martes, 18 de noviembre de 2008

What? Me worry?

I've been always amazed by the shocking similarity between MAD Magazines's icon Alfred E. Neuman and the current President of Banco Central de Chile, José de Gregorio.

In fact the Neuman's catch phrase 'What, me worry?' fits de Gregorio's current situation, since chilean economy at the moment looks more or less stable in the middle of the world economic crisis. de Gregorio hasn't lost his weight and hair the way the secretary of the US Treasury, Henry Paulson, had the last month...


Photo credits:

Montage credits:


lunes, 10 de noviembre de 2008

Fun with dates

On Oracle databases, dates are stored using 7 bytes that keep information regarding date and time, including:
  1. Century
  2. Year
  3. Month
  4. Day
  5. Hour
  6. Minutes
  7. Seconds
So when querying dates, TO_CHAR plus the proper date format must be used. For instance:

SQL> select to_char(sysdate, 'dd/mm/yyyy') from dual;


SYSDATE is an internal PL/SQL function that returns the current date and time, it returns a DATE type value. 'dd/mm/yyyy' is a valid date format. 'dd' means 2 digits for the day number, '/' means the date part separator (other value could be '-', for instance), 'mm' means 2 digits for the month number (starting with 1 for January), and 'yyyy' means 4 digits for the year number.

Date formats can be used to take parts of the date. For instance, if you are only interested on the current month number, you use:

SQL> select to_char(sysdate, 'mm') from dual;


One interesting example of date conversions is how to get the month name out of a date. The first approach (the 'beginners' approach) is here:

SQL> select DECODE (TO_CHAR (SYSDATE, 'mm'),
2 '01', 'January',
3 '02', 'February',
4 '03', 'March',
5 '04', 'April',
6 '05', 'May',
7 '06', 'June',
8 '07', 'July',
9 '08', 'August',
10 '09', 'September',
11 '10', 'October',
12 '11', 'November',
13 '12', 'December')
14 from dual;


There's a better way to do this, and that's using TO_CHAR together with the "MONTH" date format. This format returns the month name. Here's a better approach:

SQL> select TO_CHAR (SYSDATE, 'Month') from dual;


Moreover, you can use the optional "PARAMNLS" TO_CHAR parameter to get the month name in other languages. For instance, the month name in spanish:

SQL> select TO_CHAR (SYSDATE, 'Month', 'NLS_DATE_LANGUAGE = ''SPANISH''') from


miércoles, 5 de noviembre de 2008


"Eight o'clock in the morning" is a short story by Ray Nelson published in 1963.
Pretty interesting reading, it resembles the "V" 80's TV series.
I recommend reading this short story, that influenced John Carpenter to such extent that he made a movie based on it ("They Live", 1988, John Carpenter).

I was doing a little research on subliminal advertising, and that made me remember the movie, that led me to this cool short story.


martes, 4 de noviembre de 2008

Taito SJ rom swap: success! Part II

Last friday I burned the Jungle Hunt romset on 19 eproms (It takes 20, but 19 was all I had at the time). I bought some EPROMS on Ebay a month ago, but I still haven't received them (Damn local Customs, they take years to process my shipments!).
Plugged the 19 eproms on my bootleg Elevator Action and the game launches! No sound though, probably because of the missing eprom.

Taito SJ games that won't run using this method are:

* Alpine Ski (protected).
* Bio Attack (Game launches, but resets after losing a life)
* Elevator Action (Requires security board).
* Front Line (Requires security board).
* Wild Western (Requires different layer PROM).

Next step, do the same thing with Jungle King, and later with Space Cruiser.
And of course, post all info gathered while playing with this board.