And I’m afraid again

When I got the news about the opportunity to go to Australia, the first thing that hit me was the fear of leaving several plans, friends and relatives behind. It was just when LucasVR gave me the idea that I could return any time that things became easier to digest and the fear was replaced by the feeling of adventure. It was exciting to move to another country and face the challenges of a different culture and language.

And then some things happened:

First, I was walking with my iPod when a song from Trans-Siberian Orchestra played. For those who don’t know TSO, they play Christmas songs using several elements from rock and hard rock. The point is: it was when I realized that I won’t be here for Christmas this year and how much I like being with the family and all the things we do on the night, like singing and just being silly.

Second, when I was on grammas’s house, I saw my dog again. He cried when I didn’t take him off his kernel, and then it hit me again: I wouldn’t have the chance to play with him for a long time.

Third, when I went to my other gramma’s house, we got the news that she was in hospital again. She has cancer and that’s the second time in two weeks that she goes to hospital. And, if something goes wrong, I won’t be here too (although I know I’ve a serious problem dealing with loses).

All that make things harder, but that doesn’t mean I’m dropping this opportunity. I’ll go and will face the challenges of the change. But it won’t be easy.

Finally, some news about my visa

When I had enough of no news about my visa (and the immigration site saying that the information about my visa is [incorrectly] incorrect), I got news from the peopl from TileFile that they approved my nomination. Basically, it means that, now, the immigration approved the sponsor request and they’ll now look at my visa request. As Julio (the guy that managed to get me this job) said, it is now a matter of about 4 days till I get my visa (maybe some more time till it gets here).

Anyway, it is moving forward.

Amazing ImageMagick

To access the new company network from here, I needed to sign my employment contract, which means get a PDF, print it, signed it, scan it and send it back. The first three steps were easy, but the last one really was a question mark to me: how can you convert some image files (PNG) to a PDF, in multiple pages?

First try: ImagineMagic convert. I don’t know why I tried it, but convert *.png contract.pdf worked like a charm, creating a PDF with each image in a page. But there was one problem: the resulting PDF had 13mb, while the original one just 700kb. Bigger images, bigger PDF. Now, how to reduce image sizes? Again, convert help me. Using convert -resize 1500 -monochrome contract1.png contract1s.png[1], I manage to create a monochrome PNG with a height of 1500 pixels (and the width was automagically calculated). Reduction from the PNG? From 73mb to 80kb.

But nothing could be so easy: as mom has a crappy Canon BJC-210 and she only had a color cartridge, which means the black logos were formed by several different colors, using something like an “anti-aliasing”. It may be look good on paper, but when you scan the page and but it on complete monochrome (no gray-scale), it looks terrible. So I had to add some sort of anti-aliasing. And the answer came in the form of “-blur”: convert -blur 1 contract1s.png contract1sa.png[2]. There, a small increase (from 80kb to 700kb per image), but still far away from the original.

Now, converting everything to PDF: convert contract*sa.png contract.pdf. Result image: 1.3mb. Nice.

[1] “s” for “small”.
[1] “sa” for “small and anti-aliased”. :)

Why you should never take two vaccines at the same time

To go to Australia, you need to be vaccinated again yellow fever. Also, you need to take a triple virus vaccine, for when you come back (and don’t bring their measles).

Now, when I took the shots, the doctor said they would act on Wednesday. I never believed they could estimate the actual date for a body to act on the vaccine, as bodies tend to be different for person to person, as we all have different origins, have different tastes for food and so on.

Anyway, today I needed to take mom’s dog to a walk (it’s the payment for using her wash machine). On the way to her apartment, I felt a little funny but didn’t thought anything about it. On the way back, the feeling get a little bit worst, till I dropped in the bed. Then, finally, I recalled the shots and the doctor warning.

If it gets a little bit worst than this, I gonna be really crappy this week.

Steve Jobs talks about Zune

I’ve seen the demonstrations on the internet about how you can find another person using a Zune and give them a song they can play three times. It takes forever,’ he says in the article. ‘By the time you’ve gone through all that, the girl’s got up and left! You’re much better off to take one of your earbuds out and put it in her ear. Then you’re connected with about two feet of headphone cable.

Even if I respect Jobs for everything he said already, and that I think he said something really smart this time, I don’t see why you couldn’t just give the other person your Zune “earbud” (or whatever they call it).

On the other hand, sending a song over wireless to someone right in front of you seems really one of the most geekiest/nerdiest things you could in an approach. Saving those poor souls is really a deed.

Those who we love never die if we keep them alive in our hearts

Today I got the sad news that Stanley lost his mom in the weekend. I can imagine how hard is to lose a close relative (much more a parent) so I must say this:

If things get though to you, old pal, remember that, for harder it may look, keep fighting is the best way to show her that she did a good job raising you. Never give up, dude. And never forget. And, if things get too harder, remember that you have a lot of friends that care about you and will be ready to help you in this hard moment.

Peace, dude.

Harold and Maude

When I was young (I think before I was a teen), I saw a movie that plagued my mind for years. It was a movie about a young boy who wanted to die and an old lady who enjoyed life (or vice-versa, I was never sure). The only thing I still had, for sure, was the portuguese title: “Ensina-me a Viver”. The problem is that I usually remembered the movie when I was away from the computer and forgot about it right after.

But now, several years later, I finally managed to see the movie again, while zapping around. Harold and Maude is the name and it is older than me; it’s a movie from 1971. But, even now, the movie still caught my attention. And it is really about a boy who likes death and an old lady who really knows about living, even being old. Weird scenes, like Harold chopping a (fake) hand in an interview with a future bride arranged by his mother (three interviews and he manages to do something that stupid in every one of them — including an harakiri).

Another weird scenes include some talks from his uncle, an army officer, a psychologist and a priest talking about Harold marriage with Maude, each one with a picture right behind them: the uncle with a picture of Richard Nixon, the psychologist with a picture of Freud and the priest with a picture of the Pope. And every scene with making each “office” look the same.

It is not a happy movie: Maude had a plan to die when she had her 80th birthday, just a few days after Harold asks her in marriage. But the changes in the boy where strong enough, so he gives up his death ideas and finally realize that is way better to enjoy life than prize death.

35 years old and still a good movie. From the time when the content talked a lot more than visuals.