Alpha's Manifesto

A black and white figure's thought-hive

Anecdote: Jaimitos

Life-juice, one slurp at a time

Sudden realization skunk

Back when I was in elementary school, and I might have been around 10 years old, I had a couple of friends with whom I would spend some time around school in-between classes. One of our favorite things to do in recesses, like any other child, was to go to a store and get some candy. We had a particular store crossing the street owned by this man that would make pretty much of his finances thanks to the school nearby, so he was really kind to all of us.

naranjuAround that time as well, one particular “candy” (if you can call it that) was popular. They were called Jaimitos (ha-ee-me-toh, translates to “little Jamies”? ugh), and they were basically frozen juices in a bag that you’d slurp out of it to get refreshed and drink some. I honestly can’t remember if that’s the real name, or that’s just how we would call them. The design was not particularly appealing: it was literally a plastic back that you’d puncture on one side and from there you’d suck the blood out of it. Since it was frozen, you could not get out all of it immediately, so you’d be entertained for a while.

This particular day I was buying some of those with a close friend I had. He had some spare money so he payed one of those for me. The store clerk gave them to him, and he handed one to me. I took it in my right hand, and even before he had finished paying, I was passing it to my left hand since it was freezing me down to the bone.

While we were walking away, I mentioned this as a random thought and a conversation starter.

“Doesn’t it freeze your hand?”, I asked.

“Yes, but I don’t care.”, he replied uninterested.

Silence invaded me, as I had this kind of life-changing epiphany. It never occurred to me that it was a choice for someone to not care about stuff. Could you just do that? This opened so many possibilities for me. So many things in the world that could worry me and I could just choose some of them and not care. Of course, I was a child at the moment, so this didn’t have great implications at the time, but the thought stuck around.

Decades later, it still invades me sometimes. Sometimes it is a temptation, to decide to neglect particular situations that affect me. Sometimes it is a self-inspecting doubt, whether I am ignoring the right situations and actively caring about the ones I should.

I did mention in a previous post how I consider really important to have knowledge management as something in your life. (If you can read Spanish, you can read that post, or if not, let me know so I’ll translate it.) But as a sidenote to that very same post, I think it is really important to decide what you’ll ignore, and what you’ll neglect. Both from a mental and emotional point of view. Make it a choice, and own up to it.

We know we have limited time and limited energy to deal with the world, so if we don’t take such decisions, they’ll be taken for us. And it turns out, it has always been our choice.

In a way, I’m drinking that Jaimito up to this day.

Software Security

MOOC by the University of Maryland

Fighting lock

Yes, I continue to go on courses. Now I just finished the Software Security course, from the University of Maryland.

As usual, let me give you a quick review of what it was about, what you need to get into it and what you can get out of it as well.

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ATPS: Angular, Protractor, Travis, SauceLabs

Quick guide to get these bad boys cooperating

Juggling with continuous integration

A few days ago I got the combination of Angular + Protractor + TravisCI + SauceLabs working together. There are a few quirks into making this work, but nowhere I found a comprehensive description to jump all the obstacles. Here I’ll describe what I did to get there.

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MOOC: Android Dev Part 1

That little green trash can


Yes, I continue to go on courses. Now I just finished the Android Development Part 1 (or “Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems: Part 1”), dictated by the University of Maryland.

As usual, let me give you a quick review of what it was about, what you need to get into it and what you can get out of it.

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My time tracker: Google Calendar

Boxes and colors, what's left to ask?

Calendar chain

Long time ago I wrote about a proposal from a StackExchange user about how to use Google Calendar for task planning across projects and activities. The idea seemed good, and after months of making it my bread and butter, I think I have perfected it to address most of the problems I had with my workflow in Trello. It’s  not the holy grail of productivity, but it has helped me a lot.

Let me explain it to you, because if you use Google Apps or GMail, you’re most likely to benefit from this.

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The First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid

Visual geometry and arithmetic

Six Books Of Elements Of Euclid (Pages)

The First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid is, as weird as it sounds, one book where Oliver Byrne has recreated the process of Euclid’s geometry and arithmetic into a visual representation that’s easy to grasp. It tries to reach a wider audience and make learning more accessible by getting over the complex part of recognizing visually what the demonstration procedures are — without changing them at all.

Un zorrinitoUn zorrinitoUn zorrinitoMedio zorrinitoReview-NoSkunk

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How TDD pays off

A success story from the side of the doubtful

Software engineers, amirite? They keep blabbing about this fancy-pantsy weird wibbly-wobbly stuff nobody understands and they just want to keep things complicated. They want to test things even before they are done and then develop the app. Are they insane? And it even takes more time, so it’s a waste of money.

Well, my little friend-that-does-not-adhere-to-software-methodologies, they are right on what they do. And it does pay off. Let me tell you why.

(In here also: an update on the mongo-faceted project.)

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Sleep time

Smart alarms

Many of you that know me also know that it has been forever a problem of mine to get to sleep properly. Not to sleep early. Not to wake up early. It’s about the quality of sleep. I’ve tried many things to address this problem, raging from hormones to witchcraft, but something seems to be making a difference: smart alarms.

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