Claudio Saavedra

Go forward in time to July 2007.

Thu 2007/Jun/28
  • Dear RAE, could you please add the verb "parsear" to your dictionary? Saying "analizar sintácticamente" for "to parse" is fine to me, but I can't find a suitable Spanish noun for "a parse", nor a suitable verb for "to unparse" (not that it exists, but it's widely used in the compilers literature, so...), and I don't want my thesis full of Spanglish. Kthxbye.

Wed 2007/Jun/20
  • Some companies do not take seriously their web pages. I've had headache after headache with during the whole process of buying the tickets to attend GUADEC. At several times, my patience has been almost over and I've even thought of canceling the travel and not going to Europe for the conferences. It just amazes me how a big company as LAN can have such a bad website.

    It wouldn't be such a problem if they don't pretend that you can do everything on-line. If they had let me know that is crap from the beginning, then I would have tried going to an office in the next big city (Talca, about one hour from here). But, if they tell you their website is as complete as an office, and you buy it.. things change.

    Signing in for an account

    Everything began like one month ago when I tried to sign in for an account in the website. If you want to make a reservation, or buy a ticket, you need one. No matter if you are going to pay straight away: you need to sign for an account. So, I filled the form with all the data they requested, and of course, I wanted to use csaavedra as my login name. After having filled all my data (including ID, phone number, address, city, e-mail, birthday and so on), I sent the data and got a "Username already used, try a new one" message. Of course, that's something you can expect to happen. What you wouldn't expect to happen is the form being completely cleaned up and you presented with a blank form waiting for you to fill the exact same data, again.

    I filled the form again, and this time I chose another username. Something more complex, in order to avoid having to fill the whole form again if the username was already used. I sent the data, and now I got a beautiful "System error. Please try later" message. No details on what the problem is, no indications on what to do. So, I reloaded the web page, and tried to sign in again, filling for the third time the form. As expected, I got the exact same error again.

    Clueless on how to proceed, I waited a few days, after which I tried several times to sign in. I always got the exact same error. If we'd have a phone in my flat, I would've called to their hot-line, but we don't. And calling to a hot-line where a machine answers you from a payphone is a waste of money, so I waited.

    The funniest thing was that when I told this problem to one of my fellow hackers who is traveling from Chile with LAN, he checked in the My friends section of In that section you can check for information of people you may know and also have a account. So, he searched for me and found that I already had an account in!. How did this happen? no idea. I presume that the account was created one of the times I tried to sign in, but they failed to set up a password or to notify me of that. Either way, I had an account in, directed to my alumnos utalca cl e-mail address, but I didn't know it. Marvelous.

    The problem now was that the passwords I used to sign in originally didn't work when I tried to log in. I also tried the passwords I frequently use when I sign up for accounts in the Internet, and neither did they work. What to do in this case? Obvious: I tried the "I lost my password" section, which told me to wait for an email with my new password which was to be sent to my alumnos utalca cl e-mail. I waited for that e-mail. Two days. And I never got it.

    At this stage I was almost hopeless. Days were running by and I had not my reservation made. After some days, I finally managed to get a password in a way which I'm not going to detail. I'll only say that it's embarrassing that a big company like LAN has such a fucked up sign up system. I talked with Pedro today, and he told me he failed as well to sign in, and had to buy the tickets in an office in Santiago. Wonderful!

    As I lost more than one week with this silly sign up problem, all the sits in the plane coming back to Santiago on the day I was supposed to fly back were sold out. Consequence: I had to find out a place where to stay in Madrid one extra night and fly to Santiago one day later.

    But after all, I was happy. I had my account. I logged in and it worked. And I made my reservation! Now we only have to pay it...

    Paying your reservations

    Given that I am sponsored by the GUADEC organizers, and I don't have the funds to pay the reservation myself, I asked one of the organizers to please do the payment. I gave him all the details, so all he had to do was to log in, choose the reservation, and pay it. Which he did, but...

    After having completed all the details of the payment, he got an error. This error said something like "Your flight reservation has been confirmed. However, we could not issue your tickets because the on-line charge did not go through. We'll contact you within the next 24 hours." As you can see, not a single explanation on what went wrong, again. So we waited for them to contact us.

    But after 4 days, I got fed up with waiting for them to call me or write me, so I went to a payphone (I don't have a phone in my flat -- student flat, you know...) and called their hot-line. And now they told me what went wrong: when the person paying the reservation is different than the one who originally made it, they need some extra data to confirm the payment. This is natural! It's not something you can call an error or a problem! It's just a fucking use case! How can be possible that hackers didn't know about it? All they need to do is to say so and to provide a way to send them that information! but no, instead of that they tell you they'll contact you in 24 hours, and finally, they never do.

    Unfortunately, I didn't have with me the phone number of this guy from the UK who kindly made the payment. So I went home to get his phone number, and called back to the LAN hot-line. The chat went something like this:

    me: So, I have a reservation, but a third part made the payment. Can you please call him so he'll give you the details you need to confirm the authenticity? girl: Sure! Give me the reservation code, and his phone number.
    me: [gives data] girl: Ok... so... this is a UK number, right?
    me: yeah, he is from the UK. So you can't really call him now, because he's probably sleeping. girl: Oh.. that's a problem then, because your reservation expires today. If you don't pay it today, you'll loose your tickets
    me: Really? damn... Ok, that's a problem. (thinking: why the hell don't you say that in your error message then!) girl: And by the way, does he knows Spanish, right?
    me: No, I don't think so. He speaks English only, as far as I know. girl: Oh, but I don't speak English, I can't really call him.
    me: *sigh*... Ok, not that you will find him awake at this hour. It's like 2:00 am in the UK right now.

    She told me they'll call me tomorrow morning and that they'll extend the reservation for one day, in case I had contacted him through IRC or whatever (because she insisted that she won't call him due to her language limitations). So, tomorrow I'll know how this thing is going to come out. So Paul, if you read this, pretty please answer my e-mail :-)

Mon 2007/Jun/18
Sun 2007/Jun/17
Wed 2007/Jun/13
Mon 2007/Jun/11
  • It seems I'll be attending GUADEC this year again! Thanks to the GUADEC organizing committee, I've got a really good sponsorship and I'm right now adjusting the details for the travel to Birmingham. Yay!

    As GUADEC-es will take place the week before GUADEC, it makes sense to attend both conferences, so, if everything goes fine, I'll be attending there too. I've already sent a talk proposal for GUADEC-es, so I'm very excited about this.

  • This is a call for the GNOMEros in Madrid: due to the return flight from Madrid to Santiago on the 22nd being sold out, I'll have to book a return ticket from Madrid to Santiago the 23rd. I'm currently deciding whether to spend one extra night in Birmingham or to save the GUADEC organizing committee the extra trouble and spend one night in Madrid. Are you a GNOMEro from Madrid? Do you know me? Would you borrow me some floor in your flat where to spend the night of the 22nd? Then please send me an email as soon as possible!

Sat 2007/Jun/02
Fri 2007/Jun/01
  • I made a backup of old files and documents from my hard drive in a CD, but lately my CD writer is not completely reliable and I don't want to loose any data. So, after having burnt the CD, I thought of a quick'n dirty way of ensuring the integrity of the files (which by the way is just an excuse to learn what xargs is for).

    claudio@dijkstra:~/cd$ find . -type f -print0 | xargs -0 md5sum > ~/md5sum-hd.txt

    claudio@dijkstra:/cdrom$ find . -type f -print0 | xargs -0 md5sum > ~/md5sum-cd.txt

    A sort and diff between the two generated files made me happy. Of course, there may be more elegant ways to do the same, so feel free to make your suggestions.

Go backwards in time to May 2007.

Fri 2007/Jun/01 23:54:37 -0400