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Recipe: Mojito

1 Aug

Yummy mojito!

Follow my recipe for yummy mojitos (for 2 big glasses of ~33 cl each):

Ingredients:

  • Fresh mint (the more, the better)
  • Sugarcane juice
  • 1 lime
  • White rum
  • Crushed ice
  • Iced soda water
  • 2 sprigs of mint

Preparation:

  1. Use scissors to shred 20 to 40 rinsed leaves of fresh mint in a bowl.
  2. Transfer equally in each glass.
  3. Pour 30 ml sugarcane juice in each glass.
  4. Muddle mint and sugarcane juice. If you add a spoonful of powdered sugar in each glass, it may help extracting further oil from the mint.
  5. Pour 30 ml white rum in each glass.
  6. Squeeze one lime, pour equally in each glass. That’s about 30 ml per glass. Add pulp (unless you’d rather not bother or don’t care for pulp.)
  7. Add 6 ice cube per glass, or crushed ice.
  8. Fill up with iced soda water.
  9. Cheers!

Time lapse 

30 Jul

Lovely sunset tonight, so I set the iPhone to take a time lapse (35s):

I’ll need a name for my next machine

20 Jun

Update 2015-07-29: It has arrived! Naming it was tough; although there were good suggestions that friends made. I considered calling it “theven” given the previous one was called “sith”, but I’m going to go with “Gillie”. I like the ring of it principally, but there are other meanings. It’s the name of a character in GoT, and in French it means “tickle”, which was in the list I considered.

“Gailuron”, “Melina”, “Abraxas”, “Eloah”, “Precious”, “Phoenix”, “Sith”. I have not followed any particular convention in naming my computers, thus far. Here are the stories.

Gailuron” (namely “cheerful chap”) was a sturdy Sun workstation which I had not named myself. It was there when I was sworn into office at W3C in 1999.

Melina” was a sturdier desktop computer, I don’t recall which make. I named it after a most excellent Greek singer, Melina Mercouri. At the time, I was dating a guy who was half-greek, I danced the sirtaki (or rather the hasapiko -the butcher’s dance-, which inspired the sirtaki), cooked greek food, vacationed in Crete every summer, listened to orthodox liturgical music and other Greek music, particularly Melina Mercouri. You know, Zorba? She sang to the famous Zorba movie music.

Abraxas” was a heavy Dell Latitude laptop which I had not named myself. I looked up “Abraxas”, and it’s related to ancient religions. If you look it up, you’ll find that Abraxas is both an Egyptian god and a demon, and you’ll see that he has legs like pretzels, carries a whip and a shield, and has the head of a chicken.

Eloah” was a Dell OptiPlex, a desktop computer that I named after Éléa, the main character of a wonderful novel by René Barjavel, The Ice People (“La Nuit Des Temps”). I don’t recall how I went from Éléa to Eloah, which I find is a Hebrew word for God.
In this photo, it’s hidden under the humongous monitor and behind a screen of paper in the office also known for its “1-million dollar decoration” (that would warrant a post of its own):

At my desk, 2003

Precious“, ah, Precious… My first Macintosh laptop, a 15-inch PowerBook G4. It took me so many months of relentless persuasion and negotiation before it was finally ordered, that it was only natural that it should be named the Precious. I loved it. I could sleep with it.
Incidently, in this photo, it’s in bed with me:

Me and the Precious, 2005

Phoenix” -how could I forget Phoenix?- was the new Precious since on an unfortunate day in late 2006, Precious didn’t wake from sleep. Fortunately, I was in Boston, a short distance from the Cambridgeside Galleria Apple Store where I got a 15-inch MacBook Pro. It was entirely grey. And it was as pretty as the Precious. So I named it “Phoenix” after Jean Grey from the Marvel comics. Because it was grey and because it was sort of arising from the ashes of Precious.

Sith” is the computer I’m typing this on, a MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009). I named it Sith because it had a dark keyboard. I hated it; it looked and sounded ugly. I had been able to get a glossy screen (versus glass), but there was no other choice than the loud new black keyboard.

I can’t wait to replace the venerable Sith, and wonder what I’ll name its replacement, another MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015).

My new job: first impressions

15 Mar

I started this post mid-March and it was overtaken by… work. And when I wasn’t at work, I was tending to home chores and my family (in that order, sadly.)

Your mission, should you decide to accept it

Our CEO phoned me late January with a job offer I could not refuse. My first reaction was to run away, of course. What, acting Head of Marketing and Communications at W3C? Why me? Who else if not me; I was going to be the only full-time person remaining in this team.

That isn’t the fullest representation. I have been in this team for 10 years and 16 in the Consortium; I have both historical corporate knowledge and a better insight of the job than would a new recruit. Also, I was readily available.

I had twenty hours to think about it, sleep time included, and come up with a yes or no. My mind was already made; I could still run away if it didn’t work. Or not, and simply go back to what I was doing before. So, I was going to do that! (Image below via Andrei Sambra, for April Fools day)

cat meme: deal smells fishy, where do I sign?

Bittersweet February

I thought how big the shoes to fill were; an impossible accomplishment. I focused on what I would bring, and how to leverage past practices that I had witnessed without ever paying great attention. I felt dwarfed by the gigantic responsibilities and tasks ahead. After all, this was a position I never thought about for myself.

I thought with much guilt about immediate commitments such as a family vacation which was going to start almost right after a week of travel and meetings in Tokyo. Basically, that gig was going to start without me. How very atypical to begin a new job by a week to wrap-up as much as possible and prepare for travel and meetings, by a week in near-isolation as meetings and meeting-related work takes place, and by two weeks incommunicado touring Japan. So early February, my predecessor stepped down, and covered for me impeccably till I came back. Fast forward to March 2015.

March was brutal

March was brutal. I returned fully rested from an excellent fortnight of quality time with my loved ones, having appropriately kept my mind off work, while bracing myself for the next big thing.

  1. Loads more e-mail. I unsubscribed from some lists but subscribed to a bigger bunch.
  2. Meetings as a heartbeat. 10 to 15 hours of teleconferences and one-to-one meetings each week.
  3. Time sink. If all goes as planned, this is time well invested. Early start of work days, as usual, but days then dragged into the nights. I chose to give myself a hard stop: midnight every day, through May at most.

What I learned

I realised in the first week that I couldn’t do all I wanted. I had massively underestimated the amount of time I would have (cf. list above), and overestimated my ability to organise myself and the amount I could deliver.

When I told my CEO, this was the quote he laconically reminded me of:

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” ― Bill Gates

What I realised next, was that the more I wanted to achieve the fastest I was. I have always prided myself for being a keen optimiser of processes, but in this case it was different. It was partly due to setting unreasonably high goals in order to get as many done as possible, but primarily thanks to a sharper understanding of things that had suddenly become mine. The closest analogy is a flip being switched and light shining in a formerly dark room. I take informed decisions quicker, the big picture I see is bigger, this is all quite encouraging.

The amount of required reading is staggering as I move from operations into strategy. I expect this will subside as this is partly necessary as I’m wrapping my head around new things, new expectations, new concepts, etc.

In two months I hired three people part-time, shifted into different and new gears, identified our next priorities and planned for as many as possible, handed over most of my former job duties, and, I have not freaked out too much.

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