The Fall

The fountain at the Water Garden in Parque das Nações

For the sake of entertainment

I don’t watch much TV, but when I do, I tend to go about things systematically, which in turn (given my lack of copious amounts of free time) means I am very picky about what I watch.

Being a fan of traditional history arcs, I’ve given Game of Thrones a wide berth (largely because I have this thing about characters outlasting the ice in my tea) and have been catching up on Elementary (which seems to be mostly OK), lining up my Doctors and dosing myself with Dark Matter until The Expanse comes back on.

This has allowed me to fill quite a few of those late night moments when you’re trying to wind down from work but are still bristling with impatience, but it also made me realize that, even as I prepare for my yearly zero-internet reading binge, the nature of the entertainment I seek has been changing of late.

Most notably, I’ve let most of my side projects languish – which is something I need to fix as soon as possible. Looking back, most of the non-work related coding I’ve been doing turns out to be… work related, either because I am not happy with the default approaches to do something and try to fix them for myself or because I come across some hitherto irrelevant piece of technology that I need to master in some way and I end up doing a little skeleton project to figure it out and make it mine.

There are three main things that contribute to this, in increasing order of annoyance:

  • The Mac mini has recently gone past its 1000th day without updates, and I am still typing this on my 7-year-old Mid-2010 mini simply because most of my monitors are plugged into it and there is no alternative that is at least as silent and works as smoothly with all my Bluetooth devices.
  • However much I like building stuff for myself with zero issues on a Mac or Linux, working on Azure solutions for “normal” customers almost invariably involves using Windows and Windows tooling, so I’ve been spending more and more time there and going to and fro is an annoyance (even with the Linux subsystem).
  • The constant context switches from engagement to engagement make it absolutely impossible to do anything else (besides work) with the amount of depth and commitment I’ve been used to in the past, including (ironically) do more research on the data & AI stuff that I need to excel at to do my job properly.

I’m usually pegged as having high standards, so it’s easy enough to understand that this isn’t sitting well with me at the moment – the hard thing is figuring out what my next step is going to be, so I might as well fold that into this summer’s entertainment.

For starters, I’m going to start learning something new.


A view from the walkway near the Público office

So You’re Going To Manage a Data Science Team

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Pivot tables on fire off a dashboard. R scripts glittering in the dark near the Hadoop cluster.


A Quiet Day At The Office

Early morning soon after FY close


Daybreak at Oriente train station, departing for Oporto

Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell FaaS

I’ve been fighting against my usual reticence towards using NodeJS by exploring the intersection between “serverless” (you might remember this post on that topic) and my legendary lack of time. Since most of the emerging indie FaaS runtimes don’t support Python or Go in a relatively painless way, I grudgingly started bringing myself up-to-date on server-side JavaScript and working through the various idioms, and have achieved an uneasy peace with ECMAScript 7 (which, alas, I can’t really use with many libraries yet).


A Brief Respite

Taken with Obscura

The Red Dress

Praça do Comércio, Lisbon

Summer Heat

Summer has arrived in earnest (it’s 44C outside), and with it a certain detachment from having sleek, powerful (and warm) computers nestled on one’s lap for extended periods of time, and a renewed interest in using smaller, less imposing machines for photography and other forms of entertainment. That has been taking place mostly outdoors, thanks to the past week’s string of bank holidays (a local peculiarity that effectively puts the entire country on hold a few weeks before Summer break, in a sort of warm-up for doing nothing of any real consequence during August).