Category Archives: Google

Quiet Time

Sorry about the quiet period, I’ve been making the most of my time back at home after finishing my Internship at Google, and also have had a problem with updating WordPress. The problem turned out to be the disc that my site resides on, is full. After a couple of weeks of waiting, 000webhost appeared to fix the problem, I assume moving my site to a disc with free space, but neglected to also move my SQL databases with it, meaning that WordPress and Ministar Galactica broke. Combine this with a PHP error that I saw a few months ago here, but recently on the Aber-links site, which was fixed by the line “define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’128M’);” to the wp-config.php file, which now overrides the default maximum PHP memory limit that my host sets.

A few quick notes:

Google

It is with much regret that I handed in my laptop and badge in Google London, as my year-long internship was over. I have had an amazing time, and am thoroughly grateful to the company for taking me on and providing me with so many opportunities to expand my knowledge in many fields from both computer maintenance and software engineering, to large scale computer fleet management and more. I have visited many offices around the world, met many techs and other employees, and made a lot of friends. It was sad to leave, but I hope to once again roam the floors of Google in the future.

Pi Cars

Pi Car 01 is still happily roaming, and his brother has just got a few upgrades (smaller breadboard, V2 black WiFi antenna like Pi Car 01 etc). I do hope to get a Raspberry Pi Camera to test out at some point .

Kickstarter

I have funded many many things, and successful projects are starting to arrive. A more in-depth post with pictures will follow, but in the meantime, check out kickstarter’s discover projects page – I would recommend the ‘Design‘ and the ‘Technology‘ sections.

Matt

On the BBC News! – Raspberry Pi Cambridge Event

A few weeks ago, I shot up to Cambridge to help out with a Raspberry Pi event at Chesterton Community College where Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton took great pleasure in announcing that they would be providing 15,000 Raspberry Pi kits to school children in the UK, through a grant from Google.

Me and a Pi

Chatting to a group of primary school children about what the Pi is.

I think this is a fantastic initiative, and the RPi is the perfect, standard, versatile and powerful bit of kit to get people learning real computer modules – from Java and Python programming, use of Unix operating systems and their services, to lower level component control with the GPIO pins and SPI and I2C interfaces. I really do hope that schools adopt the Pi, and get students introduced to programming and real computer science so that they can become interested in the subject area if they wish, and start pursuing cool projects.

Matt

New York

During my time in Boston, I seized the chance to visit New York as I was only a few hours train ride north.

I took the Amtrak train down to Penn Station, where I transferred to the NY subway, which is much more confusing than ours. They had a few big differences: Stations were mainly street names/numbers (e.g 34rd Street), some trains were express trains and stopped at one in every 5 stations – utilising NY subway’s 2 sets of rails in each direction and prices were constant, no matter how long the journey.

After meeting up with my cousin who had kindly offered me a place to stay on Saturday night, we headed to the supermarket to do a bit of “panic-buying” ahead of the approaching hurricane Sandy. Later, I headed south on the subway to the Rockefeller Center - an extremely tall building that boasted impressive views over Central Park and of the Empire State Building. Whilst taking photos, I met an interesting guy called Stephen at the top of the tower, a fellow Brit!

After visiting Times Square and having quesadillas for Tea, we headed to Magnolia Bakery for cupcakes and banana pudding, which we ate in Central Park. Then got an email from Amtrak saying that my evening train the next day had been cancelled due to the hurricane – and to ring them to reschedule. Luckily managed to get booked on a train a few hours before the cancelled ones.

The next day we headed south to visit the New York office which was large and very confusing to negotiate, and wandered around lower Manhattan, where we found streets closed with many kids trick or treating the local stores in the lovely calm weather – despite the forecast rain and winds of the hurricane.

After lunch, I subwayed back to Penn Station, and got the full Amtrak back to Boston, which arrived an hour late due to the train slipping on the wet track. I loved being in New York, and hope very much that I get the change to visit again sometime.

Matt

Work Trip to Boston, MA

In the middle of October I travelled over to Cambridge, Boston, MA to work at the Google office there for two weeks. I had an amazing time looking around the city and seeing some of the historic places where past events had occurred such as the Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre.

Charles River Esplanade

River Charles from the Esplanade

Whilst there, I stayed in a wonderful apartment on the 9th floor of an apartment block, just south of the river, that I found on airbnb.co.uk (hotels are extremely expensive in Boston). The apartment cost about £150 a night, but offered amazing views over the Charles, and I could ride into work in less than 10 minutes!

Apartment

My apartment

The bikes were exactly the same vehicles as the Barclays hire bikes we have in London.

Hubway Bikes

Hubway Bikes

On the first day there, I grabbed my camera and crossed the bridge over the river and walked along the river bank into Cambridge, eventually found Google, then wandered on. MIT was just up the road, so I passed past some of their buildings – but it still felt very much like a city.

MIT

MIT

I then trekked on to Harvard which felt much more like a university – as there were obvious halls of residences and university buildings.

Harvard

Harvard

I then set my Google Maps (using my pre-paid UK T-Mobile £10 SIM very sparingly!) to Taco Bell, and had a quesadilla there after a 40 min trek to it.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell

Heading south over the river, I took the scenic way back towards my apartment along a spit of land that runs parallel to the shore (the Charles River Esplanade).  See more pictures on flickr.

Charles River Esplanade

Charles River Esplanade

Kilometers travelled: About 13.5km

Matt

Area 47, Austria Trip

I believe this post got deleted, so here it is again:

Earlier this month I attended a gathering of all of the people that do jobs similar to mine at Google. The location of this meet-up was Area 47, Ötztal, Austria. Area 47 is an extreme outdoor activity center, which includes many things like caving, canyoning, climbing and rafting etc, and is surrounded by the stunning scenery of mountains and forests.

Cross Golf

One activity we tried was cross-golf, basically cross-county golf. The challenge: about 10 holes, each with an activity to reduce your score if you placed 1st,2nd or 3rd. Activities included rock stacking, tennis with huge wooden bats and rubber dice etc. After leading near the start, my team fell back during the middle of the game as we golfed around our wooden lodges, but went on to pull ahead and win the game! We won a German/Austrian hat full of sweets for our troubles, which now resides above my desk.

White Water Rafting

We had an amazing time rafting, an activity which I would love to do again. Kitted out in full wetsuit gear including a helmet and floatation jacket, we hit the water with our 8 person raft. Had a brilliant trip down a fairly calm river, with fun rapids in places.

 

Area 47 also had a water-park style section, including water slides, a water canon, a large cushion of air to jump on, to throw people off into the water, and a ski-slope that you could go down using a body-board style plastic toboggan, which shot you across the water at high speed.

My favourite part of the trip was being able to relax on the porch of our wooden lodge in the Austrian countryside, with the mountains towering above us, and the river flowing past. Would very much like to go back at some point.

Matt

 

Desk Train Line

Having bought a few more locomotives from eBay lately, thoughts of building a small model railway behind my desk at work started materialising. The shelf behind my desk is only about 1.5m long, with a 1.6m gap between it and another 1.5m shelf. Sounded like a small engineering challenge…

Before:

shelves

After:

Train bridge

Built the bridge out of K’nex! Turned out to be a perfect construction material for this project, and I succeeded in building a bridge to fill the gap between the shelves. Below is the current rolling stock on the small approx 4.5m railway

Santa Fe locos with wagons:

Santa Fe train

Both Santa Fe sets:

Both santa fe trains

Network South East ‘Invincible’ and carriages:

Network South East train

The double headed blue Santa Fe’s head across the bridge with 4 wagons of coal:

Double headed Santa Fe train

That’s all for now!

Matt

 

 

Dublin, Ireland – Google Student Ambassador Trip

Apologies for not blogging in a while, I have little free time now!

Half way through August I flew over to Dublin to attend the Google Student Ambassador summit, where I learnt lots about how Google apps like Gmail, Google Docs and Drive and Calendar can help students. I now very much look forward to holding events at uni to promote some of Google’s fantastic products now that I have been made aware of even more of their advantages.

It was also really nice to see another Google office, and I enjoyed talking to the employees that work there, as well as other interns and some of the Google BOLDers that I met a year or so ago. [Google BOLD – Business Opportunities and Leadership Development – was a program that I was lucky enough to get accepted on to in 2011.]

Whilst we were in Ireland, we were also given the chance to learn some Irish River dance - a sort of tap dance, which was fantastic fun and afterwards it left me feeling very cultural!

Matt

To The Top of Zurich!

After 2 very enjoyable days of the 2012 Engineering Intern Summit in Zurich, where I was again immersed in the Google culture as well as meeting many other interns and having a good explore of the Zurich office.

View over Zurich

Tonight we took a train to Uetliberg and after a short walk uphill, we found the Uetliberg look out tower which offered stunning views over Zurich and a beautiful sunset.

Sunset

Matt

Eating On Top of the World

Today was my first day in CSG – the northern London Google office. After a good morning of learning much more about fixing Macs and chromebooks, we got our lunch and headed up to the 9th floor to eat it, where there was an immense, unobstructed view over London.

Also went to a very interesting talk by various engineering Googlers that were demoing their latest projects – such as Google Chrome for iPad and iPhone, and some cool stuff for Android phones!

Matt