Random thoughts on a Saturday


It’s been a week of upgrading computers and operating systems. At some point I had two laptops and a tablet all updating themselves. Then, the aftermath: the development environment didn’t work, so I had to upgrade it in order to be able to do work. That said, the upgrade has been quite smooth. So not complaining here.

And really complaining: is it me or does every street in central London have some kind of construction work? At the moment of writing there’s a gas work happening pretty much right under my window, with continuous tarmac slicing (thanks god they’re done with the drilling), but when they stop I can hear a similar sound further away. What a nightmare!

Then you walk around and it’s hoardings and scaffoldings all around. I specially despise these: they make you alter your path as pedestrian, as often they take over the pavement, and even more often they turn the pavement into a tunnel. Fine, they install lights and they assume “it’s safe”. Well, it looks like exactly the kind of place I don’t want to walk through, day or night.

Monet and England’s changing weather

Speaking of day or night, there’s an article in the Tate etc magazine which juxtaposes Monet’s London paintings with the letters he was writing to his wife at the time of his stay. I found it quite amusing to read about his despair about the constantly changing London weather and how it was forcing him to get more canvases so he could capture all the facets and various manifestations of rain, fog, sun (or lack thereof):

“… it’s very difficult, for no one day is anything like another: yesterday there was sun, with an exquisite mist and a splendid sunset; today, rain and fog, to the point that I am writing to you by [electric] light at four in the afternoon, whereas yesterday I was able to work in daylight until almost 6 o’clock.”

“I have something like 65 canvases covered with colour and I still need more, this country is something quite out of the ordinary”.

When we take a picture with our modern cameras we don’t stop to think about it, but there’s this extraordinary wide amount of variations. I noticed this when I started live sketching, which forces you to actually stop and look. So I totally sympathise with Monet’s struggle. It also made me wonder: what would Monet do nowadays? Would he use canvas and oils or would he go for something that allowed him to capture colours faster?

Dramatic clouds

Something else I noticed when I moved to England was the continuously varying skies. Those dark clouds quickly forming in the distance, before emptying themselves without any notice. The big clouds floating high and the progression down to fine yellowy mist… “No wonder Lord Byron went full on romantic”, I thought. And what about Turner’s paintings? Fully explained, just as you can understand Dalí more when you visit his homeland.

Who would have thought…

Yesterday I baked a bread for the first time in ages, and it was pretty decent, considering I was specially focused on finishing all the various types of flours we have on the cupboard. There are so many combinations of wholemeal, plain, raising, non-raising…

I didn’t follow the recipe properly and did a couple of mistakes, but the bread was nicely cooked and went really well with avocado and eggs this morning.

Here I am, embracing millenialism…! 😎

More millenialism: looking for flours in the cupboard, I found what looked from above like a honey jar, except it contained quinoa, which pleased me to no end. Who had left that there? Why was it on the ‘baking’ area? I asked my partner and apparently it had been… me!

I propose that it’s the food equivalent of finding a forgotten note in a pocket.

Conclusion: I might have a quinoa salad today.

How to solve the “aborting due to worker thread panic” error message while compiling Firefox on a virtual machine

Short answer: allocate more memory to your virtual machine.

The error is produced because the build process ran out of memory when compiling Servo’s style crate.

I tried with 4096Mb and it seems to be happily chugging along now. I guess your mileage may vary, yadda yadda… 💁🏻

This is nothing short of miraculous as it’s a Virtual Machine running Linux in a Macbook retina (with 8 Gb of RAM), which is a moderately underpowered-for-compiling-things laptop. But hey, lightweight, right?

Four parts of your body that get out of shape when you work with computers all day long

This year I got serious about my fitness. I got my posture and range of movements assessed, and you know what…?


Continue reading “Four parts of your body that get out of shape when you work with computers all day long”

Splitting PDFs into single pages using Automator

Every quarter at Mozilla managers get an automatically generated PDF report that we need to split into single pages.

The first time, I did that with Preview.app… dragging each page out. Slow, but reliable! It was only two pages, so it’s doable.

The second time, I automated it, using THE AUTOMATOR!

This app was introduced in 2005 in Mac OS X and I’ve never actually used it for good. Well, I’m glad I finally found some good use for it, as these reports are getting longer and I would rather spend my time on something more interesting than dragging thumbnails around 🙂

So, instructions if you don’t like watching videos:

  1. Open Automator
  2. Create a new workflow
  3. Select Library… Ask For Finder Items… double click to add it to the workflow
  4. Select PDFs… Split PDF
  5. And RUN IT, using the bottom on the top right!

It will ask you for the PDF you want to split, then it will split it in pages and place it on the Desktop.

You could get fancier, and you probably still need to rename the individual files, but I haven’t researched that bit yet.

Happy (and fast) splitting!