at 11:13 pm on Sunday 9th June [journal
In preparation for the big move to Berkeley in very slightly over two months time, I've been busy trying to minimise my 'working set' of possessions down to that which would fit in two bags. A lot of my possessions, particularly those bought recently, are quite easy to decide upon. If I don't use them regularly, or haven't used them frequently and don't hold any sentimental value - it either goes on eBay if it has value (yay for marginal supplementary income), or on Freecycle.
It becomes trickier when I start going back in time. I currently live at my parents' house and so am still surrounded by many of my childhood possessions. Several of these were hard-earned, through summer jobs and a lot of hustling on eBay. Others of these were notable 'firsts' - or hold similar sentimental value. For instance, my first model helicopter (a beautiful Thunder Tiger Raptor 30 V2) or about six pairs of clipless bicycle pedals (no idea how or why). Many of these items took me from my formerly obese teenage self to the competitive (but not necessarily quick!) cyclist I am today.
With that in mind, this is a difficult task. As I try to emulate Alex Supertramp and discard myself of everything I absolutely don't need, I realise that it's not possible. I love these memories of the past that are inherently attached to each object I am forced to keep - of the summer evenings we spent flying model aircraft in the park instead of revising for A-levels, of my first mountain bike race, of all the computers I've built over the years, of the many thousands of miles we cycled across that beautiful, beautiful continent. One day I'll come home and bring all of these things with me - not because they're worth anything or because they're necessarily useful but because of all the wonderful stories that they'll help me tell.
at 3:44 pm on Friday 7th June [journal
In 10 days or so, I'll be returning to my secondary school, the Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, to give a talk to parents and students in year 12 about Computer Science. This will be part of an annual careers evening - I'm not sure if they've had a 'representative' for Computer Science in the past but it is a very promising sign that they do this year.
Certainly when I was applying to university to study Computer Science almost eight years ago, there was very little in terms of specific application support. Even worse, three years ago, after graduating, when I went to go speak to the careers advisor at the time, he informed me that "students just don't want to study Computer Science, they just want to stick to professional careers like law, medicine and economics". Needless to say, I was astonished at his lack of foresight. When a student attends a careers evening and all they see are big stands and presentations on traditional professional careers, they're bound to give these more consideration. Equally so, a private school has the responsibility to equip its pupils suitably for changes in society at large - parents may not be aware that a career in technology nowadays can be quite fulfilling, stable and lucrative. (As a computer scientists, my peers and I had no trouble finding good work when graduating into a recession. The same can not be said of my economist friends, several of whom are underemployed or were forced into further study.)
Thankfully that careers adviser has since moved on and HABS is making good efforts to support and nurture any fledgling technologists in their student body. They have a capable head of IT who runs a lunchtime computing society where students are introduced to programming. He's also very current with the latest computing trends (they've already introduced Raspberry Pis into the syllabus) and has plans to adopt the new GCSE computing curriculum.
These are all very positive signs. When smart young pupils spend a considerable proportion of their free time using technology, whether it be their smartphone or their Playstation 3, and want to learn more about how these products are built, there's absolutely no reason why a forward thinking secondary school can't and shouldn't support them all the way.
The slide deck for my presentation is available here. Please feel free to re-use it under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license.
at 3:40 pm on Wednesday 5th June [journal
One of the aspects of my job that I most covet is the amount of new music I get to listen to (loosely in the name of 'work' ;-)).
Over the last few years, I've become a huge fan of reggae music. While I like the older and more classical stuff, I realised there were limited avenues to discover the music produced by more modern millennial artists.
With that in mind, my friend Siva (who is also a huge reggae fan) and I recently launched a new music blog to showcase and promote our favourite millennial reggae music.
Millennial Roots is online at http://millennialroots.net. We're hoping to post regular updates a couple of times a week at least.
You can also find us on Soundcloud, Twitter and Facebook.
"Power runs with ideas that only the crazy would draw into doubt." - Lawrence Lessig