Tag Archives: Barcelona

Working in Barcelona, Catalonia, for IT Engineers

Created in: 2020-02-20 by Carles Mateo Last Updated: 2020-03-13 19:29 UTC

Note: This document is under construction

Society, Politics and laws

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a Nation with a strong desire of freedom, that wants to get the independence from Spain (which invaded militarily in 1714 and bombed the city many times). Catalans are very different in small villages and in the city center, but me as Catalan, I think that we are nice but reserved, because we are used to be prosecuted just for being Catalans, so we people don’t earn our trust easily. However, if you make a Catalan friend, our loyalty is like family. This is related since medieval books already.

When we suffered the Spanish invasion in 1714, and later the invasion of dictator Franco with the help of Hitler and Mussolini, the Catalan language was forbidden, prosecuted, universities closed, Catalan Constitution removed, Parliament closed… but part of the freedom was recovered in 1975 when the fascist dictator Franco died. Most of the Catalan particularities were forced into assimilation to the Spanish model, however one interesting thing that was not changed was the Civil Right. That’s very important cause some laws survived and are different from the Spanish laws, and from most of the places in the world. One worth to mention is that our Civil Law gives us “Separation of Goods” (separacio de bens), and that means, that if two people marry and one has 3 houses and €20,000 in the bank, and the other has €500 in the bank and nothing else, if they divorce, they’ll get exactly what they had. So individual A will keep their 3 houses and €20,000 and B €500. This is very different from the “Earning Goods” (bienes gananciales) in Spain, where if they divorce A and B would get exactly half of everything. When they get married is like everything goes to the common pool.

Must say that there are details, like if the partner leaves the job in order of take care of the house, they may get something in compensation, or if there are children, at least one house will be for the mother if taking care of the children, and the father will have to pay a pension to feed and take care of the children. Still, it seems to me much more fair that what I saw in most of the countries (even if in some they have pre-marital contracts).

The Catalan society is hard worker and loves to read and to study. Compared often to the Jews, as an insult, by the fascist authorities in Spain during the dictator.

One show of the passion for reading can be manifested by Sant Jordi’s celebration, the 23th of April, which is a day in which girls gift a book to the men, and men gift a rose to the women they love, or they family or female friends.

The Castellers or Human Towers are declared World Heritage and have been present in many international celebrations like Olympic Games.

And the traditional parties in the villages have many books talking about them and are epic.

As Catholics, it is typical to have “el pesebre”, a recreation of the birth of Jesus, but our irreducible character have has to have particular elements like “el Caganer”, which have became world wide famous few years ago.

Pesebre de Nadal

The love for Freedom and the defense of Human Rights has been a characteristic tread of the Catalan culture since it’s origins, around the year 8th Century and the first bilingual dictionary known is Catalan-German German-Catalan. Catalans also invented the navigation code for ships that became universally accepted. Probably this loves for Freedom is what makes Barcelona and Catalonia a place full of entrepreneurs and small business owners. It is said that “Catalans, from the rocks they make bread” (els Catalans de les pedres en fan pans) about the inventive we have to detect opportunities where others see nothing.

The 11th September is the national day, and is the day the Catalans remember that they fight to the end for their freedom that 1714, alone, against Spain and France troops. That day every year, there are many cultural acts, and there is a demonstration for Independence that some years got to 2 Million people, from a total population of 7,5 Million. You can visit parts of the city where there are still holes in the walls from the different times Barcelona has been bombed, at different ages, from Romanic era to 20th century.

Weather

The weather in Barcelona use to be excellent. Sun is present from 7 in the morning to 20:00 almost all the year, and specially in June, July and August, people enjoy the beach.

It has a weather similar to California.

It rarely snows, but if you go to the North, near Pirineus montains, you can see snow in winter.

Even if weather use to be excellent, with no wind at all, and few frequent rain, must be said that when it rains it rains. Rain can last 4 hours and more, and be very intense. Very often the semaphores (traffic lights) stop working in Barcelona when it rains.

The city

The city is very well designed with most of it being square islands similar in size. Is easy to drive as every street is two ways and you can go back by just turning right right right right or left left left left.

With a beautiful architecture thanks to genius like Gaudi, or Dali (both put in jail for talking Catalan at different times) .

Sants street is the longest commerce way, in Europe they say, created by many small commercial stores. Many of them have been bought or replaced by Chinese, as the traditional owners could not afford the more and more higher rents for commercial locals in Barcelona. Still many resist.

Transport

The city has buses, metro, taxis, tram, bicycles that you can use paying a yearly sum.

Huber was forbidden by the Spanish government.

Taxis in Barcelona are very characteristics, all the same color, black and yellow. In the airport there is an official taxi stop, so don’t get to any random guy that asks you if you want a taxi. The taxi drivers are in a specific place and they will not go to you, as they expect you to go to them.

In the city you can stop a taxi just by raising your hand horizontally, but only the cars with a green light turned on are available, the other have a customer inside and will not stop.

Airports

Local food

One typical food. “La calçotada”. Which is a social party, normally for lunch where we eat scallion/spring onions and meat cooked at the fire on the barbecue. We peel the external layers, and eat with a sauce called “romesco”.

Calçots, scallions grilled at the barbequeu
Butifarra d’ou (egg sausage, to eat like that)

Population

Languages

Religion

airbnb and hotels price

The controversial mayoress has forbidden airbnb in Barcelona. It is only allowed to red a room, but not the entire flat.

Hotels prices range from €110 to €175 per night, except when the city is full and prices double or triple. For example for the Mobile World Congress.

Price of the rent

In the recent years rent has increased a lot.

In the year 2020 a flat with furniture, 5 years old new, 80 square meter in a middle class zone, can cost around €1,200/month.

English and expats

Well, it’s a shame. In Barcelona few people talk a decent English or even understands it.

You better print the address of the places you go to show to the taxi driver.

Salaries for IT

Barcelona is one of the most attractive places in Europe for IT.

A low cost of live compared to major cities like Berlin, London, Edinburgh, Cork or Dublin, and salaries very high for IT, with the excellent weather, a market of 40 millions Spaniards and 7.5 million Catalans (around 10 if we count Catalan speaking zones in the Meditarrean sea).

The minimum inter-professional salary is (updated to Jul 2019) €1,050 net per month.

Salaries for a Senior Software Engineer with 5 years experience will range between €35,000 and €55,000 gross per year. Most of companies provide an optional bonus too.

€55,000 gross per year is approximately €3,267 net per month within 12 payments in a year.

Internet

Buying Hardware

Barcelona is full of Hardware stores. There is one street where they are concentrated, is called Sepulveda street.

Security

Police

Nightlife

Dangers/Terror histories/Bad experiences

There are many to tell, I’ve pending explaining seeing thieves in the airport, fake taxi drivers offering their services, pickpocketers in the center, skinheads robbing in the metro… don’t ever leave your belongings unattended.

LGTB+

Restaurants

Those are my recommendations.

La parra

I come here since I was a child

http://restaurantlaparra.cat/

Santamasa

http://www.santamasarestaurant.com/

Centric 35

Is from a good friend of mine 😊 The Cheff and owner. If you tell Oriol that you’re a friend of Carles he will be very happy.

https://www.tripadvisor.ie/Restaurant_Review-g187497-d3635494-Reviews-Centric_35-Barcelona_Catalonia.html

https://restaurantcentric35.business.site/

Clarius (Catalan-French cuisine)

https://hedofoodia.blogspot.com/2019/05/clarius-restaurant-barcelone.html

Can Xurrades

http://www.canxurrades.com/


1881 per Sagardi

Restaurant and terrace in the Museu d’Historia de Catalunya
Plaça de Pau Vila, 3, 08003 Barcelona
At the top of the Museum of History of Catalonia you can enjoy a restaurant, a coffee bar, and a terrace for having cocktails. The terrace is a cityview where you can see all the port and part of Barcelona. Is very beautiful at nights. There are few tapas bars and pubs and open discos just down next to the Museum’s entrance.

http://www.mhcat.cat/la_visita/mirador_restaurant/restaurant_1881

The museum is very interesting too.

1902 Cafe Modernista

Next to the Recinte Modernista Museum, you can have tasty tapas with beautiful views and after going to the museum.

Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167 | Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau, 08025 Barcelona
(st Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167)


https://www.tripadvisor.ie/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g187497-d6503265-i137778634-1902_Cafe_Modernista-Barcelona_Catalonia.html

The terrace is owned by the restaurant which is inside, and is very nice, and the menu looks amazing.

Iconic places in Barcelona city

Sagrada Familia from Gaudi.

F.C.B. Football Club Barcelona stadium “Nou Camp”.

Nearby Iconic places

Monserrat, has unique type of rounded mountains. And on top, in the church, there is “la Moreneta” which is a figure of the Mother of Christ, which is black.

Activites

Upgrading my new HP 14-bp060sa

As the company I was working for, Sanmina, has decided to move all the Software Development to Colorado, US, and closing the offices in Bishopstown, Cork, Ireland I found myself with the need to get a new laptop. At work I was using two Dell laptops, one very powerful and heavy equipped with an Intel Xeon processor and 32 GB of RAM. The other a lightweight one that I updated to 32 GB of RAM.

I had an accident around 8 months ago, that got my spine damaged, and so I cannot carry much weight.

My personal laptops at home, in Ireland are a 15″ with 16 GB of RAM, too heavy, and an Acer 11,6″ with 8GB of RAM and SSD (I upgraded it), but unfortunately the screen crashed. I still use it through the HDMI port. My main computer is a tower with a Core i7, 64GB of RAM and a Samsung NVMe SSD drive. And few Raspberrys Pi 4 and 3 :)

I was thinking about what ultra-lightweight laptop to buy, but I wanted to buy it in Barcelona, as I wanted a Catalan keyboard (the layout with the broken ç and accents). I tried by Amazon.es but I have problems to have shipped the Catalan keyboard layout laptops to my address in Ireland.

I was trying to find the best laptop for me.

While I was investigating I found out that none of the laptops in the market were convincing me.

The ones in around 1Kg, which was my initial target, were too big, and lack a proper full size HDMI port and Gigabit Ethernet. Honestly, some models get the HDMI or the Ethernet from an USB 3.1, through an adapter, or have mini-HDMI, many lack the Gigabit port, which is very annoying. Also most of the models come with 8GB of RAM only and were impossible to upgrade. I enrolled my best friend in my quest, in the research, and had the same conclusions.

I don’t want to have to carry adapters with me to just plug to a monitor or projector. I don’t even want to carry the power charger. I want a laptop that can work with me for a complete day, a full work session, without needing to recharge.

So while this investigation was going on, I decided to buy a cheap laptop with a good trade off of weight and cost, in order to be able to work on the coffee. I needed it for writing documents in Google Docs, creating microservices architectures, programming in Java and PHP, and writing articles in my blog. I also decided that this would be my only laptop with Windows, as honestly I missed playing Star Craft 2, and my attempts with Wine and Linux did not success.

Not also, for playing games :) , there are tools that are only available for Windows or for Mac Os X and Windows, like: POSTMAN, Kitematic for managing dockers visually, vSphere…

(Please note, as I reviewed the article I realized that POSTMAN is available for Linux too)

Please note: although I use mainly Linux everywhere (Ubuntu, CentOS, and RedHat mainly) and I contribute to Open Source projects, I do have Windows machines.

I created my Start up in 2004, and I still have Windows Servers, physical machines in a Data Center in Barcelona, and I still have VMs and Instances in Public Clouds with Windows Servers. Also I programmed some tools using Visual Studio and Visual Basic .NET, ASP.NET and C#, but when I needed to do this I found more convenient spawn an instance in Amazon or Azure and pay for its use.

When I created my Start up I offered my infrastructure as a way to get funding too, and I offered VMs with VMWare. I found that having my Mail Servers in VMs was much more convenient for Backups, cloning, to scale up, to avoid disruption and for Disaster and Recovery.

I wanted a cheap laptop that will not make feel bad if transporting it in a daily basis gets a hit and breaks, or that if it rains (and this happens more than often in Ireland) and it breaks is not super-hurtful, or even if it gets stolen. Yes, I’m from a big city, like is Barcelona, Catalonia, and thieves are a real problem. I travel, so I want a laptop decent enough that I can take to travel, and for going for a coffee, coding anything, and I feel comfortable enough that if something happens to it is not the end of the world.

Cork is not a big city, so the options were reduced. I found a laptop that meets my needs.

I got a HP s14-bp060sa for 439€.

It is equipped with a Intel® Core™ i3-6006U (2 GHz, 3 MB cache, 2 cores) , a 500GB SATA HDD, and 4 GB of DDR4 RAM.

The information on HP webpage is really scarce, but checking other pages I was able to see that the motherboard has 2 memory banks, accepting a max of 16GB of RAM.

I saw that there was an slot, unclear if supporting NVMe SSD drives, but supporting M.2 SSD for sure.

So I bought in Amazon 2x8GB and a M.2 500GB drive.

Since I was 5 years old I’ve been upgrading and assembling by myself all the computers. And this is something that I want to keep doing. It keeps me sharp, knowing the new ports, CPUs, and motherboard architectures, and keeps me in contact with the Hardware. All my life I’ve thought that specializing Software Engineers and Systems Engineers, like if computers were something separate, is a mistake, so I push myself to stay up to date of the news in all the fields.

I removed the spinning 500 GB SATA HDD, cause it’s slow and it consumes a lot of energy. With the M.2 SSD the battery last forever.

The interesting part is how I cloned the drive from the Spinning HDD to the new M.2.

I did:

  • Open the computer (see pics below) and Insert the new drive M.2
  • Boot with an USB Linux Rescue distribution (to do that I had to enable Legacy Boot on BIOS and boot with the USB)
  • Use lsblk command to identify the HDD drive, it was easy as it was the one with partitions
  • dd from if=/dev/sda to of=/dev/sdb with status=progress to see live status and speed (around 70MB/s) and estimated time to complete.
  • Please note that the new drive should be bigger or at least have the same number of bytes to avoid problems with the last partition.
  • I removed the HDD drive, this reduces the weight of my laptop by 100 grams
  • Disable Legacy Boot, and boot the computer. Windows started perfectly :)

I found so few information about this model, that I wanted to share the pictures with the Community. Here are the pictures of the upgrade process.

Here you can see the Crucial M.2 SSD installed and the Spinning HDD removed. Yes, I did in a coffee :)
Final step, installing the 2x8GB RAM memory modules