Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Nature, Y U so Freaky?

So the other day, Matte showed me something that he described as freaky. He showed me this video:

The video is of two slugs mating. Now I can only think of one word that describes it. Disgusting.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Alumni Mingle

On Tuesday I will be going to LiU's yearly alumni mingle together with Matte. I went last year and got to see the dancing robots which LiU's first year computer students get to program (so cute!).

Picture from LiU Alumni Facebook Page
Picture from LiU Alumni Blog
The students get to program these robots to play football to get a practical understanding of how their programming becomes reality. The presenters were two students, one studying Computer Science and the other studying Cognitive Science. Hearing these two speak together was very interesting as they were talking about the same subject from different perspectives.

This year's presentation is going to be about "Myths about career" and I'm really looking forward to this as it being a great opportunity to meet new people, hear where they have ended up and their challenges along the way.

After last years mingle I wrote a blog post about my current job and it was fun going back reading what I wrote back then. The blog post only had a link and not the actual picture so here is the picture now as Halloween draws closer. I want to also take a moment to say, once again, that Snider's drawings are great and if you have a moment to look through his blog you will not be disappointed!
Grant Snider -Axes of Evil
By Grant Snider - Incidental Comics

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Waffle Party

I am in a period of my life where all my energy is focused on work. As work is a touchy subject to write about ( all those NDA's and intellectual rights agreements have a tendency of getting in the way) I am reduced to write about the mere mundane... such as my party last week!

I turned 25 in August and wanted to do a proper celebration. Now August is not a good month to have parties so I combined it with my annual waffle party. Not being able to speak for all I'll just say that I had great fun! The blanket fortress seemed appreciated as it was rarely unoccupied and all of my prepared waffle mixture was eaten. No all time record was beaten (12 is the standing record since 3 years back I think) but B combed in the title of Waffle Eater with a tidy number of 9 waffles.


I always do waffle mixtures from scratch, not being a fan of the ready made mixtures so here is the recipe for those who ant to give it a go. Serves 2 normal people or 3 weaklings:
2 eggs
3-3½ dl flour
0.5 - 1 dl melted butter/margarine
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
Enough milk to make the mixture smooth (somewhere around 4-5 dl)

Mix everything and pour in the milk last to avoid clumps . Count on around 1-1½ dl of mixture per waffle. It usually tastes better if the mixture is prepared the day before.

As everyone seemed too busy eating the waffles than taking pictures of them ( I deem that a success) you can get a picture of me licking a lollipop instead.

The party did however beat the record of the longest party I have held, with the first guests arriving a few minutes after 13, and the last one who was in any condition to leave exiting after 01 in the morning. Lets just say that the blanket fortress seemed to have done a good job of doubling up as a place to sleep.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

New Opportunities

So the questions have been coming in:
"Are you changing jobs?"
"How did you find the job?"
"Don't you like your current job?"
So I thought it best to answer all in one single post.

Are you changing jobs?

Yes, I will be starting my new job at Tictail as a Data Scientist as of 1st December.

Don't you like your current job?

I like my current job as a Data Analyst at Rezidor and I love my colleagues. My decision to change jobs has nothing to do with being unhappy with where I am. It has everything to do with opportunities and the future.

How did you find Tictail?

Well, I didn't. Tictail found me. I recieved an email from Carl (CEO for Tictail). He said that he had found my blog on the internet, found me interesting and asked if I wanted to meet up for a cup of coffee. After some googling to ensure myself that the person wasn't a complete weirdo, I accepted the invitation.

We met up and I realized that this is a passionate person with a drive that could kindle anyone's interest. As he talked about the future of Tictail I could already start thinking about the data potential that lay within it's depth. His last question was direct - "What is holding you back from joining us?"

I asked to meet the rest of the team. A couple of weeks later I got to meet Siavash and J at Tictail's office. Being at the office I saw that the passion and drive was not limited to Carl. We talked numbers, models, analysis and potential. The questions asked were clever, the analysis had depth and I saw that Tictail has smart people with great abilities. We talked future and I saw how Tictail is really focused on getting a good team to deliver a great product. This drive was visible in every person I talked to, and made me realize that Tictail is going to go far.

So, next step is going to be Tictail and I'm excited!

Update: For those who want to join the Rezidor team you can apply to the Data Analyst role on LinkedIn here.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

All time favourite posts

I had a look through my past posts and felt I have to do a recap of the top 3 favourite posts I have written.

Number 3 - Not thinking about your target

I still get annoyed at the Swedish Migration department when I re-read this one. That the Swedish departments can be so narrow-minded that they cannot even think of the simplest help for the people they have contact with.

Number 2 - Feminism - Does it really matter

This was my first post that caused a stir. I have not changed my views and it was definitely interesting to read the comments that came up when posting it on Social media.

Number 1 - Meeting Gaming Misconceptions

This post has been on my most popular post list ever since I published it. I have used the responses when I have received the jabs about gaming with great success.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Not everything is at it seems...

Words are about creating pictures or ideas in other people's heads. When trying to engage other people you will pull from your own experiences and try and describe situations in words that will make sense to the other person.

This can be difficult when two people have not had similar experiences. I remember trying to describe the concept of a library to one of my Turkish friends who had never been outside the town she lived in.

But the problem of incomprehension is not the only obstacle. Words have amazing power and each person will attach experiences, pictures, and even emotions to the words. This is made abundantly clear when speaking with multi-lingual people.Suddenly everyday phrases can take on a whole new dimension when seeing the person's look of surprise, horror or confusion. Some examples:

  • "I went for a lovely long jump last night."
  • Overhearing a teacher shouting "DIE!!" to the students.
  • When an expecting mother who decides to share her news exclaims "I'm embarrassed!"
It doesn't matter how well you know languages, you will always have a stronger connection to a sound in one language than in another. This makes the brain leap to conclusions before it has time to evaluate which language the other person is speaking in. In the above cases:
  • "Spring" is the Swedish word for run. The same word means "jump" or "bounce" in German.
  • "Die" means "Enough" is Hebrew.
  • The word for pregnant in Spanish is "embarazada"
When learning languages you need to spend time working out which pictures/ideas/emotions to connect to the sounds. When there already exists emotions connected to the sounds you are hearing, it becomes harder to break or expand the bonds.

I still smile when I'm driving around Sweden and see the signs below. It's not very helpful as I probably take the speed bumps at a higher speed than I should, having attached a happy emotion instead of a careful emotion to the word.

And for those who are as fascinated by data visualisation as I am, Small World of Words is a cool website showing what word association people have and comparing how it differs to a standard Thesaurus. 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Facing a Blank Page

I stare at the blank page that is placed in front of me when I click on "Create new post". Just before I had a multitude of ideas swirling in my head. Thinking that if I just sit down and start writing I'll be able to get some order to them I opened a page. They disappear. And it's not the first time. The feeling of seeing an empty page and the inability to be able to write down what was in your head is depressing to say the least.

I am not talking about writers block. I have constant moments in my everyday life where I'm thinking, "I should write about that" or "that is an interesting topic". But they will hide away when I am placed face first to a page that I am expected to fill.

As I do with all the problems in my life I Google it. Halfway through page two (Yes, I am one of those who will actually look at the second page) I find a blog called "Write to Done" giving a name to this problem. He calls it writer's log jam and I think the name is very appropriate.

My main way of getting out of the jam is to just start writing about what I have done during the day. It almost always leads to tangent subjects that I can then finally get down on paper. I have to agree with Walter Benjamin:
"Never stop writing because you have run out of ideas. [...] Fill the lacunae of inspiration by tidily copying out what is already written." - Walter Benjamin
In the day of copy/paste being a couple of keystrokes (or Alt-E-S-V if you're working in Excel) this can seem outdated. But I take it to heart. Actually sitting and typing away words that have already been written or just writing the everyday happenings of your life gives you a focus and releases the fear of the empty page.

Snoopy -Writer's block