A Maker in the Making – my first steps with Intel® Galileo

Update: a German translation can be found here – Eine Entwicklerin beim Entwickeln: meine ersten Schritte mit dem Intel Galileo Board. (how cool is this!!!)

I am one of the lucky people who managed to have access to an Intel® Galileo board a month ago. The Intel Galileo board is an Arduino certified board using Intel Quark Technology. At the beginning I was very lost, but now I’m borderline obsessed with it.  I find the activity of connecting things and making them work together very relaxing, and it reminded me those childhood moments where I disassembled the stereo, the blender, the talking doll and other articles to see how they worked inside. The best part here is the almost immediate reward of seeing something blink or move so easily. So if you are interested in my journey, keep reading for a report on my first steps.

What will I make?

What will I make?

The first step is to download the Intel Galileo® Arduino SW. It is a prepared version of the Arduino development environment with the image for working with the Intel Galileo board already installed. There are versions for Windows, Linux and MacOS.  The Getting Started document guides you through recognizing, connecting and updating the firmware in your board, so I’m not going to repeat here. There are tons of examples, but the first one you are instructed to try is the Blink example.

Accessing the Blink example

Accessing the Blink example

If you are a newbie like me, the next question would be: great, but now, how do I stop it? Short answer: you can’t. I mean, not through programming. You can always unplug the power (but first disconnect the USB!!! I’m not sure why but the documentation says so :) ).

Update: In the German post, Alexander M nicely explains why is it necessary: “Because otherwise the SPI image on the Galileo may be damaged, and in the case of Galileo can be saved only with external hardware Guide Search. Background: The Galileo requires minimal 550mA current for stable operation, which is normally provided via the AC adapter.If this is not (more) connected but the Galileo still connected via USB to the computer, then it tries to power through this USB port to draw. However, since USB is only specified up to 500mA the current can be almost here, in the worst case during a write operation on the SPI image. Then, the write operation is incomplete and the file structures in the image are corrupted.”

Danke schön!

Danke schön!

But what the Arduino is doing is transferring the sketch (the name Arduino uses for a program) created in the development environment to the Linux system running in the board, which will call that sketch in a loop. Curious? Look at the bottom-dark area in the IDE and you can see the log of what was just done:

Uploading sketch log

Uploading sketch log

 So the slightly more elegant way to stop it is actually upload to the board the initial script, which does nothing, so the board stops blinking and goes to a loop of doing nothing.

Do Nothing sketch

Do Nothing sketch

Ok, now I had my Intel Galileo board connected, updated and had successfully run my first sketch! As you can notice, there are two main parts in a sketch: the setup() and the loop(). As the name suggests, in setup() you set your controls, and in the loop() you program what you want the board to do. The controls are usually associating your variable with the correspondent pin connected to the control of the component, and the loop() will read and/or write something in this control. In the case of our Blink example, the sketch declares pin as 13, then during setup, initializes the digital pin as an output:


/*
Blink
Turns on an LED on for one second, then off for one second, repeatedly.
This example code is in the public domain.
*/


// Pin 13 has an LED connected on most Arduino boards.
// give it a name:
int led = 13;


// the setup routine runs once when you press reset:
void setup() {
// initialize the digital pin as an output.
pinMode(led, OUTPUT);
}

Then in the loop(), it alternates the high and low voltages to make the LED blink, with pauses in between:

// the loop routine runs over and over again forever:
void loop() {
digitalWrite(led, HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
delay(1000); // wait for a second
digitalWrite(led, LOW); // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
delay(1000); // wait for a second
}

So what next? Well, that’s where we have to start using our imagination – or if you already have a project, start connecting the components. The board itself, although well prepared for many usages, cannot do much more than blink without components or add-ons. This video covers of what the board has, the chipsets and controllers. There is also extensive documentation and the available datasheet on what is in the board. But they are mostly controllers, so I needed some component to play with. My first choice was a servo, and after realizing how the proper connect it, I was able to execute the Sweep sample from Arduino:

This video was made today, after my weekend visit to a hardware store to buy proper jumper cables. As I mention on the beginning, I am only starting this and I don’t know yet what will I do (although I have some ideas) and what will I need, so far I’m testing the basics. During my first tests with the servos, having just wires was not very friendly but worked, but working with the motion sensor convinced me I needed proper tools. Now I have jumper wires, alligator clips (especially for conductive fabric), several LEDs, a breadboard and an anti-static band. Previously I had acquired the motion sensor, a LCD and the conductive fabrics. But then today I found out that I actually also need resistors for working with LEDs – told you, newbie! Although a colleague already stated a clarification on my Facebook wall:

Maybe I need more than resistors...

Maybe I need more than resistors…

In my opinion, getting started is super easy. The documentation is great, many samples, and I’m becoming particularly fond of Adafruit (which I cannot not mention the fact that is owned by a women, Limor Fried). Every component has links for the tutorials on how to use it, which is essential for newbies like me.

Limor Fried, Adafruit owner, Entrepreneur of 2012

As I mention before, what the Arduino development environment will do is to upload a sketch that the Linux system will execute indefinitely. So there is a Linux system… here is where things my start to get interesting :) so may next steps will be 1) buy resistors and get the LEDs working, and 2) start investigating the hacking options for the operating system. I already know Yocto is a way to do it, and some people are already using it. I will keep you posted ;)

Technical content

Para quem ainda não notou, eu não publico conteúdo técnico aqui. Antigamente ainda publicava muito raramente, mas agora que faz parte do meu trabalho, minhas publicações estão concentradas na Intel Developer Zone. Os artigos são exemplos do que ando trabalhando no momento – agora por exemplo estou começando no mundo de desenvolvimento de aplicações para Ultrabooks usando sensores. Toque, GPS, começando agora com acelerômetro, NFC, etc. Também tem algo de HTML5, o que vou expandir no futuro. Então se você quiser saber o que ando fazendo na parte técnica, ou saber mais sobre desenvolvimento para Utrabooks, pode dar uma olhada nos meus artigos e claro, visitar todo o conteúdo disponível na IDZ.

For those who haven’t noticed yet, I don’t publish technical content here. I used to do that seldom before, but now that’s is part of my job, my articles are published at the Intel Developer Zone. Those articles are samples of my work at the moment – right now for instance I’m starting on the development for Ultrabooks using sensors. Touch, GPS, now going into accelerometer, NFC, etc. There is also some content about HTML5 that I intend to expand in the near future. So, if you would like to know what I’ve been doing on the technical side, or to know more about Ultrabooks development, you can check my articles and of course, all the content available at IDZ.

Design in a box

As many people, I’m a big fan of Japanese cuisine. I can’t say I love everything, because I’m passed over the assumption that if I like sushi, I will like any kind sushi or any Japanese dish. One trip to an authentic Japanese restaurant in California proved me this. But still, I like try my choices with new dishes once in a while.

One good way to do it is with a bento box. A bento box it’s a complete meal, but with many items in small portions, so you can taste several dishes and preparations.

Bento Box at Haguruma this weekend, Munich

However, have you really observed a nicely packed bento box into details? I must confess I haven’t, until I was reading Emotional Design. A bento box has several purposes, some basic but some very subtle:

  • To have a nutritional balanced meal. Looking at it, you see protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables.
  • To have a diversity of tastes and offer the possibility of trying different options
  • To have a beautiful presentation, making the consumer inspired and feeling good by looking at it. The major aim would be to have that little sad feeling for destroying such piece of art before eating it.
  • To pack as many different dishes as possible, in such small space.
  • And mainly, to show off the chef’s ability in delivering a nutritional, delicious, packed but yet beautiful meal in constrained space

A bento box it’s a great example of a good design. It has the purpose of feeding and serves this purpose, but adds the extra quality by balancing ingredients and displaying them in a form of art.

As I was thinking over my bento box this weekend, I started thinking on services that lately are becoming very popular into delivering information into a fun and visual form. We all probably have been over extensive reports on market researches and numbers and projections over 150 boring pages. But more and more data companies are starting to offer some other options, like this graphic I’ve seen this weekend:

60 Seconds - Things That Happen On Internet Every Sixty Seconds
Infographic by- Shanghai Web Designers

I do hope this trend continues and improves. Now if you excuse me, this whole bento box talk made me hungry!

I had a dream…

In the future, operating systems will be obsolete. Computers would have personalities. One could be sarcastic, another would be really nice and optimistic, and another would be quiet, artistic and musical. All according with the owner’s personality and desire, and learning user habits and preferences…

A bit of Sci-fi? Hold that thought…

As I mention before, I have an increase interest for cognitive science. It’s the one thing that awakes my passion for technology that has been missing for quite some time. After more than 10 years dealing with integration and support, everything feels like ‘been there, done that’. Even if it’s a new piece of software, protocol, language or interface, it’s a matter of finding out how it works and done, next. So I’m on a very reflective moment in my professional career trying to find what’s next. Not just next position or next job, but in the big picture, what’s next for me, what do I really want to do. And what I really would like to do is to make integration among computers and people, to find new ways to develop computers. Keyboard for instance; it feels such an engineer’s solution. I have no doubt that iPhone and Wii success are hugely due the fact they integrate the user physically in the virtual world they represent, invoking the touch sense rather than just sight.

So, I’m thinking and reading and wondering… but two days ago, I question in my head made me freeze: ‘very nice, but do you have enough imagination to do such work?’ It was a doubt. I’m very creative, but how creative am I really? I was still thinking about it when went to bed, and there is that zone between sleep and awareness where I started imagining…

In the future, computers should have personalities. No keyboard or even input devices should be necessary; we already have headsets reading brain waves, and voice recognition has got to be better by them. Display could be anything, isn’t there this new window glasses where you can display information? So, not just the TV, but your microwave could display news and weather forecast. But that’s for someone who would like to read the news in the morning… what about someone like me, who prefer music? And maybe my microwave would already warm up the milk and pour my coffee.  The fridge would warn that I’m running out of cottage cheese and add it to the list, which would be a list that accepts both touch input – selecting the items I want from the supermarket’s products pictures  – but also accepting my writing and adding it to the list. But that’s easy – fridges are already running Linux

Ok, so the person who likes news can see the news and I can hear music and have my breakfast, what about the family organizing everyone’s breakfast and getting ready to take the kids to school? Traffic information would be nice; ideas for recipes for lunch based on what’s available in the fridge and cupboard, maybe a connected food processor would start chopping the vegetables before you arrive? Adding spices would be my part to it, I never know when I feel like adding cumin or oregano…

The computer would be the main brain of such network of devices. Having your data in the cloud seems fine, until you ran into problems like bandwidth, the fact your data is controlled by someone else and they may shut it down – or even the government may cut your access. So the PC would be an “in-house-cloud-server”. It could be inside of a wall – I bet some people would have it already; I’m certainly doing that when I have my own apartment. And the display would be a small one in the wall, which would display pictures while not in use. So user interfaces also will be obsolete. But all this can only be possible if the industry ever agree on following standards. If you have one ‘Samsung house’ or one ‘Siemens house’, everyone will have to start from scratch and I won’t be able to see it in my lifetime. If we all use the same protocols and APIs, we could do that by 2050 maybe…

Of course, we are talking about people living in areas with Internet access and with money to buy such electric devices – and in many countries, that’s not really an issue. But if we really would like to change everyone’s experience, we need to think about everyone – poor people in Africa, India, Brazil. And amazes me the power technology has, the importance it has over many things I would think are more important. I’ve seen a presentation showing how people use cell phones in some regions in Africa, where there is one source of electricity for everyone, usually in the center of the village, in the city hall or something like it. That doesn’t stop them from having cell phones – remembering glorious days of Nokia phones whose batteries lasted more than one week… so everyone takes their phones to the electricity source and charges them there. Those phones have processing capabilities and network coverage, what else could they do? Play radio? Will processor be so small, cheap and powerful that even those people would manage to have one? So they would have TV and internet capabilities?

And why do we have to hold phones anyway? They are so annoying when you are in a long call, so unnatural to hold them to carry everywhere… why can’t I have already a wristwatch phone, or even bracelet-phone? Even better if I can change its colour to match my outfit – and I hope by 2050 we are over that idea that everything for women has to be pink, please. My watch phone would have a small earpiece for receiving or making calls…

It’s a bunch of ideas and idealization. It may be utopia. It may be people already developing it. But it sure answers my question – I do have imagination…

Qt, MeeGo and AppUp – Qt Contributors Summit

I recently attended the Qt Contributors Summit in Berlin, from June 16 to 18, 2011. The unconference was held in the nice Café Moskau, with many room and common areas for chatting. The main focus for the unconference was to talk about the next version of Qt and the definition of an open governance structure, reclaimed by developers for so long.

Lars Knoll opened the discussion about the next version in one of the first sessions. The last major version for Qt – Qt 4 – was launched 6 years ago. The world was a very different place, and users’ expectations now are also different. There was no iPhone or applications store, touch screen was not prominent and social media just starting. Nowadays all this is just basics, and so Qt framework wants to provide easy infrastructure for developers to create applications meeting those expectations. Qt Quick/QML will play a huge role in this scenario – they will have almost the same capabilities and resources as Qt. The intention is to make easier for ‘opportunistic developers’ – those who want to create simple and small applications to monetize – to use Qt. There were many discussions on how to do that, the priorities, but main message – everything is going QML. Pure Qt resources will continue to be available and improved, but QML is expected to be sufficient for most developers. But I invite my friend and consulting resource for QML, Helio Castro, to write more about it.

Another big conversation was the open governance. Community has been asking this for a long time – 11 years to be exactly – and it is finally happening. The governance will be similar to the Linux kernel governance:

This blog post explains it in details – http://labs.qt.nokia.com/2011/05/20/open-governance-roles-and-responsibilities/ – and as I could not do any better, I will leave to the link to explain J there is also a talk – or rather a discussion – held by Thiago Macieira at Qt Developer Days 2010. http://qt.nokia.com/developer/learning/online/talks/developerdays2010/tech-talks/qt-301s-open-governance-model/

I held two sessions: Qt, MeeGo & AppUp Developer Program and – due the interest raised in this session – MeeGo Application development store.

In the first session, several developers seemed please to find out AppUp is a perfect channel for open source applications to reach mass users on Windows desktops. As Qt is a multi-platform, there are a huge number of Qt applications also available for Windows, but no efficient distribution channel. AppUp is this channel, offering the possibility to distribute open source applications with the source code. When you upload your application, you can choose between several open source licenses, and if you do so, you are required to submit also your SRPM source code package. And your application will be available not only on AppUp, but also on many applications store powered by AppUp. One of the most recent examples is Dixons KnowHow store, pre-installed in netbooks being sold by one of the largest retailers in UK and Ireland. But I shall go into further details in a future post, with screenshots and examples.

During this session, there were many questions on MeeGo application development environment. So we scheduled another session for the next day to talk about the resources and the community to support it. The first place to look at is the main wiki page for MeeGo Apps. Conversations about MeeGo application development are happening in the MeeGo community mailing list and the main #meego irc channel hosted on Freenode. To help developers to package their applications, there is a community OBS server – OpenSuse Building System. For open source applications, developers can request an account for free and submit their code. To host the source code in a collaborative way, MeeGo suggests Gitorious, where developers can also create an account for free.

On the wiki page, you can find the guidelines for packaging applications for Meego, as well as information about the QA process. When one application is submitted to testing, the community can test and rate it. Long story short, if an application has been tested enough and is approved, it will be available in the community repository. You can find more information in the documentation ahead. I’m still learning the process myself, so I can submit more information later.

And overall, was an extremely well planned and awesome event. And even so it was an unconference, the conversations in the hallway still provide many great opportunity and insights. I’ve learn about several great projects, like QML 3D and Gluon, both of with deserve their own blog posts. I also hope the developer present there appreciate our efforts on bringing ClubMate to the unconference – even if that meant empting Germany’s supply that week! And I would like to thank Alexandra Leisse for the amazing job organizing everything – you literally rock! Seriously, you people need to hear her singing…

I shall declare Mondays the Blogging day for me, and hope you all enjoy some of the reports. If you have any suggestions on what subject you would like to see more of, leave your suggestion!

Geek Runner

So this year I decided to embrace my dislike of gyms. I’ve been fighting this dislike for a long time, to the point of hiring personal trainers to make sure I would actually go to the gym and do the exercises without having to memorize everything. Two years, 4 PTs and a lot of money later, I have to say it didn’t work. No fault on the PTs, don’t get me wrong. Although I would appreciate if they could get to a minimum consensus on how training should be, but that’s their issue. On my side, I did get fit; I was less stressed and with almost no fibromyalgia symptoms, had many laughs and learned a lot, but didn’t lose weight. And it’s very simple – exercise and no diet won’t make you lose weight. Dieting and no exercise will. So, exercise is just for management – toning up and stress prevention. And I won’t argue about this point anymore – you can say whatever you want, I won’t change my mind. And if exercise is management, I can tune it down a bit.

Living in Munich is a great motivator for outdoor exercising. Everyone is on their bikes, the sky is blue and there’s green everywhere. So after buying me a nice Fahrrad, I signed up for C25K program and started running – and loved it. I thought I didn’t like running – what I didn’t like was gyms. So after a few weeks, still building up resistance but several apps later, I decided to do a post about it. If you like technology to motivate you, maybe you will find this helpful. You probably also will need a smartphone…

Like I mention, the first app was C25K, or Couch (potato) to 5K run. Although it says K, the distance in there is measured in miles, and you can adjust your goal from 3 to 5 miles. Which is the first low point – how hard it is to have the metrics also in kilometres and kilos instead miles and pounds? I found this app long time ago on The Lady Geek TV app show, and was curious since then. I really like it because it acts like a coach, giving you feedback on what you should do: “warm up”, “run”, “walk”, “run”, “walk”… “cool down”. It tracks your path by the GPS and allows you to add a music playlist which will play randomly. I filled mine taking songs like “Run to the hills” and “Fly away” on iTunes Genius and pushing the resulting list into the app. I miss an option to tag power songs, to push some sprints especially on the last half of the exercise, when you are warm and feel you have more gas then time left on the app. It also has support for social media – Twitter and Facebook – but I won’t post my newbie lame runs while my friends are posting results preparing for marathons. But for start to running, it’s the best app so far.

I also tested the Nike+ GPS. My pair of tennis shoes/trainers/laufschuh is a Nike Structure Triax+ 13, which has a stronger support to correct pronation. I have to say it gives me a lot more stability than any other shoes I’ve tried, and it was one of the reasons I decide start running. Using regular trainers usually made me feel pain just for walking. This model also has support for Nike+, which is a tiny device you put underneath the sole and counts steps and speed. But since Nike+ GPS app do the same with the phone GPS, this piece it’s a bit useless now. As for the app, it doesn’t have anything especial – music, map, distance feedback, online report and social media – but nothing that makes it stand out from others. The only thing would be having a diary online, but that is also available from Polar. Although it does have the power songs tagging… maybe I should explore it a bit more…

A new app I’m trying is Endomondo. I like the name, I guess it comes from endorphin. I was attracted by the possibility to integrating with my heart rate monitor Polar FT60 – but it wasn’t what I thought. See, I love my FT60 – it keeps the log of my training and gives me feedback on the progression; counts my calories according to heart rate but also with the log and previous workouts; and even nags me if I’m particularly lazy in a certain week (feature I disabled after giving up on the gym, I may turn it back on now I’m regularly running). I love it even though Polar shamelessly won’t support Twitter or Facebook posting status, which drove me mad many times as I worked out my ass off into workouts like body combat or double spinning classes, which I would like to brag about it. But no, I had to post it only on my personal blog under https://www.polarpersonaltrainer.com/, where only other Polar users could see. Many people request social media on Polar forums and Facebook page, but no answer from the company. And c’mon Polar, I’ve worked with social media libraries and if I can write a small app to do it, you can too.

Unfortunately, Endomondo don’t work with the FT60, will only work with a Wearlink+(the strap to capture heart rate) with Bluetooth support. And the one with Bluetooth won’t work with my FT60. Maybe Polar is driven by personal trainers, each one believing their training is the correct one and all others are wrong, so not even their own devices talk to each other… Right now I don’t have any particular motivation for buying a Wearlink+ with Bluetooth after spending good money on Polar to leave my precious pink FT60 useless. Maybe I’m the wrong type of consumer who still expects devices to last longer than two years. Hippies… and without that, I’m not sure I need Endomondo. But I will test it a bit more, since many friends are there.

And although I really like my Triax trainners, I’m really inclined to try five-fingers and barefoot running. I love to feel the grass under my foot or burry them on the sand, but I have fairly sensitive feet and I don’t know if that will work. I never liked Converse trainers because of that; I could feel every bump or small rocks on the street. But at the same time, I read about how trainers actually make your muscles weaker for too much cushion, so barefoot running would actually strength them. I’m not sure I will be able to get used to, but I’m willing to try.

I hope the fitness gadgetry will congregate at some point. I heard nice things about Garmin devices and the fact they follow industry friendly standards, which would provide better integration with software and applications. If I will have to buy something new, I would probably investigate them. But for now, I would appreciate if C25K could tag power songs and let me use metrics I’m used to instead making me do mental conversions every time. Let’s see who sprints first…

Location, location…

Eu havia afirmado antes que o twitter matou meu blog. Mas depois de pensar bem, eu acho que minha vida offline matou meu blog… este blog que já viu dias melhores de 300 visitas diárias em média – o que sempre me pareceu estranho para um blog tão aleatório – tem poucas dezenas de teimosos readers e visitas ocasionais vindas de alguma busca. Há muito tempo passei a preferir a vida offline, mas acho minha vida offline demasiado tediosa para comentar. Ainda quero terminar vários drafts sobre meus lugares preferidos de São Paulo e Londres, mas isto é outra conversa…

Mas para atualizar, me mudei novamente. Deixei a cinzenta e cosmopolita Londres pela verde e alemã Munique. Na verdade uma cidadezinha ao lado de Munique, Haar, a 10 minutos do escritório da Intel em Feldkirchen, também do lado de Munique. Sei meia dúzia de palavras em alemão, mas pelo que vejo o sotaque manezinho vai me ajudar na pronúncia – aquele R que sai rasgando a garganta, o s chiando. Aliás, o sotaque manezinho, assim como o carioca, pode não ser o melhor para a pronúncia americana, mas para a pronúncia britânica, para o espanhol e o alemão ajudam muito. Depois de mais um brasileiro me dizer há poucos dias que eu falo como ‘uma gringa que fala português muito bem’, estou me esforçando para falar mais em português, e menos o portunhol que falamos aqui em casa. Sempre tive esta tendência de pegar o sotaque, fosse o sotaque paranaense quando morei em Foz do Iguaçu aos 10 anos, por dois anos antes de voltar correndo pra Floripa, fosse dos companheiros de universidade. Para aprender pronúncia é ótimo, mas já tenho que parar para pensar ao formular uma frase inteira em português, o que é meio bizarro. Então vou me esforçar em escrever e pensar mais em português…

Mas com a segunda mudança internacional em menos de dois anos, acho que posso dar meus pitacos sobre aqueles que pensam, sonham ou querem mudar de país, por alguns anos ou permanentemente. Já que várias pessoas sempre me perguntam a respeito e pedem dicas, resolvi escrever este post. Se está com preguiça de ler, a versão curta e primeira dica é: vale a pena, mas é muito mais difícil do que você imagina.

Quando eu consegui minha primeira mudança para Londres, foi justamente no meio da ‘crise’[1]. Todo mundo me dizia que seria impossível, inclusive meu chefe, quatro meses antes de me perguntar se eu ainda estava interessada… então meu conselho é: ouça conselhos, mas tome todos com uma pitada de sal. Tem gente que vai te dizer que é impossível, que é horrível, que não vale a pena. Não sei se alguem vai te dizer que é fácil, mas mesmo que te digam tudo o que for, se você realmente quiser, você pode fazer acontecer.

Não vou falar aqui dos caminhos ilegais, está claro. Também não acho necessário falar sobre quem tem dupla cidadania, porque pode ir e vir sem muitos problemas. Vou falar da minha experiência de ter um único passaporte brasileiro e ir com a cara e a coragem. Também só posso me restringir a falar da área de tecnologia – você pode vir estudar, e com visto de estudante e tem direito a trabalhar por 20 horas, quem sabe consegue um estagio que pode levar a uma contratação e visto permanente, mas como não tive esta experiência, não posso ajudar…

Pouca gente sabe que quando aceitei o trabalho na Intel, também tive uma oferta da RedHat na Inglaterra. Ambos eram trabalhos muito bacanas, mas a Intel me abria uma área muito diferente, além de transformar meu voluntariado na comunidade open source em trabalho pago. Foi uma decisão muito difícil, porque significava também deixar a área de adminstração de sistemas, mas fui com a cara e a coragem. Além de ter sido uma experiência excelente, dois anos depois acabei indo para a Inglaterra de qualquer maneira. Como mencionei, não foi uma transferência fácil. Passei bastante tempo martelando na cabeça do meu chefe que eu gostaria de ir para a Europa, mas em meio a crise, a possibilidade era quase inexistente. Até que apareceu uma vaga onde precisavam de alguém que tivesse experiência técnica e comercial, falar não apenas com os desenvolvedores mas com executivos das empresas, e para open source. Mesmo que tivessem me dito que não em um primeiro momento, eu sabia que profissionais com este perfil, ainda mais dispostos a viajarem frequentemente, dar palestras, escrever documentação e tudo, não nascem em árvore. Então eu esperei, e conforme minhas previsões, alguns meses depois, a vaga continuava aberta. E então apareceu minha chance…

Segunda dica: se você tem um diferencial, pode ser mais raro, mas vai aparecer uma oportunidade que pouca gente pode preencher. Então você terá uma carta muito valiosa na negociação. Encontre o seu diferencial.

Porém todo o entusiasmo e a busca pela transferência entregaram o quanto eu queria a mudança. Isto em tempos de crise também deu a empresa uma vantagem: meu pacote de realocação foi resumido ao visto de trabalho. Tive que desembolsar e me virar para encontrar apto e pagar a mudança. O apartamento nem foi problema, porque hoje vejo que é muito melhor pegar o dinheiro e buscar por mim mesma que usar serviços de agências contratadas. Mas foi uma baita grana. O trabalho também era menor do que o que eu tinha feito antes, e tive que me acomodar a descer um degrau e voltar a dar suporte e escrever documentação.

Terceira dica: é extremamente difícil, por todos que conheço que conseguiram realocação, manter o mesmo nível profissional. Você provavelmente vai ter que descer um degrau, se é você que está correndo atrás e não a empresa que precisa que você vá.

Encontrei um ambiente informal, descontraído, com todos vindos do mundo open source. Foram dois anos muito divertidos, que possibilitaram que depois de quase quatro anos namorando a distância, Hector e eu pudéssemos morar juntos. Passeamos, conhecemos muitos lugares, fomos a Paris… mas o dinheiro não possibilitava o mesmo estilo de vida. Um apartamento de 45m2 custava 1300 libras ao mes. E isto porque eu tinha condições de pagar isto – muita gente dividia apartamentos com 6 pessoas para pagar 300 libras ao mês em lugares que ficavam pelo menos a uma hora de trem do centro de Londres. Tivessemos ido morar em algum lugar fora de Londres, seria mais fácil, mas então para que eu tinha me mudado?

Quarta dica: não se engane com o valor do salário, não converta em reais. Procure o custo de aluguel, do leite, da carne, do pão. Da cerveja também, mas neste caso valeu muito a pena :)

Morei perto de Canary Wharf, um dos corações capitalistas do mundo. É um universo paralelo, onde estão os bancos, a sede da Reuters e outras coisas. Existe um site de trabalhos ali que oferece salários exorbitantes – de 150 a 300 mil libras por ano para programadores. Muita gente ali ganha 500 libras por hora, advogados, stock brokers. Mas não se engane, estes contratos implicam que se você cometer um erro no programa e o banco perder alguns milhões, você é responsável por estes milhões. Você também não terá vida além do trabalho. Por isto existem muitas vagas abertas, a imensa maioria não aguenta muitos anos nisto, faz por algum tempo para fazer um pé de meia e volta para a vida normal. Mas se você está interessado…

Quinta dica: o site é http://www.efinancialcareers.co.uk/

Na Inglaterra existem muitos eventos e grupos de usuários organizando conferências. Para mencionar poucas, existem a UKUPA(user experience e design),  BSides UK(segurança), BarCampLondon, GeekGirlDinner, e claro, varios MeetUps dos grupos de Meego. Se submeter a vagas por sites é muito pouco produtivo, a imensa maioria das vagas são preenchidas por indicações internas. Então fazer networking é fundamental.

Sexta dica: se puder, busque e atenda eventos de tecnologia.

Setima dica: seja direto.

Uma das primeiras coisas que tive que aprender quando comecei a trabalhar com estrangeiros, quando estava no Brasil ainda, foi a ser direta. Para nós parece falta de educação, mas a quantidade de preâmbulo você tem que fazer com muitos estrangeiros é infinitamente menor do que estamos acostumados. Eles preferem que você vá direto ao ponto, não se preocupe em perguntar da família, do papagaio e do time de futebol, um ‘oi tudo bem, eu gostaria de pedir…’ é suficiente. Depende da cultura, claro: semana passada em uma reunião com um colega de trabalho italiano, levamos 20 minutos para começar a falar do objetivo da reunião… foi muito bom exercitar o lado latino, mas dificilmente funcionaria com um americano, inglês ou alemão. Pelo contrário, eles desconfiariam com tanta enrolação.

A Intel tem na sua cultura incentivar as pessoas a mudarem de trabalho de tempos em tempos. A lógica por trás disto é que depois que você domina um trabalho, é natural do ser humano começar a se sentir entediado e o desempenho cai. E como estou sempre pisando no acelerador, esta fase vem muito cedo pra mim. E assim apareceu uma oportunidade – novamente, uma necessidade específica, alguem com conhecimentos tecnicos e comerciais, mas especialmente para Meego. Mas incluía mudar de país – denovo. Porém o grupo parecia interessante, o projeto desafiante – levantar a AppUp, especialmente promovendo a submissão de apps para Meego. (A propósito, você sabia que pode ganhar 500 dólares se sua app para Meego for uma das 100 primeiras a serem disponibilizadas? E que as 10 melhores ganham mais 1000 dólares? Veja em http://appdeveloper.intel.com/en-us/submit-early ).

Então, lá fomos nós novamente… e a qualidade de vida que encontrei está sendo maravilhosa. Londres é fantástica, mas o tempo este ano estava sendo terrível. Nos dois primeiros meses do ano, vi o sol dois dias – apenas dois dias em dois meses. Não sei se era o efeito psicológico de saber que estava indo embora e então admitir o que me fazia falta, mas era deprimente. Aqui em Munique, o céu azul da Bavária tem se apresentado todos os dias. A comida da cantina da Intel é a melhor de todas as cantinas Intel que já experimentei, então não preciso me preocupar em cozinhar e tenho escolhas saudáveis a disposição.

Mas a fama de péssima comida em Londres para mim é injustificada. É porque somos muito privilegiados no Brasil e não nos damos conta – no Brasil cada esquina tem um buffett de comida a quilo, comida bem temperada e variada. Em Londres é outra coisa, almoço é um sanduíche com um pacotinho de batata frita ou sopa ou salada. Porém existem bons lugares para comprar um sanduíche, e outros que você vai comer comida com gosto de papelão. Eu pessoalmente gostava muito do Pret a Manger e do Pod. Mas se você quer comer comida mesmo, deixe de preguiça: vá cozinhar. Eu comi arroz e feijão muitos dias, preparando no fim de semana e fazendo alguma carne e legumes de manhã cedo. Fazer uma refeição descente em um restaurante não sai por menos de 20 libras – sendo bastante otimista. Então se você não vai se candidatar a vagas lá em Canary Wharf, prepare-se para cozinhar.

Oitava dica: pare de reclamar e vá cozinhar.

E por último, pense bem no seu objetivo de vida. O meu muda frequentemente – não achei que o sol, verde, natureza iam me fazer tanta falta. Estou felicíssima em um apto com jardinzinho, longe do burburinho urbano. Mas muitos dos meus colegas fazem questão de morar no centro, e comparado com Londres, em Munique dá pra morar de boa. Assim, na hora de escolher qual país exatamente se encaixa pense não apenas nos museus, pubs e teatros de Londres, ou na Oktoberfest de Munique. Pense no dia a dia, levantar de manhã, enfrentar transito ou transporte público, almoçar, jantar, fim de semana.

E se tiver o espirito aventureiro como eu, se jogue que a vida leva…

Acho que ainda tem assunto, mas por hoje chega, reviso segunda feira…

[1]A proposito, alguem reparou que no ano da ‘marolinha’, a economia retrocedeu em 2009? link Eu nunca vi nenhum anúncio sobre isto, só agora… mas enfim, que continue expandindo e que o pibão se mantenha.