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 ;)

Buscando argumentos contra o machismo na comunidade?

Há anos – provavelmente uma década já – falo a respeito do machismo e misoginia na comunidade. Infelizmente pouco mudou. Os episódios são frequentes, os argumentos são os mesmos. Mas a boa notícia é que hoje você já pode encontrar recursos para saber 1) como identificar e 2) como responder.

Por incrível que pareça, um dos argumentos mais usados e mais eficientes em uma discussão é acusar a vítima de ter uma reação desproporcionada, de não ter senso de humor, de que não tem nada demais. E como somos criadas – as mulheres – para sermos conciliadoras, sempre acabamos questionando se a culpa não é realmente nossa, se não entendemos errado. Dica: se você se sentiu ofendida, diminuída, atacada, a probabilidade é que foi sim intencional.

Mas o melhor mesmo é saber como responder. Saber que existem táticas milenares de desacreditar uma pessoa, de atacar ela pessoalmente, de ofender anonimamente, de dar voltas ao assunto, usar a carta da liberdade de expressão, do anti-politicamente correto(o que daria um outro post). Saber identificar e como responder é fundamental para sua sanidade mental e evitar que, como tantas outras, você acabe tão desiludida que simplesmente abandone.

Então, vamos aos recursos – todos em inglês ainda:

Geek Feminism Wiki – com 95% de probabilidade, a situação que você se encontra já foi documentada. Os argumentos utilizados, o que está implicito nestes argumentos e como desmascará-los. Ali você pode encontrar também uma linha do tempo de incidentes – e olha que nem contamos os brasileiros – mitos a respeito dos grupos feministas online e até uma cartela de bingo. Sim, bingo, porque toda vez que você ver um incidente machista, pode tirar sua cartela e começar a contar o tempo que os argumentos vão ser listados. Recursos assim possibilitam dissecar uma discussão e observar os argumentos e métodos utilizados para manter a situação como ela está, como por exemplo o mais recente incidente desta semana. Existem mais de 600 artigos sobre diversos assuntos, mas em se tratando de um post em português para a comunidade feminina brasileira, eu gostaria de particularmente apontar para este artigo. Leiam e reflitam.

Ada Initiative – Valerie Aurora e Mary Gardiner decidiram que era hora de alguem dedicar-se em tempo integral a melhorar esta situação. Elas fundaram a Ada Initiative, uma organização sem fins lucrativos que as possibilita concentrar-se nestas situações, oferecendo consultoria, treinamentos, o que aparecer. Ano passado 30 eventos implementaram a política de intolerancia ao machismo e discriminação, o que foi um tremendo avance. Para manter esta iniciativa são necessário doações e patrocinadores. As doações podem ser de qualquer quantia, e se você conhece alguem que poderia considerar um patrocinio maior, apresente esta página. Agradecemos todas :)

Existem claros muitos grupos de apoio como Linuxchix, Debian Women e outros. Mas a iniciativa prática de começarmos a documentar e ter uma participação mais ativa que reativa me parece muito eficaz. O tempo dirá…

Matéria no Correio Braziliense – Aposta no software livre

Reproduzo aqui a matéria publicada na sessão de tecnologia do Correio Braziliense. Fiquei surpresa e imensamente honrada de ter o depoimento da minha primeira chefa e guru Kathia Juca, e da diretora de publicações da SBC, Karin Breitman. Muito obrigada!

Sulamita Garcia, engenheira de marketing técnico de um gigante do mercado, é a última personagem da série sobre mulheres na área da tecnologia da informação. A catarinense direcionou a carreira para o ramo dos programas de código aberto

» Thais de Luna

“No meu último ano do Ensino Médio, entrei em contato com computadores em um escritório onde trabalhei. Fiquei curiosa para mexer com essas máquinas e decidi tentar ciências da computação na Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) para descobrir mais sobre elas.” Assim começou a trajetória de Sulamita Garcia, uma catarinense de 34 anos, no universo da tecnologia.

Ela não imaginava que sua curiosidade a levaria a ser, um dia, engenheira de marketing técnico para a Europa do programa de desenvolvimento AppUp, da Intel – uma das maiores multinacionais do setor tecnológico. A jovem de cabelos vermelhos acertou na decisão do curso e começou a buscar descobrir qual especialização mais lhe interessava. “Trabalhei com desenvolvimento de sistemas, segurança, suporte e, mais recentemente, com marketing técnico, que é a divulgação de material técnico para outros profissionais”, detalha Sulamita. Ela considera a área em que atua hoje em dia muito interessante, pois “sempre aprende coisas novas” e tem “novos desafios”, o que acaba com a sensação de rotina.

Sulamita começou na Intel em 2007, como administradora de comunidades open source – referentes a softwares livres (também conhecidos como programas de código aberto). Empolgada, decidiu acrescentar à função o trabalho com outras empresas e o desenvolvimento de estratégias para novos produtos, soluções de problemas inovadoras e ações de marketing alternativas. “Foi uma fase extremamente enriquecedora para minha carreira, na qual aprendi muito sobre estratégia e desenvolvimento de negócios, deixando um pouco de lado a área técnica”, afirma. Além disso, ela considera que era muito gratificante atuar com a comunidade de código aberto de maneira integral, algo que, antes de ir para a companhia, fazia apenas no tempo livre.

Em 2009, surgiu a oportunidade de ser engenheira de marketing técnico de open source na Europa, mais especificamente em Londres, na Inglaterra. “O perfil específico para esse tipo de trabalho é de alguém com experiência técnica, mas que também mantenha relacionamento com clientes. Abracei a oportunidade”, relata. Para ela, foram dois anos que lhe acrescentaram muito profissionalmente, pois pôde trabalhar com equipes de nações distintas. “Em seguida, veio mais uma oportunidade de mudança, para atuar em Munique (Alemanha) com o programa Intel AppUp para Desenvolvedores, em que educamos desenvolvedores de aplicativos sobre as oportunidades criadas pela AppUp Store e os ajudamos a enviar suas criações”, esmiúça.

Por iniciativa própria, Sulamita tem estudado a influência da parte psicológica dos indivíduos na área de design, consumo e decisões. “A companhia tem grupos de análise da experiência do usuário, novos métodos de pesquisa de mercado e design, setores que são fascinantes para mim”, admite. Como o programa que comanda é voltado diretamente para consumidores e desenvolvedores, a catarinense acredita que essa percepção é importante para desenvolver produtos atrativos e fáceis de usar, que contem com o engajamento dos usuários.

Perseverante

Segundo a superintendente de governança eletrônica e tecnologia da informação e comunicação Kathia Regina Lemos Juca, professora da Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) e quem orientou Sulamita no trabalho de conclusão de curso, a ex-aluna conseguiu contribuir com a sociedade a partir da divulgação e da desmistificação do uso do sistema operacional Linux. Durante todos os anos em que conviveram, as características da personalidade da catarinense que mais chamaram a atenção da professora foram a perseverança e a postura ética da pupila. “No decorrer da graduação, ela enfrentou muitas dificuldades e percalços, devido a problemas financeiros, mas ela aceitava e enfrentava os desafios. Manteve-se durante toda a graduação com bolsas de apoio ou de pesquisa oferecidas pela instituição e nunca se deixou abater, sempre bela e muito positiva”, assegura.

Ela recorda que a jovem, que já se interessava por Linux e código aberto, teve mais influência para entender essas questões na faculdade. “Como sempre tivemos um numero razoável de equipamentos, ficava muito caro pagar a licença de softwares. Então, sempre foi incentivado o uso de open source em nossos servidores e em aplicações para a internet”, detalha. Kathia afirma que a presença de representantes mulheres em grandes companhias de tecnologia podem influenciar de maneira positiva aspirantes ao curso de ciências da computação.

Exemplo

A diretora de publicações da Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, Karin Breitman, professora do Departamento de Informática da Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), conta que Sulamita é um exemplo para outras mulheres, principalmente no Brasil, de que é possível ter uma carreira bem-sucedida no mundo da computação. “Apesar de essa ser uma indústria de pessoas, em que se fala da importância do Bill Gates e do Steve Jobs, pouco se aborda sobre as contribuições pessoais técnicas, de engenheiros de verdade. A Sulamita é uma dessas pessoas que têm sucesso muito grande no mundo corporativo”, conta Karin.

Segundo a integrante da SBC, há um crescimento no número de vagas em empresas de tecnologia, mas muitas garotas nem sequer ingressam nos cursos de computação. “A gente tem mais ou menos três ou quatro ofertas de emprego por aluno”, reporta. Ela diz que, para convencer garotas a seguir o interesse que têm por computadores, usa casos como o da brasileira da Intel, como forma de apresentar possibilidades de emprego para essas jovens. “É fundamental mostrar o que fazem pessoas nessa área, abrangendo programação, design, arquitetura de software.”

Para Karin, o preconceito em ingressar na área não é apenas dos homens, mas das próprias mulheres. “Elas acham que vão ficar masculinizadas, com estigma de nerd. E então vem o exemplo da Sulamita, que tem uma boa carreira e ainda assim se arruma, é menininha, fala bem”, destaca. “Eu a acho sensacional. Ela tem um aspecto técnico muito forte, principalmente porque trabalha com Linux. E ela consegue mostrar que continua sendo feminina, mesmo em um emprego dominado por homens.” É essa diversidade de gêneros e culturas na indústria que, de acordo com Karin, faz o mercado evoluir.

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…

Ada Lovelace Day – My Heroines

“Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging (videologging, podcasting, comic drawing etc.!) to draw attention to the achievements of women in technology and science.Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines, whatever they do. It doesn’t matter how new or old your blog is, what gender you are, what language you blog in, or what you normally blog about – everyone is invited. Just sign the pledge and publish your blog post any time on Wednesday 24th March 2010.”

I have many heroes that inspired me to go ahead. Valerie Aurora, Telsa Gwynne, Pia Waugh, Akkanna Peck, Carla Schroeder, so many… but today I would like to talk about two women, who were the most inspiring for me from the beginning. One is a historical figure, other you may not know.

My historical figure is Grace Hopper. She is someone to admire. Seriously, she was an Admiral :) As many women who made history in Sciences, she was born from a professors couple, who support her interest in academic studies. She is known for many things, the first computer bug, the concept of a compiler and the COBOL language. She won 7 awards for her amazing work in the Navy. She never retired, because every time she tried, they would call her again.

Once Jon Hall “Maddog” told me some stories about her. See, he meet her in person, and attended one of the many talks she would give to schools and academies about Computer Science. The first thing is she was a firm believer that is better to as for forgiveness than for permission. If you ask for permission to do something, you probably will have to fill many forms and reports, schedule, estimations… if instead of that you do it, they may ask ‘why did you do it?’ but you can say ‘sorry, but look! it solves this and that problem, look how great it is now!”. It must have worked, since she could never retired :)

The second thing is about nano and pico seconds. She is from the time when computers were huge, occupying entire rooms, and processing information in seconds or centiseconds. She was talking to a cadet once, and she expressed her frustration visualizing a nanosecond. Then she said ‘get me one nanosecond’. He said ‘I’m sorry?’ and she repeated ‘get me a nanosecond’. From time to time, she would see him and ask ‘where is my nanosecond?’. Some time later, this cadet goes to her and hands a piece of paper. She asks ‘what is this’ and he says ‘this is your nanosecond. This is the distance light covers in one nanosecond’. She was delighted, and whenever she would give talks about Computer Science, she would distribute nanoseconds – pieces of paper of 29.9792458 cm. Some years later, she met the cadet again, only now he was Captain. She said ‘you know, you did a great job with the nanosecond thing, would you be able to get me a picosecond?” This time it took him less than a day , when he came back with a black pepper seed, and said ‘this is your picosecond. In the space of one picosecond, light goes around the surface of this seed.’ After that, she would give away picoseconds, and Maddog still has his save.

My second story is about my first boss. When I entered my first year at university, the Federal University of State of Santa Catarina, I was looking for an internship. I came around this job in the Processing Data Nucleo(NPD) of the university, where they have openings for help desk. I had never ever turned on a computer in my life, I was really scared of doing so because I though I could break it. So I met Katia Juca, the manager of the help desk team for the entire campus. And that was my real beginning with Computer Science. Most classes at that point were about Maths and Logic, only one was programming, so for really getting experiences and using a computer, I had my internship. Kathia taught me the start of everything, and she couldn’t remember the last time she got someone so newbie at it. Under her management, I became a support engineer, than a sysadmin, and later support analyst. I’m one of countless people who passed by the NPD and later developed great careers. We had the best time, we had plenty of new toys to play, we had plenty of support from brilliant minds (I only wish I wasn’t so young to take better advantage of what I had there, but I think I turned out ok). But from all of them, Kathia always was my Amazing Grace. Thank you!

pt_BR

“Ada Lovelace Day é um dia internacional para blogar (vale vídeo, podcast, desenhos, etc) para chamar atenção as conquistas da mulher em tecnologia e ciência. A contribuição feminina geralmente não é reconhecida, suas inovações pouco mencionadas, e suas faces dificilmente reconhecidas. Nós queremos que você diga ao mundo sobre estas heroínas, o que quer que elas façam. Não importa qual novo ou antigo seu blog é, qual seu genero, que idioma você ira blogar, ou o que você normalmente bloga a respeito – todo mundo está convidado. Apenas preencha a inscrição e publique algo no seu blog a qualquer hora na Quarta-Feira, dia 24 de Março de 2010.”

Eu tenho muitas heroínas pessoais que me inspiraram a seguir em frente. Valorie Aurora, Telsa Gwynne, Pia Waugh, Akkanna Peck, Carla Schroeder, tantas… mas hoje eu gostaria de falar a respeito de duas destas heroínas, aquelas que foram as maiores inspirações para mim. Uma é uma figura histórica, a outra você talvez não conheça.

Minha figura histórica é Grace Hopper. Ela é alguem admirável. Sério, ela era Almirante da Marinha dos EUA :) Como muitas das mulheres que fizeram história em Ciências, ela era filha de professores, que a motivaram e incentivaram seus interesses acadêmicos. Ela é conhecida por muitas coisas, como o primeiro bug de computador catalogado, o conceito de compiladores e a linguagem COBOL. Ela ganhou 7 condecorações por seu trabalho na Marinha. Ela nunca conseguiu se aposentar, porque toda vez que ela tentava, eles a chamavam ao trabalho novamente.

Porém, em uma visita ao Brasil, tivemos a honra de conhecer algumas outras histórias curiosas a respeito dela de alguem que a conheceu pessoalmente e esteve em uma de suas palestras, Jon Hall Maddog. A primeira é que ela dizia que era melhor pedir desculpas que pedir permissão. Quando você queria fazer alguma coisa, se você dissesse ao seu chefe “posso fazer tal coisa, será bom por isto isto e isto”, geralmente ele vai pedir que vc preencha um relatório, escreva as vantagens e desvantagens, qual a previsão, o cronograma, as consequências… O invés disso, você vai lá e faz. E quando vierem dizer “porque você fez isto?” você diz “desculpe, mas veja, soluciona este e este problema!”. Deve ter funcionado com ela, já que eles não a deixavam se aposentar…

Outra foi sobre os nano e pico segundos. Ela é do tempo daqueles computadores enormes, que processavam informações em segundos ou centésimos de segundos. Ela certa vez conversando com um cadete estava falando: “sabe, eu posso entender o que é um centesímo de segundo, até mesmo um milésimo de segundo, mas não consigo entender um nanosegundo. Faz o seguinte, me arrume um nanosegundo”. Ele perguntou “como, oficial?” e ela repetiu “me arrume um nanosegundo”. Ele acatou, e frequentemente quando ela o encontrava, ela cobrava novamente “e o meu nanosegundo? Eu não vou esquecê-lo, me consiga um nanosegundo”. Meses depois, este cadete vem até ela e entrega uma folha de papel. Ela pergunta “o que é isto?” ele diz “isto é o seu nanosegundo. Esta é a distância que a luz percorre em um nanosegundo”. Ela ficou encantada, e como sempre fazia palestras sobre computação, passou a distribuir nanosegundos nas palestras: folhas de papel de 29.9792458 cm(segundo o wikipedia a medida que a luz percorre em um nanosegundo é esta). Alguns anos depois, ela encontrou este mesmo cadete, mas agora ele já era capitão. Ela disse “sabe, você fez um trabalho tão bom aquela vez com o nanosegundo, será que você conseguiria para mim um picosegundo?” Desta vez ele levou menos de um dia, aparecendo no outro dia com uma semente de pimenta preta, e a depositou sobre a mesa. Ele diste “este é o seu picosegundo. Em um picosegundo, a luz vai de um lado a outro desta semente.” A partir de então, ela passou a distribuir picosegundos nas suas palestras, e segundo Maddog, ele ainda tem o dele guardado.

MInha segunda história é sobre minha primeira chefe. Quando eu entrei na universidade, na UFSC, eu comecei a procurar por estágios, e encontrei esta vaga no Núcleo de Processamento de Dados, NPD. Eu nunca havia sequer ligado um computador na vida e morria de medo de queimar um ao tentar fazer isto. E neste ponto conheci Kathia Juca, a gerente do time de help desk to campus inteiro. E aquele foi a minha real iniciação em Ciências da Computação. A maioria das aulas naquele período eram sobre matemática e lógica, apenas uma sobre programação, então para ter verdadeira experiência em computadores, eu tinha meu estágio. Kathia me ensinou desde o começo de tudo, desde montar e desmontar uma máquina, instalar, configurar e resolver problemas. Ela não se lembrava a ultima vez que havia pego alguém tão novato na área. Sob o seu gerenciamento, eu me tornei primeiro atendente de help desk, depois administradora de sistemas e mais tarde analista de suporte. Eu faço parte de um imenso grupo de pessoas que passaram pelo NPD e dali seguiram para grandes carreiras profissionais. Nós passamos pelos melhores tempos ali, tinhamos muitos ‘brinquedos’ novos para testar, todo o suporte possível de mentes brilhantes que trabalhavam ali (eu apenas gostaria de não ser tão nova quando passei por ali e saber que eu deveria ter aproveitado melhor o que tinha disponível, mas no fim das contas, acho que consegui me desenvolver bem). Mas de todos, Kathia sempre foi minha Amazing Grace. Muito Obrigada!