Arien vs. The World

A couple of days ago I was reading one of my favorite sites and I saw someone requesting feedback for an idea. As I read it I was thinking, “this can’t be happening!”. I had the exact same idea a couple of months ago!

It’s not really the first time that I have one idea and I find it already exposed (or even executed) after doing some research. I mean, it’s rather hard to come up with something that nobody thought about before, isn’t it? So many brains thinking at the same time, it’s bound to happen… So, I wasn’t surprised by it that much. The shock came because the line of thinking we both had was actually the same, almost word by word. You can approach this idea in many, many ways, because it’s really simple, but he took exactly the one I did.

Right after reading his message I felt like something had been stolen from me, and I don’t mean the idea itself (OK maybe I do, but just a tiny bit), but the excitement about it. But at the same time I felt happy to see that someone other than me had the same necessity that made me think of it, because it meant it really was a useful idea. Disappointment and reassurance. I was kind of stunned for a few minutes, thinking about this issue and about how I reacted (I swear I should have studied psychology, human reactions are just too amusing, specially my own).

I was really curious about what he exactly had in mind, so I wrote to him so we could talk about it some time. As I said, I had this idea a couple of months ago and thought it would be very useful. I tried to find something similar but there was really nothing out there. So I wrote the specs of the idea and put it in my “ideas box”(tm), as usual. I asked around and didn’t get too good feedback, so the idea remained on the box for the last two months. Until I read this message. After the initial mixed feelings I’m inspired again to work on it.

Now I wonder, how long will the inspiration last? But I know the answer already. Right until another brilliant idea crosses my mind and makes me think this is a silly waste of time compared to it. And at the rate I come up with new ideas, I probably have about half day left… SIGH!

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When you work on a company that is known to a certain degree on the internet world, you can find people who like it and people who don’t. The extremes (love it/hate it) are usually the loudest, specially the haters (e.g. Microsoft) although the lovers can also be quite loud sometimes (e.g. Google, Apple).

But what do you do when you work in one of these companies (no, I don’t work for any of the mentioned above, uh) and meet a hater? When they say, “pff, that company is just a bunch of scammers trying to get your money”. You know that’s not true, because it almost never is. Companies exist for money, yes. But successfully companies don’t raise to the top by scamming people. They do by providing services, which some may consider more or less useful, but that’s subjective.

Look at Microsoft. Many Windows haters, but where would computer world be without it? Would be either restricted to geeks who can use Linux or people with enough money to buy Macs. How lovely.

Anyway, I digress. What do you do when you meet one of these haters? Whenever I read or hear someone dissing my company like that, it just gets on my nerves. It doesn’t really matter what they say, since they are not users, just outsiders with big mouths. But still, it pisses me off so much. They don’t understand that people in these companies are just normal people, like you and me. That their work isn’t to scam anyone, but try to help by providing a service. And that we need to pay our bills, so we don’t mind if we can get money while providing such services. Is that so bad, I wonder? Is it??

Sigh.

At work we can ask for formation, courses, etc. to expand our knowledge in our areas of interest. Finally we have resources dedicated exclusively for this task, and woah, they’re out of bubblegum! They want us to take the MySQL Certification exams this year, to know PHP5 as if we had coded it ourselves and so on. It’s nice to know that formation is now really a priority in the company, although it comes with small nasty surprises.

Like today’s. We were told a month or so ago that there would be an exam about PHP5 and MySQL Soon(tm). And that “Soon(tm)” was actually this morning. We have a meeting scheduled, and when we get there, bam! “Hi guys, enjoy the exam, k?”. Would have been a great moment to make us a pic, I bet.

Oh well, I never liked surprise exams, but the purpose of this one was more like an autoevaluation, so it wasn’t that bad. I got to the conclusion that I should reread the theory and the documentation of PHP again, because even though I knew what some of the questions were refering to, I couldn’t find the words to describe them. And yes, much to my dismay there were a few things I couldn’t answer because I didn’t know or had completely forgotten… So I hope I have some time to study, I surely can use it.

On a less self-depressing note, tomorrow the English classes start again at work! I love to have this small break. On hard work days it’s so relaxing to go there and have fun while polishing my English skills… Tiny things like this make this job worthwhile in the worst moments 🙂

People started uploading the pictures they took at the Barcelona PHP Conference to Flickr. I completely forgot to take any, but looking at the awesome pictures, I don’t mind much, there’s plenty and very well done. It’s funny to see there’s a lot of slides from Jens’ presentation (which you can see in full detail here). I’m glad to see people found it useful, he worked hard to make it interesting.

Anyway, you can find them here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/phpbcnint08/

If you happen to have been at the conference and have pics to share, remember to add the tag ‘phpbcnint08‘ to them so they get added to this listing, would be a pity to miss them.

Enjoy! And spot me if you can 😛

Some colleagues from work had the brilliant idea of making a group trip to visit Japan next year. Being the geeky girl I am, and being so crazy about all things Japanese, I can’t but cheer at this iniciative and join them.

We met on Sunday to talk about the initial route proposal. The original plan is to travel around September next year, going across the country (north to south) in 15-20 days. We would start at Sapporo (Hokkaido) and end our adventures in Nagasaki or Okinawa, depending on the length of our stay. We have scheduled visits to the most important cities (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, etc) as well as some smaller towns. Also temples, museums, and natural parks. Sounds so exciting! I hope we have time to see everything!

The trip won’t be cheap, around 3.000€ per person (I bet it will be more), so that’s a big challenge for me. I’m actually not sure I can make it, because financially speaking I’m in a tight spot  (crisis ftl). But hope is the last thing one has to give up, and I’m determined to at least try to save enough money to make the trip, while not harming my daily economy.

So, we have one year to save up money, to gather useful information for the trip (where to stay, what to do) and to learn some Japanese (ohayo!). Websites like Kirai‘s are going to be so useful. Countdown starts now!

By the way, we have an official mascot of our trip as of yesterday. Meet Cosplay Doraemon!

Last Saturday I assisted to the PHP Conference 2008, in Barcelona (well, in Cornellà). I think it was a nice event in general, very interesting and possibly better than last year’s.

Despite being the “Barcelona PHP Conference”, it was all held in English, which wasn’t bad at all. One of the speakers was a coworker of mine, Jens Bierkandt. He talked about how to pimp (lol) high volume websites. We are quite experienced on this at work, having so many visits and pageviews and all that, so the presentation itself wasn’t enlightening for me, but I think it was very well exposed. For anyone interested in the magic formula, you can find the slides of his presentation here.

Besides the presentations, these conferences are useful to know people with the same interests as you. I still think we aren’t enough girls in the PHP scene, but I wonder if it’s just because other girls are smarter than to get involved with PHP, hehe. Had a chance to talk to Scott MacVicar, from Jelsoft, creators of vBulletin (the joy of putting a face to the email address you have complained to is infinite!), Derick Rethans from eZ and Zöe Slattery (yay a girl!) amongst others.

I wasn’t entirely happy about the distribution of the talks, because I missed some I really wanted to see, and assisted to a couple that weren’t specially useful to me. But in any case, I had a great day. And I got this awesome PHP elephant plushie as souvenir. Thanks Scott for the gift! 🙂

I just came back from a presentation of coding contest entries. The contest is organized by my company and pointed at us developers, as a way to get fresh ideas for our website and some R&D done about them. All the participants had such great ideas, it’s amazing what you can build around software. Big clap for everybody.

I had to present my own project, and whew, I was so nervous. However, I think it went well… I worked hard on my PowerPoint presentation and practiced what I wanted to say while writing it. I will always be a shy kitten, so probably didn’t talk loud enough and I stuttered here and there, but it’s done now, and I did my best. It’s a shame the application isn’t ready yet for the public, since I got some requests to see it. This weekend is going to be stressy, the live testing of all the applications starts Monday.

I kinda wish I had teamed with a designer (although Jaumet helped so much :D). Most of the apps looked fancy and flashy, compared to mine. But I tried to focus on the idea and what can be done with it, I hope it makes up for it, somehow. Also, learning a new programming language and a new framework (go go Django!) took most of the time dedicated to the project, and I think it’s better that way.

Oh well, will see who won this contest in a week from now. It will be hard for the judges, in my opinion all the apps were impressive. The price is a juicy MacBook Air or MacBook Pro! I’m not a fan of Apple, but I guess even I can’t say no to a free Mac 🙂

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