Geek T-Shirt Collection #21 – Google

I got this during my “Google fanboy period”. Now I’m a little more critical. I’m now going through an “Android fanboy period”.

There’s a funny story of this shirt. The first day I moved to Miami I was running an errand in downtown and some lady yelled at me from the other side of the street and told me “I use your page every day!”, I didn’t break her heart and just yelled back “Thanks!”

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Things I found to be different in London

I had the opportunity to break away from work for a week and visit one of the most important cities on my I-Have-To-Go-Here list, London.

I found many similarities between London life and New York life, but as I went outside every day I tried to put together a small list of things that I found curious from the perspective of a 4 year old New Yorker.

CCTV, CCTV, CCTV! From the moment you step foot in the city there’s a very clear message put into your head. CCTV!, Big brother’s watching!. The scare tactic seems to work, all my friends seemed to tell me, don’t do this, don’t do that, they’re watching. I personally think it’s more of a deterrent than anything. Nobody can possibly be watching so many cameras, they are probably used for “forensic” purposes.

Pound Currency design FAIL. I understand having different widths for blind people, but they made them way too wide to fit on a wallet. Also they don’t have their denomination shown on all 4 corners, for the tourist, if you insert bills backwards you have to take them out to see how much each bill is, slowing cashier lines with tourists.


They just don’t fit on my “American Sized” wallet. I guess you have to either have a bigger wallet, or fold them twice. Notice how you can’t tell what bills are what (If you’re a noob with the currency of course), no numbers on all corners.

One thing I loved though on the 10 pound bill, freaking Charles Darwin is in it!

Now see the mighty dollar (Euros have the numbers on all 4 corner) how good the “user experience” is (at least for the non blind)


London.Underground = NewYork.Subway;
London.Subway = NewYork.UnderPass

What the New Yorker calls the “Subway”, the Londoneer calls the “Underground”. Whoever designed the Logo of their system was a genius, it’s a very versatile logo. Now, here comes a weird thing, Waht we New Yorkers call an “Underpass” The Londoneer calls “Subway”. This little detail had me J-Walking a couple of big avenues with all my luggage right after I came out of the “Underground” , and I couldn’t find for the life of me a pedestrian area to cross, and I kept thinking that some parts of the city weren’t that pedestrian-friendly… Me and other tourists just had gotten out of what we call “Subway” when we saw a sign for the “Subway” again we didn’t use it and we J-Walked it baby. Then it was easy to cross big avenues. In london Underpass = Subway.


Nokia > iPhone
Most people have Nokia phones there. Didn’t see a single iphone among my friends. Saw an Android though

The underground has no exits, only ways out.
The undeground has no "Exits", only Ways out

When you cross the street they always make you waste time on this buffer zone, many of the times lots of pedestrians end up waiting in the middle. Maybe its a combination of making car traffic flow faster, and also to help tourists remember cars are coming the other way.


It seems that the city is a very democratic place and that it has lots of issues, during the 6 days I was there I saw protests from very different groups. It also seems that there’s this love for Rollerblading like nowhere else, saw big crowds of Rollerbladers (wearing funny customs some times) in several occasions. Not sure if they were also protesting.




Maybe I’m just used to it, but I think the water in New York tastes 1000 times better than the water in London. There’s something in the London water after you swallow, it never seems to quench my thirst, it has to be extremely cold for it to feel the same way, and it was my experience that everywhere that I went I had to ask for a lot of ice. It must be an european thing (my wife doesn’t drink iced water either, nor does her family, they can even drink room temperature beer, yuck) drinking water at its natural temperature, maybe it’s part of the energy culture in America that we don’t give a crap to spend energy in cooling water?

Overall, I loved the experience, the night life seems very much alive and real. Heard some stories of pickpocketing and of areas that I shouldn’t dare visit and this made me think that it may be a city a little more dangerous than New York.

Maybe it’s the week dollar, I don’t know, but everything felt to me that it was double or triple the price than in New York. I only spent money on food, transportation and internet connectivity, other than that I don’t think it was worth it for someone who comes from New York to do any shopping over there and I certainly didn’t spend a “p” on anything outside my most basic needs.

My Shit Turd picture got a feature on

Here’s my 2 cents for before 08 comes to an end…

Turd on the G Train

Me and my family saw this (and laughed hard as I took out the camera without hesitation) on our way into the first G car on Court Sq. (headed towards Greenpoint of course) First thing that came to my mind. “This is so material”

If you find the image funny, wait until you read the post by Miss Heather, which made this very “Dear Reader” have a real LOL.

Please Digg Up Miss Heather’s Post

Taken from it’s About Page:

As you can probably deduce from the title of this blog, I live in Green Brownpoint, Brooklyn. During my one block trek to the Franklin Corner Store one April day (in 2006) to get a sandwich, I was astonished at the sheer quantity of dog shit I encountered.

Green Street is not the easiest sidewalk to negotiate: the sidewalks are uneven and pock-marked with holes. Dodging piles of dog shit every five feet does not make this task any easier, much less when carrying delicious Cuban sandwiches. It was during this adventure through Poopland that I had the following epiphany:

1. This is ridiculous.

2. I wonder if the people who see fit to use my block as a pissoir would like it if I took a shit in the middle of their living room? Probably not.

3. This is like walking through a fucking mine field, so maybe…

4. if Queen Noor (and Lady Diana before her) can lobby against the use of land mines, perhaps I can raise awareness about the plague of unattended dog shit in my neighborhood. Call me the Dog Shit Queen of Greenpoint New York Shitty. I’ve been called worse.

Fight for empty TV channels to connect New Yorkers to the Internet

I just received this from the Free Press organization, warning me about how New Yorkers won’t be able to use the whitespace signals next year for Internet Connectivity, given the Wireless communication mafia is trying to get a hold of the spectrum, and if we don’t do something about it, we’ll loose the spectrum. We’ll ALL benefit by having this spectrum, it would enable ubiquitous wireless internet access, benefiting every business on the internet with more users. That would surely make cellphone companies scared, imagine a phone that would use that spectrum and communicate via the internet instead (with skype, for free for example, international calls free, access to MyBloop files anywhere, etc.)

With your help, we can deliver high-speed Internet access to more New Yorkers.

What if I told you we could use empty TV channels to connect tens of thousands of New Yorkers to the Internet?

The technology exists today. But some members of the New York City Council are trying to stop us from using it.

The Council has bought into a corporate misinformation campaign, and is now holding a public hearing next Monday to consider a resolution that would keep this technology from the New Yorkers who need it most.

You can help the Council make the right decision by speaking out at the hearing:

WHAT: NYC City Council Hearing on White Spaces
WHEN: Monday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m.
WHERE: City Hall Committee Room, enter at the Intersection of Centre and Worth Streets

The latest front in the battle over universal Internet access is “white spaces” — empty frequencies between TV channels on the public airwaves. In New York City, 20 percent of these television airwaves sit idle. New technology can open this unused spectrum to powerful high-speed Internet services, bringing ubiquitous and affordable broadband to tens of thousands of New Yorkers now left off the grid.

Here’s the problem: Councilmember Gale Brewer and Speaker Christine Quinn have sponsored a draft resolution claiming white space devices could harm the Broadway industry in New York City. They, along with the Broadway League, maintain that white space devices will disrupt the wireless microphones used for Broadway shows. Numerous tests conducted by the FCC show, however, that this is not true.

Meanwhile, lobbyists for the National Association of Broadcasters and cell phone companies have been blitzing federal, state and local governments with misinformation to prevent white spaces from bringing the benefits of broadband to millions of people. They want to hoard this spectrum to stifle innovation and competition. If they win, we all lose.

Too many in this city have been left on the wrong side of the digital divide. The answer to getting New Yorkers connected is right in front of us:

Attend Monday’s Hearing

The hearing will be open to public testimony. Please come and urge the City Council to reject the resolution and speak out for opening up white spaces for a better Internet.

With your help on Monday, we can help deliver the Internet for everyone in New York City.

Thank you,

Timothy Karr
Campaign Director
Free Press

1. Learn more about white spaces at

DJ Afro – Will Work for Fun

DJ Afro is Jose Luis Pardo, the venezuelan guitar player, prodigy musician and composer of Los Amigos Invisibles.

This playlist is courtesy of El Blogo who could find this album somewhere in Mexico and was kind enough to share it with us at

About DJ Afro (taken from his official website)

DJ Afro (A.K.A. Jose Luis Pardo)

If you go to a Los Amigos Invisibles (LAI), you will never listen to any Shakira or Enrique Iglesias because DJ Afro, the band’s guitar player, is in charge of heating up the party and making sure the night starts well enough to move your feet with really funky rhythms.

Time has passed and Dj Afro (a.k.a Jose Luis Pardo) has managed to get the party going even when LAI are not playing after him.

He is responsible for writing more than 80% LAI’s music, as well as playing guitar, keyboard and background vocals for all five albums. He has also been featured on Louie Vega’s “Elements of life” and Dimitri from Paris’ “Cruising attitude”.

Aside from his work with the band, DJ Afro also enjoys a respected career as a remix producer. He just released his first solo track, “Mala Idea” (look at you records). He has published several remixes for Dimitri from Paris, and in his remix’ reel you can find tracks of Beastie Boys, Fantastic Plastic Machine, David Byrne, Radio Zumbido, Fundación Tony Manero, Sonorama, Soul Coughing, Los Amigos Invisibles, John Scofield and others.

As a DJ with a bag full of records that can go from Samba to Boogaloo, from Rare Grooves to Organic House to Disco, he can make people smile and start dancing almost anywhere.

DJ Afro has been spinning all around New York City since he moved here. He has been a guest behind the decks in parties like Turntables on the Hudson, Giant Step, PS-1, Shelter, Cielo, Suba, Remote lounge, Nublu, Pink (SF), Knitting Factory (LA), La santanera (playa del Carmen), O bar (Dallas), Sala Arena (Madrid), The Basement (Australia) and others. He has opened for Dimitri from Paris and Little Louie Vega. Nowadays, DJ Afro’s afterparties in local clubs following LAI’s gigs are becoming a standard in every city they perform.

Afro is also part of expansion team, a prestigious agency of top of the line producers that create music for commercial spots and films. He has produced original music for brands like Mazda, Sears, Miller, General Motors, AT&T and Sony, among others.

He was also the mind behind CHILL OUT VENEZUELA (Gozadera Records, 2004), a compilation featuring the new scene of young Venezuelan producers that has been very well received by music lovers. He is now finalizing details on its follow up, “DANCE VENEZUELA”.

DJ Afro recently composed the soundtrack for “Sed en los Pies,” a short film that opened in Venezuela in late 2005, and he will be working on the music for Mexican director Luis Sanchez’ new film. Afro’s music will also accompany Crimanesa Amoroso’s new art piece.

For the past two years, he has recorded a weekly radio show, DJ AFRO Y SU RUMBA BARATA, which airs in Caracas every Friday on ATENEO 100.7 FM, with great feedback. Afro is also in charge of choosing the playlists at SUBA, one of the most prestigious restaurants in downtown Manhattan.

Jose Luis also has a life as a journalist. He writes a column for two magazines: PLAY (Venezuela) and EL HUEVO (México) and he contributes frequently to other Venezuelan magazines like TODO EN DOMINGO and URBE.

More About DJ Afro
You can read his curious blog (in spanish) at, which he seems to often update whenever he sits at the airport, given the titles of “Airport Chronicles” in some of his posts.

Support this artist if you enjoyed this playlist.

Pictures courtesy of Juan Galvan Adriana Gutierrez Varela

Biking Route, Spring is here

Bike trip from Brooklyn to Manhattan

White tree at Sheep's Meadow in Central Park, one of my favorite spots to relax in the city for freeWhenever I see the temperature go above 65F I feel a sudden urge to leave the house. Yesterday I decided to take a bike trip to the city and back.

On the way there, my ipod blasted two prodigy records, then while in Central Park I listened to a wonderful podcast called E01 (spanish) which judges TV shows based on their first aired episode, the E01.

Resting while listening to E01 podcast

After the trip I have one request for Mayor Bloomberg, please add bike lanes in midtown on 2nd Av. it’s really scary to bike anywhere up above 34th st, definitively lot better once you ride south of 14th st.

My next trip will be to Park Slope right here in Brooklyn.

Do you have any favorite bike routes in your city? Please share

Philip Antoniades from Sun-MySQL presents at

Last night I had the opportunity to attend to my first meetup. In this ocassion, Philip Antoniades formerly MySQL’s Sales Engineering Manager, now Sun-MySQL’s Sales Engineering Manager gave a talk related to Sun’s recent purchase of MySQL for USD $1,000,000,000.

Project Indiana
I must say at the beginning of the presentation he switched from talking about the MySQL acquisition to selling us a new version of Open Solaris called Project Indiana, which seems to be led by no less than Ian Murdock creator of Debian. I suppose its his job now to sell sun and he had to do it, but things got a lot more interesting specially in the Q&A.

So for Project Indiana, as you can imagine having someone like Ian Murdock there means Open Solaris will have apt capabilities (like Debian or Ubuntu).

The other thing that caught my eye about Project Indiana (coming from the Linux world) is that Sun will require all drivers to be open sourced, otherwise they won’t be accepted to the distribution. I’m not sure if this has done anything for projects like Debian where they’re really strict, but Sun is a monster with a lot of corporate influence, maybe their new Open source approach will help things change (manufacturers releasing drivers with open licenses), and finally we’ll get lots of drivers available for Linux as well.

They also mentioned an “open source” license called CDDL (“cuddle” as they call it), no clue about its differences, if its good or bad, it seems to me there might be something weird behind it, but I’m just talking out of my ass here, I’ve not read it yet. It’d be good if someone could complement this article with their thoughts on CDDL vs GPL2 vs LGPL vs others…

How things have changed

Quoting Antoniades:

“Basically we have an influx of cash”

MySQL AB went from a 400 employee company to being part of an organization of about 34,000 employees, and now they have a lot more cash, the purchase according to Antoniades was mostly paid in cash (and you know cash is king baby!).

Entrance of IBM New York, where the meeting was held for NYPHP.orgPhilip even mentioned they’re hiring 2 SysAdmins for their New York office, (contact him if you’re interested), also, when they need a feature, they just don’t put it in the wish list, if its important enough they get 30 engineers from Sun to help them.

He made a lot of emphasis about how they already got a guru focused on optimization of MySQL and how they’re pushing for more threading (parallel programming) on MySQL. He said that Sun has a lot of DB experience, that they basically helped Oracle in getting their DB to run spotless on Solaris and they have the knowledge about DB development problems as well as a lot of smart people to help them.

On the Q&A session I finally learned that Yes there’s plans between Java/MySQL integration (stored procedures in java could be a project to come, and they mentioned that a couple of the MySQL AB engineers had already done something along those lines, and as the acquisition was happening the people from Sun brought up the fact they knew about such efforts. MySQL AB has always been a good Java shop, and they claimed their jdbc driver was always one of their best products). MySQL basically wants to learn a little more of that engineering discipline from Sun, and it seems like a nice blend between 2 very different cultures.

Other interesting topics of conversation during Q&A were about using Memcached as a storage Engine, so that you can use MySQL as a client for Memcached, maybe it sounds as an extra layer with a certain overhead, but you could certainly do a lot of more complex stuff just by using SQL, seems interesting, didn’t know you could actually do that (actually opens a lot of possibilities in my mind for stuff we need in that we were planning to use raw key-value-approach on memcached)

Also learned about a new storage engine called Maria, that will be the successor of Innodb.

So I think that now, we can be sure that MySQL will be churning out a lot more fixes (in shorter periods, maybe MySQL 6.0 will come out sooner now) given the cash and new added man power, probably the folks using MySQL enterprise will be even more benefited by this, they talked about a lot of enterprise tools to optimize queries, analyze queries, very interesting stuff.

New York Pillow Fight, Union Square – March 2008

This is the second year I assist to the Union Square Pillow Fight. This time I went with my family and took the SLR camera. During the shoot, by mistake I pressed the button for monochrome mode and serendipity stroke my photo set.

This post is to share with you my favorite pictures. Feel free to share them, they show the spirit of many New Yorkers, and they’re quite a good idea of something to do for free with lots of strangers of your own town.

The very start, in color, for your context

Girl smiling over someone’s shoulders

V for Vendetta

Yes, it’s a Macbook

Air full of feathers

Floor covered in feathers

Now the B&W’s

The battlefield

The arm of evil

Breathing from the top of the Pole

A Beautiful face


Probably allergic to feathers

Come and get me, I’m dressed as a chicken (most hilarious moment, they beat him to the ground)

Gas Mask

Pure Joy

Field trip to the Yankee Stadium

Click here for all the pictures.

We went yesterday on a school field trip to the Yankee stadium for a tour. The stadium is being torn down
they will open a New One next year (right across the street).

If you’re in New York and have the time, be sure to visit the stadium before its gone, its a great piece of history of this city and of this country’s culture, it’s awesome being there, a truly magical place where unbelievable things always happen, go soon if you haven’t done it before.