Author Archive

6th November
2010
written by Therese

Last Monday morning we finally left Denmark on a looooong adventure. 23 hours, 3 plane rides and many cups of coffee later we landed safe, but tired in Hanoi, Vietnam. Underway we almost missed a flight from Hongkong to Hanoi; tired and stressed we left the plane in Hongkong and with it we left our treasured camera behind. We had 30 minutes to transfer to another plane in another terminal at the other end of the airport and 15 minutes into that we discovered that we did not have our camera bag with us. Fortunately we did not have anything else important in the bag other than the camera and because we had people waiting for us in Hanoi airport we decided to get on the next plane without our camera thinking that we might never see it again.

Fortunately we were travelling with Cathay Pacific and they were very professional and helpful. We contacted them as soon as we got to Hanoi and even though there were some language barriers we got the message through. The next few days we called them frequently with the help from our friendly and (most importantly) english-speaking hotel staff here in Hanoi and finally they told us that they had found our camera and was shipping it to us in Hanoi. Much to our surprise this service even included shipping to our hotel from the airport and for a very small fee (300.000 VND) they delivered it express so we could have it with us for our trip to Halong Bay. We are amazed and grateful that this was even possible.

First impressions of Hanoi was not entirely good. We arrived stressed, tired and a bit sick from the flight and the city is very dirty and noisy. Fortunately we got a hotel room without a window facing the street noise – well, we even got a room without windows. At first it seemed weird not to have windows but after a few days in Hanoi we now realize that it is actually a good thing – not all of the people we have met here are that lucky, and we have been told that it is not easy sleeping and trying to get over jetlag when your room has windows facing the busy streets of Hanoi. Most of the noise comes from the traffic (there are motorbikes everywhere and they use their horn every 3 seconds) but even during the night there is also construction work going on and just general people noise.

The worst thing here is without doubt traffic. Crossing the street here is an adventure and you fear for your life every time. After the first day we realized that the best strategy is actually just to walk with purpose and keep a steady pace so that the drivers can predict where you will be at any given time – and ignore that the motorbikes are whizzing past you with centimetres/inches to spare. Hanoi is a very busy place. Even just trying to follow a sidewalk is impossible because life in Hanoi gets in the way all the time – the businesses spill out into the street and street kitchens pop up whereever you can fit a pot and two kid size plastic chairs. The pollution from the traffic is also really bad and it is a usual sight to see vietnamese with face masks.

Face masks in Hanoi

The Vietnamese people often wear face masks


The traffic here follows a speciel kind of pattern...


Street business

On the other hand once you get over the jetlag and learn to walk the streets of Hanoi without fear there is a lot of great things about this city. First of all: everything is very cheap. And some of it is very good; like the food. Every meal here has been a pleasure. Even the breakfast at our cheap hotel Gia Thinh is great. The selection is small, but very delicious. The prices are about 20-33% of what the Danish prices would have been. We only eat at high-end restaurants (meaning places where they speak a bit of english and not street kitchens) and the price is about 200.000 VND on average (about 60 DKK or 10 USD for food and beverages for 2 people).

Breakfast at the Gia Thinh Hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter


Lunch at a cafe by the Hoan Kiem lake

And the people here are very friendly. They will help you if they can. The guides, the hotel staff and the shop owners are all smiling and will try to make conversation even with limited english skills. Life in Vietnam is very different to life in Denmark, so we can’t walk past a street corner without seeing something interesting (just don’t visit the food market – it gets a bit too interesting when you see how they treat meat, and what animals the meat could be coming from).

Meat and fish sold on the sidewalk

Oh, and have I mentioned the food here? Tasty, fresh and flavorful. Mmmmmmm.

5th November
2010
written by Therese

Just wrapping up the last things about the JAOO conference these days. During JAOO I did an interview with JAOO speaker and Android developer Stefan Meisner Larsen and now it is on InformIT.

Just to give you a taste:

TH: If you could improve the Android platform, what would be your first priority?

SML: Mobile devices have great potential in an enterprise setting as communication and application platforms. But there are challenges with administration and security that the Android platform does not address. I miss those systems that exist today for administration of PCs for the Android platform. There are undoubtedly a lot of obvious applications for mobile devices that will never make it because of security issues.

If this sounds interesting to you, you can read the whole interview at the InformIT site.

P.S. Google Android turned 3 today.

30th October
2010
written by Therese

The other evening I was at a party with a lot of other geeks at Geekhouse in Aarhus. It was an evening of lightning talks by the Aarhus geek community followed by free beer, wine and fun networking time (exactly what I’m going to miss the most when I leave Aarhus).

Being a girl at these events usually means you are the odd one out, which doesn’t bother me. It also means that sometimes what you get the most excited about is not the same as what the guys get excited about. What I remember most from that evening was a demonstration of a new brand of covers and handbags designed for women with gadgets.

My favorite item they have made is this simple and elegant iPhone cover made in really fine materials with a soft leather lining THAT POLISHES YOUR IPHONE. I know most men don’t care about the greasy fingerprints on their smart phone but as a woman it bothers me and this is such a simple solution.

One of the guys behind this new brand saw that I was falling in love with this cover and he gave me one as a gift. Oh, how I love being the odd one out :-). This brand is only sold in USA so here in Denmark it’s a rare item.

P.S. You could speculate that I’m just writing this blog post so I could get one of these as a gift. This is not the case. I did get one for free but I write this blog post because I like the brand, not because the brand told me to. And yes, I stole the product photos from the coverlicious website.

29th October
2010
written by Therese

Most of the time startups focus on getting investors and optimizing for how much money they/we get out of it. But is that really the best strategy?

Github founder Tom Preston-Werner doesn’t think so. Github has never taken founding from VCs or Angel investors. Tom believes that you should optimize for happiness instead and actually that could also have a positive effect on the money part of things. If you build it they will come…

I recently found a video of Tom giving a presentation at startup school. I really likes his way of thinking:


Watch live video from c3oorg on Justin.tv

I was (as I previously mentioned) at a talk by Tom Preston-Werner a few weeks ago at JAOO about Github and Git. He is a really great speaker and his star in my book did not fade because he and the other github-people sponsered a drinkup during JAOO. I got to talk to some really interesting people and that lead to an idea that I’m going to work on in the future. It seems like what Tom is talking about in the video really works.

My main takeaways from Toms presentation: creating win-win situations, helping luck through proximity and being creative in not paying for things. It seems like I have been on the right path all along ;-).

If you have to chance to hear Tom present, don’t miss it. He is a laid-back, really cool guy.

23rd October
2010
written by Therese

The team behind JAOO was kind enough to let me attend the speakers dinner at JAOO this year where the charming Kevlin Henney took this photo of me with my two favorite JAOO speakers: Dan North and Michael Nygard.

It’s true – blondes really do have more fun.

21st October
2010
written by Therese

This is almost as cool as the Lego Turing Machine and much cooler than the regular Lego printer: a Lego 3D printer.

Challenge: make a Lego 3D printer that prints Lego 3D printers.

Tags: ,
20th October
2010
written by Therese

I just have to share this – Bill Gates having an affair.

Wulffmorgenthaler.com

It is not my favorite strip from Wulff-Morgenthaler though – this one about computer scientists is.

18th October
2010
written by Therese

I have been to a lot of conferences and seen a lot of presentations from brilliant people, but sometimes those brilliant people fail to make a presentation that connects with the audience. As an audience member (and not speaking as one of the brilliant people presenting) I have just one advice for those speakers.

Speak at conferences because you are on a mission. Don’t give a presentation just because people ask you to, and you are flattered. Make sure to think about what you are giving the audience – what the audience should take away from your talk (and make it simple). At conferences most attendees are on information overload, so you have to inspire them for further investigation. Tell jokes, tell anecdotes, use images to let your audience connect with your material. Be enthusiastic. Be memorable. Be tweetable. Be bloggable. Be the odd one out. Make sure that everyone knows why you are on that stage and what you are talking about.

That’s it.

11th October
2010
written by Therese

Last week I was at the JAOO conference – the last JAOO conference ever. The conference runs from Monday-Wednesday with training days at Sunday and Thursday-Friday. On Monday the JAOO organizing team had a surprise for all attendees: the conference changed it’s name to GOTO (in the logo it’s written goto;). The next day all the JAOO banners were gone and big GOTO-banners had replaced them – and now the conference is PINK. A very bold move for a techie conference, but then again so is the new name GOTO (the jokes are endless: goto considered harmful is the most obvious).

I have been part of the JAOO conference for a few years now and I guess now all my conference-stuff with the JAOO logo is going to be worth a lot of money on Ebay for all the true JAOO fans – or maybe not :-). My favorite thing is these JAOO green shoes (with the JAOO logo on the toes) that is really nice to wear even for a whole conference.

JAOO is dead – long live GOTO!

The GOTOguy Kresten Krab with the tombstone for JAOO

15th September
2010
written by Therese

So far all my code versioning needs has been covered by CVS and SVN, but recently I keep hearing about distributed version control. Git and Mercurial are very popular topics in certain parts of my social circle, so I decided that I need to look into the topic (some very painful personal experience with a large programming project on Subversion also had some motivational influence on that decision).

So where to start?

I decided to start looking into Git. This was not a deliberate deselection of Mercurial but motivated by my attendance at the IT-conference JAOO in a months time and at JAOO Scott Chacon from GitHub will host a Git 101 tutorial, which I am considering attending (oh, and one of the GitHub founders, Tom Preston-Werner, will do a presentation called “Mastering Git Basics”, which also could be interesting).

My starting point was wikipedia and as it mentions that Git is designed and originally developed by Linus Thorvalds, I googled Git together with his name to see what he had to say about the subject. The result was this Tech talk from Google, that I quite enjoyed:

Then I told my twitter friends that am looking into Git and as always they give great feedback. My favorite was from jlouis666, who pointed me to a page with the Pro Git book by aforementioned Scott Chacon (the guy hosting a Git tutorial at JAOO), which is available online. I’m hoping to look into it before his tutorial.

So far I have not had time to really play with Git. Because all my existing projects are in SVN and migrating between two such different systems would probably be unwise/a pain I am saving my practical experience with Git for my next project. I hope that these things I am looking into will prepare me for the practical experience, but any advise you have could really help too…

After JAOO I plan to look into Mercurial/hg – If you know of good sources of information for that I would love to hear about it. (I guess with all the Git-stuff at JAOO they didn’t have any time slots left for Mercurial or maybe they have just chosen their favorite…)

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