MATTEO DALL'OMBRA

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Circuit Of The Americas

November 19th, 2012

Yesterdays has been the official coming back of F1 in the USA and I have to admit that it has been a good one.

F1 always had a strange relationship with the US, where the racing sport is mainly focused around NASCAR. The result of this was that F1 never had a true circuit built to accomodate the needs for F1 cars, which are completely different from any othertype of cars.

The result, especially during the Indianapolis years, has always been a poor race, where cars had to be greatly modified to accomodate the circuit. With the “Circuit Of The Americas” in Austin, F1 has finally find a real home.

Despite being not a very challenging circuit for pilots (only turn 19 gave some real trouble), it’s clear now that US has finally built a circuit to really accomodate F1 needs. With the right length, the right mix of straight and turns and with a more adequate capacity that doesn’t make the stands look like half empty even with 250,000 people seated (as happened in Indianapolis where the capacity is almost 500,000 people).

The race unfolded without major surprises. Everybody did their job quite easily and we reached the apex of the race when Hamilton succesfully took over Vettel to lead until the end. This once again opened up the Championship that will see a glorious end in San Paolo next week.

But back to Austin for a moment. Until now I had very kind words for the race but as always I have a few points I didn’t like at all. First of all, I stil don’t understand why the BBC did not broadcast the race live via iPlayer but it did only a radio coverage. This meant that I had to find “alternative” ways to watch the race. In the end I had to use a very weird combinations: FOX Sport (in Spanish) which I muted and BBC Radio 5 for the audio commentary. Unfortunately the combination wasn’t completely in sync so I heard things before they happened on my screen. This wasn’t a huge problem during the race, except for the moment when Hamilton passed Vettel. It spoiled the action a little bit, but it was the best I could do.

The second problem was with the nature of the broadcast. Once again I had to use an american channel and that could only mean one thing: commercials. During the race viewers are literally bombarded by commercials at an impressive rate. Every 5 to 6 laps you would miss 3 in favour of some ads being shown. On the other side I had the BBC radio broadcast that never missed a beat, delivering a great and very engaging commentary.

So overall it was a good race, with the new circuit delivering according to the expectations. There’s a 7 years contract in place with the FIA so I’m confident that pilots will get to know the circuit well in the near future, spoiling everything that it has to offer.

Staying Creative

September 7th, 2012

Today I want to set a new challenge for myself. It’s a new writing challenge and I hope you’ll like it as muc as I do. Allow me to explain myself better. I’m a follower of the Read & Trust Network, which is a place that gathers together some of the best independent writers on the web. They used to publish a newsletter with original content from those author but they recently moved towards a monthly-magazine format.

The general style is still the same, with authors writing about a specific topic every issue. Since the headings are always very entertaining, I’ve decided to try for myself. Every month I’ll write a piece as if I was one of the member of the team (it would be incredibly exciting) and I’ll see how it goes.

I’m already behind schedule because they are now at issue number 01, but I will start anyway from 00 and I’ll catch up as quickly as I can to then set myself on the same pace.

The first topic then is Staying Creative and here is my personal recipe.


I consider myself to be a creative person. Or at least this is how I label all the “work” that come from my mind and goes public. I always had a difficult time in focusing on just one thing, always trying to look for the next step and the one after, before being done with the start. Even now writing this article I have a Twitter stream on the background, some music and Photoshop open with an unfinished retouch. If by nature I found impossible to stay focused on one thing, technology sure doesn’t help. There are plenty of distraction around us. Just look at you pocket, you probably have your smartphone which is constantly asking for your attention with a sound or a buzz or a combination or both. Or your laptop with multitasking features and several windows open.

For some this is the end of productivity. For me is a blessing. Not spending too much time on a single task has always been my way to stay creative. I have to try different things and I have to try them at the same time. Doing so I learned or discovered new combinations, new ways to see two separate things as one and take the best from the combination.

You have to try different things to know where you can excel or where you can improve. And since creativity is with us 24/7, being creative could mean everything: from the way in which you prepare your coffee to way in which you walk and talk.

That’s why I can’t give you a recipe to stay creative, because if I do so I would lie. There’s no such thing as a recipe. The only thing that I can give you is my experience and from there you can see if it does fit with your personality or not. But if it doesn’t don’t be discouraged: you are probably much more creative in something I’m not. You have to try.

So..where were we? Oh yes, my experience.

I keep my brain always on and I try to capture as many detail as possible from things that happen around me. It can be something that I’ve read or something that I saw or listened to: almost everytime I’m inspired by other people’s work.

The next step is to try to collect this inputs and merge them together into something that I like. To works for me it doesn’t have to always be 100% innovative and original, if it transpire from where I got the idea is fine for me. The only real requirement it has to have always to be considered by me is that I have to like it. I know that this could sound strange but it’s very important that I like the output. It can be a masterpiece in its genre but if I don’t like it, it gets thrown into the bin.

The other important element for me it’s the channel I use to put my ideas through. For a matter of convenience it’s always a digital channel because than it’s easier to share the result with the world. But even if I own a variety of digital devices I still need some paper around. I own a little Moleskine journal from where many times a new idea started. The story for a book, the idea for a post or a particular picture I want to take. In some occasion paper is still quicker than digital for me.

Despite all these beautiful words, it’s not that easy to stay creative, because lack of motivation or free time, frustration or hundreds of other factors can kick in blocking everything. And I mean everything.

It has already happened to me to be “blocked” by something for some time, so how do you get out from a situation like that? For me the only solution has always been to take long walks while listening to some music. This practice helped me several times to light a new sparkle deep in my mind. Why? Because I’ve noticed that after a while, eveng if I have music in my ears, I stop listening to music and I start to listen to my mind. I’ve always considered this as a great gift. If you can listed truly to your mind you’ll always find something new and unexpected waiting for you.

So I guess that the “lesson” that you can learn from here is that you should always stay active and never just “sit and wait”, because unless your name is Isaac Newton, ideas won’t fall on you from a tree.

Running Out Of Ink

August 9th, 2012

Today something very weird and strange happened to me. Something I had not experienced in a while: I’ve ran out of ink.

I know that it sounds stupid, but it was totally unexpected for me. In the past couple of years I’ve developed a big passion for writing. It doesn’t matter what, when or how but many times a day I feel the need to write down my thoughts. Since becoming an “Internet addict”, I’ve started several writing ventures in order to satisfy my needs.

This blog is an example or perhaps my bookshelf is a better one. Anyway, my writing has been always all over the web. Until last week.

What happened last week? Nothing extremely special, I just bought a Moleskine and I started writing a daily journal on it. As I said before it does feel pretty good to keep this diary up to date but that meant I had to change my writing equipment, going back to basics: paper instead of HTML code and ink instead of a keyboard.

I had a long market research before buying my pen because I needed something small to be attached to the journal, but big enough to be easily usable. After looking around for a while I stumbled upon this pen.

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It has all the characteristic I was looking for and so its purchase was a no-brainer.

The first problem happened today. After less than a week of writing I ran out of ink in the middle of a sentence. It was quite a shock for me, because I wasn’t used anymore to this kind of writing setup. You cannot run out of symbols on a screen.

The worst part is that now I have to look for another pen. I cannot simply replace the ink because I now know that it won’t last enough time to be really useful. I have to start my search all over again, a huge pain.

To solve it quickly I may simply buy a classic black BIC and then I’ll now it will last forever. I may have to compromise in the size, but I cannot stand to be interrupted in the middle of my thoughts.

Moleskine I Love You

August 6th, 2012
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It has been four days since I received my first ever Moleskine. I decided to buy one of them in order to keep track of everything that goes on up here in my mind, because sometimes it’s simply too much to handle!

It’s the first attempt for me to keep a journal and I’m still not sure if I can call what I’m writing a “journal”. To me it feels much more like having the perfect buddy to talk to: he listen to everything I have to say, but it doesn’t say anything back.

It has already helped me in freeing my mind from many “dark” thoughts, and if the flow we’ll keep going like this I’m pretty sure it will be the best purchase I’ve ever made.

Despite having this space, here I can’t really share everything because many of my thoughts are really personal and need to stay that way. So while I’ll keep writing about things I’m passionate about here, on my Moleskine I have finally a space where I can really be myself talking honestly and openly without any constraint.

I feel like I can really recommend you to start a journal and even if you don’t write on it everyday, the occasional session will give you a lot to think about, making you considerably happier at the end!

At the end of the day it’s just a different form of writing, but as long as I’ll be able to write, I will always be a better person.

One Jump In The Future And One In The Past

June 24th, 2012
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Every time I go to London I can always live some great experience. This time was no different. It started with what I now consider a tradition: a quick lunch at the Real Food Market just outside Waterloo station.

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After that it was time for something sweet so I headed down to the Covent Garden Market to have a tea and a cookie at Ben’s. I consider this place as the best cookie shop in London, it really is worth more than a visit!

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While there I couldn’t resist to go into the near Apple Store.

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The target for my visit was the new MacPro with the Retina Display. You really can’t see pixels in there. Text looks more than gorgeous, while the web looks ugly! All the UI elements of all the website are just ridiculously bad rendered on the screen. Performances are another field where the new MacBook Pro excels: Final Cut is snappy and you have a lot of space to play with. You can really feel the difference in weight and the new thinner shape is much more elegant than before.

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One huge downside I immediately found is the jiggering and the poor responsiveness when scrolling. If the resolution is set at its maximum level, scrolling will fell slow and not responsive: not a good thing.

Finally it was time for the main event: Henry V at the Globe Theater. I don’t have many pictures to share of this performance because it was prohibited to take picture. This was the initial set on the stage.

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About the performance. I really don’t know how to describe it. It was simply amazing. The actors were great and all the monologues were superbly performed. The protagonist (impersonating Henry V) had an incredible charisma: he was able to take the audience with him making everybody center in the play. While he was motivating his troops before the battle I felt like I had a sword too, ready to jump into action.

Then there’s the suggestion of the place. The Globe Theater is a living legend and even if it’s not the original you can sense the history surrounding you, bringing you back into the past.

Despite the wonderful performance, if I really have to be honest, the best part of the day was the walk from the Globe to Waterloo Station. It was such a lovely evening, the moon lighting the way, a soft breeze in your hair. Walking along the Thames, gently gently crushing on the shore. The panorama around was astonishing too, with London’ Skyline taking full possession of the clear sky. Around me I had joyful couple hugging each other a bench, facing the majestic St. Paul Cathedral. You could really feel the love. Not only the love of those people, but the love that London has to give to everybody who cross its street. The love that everybody should feel, the love that everybody deserve.

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Why Americans Will Never Get F1

June 10th, 2012

I recognize that part of this post is my fault. One of the things I dropped when I moved in the UK was TV. Yes, TV. I didn’t want to pay a lot for a TV license so I decided to go 100% streaming.

While for movies and TV shows there is Netflix, for sport events like the recently started European Cup or the ongoing Canadian F1 GP I have no choice but use “alternative streaming services”.

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That means that I’m currently watching the F1 GP on FOX. Sorry, what I wanted to say is that I’m currently watching commercials on FOX. During the first 20 laps I already saw three commercial breaks (I hate their jingle, seriously).

I can see what they are doing. They’re treating F1 as they treat NASCAR (I once saw a part of a NASCAR race, so I know what I’m talking about). The problem is that those two sports are totally different. The dynamics are different. I can totally understand that you want to break a NASCAR race with commercials as much as you can. If you lose 5 laps every now and then it’s not a drama. Out of 300 is not a big lost.

On the other hand you can’t lose 3 laps of F1 every 5 they do. F1 is much more dynamic. Cars try to overtake each other every time. Pit-stops are fundamental to understand the strategy of the race. If you miss them you can quit watching the GP all together. Even worse, the Canadian track is short and very quick with many places where cars can challenge each other. I think I’m losing many of those duels thanks to commercials like this one.

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What Americans don’t understand is that they can’t put their stamp over everything. F1 is not an American sport (thanks God for that), but if you look at it via their broadcast you could think of the opposite.

Do you want another sign of Americanization? During the live action the commentators tried to highlight with a yellow marker on the screen two cars fighting in order to make them easily distinguishable for the viewers. The result? Two yellow circle pointing nowhere on the ground? How could you possibly want to mark two cars that are running at hundreds of miles/kilometers per hour? They are not baseball or football player.

The commentators of the GP are not any better. I just gathered two quotes, but they are key to let you understand the tone of the race.

  • “Even the pit-stop are lighting fast on F1.” (They really cannot get a race shorter than at least 200 laps);
  • “You can’t go out and buy a F1 car, like you can do with other car series. You have to make it on your own.” (This is just funny. F1 is an elite sport, cars are tuned to perfection. Every tiny little piece have to be in his exact place for the car to work. They clearly just see pieces of metal with four tires moving around.)

This post is not meant to offend anyone. Clearly there are two different set of minds here, which are used to different sports and different way of interpret the same sport. The only point of this post is that now I can understand why F1 is not that popular in the US and why they try to Americanize it.

Nothing is lost though. Ron Award is coming out with a new movie called Rush about the incredible competitive atmosphere between Niki Lauda and James Hunt. Maybe it will help to close the gap.

An Adventure

June 2nd, 2012

I’m sitting on a bench in the park behind the Guildford Castle and while I’m there, many thoughts are coming to my head.

This is a very nice place to be when you want just to relax and stay with yourself, because everybody here does just that.

There’s silence, you are far enough from the traffic that you can almost only hear the nature around you singing along. Now that the weather is nice it has acquired even a better shape than before.

All the benches are around a central garden so you can see everybody else in the face and see what they ate doing, you can’t just hide yourself. I never knew what the central garden was about until today: apparently is the typical ground for English Pétanque. I say English because the ground is not rusty and sandy but it looks more like a gold court, that’s British style 😉

Where was I? Oh yes, thoughts. Since when I lost my broadband connection two weeks ago I had much more time to think back at this experience I’m living in the UK. If I had to describe it “Webby Stile” I would probably say: This Is Just F***ing Great! (for those who don’t know you can only use 5 words for your Webby Award acceptance speech).

Since I like to use words I’m going to explain it better (if you don’t like words you can just stop here it’s fine),

It’s only a bit more than two months and a half since I arrived here, but it feels now like it has always been like this. I’m totally happy with my daily routine between house and work.

Work especially is giving me lots of satisfactions. I can’t go to much into the details around what I do at Daikin (yes we’re full of secrets!), but I can say is that I’m not doing photocopies nor I’m brewing coffee all day long (also because here tea is the big player). People in the office acknowledge me for my work and I was even able to streamline some processes introducing some of my own ideas to the pot.

Life outside Daikin is great as well, I’m in a country that I admire since I was a little boy with its history, its music and its cities. Living half an hour away from London makes me a very happy people.

So at the end of the day when I make a balance of how I’m doing so far I would say pretty good. I hope things will continue getting better and better.

Unfortunately there’s already a deadline to this “wonderland”: end of September my internship will end.

Will I be lucky enough to be kept here after that date? It’s hard to say it now, but I really hope to be sitting again on this bench in four months time.

The Rite Of Spring

May 12th, 2012
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(Due to a very long downtime of the host of this blog I’m only able to publish the article now, but let’s pretend that…) I’m waiting for my soup to arrive, in this lovely restaurant close to the London Eye, and I feel like it’s the perfect place to collect my thoughts about today.

It has been an amazing day (as always), the weather was nice, the food I had was good the atmosphere in the city was great. Spring seems to have finally move in place. It couldn’t start in a better way.

I arrived around lunch time and I went straight to my new favorite place: the “Real Food Market”. There I had a lovely burger married with a home made beer.

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What I love the most about this place is that everything you eat or drink comes directly from the farmer and you can immediately taste the superb quality.

After this quick meal I went for a walk nearby to kill sometime before 6PM. That’s because at 6PM the highlight of the night would start.

The London Symphony Orchestra had a free concert planned in Trafalgar Square. This was the original reason to go to London.

Soon enough the concert began and it was an absolute blast. I’m not a huge fan of classical music I have to admit, but today I enjoyed every single note until the last one. It has been an amazing concert.

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Everything was perfect: the orchestra, the location, the weather, the feelings in the air. Looking around me, I could see many couples or group of friends bounding together, enjoying the performance as it best.

Trafalgar Square became a beautiful bubble. Around us I could see the city moving: people, cars, planes. Inside instead everything was still, everything could move only with the music.

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Two hours flown away like two minutes but I could have gone on and on for all night because the music touched my soul and made me feel loved, made me feel safe. It made me feel special.

Welcome Spring.