5 books to comprehend the Day of the Race

Mestizo

October the 12th is not remembered in America as a jolly holiday. For millions of people from the Arctic in Canada to “Tierra del Fuego” in the Strait of Magellan, this day is the beginning of a suffering persisting today. Continue reading

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Song of the Day: Aqua Marine – Santana

This is in my opinion the most underrated song of Santana‘s most underrated album. I still don’t get why the reception of Marathon was that unpleasant. Yes, I know it was an experiment of an up-tempo Jazz-Rock, but it is definitely gold!

Although the great Alex Ligertwood performed the vocals of the album, Aqua Marine is a fully instrumental piece of art. This song is an appetizing ensemble of the best of Santana’s musicians. They easily change rhythms and lines like if they were seducing the song.

Just listen to that bass guitar from 1:45, a simple arrangement that hypnotizingly makes my shoulders move. Ain’t that sexy?

When Mariachis crank it up

I was maybe 12 or 13 years old when I started the project of a rock band with my school mates (Juglares). Our inexperience and curiosity led us to great adventures. As one of the first bands of the town (or at least, who got some recognition), it allowed us to experiment with styles without being shunned or bullied by other “mature” bands.

At this time, however, our musical taste was way different. Fernando loved national rock of the slums (Rocksito) and tropical music; the other Mario (we were two) was eclectic and enjoyed more electro-beats with some Rocksito too. On the other hand I got myself into Blues and Mexican folkloric music, like Mariachis and Boleros. Our band became a good mix of what people didn’t think could fit together.

It was at this time when my dad arrived home one day with a new CD he got for me: “Pero sigo siendo el Rock”. It was an interesting project made by several rock musicians of Mexico. The twist? They play mariachi music with rock instruments. A beauty.

Each and every single song is special. The face-smashing boom of “De qué manera”, the Funk in “Por mujeres como tú”, the Jazz of “La Puerta Negra” or the synthetic romanticism of the rocking “Piensa en Mí”.

It was clear that this experiment was a first in Mexico, but sadly also a last for the members starting it. One of them, Javier de la Cueva, forerunner of the Mexican rock scene with his bands The Black Jeans and The Hooligans is still active. His son, Jay de la Cueva, naturally followed his steps in music and is now the frontman of a mock-band called Moderatto (and also part of Titán, Fobia, and many more), whose main act is to, you guessed it, play classic melodies with a hair-rocking overtone ala Steel Panther.

A playlist of the Mariachi extraviado (name of the project) is available in Youtube with some of the songs that could be rescued. Back then this short experiment was just another CD in the racks of the music stores. Nowadays is worth 10 times its price, and rightly so!

Where is my CD? No idea. Lost within the old crap of my childhood, but let Google bless Youtube for allowing these treasures to re-emerge.

Song of the Day: Suavecito – Malo

The Santana Brothers. Many have heard of one of them mainly: Carlos. He is the superstar with millions of followers and a big influence in the Latin-Rock-Jazz-Blues scene.

Well the other brother, Jorge, is another talent that moved to the US with his brother to pursue his dreams. And he did it, but on his own way.

Jorge Santana founded his own band in the early 70’s, Malo (band), and also took part in the movement that ultimately shaped the modern Latin Rock.

Suavecito is a melodic sound with jazzy tones and a nostalgic duo between a soft voice and an energic guitar pulling some harmonics in the background.

This song became the biggest hit of the band in 1972 and turned the eyes of the world to Jorge Santana. Sadly the group disbanded in 1974 and no further compositions were made during the 70’s. Later on, on 1981 they re-united but has rare appearances.

In the 90’s the Santana brothers took part in some projects together, but none of significance. Nowadays, what we still have and cherish from Jorge is this beautiful song.

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.

Octave-logo Continue reading

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