Categories
Photography

Mexico’s nation-wide protest against presidential elections

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The presidential elections in Mexico had lots of dubious activities mostly from the Revolutionary Party (PRI) and everyone went on the streets to protest against the results that favor that party’s candidate.

Protests like the one photographed in these images took place all over the country in big and medium cities (where the cartels and army counldn’t stop people from going to the streets). These images are only from the one in Guadalajara city, but the same feeling is all around the country.

The media manipulations over the elections and the false statistics have become more and more evident, specially after the advantage numbers resulted in far less difference than what the major statistics publications reported all along.

The march in Guadalajara took several hours and was several kilometers long. I couldn’t reach the end of it, it was really massive.

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Photography wise, I’m happier with the results. I prepared (at least mentally planned) for the images I wanted to capture. I’m still not completely satisfied, I think I can capture more emotions and try different angles of things I see. On the good side, I feel I missed less shots. I still struggle a bit playing with the camera settings on the fly to get the right exposure but I’m getting a hang of it. The article on F8 and be there was a good advice to follow. Also switching lenses while walking in the middle of a protest is very challenging. But in general it is very interesting and fun.

Most photos were shot in RAW this time, which gave me more freedom to play on the editing part. The downside of it is that I took more than 600 pictures and selecting the best shots, then edit the RAW files was a very time consuming and exhausting task. Next time I’ll plan ahead some specific shots I want to get and shoot less “let’s get whatever happens here” pictures. Sometimes I shot because people were expecting me to take their picture when there was really nothing special happening at the scene. I’m sure having the constraint of taking less pictures will make me think better my shots instead of going click-crazy with the shutter button.

As always you can find more photos published on my Flickr set Marcha Anti-Imposicion Guadalajara

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?

Categories
GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source Tutorials & Tips

Restore Samsung Galaxy S to Original ROM from Telcel Mexico

Flash Samsung Galaxy S with Odin

Two weeks ago, I messed up my Galaxy S phone. I was having trouble with the back key activating by itself without touching it. As I’ve said before, I use Darky’s ROM instead of the crappy Samsung/Telcel default one. So searching for a possible solution, I found out that you could update your touchkeys firmware.

Well, I went ahead and updated it. To my surprise, it completely disabled my touch keys (the back and menu buttons). So, if you have the same problem with you back button key, DO NOT upgrade your firmware if you’re using a custom or unofficial ROM…or keep reading… Now my problem was worse than before! I then searched for a solution on that, and the only answer was: return to the default ROM and upgrade the touchkeys again, then revert back to your custom ROM.

That’s when my long journey began. Back when I changed to Darky’s ROM, I used Clockwork Recovery to do so. And of course, I made a backup of my current ROM. Turns out that, to restore from a backup, you need to be on the original ROM (or the ROM that backup has). And well, I had no other place to get that, since I thought my backup would solve it all. So I ended up spending almost all saturday looking for the original Samsung Galaxy S ROM from Telcel Mexico, until I finally found it!

To flash your Android device, you’ll need a program called Odin which is a leaked Samsung application that unfortunately runs only on Windows machines. There’s an open source, cross platform flashing software called Heimdall, but I couldn’t get it to work correctly, there’s not much documentation, so I couldn’t figure out my problem. I hope that project grows and evolves into a more stable alternative to Odin. So, I had to borrow a Windows XP netbook from a co-worker for a day so I could use the Odin software to Flash my phone.

I wanted to share my finding with some friends who have asked me about the same problem. So follow this forum post if you need to revert back to the original ROM, or recover your phone from a backup and you have a Galaxy S from Telcel. The post makes reference to this unofficial guide to upgrade to Froyo in case you loose your 850Mhz band.

I hope this solves your problems and helps you save all the time I had to invest to get to this solution. Changing the original ROM on your Android device is a risky move, but I find it worth it.

Photo is Creative Commons by fraencko on Flickr.
Categories
GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source personal

Thoughts & Tips on the Samsung Galaxy S from Telcel

Samsung Galaxy S
After a couple of months of having the Samsung Galaxy S from my carrier Telcel, I now feel I can write a few lines about it and give you some heads up if you’re in Mexico and planning to get one as well.

The Good

First of all I’d like to start saying that it is a great device. Its a very light and slim phone. I used to carry around a Nokia N95, and switching to the Galaxy S is like switching from carrying a brick to a small pebble. I actually had some jeans with the mark of the N95 stretching the denim, now I wont worry about ripping my jeans with my phone. The screen size is great and the Super AMOLED resolution is very comfortable and bright. If you’re used to the iPhone’s screen, you’ll definately love the Galaxy S bright and high contrast screen. Also its a very fast phone with its 1Ghz processor and a very fast GPU unit, its the most decent Android phone offered by the largest carrier Telcel (at the time of this writing).

The Bad

That said, now to the bad sides of it. First, it comes with Eclair and the Froyo update is yet to be announced in Latin America (or at least Mexico as far as I know). But mainly, the bad part is: its from Telcel. And I’m not talking about the carrier service (which is very questionable, but off topic). What I’m saying here is that Telcel “crippled” it. The phone is loaded with crapware, and is missing key android OS ingredients.

They decided to remove Google search and replace it with Yahoo! (Bing). They removed the Gmail and Gtalk apps, and replace is with a Samsung email app doesn’t support Gmail at all, Gtalk is completely abscent. Oh and forget about trying to install them through the Android Market; its been filtered so these Google apps and others (like Firefox and Adobe Flash among others) are not available.

And last but not least, they removed the Voice Dialler app. Now why would they do that? For me its a security risk, since I drive a lot and I’m used to voice dial via my Bluetooth headset. Now I have to turn my sight off the road to see the phone in order to dial a phone, risking myself (and others) while driving.

I contacted Samsung Mexico and they answered back saying that those changes were made by Telcel, so they are really the ones to blame for this atrocities.

Samsung Galaxy S

The Ugly

The good news is that custom ROMs are the solution to these problems. If you don’t mind the warranty and all that, you can “safely” use Darky’s ROM which is based on Froyo with some nice improvements (thanks to @weymaster for helping me with my fear to install it). So far its the only ROM I know that works well with Telcel in Mexico. It makes the phone very fast, improve battery use and fix some GPS issues the Eclair based original firmware has. It also restores all the Google apps that Telcel removed, removes the carrier’s crapware and unfilters the Android Market. I really recommend the “upgrade”.

The Darky’s ROM page has all the instructions on how to upgrade. On my experience, I recommend you to use the Wipe version, which will delete everything on your phone, so be sure to make a backup first, of the data and an image of the original firmware, just in case you need to take it to warranty and you have to restore the phone’s original state from the carrier.

Conclusion

Overall its a very good choice if you’re in the looks for a smartphone of this kind and don’t want to buy an iPhone. I’ve been very happy with it, and even more after I “upgraded” it.

If have one, share in the comments your experience with it, maybe give out some tips on must have apps. I’ll be posting more on android and mobile computing now that I finally joined that bandwagon.