I think an appropriate first post when getting back into writing here would be to state my goals over the next year. Even though the end of January is closing in, there is still plenty of time to lay down the gauntlet and then attempt to find my way through. Posting them here publicly will allow me to look back and update based on my progress, as well as make me feel guilty if I fall behind.
- The first goal that I have is fitness based. As a keen runner, I would like to run 1000 km in a single year. Comparing to last years total of 195 km, it’s going to be tough. In the first week of January, I clocked up 41 km, what an awesome feeling! But sadly my overzealousness has resulted in leg injuries that have endured several weeks. In the meantime, I have started doing some P90X routines to improve some of the other aspects of my fitness, which I also hope to continue.
- Read 12 fiction books of my choice. I normally only pick up fiction books for a short time before going to sleep. This year I would like to get through one book a month. Most of my choices are classical books that I have never read, will also be including a few more recent ones.
- The Life of Pi
- A Tale of Two Cities
- The Colour of Magic
- To Kill A Mockingbird
- A Game of Thrones
- Caves of Steel
- Ender’s Game
- The Catcher in the Rye
- Lord of the Flies
- Pride and Prejudice
- 20, 000 Leagues Under the Sea
- The Great Gatsby
- Read 6 technical books from a list of recommended programming books. Some of these books are very popular, and I’m hoping to learn a lot from these.
- Code Complete
- The Ruby Programming Language
- Agile Web Development with Rails
- Design Patters (Gang of Four)
- The Algorithm Design Manual
- Complete 5 games. With commitments in recent years, I haven’t found much time for gaming (only a casual game every now and then). This year I shall be playing through 5 games from my backlog. Most of these are games that I have not yet played, although Majora’s Mask is one of my favourite games that I shall be replaying.
- Borderlands 2 (almost finished)
- The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
- Assassin’s Creed
Although I do have some other goals, I have decided to only present those which are quantifiable. I may well add to this list as the year progresses. I will also create a separate page for this list to track and update more easily.
The last entry to this blog was more than 2 years ago talking about change. Shortly after which, my website went dark and the change continued regardless. I continued my internship with Red Hat, gaining insight into technologies that I would not have otherwise encountered such as RHEL and RHEV (virtualization). I even managed to pick up some certifications in these areas, attaining both an RHCE and RHCVA. I continued the second half of my internship in a development role, helping to improve an internally developed application for handling several complicated processes on the consulting side of the business.
Come September 2011, I returned to Aberystwyth University to complete my studies and aqcuire my bachelors degree in Computer Science. This may explain the lack of activity around here as a lot of my time and effort was placed into completing my dissertation. After much hard work and many a sleepless night, I graduated with a 2:1 degree six months ago. Since leaving Aberystwyth. I have moved back to Kidwelly with my folks. I didn’t have to look far for a job as there was an opening at Red Hat working on the project that I finished my internship working on. I work remotely most of the time but travel into the office every few weeks.
The main intention of reviving this blog is to encourage myself to write more often. Not necessarily with the expectation of other people reading my ramblings. More than anything I would like to record some of my thoughts and actions to look back on in days to come.
Four months ago, everything was completely different. I was busy sending out intern applications convinced that I would have to admit defeat, and return to university. But I was so determined to have a year out in industry, that I applied to pretty much anywhere that was still advertising. Companies including Red Bull, Red Hat, the ever evil Oracle and half a dozen web development companies. I heard back from all of them bar Red Bull, and had a couple of interview offers on the table. My gut feeling told me that Red Hat was the best opportunity, so I took them up on an interview offer in the hope of securing a placement.
From that point on, everything seemed to flow really quickly, and by the end of June, a week after the initial interview, I was starting my internship. It’s been a brilliant experience so far, and I’ve learnt so many things. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this year pans out, and where it may lead.
Meet the latest member of our family, Tigger. My mum has been wanting a kitten for a long time and last October it seemed like the right time to get one. Unfortunately she wanted a ginger kitten which are slightly rare, so it wasn’t until the following February until Tiggs came onto the scene. We got him from a nearby RSPCA rescue centre. He was around 4 months old at the time, and was found roaming the streets stray when they picked him up.
He’s been with us for 3 months now, and he’s growing fast. His favourite pass times include eating, sleeping and practising to join the circus. He loves climbing up to inconvenient places. A few nights ago, he managed to climb out of an open window onto the roof. He couldn’t figure out a way to get down (or didn’t want to) so we had to chase him around making sure he didn’t fall. Half an hour later he couldn’t resist some food and we got him down via the ladder. It goes without saying that he’s going to be mischief.
Today has been one of the first sunny days in a fair while. I swear it’s been about 4 weeks since I last went mountain biking, thanks to constant rain and cloud. Next time weather forecasters predict an ‘Indian’ summer, I’m not even going to humour them. End rant >:(. It has given me the oppertunity to get on with some indoorsy stuff, that I hadn’t planned on doing over the summer break.
My PHP is coming on leaps and bounds, determined to master it by the time uni starts because it’ll be one less thing to learn next semester. I’ve also been digging my way through the wordpress docs, and watching some really awesome tutorials. I’m aiming to try and re-hash my whole website shortly, as soon as I can knock out a decent mock up in photoshop.
My exam results came out yesterday, great stuff. Passed everything so don’t need to re-sit in August, and my marks were high enough to be able to do the modules I want next year. Results were:
SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT 69 (2:1)
WEB DEVELOPMENT TOOL 78 (1st)
COMMS + TELEMATICS 69 (2:1)
PROF+PERS DEVELOPMNT 69 (2:1)
So I was 1 mark away from a first in 3 modules. That’s just taking the piss. But I’m not complaining . Looking forward to getting stuck into some serious stuff in September.
It’s been a looooong time since I last posted. To cut a long story short, I was enjoying myself so much on my travels that I didn’t find much time to blog. That and the poor wifi provided at the hostels meant that I didn’t post anything for the second half of my trip. Bad Nick. Evidently I made it back though . Lot’s of things have happend since then.
I became a student at university in the lovely seaside town of Aberystwyth about 10 months ago. I’m studying for a degree in Computer Science. Just about done with my first year, and hopefully moving on to my second in September. I’m planning to resurrect this blog for the foreseeable future. I’ll probably use it to post my ramblings and some geek stuff. Not sure what I’ll be posting exactly, all the more reason to stick around.
Prague wasn’t that great for me in all honesty. Don’t get me wrong, it was worth a visit, but everything can be done in a day. Everything. It’s not a very big place so I found myself walking everywhere. Once I’d walked Charles Bridge a few times, seen Prague Castle and been to Wenceslas Square I found myself struggling for things to do.
Views over Prague
Prague is also very toursity. You can’t look anywhere without seeing a) A currency exchange place, b) A souvenier shop, or c) a mob of tourists clambering their way over people when trying to follow their walking tour guide. It got quite frustrating. The hostel I stayed at was filled with people only there for drunken weekends, meaning not much sleep, was glad to move on and I’ll post about Vienna in a bit.
What a city, Berlin is now one of my favourite places in the world, even though some things didn’t quite go to plan. Went on a free walking tour on Saturday, which was very good and went around most of the main attractions. Bradenburg tor, The Reichstag, Holocaust memorial, Checkpoint Charlie and plenty of others. Learnt loads about the cities history. That day was also America day, a big party to celebrate the opening of the American embassy. Lot’s of shows, bands and beers. Spent a good few hours there. Two cool guys from the states moved into the dorm that day, they’ve been studying in Stuttgart, and have done my route in reverse so I picked up lots of tips.
Did my own thing on Sunday. Started off on the far east side taking in some modern art at Treptower park, Molecule man which was a weird metal structure, standing in the middle of the Spree, of two men fighting or hugging? Worked my way over to Alexanderplatz along East Side Gallery, which was pretty cool. Didn’t see any graffiti artists there though. Walked past lots of open air markets today including an art one. They had taped a long line of paper along the length of the market on which people were encouraged to paint, pretty cool. Finished the day in Pergamonmuseum on museum island. It’s filled with artifacts from Babylon including sections of the Pergamon alter. It’s only a temporary exhibit so I’m glad to have seen it.
Started today horribly, getting fined for not having a ticket on the metro. I was heading up to the next station to get a day pass because my nearest one won’t take notes or visa. Bleh, I’ve probably gotten away with 40 euros worth of free rides anyway so karma restored. Wanted to climb the Reichstag today so headed up that way. The views from on top were cool, but the dome had closed today for repairs, sods law. Made my way back through Tiergarten and stopped for a beer at the beer garden. Going to relax and pack for the train to Prague tomorrow.
The last thing I said yesterday was no rain please. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that, because I had the mother of all soakings today. Woke up really early for whatever reason and took the S-Bahn up to Tiergarten at about 7. It was picking a bit but not enough to get wet. Made my way through the park which is massive to try and reach the Reichstag. Upon reaching the other end, the heavens opened and they did not close again until 2 hours later. Unlike Paris there is little cover in that part of Berlin. Took me ages to get back to the hostel (my map was a mushy ball by then), by which time I was soaked through even with a coat on. Waiting for things to dry out right now, need to wash my jeans because they got very muddy. Had a mini-crysis where I lost my wallet for a while, only to find that it was in my coat all along. Going to spend the rest of the day relaxing. Oh and the next few days are also meant to be rain, I would say it can’t get any worse but reminding myself of the title of this post, I won’t.