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Eurotrip 2014: Barcelona feature

Eurotrip 2014: Barcelona

My very first Euro trip started in the Mediterranean lands of Spain. Better yet, lands of Catalonia. Barcelona is the capital of Catalunia. the city is rich, educated and clean. Yet, it is full of colors and flavors. The Catalans are simply passioned about architecture and arts.


Barcelona, after the Olympic games in 1992, realized that the city needed a local hero that would attract more tourists. The chosen one was Antoni Gaudí, an architect. He was an indeed visionary and modernist, responsible for some of the great structures of the city. And now most of his works in Barcelona are part of the must-go places for every tourist.

The La Pedreira is a great building, which was designed to not have a single 90 degrees angle wall or pillar. All of them are all a bit curved in an organic disposition. Strange and unique.

The Park Guell is an open park designed by Gaudí to the Guell family. The free space is nice, but I personally disliked the interior (paid) area. There are simply not enough substance to justify the price.

But by far the most interesting monument from Barcelona (and personally from all places that I visited, even including the Eiffel tower) is the Sagrada Familia (Sacred Family) cathedral. Amazing. The history of the place is a whole story. Everything has a meaning, a higher purpose. It is in an eternal construction state for more than a century!

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Picasso homeland doesn’t advertise his work harder, I believe, because he also chose Paris in life and his work is also spread all over the world. But the fact that Picasso, along Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and many other world wide famous artists, are from this city. Their work heavily influenced the cultural excellence of the city.

Special Places I visited

Among all the places I have visited, some noticeable mentions:

  • La Boqueria: the city most famous market place. Colors, tastes and smells.
  • El Born: a medieval neighborhood where I stayed (using AirBnB). Beautiful and very charming with a labyrinthic roads.
  • Crepes El Born: the place were I tasted the best crepe of my life. I was a salmon with cream cheese flavor. I was not expecting to be good, but it was amazing!

In time: as for now, Barcelona would be my #1 city of choice to live.



I’m not dead. Neither is the blog. I’m going to —poorly- explain why.

I’m just very focused on other projects, like my own new company Gamenific. It is, for now, an informal company, but I am investing more and more time and money, and energy into it. The Gamenific blog, that I write, is getting much more updated than this one.

My main day job is also requiring loads of time. Especially at the beginning of the year, when I was responsible for implementing an Online Booking tool in the company, was very demanding. I was working 16 hours a day. No social life was allowed. I cannot stress enough that it is very counterproductive: working that much for long periods is very tiring. Tired minds do not think properly and make constantly wrong decisions. One after the other.

But now things are normal again.

World Cup is here. It will officially start this Thursday and Rio de Janeiro, one of the hosting cities, is upside down. The transport is the worst, not only it is operating at overcapacity, but also the worker unions are taking the advantage of the situation to start constant strikes to raise salaries. The population is a hostage.

Back to Gamenific:

My plan is to make this company my life. If all goes right, it will become my main source of income in the next year, maybe two. And at this point, I plan to make it a full-day job.

Being a one-man company is not easy. By far. The amount of work that it takes is enormous. Secondary administrative tasks, like blogging, contacting new contractors, marketing, and making strategic plans… are very demanding. I wish I have someone to share the burden. But I am not complaining. On the contrary, it is very fun. Is hard and I love it.

I will keep Gamenific news in the Gamenific blog as much as possible, keeping this blog more as a personal view, especially related to programming, video games, and cinema. Eventually, I address some political or economical matters.

In Brazil, national elections are coming. I think it will be the subject of some texts in the near future.


Dry Year

2013 was a very sad year: I did not watched many movies, nor plays, nor played many games.

The result is that, as you can see in the blog, I could not write about them.

But the worst part for me is that I stopped to keep track of them. My main spreadsheet that I control what movies, books, games or TV shows that I was consuming was almost entirely abandoned. It is a bit demanding and requires a lot of discipline to keep this wheel spinning.

In the gaming side, one of the major contributors to my laziness is the Humble Bundle. It offers some special game deals, mostly indie games, in bundles, in a pay-as-much-as-you-want scheme. It is great. But it also invokes our primitive instinct of irrational buying, and it is hard stop a moment to keep record of this.

I will try to make a better 2014, full of art. It will take some time but I want to do so.

Vacation is More Work feature

Vacation is More Work

It is another vacation! Hey!!!!!

After Argentina and Chile last year and Cube and Mexico in May, this time I will visit… nowhere!

The old plan

That’s it. I was planning to go to Disney World, USA. The idea was to go in a big group and have fun. I went to Disney when I was in college (I lived in the USA for 6 months in an exchange program) and I loved it! Loved it! Disney creates a magic atmosphere that one cannot ignore. They mastered the idea themed park.

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Well, my original plan started to go wrong when I foresaw a complicated end-of-year in my job, due to a project in that I was involved. Things went worse with time. My boss said once or twice that we would stay in extra hours if needed.

Then I reached the moment of choice. With a lot of uncertainty, the dollar-real ratio in a bad shape, and missed momentum, I’ve finally decided to abort my trip and stay home.

The new plan

Cry no more! I have a new plan!

Besides my formal job, I invest a great deal of time in my lovely hobby: designing video games. I do all the processes, from programming, drawing, writing, painting, and whatever is needed.

I have about 8 prototypes that I believe can reach the market someday. One of them is a puzzle game called Picubic. It is charming, it is challenging and it is fun. But most of all, it is the closest one to have, at this moment, a shot in the wild market. I named the gaming division of Bruno Massa Corporation as Gamenific, a mix of Magnific (magnificent) and Game!

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For this reason, since I decided to abort my trip I also decided to invest all my time to launch it. Finish it once and for all and sell it. The plan is to launch its beta ITS WEDNESDAY! Kind of… The plan is in fact, to launch a funding campaign on Indiegogo (the poorer cousin of Kickstarter) to help to leverage some money and close it. But most of all, to attract people. The company will only gain traction if there is a big enough audience. Let’s create a brand!

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I can now only hope that this plan works. Otherwise, it will be a waste of a good Disney moment.


Scrambled (digital) life

For those that knows me, it’s not a surprise that I’m a bit paranoid with digital security. But in a good sense, I believe, because I do not suffer from this condition. It is an active and rational decision to be constantly aware of digital dangers. I am also very tolerant towards including extras security steps on the daily habits.

Inspired on two Brazilian stories involving cryptography, I decided to take a closer look into personal encryption. One from the fraudulent banker that could never be convicted because all the evidences were in his encrypted desktop computer. The federal police were never able to crack it. The other one was a forgotten laptop with major corporate secrets. The company? Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company and one of the top oil companies in the planet. Petrobras said that the secrets were safe: the strong encryption would hold any eyes from looking inside.

Imagine if suddenly someone steals your computer. Aren’t you going to be crazy?! Your personal photos, family stuff, work notes and free access to email and banking from the machine.

Note: I am talking about only encrypting the hard drive, so it is only useful for avoiding losing data in case of someone stealing your computer. Nothing else. Simple but efficient.

About 2 years ago, I discovered an open source product that I loved: Truecrypt/Veracrypt. It promised total protection for people like you and me. Being open source also adds much trust: not only I will not be locked with a single provider, but the method could be tested and commented by hundreds of eyes.

My desktop is unbreakable ever since. With powerful processors we have today, it is easy to turn all disks encrypted. Even the main Windows and Linux hard drives are protected. So if a theft steals my PC, I will lose the hardware but not the software. The information inside is unreachable. Even for USA government 😉 Ever. Hear that Obama? Ever!** **And the performance drop is unnoticeable. Amazing. I’m a happy customer.

On whole in the wall I was always worried but never dealt until: my smartphone. No need to say that it is probably the most vulnerable hardware that we own (we carry it everywhere) and it is full with important information. Easy to lose it somewhere or to be robbed. The information can be shared through the world. Finally I tried on my beloved Galaxy S3. One thing I knew I would gave to give up is the convenience of easy and fast access to my phone; entering a strong passwords all the time, because the whole point of the encryption is to lock other people out! For some, it is just a too heavy burden. For me it was not. A small price to pay.

While the encryption of the memory card was excellent, using it on the main phone’s memory compromised too much the performance. Odd. From boot to app switching, the lagging response was irritating. After two weeks, I had to revert it. Immediately it started to respond. I’m now gathering some strength to try this again. I’m going to read more to see what I did wrong. I know it is worthy.

Do you scramble your digital life or it can be read in plain view?