Reasons to leave Mexico #4

Gas prices suck. Most everyone knows this, but the situation in Mexico is really byzantine.

In order to help their finances, the government has been increasing gas prices since Zedillo’s presidency (1994-2000). The increase has been slight, one cent per month. However, during Calderón’s period, the increases have been more frequent and more expensive, as the useless government increases its greed and ineptitude, having the common people pay for it. During September alone, we’ve had something like 6 increases, and more than 20 since the year started. Gas has increased from 6.40 pesos a liter in 2006, to 7.40 in 2008.

Why is this happening? the government tells us that the gas they sell to us is subsidized; since they have to buy it from the USA at high prices, and that the increases are meant to level our gas prices with those of most countries. Then they have the gall to claim that Mexico’s gas is among the world’s cheapest. What a load of crap!

For starters, as long as they are importing fuel, they might as well buy it from Venezuela, where gas prices are a low 33 cents per liter. Buying from the USA is stupid, since they buy most of their oil from Mexico anyway. So yes, indeed the most reasonable solution would be to build a few refineries here in Mexico and produce nationally. After all, the government should be sharing the country’s resources with the population.

Then there’s the matter of oil prices. Oil goes up in price and the gas goes up as well. However, here in Mexico, things are so backwards that, when oil goes down, gas keeps going up. What gives?

Finally, those who compare gas prices in Mexico to other countries and find they’re similar, are missing one very important point: most of those countries have salaries that are way higher than in Mexico. So what good does it do that mexican gas is 10% cheaper than USA gas, when my salary is 1000% lower?

To add insult to injury, here in Mexico City owning a car is more of a liability than an advantage. You pay a fortune in gas and ownership taxes, but environmental programs forbid you from using your car several days a month (where’s my tax break for this?). When you do get to drive your car, you do so at a snail’s pace; estimates say that the average circulation speed is 15 km/h; a bicycle would be faster. But of course, the lack of road culture means riding a bike everywhere is tantamount to suicide. To top it off, either while driving or with your car safely “parked” in front of your own house, you risk being mugged, carjacked, or having your car vandalized for no apparent reason.

So there you have it; Sarcastically, I think the government’s plan is to make cars too expensive and troublesome to maintain for everyone, so that we have to travel by bike or on foot. Yeah sure, then Mexico will be at the forefront of environmental awareness! Give. Me. A. Break.

Django vs. ruby? & me

Sucks or rocks? googleometer gives us a parameter.

20,900,000 pages mention ruby on rails, while 1,560,000 mention django AND python.

These are our baselines. Now for the rocks:

714 pages think Django rocks. 1,000 pages think ruby on rails rocks.

The sucks are as follows:

541 pages think ruby on rails sucks. 147 think Django sucks.

Of course since I can’t grok Python I still think Ruby rocks most.

Vlad, Capistrano incompatible with Dropbear?

I tried to deploy to a remote debian (etch/testing) server running dropbear instead of openssh. Rake blew up (Vlad impaled it?) with an error such as this:

This was strange because when I checked on the server, all of the tasks were being executed correctly, and dirs and files were created.

I switched to OpenSSH and the problem went away.

It looks like, even if the command executed is successful, dropbear sometimes ignores the return code and exits with 255, which confuses rake. This doesn’t happen with OpenSSH.

It looks as if the problem is with dropbear, as I had the same issue when trying to deploy with capistrano (crapistrano?). So I guess I’m back to plain old openssh…

Buzzword of the day: “rich”

rich: n. Laden with useless features and incredibly difficult to use in real life.

Example:

ZK is a Web framework designed to enable Web applications to have both rich user experiences and a simple programming model. ZK includes an AJAX-based event-driven engine to automate interactivity, a rich set of XUL and XHTML components to enrich usability

Translation: ZK has a boatload of components which you will never use; those you do, will be incredibly hard to program even though they include basically text fields, buttons and checkboxes; and all this will result in a molasses-slow experience for your end-user.

¿Bug del año 2100?

Durante la debacle del año 2000 muchos programadores cayeron en cuenta de que era mejor utilizar 4 dígitos para almacenar el año. Muchos, por sistema, lo hacemos incluso desde antes. Sin embargo es curioso que una vez pasada la crisis, en muchos lugares se comienzan a utilizar nuevamente cantidades de 2 dígitos para representar el año. Esto es MUY TONTO! El argumento clásico es “bueno, en el año 2100 el sistema ya no va a estar en uso”. Es EXACTAMENTE lo que dijeron en los 70’s con “bueno, en el año 2000 el sistema ya no va a estar en uso”. Quizá se requerirá una crisis como la próxima del año 2032 para zarandearles el tapete a todos y que agarren la onda. A mi por lo menos me dan calambres mentales cada vez que veo un “75” para representar una fecha. Gente, faltan apenas 69 años para el 2075 y entonces este caso concreto del que hablo va a empezar a dar problemas. Juar juar.
The eighties called… but I AIN’T GIVING THE MUSIC BACK!! HAHAHA

lawyers & accountants

Lawyers and accountants are self-replicating abominations engendered by their own trades. Truth is, if law and accounting weren’t such awful messes, there would be no need for lawyers and accountants. By making law procedures as well as accounting practice such a nasty and entangled mess, they effectively made sure that everyone was scared and chose rather to hire a professional to do the job. This is artificial and in stark contrast to engineering or other technical professions which require real expertise in math, science and a particular technical or creative trade; law is complicated because lawyers made it so, and so is accounting, which is basically the practice of keeping tabs on where money comes from and goes to. How complicated can this be? if you’re not handling your legal issues and accounting yourself, you probably know the answer.