Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It still moves

Well, know we know why the Tower of Pisa falls over: it's made of spaghetti. Well, that sounds really confusing, so allow me to explain. The last two days of work have been further induction, covering such necessary and also riveting topics as training, the employee handbook, health and safety, and IT policies. To try to liven it up, they had one of those silly yet sometimes entertaining "team-building" exercises, in this case, to built as tall a tower as possible from spaghetti and marshmallows, within a limited "budget". Our team had the tallest tower:

Unfortunately, by the end of the competition it was looking more like this, so we didn't win.

And for those who might want to know, yes I did feel the earthquake, just as a slight vibration which woke me up, after which I couldn't get back to sleep.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

And... here it is

I'm normally a cheapskate who never buys anything even if I can afford it, but to celebrate my new job, what better extravagance than this?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Random photos

I've taken the odd photo with my cell-phone camera when the opportunity has arisen, and have finally gotten around to extracting them. This was always a pain, and it's become even more painful since it appears that something I've upgraded broke the program I used to use (it now tells me that there was an error, namely, "Success"). My N-formats memory card reader doesn't deal with it either.

So, here's one of my house again (the one on the left). Note the ice on the car windscreen. I don't think I'm in Cape Town any more...

Second one is something crossing the road. Looks like it might be a hedgehog or something similar.

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's off to work we go

So, things have been a bit quiet on the blog front for me since I've settled in and started a job. It's gone pretty well, much better than my first week at NVIDIA, I think because I'm working on a small self-contained project rather than a million-lines-of-code driver. It's also OpenGL-related so I walked in with most of the knowledge I need to do the work, so I'm already rewriting big chunks of code.

This week is going to be a bit different: I'm doing an ARM-internal training course on the ARM architecture, which should be fun because I know a reasonable amount about the x86 architecture (not enough to write an OS, but the basic instruction set and registers performance characteristics), but pretty much zero about the ARM architecture.

Other than that, I didn't do much last weekend. Saturday I pottered around for the morning because I'd made a mix-up with my contact lens cleaning which meant I couldn't wear them for 6 hours, and in the afternoon I bought a scarf. Sunday I took part in the worst-run international programming contest I've ever seen (some Indian thing called Bitwise) which ran for 12 hours, but at least I managed to place well enough to win a 4GB flash drive, which I've been debating buying for a while.

And maybe, finally, I'll actually have my ATM card and be able to use the bank account I opened months ago other than by debit order and internet banking.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Washing... but not as you know it

Well, I'm in my new house, which doesn't come with a microwave, but does come with a combination washer-dryer (I'm not implying that they're interchangeable in any way, although I guess you could try microwaving your clothes dry or reheating your leftovers in the dryer). However, it seems that the American obsession with safety has reached Britain. Unlike normal dryers, which are kind, and clever, and fun to be around... no wait, that's a quotation which isn't relevant. Unlike normal dryers, where you can just open the door, check on progress and pull out things that are dry and close the door on the rest, this one protects you from (gasp!) warm clothing. The door will lock while you're drying your clothes and for two minutes afterwards. This is even after having the last 10 minutes be a no-heat spin, so the clothes are already cool by the time you get them out. And it can't get very hot in the first place, because I had some clothes in there for about 2 hours and they still weren't 100% dry.

Other than that, there are about 8 wireless networks here, all encrypted. My laptop automatically picked up an unencrypted network for a few minutes and was able to tell me I had new mail, after which I lost the connection again.

Virgin Mobile are a bit useless. When I called the first time to arrange to get a bundle on my phone, they insisted they had to send me a new SIM card. It arrived today... and has a totally different phone number. So I call up to complain, and this time they tell me they can add it to my existing account, and within minutes its active. Now I just have to decide whether it's worth the effort to harangue them to get back my £10 on the new and unopened one. On the plus side, I've been pleasantly surprised to find that I haven't had to
wait in a long queue to get service.

UPDATE: I'm now posting this from home on my shiny new 2Mbps broadband connection. Here are some pictures of my house: