Your job is going to suck.

Not all the time, of course. But some of the time. You’re going to do things you don’t like, sometimes. You’re going to do things you don’t love, most of the time.

February 19, 2013 0 0 Share this

Week #412

Late again, tired again but quite happy to end the week in a good mood. Some things were done this week:

  • First private beta Facebook features in Verkami. In happy related news a verkami powered project (L’endema) became the biggest crowdfunded project in Spain. It’s the biggest project in Europe too if you leave aside Indiegogo (that has a model that is not exactly what most people understand for crowdfunding).
  • With our work in those features we discovered and fixed a few bugs in the open source project omniauth.
  • Integration of Swwweet’s design for Bazaar’s shops in the app.
  • The usual support and development in Stage.

For this weekend I’d like to recommend "A Most Peculiar Test Drive", a blog post by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla:

You may have heard recently about an article written by John Broder from The New York Times that makes numerous claims about the performance of the Model S. We are upset by this article because it does not factually represent Tesla technology, which is designed and tested to operate well in both hot and cold climates.

In the quoted article, the NYT journalist made some comments about the car’s battery life and performance but failed to mention some details that were discovered when analyzing the Model S logs. Yes, the car’s logs. The post is full of nerd awesomeness and highlights some effects of the very interesting phenomena created by the IoT as referred by our friend Manuel G. Noriega:

For a much-needed counterpoint, I’d like to bring your attention on CouchCachet, an app that helps you improve your social life by simply faking it. In a world where social reputation is constantly improved or threatened by technological proxies and agents… what kind of strange consequences we’ll see in the way we keep track of History or even reality? If you find this topic as amazing as I do, please come to the MMConf, where I’ll be talking about it.

Enjoy the weekend!

February 16, 2013 0 0 Share this

Week #411

Another week I can’t publish the weeknote on time… apparently the planned re-scheduling to thursdays was a easier to think than to implement. Anyway, here is a short description of the past usual-but-mildly-less-stressing week:

  • Work in PayPal and Facebook features in Verkami. I’m always sadly surprise by the incompetence and negligence of the technical and commercial departments in PayPal… horrible communication.
  • Development in Bazaar and its different parts (specially the first shop) keeps going.
  • Support, small fixes and some features in Stage.

This week one of my favorites conference has been celebrated in Geneva: Lift. They always pick a nice mix of topics (Democracy in Distress, Resilience and Resistance, Adult entertainment, etc.) and speaker’s quality is very good (Bruce Sterling, Oliver Reichenstein, Kate Darling…).

Additionally they live broadcast all the conference and that means you can virtually attend it and that right now you can already see all the talks here. I want to specially recommend the talks of the previous mentioned speakers:

Enjoy the weekend, be happy.

February 9, 2013 0 0 Share this

Weeknote #410

Exhaustion: psychic, mental and physical. That is this week’s main feeling. Tons of emails, fighting and not-funny discussions that erode all your energy and leave you empty. A big source of stress is how personal some customers and so called “professionals” in all disciplines get about anything related to them. Hours and hours were wasted this week answering to people that felt personally attacked when someone makes even a mildly critique of their work.

Ironically, instead of taking their time to reflect in what is useful about the critique, this often results in ad hominem attacks to the person that questions the validity of the work. People get so emotionally attached to their work, they’re unable to see they’re not their code, design or emails. A legitimate question or even the display of clear facts is taken as a recrimination and from there it’s all downhill. Even ignoring the “offended” person trying to finish the fight becomes impossible. So. Mentally. Exhausting.

As we announced in this blog we sold Qstion a long time ago. Unfortunately the buyer is still figuring out how to launch the product. As the product had be transitioned to the actual owner, the sale’s payment was agreed to be split in multiple small portions, last ones being made on the service beta/production launch. As you can imagine we’re now in a very uncomfortable situation: our work is done, the product is not ready for launch and we can’t shelve the issue. Lesson learned: never sign a partitioned sale without establishing clear time limits for all the payments.

On the bright side, a lot of work was made in SSE, Stage and Verkami. Specially, as stated in previous weeknotes, we’ve been working in Open Graph and this included the implementation of Twitter Cards in Verkami, that we’ll extend to Stage soon. Once the application for our integration was accepted by twitter, all tweets containing verkami.com links became a much nicer experience:

On the sales side, we were forced to say no to a few proposals with deadlines that were, unfortunately, impossible to meet. Fortunately there is a big event that is evaluating Stage for selling its tickets… who knows. My talk for MMConf was published and I’m now a official speaker. I’m looking forward to participate in this conference located in the beautiful city Kraków.

Week’s recommendation: Relax.

Grab your kindle or a book from your shelves and read some good fiction like LoveStar or The Embedding, have a cup of coffee and a good portion of cake.

See you next week. Have a great weekend.

February 1, 2013 0 0 Share this

Weeknote #409

This must the mythical never-ending week… I’ve been working on Friday until 10pm and I’m actually finishing the weeknote on Saturday’s evening. I’ve been feeling for a few weeks now that friday’s evening is usually the wrong moment to publish our weeknote: many people is already enjoying the weekend, I’m usually finishing and deploying things and in some cases I’ve to postpone the publication. Additionally my weekend feels much shorter because of the delay and the work I’ve to do to write it. I still think is a great way to wrap the week’s work but starting next week I’ll move writing them to thursday’s evening and publication to friday’s morning. Hopefully that will be better for my arterial pressure and we’ll reach you more easily.

What happened this week? Well… lot of work in the usual suspects. In Verkami we started the design and implementation of their Facebook integration. There are a lot of small details we want to polish in this mini-project, covering all the edge cases that appear when you add multiple login options in a busy, popular platform as Verkami. Additionally we want to improve our Open Graph implementation to help you share all your contributions and favorite projects more easily.

I made and sent multiple proposals for expansion of current and new projects. A potential customer contacted with us this week. After a conversation on Skype, in order to be able to make a proposal, we asked for the briefing on the features to be implemented. They asked us to sign a NDA and as we’ve commented a few times in this blog we don’t sign NDAs. Period. Why? There a few reasons:

  • They usually contain disproportionate and surreal conditions, like lifetime legal bindings on everything even slightly related to the project’s business domain.
  • We don’t know what we’re accepting -because we know near-to-nil about the project in this stage- until it’s too late.
  • If we’re signing something legally binding we need lawyers confirming every step. This just slows down the process and makes it more expensive.
  • Such documents infer that by default you’re not treating your customers’ information confidentially.
  • If you don’t trust me to estimate the development costs of your idea… how can you actually trust me to implement it? Seriously… how?

So fuck NDAs.

We had some activity in Stage, not only the usual support but commercial contact from a company considering our service for a big multi-venue event. We’ll see.

Finally MMConf confirmed and publicly announced my spot in the conference. I’ll be talking about mobiles, quantified self and History and I’m very excited for to take part in this event. Additionally a few days laters, in the same city, by the same organizers, it will take place Railsberry, another great conference I’m looking forward to attend.

My recommendation for this weekend is Scammed:

> A new kind of computer con has emerged in the past few years. It’s technically mundane but psychologically brutal: using false threats of arrest, scammers trick low-income victims into repaying debts that do not exist. And one rainy day last January, they accidentally targeted one of the smartest hackers around.

It’s the last edition of MATTER, a new digital-only experiment in long-form journalism that I think is worth a read.

Have a great weekend!

January 26, 2013 0 0 Share this

Week #408

I’m back in Iceland. Back in the darkness, in the silence, back in this wind that is always blowing in your direction, in the cozy cafés, back in the winter palace.

My monday was paid as tribute to the gods of international traveling, landing in Keflavík with strong sidewind in the middle of a storm. After a few hours of sleep, I stepped on the gas on tuesday, and the rest of the week flashed before my eyes.

We’ve implemented a new statistics module in Verkami and defined the initial key metrics for their business in just few days. For the visualization, we’ve started using Ducksboard. There is a lot of space for improvement on their service (eg. basically they don’t have any computational tool, not even basic ones like mean, median,etc.) but the interface is nice -matching Verkami’s own style- and the API is simple and clean. I’m very excited about creating more transparency for my customers, so they can better see and understand the key metrics of their business, and I think this a step in the good direction.

Three more things in my outbox for this week: work in Bazaar and the shop’s frontend we’re developing with our friends of Swwweet, some business work with proposals and the usual support work in Stage. I’m really looking forward to ignite Stage’s development again in 2013.

I wasted a few hours too collecting and submitting documents to the RSK -Icelandic Directorate of Internal Revenue- to demonstrate that I’m an honest citizen and that I’m not laundering/generating black money. Governments have a real problem trying to adjust their bureaucracies to current times and a software based civilization. The very frontierless nature of the web and the rise of pure digital services and products is going to create the most bizarre situations in the next years, stating with painful blatancy the increasing meaningless of the idea of ‘country’.

My recommendation for this weekend: Connecting, a 18mins long documentary on the increasing important role of software, design and user experience in our daily life.

Have a great weekend.

January 19, 2013 0 0 Share this

Week #407

Last days in the Basque Country. I’ll be back in Reykjavík next week and I’ll miss my family and friends for sure, but I’ll recover some of my routines too and I’ll stop this 4-weeks gastronomical orgy, so I’m happy to finally step on the gas for 2013.

This week we had what I’ve named the Pandemic Rails Upgrade of 2013, a serious security vulnerability affecting every Rails app created in the last 5 years, so I had to upgrade a good number of personal and professional apps, services and products. Given I started developing Rails apps professionally with version 1.0, there are a lot of different versions and states we’ve to support.

In the middle of the week, I flew to Barcelona to meet Verkami guys in their headquarter. We talked about the new features to implement in the first quarter of the year. The platform is working better than ever and there are a lot of good things to come in the roadmap. More work in Stage and the usual suspects filled up the rest of the week.

The week finished with very sad news: Aaron Swartz committed suicided yesterday. I started working on the web in 1998 but I still remember the excitement about one of the first shiny toys he created: the RSS. Well known hackers were starting blogs every day and his invention was a big piece in the initial success of the movement.

He was 14 years old only then and continued to create and cofound more awesome stuff: Creative Commons, Reddit.com, Jottit.com… Lately he was working to bring more transparency to politics with projects like watchdog.net. The possible influence in his ending of risking 50 years in prison thanks to a stupid prosecutor is even more sad and disturbing. Without knowing him personally, I admired him as a true web pioneer and I still do.

At the same time I’ve been mildly obsessed about the dissonance between digital and physical death for years now and would like to recommend you the following articles: The Internet of the Dead and Your Digital Ghost. The future is weird.

RIP, Aaron Swartz

January 12, 2013 0 0 Share this

Week #406

The first week of the year in Spain is, unlike other countries, a very slow week. On Jan 6th, most families celebrate the visit of the Three Wise Men to Jesus after his birth. It’s a national holiday and many people is still on holidays -or recovering from the massive New Year’s Eve hangovers- so it feels like the end of the party more than the beginning of a new cycle.

Anyway, I found the way to do a few things last week:

  • I sent the proposal "Tap to write History" to MMConf and got accepted. My attendance is still not confirmed since they don’t know if the conference can cover the traveling costs, we’ll see. If your company is looking for a good talk to sponsor, send them my way :).

  • Exchanged a few emails about new projects/estimations; nothing confirmed yet but some things keep appearing on the horizon.

  • I went to Madrid for a physical meeting with our friends of the Bazaar project, and enjoyed a lovely lunch with some of the friends living abroad that were, like me, at home for Christmas.

  • Usual work in Stage and Verkami, including the preparation for our quarterly physical meeting.

My recommendation today is a bunch of great talks. XOXO organizers just published all the talks of the last edition and there is a lot of inspiring bits: Makerbot, Etsy, Indie game developers, small artisans… You can feel the tons of love and caring passion they put in their respective companies. Find all the videos here.

January 7, 2013 0 0 Share this

So this is the dirty little secret in our industry. The best designers and developers rarely have more talent. They simply have more time.

January 7, 2013 0 0 Share this

Week #405

2012 is basically done, finished… exactly what has happened to the week #405.

In this last week of the year we’ve been working with our friends of verkami on small features, like copy/UI improvements and polishing the Open Graph tags we use, for improved rendering in Facebook. Verkami is working at full speed now, just two years after the launch and I’m meeting them in the beginning of the year for another highly focused workday on the next milestones.

I spent the rest of the week answering requests for a few project’s estimates, Stage’s support tickets and in meetings with different clients like our friends of La Personnalité and Steel Stock Exchange. Recover from the -delicious- food blitzkrieg my mother perpetrated on Christmas Eve was another not negligible task.

We’re still reviewing projects, events and small incidents of the year to create a mental image of how good/bad has been this year. It has been better than 2011 for sure (professionally the hardest year of my life) but there are a lot of shadows on it too. I’ll try to write a wrapping post for the year next monday but I don’t know if it’s realistic to expect I’ll succeed given it’s Dec 31st.

My recommendation for this weekend: relax, think and meditate. Take your time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished in 2012, but more importantly on the goals for 2013. Do it thoughtfully and it’d be the best investment you’ve done in months.

Have a great end of year.

December 29, 2012 0 0 Share this