Monday, October 19, 2009

Careful planning is boring

This is was the comment on the update done by a developer of the time zone data for my operating system. This is regarding the no-DST (daylight saving time) decided 48 hours before it was going to take place...

In my opinion as you may know from several of my posts, using DST in summer is very attractive, since days seem longer and one can enjoy more, specially during holidays. And there is an effective saving in electricity, not more than 2% (just do the math for a second, you cannot expect more), but it is something.

The opposition is based in mainly two points:

* "Argentina is already using DST all-year long". If you look at the time zone maps, it is true, compared to the rest of the region. This is something subjective. Looking at the very same map you'll find lots of countries with the same "inconsistent" policy (e.g., Spain, France, some portions of Russia). In the end, it each country decides what is best and sets in stone. For those using this excuse, DST should be undone in winter time. Just think for a second, at 5:30pm will be dark.

* "The human organism gets harmed because of the shocking change of ONE hour! Moreover, it is not acceptable to have long evening, getting dark at 11pm!" (they even use some irreproducible names for some biological cycles that I've never heard before). This is bullsh*t. Europe, USA, Mexico, and even Brazil use DST and as far as I know, people don't get some sort of mental shortage because of the time change. It's true, you feel weird for a few days, but after you get used to it that's it! You have to do things according to the clock, not just regretting the change of time.

Anyways, as I said, any country is free to decide upon the time zone, DST and all this. It'd be nice that at least in certain things we are consistent. It is not only about moving the time or not. Computer systems, airlines, all the world around us is expecting to have a logical policy in this kind of stuff, there shouldn't be much fuzz about.

Friday, August 21, 2009

It is hot! (well, it was)

I must post this image:

It's a temperature graph of The Netherlands, yesterday. It was a hot way with feels like temperatures of 37°C, a once in a long time experience (I had a similar experience a time ago).

As you may have noticed, I call 'experience' the occurrence of such events, so it must be understood that such weather conditions are extremely weird in here.

I must say that by today the weather is 'normal', it was a 'one-day experience'.

Image source:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pro photography, an initial attempt

Recently, I started being a bit more involved with the subject of professional photography. Even though I reckon that I'm very far to getting there, I have to ever start.

A few weeks ago we bought a new DSLR camera (aka big cameras looking like the professional ones) Nikon D5000 with a AF-S VR 18/105 lens. I must admit once more that I'm still getting to know all the meanings of all the abbreviations and what is their role when taking a picture...

So let me start with one of my first shots.

This picture was taken with the afore-mentioned beast, and post-processed with GIMP 2.6 on my desktop computer running Ubuntu. It was at a barbecue last weekend. Looks good, although it could have been better :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Back in blog

It has been a long time without a post. Excuses? Well, a lot: As most of you may know already, I'm writing up my thesis which is not at all an easy thing and consumes all my time. I (well, we I must say) have been traveling overseas and within Europe, and have a lot of things in the agenda. I hope I can update all of this in the blog...

And for all readers and people missing my posts, thanks a lot for comments received verbally as well as via emails, I don't promise anything but little by little I'll come back to it :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tears and more tears

Do you remember this post? A long away I described the issue of handling serious situations when I have to speak in English. At the moment, a just a little has changed, and most of the text in bold holds. I still have to deal with my double personality, the basic and stupid monkey who whispers some kind of English, and the almost buried original myself, who is degraded and becoming basic.

The reality is that I cannot settle down with the secondary language, but I don't have to give up, at some point I'll be successful, at least I have some hope. Just wanted to bring back such a nice post.

BTW, my excuses for the sloppy writing in all my previous posts. Even though I double check them before pressing the publish button, I can find misspellings, grammatical errors and non-sense expressions.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Shivery weather

It is true that in Romania, last Christmas, I experienced temperatures bordering the -20°C. It's difficult to explain what it feels like to go out and one of the sudden experience a drop in the temperature of at least 40°C. Imagine that someone is trying to pinch some needles on your forehead, and this is more or less what you feel.

Even though it seems like the end of the world to be at -20°C, is not. The body gets used to it quite fast. For me it was a matter of 4 or 5 days to get to the point where I felt comfortable in such conditions. There are other factors as well: the floor in a open sky location gets a layer of ice that sometimes may be deadly slippery, the cars become slays and if it snows you cannot watch up unless you wear a suitable cap.

Getting used to this cold is relative, as I was wearing underpants all the time. Only once I didn't and I regretted. It's like the needling sensation on throughout your legs! Never try to go without a cap or scarf, after a while you'll be regretting. But the body gets comfortable at some point, and you don't look scared.

Right after this cold training, the polar cold wave entered Western Europe. This meant some snow at the beginning which is fun somehow(1), but later the skies clear and the real fun starts. In Eindhoven, we got 4 days with temperatures hitting the -18°C mark. I thought I was used to it, after the Romania experience, and so bravely I decided to ride my bike and go to the university. What a suffering! The freaking cold enters every single minuscule pore of your clothing, feeling like hundreds of needles pushing in you!

I went back and forth to the u, and I'll never repeat the experience that cost me a contracted back. The following map illustrates how the temperature figures were one of the shivery days.

Source: Eindhoven is at the south with -14°C.

(1) Except if you have to drive a car with 15cm of fresh snow and drive 500m in 30'. We experience that :(

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Christmas break in Romania

Last Christmas were the most special ones ever, as I went to visit Iulia's paradise(1). We stay all days but one in Braşov, the first day in Bucureşti. At this opportunity I have the chance to meet her parents, with the seriousness that this implies. Also, I met her friends who were constantly asking for us, taking to different places, and enjoying with us our stay.

For me it was the chance to experience both a real winter and a real Christmas, like the ones we see in the movies, or in the Christmas postal we get during this time of the year. The temps were on average around -8°C, with peaks down to -20°C. I have to admit that at the beginning I was quite frightened with such a cold, but slowly I got used to it, wearing underpants, gloves and the unmissable scarf. We did some winter sports, like skiing(2) and going down the hill with slay.

I also tried everything from the Romanian cuisine, honors go to Iulia's mom who delighted us with very delicious dishes. Someone asked me to enumerate the things I don't like and there is only one: one kind of cheese that tastes as butter milk. The rest is excellent.

It's difficult to explain everything that happened in a few lines, it was a very nice time for us of joy and discovering for me. I leave a link to a photolog I made while I was in the trip. You'll have a chance to see a little bit by yourself.

(1) This is the name given to Braşov by Iulia.
(2) To be honest, I barely managed to get skies on and off, and turn around me. It's not as easy as it seems.