Dublin flickr meet

Popeyed 5

I went along to my first flickr meet today, with the folks from the Meet Dublin group, including a colleague of mine, Karim (a man who is living proof that talent rather than equipment makes a great photo) As mentioned, today marked the first anniversary of joining flickr, so it seemed as good a way as any to celebrate. It was also the first chance I’ve had to get out the camera since we’ve been here.

After meeting up outside the Gaiety Theatre, the unanimous choice was to head to Merrion Square, where the AIB Street Performance World Championships were taking place. The SPWC sees various street acts from around the globe basically doing their stuff over the weekend whilst the viewing public can vote for their favourite act. Thankfully the weather, whilst overcast, held up and there was no rain other than a few spits.

After a quick walk around the park I started to take in a few of the acts. My creative juices weren’t really running, and to be honest the acts were difficult to shoot, but I think I got a few decent ones. There was also a lot of opportunity for candid shots. It was hard not to just put the camera down and enjoy the shows, the highlight being Popeyed, an Australian acrobatic/hand balancing duo.

The best of the bunch of photos I took are up on flickr in this set (slideshow here)

I missed out on the pub meetup afterwards due to losing myself in the park, and not remembering the name of the pub. However, on my way back to the car, I did stop to take some shots of a group of skaters outside the Gaiety which I’ve yet to process.

All in all, a lovely day, and just one example of why I’m already loving living in Dublin.

Blog and flickr anniversary

Yesterday (15th June) marked a year since the first post to this blog. It started off on wordpress.com as a place to talk about WebSphere ESB, but has really developed into a rather general blog through my interests, especially as I picked up photography as a hobby. The blog started out on wordpress.com where it picked up about 15,000 views before I moved over to hosting it with Register1.

A quick look at Google Analytics shows that the new site has, since the 31st January, totaled 5,434 visits by 4,437 unique visitors. Additionally, an average of about 40 people subscribe to the feed for the blog. I’ve not really developed this blog too much since I moved it over, which is something I plan to remedy.

Talking of anniversaries, today also marks the a year since signing up for flickr and posting my first photo. I’m marking that by heading out in a while to meet up with some other Dublin based flickr members for a meet, and so will probably post another entry later on with more info about that. The stats for flickr currently stand at 17,175 views of the 361 photos I’ve uploaded.

Reading list

Fuelled by an unusual amount of spare time, and the fact that there’s a branch of Borders not far from us, I’ve been on a bit of a reading spree recently.

I had good intentions of reading James Joyce’s Ulysses before we came over to Dublin, but shamefully I didn’t get through the first chapter before I put it down and moved on. My defence is that I did make it through the 75 page introductory essay about the book as well. I’m determined to read it fully at some point, but as anybody who has picked it up will know, it isn’t a light read 😉

I moved onto a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time: Malcom Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. The Watford manager Adrian Boothroyd has been quite vocal in referencing this book as one that guides his management philosophy and it is also one of those books (like The World is Flat) which you always here referenced by people in interviews. I’ve pretty much finished it and am very impressed by both the message and the way it is put across. The style of writing in which Gladwell uses engaging case studies to illustrate his essential point about how small changes can lead to the “tipping point” which turns a product from a small niche or a declined market share into an overnight success. It’s a formula I’ve seen used in many books I’ve read which were written after this, such as the aforementioned The World is Flat to books like Freakonomics.

Another one I’ve been dipping into rather than reading cover to cover is Alasdair Cockburn’s Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game, which is more of a one for work than for pleasure.

The following are on my stack of ones to get to:

First day

Well, my first day at IBM Ireland has drawn to a close, and so far so good. The team seem great, and certainly full of enthusiasm and no little amount of talent. Given the warnings about traffic I set off quite early and ended up grabbing a paper and a coffee in a nearby village as I arrived at the site way too early. After getting in a little later I sat in on the daily team meeting, and spent the rest of the day in a fairly typical fashion for a new joiner – getting my laptop set up and attending a couple of meetings. Of course, I have the advantage that I know all of the ins and outs of the company and it’s systems, so at least I’m saved that headache and learning curve.

There’s a few noticeable differences between DSL and Hursley – DSL is not a cashless environment in the same way as Hursley, which makes things easier and less hassle as you don’t have to worry about loading money. There are two canteens and a sandwich bar (which was very good) and loads of vending machines. I’m in a large, very open-plan office which is fine. Other than that, things are pretty much the same though I’m sure other differences will become apparent over time.

I’m using a loaned T42 Thinkpad at the moment whilst we wait for a hardware order to come through. I’ve installed the internal Linux client based on RHEL 5 as I had on my old laptop, and am just waiting for the various IDs to come through before I can get going in anger.

Over the next few days I’ll be spending a lot of time getting up to speed with both Lotus Connections and the work the team are doing at the moment. Then starts the job of getting on with helping the team to define and deliver new features and function into the next Connections release. On first impressions, it’s going to be fun!

Farewell Hursley

Today is my final day in the WESB development team, my final day in the Hursley lab, and bar a couple of days holiday my final day in IBM UK.

Thing is, I’m too excited about moving to Ireland and starting my new role in Lotus to get too emotional about leaving. When I started here as a grad I shared the common view that I’d stay for a couple of years, get some good training and a good name on my CV then go off to find something new. The thing is that like most of my peers I found that life was too good in IBM and especially in Hursley. Nearly nine years later and I’m finally off. It’s been a great place to work, and a superb bunch of people to work with. However I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a little stale in my current job. I’ve spent all of my time in probably the two most interesting types of job in the lab (product development and lab services) and the time is right to try something new. Yes, I’ll still be in a development role, but a fresh product, fresh organization and fresh surroundings will provide new energy. As I’ve stated before, I’m looking forward to thinking about stuff which appears in a browser to an end user rather than designing and writing middleware. The Lotus Connections calls I’ve been on already have proven that I’m making the right move. There’s going to be some exciting stuff happening in the future of the product.

The next time I write an entry in this blog we will be over in Dublin and I’ll be getting ready to start my new role on Wednesday. Can’t wait!