Boost your Octave (for MATLAB users)

Let’s face it, you are using Octave because MATLAB is too expensive for you. Maybe you’re not student anymore and got used to play with MATLAB, but now you need the best free alternative.

Certainly, if money is not a problem, MATLAB would overperform Octave in most of their characteristics (not all of them and I’ll show you) and is surely the best option.

Fear not! GNU Octave is here, and yes, it is indeed the best alternative to MATLAB, but… it’s not the same. We know, and here I present some useful tips to avoid any conflict with your migration to the Octave world.

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Song of the day – Who am I (OST)

I found it hard to pick one single song, actually, and not because they’re not good enough. They are, but their combination makes it even better.

This time I go out of my usual taste. I’ve never been fan of electronic music. Everyone knows that. However, I recently watched the german film ‘Who am I – No system is safe‘ and, besides a good story, the film features a great soundtrack.

It start with the main theme Alarm, originally made by Boys Noize, and is followed by other themes by Fukk Offf, Carpet and Royal Blood.

This is the kind of soundtrack that exactly fit that insane notion of artificial adrenaline hitting your head while coding at 3:00 am… or am I the only one experiencing it?

Egal! Please have your dose of Who am I:

Kalman Filter – A painless approach

Needless to say but Kalman Filtering is one of the most powerful estimation processes in almost any Engineering field. From robotic vacuums to Satellite Guidance, it is everywhere. Here I will explain the how’s and why’s of the Kalman Filter (KF) in our lives.

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Any decent technological project will use this robust method for the final estimation of the position of any intelligent system. The format of the given information can be, fortunately, represented as a Gaussian state.

Thanks to this property, it is possible to use Gaussian filters (KF is one of them), in order to improve the final estimation.

Gaussian modelling estimations are going to be carried in this explanation, so it is preferable to have this mathematical background (a simple understanding is enough) in order to follow the presented technique. Continue reading

Lubezki, long shots and eccentric machines

Cinematography is the secret to a beautiful film fame. But that is just my personal opinion. Certainly Lubezki is nowadays a talented film magician, that brings big surprises with every release.

Mainly due to its incredibly beautiful shots of outer space, Gravity is also highly acclaimed because of its intricate machinery behind scenes, but it didn’t happen in a single day and the mastery that achieved such a great production was not made so easy.

‘Chivo’ Lubezki has certainly worked for a long time. From his teen age to his worldwide success, through their agony in Mexican TV series and early days in Hollywood. They have learned a lot and innovated everywhere.

It is true that his work boosts any production, but we also find something special in his style: long shots. And it might sound a bit cheesy or even nonsense, but his original cinematography has set a landmark in cinema.

It all started with some smooth camera movements here and there in Sólo con tu pareja, the first production, where Lubezki and Alfonso Cuarón joined forces to bring a fun and enjoyable film.

The film went international under the name “Love in the Time of Hysteria”, but didn’t have much press. But Lubezki’s big shot came the following year with the film adaptation of Laura Esquivel’s novel Como Agua para Chocolate (Like water for Chocolate). Continue reading

Song of the day: Mediocre – Ximena Sariñana

I am not a big fan of pop music, but I could become a fan of that category sometimes. This is a good example of it.

Ximena Sariñana is a Mexican singer / actress, daughter of Fernando Sariñana, director and producer of some Mexican films and she has been in some. However, her true talent is, in my opinion, composing and singing.

She started her singing career time ago with the band ‘Feliz no cumpleaños’ (Spanish for ‘Happy Not-Birthday’). Later she kept on studying music in Mexico, and then released her first solo album: Mediocre. This is the album that got me into her.

But her style is nowadays more.. “pop-ish”, filled up with glitter and happy melodies. Not my taste actually, but her very first album ‘Mediocre‘ is one of my favorites, a nice balad/jazzy sound in every melody that makes you sing along with her even when the songs are kind of depressing some times.

Here I present my favorite song from the album (hard to pick among all the songs), which is the song that gives the name to the album: Mediocre. Lyrics with translation are below ;)

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Opera: Tijuana style

Ciudad Juárez, Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa… what do these cities have in common? They are border cities, where the violence in Mexico exploded due to the War on Drugs that devastated the northern part of the country.

Tijuana is precisely one of those cities that felt it heavily, but today teaches us a very nice lesson. Since years (even before the War on Drugs) Tijuana was world-known for its careless way of life. Alcohol, drugs, women, nasty streets and tough night life were part of the imagination when someone imagined the city.

The inhabitants, however, never lost their faith and found new ways to fight that feeling. As true Mexicans, they knew that violence cannot be stopped with more violence, and thus fought it the way they knew: sing and smile.

The Tijuana Cultural Centre and their young talents decided to give hope and draw smiles in its inhabitants with their own version of street Opera, a movement that has been seen previously in Europe, but a movement that Tijuana needed to gain energy and encourage their people to not give up and live peacefully. Did it work? Too soon to say, but oh boy! truly inspires.

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Song of the day: Granada – Agustín Lara

Aaahh, Agustín Lara! that romantic skinny, also known as “El flaco de oro” (the golden skinny). One of the most prolific composers of his time.

Worldwide known is the way he composed in the name of love (specially that impossible love) with masterpieces like Solamente una vez, María bonita, Piensa en mí, etc.

But also very well known is his love for Spain, where many of his songs are specially dedicated to its cities: Murcia, Madrid, Valencia, etc. becoming the songs that are now part of their heritage.

However, there is one song that stands out: Granada. The favorite of many tenors and one of the most sang worldwide. Why? Power, I would say. Granada is passion and courage, is the voice of love for our land, love for our people. Granada is a proud moment to sing for ourselves.

My personal choice was to put Plácido Domingo‘s version. No better tenor could feel this ‘mestizo’ passion than the one born in Spain and raised in Mexico.