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Returning to Dublin already

And my time in Mountain View is over again!

Had a busy time. At work, but also pretty cool weekends. Best of all was a one-hour flying lesson last Sunday, in a real Cessna 182. Pictures will definitely come!

One picture I have now is a fine piece of Macintoy PoS X security. And yes, those buttons are clickable even before I type my password to "unlock" my screen. I'm starting to wonder why we're even allowed to use these things for work purposes.

New PoS X feature: Show error dialogs above the password-protected screensaver!

My laptop received a tour through LA!

This week I'm frantically reloading the UPS package tracking page of my laptop shipment every few hours, and it looks like last night my package received a free tour through LA!

Screenshot of UPS tracking page showing that my package went from Vernon to Cerritos, and then back to Vernon

Back where it was about 24 hours ago apparently. :-( And LA is over 600 km away from here so I really wonder if they're still going to make it for delivery tomorrow... While looking at the map to see where these places are, I did notice one odd detail:

The other Californian Mountain View

Apparently there's another thing called Mountain View in California. Did the package courier get confused? :-)

Update: Apparently it arrived in San Francisco at 17:40 today even without a departure scan from Vernon. I guess I should just take this tracking page with a grain of salt. :-)

Mountain View, TAPFS and yet another gallery

Writing from Mountain View again! Landed on Thursday, spent one day at work so far and today I got my bicycle fixed up so I can use it for commuting again. It's nice how year after year, the thing still works for me, all it needs when I come is some extra air in the tires. :-) One thing California is really not doing well this year is the weather, though. It's raining for two days already!

In other news, I should definitely be plugging The Australian Pink Floyd Show in this post. They were in Dublin about a week ago and they're amazingly good. Even a singer that sounds a lot like Roger Waters! The show was great too, with inflatable animals and everything, and the music sounded perfect. This tour they're playing all of The Wall, and for that that means not just a "copy" of the CD, but also many of the little filler pieces that PF used to play during the concerts.

Also working on a bit of OSS these weeks, adding more "diversity" to the already bloated landscape of gallery webapps. I'm making a difference though, SRSLY! I found myself making a lot more pictures since I bought my first dSLR and many of them aren't really part of an album/event or anything like that. I could just put them on Flickr or Picasa and be done with it, but that'd break my time-wasting tradition of hosting everything myself.

I already use F-Spot to manage my pictures, so it'd be nice to have a web gallery that can automatically use tag information from F-Spot. Turns out there are two programs that can do this already. They're not for me though; they automatically export everything, and there are pictures that I'd rather keep for myself. :-P

I then tried to adapt "original" to my wishes, but gave up when I saw it doesn't quite use templates and am rewriting it now using web.py and Cheetah templates. Going well, but TBH I feel homesick to PHP. Not that it's such a great language, it's more that I fail to understand why there are 982397832 different webapp frameworks for Python/WSGI/mod_python/whatever instead of just one that actually works.

This is a work in progress, and the progress is good. :-) Once it's done, I'll be able to post pictures here of my new radio-controlled airplane and other neat stuff. Yaaaay...

*knock* *knock* from Mountain View

Maintaining a weblog indeed seems to be one of those things I'd better not be doing. I'm in Mountain View for a month and two days already and this is the first time I actually write something here instead of postponing it. Good, because in five days I'm leaving already so it'd be too late. Today's Memorial Day, an American bank holiday, so I'm not even at work.

Had a good time here, both at work and in the weekends. More productive than last year, and more exciting evenings and weekends. My bicycle was still waiting for me, and after I blew off all the dust it gathered in almost a year time, it's quite capable of getting me to and back from work again. :-)

Of course with how well EUR is doing compared to USD, one should always spend some of his/her time in the US on Amazon.com. I decided to do the same and am quite hooked to Mario Kart DS now. It's just a fantastic and very addictive game. Also bought a Nokia N800, which is a great toy, but not as great as the DS.

Last Saturday hoyhoy took me to a comedy club in Santa Cruz. Kasper Hauser (of SkyMaul fame) was there, which was quite amusing. We failed to see what was funny about the other artist though, especially since we were pretty much the only persons not laughing at all. :-)

Other hilights include how I found out telephones do not like salty water and taking a non-triband spare phone to the US is pointless. I'm a bit sad about my poor 6310i (I tried to save it by washing it out with non-salty water and then letting it dry for more than a day but it didn't help) and am not sure about what to get now. I'll probably wait for the GPhone, which' existence I don't have to deny anymore. :-)

Anyway, it's almost twenty degrees (Celsius, obviously, Fahrenheits are just too confusing and illogical :-P) outside so what am I doing in the living room? Time to check out this "sun" thing while I still can!

I hate trees!

There are two things in nature here that I don't like. The ever-strong wind that slows me down when I cycle to work ... and trees! I bought this radio-controlled airplane yesterday and went to the park to try it out. The flight went very well thanks to some help from ... well, the wind. The result?

http://fotos.gaast.net/stuff/20070506s_i_hate_trees.jpeg

(Try to find it on the big picture, it's not too easy. :-))

Something I really do like here is World Market, though. They actually sell this candy we call "drop" in .nl, and it tastes pretty good:

http://fotos.gaast.net/stuff/20070505s_candies.jpeg

I just wonder why the German pack says "katjes" instead of "k├Ątzes" or something like that. And there are fishes inside, not cats. They're pretty tasty though, so I don't care.

Work is still going well, my main mission for during my stay here is done. I got two more weeks here before I have to go back to Dublin, so that's well in time. It'll be nice to be back in Europe, at last...

In other news, worked on BitlBee a bit more again in the last few weeks. Worked on the API a bit, so the next time someone says porting Gaim modules to BitlBee is easy, please don't listen. It's a lie. ;-) And there's basic support for Jabber chatrooms now! Just for the non-anonymous ones, unfortunately. (And the majority of Jabber rooms I know of are anonymous.) Will work on that support later, unfortunately it'll be very complicated and hackish.

And this weekend, besides "dropjes", I'm enjoying eye candy from Beryl on Ubunty Feisty. Wobbly windows and all the other stuff. Hey, I wanted some of my OS X eye candy back, okay? ;-)

April

The first week of April passed already. And I'm halfway my stay in the United States now. My colleague Rafael (who started working at Google Ireland on the same day I did) will return to Dublin tomorrow already. Because I'm in the Search/Traffic teams I have to spend a very long time here, apparently.

I'm making progress with the learning. Generally, my feeling of productivity is growing. It even happens sometimes that I can follow a complete conversation and understand it completely, which feels good, of course.

Didn't have too many trips lately. Bought a bicycle, cycling around a bit now in the weekends, and possibly from next week I'll use the bicycle to go to work. And I bought a new digicam this week, hopefully I can make some cool pictures this weekend. Pretty satisfied so far, even though I didn't manage to buy a cam that fits into my pocket a bit better than the previous one (on the contrary, actually). I hope the pictures will be worth this little sacrifice. :-)

Also, I managed to find some time to work on BitlBee. I'm finally working on replacing the old Gaim API. It's mostly a mass-rename of functions and, where necessary, rethinking some parameters. Got rid of a lot of redundant stuff like three different functions to report errors to the user. Once I finish this the handling of away messages should certainly get better, and hopefully I'll also be able to implement Jabber groupc^Wconference rooms properly.

Oh yeah, and indeed CD prices are pretty nice here. Porcupine - In Absentia for less than eleven dollars. IIRC I didn't buy it in .nl because the price was around/over 20 euros. I'll have to hunt for more good CDs here. :-D

cp: Dream Theater - Metropolis (Live at the Marquee)

San Francisco

So last weekend we went to San Francisco. Looks pretty nice. See http://fotos.gaast.net/relocation/calif1/ for some random pictures. We'll probably go there another time, although we did most of the sight-seeing by now. We just didn't see Fry's yet. ;-)

Also I had my interview training last week. At the end I received this cool "Google Hiring Squad" T-Shirt. Wanted to link to a picture of it, but unfortunately I can't find one. Interesting fact, when I search for "hiring squad" on Google, the spell checker thinks I'm looking for "firing squad". Hehe, very nice suggestion, I just hope it doesn't come up with complete opposites too often. :-D

Anyway, not much to tell. Work is going well, just that I still feel like I know nothing, which isn't always a very great feeling. But I'll have to live with that for a couple of months more. At least I'm starting to feel a bit more productive at some moments. :-D

currently playing: Riverside - Volte-Face

Wooo, cool and useless graphs.

So last week I decided to start playing with Cacti a bit. Too lazy to figure out rrdtool, and Cacti adds a pretty nice interface for actually looking at the graphs too. Somehow the machine that runs the graphing tools always seems to be busy, but I suppose this has something to do with quantum mechanics. ;-)

I'm especially proud of my e-mail statistics, because they're partially generated by a cool Perl script I wrote especially for this. It parses logs on the fly and returns SNMP stuff in a pretty efficient way. Maybe I should put it online, so far all the scripts I saw are pretty hackish and don't work if rrdtool and Postfix don't run on the same machine, for example, or just do more I/O than necessary.

http://wilmer.gaast.net/blog/uploads/mailgraph.png

So now I got pretty graphs that have so much information that they're unreadable. Got enough to do. ;-)

Oh yes, and the Google ice cream really tastes pretty good. Tried it last Friday, and I think I'll get me another one this week. :-D

Also spent some time in San Jose yesterday. Found out there's a "Woz Way" there, indeed called after the hero called Steve Wozniak. For the people who don't know, he and Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer (now known as Apple Inc, for some reason they deny the fact that they sell computers these days) years ago. Woz was the genius who designed most of the stuff, and tries very hard to not be famous. ;-)

Back to work tomorrow. And after work I'll go to my new home, which you can see on this map.

cp: Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother