TeX, Latin, and spacing

TeX usually assumes that a period (“.”) ends a sentence if it is followed by a space. By default, it puts extra whitespace after each such period than it does between any two words of the next.

While at a first glance this looks pretty nice, a not-so-nice consequence is that if you type something like “i.e. ice-cream”, TeX will assume that the period after the “e” ends a sentence, and will put too much space after it. The same Read more

Professional tables with LaTeX

I used to think that my LaTeX tables were quite nice.
I learned how to do it with the second edition of ‘The LaTeX Companion’ and, after getting used to the shitty syntax, just kept on drawing them in the same way.

Yesterday I found the booktabs package and it completely changed the way I feel on presenting tabular data.

The documentation alone raises a lot of questions and is enough to make you ask yourself weather you should be Read more

OpenSolaris, iSCSI, and NTFS extend

Say you want to make a ZFS volume (on a box running OpenSolaris) available to some Windows machine thru iSCSI.
You can use either the nice new tools and interface from the COMSTAR project, or the “old” iSCSI Target Daemon. The zfs ‘shareiscsi’ property uses the iSCSI Target Daemon, so if you want/need some feature available only on COMSTAR, life just got complicated…

Now suppose you want to take advantage of ZFS’s volume resizing features. You’re expecting to be able Read more

OpenBSD mpstat / pmap

Unfortunately, OpenBSD does not have mpstat. mpstat is pretty useful for me in linux. For those who do not know what mpstat does, mpstat provides data for various statistics on your available processor(s). You can look at data for every processor using mpstat -P ALL or individually issuing a mpstat -P #cpu (e.g. mpstat -P 1)

If you’re wondering which package to install, normally your distribution should have a package called sysstat that has it.

Anyway, I tried to look Read more

Drobo – behind RAID

Listening to an increasing number of people babbling about “that amazing Drobo thingy” is really starting to piss me off. It’s an expensive toy with a simple set of features that any CS major should be able to reproduce in a number of different (and cheaper) ways.

Now, I like numbers (as in facts, not that boring TV series) and having access to a Drobo, I ran a couple of tests. The Drobo is using four 1TB drives, connected to a Debian box, Read more

Emacs’ keyboard shortcuts

Well, I guess they leave a pretty bad first impression, but then…. they kind of grow on you (I already tried to use C-d on the WordPress text editor 3-4 times by now).

I just found this web page with quite a detailed explanation on the reason behind the “C-x M-c M-butterfly” combos , and thought it was worth sharing with the world.

The link at the bottom, to a page on modernizing Emacs, also raises a few interesting questions Read more

Eventlet

Linden Labs may have created something I really don’t like, Second Life, but they got something right. They created one of the few libraries that make my job easier.

Eventlet is not like Twisted or Tornado, or any other async library. It just works, it’s easier to understand and to adapt your code to.

Give it a try and you’ll probably be positively surprised.

Unfinished business

If there is one thing I dislike in software development (personal or professional) is unfinished projects. Not unfinished in the sense of  “in progress” but more in the sense of  “it will never ever see light”.

A lot of companies do that, mainly in order to protect themselves. I can’t really say anything there as one needs to think business-wise :)

What I don’t like are projects that I start and never finish for one reason or another. Need an Read more