Showing posts from 2010

Seoul visit

Last week we had the problem setting weekend for the next few AIOC high-school algorithms contests (fun & productive, the contests are looking good) so there wasn't much spare time to blog about my Seoul trip, but as this weekend has been much more relaxing (lots of Rock Band and Gran Turismo games...) without further ado, and mostly with pictures...

SEOUL (서울)

As I'm now working closely with a number of blogger teammates in Seoul, it was decided I should spend two weeks with them in person in the Korean office and meet them in person.
The overall experience was great (it's certainly much easier to work with all these people now that I know who they are and how they work) - though this post will mostly cover some thoughts of the city itself.

I was staying and working in Gangnam-gu, a financial district South-East of the center of town and overall not too populated. Other than the dozens of US chain coffee places, the local main had lots of greenery and provided a nice view…

Blogging about Blogging about Blogging

It's been a while since my last update, mostly because nothing much has happened over here, but I thought I'd post to let everyone know that I'm now migrated and settled in my new project:
That's right, it's Blogger, the Google product that you're currently looking at! As a long-time Blogger user, I'm aware there are a number of places where it can improve, and hopefully I can bring my website-building experience from Wave into improving the experience using one of the top-10 visited sites on the net.

So, watch this space. Also, if you're a Blogger user or frequent reader, do let me know if anything you think can be improved. Meanwhile, Google's also announced it's working on a self-driving car. Fun times

Ski '10

It's Winter! Well...the end of it, and being neither school nor Uni holidays it seemed the perfect time to go to Mt. Perisher for some skiing - although technically I was going Snow boarding, as I find it much more natural feeling and fun. So, myself and a number of friends - both Googlers and not - drove down one weekend with the intention of staying for the week. As it turns out, the weekend we arrived was apparently the best conditions of the season, with loads of snow falling yet clear skies during the day. The conditions were indeed great, with this view from a black-run on the second day: (somewhere off to the right is Kosciuszko)
Sadly, it clouded over on the Tuesday and things got a bit icy, with the forecast of bad weather on the Wednesday so I decided to head to the two runs up to the Perisher peak while others did lessons in the morning. On the bottom of the first run I found out how icy it was the (literal) hard way, falling near the lift and landing rather badly for wh…

The 7th Continent part 2: Cape Town

Now for the second half of my South Africa tour - after JoBurg, we migrated south to the warmer weather of Cape Town for the third match and a few days of relaxation. After arriving at the lodge we were staying (the very friendly Afton Grove) they helped set us up with a rental car, and following a small bit of local walking we made our way down the scenic motorways towards Simon's Town and Boulders beach. The latter is a popular tourist spot due to the friendly and large penguin colony, and it did not disappoint:
Note that after my Antarctica trip, this was the third continent fo the year I've seen penguin's on - the only one left in the southern hemisphere is, stragely enough, Australia! Hopefully a trip to SA at the end of the year can fix that... One other great thing in the timing of the visit to Boulders beach was that we saw not only penguins, but also a pack of about 50 dolphins swimming past in the distance, plus a pod of three Whales (apparently very uncommon that…

The 7th Continent part #1: JBurg

To start: this was my first trip to Africa, the only continent I hadn't been too. In the time between this trip (July '10) and Athens for the IOI (2004) I've walked on every continent, not even including family trips, something not many 23-year-olds (nor diabetics) can say! I'm very grateful for the position I'm in, here's hoping for many more travels. Now that small tidbit of info is complete, on with the Africa trip,
After a long wait, finally an update on my South Africa World Cup trip! This update is the first of two, covering the Johannesburg half - the schedule was for 5 days in JBurg, including two football matches and two days of exploring before the flights to Cape Town. Having just returned from 3 weeks work in New York, Katie was experienced at (read: sick of) airports by this stage, and we had no trouble on the way over, even grabbing a lot of sleep on the long leg and managing to pick up all our game tickets in the airport on arrival.
Unfortunately, …

Antarctica photos!

The photos from Antarctica (A8A) are [mostly] ready! Big thanks to the photographers in our group who took the pictures and edited them, but below are some of the sights we saw (with as little text as possible):
1) Welcome to Antarctica - the land of snow, ice and water...
2) ...and mountains and clouds... 3) ...and penguins!...
4) ...and seals!... 5) ...and whales!... 6) ...and blue sky and kayaks... 7) ...and snow mixed with black volcanic ash, plus abandon wooden boats. 8) The path I took... 4) ...and the people I travelled with...

Falling for Iguazu

It was about a month ago that I returned from a two-week vacation to Antarctica with 4 friends from work. I know I said I'd write that up (and I still will!) but to but myself some more time, I thought I'd start with a summary of the first part, Argentina.After checking in early, we managed to enjoy premium economy seats on the way over (ah, comfortable qantas) and in no time I was practicing the very few words of Spanish that I know. Si! Buenos Aires had a definite South American feel to it - football-crazy, lots of open market-like shops, vivid signage, spatterings of park greenery, busy streets - I think it reminded me most of Athens, perhaps a Mediterranean thing. There were also an amazing number of French cars, don't ask me why... Buenos Aires included the famous La Recoleta Cemetery and, on the way back, a visit to the colourful La Boca district. Here I encountered probably the most impressive guitarist statue I have seen:Then, for two days in the middle, we visited…

Xmas / New Years

Firstly, a very happy 2010 to all readers. Not really a technical update this time, more just some pics from my first new years in Sydney. As some of you know, I was in SA over Xmas (shout-out to all those in Adelaide, especially those I didn't have time to catch up with) - which included two days away from phone & internet, a definite change from the usual Google life but a welcome relaxation nonetheless.
Then, back to NSW for two days of work and fireworks! This was my first ever NYE in Sydney, I've never seen the fireworks before so that's where I was headed. After finishing work around 6, I was headed to Rushcutter's Bay where some friends had camped out at a nice spot (Thanks Sophia et al!), as you can see in the picture, it included a view of the bridge, lots of grass to sit on, and not too far away from a few other fireworks sources too.
Some pics! Not too great because I only had a phone cam, but still, this is kinda what it's like: (second one is a test …