London, an Year and a Half Later

Given that nearly everything we hear, both here in the UK, and it appears everywhere else, is the stinking pile of burning rubbish that is Brexit, I thought I would bring at least a bit of positivity, by giving an update on my life in London, which I announced just shy of two years ago.

London has been a significant change of pace for me, both professionally (not always in a good way) and personally (almost all in a good way). I now live in a flat with my girlfriend, who’s the world to me. I have effectively stopped globetrotting, compared to Dublin — because I have so many things to do here, that were not available there. And I’m actually dedicating a forced 45 minutes a day to reading books (and another 45 are usually dedicated at reading the news), thanks to my higher-than-median commute.

As I said, the professional change of pace was not entirely positive. I ended up with a bad case of burnout between teams, and took two weeks of stress leave in February to “recenter myself”, which mostly involved me spending time on usbmon-tools, and a few kernel patches that (hopefully) I’ll be sending out this week. I am not entirely sure if this is due to a difference in the office environment, or in my own way to relate to the office itself. In Dublin I found there was more camaraderie, which might be caused by being a smaller office for my organisation, or the fact that so many of us lived in the same area that we spent a lot more time together outside of work too. As for myself, I find myself trying to put more explicit boundaries on how much I interact with my colleagues, even when I find them stimulating company.

On the personal level, the past two years (including the few months before the actual move) have been a roller-coaster ride, between the fear of change, my computer getting stolen, meeting my girlfriend, attending a number of concerts (not all, but most, metal), and getting photographed together with some of my most admired celebrities (I would put Simon Jones, John Lloyd, and Alexander Siddig as the top-three!)

And even when we didn’t go full-fan waiting over two hours to get a quick sketch of Spider-Man from John Romita, Jr, being able to go and see the Elves at No Such Thing as A Fish, or listen to Stephen Fry tell stories of ancient Greece all have had a very positive impact to my personal mental health.

And now that the rollercoaster is slowing down (and ending in a high note, at least on the personal side, ignoring Brexit), I think you may get more content from me. Because I have missed my blog tremendously, and migrating to WordPress was also a very good idea, as it allows me a lot more flexibility in writing.


Those knowing me from my blog for a long time will probably be .. amazed to know that I’m typing this while on an American Airlines flight over the USA … I left from Brussels with Luca directed to Los Angeles, but that’s a story for another day.

I’m happy I’ve been able to be at FOSDEM this year — and I hope I’ll be at the one next year sa well! I almost didn’t make it (or to be precise I almost decided to fly back to Venice ASAP) once my flight was diverted through Luxemburg, instead of landing to the Brussels National airport, due to weather conditions, but after a three hours bus ride, and a very welcome (although not really comforting) taxi ride with Luca and Josh, I was able to be at the beer event as well.

Funny tidbit: when I departed I took my hat with me, as I knew it was cold.. I got it just before the new year’s eve in “a new shop” that opened at the mall near me. Most of my friends and acquaintances found it funny and strange, so I was intending to use it as a way to be easily spotted … I did not consider that Celio (the “new shop”) is based in France, and seems to be well established in Belgium as well, even if it’s really just arrived in Italy… I have seen that most of the hats in Brussels, especially among the locals outside of FOSDEM, were not much different from it..

Honestly I haven’t been able to assist to many talks, although there was one I couldn’t miss, from the CentOS guys, about their efforts at applying continuous integration on the distribution; with my interest in the tinderbox it was natural for me to be interested in their method as well. While they didn’t solve the API/ABI compatibility checks in a more complete way than us, like I was hoping, they did give me an idea for the chance to implement a pkg_test() function, which would run post-installation tests, designed to be used only on tinderbox-like builds, and not user (nor developer) installs.

I was happy I finally met Fabio, Donnie, Sejo and the many other Gentoo developers (and ex-developers as well); I was also able to get back in touch with Jo (directhex) from the Mono team, and to greet famous developers like Charles from JRuby and Michael Meeks (now from LibreOffice), who was the one introducing me to the magnificient and scary work of ELF symbols’ collisions, and thus the main motivator (unbeknown to him!) for me to write Ruby-Elf together with the symbol collision script. And of course, I finally met the VLC developers, and I promised I’ll do my best to be in Paris at the next DevDays.

Unfortunately Hans couldn’t be there (and I hope to hear from him soon), so me and Petteri took over his talk — if you look up the video, please do not laugh too hard; I’m not used to speak in public and I think it was something like my third public talk in my whole life, and the first in English. Maybe I’ll prepare something more complete for next year, it might be interesting. In that case I hope Charles will be able to assist as it’ll certainly talk about JRuby!

For those who wondered why I wasn’t at the keysigning event; beside the weather, the printable list of keys has arrived on thursday when I was just tidying up a few customers’ tasks and I ended up not having the time to actually print it out.. this was made worse by changing my plan the very last day to get to LA instead of going straight back to Venice.

If you followed my twitter stream during the event you know already I’m very opinionanted about one of the talks I assisted… but that’s yet another story for yet another day, I’d rather not waste time writing about it here.

Anyway, just wanted to say I’m very happy to have been there, very happy to have met developers and users – and I’m sorry I’m not naming everyone here, it would be a very long list! I hope to be around more often for sure.

P.S.: if anybody who’s reading this has seen a clumsy guy with a black man-purse falling down the stairs within the AW building on Saturday morning.. that was me. Ouch! I hurt myself, but luckily nothing extremely serious.

Windows 7: attention to details?

So I had to buy a copy of Windows 7 for a job, so I actually pre-ordered it some time ago at Amazon UK to have an extra discount (not a bad thing, at the end I paid the Ultimate version less than half than it’s sold here; full version, not upgrade). I’m not going to comment for now about the experience with it; this is just a funny post if you want to take a laugh:

Windows 7 versioning... FAIL!

I’ll leave to you the comments.

Mandriva made my evening

So, one can be depressed, tired and sad as much as he want, and then Mandriva can take him up and let him laugh as he didn’t in quite a bit… 🙂

I have first to say that I’m sorry for the Mandriva developers, really, I’m not trying to make a fool of you, but this makes at least smile after reading, and I know you didn’t do this on purpose, but it’s still funny to me 🙂

Frédéric Crozat announces on Planet GNOME the release of GNOME 2.16 and its availability on the new Mandriva release: Mandriva Linux 2007.0 Release Candidate 1 (codename Mona)

So now you’ll be asking me what I find of funny in that (if you’re not North-Italian)… well, “Mona” in Venice dialect (and other dialects derived or infected, which means about the whole North-East of Italy), has two meanings, none of which is really a compliment 😉

The first, is a variant of “fool”, that I’d feel like an equivalent of English’s “git”; the other is an anatomic reference to a (lower) part of woman’s body…

Now the jokes about that release will probably be on the topics of all the LUGs of the region 😀