Category Archives: London

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

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

In London

Move to London
Finding a house in London was interesting, as the houses move so quickly. Houses can last a matter of hours before they are viewed and secured. After viewing many houses on the first day of a few days in London, we had secured a flat in Acton. A few days later, after I had emailed our estate agents “Austin D’arcy” to again request a contract, and they replied saying that they had given the flat that we had secured to another estate agent. Upon hearing this news, I quickly phoned up all of the other estate agents that I’d seen on that Wednesday, and managed to find just one other property, our second choice, was still available. I then did everything I could to secure this property, and our offer was accepted, this time with Aston Rowe estate agents.

20120630-224056.jpg

Now in London
We have now moved into our new house in Acton, a short central line tube ride from work. Me and my new flatmates have been taking advantage of our few days off before work to explore London.
We have explored Westminster, had lunch in Camden Town, and rode around Hyde Park on the Barclays hire bicycles.

Can’t wait to start work on Monday!

Matt