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Non-vacation related update

Thank you for still being around. As much as I'm trying to keep this up to date I keep getting further and further behind on my update schedule. I'm very, very sorry. However, don't think it's because I'm slacking off. I'm working on allowing people to omment on what I post.

I've done a preliminary version of the comments system but you would need to authenticate to post. This means I'm going to ask you to create user accounts, so I want to make sure they're secure and to do that I'll have to redesign the user database and improve password encrryption. I'm currently trying to educate myself on the best practices of developing an authetication system. Still, I'm on vacation so it's going slow. Sorry.

In case you're wondering why I'm not using Facebook and/or Google authetication, I will but wanted to get my own in place first. I promise that if I'm not done by Wednesday, I'll add Facebook authentication. I know it's a long time to wait but I'm still on vacation - I'll be happy to get any time with my laptop this week.

Singapore (5)

Hello friends,

Still checking my blog? Great! I know I haven't been the most timely person in updating you on my vacation but I have some cool pictures and videos to show you and you'll see them later on.

I've been dragging Singapore for ages but that's because it was an awesome place and I did a lot there. I also had my chill-out lazy days, my “it's rainy so I can't go out” days and I even had a few days when my plans had to be postponed for various reasons (I promise to save the entire address of places from now on :)) ).

I promise to be done with Singapore in the next 2-3 posts.

After my trip to the Zoo I went back to Sentosa island - I still had a few rides that I had skipped during my previous visit. I'm talking about MegaZip Park with it's MegaJump (jumping from a very tall tower, can't remember how tall, I'm guesstimating about 15m), MegaClimb (a set of suspended obstacle courses) and of course MegaZip (a somewhat long zip-line). Oh, and let's not forget MegaBounce (one of those trampoline where you wear a harness). Cool thing: the guy that
was supervising Mega made me realize I am relying a lot on my hands when
I try to flip, which I'm not surprised to learn but I wasn't aware of. Must work on fixing this. Challenge accepted!!!

Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to carry my camera with me so I don't have any pictures but I leave you with this video from MegaZip :)

In the evening I went training with the Singapore Parkour club because yes, I started doing parkour. Again no photos from during training mainly because I'm at kindergarden level and I'll wait to have something to show off before sharing any pictures or videos.

However, I must say that the people I met at the parkour club are amazing. Some are beginners, just like me, whilst others have been doing this since forever and, damn, they can do some crazy stuff. And they're all fun to hang with. Literally…
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10205823010227910&set=vb.1037010572 [facebook.com]

I think from this point on my days started getting into a routine - similar but not the same- and looked mostly like early (i.e. noon) hike, then rushing to Sentosa - we'll leave why for later, then rushing for my evening activities - more details about these in a future post ;)

Singapore (4)

For my next day in Singapore there's nothing much to say so this post will be short and sweet but I'll make up for it with lots of photos and maybe even some videos.

I spent the day at the zoo and finished off with nighty safari. Don't believe TripAdvisor when they say 2-3 hours… Neither of them.

Anyways, sit back, keep scrolling and enjoy :)

The zoo was one of most impressive zoos I've visited (not that I've visited that many).

White tiger chillin'


Playing hide-and-seek .

Creatures of the deep… sort of

Knowing their neighbors

Sorry guys. Nature must be one of those man-hating feminist :P

Lazy ***

I like how the taimers/keepers were just hanging out with the elephants.

More Zoo visitors :)))

One (several?) big happy family

Reminds me of childhood - I used to love climbing trees

I know I'm supposed to show happy-happy pictures from my happy-happy vacation, but I don't want to brush this guy aside. Meet the polar bear at the Singapore Zoo. :( Out of all the animals I've seen, this is the one I felt most sorry for. I'm sure that behind the glass there is plenty of cool air, but he's still an animal from a very cold climate brought into one of the hottest place on Earth. That simple idea is cruel. :(

I bet these guys are not as miserable as the polar bear


What are you looking at?

Jet lag

Better work ethics from the lioness :)

Found Pinocchio!!!

Just wanted to show off their play-ground.

On to Night Safari. Night Safari is also Zoo that you visit at night. The animals are not in cages per-se but they are kept in their spaces by gaps, fake rivers and other natural-looking fences so you get a feel of walking through a jungle. They also have shuttles that circuit the zoo and you can hop on and off or explore on foot as much as you want. The place is a great idea and the person that came up with it is a genius.

Just for the record, the fun part is not the animals you see - some of them are hard to spot in the dark whilst the others are simply sleeping. I know Night Safari is supposed to feature mostly nocturnal animals, but I swear some were sleeping.

Oh, and speaking of sleeping animals… Dear Night Safari, if the tiger wants to sleep, let the tiger sleep. It doesn't have to snack when you want to, just so a handful of people get a snapshot.

Back to what I was saying… The fun part of Night Safari is more about walking through the jungle in the dark (yes, you have a lit path but the rest is pitch dark).

Final thing I feel the need to mention is that I've never stayed in such a long queue as the one for Night Safari shuttle and I hope to never have to stay through anything similar again. It took 30 minutes to get on -while shuttle after shuttle full of visitors left the station.

Sadly I didn't take any photos on Night Safari. IT was an amazing experience and I didn't want to live it from behind a camera. Hope that's understandable.

That's it for today. Hope you enjoyed the pictures and I leave you with the video collage I made to give you a better idea of that the Zoo is like.

*This video took ages to make and upload, but now that it's done I can work on catching up on blogging about my vacation.

Singapore (3)

Thursday was spent on Sentosa island. The most amazing place of them all. Finally got to try the flying trapeze - I'm totally going back.:D as well as a few other attractions. Totally going back for more trapeze swings and to check out the rides in MegaZip park.

I was really looking forward to going there not only because I had heard of all the great things there are to do there, but I was anxious about trying their trapeze. I'd go as far as saying the entire island is an entire adventure park. It's not really, but it feels that way.

I had bought myself a fun pass allowing me to go on several of their rides so I wanted to make sure I get through those first. A few highlights from the “rides” included in my pass:

- some good 3D-cinema. 2 of 3 is how 3D-cinema should be done. My critique for the one that I didn't like: Those special effects are there to make the audience they are part of the action, and if the movie is following a group of people I should be made to feel like I am one of them. When one of the main characters stabbed a giant lizard, I don't know what inspired them but they felt the need to make me feel the stabbing sensation as well. Why?

- the aquarium. Best aquarium I've seen so far. There were even some bits so serene calming, I could have stayed there all day. The only thing missing is a conveyor belt like they have in Edinburgh's Deep Sea World.

At first I thought the legs were a prop, but it was a real person. There were employees all over the place carefully cleaning the tanks. Was happy to see they try to take good care of the fish.

If they had some benches in front of this tank I could sit there for hours. I really liked the atmosphere.

Fishies!!! :)

- the butterfly park, nice but small and bloody butterflies kept flying away so I couldn't take a single picture of them… so annoying

I guess someone else had it with the butterflies escaping as well. :( I'll admit it's easier to photograph them this way.

- and of course, last but not least the trapeze. Only did one swing this time as I was running short on time. Over the rest of my time in Singapore I went to Sentosa quite few times for more trapeze training. More about this, in a future post.

Singapore (2)

Later in the first week I decided to venture further form the city center so I picked a few places in the West side of the city: Discover Singapore, Jurong Bird Park and the Chinese and Japanese gardens.

As per ususal, I only managed to leave the hostel at noon. Add an 1h journey time and it was already pretty late, but I figured the gardens probably don't have closing time so I would be able to stay out a little late.

I don't why but I expected Dicover Singapore to be a more sciency museum - something related to science developments that happened in Singapore. It was in fact about, well, Singapore. Surprising, right? To be more specific, it was about Singapore's journey as an independent nation. It was somewhat intereseting, but it didin't really capture my attention as much as other places I have been to. One thing that was very enteratining was a shooting for which they had rigged real guns to play with. Even got some pictures (I'm thinking new profile pictures for FB ;)) ):

Just remember, I'm damn dangerous >:)

Moving on to Jurong Bird Park. It's one of my favourite things I've done/seen in Singapore. If I move there, I'm totally getting one of those year-long passes so that I can go in whenver I want. Just a few things I've seen there is a birds of prey show

and I got to feed the lorries. I even tried to train them to stand on my arm and on my shoulder while I feed them:

I'm a true bird whisperer indeed. :D

Sadly, I didn't get to finish visiting the bird park because they had to close and the security people there gave me and some other late visitors a ride to the main entrance. By now I was too tired to go to the Chinese and Japanese gardens as I would have had to make my way to another bus and it was getting rather late so decided to leave that for another day. Somewhow - in my head - I had all the in the world. True at the time, but in the end I didn't visit the gardens at all, as I was told by loacals that they weren't worth visiting.

In the end no garden visiting for me :( - I guess I have to leave some things for next visits to Singapore :D

In Singapore (1)

During the first few days I visited the marina bey quite a lot - there are plenty of things to see there and it took me a while to navigate without Internet. I'll include a few pictures of what you can see in marina bay. But I'll upload more of them on my G+ account.

First of all the bay itself looks great and there are plenty of things to see just there.

However, what really got my breath was the Gardens by the bay, with its flower dome, cloud forest and of course the supertree grove which you can see from afar.

* since I'm posting this with a huge delay you get a spoiler: I'll be seeing the gardens again towards the end of my time in Singapore and the view will be more breathtaking :) - if that's even possible

On the fourth day I made my way to Chinatown, to see a couple of temples

- at least that's all I initially wanted from there but I've been going there everyday since. I just love the variety of food available (it's cheap too), or it might have something to do with the free Wi-Fi they have covering almost the entire neighborhood - partly why I've been able to stay sane without mobile Internet.

A few days after this, I finally gave in and bought a local SIM card. I must say life is magical with mobile Internet.

I'm on vacation!! :D

So, I'm in Singapore.

Yup folks, if you're looking for me these days I'm in Singapore. :D I arrived a week and a half ago and I thought it's time to update the world as to what I've been up to. I started writing this big post about everything I've been doing, where I'm staying but at this rate I'll never finish so I'll just write a little bit at a time. I hope to write often enough to catch up with all I've been doing.

I've scheduled 2 weeks in Singapore thinking that that would be enough. Nope. :-| Well, it's sort of my fault as well as I had a few days when I was just lazy. In particular in the first few days, I didn't visit many attractions, I just walked around the neighborhood my hostel is in to get to know it better - did the same with the local public transportation.

Somehow, my exploration got me to the Marina Bay. However at the time I wasn't sure what was what so I just snapped some photos of the pretty area and went back home.

I know, I know. It all sounds boring. Did I mention I was lazy over the first couple of days? Trust me, it gets better.

Here are some of the photos I snapped of just Singapore. I hope you enjoy :)

Why I wanted to do an internship

Why are we(students) doing an internship? Why aren't we just going to the beach and enjoying our summer? Well, some of us are doing this for the money, for the experience, for impressing future employers or maybe there's a company we would like to work for and this is an excellent opportunity to spend some time with them.
In my case it's a bit of everything. Since I started university I knew (or thought) that having an internship is imperative to finding a job when I graduate (I guess it's not really but it greatly improves your chances). I'm actually surprised when I hear other students say they haven't yet decided if they're going to do an internship over the summer.
While I was internship hunting, I starting seeing the value of an internship: the experience I would be getting would help me to step in the industry and be prepared for what I would find. Beginnings can be slow, but practice makes perfect so I starting a job is not going to be so much of a shock. Like on many other occasions I believe that working harder now will make life easier for me later.
I got offered an internship with an amazing company, so now I'm just trying to take advantage of where I am and trying to learn as much as possible in this short amount of time. I'm happy about how things are going, and even if I get annoyed when my code isn't working I wouldn't want to change anything about this experience.

My internship

Today I'll be talking a bit about how my internship is going. If I'm not mistaken this is week 9 of my internship.
I'm working on a new feature of an internal product. My project is starting to come to life and is effects are becoming more and more visible. I'm actually starting to believe that I will manage to finish it on time.
I'm generally happy about how it's going for a few reasons. Firstly, I believe this time the code I'm writing is here to stay. The feature I'm working on will be a very visible change to the product, and many people are looking forward to it.
Secondly, I've written tests for some of my code, which is a habit I am trying to pick up.
Also, I am exercising my writing skills by doing some writing outside work (such as this blog post), because my project does not involve that much writing.
And finally, I will get to exercise my presentation skills: I knew I was going to present my project at the end, but now I have to prepare a short demo - luckily, it's with two other people on my team, so 1/3 of a presentation is good exercise.
All in all, I couldn't have thought of a better way to spend my summer: in an awesome company, working on a project I enjoy.

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