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.

I may have got COVID-19 twice

The first time that I think I got COVID-19 was on December 2019 while I was travelling around China. After my first week in the country, I had visited crowded airports, train stations and museums, I felt ill and got a bad sore throat. As beautiful as China is, it is covered in a ubiquitous pollution cloud that I blamed for my sore throat. With some help of analgesics, I continued my trip. 

Interestingly, one of my last stops was at Wuhan, a city that I was not familiar with at the time, but that nowadays is world-wide known.  I read the news of a “new virus” while in Wuhan, it was contained to a few cases in a hospital, so I didn’t give it a second though.

The headaches and sore throat have followed me around half of my trip but when I arrived to Shanghai I was already feeling completely recovered. 

Back in Stockholm, the sore throat started to fade in my memory until the Coronavirus began to saturate the news. As they described the symptoms, I realized that deep breaths left an unusual feeling in my lungs and will make me cough. It took quite long time until taking deep breaths went back to normal. I do not remember losing smell or taste, thou. By the time COVID-19 tests were available weeks or maybe months have passed. It was impossible that I still had the virus, I have recovered while in China. Testing made little sense by now.

On May 2021, almost one year and a half later, the only friend that doesn’t work from home and that I still hang out told me that he got COVID-19. I got a bad headache and sore throat, it felt familiar. So, this time I contacted 1177 ASAP and got a test next day. 24 hours later it came back positive. That would make it the second time I got the virus.

I am at least relieved that I always wear a mask in closed spaces, as per government recommendations, and even go to the supermarket in low attendance times to avoid people. I hope that these precautions have reduced the possibility to infect others. Maybe, next time, I should also keep my friends at a 2-meter distance. 

But, now I am worried that I may have gotten re-infected in less than a year and a half. But if that were the case, at least, the re-infection has been milder. I wish I have tested myself for antibodies past year, I am now curious about what really happened. I will read the news and follow up on what happens with the people that were part of the first wave. If in the end it is not possible to get COVID-19 twice that will prove that I had something else in 2019. Otherwise, I will probably never know the truth for sure.

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