Another year has passed

Today is the last day of 2011 and it is once again when people look back in time and realize what they have done throughout the year and if they stuck to their promises. I don’t give that much importance to events like new year’s eve or even my birthday but I decided to write a blog post and to think about what happened on 2011.

December is also the month I’ve joined Igalia, I have been in the company for 3 year and the changes seem to have been quite some.
I feel 2011 was not a very productive year from the point of view of side projects. I have been working on the toolkit that powers the MeeGo Harmattan (Nokia N9) for a year and a half and that, together with other tasks in Igalia and in my personal life didn’t leave me much time for creating new projects. Still, I released 5 new versions of OCRFeeder; 4 versions of SeriesFinale and ported it for the Nokia N9. Also I have given once again presentations in some nice events like FOSDEM and LinuxTag.

On the personal side of things the big event this year was my wedding with Helena. After that we had a nice time travelling in Turkey after having cancelled the plans to visit Japan due to the earthquake.
We also spent 10 days in Berlin, we are still in love with the city and we wish one day we’ll experience living in there (could it be 2012?).
After 3 years living in Spain, I feel comfortable here, I recognize its virtues and flaws but I want to know more cultures, more languages and thus more ways of seeing life. As for Portugal, it is part of what defines me but Helena and I are not planning on living in there for the foreseeable future, especially these times when the government(s) is(are) making things difficult for everybody.
Related to this and the economic crisis that is going on, this year I joined a demo and a strike for the first time and I keep hoping that things get better for everyone.
I also realized I am now used to donate to some institutions throughout the year and it is something that makes me feel good.

As book counting is something often present in this kind of year’s review, in 2011 I read 10 books and a short story. The most important ones, in case you’re interested are: The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins), Through the Language Glass (Guy Deutscher) and Citações e Pensamentos de Agostinho da Silva (“Quotes and Thoughts of Agostinho da Silva” by the philosopher).

The future

People often say “next year is gonna be a year of change” but things do change and some situations that happened this year have made me think about my life so I really feel there are going to be changes in 2012. Hopefully they will be good ones.

I wish you all a happy 2012.

Igalia 2010 Winter Summit

Last week was a busy one with more than one day and a half devoted to meetings besides the usual hacking in MeeGo and SeriesFinale (yeah, I could still devote a couple of hours to keep the work on the GNOME port) but a great weekend was waiting us.

On Friday, after work, we went to Brión (close to Santiago de Compostela) for another Igalia Winter Summit. The trip was quite interesting with me sharing the car with Victor, Claudio and Guillaume, which is a funny thing because in a company with a majority of Spanish members, none of us is Spanish 🙂

The first night was composed of hard, philosophical discussions, card games, general get-together and, for some of us, 4 hours of sleep.
On Saturday, Piñeiro (AKA A.P.I.) and Martin Robinson gave a talk about how they got to Igalia, that is, where they come from and how they got into this life of a Free Software hacker.

After lunch, I had a brainstorming with a few other Igalians about Grilo and SeriesFinale’s (unrelated) world domination plans.
This year is also Igalia’s 9th anniversary and some of us were having our companions joining in for the anniversary dinner on Saturday night, so, we had a magician performing impressive card tricks and a Queimada.

For this summit, a few of us had a new challenge, to give the first concert of the Igalia Blues Band as kind of a spin-off of the concert given in last year’s GUADEC (or GCDS). So, Andrés, Claudio, Piñeiro and myself practiced, when we could, the five songs we selected for this after-dinner show. After the concert, we continued with a “less official” setlist where I performed an disastrous alternative version of Bad Things (opening song of the True Blood TV show).
It was quite nice. I think we entertained the people and everybody seemed happy.

Igalia Blues Band (Claudio is not present because I couldn't find any picture with the four of us)

The next morning, Juanjo gave a presentation about the history of Igalia. It is impressive how the company evolved in these 9 years, from a group of Computer Science graduates from Galicia, into having 40 people across 8 different countries, always considering people as its main value and Free Software as a philosophy. I’m proud to be part of it.

The traditional group photo

Sunny Coruña and DudesConf

This weekend we had amazing weather in A Coruña. Usually Galicia tends to be rainy but surprisingly, in the middle of April, it was just perfect.

So what should one do when the weather is so good and the city offers nice food and beaches? Go to a Debian conference, of course! 😀

After having convinced my girlfriend that this wasn’t the last sunny weekend this year, I attended DudesConf, which Igalia sponsored together with other organizations. The “Dudes” here stands for something like Spanish Debian Users and Developers.
It remembered me of when I started attending conferences in Spain (mainly in Extremadura) and also the conferences I organized while part of NEEI (Computer Science Students Organization of the University of Évora) for this was an informal event with a really relaxed environment. I could meet people, hack a bit on SeriesFinale and attend some presentations.
The presentation I liked most was given by the Igalian Berto where he presented myths and facts of Emacs, together with some demos. I thank all the members of the staff for organizing such a nice event.

Here is a picture of the participants of DudesConf:

Later, I skipped the event’s lunch and headed for the beach with Helena. This was the first time we went to the beach, summer style (we had walked in it but all dressed up for the cold). We even got sunburnt…
And this is the picture I get just by walking down the street from my home for 3 minutes, heading to the beach, it makes me feel a lucky man:


Vacations Finished

Today is my last day of vacations. Two weeks ago I went to Portugal, in the pleasant company of my girlfriend, to visit family and friends. I arrived at dinner time on Saturday, had a quite dinner and although I was really tired I still managed to be until 5 AM finishing a paint I wanted for so long give to my cousin. The following day we had a nice supa-lunch with my family, a good beginning for the busy week that would follow. On Monday and Tuesday we were in Évora to meet with some good friends and my crazy brother. The rest of the week was spent in Lagos, the home town of my girlfriend and a land with some of the best beaches in Portugal.

In the middle of this past week we returned to Coruña as we had stuff to take care of but yesterday we went with our friends Victor, Edu and his wife Silvia to the “Festival de Pardiñas”, a very Galician folk music that started 30 years ago. We were supposed to spend the night in the camp but it had been raining a lot and the humidity and mud convinced us it was better to take the invitation of Silvia’s friend Fernando and sleep at his home which was 10 minutes from there.
The music was nice, we were late for the first band and tired for the last one but we could watch the great performances of “La Belle Image Fanfare” (France) and “Hedningarna” (Sweden). Although I think everyone of my party liked the French folks much more, I really enjoyed “Hedningarna”! Some of its songs reminded me of some metal bands I like from Scandinavia and I think it makes sense…

Now, back at home, I upgraded my WordPress successfully and will watch a movie and relex a bit so I’m all set for tomorrow’s work.

Igalia Spring Summit

This last weekend was Igalia Spring Summit, my first Igalia summit!

What’s an Igalia summit? It’s a full weekend event where Igalians go to some place out of our cities (Pontevedra and A Coruña)  to hangout with each other and have fun together.

For this summit the main schedule was traditional games on Saturday and going to the thermal waters on Sunday. Of course, among these, there were some presentations and lots of hanging out with fellow Igalians.
In what comes to traditional games, I was almost epically won the egg-on-spoon race but Berto had been training every morning from 5 to 8 PM the last couple of years and ended up winning…
However, I was pronounced SIAUChWiT (Super Impressively, Amazingly and Undoubtedly Champion of Wii Tenis) together with Iago for our continuous victories until 6:15 AM, when we deliberately (of course) lost so our fans would lets us go sleep 🙂

What I liked most was the chance to talk and get to know better some of my colleagues, laugh with them and have the never ending Galician vs Portuguese vs Castilian discussion (… of course the sauna was great as well)!

Everybody seemed to be having a blast, it wasn’t the fake and lame HR activities that some big corporations sometimes do.
The result, for most people I guess, was a really fun time, lack of sleep and a hard Monday but with smile on the face.

Igalia is so unique in many ways!
Thank you to the people who organized this great weekend!