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Contrast Podcast - Poetry

This morning, on my way to work, I was catching up on my (huge) podcast queue and I happened to listen to the whole of the “Poetry Intros” episode of the Contrast Podcast.

What an amazing episode! Seriously, I don’t know if it was the theme that brought out a different mood in the contributors, or if it was just one of those lucky coincidences, but most of the songs are really, really good (some better than others and a really varied mix —as it should be, this being the Contrast Podcast).

It is one of the rare times when I feel the urge to keep a podcast around to listen to it again.

And all of this reminds me that I haven’t contributed in a long, long time and I’ve already missed a few very good themes. Nest week’s theme is “Change”. I just can’t miss that one!

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Originally written on Oct 29, 2008 @ 11:23
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Diary 2008-10-17

On this episode of Nuno’s random thoughts: social calendar wars; Winter is coming and what’s good about it; and music on movies and TV shows. Skip it if none of these interest you at all.

  • I’m a paying subscriber of Last.fm and I absolutely love the service. I use it a lot (as my numbers clearly indicate, 36.000 songs reported in roughly two years is a wholesome figure) and I use it for many purposes, not the least of which is to manage my music shows calendar.
    I use it as my primary —actually, make that my only— repository for gig dates, interest, etc. If I’m interested in a gig which is not yet listed, I simply create it in the system and go from there.
    But I obviously have other calendars to manage. And for those I use a mix of my own private calendar on my home server and, for other social stuff, I use Yahoo’s upcoming service.
    Now, the thing is: while I really do like Upcoming, Last.fm absolutely blows it out of the water for the music events scene and I’m definitely not going to leave it. But then, I’d like to have all the shows I’m attending listed on Upcoming for my friends there to know about them.
    I’m not going to even try to build something to that effect, this is just a thought that crossed my mind.

  • Winter is coming. Days are getting a lot smaller (and we’re about to have DST thrust upon us to compound the effect) and souls are getting discouraged all around me.
    Me? Well, I’m not all that worried about cold, rainy days… I’ve got a plentiful stash of great tea in the cupboard (more to come when I hit London again in November), the fireplace is clean and ready to go and, of course, with winter comes that wonderful time most people call “Christmas” and which I think of as “It’s time to watch ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ again.” And it nearly is time for that. Sweet!

  • I’ve been finding some really good music in a few places which I wouldn’t necessarily expect to find it in. More specifically, in TV shows. Even more to the point, British TV shows.
    American series have some fine music sometimes, but the ones I follow nowadays use it as nothing more than a nice background filler and leave it at that.
    But take something like, for example, the Secret Diary of a Call Girl (if you’re old enough) ;-) and actively listen to what’s playing in the background during the whole show, paying special attention to the more thrilling or emotionally intense scenes. You’ll find lots and lots of music playing, a fair amount of it fairly recent stuff, and much of it really great. You’ll also find some lesser-known bands which are, by and large, well worth the effort to look into.
    On a tangentially related subject, Paris (the film) also has some excellent tunes in it’s soundtrack (enough to make me wonder if I should actually get the CD) with the return of the most excellent Wax Tailor with a song which I assume is new (although I’m not really sure about it) and is sufficiently similar to “Que Sera” —from the great “Tales of the Forgotten Melodies“— to trick me into thinking it was a remix of that same song. Well, it wasn’t, and I let my film-companion think otherwise, so now you know. Sorry, my mistake! ;-)

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Originally written on Oct 17, 2008 @ 20:10
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Diary 2008-10-03

Here are a couple of things that caught my eye in recent days:

  1. Dropbox: a file storage/sharing system with clients for Windows, Mac and Linux (not to mention a really cool web interface) which “just works”. You know, not unlike the way the iDisk was supposed to work on a Mac, but never really did?
    It uses Amazon’s S3 service for storage (but this is just a fun geek factoid, you don’t need to worry about that) and it allows for 2GB of free storage —more if you become a paying customer.
    I’ve been using it to share stuff between a couple of Mac and another Linux machine and you know what I said about it “just working”? Well, it’s true;

  2. Evernote: a huge “memory outside my head” system. You feed it web-clips, links, documents, images, audio-clips, etc, etc and it stores, indexes and remembers everything for you.
    Now I’m not using it’s full power because I’ve only used it via two interfaces: the web interface and the mobile one.
    Actually that’s not entirely true, the one thing that amazed me the most was using the email interface. I took some pictures of a book and a few business cards with my cell-phone and then sent them (via MMS —low, low rez) to my Evernote mailbox and after a little time voilá: all of the pictures indexed and —get this— OCRd!
    The OCR works incredibly well, even on crummy cell-phone pictures. When I later searched for some of the words that I knew were on the business cards the card pictures popped up in the results and if I selected them they came up with the words I searched for hi-lighted in it!
    So far (it’s only been a couple of days), I’m extremely pleased with it.

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Originally written on Oct 03, 2008 @ 18:42
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Twittlis 5

Yesterday I finally made it to my first Twittlis meeting —Twittlis #5.
.oO( About bloody time too! )

Excuse me? “What in the world is Twittlis,” you ask?

Well, I’m glad you did ask that question! :-)
You see, Twittlis is a meeting of people who use Twitter, who also happen to be around Lisboa on the first wednesday of any given month and who also like to chat with other people (which is obviously a given for almost anyone using Twitter.) The fact that this chatting happens over a few beers and, possibly, a nice pub-food-based dinner doesn’t hurt in the least. :-)

The (sub-)thirty-second pitch is, in words of Pedro Pinheiro (the organizer and afaik “father” of the thing):

Completely informal - arrive at any time, leave at any time. Come meet in person the people who you follow or follow you on twitter.com.

The venue that hosts Twittlis is, at the time of this writing, the most excellent O’Gilins Irish Pub and in it, again in Pedro’s own words:

Besides the wonderful assortment of lagers and ales (and non-alcoholic drinks too), there is a good and hearty selection of dinner choices, at affordable prices.

Oh and contrary to popular belief, the conversations are not all geek-oriented. Really. It’s nice! ;-)

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Originally written on Oct 02, 2008 @ 13:26
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Feed reading with Google Reader

I’ve recently started trying out Google Reader for my rss reading needs.

Until now (and for quite a long time, too) I’ve been using News Gator for that purpose. Together with the Mac desktop client —NetNewsWire— It has been my platform of choice because of it’s seamless integration with the desktop client, it’s mobile interface (which I think is pretty good) and, especially, the ability to synchronize status across multiple readers (yes, even multiple desktop readers).

At a time when I routinely used my iBook laptop, my iMac at the home desktop and my Linux laptop at the office (using the web interface) this made sense. Nowadays I find myself reading more and more online (via the web interface) or on my phone, but rarely do I fire up any of the NNWs on any of the Macs.

So I decided to try out the big G for yet another one of my on-line activities (seeing as it is already the keeper of most of my wired life’s information anyhow).
And the result (not unexpectedly) is that I am now ready to start dropping things from News Gator and start reading them solely on Google Reader.

The only thing that still keeps me from ditching News Gator entirely is the way that the G (doesn’t) handle private (i.e. authenticated) feeds. It has been pointed out to me that there are services out there that deal with this issue, but I’m not the least bit comfortable with having my credentials stored in some mom-and-pop web shop somewhere, so I’ll keep the private feeds safely within News Gator for a while until I come up with something I like better.

And now for the ironic part: why am I writing this now, instead of reading my feeds before lunch? Well, because Google Reader is not working! Ta-dahhh! Feeeeed meeeeeee! :-)

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Originally written on Oct 02, 2008 @ 12:40
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Diary 2008-10-01

In portuguese, because not much of this is of particular interest to anyone except, possibly some of my (portuguese) friends. :-)

Coisas, coisas… quase um mês caladinho. Aliás, caladinho não, que nos “microblogues” (urgh!) e outros tenho andado activo, como sempre.

Bom, de qualquer modo, aqui estão algumas coisas que me apetece dizer aqui:

  • Estive na Madeira (a ilha) a fazer, sobretudo, caminhadas pelas levadas e veredas de montanha. Altamente recomendado, se alguem quiser umas dicas é só dizer que eu tenho as coisas mais importantes anotadas no jornal de viagem;

  • Após um ano e picos na minha casa actual (e duas ou três estações perdidas), finalmente plantei as floreiras. Acho que ficou fixe, agora é tentar não deixar a floresta morrer! :-)

  • Também resolvi testar (de novo e agora a sério) a minha inclinação para o surf (sim, sim, piadinha fácil…) e estou a fazer umas aulas no Guincho.
    Vantagens da abordagem actual: ser perto de casa, com horários flexiveis (i.e. as aulas são quando eu quiser e houver ondas, sem outras obrigações de calendário ou horários) e ter companhia (para já, uma pessoa, mas há mais malta a experimentar).
    Tudo isto está a tornar esta experiência mais “fácil” e agradável do que a da outra vez (em que fui para um “surf camp” durante uma semana e nunca mais voltei a pensar nisso).
    Para já está a ser muito giro, mesmo. E o surf ajuda a dormir de noite, como um anjinho!

E pronto, para já chega de “diário”. Fiquem ligados neste espaço mas, de preferência, com um leitor de RSS, para não se cansarem à espera dos posts tão pouco frequentes. :-)

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Originally written on Oct 01, 2008 @ 19:13
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O Requiem que não foi

No sábado passado (27 de Setembro) fui assistir ao Requiem de Mozart, no fórum Lisboa.

O único problema é que o concerto foi cancelado e “substituido” por um outro concerto de guitarra clássica.
Ora não é que eu não aprecie guitarra clássica, mas convenhamos que não é bem a mesma coisa, por isso vim-me embora e voltei para a festa de aniversário da minha amiga, que tinha abandonado pelo concerto.

Vergonhosamente tenho de admitir que nunca tinha assistido ao vivo a esta peça. Ainda não foi desta. Continuarei a tentar!

Serve este post semi-fútil para demonstrar a minha (r)existência na blogosfera. :-)

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Originally written on Oct 01, 2008 @ 07:35
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