A few weeks ago I went to Lisbon for effectively the first time, as the first time I was actually there I was about four years old. It’s weird that the only thing I can remember is a playground somewhere, that I’ll probably never be able to find again.

Now that I’m completely beholden to the internet, I’ve started to use tools like Foursquare to record where I’ve been to make up for my terrible memory. But since doing that abroad would have cost silly amounts of money, I decided to record where I’d been (usually where I’ve eaten, ashamedly) the old fashioned way – in a note-taking app on my phone, of course!

Transport

A few quick notes on getting around. You can easily get from/to the airport using the Metro. It’s at the end of the Vermelha (Red) Line. For instance, to get to Baixa-Chiado, get off the Red Line train at Alameda and take a Verde (Green) Line train going towards Cais do Sodré, then get off at Baixa-Chiado.

At the Metro ticket machines, go for a Viva Viagem card. The card itself costs 50 cent, and you can then choose to either put single tickets on it, or put stored value ‘zapping’ credit on it, which functions similar to Oyster Pay As You Go in London.

You cannot store more than one type of ticket, i.e. a single ticket and zapping value.

The Viva Viagem cards you get at Metro sations work on the entire Metro system north of the river, on suburban main line trains run by CP, for instance if you’re going to Sintra (from Rossio main line station) or going to Cascais (from Cais do Sodré main line station), and on buses, but only buses run by Carris.

If you want to take a ferry, for instance from Cais do Sodré ferry terminal to Cacilhas, you will not be able to use the same Viva Viagem card. Also, if you travel by bus south of the Tejo River (the river off Lisbon), for instance if you want to travel from Cacilhas to the Costa de Caparica on the west coast, you’ll be using buses from Transportes Sul do Tejo (TST), which will not accept the Viva Viagem cards you use north of the river. You’ll need to get and top up another one from machines in Cacilhas to use on those buses.

Day 1

Sol e Pesca (map)

A small restaurant that specialises in serving fish dishes made from various varieties of canned fish. Most of the dishes are tapas-style. Also does nice bread and olives. A pretty laid back place that gets really busy in the evenings. Really tasty dishes.

Pensão Amor (map)

From the same street that Sol e Pesca is on (Rua Nova do Carvalho) there’s a small doorway leading to a staircase that looks like it’s the entrance to a strip club. This bar is on the second floor. It actually used to be one; they still have the poles to prove it. The ambience of the place is really nice; it’s got this very old drawing room vibe. Nice selection of cocktails with very helpful staff.

Day 2

Le Petit Bistro (map)

A nice French restaurant. Various fish dishes. I had the Fish Crumble, it was delicious.

Há Pitéu (map)

A Bairro Alto wine bar we visited in the wee small hours. Had some cocktails there, I think. Nice place.

Day 3

Was feeling a little under the weather today, unfortunately.

Day 4

Castelo São Jorge (map)

One of the tourist spots. Costs about €8 to get in to the grounds. Some nice castle ramparts to climb with some nice views of Lisbon, but to be fair lots of places in Lisbon have nice views, given the hills everywhere. Some nice archeological digs of the site going on. Look out for the peacocks.

Fado Museum (map)

A museum dedicated to the folk music native to Lisbon, fado. Gave a nice modern history, and had a great system to listen to lots of different fado music. Shame only one of the three terminals for it were working.

Day 5

Chiado Caffe (map)

This doesn’t appear on Google Maps nor Street View, but it was the best pastelaria I visited in Lisbon. They claimed to have the best custard tarts (pastel de nata). They certainly were lovely. Their other pastries were amazing, and the coffee was great too. They give you a swipe card that you load the pastries you want on to, and they use the card to calculate your bill when you leave. I would eat breakfast here every day if I could.

Tram 28, in ascending direction, from here (Martim Moniz) to here (Campo Ourique)

Note that the 28E tram stops marked on Google Maps as of August 2014 are slightly off from the actual tram stops. I’ve linked to the coordinates of them above, and have tried to get as close to the actual stops as possible. Street View should make it obvious where they actually are.

Tram 28 was a lovely 40 minute ride through some very interesting bits of Lisbon. Well worth the cost, which is about €3 and a bit. You can use the ‘zapping’ stored value on your Viva Viagem card.

At the end of the line at Campo Ourique, is…

Horatio Cemetery (map)

A cemetery at the end of the Tram 28 line. We saw a few people get off the tram and just wait for the next one back – such a shame! The cemetery was interesting to walk around. There were a few monuments and such. The view from the other side of the cemetery was fantastic.

There’s a nice simple place to get a quick lunch on the corner of Praça São João Bosco and Rua Padre Francisco. I forget its name, but it’s coordinates are here. If you look straight ahead from where you get off the tram you’ll see it across the green.

Mimosa (map)

This was a great place – no English spoken here, and it served proper earthy Portuguese food. I had some octopus rice, which was amazing.

Bela Fado (map)

A tiny Fado bar in Alfama. Go in, have some sangria, listen to amazing fado music. The landlady was some craic.

Day 6

Sushima LX (map)

Again, not listen on Google, but should be at those coordinates (just up the road from Mimosa, actually). Brilliant sushi restaurant. Really tasty sushi, lovely gyoza. Wash it down with some hot sake. The staff were the nicest I’ve seen in Lisbon – they recommended us places to go that night.

Freshly reviewed, my app Persona Calendar is now available on the HP App Catalog for your WebOS-running HP TouchPad, made especially for the Exhibition mode. (I realise this is probably targeting a very small subset of people.)

Click here from your TouchPad to view the app on the App Catalog.

More info is available from the dedicated page here: http://gm.me.uk/personacal

Feel free to tweet me with suggestions or bugs.

Thanks!

So I’m just back from the Cambridge Union, where tonight there was a debate titled This House Believes that Institutional Intrusion into our Privacy has Gone too Far. I had some things to say about the content, so hey, why not abuse the blog I never post on.

One of the very good points made my the proposition was that quite often, people arguing that institutions should have more data posit that this is a great thing—Google can detect the locations of flu epidemics faster than any other organisation using just search engine queries, and we can discover medications that react with each other through search queries as well. Therefore, less privacy is a good thing.

While you might agree that this is worth sacrificing some privacy for, this conflates two notions of privacy. I have willingly gave to Google my search query and, implicitly, my geo-located IP address, and I have consented that they can store/use this data. I have not, however, consented to other forms of data about me being stored, like my e-mails being read by official bodies or my phone records being analysed. We can’t roll these two points into one—we need to talk about them separately.

One of the most well-known phrases made by the opposition was that “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” and that it wasn’t real people looking and analysing our data, it’s only robotic computers looking for patterns. Well that’s just fine then(!)

The notion that innocent citizens should be happy that their data is analysed is flawed. While real people may not analyse your own data, real people have created the heuristics to filter through that data, which for all intents and purposes has exactly the same effect.

David Davis made the good point that even though you or I might be happy to trade some of our privacy for more national security, someone else might have embarrassing information that they may not want to share with the state, like medical information for instance. While the state may be benign by most people’s standards, there are still cases where private information the state holds is used against people for political and other reasons, let alone the dangers of holding information in big databases that may be lost, stolen, or lacking the correct access controls.

Mostly, I just want independent verification that GCHQ and other state bodies are acting within the law. If they are, I want to know when it was discussed in Parliament, whether the full consequences were unearthed at the time, and whether the public were made sufficiently aware of those consequences.

Hello world!

This is the first of hopefully many more wonderous blog posts that’ll have you simultaneously awestruck and in fits of boundless laughter. Or more likely you’ll stumble across it one day Googling for a fix to a stupid problem. I hope it’ll be good enough for the latter, at least.

My name is Gerard. I write Ruby on Rails and iOS apps for the day job, and mostly mess around with those and other myriad technologies when the sun goes down too.

I tweet as @gerjomarty, though it’s mostly about anime with a light spattering of everything else. I also have a (now mostly disused) anime blog called Anientity.