travelling

Back from Madeira

There is another photo gallery in the Photos section, this time from the honeymoon trip to Madeira. Since the first question most people ask is "where is it?" - it's an island located on the Atlantic Ocean, about 500 km north from the Canary Islands and 700 km west from Morocco. It's not very big (57 km long and 22 km wide) and politically it's an autonomous region of Portugal, so it's one of the most exotic parts of the European Union.

You won't find anything interesting there if you're looking for night life, clubbing and rich all-inclusive offer. Especially if you stay on the northern side of the island, like we did. The hotel was literally wedged between a very steep mountain slope and the shore of the ocean; the nearest town had just one church and a few shops. But it's a great place if you are looking for a place away from civilization and enjoy the view of mountains, forests and the sea. It has a very gentle climate - not too hot or too cold - and a lot of sun. Within the last 10 years a new airport and modern roads were built, so the communication is also very good.

I returned from vacations two weeks ago (in the meantime briefly visiting Slovenia as a member of my company's management team) and it's been quite a busy time. Very soon you can expect a new stable release of the WebIssues Client with some bug fixes and new translations. I'm also in the planning stage of the third alpha release of WebIssues 1.0. Saladin, which I introduced in the last post, it also coming into shape and in fact I'm already using it as my personal file manager. But I would like the first public version to make a really good impression, so it's going to take a while before I release it.

Filed under: Blog

Vacations in Spain

Traditionally at this time of year I spent vacations in the Mediterranean area, this time it was Spain and this time I went with my girlfriend :). It was a 7+7 trip - seven days travelling around the country and seven days stay on Costa Brava in a nice all-inclusive hotel just near the beach. We visited all major cities - Saragossa, Madrit, Toledo, Cordoba, Sevilla, Granada, Barcelona, and more. It's a great country with very rich culture. As always I added some new photos to the gallery.

I was quite funny when we went to Gibraltar. By plain coincidence Teresa was wearing a white shirt and a red skirt, Polish national colors, which apparently happen to be Gibraltar national colors as well. At that day there was a national holiday so everyone were celebrating in the streets wearing white and red clothes; people took her for a Gibraltarian and sometimes it was quite difficult to find her in the crowds :). Anyway, it was a nice thing to experience a tiny bit of Great Britain (especially that I've never been to England) and drink a Guinness in a British pub :).

Another thing that I've seen for the first time was the famous economic crisis. You see, in Poland crisis only appears in some newspapers and in the mouths of some populist politicians; we're the only country in EU to have positive GDP growth rate and one of the lowest unemployment rate (although sadly some companies, especially large ones, still find an excuse to save costs on their employees). But Spain was heavily struck with the crisis; unemployment rate is growing near to 20% and a very visible symptom is unfinished building constructions in many places, including an entire commercial center near Granada.

Now I'm back to the serious work on version 1.0 of WebIssues which I mentioned in my previous post; a nice piece of the server's framework is already done, the protocol handler is rewritten and a new setup script is mostly finished. Although my initial attempts to gather a development team had failed, it looks like I finally found a good partner, so chances are the prototype of the web client is going to emerge soon. I'm also going to start defining the new features for version 1.0; there are lots of requests from users but obviously everything cannot be done at once and I want to avoid the second-system effect so I'm going to be conservative :). Also in October I'm going to finally release a new version of Fraqtive with minor bug fixes and improvements and I will update the Qt articles, so it looks like the last quarter of this year is going to be very productive.

Filed under: Blog

Hellfest 2009

A few days ago I was in France at the Hellfest open air festival. Three days, four stages and over 100 bands representing all major genres of metal. Among them there were many bands which I've never seen or even heard before, so it was a good opportunity to discover something new. Besides it was actually the first time I've been to such an event; I must say it was a really great experience, "fuckin' awesome" as Robb Flynn from Machine Head best described it. Also the weather was sunny and very hot, I even burned my forehead and nose a little bit, but that's quite usual in hell that you get burned, isn't it? ;)

We went by car and it took almost 24 hours driving one way, but at least we could stop when and where we wanted. On the way back we visited Paris, went to the Notre Damme cathedral and obviously the Eiffel Tower. There are some photos in Iron's web gallery if you're interested. Anyway, there is something to remember for a long time and obviously I can't wait to go to the next festival.

In the meantime, my flat started to look like a place to live. Two rooms are mostly done and the third one is in progress. Using the dining table and the bed after returning from the festival was a really nice thing, not to mention the bath tube :). There's still a lot to do, but these are small things and there is no need to rush. I should be able to find some time for pleasure, for example listen to music or watch some movies. Also I should catch up with WebIssues a little bit. The development version of the client will reach "release candidate" soon and I can't wait to finally start doing some serious work on version 1.0 of the server while I still have some motivation.

Filed under: Blog

Vacations in Greece

Oh how I just needed it! The good thing about having vacations in the second half of September is that you can make summer last a bit longer. The weather in the entire southern Europe was much more rainy than usually at this time, but it was still much, much better than in Poland. The result is that I came back very well tanned and obviously relaxed and full of energy. The city of Laganas located on the Zakynthos island was indeed a very nice place. I wouldn't recommend it if you prefer peaceful and quiet places, especially with all that young Englishmen having access to all-inclusive alcoholic drinks ;), but I personally don't mind it. As always I uploaded a few photos to the photo gallery.

Just after returning, a few hours before the deadline, I made the final submission of WebIssues to the Qt Center Programming Contest. I want to make the final release of version 0.9.3 as soon as possible and immediately start working on the next version; there are a few cool ideas to put into life. Autumn and winter somehow make me more motivated to work on various things and to look for new opportunities, so I think that by the end of the year a lot of things may still go well.

Filed under: Blog

A few weeks in Poland

It's quite a curious period now because last week I returned from Canada and in two weeks I'm going to Greece, so I'm spending more time abroad than here in Poland; which is obviously a good thing ;). So first a few words about the last trip - or if you prefer to see for yourself, you can go straight to the photo gallery. It was really great time for at least two reasons. First, I finally met all the guys I've been working with for the last three years. Second, seeing America for the first time is really an amazing experience. The scenery in Vancouver and Whistler is simply beautiful (when the weather is good). The variety of food styles was great, after all it's a very multicultural place. Besides I had a chance to taste a little bit of the "high life" - an exclusive hotel, houses worth millions of dollars, expensive cars and all that cool stuff that in Poland is still reserved mostly for gangsters :). Well, they've got the product and the market; they get the fruit. I have at least an honest satisfaction of well done job and feel a little bit ahead of my Hindi and Chinese competition ;). Besides I really appreciate the fact that I had a chance to be there.

Shortly after arriving back to Poland a girl that I've been seeing a few times told me that "we can be friends"; but that was actually a big step forward compared to the misery of the past two years. I'm using the online dating service simply because I don't have anywhere else to look, but I'm not really convinced that it's a good place for me. Let's be honest, it's a goddamn marketplace; and it's the XXI century, so nobody cares too much about the contents, it's all about the packaging. And I realize that's not my strongest attribute. It's not that I have a low self-esteem, actually my personal opinion is quite different, but the extrapolation of the past experiences seem to well confirm that. Or did I just take a wrong sample of the population? :>

So now it's time to work a little bit, in the meantime releasing another beta version of WebIssues, and then finally have some vacation from work. I'm going with my friends to a Greek island Zakynthos, a four-star hotel, maybe not as exclusive as the one in Vancouver, but at least it's all-inclusive :). So it's gonna be just two weeks of doing nothing except eating and drinking, and trying to relax; that's what I need most now.

Filed under: Blog
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