Monday, July 24, 2006

Google Maps

V.exciting, but tomorrow I finalise the agreement on an apartment in alt-stadt Zurich; anyway for all those who are coming to visit me, or are thinking of visiting me, or just want to see a cool use of Goolge applications, then:

Google Maps reference

Google Earth reference

Friday, July 21, 2006

Senior Java Developer, UBS

Europstrasse 2, originally uploaded by markyjones.

Well, it is not often I post about work, but yes for the last month, I have been working at UBS, Opfikon, Zurich, Switzerland. I have been significantly impressed with the IT department I have been assigned to, for a number of reasons:

(1) openness to new approaches / ideas! with a new project in scope, there has been open discussion about the technologies to implement, design patterns to use, etc.
(2) egoless developers who are involved in design, and architects who develop! a strong core set of senior developers who are professional, adept and continuous learners; most technical issues have been dealt with a fair amount of common sense
(3) good collaboration; use of online chat is pervasive; so instead of meetings, online chat, with multiple people is encouraged - this works suprisingly well especially when dealing with teams offshore (e.g. India)
(4) a license for IntelliJ v.51 and v6 - hello world!
(5) ability to stream the TDF to one of my 2 monitors; too good

Will try and post a better photo in some time ;)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Moments in sport ...

I don't know why, but I am fixated by world sporting events at the moment - maybe because I am in the heart of summer, or maybe because I am more active currently than I have been for quite a while.

Anyway, I just thought I would say that the next few days in the Tour de France (TDF) will be fascinating. To provide some background for the uninitiated, the TDF is in its final week - it is particulary interesting this year as it is sans Lance Armstrong (who won the last 7 TDFs!), and a cohort of other well-known / favourite cyclists who have been suspended from the TDF for suspicion of involvement with drugs (e.g. Ivan Basso, Jan Ulrich, etc.).

So what makes the next few days so interesting, well the 5 or so cyclists (including the Australian Cadel Evans) in contention are going to take on some of the highest mountains of the Alps (see this blog dated Sunday 16 July, for a great description). It starts with the L'Alpes d'Huez one of the most famous / infamous climbs of the TDF - if you are near the commentary don't miss it. I must admit I will be barracking for Floyd Landis, anyone who can compete for the TDF with no hip (i.e. he needs a hip replacement, he can't climb stairs, or run) must be admired in terms of pain-tolerance, drive, and ambition.

PS: On a side note, I went for a ride from Zurich-Bubikon on the weekend, a measly 75km which was v.enjoyable; but I was more impressed with the output from the Polar watch that my fellow rider was wearing (see below) - definately v.tempted to buying one duty - free.

And yes that last climb was tiring!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Zurich, Switzerland in summer ...

Well, I have spent 4 weeks now in Switzerland, my first European summer since my teenager years; whoa I'm impressed. It has averaged here 30+ degrees for the last 4 weeks, this has allowed me to get a lot of cycling in, you can see some of the photos I have taken here:

Switzerland Cycling - Beckenried
Switzerland Cycling - Bouchs
Switzerland Cycling - Engelberg
Switzerland Cycling - Stans, Stanstad

I also have been able to spend my first weekend in Zurich, and it is a very European city - no buildings over 6 floors tall, beautiful architecture, and lots of churches ;) Anyway, I will no doubt have a more insightful report on Zurich once I lived here longer, but I couldn't resist, publishing these 2 photos of the river Limmat, and the alt-stadt of Zurich.

Grossmunster, originally uploaded by markyjones.

Will contrast this blog with another one, once Winter comes ... he he

TAGS: Zurich Switzerland

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Inspiration ...

I just thought I would discuss the blogs; for those uninitiated blogs, according to the wikipedia are commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal diaries. So why read them? well because they are relevant and a dyanamic plug-in to one's interests. If you have no interests, then blogs are not for you ;)

I actually believe that blogs amuse me (thanks to a few friends with good, if infrequent writings), influence me, and even inspire me. How? Well what if you could read about the people's thoughts semi-daily of those that have made great achievements, or are trying to do so. To illustrate, firstly, most people would know (or maybe not) that Lonely Planet is a Melbournian company founded by Tony Wheeler 30 or so years ago - he has a blog and what a way to read about the spirit of travel (he is currently in Afghanistan!); secondly everyone knows Lance Armstrong, but what about Floyd Landis, currently second in the Tour de France, he writes daily about what he is going through and how he is riding with no hip (he has required hip replacement surgery for 2 years)! So one does not have to wait until the autobiography - one can just read about it online, everyday.

So who inspires you?

Friday, July 07, 2006

World Cup - the end spiel

I just thought I would put in my 2 cents re: World Cup final.

I think this will be an absolute fascinating game.

Italy (who have played the best game in the World Cup so far to down Germany) with a very non-Italian offensive style have been technically brillant. The passes they set up are tight and quick; they have a midfield with offensive style in Totti, and sturdy defense in the 'angry man' Gattuso. And even with the smallest central defender ever (in the wily Cannavaro), they are looking strong.

France, have been moody, enigmatic, and brillant. The best game they have played was against Brazil (where they should have played against 10 men, but for one of the worst umpiring decisions I have seen this World Cup), nonetheless, some of the moves of Zizou were a throwback to younger days. France also has possibly the player of the tournament in their team in the scarred face Ribery. The defense has been strong led by Thuram, and with Zidane, Henry, Ribery up front, they have the class for something special (just remember the goal Zizou scored in the European Championship league final).

So who do I go for? Well the story is for France, and just like I always went for Brisbane Lions (as they played the best form of AFL), I will go for France - if this team wins, it will 2 World Cups, 1 European Championship in a 8 year stanza and possibly one of the greatest soccer teams in the last 30 years with the likes of Zizou, Thuram, Henry, etc..

Can't wait.