Ready for 2019

This blog has not had many posts in 2018 but the “new year’s post” is almost mandatory, so here it goes.

Family

December was similar to last year, spending most of the time in Portugal with the family and coming back to Berlin right before the New Year’s eve.
After 3 years in Berlin, I think I am finally reconciled with the oddities/particularities of the city, my German is improving, and I do enjoy living in here more than last year. We do miss our friends in Geneva and other places, and of course it’s ever more and more difficult to leave our family in Portugal after seeing how much our son and our daughter enjoy being with the grandparents and cousins.

A picture of Lagos in Portugal, showing a landscape with big rocks and a cliff by the sea.

Lagos, Portugal, where I spent part of my vacation

Still on the personal side, the biggest event this year has been my daughter’s surgery. She needed a throat surgery to remove part of her tonsils, in order to breath and sleep better, among other things that would improve as a result (having more energy, eating and growing more, etc.). It was a “simple” throat surgery, but not without risks (we spent 5 days in the hospital for the post-surgery recovery and observation). I tried to explain it to her as if it were a special sleep-over at the hospital where the folks there would help her breath and sleep better, so much that she was disappointed when we had to reschedule the surgery 3 times (2 times because she was sick, 1 time because the hospital organization is not the best and they lost our appointment!). She faced the event like the brave girl she is and she was always patient too. In the end, the results were amazing and could be seen almost immediately: she now has much more energy, sleeps well, eats and speaks better… like night and day!
I hope my son doesn’t have the same condition, but judging on how much energy, strength, and overall physical agility he has, I’d say he’s fine 🙂

I cannot emphasize enough though, that even if the surgery scheduling was a mess, the surgery and post-surgery care could not have been better. From the doctors, to the nurses, and other assistants, everybody was really nice, patient, and professional. Having any surgery on your child is always something very delicate and challenging to deal with, and the staff did make me feel like my daughter was in the best hands possible. Of course, this care was the same anyone would get with a normal/public coverage in Germany, and thus it’s even more remarkable. Even though in the EU we sometimes take Universal Health Coverage for granted, it’s good to remind ourselves how precious it is.

Work

2018 also meant some changes in my daily work at Endless as I joined a new team to help deliver a new project with a different type of users. This project is called Hack, and aims to deliver a desktop computer experience that integrates elements to teach programming and computing concepts to users from age 8 and up. This also meant that I traveled twice to work with the rest of the team from the San Francisco office, and it’s always nice to hang out with my colleagues directly.
We have already shipped the first computers around Christmas in a great effort from everyone involved (in this team and others), and I am proud of what we’ve achieved! There is still a lot of work to be done, so be sure to follow the news about the project.

With this new project and being a father of two means I didn’t really have much more time/energy left for side projects but I still managed to give a presentation about ostree and Flatpak at CERN, and at the Linux Technologies Berlin meetup, which I really enjoyed and hope to have the opportunity of giving more presentations this new year too.

I guess that’s already a good enough summary for the small attention span we all have in this decade, so I will leave it here.

Have a great 2019, everyone!

Endless challenges

It’s been a (very long) while since I posted anything here. This past year I even manage to skip my traditional New Year‘s post, and a lot has happened so a post is due!

The big news is that last November I finished my 2 year term at CERN. I learned a lot in there, it is truly a unique place in the world, but I finished what I was set out to do and it was a good time for a change. So I am proud to announce that I have joined Endless!

I started this new job more than a month ago but I couldn’t find the time to write about it before because we also moved to a new country… and found out how challenging it is to move with a baby! Last year we had finally started enjoying that Swiss/French region a lot more but for a number of reasons we decided to move back to Berlin! Still, looking back, Geneva is where our daughter was born and we left many great friends in there so it’ll always be a special place for us and we’ll always have a reason to visit it.

Endless

If you do not know about Endless, its mission is to provide computers to the other half of the world, the part that desperately needs access to technology and knowledge but doesn’t happen to be in the minds, hearts or plans of the big software corporations.

Endless Computer

I met Endless in the beginning of 2013 and ever since I’ve had a special spot for what they’re doing, therefore I am very happy and thrilled to be part of it! So far it’s been really great to see things from the inside and witness the great talent, passion and energy with which everyone carries out their work. I can tell you that the human values at Endless are not something that just sounds nice but they are instead really a core part of its mission.
My goal in technology has always been to use it to solve problems; to make things easier for users. The products Endless is developing, and the users it develops them for, fit that end perfectly.

Endless's users

Hiring

Endless is accomplishing its mission using GNOME and many other Open Source technologies, and has gathered a great team in many fronts, from software to marketing to leadership. Changing the world is a lot of work, so if you want to help, Endless is hiring at this very moment! Take a look at these jobs if you want to apply. If you have any questions regarding the jobs or the company you can also drop me a line.

And that’s it for now and I hope this long period of neglecting my blog has finally come to an end 🙂

Big Changes Again

My life has seen some big changes this year with getting a new job, moving to Berlin, etc. Well, the changes haven’t stopped yet.

Before I applied to Red Hat, at the beginning of the year, I had applied to a position at CERN (if you don’t know what CERN is, look it up, but part of the reason you’re addicted to the internet is because of it). CERN has two periods throughout the year where it accepts applications, I knew it wasn’t easy to be accepted and I had to move on with my life so I was happily living in Berlin and working for Red Hat.
Turns out I was accepted and I had a decision to make.

On one hand, I was very happy to finally be living in Berlin, Helena was enrolled in an intensive German course (and doing great), we were living in the nice neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg and of course, I don’t need to tell you how great Red Hat is if you consider yourself a Free Software developer. On the other hand, I knew this opportunity with CERN would be hard to get again. So in the end I took the tough decision of leaving Red Hat and I have been working at CERN since last week. I am working on a project out of my comfort zone (and yes, it’s Free Software), but that’s part of the challenge.

I changed a unique company for a unique research center and I changed one of the cheapest, coolest cities in Europe for one of the most expensive in the world.

Regarding work and GNOME in particular, I will keep involved in it, even though my projects have been neglected with all the moving: I hope to finish the port of OCRFeeder to GI and to give some love to Skeltrack once I have time (and conditions: no internet at home yet…).

Even Bigger Changes

Oh, yeah, there’s something else I would like to share. I am in the first steps of what will surely be the biggest project I will ever develop: Helena and I are expecting a baby!
We just found out one week before moving out of Berlin. It surely doesn’t make all the moving easier but we can’t describe how happy we are with these news! It’s curious that we had to live in the “babyboom neighborhood” of Berlin to get a baby ourselves… there must be something in the water! 🙂

And that is all for now, let’s see what the next months bring!

Upcoming Wacom Features in GNOME

I had previously mentioned that, as part of my job at Red Hat, I was taking care of the Wacom tablets support in GNOME.
To show you a bit of this, straight from the nice Atopia Kaffeehaus in Prenzlauer berg, Berlin, I have cooked a little video with some of the upcoming features:

These are not, of course, the only new features but I had to pick the ones that are actually usable right now.

The tablets shown in the video are a Cintiq 12WX and an Intuos 5 M touch.

I am usually around #control-center on irc.gnome.org so if you got some cool idea for the Wacom tablets in GNOME, drop by and let me know!

Working for Red Hat

Since last week I have been working for Red Hat!

After I started looking for a new job, I had two intense months full of interviews and travelling (I traveled to different countries, including the US for the first time) where I met great people and learned a lot.
It was all very new to me because it had been a while since I had looked for a job and I had never had so many interviews.

After deciding to join Red Hat, Helena and I also started the process of moving from A Coruña to Berlin which involved packing a lot of boxes and storing them in my parents’ attic in Brotas, Portugal where they will remain for a little while. This required a few car trips (13 hours driving, each return trip) but my parents are very kind people and they love me so they helped us with all the logistics.

Leaving Coruña was something we wanted but it was still very sad. We made many good friends during these 4 years in there and saying good-bye was hard, even if in this modern world good-bye actually means “see you later”. They are very good and fantastic people and we miss them already.
It actually felt like leaving my country again because as of now, I know more of the reality (political situation, finances, etc.) in Galicia/Spain then I know of my own country.

We’re still sorting out some of the last details of setting up in Germany. Berlin is very multicultural and it’s fairly easy to get around using English but we are lucky and thankful to have our friend Chris here who is helping us a lot.
Helena is already taking German classes and I will start soon so I hope I will be able to shout “Ich bin ein Berliner” as funnily as this guy did.

Regarding Red Hat, I am part of the desktop team, composed by well known names in the community, where I will keep hacking on GNOME related stuff. It is great to be able to continue working on Free Software and for such a nice company full of great developers. Working remotely will be a new challenge but Berlin is full of lovely places like St. Gaudy Café where I can get inspiration and work quietly.
As for my other FOSS projects, I hope I can dedicate a bit of my free time to them — between German classes and my personal life affairs.

I would like to thank all the people who contacted me during these months with great projects. I wish you the best of luck.
Last but not least, I would also like to thank Mike Fabian for having recommended me inside Red Hat.