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Filed under: Belgium,Conference,GNOME,GStreamer,Life,Spain — Thomas @ 11:59 am

2008-6-24
11:59 am

Looks like I caught part of the flu my Barcelonan flat mate was having. It started – as these things usually do – on Friday evening. My psyche knows when it’s the weekend and when I want to relax, and schedules diseases breaking out accordingly. I’d feel guilty about getting ill on working days, I’m sure.

We had a BBQ planned on Sunday with our old sport club – our yearly meeting. A simple flu wouldn’t stop me from having it, even though we took over organizing it from the original instigator (and used Doodle to do so – do yourself a favor and use it every time you’re planning something with friends to avoid fifteen thousand mails going “I can’t on that date, how about that date” – I wish I had thought of that site)

BBQ was excellent, save for the fact that the ten-year-old-but-still-in-a-box-deluxe-barbecook was missing a whole bag of nuts and bolts. Peter to the rescue by going to the hardware store and getting some basics to at least allow us to have the BBQ itself working. And affected as I was by the flu apparently I didn’t bring home charcoal but vineyard branches – not a good fit for the barbecook.

But all was well after a short wait and the meat was excellent, as was the company. And we even got some sports done.

Today being San Joan in Barcelona – my least favourite holiday, 6 year old kids running around at night shooting off fireworks without regards for their own or my life – I decided to stay home this week. I’m happy I decided to stay here because it’s no fun travelling while ill. This also allows me to focus on setting up our new virtualized development platform at work, because we’re working on a near-seamless migration from our old platform code to the new version. Flipping the big red switch just isn’t a responsible way of migrating customers anymore.

Kristien took advantage of me staying to work from home this week and went out yesterday to get a new kitten. His name’s Tonie (staying with the cat meme we started with Lunya), he’s mostly black but with white paws, a white jaw, and a bit of white across his face. As far as kittens go, this is one of the more active I’ve seen – up and about and trying to break free from his temporary “get-used-to-a-new-place” area in two hours. Usually a kitten takes about a day hiding behind some couch in a corner to adjust. Also, this kitten hardly made a peep while Kristien drove him home – an hour car ride and only six meows. Lunya would wail like a baby the whole drive.

Anyway, I’m sure you all know kittens are cute and heartbreaking. This one’s up and about and alternating between discovering this new place and resting on my lap.

In the end I’ve decided not to go to GUADEC this year, and go to Europython instead. It’s not really a very calculated or well-thought out decision – I was hung up on deciding ever since I realized they were on at the same time. I probably would have booked for both months ago if they had been separate.

It’s not that I don’t want to go to Istanbul – I do, but holy shit, is it expensive – and it’s not that I don’t want to see all my GNOME friends again. I’m interested in the debate our dear rabble rouser has started, though I doubt people will get anywhere on that.

Maybe it’s simply fatigue – I have to agree with some people that there isn’t that much variety compared to other years looking at the schedule. Possibly it’s also the fact that I haven’t contributed much of anything at all to GNOME over the last year. I’m sure that’s largely due to my focus having changed a lot. My involvement in GStreamer as well has waned over the last year, for various reasons I’ll save for a possible other post.

Europython was fun last year, it’s nice to see a different community interact once in a while. Breaks the entrenchment one gets into. It’s also more work-related – we’re looking for people with Python skills, so it makes more sense to go to Europython.

In the end, it wasn’t a single thing that made me decide, it’s really just a flip of a coin decision, and I’m sure I’ll regret it somewhere down the line. Chosing is losing.

So, with my birthday coming up (and now having decided to have it in Vilnius) I’ve cleaned up my Amazon wish lists and ordered myself some goodies off of it already. Which leads me to wonder two things related to Amazon.

First of all, why does Amazon even *have* different frontend sites for different regions ? And why do these sites not interact in any way at all ? Every link on the web to an amazon item are always to the US version, so I always end up having a US wish list, though it is weird to order stuff from the US if it’s also available on any of their regional sites.

Which leads me to point two – how is it still possible that ordering the same stuff from the US just comes out huge chunks cheaper than ordering it from the .uk or .fr sites ? And that’s even when I choose priority air shipping. Shouldn’t it be a hell of a lot cheaper to ship from their European warehouses ? Is this just the weak dollar ? Should I delete my UK wish list entirely anyway (which I only started for DVD’s because of region coding and PAL vs NTSC) ?

Anyway, enough influenced posting for today. Time to do some non-work work.

Nerd Night

Filed under: Belgium,Hacking,Python,Spain — Thomas @ 4:58 pm

2008-5-23
4:58 pm

I remember when I moved to Barcelona I was planning to take the opportunity to bring out my inner nerd more. I was going to go find a LUG to join, meet up with fellow hackers in the local area, and do the things nerds do.

I also had this vague idea of getting people from work over to my place on a weekend and working together a whole day on a common project.

Well, the LUG idea didn’t pan out – I remember finding two LUGs around Barcelona, one being entirely Catalan and the other with less of a nationalist focus, but still pretty Catalan. I guess I was scared to join up with my nonexistent Catalan skills. I didn’t meet very many local hackers, though I recently started going to the Barcelona Python Meetup, and I still have to meet up with Pau whom I met on the subway.

The hacking weekends didn’t happen either – I don’t think people were as interested as I was to do so in the weekend, although I had a few succesful stints with Jan before he left for Ireland that I remember fondly. But mostly people were happy to go out and get drinks/food/partied.

So, I was happy when Peter proposed we organize Nerd Nights. The idea is we get together and do nerdy things. We used to do this automatically in the house we shared before I moved to Spain. But now the other guys need to find a way to get some me-time away from wife/girlfriend and kids, and this is the perfect activity in which we’re guaranteed to have the women not join in.

Tonight’s the first one. We have various things we want to work on, including noiseproofing PC’s, getting Linux on a really old laptop, teaching Jeroen how to bittorrent, Setting up the Tux Droid, setting up the scrolling marquee Peter and I have, using the Cue::Cat, designing a new DAD (Digital Audio Database), making a VGA-over-CAT-7 cable … The list goes on.

It’s not exactly like the Hacking weekends I wanted to do, since it’s not Linux- or hacking-oriented, but it’s still enough to keep my inner nerd happy for now :)

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