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My Son Did His Last Magic Trick feature

My Son Did His Last Magic Trick

It’s been a month since my youngest dog, Mago Merlin Harigaya Massa, my Little Mage, passed away. Even though he was “just” a dog, I loved him and treated him like a son. He slept with me and sat at the table during meals.

I’m trying to write for the tenth time while crying profusely. This text won’t be able to capture even part of how special he was.

Note: My dogs have an Instagram profile: https://www.instagram.com/avalondogs/


We met him on the street a month after buying my first house in Uberaba. He was still young and very dirty. He played with my two dogs, King Arthur and Princess Guinevere, while we walked around the block. I let the three sniff and enjoy each other’s company. Continuing our walk, he returned to the corner he was at. It was cute.

People from the neighborhood were looking after him, always providing food and water.

The next day was the same. My wife Ana Luisa and I were enchanted and began joking about “how long could we resist such cuteness?” That afternoon, it rained, and I felt so sorry for him that I went to check if he was okay. He was fine, taking shelter under a canopy until the rain passed.

On the third day, a Monday, after playing with my two dogs, he followed, and followed, and followed us calmly for the rest of the walk. He kept following us and when I opened the door to the house, he entered, sat down, and told me “We’re home, Dad”! Merlin was the one that adopted me, and I’m so eternally grateful.

His first photo
His very first photo

Mago merlin adopted me
Mago Merlin adopted me


We chose a name following the “tradition” of the tales of Avalon: Mage Merlin. Since he was the first dog we adopted after getting married, his full name became Mago Merlin Harigaya Massa. He was still young, the vet estimated he was about 4 months old, 6 tops. He had very short legs, so he was often teased as a “design flaw,” “little liar” (liars have short legs), or “rhino” (he ran and bumped into everyone).

I’ve met many dogs, but he was special. Much more intelligent and active than average. Almost like a border collie. A sponge for learning. He imitated his siblings in everything. In less than two months, he knew practically all the tricks it took me years to teach the others. He could shake hands, roll over, stand on his hind legs, spin, and many other tricks.

Food was his issue. He always ate desperately and was possessive over food and bones. If one of his siblings left food in their bowl, he would eat it and go straight to the “time-out” corner, cheeky guy (“I know, I know…”). We worked on this, and he improved a lot in his two years of life.

He had a cute habit of tilting his head to listen better to what we were saying. He was charming. Had an ear that, like his tail, clearly responded to his mood: it perked up when he was curious and dropped when he was tired or sad.

He loved to play. When he discovered the toy box, he was thrilled. He even played alone. He’d throw the balls far and go fetch them. Enjoyed tug-of-war toys like his sister, and also enjoyed playing ball like his brother. He was an energy machine. During walks, he ran non-stop, without getting tired. He happily accompanied me during my running workouts. I ran 5 km; he would run 10 because he kept going back and forth.


King Arthur was initially uneasy about the arrival of another male and had some natural disputes. Arthur is more of a calm guy, and Merlin wants to play all day. When Arthur was in the mood, they would run together.

Guinevere adopted him as a half-brother, half-son. She would defend him during any event on the street, playfully wrestle with him, and even clean the sleep from his eyes. When he was on time-out, locked in the bathroom for a few minutes, she would stand at the door, alert and concerned. She still looks for him when we mention Merlin’s name. She deeply loved him.

He learned to be very affectionate by imitating his sister. He would sleep cuddled up in bed, sit next to us on the couch, ask for affection, and nudge us when we stopped. Family and friends were initially a little startled by his enthusiasm, but would fall in love with him within half an hour.

I took more photos of him than any other animal or person in these two years because he always had something incredibly funny or interesting.

The Day

It was a routine Monday walk, starting the week. We went to the park, I unleashed them, and let them run. Like any other day. On the way back, they usually walk without leashes because they’ve been trained to stay close. I reinforce this habit every day. Just counting “3, 2, 1…” is enough for them to pay attention and stay close.

But on that day, he saw another stray dog, became super excited to play, and ran to meet him. He tried to cross the street but didn’t see the car, which was actually going at a low speed. It all happened very quickly.

He left this world doing what he loved the most: playing, running, and making friends.

I am sure we gave him an excellent life. A country boy, he got to know the beach and the forest and traveled to a dozen cities. He ate, played, and slept a lot. He slept out of exhaustion from his always full day. Then woke up energized to start everything all over again. He had parents and siblings, love, and a home.

A month of mourning. Mourning like I’ve never felt before. I’ve had dogs in the past that eventually passed away. Even when I was younger, I did feel the sadness. But nothing compares to now. Mago Merlin was probably the biggest loss of my life. Perhaps because now I really felt like a father.

There wasn’t a single day that you didn’t make me smile. I love you, my son.

★ 2021-XX-XX (adopted 2021-12-13)

✝ 2023-08-14

His last photo. the day before
His last photo. The day before

My Curated Intellectual Breakfast: The RSS feature

My Curated Intellectual Breakfast: The RSS

“Why on earth is he going to talk about RSS feeds? Are we in 2005?”

Here’s the thing, folks: I’ve been sailing the RSS ship since… well, since forever. And let me tell you, it’s a life preserver in the ocean of digital drivel. It’s one of whose old techs that still works. Like vinyl record.

For the uninitiated, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, but I like to think of it as my personal Reality Sanity Saver. You know, the kind that lets you pick and choose which parts of the internet merit your precious, coffee-fueled attention.

Oh, the power of choice! That moment when you realize you’re not at the mercy of an algorithm, but instead the captain of your own content ship. Algorithms, bless their binary hearts, can indeed serve up some delightful new discoveries. But put them in charge of your entire digital diet, and you’re headed for a feast of uniformity, a banquet of sameness, a veritable smorgasbord of manipulation. It is a breath of fresh air in the stale, algorithm-driven room of the internet. It’s the thrill of taking the steering wheel back from the autopilot, the rush of reclaiming your own digital destiny.

And the best part? RSS is the master key that unlocks all the doors. It’s the universal remote for your digital subscriptions.

  • Blogs? Check.
  • YouTube? Check.
  • Mastodon. Check (take that Twitter!).
  • And podcasts, the beloved companions of long commutes and cleaning sprees? Absolutely Check!

It’s a central hub, a one-stop-shop for all your curated content needs.

So, if you’ve ever felt like you’re just a passenger on the algorithm express, it might be time to grab your RSS ticket and hop aboard the train of choice. Trust me, the view is much better when you’re the one choosing where to go.

A Good Recipe

A good recipe:

  • Frequency
  • Niche and curation
  • Direct and simple

A good RSS feed is a bit like finding a good taco truck. It needs to show up frequently enough to quell your hunger, but not so often that it’s parked outside your house daily, taunting you with the smell of fresh guacamole. Nobody needs that kind of stress.

Forget about generic news sites that offer a one-size-fits-all approach. This feed takes things up a notch by diving deep into the realms of specialized subjects that truly tickle your curiosity. It’s like having a knowledgeable friend who understands your unique interests and serves up a delectable array of valuable and thought-provoking content, specially curated to satisfy your intellectual appetite. It should not target the mainstream.

Rather than relying on clickbait, it offers high-quality articles, in-depth analysis, and engaging discussions that satisfy your intellectual appetite. The focus is on substance, catering to true enthusiasts who seek valuable information without the need for gimmicks. The goal is to leave you fulfilled and craving for more in your chosen niche.

My Menu

So, what’s in this assorted bag of digital candy, you ask? Well, it’s an eclectic mix of games, boardgames, game development, programming, business, writing, photography, politics, personal, education, site, and fun. Well… just like this blog.

My RSS feeds have a surprising amount of video channels. I’ve got this sneaky trick where I automatically set watch them at 2x speed. It’s like time travel, but without the pesky paradoxes. For text, I use a Text-to-Speech plugin called Read Aloud in my Firefox browser because, frankly, my eyeballs need a break sometimes.

Continuing the practical advices: I use Feedly. Originally, I was a Google Reader groupie (may it RIP), and for a hot minute, I self-hosted on a TinyTiny RSS server. But Feedly and I, we have a thing now.

In the upcoming posts, I will be sharing a collection of sites that I personally enjoy following. These sites cover a wide range of categories, reflecting my diverse interests. By exploring these sites, you can discover new content and choose what appeals to you. Some feeds may have fallen into obscurity, while others are eagerly anticipated additions. It’s a dynamic reflection of my varied interests and the fascinating topics that capture my attention. From technology and science to art and literature, these sources offer a variety of interesting topics. Join me as we navigate through this curated selection of sites, and perhaps you will find some new favorites along the way.

Home Assistant and The Dawn of Smart Homes feature

Home Assistant and The Dawn of Smart Homes

Smart homes are becoming increasingly popular as technology continues to advance and become more accessible. You can control various devices and appliances in your home through a single app or voice assistant. It can include lights, temperature control, security systems, and more.

You can control these lights through voice commands through platforms like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. With smart lights, you can easily set the mood in your home by adjusting the color, brightness, and temperature of the lights. You can also automate lighting by setting schedules or creating scenes, such as turning on the lights when you enter a room or dimming them for movie night. The typical sales pitch “Endless Possibilities” does apply here!

I started to transform my house into a Smart Home about a year ago and I’m loving it!


One of the most affordable and customizable options for building a smart home is to use Home Assistant with a Raspberry Pi. Home Assistant is an open-source platform that allows you to integrate and control various smart devices in your home. It is free and can be easily installed on a Raspberry Pi, making it accessible to people with a range of technical skill levels. Home Assistant supports a wide variety of smart lights, including those from popular brands like Philips.

One of the benefits of using Home Assistant with a Raspberry Pi is that it is free of paid service. All smart-device companies offer a paid subscription service to unlock some extra features. The Home Assistant community has hundreds of tips and tutorials to replicate them on your own. This means that you don’t have to worry about recurring subscription fees or being locked into a specific platform.

Unlike paid smart home services, particularly those in other countries, you can be confident that your private information and data are secure and not being monitored or accessed by anyone else. You have full control over your data and devices, and you can be sure that your security cameras, personal information, and other sensitive data are not being shared with any third parties. This level of privacy is crucial in today’s world where data privacy concerns are becoming more widespread. By choosing this DIY smart-home setup, you can enjoy the benefits of a connected home without worrying about the privacy implications of using a paid service.

Node-RED, included as a plugin, allows for even greater customization and automation in your smart home. You can create “flows” that automate various tasks, such as recording security video when motion is detected, sending notifications to your phone, or turning on the lights when you enter a room. This can make your smart home even more intelligent and responsive to your needs, freeing up time and effort that would otherwise be spent on manual tasks. The plugin provides a visual interface for building these automations, making it easy to set up and modify your flows, even if you have little to no programming experience. By incorporating Node-RED into your Home Assistant setup, you can take your smart home to the next level and make it truly your own.

I had to configure an online backup. Raspberry Pi has a history of failing, especially the micro-SD. It gives me peace of mind knowing that even if my Raspberry Pi fails, I can easily restore my Home Assistant setup without any hassle.

Wallet and Keys Free

Another great feature of a smart home is the ability to leave your keys and wallets behind when you leave the house. With smart locks and phone-based payment systems, you now can control access to your home and pay for purchases with just your phone. It can make life much more convenient, as you won’t need to carry a bulky keychain or wallet everywhere you go. It’s pocket freedom! Simply use your phone to unlock your front or garage door, and pay for your morning coffee – all without ever having to dig through your pockets or purse. The counterpart is the single point of failure: in case I lose my phone (or get robbed), I will have no money and no way to enter my house. :(

I did the right thing to start to automate my home a year back. Building a smart home with Home Assistant on a Raspberry Pi is a cost-effective and customizable option for people who want to control their home appliances and devices from one central location. A valid warning: it’s addictive to tweak each device or flow to fit your taste. Just take care of not getting into the rabbit hole!

Owner of Social Network Data aka Indieweb feature

Owner of Social Network Data aka Indieweb

During the campaign for Congress, I had to transform my social networks into a real sales platform. They all had to be super aligned with the same purpose.

I should have already installed/hired some social media manager, like Hootsuite or Zoho Social (Zoho has been my online service provider for years), as this is no trivial task. There were more than 8 networks. And many of the contents are copies of each other.

In addition to the difficulty of managing the various networks, there is confusion as to what content I would release as official. Canonical. Especially networks that are essentially competitors.

  • Twitter or Mastodon?
  • Tiktok or YouTube Shorts or Instagram Stories?
  • Facebook or my blog?

It gets substantially worse with stories like Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter. He’s made so many changes to the platform that it’s not impossible to think the company will eventually go broke. Thus, years of content would be thrown away. And the constant changes in rules and permissions?!

Indieweb: The owner of the content is ME

To address some of these concerns, I’m trying to centralize the source of information to a system that I have full control over. And nothing better than this site itself to be responsible. Here I do whatever I want, optimize images (one of my concerns is that I’ve never had much discipline in removing the metadata from images), and customize their appearance. This then becomes the official center of what I do.

POSSE is the practice of Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere, in other words, publish links or copies on other social networks always citing the source of the content, so that anyone can follow you directly at the source.

Reposting on Twitter and Mastodon is easy as they are usually text and few images. Meta/Facebook sites are more boring because they are richer in content and have no API to automate. Video ones are even more work, as hosting videos in person is quite expensive (I’ve always felt that YouTube does an almost humanitarian job in hosting such a volume of data).

For now, I must keep old content on its source platforms. Gradually I will try to write only here. Eventually start to even export all the old content from these services to have back and put static on the site.

Microformats, Fediverse and Webmention

To adapt the site to be the center of the online universe, some changes need to be made:

✅ Make it easier for computers to also understand the site

I also implemented microformats on the site and in the contents, so that any other system that reads the site can extract the main information: the author, title, content, and publication date. Several of this information already appears visually on the site. As humans, we can understand easily, but computers cannot. Therefore, a series of modifications were made so that the contents are also easily understood by machines.

Separating the different types of content

As I use the blog as a tool for longer texts, daydreams, and ideas, I’m thinking of creating specific lists for small texts (tweet/toot) and maybe images (today the site has a tag that points to my posts of photos). So everything would be better indexed and found. Blog and notes. My site manager, Hugo, allows for several approaches. The question is how to do a better implementation.

Integrate comments, replies, and shares made on other sites

I’ve tried using some commenting tools before, like Discus and Cactus.chat (super cool concept of using Matrix as a comment source). I don’t have a lot of traffic here, so it wouldn’t matter. But the goal is now bigger: to include comments and reposts of my content made on other sites.

The W3C’s standard (the organization that standardizes the internet) created webmentions, a way to formalize that someone is commenting on someone else’s content. That’s the only way I can maintain a great discussion about the content I’ve posted on any network.

“Automatically” republish content written here on other social networks

This will take some time as I will need to use some external services that will read my site’s RSS and try to post on social media instead. Essentially using a HootSuite/Zoho Social type solution. Even better if it’s open source. I will investigate the use of n8n.

As soon as I manage to implement more things, I’ll post them here. I want to give the least amount of work to the next ones who are excited to take control of their own digital lives.

Multilanguage Site feature

Multilanguage Site

brunomassa.com has been always an international site. Almost all posts were written in English. But now that I will venture into politics (more about this in a later post), it’s worth separating Brazilian Portuguese content apart. Mixing posts about programming, gaming, and movies will only confuse followers and voters.

Instead of removing non-related content, I decided to split languages. The Brazilian Portuguese edition will show up more posts about the Brazilian scene. Curiously, most of the old posts written in pt-br were already about politics or football, so they are already fit for the job!

I do not know how to create a hybrid model using Hugo, with most language-independent content intertwined. If I find it, I will enable it in the future. It will be especially useful for hot-pages, those pages that serve as an entry for promotions and special situations. It would not be good to create a hot-page for brunomassa.com/pt-br/hot-page, because it would defeat its purpose of being easy to remember and share. To help even further, I’ve just bought the brmassa.com domain, aligning with other social media usernames.

So, I’m going to start to work towards generating more content about politics and the Brazilian context. This week I plan to make the now-not-much-a-surprise announcement.

This very post is multi-language. Click on the small flags to switch.