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Events personal

Trip to Villahermosa, Tabasco

Hotel Quinta Real Villahermosa

We’re almost done with the year and I realized there’s much to post in this blog. Back in July we went to Villahermosa, Tabasco for the wedding of a friend. It was my first time there so I didn’t know what to expect. Very soon into my trip I found out that they have very interesting food and recipes. We went to a traditional Villahermosa cuisine restaurant to try it out.

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No, this is not the traditional restaurant, that was a quick stop because we were running late.

Okay back to my story. The pejelagarto is a very popular dish around there. They prepare it in several ways: grilled, stuffed, in fillet, etc. In my case, I got to try it in empanadas. To me it tasted like crab (yes, with a B not a P).

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After the wedding, we went to a cacao farm where they give tours to show how chocolate is made. I was expecting to see a big factory and large farming lands, but it was a lot simpler. The farming land looks like a small jungle in the middle of the town, which grew around the perimeter of the old cacao fields. The place feels like a real jungle with the humidity, the plants everywhere covering the sun and the sounds of birds and other animals. The tour guide told us they have a section where monkeys live. This was their habitat before the town came into the jungle, so they are trying to preserve them there. We couldn’t spot any of them but sometimes you could hear them in the distance.

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Guacamayas

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We saw several types of trees that I’ve only read about in books. The rubber tree which produces a resin that native Mexican tribes used to create shoes and the first balls to play games. A cinnamon tree, which I never stopped to think how cinnamon is obtained. The tree is small and you can peel a part of it’s trunk or branches and that’s the cinnamon sticks. Then a gum tree used by Mexicans for centuries for chewing gum before Thomas Adams created the chewing gum industry world wide.

Rubber tree | Arbol de hule

Cacao plant

We also got to try freshly done hand-made chocolate. They demonstrated the traditional process of making chocolate from the cacao seeds. I participated adding the spices and trying the resulting mix. Then they explained how that process is now translated into industrial processes and how most milk chocolate has barely any of the outstanding health benefits of the cacao (also, white chocolate is just fat, no benefits at all).

Hand made chocolate

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It’s been a bad year for my writing but I started experimenting with video recording and editing. So I’ll be posting some of my video experiments using mainly a GoPro Hero 3+ Silver. I hope you enjoy this first one about this trip.

Categories
Events GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source Photography

Festival Software Libre Vallarta 2012

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The first days of november I spent them at the Festival Software Libre 2012, in Puerto Vallarta. Like last year, this is an event where most of the free software minds in Mexico and other nearby countries gather to exchange and promote technology ideas and projects. The location as always is great, and it was very nice to see all the people I only get to see once or twice a year at these type of events.

Basilio Briceño & Gabriel Orozco Gabriel Saldaña and John Maddog Hall Gozner the magician & Sandino Araico img_0137 Octavio Mendez img_0169

This time I had the privilege to give three talks:

  • Free Network Services: where I talk about having freedom in a world of “the cloud” where everything is getting centralized again. I talk about federated services like open microblogging, and invite people to participate in projects like Mediagoblin and Statusnet or create new alternatives to known popular SaaS (software as a service) platforms. You can find the slides (in spanish) here.
  • Semantic web and SEO tips: starting with some history on search engines to provide context, I talk about how search engines work and how they rank content. I explain what semantic web is and how it can help us in search engine optimization of the sites we create. It was the first time I give this talk and I was happy to have a full audience room. You can download the slides for this talk (in spanish) here.
  • PHP code quality tools: another talk I gave for the first time. Here I talk about some common mistakes I’ve found over the years working on different PHP projects and companies, and recommend some tools that are available to address some of them. Here are the slides for the PHP code quality tool talk.

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Aside of being a very good technical event, I also had a good time.

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I saw how some baby sea turtles were liberated and later that night I got to liberate some others that were found at the beach. It was a great experience.

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If you have the opportunity next year, I highly recommend you go to this event. It’s a great mix of technology, networking, relaxation, good scenery and good times. You don’t get all that in one package very often. Keep an eye on www.fslvallarta.org for next event dates and news.

I took a bunch of photos. If you want to see more, you can find them at my Flickr set.

Categories
Events GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source

I will be talking at FSLVallarta 2012

FSLVallarta 2012

Today I got the good news that I’ll be giving three talks at FSLVallarta 2012 in november. I love that event and the fact that it’s in Puerto Vallarta can’t make it any better 🙂

Unfortunately my attempt to give a talk about Emacs got rejected (again) so instead I’ll be talking about Free Network Services, PHP development & code quality tools and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Slides and pictures will be uploaded here after the event, and follow me on Identi.ca or Twitter for updates.

About FSL Vallarta event:

“El Festival de Software Libre Vallarta 2012, is an open space where students, teachers, investigators, computing experts, companies and professionals of open source and free software and the general public will get together to learn, participate, exchange ideas, points of view and solutions”

The above roughly translated from the original in spanish:

“El Festival de Software Libre Vallarta 2012es un espacio abierto donde se darán cita estudiantes, docentes, investigadores, profesionales, expertos en computo, empresas y profesionales del software libre y público en general para aprender, participar e intercambiar ideas, puntos de vista y soluciones.”

Categories
Events Photography

RMX 212 music festival in Guadalajara

RMX212 concert

As a new resident of Guadalajara, I know very little of the history of the RMX 212 music festival. This is the first time I know about it and assisted. I have to say that it is awesome! They completely shut down Ave. Chapultepec, an avenue known for it’s restaurants, bars and a great place to walk around during the day and have a nice time. Four stages along the avenue with several bands playing simultaneously from 14:00 hrs until 03:00 in the morning! The nice thing was that also most of the bands were not the typical mainstream pop music garbage (although some still sounded like garbage), this was a place for new bands and upcoming bands to have a large audience to promote themselves.

RMX212 by Grupo Imagen

I got my age “reality check” when I saw the lineup for each of the stages. Shocking to see how many new bands are coming up and you know absolutely nothing about them. That’s when you realize you’re becoming “uncool” and are out of touch with current trends.

Fortunately not everyone was new to me. I knew a couple, like Pato Machete, former member of Control Machete, Hello Seahorse and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sussie_4][Sussie 4]]. I knew more bands, but I didn’t necessarily like them. They were my brother’s preferred music, which I don’t consider “cool”, but ohh well…

I could get close enough to take interesting shots at Pato Machete’s presentation.

Pato Machete on stage

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The crowd was going crazy with this guy on stage

Concert crowd

Stand up cheer

Pato Machete on stage at RMX212

I don’t know what was going on, but apparently all my friends were surprised at something when I took this shot.

Everyone surprised here

Then I went with Alesi and Lokotronic to see the happy punk band Division Minuscula. I really hate that crap, all songs sound the same to me and don’t get me started with the lyrics… but I didn’t wanted to go home yet.

Fan girl & Division Minuscula at RMX212

Here is the best image I could take when Sussie 4 was on stage. The place was too crowded to get any closer.

Monument concert with Susie4 at RMX212

A girl in the crowd who smiled at my camera.

The girl who smiled

Taking stage photographs is hard. You have to prepare and adjust all your settings before the concert starts or else you’ll miss good moments, and since ligthing is constantly changing, you might miss some. I was constantly switching from manual to shutter speed priority. It is important to set your metering to spot metering and if you have several focus points, use the ones in the center. There are ways to set dynamic focus following a subject on some cameras, but for a beginner like me, center focus points work fine. Unless you are in a special press booth or reserved area, being in the middle of the crowd during a concert leaves you little time and comfort to adjust settings and experiment.

And I leave you with a music video of Pato Machete for those who don’t know his music and got curious after these pictures:

Categories
Events Photography

#YoSoy132 protest and Mexico’s 2nd presidential debate events

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Last weekend was Mexico’s 2nd presidential debate in Guadalajara. Lucky for me, I’m now living in this city so I had the opportunity to witness several of the events and protests around this event. On Sunday there was the protest against the PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, the so called anti-EPN protest. Later in the day the second #YoSoy132 protest in Guadalajara took place without regard for the intense sun and heat (well…coming from my hometown and Monterrey city, this was not that bad for me). As always I didn’t miss the opportunity to take my camera and try to get some cool pictures.

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Dogs also joining the cause.

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As in the previous protest, there were lots of signs telling people to get informed and not to vote according to the charismatic television propaganda.

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This sign is asking for an apology from Mexico’s major TV network to the mexican people for publishing information with a bias to a candidate, as The Guardian has published Televisa’s dirty tricks.

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There has been a lot of criticism about the YoSoy132 movement being a left wing supporting movement, but here’s an image that proves that there are also signs against the left wing’s candidate.

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Lastly me and some friends watched the debate in a public space where large screens and speakers were set up by one of the left wing political parties where by the end of the day, that political party’s candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) went on the stage to say a few words on how he felt he won the debate and to encourage his followers to continue supporting him on his campaign.

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It was the first time I attend a political party event and the experience was surprising. I saw it as an opportunity to experience those events, how people get convinced and how euphoric people are about a political view while gathered in masses. One of the things that impressed me the most was that there were two people cheering for the candidate on stage while waiting for him to get to the location. One of them was a young man that cheered the event like any other event host, nothing spectacular. But the other one was a middle aged woman, and she cheered like she was an evangelical priest. The words she shouted and the euphoria with which she shouted reminded me of the chants and shouting prayers of some religions. They were singing the party’s song (where do they learn the song from?!) and they were all very hyped about the fact that they were going to see “their favourite leader”.

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These are a small sample of the pictures I took that day. For more images please visit the photosets Second protest #YoSoy132 and AMLO after debate on my Flickr account.

It always amazes and interests me a lot all these events where people get encouraged to behave in some manner that they normally won’t behave, being a religious event, a musical concert or, as I now learned, a political party event.

It was very difficult for me to get good photographs because it was overcrowded, lots of people getting in my shots and they had lots of signs and flags that also got in my way. I’ll keep trying to get good shots at these events, hopefully someday I’ll master the technique of photography in those circumstances.

Categories
Events Photography

Protest against the media #YoSoy132 in Guadalajara

I haven’t been up to date to what is being published about Mexico in the rest of the world, but at least all mexicans know about this protest gathering. It all started when presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto went to the Ibero university to give a speech to the students. There, the students protested against him, calling him a murderer and questioning him about the killings in the Atenco incident.

Afterwards, national media covered the story and published everywhere that the meeting at the university was a success. The political party published a video (now pulled down) with fake students giving their approval to the candidate. Then the political party leader said that those students were a minority and that they were not students but paid agitators by a rival political party. This was the last drop, after having to stand up for false voters statistics, and other statistics where the totals added over 100%, many covered news and lots of praisals for this candidate from all major news publications in the country.

All this made everyone very pissed off about the matter, and started protests first on video and then the people on the streets. The protests happened on the same day at the same time on all the big cities of Mexico with most of the participants being students. The claim was to expose the media as lyers and that students won’t swallow anymore all their bullshit.

The movement was called 132, because the media said that only 131 students were the ones who protested against the presidential candidate. That being a big fat lie, everyone started protesting stating that we are 132 (actually thousands more) in the same spirit of the occupy movement’s 99%.

Also being fed up with media bullshit since 5 years ago, I joined the protest. Plus it was a perfect opportunity to give my new camera gear a try in the field. The protest started in Chapultepec Ave. and they walked to the Televisa building. There, everyone placed protest banners and signs on the walls. Afterwards, we walked to the Milenio headquarters where one university student was invited to a radio show to talk about the protest going on outside the studios. We listened through a megaphone and people started leaving messages with white chalk on the street. Finally everyone walked back to the starting point.

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It was a very calm protest. There were no agitators or any violence acts.

The funny thing was that that same night, on the daily news, the media minimized the impact and size of the protests. Will they ever get the message?