, getting fiscal and commercial surpluses for the last 4 years -and more importantly, doing so for the first time in decades-. BUT, here's the surprise: reading the western English language media daily and seeing Argentina's good news virtually "blacklisted" (other than Reuters' quarter figures for the specialized economics media and speaking usually nothing about the human impact of this growth).

Why is this? I have a theory. I think it's because we pissed off a lot of Wall Street, AEI and right-wing economics technocrats followers of the supply side school, with our debt restructuring, -we paid the IMF and sent them packing-. Also, -now drifting into the political field- I suspect the lack of any good positive reporting is because we are doing good business with Venezuela and supporting projects like Stiglitz' praised REGIONAL INVESTMENT BANK.

That's my theory of why Argentina's good economic news and its social impact ended up blacklisted : due to political and ideological reasons, as it doesn't fit the wire editors' economic psyche.... in other words "nothing good should be said about it, because it didn't sign FTAA, bow to King George, or break relations with Venezuela's Chavez". Is that it?

Fifteen years ago when the country was going downhill and getting deeper and deeper into a cycle of debt yet Argentina was portrayed by the financial media as the poster boy of the IMF and magazines wasted pages and pages on the positive "reforms" that generated an influx of speculative capital (in other words, "mergers and acqusitions", that is capital changing hands, not very much NEW investment in production of real tangible goods and manufacturing) while the gates of cheap imports were opened and it de-industrialized the country sending unemployment through the roof... and culminating in the implosion of the economy when the facade fell....

Back to the news reporting angle: do you think I'm too far from the truth? Am I allucinating? Have you found English language news stories that talk about the revival of industry, the increase in manufacturing jobs,the increase of non-primary (industrial, manufacture, technology and services) exports in the last three years? Where? and when you find it, does it tie these events to the economic policy? or do they just mask it under the usual "it's a result of the increase of commodities prices?

If you find any story with that angle, PLEASE LET ME KNOW, because I've never seen all these elements together in a mainstream, English language story.

To end this long babbling, I have to wonder if perhaps all this is due to the fact that most americans DON'T KNOW DIDDLY SQUAT about Latin America as a recent Zogby Poll found?. Or is it because the American economists establishment has VERY LITTLE TOLERANCE towards dissent when it comes to the supply-side Dogma, as has been recently warned by the progressive U.S. economists?.

Just my $0.02 or $0.06 pesos. :-P

Thoughts, comments, expletives?

Food for thought:

U.S. Economists question dominance of Supply-Side Ideas

"Americans know very little about Latin America"

Tinker Bell, Pinochet, and the Fairy Tale of the Chile Miracle

Bank of the South: Toward Financial Autonomy -

Chileans praise Argentina's economic wisdom wrt .IT policy

There are the kind of stories NOT FOUND on mainstream US/western English language media*:

(*Spanish language stories, with titles translated by me):

AR: People receiving government unempolyment subsidies fell 50%
in the last 4 years

Spending by people with the lowest incomes grows in the farther/poorest BA city suburbs
LA NACION, Wed. 16/5/07

"The combination of union-management agreed salary increases for workers in the formal sector of the economy and the general drop in unemployment levels have begun to show results in the poorest areas of the greater Buenos Aires, which after the second semester of '2006 show consumer spending growth rates above the rest of the population"

Government launches tax reductions for tourism SMBs

Air traffic between USA and Argentina grows

Google opens regional HQ in Buenos Aires, will hire up to 3,000

Argentina's Tourism sector now brings more dollars than grains and meat exports combined

17/4/07: Argentina's government launches fiscal incentives for the local software industry

The latest boom: corporate software, made in Argentina

20/4/07 - Argentina's investment level the highest in the last 20 years

Argentina widens trade surplus with the US

Venezuela and Argentina duplicate its trade

"one of the most important aspects is the diversified nature of the current exports from Argentina to Venezuela. From (traditional products like) powder milk and meat to industrial goods like tractors, trucks, SUVs, pipes and valves for the oil industry, among others".

Consumer credit levels now above the historic highs before the crisis


Two notable exceptions to the "information black cloud": BusinessWeek (US) and the IHT (FR)... two lone positive stories, but one is very dated by now, and the other too short (imho).

Argentina: doint it their own way - 2006

Argentina: reversal of fortune (BusinessWeek) - 2002

The following, while good and positive spinned, are not from what I'd call "mainstream media", actually one is a progressive magazine's blogger and the other a little Italian news portal:

Argentina Heads Region's "Human Development" Index

Beat the Press: Argentina's strong growth among Most Important news of '06

Thoughts? comments? Expletives? ;)

Friday, August 17, 2007

VMware Player FC6 / blag installer for blondes ;)

I'm sick and tired of having to do the work that paid programmers should do.

And no, I'm not thinking about the nice guys at blag Linux which work nearly for free :)

I'm thinking about VMWare, which distributes a "VMWare player" aimed at end-users but makes installation a nightmare full of pitfalls needing patches and lots of manual fiddling.

Don't believe me? Do you think things are "fine" as they are and there's no room for improvement? see the results of this web search on Google and compare it to this one.

In short: I'm tired of having to do the work that paid programmers, many of them surely earning 50x more than me- should be doing in the first place.

Now, to follow the suggestion of Steve from the blag forums, I will just "CHILL OUT , man..." and let you have my script:

... so you will hopefully end up with VMware Player 2.0 up and running in your blag 60000 linux box (or hopefully Fedora Core 6 as well) running the latest 2.6.22-1 Linux kernel and just pressing [enter] a dozen times....



Sunday, August 05, 2007

Extracting icon from win32 app (or apps) using WINE on Linux

Native Linux apps are of course preferable to running Win32 ones under compatibility libs like WINE.
But when you install one such app on Linux, one of the problems of those apps is what icon to put to the launcher object(s) in our desktop or Gnome panel.

(It's not that I use a lot but the PMView PRO trial and WORDVIEW.EXE PPVIEWER.EXEs from MSFT come to mind (as my winders now runs under Win4Lin)...

I found THIS FREEBIE from MSFT (actually a coding sample from MSDN).

Just extract it with unzip, find icontool.exe, and then run it with wine ./icontool.exe
There's an option in the app that allows to "Extract Icon from EXE/DLL", navigate to your Win32 installed app (usually in your $home/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Application_Name_here), find the EXE, and then use the option "EXPORT AS BMP" to save a BMP you can then use (after conversion to PNG) as icon for your win32 app under Linux. (Save it under /usr/share/pixmaps).

There you have. And if this helped you a lot, remember I always gladly accept $5 gift certificates delivered to my e-mail f c a s s i a @ g m a i l . c o m

Have a nice day!


Friday, August 03, 2007

JAR is a bitch, and then you die!

[WARNING: This is geeky stuff, if you're NOT a computer geek, then scroll down to the next post. Move along, nothing to see here!]

Instead of the old adage "Life's a bitch, and then you die" I propose a new version: "JAR is a bitch, and then you die".

In case you're living in a bottle or you're not a geek, JAR is the Java JDK tool used to build the compressed ".JAR" (Java Archive) files that contain a Java software application (all the different binary files inside it). It's a tiny command line application just like everything in the JDK that should be no different or more complex to use than ZIP or tar.

However, it proved to be a real pain in the ass and a TIME WASTING EXERCISE, just to update a SINGLE TEXT LINE inside an existing .jar file's "Manifest".

1. What I wanted to do:
Unpack an existing application,
update its MANIFEST file, to include the "Main-Class: ClassnameHere" statement, so I could just start the application by typing

java -jar applicationname.jar
instead of using the author's ancient approach of having to name the "Main-Class" on the command-line every time...

java -classpath applicationname.jar LongNameofTheStupidStartupClass
2. I unpacked the existing application's .jar file just fine with 'unzip', and created a text file with my favorite text editor which read:

Main-Class: LongNameofTheStupidStartupClass

I saved it as "./manifestinfo.txt"

3. So, not having used jar before, I go to a tutorial I find online here

which reads

"The basic command has this format:

jar cfm jar-file manifest-addition input-file(s)

...and thinking I know what I'm doing, I type:

$ jar -c jftpd.jar ./manifestinfo.txt ./ ./ftpserver/*

I get this as a result:

4. I had to close the terminal as I couldn't type anymore (I could type but I couldn't understand anything).

Then I found what I think is a more friendly explanation on how to update the "Manifest" of the .JAR file with new info, over HERE:

(Later I realize that what happened in Step#3 was that I forgot to include the "f" parameter to indicate that I wanted output to a file rather than to STANDARD OUTPUT. What the **** is the purpose of having output of JAR to standard output?? I don't get it).

5. So I type
jar cf jftpd.jar ftpserver/*
But I forgot about the new manifest info... so I type:

$ jar umf ./manifestinfo.txt ./jftpd.jar
...and I get this beauty: misplaced continuation line
at java.util.jar.Manifest.(
[fcassia@m6810 tmp]$


6. You know what was the problem? the file "manifestinfo.txt" had TWO BLANK SPACES before the text "Main-Class: ..." and TWO BLANK LINES below it !! (I pressed [Enter] twice).

Apparently, JAR FREAKS OUT (this is JAVA 6.0 update 2 JDK's JAR, for crying out loud!).

7. I removed the two leading spaces and trailing blank lines and guess what? IT WORKED!.

[fcassia@m6810 tmp]$ jar umf ./manifestinfo.txt ./jftpd.jar
[fcassia@m6810 tmp]$

8. Done.... BASTARDS!!

9. Another Golden Rule when dealing with JAR:

So, contradicting what would be the 'zip' usage of "hey zip, I want to update THIS ZIPFILE with THIS_DATA" (zip newfile.txt) in JAR is totally the opposite way: "hey JAR, I want THIS NEW FILE into THISJAR" (jar umf newdata ./intothisjar.jar).


And finally, found this thread

See comment #11:
The JAR tool is rather finicky. I have found that each HEADER:VALUE pair must be separated by a newline but not more than 1 newline. When I tried putting blank lines in the MANIFEST, I would get "Error: failed to load Main-Class attribute...". Sun needs to update their tutorials or fix this problem with the JAR tool's manifest parser."

FINICKY? That's being mercyful...

and then comment #15:

"One diference between unix and windows' file system is that text files in unix always have a final linebreak at the end of the file, while windows doesn't need to.

Java, being developed by Sun primarily for the unix comunity requires that the
manifest file ends with a new-line.

no new-line, no manifest file."


Want more? See the comments on page #2 of the above thread at, discussing the "joys" of the "jar" command:

Does this instruction really work???

They specify the following command:
jar cmf MyJar.jar Manifest.txt MyPackage/*.class

When I tried that with my classes and files (with different names, of
course), it didn't work. What worked for me is equivalent to the
jar cmf Manifest.txt MyJar.jar MyPackage/*.class

The order is simply permuted. Maybe it's just Apple's Java
implementation. Is this what you were asking about?



The Tutorial is wrong. It should be jar cfm, not cmf.
The order of the command must match the order of the parameters.


Thank you. That is good to know.




Saturday, July 21, 2007

A red mouse pointer in Linux - The REALLY Important Things in Life ;)

For the moment -and for the last year or so- I'm running the free Linux distro "blag" from the UK. It's based on RedHat's Fedora Core 6 project, with a lot of stuff removed so that it fits on a single CD, and also a nice look, with custom visuals/login screen/backgrounds.

What it lacks, apparently like Fedora Core 6, is a set of NICE COLOUR mouse pointers. blag includes the default black cursors dubbed "bluecurve" and a white colour variation of the same. I didn't like those. I wanted a big red mouse pointer in Linux and the Gnome desktop.

Well, to make a long story short: I pulled my hair reading all the contradicting and conflicting info on changing mouse pointers. Most of the stuff on the net is seriously outdated. For instance you often find results from XFree86 lists several years back saying that Linux mouse cursors can only be black and white.

Here's how to install beautiful RED mouse pointers in blag 6K, and Fedora Core 6.x or higher for that matter:

I have settled on one of two choices: "red mix" and "Komix". I'll let you guys decide which ones are better...

1. As root, from a shell do
cd /usr/share/icons

2. If you want Komix...
tar xvfz ./Komix-0.1.tar.gz
tar xvfz ./Komix-0.1/Komix-Red-Regular.tar.gz
tar xvfz ./Komix-0.1/Komix-Red-Large.tar.gz

Go to System->Preferences->Mouse
Click on the "Pointer" tab, scroll down and find Komix_Red below LBlueCurve. Click on that option. DONE!

3. If you want "red mix"
tar xvfz ./5605-cursor_mix.tgz
Go to System->Preferences->Mouse
Click on the "Pointer" tab, scroll down and find "cursor_mix" at bottom. Click on that option. DONE!

There you have, a nice red mouse pointer that you can ALWAYS see, even with the corner of your eye.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Argentina cartoonist and comic genius died today... Roberto Fontanarrosa, we will miss you!

Today cartoonist, writer and humorist Roberto Fontanarrosa passed away.

Fontanarrosa was born in Rosario in 1944. Comic-clopedia describes him accurately: "He was a representative of the Argentinan sharp humor cartoonists that made their appearance in the 1970s. A very productive artist, he drew satirical comics and cartoons in such magazines as Boom, Hortensia, and (to this day) on the daily newspaper Clarín. Several compilation albums of his gags have appeared ('¿Who is Fontanarrosa?', 'Fontanarrosa and the medical doctors', 'Fontanarrosa and politics', 'Fontanarrosa and Relationships', 'The Sex of Fontanarrosa'). He has created numerous characters, the two most famous are the gaucho 'Inodoro Pereyra' and 'Boogie, el Aceitoso'".

If you are reading this outside Argentina, let me tell you that one of the characters of his comic, Inodoro Pereyra, a lone gaucho traveling the pampas with the companion of his talking/thinking dog, is a classic for argentineans.

I discovered him at around age 12, when I first read "Boogie, el aceitoso" (translated as "Boogie, the oily one" or the "slicky one").

Best described at Everything2, here: "First conceived when the Vietnam war was fresh in the mass unconscious of the world's peoples, Boogie is an extreme caricature of one impression the rest of the world gets from the United States. Since his birth in 1972 to the quiet retirement he faced in the late 90's, Boogie has participated in every major armed conflict that has involved the United States and is familiar with every imaginable form of inflicting pain on his fellow man (and oftentimes woman too). During peacetime, if it can so be called, for Boogie hates the word, Boogie is a professional assassin or a bodyguard, a mercenary. Occasionally, when his usual profession hits a slump, he will also accept other jobs such as babysitter (he'll give the kids plastic explosives for them to craft little animals) or romantic escort (you must understand that although he is a man, that lump you feel when slow dancing with him is in fact his revolver)."

If you read Spanish, you can have a laugh here by reading Roberto´s speech at the Spanish Language International Congress

But if you need any proof of Roberto Fontanarrosa´s genius, here´s an animation of one of his comics, with an embedded anti-war message, to boot... I don´t know about you, but if I were a foreigner, I would learn Spanish just to understand the funny animal names of this comic masterpiece, which reads as a mix of Darwin's theories of the Evolution of the Species, and a touch of "Discovery Channel" documentaries ...

(Too funny!. You can understand the meaning of it even if you don't understand a word of Spanish... he begins describing an imaginary cold dry plain... and the cold winds, and the 'threatening clouds' and then the whole ecosystem in that plain, funny creatures with even funnier names, that are eaten by predators one after the other until... watch and you'll understand :).

If you want to practise your Spanish, you can find almost all of Fontanarrosa's books on

In short: the World lost one genius today. Goodbye Roberto Fontanarrosa, we will miss you dearly...


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fernando's Crumbling Empire

[UPDATE]: things are safe at my flat. An engineer was here and suggested the internal / hollow brick failure was either due to poor materials used in a modification of the wall or a water leak before I arrived.

Things are going to be repaired soon. :)

Sleep safe, the building where I live will not collaps@#@#@)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Nieve en Buenos Aires - 9 de Julio de 2007

Wow... since about 4:00 PM local time, it's SNOWING -albeit intermitently- down here in Buenos Aires.
More precisely in Almagro, as I can only speak about the view from my Windows... :)

How rare is this...? VERY rare. It "never snows" in Buenos Aires. According to what I found in the Net, the last recorded snow was June 22, 1918!!

The day started chilling cold, and it was only a handful of foreign tourists and myself at the Plaza de Mayo and surrounding areas...

And by later aftenoon, first a timid then full snowfall decorated the tops of the highest buildings

By night, even the international media started paying waking up to the newsworthyness of this ocurrence:

First major snow in Buenos Aires since 1918

Monday, June 25, 2007

Argentines have a short memory span - The "New Politics" -that are really oldskool-, won....

Unless you've been living in a bottle, let me tell you that we had ellections down here for city mayor and the right wing candidate won.

"Moderate" Right candidate Mauricio Macri danced and was carried around by his supporters at PRO

¡Poor joke Mauritzio! ¡Saying that Argentina must get on its feet, with Michetti on wheelchair next to you!!
Very inconsiderate of you with your loved Free Trade Agreements expert at the WTO

¡"Speaking less" is "PRO" !

¡Speaking about "not speaking" is even more PRO!

According to "Mauricio" the middle class or "so-so class" as Mafalda called it will be able to "drink mate again in front of their homes" and Buenos Aires will turn overnight, by the power of his "magic" into a city "without security fences in parks, no security bars in shops, no security bars at homes, ENOUGH! Buenos Aires is not our (loved) city anymore!" .

Well, Mauricio, it's your turn now to see how you perform. That assorted bag of leftovers from different right wing factions that is PRO with people from the far right UCeDe, allong with collaborators of former finance minister Domingo Cavallo (or Sunday Horse as I like to call him), succeeded in convincing the -once again- "so-so (middle) class" that a businessman like you is more experienced and more trustworthy than someone from the academia.

And that your work experience "working on dad's firms" after a brief 6 months tenure at Citibank are better attributes than the vast academic experience of Daniel Filmus, someone with a remarkable background.

¡Thank the heavens your campaign manager Rodriguez Larreta was "very succesfull" at handling Social Security and even your conservative colleagues remember him!.

I'm sure you will turn the city upside down and that Utopian vision of grandmas drinking mate in front of their homes (with the door open behind them as was the earlier XXth century image), will become real. Yeah, right. I specially like your compaign promise about the parks without fences and the shops and homes without security bars at windows.

¡If you believed Mauricio's empty promises above, let me tell you I have bridge I could also sell you!. No city as big as Buenos Aires is without crime. That simply does not exist. For some reason (I suspect the reason but I'd be accused of being a tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist) the local media seems to have established the notion that "the crime wave doesn't stop" assuming that it's even possible for crime to "stop". IF that would be the case, there would be cities around the world with no police, and that doesn't exist.

In fact, crime has been going up in the US of A in the last few years...

Violent crime up again, more murders, robberies - US

"The report showed that murders in big cities jumped last year by 6.7 percent. Robberies, an important indicator of crime trends, increased 6 percent nationwide. Cities with big increases in the number of murders included Orlando and Miami in Florida; Oakland and San Diego in California; Phoenix, Arizona; Corpus Christi, Texas; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Reno, Nevada and Little Rock, Arkansas.

Even though the higher violent crime numbers had been expected, they still represented bad news for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who has targeted violent crime as a top priority for the U.S. Justice Department. A department study released last month of 18 metropolitan areas cited more violence by local gangs or street crews, a greater prevalence of guns in the hands of criminals and younger, more violent offenders as key reasons for the rising crime rates.

But I digress...

¡Here comes the New Politics that is "non-partisan" ! ¡The new "sweetened" right! ¡Hooray for PRO! Hooray for the UceDe! Alvaro Alzogaray must be smiling in his rotting grave...

Two weeks ago I received one of those e-mail chain letters, forwarded by someone not too bright that I know, the kind of person who cannot send e-mail with bcc: and always copies his entire list, in plain view to everyone who receives each message, you know the kind of middle-class "so-so class". The mail content was 100% anti-Kirchner and had by subject line "I don't give a damn about politics!" and called upon the reader to "vote for change" and babbled about the 'new politics', pointing the blame on the K administration for everything from 'drugs and pickpockets' to car accidents and 'soccer hooligans'(!)".

But hey... we cannot ask the average Mrs. Jane Doe to distinguish between the current Mayor -who was not elected to the post but rather "landed" on it after Ibarra was ousted- and Kirchner's candidate.... Mrs. Jane Doe was ANGRY, angry at...well... something... and she voted for "Saint Mauricio!".

I end this analysis with a quote I've seen on the Net, used as forum taglines...

"In this town 5% are fascists, 30% indifferent, and 40% not
interested in politics. Total: 75% of fascists." From "The school of Barbiana."

¡¡So, let's enjoy the coming "City without fences" headed by the "New Politks" which are really oldskool rightwing!