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More Round-the-World: Tokyo

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My job certainly lets me work on interesting things, but also as part of being on a globally distributed team I get to visit a lot of places too - most recently was a visit to the Google office in Tokyo to catch up with some engineers over there; and while not part of my earlier trip around the globe, I figure it's best to keep this Round-the-World series of city summaries going for as long as I'm able to travel to them!
Firstly, Tokyo is certainly a Megaopolis (well, part of one); and of the previously mentioned cities, I'd place it between London and New York in terms of style and population density. That said, due to the size it covers, and the height of most of the buildings, it didn't feel quite as tighly packed as New York - certainly there were lots of smaller back areas where the roads weren't as busy, and plenty of parks / palaces to look at.

On the left is an example of one spot much closer to the Barcelona feel of quiet, small one-way streets, of which the…

Growing up in Barcelona

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So for those wondering where I'd got to, I'd been rather busy involved in a couple of launches at work - the blogger.com redesign and dynamic views visualisations; I'd recommend checking them out if you haven't already, e.g. my blog can alternatively look like this! This is actually my first time writing a proper post in the redesign, so it'll be interesting to see how it goes.


But enough of the product placement - this post is mostly to summarise something I noticed in Barcelona - mostly, how much it looked like an awesome place to be a kid. 
So, not only does it guarantee you'll be good at soccer, flamenco guitar, and tanned, but there were a few photos I took of evidence:
[For some context, see this early post about my visit there.]


This first one is a school - it looked more like an old cathedral that had maybe been converted into a museum, and overlooked a large park and more fancy looking buildings, but yes, it's a school. It might be a top-range school, …

Round the world - city #3: London

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London was interesting on this trip as, unlike New York and Barcelona, I'd actually been there before (in this millenium, even), although I didn't remember too much of it. The main reason was to visit a friend who I know from Sydney but had been doing research in Southampton for many months, so my itenerary was: arrive very late at night, train to Waterloo (catching the Heathrow express was pretty nice, even at 11pm at night after a flight. thankfully, everyone speaking english helped, plus free Wifi on train!) then walk to my hotel and finally check in at 1am. I managed to find a fairly reasonably priced place called the Mad Hatter, which felt very British-y including the pub downstairs (always busy, a good sign) and tea everywhere in my room. The type of place I was pretty sure noone would bother trying to steal my stuff, a welcome change given the events in Barcelona. Early morning checkout the next day, then carrying a backpack of stuff back to Waterloo (for I'd be back …

Round the world - city #2: Barcelona

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Between meeting friends in NY and London I had two spare days, and having never been to Spain before, and making feeble attempts in the past to pick up some of the language, I thought I'd spend those two in the seaside city of Barcelona - home to the Spanish F1 and the current #1 soccer club in the world.
I was staying at a hotel up Montjuic, a very green hill just south of the main town area, and so could look down over the densely packed flat city flowing from neighboring hills down to what seemed an active Mediterranean port (both for tourists and shipping).
One thing that others had told me to check out, and that really struck me in Barce was the Gaudi architecture, including the most famous Sagrada Familiar pictured above (click to enlarge) - the unfinished cathedral with thousands of little building details everywhere to be seen (and is nearly complete now it's being worked on again!). So my first day was a 5-hr walk to see it and various other interesting sites, including…

Round the world - city #1: New York

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Some of you may already know, but a few weeks ago was Google IO, a big developer conference run by my employer, and this year I happened to be working on something which I could talk about. The other nice thing was that it was held it San Francisco, and as I had a few people to talk to in NY, I ended up taking an entire round-the-world tour also through Spain and England. I'll be covering each city in turn, but today's post is about my first trip to New York, the big apple.




My first day was mostly work-filled, meeting up with coworkers in the Google office but I had organised a visit at night to the Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn where they were holding a 'geek nite', including quiz and some interesting talks on perception, diet & lifespan, and a powerpoint karaoke on pearls. After the talks, I took a bit of a walk around a park on the southern side of the Hudson, with a nice night view of Manhattan including the shot above of the Brooklyn bridge.




Saturday was the m…

Blogger news!

Really short update to say: my team just launched something you might be interested in :)
The blog post describing it is here: http://goo.gl/oExpn

In short - it's a new way of viewing blogs! For instance, you can view this blog at:
http://padsterprogramming.blogspot.com/view/sidebar

That's not all! For a look at some of the new stuff, and what's coming, you can check out
http://buzz.blogger.com/2011/03/whats-new-with-blogger.html

Message complete, back to normal about-me post next time, have fun viewing!

Hiking

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It's amusing, as part of my work for Blogger I've been learning about what it takes to make a good blog; lots of posts, lots of linking, lots of pictures, lots of communicating with comments, etc... and other than the pictures, I'm pretty far behind on all of them. Anyhoo, here's my (rather late) update for January:


On the whole, most of it was same as usual - work, quiz on Wednesdays, miscellaneous on weekends including some guitar playing, some coding, etc... Both my housemates were away for a week at the national computer science school (NCSS), if you're a coding student I'd recommend checking it out. So there's a link, time for pictures:
Probably the most interesting thing I did was a weekend hiking trip up to Mt. Kosciusko, the highest peak in Australia! The image above is from some of the rocks near the top - you can probably tell it was the middle of summer, so not much snow up there.
Recently (I think a year or so ago) the area was hit by some bush-fir…