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2021.12.31

Movie List 2021

Just a list of movies that I’ve seen this pandemic year.

  1. Be Kind Rewind
  2. Best in Show
  3. Borat
  4. Borat Subsequent Movie
  5. Bridesmaids
  6. Coming 2 America
  7. Cruela
  8. Don’t Look Up
  9. Enola Holmes
  10. I Care a Log
  11. I’m Thinking of Ending Things
  12. Incendies
  13. Judas and the Black Messiah
  14. Lady and the Tramp
  15. Last Knights
  16. Live Twice, Love Once
  17. Mank
  18. Minari
  19. News of the World
  20. Okja
  21. Radioactive
  22. Roma
  23. Shadow
  24. Sound of Metal
  25. Sound of Silence
  26. The Chamber
  27. The Dig
  28. The Father
  29. The Informer
  30. The King
  31. The Midnight Sky
  32. The Trial of the Chicago 7
  33. Us
  34. Wasp Network
  35. White Tiger

Documentary

  1. American Factory
  2. Honeyland

Animations

  1. A Cat in Paris
  2. Luca
  3. Soul
  4. Your name

Shows

  1. Loki (S1)
  2. Mandalorian (S1, S2)
  3. Morning Show (S1)
  4. Queen’s Gambit (S1)
  5. Ted Lasso (S1 S2)
  6. The Spy (S1)
  7. This is Us (S1)
  8. Tiger King (S1)
2021.11.11

GitOps Lifestyle Conversion

I’m currently fascinated with Gitlab’s handbooks. I heard of companies trying to be more open to the public, but the extent that Gitlab is doing is unprecedented. They are documenting everything publicly. Most, if not all, internal processes are getting written for everyone to see.

  • How admissions are done? It’s there.
  • How and when employees are bonuses? It’s there too.
  • What is the ERP used? It’s there.
  • In fact, what is the whole list of external software and service used? It’s there too.
  • The scripts used to manage it’s own site? It’s there too.
  • Personal information, like employees actual salaries? Of course, are not there.

Too much information? Maybe. But it’s definitively inspiring.

Another source of personal inspiration comes from a guy on Twitter: Keijiro Takahashi. This Japanese programmer does several mini-tools for himself but publishes everything on Github with minimalist’s licenses like MIT.

In contrast, I was checking my LinkedIn the other day then I decided to share my Gitlab and Github accounts. There are so many projects over there. #ButNot. Most, almost all, were private! Many game prototypes, small side projects. All locked. Some are basically live backups, since are not updated for ages. So I decided to do two things:

  1. Open some of the closed projects
  2. Git-fy some of my personal and professional projects
  3. Documentation as code for my new company

The first is pretty straight. Mostly checking a box. Sometimes adding a small README or LICENSE files. Few times making real changes.

The second is a new mindset: I have dozens of small projects, from games to personal scripts, that I’ve never used git to track changes. But not only I could get better control of it, but also I could share with the world. You will see more and more projects popping up in my Gitlab account page.

The third, follow partially Gitlab’s way. I’m considering in documenting most of the processes in git-like wikis. It will not only good sharing the knowledge with other employees and partners. It’s also good for tracking the business decisions that changed these processes. A rather clever approach.

2021.10.18

Certification and Credibility

Can you prove what you claim?

Do you fully trust in the media, banks or advertisements? I bet you don’t. And you shouldn’t. Not blindly. Trusting is a very delicate matter.

By living in a society you are required to trust other people. That’s the way to share the responsibilities. Each individual do a thing for another. You simply have to give a bit of trust in others. If not the if we should trust, the problem lies on how.

Source of Trust

The primary source of trust are the individuals themselves. You gain trust by living and presenting reliable results. It takes time.

Governments, on the other hand, use the power of law to reinforce what they want to be believed. They issue money, certificates, documents and they all MUST be accepted as they were the truth. What makes you believe that a $100 bill is worth the $100? Simple: the law says it so!

If you need to be trusted but you do not have the time to gain it organically nor cannot “fabricate” the trust? The solution lies on a already trusted third parties vouching, a…

Certification

Someone that you trust can vouch, give their word, for another one. That works like a web of trust. I trust my mom, that trusts her old friend. So, I might trust her too.

Language and professional certifications are the most common form. Several institutes, for a very diverse range of fields, can issue a certificate saying that you are good as you claim. Proficiency in Mandarin? Project management? Someone can certificate that you master it.

Double Agent

Certification agents must be impartial, indifferent from your own success derived from the certification, otherwise they might be incentivized to lie for you. It breaks the whole point of the certification as source of trust.

  • Accounting firms hired to validate a client company financial health might be interested in lying. The at-the-time famous Arthur Andersen participated in a giant fraud stating that it’s client’s, Enron, finances was ok. Enron bankrupted months later and AA was suited and had to split in two companies.
  • The 2008 financial crisis also can be attributed to rating companies, that stated that several risky bonds were good and risk free. They help clients to sell them to others, profiting from lying.
  • Some colleges graduate their students even when they have really bad grades. Flooding the market with awful professionals, it becomes impossible to assert which one is good and which one is bad.

There are several good certification institutes. But these authorities have to be constantly monitored. Also, their own processes have to be constantly certified, creating a big process of checks and balances.

It’s a worthwhile initiative for the whole society.

Post originally written in 2015-11-05. But was in draft mode by mistake for all these years.

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2021.09.24

Rating Badge

As a programmer and businessman, I try to organize the world. So, I created a unified Ratings page consolidating all reviews that I did. Games, boardgames, books, movies and TV shows.

A few of them I wrote a full blog post. But most I did not. That was driving me crazy. I often mention the same games/movies on multiple posts. When it happens to a piece of art that I did not previously reviewed, I felt a pressure to do so. I even might do so, but now it’s not required anymore. Now the non-reviewed-but-rated are properly acknowledged. And I shall have the consistence.

I’m going to scan, in the next days, all previous blog posts to cross reference, but the main step was done.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Also, in a similar vain the previous post, Rating Art, I decided to give my ratings a more visual appeal. For now, beside the numeric 0-10 rating, it will show the according number of stars.

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2021.09.13

Watch Dogs 2

Quite a surprise. After playing several Ubisoft open world games lately, I was expecting another result of a generic and repetitive side quest generator with a superficial storyline over it.

I was a bit reluctant to start WD2. I read that the original title was over promised and under delivered. The second one flew of my radar at the time. Recently I got it thru Epic free game initiative. Then I read some reviews and comments from the launch time and there was good ones. So I decided to check it out. Not without flaws, I enjoyed the time, the story and gameplay.

Likable Protagonist

Far Cry 3 presented the very iconic and infinite memerable villain Vaas Montenegro. However, Ubisoft writing team struggles to create memorable protagonists. I cannot name a single great protagonist in the Far Cry and most Assassin’s Creed’s (old and new entries) are plain boring. AC3’s Ezio Salvatore da Firenze is the top of mind. AS Odyssey’s Kassandra was nice, despite being put a split role with her unnecessary male version Alexios.

The player spend hours living a life of another person that she/he cares so little. It’s sad, really.

Watch dogs 2 marcus.jpg

Marcus Holloway is a new entry on the likable protagonist list. Optimist, clever and lighthearted. His motivations seems reasonable and believable. However, there is a cognitive dissonance playing Marcus as a armed gangster, shooting on police and mob armies. From start to finish, all cutscenes present him, as well the other members of the DedSec crew, as non-violent watch dogs. People that fight to preserve individual liberties and respect life and diversity. Using machine guns to kill everybody on site feels wrong. I tried to play as much as possible as the way I understood the character: low profile, clever hacker.

For the rest of the crew, it’s a mixed bag. The only one that will definitively stick in my mind is the masked engineer Wrench. Horatio, the guy that works on Goog… Nudle, becomes relevant. The rest is the rest.

For villains and NPCs, none worth mention. In fact, the main villain, Dušan, is both idiot and annoying.

References

The hacker theme is presented as the usual Hollywood cliché. Type furiously into the notebook and any bank account in the world is yours!

However, the overall universe are set using are several references of popular culture. Movies, music and video games are often mentioned by characters. Some are more obscure, but most of the time these references are more common sense. For those that know them, they are quite fun. For those that do not, is exotic flavor.

Some references are less subtle: There is a search engine and maps company called Nudle. A rocket launcher Galilei commanded by a millionaire much like SpaceX. I linked the main villain company Blume as Microsoft, but it’s my own thing.

Watch Dogs 2 does not take the story and theme too serious. There is even a good dose of self mockery of being a hacker/programmer. It’s not a like FarCry’s Blood Dragon over-the-topness. WD2 translate complex problems into smaller bites to make it more accessible and fun to a broad audience.

Golden gate.jpg

Gameplay

As I said before, it is possible to be Rambo and shoot everybody. Like GTA, you will attract police attention and will die, respawn and try again. But I totally feel that is not the way it’s meant to be played™. Harder, but more satisfying, is avoiding direct conflict and using gadgets and powers to sneak. The same could be said to old Assassin’s Creed games (the new ones embrace the direct combat as pillars).

The hacking abilities are more useful for small interventions, like distracting guards, then creating mayhem. Hacking citizens’ phones in the streets is a fun for 10 minutes, than becomes quite useless. Event robbing their bank accounts, money in general, becomes irrelevant mid-game, after upgrading Marcus’ drones.

Most puzzles are repetitive, but fun mini game.

At the end, the core mechanics are solid. Open world games tend to be repetitive, but WD2 scrambles the same basic mechanics offering variety.

Watch dogs 2 4.webp

My Rating:8★★★★★★★★
Metacritic: 75
Bruno 𝕄𝔸𝕊𝕊𝔸