New Orleans

Back in March my team had a meetup in New Orleans. Like always, we had very intense five days of work, inspiring discussions and wonderful meals. New Orleans is somewhere that I always wanted to go since it’s so frequent to see it in tv and movies.

We stayed in a very nice hotel in the French Quarter, which turned out to be an excellent choice since we were close to everything: nice restaurants, the live street music at Jackson Square, the Mississippi, and of course Bourbon street was right around the corner.

I decided not to take my camera which wasn’t such a great decision, New Orleans is a very photogenic city that deserved a lot more than an iPhone lens. Maybe next time!


I always had interest in visiting Macau, some friends lived there and my interest was fuelled by their stories of growing up in this culture clash. I took a ferry from Hong Kong that took about one hour. It was a pleasant journey even though I’m not good on boats. Macau has a different feel from Hong Kong, it’s not as dense but it feels a bit more disorganised.

The mix of old Portuguese colonial architecture and the hap-hazardish contemporary architecture is nothing but jarring, which makes Macau unique but off-putting at times.  Most streets still maintain their Portuguese names but they are no longer used by the locals which makes things interesting when you’re trying to get somewhere.

Dinning in Macau was a challenging but rewarding experience. English is widely spoken in touristic areas but in restaurants not so much. Most tourists in Macau come from mainland China which means most places are catered towards that crowd. It happened more than once to walk into a restaurant and sit whenever there was room and be handed a menu in Chinese. I still ate amazing things, even though the staff was never very friendly they always took care of us.

And then there’s the overwhelming mix of casinos and shopping malls. Casinos are not my cup of tea but I had to check it out. The atmosphere was heavy, stressful and not very welcoming and I couldn’t wait to get out, but I did do some shopping, it’s kind of impossible not to in places like that.


Hong Kong

Back in August I started another summer trip around Southeast Asia (mostly Indonesia) but actually began the trip by spending two days in Hong Kong, which was on my top places to go for a long time.

We stayed in a small room in Kowloon, the peninsula to the north of Hong Kong that is a riddled with neon and window shoppers. The streets are packed with people, even at night, and this is where you find the most interesting shops and places to eat.

I love most Asian food and Hong Kong delivers on the highest note. Most restaurants are very laid back and you can sit whenever there’s room. You pick your food from a menu with check boxes and the food (and the bill) arrives quickly after that. Dim sum was to die for and I ate it all the time, even though it’s considered breakfast food.

From Kowloon you get a great view in to Hong Kong and every night there’s a light show, called the Symphony of Lights, that I found a bit underwhelming.  The view was great though.

On the next day we ventured on to the very organised and efficient Mass Transit Railway and then took a ferry in to the Honk Kong island. Like in Kowloon there’s a lot of shopping to do, but this side of Hong Kong it’s all about the skyscrapers, malls with upscale brands and expensive restaurants. We did find a place with traditional Cantonese cuisine that was packed with business people and had a very interesting meal.

After wandering around for a while we went up to the highest point, very originally called the Peak, to take a glimpse of the city landscape. It is quite the view.

On the end of trip we flew back into Hong Kong and I had the chance to take a few window photos. Hong Kong is nothing but impressive.

Handoff is driving me nuts

I love ubiquity in web products. I dream of a future where anything from books, photos, websites, movies, music are at the reach of our thumbs in any device. A world of non-existing physical hard-drives, a world where we don’t have to worry about backing up content in a myriad of different services. We are starting to get there with cloud services and content streaming, and recently handoff by Apple, but we are not quite there yet.

Using iMessage has been a pleasure since day one, having the ability to answer text messages in any (Apple) device  is quite convenient, and now even SMSs come through to all devices. It’s a bliss!

The continuity feature in Safari is also something I’m quite pleased with. Just today I was looking for a recipe on my laptop and once I found it I picked up my iPad and headed to kitchen to make it happen. I can’t wait for other app developers to implement this.

Now handoff in incoming voice calls is a completely different story and I’m amazed how unpolished it is. This is my problem: when someone calls me all my devices start ringing at once. It’s quite convenient to be able to take the call in the device that is closest, but if I silence the call in one device the others just keep on ringing until the caller gives up or the call goes to voice mail. Now, I’m not someone who gets a lot of calls in a day, but I get enough for it to really start getting on my nerves. If an undesired call isn’t bad enough, having to listen to two or devices ringing at once makes it even worse.
Right now Apple only allows you to enable or disable handoff, there’s nothing else you can do with it:

There’s a lot that can be done here, choosing which features you want to enable seems like no brainer to start.
There’s a bunch of things I would like to see in the future, here are a few:

  • Unlocking your Mac/iPad by proximity to the iPhone
  • Seamlessly transfer playing music/movies from one device to the other
  • Keeping context between devices by bringing the last app used on one device to the next, if applicable

I know that one day everything will transition seamlessly between devices, or even better, there will be no devices, just screens that follow us around. One step at a time.


On my very first Automattic meetup I went to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico for a few days to meet my team, get some projects going and indulge on some delicious food and margaritas!
We stayed at a house in Pedrigal that had a bunch of rooms across three levels, a great living/dinning/kitchen area, a play room and pool that we used extensively.

We took a cruise on a pirate ship (harrr!) that sailed around Cabo so we could enjoy the amazing sunset and a very exquisite pirate show.

During the day we worked and ate at the house in Pedrigal, but at night we hit downtown for some margaritas and delicious Mexican cuisine.

We also went zip linning on Wild Canyon on what looked like the longest and scariest zip lines ever. My heart was pounding on the first one, but by the second zip line I was flying through it! Too bad I have no pictures of it, but I will definitely remember this for a long time.

The week went flying by and I had a great experience in Mexico. Can’t wait for the next meetup!


It was only when I got to college that I realised I needed glasses. We had classes in huge auditoriums and I enjoyed sitting in the back rows with the other cool kids. It was also the best spot for getting a quick shut eye without getting noticed. I started noticing that I was the only one having a hard time figuring out what the professor was writting on the chalkboard. I dreaded the idea of wearing glasses but eventually caved in and went to eye doctor.

In the first two years I only wore glasses in class but as time went by and the hours in front of the screen almost equalled the time I was awake my eyesight starting getting worse and I eventually needed aid to look at screen too.

When I began taking driving lessons the glasses would be in my face, specially at nightime, but the second I got out of the car the glasses would be put away.

My eyesight kept getting worse and by graduation I wore glasses the whole time.

I always hated wearing glasses, they got dirty, broke, in the summer I had to change between shaded and regular lenses. It was a pain. I never got used to them.

One time I tried contact lenses, my sister had been wearing them for a few years and was quite happy, so it sounded like a good idea. I had to go trough a tryout period to find out what type of lenses were more comfortable. The result was none. I remember one day I was having dinner with some friends and the lenses had been on my eyes for almost the whole day. Even with eye drops I felt like I wanted to pull the eyes out of my sockets. It wasn’t painful but rather uncomfortable. No matter how I tried I just couldn’t go over the fact that something was stuck on my eyes and I could feel it! It wasn’t for me so I just gave up.

Fast forward a few years: a friend at work showed up not wearing glasses. That’s not a thing that goes unnoticed. So he and his wife had both gotten laser eye surgery. It sounded scary but pretty straight forward so I decided to look into it. If you’re thinking about doing it don’t look for videos on youtube! Seriously, it doesn’t help! Some people think it’s crazy to put yourself through a procedure like that, but science has advanced a lot. Not only it is completely safe as it is quite effective.

So after some pretty thorough examinations I always eligible to do the surgery. The procedure (LASIK) consists in three steps: flap creation, laser remodelling and flap repositioning. Without going into a lot of details I’ll just say that the first step is the hardest one. Having a laser shot into your eyes is a piece of cake, the rest… not so much. None of the steps involve pain, but you need to be very calm. It’s not for everyone… having people messing with your eyes is pretty nerve racking. I wish I had taken double the calming pills I was advised to. But it went fine and according to plan. People where coming in and out at a pretty fast rate which means the doctors had a well oiled machine in the procedure.

The day following the procedure was pretty bad. I knew it took a few days for my eyesight to become normal, but my left eye seemed to be much worse that my right from which I could see pretty well. On the same day I had my post-op consultation. I turns out I was placed a contact lens to keep the flap steady. Once the doctor removed it my left eye was clear. Phew… everything was fine.

The following days are where not so good either, it didn’t hurt per se, but my eyesight was very blurry, bright lights produced halos and I was supposed to apply eyedrops at very small time intervals. I think the drops caused some migraines during the first week or so. The doctor told me I could go to work after one day of rest, but I advise anyone who goes through to the same procedure to stay at home at least two days. Looking at LCD screens is particularly difficult in the first weeks.

During the first week I couldn’t touch or get my eyes wet which was a bit challenging. Also on the first month I had to apply eyedrops at regular intervals (every hour in my case, but I’ve seen other people doing it for less time) and had to wear sunglasses outside. It didn’t matter the time, it was to protect any kind of debris from entering the eyes as you are absolutely forbidden to rub them. So I thought I looked like a douche.. and stayed home most of that time.

After a few days my vision started going back to normal. Normal as in no blurryness, but it was a new sharp world! It took some time for the light halos to go away, some people say some say about 6 months, I’m not really sure how long it took for me, but driving at night was a little weird at the beginning.

So now two years later after I did it I look back and would definitely do it again without thinking too much about it. I’ve had my eyes checked one year after the surgery and they where fine. This year I expect the same results.
Financially it’s not cheap but if you renew lenses every two years or so you’re probably spending more money anyway. If you have insurance that covers the expenses just go for it!

I don’t even remember wearing glasses anymore, if it wasn’t for the casual blast from the past from photos and such. I’ve enjoyed this “freedom” for the last two years and I’m glad I did it.


Lately I’ve been trying to create new habits, it’s one of my new years resolutions. I’m going for simple things like going to bed at decent hours and waking up early, exercising regularly (I’ve been slaking of), reading at least a book a month, trying a new restaurant every other week and writing. These are things that are transferred for my list of resolutions from one year to the next.

The amazing thing is that the resolutions that sound harder to achieve are the ones I eventually fulfill. I always include things like traveling, losing weight and embracing some kind of whacky project. For the last few years those are the ones I get done which leads me to think I should go for things that sound completely oblivious!

Back to the simple stuff: habits. One thing I always tried to do when embracing new habits was to set blocks of time for specific activities. To try to keep on track I set alarms to stop doing one task and jumping to the next. This was where trouble started. I came to realize that I hate a forced routine. If my days are too structured I start feeling like a robot and motivation is quickly killed off. I quickly abandoned this modus operandi. I need some kind of randomness in my day, having a scheduled routine stresses me out, having to do something at a specific time makes me nervous and later guilty for not following the plan. I quickly abandoned the scheduling and moved into a looser plan based on task lists.

I’m kind of task list freak, everything is a task list for me, stuff to do, music to listen, movies to watch, downloads, books to read, things to buy. A few years ago I happily embraced the idea that our brain is the worst place to store information, so I started dumping everything in to a GTD app. So besides the usual tasks lists I had a “Things to do at home” list which consisted of repeating tasks. Basically it was the same thing as having a calendar with the aggravating factor of each task being marked and done/not done. After a few days there were dozens of tasks to conclude and I felt trapped inside a task management software.
It was even worse than the calendar. So nothing seemed to work really.

By this time I found out about Lift. The concept is not really different from a task list really: you sign up for a few “habits” you want to embrace and can set up reminders to when those actions must be accomplished. The cool thing is you get some moral boosts to get motivated: “You’re riding a 10 day streak in Read 20 pages of a book”. Who wants to break that? Some of the habits have how-tos to help you out and users can give/receive props from other people on the achievements.
Apart from this I keep an “offline” list of things to do around the house: cleaning one room, laundry, watering the plants, etc… I post this list on my kitchen wall and every day I try to check one or more items as long as it doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to conclude. As new week starts I just trash the old sheet and start a new one.

So this became my system: a GTD app for things I need to do at the computer/work (I use Wunderlist), Lift for creating habits and an offline list for the things around the house.
It’s not perfect but it works for me and last year it help me to achieve goals like losing a ton of weight and eating better, learning new skills (I’m a fan of Coursera), making time for my own projects instead of fumbling around useless content on social networks.
So let’s see how this year goes, I started the year by slaking off, but now I’m determined to achieve my plan and adopt new habits.

Best of 2013

Either I’m getting old and too choosy or this year wasn’t that great music-wise.
Looking back at what I’ve heard this year there are a bunch of good records, but most are part of this list, I didn’t leave much out of it, and even these hardly qualify as “classics”.
Either way, here is my list of favourite albums released in 2013:

  1. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
  2. James Blake – Overgrown
  3. Sigur Rós – Kveikur
  4. Disclosure – Settle
  5. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
  6. Woodkid – The Golden Age
  7. Jai Paul – Jai Paul
  8. Savages – Silence Yourself
  9. Kavinsky – OutRun
  10. Foals – Holy Fire

I also put a playlist of my favourite songs for the year on Spotify.

WordCamp Porto

This WordCamp was different for me in many ways: it was the first WordCamp I attended outside of my city and it was the first time I was an actual attendant and not part of the organization.

Besides all the good bits you get from the talks, the social aspect of WordCamps is what I’m always looking forward to. Seeing old friends and making new ones, talking with people for other corners of the world, sharing experiences and battles. To me that’s the real value.

The program had a good mix of technical and non-technical talks. To me this WordCamp was all about these two girls:


Ana Aires:

Ana talked about how to deal with difficult clients and how to go from  battles to working together as a team, creating value and projecting a path to allow a growing and meaningful relationship that might translate into an on-going business partnership, instead of a one project kind of deal.


Siobhan McKeown:

Most WordPress aficionados know the origins of the software, Siobhan goes a little deeper into the details, telling the story of how this wonderful software that we all love came to life. Using that as a pretext, the point was that if you have something that bugs you you should try to find a solution for it. Or in Siobhan words: scratch that itch, don’t wait for other people to come and scratch it for you.


Unfortunately I did not have the chance of eating a francesinha this time (other delicious things were eaten instead), so I might have to return soon to correct that mistake!