Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A sign of age?

Would going on holiday for Christmas and coming back home for New Year qualify as a sign of age?

Anyway, I'm leaving tomorrow for a week here.

See you soon.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


I have nothing to add to all the praise Google gets. I don't think it's worth our valuable time to post here praising google, simply because you all know already how good it is. So, instead, I'll try to explain why you do not want to use Google for your company, and why you would fare much better with a different approach.

It's no secret that Internet & Intranet are different worlds. Indexing the Internet, apart from a capacity problem, is easy. Don't run away yet. What Google cracked is how to index the Internet rapidly and reliably with some cost-effectiveness (plus all those fantastic applications), and keeping it simple for us.

But that does not mean it will work out for you inside your company.

If you're not familiar with Google's page ranking algorithm, please read this before (or this one for the patented Pigeon Ranking TM).

The reasons why you will not be "breaking through" by implementing a full-text search engine (even if it is Google) in your company can be broken down as follows:

Page Ranking

Google's page ranking is built for a distributed network made of thousands of independent sites. And it's exactly the way Google's page rank works that will make it fail in your company. In a typical company search, you need to find the documents and knowledge that is hidden from you. You know most of the times quite a lot about what type of document(s) you're searching for, you know who could have created it, you know to which project it applies, and you don't want to have press releases on your results.

Intranets do not have links to documents, except for those you already read because, well, there's a link to it on the Intranet... Unless you're working for IBM, where there will be about 3000 unofficial Intranet web pages running on old desktops hidden under tables and DEMO AIX servers. ;-)

Security Constraints

Implementing a search engine within an organisation is not simple (trust me, this is the voice of experience), and very seldom will the problems lie within the search application. Most of the time the problem is deciding how much knowledge do you want to give to your users. Knowledge-based companies, as is the case for a pharma company where we ran a pilot for search technology, just want to share everything.

That's nice you might say.

Well, think again. When they want to share everything, including their own mail boxes, things start to get shady and politics come into play.

Others want to index all their systems, including their ultra-confidential HR system. Then security policies come into play, because you must make sure to respect the access controls of the "hosting" application.

This basically means that you have to:
  1. Authenticate your user before he searches
  2. Use a proxy to search the index(es) and/or
  3. Hide results that he should not have access to
  4. Show the result list
Easier said than done.

Format constraints

You know your network better than me, I must assume. So, you'll know that knowledge is not only in word, excel and powerpoint. It's in Exchange public folders, Notes databases, Oracle databases, Peoplesoft, text files, home-grown applications, MS-Access, web sites (internal & external), PDF, zip files, xml files, SAP, Siebel, Domino.doc, Documentum, Tridion, whatever-that-freeware-was-called-again, etc, etc, etc...

Try tapping into that with Google. Well, it will work for the most of them.

Language constraints

And then, the major blocking issue: Language. No self-respected european organization will have documents in one language only. No way, that would be too simple. And you, as a self-respected european will also not be able to read one language only. Yet, you must search in one language at the time if you're using a simple text search engine (even if is Google).

So, in other words, if you're looking for a search engine solution for your Intranet, don't settle for Google. But don't look at Retrievalware either, it's too bloated and expensive for what you probably need.

If you need a search engine that can:
  • Support multiple languages
  • Respect distributed authentication
  • Link to multiple data sources using an open plugin or plugin-like architecture
  • Do hierarchical and non-hierarchical search (search within specific domains or in general)
  • Categorize and intelligently group documents, subjects and authors
  • Does not cost too much to implement (eh eh)
Well, your only solution is to look around and maybe settle for a smaller, but stable, player. Retrievalware might be what you need, it does respect the list I show above (except for the last point), but there are other players in the market.

So, I went and searched for them. Here's the ones I settled with, they do show good promise:


As a personal opinion, I preferred the attitude of the Sinequa people, they seem to have a more "can-do" approach to projects, which is always nice. Technically both systems seem to be as effective.

Data Mining

Intellixir is very impressive on the data mining field. Definitely worth taking a look at.

And that's it for today. Still couldn't finish my report though... ;-)


Friday, December 10, 2004

Hail Cesar

This guy is Football's Michael Schumacher. Thank god he can't coach multiple teams on multiple leagues/countries or it would just be no fun at all anymore.

Congratulations José Mourinho. Keep it up lad.


Thursday, December 09, 2004


Why can't we store inspiration for a later use? Just yesterday I had this brilliant idea to put on a report I'm currently writing but - of course - had no way to register this idea.

And now I have to finish the report and just can't remember what was so brilliant about yesterday's idea.

And have you noticed how important the work environment is for inspiration to come your way? Now that I think of it, most of my "brilliant" documents from the past 3 years were all written at the same place, the same table - and possibly at around the same time. Must be the plants and the sunshine the living room gets.

As a kid I used to write crazy texts and dream one day I would publish them and get a bazillion bucks for it. Of course, this is not to happen - all those papers were inevitably promoted to the category of rubbish and got sent down what we call "Archive 13" or plain "Recycle Bin" to use some Windows jargon.

Getting back to inspiration, as a kid I was much more inspired writing whenever I was heart-broken or in love. In that age between 11 and 17 it's extremely easy to get in love and even easier to get heart-broken. So, I would be in my room deciding which would be the next girl I would fall in love with just for the sake of feeling inspired to write some text questioning the existence of god or the reason why the wheel was ineffective and the presence of Portugal in the world (now you know why I threw all those papers away).

This being said, I now must find a way as effective as that one to get my inspiration. I can't just go around and fall in love with people, or ask my friends to treat me bad so that I get heart-broken, just for the sake of inspiration, can I?
Working from home is currently not an option, so that won't work either. THC-induced inspiration is too unstable and unreliable, not to mention that I can't drive nor speak correctly afterwards. And I would probably just start some Football management game on my PC and wonder at the excitement of watching computer-generated football matches.

No, the inspiration for those like me, in their too-late-twenties, must come from somewhere else. I'll tell you when I find it...

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Wednesday Round-Up

A few interesting stories that I just need to comment:

Porto 2 - 1 Chelsea
Brilliant Porto goes through Top of the Tops Chelsea and Moaninho gets his first Champions League defeat after 16 unbeaten matches. I'm glad, but they were very lucky...

IBM PC Business sold
I guess this means my next Thinkpad (if I do get one) will have better support for Chinese characters... I'm still a bit puzzled around all this affair.
I understand IBM's policy and why they want to get out of one business where price is key, and where they just can't beat DELL for as much as they would try. But I would really not like to see the Thinkpad line go down the drain. Let's wait and see.

This might also be all part of a plot to launch the POWER architecture to the PC market, since China is a very Linux-friendly environment, and, as you certainly know, Linux does not need an Intel processor to run...
Again, wait and see.

Following the same principles as Wikipedia, but applied to news. Currently still in beta, but it might work.


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Why did I quit?

Well, first I have to admit that this is the second time I'm writing this post, because my beloved Firefox failed on me. And it hurts. Especially because the reason why it failed is so stupid, it couldn't even qualify as a worthy excuse-for-not-getting-your-work-done: it stopped responding. Just like that, frozen on screen, with me trying to salvage what already was written, but couldn't even select the text to copy it.

Damn it. So, now I'm using notepad to write this down first. And I'll be saving regularly.

Back to our business. The reason why I'm writing this post is because I'm fed up with writing superficial posts, about anything or nothing, instead of writing fascinating texts about myself. Here's something I think is worth reading: the reasons why I quit my previous (real) jobs. I ommitted some smaller, temp jobs I did before, which obviously I didn't quit, they were finished...

Starting from the begginning:

TMME - Toyota Motor Europe Marketing and Engineering
Having worked my way from 'the guy that fixes printers and patches cables' to 'the guy that manages NT servers, e-mail, Intranet web servers, FTP servers, the Firewall (and Firewall logs!) and on top of that wrote and maintains the helpdesk and IT inventory application & database' I did enjoy my job at TMME. The Professional challenge was excellent, but my pay and recognition weren't.

After receiving an offer to work for an IT services company, I felt it was time to go. A long discussion later, I changed my mind. After all, I was going to get some added responsibilites, a 3 grade rise and a 25% salary raise, so I had very good reasons to change my mind.

Loitering about the day after (or was it 2 days later, not sure?) I ran against the HR director, who, very confident, told me he was happy my situation was solved and guaranteed that in the coming 3 or 4 months "we'll work out what can be done about your position and salary".

I resigned that same day. To add insult to injury, my boss was proposed to get 2 secretaries to replace me...

EMD - E-MailWare Development (Part I)
Working for EMD must have been one of the most interesting things I've done in my career. We got to do anything, just to keep our customer happy - but mostly we did it to fulfill our own ego. Small company of incredibly motivated people, the sky was the limit. No challenge was too big, no project unfulfilled. We did absolutely everything there was to be done in IT. Me alone, during those 2 years, I remember doing migrations from every possible mail system to any other of your choice, installing and configuring AS/400's, flying to Saudi Arabia to connect 2 mail servers (yes, it could have been done remotely, but it was '99, remember?), deploying Voice-Over-IP, voice recognition software, Solaris, AIX, Novell Netware, NT file servers, fax software, OCR, security audits, whatever. You name it, I'm sure we've done it.

Then, our director decided to byte the hand that fed him for 5 years and hires the complete Lotus Professional Services division in Holland. A new director, a few policy changes and one-too-many "weird economics" theory applied and I was ripe to leave this company. And so I did by joining Lotus.

Lotus Development Corporation
Working for Lotus was amazing. Big, but with very down-to-earth management, Lotus felt like a family of close friends. Again, that feeling that we can do anything was strong in the air, and again I did a bit of everything. After a year I was the only one to get a raise in Lotus Portugal - mostly because I brought profit while the others didn't. Added responsibilities, very challenging work, and a crystal clear career path in front of me. A dream job, I thought at times.

Technical leader for French Speaking Africa, all projects in that region went through me. I advised technically on all of them and intervened physically on a few (Gabon, Algeria). While not in Africa, was toiling away in Paris or Antwerp. Great, great job.

Then IBM took over Lotus. Then my office car-park access got cancelled. Then my contract (should have been) changed for a more IBM-esque one (lower salary if willing to accept, no car and some other stuff - but hey! you would be an IBM employee!! duh). Then my direct boss left to Microsoft (!!! HORROR !!!). Then my French Speaking Africa position was made redundant. Then the biggest snob in the Lisbon office was appointed my boss. Then my PC! had to be re-fitted with IBM standard software and installation procedures (MY GAMES!! MY PORN!!) - of course, this DID NOT happen, though I had to revert to threats of physical injury to avoid disaster. Then, in a swing that could be fit for Machiavelli himself, me - the one person that generated 50% of Lotus Portugal income for the first half of that year - was "politely" accused of having accepted a customer bribe (!!) and, if I was not to quit myself, IBM would take care of it. What?

So, I resigned. Didn't want to work there anyway. See, in your face IBM!

EMD - E-MailWare Development (Part II)
Heart-broken, directionless and utterly under-motivated, I asked EMD for job. An easy-going, not too much demanding job where I could cure my heart. And, surprise, surprise: I got one. Not a bad job, I must admit, but EMD was not what it used to be. Years of plundering and weird economics took their toll, as the company went from its 120-employee hey-days to 45 and not sure if it could keep it that way.
And now, they didn't want me to do everything any more. No, they wanted me to focus on the stuff they couldn't do themselves and work out a strategy to be undermined at will by them. I remember I started very motivated and wrote plenty of roadmaps, business plans, training paths, career paths. And had never feedback from management. Never ever.

Soon realised that whatever I did was not important. The company was in trouble and I had to be at customers. Generate money is the key. Who cares if it's not that challenging? No one else can do it, so we send Nuno. And Nuno went and did. And sometimes Nuno failed, because Nuno had no backup. Because if Nuno couldn't do it, no one else could. Because the entrepreneurship that created that company was drained out from the people - and the good ones left. The ones that stayed behind did it for the money, not to fulfill their egos.

After two years of this, I left to create my own company. That was an utter disaster, because of very personal reasons, and I am now working on getting myself out of it, closing down the company and moving forward. I'm changing countries in the process, so this will certainly be a good moment to do some soul-searching and finding back the drive to fulfill my ego.

I'm sad now, I shouldn't have written it...

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Season's rantings

What's up IBM? I've been trying to download Notes 7 Beta 2 Admin/Designer for the past 2 days and just can't get it. From it's nearly 200MB I can get a max of 52 before the download shamelessly stops. I just don't understand.

And what about the story with HP's (ex-Compaq, ex-DEC) Tru64? Not only have they not ported any of that codebase's superior UNIX features to their own crappy version of HP-UX, as they have now decided to finally pull out the plug on development.

I know a few customers that will not be buying new HP hardware this Christmas...

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Thanks to Portable Firefox I can now run Firefox instead of that crap IE with no popup blocker that the w**kers around here insist on making us use.

Take that! ;-)

Now, if I can just find a way to bypass the proxy...

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Is this how it's supposed to work?

Working here is getting closer and closer to surrealism. This one I'm adding to my collection of absolutely unnecessary red-tape.

We've just implemented the surveillance & alert mechanism for two of the systems we're taking into production this week, which sends nice e-mail messages in case something goes wrong and notifies the operators via MQSeries.

Now we're trying to send those alerts to a MS Exchange shared mailbox. No problems here, right?

Wrong. Mailboxes are not given, by default, a SMTP address. So, we can't send SMTP mail to them. I've asked the Helldesk to create the SMTP address, fully described what it was going to be used for, etc. No news for the past 24 hours, so I decided to call them.

I'm still trying to understand why, but it seems I need approval from the Corporate Communication department to get my e-mail alerts. Hello? Anybody there? These are e-mail alerts about our archive and output management systems and I need approval from Corporate Communication?

Someone has a very sick mind around here...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Some guys are dumb. It's a reality. I don't know who gets to be blamed for this - maybe God or their parents - but some people are dumb and can't do a thing about it.

Others are dumb by conscious choice. We have a pretty weird MQ Series environment where messages coming from a specific Alpha/VMS box must be partitioned and regrouped on the receiving end, as well as converted from EBCDIC to ASCII. Nothing that complex in the end.

Mr. Project Manager X wants to know why his messages arrive as complete and utter rubbish on the receiving end instead of nicely formatted ASCII like mine.

I tell him that the header he inserts in the message is in ASCII while the rest of the message is EBCDIC and no server in the world will convert a mixed ASCII/EBCDIC message into anything readable.

Mr. PM X is sure that is not the problem. The problem must be the message regrouping routine that is not working as it should.

I insist that I've been there and done that 7 months ago and the real reason was that the messages were not sent in one character set only. Somehow someone screwed up big time writing the header (as I said: been there, done that).

No, he's still sure it's something else.

I'm now running the "type" command on some dirty JPEGs into a text file and will send him that as the output of the MQ messages (note: MQ sees EBCDIC on an ASCII environment as BINARY data except if it's converted correctly). Then, when he calls claiming he can't open the files I'll ask him to save the file as a .jpg and give it a try again.

I love clueless Project Managers...

Monday, November 22, 2004

Breaking a young man's heart

Now, that's definitely something I never thought I could do, but I just did it.

Sorry Joost.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Well, this is it

51% of americans (or close to that anyway) have shown the rest of the world that they do support their president's policy.

I hope they will not come to regret it.
It's a bit over the top...

Now I had it. Now I'm fed up with it. This @#£%$ car will not fail on me any more, this was the last time!

It now decided to blow the diesel injection pump (or whatever-it's-called) while I'm accelerating to enter the motorway - result: no engine response. At all.

It being a BMW, praised worldwide for their service, I called BMW Assistance just to be told that those w***ers who actually own the car and whom I was stupid and lazy enough to rent it from had taken only the standard assistance contract, which meant I couldn't get any help after 22:00. Is this some kind of sick joke? The car can only break between 7 AM and 10 PM? I was fuming by then, called a few road assistance companies like Touring and VTB-VAB and the latter came for the rescue, with a one-off charge of 226 € (in the end, not really too bad since it includes a one year subscription to their services which I don't need because I'll be leaving the country in 3 months and the car much earlier than that for sure).

Thank god for good friends, and Yves picked me up after I brutally awoke him with my distress signal. Even got to meet (and share a bed with) his new cat, a charming little creature that made sure my pony-tail didn't move much during the whole night...

Now I'm waiting to see if I will get a car today, otherwise I'll just camp in the office...

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The american president election

That's today, for those who live under a rock, and I wonder if it will be as amusing as 4 years ago. I feel myself pretty divided on this subject: in one hand I hate Bush and his war-mongering friend-enriching schemes, but at the same time he's allowing the euro economy to grow by screwing up his own...

Nah, I will still go for Kerry and hope he's only half as bad as Bush. Anyway, this must be the best quote I read on the web regarding this election:

I will stay up all night election night and update the site in real time. I am NOT promising to stay up until we know who the president is. I would definitely like to go to bed sometime during the month of November.

in Current Electoral Vote Predictor 2004


Sunday, October 31, 2004

Mas que grande porra!

Esta história do Daylight Savings Time (DST para os amigos) é todos os anos a mesma merda. Mas a que propósito é que agora tenho que viver com um pôr-do-sol às 5:30? Porquê? Não basta a falta de sol que um gajo já tem nesta altura do ano, ainda tenho que começar a levantar-me mais cedo para ter ao menos um pouco de sol?

Isto só pode ser para chatear o pessoal. De certeza que quem inventou isto nunca viveu num país com sol o ano todo. Só pode.


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Why was this not a goal?

Was it because Porto would not win in Lisbon? Was it because the best keeper in Europe let the ball through his hands before he jumped back to desperately get the ball out (too late as the picture shows, but not late enough for the referree to validate)? Or just because of bad eye-sight?

That's life, I guess...

Friday, October 15, 2004

The week in review

In a week where I didn't have much time to breathe, and where I've driven over 1500 KM, here's a small review.

- Document Warehouse gone Live
My "pet" archiving project is gone live last monday, 315 users hammering down the system. The bad news is that users consider it slow-ish (me as well), the good news is that it is as slow with 2 users as with 300, so it must be something with Apache and/or the front-end part of the system.
- Output Management integration nearly finished
We can now print invoices in every type and format, AFP & PCL (PCL used internally, AFP for outsorced print shop), we're just waiting for the Billing engine to get its act together and start spewing correct data instead of the rubbish it gives us now.
- Great dinner in the Hague, with the most portuguese-like spanish guy I've met, thanks Maria for the lovely empadão.
- Nearly useless chat with some nice chaps in The Hague that - in their wildest dreams - actually thought I had money to spare and invest in some tax-haven offshore fund. They quickly realised that my idea of saving for retirement is more linked to getting to the end of the month with money than keeping 3 months of salary aside for a rainy day. A lot of rain in Brussels, you know?
- CV update time, with some friends trying to get me into Shell in The Hague. Would be just perfect, me says.
- Some discussions with end users trying to explain that when they answer "No" to the "Do you want to install Columbus Viewer" question prompt, they will not be able to use the system. Some of them got the picture...
- Portuguese national team got their forgiveness by beating Russia 7-1, Russia's worst result ever, in the stadium that will host the next UEFA Cup final, Estádio José Alvalade XXI.

Anyway it's friday, definitely not feeling like working too much today. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Now it gets interesting...

Back to production days... it just feels good to finally have a project passing to "Live" status, and seeing everything working (nearly) perfect.

So, it's clean-up time. We have to clean up the mess we did with our DEV & TEST environments, which are currently so messed up that the easiest is to start from scratch. So, I've asked the System Engineers to put me up an extra VM on that half-a-million-euros HP IA64 box to cleanly separate DEV from TEST and be able to promote stuff to PROD in 2 hours instead of 3 days, and their answer was:

"Well, we just don't know how to do that."

Isn't it great? Invest a million euros on top-of-the-notch machines, capable of god-knows-how-many GigaFlops and don't train your Engineers. Any "mildly" complex thing I ask they have to refer to HP to get it done (OK, I admit that adding a VM might not be a "mildly complex" task).

They asked HP how to set LD_LIBRARY_PATH correctly, because they couldn't do it on a per-profile basis, only at the box level.
I see that I should have continued my forays into Sys Admin instead of turning PM. Once again my career path seems to have a taken a wrong turn somewhere... ;-)


Monday, October 11, 2004


Aren't we the nicest people on Earth?

Nobody even speaks about the fact that the Netherlands drew 2-2 to Macedonia as well, do they?

Friday, October 08, 2004

Broken window - part 2

As with everything with me, nothing is quite finished until it is err... finished. So, yesterday I took my car to Carglass (I must praise their service, it's excellent) and was told it would be repaired in a few hours. I just had to pick it up before 17:30.

Well, guess what? It was just about 17:50 when I arrived and the garage was closed. Tough luck. Stuck in Brussels without a car.

Well, cutting a long story short, went to pick it up this morning just to learn that they couldn't finish the repair because the small engine that powers the window is broken, so I will have to go back next week's tuesday to get the repair finished.


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Saudades da vida simples...

Há dias assim, em que nos lembramos quão simples era a nossa vida há 5, 10, 15 anos. Tenho saudades do tempo em que tudo o que queria do dia era um sorriso teu. Tenho saudades do tempo em que sair do trabalho era para ir para casa e não para ir continuar a trabalhar (para nada). Tenho saudades do tempo que não tive contigo. Tenho saudades de não ter máquina de lavar em casa. Tenho saudades de ir de autocarro para o trabalho e ver-te fazer de pato quando saías. Tenho saudades de te ver redonda que nem um balão. Tenho saudades de te ver. Tenho saudades de ti.

Tenho saudades de ter objectivos simples. Tenho saudades de comprar móveis para a casa. Tenho saudades de ter tempo para respirar. Tenho saudades de não estar sozinho.

Não tenho saudades do tempo perdido.


This is not fun.

Some w***er broke into my car tonight, stole nothing and left a broken window behind. What goes through people's mind (if they have one) to do something like this? I don't really care about the broken window (it's not raining today) but the whole hassle around it is amazing. Insurance papers. Police reports. Absence from work. Frustration. For nothing.

Damn it.

On top of it, I had to drive to work anyway because of my Production Committee meeting and present my project for approval. My mindset was probably not the best, I guess. It got approved anyway, and I'll go to Carglass now to get the car fixed.

Bad mood Nuno

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Live from studio B

The archive migration project's phase 1 is going live next monday (finally)... Here's some interesting numbers:
- Total nr of documents: 140.136.097 (containing 153.041.004 pages)
- Compression rate: 70%
- Nr of volumes 672

Phase 2 will bring about 200 million more pages. Cool... ;-)
Printing directory trees

Ok, this is really dumb, but I had to search for it for a while. So here goes, it might help someone.

Today I had to find a way to print out the directory structure from one of our unix boxes. In DOS we used to have the amazing tree command, but you don't have that in unix. The following will also work:

find . -type d -print


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

So true...
This article at MSNBC is so on the spot that it's even scary. It discusses how big software failures are rarely linked to the quality of the developers, but more and more to the quality (or lack of) of the management, communication and training. Here's some gems:

"Often, however, the first step toward total disaster is taken before the first line of code is drawn up. "
“In 90 percent of the cases, it’s because the implementer did a bad job, training was bad, the whole project was poorly done”
"Another common theme in failures lies in the ranks of employees who actually must use the systems. Often they’re not given proper training. There’s also a chance that they don’t want the project to succeed, especially if they see it as a threat to employment."

Another reason I must add is the unrealistic budget control performed by some companies while trying to implement *any* product. Quality comes at a price, and not everyone's ready to pay for it - and loads of integrators, especially after dotcom boom, will be more than glad to do your project for your low budget and implement all your wrong design ideas just for the sake of having people being billable again.

Me says, it will not change.
I suppose this is funny...

We're a small company, basically with 3 people:
- One Technical Project Manager, 100% of the time outsourced (me)
- One System Architect, outsourced about 50% of his time
- One Business Developper (aka Salesman) doing sales all the time

...and the only stuff we actually sell is the business I find...
Changing Baselines...

My archiving project is delayed for about 3 months and, one week away from the Go-Live, I get asked to fill in a Baseline change request because of the delay. I'm ok with it, but:

- Why don't the System Engineers fill in a report of why they had no disks delivered on time?
- Why don't the wankers that developped the buggy software fill in a report stating why it took them 3 months to fix all the problems?
- Why doesn't the CEO answers to his platform choices?

;-) I guess I know why, and that's why I'll fill in my Baseline CR and shut up.


Friday, October 01, 2004


'nuff said...
2 out of 5 is not good

That's what you get with "weak" championships. 6 teams qualified for European competitions, one for the first time, two for their 2nd or 3rd time. The remaining 3 teams have all won some european competition: Porto (2 Champions), Sporting (1 Cup-Winners) and Benfica (2 Champions + 6 finals!!).

In other words, this portuguese championship is looking more and more like the scottish.

Thank god that Mourinho (and Boavista) gave us quite some points in the UEFA ranking for the past 2 seasons, which means we're safe in 6th position (about 7 points advantage over Greece).

And next season we'll have 2 teams straight into the CL Groups + a possible 3rd that must go through the 3rd qualifyer. But this year we'll be happy if we get to do 5 points. Porto will continue losing, Benfica and Sporting might get it through to next year, but certainly not past march/early april...

Anyway, enough of football. This blog will now enter a footy pause (for about 2 weeks - until the next Champions League night) and discuss more important and vital stuff, such as the crappy weather we have in Brussels, the traffic jams every morning and the reasons why Antwerp is today the roadworks' champion.


Portuguese European Cup Results:
Benfica 2 - 0 Dukla Bystrica (5-0 aggregate)
Rapid Vienna 0 - 0 Sporting (0-2 aggregate)
Braga 2 - 2 Hearts (3-5 aggregate)
Rangers 1 - 0 Marítimo (1-1 aggregate, Rangers through on penalties)
Nacional 1 - 2 Sevilla (1-4 aggregate)

Thursday, September 30, 2004

John Nicholson: Rooney blows my mind like mushrooms

I've long been a fan of John Nicholson's column on Football365, but this time he exceeded himself...

"He looks like a creature of Middle Earth with funny little ears and a globular head. His skin seems strange like a shape-shifter who has not quite got his 'human' right yet. His eyes look unworldy and seem to peer from behind his face like a pair of eyes moving behind a painting in Scooby Doo."

Read it here.


As expected...

Moaninho's side beat Porto by a clear 3-1. And that's not only his merit, it's mostly Porto defence's...

This team (Porto) is just a very pale image of what it was. The brand new brasilian soon-to-be-stars (and probably sold to some Italian or Spanish team in the process) are just not used to this type of football yet. Luis Fabiano and Diego came to Porto for astonishing prices, and they're just not delivering. Diego cost about 13m € and frankly, he's not half of Deco.

I'm not a follower of Brasilian football, so I'll have to ask someone to explain it to me: is football in Brasil really that soft? Every year a new batch of Brasilian players roam to Portuguese teams, hoping to triumph in Europe and, if they're really good, be sold to Barça, Milan, Real, etc... And every year people say that they take some time to get used to European Football. Is it really that different? Do they play with square balls in Brasil?

When playing in Europe for the first few matches they always seem so disconnected from the rest of the play. Luis Fabiano, branded as a fantastic striker back home, just couldn't get to a single ball. It was Chelsea's defence, you might argue, but don't think he's doing better in Portugal against the likes of Guimarães (1-0, Costinha), Braga (1-1, Maniche) and Leiria (1-1, Quaresma). Diego has shown some value, but he has a long way to go before he can become useful.

If you see other brasilian players in the Portuguese league, who may not have the "star" brand on them yet, they're just so much more reliable. Luisão in Benfica had a pretty bad start to his european career, and now is one of the best brasilian defenders in the world, playing (and well) for the national team and being a solid rock in Benfica's defence. Rochemback, from Sporting, whose injury is widely blamed for his team's underperformance, has also claimed a firm spot in this team fully by own merit and not any media intervention.

These new Porto stars will have to start playing at a much higher level than they are now if they want to live up to the expectations they created themselves.

Anyway, a fully deserved victory for Chelsea, they will be very hard to beat by any team this year, and you can thank it to Mourinho. And Drogba seems to be settling down correctly now, he did a pretty good match yesterday.

Also worth mentioning:
AC Milan's struggle to get by Celtic at home;
Anderlecht's defeat at home to Inter (come on, these belgian guys only played one decent match this season, and it had to be against my Benfica?)
Deco's continuing improvements in Barça, showing everyone that didn't believe in him (Graeme Souness, are you reading this?) how good he really is;
CSKA Moscow proving that the 2nd place in the group will be hard to snatch;
And finally, Arsenal being slowed down by Rosenborg.

Goal Average: 2.875 or one goal less per match compared to yesterday. Still, it's not bad at all.


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Este Pinto da Costa...

Há pessoas que vão longe para impedir os outros de fazerem bons negócios. Tão longe que deixam de ver os horizontes mais próximos.

Esta história do Porto ir buscar o Rossato para o pôr na prateleira e depois mandar para Espanha só para evitar que ele fosse para o Benfica é uma das histórias mais indecentes na história recente do futebol português.

E como se não bastasse, o gaijo está-se a safar muito bem em Espanha...

É bem feito, eu digo.
Goals goals goals

Jeezes, that was a great Champions League night! Real proving that they're still around, Rooney showing that Manyoo got a bargain for him (3 goals on his first match!), Kiev blasting Leverkusen, Bayern showing Ajax how to play ball and Liverpool beaten by Olimpyakos!!

Good impressions:
Figo - what a match!
Rooney - no words would do justice.
Makaay - almost the best. This guy should go and play somewhere with more global reach, today he caters only for the german and (proud) dutch TV market.
Goal average: 3.875 goals/match!

Bad impressions:
Ronaldo - still fast, still dangerous, but only 3-4 times per match. I wonder how much longer will he be able to keep Owen and Morientes on the bench?
Italian Football - Watching Roma play just kept reminding me of the Euro 2004 final between Greece and Portugal: 8 defenders. The only way to beat (over) defensive football is to do like Real yesterday and beat the crap out of them.

Tonight Chelsea's coach Moaninho will take on FC Porto and probably beat the hell out of them. Porto's been playing at about 50% of what it can, and though it has loads of money available and quite some brilliant stars-to-be in the group, it seems to be indisciplined, directionless, unambitious.

I would love to see Porto go far in the Champions League this year, but I'm starting to doubt it will be the case. Let's hope I get proven wrong.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Large projects also end

There's this huge huge huge project going on at xxxInfoWitheldxxx to implement CRM - the Delphi project. Some of my projects interact with this one, and one is directly related to it, but apart from this I always saw this project just as a big, costly, over-spent project.

Well, I tend to think like that about projects that spend over 2000 man/days per month, that have Big Blue, ex-Andersen (read Accenture) and some other more obscure large-scale body-shoppers involved.

The good news is: they have 3 weeks to get the damn thing finally working. And my God are they far from it.

What is it that makes me feel so good about watching those guys work like mad men, staying late and starting early - after spending over a year doing on-the-job-training - and getting their ears pulled off daily? I sure don't know but I'll keep enjoying it for at least 3 more weeks... ;-)

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Mais um domingo à noite...

Esta casa por vezes parece um escritório de advogados. A Zé está de volta do laptop dela a acabar um documento, eu estou aqui no meu canto com o meu laptop a escrever aqui enquanto espero pelo meu mail, enfim...

A boneca já dorme, amanhã toca o sino cedo. E para alguns mais cedo que para outros... E entretanto o Benfica está a jogar com o Braga, estou a ouvir o relato pela TSF. Vamos lá a ver se eles continuam a ganhar.


Friday, September 24, 2004

I think I have found my replacement. Will schedule an interview and measure up the guy. That would be perfect news...

Rain and drain
Can someone - anyone - please explain me why Belgium roads don't have any draining capacity? It's not like it never rains around here, is it?

It's also the only country I know where when it starts raining you get more water from below than from above...

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Bolas com creme

Descobri hoje (shame on me) o Xelente site bolas com creme. Já há muito que não me ria assim com um website. Well done.
I'm getting close to the time to leave my company. 100 reasons to do it, only important one being that I'm sick and tired of putting my career before my family - which I've been very good at for the past 5 years.

Creating your own company is certainly fun, and can get you somewhere. If I see where we are now, compared to where we were 6 months ago, it's very easy to spot the trend. But it just eats your life away. And contrary to popular belief, I'm not filling up my pockets -- quite the opposite.

So, I decided it's about time I call it a day and go home. Any Technical Project Managers around looking for a good position in Brussels? Know of any company in The Hague looking for a very experienced Technical PM?

A big sense of sorrow goes through me when thinking of this - E-Solutions might end up going belly-up because of this decision (or so my partners say) and it's something I want to avoid at (almost) any cost. Too bad.

I'm getting back my life (and so is my wife and daughter).

OK, isto é tardíssimo, mas tem que ser feito.

Voltei a este blog. O meu antigo site vai ser abandonado, ligado também à minha "imminent departure" da E-Solutions e este volta a ser o meu sítio de poiso.

A correr, a correr: não está nada bem, estou cheio de merdas para resolver, vou mudar de país outra vez, o trabalho continua a correr muito bem.

Eu já volto.