Ramblings Of a Madman

Yeah, like i would know a good description…

Posts for Tag: exploration

Self physiotherapy

This is what my evenings look like now: moving my arm slowly, trying to recover wrist movement. It's unbelievable what one month of no mobility will do to your tendons and muscles. Hopefully next week I can start proper (professional) physiotherapy and do it faster.

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Trekking goodness

Trekking, what a great way to spend time with friends, enjoy the wilderness, and exercise, all at the same time. I just came back from the hardest one so far. It was 2 days of very real mountain climbing (we managed to move about 1.1km vertically, for a grand total of 30km on the entire trip). Suffice to say I was exhausted when it ended and that yesterday's dinner was the best meal of my life :)

I'm in the process of uploading the video of the trip and will share it as the conversion process finishes on vimeo.com.

Peace all ;)

Observations on vehicle traffic in India

I'll keep this one short. I am currently visiting Bangalore - in the context of a business trip - and these are my observations/thoughts about the traffic in the streets here :)

Most trucks don't have tail lights. I mean, who needs to see trucks in the highway anyways? :) There are trucks parked in the highway. On a lane. Not kidding! There are cars going in reverse in the middle of the road (also saw it once in a highway) Some people bike their way *against* the traffic flow (on the highway as well)! Lane marks are basically useless. If you have 3 lanes, you will probably have 5 cars side by side :) Using the horn is a form of communication. Seems to be analogous to the Sonar systems in the submarines. During the night lights are also used intensively for this purpose :) Roads have close to no illumination, which makes it much easier to run people over. You know, the ones that are crossing the highway on foot. Drivers will pass you wherever there is space open. Left, right, middle, doesn't really matter. Use the sonar :) There are signs saying "Please respect the traffic rules", hehe :) You can spot the occasional tractor in the highway. Most people don't speak a lot of English, but they all drive like Nigel Mansell or Damon Hill:)

Going on a road trip

For the past few years i've been playing around with the idea of going on a road trip but was never able to get anyone else on board. After people start working it becomes very hard to organize common vacations amongst friends, so it just never happened. Last month i decided that i *have* to go on a road trip, even if i have to go alone. At some point the idea started slowly to become an "into the wild" kind of thing and it became clear that going solo will be a much richer experience. Not that i don't like company, on the contrary, but i will have complete freedom to go wherever i feel like going :)

And so it is. This Saturday i'll get some stuff in my car and take off, with only a rough idea of where i want to go. My plan is to visit the most isolated places in my beautiful country (Portugal) - something that i have been wanting to do for ages - and take a gazillion pictures to show off this awesome corner of Europe to anyone that wants to visit it.

Later i'll post a list of things i'm taking with me (yep, there's some thought to that, i'm not going Rambo on this one :)), maybe it can help other fellow adventurers :)

Here's the rough plan, (very) subject to change:

Isn't music very similar?

One thing that both annoys and amazes me is the limited number of chord combinations in most songs. It's extremely frequent to hear a musical composition and get that feeling that you heard it before. And we are probably right most of the times.

In the last AC/DC album there is a song entitled "Big Jack". As soon as i heard it i immediately recalled another song by a very polemic Portuguese singer from the the 80s: António Variações (look up his songs, they were pretty innovative back then, actually).

I still trying to think why i am writing this but guess that i can't help wondering, first, why aren't there any more musical notes (i guess i should look that up) and, second, why most bands don't explore more and keep falling to the same chord combinations all the time. The easy explanation is the amount of money that you can make with little work on a catchy pop song, but i feel sad if that's the only one.

5000 km road trip to Holland

I have to say i felt completely exhausted. Humans were just not meant to spend 22 straight hours inside a car, much less sleep in one.

In any case, i really needed to get my stuff out of the Netherlands and the alternatives were more expensive so it had to be done. Here's roughly how it went:

The cool thing was that we ended up going through Roosendaal, which contains a nice wind tunnel. Here's my performance, if you can call it that :)

Almost time to return

With less than 20 days until my return to the country where the sun does shine (Portugal), i can't help but thinking more and more about these 3 years in Holland. With that in mind, i decided to write a really long post on my experiences here in the Netherlands during this time. For the time that i have left i will be gathering thoughts and ideas on what to write but you can bet it will potentially offend a lot of people.

In the meantime i want to express my sympathy towards Fanta lovers. I feel your pain when it comes to Fanta Lemon :)

Stay tuned.

Remote software developers

I recently found myself wondering about what would be the reasons why most IT companies don't like the idea of having its employees working remotely.

From the top of my head, and playing a devil's advocate role, I can come up with:

Working remotely gives you an excuse not to work; You are more easily distracted; I cannot just go to your desk and discuss something with you; I cannot control what you do.

I'm probably missing some, so feel free to comment on that and I will add them.

Let's try to dissect all of those, one by one:

Working remotely gives you an excuse not to work. Fair enough. You are not present and - as such - can do whatever the hell you want. But you cannot not work. At least if you want to keep your job, that is. The main problem here - I believe - is just a matter of perception. You can keep track of someone's work just as easily remotely or on the same building. IT people have it especially easy, since their deliverables are typically in the form of source code (it's pretty easy to track changes). You are more easily distracted. A fairly good point. I'm not going to say it's not true, especially if you work at home. Your daily life can easily get in the way and it will take an extra amount of effort to keep them separated. But that is not to say that it cannot be done. Moreover, you will eventually find that the person will feel more motivated, even enough to put in more time and/or work outside work hours. I can't just go to your desk and discuss something with you. This is a no brainer. Ever heard of Skype? MSN? Google Talk? Email? What about Google Wave? Need I say more? I cannot control what you do. Again, see point number 1. In software development you can. It's pretty easy to keep track of what people are doing, especially if you use agile methodologies (like Scrum) in your daily activities. Get people to meet everyday in a room with Skype and do rounds talking about what was done the day before and what the plan for the day is. It does not get any easier than that, keeping track of people's work.

So my question is: How come more IT companies are not doing this? It reduces their electricity bills, their water bills, the amount of money spent on office supplies, etc. I could go on, but you get my point.

Mars produces Methane, and so do I

Turns out that the methane that was found on Mars is not a product of meteor strikes, scientists have found, which means Mars actually produces methane.

My question is: Where are the green aliens that fart all day to produce it?

NOTE: After careful investigation, I found the following: "According to Dr. James L. A. Roth, the author of Gastrointestinal Gas (Ch. 17 in Gastroenterology, v. 4, 1976) most people (2/3 of adults) pass farts that contain no methane. If both parents are methane producers, their children have a 95% chance of being producers as well.". Go figure.

Space elevator tryouts

It turns out the space elevator technology is really progressing. This week three teams will be in the Mojave desert to try out their designs. The objective is to make a robotic machine climb up a cable, that is attached to an helicopter 1km above the ground, using laser beams.

The concept of the space elevator has been theorized in the 1960s but only now we are starting to see some progress in that direction.

Checkout the full article, here. You can get more information about the space elevator in the Spaceward foundation's website. To know more about the space elevator competition, visit this.