|3.||Jónsi & Alex|
|6.||Explosions in the Sky|
|11.||Carly Rae Jepsen|
|13.||deadmau5 & Kaskade|
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The video of my Google Tech Talk is now up on YouTube. If you haven’t already, check it out. 😉
Well, it’s been a busy few weeks, that’s for sure. What have I been up to since my last post?
I finished my move to Thunderbird, and indeed my move to Windows Vista on my main PC. After tweaking it significantly and getting rid of a lot of the guff, it seems to be working alright. A few niggly features, but oh well. Installed the Windows 7 beta in a VM, too – looks like it should be everything Vista should have been!
I revised for exams. And procrastinated instead of revising for exams…
I bought a new camera, a Nikon D40. It’s shiny and nice. After having to wait a few days for things like the memory card to arrive, I took some photos. Here are a selection of photos of St Andrews at night, some of which turned out quite nicely, I think! The camera has accompanied me to California, so I will describe more about that later.
I created a Flickr account, and indeed, migrated my entire photo gallery to Flickr. (Although it seems I need to reupload a few videos that didn’t quite get copied over properly.) I’m going to integrate that into the blog a bit better, but that’ll probably have to wait until I’m back in the UK. Eventually, my plan is to tag my photos properly and so on, although with 5000 photos, it’ll be a slow process! I’m likely to be a bit more selective with new uploads, too – there are a lot of bad photos in that 5000. While I’m not planning on removing any of the existing ones, I may just upload the good photos in the future (I only uploaded a quarter of the photos I took in the St Andrews at night gallery, for instance, since the rest were all a bit too blurry or poor.) Thoughts on this may be appreciated!
I revised a bit more, and procrastinated a bit more.
I sat my exams. Multimedia was the first one, which seemed to go quite well. Artificial Intelligence was next, which everybody found kind of tough, including myself – in a way, though, it’s good that everybody found it hard, rather than just a few people finding it hard and the rest thinking it easy! The last exam was Distributed Systems, which I think everybody was quite positive about.
I went to the dentist on the afternoon after my last exam (to check that everything was OK after my root canal a few months ago), and frantically tried to sort things out (packing, etc) for my trip to California the next day.
I got about 2 hours sleep, then had to drive down to the airport. Well, I drove down to the park and ride, where it seems I can park my car for two weeks free, and just have to pay £4.50 for the bus. Bargain compared to the official airport parking! I then flew down to London, waited a few more hours, and got on my flight to San Francisco. I was flying with United, and economy class was seated in a 2-5-2 configuration. I was in seat C, and there was somebody else in the equivalent seat on the other side – so there were 3 ‘free seats’ in the middle, since the plane wasn’t full. This meant I had a bit more room to stretch out, which was nice! The flight was fine enough, if not overly exciting (11 hours is a long time on a plane). I did rather like the channel on the entertainment system that let you listen to air traffic control though – the ATC channel at Heathrow Airport seemed incredibly busy, the people who work there must be very good at what they do! Anyway, got into San Francisco around 4pm, and got back into Napa by around 6.30pm – rather tired! I’m staying here with my friend Rachel, as I did in June 2006.
So, I got into California on Wednesday, and yesterday was my first full day here. And the first thing I had to do was go down to visit Google, with Rachel, where I gave a tech talk on Wine – specifically, the Wine user experience. I went and met up with Leslie Hawthorn and Ellen Ko, at the Google Open Source Programs Office. These are the people who are responsible for running Google Summer of Code, which I took part in last summer. And what can I say… the experience was fantastic. The talk seemed to go well – it will be put up on YouTube in the coming days, I believe, so you can watch that if you should like. Then we had a brief tour of Google (I’ll put the photos I took up sometime soon, probably when I get back to St Andrews), and we then all sat down for lunch at one of Google’s 19(!) cafeterias! Now, the Google lunch is famous, and rightly so – it was rather good, and best of all, free! There’s no such thing as a free lunch, except at Google it seems! We then went back to the Open Source office and got lots of free swag. I think both Rachel and I very much enjoyed our trip there, and it was very nice to meet Leslie and Ellen “in real life”! Thanks to both of them for having us, and also for putting all the hard work they do into Summer of Code! (As I have said before, I would highly recommend that any students out there interested in programming for open source take a look at the SoC programme, and take part in it!)
After Google we went to the Exploratorium in San Francisco, which is a museum-type thing with lots of sciencey displays, much of which was rather interesting. We didn’t really have enough time there to look at everything, unfortunately, but it made for a fascinating afternoon’s trip!
Today we’re heading off to Tahoe (and my first trip into Nevada), up in the mountains. I shall report more – and take lots more photos – when we get there!
Owen out for now.
So, it’s now 2009. I spent Christmas at my Grandad’s in North Wales, and new year with my brother and mum in mid-Wales. I’m back up to St Andrews now, since my first exam is on Saturday, and there is work to be done! Then I have another exam next Wednesday, and my final exam the Tuesday after that. Then, the following day, I shall be flying out to California to see my friend Rachel (who I stayed with back in June 2006). While I’m there, I’ll be visiting Google, which I’m quite excited about, and giving a Tech Talk (assuming I manage to get it written in between all these exams and so on!). It should be fun indeed, although I’ll also have to continue to do work on my senior honours project, for which a deliverable is due in February once I’m back.
In the mean time, I’m planning to finally move to Windows Vista, something which I’ve not really had any desire to do in the past. Having a new DirectX 10-capable graphics card, however (a GTX 260) is one incentive for me to upgrade, though, and I found that Vista isn’t too bad when you turn off a lot of the annoying stuff. So, I’m going to take the plunge and install it on my new hard disk. But one of my major issues is that Windows Vista doesn’t support/include Outlook Express, which I’ve used to manage my mail for some 10 years now – I have approximately half a million pieces of e-mail in my OE installation, which take up about 5GB of space in OE’s .dbx format. I have a couple of options here: I could move to Windows Mail (or Windows Live Mail), which is effectively a newer version of OE, or I could move to a client such as Thunderbird. I’ve used Thunderbird for years on my Mac for accessing various IMAP accounts, but it had (and still has) a few quirks that meant I didn’t really want to adopt it as my main e-mail client. But the alternative, Windows (Live) Mail, wouldn’t be ideal either, as not all that many programs support conversion from it. Plus, W(L)M stores each e-mail as an individual file, instead of one file per mail folder – with 500,000 e-mails, that’s highly inefficient! So, I’ve decided to move to Thunderbird.
I’ve got Thunderbird more or less set up in a way I like (although there are still a few niggly things, some of which I believe will be fixed in Thunderbird 3.0). The main issue then is converting all my existing e-mail. Thunderbird can import mail from Outlook Express, but it then loses read/unread status (I still have a lot of unread mail in my folders), and it doesn’t transfer things like reply/forwarded status in messages. So, I’ve decided to do things in a more laborious, but ultimately better, manner: copy all my messages to an IMAP server (which I’ve set up on obiwan), and copy them back – this way will preserve the attributes and so on. It is, however, a lot slower than the automatic conversion. It’ll take a while, but once it’s done, it’ll be worth it. Also, with Thunderbird, I’ll be able to stick my profile on my local server (obiwan), and share it between platforms, should I want to, which could be quite handy.
Anyway, I really should get back to revision – it’s funny how all these other distractions appear when one has exams or deadlines looming.