Friday, November 1, 2013

Learning (with) Git

These weeks I'm in a training and  I knew we were going to do a lot of coding exercises and I wanted to be able to share the learning experience with my colleagues when I will be back in Barcelona, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone: I would learn Git.

Git has been around for a while and I had been using scarcely in the past, even I had some code published in GitHub, but when you don't practice, you forget. So I've started small.

I'm working in Windows but I use cygwin to get some Unix-like experience. I installed git in my computer and when I set up my code and initialized a local repository:
cd whereMyCodeIs
git init

A .git folder was created and all my versions would be stored there. I'm not planning on publishing the exercises to any external repository (yet). I created a .gitignore file to exclude from my repository my compilation files. (I struggled without .gitignore in my first repository. Lesson learnt).

Whenever I finished an exercise I would add the code and commit it.
git add .
git commit -m "Exercise 2. Solving the puzzle"

When I want to see which exercises (and commits) I've done so far I do:
git log --oneline

The first think you see the ID of the commit. With it you can retrieve that version, without the risk of losing anything:
git ckeckout 2e81eab

If you want to recover what you were working on:
git checkout master

This way I can review what was studied and modified in every exercise.
If I want to get a list of what files were modified between two exercides I get the commit IDs of the two and I do:
git --no-pager log --name-only --pretty='format:' --full-index 2e81eab..15cf40b

If I want how a particular file was modified between two changes I do:
git --no-pager diff 2e81eab..15cf40b pathToFile/

I know these are very basic commands, but they are helping me in my learning process. I've been following the Atlassian Tutorial.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

2013 Conferencing

This year I wanted to attend to two Agile (un)conferences: Conferencia Agile-Spain (CAS2013) and Agile-Lean Europe (ALE2013). The former because I'm trying to participate in my local community, Agile-Barcelona, and I know there are a lot of amazing people in the Spanish Agile sphere and the latter because, I don't know why, I feel I'm part of that awesome community.

Both experiences have been great, in all senses, and in both events I tried to contribute. I'm a newbie, and I have lot to learn, but I thought I could bring something, not directly related to Agile, but related to our soft-skills, and I managed to give a short talk in both events and both in English. I'm really satisfied with the results.

I'll try to summarize both experiences in one single post.

ALE: Awesomeness
My first contact with the ALE community was in ALE2012, held in Barcelona. It was a life-changing event for me. I thought that that kind of experience could never be improved: I was wrong.

My visit to Bucharest for ALE2013 (#ale13), meeting a lot of new friends from Romania, with a superb organization and excellent keynotes was for me an improvement, not a continuation. I missed a lot of friends from xALEc (Franck, Ivana, Tonino, Kjell, ...), but I met a lot of new ones.

My humble talk was about The Cognitive Power of Comics (video available), trying to connect information visualization, reading habits and communication techniques, with the excuse of the publication of the graphic novel Commitment about project management and decision making (it was a pity not having OlavMaassen in the conference).

I learnt a lot between the sessions and in the conference halls, as always happens in ALE. I enjoyed having a lot of Spanish contributors and I started to love Romania.
ALE is the best moment of the year to renew your energy.

If I have to summarize the conference I get what the kids in ALE said:
"We understood Agile is about having fun, being creative and deliver".

CAS: Conferencia Agile-Spain
CAS2013 (#cas2k13) was my first CAS, even though I already had met a lot of spanish Agilists in the postgrade, other events and Hangouts. It was in Bilbao and was fantastic.

For the CAS I suggested a the short talk Hacking your Body Language and the organizers asked me to give it in English. My session was at the same time other speakers I admire (Jorge Uriarte, Bea Martín and José E. Huerta), and still there were people in my room. And I was really satisfied with the results.

The final challenge came from Vicenç Garcia, an organizer from Agile-Norte who asked three agilists to do “big sketchnoting” (Graphic Recording, Visual Notetaking) of the three keynotes: Antonio de la Torre, Javier Alonso and me.
I was the only one who dared recording the keynote in English, so Antonio did Angel Medinilla  keynote, Javier did Koldo Saratxaga's [2] and I did Tobias Mayer's [vine by Javier] (pictures by Gorka Armentia).
It was the first time for the three of us. I bought my markers the week before the event. We three have completely different styles, and we are learning, but I love these pictures. Thank you, Vicenç!

I had the opportunity to devirtualize a lot of spanish Agilists. I loved a lot of conversations (Teresa, Maica and Ana, specially). I learnt a lot of the group and the people. I had the opportunity ask favours and receive a lot more of what was requested. And again, I learnt in the sessions and between them.

And I enjoyed taking sketchnotes.

I'm really grateful to Gerard Chiva, Daniel Cardiel, José E., Rut, Jaume, Albert, Marc, David and Finner for helping me in the conferences in one way or another. Thank you.

Monday, June 24, 2013


La información que me entra por los ojos es la que más me ayuda a entender y a razonar, pero creo la música me ayuda mucho más a sentir y emocionarme. Y hay otro sentido que tiene mucha más fuerza para evocar: el olfato.

Hay algunos olores, unos pocos, que son capaces de evocar en mí recuerdos y emociones vividas, con mayor efectividad y velocidad que lo podría hacer una imagen o una canción. Y como no somos capaces de almacenar y reproducir fácilmente los olores, a mi me parece algo mágico.

El olor que, de forma automática, revoluciona mi cerebro es el olor a jazmines.

Cuando era un niño pasábamos los veranos en Córdoba, la tierra de mi padre. Nos alojábamos en casa de mis tíos y pasábamos algunos días en Alcolea. En esa casa me sentía feliz. Me sentía muy querido. Por las noches, en alguna ocasión, iba a buscar jazmines con mi tío Pepe porque a mi abuela le encantaba su olor. Y se me ha quedado grabado.

El olor a jazmines me hace pensar en mi tío, en sus bromas, su bigote, su sonrisa, la piscina, el calor, los higos chumbos, mis primas, las bromas por la noche, mirar las estrellas charlando estirado en una hamaca, cuidar a un perro herido, la risita de mi abuela, los flamenquines, una excursión improvisada...

Un olor, mil recuerdos, sentimientos y emociones.

Y hoy, que mi tío nos ha dejado, ese olor me ayuda a pensar en él.
Un beso, tito.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My road to Sketchnoting

I'm a visual guy, and I love drawing. I've always though that any idea with an image is easier to understand, and that presentation is key. When I came across Mind Mapping as a technique to take notes I run to my bookstore to buy Tony Buzan's Book. I loved the idea of radiant thinking but I found that maps without images were not that powerful.

I was amazed in the Barcelona Leancamp about the notes that a girl was taking. She was drawing! Esther Gons (@wilg) is an artist, of course, but I though I could try something similar. What I needed was some some visual vocabulary.

Dan Roam's The Back of Napkin came to my hands, introducing the idea of communicating using images. The book contains a lot of inspiring ideas, but still lacked guidance about how to draw simple images (and what to draw).

Later I discovered the book Gamestorming (thanks to the Barcelona Meetup), and Visual Facilitation: using drawings in meetings to create and communicate ideas. They suggested that drawing is easy, and that everything can be drawn based on lines, circles an squares. A lot of inspiration again, but not an easy path.

Finally I came across with a great book, Mike Rodhe's The Sketchnote Handbook. What a great book!!! It has a beautiful presentation, it's very easy to read, and the book is presented using the same techniques the author explains. You can see different styles from different authors and you feel confident trying. It's not about art, but about structure.

Now I take notes using drawings in all the meetings, events and conferences I attend. And I try to practice, copy and try new things. I enjoy drawing with my kids simple things, enhancing my vocabulary. I love it!
Now I enjoy meetings, I'm more focused and I try to get the main ideas.

And I love it so much that I bought a copy for my sister.

Sketchnoting is not about beautiful drawings, but about structure, boxes and arrows. Using different typographies also help and the book suggests a lot of things to practice.

One of the best things I've got from the book is the name, a name for the thing: sketchnote, sketchnoting. Now I can find examples, track the Sketchnote Army, find examples in Pinterest, or other good advices.

I've also seen Sunni Brown (Gamesorming book author) using Visual Notetaking, and Doodling to refer to the same concept. It's worth to have a look at her TED Talk, "Doodlers, unite!".

I'll go on having fun with my sketchnoting experiments. Regarding the tools, I'm trying with gel pens, Faber-Castell PITT pens, in Moleskine notebooks small and medium sized. I share some of my experiments at my Flicker.

Go, draw, learn and have fun!