Tutorial on NetBSD 4.0 i386 setup in kvm.

Create a 10G disk image:

qemu-img create -f qcow2 netbsd-4.0-i386.qcow2 10G

Avoid hangup on boot with --no-acpi and the default network card timeout by trying out a different card, e.g. -net nic,model=ne2k_pci:

kvm -hda netbsd-4.0-i386.qcow2 -cdrom i386cd-4.0.iso --no-acpi -net user -net nic,model=ne2k_pci

Walk through the installer.

Install additional packages with pkg_add:

export PKG_PATH=ftp://ftp.netbsd.org/pub/NetBSD/packages/4.0/i386
pkg_add vim ctwm firefox wget

Include them in path:

echo "PATH=$PATH:/usr/pkg/bin" >>/etc/profile
. /etc/profile

Install the latest stable pkgsrc:

wget ftp://ftp.netbsd.org/pub/pkgsrc/pkgsrc-2008Q1/pkgsrc-2008Q1.tar.gz
tar xzf pkgsrc-2008Q1.tar.gz -C /usr

Make sure that pkgsrc fetches binary packages for dependencies, when possible:

echo ".ifdef BSD_PKG_MK
.endif" > /etc/mk.conf

Configure pkg_online to be able to search for packages

cd /usr/pkgsrc
cvs -d:pserver:anonymous@pkgsrc-wip.cvs.sourceforge.net:/cvsroot/pkgsrc-wip login
cvs -z3 -d:pserver:anonymous@pkgsrc-wip.cvs.sourceforge.net:/cvsroot/pkgsrc-wip checkout -P wip
cd /usr/pkgsrc/wip/pkg_online
unset PKG_PATH
make package DEPENDS_TARGET=bin-install

Search for additonal packages

pkg_online_find :s:pptp

P.S. Thanks to Aleksey Cheusov <vle@gmx.net> for implementing and making available pkg_online.

Attack on the tax calculation: it is the law, dude!

I must admit that I was wrong in my previous stance over the tax calculation issue. Apparently, The Ministry of Finance has nothing to do with such a strange calculation process. It is prescribed by the law.

Article 134 CIR 92

§ 2. La quotité du revenu exemptée d'impôt est imputée par contribuable 
sur les tranches successives du revenu, en commençant par la première.

What I took for ingenuity was plain stupidity.


A man-in-the middle attack on tax calculation in Belgium

I am probably missing some background knowledge, but the salary calculation process in Belgium looks like it has been subverted by Ministry of Finance officials.

This is better seen by example

The so-called key formula for the tax prepayment calculation (précompte professionnel) for the year 2008 (income year 2007) states that the first 5220 EUR are exempt from taxes.

Now, let us work by example. We will do the calculation for someone called Jacques who earned 10000 EUR in 2007. We proceed by subtracting 5220 EUR from his earning and we pay taxes on the rest, that is, the 4780 EUR.

This amount falls entirely within the lowest tax range, that has the tax rate of 26,75 %.

4780*0.2675 = 1278.65

So Jacques supposedly has to pay 1278.65 in taxes. Right? Wrong!

The calculation procedure is defined by the Ministry of Finance as follows

First, Jacques calculates his taxes on the total of his earnings. 10000 EUR are split in two ranges. The first 7550 EUR is taxed at the rate of 26,75%. Everything over 7550 EUR up to 10250 EUR of earnings is taxed at the rate of 32,1%.

7550*0.2675 + 2450*0.3210 = 2806.08

Second, Jacques subtracts from the result the amount that he would have paid if the first 5220 EUR were taxable at the lowest tax rate, that is

2806.08 - (5220*0.2675) = 1409.73

The difference between both calculations is


Is the Open Domain Question Answering really "open"?

Although the popular description of the Open-Domain QA centers on the fact that the questions are not limited by a specific domain, this is not totally correct unless the term domain is used in the philosophical sense of a sphere of knowledge, influence, or activity, which is listed as 'sense #4' in the Merriam-Webster's dictionnary.

However, the term domain may also have a mathematically sounding meaning of a ...set of elements to which a mathematical or logical variable is limited; specifically : the set on which a function is defined. See 'sense #5' of the same dictionary. In this case, it can be said to be equivalent to the CS term data.

As evaluation conferences like TREC teach us, there is always a fixed amount of input data for a QA system. Which means that every QA system participating in TREC is to be called a closed-domain system if the term domain is used in its 5th sense.

Empirical proof of the Conway's law has been published

An old software project management axiom, otherwise known as Conway's law stated that any piece of software reflects the organizational structure that produced it. Forty years after Melvin Conway formulated it, it has been empirically validated by a team of Harward Business School researchers.

They compared several software products, including open-sourced and closed-sourced ones, and concluded that distributed teams tend to develop more modular products.


Жёстко они в Microsoft работают, жёстко...

Выдали мне не так давно на работе компьютер dualboot: Windows XP и Ubuntu.

И действительно, оказалось полезно, из Ubuntu я пару раз запускал Windows XP через kvm. В первый раз она просила её активировать. Ну дай думаю активирую -- я ведь раньше этого не делал, может положено так. Через несколько месяцев вдруг понадобилось в Windows XP опять зайти. Сделал ребут, запускаю виндовс -- а она говорит, что надо опять активироваться. Ну ладно думаю. Давай. И тут она отвечает, что количество активаций истекло и через 3 дня она типа самоуничтожится.

Так и остался я у разбитого корыта с одним Ubuntu на машине. Windows теперь запускать страшно, вдруг она не дай бог на меня настучит в местный офис Microsoft.

Service vouchers status quo for 2007

According to ONEM, there's been 53 mln service vouchers sold in Belgium in 2007.

At the price of € 6.70, this makes for € 355.1 mln of expenses for belgian households.

For each service voucher, the state pays € 20 to the serviceing company, which amounts to € 704.9 mln in immediate losses for the state ((20-6.70)*53000000) . The hourly payrate at service vouchers companies is around € 9.50. Which leaves € 10.50 per cheque or € 556.5 mln in total for the serviceing company to cover the overhead of running the business and for profit margins.