Posts in the "Travel" Category

Why I travel

After I week in India I’ve been reminded why I travel around, meet people and give presentations. I see this amazing opportunity as a blessing, a unique chance to go out there and try to share and help people.

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Travel stories and session recaps from Mozilla Camp Europe Prague, 3-4 October 2009

Late last night I came home from the fantastic event that was Mozilla Camp Europe Prague, 3-4 October 2009, and I thought I’d tell you how my Prague visit was, what I thought of the event and my thinking about the sessions.

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Going sailing

From September last year till this summer, I was working on a project which demanded some extra time and efforts, especially at the end before launch (which doesn’t), and the customer was nice enough to treat us to a reward trip for our success; basically, for doing what we’re paid to do in the first place. :-)

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I’m on Flickr – pros and cons

When I first heard about Flickr I liked the idea, but being the rebel I am, I was a bit reluctant to use it since everyone was hyping it so much. However, for those of you that haven’t noticed the little Flickr icon and link I’ve added to this web site: I now have a Flickr Pro account.

During this summer I decided to finally take the plunge, and this post is about what I think is good respectively not-so-good with Flickr.

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Back from SXSW – A first recap

Ok, this post is kind of overdue, but I ought to write it since I want to tell you that I’m back from the SXSW Interactive Conference. I have had a great time, but at the same time I’m glad to be back home.

The web is already riddled with people dissecting every panel so I won’t put to much effort into that. Instead, in the next five posts or so, I will describe day by day what went on, to which panels I went to and what I thought of them, people I met etc. My hope is that it will be interesting to you even if you weren’t there and not just all about the panels.

My first gut feeling when I got home was that I didn’t want to touch a computer. I was sick of them, although I was one of the few that didn’t use one while in Austin, as opposed to all the other people live-blogging, taking notes and so on. I think the conference was just like an overdose to me, too much computer geeks in one place. There were also things like meeting people with too little self-distance or people not being as humble as they should be that kind of got me down. I really have to say, though, that most people were a delight to meet!

Also, I think I realized that while it would be great to work with any of the persons attending SXSW, where everyone knows about web standards, accessibility, are also already sick of the term Web 2.0, I would have to go home and meet a lot of customers and web developers that are nothing of the sort. People not interested in doing a proper job, just in getting paid and then scurry on home. For some reason, certain people in life seem to think that being good at something automatically means working 80 hours a week. That’s not the case, just learn to do things right and feel the rush of actually being proud over what you do.

All in all, the people and events I will tell you about stood out and made it a wonderful experience, so I’m genuinely happy I went. My only hope is that people reading my blog and then meet me in person at SXSW don’t feel like they found out that I’m nothing like they expected and that I disappointed them; that while they like my writing I bored them in person.

I would also direct thanks to Daniel Hansson, my friend and travel colleague, who always seems to end up in the most peculiar and entertaining situations.

There are some people I really want to mention for being such outstanding individuals, for making my visit the great time it was and for being as good persons as I want to be. If you ever get the chance, make sure to meet then and talk to them, or alternatively, read what they write (the ones that blog, that is). Trust me; they will most likely enrich your lives. This is not meant as name-dropping, but rather just a guide to great people. They are:

Carl Camera
It’s hard to find a more friendly, nice and caring human being. Always happy, constantly eager to please, and doesn’t seem to hold a grudge for anyone in the world. Texas inhabitant together with his lovely family.
Stuart Colville
Stuart is a very funny and happy English bloke that certainly has got a tough skin and a good distance to things. We had many long nightly talks about things and seem to agree almost a little too much.
Chris Mills
A totally crazy guy from England. About twice my height, long hair and a long beard, he looks like some crazed-out ent, and he’s got a sense of humor to go with that.
Dave Schroeder
Very laid-back, but always on top of things and a wicked sense of what’s fun. With an appearance like a Neil Young look-alike, this Minnesota-guy is always up to something.
Shane Shepherd
One of the caring persons, always feeling empathy for others and just being there when needed. And another Texas inhabitant, no less!

Honorary mentions should also go to some other truly nice people I meet and spent some time with, and they are also most recommended to meet in real life:

I’m off to SXSW

Tomorrow morning I will embark on a journey that contains of 12 hours on a plane (actually, two planes) that will eventually take me to Austin and the SXSW Interactive Conference. I’m not traveling alone, but with my colleague Daniel H, so at least I will have some company.

There will be days of meeting old and new friends, a chance to finally meet people I’ve known for a while in person; of learning, networking, partying and chilling. There will also be bowling. Also, one thing I definitely have to do is to meet up with Carl Camera and have a burrito with him, still blushing from the nice words he once said about me. But Carl, please, let me pay! :-)

Whatever happens, telling by the weather forecast at least it seems like I won’t be freezing. :-)

Naturally, I will miss Fredrika and Emilia so much it will hurt, but I think this is an opportunity that I can’t miss out on, and I hope they can manage for a week (question is: can I?).

Please don’t expect live blogging or any of that crap. I’m there to have a good time and relax so don’t expect any post here within 1½ – 2 weeks.

Till then: enjoy!

The only Swede at SXSW

In March, the biggest web event of the year (at least in my eyes) is taking place in Austin, Texas, USA; its name is SXSW Interactive. There will be speaking performances from virtually every interesting person in the business, and the networking possibilities are infinite. And now I’m lucky enough to announce that I’m going! :-)

A picture of the SXSW masthead

I spoke to Roger the other day, and he informed me that he had decided not to go. I guess that means I’m the only Swede, no, correction, the only blogging Swede that I know who is going; I’m traveling there together with a Swedish colleague, Daniel. He is a hilarious guy, so I’m fairly sure that we will have a lot of fun trying endure all the hours on different flights (yes, it’s a pretty long journey from Stockholm to Austin).

Anyway, I do hope I can be a good representative for Swedish web development, and I look forward to learning a lot and to meeting very inspiring people as well a number of friends I’ve made in the web development community, almost too numerous to mention. And if I did, you would just regard me as a namedropping freak, so I won’t do that. :-)

So, what the hell do I look like then? How do I find Robert Nyman? Well, I look something like this:

A picture of Robert Nyman

I’m staying at the Hilton, where a number of cool people are also staying. Are you going? Write a comment and let me know!

Google Earth

Google Earth must be one of the coolest applications I’ve ever seen! With me loving to travel and a vast interest in seeing the world, this was a real eye-opener.

And just think about the implications! I really wonder where all this will end!

 

A tip: hold down the left mouse button to drag the map around, and the right mouse button while dragging up or down to zoom in and out.

 

PS. Thanks to Faruk for bringing this to my attention. DS.

Back from Rome – travel stories!

I’m back! Feels good to be home again. Actually, I’ve been home a little bit over a week, but that week has been spent going to a party with my new employer, attending a wedding and also starting at my new job. During that week, I have also been building and setting up our Rome trip web site, optimized for IE 4 and later (just kidding, ok?). We had a great time and you can find travel stories, pictures and video clips in the web site!

Since people found out that I had come home again, they started asking me when I was going to start blogging and write my next post. This makes me really happy, to see that people appreciate my writings!

A friend of mine, Per at Gamepepper , pointed out to me that I have at least reached #3 in the Lifecycle of Bloggers. :-)
However, I must confess that I’ve flirted with a lot of the other points as well…

I have come to the conclusion that I won’t be writing a new post every day, Monday – Friday, but maybe somewhere around 2-4 posts per week. This is not due to not having enough topics to cover or lack of motivation, rather just that I have to spend more time with my family and doing other things than just sitting in front of the computer (no, this is not a faux “retire”).
Also, writing every day has lead to some people missing a few of my posts, since they just don’t have the time to visit my web site/read the RSS feed every day (however, what would be more important than that, I have no idea… ;-)).

So, with this move I hope my posts will become better and I aim to write really interesting pieces in the future!

 

I would be very happy if you were to write a comment what you think about the Rome trip web site, or my move to writing fewer (and hopefully better) posts!

 

Update! For you web developers out there: Resize your web browser window in the Rome trip web site and look at the dynamically sized masthead image. Also, take notice of the fixed navigation bar that even works in IE 5!

All paths lead to Rome

The old saying is true! I’m going to Rome with my family tomorrow and we will stay there for eight glorious days! I really need to spend more time with them and less with computers, so it feels good with a break. No blogging, only carrying (extremely heavy) luggage around (and seeing and doing amazing things, of course :-)).

I’ll be writing my next post in the beginning of June, don’t know any exact date. I recommend that you subscribe to my RSS feed to find out when I’m back in the saddle.

While I’m away, I recommend browsing through my categories to find something that interests you. Some of my more popular posts, and the ones I feel most content with, are:

 

And if you’re not in the mood for reading about web developing, take a look in the Travel/Fun category.

 

Since I’m very interested in languages, please write a comment with how to say “All paths lead to Rome” in your language!

Easter Island adventurer

This is one of those Fridays where I’ll write about something else than developing, so if that’s what you were hoping for, stop reading now. However, if you feel that there’s more to life than web development and the internet, please keep on reading. Like off-topic posts? Love ‘em, hate ‘em? Let me know!

As I’ve written before, my girlfriend and I went on a long trip in 2002. One of the places we went to were Easter Island, which is really an amazing place! I had wanted to go there since I was a kid, when I read a “Kalle Ankas pocket” (Donald Duck comics in a paperback format) that took place there. Seeing all those gargantuan ominous-looking stone heads made a shiver ran up my back, and with that tingling feeling I knew I would travel there one day!

Easter Island, also known as Isla Pascua or Rapa Nui, is one of the most isolated places on Earth, located 3700 km from the Chilean mainland. You can go 1900 km in any direction from the island without coming across inhabited land (that’s about 1178 miles for you US readers). The earliest settlers called it “Te Pito O Te Henua”, meaning “Navel of The World”. It’s a tiny island with a population of only around 2000 people. There are also two giant volcanoes on the island, where I really love the immensely beautiful Rano Kau!

Rano Kau

We flew there from Santiago, Chile, but unfortunately we didn’t have seats by the window. Of course, everyone wanted to see the statues from the air plane but as I remember it, no one saw them from the plane. Before we left Sweden, we had booked a guide and a three-day programme for seeing and learning as much as possible about the island. When we landed in the afternoon, our guide, Hermann (I don’t think he was originally from Germany, but he spoke German, Spanish and English), met us at the airport, and a driver of his with a mini-van drove us to our hotel.

View image

Once at the hotel, we asked if there were going to be any activities that afternoon, but we got no as a answer. After we had settled at the hotel, I decided to go look for a statue. I mean, I had been longing to see them since I was a child, there was no way I could wait one more day! Fredrika, my girlfriend, wasn’t as eager as me, so she decided to chill by the hotel pool instead. I looked at the hand-drawn map I got earlier (which didn’t have any statues marked on it) and took off in the direction that felt right, with a bottle of water to keep me going. I started walking along the coast, up an enormous hill. After about fifteen minutes of walking I encountered a small run-down fence. There was no way I was turning back now, so I climbed the fence and continued.

I walked further and further up the hill, and every time I reached a ridge that I believed to be the top, another higher part of the hill revealed itself to me. After about two hours of walking, and no water left, I finally fought my way through some bushes and came upon a gravel road. I followed it to the right and came to a stone fence after five minutes of walking. There was a sign that said it was a national park and that I had to pay an entrance fee to the guard in the small stone house. Since I a) didn’t know what was on the other side of the fence, and b) already had paid for a tour, I didn’t think it was a good idea.

Instead I managed to get my way through some shrubbery and got my first, half-obscured, look of Rano Kau (see first picture in this post). After the long walk I was exhausted, and walking the same two hours back the way I came didn’t feel like an option. I could try and walk the gravel road, but I wasn’t sure how far that would be, nor where it would lead me. Standing hesitantly by the end of the road, by the stone fence, pondering my options, I spotted a guy with a cap and a moustache. Seeing the raggedy state I was in, he asked me if I wanted a ride back. Man, did I!
I hadn’t seen any statues after all my efforts, but by then I just wanted to get back to the hotel.

He got into his jeep, and on the way back I learned that he was a photographer, traveling around the world to places like Easter Island, taking pictures and then selling them. That’s a job I’d love to have! He dropped me off at my hotel and I stumbled towards the hotel pool. No Fredrika. I went to our hotel room. No Fredrika. I went around to the back, looking in from the patio door. No Fredrika.

I managed to push the patio door open using my nails, since it wasn’t locked, and got into the room. On the bed lay a note:

Gone on a tour. Don’t know when I’ll be back.

WTF!!! My best bet was to walk to the central part of the small town on the island, which was a 25 minute walk for a dehydrated Swedish tourist. Then, of course, in the city center (where I at that point hadn’t been yet) there was a statue (they’re actually named moais).Not the most impressive one (rather one of the most beaten, worn-down ones), but still, a statue! Mission accomplished! Now I just had to find Fredrika…

I didn’t find her in the city center, so after some moseying around, I walked back to the hotel again. After sitting apathetically on the bed for a while, Fredrika walked in through the door. It turned out that there was indeed a tour that afternoon, and just after I had started on my strenuous walk they had come to the hotel and driven her and some others around to see some moais (statues) and the museum on the island (where I still, to this day, haven’t been…).
So much for being the adventurous and ambitious one…

Eventually, though, we got to see a lot of moais and it’s a visit I’ll never forget! It even exceeded my expectations I’d had for twenty years or so!

 

(More pictures can be seen in the Easter Island page in the travel web site )

“More money”

Today I officially dub Friday the off-topic day, i.e. the day when my post won’t be about web developing. Fridays will contain different anecdotes, maybe some general opinion about something or so, but no web techniques discussed. Let me know if you think off-topic Fridays are a good idea!

Three years ago, my girlfriend and I went on a long trip around the world. We were away for almost five months, and pictures can be seen in our travel web site documenting it. Unfortunately for you non-Swedish speakers, the accompanying diary extracts are in Swedish, but if we meet one day I’ll be happy to tell you all about it!

Just the other day, I told a short story from that trip to a couple of my colleauges at work, and since I like the story, I thought this would be a good place to re-tell it.

We were in Santiago, Chile, for a couple of days, mostly just waiting for our flight to Easter Island. Since we had some non-scheduled time and being that close to the Andes, the vast mountain range that is stretching across the majority of South America’s west coast, we thought: “Why don’t we go see them”. Trying to get around on my extremely simple knowledge of Spanish, we started to ask people how to get to the Andes. Surprisingly enough, no one understood us. At all. But finally, someone we spoke to nodded and said: “Ah, los Andes!”. And I thought: “Well, los is plural and Andes sounds fine, so yes, we must talk about the same place here”. We got directions to the bus terminal from where we were supposed to take a bus.

Once at the bus terminal, we eventually found out what bus to get on, and boarded it. The system they have there for tickets is a conductor on the bus that asks you where you’re going and charges you accordingly. So when the conductor came up to us and told us the price, naturally, we didn’t understand him at all. The Spanish got a bit too complicated and their currency isn’t worth too much, so the number he gave us was too high to understand (once you’re past “cinco”, which means five in Spanish, you’ve lost me). We tried to ask him in English, but his knowledge in the English language was, shall we say, somewhat limited. He just kept on saying: “More money, more money” in a thick accent.

But then I came up with a brilliant idea: “Let’s give him some paper and a pencil, and then he can write the figure down for us”. So I handed it to him, thinking the problem was solved. He accepted it, jotted something down on the paper, and gave it back to me. I turned the paper over, and it literally read: “More money”…

Anyway, after (probably) paying the correct fare, we eventually got going with the bus. After a two hour bus ride we were finally at our destination. Or were we? I looked out of the bus’ window, and saw a village sign that read: “Los Andes”. It was the name of a small pueblo (village in Spanish), not the actual mountain range. But the village was located at the foot of the actual mountains, so it was close enough. Unfortunately, though, it wasn’t actually up in the mountains, where we wanted to go. So after talking to the (not one, but the) woman in a small tourist information office, she advised us to take a local bus to something called Rio Blanco.

After one hour on the local bus, which was so overheated the bus driver’s son had to fill water into the engine all the time, he announced to us that we had reached our destination. We got off the bus and realized that Rio Blanco basically just consisted of a gas station and a river (guess the river’s name…). We took a short stroll up in the mountains, looked around and got back down to take the local bus back half an hour later. Three hours later, we were back in Santiago, after having spent a total of 6 hours on buses that day.

 

Interestingly enough (maybe some subconcious connection), I’m going to have a salary negotiation today with my boss, and what the heading reads comes to mind…

 

PS. Have a nice weekend, next post will be on Monday! DS.