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Only in Vienna

I left home this morning at 6:05

I leave in the centre of the city, central enough that I don’t even need to own a car.

I was at the airport, after going through the security checks, at my plane’s gate, ready for boarding, at 6:35

I don’t know any other capital that makes this possible. It’s one of the many perks of living in this amazing city.

Keeping my fingers crossed that on December 4th tolerance and kindness will prevail on fear and ignorance.

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366

Last year, in November, on the 12th exactly, as we were driving to the airport in Austin, Texas,  I randomly challenged myself to spend one year drinking no alcohol, and eating no bread.

Interestingly these decisions weren’t even related to any kind of excess during the previous day’s, beside the nostalgia of water that hits me each time I spend one day in the US.
One (leap) year later I am very happy that I succeeded with the first two challenges, despite a year full of travel, restaurants, parties and conferences.

I overall failed with bread though, despite a longest steak of 73 days, 

I’ve been able to drop many bad habits quite easily, from smoking to buying useless things, if only I had a similar success with food…

I guess there’s a new challenge ahead.

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Go home Heathrow wi-fi, you’re drunk

Interesting options to connect to free wi-fi at Heathrow’s terminal 2. 

Option one is through Twitter, and here’s what you’re asked to accept:

Needless to say, I went to check option two, and it’s a signup form asking for your title, name, email address, and flight number, but absolutely no validation on any field…

I would have accepted to make a small contribution to your mailing list in exchange of free wi-fi, Heathrow.

You’d have sent me a newsletter, a chance to hook me in or make me leave depending on how interesting or funny you are.

But between giving up everything or nothing at all it wasn’t a very hard choice.

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A Magic Roundabout

I don’t recall exactly how I ended up reading this article about the craziest and smartest roundabout I have ever heard of. I mean, seriously, who reads, or writes, articles about roundabouts?

If you don’t have much time, here’s the short video explaining what it is about in one and a half minutes.

If you do have a bit of time though, I seriously advise watching this second video of a much more exhaustive demonstration of why this roundabout makes sense. I promise, you’ll learn a lot about roundabouts and you’ll never look at them in the same way.

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Marvel Movie Nights


The best part of having four fans of the Marvel Universe in the same household, is that between tv shows and movies, you basically never have to hesitate about what to whatch together. Just follow the guide

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Leaving home at 18

ICANN turned 18 only a couple weeks ago, and…

Today, 1 October 2016, the contract between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the United States Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), to perform the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, has officially expired.

(From the ICANN announcement)

This is good news for the global community, and for the future of internet, even though it may seem a bit scary at first, like one’s first days without adult supervision… ūüėČ

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What were the Odds?

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A pretty rare occurrence tonight of a Secret Hunter with five secrets up¬†at only two mana. I mean, that’s pretty crazy, Paladins were scary last year with five secrets on turn six, remember?

On the spot I noticed it (hence the screenshot), but it’s only after the game (won, by the way) that I realised how rare this was.

img_0096As you can see, this deck contains six different secrets: Cat Trick, Explosive Trap, Freezing Trap, and Snipe in two copies, while Bear Trap and Snake Trap were present only once.

The card log on the left shows that the one not in play was Explosive Trap.

Now, let’s look at the situation closely: for this to happen, it is imperative to¬†play second, as without coin it would be impossible to play the Cloaked Huntress on turn two. That alone has a 0.5 probability of happening in a given game.

I don’t remember the order in which I received the secrets, but I remember that I had four of them from the scratch, which is what inspired me to keep them. In all honesty, I was hoping to draw first a Secretkeeper, then the Cloaked Huntress, instead I drew first the fifth secret, then the Cloaked Huntress.

We start with 30 cards. I played my coin first, then all cards from right to left, starting of course with the Cloaked Huntress which reduces the cost of the secrets to 0, so I received the cards in the opposite order (left to right).

There is a total of 10 secrets in this deck meaning that when I drew my first card, the odds of drawing a secret were 1/3 or 0.333333333

Once Cat Trick¬†was in my hand, 29 cards were remaining, but only 8 would do it for the second secret, as a second copy of the first wouldn’t work. So probability of drawing¬†a second secret different from the first was 8/29 or 0.275862069. After drawing Snipe, we are down to 6/28 or 0.214285714 then 4/27 or 0.148148148 for the following one. The fourth one was Snake Trap, one copy only, so the odds for the fifth secret I got on tour one were 3/26 or 0.115384615.

Finally, the Cloaked Huntress I drew on tour two: 2/25 or 0.08

1/2 x 10/30 x 8/29 x 6/28 x 4/27 x 3/26 x 2/25 = 0.0000134731169214

In the end, the chances for such a combination were pretty low: 1 in 74,222

One could argue that it’s not that low, but considering I have been playing for about 16 months, and I played a total of 250 games with the Hunter, that still represents about 400 years of playing hunter at my current pace, which suddenly gives a better idea of the rarity of the event.

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Visa to India

Third in our new “recipes” series: the Visa to India

  • Original Passport (must have at least 2 blank visa pages).
  • One original signed visa application.
  • One copy of Austrian ¬īMeldezettel’.
  • 1 recently taken passport photo (51mm x 51mm against a light background, maximum head size 3.5cm).
  • 2 Letters of Invitation.
  • Conference Organiser¬†Clearance letter.
  • Conference Organiser Clarification letter.
  • Endorsement Letter from US employer on company letterhead.
  • Copy of 3 months of bank statements.
  • Copy of CV or resume.
  • Flight and Hotel confirmations.
  • Visa fee of 101.20 Euros in cash ‚Äď no credit cards. Please bring extra cash.

Print all the above on 36 pages in A4 format, mourn the loss of a tree, then get psychologically ready to spend some time in a waiting room, at least twice.

Interesting that obtaining a visa to attend a conference is way more complex than a tourist visa.

Enjoy!

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Wiener Schnitzel

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(Photo credits: tripb)

  • A pair of pants
  • A¬†shirt or t-shirt
  • A pair of shoes
  • Optionally, a plane ticket to Vienna
  • A bit of money, but not that much
  • A map of Vienna

Stop working for a bit, put some pants on, and get out of your house. Once in the street, depending on where you are, you may have to go to the airport and fly to Vienna, or if like me you already are in Vienna, walk five minutes to Gasthaus Rebhuhn.

Once there, take a seat, order a drink, then a Schnitzel, either the Veal or the Pork one. I personally prefer the pork one that is tastier, cheaper, and comes with those amazing parsley potatoes. The veal one comes with a potato salad that contains way too much sauce.

Wait a little bit for your Schnitzel to be cooked, then eat it when it is served. Trust me, that’s the best way, cooking it at home is quite messy. ūüôā

Enjoy!

PS: In case you wonder why I didn’t take the photo myself: I wanted to go there today at lunch, but someone preferred a pizza…

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Caesar Salad

  • Some Romana salad
  • Two table spoons of mayo
  • One garlic clove, crushed
  • One tea spoon of anchovy paste
  • One tea spoon of lemon juice
  • One table spoon of Worcester sauce
  • A bit of milk
  • A chunk of Parmigiano

Mix all the ingredients together by hand with a tea spoon excepted milk and cheese.

Dilute with a bit of milk, then add the cheese, grated, and keep mixing with the spoon. If the sauce is too thick, use a little more milk. The sauce should remain tick, though, it’s not supposed to be liquid.

Add salt and pepper to your taste, toss the salad and sauce in a bowl, let it rest half an hour so that the salad becomes tender.

Depending on your taste you can add grilled chicken breast, or croutons, or a few grilled prawns, or some extra cheese, all the above, or none, it’s your salad, you get to decide…

Enjoy!

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Diversity and Inclusion

We don’t add new pages to the¬†Automattic¬†website very often, but when we do, they make me proud:

Howdy! We are an international company with employees who come from a wide variety of backgrounds. We believe that the more perspectives we embrace, the better we are at engaging our global community of users and developers. We want to build Automattic as an environment where people love their work and show respect and empathy to those with whom we interact.

Go read the rest on Automattic.com, and when you are done, remember: we are hiring!

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The Wire

‚ÄúThe Wire‚ÄĚ from Elliot Lim

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The Spectrum

Whistler
Automattic Spectrum Division, Sep 2016, Whistler, BC

Thanks to Luca for the photo.

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photos stuff

Rainbow

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Where is Paolo?

Automattic has grown¬†to the point that finding someone¬†in our yearly photo feels like a “Where is Wally/Waldo1” game.¬†If you want to play too, come join the fun: we are hiring!

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Photo courtesy of Donncha
  1. I recently learned that the name is different in each country, Wally in Great Britain, Waldo in the USA,¬†Charlie in France…