Thursday, August 31, 2006

Only in London...?

I really love London. In the past I could take it or leave it, but as I've got older and got out there a bit on my own its really grown on me. There is the lively hustle and bustle of it, the fact you can do anything you want whenever you want, and the great transport - but most of all its the lunatics that really set it apart in my opinion.

The other day I was minding my own business waiting for a tube at Finsbury Park to arrive; I sat down on a bench next to what appeared to be a perfectly normal person - until they started mumbling that is. "Oh yeah....Oh - yeah... oooo" as they were caressing what appeared to be a guitar bag. I turned away for a moment, but turned back when he started playing his guitar to see the guy now stooped over, leaning right over his instrument (oo-er!). It wasn't actually too bad - fairly run of the mill Spanish sounding music. A few people further down the platform ignored the music, probably thinking - like I was - that it was a busker. But then the music started getting more and more unhinged - syncopated and faster. And it got faster, and faster. I'm no musician but it must have been about 300bpm and it was insane. Imagine a typical generic Spanish sounding folk tune played about two or three times faster than it should be. Someone who looked like a London Underground employee - complete with radio - walked past once, and then walked back again a few moments later (clearly a stealthy "check out the nutcase" manoeuvre), but the guy carried on playing like some sort of possessed crack addict. Then without any warning or appreciable end of the song, he stopped and put the guitar away, the train arrived and he got on as if nothing had happened. It was actually kinda electrifying to hear the music played so damn fast; I felt like clapping or something but for some reason I didn't - kinda felt like I should have.

Then the next day I was again minding my own business waiting for a train to arrive when I heard someone shouting at the top of their voice "Homophobia! Homophobia!" from some way off. I'm not sure if they were angry about the amount of homophobia they felt was present in society, or if maybe they were some how trying to promote it by shouting it loudly on public transport.

Who knows.

What I do know is its stuff like this that makes London such an interesting, fun and entertaining place to be!

Monday, August 28, 2006

"Business" vs "Business Casual"

You know I was just thinking actually - what is really the difference between "Business" and "Business Casual" anyway?

As far as I can tell, "Business Casual" is just a suit, proper shoes and a shirt but no tie. "Business" is just the same thing but with a tie?

Is it really worth the effort?!

The graduate job hunt continues...

This week looks like its going to be a hectic week for job hunting.

Tomorrow I've got a "chat" at a graduate recruitment .com who rather cheekily describe themselves as based in Soho, but I'd call it "round the back of Tottenham Court Road" myself. But anyway - from what I can tell they are a pretty small outfit, but I reckon it could be a great fun place to work. I'd be working on their main website, and a few of their smaller ones, doing ASP.NET so it sounds like it would be ace.

Last week I had a "Talent Acquisition" guy from a large international search .com phone me up about an application I'd sent in weeks ago - to cut a long story short I thought they'd just binned my CV, but it turns out they weren't going to have the job, then they were, then they weren't, and now they are again. It sounds really cool - working in a central web development team basically doing all of the HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP etc for all the portals on this .com (trust me there are a LOT!) as required. My application is with the technical guys who are giving it the once over, and hopefully they are going to setup a technical interview for me later on. Sounds great and looks like a great place to work, but I'm kinda concerned about the fact the job has been kinda uncertain...would I get the job then get made redundant in 6 months?!

Anyway, on Wednesday I am going to a first round interview of a HUGE IT company near Waterloo. Full suit and tie job this one so shitting it a bit already, but I guess I've been through enough of these things now to just sit back and relax and take it all on the chin. Unlike the two mentioned above its not a web development role - its a full on graduate IT consultancy role so I wont really be in my comfort zone, especially as I get the feeling this company is strictly a Java institution...should be interesting! From the looks of it this day is just an initial day to further cut down the number of candidates before what I assume will be a second round for the "real" interview.

Busy busy busy!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Technorati claim

Just a quick post to claim my blog on technorati...

Technorati Profile

Saturday, August 26, 2006

So is Java finally dead?

Having recently graduated I've been looking around a lot for graduate jobs and I've started to notice quite a strong trend - no one wants Java anymore! Ok so maybe that is a small exaggeration, there are one or two people advertising for people with skills in J2SE and maybe putting together Swing interfaces, but for every job that wants java skills there are between 5 and 10 that want C# and .NET...I bet Microsoft are patting themselves on the back right now.

I just did a quick search on graduate jobs on TotalJobs...I got 16 jobs for Java, and 59 for C#/.NET, but what was quite telling was that these were all in descriptions like "C++/Java/Object Oriented" (i.e. where they are looking for someone with general OO skills) - not one of those 16 jobs was a pure Java-orientated role!

What makes this kinda interesting is, as far as I am aware, pretty much every Uni in the country offering a Computer Science course is using Java as its primary OO teaching language; I know at mine every step you took, every corner you turned there was a module stuffing Java down your throat. Can students across the land (and potentially the world...?) finally look forward to a new Java-free curriculum? Unfortunately I doubt it; I really cannot see Comp-Sci professors willingly making the switch across the Microsoft - the Evil Empire - and .NET for teaching! I gave a quick thought about some alternatives but nothing really sprang to mind - what other OO language is out there that is general purpose, easy to use and - most importantly of all for the students - is actually a usable language they can use in a job when the graduate?

Looking back just a year ago Java still had quite a lot of market share. When I was deciding which language to use for my final year project I ended up in the situation of using either ASP.NET of Java and JSP. I almost ended up going the JSP route, but thankfully decided it would be useful to get another language under my belt. Boy am I glad I did that now - it seems like there are a lot of ASP.NET jobs around now...I've yet to see a single graduate JSP one advertised...

Its not all bad for Java though - there will no doubt be a huge raft of legacy J2EE applications requiring maintenance from poor Java coders for years (decades?!) to come. And as much as I bitterly hate Java on the desktop, I have to admit that on mobile phones its a fantastic idea (this sort of thing is really what Java was designed for after all...well if you ignore the washing machines anyway) and seems to work pretty well. Maybe this will be the future of Java now - hidden away where we barely see it behind website and on our phones? I cant say I'll miss it.

So here we go again...

Ok so another blog. The last time I tried blogging I eventually realised that what I really wanted was a place where I could provide tutorials and information about technical bits and bobs. Eventually the blog failed and I took the whole thing down...but even now I still get 404s for blog entries so I guess someone found some of the stuff interesting or useful.

So anyway - fast forward by about a year or so, and with a refreshingly anonymous Blogger blog and a proper site setup with a decent CMS for the technical writing, I'm ready to give it another go.

First impressions of this blogger account are good, so we'll see how it goes!