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!

Killer Climate

This past weekend a big wildfire in the center of Portugal (Pedrógão Grande area) killed 62 people, left the same number of people injured, and around 150 families lost their homes.
Every year the country has a number of wildfires, many of them caused directly by people. However, according to the Portuguese authorities this fire has been caused by a lightening together with the record high temperatures.

One thing that caused a big impression on me is that the majority of the dead were not people that had their homes surrounded by the forest but they were just drivers who were caught by the fire while on the road. So something like this can happen to anyone, not only to the people who lived in the affected areas.

The firefighters have been tireless and are still trying to control a big fire that spawned from the one in Pedrógão Grande. While Spain, France, and Italy have deployed more resources to help fight the fire, the majority of the Portuguese firefighters are actually volunteers who risk their lives every year.
The 150 families who lost their homes come from a rural area and many lost not only their homes but also their cattle and, needless to say, will struggle to start over. So they could use everyone’s help.

There is a number of local initiatives to bring food and supplies to the area, and also a couple of bank accounts set up for donations. You can find the details for those in this Público’s article. Google Translator should be good enough if you don’t speak Portuguese. As a reference, I have donated to the account in the Caixa Geral de Depósitos bank that is listed in the article.

Surely many things will be said about the fire, that the forests could have been properly cleaned (in order to better contain the fire), that the roads could have been closed sooner (saving anyone from getting trapped), that it was “just” a tragedy. However, when every year the news talk about higher temperature records, it’s not crazy to think that Global Warming contributed to these deadly conditions. So when a man says he’s for Pittsburgh, not Paris, that’s not only a stupid argument and stance, it may also very well be a deadly one.

First presentation of Skeltrack

I spent the first half of this week in the beautiful city of Évora, where I was born. The occasion was the Semana da Ciência e Técnologia (Science and Technology Week) of the University of Évora to which I was invited.
I also ended up giving the organization a hand by asking Thomas Perl (the restless mind behind gPodder) and Lucas Rocha (well known GNOME developer now using his powers in Mozilla) who kindly accepted.

Having participated in the organization of events during the University, I’m always happy to see these initiatives taking place.
It was also great to spend a couple of days with the folks at my University and meet with old friends.

About the talks, Thomas gave an overview of gPodder and the infrastructure used to manage the project. Lucas gave a really nice talk about what Mozilla is, what it does and why you should care; because of it, I ended up installing Firefox Mobile nightly build for Android and it has improved a LOT.
My friend Luís Rodrigues (no blog because he’s a badass) talked about CERN, where he works. What an amazing place! He talked about how much CERN uses Python and Django to manage their data. As a Python lover, this makes me really happy.

This was also the first time I presented Skeltrack, my latest creation inside Igalia. Presenting such an algorithm is not an easy job so I took mental notes about what to improve the next time (which will be at LinuxTag) but I was happy that people made good questions about it.

I’d like to thank to the AAUE (Students Association) for the great time we all spent in there.

Presentation slides :