Assembling LEGO 40291 – Hans Christian Andersen

I have been twice to Copenhagen, once in 2015 the other in 2019. One of the must-visit sites in the city that I didn’t want to miss is the LEGO store. It was in my second visit that I decided to buy my first set of LEGO. Looking for something relevant, not too difficult, and not too easy I stumbled upon “40291, Creative Personalities 2018”, a building set commemorating Hans Christian Andersen. It seems that 40291 was a promotional set given for free on purchases in the LEGO on-line shop, but here it is available for purchase. I got the set, and I stored it away.

Two years later, I have decided to finally assemble it.

I open the manual decided to follow thru to the end. The first suggestion is to sort the pieces by color. This approach proves to be very helpful; I find the required pieces with ease.

I continue page by page following the instructions. Each page illustrates the new pieces to add and the result after bringing them together.

When I get to the middle of the manual, I stop for a moment. It seems that I need a construction that I have not yet done. Ops, I need to build the “page” twice, one for each side of the book. I could have had a first reading to avoid surprises, but I find that to discover the steps as I go on is very entertaining. I go back to the beginning. The second time, I build faster. There are fewer pieces to triage in each color group. And I already know how all of them will fit together.

After two hours of moving one page to the next, I am finished. I can understand why so many people like to assemble LEGO sets. I have a feeling of accomplishment and the result is mesmerizing.

DevTalks Bucharest 2019

Dev<Talks/> is the largest IT conference in Romania. This year I have had the pleasure to be a speaker representing Kambi.

To give the talk has been a great experience. I’m very grateful for all their support to the DevTalks organisation and Kambi’s Bucharest office. The talk would have not been possible either without the collaboration of the Manila team that develops our risk management application.

It has been an excellent opportunity to show how we work at Kambi and which kind of technologies we use.

One of our risk tools was created ten years ago and with new business, demands need to scale way beyond original requirements. Legacy Java technologies and limited vertical scaling limit the functionality of the tool. From proof of concept to implementation, I will present how to refactor a service into a modern horizontal-scaling Java backend service with Hazelcast.

Josep Panadero speaking at the Java Stage in Dev<Talks/> Bucharest.

Graphics and Illustration for Educators

I joined the “Graphics and Illustration for Educators” course from Adobe. It has been a good learning experience.

My goals

In my line of work, I need to do presentations quite often. So I was looking for some better tooling to get away from boring Power Points.

I found “Graphics and Illustration for Educators”. It looks a good course for train myself and help my mentorees.

As part of the course, each estudent has to write a journal. I write my own learning journal using Spark as suggested.

Reflecting on my Learning

I am going to divide my reflection in two parts. One is what I have learned about Illustrator. The second one is what I have learned about how the course has been done and how has affected my learning.

Learning Illustrator

The first lesson was the most valuable on this learning. Been completely new to the program, just to see an example of use was a learning on itself. Going thru the class and executing each step as the teacher showed it on screen was enough to gain confidence in the use of the software. I still will need more training to use all the possibilities of Illustrator. But just by practicing what I have learned in this course, it will be easy to gain more skill and achieve better results.

The teaching

What surprised me more from the training is the assignments. Each assignment needed to use the skills learned in the class, but still allowed students to be creative and own the project.

To have to share the result with the other students, and to get criticism was very positive. It forced me to strive for a better outcome, and I learned as much from the other student comments about my work as I learned from looking and evaluate theirs.

Sample work from the course. 4 icons.

Guess the movie

Traveling abroad

From two days to six months traveling abroad is an enriching experience.

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

The Wizard of Oz

As I step down from the train I begin getting the flavor of the city. Usually central stations are situated in old town. So the first steps already give that feeling that mixes the familiar with the exotic. Buildings, stores, traffic signs are almost like at home but not quite.

As I pass by I like to take pictures of everything that comes to my attention. The first minutes all streets are interesting and every building a monument.

I arrive at the hotel to let go all the baggage. And there and then begins the learning of the most basic vocabulary of any city: the greetings exchange.

Greetings are human artifacts crafted on custom and reiteration. They are the formal way of acknowledging the existence of another being. Hej, Bom dia, Bonjour, Hi, Buenos dias. Learning the basics of greetings allows us to begin the integration in the heartbeat of any culture.

Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything.

Charles Kuralt

The first hours are all scheduled. All places have a list of must see landmarks. Tour Eiffel is the quintessential of all such places. Going by taxi or metro is never an option. Walking is the only locomotion that makes sense if I have any expectations on seeing the actual city. I will walk from the Palace of Westminster to Portobello Road Market. I will see the people, the shops and the city flow from Plaça de Catalunya to La Sagrada Família.

That doesn’t means that I will not take the urban transportation. From the efficient Stockholm T-Banna to the almost alive London Tube getting into public transportation is an experience in itself.

and let Thy feet, millenniums hence, be set In midst of knowledge

Lord Tennyson

Going to museums allows to know how people looks at themselves and how is their attitude towards the world. Reading about vikings at Etnografiska museet in Museiparken or looking at a vintage chair at Musée d’Orsay in La Seine riverbank gives a glipse of what was considered worth conserving or – at least – what has survived the pass of time.

peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none

Thomas Jefferson

Shopping from basic items on a super market to a caprice at a flea marked makes a new stream of words come to work. Tack, muito obrigado, merci beaucoup, thank you, muchas gracias. There’s always a word to describe the gratitude for completing a comercial transaction. And always there are numbers. Knowing the currency exchange rate is a sensible part of the experience.

And I will innevitable buy some kitch objects to bring home just to remember that I was there and then as gifts to friends and family.

A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.

Mahatma Gandhi

When the visit goes beyond a month and a half mark I consider myself a resident – althought a temporal one. After more than a hundrer hours walking arround, visiting places and acquiring remembrances all have changed. Now I will visit a street that I have never seen before but it will not surprise me. A beautiful building is worth a look but not a picture anymore. I will pass by Praça do Comércio without almost taking a second look when I go to buy groceries at the supermarket.

The new has become usual the exotic mundane. I will stop visiting Castelo de São Jorge, Puerta de Alcalá or the National Gallery. As by now I need time to see other places and have other experiences to maybe return back some day to the old places and see them with new eyes.