Category Archives: Personal

Looking back at 2016

I didn’t write this before 2016 finished because, well, I was just so busy with celebrations and visits! But I figured it would be a good idea to look back and consider the achievements from last year before I get carried away by the new year.

Personal wise:

  • I’m very happy—I have a wonderful partner who’s kind, understanding, compassionate, clever, funny, and intelligent. We ‘get’ and care for each other. It’s great!
  • I’ve also taken up a martial art. I had started judo and aikido in the past but never continued because I kept getting hurt. This time it seems to stick as the gym is super welcoming and encouraging to women and people of all sorts. I’m still such a noob, but compared to myself a year ago I’m way stronger and flexible now, and my back aches are all gone. Also: there’s nothing like a punching bag to let steam off. I bet if more developers did it, we would have less debates on tabs vs spaces or any other irrelevant trivia 😏
  • I’ve biked and ran less—partly because I was close enough that I could walk to the office, and partly because I was tired the day after the gym! Also after the office move it takes a bit to find the new optimum routes, so I’ve taken the tube a few times…
  • I have also started to do meditation. I was curious about this for a long time, although I thought it would not work and often while doing it I think “this isn’t working” but I can tell you there is a difference between the days I do and do not do it (I am using a service called Headspace).
  • I learnt the basics of Italian! I now know enough to shyly order food and very slowly read normal books. Very exciting!
  • Finished a sketchbook I had started in October 2015. A good improvement from the previous sketchbook that took 3 years to finish! And I am back to drawing daily again.
  • I haven’t drank a Coke since June and… I really don’t miss it. As experiments I also stopped drinking coffee and alcohol for a month, but I do really like coffee, and the occasional good quality alcoholic drink. I’ve also learnt a bit more about alcoholic drinks, though not enough to be a total snob (yet), but I know more of what I like and why.

Work wise:

  • I worked on a lot of different topics: MediaRecorder, Let’s Encrypt, DevTools, Web Audio, the past and future of the Web, Servo… wrote lots of articles, and gave a lot of talks in many different countries. I also went to the Southern Hemisphere twice in different continents, which I didn’t expect to do at the beginning of the year. This was very gratifying but also very exhausting. I was glad that I…
  • moved to a different team, in a new role, and with a more “sedentary” profile. I’ve only been 3 months on this and I was still finishing tasks from the previous team, so I can’t talk much about it yet, but I’m very happy so far.
  • Also recorded a few podcasts and tutorials. These are fun—please contact me if you want to feature me!
  • And put in words what many women-colleagues and friends were thinking each time you asked us to talk at your conference, and Quartz asked for permission to republish, which I never anticipated.

Things I did for the first time:

  • Visited: Greece, Uruguay, Norway, Denmark (twice!), Thailand, Singapore
  • Drank Greek coffee (not my thing) and ginger tea (definitely my new favourite thing)
  • Tried orange wine (quite a strange thing), also sherry and port—I decided I like the sweetest varieties
  • Tried carne cruda in Italy (not my thing) and Uruguayan beef (truly my thing)
  • Used a lounge shower. It felt like absolute heaven after a long flight in which I was also cramping like there was no tomorrow. Oh, the joys of womanhood!
  • Tasted and learnt about proper balsamic vinegar in Modena.
  • Went to the opera in La Scala in Milan… dressed in heels! (!)
  • Tai chi, yoga and pilates… at 7 AM (!!!)
  • Experienced the English Christmas dinner with turkey and everything. Very yummy although I did miss the Spanish sweets. Mince pies are so not my thing.

Other highlights:

  • Walking on a low tide beach in Thailand and looking at all the lurking small animals and the distinctive vegetation
    • I saw a sea urchin!
    • Also: all things coconut while there. Coconut water, coconut soup, coconut dessert…!
  • The Pet Shop Boys concert in the Royal Opera House. Such a beautifully designed concert! So many hits! It was a party from beginning to end.
  • A visit to the Down Street disused tube station. Eerie!
  • The two trips to Italy, for pleasure, not work!
    • and there: the disused FIAT test/race track on top of the Lingotto building in Torino.
  • Visiting a fountain pen shop in Singapore where the very knowledgeable owners confided me with All The Tricks to using fountain pens while flying, All The Secrets about flexible nibs and also insisted on thoroughly cleaning my Lamy Safari which had almost exploded on my way to Singapore. Such nice people.
  • Wandering around Melbourne’s Fitzroy area when it was hot, finding an edgy indie boutique and having a nice talk with the designer-owner of the shop.

All in all it has been a very good year for me: I’m doing more of what I like and identifying things I do not like (in order to stop doing them) and discovering new things I like (but didn’t know about). So I’m… READY FOR 2017!!

Moving to the DevTools team

As of this week I am working in the DevTools team.

This isn’t entirely surprising, given that I’ve been collaborating with this team a lot in the past (proof!) and also that I care a lot about making sure web developers have the best tools so they can build the best web ever.

I will be managing a few folks and also plan on getting some bugs fixed myself (famous last words? 😏). I also am going to give the talks I agreed to give, so I will still be attending Hackference (Birmingham), CSSConf Asia (Singapore) and JSConf AU (Melbourne).

I’m very excited both about the future and about working with this team full time! Yasss!

It is bittersweet to leave my former team as my colleagues are very cool, but we keep working closely together, and I intend to keep using my devrel-ing skills to announce all the cool stuff coming out of my new team. We will keep building cross team synergies! 😝

🌞 Onward! 🌞

Teetotalling month

September marks the beginning of the autumn conference season. And that also means: beers in the last break! beers and wines on the closing parties!

I don’t need any of that alcohol. So I decided to make September my alcohol free month.

I had already experimented with this last year, where I didn’t drink any alcohol during the entirety of March. Mind you, it’s not like I’m a frequent drinker. But even then, occasions would arise, and I got “the weird look” more than once when I said I was not drinking alcohol:

“Are you OK?”

“Why?”

“Are you taking any medication?”

“Are you pregnant?”

The fact that we assume that people are not OK, that there has to be a reason and we are entitled to know why, or which medication are they taking or what’s the status of their reproductive system in order to perpetuate the ways of this alcohol-fuelled-society is quite worrying.

On my first week of abstinence, I witnessed how a person who cannot drink beer because they are coeliac was asked three times in a row, by three different people, why they were not drinking. I was cringing, but happy to be supporting them by standing there, empty-handed. I have also had to justify myself in two different events, in less than a week.

I invite you to try this 🙂

Or if you want to take it to the next level, Lifeboats (a UK charity) are running their H2Only challenge–something similar but where you only drink water for 10 days. You can estimate and donate the cost of the drinks you would have drank otherwise.

Taking a break

When I finished my last talk a couple of weeks ago, I took a break.

I was tired and non-functional, and that was the best thing to do in order to be back to normal.

I was not meant to be working, and as such I stopped checking work-email, which I used to sporadically check even when I was on holidays “just in case” or to “delete stuff” so the comeback would be less terrible.

I also stopped participating at Twitter. I deleted the app from my phone and removed the Direct Message to SMS texts. It still took a while to shake off the habit of ‘checking Twitter’. There were days I would open it just to check if someone wanted something from me and was trying to reach me that way, but I’d go to the “notifications” tab, see there was nothing urgent, and close it.

Some days I would glance at the stream for a moment and, after a few days of not actively participating in Twitter, it started to look like a cacophony of disjointed conversations I just didn’t care about. It  simply didn’t make sense, so I would glance for less and less time each day.

I didn’t look at tech stuff during these days. No technical blogs. No technical discussions. I didn’t talk to tech people either–just people outside of the ‘tech industry’. No one demeaned me or insulted me or my work to start a conversation. No one got all enraged and worked out as they fixated on something I said or did that wasn’t entirely accurate. People asked me questions and I replied to them, maybe I asked them something back as I was genuinely interested in them. It was all kind, polite exchanges. I felt very relaxed and happy.

I spent time doing DIY stuff in my place. Cooking. Going to museums. Sketching. Running. Servicing my bike. Biking. Going to the gym. Reading. Playing games. Not caring about irrelevant technical trivia that will be outdated in a couple of months. Getting fascinated with the weird weather (SNOW in April!). E-mailing friends and relatives. Watching silly comfort movies. Listening to music…

Today I went back to work and I’ve already facepalmed a few times. Inconsiderate comments on blog posts, toxic emails that assume everyone is wrong on the internet and don’t know any fucking better, and Twitter hasn’t got any good in the meantime—still the same mess.

What a shock after a week of being treated with respect and kindness.

I’m so glad I took a break.

Stop wasting my time

Here’s my mini Monday rant before I move on to packing and preparing for my trip to JSConf.UY:

Quite often people ask me to proofread/review their blog posts, proposals, all sorts of texts, really. I feel honoured that they trust me and I certainly want them to succeed, so I try to help as much as I can.

My advice often boils down to:

  • shorten sentences
  • split them so they’re readable
  • delete stuff
  • rewrite the rest, and often with a suggestion of how

Do you know what most of the people do? They make one silly little change and ignore the rest.

Do you know what effect does it have on me? I’m utterly disappointed.

I spend my ultra precious time to go through the fluff of an unedited article, spend expensive brain cycles deciphering what the author really meant and figuring out how to make it clear for someone who does not know the author, and give sound suggestions, based on real experience… and they ignore my advice!!

Harrumph! 👹