Posts in category personal - page 5
As anyone who’s been reading this blog for too long will know I’ve been taking a degree in computer science (well, the closest the Open University had) in my spare time since 1999.
Yesterday the results came through for my final year where I managed to achieve a grade 2 pass (which requires 70%+ on both assignments and exam).
Combined with my three distinctions, one other grade 2 and three grade 3 results (hey, sometimes those exams are tough ;-) that means I have managed to achieve a First-class with Honours.
Now I just need to wait until next year to go and pick it up and get my photo taken in a silly hat.
Will only be a short one as I’m pretty tired from all the walking and traveling around.
Got into Fukuoka and spent a few days exploring and a few evenings being entertained by Jo who also gave me some pointers on Japanese culture etc. I also subjected his friend Hidori ? to my incredibly poor attempts at Karaoke although my rendition of Franz Ferdinand’s Take Me Home almost veered onto the side of not quite making ears bleed.
We ate the fabled delicacy Ramen – noodles in a meat soup – and visited a cool local bar as well as trying out a DVD of some Japanese comedy set in a hotel that was rather good – plenty of set-up and bringing the various elements together for the final wrap up.
After a few days I took a train down to Nagasaki which was hit by the second atomic bomb during World War II just a few days after Hiroshima. Went to the monuments and peace garden there – it’s a stark reminder of too much power too little responsibility.
Then decided to head all the way up to Tokyo on the Shinkansen bullet train and have spent a few days in a haze of neon.
I’ve visited shrines, temples, gardens, parks, stores, markets but far too many subway stations and their rather long connection walks (about 0.5km much of the time).
I feel like I’ve walked to the ends of the earth between that and all the walking around parks, shops, streets etc.
I also visited a geek paradise known as GoraGora – you get a small cubicle with a sliding closing door, padded floor, bean-bag, pillow, PC with net access and games pre-installed, TV, lamp and somewhere to put your shoes. Nearby is the free soda machine, showers and comic library (Japanese only – doh!). You can also have food delivered to your cubicle – all for the price of 980 JPY for 3 hours (about £5 GBP or $9 USD).
Hit the Sony Building which Jo’s generally-good TimeOut guide to Tokyo claims has a whole floor of PlayStation gear and games. It no longer has any such thing and indeed I couldn’t find a single PlayStation 3 in the building although I did see a Wii and the associated bits in a store but it should be out in the UK by now.
Tomorrow I’ll be taking another fast train down to Kyoto for a couple of days to get some more Japanese gardens and wild-life done. I think I’ve reached my shopping and bright lights limit – apparently Tokyo is one of the two biggest cities in the world depending on how you measure it (tied with Mexico City).
Everybody I’ve met is incredibly nice and polite – I’ve had Japanese people running out of their stores/hotels to help me when I spend more than a few minutes outside staring at my map and a kind lady in Nagasaki held her umbrella above my head for me. Which reminds me – I’ve left my newly purchased umbrella in the last hotel.
I’ve wanted to visit Japan for quite some time but the opportunity never seemed to present itself. When my friend Matt wrote to me about his trip there and posted some great pictures of Japan at his photo blog I was more tempted than ever.
With my project reaching a milestone this week it seems like the perfect time to take a well deserved holiday. Clarissa can’t get the time off and isn’t too interested in Japan so I’m holidaying solo again (first time since Vancouver/BC in 2004).
The good news, for me at least, is that Matt’s brother Jo is living and working in Fukuoka and so hopefully he’ll help me find my feet for a day or two when I get there. We might even check out the ski/board conditions and head up there so I’m packing my ski-trousers – I’ll be wearing my jacket during the day as it’s quite cold this time of year.
There are so many things to see and do that I’m going to grab a £120 7-day Japan Rail pass which I have to purchase before I enter the country as it’s not available to Japanese residents.
Matt also helpfully pointed me at Japan-Guide which has lots of information but tomorrow I’ll head into town and pickup something I can put in my pocket. I’m not sure what net access I’ll have out there – my TyTN smart-phone will work apparently but C&W Guernsey have no roaming partners!
I can’t wait!
The project I’ve been working on professionally for the last two years reaches a milestone this week and so is a great opportunity to take a well-deserved break for a couple of weeks.
I was hoping to head out somewhere as far out as Japan but things are held up in a complicated set of scheduling dependencies and a looming demo to investors.
At home I’m currently working my way through Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Windows-Based Client Development Training Kit (nice name there Microsoft) as part of my studies towards exam 70-526. This is a requirement to obtain a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (Windows Applications) which I’m hoping to add to my resume.
The initial test they provide on the CD-ROM wasn’t too tricky however some of the questions seem rather obscure and irrelevant. This is apparently quite normal for Microsoft exams and does seem to be a little familiar when I think back to my Internet Information Services 4.0 examination I took in 1999 to get my Microsoft Certified Professional certification.
I’m also finishing off a few additional icons for AnkhSVN particularly in the area of the Working Copy Explorer and the Repository Explorer dialogs. Once I can get the Subversion 1.4/APR/zlib dependency libraries etc. installed again then I’ll be able to test and commit those back. I’ll bug Arild to put the 1.4 dependencies up on Tigris for other people wanting to hack around with the source too.
GrinGod and myself have been considering writing a small blogging system in .NET using the SubSonic ORM. I’ve been tempted for a while and today Phil Haack, maintainer of Subtext, dropped the clues that he’s also wanting to switch Subtext to an ORM although would like to do it very slowly.
I, on the other hand, am quite keen for a very lightweight free .NET based ORM that doesn’t provide UI based configuration or skinning abilities instead relying on the developer to get his hands dirty for customization. More of a .NET blogging system for .NET developers who want to integrate it with whatever they’ve rolled for their site.
And it seems we can borrow all sorts of stuff from the Subtext source tree.