A new phase

What happened to me, and why was my site down? Well, I was busy with other things.

During the spring I was busy with doing my final thesis (which can be read in English here or here). That took a lot of my time and many hard weeks later I finally got my Bachelor of Science with a Major in Computer Science (in Swedish: Filosofie kandidatexamen med huvudämnet datalogi). So I guess I’m a web developer with a degree now!

Right after receiving my degree, I got a mail from someone at my university, offering me a job as a research assistant in the field of open source and open standards! At first, I was uncertain about it and was considering declining since I didn’t have a place to live after the summer (I didn’t pass the requirements for my student apartment any more), but I decided I would go to the interview to see what it was all about.

I left the interview with a couple of their previous research papers and I was invited to a second interview, leaving me some time to decide. I was still uncertain, but I was still thinking of declining since I didn’t where to live. However, at the second interview, I decided I would take the job. The pay was good and certainly better than nothing at all. That’s when the hunt for somewhere to live started.

Finding something to rent is pretty much impossible if you haven’t been in the queue for long enough. I’ve been in the queue at the company that ran the student apartments for three year, but you had to have been in the queue for five years before even having a chance. Even at other companies it was impossible, since I hadn’t placed myself in their queue previously. I looked far and wide, in all the nearby cities, with no luck.

I tried looking for renting apartments as a “second hand renter”, I would rent an apartment from someone who rents it from someone else. I did not get much replies on the mails I sent, and the ones I got was a bit dodgy and some sounded like a scam.

After about a month of this and still having nowhere to live, I got desperate. Then by chance, I was looking at apartments that you “buy” (called “bostadsrätt” in Swedish, it’s a type of apartment where you “buy” the apartment in an auction, but you don’t own the apartment, you own a share in the company owning the apartment and the right to live there. You still have to pay monthly.). I had disregarded this option in the beginning since they usually involve a huge investment (in Skövde, it’s not unusual for a one-room apartment to cost 200 000SEK ($29000), being a newly graduated student, I didn’t have anywhere near that).

I found an apartment in a nearby town, 20 minutes away by train, that was being sold at an opening bid of 15 000SEK ($2176) which I could definitely afford. The auction had been open for 7 days already with a bid at 25 000SEK ($3628), and was about to end, when I called them and requested a visit.

It was pretty close to the train station, which was pretty good. The apartment however was small and old. It was on the 3rd floor, no elevator but that didn’t matter. The walls in the room needed to be fixed since the previous owner had made huge holes in the wallpaper, but I knew about that since before since it was stated in the ad. The kitchen was small, could barely fit one person in there. Same with the bathroom, almost no place to move around. But I had no choice, I needed somewhere to live. So I made a bid at 27 000SEK ($3918).

All previous bidders left, and I thought I was safe, until a new bidder came. The price went all the way up to 51 000SEK ($7400). Luckily I got the GSoC stipend last year which I still hadn’t spent as well as some other savings from previous work and an Android app contest I once won, I managed to buy the apartment, but it was just on the limit.

The whole move has been quite stressful. It all started back in July. My old apartment had a terms of notice of 3 months, meaning I had to cancel the apartment 3 months before I move and I’d still have to pay the rent for those 3 months. June and July are free months, so if you are smart, you cancel the apartment in April and you can leave it in July, unfortunately I wasn’t smart and cancelled it a month too late. However, if the new renter would be interested in moving in in August instead of September, then I don’t have to pay the rent.

So I made all the preparations in hope I wouldn’t have to pay for August. I needed a place to move my stuff though, and my mothers friend offered his storage for free, in a town about 130km away. So we moved all of the stuff there, which cost me 1600SEK ($232). Then it turns out the new renter didn’t sign until September, so I had to pay rent anyway, about 4500SEK ($653). Then we had to move all the stuff back to the new apartment when I got access to it, which again cost me about 2000SEK ($290), and I bought some new furniture at IKEA for roughly the same price.

I finally got my stuff moved in but I couldn’t put up much of my furniture since we need to paint the room and it would be a hassle with the furniture in the way. I decided I will do the painting myself together with a friend, since it would be extremely expensive to have a painter do it, so I hope it turns out okay (I chose a light blue paint, btw). I’ll try to document the process and post it here later when it’s done.

Enough of that though. Today marks 2 weeks at my new job. I don’t really know what to say about it. I’m collecting data about how Firefox implements various open web standards. So far I’ve read the Web Storage and the Indexed Database specifications and I have read a lot of bug reports and tried to summarize them. To be honest, it’s a lot to read and it isn’t particularly fun at times (but it’s still interesting). I had rather wanted to code something, but I knew what I was getting myself into, but I still think it’s great experience and good money right out of college. I’m still unsure what exactly I’m supposed to do, and I have a hard time to focus, but it’ll probably get better when I’m more used of it and have a clear path. It’s only a short-term position until the end of the year anyway, then I have to decide if I should sell my newly bought apartment and move somewhere else (closer to webdev jobs) or stay and do some freelancing or something I can do from home.

Canon EOS 1100D

I’ve always liked to take pictures but I only had a digital camera that took worse pictures than my old Samsung Galaxy S2 and my new S4. One thing that I hate is crappy image quality. A phone camera is okay if you want to take a couple of pictures of something interesting you found in your everyday life, as it might be cumbersome to always bring a bigger camera. But when traveling you might want something to take better pictures in mind. Even thought you can get decent pictures from a phone camera in the right conditions, I didn’t trust my S4 to take memorable pictures on my trip to Canada, because knowing myself I would get annoyed by blurry images in the future (thinking back to when I used my mothers rather meh 3mp digital camera on a vacation some 6 years ago when the camera just wouldn’t take a picture of an interesting sign I wanted to save).

I’ve been thinking for a while about getting a dslr but haven’t due to them being quite expensive and it would probably just sit on a shelf anyway. But then my mother mentioned she saw a discounted Canon EOS 1100D at a store. Seemed like a good deal so I went to check up some reviews on it. I figured it’s a good dslr for beginners like me that finds taking pictures fun but may not spend very much time taking pictures. The price makes it a rather good purchase for taking pictures on a vacation.

I haven’t used a dslr before buying this one so I’m still learning a lot of new stuff but so far I’m pretty happy with my purchase. Here’s some pictures I took right after the purchase.

GSoC, phpBB API and hackathon in Canada!

The results from GSoC (Google Summer of Code) has been out for almost 2 weeks now but I haven’t had time to write about it yet. I was one of the six that get to work for phpBB and I’m really excited to do this! As I’ve mentioned earlier I tried to apply to phpBB with the API last year but didn’t have any luck back then but this year I was lucky to be selected.

What I’m gonna do this summer is to create a REST API for phpBB. It would allow developers to create various applications that can interact with phpBB in an easy way. Examples could be mobile applications, desktop applications and more. If you wanna check out my proposal, it’s publicly available here. I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun creating this and I hope it turns out awesome.

Furthermore, I’ve been invited to phpBBs hackathon in Montreal, Canada in July! The event is between July 10 – 14, but I’ve decided to stay a bit longer until July 19 to sightsee a bit and meet up with a friend of mine. It’s gonna be a lot of fun, I’ve only been on a smaller hackathon before that I hosted myself. It will be my first trip outside Europe, I think it’s gonna be awesome.