Doing business in Latin America

6. December 2007 06:05 by Jaguilar in General  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

Even though most of our clients are from the US and Europe, lately we have been getting more and more projects in Latin America, specially in Mexico. You’ve probably heard about a large project we started in Mexico recently. We also signed two smaller projects in the last month, and last week I was on-site at a customer in Mexico D.F. working on yet another one.

The thing is that in Mexico, even though still in Latin America (remember that we are based in Costa Rica), there were a couple of cultural differences that really caught my attention.

First of, the schedule. We in Costa Rica usually have lunch between 12 and 1. In Mexico it is usually between 3–4pm, 3–5pm or 2–4pm, depending on the company. That is a bit late for us… let’s just say that by 3pm I was starving.

The second one was the dress code. Normally in Europe and in the US, IT departments are very laid back, and have a very lax dress code. Through out Latin America, however, it is mostly suit and tie. Only in a few places can you show up with “business casual” or even “casual” clothes. This is changing, though, and going more and more casual.

All in all, going to Mexico was a nice experience. The people I worked with were really nice, and treated me well (other than keeping me hungry until the mid-afternoon  ). I hope we sign this project, so I’ll be able to go back!

Quoted by El Financiero on an article about moving to 64-bits

30. August 2007 10:45 by Jaguilar in General  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (0)

Some time ago I was interviewed (via email) by El Financiero, a weekly business-oriented newspaper from Costa Rica, regarding 64–bit technologies. A small quote from the interview was published a couple of weeks ago, along with some information I gave them on the advantages of moving to 64–bits.

The technical journalist from the newspaper did an article on how the Costa Rican Central Bank, BCCR, is moving their payments system (SINPE) from 32–bit to 64–bit servers, and the benefits they are getting from the move. These benefits include enhanced speed and database performance, given the large memory capacity of the new architecture. This is a fairly large system that handles over 3 million financial transactions per month.

ArtinSoft had some involvement in moving this system from Visual Basic 6.0 to Visual Basic .NET some time ago, in the dawn of the .NET era. There is even a published case study on the system – you can find it here.

Their plan currently is to slowly move all their systems to 64–bit over a period of 2 years.

You can check out the article here:  BCCR ajustó tecnologías (you may need to be registered with the site).

Moving to a new home

15. August 2007 16:31 by Csaborio in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)
I will be now blogging via wordpress.  This is just a matter of convenience for myself.  Please update your bookmarks / RSS feeds.

New blog address:

Java Books for business managers

14. August 2007 04:17 by Jaguilar in General  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

The other day I had a meeting with a client that is considering converting his Informix 4GL application to Java, using our tools. It was an interesting situation, since he was a in business development, and not really a programmer. He then asked me if I could recommend him some books on Java from a business perspective. I agreed – without knowing how difficult that task could be.

I couldn’t find any recent books that would give an overview of the platform for non-technical personnel, especially decision-making managers. I found a couple of books from the start of the Java era, 1996/1997, that talked about what I was looking for, but they are out of print and it doesn’t look like they were ever updated. They are:

Does anybody know a good Java book that meet the criteria that I’m looking for?
Leave a comment with your recommendations!

7z what?

4. August 2007 01:59 by Csaborio in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Sending files can sometimes be a bit pesky.  Depending on the size limit set by your SMTP server, you will usually end up splitting the file in smaller chunks or following some other method.  There are various compression mechanisms out there that work OK, such as zip or rar.   Lately, I have found a new compression format called 7z.

I have been compressing archives and the level of compression of 7z (especially with word files that have embedded images) is amazing.  I was able to compress a 24 Mb word file to 4 MB in less than 5 seconds.  I really don't know if RAR offers the same (or better) compression ratio, but AFAIK, there is no RAR compression solution for OS X.

7z has various clients available for lots of platforms out there.  My personal for OS X is 7zX.  Download one of them and give them a try, you might save a byte or two.

Featured on IT Now Magazine!

4. July 2007 07:37 by Jaguilar in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

I was featured on the June issue of IT Now, on an article they wrote about blogs. For this article I talked about how some attendees to one of the virtualization seminars in Zaragoza, Spain, recognized us from a solution he found here on our blogs. Since the magazine is in spanish, this is a rough translation:

Jose Aguilar, one of the most recognized company bloggers, comments: "I think that the most important thing is the communication channel that you open with the readers. Another importat thing is the name that you create for yourself, your reputation. Recently, on an international seminar, one of the attendees recognized us from a problem he was having, and he found the solution on one of our blog posts.”

Click on the image below to get a high-resolution scan of the article:

bitacora empresarial

IT Now is a magazine about business and teconology for the Central American market. You can check out their website here.

100 Posts Milestone!!

17. May 2007 00:26 by Jaguilar in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)
A quick note – I just noticed I recently went over the 100-post mark here in my blog... yoohoo!! I never thought I would get this far with it. I have to accept that it took me a little over a year to make it, but I finally did it. Hooray!!

All Good Things...

16. May 2007 12:13 by Jaguilar in General  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)
Right now my colleague Stephen is delivering the last hands-on lab of the Virtualization for Developers Lab Series. This means that one of the most interesting trainings I have delivered is now over. It has been a good run, and, even though we sometimes didn’t get the attendance we wanted, a great experience. Some of the highlights of the series include:
  • Meeting all sorts of interesting people with interesting (and crazy) projects at every location
  • The experience of getting the setup process for the labs almost fully automated - learned a lot about Windows in the process
  • See Windows Server Virtualization live for the first time on a presentation by Arno Mihm at a Redmond event
  • Going to a tapas bar (“de tapeo”) in Huesca with some of the attendees at the Zaragoza event

For the next few months we’re going to be working on some new trainings and in some other exciting projects. I’ll keep you all posted. In the meantime, remember about the HP Integrity labs – that’s where I’ll probably head next!

Why can't I delete a file in Windows?

19. March 2007 12:09 by Csaborio in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Ever had this happen to you?:


I think this is the most annoying message that Windows has (OS X has one similar which is not very useful in letting you know what the problem is).  IMHO, I think that if the OS is informing you about an attempt to delete a file that has a handler open, it should be smart enough to tell you one thing: which is the application/process using it!!!

Fear not, as there is a workaround for this.   Unlocker is a (free) utility that will give you this info.  Once installed, it is a contextual menu:


Unlocker will then present you with a dialog that will let you deal with the situation:


One less Windows nuisance to worry about.  Credit where credit is due: Stephen was the person who referenced me to this program.

For all things related to software migration, be sure to visit Artinsoft's website.  For training in Visual Basic to C# migrations, Visual Basic to VB.Net,  Virtualization, and 64-bit training check our training web page.

Multiple Remote Desktops (on Windows)

8. March 2007 10:21 by Csaborio in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)
I use CoRD for multiple desktops on OS X - it works like a charm.  But what about Windows users, what can they use?  After reading a bit on Dugie's Perspective, I read about MuRD (multiple remote desktops), which does exactly this trick. 

Further reading on his blog points out to vXCopy, which is like xcopy on sterorids (which was like the copy command on steroids).

I haven't tested any of the two, but I am sure the Virtualization crew at the upcoming Munich event will put vXCopy to the test when copying VMs through the network.

The Vista Story...

5. March 2007 10:07 by Csaborio in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Following on my previous post, I have finished installing Vista on Paralles.  There were various things I had to do to succesully finish the upgrade:

  • Expand the size of my virtual disk to at least 15 GB.  The Vista installer will expand various files and needs this space
  • Increase the memory size of the VM to 512
  • Upgrade to the latest version of Parallels and use the menu that allows Vista in believing that the machine is OK to install Vista:


First off, all my applications worked after the upgrade, I was very impressed about this fact.  On the other hand (I don't know if this is a Vista or Parallels issue), things are kind of slow.  Windows XP running with 256 MB of RAM ran a lot faster than Vista with 512 MB of RAM.  It seems like my CPU usage is higher when using Vista under Parallels.

These issues have me revert to Windows XP, which I will keep using until an upgrade for either Vista or Parallels that address this issue is released. 

A lightweight PDF Reader

5. March 2007 09:44 by Csaborio in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

One of the things I really like about OS X is that it has a built-in PDF Viewer.  What's so special about this PDF viewer?  I think what I like the most is the fact that it is not bloated.  Adobe's Acrobat reader can take a while to launch, installing takes around 20 MB of downloads, and on older machines can really perform poorly.

I stumbled upon Sumatra PDF over the weekend, and I think it is a great replacemente for Adobe's Reader in Windows.   I think you cannot beat Sumatra, especially when it comes to the price (free!)

Do you know of any other PDF readers that are fast & lighteweight?

How to start Blogging

2. January 2007 13:04 by Csaborio in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

There are many ways to post blogs.  You can use the web interface that most blog applications (blogger, community server, wordpress, etc.) offer.  This can be very cumbersome and if you hit back by mistake on your browser, then all that you have typed can be gone in a matter of seconds.

I have recently stumbled on some (free) tools that will allow you to blog like a pro.  The first one is called Live Writer Beta and is made by Microsoft - I found out about this from Volker's blog today.  So far it has been very stable and is very easy to use.  It is basically the same thing as using Word.  This will get you covered as far as blogging goes, but if you want to add images and such (something our Community Server blog currently does not offer) you will need additional software.

To insert images, get the Flickr4Writer plugin, which will allow you insert images on your blog that are linked from Flickr account:

Flicr Madness!!

I am currently uploading my images to flickr using this (OS X) widget, I am pretty sure there is something similar for Vista if you look around (drop me a line if you find one).

Happy Blogging!

Happy New Year!!

31. December 2006 15:15 by Jaguilar in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

A quick post to wish you all a happy new year!

This is going to be an interesting year, with the release of Windows Vista, possibly Longhorn Server, and all the virtualization products on the pipeline from both Microsoft and the competition. I also think that this year 64-bit usage will increase significantly on the home and workstation front, given the release of Vista 64-bit and the fact that drivers are starting to show up.

So, best wishes to you all, and hope you have a great 2007!!

Stayin' Alive in a Windows World

27. November 2006 13:55 by Csaborio in General  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

It’s been almost 5 months since I brought a black MacBook to work.  At first I thought it was not such a good idea due to the incompatibilities I could face.  So far the experience has not been a bad one, and I can run most of the software I need without having to strive against slow performance or incompatibilities.  With the exception of screwing up some of Jose’s powerpoint slide animations, I don’t think there has been mayor damage done.

The following compromises a list of the software that any individual looking for to work in a Windows environment should have on their list:

Parallels: If you must run Windows on OS X, then you need Parallels.  It’s performance is superb and it will allow you to run a Virtualialzied Windows with a little performance hit.  This blog I am writing as of now is under BlogJet using a copy of WindowsXP.  I also run Office 2007, Firefox, Messenger, Project, and Visual Source Safe (watch out Parallels, someone is lurking in the dark)

Crossover: it allows you to run Windows binaries without having to run Windows.  It is based on the Wine project and so far I have been able to run Office 2007 and Internet Explorer 6 without having to run Windows.  Still on early beta stages but nonetheless quite impressive.

TSClient: I mentioned this on an earlier post.  It has become my default RDC client, extremely fast.

NeoOffice: a port of OpenOffice but does not require x11 on your system.  It runs faster than Microsoft Office for Mac on my MacBook.  Until there is a universal binary for Office, I am using this one for Office productivity.

And finally, if all else fails (as is the case of running VTune on a VM), I can always boot into Windows natively using BootCamp.   Fortunately, thanks to the great programs above, this is something that is happening less often every time.

Live Writer sample post

15. August 2006 06:44 by Jaguilar in General  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

The Windows Live team recently launched the Live Writer tool for writing blog posts. This is a sample post made with the tool. So far, it looks nice, with most features already working.

One of the nicest features is Live Map integration:

San Jose, Costa Rica

I think I am going to stick with Blogjet for the time being (especially for the flickr integration). But it won't harm you to check out Live Writer as well.