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Category Archives: Technology

Famous Brasilians for you

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We all know Gisele Bundchen, and if you don’t then you know her American Football playing husband Tom Brady… power couple right?  But if you’re an Iphone user you most likely have been using the Instagram app, and may have heard of the recent sale of Instagram to Facebook.

What you may not have read, but a friend of mine tipped me off to is there is a Brasilian connection there. Maybe if I read magazines in Brasil, I wouldn’t have missed the full spread they did on Mike Krieger.  The Veja article  in Portuguese.

Of course, if you’ve seen the movie The Social Network, you would know that the other founder of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin is Brasilian as well.

The Veja Article is an interesting read as it highlights a few of the technology geniuses that Brasil has claim to… in Google translate here. It’s funny, I’m just an expat, but I’ve gotta say I’ve got a bit of pride for all things a bit Brasilian.

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Patents, inventions, and crazy priests…

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Thank’s to this comment I read this article, and was amazed, wow this Priest was a pioneer in radio!


 Not sure if the comment was meant as sarcasm, but I really do love learning new things.  And I do think that countries tend to skew their history.  It was the one thing I remember most from high school, my World Geography/History teacher, Mrs. Johnson. She made us copy notes off of these giant sheets of paper, and we didn’t have a text book. She insisted that text books are rewritten by the views of the writers themselves, and didn’t want us to just have the “Anglo-Euro world view”. World history wasn’t just the European world. I wrote papers on great Chinese and Japanese “heroes”  and studied the tribal history of African tribes.  It’s probably the one class I remember from high school, years later.  It has also helped immensely with Jeopardy 😉

To the meat of this blog though. I thought there was real hope with this. I really had fun researching this, and learning all about the radio. I love Wikipedia like everyone, but let’s be fair, anyone can comment on it. This is why I usually try to double check the facts elsewhere.  Was this priest an inventor of radio?! Why have I not heard of him!

So the facts. I know Tesla was one of those radio guys (from various sci-fi shows I have watched, sad I know…sigh). And Marconi is a familiar name. I figured I should read up on these guys first.  Just that alone was fascinating.  The US Patent office, based on money and self interest, gave Marconi and then took away a patent for radio.  Because in the end Tesla had patented it first, just didn’t have as many connections.  You can read about that on pbs.org.  It was pretty interesting (and short reading).

But the main thing I got from this, is that there were slews of people before them, messing around with various ways of transmitting sound.  These two (namely Marconi) made money and isn’t that the way life is sometimes. It’s not what you invent, but what you invent that is marketable.

So what did this priest invent?

Well this is what:

So let’s be fair. Graham Bell in 1880 patetented a device called the photophone- a phone that didn’t require wires just “light beams”.. pretty cool, and this is the tech that’s used for fiberoptics today.

Robert Landell de Moura it seems used the same theories, but it was different enough that the US Patent office granted him a patent for his wireless phone. He also used light waves. I’m not geeky enough to see the difference between Bell’s and his.

What I do know is he was a priest, and sadly like most priests ahead of their time… and into science he was viewed and labeled a crazy heretic.  But at least he can proudly know that he now sits with the others religion labeled crazy, like Leonardo da Vinci right? 🙂  Moura really truly believed this was ground breaking science, that people would use it to talk to each other during interplanetary travel.  I’ve gotta say, he definitely got it right.  Had he been well connected like Marconi, or just a known scientist like Tesla he really may have gotten somewhere.  Unfortunately, he didn’t, and now he’s just another name in the books of people dabbling in transmitting sound.. like the Kentucky farmer Nathan Stubblefield.  It seems he was also the first person, by about 6 months to transmit the human voice.  So way to go Padre Moura… sorry you haven’t gotten more recognition.

I guess it just goes to show you, knowledge is only as good as what you do with it.

Baby misses daddy

Daddy left for Sao Paulo, Brazil at 1 am on Friday.  Woo hoo for him.  As Microsoft Live Messenger REFUSES to work on my computer we haven’t been able to speak.  I have literally even pulled out regedit to try and get the stupid MICROSOFT PROGRAM to work on my WINDOWS computer.. seriously people get it together!

But monkey does have a message for daddy.

As to Messenger, I uninstalled it and then reinstalled a MUCH older version…. as it’s 2am I think I’ll head to bed now.  Why hubby couldn’t just sign up for google or aol beats me, but oh well.

Cell Phones to unlock or not unlock

So this weekend the great cell phone hunt began. We reached out to those we knew on AT&T and T-Mobile to see if they had an old phone we could buy/have. Turns out most people  (unlike us) junk their old phones and move on.
We browsed the deals at Best Buy for cell phones, T-Mobile stores, and AT&T stores. Best Buy had the best deals if you signed up for a phone. The woman at Best Buy tried to convince us to sign a plan, then cancel when we moved out of the country.  I called a T-Mobile store and they told me that if I had been with T-Mobile for a few months and then cancelled, they’d probably waive the $200 cancel fee.  But then it turns out that the monthly plans BestBuy offers are more than the monthly plans T-Mobile offered, and most of the plans were $50+.  Plus we would ONLY need it for a month.
When we did the math , it was cheaper to buy a phone outright on ebay or our new found favorite shopping site www.ksl.com
After playing with various phones we decided on the Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant. When we finally have the phones in hand, I will definitely be posting.

The Vibrant

Pretty isn’t she? It comes with Avatar installed, and as it is a Samsung phone is very easy to unlock. The manufacturer is actually on board unlike Apple Phones. And yes, the family that is ever so against Apple even considered buying an unlocked Iphone. GASP! I know right?
On that note, I do have to admit we purchased several Apple products. The Ipad, the Ipod Touch and the new Macbook Air.  Everyone with kids tells us the Ipad is a must have.  My hubby needed a laptop as he has to turn his firm one in next week, and we figured this one would be sellable in Brazil when he gets sick of it eventually (he must have muttered I hate Apples at least 15 times while setting it up last night). And we just bought the touch because it was a good deal online at BestBuy.
As I am not going to Brazil until the new year we are holding out for all of the after Christmas deals before I buy my Apple products 🙂 Sadly I want an Ipad now too, and I just played with it for an hour.  But as the Samsung Tab has a camera on the front… and I hate Apple products, I may end up buying the Tab eventually

Passport Photos

One would think that just one set of Passport Photos is all you need… considering you only have one Passport.  This however is not the case when you are traveling internationally for keeps.  Did you know that in Brazil when you are traveling with a kid you need a special document? We figure there will be lots of various documents we need photos for, and everything seems to be told to us one at a time, we got proactive.

Ahh but to the REAL point. We are cheap.

So we took some photos with the web cam, then we uploaded them to epassportphoto.com, which helps you crop and size them for free. Then we printed them out and measured them to make sure that epassport got it right, then we sent it to Walmart for some .09 prints. That of course BEATS $9.00 for 2 measly passport photos.

And how cute our the little monkey’s second set of passport photos?

Monkey Photos

He can't wait to fly

Seriously though, traveling with minors in Brazil is not as simple as Visa and Passport and walla!

Under Brazilian law, neither parent can travel alone with a child without the written consent of the absent parent or a court order granting either sole custody to the traveling parent or permission to travel with the child.  This applies to both domestic and international travel and includes married parents. US State Department

SO we went to the Brazillian Consulate with our little monkey in arms, and the form we had printed from the Consulate’s website.  They gave us a “priority number” probably due to little monkey being so adorable.

We get to the window, and the lady asks us who told us to fill out this  form?  “ummm you guys??”

She then explains the jeito Brasiliero.  “When you get down there you want to get one of these done in Brazil, ours won’t matter to the Police. And you probably just want to make a bunch of copies that you can give to the Police when they stop you and keep the original at home.  If you get an officer who’s having a bad day though he may want the original, but that probably won’t happen.”

Of course, knowing our luck, me and monkey will be driving home from the airport and the Police will stop us and ask for said form.

So hubby asks if we need a form to bring him in, as the Brazilians are notoriously strict on needing forms to leave the country.  She said we don’t need any forms if our kid’s not Brazilian… of course we don’t ever fully believe everything that’s been said, so I checked the US State Department’s website too:

Minors age 17 years and under who are not Brazilian nationals are not technically subject to the same strict travel requirements as Brazilian minors. However, there have been cases where the travel of non-Brazilian minors has been delayed or not authorized when accompanied by only one parent or a third party. To avoid potential difficulties, parents of non-Brazilian minors may want to follow the same procedures above if their children will be traveling to Brazil accompanied by only one parent or by a third party. US State Department

Either way, I’m going to have Ryan sign a form saying I can travel with Ryder, just in case he can’t pick me up at the airport.  The Consulate said I could probably get away with a form in Portuguese that we both sign.  I’ll upload it once we get it all typed up for future people to use.