Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm on Twitter.

Hello, World,
Long long time without writing. Time goes by really fast.
I have a pending post about the 33 miners, I know, and I will try to work in it.
Meanwhile, let me announce you that I'm on Twitter (@fran1more). In (another) future post I will talk about my decision to enter the Twitter world.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guest Post - Celebrity News

Well hello everybody. FJ has just returned the favor and made me a contributor to his blog so that now I can do guest posts.

My first one will be a short one (relatively speaking - LOL), in the spirit of FJ's own posts. I will however, do more than just shamelessly promote my blog on his like he did on mine.


Anyway, today is the old movie actress Maureen O'Hara's 90th birthday (according to She was in a number of movies with John Wayne for those of you unaware of who she is.

She was also the mother in the classic original version of Miracle On 34th Street with Natalie Wood when NW was a kid.

Also, last week, another old movie actress, Patricia Neal died. I believe it said she was 84. She was the wife of the children's author Roald Dahl (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, James And The Giant Peach) for about 30 years before they divorced

She was in movies like The Fountainhead (which I have seen myself and liked even though it was written by the extreme right-winger Ayn Rand), Hud, Breakfast at Tiffanys, and The Subject was Roses.

The last movie mentioned was done not long after she had a series of major strokes (in her 30's! and while pregnant with her 5th child who was born healthy) and apparently was one of her finer performances.

Check out some of these ladies films. I'm sure you won't be disappointed, especially if you are a fan of old movies as I am.


P.S. My blog's address is

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The loose ring

Today my wife called me from her office (she was alone today) with evident symptoms of panic and crying. She told me she'd lost her wedding ring when she was using the office's toilet (just a few minutes before).
She has thin fingers and I always see her rings sliding in her hand. It was clear the ring fell into the toilet. But my question was even clearer:

"Did you FLUSH the toilet?"

I do know (and she didn't) the toilet has a siphon inside and if you drop a solid object inside, it won't go away. It is at the bottom of the siphon and it could be recovered. But if you have flushed the toilet...

"No, I didn't" she said. "HELP ME!"

Thank God, the ring is still there, I said to myself. But how do you explain this to a woman in state of panic?

"Well hun, listen..."
"WELL, FOR GOD'S SAKE, DON'T FLUSH IT! The ring is still there. I'll try to find a plumber. Don't touch anything. Keep the toilet CLOSED and wait for my call. Bye."

While I was thinking how to solve this new and weird problem (I have never put my hand inside a toilet, so I didn't suggest that solution to her and I prefered a plumber's help), she called me back, and said she'd inserted her hand into the toiled and rescued the ring. Well, she has a smaller hand than mine, so the idea was a success.

Have you ever lost an important object like a wedding ring? Does a ring slide easier along female fingers? My ring is not tight in my finger but it cannot slide by itself.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Testing post from other account

This is just a test.
I'm writing from my other (Spanish) blogger account (as a guest).
It seems I found out how to do it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I've got a new job!

When last summer (at the southern hemisphere) was ending, I wrote a post mentioning a horrible day when I was fired from my previous job and a megathrust earthquake hit the country.

Finding a new job was difficult because almost all job offers I'd seen required skills and experience in very specific topics (and the employers didn't give me the chance to learn the tools demanded). I am an engineer not a skilled programmer so I'm not an expert in a specific tool, but I am able to learn quickly, build from scratch, and analyze (and solve) problems.

A month ago my wife and I were invited by senior marriages, whom give speeches at the church to couples who want to be married, to attend the next event. We went there, introduced ourselves (and I mentioned I was unemployed) and gave our marriage testimony. After that, a guy (called Sergio) who was there, asked me for my CV. I sent to him via email (as I'd done with many people).
Next week, Sergio called and offered me a job. He invited me to a restaurant to talk about this topic. He said he has a small company and needed one engineer able to develop software for the iPhone.
Wow! It sounded very interesting. But I told him I hadn't had experience developing software for Apple products. He said that was not an obstacle because I could have a first step to learn the necessary tools. That was my opportunity. I accepted inmediately. I've never shaken hands so enthusiasticaly.
I started the next day, downloading a lot of books related to the iPhone. (I don't have any Apple products). Then I set up a borrowed MacBook and my work begun.

Beginnings are hard but I'm really happy. I'm going to learn a lot of new things and experience. And guess what. I like the MacBook more than my (Windows) notebook.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sharing pictures from flickr

Using Blogger's gadgets, I wanted to share with you some of my pictures from flickr.
It seems the pictures shown in the gadget are the lastest uploads. But it works for me.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hero DOG

Talking about famous labor leaders, my FB friend Carmen T. asked me if I have a hero.
I said her I don't. Then I remembered a video I had seen on tv showing a hero but not human. A Hero Dog. It is a real story and happened here. The link is:
(audio in English.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Not my day

Today I went to a job interview at Tata headquarters. Unfortunately, the position required mastering Java programming. I know basics of OOP, I've programmed in C++ (Java is based on it), but I've never programmed in Java. Interview finished.
I was down for the rest of the day.
I hope next time have more luck. Finding a new job is not easy here in this days.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My first girlfriend

I told PushyCAT about an idea for my blog, and she said she'd thought the same before, so I offered her a (fair) deal: She could talk freely about the idea in her blog, but I would decide her next article's topic. We agreed.
(Don't tell her, but I conceived that idea --and the deal later-- because I wanted to see other kind of topics in her blog.)
But she insisted in picking the topic for my next post. ("That's not fair" I thought, but I conceded, knowing she was going to decide an embarrassingly title. "Quick payback" I thought later.) And she selected the topic you have read.

My first real girlfriend was Marilyn (real names have been changed to protect the innocent from jealously people LOL). She was 18, a brunette girl. We met dancing a complete disc of KC and The Sunshine Band. Marilyn liked music (as me), and she was a fan of Queen. She was an intelligent person but not a nerd. I could say, a good girl, but Marilyn had a main defect: she usually didn't show initiative to do things or solve her own problems.
Our relationship was quite short and I decided to finish it.
After that experience, I put my eyes on blondes. LOL.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

CD rot

In the previous article I wrote about the musical meetings I did many years ago. In these meetings, I burned a lot of CD-Rs for my valuable collection. I thought a burned CD-R could last a hundred years. I was wrong.

Two or three years after the meetings, a friend asked me for a song I had in my custom CDs. I found the disc and proceeded to extract a track from the CD (a process called ripping).
Suddenly, the ripping software showed up an increasing number of disc read errors. I was surprised because the disc wasn't scratched. So I ejected the CD and put it near the window. I saw a brownish discolouring at the edge of the disc. Then I remembered when I studied the CD manufacturing process, if the CD's laquer coating fail, the air corrodes the reflective layer (changing its color), destroying it, and making the disc useful only as a frisbee.

You cannot imagine the horror expression drawn in my face. I started to check ALL my collection of CD-Rs. Some CDs looked good, but others (fortunately just a few discs) had the infamous CD rot. The affected discs showed up the same read errors in the last tracks (at the disc's edge).

If you have valuable CD-Rs burned years ago, take a look on them...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Burn baby burrrn!

Ten years ago, I used to organize meetings with some friends (sharing the hobby of collecting music) and everyone presented their new adquisitions (new CDs or mint vinils), and the others guys copied the musical stuff to their computers (thru a not trivial process called ripping). At that time, the only way to obtain scarce discs.

Today, no meetings are necessary: we (the old friends) put the name of the performer (or title) in any internet search engine and we have a lot of sources with files available for download (no more rippings). Mainly mp3s sources. Unfortunately, I don't like mp3s files. My ear is able to detect artifacts inherent to this type of compression.

My friend Rod (from the old meetings) told me about a website that contains many music in lossy and lossless format, and (this is the best part) members post stuff every day.
A lossless format is a compressed file, but unlike lossy mp3s, the compression doesn't affect the quality of the original sound.
So these days my CD writer has been very busy burning a lot of discs.

PS: Burrrn (with three Rs) is the name of a small program able to read lossless files and burn them onto a CD-R.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My FB friend Carmen told me about a website dedicated to books: Actually, it is a social network for readers. I must confess I'm not a good reader (even in Spanish), but I signed on and added the few books I have read in the past. And I planned to start reading a book in English (in an effort to improve my limited vocabulary), so I could add this new book to the list, and comment it later.
So, I'm open to receive book suggestions... LOL.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The old but reliable transistor radio

In case of earthquake, blackout (or another emergency), I listen news and information using a venerable transistor radio instead the modern mobile phone or mp3 built in radio. Why? Because new gadgets are dependent on AC power (internal batteries need recharging when exhausted), and usually AC power is down in an emergency. If the battery is out, the only hope is a spare one, but often gadget's batteries aren't standardized!

Even if the transistor radio's AA batteries are dead when an emergency happens, it is possible to open a TV or DVD remote control and use their batteries. I wonder if young people know this simple but important facts...

Before the last earthquake, transistor radios were not abundant in some stores (because people prefer the new and beauty mp3 players). Now it is impossible to find pocket radios. People have rediscovered the convenience of an old and simple transistor radio.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Due to recent events I'm not going to write about the last planned topic...

Chile is situated along a seismic zone, so earthquakes happen frequently, in different parts of the territory. I had experienced strong earthquakes before, so I am always ready with an emergency lamp and a transistor radio.

Last Friday was a horrible day. In the morning, I was fired "due to the company's necessities" --a eufemism to fire an employee who has done work well, but he/she is unwanted.
Could things get worse? I went to sleep thinking in a positive way, but my dreams were very short...
At 3:30 am, my wife woke me up. I noticed the shaking, still with my eyes closed, but I thought "it's just a small quake, it will be gone quickly". But it didn't stop. The quake increased in intensity, and objects like glass, plates and books started to fall and break. Electric power went out and intensity increased again. I tried to stay calm, but my wife was very frightened. We have never experienced an earthquake in an apartment building before.

When the quake finished, I went for my portable emergency lamp, because I couldn't see anything and there were a lot of objects broken on the floor (glass and ceramic stuff). I checked the apartment and I didn't see structural damage.
Outside the apartment, in the corridor, people were screaming. I opened the door and saw a panicked scene, people were going to the stairs, trying to reach the ground floor (I live on the 3rd floor and the building has eleven). My first reaction was to stay inside, but then, I smelled an odor of gas in the corridor (the quake caused damage to the pipelines) and I thought we were in a high risk of gas explosions --and fire. In some apartments, the frames in the entrance doors were deformed and people inside couldn't go out and suffered panic attacks due to the gas leak, so other residents kicked and broke the blocked doors.
Fortunately the janitor cut off the main gas supply quickly and the blast danger vanished.
We stayed outside between one and two hours. Then the electric power was restored, and we returned to the apartment and stayed there. I couldn't sleep again until the next night. I called my mother and family (phone lines were not affected). Thank God all were fine and safe.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Zaanse Schans

The previous picture was taken on a trip to the Netherlands in 2008. This place is called Zaanse Schans (a neighborhood near Amsterdam), and it has some old but well preserved windmills (and nice houses). An excellent location for taking pictures.

In the next post, I'm going to write more about this trip to Europe.

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Photoshopping" pictures

Usually I take a lot of pictures, but I don't like to retouch them. Editing just one photograph could take hours of work, and I think it is better spending a few minutes or seconds setting up the camera. Besides, some picture errors are impossible to correct in Photoshop.
Nevertheless, there is some kind of photography that requires a digital laboratory. One of them is the classic black & white.

About the picture on the left: It was taken (by me) in The Netherlands in 2008, and now is processed in B&W.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

FJ's murse

This time I'm going to write about a more personal topic. I'm not sure if this could be interesting for other people, but my blog is an experiment in many ways, so let's see what happens.

When I was young, I carried some of my belongings (wallet, keys) in any pocket. But often I lost my keys or I didn't remember in which pocket my precious money was. Also, my portable belongings started to grow in number. And really, who wants bulky pants or jackets? (At least, not me.)
So I decided to use a small bag to carry all my personal stuff.

I didn't know if this type of bag has a special name in English, and I found a portmanteau word: a murse, that is, a male purse. Well, I'm not sure if my bag could be called a murse, because definitely it is NOT fashionable --it's just a useful grey bag.

Now my dear readers, I leave to you this question. What's in FJ's murse? LOL

I'm thinking of a (pretty) prize for the best answer :-)

Friday, January 29, 2010


I'm going to write about one of my lovely hobbies: photography.

I like photography because it is an art. A good picture demands a previous work of observation. A proper seeing, lighting, and composition make the difference between a beautiful photograph and just another snapshot.

Learning to take good photos takes time, but the best part is that it doesn't require specialized or expensive gear. A photographer using a disposable camera is able to take better pictures than anyone who point and shoot with top equipment.

I like all forms of photography (portrait, landscape, B/W, fashion, sports), but my favourite kind is landscape, because:
1) You don't need special lens or expensive gear.
2) Pretty landscapes are far away from the city (a good reason to go out and relax).
3) The most beautiful pictures I have ever seen are landscapes.

BTW, thanks to photography I met my wife: she's a professional photographer. I'm just an amateur, but we work together taking wedding pictures as a freelance activity.

Well, this is my first article (about a selected topic). I hope I haven't made too many mistakes LOL. Thanks for reading.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

My first post in English

Hello. This is my first post (in English). As I said in my profile, I'm not fluent in English (I'd like to be, but I'm still learning), so I need to practice composition and writing, and acquire more vocabulary. It's a real challenge writing (enough) interesting posts using a limited language skills. Thanks for reading and your comments (and corrections) will be appreciated!