No pain, no gain

I finally managed to finish Hard mode of Guitar Hero 2 last night, having decided finally to stop avoiding the nefarious ‘Furious Fretwork’ section (and particularly two hand-shredding  tracks, Carry Me Home and Psychobilly Freakout) and tackle them head-on. I’d avoided them partly because I don’t like the songs that much, and partly because they’re so bloody difficult, but after a week without playing guitar, real or virtual, I figured my hands were as fresh as they were going to be (although I did do a bit of real guitar practice first).

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Back, photos

Typically having had just enough time to finally adjust my various mental and physical cycles by 8 hours to GMT-7, I’ve returned and am undergoing the exact same process in reverse. As such I’m feeling a bit rough but at least I can adjust in familiar surroundings. In the meantime, here’s a few photos of me doing the rounds at various Silicon Valley locations (click for full size versions): I managed a few hours in downtown San Francisco too on Sunday before heading back to get the flight (all of yesterday was travelling, what fun), which was ok I guess.

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Google Mentor Summit

Had a good time at Google today  - their campus is absolutely massive and there are quirky things like the replica of  SpaceShipOne hanging over the main stairwell (pictured) and a T-Rex skeleton inexplicably present in the grounds - apparently its name is ‘Stan’ athough I actually think ‘Alta Vista’ or ‘Lycos’ might have been more appropriate. The mentor summit went well, I met Greg (aka Xavier) in person finally which was cool, along with loads of other people including Marten from Crystal Space, the guys from BZFlag (I’d met Sean from BZFlag at Siggraph before so it was good to talk again), plus developers from Theora, Eclipse, Apache, Drupal, Joomla and lots of others.

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Phew, the jet lag certainly isn’t beaten yet. Even though I managed to stay up until about 9:30pm last night before succumbing (remember, this was actually 5:30am according to my body clock), it hasn’t entirely compensated and I’m feeling pretty tired now (6:45pm aka 2:45am). I didn’t notice until I got back just now because I’ve had a really busy and interesting day. This morning I was at NVIDIA where I had a tour of the campus and some really interesting discussions on a variety of subjects.

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I recently touched down at San Francisco International (SFO) and have made my way to the hotel, which as you can tell, has wireless internet. Well, this is Silicon Valley, I’d personally expect pedestrian crossings to be internet enabled here (they’re not, I’ve tried). I didn’t expect to get a lot done today, owing to the jet lag, and indeed, I’m feeling it. It’s ostensibly 6pm but of course, due to this being GMT-7, which because of daylight savings is 8 hours behind, I’m in a sort of grey half-wakefulness right now.

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Wild Wild West

If the post title made you think of an awful film of the same name and the awful title single that went with it, I apologise. It popped into my head this morning unsummoned, and I’ll be darned if I’m going to be the only one trying to engage a mental decontamination protocol. Yes, over the next 24 hours I’m heading over to the west coast of the USA to attend the Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit, for a full day of debate and general open source geekery.

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Being self-employed has many advantages, but I’m sure one bugbear we all share is debt collection. When it comes to payment, customers generally fall into a number of categories: Those that pay immediately on receiving the invoice, or even all in advance; you want to hold on to these with both hands! Those that pay precisely on the 30-day due date; which is fine, we all have cash flows to manage Those that pay on the first reminder; not too bad Those that pay sometime after the second reminder (when I start threatening interest) or not at all; now you’re yanking my chain After almost a year of doing this full time, and almost 3 years before that part-time, I’ve had at least one customer in each of these categories, although I guess I’ve been fortunate that most are in the better groups.

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PS3 vs 360 wavering

Readers of this blog will already know I don’t own a HD console yet, due to there being no games on either that I have a visceral need to play, at least none that I can’t already play on other platforms. In many ways this generation has been the ‘FPS coming of age’ for consoles, with online play being far more widespread and console lovers lauding it like a new age, but I already did all that on the PC a few years ago so it holds no particular magic for me.

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Bioshock Completed

Spoiler-free section_ _ Well, it took me about a month elapsed to finish it, barring a few days away, and I guess all told it’s been approaching 20 hours play time. Some people have said they found it too short, and that they finished it in 10 hours or something, but personally I think that means they were rushing about too much - me, I took my time. There are lots of things hidden away if you take the time to look, and when the environments are this pretty, and peppered with little side-stories if you look, who wouldn’t want to?

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Open Season Episode 3

Open Season Episiode 3 Definitely worth taking the time to listen in on this podcast if you’re interested in open source and the effect it has on business (and vice versa). Also a little depressing if you’re an open source project leader and you hear them say that unless you’re doing at least $10m a year revenue you’re ‘not relevant’ 😉

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