Monthly Archives: May 2008

Barcelona: “we are shabby, but we try to show good image”

Yesterday Jordi and I were discussing about a recent Graham article on “Cities and Ambition“. Briefly it says that cities transmit you a message, and depending the city it can be things like: “be smarter” (Cambridge), “get money” (New York) or “change the world” (Silicon Valley). Inhabitants of each city show some of these feelings, and more people come to live and share them.

So what’s the message that comes from Barcelona? After 3 years living here, and through my narrow experiences, I could say something like: “you are shabby, but you can show big things”. A cult for image, physical and on creativity. We/They know we/they are not too smart or effective, but we try to build big things, to do big artistic demonstrations. Hide the garbage and show the gloss. Try to be real European, more brilliant than anybody in Spain (specially Madrid), while you hide numbers on thefts and lead plumbings.

Is this the kind of message I’m looking for? Is that message currently affecting me? Or is this just my interpretation of Barcelona?

You can even find “plants 2.0”

NOTICE: Find more in my tech blog: liopic.me.

Laurel with new leaves While my plants grow and grow, and are eager to the arrive of summer, Rubén told me about a website, a la 2.0, to keep track of your gardens and plants: My folia, where I’ve created my garden profile. There are too few people at the moment, so the magic of 2.0 doesn’t work still. And I’m not sure about their business plan (if they didn’t build it for fun).

Anyway I found it interesting as a place where I can investigate the growing process of a 2.0 website. I’m preparing the launch of my own website 2.0, focused on strategy turn-based games, so every single detail I can observe in other places could be interesting.

ImageWorth: Mix your songs with pictures

NOTICE: Find more in my tech blog: liopic.me.

Last week I’ve been quite busy. I had a small project in mind. Briefly, the idea is to search pictures that match the songs you are listening to. And present them with some visual beauties.

I named this project as: ImageWorth, try it out!

It gets the “recent listened tracks” list from your Last.fm account, and for every song title it searches for pictures on Flickr. And uses Javascript with JQuery library to show them smoothly.

Regarding the inside: I strongly used Javascript for making it happen (I wanted to practice some js programming). There is a PHP part, which is basically a proxy to let AJAX call directly to Last.fm and Flickr, but it’s quite simple. The heavy work is done in the Javascript lines, which were quite interesting to develop. This time I used only Object-Oriented programming, and this leads to some (a priori) weird things in js. This language has its own way to work with objects, with a lot of flexibility, but this flexibility leads you to keep more things in mind. For example, when you want to bind a function (which is an object in js) to an even, without losing the reference to the original object (this) where you did the binding on. It’s not easy at first, but when you start to understand how it works, the beauty of closures and the incredible amount of possibilities it means… you start to love it.

By the way, any comment about ImageWorth? I hope you like it!

Bike stolen, again

It’s incredible, but my bike was stolen today. Incredible because it was next to the main entrance of the University, in the center of the city, and was stolen at 14:00. How can anybody cut an iron cable, untie it and get the bike without being noticed by anybody? Next to the main entrance of a big building! This says a lot about our society… everybody only looks at his bell ring.

Luckily when I bought it, last year, I chose the cheapest bike (59€) in the shop… I was smart enough to oversee the final result. Actually I bought it because my previous bike was stolen, also (at night, on the street). And luckily my ex-flatmate Alberto left his old bike at home, so I can use it.

Bastards!

Learning to climb

To grab or not to grab

Why my hand is full of skin wounds? (No nasty thoughts, please). Because I’m learning to climb.

Some weeks ago I discovered a “climbing gym” near home, a place full of climbing walls. Instantly I decided to join an introductory course: my legs are in shape (thanks to the bike) but my arms and hands are a bit slack, so it could be a perfect exercise for me. The course lasted 3 weeks and the instructor showed us some basic things, like improve our balance, use effectively our arms and legs, and overpass our mind limitations. Because one of the things you discover is that “you CAN do it”… you start to think “no, it’s impossible, I can arrive there” or “I’m already tired, I can’t hold myself any second more”… but such thoughts are just excuses. You try and you success (it’s really easy to say)… well, sometimes. We also tried some interesting exercises: try to climb around with your eyes closed (so you use the nearer holds instead the bigger ones), or use just one arm to climb (“impossible” until you realize that it’s not so difficult).

The course finished and now I’m alone, starting to climb those walls, full of grips (or holds). There are predefined routes: a path of one colour grips, with a beginning grip and an ending one (that you should touch with both hands to mark your start and finish). A route contains from 10 to 60 holds, and normally you use all of them. But, at the moment, I can’t even finish the easiest route (I almost finished it today). Anyway you can lower the level using grips of other colours (cheating). Or you can do a block: a vertical route, from 4 to 10 grips, just made to practise your muscles.

See you on the top!

Update: A week later, I finished my first route successfully. Two weeks later, I’m able to complete 2 routes in the same day… but I’m still feeling like a duck trying to climb!