Have a great 2018!

I have spent most of December with my family in Portugal and, as it’s becoming tradition, Helena and I (and the kids) are spending the New Year’s eve alone at our place. It gets more and more difficult to say good bye to our family every time we need to come back, especially now that Olivia really enjoys being there and spending time with the grandparents. But I come back with my batteries charged, ready for the coming year.

This year, similar to 2014, will be one that we will never forget because of the birth of our second child, Gil. Gil is a force of Nature! So different from the quiet baby that Olivia was; he always has energy and is (almost) always smiling. But even though we are usually very tired, it’s also much more interesting that they are different like that.
Life is certainly more challenging with two babies than with one, it’s not a linear relation of “2 × kid = 2 × work”, but having a flexible schedule, an understanding manager, and an awesome wife, allows me to manage.

To add more challenges to our personal life, we have also moved to a new place (still in Berlin) this year. The move was already going to be tricky since we did it ourselves instead of hiring a company, but it became boss-like when I got injured in my leg (tore muscle) while playing squash 4 days before we rented a truck and were supposed to carry all big items in it. But that’s gone, and we love our new place!

Even if it was a good year for me personally, in terms of global events, 2017 seemed pretty much the continuation of the shitty ending of 2016. That feeling of “end of the world” was still present all over the news and general day to day talk. In Portugal, the 3rd safest country in the world, more than 100 people were killed by wildfires, and the year has had a dangerous drought, to the point of having to distribute water by train/trucks to some cities… But sure, it’s chilly in some places so global warming must be just a hoax
Luckily the 2017’s big elections in Europe (France, the Netherlands, and Germany), which could set the Union on fire, proved that people can still choose the better route for their lives, despite all the attempts of scaring them off. The current situation in the EU is still alarming but at least it held better than I thought it would.

Workwise, it’s been another very busy year at Endless. I am still in charge of the App Center (our GNOME Software fork) and doing what I can to tame this beast. Endless’ mission has always been a noble one, but with the current direction of the world it’s even more significant and needed; so I will continue to give my best and hope we can keep making a difference in less fortunate regions. If you want to help, check out our job openings.

I really hope 2018 is a great year, with more hope than the past few years. So everybody reading this, have a great 2018!

Hello World, from Gil!

Last week another major milestone in my life happened: our son was born!

This time it was much less stressful than with Olivia’s but still, the feeling of hearing your newborn cry for the first time, even before you can see them, it’s just too amazing to describe.

With 4150 g and 53 cm, Gil (pronounced with a soft G) classifies as a big baby and, like his sister, he’s quite peaceful and has very beautiful black hair.

We feel extremely lucky and thankful for our children, and I am very curious to see how the experience of being a parent of two kids will be. But for now I am taking some time off, helping Helena recover, and enjoying the first days of our family of 4.

Hope for a good 2017

As Berlin’s fireworks roar outside (for hours now!), I want to write my typical end of year post with some thoughts of 2016 and what’s coming.

We are leaving behind a year that many (most?) of us will not miss. I hope 2017 will be a better one but the global events that took place throughout 2016 do not make me very confident about that. With unusual political events affecting the lives of millions of people, an apparently acceptance of indecency, bigotry, and hate, together with the ongoing humanitarian crisis and senseless violence, this is surely not the world I had pictured for my children.
Still, I want to be positive and hope that by seeing what’s happening in some places, people can make good choices in 2017 (I am talking in broad terms but we got some important elections coming soon in Europe).

On a more positive note — because personally 2016 was actually a very good year –, this past year I also started working for Endless and moved from SwitzerFrance to Berlin, Germany. I love my job and I have been working very hard to do my share of Endless’ mission. The current direction of the world only validates our mission more, and motivates me to work harder. It’s difficult however to make time for everything, and again my pet projects took the hit, so no big updates in that subject this year.

The other big news is that Helena and I will be parents again soon! The joy of raising a child is something so special that it is hard for me to put into words so I can just say that we are of course extremely happy and curious (and scared too) about how life will be with two kids.

Happy 2017 everyone!

Happy 2015!

Helena and I have just come back from the holidays with our family in Portugal and I would like to tell you how 2014 was a very good and special year in our lives. The big event that will make us never forget this past year was of course the birth of our daughter Olivia. Everyone who has kids will tell you how nice it is to have them and they’re right! All the tiresome, stress and lack of sleep is forgotten when we see her smile every morning.

Helena and I love to travel and have made at least a big trip every year for a few years. With the baby, those trips have to be shorter but since she was born we’ve been already to Portugal (twice), Spain (visiting our old colleagues in A Coruña) and the U.K. (more particularly London). That thing that people tell you about how having a child changes one’s perspective on many things is also very true for traveling. Olivia can be very easily awaken by noises so now we realize how noisy some cars and motorcycles are… London was awful in that regard. The underground was noisy as hell, including the very loud voice warnings. Also, as a big European capital, I was expecting its public sites to be accessible but even in the emblematic Victoria Station there was no elevator to access the underground. The sad thing is that while the stroller is a temporary annoyance for us, people in wheelchairs have to cope with that permanently.
We’re very curious about visiting Berlin with the baby to check those annoyances in there (because I seem to remember the underground being more silent and accessible) so that’s a trip we might do this year.

The book count kept low this year: I read 3 books and started another one which I haven’t finished yet (REAMDE by Neal Stephenson).

Even with the lack of time due to the baby, thanks to my wonderful wife I still keep playing squash and attending the CERN Micro Club once a week. Despite the awkward name, this is one of CERN’s many clubs and is concerned with technology, having several sections. I am part of the Robotics section in the club where we’ve been building a 3D printer.
This means less time for my side projects so this year, unfortunately there was only a couple of versions of OCRFeeder and no new version of Skeltrack.
I think that the only solution for OCRFeeder is to eventually have new contributors if there is an interest in keeping the project alive.

About Skeltrack, although its development was stalled during most of 2014, my friend Iago keeps improving it for his Master’s Thesis, and I had a lot of emails from people who are using it. I even visited one of them at EPFL who is using the project with his own 3D cameras which means that having a device-agnostic library was a good decision.

As for my job at CERN, I am finishing what I have been working on so I hope to talk about it in more detail soon.

This year’s donations went to the following places mainly (apart from the EFF, to whom donate every time I buy a Humble Bundle):
Wikipedia: don’t think I need to explain its relevance;
GNOME Builder: because this great guy was bold enough to quit his job in order to make an awesome and long needed IDE for GNOME (maybe you can still donate!);
Chão dos Meninos: an association from my hometown who helps children in risk — I always used to donate to big international projects such as Wikipedia and EFF but last year I realized that, since I don’t pay taxes in my country (because I live abroad), one way of contributing a small bit is to donate to an association such as this one.

I still do not know what 2015 will bring but I do hope that the tendency continues and it turns out to be a great year again!

Have great 2015 everyone!

photo 2

Hello World, from Olivia!

A week ago, the 5th of March, my day started very early and Helena‘s even earlier; our daughter was coming!

The (almost) 12 hour labor was not easy at all but everything turned out well. Olivia was born with 3380 g, 48 cm, exhibiting a lot of black hair and her mother’s asian-ish eyes.

Olivia spent her first two hours of life resting on my chest while waiting for Helena. It’s difficult to describe the feeling of looking your newborn in the eyes for the first time — it’s simple and beautiful in a way I didn’t know before.

Now I am enjoying some time off with my girls at home!

My baby girl and I
Olivia loves her life