Flaming Dangerzone

In meatspace

I am a young man from Portugal who chose to make a living writing software. I currently live and work in Berlin.

I divide my free time between blogging, hobby programming projects, reading science fiction books, hanging out with friends, playing boardgames, speedcubing, exploring interesting places, and cycling around Berlin.

In cyberspace

I am a carnivore programming robot.

As most denizens of the Internet, I can be reached via email; the address random@rmf.io can be used for that. I am usually happy to reply to e-mail messages that look like they were crafted specifically to be sent to me. Anything that looks like a template that is sent to several people, I tend to dismiss.

As many open-source programmers, I have a user account on GitHub, where my projects are hosted. On there I am rmartinho.

I also have a Twitter account; I mostly use it to read and discover interesting stuff, which I sometimes retweet. On rare occasions I also tweet something of my own creation.

I was once a somewhat regular contributor on Stack Overflow. I started by contributing to the C# and .NET tags, and then shifted more towards the C++ and C++11 tags, and later my activity gradually declined over the years.

On Keybase, I am rmf. There you can find a cryptographic public key for which I possess the corresponding private key. I have used that key to prove that this website, my GitHub account, and my Twitter account all belong to someone in possession on that key. I also keep a copy of that public key at https://rmf.io/rmf.key.

What’s in a name?

As is common among Portuguese I have two given names and two family names. For succintness I omit my second given name and my first family name in all but the most formal contexts. In most informal situations I use only my first given name.

My full name is Martinho Filipe Dias Fernandes; Martinho and Filipe are my given names; Dias and Fernandes are my family names.

I pronounce my first name as [mɐɾˈtiɲ̟u]. Almost all of those phonemes should be easy to pronounce for an English speaker.

The sole exception is [ɲ̟]. It’s an alveolo-palatal nasal consonant. Similar consonants show up in various languages, but not in English. It’s pronounced like 〈ñ〉 in Spanish; like 〈gn〉 in French or Italian; like 〈ń〉 in Polish; 〈ny〉 in Hungarian and Indonesian; 〈nj〉 in various Balkan languages; 〈ň〉 in Czech and Slovak; 〈nn〉 in some Irish dialects; 〈rn〉 in Norwegian; sometimes 〈νι〉 in Modern Greek; or like 〈nh〉 in Occitan and Vietnamese.

People I’ve met often pronounce that last syllable as [nu]. That is wrong; you can’t just pretend the 〈h〉 isn’t there. Others end up pronouncing the last syllable like the English word “new” in a UK dialect, [njuː]. That’s probably the closest I can expect anyone to get using only English phonemes.

My second name I pronounce [fi’lip]. That’s almost the same “Philip” in English, but with stress on the second syllable instead of the first one. “Dias” is also easy for English speakers. I pronounce it [‘diɐʃ]. The esh, 〈ʃ〉, is like 〈sh〉 in English.

My last name I pronounce [fəɾ’nandəʃ], sometimes with the schwas, [ə], really short.

Following Portuguese naming tradition, my first family name is my mother’s last family name, and my last family name is my father’s last family name. By coincidence, my mother’s first family name is the same as my last family name, so my family names are exactly the same as my mother’s but in opposite orders.

As with all Homo sapiens specimina at the time of this writing, I was born on the planet Terra, on the planetary system of the star Sol. I grew up on a small village on that same planet named Prozelo. My Culture name is thus Sol-Terrasa Martinho-Filipe Robot Dias-Fernandes dam Prozelo, with Robot being my chosen name. Lacking any information about how to deal with multiple given names or multiple family names in Culture names I chose to join them with hyphens. The hyphens have no effect on pronounciation.

In cyberspace I go by a name constructed by adding the prefix “R.” to my shortened meatspace name with one given name and one family name as described above. That prefix is an allusion to Isaac Asimov’s fictional future society, where robots are named similar to humans, but with an “R.” prefix which stands for “Robot”; R. Daneel Olivaw is the most famous character named with this convention.

My first given name, Martinho, comes from the Latin name Martinus, itself derived from the name of the Roman god of war, Mars. There are cognates in most European languages; the English cognate is Martin.

“Warlike” is the meaning usually attributed to the name Martinus; I find that a rather erroneous description of my persona. Instead I prefer the idea that I share my name with one of the first conscientious objectors, Martinus Turonensis, known as Saint Martin of Tours in the Christian faith.

Martinus was was a soldier in the Roman army deployed in Gaul. One day he met a scantily clad beggar near Amiens and cut his cloak in half to share it with the beggar. Later that night he dreamed of Jesus wearing the half he gave away and that lead to him joining the Christian faith. Finding his duty as a soldier incompatible with his newfound faith, he become a conscientious objector.

My second given name, Filipe, comes from the Greek Φίλιππος (Philippos), a compound of φίλος (phílos, meaning “friend”) and ἵππος (hippos, meaning “horse”); a straightforward translation would be “friend of horses”. Again, most European languages have cognates for this name; the English cognate is Philip.

The origin of my first family name, Dias, is a bit harder to pinpoint and there are various theories around. The Spanish cognate Diaz may be a patronymic of Diego, itself derived from the name of the biblical figure Jacob (יַעֲקֹב), leading to the meaning of “son of Jacob”. The offspring of the sons of Jacob became the tribes of Israel after the Exodus.

In Modern Greek, the Ancient Greek god Zeus is named Δίας, and the Latin alphabet transliteration is Días.

My last family name, Fernandes, is a patronymic of Fernando, which comes from the Germanic name Ferdinand through the Visigothic influence in the Iberian peninsula in the Early Middle Ages. The original meaning of the Germanic name is “adventurous journey”.

Coincidentally, Fernandes is the family name I took from my father and it is a patronymic of Fernando which is my father’s given name.