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Author: Paulo Andringa
To: Bricolabs
Subject: [Bricolabs] lisbon stories

Seems like a good excuse to also say something about my life (even if most people on the list don't know me)...

I'm (still) living in Lisbon, i stopped working for the cultural foundation i worked for the last 10 years, as it belonged to the ex-president of Portugal and, after he died, everything slowly dried out. We used to work with memory and anti-colonialism, anti-dictatorship fights, workers struggles, etc... Old-school ideas of socialism seem so ... old now. And unfundable :-)

So after my first experience of some months on the "subsídio de desemprego" (dole? Unemployment benefits?) - not working but receiving money for some months while technically "actively searching for a job", i got offered a permanent position in a 'communication company', and i'm mostly doing wordpress+joomla+various-stuff development for big and small companies and trying to outdo google in tracking and selling you directed advertising... And being paid far less than ideal, but enough to live on.

As "myself", i just got my boat-drivers license (the 2nd in a scale of 4 - i'm now a "patrão local!") and i'm mostly playing with raspberry pis and SDR (software defined radio) stuff.
I've built a small software plaything called airplane music that plays out in real time the ACARS messages from nearby airplanes transformed into musical notes, making obvious the amount of air traffic that is all around. (As a side note and probable next project: did you know that car wheels now talk via radio with the cars computer about pressure and temperature? it's called TPMS if you're interested...). It's just incredible the amount of noise we create in every possible part of the spectrum, and it's only getting worse.

As you probably know, there were some terrible fires last summer and the emergency communications failed in a big way. There is now a big fight going on between the state and the company that built the system and - as a new hot summer approaches - they're fighting about 11 million€uros that someone didn't pay someone and threatening to close the system and stop everything. (if you like drama - it's called SIRESP, based on encrypted tetra stuff). I think the next obvious step is to start learning radio!

Anyway, i've also been involved with some nice people here (makers and artists) and we've done an 'art' project playing with language and contemporary culture - a public-collaborative-touch-interface-online-realtime 'thing' to translate the big portuguese epic poem (Os Lusíadas, by Luís de Camões) into emojis/emoticons.

The city is completely full of tourists since some years ago and this was in the center of the city in a very old bookshop window - like asking the locals to help foreigners understand nuances of culture - and making fun of it. Sentence by sentence the book was translated (we didn't finish), and the original_sentence+results printed and twitted in real time (https://twitter.com/peep_project)! We sometimes have time for fun, but most of the time we have to have shitty jobs to pay the ever raising rents in this aibnbd city.

(If someone comes to Lisbon and needs a place to stay, please write - that is another of the little fights we're fighting: shelter your friends and at the same time boycott airbnb :-) - the rents are crazy expensive right now, and a big part of that is because everybody that had a free place is renting it out for tourists... Or fixing it and renting to rich people.)

And that is a not-so-short version of life in the capital of the empire :-)

big hugs and kisses to whoever likes to be hugged and kissed!