bilingual blog ;)

Parody Videoclip: El Peregrino

My wife’s cousin is a woman of traditions. One of them is to sing a particular song during each family reunion: El Peregrino. It’s that kind of thing everyone knows will happen at some point of the party. And if she doesn’t start singing on her own, eventually people will demand that she does it (in a friendly but firm way, of course!). Anyway, when she came to Barcelona to visit us and meet our newborn son, we were playing around with an App that auto-tunes not-so-good singing skills… and we ended up producing this parody video:

Oh yeah!

Food Porn Pictures

Mmmmm… food. Who doesn’t like food? And who doesn’t snapshot a yummy meal to post it on Instagram? This is a small selection of my own favourite food pics. Normally taken & edited with my phone.

Pregnant Sisters 

These are my pregnant wife with her sister, also pregnant. Our baby should be out already, so we almost didn’t get to take a picture of their two bellies together. Sister has just arrived from Venezuela today, just in time for an express photo session.

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Pebble: Thanks for this year

I have just learnt that Fitbit is acquiring Pebble and phasing out its devices, including my dear Pebble Time.

It’s been a year using this watch, my first smartwatch, and I have to say I am sad to hear the news. I decided to go for Pebble because I didn’t have to charge the watch each day, its battery lasts way longer than any competitors’ models. But I ended up loving it by its simplicity, because it’s cute and fun, and most of all, because it’s useful.

I don’t think I will buy another smartwatch, I’ll continue using my poor orphan Pebble until it dies completely, if that ever happens (I guess it will at some point).

I want to thank the indie smartwatch maker for this year, I have enjoyed their product, and I hope Pebble’s founders and employees can all find a new job soon, if Fitbit does not hire them. Well done, guys.

Pebble is dead… Long live the Pebble!

Exploring my creative side with Video Production projects

Yes, I am a Software Developer. I have been coding professionally since 2000, but I started much earlier. At some point during my career, I moved to Front-End development because I enjoy the pretty side of programming, make stuff move, and so on. In other words, I like the immediate satisfaction of seeing my code come to life, I like the visual part of it.

So it made perfect sense to explore other was of creating visual works, starting with photography. I eventually discovered video production, and that blew my mind. I have worked in several self-founded projects, mostly documentaries and food-porn videos.

This video puts all that fun into images. It’s a really silly clip, but it shows really well why I love doing what I do.

Experience and knowledge have a price

It’s funny how we humans repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

Our dishwasher was leaking water, so I used this random, hyped App to find a handyman who could fix it. I just let myself trust this application because it seemed legit, and therefore I kind of felt the same about every handyman offering their services on it. That’s lame, I know. But these apps make us lazy, why bothering double checking, if there’s no reviews because the platform is super new….

Anyway, I hired this man, I talked to him on the phone, he seemed Okay and he had a full agenda, which fuelled a positive impression, maybe he’s busy because he’s good.

Well, he showed up on time, and I switched on the dishwasher so he could see the leak and figure out how to fix it. There was no leak a that moment, so we waited and waited, talking about other stuff, until at some point I mentioned a small problem with my oven. The oven was fine, but the door didn’t seem to be closing completely, so sometimes the security sensor it has outside overheats and switches off the oven to avoid damage.

So the guy said, “oh, let me have a look”. He checked the oven door, opened it and then he started yanking it a little bit to try to pull it up. At some point he even said “I don’t know anything about ovens”, so I asked him to stop, but he “almost got it”. A last hard yank borught one of the hinges out, leaving the door loose, attached to the oven by the other hinge. And he did not know how to put it back. He tried, forcing it, pushing it. banging it. I then really asked him to STOP what he was doing, although I did ask him to bring someone to fix that mess. Because my oven didn’t properly close, but it worked. Now it was useless.

He said that it was fair enough, and that he knew someone. Then he asked me to pay 30€ for coming to my house and check out the dishwasher. I told him he had “broke” my oven and that I’d pay nothing till that was fixed. So he came back 3 days later with another guy, and I can’t describe how I felt when I saw him. He obviously hadn’t had a shower in days, his glasses had a broken arm (well, it was missing to be more accurate). He tried to fix the oven while holding his glasses. Amazing. Anyhoo, the show started, they pull out the door completely while trying to engage the hinge into its place, after a series of vicious pushing and banging, using screwdrivers as a lever, and other nonsense. Eventually (47 minutes later) they did it. Both hinges were in, but the door was loose, it didn’t close properly and it was totally unstable. Yet they said it was good enough, they blamed the brand saying it was a bad one (TEKA), and they charged me 30€ from the previous visit plus a “tip” for “fixing” the oven, which they messed up with themselves. I refuse to pay the later but it looked like they would not leave without it so I gave them 10€ and kicked them out of my house. Later on I contacted the App makers, Habitissimo, to figure out if I could do anything about it, but the guy claimed he hadn’t touched my oven at all. He denied everything that happened. If Spain were a serious country were laws are there to protect us, I could’ve done something, but I consulted with some people who know about these things and we figured that it would be useless to try to do anything at all. Better to call the official technical service and learn the lesson.

So a few days later I called TEKA and someone came to my house to FIX the oven once and for all. I told him the story, and the old man just looked at me with a smile. He took two small paperclips and he inserted them into the hinges, one on each. Then without stop smiling, he made a smooth movement, pulling up the door and dismounting it from the oven. Then with an even smoother movement he put it back and it came in perfectly. Well, almost perfectly, because the other beasts had bent a piece in one of the hinges, so the door was a bit lower on one side, but still it was stable, it was functional. This guy fixed the door in less than a minute, no violence needed.

He charged me 20€ for that, plus other fees for having to come to my house, VAT, etc. Total, 47€. Before charging, he explained a lot of things about the oven, about how it’s inner mechanisms and how to keep it working perfectly over time. He left and I told my wife, “hey, we’ve spent 87€ in total to fix this. And this guys charged me 20€ to do something that took him less than a minute”. My wife is wise, I always knew that, but her answer was something like: “you have paid him 20€ exactly because he only needed 1 minute to fix it”. And she’s right, he KNEW perfectly where to touch and how to do it, unlike the other imbeciles who know nothing about anything.

So there you go fellas, it’s not too late to learn new things from this life. It’s better to call the guy who knows and pay the right price, because although it feels expensive, it’s actually cheaper than trying to same some bucks and end up paying twice like I did.

Experience and knowledge have a price. Just pay for it.
It’s worth it.

Parasailing

Extremely stupid video showcasing my buddy Olu and myself parasailing over Barcelona’s coastline. Oh boy, it was cool!

Great Titles, Hollow Posts

“Great Titles, Hollow Posts” or “People don’t know how to give advice” or “Most people write to sell themselves shamelessly”. So many titles I could have chosen for this post.

Aren’t you tired of reading bullshit? Don’t you feel you have wasted your precious time by reading “inspirational posts” that teach you nothing? We all pick the posts we read based on the title, so it becomes a hook. Titles promise us to provide good advice, to tell us a story that will open our eyes because we were oh so wrong. But most of them, I would say a whopping 99% are just people bragging about their accomplishments, disguised as advise, because their experience *could* inspire us to follow their steps. Nope, it can’t, and it won’t. I mean, really, think about it.

Dude Mister X tells you how he dropped school, spent 10 years banging around desperately and eventually someone gave him the one opportunity he needed to really shine. Yawn. Well done buddy, but how that helps me or anyone else.

Recruiter Miss Y, full of herself, reproduces imaginary conversations where a candidate gets crazy and turns a genius mind reader, turning the interview around and putting another recruiter -not her, because she’s SO clever- to shame with his mind-blowing personality and gets the job. And thus all the other candidates are pure crap that don’t deserve the air they breathe.

Some couple tell their story, where they both quit their jobs because they were so stressed -poor people-, and they decided to travel the world and blog about it. They became rich and here there’s a a sample of our wonderful life in pictures, videos and embedded advertisement.

Thank you, really, how could I live without following your steps. I should quit my job and travel, I suck at interviews because I don’t read minds, I am a terrible recruiter because I actually dare to prepare my interviews… madness!

I get we all invest our time writing posts for a reason (i.e.: stand out, show off our Big Brains). Let’s be honest, our advise, our experience, hardly helps anyone out there, unless we let aside our ego and cut to the chase. Can we find a better job after being fired? Sure we can. Can we find success and happiness if we risk it all and switch careers? Of course. Could we cut down our work hours to try to have a better work/life balance? Yes, we can. And it’s very positive that these kind of messages are flooding the Internet right now, really. But if all we read about are really long posts about how cool and super brilliant Guy Mr. X or Recruiter Lady Y think they are, there’s no message there. It’s an empty post, aimed at pure self-promotion.

So, how do you identify these kind of useless long reads? These are not scientific facts, but here’s my experience, and I will share it in case it helps you!

  • The post has a title that promises to help you with the last trending First World Problem, i.e.: How To Get Your (client/boss/colleague) to (love/respect/fall in love with) your (product/outfit/accent).
    The first paragraph explains the real meaning of the title, because maybe it wasn’t ostentatious enough. Or maybe it changes the subject completely, because, after all, you have already clicked and the view count has already been incremented, so what the heck, why bothering being useful to you after that?
  • 90% of the following paragraphs will explain a personal experience that you can maybe relate to, but it will be that person’s experience and it will be unique and specific to that person’s circumstances and context. You can’t take any of that, probably, because all the details you could use yourself are nulled in favour of those that make the author shine. The 10% after that won’t try to make an advise out of the fairytale, it will just explain how happy that person is with the outcome, how much he/she has learned from it, etc.
    Probably the writer is talking about a experience that, not surprisingly, is related to his/her area of expertise. So you might be tempted to further inquiry the author about that particular topic. You can do that but I bet you will have to pay for the advise. So again, the post served successfully as pure advertising.
  • The post is a list of X things you have to do if you want to achieve something, be a better person or smile at the office without looking creepy. There are lists for everything you can imagine, because these “List Articles” are extremely common and annoying. At any given moment you can see at least 2 List Articles in your feed. Go read them, you’ll see that unless they are providing a list of resources (links, tutorials, videos), they are extremely useless lists. But those posts are popular, so they’ll write them.

The little time we have to read, we should pick wisely. Titles are hooks, remember! They will try to lure you into clicking them and read at least a couple of paragraphs. But if reading is for you something more than brainless time-killing, my honest advise is that you learn by yourself to identify what works for you, which posts really motivate you or make your day, then discard the others. My experience is surely useless for you because hey, we don’t have the same criteria, but I hope you got the message. And I am not selling it to you, it’s completely free.

Happy reading!