This is a great tool, thank you Joel! Basically you enter an address and Walk Score looks it up in Google map automatically collecting a list of interesting places you can reach on foot and finally computing a walkability score. How easy it is to move on foot in your neighborhood? Do you need a car? The place where I work got 80 out of 100 which is defined as “Very Walkable: It’s possible to get by without owning a car”. In fact I own a car by I never use it to go to work. I usually ride a bicycle and believe me, it’s great. I can’t stand the stress of traffic jams.
Yesterday I got my brand new Sony Vaio, a VGN-C2S. I’m very glad they gave me the silver version rather than the pink one! While I was still unpacking it, the guy who brought it started to say: don’t worry, we already removed Vista and installed XP Professional instead. I thought he was joking: Please??. Well, everybody knows Vista is broken so people don’t want it. But don’t worry, XP works flawlessly on this laptop.
So I began to configure it. Everything worked except Internet Explorer that couldn’t load any page, complaining about DNS problems. The fact is all other applications – including Outlook – worked and ping in a command window confirmed DNS configuration was OK. How can you call this flawless? And I wouldn’t care about IE, but of course without it I had no way to download Firefox or anything else!
Trust me, getting started a computer has never been so hard in my life.
After unsuccessfully twiddling several hours with all possible configurations including firewall and Internet preferences, reading articles on the web, and whatever came to my mind, I gave up and installed a Gentoo. Aaahh. I’m so relaxed now.
So I finally landed in Rio De Janeiro this morning. 27 degrees and cloudy, not bad for Christmas time. People here have cocoa trees decorated with xmas lights and Santa sledges near pools and girls in bikini. For lunch I have been to a place where you can pick any kind of meal and you pay by total weight, 29 reais (slightly more than 10 EUR) per kilo. They told us this place was expensive. After work we’ve been on the seaside drinking cocoa water directly from coconuts opened using a machete. Everybody told us we should be careful when walking or taking a bus in Rio. Meanwhile 18 where killed today. Our hotel is very nice, with all the comforts and view to Tijuca beach.
After nine hours night flight here I am back to Italy. Luckily enough the airplane was half empty and I’ve spent most of the night sleeping. I’ve been just a week in NYC and I’m a little sad already. Damn, I definitely like that place. People working in our local office are fun to deal with and, oh man! in SoHo you can see lots of gorgeous girls walking on the street all day long! I can’t stand it!
I learnt interesting new things about newyorkers. For example they love to keep in-house rooms very warm. I knew the winter is very cold there (and believe me, it’s the wind makes you lacrimate) so I brought heavy clothes, but at home or in office they proved way too heavy. I felt like in an oven: just a shirt was enough. When they feel the temperature is too high they don’t stop the heating system, they’d rather open the window or turn on some fan. Kyoto anyone? I also learnt new interesting idioms, such as it’s so whitebread (it’s boring) and heard through the grapevines (learnt from informal undisclosed contacts).
OK OK, time to return to my normal life
This is posted from a penthouse in 10th street. I’ve just landed today and will stay here for a little more than a week, for work. Our American offices moved from mid-town to SOHO, and the new location is very nice. Lots of oriental people walking down the streets, artist studios, a relaxed atmosphere. I’ve also been to the Apple Store. I’m not a fan of apples, but I must admit it’s been an impressing experience. Now I’m a bit tired, I woke up 24 hours ago! More infos and pictures in the next days, promised!
UPDATE: this is picture is what I see from the penthouse balcony, looking to east.
We moved our office to a new building. This is what we see from the window.
Several states in the world are going to change their clocks at the end of this month. Unfortunately they don’t do it all at the same time, nor they do the same thing. All of Europe is going to change clock one hour backwards at 01:00 UTC Oct 29th. USA change the same night, but each timezone on its own 02:00. Normally I am six hours from New York, and nine hours from Los Angeles. Starting at 2am Oct 29th CET and for the next six hours I’m gonna be only 5 hours from NY and 8 from LA. From 7am until 10am I’m going to be 6 hours from NY and 8 from LA. After 10am hour relative time difference wiil be the usual one.
China doesn’t have a daylight saving policy, so this is simple. Currently Beijing is 6 hours from Italy but will be 7 after we switch our clock. But much worse happens for countries in the other emisphere. For example Sydney is currently 8 hours away. They are going to switch their clock the same day Oct 29th, but their 2am will happen at 6pm of my Oct 28th and they’re going towards summer, so they will change their clocks one hour forward! Between 6pm and 2am we’re going to be 9 hours behind them, and after 2am we’re going to be 10 hours away! Same twist happens for Rio de Janeiro, but they will change clock on the first Sunday of November. And, by the way, not all of Brazil and Australia observe DST.
I wonder how people who developed the software used to book flights managed all of this mess. They deserve a medal.
Today has been my last day at work before vacation. The last day I always feel strange, completely exausted and worried to forget something that I had to tell my coworkers. The office was almost desert, with approx 75% absent employees, but still it’s been a productive day, with a new feature brought live and some bug fixed. At 6pm I activated my email auto-responder, greeted everybody and left. At this point I usually need 48 hours to enter the right mindset and fully enjoy the spare time. I look forward to leave for our trip.
Last night Daniele invited me and some more coworkers to have dinner at his family’s house. They live just outside Firenze, on the first hills of Impruneta. From their windows you can enjoy a breathtaking landscape over the valley. When you are there, in the middle of country and greenfields, it’s hard to believe that place is just 10 minutes from the city.
Upstairs we have a small server room and this morning one of the UPS up there started to produce a lot of stinky, dense, toxic smoke. Everybody immediatly evacuated the office. Me and a few others tried to cut the power supply but, you know, UPS systems exist precisely because they can operate (for some time) even without the power. Smoke wasn’t stopping so Max called the firemen. You know, better safe than sorry. He’s been careful to tell them there was no fire and not to worry and everything. None the less, they arrived in 2 minutes with 3 big vehicles, as in hollywood movies! Of course, the problem has been completely solved in 5 minutes but then our internet connectivity was still down, so we’ve basically spent the rest of the morning waiting for the situation to normalize.