Let's say you are thinking about moving to Rome in the near future.

Let's say you have family, and you want to find all daycares within 30 mins by public transport to your perspective new house.

Or maybe you want to find a house that's near a daycare, which in turn should be within 30 mins to your workplace.

In the past, I would have done this manually: find list of day cares, look at a map, check workplace, apartment, eventually find something that works.

But with a little javascript, some scripting skills, and a couple hours to spare, it turns out that this sort of problem is really easy to solve by using public APIs, and a little work.

Before I get started, and only if you are curious, you can see the outcome here http://rome.rabexc.org. The source code can also be found on github, in this repository.

This article can serve as a very quick start and brief introdcution to Google Maps APIs.

The first step for me was finding the data: the list of all daycares / pre-schools in Rome.

[ ... ]

A bit more than a year ago I became the proud parent of the cutest little girl in the world.

By living abroad and traveling often, the little one had to endure quite a few trips with us on her first year: west to east coast and back, with a road trip involving New York and Boston, a few trips to Europe and one trip to Hawaii. All spiced up with hours of driving and a few rides on trains, buses and even trams.

In this blog post I'd like to tell you about our experience flying internationally with a baby: what worked, what didn't, and the lessons we have learned.

Documents and paperwork

If you are traveling internationally, your baby needs his/her own passport.

Getting a passport is easy: bring a picture, birth certificate, your ID (passport, in state driving license may be ok), your child, the other parent of your child, and all together go to the nearest passport agency. The all together part of the process is important: if your partner can't be there, you'll need more paperwork ahead of time, and baby must be with you.

[ ... ]

Apr 18, 2015 | Life/Traveling Life/Baby

Have you ever had to pay extra fees to carry oversize luggage? Flown somewhere, ended up buying so many things that they did not fit your suitcase anymore?

Here's a nifty trick we used in our last trip to Europe which allowed us to carry much more than we believed we could at no extra charge.

First: make sure to read the allowances for carry on and check in baggage on your ticket. Make sure you understand them fully, and if unsure, call your airline.

In our case, me, my wife, and baby were traveling on a Swiss Airlines fligth, and our ticket allowed us to bring for free:

  • 2 Carry on bags.
  • 3 Checked in bags.

The checked in bags were limited in weight and length:

  • 23 Kg (~50 lbs) at most.
  • 158 cm (~62 inches) of linear length, where linear length is the sum of the width, depth, and height of your suitcase.

In our case, we discovered that:

  • The large suitcases we used weighted about ~7 Kg (~15 lbs) empty. With no clothes, no items whatsover, the suitcase itself used up ~30% of our allowance!!

  • The small suitcases weighted ~5 Kg empty, or about ~21% of our allowance.

[ ... ]

Some say that clothes smell and look better when dried with sunlight in the summer breeze.

I can certainly state that if you have to pay to use a dryer, it is much cheaper to use sunlight, and line dry. And really, it's not that much more work.

The only annoying part where we live is the wind: yes, it gets the clothes to dry faster, but it also gets them to fall off the line, and on the grass of our backyard.

If we had a normal rack to dry clothes, this would not be a big deal: humanity has long figured out how to get clothes not to fall off clothes racks. There are such mechanical devices like clothespins that can be easily purchased and used.

The tricky part in our case is that we have some sort of line going from one building to another that we use to hang clothes on. This line is exposed to the weather, gets dirty to the point it is really hard to clean, and we generally don't want to put our clothes directly on it. Instead, we use hangers.

line with clothes

This is where the wind comes into play: it's not that hard for the wind to knock off our clothes, and get them to the ground, and well, dirty.

[ ... ]

Aug 20, 2013 | Life/Hacking