I realized I didn't tell much about our vacation in Uruguay, thus I thought I'd tell a write of a couple of anecdotes.
Our trip started a little bit bumpy, to put it some way. The first leg of the voyage was done by ferry, 4 hours from Buenos Aires to Colonia. The boat, Eladia Isabel, although a bit old and not too well maintained is somewhat nice. The only issue was that we had the privilege of travelling with 500+ Football (soccer) fans. They were going to watch a match at Montevideo the next day. Thus we had 4 hours of chanting, insulting and overheated temperaments, that ended up in a fight amongst a couple of guys. Interestingly neither those in charge at buquebus (the ferry company) or the port authorities did much to control the angry horde.
After getting off the ferry and into a bus for another 5 hours we arrived at La Paloma. With a beautiful day, little sleep and the usual beach excitement we drop our things at the hotel and headed towards the beach... at 1PM; had some lunch over there, watching the ocean, swam a little bit and got a little bit overexposed to the sun. I guess the excitement of going to the beach and everything made us a little bit irresponsible regarding skin care.
Days went on and off easily we walked a lot, the weather was great. Food was awesome (I don't think I ever had so much ocean-provided meals in my life).
It only rained one day; the day we decided to go to "Cabo Polonio", a sort of hippie-naturist reserve, only accessible through some 4WD trucks. We spent a couple of hours at the beach when I noticed a storm front quickly approaching us. One last dive into the waves, and I told Lu we'd better hurry up; I hadn't ended saying this when I felt the first drom on my back. 10 seconds later it was pouring.
If there is one thing Uruguay should work on is their public transportation. It sucks. Big time. Soaking wet, amidst the rain and a 30°F temperature drop we waited 3 hours for the bus back to la Paloma. I need to buy a car for next vacation.
The return was slow, and nice. We had a great time altogether, rested a lot, and I could prove to myself I can spend 8 days without my ThinkPads and cell phone.
The day started quite unpromising. It rained cats and dogs, electrical storm included. Getting out of bed was a challenge. Being of the naturally of the "night type" I'll have a rough type trying to explain to my biological clock that it's time to try to get to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.
Had a quick breakfast and headed towards the train station to catch my transportation. I waited for an hour until it finally arrived (train frequency should normally be around 1 every 10 minutes). After the usual train + bus commute finally got to the office.
I set my things up plug the PC in only to find out the DHCP didn't assign me an IP address; thus I start fiddling around with my connection settings to try and solve it. After about 1 very frustrating hour I go to the IT guy, expose my case, give him my PC, and after he finds out everything looked OK on the computer connection settings he realized the issue was on the infrastructure (as usual with IT guys he did not tell me what the issue actually was, I guess some blocking on my mac address).
Thus two hours later than expected I finally was able to try to do something productive out of the day. The amount of things accumulated during just two weeks was worst than I had expected; looks like my backups had some rough times with some stuff, thus it stayed as "pending" until my return. Too much pending equals a big headache and a couple of weeks of trying to get things seemingly organized.
Besides that it was great to see the guys and gals I work with again, getting up to date with news and things. Will try to set a faster pace on the next few days.
The idea is to criminally prosecute those companies who use fake identities or fake blogs to praise themselves. An interesting idea, and a honorable approach, although I seriously doubt it can actually be controlled.
Maybe Lenovo's blog experts (Tim, Mark, David, I'm talking to you!) have something to say on the subject.
Upon my trip to Uruguay I bought the whole Dune saga (totaling 6 books); I remember watching the movie as a kid, although I couldn't remember much of the plot. The impression was persistent in my memory; there was a mystique around it that appealed to me. After looking out for the books at local stores for some time I was able to finally find it at a local store at La Paloma, Uruguay.
For those of you that haven't read this saga, I'll just say it has a heavy psychological and parapsychological burden, which makes it very interesting (I'm not very interested in parapsychology but the use Herbert gives it is quite appealing). The "hero" of the first book ca see glimpses of the future, or the possible futures, which conditions his ability to make decisions, and confuses him to a point where he can't tell what's a vision and what has actually happened.
What I feel identified with is the envisioning part. The way I act, the way I move forward.
Every time I face a crossroad, when tough decisions need to be taken I do a mental exercise. I try to look into the future, guessing the consequences such choices might have. After that I place myself on such possible scenarios and see if I can see myself fitting into those. If I feel comfortable with how I feel and think the outcome will be it might switch the balance towards one way or the other.
This sort of mental exercise is also very helpful when you need to face a challenging task. Being able to see yourself in your mind completing what has been requested paves the way to success; since you convince yourself that you take the request to a good end.
If you convince yourself that a certain thing can be achieved, there is little anyone or anything can do to prevent you from succeeding.
Back home, it's been a terrific week, Lu and I had a great time. Now I still have a couple of days before I head back to the office and to work, which I intend to spend doing some pending stuff around the house (like tiding up my computer room!).
After quite some walking, sightseeing and thinking I feel quite relaxed and wanting to do stuff.
I've uploaded some pictures into flickr in case you want to check them.
More to come shortly.
I have never regarded vacations as "the two weeks where I can do what I want". Granted, I can travel (something I love), spend more time with Luciana, and do stuff the schedule I'm tied to the rest of the year wouldn't normally allow, but I use vacations in another way.
The free time, lack of responsibilities and absence of the always present to do list give me enough "system memory" to try and put things into perspective. How do I feel? What's bugging me? What makes me happy? What do I want to achieve?
Introspection is not an easy task. Usually there are a lot of things we want to hide from ourselves. Denial. There are decisions we delay, realizations we don't make. It's only human. I take vacations as the time where, while watching the sun rise over the sea, I force myself into the task of digging in the dirt.
I have a lot of pending things. Luckily for me I have a wife which is a stone I can grab amidst the worst of storms, thus I have a sense of realization on great part of my personal life. Yet there are other things I need to think deeply about and some choices that might need to be taken on the short or medium run.
Then again, upon some insight I might come to the conclusion that most of the things that bother me are only the result of my inherent unconformity. It is usually that way, it's the fuel that drives me.
I hope I'll have more answers upon my return.
Friday was "officially" my last work day, before a two week leave. One of those weeks will be spent in the coast of Uruguay, at "La Paloma". The aim of this is to be able to unplug absolutely. I'll take no PCs with me and I plan to just relax, do some thinking and maybe some writing (of the good-old-fashioned handwriting type). Some walks on the beach, and other things of the sort are also planned.
It'll be the first time in more than 1 and a half years I'll disconnect for so long. Thus my last week was spent sending emails to all fronts announcing my vacation. I have so many open issues I can't help feeling a little guilt.
Finally today I went for the "inbox 0" target and deleted or archive all my emails. I know whatever has been left undone will haunt me on my return; thus I guess it's a good measure to do so, since I'll probably be left without space on my notes DB anyway.
I might place one or two more posts before I unplug, but after that "The Challenge" will go silent for at least a week, but I think my writing will become more prolific after some quality rest.
Mark's comment on my post on reply to his post got me thinking on a subject I have long wondered about. Our advances in terms of society and humanity as opposed to technical and technological advances. I have always wondered why this disparity exists, what are the reasons for us not to evolve in terms of society.
Yet arriving to any conclusions on the subject has always been hard. I've never come up with a set of facts I could feel answer this question, not even partially. I have some thoughts on the matter but I'm afraid nothing too fancy or too deep.
I read this inspiring post at Markitude; and I couldn't but let my imagination fly.
I wonder why we don't get this same sense of vision Mark expresses Henry Ford had nowadays. Is it because we only perceive vision as such after it becomes a tangible reality or is it because we are lacking such vision? Is it because the massive amount of changes happening all around us blurs our perception, that things happen and change so fast that we can't possibly try and predict what's the future going to be like? Do we fear having visions in order not to look like class B 1950s SciFi movies look today?
PCs have shaped the world we live in today. We'd have no DVDs, no HD tv , no cell phones, and a lot of everyday appliances would be rather simple, for instance Microwave ovens would work on analogue timers, as they did in the 70's. We'd still be using some form of tapes or vinyl discs (or whatever those would of evolved into if the CD had never appeared). Even science has taken huge advantage of computing power, even some "branches" have appeared thanks to chips being able to do a lot more maths that we would care to do (Chaos theory implications and arguments are based on millions of iterations, something that can't be done manually).
Having a vision is fundamental to achieve great goals. Guy Kawasaki quotes Kennedy with his "we'll put a man on the moon before the turn of the decade". He went further and set both the goal and a time frame. Visions are never diffuse they are quite consistent and strict. "Computer business will change in the future" is not a vision, it's just quoting the evident.
The other striking thing about visions is how absolutely simple and evident they look in retrospective; a man on the moon, a car for every one, a computer on every house; simple and strikingly obvious once they became true.
I feel visions have a lot to do with another thing I'm sort of obsessed about: long term thinking and slowing down. One can only envision something by profound thought and reflection. And those things take time. Even "illuminations" can only happen after aquiring deep knowledge on a particular subject.
I'll take my chances and try my best in the "Futurology" subject; here's a couple of things I envision for the future.
As PCs become cheaper and smaller we have integrated them into ever-shrinking gadgets. This trend is bound to continue. We'll get processors into our toothbrushes in the future.
TV, Radio and web will be integrated in the not-so-distant-future. This will happen when someone comes up with an integration interface that requires as little effort as a common TV remote.
"Old School" Telephony is doomed. We'll see it gone for good in the verge of the next 10 years in developed countries. It will take longer in third world countries, though.
Semi-conductor technology, which has taken us this far, will probably face a challenge when some other non-electrical (probably light) chip is invented. Silicon is starting to get to a point where it might not be physically possible to improve them the way we are used to. And the whole PC industry and derivatives rely on the ever increasing computing power extracted form used-to-be-sand.
Peak-Oil will become painfully evident. This will not evolve in the "doomsday - end of suburbia" way some people have foreseen, but rather it'll affect our everyday lives and economies, forcing them to change in order to adapt to the "new reality". And adapt we will. Once fossil oil becomes too expensive the switch to the next source of energy will happen faster than expected. What this source will be I don't dare to say.
I don't feel I've been very articulate for this post; maybe the explosion of thoughts was too much for me to handle.
I couldn't resit the temptation of having my T60 set up to for work, thus an notes went into the hard drive. I had little or no expectations on the program's performance.
Yet I was somewhat pleased to see that all loading times are quite shorter (like program launch, message load, reply, loading my calendar and so on). That being said whenever I synchronize my database(s) the program stalls just as in any other machine I've tried it on.
Another glitch I've found on the T60 is something very odd actually. While on MTS (AT&T dialer) if I move the computer around and the active protection system launches I'll be just disconnected from the VPN; quite annoying if you ask, particularly since I tend to move around the house a lot with the T attached to me.
Does anybody else had this issue with the dialer?