Calaix de sastre Softcatalà: pla nova web, pàgina d'ajuda i caçotada 2008

En Toni Hermoso, jo mateix i altres persones de Softcatalà hem estat treballant en la descripció funcional del que serà la nova web de Softcatalà. El 2 d'octubre d'enguany fem 10 anys des de que Softcatalà es va presentar en públic (ja portàvem un any treballant per això). Aquest any ha de ser un any de renovació de la nostra part més important al públic: el nostre lloc web, que és el punt central que usem per coordinar-nos i presentar la nostra tasca als usuaris.

Softcatalà aquest mes tancarà aproximadament amb 1 milió de visites, 3.8 milions de pàgines vistes i més de 400.000 usuaris únics. És com per a prendre'ns en serio la web. Ara mateix Softcatalà hi ha varies persones que ens dediquem a temes web en les nostres feines o sigui que penso que estem en posició de fer quelcom ben parit, útil pels usuaris i la disseminació del català a les noves tecnologies.

El pressupost que hem acordat per la nova web són 12.500 euros, que inclou un nou servidor, alliberar una persona durant cinc mesos perquè pugui treballar a temps complet així com feines de disseny i maquetació. Des de l'estiu tenim el Google Ads que ens representa uns ingressos d'uns 400 dòlars al mes de publicitat o sigui per l'aspecte econòmic estem força tranquils. En quant a dates, ja hem encarregat les propostes de disseny i la idea és entrar en producció la nova web abans de l'estiu.

Per altra banda aquesta setmana he estat treballant amb una nova pàgina d'ajuda per a usuaris de Softcatalà que recull les preguntes i respostes més comuns que ens adrecen els usuaris sobre el català i les noves tecnologies. Si disposeu de més informació o voleu corregir errades si us plau endavant.

I per últim com cada anys per aquestes dates estem organitzant la calçotada 2008 de Softcatalà. Podeu apuntar-vos els que tingueu interès en venir. De moment tenim la data fixada que és el 8 de març proper i es bastant segur que serà  la Conca de Barberà. Ens cal escollir el lloc encara.

jordi | Thursday 31 January 2008 - 11:16 pm | | Default | Three comments

Brainer trainers in Catalonia's mainstream newspapers

A few weeks ago the two major news papers in Catalonia (they sell around 250.000 copies each one) started brain trainer's promotions on Sundays. If you pay an extra charge (on top of the euro that the newspaper costs) you get a brain trainer. They include the typical brain trainer categories: logic, memory, spacial orientation, mental calculation, verbal analogies and so on. To get more a bit on the details:
  • La Vanguardia brain trainer collection is called Mind Games and its made by 10 paper fascicles at the price of 4.95 euros each one. All the games are good fun to play and are not very difficult.
  • El Periódico de Catalunya collection is called Active your Mind and includes 12 paper fascicles and also a CD-ROM with games for Windows only. The paper fascicles are poor if you compare them to Vanguardia's ones but the computer games are graphically attractive and also fun to play.
Playing these games convinced me about the need to implement difficulty levels (something requested by a few people already) for next version of gbrainy. Also I got a few a ideas for new puzzles.

Definitely brain teasers are getting popular in many places lately. Many sources claim that Nintendo Brain Age as sold already more than 10 millions copies world wide. Also the number of brain trainers for mobile phones is quickly increasing too.

jordi | Wednesday 30 January 2008 - 3:06 pm | | Default | No comments

Gastronomic societies

Due to work reasons (our HQ are there) I regularly visit Nafarroa (Navarre). No need to say that the culture, character, way of thinking and society work very different to the Catalan one. I keep discovering new things in every travel that allow me to know it better.

I had lately the oportunity to know more closely the gastronomic societies that play an important role in the local social live there. The Gastronomic Societies are groups of people that buy or rent a place that they share for developing social actives, mainly focused in gastronomy (men meet there to cook),  sports and outdoor activities. In Nafarroa these societies also play an important role during San Fermines festival. Traditionally these societies were men-only but in Pamplona most of them are now opened in different degrees (from been able to attend on weekends only to be able to join the society) to women too.

Last Thursday, thanks to one of my workmates that is a member, I went to Irrintzi (not related to the armed group) that is one of the oldest societies in Pamplona. Until very recently there was a waiting list of 4 years to get member and you needed at least two already existing members to sponsor you. Membership is around 30 euros per month.

(a few men cooking at Irrintzi)

In Catalonia there are a very few gastronomic societies, my long time friend Jordi Murgó (QUESO author's) is a funding member of one in Lleida that I should be visiting in the next weeks.

jordi | Sunday 27 January 2008 - 2:10 pm | | Default | One comment

El TERMCAT actualitza la col·lecció Terminologia Oberta

El TERMCAT ha actualitzat en els darrers dies la seva col·lecció Terminologia Oberta. Fa un temps a Softcatalà vam publicar un article que parla d'aquesta iniciativa que porten desenvolupant des de fa ja uns anys i que té com a objectiu fer accessible a tothom els termes normalitzats. La col·leció està disponible en format XML, simplificant el seu processament per tot tipus d'eines, i es troba alliberada sota la llicència Reconeixement-CompartirIgual 2.5 de Creative Commons.

El conjunt publicat aplega actualment gairebé 6.000 fitxes conceptuals, amb les denominacions en català, castellà, francès i anglès, pertanyents a àmbits de coneixements tan diversos com l’esport, les noves tecnologies, les ciències de la vida i la salut, la gastronomia, la comunicació o la gestió empresarial. Els termes han estat aprovats pel Consell Supervisor del TERMCAT, òrgan que estableix la denominació adequada dels neologismes científics i tècnics en llengua catalana.

Pels que treballem habitualment en traducció i tecnologia la llista de termes normalitzats en tots els àmbits i el recull de telecomunicacions són els dos recursos més utils. Per la traducció d'aplicacions informàtiques el Recull de Termes, és molt més addient, ja que conté moltes més formes del nostre àmbit.

jordi | Friday 25 January 2008 - 11:30 am | | Default | No comments

My views on re-thinking gnome-games

I first want to say that I'm quite new to gnome-games effort. My main contribution to it has been participating in the translation into Catalan, something that I started to do back in 2003 with a few other people. I would like to follow up on a blog post that Thomas H.P. Andersen has recently done regarding some of the gnome-games issues that we started to talk by e-mail and then later bring to gnome-game list.

When I started to write gbrainy I looked at gnome-games. The first thing that I noticed is that the gnome-games team was really small but, even so, they were doing an impressive job. Just to bring some numbers: last year they fixed at least 249 bugs and did 28 releases of the package.  I started to work on my game and I thought that was better to show up in the gnome-games list when I had some work done. I did so last Saturday.

For me the main issue to point out was that GNOME games that are not part of gnome-games package have a big challenge in reaching more users, potential contributors, getting packaged for more distros and so on. Soon I learnt that:
  • gnome-games package is considered already very large.
  • There is a shortage of maintainers and they are still fixing bugs of games included back in August 2006. In this sense, any help is appreciated.
So on the last days many ideas have been circulating around. I would like to do some proposals:
  • Split gnome-games in different packets according to the kind of games that they will contain: card games, arcade games, logic games, board games and miscellaneous. We could have a different maintainer for every package. This also will help to organize the gnome-games into submenus, something that I think is also need it.
  • Define clear requirements for a game to be included in gnome-games. For example: fully localizable, integrated properly with GNOME, no legal issues with it, support for accessibility and so on.
  • Involve the gnome community on deciding which games they would like to see included on those packages. I particularly like the survey that Lluís Sanchez did for Monodevelop.
  • Consider really if C is the best platform to develop games that are easy maintainable. I got some time ago tired of fixing memory leaks and crazy pointers (well, I still do for my beloved Abiword), but generally speaking, I personally believe that new games should look into using Python, Mono or any other modern development platform.
  • We are surrounded by computer games. From consoles to mobile phones. I do not think that a set of good games will make a desktop succeed or fail but we should keep in mind that expectations for games from end-users are usually high.
There is no need to mention that I'm willing to help in any effort heading this direction on top of keep working on gbrainy.

Which are the next steps then? On top of continuing bringing ideas and points of views, may be to organize an IRC meeting to discuss these issues and a meeting during next GUADEC.

jordi | Wednesday 23 January 2008 - 7:20 pm | | Default | Three comments

Miscellaneous topics 22/01/2008

Some miscellaneous topics:
  • Last week I was in Rome at the Qualipso open source conference. Basically this is alliance of governments, IT companies and academia trying to boost collaboration. I learnt that they are founded by the European Comission with 10 millions euros (I hope some of this money will go to free software projects) for a five year period. The only software vendor present was Mandriva (excellent speech by their CEO) and there were no free software projects represented. I met Alvaro del Castillo and other few people that I know, that was good.
  • At Openbravo we are hiring again. There are a few positions open. There are two positions: a community editor and a web developer based in Barcelona that are going to be reporting to me. If you feel qualified please send your CV to our HR people or to me directly.
  • Some news on the gbrainy front. Genbeta has done a video when he shows and plays with gbrainy (Spanish). Really cool. Torello Querci has completed the port of version 0.5 to OLPC. Thanks to both. People keeps comparing gbrainy with Brain Age that I think is funny since I never used Brain Age. gbrainy influences are Terry Stickels' works and Dr. Brain.
  • There is an interesting thread opened in the gnome-games mailing list about what the focus on gnome-games should be. Feel free to participate if you have ideas or an opinion.
That's all for now

jordi | Tuesday 22 January 2008 - 7:36 pm | | Default | No comments

gbrainy 0.5

Here we have gbrainy 0.5. gbrainy is a brain teaser game and trainer to have fun and to keep your brain trained. What is new in version 0.5 from the NEWS file:
Version 0.5
* Basic user preferences (memory games)
* 4 new logic games and 2 new memory trainers
* Count down for memory games (to get your memory ready)
* Some bug fixes

gbrainy 0.5 is available for download from:
  • (md5sum 5aef8b3da60d37a70766ce280da3e9fb)
Additionally there are packages at least for some Linux distributions in the download section of the gbrainy's project page.

In the last weeks Torello Querci has ported gbrainy to the One Laptop for Child. He is working on 0.5 now.

Thanks to everyone that has given help or feedback to this version: Siegfried-Angel Gevatter, Francesc Dorca, Matt Hudson, Torello Querci, Reinout van Schouwen  and all the translators.

jordi | Friday 11 January 2008 - 12:08 pm | | Default | Four comments

GNOME Do I18N support

I read this morning about GNOME Do. After expending some time playing with it I can say that I really like it. I have put together a patch that adds I18N support to GNOME Do using Gettext (it is already committed). Now it can be translated to any language. As a proof of concept and for the use of the Catalan speaking community I also have localised it into Catalan. Cool application.

jordi | Sunday 06 January 2008 - 8:40 pm | | Default | No comments

Contra el programari lliure i pel seu benefici

El passat mes de novembre el "centre d'estudis" Enter va publicar un informe sota el títol El modelo económico del software libre. Enter és una consultora vinculada a l'Instituto de Empresa. A l'informe no apareixen els noms dels autors, com acostuma a ser habitual en feines d'encàrrec, en aquest cas, de Microsoft.

Aquest és l'informe, obertament de caràcter neoliberal, que Microsoft Ibérica envia a polítics, empresaris i mitjans de comunicacions per defensar el model econòmic darrera de la seva indústria i carregar contra el programari lliure. A nivell europeu fa temps que existeix Initiative for Software Choice finançada per Microsoft i amb l'objectiu principal d'aturar mesures legislatives a favor del programari lliure.

Algunes perles de l'informe:
Otra estrategia para mitigar el riesgo, muy frecuente en desarrolladores de software libre, está basada en la imitación de productos comerciales de éxito. De hecho, es tan frecuente que cuestiona uno de los argumentos más utilizados para defender un apoyo de las autoridades al software libre: que este tipo de actividad se caracteriza por unas dosis elevadas de innovación. La realidad apunta más bien hacia lo contrario.
Fa temps vaig escriure un article que s'anomena Innovació al món del programari a l'era d'Internet on es rebat aquesta idea de forma extensa.

Uno de los estudios más conocidos es el realizado por IDC en 2002, cuyo objeto era comparar, a lo largo de un período de cinco años, los TCO’s de sistemas respectivamente equipados con Windows 2000 Server y Linux Server.
Crec que es refereixen a un estudi que té ja 6 anys i que Microsoft va encarregar a IDC :) Aquest anàlisis ha estat rebatut en nombroses ocasions, per exemple CiberSource afirma:
If the report had indeed been following preselected scenarios stipulated by Microsoft, with no references to underlying methodology and raw data, then this should be borne in mind by any readers of the report.
Per una anàlisis TCO existeix de fa força temps l'execel·lent pàgina Why Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS, FLOSS, or FOSS)? Look at the Numbers!.

Però de totes les perles em quedo amb aquesta:
El empleo de software libre facilita el fomento de las lenguas propias. Sin duda esto garantiza un incremento del coste; lo que queda por demostrar es si genera beneficio social.
És indignant que a dia d'avui hagem de llegir aquestes barbaritats. Podem deixar d'ensenyar anglès a les escoles també davant de la seva potencial manca de generació de benefici social.

En l'informe també tenen temps per criticar el CENATIC:
Este centro tiene previsto realizar inversiones por un total de 2,29 millones de euros en el periodo 2007-2009 para impulsar el desarrollo de software libre en España. Adicionalmente, en el periodo 2008-2009, tiene previsto crear un centro de referencia de formación y certificación de recursos humanos especializados, actuaciones de consultoría técnica y legal, asesoramiento técnico y legal a administraciones y empresas y un laboratorio de certificación de productos, certificación de la compatibilidad de productos y tecnologías con sistemas basados en fuentes abiertas.

Resulta imposible encontrar en la web del ministerio ni en la del nuevo centro una argumentación sobre la bondad relativa del software libre en relación con el propietario que justifique la financiación pública, utilizando impuestos de los ciudadanos en una iniciativa de estas características.
L'informe en total té 68 pàgines. Si algú té interès en un rebat de la majoria d'arguments el que vam explicar fa temps al llibre Programari lliure i empresa a Catalunya. Experiències empresarials i casos d'èxit és totalment vàlid.

jordi | Saturday 05 January 2008 - 9:33 pm | | Default | Three comments