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[09.10.02] through the Dracula's places
[06.09.02] information shortage
[03.09.02] applied ethnography
[28.08.02] 424 volts
[20.08.02] little pleasures
  [11.08.02] Marea Neagra
[02.08.02] an article about Romania
[30.07.02] Canada revealed
[30.07.02] the hot evolution
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01 Dec 2002 :: Remember "AC/DC"? I've got big balls, you've got big balls, she's got big balls, they've got big balls! :).. [ more.. ]

03 Jun 2004 :: The renewed railway-station in Chisinau surprised me. In the end of the last year it suffered a major repair, so it looked really magnificent... [ more.. ]

04 May 2006 :: Among the first sights we wanted to see in New York was, of course, Brighton. I caught myself at the realizing that before I had never thought its name could be spelled with non-Cyrillic letters... [ more.. ]

[ 20th Aug 2002 ] little pleasures | leave a comment

Several days ago, before going to bed I was reading a book by Lev Novozhenov "Anthology of satire and humour in Russia of the XX century" which I bought in Kharkov before leaving. Found an interesting aphorism there: "Lavishness is determined not by the amount of money someone gave, but how much remained after it". Probably that's why I support only the closest relatives with money. Though, it recently appeared that there were people who can provide financial support to small free software projects with open heart (hmm.. sounds quite close to open source ;), and only because they liked them. Of course, their finanical situation should be better than mine ;)

As far as you know, besides the satisfaction and some "political" capital there is nothing a free software developer can gain from his hobby. Though there are exceptions when you can get something more material. If I was writing it for the "Rescue 911" TV program, I'd start this paragraph the following way: "It was a usual day and nothing presaged.." :) Actually I was sitting in the office quietly, and someone knocked into my ICQ.. On the remote side there was someone interested in a rarely requested "random chat" facility of the ICQ network. Using it with the Windows client you can find random parteners for.. you won't believe me, just to chat. Never had used it though. So, the person I talked with was courious whether I was planning to implement it in centericq. I answered that probably it would appear but it was not on the high-priority tasks list. Libicq2000 didn't have support for it then, and I still had some work to do. Along with that I heard a lot of thanks about the software. It was also mentioned that along with verbal thanks some material assistance could be provided, since the program was really appreciated. Well, among my life principles there was the one "take if given". That's how my computer at home which I mainly use to develop various projects as well as to write notes and articles, got 20 times bigger HDD. I'd been having 6Gb and now it's 120Gb, thanks to Norberto Navarro from the Spanish city of Valencia who kindly donated to the development. Theoretically now I can write more code and text, for the space permits ;) By the way, Norberto along with the industrial chemistry which is his main business is also involved into various web related projects. The recent one can is intercheat.com, which has a very nice aim to gather information about dishonorable affiliate programs so that web site owners don't repeat others' mistakes.

The conclusion is that working for the benefit of community can bring some material awards. What is more, you work to make something useful for yourself first of all, implementing what you lack. Good when others find results of your hobby useful too. So here not a concrete piece of hardware is important but the precident itself. Last time I had the same thing happened to me back in school, when I used to write the Tornado BBS software, which had been distributed freeware for quite a long time. One guy from Germany then decided to donate to the project too and sent me 100$ which was quite a sum for me that time.

Obviously, because of all of that a rush of inspiration had come to my mind. It resulted into a major feature exhancements in libicq2000, a C++ library in development of which I've been participating since the New Year. Last time an contribution from my side was an SMTP protocol implementation in order to make it possible to send SMSes through e-mail gateways that were reported by the ICQ server. This time the library was improved with the most wanted feature - saving contact lists server-side. Oh my, how bored I was of the question "When are you going to implement storing contacts server-side?".. Being asked a hundred times, by different people and in three languages, it really starts bugging you. Moreover, I hate the "when" question in this context. Gentlemen, here we've got open source, free software, and it's just a hobby. This means it is not the main occupation of its author who also has a job, rest and stuff. There can be no exact schedules, deadlines. Anyway, exactly the "when" word I heard in the majority of cases.

Whatever. The feature is already working and after several days of testing there will be a new release of centericq. Though you can upgrade your program even now, the recent source as usual resides in CVS. Also, I couldn't pass over the random chat thing, which other ICQ clients for Linux usually don't have. So, now centericq has this too.

Despite of its being tricky, the ICQ protocol is a very interesting thing. It's always nice to look inside it trying to realize what Mirabilis wrote there, and what logic their server has. It would also be extremely cool to write an open-source ICQ server for their new protocol, with an ability to use it on a local network as well as to connect it to the external world via the main server. It could contain other interesting features as well. But I don't really feel a need in such a software, thus I don't think I'll write something like that soon. Though the task is interesting. But I lost the point. There is a great resource on the Net, dedicated to the v8 ICQ protocol. It has descriptions for almost all the packets and data structures. I'm frequently asked what SNAP, FLAP and TLV are. For those who's still interested.

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