Entries from August 2004 ↓

Things are still continuing at an ardent phase, thing it will be a few weeks at least before I feel fully housewarm in my new job, but I am definetly getting there.

Fluendo is getting a daughter company now which is rather cool and its first employee might be starting as soon as next week it seems.

Been working on the website for the most part of the day. I have other things on my todo list also, but I feel that getting a presentable website up is a very important first step for most of the other steps. Someone recieving a mail from me and wanting to learn more about Fluendo will not be very impressed by the site that is currently there :)

Due to the procedures of one of our partnering companies I have also had to learn how to use GPG over the last few days, although thomasvs still refuse to acknowledge me as a GPG master.

Almost tempted to look him out of the rafting trip we are planning for this weekend for not acknowledging me as a potential OpenBSD user.

Btw, if anyone out there, as I have now, had problems with some XKB error message popping up everytime you log in (yet everything seems to work ok) please tell me how to get rid of it.

I got my laptop today, so no more working on the server for me :) Getting Fedora 2 to run on the laptop did remind me thought why Linux isn’t truly there for moms computer yet. It took me a lot of trial and error using various hints from the internet to get X to utilize the widescreen correctly. Thanks to thomasvs RPM repository I was able to get hold of a RPM which partially added support for my Intel wireless chipset, from another site thomas pointed me to I got hold of an RPM with the actual firmware for that wirelss chipset. My laptop basically works now, but it took some hours of work and would have taken longer hadn’t thomas gone through a similar setup and made the RPM.

We also got a Dell printer in the office. We managed to get the printer working pretty quick with the server, but getting a client to print through CUPS has been hell so far. Not sure what the problem is anymore at this point, but CUPS network permissions seems to be at least part of the story.

I also got the Fluendo website sent over. Been working todaya on adding content to it. Plan to have it up this week.

Seems Julian and Pascal isn’t sleeping either, they came up with a new contract for Fluendo today which we have to sort out how to handle without delaying the Streaming media servers release.

The Barcelona appartment hunt continues. Almost rented a place today by the lady of luck decided that I was inflicting a wrong upon myself and intervened to make sure I didn’t get the appartment. The hunt continues. This evening we are all going to a big nightclub with 5 different floors/rooms with different music in each. Will be cool.

Another day goes by in Sunny Barcelona. Last evening as I and Wim where walking back to the appartment we came across a street fair just one block from his appartment. The whole street where closed of to make room for a stage where they where doing what I would describe as a Moulin Rouge style show . It was definetly enjoyable to watch and it struck me that I really had moved to a new place, since for instance a public striptease in Norway is only performed by drunk students :)

Got my social security number also today which means I can actually get some salary, which never hurts :). Still more paperwork to get sorted out and I am still not having a appartment. Very optimistic about the two flats I am about to see tommorow though.

I really hope my laptop arrives soon, using the server is not bad, but I feel kinda naked without my own little machine :)

So I am back after spending three days in Stuttgart attending the aKademy KDE conference. It was really great to meet Scott and Mark in real life and I kinda got to meet Rob Buis of KSVG fame (for 3 minutes at least :). It was of course also great to see and talk to Evangelia again, seems she will be visiting us here in Barcelona early next year. Scott made similar threats about visiting so it will be lots of guests I guess :)

The talk Scott and I did went pretty well the only thing I was a bit sorry about was not doing some fancy smancy demoes; their always popular and we did get a bit upstaged by the NMM guys :). On the other hand while cool demoes are fun; hackers do see through them so it wasn’t like it was a crisis that we didn’t have some. I am feeling very optimistic about the chances of KDE adopting GStreamer after this weekend, but of course the final decision lies in the hand of the KDE hackers.
At least I think being their and being able to talk to a lot of people did help clear up some misconceptions about GStreamer and of course people where very happy about Fluendo streaming the conference. We have gotten some requests from other conferences now about doing streaming so we have to see how to solve that, because as big supporters of free software we do want to help out whereever we can, but on the other side it takes a lot of time and resources for us.

Tommorow Julien told us we meet a new employee, seems we are growing steadily. By next year I guess we will be ready to make the Google IPO seem it was about playmoney :)

The Ferrari I got is still not big enough to sit in though, but I did supplement it with a Ferrari shirt and a Ferarri t-shirt while in was at the Milano airport. And they do said the clothes makes the man, so I guess the true size car will follow soon.

Went looking at two appartments today with Noelle. The first was ok, but rather far from the office. The second one was very cool, but a bit pricey. It had a huge terrace, 3 bedrooms, a big living room, a nice bathroom and a nice kitchen. It was also fully furnitured with some baroq style furniture. While I guess I can afford 900 euro’s a month it do eat up more of my salary than I would like. I mean one of the points of living in a place like Barcelona is..well living…and as we all know most things in life isn’t free. I don’t want to end up being one of those who always say no when something is suggested cause I can’t afford it. Stupid Spanish renting laws also make it hard taking the appartment and then terminating the contract if I decide that the appartment is making me too poor.

Well tommorow it is time for more appartments probably and also getting my social security number. Until I get that Fluendo can’t sign my contract and until they do that I am unpaid labour, which doesn’t work out to well when you are tempted to go for pricey appartments :)

Seems I am still not 100% attuned to Barcelona, after 3 trips I have still not done a really correct walk from work to Wim’s place yet :)

Sitting at the office currently and polishing my GStreamer slides in preparation for doing my talk at the KDE conference Akademy in Stuttgart on Sunday (leaving for Stuttgart this evening :).

Looking forward to being able to spend some time in real life with Wheels and Markey. Hopefully Wheels will not be to busy with being part of the organizing commitee to at least grab some beer in the evenings :)

My todo-list for next week is already starting to grow, but you can’t help having a good feeling for how things are going when your boss tells you to not make to many new initiatives for the next month as we need to focus on the engagements we already taken upon ourselves :). Hopefully we be able to get the real Fluendo website running next week and I can start adding content to it.

The job will take some mental adjustments for me I as the level of autonomy is wastly greater here than it was at Oracle.

Yesterday Noelle helped me getting started on finding an appartment. We ended up using a local agency to help us and hopefully they actually will help in the end (especially considering that their services was not cheap). Noelle explained in spanish multiple times to them that we where looking for something in walking distance from the World Trade Center and even showed them on the map the areas we felt where of interest. Yet the one appartment they offered me to look at yesterday turned out to be far far away from WTC. When Noelle called and asked why they had given us this appartment to look at when we asked for WTC walking distance and also clearly stated the name of the city areas we felt where within walking distance they answered that it was close to the subway….

Ok, so to complete my recount of my Namibian adventures.

The second day in Opuwo we traveled north towards the Angolan border river. As I mentioned there is a mobile school system for the Himba’s which is funded partially by a Norwegian NGO. We had three of the teachers coming with us in the car and we stopped and various schools on the way to deliver exam papers and similar. We where a bit unfortunate about the timing as the where few students attending at the time we where at the schools, but it felt good helping them out. When we reached the river we stopped for lunch and it happened that there was a Himba village just next to the river so we managed to get a few pictures taken while there. The border river was quite fierce and there was a small waterfall where we stopped so we managed to get some nice scenery shots too. At the very end of the drive we stopped at a local center where I managed to bumble right into the middle of a poolio vacination project. Unfortunatly the presence of my white self caused quite a stir and all atention shifted from the poor guy trying to explain to the local why they should let their children to be vacinated to the strange white guy walking around.

On the way back our teacher friends tried taking us by a Himba village for some more photos, but most of the villagers where out moving their cattle when we came in so there was just 4 people to be taken picture toghether with.
So when we finally came back in the evening I went out together with Stephanie to take some pictures of Himbas living closer to Opuwo. With Stephanie as translator things went easier, although it still felt kinda weird going over to people and asking permission to take pictures of them (for which they charged us though :) Had another great evening at Ingrid and Stephanies place in Opuwo; although I guess our joke ‘themes’ wouldn’t have lasted that many more days without getting replaced so maybe it was good that we left the morning after before a lack of creativity would make our jokes very stale :) On the other side it is incredible how the presence of beautful women tend to increase my creativity tenfold.

Next morning we headed south towards Zwyfelfountain which was a site with 2000 to 6000 year old stone carvings. It was a long drive and we didn’t reach the area before late in the evening. We ended up staging at a game lodge not to far from the site. At arrival they told us all their cabins where rented out, but that they had a tent we could rent. Well…. the word tent didn’t do it justice. When you have something that has its own garage, a concrete floor, real beds and its own garden then calling it a tent is almost funny even if the walls are made of fabric :)

Zwyfelfountain was nice and it was really interesting to see these ancient drawings where obviously where used by the old hunters to teach their children about different animals, their movement and how their footprints look. The carvings depicted for instance elephants and next to the elephant there was carvings of elephant tracks.

Leaving Zwyfelfountain we went towards the coast, also known as the skeleton coast due to all the ships that have stranded there. A beautiful desert landscape, but the constant wind contained a lot of sand, which ended up costing us a heavy 1000 namibian dollars extra due to the sandblasting damage incurred on the car.

Out of the desert (with an almost stop due to lack of gasoline) we reached Swakopmund, a little german city. Felt strange walking the streets at night seeings german style buildings, mostly white people on the streets, german names and words and yet being in Africa :) Have to admit though that if I where to move to Namibia (not very likely) I think Swakopmund would be the place I go simply due to it being a modern city by western standards.

From Swakopmund we traveled towards a place called Susevlai which is located in a majestic red sanded dune desert. As the story goes we never actually reached the place due to being a bit cocky and getting our car stuck in the sand. After digging it out by hand and getting some poor italian tourists to push us out there wasn’t enough hours left in the day for us to reach the actual site. We did climb one of the giant dunes though and got some nice pictures of the place.

Final day in Windhoek we stayed once again at the hostel called the Cardboard box. Ended up talking at lot to the girl in the bar, Rejoice, who turned out to be a computer science student at the local university. Very cute girl and she seemed to have her priorities straight too.
It also turned out that she had also been working as an intern at Schoolnet which is a namibian NGO which tries to provide internet and computing services to the local schools. Wingo has been working with them since he is the sysadmin for his local school so Wingo and me also went out later in the evening for some beer and dinner with Uwe Thiem who works at Schoolnet and has also been a long time KDE contributor.

Ok, the concludes my long recount of my vacation trip. wingo already has some of his pictures from the trip up on his website (bottom). He got some better Thimba pictures than me it seems, but hopefully Thomas will help me getting ym personal site running when he returns from his music festical in Belgium next week. :)

So I am now sitting in Barcelona on my desk at Fluendo. Feels strange, but I am very excited as we have some really cools deals in the pipeline which will change the multimedia landscape :)

Warning this will be a long entry as I try to summarize the last 16 days of my vacation; this entry covering almost all of my African stay.

Ok, what a fantastic last 3 weeks of my vacation! While I loved Borneo too, South Africa and Namibia where the absolutly best part of my vacation. The Kruger park safari in South Africa was wonderfull and I got to see vast variety of local wildlife up close. We even ended up being chased away by a huge angry old male who didn’t like have his little romantic encounter with a female elephant in heat interupted.

Did a small 24 hour buss trip from Johannesburg to Windhoek (capital of Namibia). Was about as boring as I feared it would be, although the first half of it was interesting enough as I ended sitting next to a nice South African girl called Anrja. We had an interesting time discussing many issues like teen pregnancies, HIV/Aids, local politics, religion and that she had broken up with her previous boyfriend since her parents couldn’t deal with her being together with a white person; wasn’t sure if I thought that had some irony to it or not :)

Arrived in Windhoek early early in the morning. No Wingo there. There was a really pushy taxi guy however, which I almost had to run away from. After a while I ended up going to a hotel nearby thinking I should get a room and get some sleep and try calling Wingo on the phone (it needed a recharge). After hearing their price I decided to go back to the buss stop in case Wingo was just late. Turns out he was there now and the pushy guy was actually a driver he had sent for me (who had gone back and gotten Wingo while I was in the hotel).

We drove back to a nice hostel called the ‘Cardboard box’ in Windhoek where we spent the first day before going to get the car we where to rent. During the day we went off to buy a digital camera for Wingo and in the evening we met up with two friends of Wingo’s; Jeff and Gillian. Jeff also working in the peace corps and Gillian being his visiting girlfriend. We ended the day eating at a nice Cameronian resturant in Windhoek.

The next day was car rental day and we got a cheap transport there sharing a car with a nice scottish girl who was down in Namibia to get some practical work experience as a vetrenarian as part of vetrenarian degree. I had her pegged as Irish at first due to her natural red hair, but I guess there might be a relativly higher concentration of that rare trait also in Scottland. Arriving at Avis it seemed there was some confusion about when we had booked the car from. The lady first claimed we had rented it from the day before, but after a short discussion with Wingo she relented. We where quite lucky as it turned out they where now out of 2-wheel drives so we ended up getting a 4-wheel drive for the same price.
We took our leave of Avis and headed off to pick up Jeff and Gillian who where joining us for the first part of the trip. Our first stop was the Etosha national park in the north of the country. It was similar to Kruger, although since where quite a bit further north the landscape was drier and browner. We got some really nice pictures there however; and our self composed dinner of Boerwors, vegetables and canned sauerkraut turned out to be one of the definitive gastronomical highlights of the trip.

The next day we drove more around the park. One of the camps we stayed at used to be an old german fortress back in the collony days, which had been beautifully restored and today was a lodging place for tourists.

We ended up driving up to the village where Jeff stayed and lived as a teacher. Like most Namibian peace corps volunteers he had lodging living at the homestay of a local family. This place was the home of a local headman whose house where out in nowhere. No real road or anything going there. At the house I guess I got my first real taste of the local AIDS issue. The local way of doing things it seems means that the local headman takes any AIDS orphans into his own household. Which meant the headman had a lot of kids staying at his place; with only a minority being his own.
Jeff part of the homestay was primitive by our standards, but not bad compared to what most local had. His had his own little house as part of the homestay made of bricks and cement. And while he had no electricity or running water he did have a gas fueled oven and fridge. Only thing that could have gotten a bit embarrasing was that when I needed to take a leak in the evening misunderstood the directions I got, so instead of pissing through the fence out of the homestay I pissed through a fence into the chickenhouse :)

Next morning Andy and me took our leave of Jeff and Gillian and travelled onwards to stay one night at Wingo’s house. He was also staying at the homestay of a local headman; although being a little closer to a city they had running water and electricity. Lots of children at this headmans place to, but consider he had 60 kids of his own that wasn’t all to be blamed on AIDS :) (For those who wonder he had only one wife, most of the kids was from various ‘accidents’ with other local women ;)

From there we travelled towards the coast to a city called Opuwo in order to see the Himba people. The Himbas is a local tribe which still leaves a traditional life as nomadic herders. The women especially has a very distinct look as they cover their bodies in a mix of ocer and animal fats making their skin look very red. They also style their hair using a mix of clay and animal fat with different hairstyles depending on age and martial status. Since my own pictures aren’t online yet I guess pointing people to this nice article by National Geographic is the best way to let you see some of what I mean.

We stayed with two girls named Stephanie and Ingrid, who where working in Opuwo with the Peace corps. They where really fun to hang out with and was very gracious about our stay expanding from one night to three :). It also turned out that the mobile schools operated for the nomadic Himbas was funded from Norway and had a norwegian project lead. We went over to talk to them and arranged to come with them for our second day in Opuwo to drive around to the schools with the exams papers.

The first day was spent helping Ingrid and Stephanie with various computers around the towns and at the schools. Also had a nice walk around the town and the surroundings.

Hmm, this is taking longer than expected. Guess I do a second entry tommorow with the rest of the trip :)