CCNA 4/4

This is it.

The last module before the full CCNA certification. I sure would like to think that each module gets easier as time passes but there is no such thing an easy certification and I wouldn't like it any other way.

This time we've moved outside the LAN world and dived into the WAN galaxy. I never cease to stay completely amazed with the dimension of this big networked universe.

The technology of this chapter is approaching a lot of history regarding the solutions that were developed during the 60's and 70's. Strangely enough is how one can notice that these concepts are still current when applied to today's standards with the obvious exceptions for bandwidth differences and a few other improvements. A good engineered solution can really last a long time.

We've just started last week but I've already learned to value the use of a good serial connection and started understanding with some depth the WAN protocols that are used inside frame relays and long distance networking.

These classes gave me a glimpse of old memories. When I was a small kid, I've once visited a small office where it was possible to start a video-conference with the room next to us.

The presenter of the tour mentioned that one day it this feature would become an affordable technology for everyone. I just thought "amazing" and look how right he was indeed.

This CCNA module is certainly not so easy to grasp, it deals with a lot of new concepts that I've never heard about but at the same time I'm really curious to see and learn how people solved some of the issues raised at the time. Funny because I think that nowadays people are getting lazy (including myself).

When there was no Internet (for everyone), most people would need to think the solutions by themselves or perhaps try, try and try all over again until it's done right. How disappointing it is to google and to find a solution that we consider 100 times better than ours and quit even before engaging into action.

A lot of competition is demoralized this way - this is good for popular community guided developments but at the same time promotes the stagnation of technology. If a monopoly is raised by any given product then we might be sure to expect that it's evolution will be far slower than it would occur if a competing product presented better features, but I digress and I'd better get back on topic..

This is the last module and probably the last time that I get a chance to study in the Azores, it's been a very interesting year without doubt - I'll miss it here.

Is life a game?

Well.. I've been on vacations for two weeks.

Went back to the town where I spent most of childhood days and saw a lot of people that I didn't even remembered for half a decade.

They've changed, I've changed, but the same strange feeling of those memories that passed years ago still remain in the eyes of the persons with whom I crossed.

One of the things that I "forced" myself to respect was the idea of leaving the laptop and internet back home in the azores. Try to live for two weeks without being online and live only with real people, it's not that I'm not sociable or anything because I usually do spend more time on the street on coffee houses with friends than closed somewhere but the computer always grabs my attention back to work and the point of vacations is to relax for a while.

Nevertheless, I took my latest cellphone which also doubles as a PDA equipped with a Pocket PC OS (an HTC Pharos).

On this PDA, I've installed one of my all time favorite game for pocket pc - "Slay".

The name may mislead people to think that it is as a game filled with action and blood but it's not the case. I'd describe it more as a pure strategy game.

Basically, it consists on a small map subdivided in tiny hexagons with different colors. You get a color for yourself and you control a few of the available villages that are found inside the map.

The point of the game is to join together all villages (those that survive) to form a bigger and stronger group as the days pass.

As opposing groups get bigger, the used weaponry also gets stronger and more resource hungry (each hexagon is worth a unit of money).


So, the logic of this game is very simple yet disturbing.

Maybe it's because I've been playing this simple game all week long but it surely made me wonder a lot about the logic of life itself.

We all start the same way (more or less of course) but basicaly born with limited resources and the need to connect with other people as time passes to increase the odds of survival.

A careful evaluation of the opponents and succesfull prediction of their actions will give you an advantage and allow to move forward faster than everyone else but slacking off the guard may also cost you greatly.

The worst difference between a game and real life is perhaps that in a game we can always count on repeating everything from the start to do things right over the next time, but of course that in real life this is not the case and destiny (or fate?) will take an important role in the way how the action occurs.


So, life itself can indeed be considered as a sort of game where you, me and many others play on a very big board. We all get some time to play and have fun with it.

If you're alive then you're lucky. Don't forget to enjoy your life, today!


Why I develop software

A few days ago I received a message which started like this:

Hello Nuno,

First of all THANK YOU for the Ninja!

In this email I'd like to report a bug and make few suggestions. I hope you don't mind that I'm writing directly to you instead of posting my comments and suggestions on the forum, but I do not have any direct access to internet (see the explanation at the end of this email).

And the message was very complete regarding the reported bug and proposed features, ending with the explanation of why he had no direct access to the internet:

I do not have any direct access to internet. I'm living in Himalayan Heights (23000 feet. altitude) in Northern India at an ashram. To send/receive emails or to get some files/webpages downloaded from the nearest internet cafe a courier from the ashram has to travel 2 hours (1 hour by foot and 1 hour by car).
Here in India at the internet cafes viruses abound - people do not take care of virus prevention, so proper antivirus and programmes like Ninja are a must.

Please let me know when you'll fix the bug I've mentioned and/or implement the above suggestions.

With best wishes,


This message hit me like a slap in the face for several reasons. Can you imagine how life is for someone living at 23 000 feet (~7000 meters) of altitude and need to worry about viruses that run around on pendisks?

Or using a collective email box to where all messages need to have the name of the person at the title so that someone can collect and deliver them by hand just like paper mail?

These and many other questions filled my mind and sparkled a deep introspective questioning of the reasons why I first began developing software.


When I was young, internet was no option. To solve some trouble with a program you would have to think hard about a programming solution if none was available. Things were not easy but they were "doable" and I always succeeded in finding a way sooner or later (while learning a lot).

Nowadays, one takes everything for granted. It became too easy to google and find whatever someone might have done.

This way you save your time and intelectual effort. Marek is against all odds making an effort to improve the tools at his reach and made an effort to contact the author with very valuable feedback instead of resignating to these limitations like many others do.

Funny, but reading the whole context of his message I somehow remembered a bit like I was some years ago. Working in really difficult conditions to get online using dial up modems connected on top of other VPN's just to see the internet page working.

And I was happy this way.

So happy that I finally had a chance to publish my software in the open field, so happy that my goal wasn't money nor personal recognition. It was all about giving back a little of so much knowledge that had been given to me for free by a multitude of other folks in the internet.

Grattitude was the reason why I began developing software for the internet audience.

And the idea of making available a software title, carried with me the notion that I should be responsible to improve and make it as adjusted as possible to real life usage.

Deeply commited to the intention of making software that would somehow help other people without expecting anything in return.


These last few years made me proud. Many projects with success, many happy users, many new developments, but, along this way I somehow forgot my own roots and removed from memory the reasons that made me choose this path in the first place.

This "proud" feeling turned me into a person who barely listens with attention what others have to say (like jaclaz's opinion about the boot land's visual or PSC's request of a forum for NativeEx) and quickly forgets things like working on the new site for Kare. Or even letting the Ninja users stuck with a 1.5 version that isn't updated over a year now along many other things.

I'm nowhere proud of this.


When I was a kid one of my innocent dreams would be creating something capable of changing the world a little bit. This message from India is a wake up call reminding me of how far this dream has reached reality in the present days.

Let there be Ninja 2.0!