Garmin Vivoactive HR review

If you do not bother to read the whole article, then this is a main take away points:

GOOD

  1. Battery life
  2. Accuracy
  3. The clock can be set up automatically.
  4. USB port
  5. Custom apps
  6. Auto-generated challenges
BAD

  1. Pairing
  2. Bluetooth sync is challenging
  3. Unique USB port
  4. Garmin Support channels are useless as they provide ads but not support.
  Summary. This watch brings back happiness to do more and more steps and activities that I lost when I was using Fitbit Surge. It simply works and allows you to do the day out activity anywhere .. even abroad. It is not perfect though and it has few more issues than forerunner 220.

 

STORY

I used Fitbit Surge but I got fed up with. (If you are interested, you can check my review on my IT blog: Fitbit Surge Review.  In shortcut. Fitbit struggles with work on GPS for 10 hours and measurements were flaky in the beginning  ( it gets much better over time). Smart light woke me up many times during sleep. Changing time was f.. nightmare. Pairing was a pain in the ass on Windows. There were many bugs with the website. It annoys me to level that I just give up care about it. It was one reason why I gave up on being fit. (Like Runkeeper app 6 years ago).

I wanted to go back to fit and I decided to back to Garmin as I used Garmin Forerunner 220 in the past. Time to another advertisement .. if you interested in  “After 1-year review ” can be found here:  Garmin forerunner 220 everyday review and impression after one year of usage. I was thinking about Garmin Forerunner 235 or Garmin Vivoactive HR. I did some research and it turns out that Garmin Vivoactive HR is better in my case. Why?

I look for an activity tracker that :

  • The watch must work ~10 hours using GPS (to be able to walk a marathon or be able to do many walks on a weekend out.
  • It must have built-in HRM.
  • Accurate measurement of steps and distance
  • Silent alarm so it will wake me up but not my son.
  • Easy pairing with application/website.
  • Lots of stats.

From various reviews, I got into conclusion that Garmin Vivoactive HR will suit me more as Garmin Forerunner 235 better for running while Garmin Vivoactive HR focus on keeping you active.

FIRST IMPRESSION

It came in the small compact box. As always I will skip unboxing video of middle age getting exciting about a new toy. The first impression with this watch is exactly opposite to Fitbit Surge. It was ready to use in few minutes. ( I spent few hours before I was able to use Fitbit).

  • Watch works out of the box!
  • It setup time using GPS (Something that Fitbit cannot do!)
  • Install Garmin Express. No problem.
  • Update devices. No problem.
  • Pairing is the biggest pain in the ass in Garmin. There is a tricky way to do it and it works.

MY DAILY EXPERIENCE

  • The battery is fantastic. I am impressed that watch can hold very long on battery. I went for walk for more 5 hours and there was plenty battery left. Even if you are using GPS, Bluetooth then the battery will last for many hours. I used to watch for a week and occasionally use GPS and it was OK.  Fitbit struggles badly with a heavy load for more than 6’ish hours. Forerunner 220 battery is enough for around 8hours of heavy load. Vivoactive didn’t have any problem with the weekend out where I used for more than 9 hours in total. For the size of the watch and under heavy load. I charge this watch up to 2 times per week. In comparison to the similar workload. I got a similar result on Forerunner 220 but I needed to do 3 to 4 times on Fitbit. Once I was stuck for 8 days abroad and I still have 19% battery left.
  • Sync via Bluetooth is challenging and it is very annoying. It works .. sometimes. It gets much better and better with each update but it still sucks.
  • Web application works much better than was before. It went off-line once for few hours. Garmin support couldn’t be bothered to provide any information.
  • (Vibration) Alarm clock works well.
  • The screen is clear and sharp. It usable in normal condition, swimming and foggy conditions. Touch is good but not great. It feels cumbersome in responding sometimes. It works underwater too … more-less. During swimming, i saw press any key message (to unlock ) appear every few seconds.
  • USB charge works well. can but if you lost then you are screwed. However, it is very stable when u con.
  • My biggest problem was with pairing device with Android devices. I took me 2 hours with tablet and few minutes with Huawei phone. I got annoyed that I couldn’t be connected with tablet and I thought that probably you can connect this shit in the toilet only … and for laugh, i decided to try … and guess what .. it pairs without a problem ! I was shocked. From the test, I perform u can pair device without problem when phone/tablet has internet access but there are none Bluetooth devices nearby.
  • The only problem I had was with the plug-in. For some reason, it works on USB 2.0 but not on USB 3.0 ( However, most devices struggle with this port on my old laptop.
  • Another problem I had with pair watch with a tablet. It took me 2 hours to figure out how to pair.

SUMMARY

This watch brings back happiness to do more and more steps and activities that I lost when I was using Fitbit Surge. It simply works and allows you to do the day out activity anywhere .. even abroad. It is not perfect though and it has few more issues than forerunner 220 but overall I really enjoyed and I recommend to everybody who wants keep yourself active. In comparison, Fitbit Surge is a hipster “MVP” toy that simulates activity tracker.

 

My thoughts on Star Trek Discovery Season 1

If you do not bother to read the whole article, then this is a main take away points:

GOOD

  1. Plot
  2. On average episodes in the first season are much better than episodes in other TV series.
  3. Space shots
  4. Cast and character development
  5. Sound effects
  6. Intro
  7.  Hugh-Paul relationship
  8. Klingon subtitles
BAD

  1. Klingons
  2. Seasons Finale
  3. After Trek
  4. “Fans”
  5. Mind-meld as Intergalactic Whatsapp
  Summary. It was the best first season in Star Trek history. In my opinion Star Trek: Discovery has consistently good or great episodes. The cast is fantastic. The character development is excellent. Plots are interesting with exception of Klingons. There is still the spirit of Star Trek despite new approach and re-design. Space shots are spectacular but some bits like the battle in binary stars looks shit. It is a great first season worth to watch twice.

I just finished watching Star Trek Discovery second time and I am impressed. I feel it was It was the best first season in Star Trek history not perfect but I don’t expect perfection anyway. In this post I want to share my thoughts about Episodes, Plot, Cast and lose opinion about the first season.

 

Episodes

I already said my opinion about prologue episodes here: https://dominiksymonowicz.com/2017/09/29/my-quick-thoughts-on-new-star-trek-discovery/ First proper episode (episode 3) was good. I like the spooky ambience of this episode with the very interesting plot of the rescue of the USS Gleen. I like how the cast of Discovery was introduced. I was really confused about behaving of USS Discovery’s crew but by end of the season I understood and I like it. The fifth episode is worth mention as It has good elements but many things bored me or annoyed me because the idea was great but the execution was terrible.

  • F-word bomb sounds like a great idea to use in Star Trek. There were many opportunities where Tilly could use it. Sadly, however … in this instance was … pointless. It didn’t add any value. It sounds like teenager got excited before taking some drugs for the first time. It annoyed me.
  • The story was poor.  The way how the captain was kidnap was crap and the way how they find ship was … even more, crap.
  • Luckily, however … character development in this episode was fantastic. Doctor, Paul Stamets, Ash and Saru.
  • Spore drive animation looks cool.

The sixth episode was one of the worst in this series. Why? Well, mind-meld as Intergalactic Whatsapp? Really? Self-destructive Vulcan. The story in this episode was uninteresting. At least this episode has a decent special effect. Good news is that after not so good episode was a great episode with Mudd. I am not a fan of time loop type episodes but I must admit this one was good.  The plot was interesting. I like when the story has sometimes connected with the previous event and it adds some character development.

The eight-episode was one of the classic style episodes of the Star Trek and it was great.  Episode  9 was mid-season finally and it is one of the best episodes in the series. It has a fantastic well-paced plot. You can feel drama and tension in the scene when Hugh asked Tilly “How many jumps” .. .96 … I enjoyed being very engaged while watching this episode. I really like Hugh-Paul relation plot and talk about long-term rape and abuse. I wish season finally be at least half good as this one.

I wait for ages to see episode 10 and it was worth it. It is another one of the best episodes in this series. The story starts slowly and speeds up very quickly. Only thing I didn’t like in this season Ash-Micheal relationship. I feel it was unnecessary. I wish they explore a more of Hugh-Paul relationship. I must admit the way how Capital Lorca character is developed is just amazing  I admire Jason Isaacs for his play.

Episode 11 wasn’t as good as 2 previous episodes but It was still very good. The plot was fantastic especially around reveal the truth of Ash/Voq. We finally see emperor – an evil Philippa Georgiou. My only problem was with landing party sequence which looks stupid. It was awesome to see other races from the cannon like Andorian.

The 12th episode was spectacular. I like how they reveal the truth about Lorca and I like Voq story with exception of ‘Ash fix’. Episode ending was one of the best.

And then … last 3 episodes happen.

Episode 13 was a very good episode but it was way too short and after watching Episode 14 and 15 I was very disappointed about it. It could be a fantastic 3 episodes with excellent finale but It was ruined by lighting fast rushing epilogues in a chaotic manner.

Stories in last 2 episodes were very .. stress-free. They were no drama. Everything went smoothly and without any continuity. They show a plan for attack Klingon’s homeworld in episode 14 and in 15th they did something else without any reasonable explanation behind it. Some part gets even boring caused by ‘endless hours’ of boring relationship chats. The epilogue of some interesting mini plots was rushed and disappointing (Klingon war, Emperor and so on). I feel very perplexed about Seasons finale. It had an amazing potential if they spend much more thoughts on the season finale. I am aware that this was probably many issues behind the scene but it is shame. However last 3 episodes have good bits too.

  • The last scene with the appearance of Star Trek Enterprise was sublime.
  • One of my favourite moments in this episode was a chat between Emperor and Sarak about their ‘child’.
  • Quite a few nice space shots! Finally!
  • I like cadet Tilly for her humour scenes ( for example: chat with Emperor)
  • Speeches. Saru’s speech was powerful and meaningful. I like Burham speech.
  • The extra bit of section 31 and Emperor that haven’t been included in the episode but shows in social media should be there.

 

Overall. I enjoyed most of the episodes.

My favourite episodes were 9 and 10 because of an engaging plot with good pace. The worst one was 6th episode.

PLOT

I think Arc storytelling in this season was great despite some bumps with the story, especially around season finale. I like the idea of the season-wide plot and a few parallel mini-plots. It makes stories in this season meaningful. It allows characters to be developed over time based on events that are connected to each other. Continuity adds an interesting twist to the stories which make them are fantastic. It makes Deep Sleep 9 a great shows when they introduce dominion war. Xindi season makes Enterprise show much more very interesting in comparison to occasional temporal cold war. It works very well for Discovery too.

There are a few glitches with sticking to canon. They cocked up Klingon and intergalactic mind-meld and they could easily be being avoided. It is shame that Klingons universe wasn’t explored in any meaningful way. The idea itself is great.It will be great to explore other major races and their culture. I love it. Execution of this idea was .. well .. rubbish.  I like how Voq was revealed but L’Rell was a most underused character in the series.  It has such a potential that was wasted due to what it looks like the abandoned idea of Klingons story. Luckily ‘real plot’ was about Lorca on his quest to back to his universe to become an emperor. This part was sublime. Little references here and there make this season worth watching twice.  like how they show evil version of the characters.

I believe the 2nd season will be much better because I think all threads in the arc will be more cohesive as I hope there will no drama as it was in season 1.

CAST

I am really impressed how all characters have been developed over time. It was a problem in other TV series with characters like  B. Crusher, Doctor Bashir, Ensign Kim and especially Enterprise where the cast was plain and uninteresting except maybe Archer, Phlox and Soval.

    Michael Burnham – I cannot verbalise why but I am struggling to like and enjoy this character. When I see scenes with Michael I feel bored and disconnected. Sonequa Martin-Green played exceptionally well and character development is great but … I don’t like it and what worse I cannot explain why.  Saru in other hand is the best character in terms of development. Doug Jones is an outstanding actor. I feel like he is a Kelpien not human. Ash Tyler/ Voq is another great character. In the way how it develops over time and how is true identity was revealed was great and how he deals with a multi-race personality disorder.  I didn’t like Michael-Ash relationship part. There were boring for me (It doesn’t mean there are bad, it is just not my cup of the tea).  Paul Stamets is another awesome character. I really liked his transformation from a pain in the ass nerd to enlighten entity. His relationship with Hugh was much more interesting that Michal-Ash one. Sylvia Tilly is a millennial generation version of Wil Wheaton. She has very warm-heart personality with lots funny scenes.  Captain Gabriel Lorca played by Jason was exceptional.

The even recurring character was great like Admiral Cornwell, Sarak, background bridge cast and especially Dr Hugh Culber and Captain/Emperor  Philippa Georgiou. It amazed how I was attached to this Captain/Emperor  Philippa Georgiou and when he was killed and it makes me very upset. Michelle Yeoh – I think it was a great double character as it shows that depends on how you use wisdom and skills result can be completely different. I feel crew need 1-2 crew members.

 

My loose opinion

  • The intro is stunning. I like visual aesthetic with beautiful music. It is not traditional intro but I feel it has Star Trek spirit without being traditional ‘copy and paste’.
  • After Trek was a great idea but the execution was annoying and unwatchable for me. The show was presented by Matt Mira who was like some hipster after hallucinations drugs living in the happy universe. I hope people enjoy watching Matt Mira and it is just me.
  • Biggest problems are orthodox fans who are so closed minded that it has a negative impact on the show. These fans just focus on ‘shit storm’.  They moaning about everything for example  “These ships are too big for this era” .. Well why not? We haven’t seen all ships in the universe another things most advanced does not mean it must be the biggest ship ever built. There tons of this rubbish that can be canon if you use a bit of imagination which most of these fans lack.
  • Klingons. I can understand outrage with Klingons. It was a great idea for a plot but I didn’t understand this war and why Klingons suddenly became terrorist like race.
  • I hope they will have more stand-alone episodes (where they can develop character a little bit instead of 20 minutes chat chat chat like during episode 14).
  • Many ships design are astonishing. USS Discovery, USS Gagarin, USS Shenzhou. For example Shot of the USS Enterprise 1701 was astonishing and breathtaking.
  • Space shots were spectacular but they were not enough of them. Another disappointment was space battles. They were a rubbish.  I hate binary stars battle especially. Luckily there were many great shots like the arrival of USS Enterprise, spore jumps
  • I like the consistency of secondary cast on the bridge. In the past, you can see new faces all the time.
  • I really liked that some elements were super confusing like crew behave not as Starfleet normally does and when ‘truth’ reveals many things suddenly has sense.
  • I really like some subtitles references to TOS (especially sounds effects).

SUMMARY

It was the best first season in Star Trek history. In my opinion Star Trek: Discovery has consist developed good or great episodes with fewer that usually ‘pointless season fill’ episodes. Great plot with some bumps. All main characters were well developed including secondary bridge members. The cast was fantastic. Music and sound effects were sublime. Special effects are an extremely mixed bag. Some of them were spectacular. Some of them like battle were rubbish. Sadly, there were not enough of them.

I really enjoyed watching the first season of the Star Trek: Discovery. It is not classical Star Trek and that’s what I am happy about it because it is a modern tv show but it still has a ‘spirit of Star Trek’ and that is a great thing. I am looking forward to seeing the 2nd season in 2019.

 

btw. This blog may contain spoilers.

Huawei Mediapad M3 8.4 daily experience review

This review is for people who are interesting in the daily experience of using Huawei Mediapad M3 8.4. This is not a professional review. so if you looking for synthetic tests, horny teenager unboxing and so on then you can leave this page as you will waste your precious time.

If you do not bother to read the whole article, then this is a main take away points:

GOOD

  1. Great Quality and Value for money.
  2. Screen.
  3. AKG earphones with 128GB version.
  4. You can use as a smartphone but you will look …weird.
  5. Devices get regular minor updates.
  6. Dual Speakers.
  7. Split Screen works great.
  8. Battery life on battery saver if you use the tablet to listen to music and reading/writing, 
BAD

  1. Battery size is mediocre.
  2. Huawei’s virtual keyboard can be annoying because I keep pressing 123 buttons accidentally.
  3. I had some problems with Bluetooth  (resolved in one of the updates).
  4. Speaker position.
  5. Performance is not too good on battery saver. (It got better over time)
  6. Lack of fast charging.
  SUMMARY. It is a decent tablet reasonably priced. It is not perfect as you can see it has few bad parts but the overall experience is great. It is worth its price if you need a tablet for a daily long commute, long-haul trips (well with help of battery saver) and medium-range walks/ hiking.

STORY

When I bought Nexus 9 I knew that the main problem will be RAM as 2 GB was OK in the beginning but a 2 years later it causes lots of troubles and it makes tablet unusable. I needed the new one and I decided to buy a new one.

MY EXPECTATION was:

  • Great screen that will not destroy my eyes
  • Long battery life
  • Decent performance
  • 64GB storage
  • 4GB RAM
  • Good sound quality

Problem is .. .there is not many tablets to choose from these days.

  • I did not want iPad because it is waste of money and it uses iOS.
  • I hate Samsung for an endless amount of shitty products they made in the past so I have a rule now. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING MADE BY SAMSUNG.
  • Sony got the waterproof model but above my budget.
  • There are many cheap Chinese tablets but they are rubbish too.
  • Google tablet is ridiculously expensive.

While I was in China, I saw a guy calling from Honor tablet and I was shocked but then I decided to check is Huawei has a decent tablet. From the model’s that Huawei has, I found Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4. Other models were mediocre at best. I check others Chinese brands but as I already wrote they were crap and because I was happy with Huawei P9 and I decided to buy MediaPad M3. I planned to buy 64GB version but because they had great offer so I bought the 128GB version with 4GB RAM with AKG earphones.

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Huawei Mediapad M3

FIRST IMPRESSION

    When I touch tablet it feels very fragile. Over time I found it is not as fragile after a few accidental drops. I decided to turn on and then screen impressed me. It was a clean and sharp screen. When I start using and install apps and like this tablet more and more. Everything works smoothly. There are many settings to personalise tablet in the way you prefer. I tried to call somebody and it works well, but I look … ridiculous. However, I  use this tablet to call occasionally but I use my headphones. Battery life starts worrying me because during my trip back to the UK I noticed that battery starts to draining quite quickly. I managed to survive because I used battery saving mode but then I start to have some minors performance problems. Overall impression was very good.

MY DAILY EXPERIENCE WITH Huawei Mediapad M3

  • The screen is great. Everything is clear and quite sharp. You have many settings so you can set a screen that suit you best.
  • The sound quality is good but speakers are in crap place. It means in landscape mode if u hold tablet normally, you will cover speakers and affect the sound. HTC sorted this out much better.
  • Battery. This is the saddest part. The battery is too small. 5100 is perfect for a smartphone but for tablet … It is just too small. If u use a tablet for long commute then is not a problem. It gets problematic if you are using for long-haul travelling or adventure. It can be a bigger problem if you are using Bluetooth to connect to your watch and headphones, GPS for find way and WiFi/4G for internet then battery life will drain quite quickly. Yes. It can be fixed with power bank but it is an inconvenience. Luckily you can turn out power saving to extend battery life and it works well but performance degradation will be visible but the tablet will be usable. I found it that when I uninstall Facebook then battery life is better by 5-10%!
  • WiFi works smoothly. I had no problem with connecting to home or enterprise network.
  • Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about Bluetooth. I had a few problems with Bluetooth. For example, when I press volume up on a tablet it deactivated my headphones and switch to the loudspeaker (Bose Q35). I had many problems with Bluetooth LE when I pair with smartwatches. (It took me 2 hours on Garmin and it refused  to work with Fitbit). Some bugs were caused by watches and some were caused by the tablet. All problems caused by tablet was fixed in one of the tablet’s software updates.
  • Speaking of updates. This tablet didn’t get Android 8 but it gets quite many minor updates where they add some feature, improve battery life and fix problems (they fix all problems I had with Bluetooth).
  • I like Huawei’s EMUI. It is not as beautiful as HTC but it has the great functionality I found useful. Some people moaning about aggressive app killing which I really like. In fact, you can always adjust app killing settings to set which app can/should be murdered when not in use.
  • It is very stable. I didn’t have encounter any crashes.
  • I had some hiccups with performance in battery saver mode in split mode but are rare.
  • There is no dual sim version.
  • Back Camera is poor.
  • Front Camera is ok for video chats but I guess it will be crap for selfies (Sorry, I am not expert in selfies).
  • It uses a normal charger not fast one so charging … takes time. However, on my USB charger that has IQ fast charge .. it charges quite quickly … not as good as Huawei with fast charging functionality but still acceptable.

SUMMARY

After few months I am very happy with this tablet. It is not perfect. Battery life is medium, the speaker should be positioned better and performance on battery saver is a bit too low. However, advantages overcome bad side. It has a great screen, decent dual speakers, good performance while using split screen. Is worth buy it?  It is worth its price if you need a tablet for a daily long commute, medium-haul trips and medium-range walks/ hiking.  Depends on your requirements it can be a great option but Huawei Mediapad M5 coming soon and it has many interesting improvements but it also means the price of Huawei Mediapad M3 will go down and it will be an even more attractive option.

I hope it was useful for you. If you have any questions about this tablet, feel free to ask. Meanwhile, have an awesome rest part of your day/night!

How looks process of finding job as software developer part 13 : Conclusion

WARNINGS:
This is a NOT a professional advice.It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet.It will contain many grammar mistakes.Please drink double espresso and energy drink as the article is long and boring.

 

CONCLUSIONS

That’s all! Good luck to you!

I know, it can be hard, depressing and annoying but it worth to do proper preparation when you are looking for your next a dream/great job. Once you found it. It will be very rewarding to you.

It took me 2 months to learn all these things before I actually seriously start looking for a job.

My biggest…

  • .. success was to find an interesting job.
  • .. achievement was that I constantly follow my plan.
  • .. problem was dealing with recruiters and they waste 85% of my time.
  • .. disappointment was LinkedIn as I hoped, it will be my social network
Few misc. bullets point :

“Życie mieszkańców Chin pod koniec dynasti Ming” we Wrocławiu.

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Podczas ostatniej wizyty we Wroclawiu miałem pecha i podczas powrotu do domu musiałem przez przejeść przez rynek bo tramwaje utkneły na ul. Kazimierza Wielkiego  przez masakryczny wypadek.  Pozay przymusowym spacerem (który przy zatruciu pokarmowymm frajdą nie jest) odkryłem wystawę “Życie mieszkańców Chin pod koniec dynasti Ming” w muzeum narodowym. Wystawa jest otwarta już od 12.12’2017 i będzie dostępna do 11.03’2018.

Mikro wystawa jest ukryta gdzieś na podaszu  gdzie możemy  zobaczyć rożne eksponaty pochodzące ze  stołecznego muzeum Chin w Pekinie. Zawieraja one krótkie informacje o Chinach , wierze , przyborach które były typowe dla tego okresu.

Zwiedzanie zajeło mi ok. 30 mimut i zwiedzalo sie bardzo milo. Bądźmy szczerzy … nie będziesz ekspertem od Chin po tej wystawie ale jest to całkiem kompaktowa wystawa. Tekst wyjaśnia co widzimy i nie ma jakis esejów do czytania.  Troche lipa, że projektor z jakimś obrazkiem jest wrzucony na siłe, bo mogli by zaszaleć i pokazać filmiki z różnymi ciekawostkami z tego okresu.

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Szału nie ma ale jeśli masz  dyszkę to polecam wpaść tam a jeśli nigdy nie byłeś w muzeum narodowym to polecam tam wpaść bo budynek wygląda zajebiaszczo i ma ducha starego Breslau.

Stronka: http://www.mnwr.art.pl/

Adres: pl. Powstańców Warszawy 5, 50-153 Wrocław

How looks process of finding a job as software developer part 12: WHAT TO DO, IF YOU GET 2 AND MORE OFFERS.

WARNINGS:

This is a NOT a professional advice.It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet.It will contain many grammar mistakes.Please drink double espresso and energy drink as the article is long and boring.

WHAT TO DO, IF YOU GET 2 AND MORE OFFERS. (which one, I should choose?)

WELL DONE! You got many offers to choose from.

There are 3 important points.

  1. Most important. YOU and only YOU should make your decision.
  2. Give yourself 24-72 hours to make a decision.
  3. If you apply through external recruiters. Say to them that you need 24-72 hours and nothing else. DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM! They want you to chose their company because they earn money from that, not because a specific company is better for you. They will use psychological tricks to make your mind. YOU MUST MAKE THIS DECISION. Don’t allow them to mess with your brain!

If You are lucky, just follow your ‘sixth sense’, otherwise… there are many ways to make a decision. You should google it and find one that it will support your decision-making process. My way is :

  1. Write down your requirements (Must have, Should have. all other minor requirements).
  2. I write down all advantages/disadvantages of each company.
  3. Give them priority (how this advantage/disadvantage is important to you) and trade-offs.
  4. Create score system and compare.
  5. Go to sleep.
  6. Make a decision in the morning. 

There are many many things to consider (not only): The team, location, commute, annual leave, the flexibility of holidays and so on.

Reminder! This is my way of making a decision. Your way to make a decision can and should be different.

Conclusion:

  • YOU and only YOU should make your decision.
  • Give yourself some time to make a decision.
  • DO NOT LISTEN TO RECRUITERS!
  • If You are lucky, just follow your ‘sixth sense’, otherwise… try to write down all advantages/disadvantages compare and make decisions. 
  • Give yourself 24-72 hours.

 

One more thing. When you make your decision let’s other company know about it and say thank you very much and stay in touch with them.It can come handy if you discover that company you chose wasn’t perfect. It shows respect to other company as recruiters do not like to pass this information.

CONGRATULATIONS!

How looks process of finding job as software developer part 11: Troubleshooting.

WARNINGS:

This is a NOT a professional advice.It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet.It will contain many grammar mistakes.Please drink double espresso and energy drink as an article is long and boring.

COMMON TROUBLESHOOTING WITH INTERVIEWS

What to do, when you have a blind mind?

It happens to everybody .. what to do, when you get too stressed and your mind go blind? I suggest taking deep breath and drink a bit of water. If you struggle, the o to toilet and relax, but don’t go to toilet every 3 minutes. Remember don’t panic when you stuck . Try to think out loud and explain your ideas.

 

I don’t know the answer to the question.What should I do?

It happens.However, before giving up, try:

  • If you don’t understand the question, clarify! Ask for the hint, if you are not sure.
  • Think out loud and try to get a tip, asking questions, repeating a certain statement, engaging the interviewer(s) in a thoughtful conversation. They would certainly understand the situation and share some tipping points which you should be ready to catch and relate to the ongoing reasoning.

If it is problem-solving question.Give yourself 10-30 second to think and then answer.If you have some ideas but you are not sure.. say them anyway and explain what you trying to achieve.Always fight to the end.If you don’t know, you can admit that, BUT again. If you had any thoughts mention them..interviewer can help you if can believe that your thoughts can be correct. The correct answer is one thing.Shows how you dealing in difficult situation is very important too.

 

How to relax before the interview?

Everybody has own way to relax. Smoking, etc. (Don’t drink alcohol, don’t take drugs, just don’t). Don’t think about interview.Treat this as simple to do task on that day and focus on plan after that .(shopping, challenge your self with extreme exercise etc.Different people using different techniques to relax and it is topic for the book and I am not expert.What I do to ?

  • I do not think about it at all.I treat going to interview as going to shop for milk.Come, Screw up and Go.
  • Think about future. I think about what else i need to do (like planning holiday with wife, new feature for my game

How to deal with sadness after rejection?

I will be honest! Shit happens. Don’t care about it.Simply. It doesn’t matter is it or it is not your fault. It matters what u learn from the interview. That’s a reason why you should always ask for honest feedback. It will be almost always a valuable experience that will pay off in the future.Don’t think “if I will not make this mistake then ..” as if you didn’t make that mistake you could always make a worse mistake, so whatever you learnt from this, it will help you in future to find better job.

 

How looks process of finding job as software developer part 10: FACE TO FACE INTERVIEW

WARNINGS:

This is a NOT a professional advice.It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet.It will contain many grammar mistakes.Please drink double espresso and energy drink as an article is long and boring. 

 

FACE TO FACE INTERVIEW

This is always a most important partThis is a time, where you can sell yourself and prove your value.

 

Do research about the company and read the latest news. If you are using good recruiters then they will give you information about the company and latest news.

 

Gather information about interviewers from LinkedIn and use this information in the interview.
Let’s start with the most important part. BE ON TIME.  Only valid excuses are some sort of Armageddon or 1 nanometer of snow that caused havoc in public transport in London.

 

Face to face interview has many forms. It is conversation stage, there is one important rule. Give the right type of answer to a person, who do the interview with you is :

 

  • Questions by the developer are technical and your answer should be .. technical as well. Some developers like to ask a tricky question, so make sure that you read articles about common tricky questions. If you struggle with question try to have fun, ask for clarification and be creative. If you don’t know because you never did multi-threading then .. just say it and trying to do an educated guess.
  • Questions by a business analyst, product owner or in general a non-technical people will ask about your skills to deliver a solution and explain them in an understandable way for a normal human. If you never had contact with this kind of person, I suggest practising a little bit. ( I failed badly in one interview with the business analyst as I wasn’t aware of ‘slang’ required to explain some stuff (for example what are trade-offs between specific template engines. I talk using technical terms but he was more interested about how this will speed up the process and so on). 

Questions can be about experience with technologies and methodologies you mentioned in the CV and are used in the company you are applying for. When you give answers then try to give some examples how you use it and what is your real experience. Do NOT claim you are expert. Some of the questions are about to check your knowledge about language and technology and how did you use it in previous companies.

One of the stages is usually to do some code exercise. Simplify version of offline task or extension to the task you did. Rules from the chapter about tasks apply here too. It may be done in pseudo pair programming style. You write code with some guy who gave you more tasks. Speak what are you planning to do and why. Engage your pair in conversation about the solution.

So there are a few pieces of advice I have for you:

  • Read the question carefully and with understanding. If you don’t understand or you are not sure.ALWAYS ASK FOR CLARIFICATION.
  • Take a breath, Think about question,’design’ answer and then do it.
  • Smile and treat this as a conversation with business partner.
  • Never give up and fight to the end. Answer as best as you can and if you are not sure .. write this down anyway (and explain why you are not sure). Do not know the answer? Say what you don’t understand and say out loud what you think you will try in this situation.
  • Always try teamwork approach.
  • Link your answer with your experience from work, assignments and etc.
  • When you provide a solution to your problem/task explain advantages and disadvantages.

Another thing that is worth mention. If you have a chance, try to ask them about various things to figure out, is company offer you a job that meets your requirements and it will make you happy to work there. If you care about the company you surprise them with ask questions like How your company is doing despite global crisis (good question in 2009)? How your company is prepared to deal with Brexit?

If you still working and your interview is in the different city, then I have a few tips:

  1. Be on time!
  2. Try to have max 1 interviews per day (max 2), but have a plenty time between them as my one of my 45 minutes interview took 140 minutes|
  3. If face to face interview is the first contact with the company. I suggest having small chat before (phone screening) to make sure that this company is what you looking for and they think that you sound like a right person.
  4. Buy Powerpack to your mobile as you will discover how quickly a battery can disappear on that day!
  5. Do not think too much before Interview.

CONCLUSIONS

  • Be on time!
  • Be relaxed but don’t drugs or alcohol.  It is not a good idea to look like you have epilepsy. I understand your excitement and determination but treat this interview as chat with your colleague at the official meeting, not like a teenage girl who saw Justin Binliner, Bieder or whatever his surname is.
  • THINK, before you answer! After a question, think about the question and then answer.
  • Have answers ready for the common questions.  Always remember these question and try to prepare an answer for them so it will make future interviews go smoothly.(You will quickly collect a set of common questions). For example: What you will do if you won big money in the lottery?

Groov-e 3600mAh Portable Solar Charger Pack review

If you do not bother to read the whole article, then this is a main take away points:

GOOD

  1. It is designed in the UK.
  2. You can buy pre-charged at the airport.
  3. When its charge in 2A mode then it charges quite quickly.
  4. Solar panel idea.
BAD

  1. ‘Intelligent’ charger works randomly.
  2. Too expensive for what it offers.
  3.  The solar charging is useless in practice.
  4. It does not contain information about capacity on the charger so u will struggle to go through security check on the airport. (for example in China).
  Summary. If u want to waste your money on a toy that imitates power bank then … I hope u enjoy this product. If looking for small power bank to charge your devices via USB then it is a bad choice.

STORY

I needed small power bank to be able to charge my Phone for a long-haul flight. I didn’t  have time to buy it online so I bought precharged Groov-e 3600mAh Portable Solar Charger. My hope was that I may be able to buy it cheaper but at least I bought a good quality product.

MY EXPECTATION

It should be light and be able to charge devices quickly. That’s all.

MY DAILY EXPERIENCE

  • I was happy that you can use it out of the box as it is pre-charged.
  • It claims it has 3600mAh but I struggle to charge more than 95% on HTC Butterfly S which has 3200mAh.
  • Charging power pack was always quick. Charging devices with this power pack is a very random experience.
  • The solar panel works only one time .. bearly.

‘Intelligent’ charging.

It supposes to detect can you charge with 1A or 2A. In reality, it works …. sometimes. Nexus 9 was charged 1A or 2A depends on the day. On my HTC butterfly S it was always 1A and it took ages sometimes to charge. Samsung Galaxy 4 was charged with 1A Huawei MediaPad M3  was 2A (most of the times). When it charging at 2A rate then it charges quite quickly but it often switches back to 1A.

Solar charging.

This feature worked once but it took 2 days but It does not work indoors or outdoors anymore. They claimed it will charge in 25 hours after around 15 hours of charging outdoors and 40  hours indoors it still didn’t charge even 25%!

The idea itself sounds great. If you could charge 3000mAh for 8 hours it will be a useful feature but at the moment it is not and it doesn’t really work.

SUMMARY

It works but I feel disappointed when I was using on daily basis. Groov-e describes this as Portable Solar Charger but it isn’t.  It looks like classic branded  ‘white label’ product from China but sadly not too good one. In my humble opinion if you want to waste your money on a toy that imitates power bank then … I hope u enjoy this product. If looking for small power bank to charge your devices via USB then it is a bad choice.

Company website: http://www.groov-e.co.uk/about-us

USS Dominik @ Pimlico

Basic info:
Opened. 14.09.1972  and that’s all that I can really say about this area. Pimlico station looks quite ordinary but I managed to find few interesting facts:

  • It is the only station on the Victoria line which does not have an interchange with another Underground/Overground line and/or national rail.
  • It is the least used station on Victoria line.
  • This station was last open on Victoria line.

When I started walking around my first impression was … this place looks dodgy as I saw a few weird people but while I  walk around I discovered that Pimlico has an interesting architectural mix and has few interesting little independent shop with cheese, Italian food and old cameras.

Is Good independent coffee place nearby?

My favourite place for coffee is Gastronomia Italia  (8 Upper Tachbrook St, Pimlico, London SW1V 1SH). It is a small independent place where they sell good Italian food and really decent coffee.

Is Good pub nearby?

My favourite pub in this area is Windsor Castle but it is near Victoria Station. I like architecture and ambience. They selling Samuel Smith beers.

Is Good restaurant nearby?

If you fancy a British breakfast then there is an amazing place called Regency Cafe ( http://regencycafe.co.uk). Customer service is unique as the man shouting at you and you can sit on the table only when you have a

 

How looks process of finding job as software developer part 9 : HOMEWORK (Tests, Task ,etc.)

 

WARNINGS:

 

This is a NOT a professional advice.It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet.It will contain many grammar mistakes.Please drink double espresso and energy drink as an article is long and boring.

 

Homework (Tests, Task,etc.)

 Quite often in IT sector, you will ask to do:
  • on-line test
  • on-line task
  • off-line task

ONLINE TEST

Some companies doing online tests to check your knowledge and it is pointless as most of them are copied and pasted from the internet. I had few interviews, where questions were the same and it very similar …order. After a quick research, I found few websites, that provide answers to questions. Maybe they check how quick you can find the answer on StackOverflow.com)? Usually, these questions ask about basics of language and framework and few ‘tricky’ questions.

Easy to pass, usually and pointless.

OFFLINE TASK

The good news is that tasks are more interesting to do. Especially, if you like programming.

They are usually not too hard BUT make sure that you do 1 task at the time and 1-2 per day. Why? If you will have many tests over and over again then you will more tired you are a focus on finish task rather than finish refactor and polish. It gets harder when you currently working.

If You just graduated, you need to make sure that you learn and practice following basics:

  • Know all funky stuff about Java (read many tricky questions about Java ) or your main language.
  • If you struggle with reasonable Code style follow well known open source projects code style like this:
  • Design Pattern (Head First book is the best for start or Gang of Four if you are orthodox programmer;) )
  • TDD (Good way to practice and learn to test with JUnit.).
  • Knows basics command in Windows and Linux.
  • Knows shortcuts in IDE.
  • Ensure you write README.md (or README.txt ) with how to run program and tests

What is important about the task:

  • Should use right solution for the task. For example do not use list, where map is better (i like using lists and made this mistake) or don’t use bubble sort for sorting (I have done it too 😉 )
  • The project should have a reasonable structure.
  • Code must be formatted.
  • The code should be simple.
  • Code style should be consistent. Remember! There are lots of randomises in what person who checks your code likes. There are only two things which you can do:
    • Check if the company has an open source project on GitHub, BitBucket and etc. if yes, download and follow it their code format and style.
    • Ask for what you should focus on and ask how looks they code style.
  • Create Readme.txt to explain how to run the code.
  • Prepare ‘template’ for new projects.
  • Try to apply patterns in right cases.

Your process should look less like that:

  • Prepare Energy drink, coffees, beers or other beverages. Prepare some snacks .(energy bar or breakfast bar are the best).
  • Read question.
  • If you don’t understand anything. Ask for clarification.
  • Design your application.
  • Write tests that will answer questions and tasks.
  • Write a program that passes all tests.
  • Double check it.
  • Write readme how to run a program.
  • Check if your instruction in readme works.
  • Send it.

ON-LINE TASK

(hackerrank.com and so on)

It is a great idea but very troublesome in practice. They similar to an offline task but they are few extra points:

  • You need practice on that site because writing in the online editor is full of quirky problems.
  • Ensure you are in place where internet connection is stable。
  • I prefer to write in IDE and then copy to the online editor.
  • They can be time-based so be careful. I forgot once about it and let’s face it my result wasn’t impressive.

CONCLUSIONS

  • Limit numbers of test to one at the time and 1-2 per day.
  • Read question few times. If you don’t understand anything, ask for clarification.
  • Prepare your process (my process is above, but treat this as an example, not something that you should follow blindly) and follow it.
  • Make code simple, well formatted, sensible structured.
  • Don’t be surprised, if 2 companies will have opposite opinion about your code.
  • Always ask politely for feedback.
  • Always upload your result even if you think rubbish. Always add a comment, if you believe that something could be improved.
  • if You find any company’s source code, follow their code style.

Doms learn Chinese: Word Game v18.1 released.

Doms learn Chinese: Word Game
v18.1

You can download from here:
It is a content update release.
CHANGELOG
  1. Add some words. (words that become popular recently in China)
  2. Add few questions and sentences
  3. Correct few mistakes spotted by some user. Thank you
  4. Various minor improvements but nothing worth mentioned.
  5. Complete migration code to Java8 😉
LINKS

Twitter:

What is the difference between a graduate, a junior, a senior and What is the difference between a developer, engineer, a team leader and an architect in software development?

Let’s start with the obvious and correct answer.
There is NO A CLEAR LINE when you become junior, mid-level, senior developer/engineer. There is NO CLEAR LINE which decides when you are a developer and when you are an engineer.

So .. How to answer questions?

  • What is the difference between Junior / Mid / Senior Developer?
  • What is the difference between Developer and Engineer?
  • What does mean from a company point of view?

Well … My eyes start to bleed when I read some emails from recruiters with some cutting-edge vocabulary from ‘marketing bulls**t’ dictionary to tell me how great role and company are without the focus on the description of what is a Junior role I should apply for (I saw Junior role with 5 years experience in some technology that exists for 4 years and so on).

I know most recruiters (80%) do not care about what they talking about it as they care about commission and Christmas bonus so I can understand them but companies description can be super confusing too.

I did some pseudo-research about it and I realized that there are no clear definitions for junior, senior, developer or engineer. I mean there are many definitions and answer to these question on StackOverflow but … they feel incomplete and incorrect.

I decided to write this to show my ‘loose’ definitions of these word with some explanations and examples.

Let’s start with seniority. Seniority varies from Graduate, Junior, Mid to the Senior role.

The main reason why there is much confusion about distinguishing when you start to become mid-level or senior person due to blurry understating of “Seniority”. For me: Seniority role based on the variety of experience in problem-solving not on expertise in particular language, framework or technology. Seniority does not depend on time duration. For example coding, 5 years in Java do not mean you become a senior person. Yes, you may be an expert in the syntax of that language but still, struggle to solve a simple problem.
Whole life cycle looks more less like this:
  • Student when you learn about problem-solving through exercise.
  • The graduate is a first professional role after you finish learning (at university, at home or online course) where you learn about solving real problems, life cycle and methodology. They are guided by senior and tech lead on how to be a better gamer … I mean … programmer.
  • A junior role is a place in your career when you focus on having fun with writing software and get exciting when you get more and more experience with solving problems and get much help from senior people.
  • Mid-level is a sweet spot where you solve interesting problems and write lots of clever code.
  • Senior Role is when your focus more on leading and helping graduate/ junior developers to become an epic programmer by guiding them through solving the problem and help them to make decisions and trade-offs and you focus less on writing code (you usually solve most complicated problem cases and enjoy more and more meetings).

That’s all.

What’s difference between developer and engineer?

At university* where I studied it means in practice it usually means clever students are engineers and less gifted students are developers who in teamwork behave as engineer’s slavers that perform simple repeatable tasks. In real life is not like that.
(*) It sounds bit negative but my overall impression of study computer science in Aberstywyth was great. I highly recommend.
What it means in the real world? Well, I will start with a conclusion that for me it is the same thing and I can use exchangeably because I  didn’t see any pragmatic reasons to distinguish between developers and engineers. I did some research and I understood that both developers and engineers write software. The difference is that Engineers write software (framework, library and/or fundaments for the platform) that is used by developers to write software that is built on it.
That’s all.

Where is an architect in this?

Software architect* focus on leading architecture solution for the platform and contribute code like engineers (yes, I believe software architect role should exist and they should write software too).
(*I apologize for all ‘Agile’ orthodox for swearing here.)
    It does not mean it follows strict mediaeval hierarchy where that junior developer does donkey work by taking order from tech lead who is a senior engineer who took part of software development build on fundaments of the platform created by Veteran Architect because the success of delivering great software in given time depends on collaboration and knowledge share between all of them in the team.

What about Team/Tech leader?

    For me, It is a person who is most experience with project, domain and has the ability to provide a bridge between business (Product Owner), Software Architecture (Platform) and team.

Summary.

    When you describe your seniority and when company define who they are looking for then they should treat describe Seniority role based on the variety of experience in problem-solving and how this person will fit in the team. If you feel, you can distinguish between engineers who build core platform/ framework and developers that build functionality on your the platform.

Who am I in this context?

I am Sarcastic (mid-level) Java Developer. Why ? Because I have some experience with problem-solving using Java as my a primary language.
This is my view on what junior/mid-level/senior developer/engineer role means on the team.
What’s your point?
Share with me in comments her or on LinkedIn.

How looks process of finding a job as software developer part 8: PHONE INTERVIEW

WARNINGS:

This is a NOT a professional advice. It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet. It will contain many grammar mistakes. Please drink double espresso and energy drink as an article is long and boring.

It is part of series “How looks process of finding a job as a software developer”.

PHONE INTERVIEW

I hate talk over the phone. It is a most annoying way of communication for me. This is a reason, why it is always a big challenge for me to have a phone interview. Phone interview usually takes 20-75 minutes, so plan each for 90 minutes.

What is worth to remember:
  1. The company has a very limited amount of time to read your CV, so don’t feel offended, if they ask a question about things that you wrote in your CV. Actually, it is a good thing as you can add useful information about your experience that is relevant to a position that You are applying for, but you omitted in your CV.
  2. If an interview is not in your native language then I suggest … a bit of practice with answering typical questions and practice name of common technologies.
  3. Practice pronunciation (I still remember my embarrassment during the interview with the developer, who didn’t disconnect after my few attempts to pronounce “Atlassian” :).
  4. FIND a very QUIET place to talk. I actually have done one interview in noisy Costa coffee and my interview ended in 2 minutes! I guess you must be shocked to read that I haven’t been invited to next stage.
  5. FIND s place, where is a good range coverage.
  6. Don’t do a few phone interview one after another.  Ensure you have at least 45 minutes break between interviews. It is very stressful when during the phone interview to get a call from another company. It will increase the chance to messed up both phone interviews.
In my opinion phone interview helps you to figure out chemistry with people from the company. It helps the company to find are you the right fit for them before they invest time in other stages of the interview that are time-consuming.
For example, Travel Corp. rejected me as I didn’t have experience with working in the corporation. Some phone interviews gave me enough information that company didn’t suit me due for example during long working hours or using waterfall methodology. It can save your and company time. I believe doing the technical interview over the phone is a waste of time.

SUMMARY

  • Find a QUIET place to talk.
  • It must in place when you have GOOD phone range!
  • Practice PRONUNCIATION… before the interview (to avoid embarrassment).
  • THINK, before you answer! After a question, think about the question and then answer.
  • When you talk about skills REMEMBER to match with experience and vice versa.
  • Do not laugh, if somebody has a funny accent or behave weirdly.
  • It is a great opportunity for a phone interview to link skills in bullet points in your CV with experience.
  • Have a bottle of still spring water with you.
  • Don’t do phones interview marathon
Phone screening (optional)
If you have a limited amount of time for face to face interviews or you live far away from company location, then I suggest asking for a phone screening if they don’t have phone interview as the first stage. What is it? It is like an informal phone interview where you can find information about a role (and place) is suitable for you or not. What question for ask? Everything that u want and to know what company (In my cases, it was asking a question from COMPANY’S JOB SPECIFICATION section, plus I asked details about the role and required skills in details.
Phone Screening is a good technique to ensure that job is worth to apply and a great way to figure out is company for you and is it worth investing your time in the interview.
A little warning. Some companies refuse phone screening due to various reasons. If they said that they have strict recruitment process and they cannot change (typical for corporations), then it sounds reasonable, but if they don’t want because .. they don’t want, then it may indicate bad ‘company culture’.  I actually went for one interview to confirm my theory I and .. I was right :). It works quite well for me but it can be few exceptions to this rule.

 

How looks process of finding a job as software developer part 7: Recruiters

WARNINGS:

This is a NOT a professional advice.It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet.It will contain many grammar mistakes.Please drink double espresso and energy drink as an article is long and boring.

 

It is part of series “How looks process of finding a job as software developer”.

RECRUITERS

In last 4 years, I had a privilege to chat with more than 200 recruiters and my conclusion is one. The overwhelming majority of recruiters are useless and they nightmare to deal with in and make finding the right job for you much harder.


They make looking for a job much more difficult.
  • 5% of them are useful.
  • 10% OK’ish.
  • Rest of them ( just 85% ) is a pain in the ass.

MY EXPECTATION ABOUT RECRUITERS:

  • I told them, what I want and what I don’t want. They will contact me when an opportunity appears.
  • They will guide me through the process.
  • Helps me improve my CV and other forms.
  • Gives me useful tips and resources about the company before the interview.
  • Be friendly and professional.
  • Always respond in a timely manner.
  • Let me know the result as soon as possible with honest feedback.
  • Be personal. don’t use the shitty template we ‘crap recruiter’ keywords.
    I knew, that I was a bit ambitious about my expectations, but holy crap, I didn’t expect that dealing with recruiters will be like swimming in the septic tank.

Why? In most cases talking to them, It is like talking about colours with a blind person. They helpfulness to find job looks like finding a needle in the haystack at night without light when you are completely drunk.In reality :

  • I told them, what I want and what I don’t want and they will contact me when an opportunity appears.
    • Most of them just spam you with the job opportunity that matches a few keywords. For example,  if you are Java Developer in London but you mentioned that you got experience with Angular. They will send you to offer for Senior Front-End Developer in Glasgow.
    • They are using e shitty template we ‘crap recruiter’ keywords and marketing bullshit a lot.
  • They will guide me through the process.
    • Some of them actually are quite helpful.
  • Helps me improve my CV and other forms.
    • They modify CV but results can be catastrophic.
  • Gives me useful tips and resources about the company before the interview.
    • Some of them give and some of them do not give an xxx about it.
  • Be friendly and professional.
    • They sound ‘ fake friendly’. They talking using recruiter dialect that does not say anything useful.
  • Always respond in a timely manner and let me know the result as soon as possible with honest feedback
    • If you get rejected then the majority will not tell you about it until you call them and some of them like about reason why you failed. Ask the company for feedback.
    • If you get an offer, they will ask you accept ASAP and they will call you all the time say that you need give an answer NOW NOW NOW. 
  • Be personal. don’t use the shitty template we ‘crap recruiter’ keywords.
    • It looks like people who want be recruiter need be great in copy and paste templates and great at lying to sell the product.
  • They will manipulate you using mind tricks and they will lie a lot.
    • Always give yourself up 72 hours to make a decision. If they push you, then warn them that this behaviour will be not tolerated and you will say to company and recruiter’s manager that you will withdraw (they will stop 🙂 )

HOW TO DEALT WITH RECRUITERS:

If you decide to use ‘recruiters’ as a way to find a job, then:

  1. Start from learning how to detect is recruiters have a brain or it is just another shithead:
Shithead is “A complete dumbass; a genuine moron. Someone who has committed an act in which causes harm or temporary discomfort to another.”  .  Source: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=shithead).
2. It always starts with ‘generic ‘ conversation. Try to be friendly with them at first. The positive first impression will increase your chance to have a good bond with a recruiter (if useful). Shows your strong interest. Usually, good recruiters will tell you about role ask additional information based on information in CV, where Shitheads usually ask questions about your experience that you have in CV to fill the form like they never seen CV, but not always.
Remember as well, that you can’t blame a screwdriver for not being a hammer. They are recruiters, not software developers, so they will do not know details, but they must know basics about technology and what they are for. 

3.  Always asked them to send a ‘role opportunity’ to your e-mail, where you can scan job’s specification.

If job specification does not answer all question you have, then ask the recruiter to answer these question. If recruiter’s answer is “I don’t know” (or they answer means “I don’t know” but they using nice wording ), then ask for clarification (or ask them to ask the company to answer these questions). If recruiters don’t want to do that (by answering that he is busy or it doesn’t have time as the deadline is coming very very soon and he need act fast, then …Well done!
You found a Shithead recruiter.
From my experience, I have a simple advice.
Say thank you, withdraw from representation and delete him on your phone and e-mail. You can’t imagine how much time you will save.
.

4.  While you are dealing various stages of the interview.

Recruiters should help you with preparations providing resources for the company or how looks each stage and provide tips and hints. If not then you dealing with crap recruiter.

However! It is not always recruiter fault. It may indicate a crap company.

I must ‘honestly’ admit, I had one case, where I suspect that recruiter is a crap but troubles were caused by company (the company didn’t want phone screening that I requested to avoid unnecessary travelling if role is not what I want or I am not  right. They just wanted to go to directly an interview). It turns out that interview date matches time when I suppose to do other interviews so I use this opportunity to check company. 

I went for an interview and it was the first time when I wanted to run away. It was a most gloomy interview in my life. I felt in this place like I was in a Psychiatric hospital where they conduct some odd experiments on me. 

I spoke to few people about my results and we agreed that weird problems before the interview like lack of interest in pre-interview communication usually indicate a bad place to work but sometimes some company are very strict about interview methodology.

5.  When you about making a decision, do not allow the recruiter to mess up with your brain.

As I wrote before. Always give yourself up 72 hours to make a decision. If they push you, then warn them that this behaviour will be not tolerated and you will say to company and recruiter’s manager that you will withdraw (they will stop 🙂 ). More about making a decision in future part of How looks process of finding the job as software developer.

MY APPROACH TO UNKNOWN/PRIVATE CALLS

In the past, I usually avoid pick-up calls from unknown/private calls. It does not rule, but many rude/annoying recruiters. Another problem is No numbers mean I cannot call back (i cannot add to useful contact or banned), so I prefer to ignore it. I had quite a few rude conversation and all of them were from the unknown call. This is one of the examples (worst one):

Recruiter: I saw your CV on (website)  and I have an exciting new role in the company who uses agile and cutting-edge technologies to develop software based in Manchester.Are you interested?

Me: I am sorry, but  I wrote that I looked for a job in London ONLY.

recruiter (with irritated and angry voice:  Why London? Manchester is a fantastic city. FUCK YOU. (And he disconnected).

It is not a rule! It is just my preferences. You will find good recruiters use unknown numbers too (landline in office).

If you are happy with job’s spec and recruiter then you can agree to be represented by

 SUMMARY

I just repeat to be clear. Most of the recruiters are crap, but they are quite a few a good one. Quicker you learn, how to distinguish good from bad, then more efficient looking for a job will be. Unfortunately, the majority are shitheads, so I am not surprise to see this kind of things on company’s websites: http://uk.moo.com/about/recruiters.html
  • Remember, recruiters, do not care about your career as they don’t provide service to help you find the best job. They want you to get a job so they will earn money from commissions. As result IF YOU CAN AVOID FINDING JOB THROUGH RECRUITERS .. DON’T USE THEM.  With exception of internal recruiters or if the company using specific recruitment agency exclusively for recruitment).
  • DO NOT ALLOW RECRUITERS MAKE ANY DECISION. ALWAYS TAKE SOME TIME TO MAKE IMPORTANT AND  DECISION.
  • Do NOT add recruiters to LinkedIn. Many of them are just lazy spammers will flood you with jobs that in most cases are not relevant to your target.
  • Don’t forget to be nice and friendly to them in the first contact as they are human! The first impression is also important to create a good bond with a recruiter.
  • Many recruiters will use lots of psychological tricks against you. Most of them based on build pressure around you into force you to make a decision. Always gives yourself up to 72 hours to makes decision.
  • If they give any material about company or tips. Check it out!
  • Verify what recruiter said. ALWAYS. Especially about of location/public transport.
  • Do not give any information about other jobs. NEVER.
  • If you are happy with job’s spec and recruiter then you can agree to be represented by them.
  • If you are unhappy with a recruiter to remember to write an email that you withdraw from being represented by specific. Be assertive.
  • If you find recruiter understand your needs then keep contact with him/her.

Doms learn Chinese: Word Game v18.0 released!

Doms learn Chinese: Word Game
v18.0

 You can download from here:
It contains major improvements but it does not have new major feature. However bigger changes coming soon.
CHANGE LOG
  1. Add bonus points for guess word Wrocław
  2. Add some words.
  3. Correct some mistakes in Words, Questions and Sentences.
  4. Lots of little improvements and code clean up
LINKS

How looks process of finding a job as software developer part 6: Company’s job specification

WARNINGS:

This is a NOT a professional advice. It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet.It will contain many grammar mistakes. Please drink double espresso and energy drink as an article is long and boring.
It is part of series “How looks process of finding a job as software developer”.

COMPANY’S JOB SPECIFICATION

        When you know what you want to do and you wrote your CV and create website/ account on LinkedIn / portfolio then it is the right time to look for a job.

        One of the most important is to clear understanding of Job specification. It is very important because you need to understand your role, so during the process, you can show your skills that match required criteria. The bad news is that many Job specification is very blurry or they are ‘censored’ by recruiters.

If you have any doubt ask few questions to clarify job specification before you apply. Internal recruiters are usually happy to answer but with others recruiters

This is my selection of question, which I usually ask :

  • What has required a certain level of experience for these skills? It is good to know what skills are essential, optional or nice to have.
  • What is proper job title and what is about? The title is not important, but it can give you more-less clue about the role. It is a bit tricky as for example I looked for Junior Java Developer role and for me there are differences between software developer, engineer and architect, while for many people is blurry or synonym.
  • How looks recruitment process? How many stages? What types (phone interview?test? etc. ? )  It is important to ask as it will help you prepare correctly to interview and avoid after-interview depression and crying to friends “I didn’t expect that it will be tested on interview”.
  • Is for Graduate/Junior/Medium/Senior Role? It is a very important question to ask, but you must know your skills first. How to determine  0-1 Graduate, 1-4 Junior 5-9 Mid, 10+ senior. Many recruiters said  ” If you see Senior role but recruiter said, that you should apply. In all cases, recruiters lie.
  • Do they have specific certification, education and any other requirements before I am even considered? It is good to know or you will waste your time.
  •  How looks specific responsibilities expected of my role?
    • I would like to know more details to evaluate its role is interesting to me or not.
  • How flexible is this role (can I do various position over time) and how the role could develop?
  • What methodology are they using?
    • Everybody said these days that they are … AGILE, but … what they mean by that can be completely different things, so if you see agile, then ask for details (especially recruiters).
  • How big team is?
  • Is it work in a team, alone, mixed?
  • What about the company itself?
  • How big it is?
    • How looks company culture and working style? It is important to question if you care about work.
  • Is work is only on company’s premises? Is it required travelling?
    • It depends on your preferences but some people like me do not like work on various premises.
  • Might they even be able to work from home when possible?
  • What personality they look for?
    • It depends on your preferences but working with right people and have compatibility with them is usually a most important aspect of work.
  • When they expect a successful candidate start to work?
    • If a company looks for somebody NOW and don’t want wait 1 month, then usually indicate poor management, HR or job itself. I, by default, ignore all jobs.

 

Companies usually respond very well and provide all necessary information. Answers from recruiters vary. Some of them give you what you want but don’t be surprised if the answer has no f…ing clue what they talking about. If this happens, then ask again or give up. Believe me, you will save a lot of time.

For example :

What methodology are they using? – Agile

Problem is that everybody is Agile except everybody defines Agile … in a different way as … 

How big team is? – Very big, but I don’t know numbers.

In fact, it was only 10 people … 

Ask these question and request answer on email (this information is good to remember during the recruitment process and for other purposes). If recruiters wrote stuff like ” I’m extremely busy at the moment also so I understand, but I’ll be able to answer these questions after 6. ” it usually means “fuck off, I don’t bother to answer these question  or because I don’t know answers and cannot makes answer blurry like over phone”.In 4/5 cases I didn’t get any answer.
Conclusion:
  • Clarify job spec to ensure that you apply what you are looking for.
  • If you apply through recruiters who don’t give you enough information about the role or don’t bother to find details. Simply reject role and if you gave permission to be represented then cancelled it. You will save you a lot of time and help you focus on better roles.

How looks process of finding a job as software developer part 5: Do I need LinkedIn?

WARNINGS:
This is a NOT a professional advice. It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet.It will contain many grammar mistakes. Please drink double espresso and energy drink as an article is long and boring.

It is part of series “How looks process of finding a job as software developer”.

DO I NEED LINKEDIN?

It is an optional thing. LinkedIn sounds like great idea, but …

 It is worth to have, because:

  • Due lack of alternatives. LinkedIn is an only option for a social network for professional (although Google+  can be offer better user experience, it is not designed for the professional social network ).
  • It is a good source to gain intelligence about company and people, who will interview you.
  • It is a good extension of your CV.
  • It is a useful replacement for your personal website and blog.

However.

In general.I have very bad and annoying experience.

  • It has many phishing issues. For example: If you install the Android application, it will steal your contact and spam you with add these people to LinkedIn and etc.
  • It is famous for most evil UX design in the industry because LinkedIn’s UX focuses on marketing first not the user. It uses many phishing and spamming tricks to buy a premium account. As result don’t be surprised to receive/send many empty invitation or messages from many people. This is due poor design by LinkedIn. You can found many blog entries complaining about this.
  • It looks nice, but usability can be painful.
  • No ability to block recruiters.

Remember:

  • Do NOT add recruiters, headhunters and other spammers. They will pollute your account with lots of useless job offer that in 99% is irrelevant to you. They will call and send an email you and call you anyway. Add only those who were very helpful in the past. They will pollute your stream with job offer all the time which can be annoying because then LinkedIn will start to add ads related to recruitment on your stream too.

it happens to me few times that I got this message … 

Hi Dominik,I hope all is well.I have a permanent London based role for a leading finance company. They are looking for a Java Developer to work on a range of greenfield projects. If you interested , let me know and I’ll send through further details. Regards

.. on my e-mail as text and as LinkedIn message.

Conclusion:

  • It is not mandatory to have an account on LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn is a great alternative if you don’t want waste your time on personal website and blog.
  • If your job requires constant contact with other people, then LinkedIn is very useful.
  • Avoid adding recruiters, headhunters and other spammers. They will pollute your account with lots of useless job offer that in 99% is irrelevant to you. They will call and send an email to you anyway.
  • LinkedIn is very valuable for company research (gathering information about the company that you want work for and for job hunting).
  • Using LinkedIn can be a pain in the ass as you cannot block recruiters and annoying poor user experience design.

How looks process of finding a job as software developer part 4: How to write good Cover letter?

WARNINGS:

This is a NOT a professional advice.It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet.It will contain many grammar mistakes.Please drink double espresso and energy drink as an article is long and boring.
It is part of series “How looks process of finding a job as software developer”.

 

HOW TO WRITE GOOD COVER LETTER?

It is very rare to write a cover letter in IT industry. I didn’t write any in last 4 years. I wrote a few of them in my life and all of them were rubbish. In my opinion, it is actually waste of time for you and company.

However, so far I learnt that your cover letter should have 5 parts:

  1. Introduction (what you are applying for, where you found info about the job).
  2. Who you are and what skills you have.
  3. Link your skills with experience and match this requirement written in the job specification. It is the most important point.
  4. Explain why above skills are good for the company (mention good news about company found in news or etc.).
  5. Thank you paragraph (where you said thank you for time spent on reading another boring Cover Letter.

and the other useful rules, that I found are:

  • The cover letter should be an extension of your bullet points in CV targeted directly to the company that you are applying for.
  • They are very similar rules to CV. (market yourself,  grammar,  formatting  and linking skills with achievements).
  • Write template of your cover letter  (As 3 parts of cover letters are almost always the same. Main different in part about why you choose the company and what you know about a company. It will save you plenty of time!
  • Do not copy and paste cover letters as it is a chance that you will copy stuff, which you don’t want (like other company names). If you make this mistake, then …GAME OVER. (I have done that twice  😦 and it failed me as result ).

 

 

How looks process of finding a job as software developer part 3: HOW TO WRITE A GOOD CV?

WARNINGS:
This is a NOT a professional advice. It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet.It will contain many grammar mistakes. Please drink double espresso and energy drink as an article is long and boring.
It is part of series “How looks process of finding a job as software developer”.

HOW TO WRITE A GOOD CV?

The good template for CV varies depends on country and type of job.

I suggest a do a quick research about it.

If you live in the UK. Follow UK or EU CV’s style.

What to remember:

  • In the opening statement, you need to sell yourself as somebody said: “The most effective way we can increase our value is to market ourselves”(I forgot who wrote that 😦  ). Write who you are and what you look for.
  •  Do not use ‘CV dialect’ given by recruiters and agencies! You should allow recruiters to check your CV and allow them to do changes, but ask them to see this CV, before they send to the company. (Remove CV dialect and skills that you don’t have!).
  • GRAMMAR – second most important! Any grammar mistakes will reduce your chance significantly. Don’t believe it? Imagine this notes will be much readable if I will use a proper grammar.
  • LAYOUT –  Formatting is important as the person, who check your CV in the company has 2 minutes and if they cannot find what they looking for due your mistakes in layout decrease your chance.
  • Link skills with achievements and experience.
  • Use bullet points for skills.
  • Ensure that you include the right and relevant keywords in CV. Most recruiters scan for a keyword like Java, Java 8, Spring Framework and so on. If you do this wrong, you will be spam with jobs that you are not interesting at all. 
  • Add hobbies and bit of personality to your CV. Most recruiters told me that I shouldn’t do it and most people who like my CV said, that it was due I added these things, so hobby is a good way to shows your personality.
  • If your English is rubbish (my English is rubbish as you probably noticed already), then you can give to professional CV writers BUT give to the person who knows your industry (Has real experience with IT) or you make thing much worse!
  • Do not hide “easy to catch” important details. Shit happens in your life but if you show “lesson learnt” it can turns be a positive thing. For example, if you got fired, write what you learnt and how you are planning to prevent this mistake to not happen again.
  • Designer and other creative jobs should have a portfolio website. A software developer should have github account.
  • If you put CV online then add skills that you are good at or you want to use for your next job. Otherwise, recruiters will spam with the weird job (For example I mentioned that I have experience with ExtJS, so recruiters send me to offer for Sencha Developer (because “Sencha Touch Developers tend to have worked with Ext.js, a skill listed in your CV. Because of it’s a rare skill, I ran a broader search of our database to capture developers that may have worked with ext.js that have since moved on into Sencha Touch.”
  • Good recruiters should point out mistakes in your CV. Adapt his changes as he may work with HR closely so he may know which CV catch your future company eye.
  • Add info about your account on Github, LinkedIn, blogs and so on.

How looks process of finding job as software developer part 2: Preparation

WARNINGS:
This is a NOT a professional advice.It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet. It will contain many grammar mistakes. Please drink double espresso and energy drink as the article is long and boring.
It is part of series “How looks process of finding a job as software developer”.

PREPARATION 

Before you start, you need to do a tiny preparation.
  • As I mentioned in last previous post, you need start from write down what you looking for. Motivate yourself (do a brainstorm about yourself and what you want to do to make sure, that you believe, that you can find a new job.
  • Do NOT use your primary e-mail! Create a new e-mail or use your current spam account*.
  • Do NOT use your primary mobile! Buy prepaid Sim. The reason is the same as above*.
  • Think about what you want to do. If it is your first job. I suggest look for graduate job**.
  • Remember you are like a brand. In order to be the recognizable brand, you need to apply various ‘marketing’ techniques. It is quite easy in IT because you can write some blog posts, articles, podcasts, contribute to open source*** project, open account on Github, Gitlab or BitBucket (and put your source code there)  and attend to some meetups.
  • Use Get Things Done or to-do list as an approach to handle all process and make sure that you limit the number of cases.
  • Do research about typical questions about languages and technologies that you believe you are expert at. Remember Hard preparation makes for an easy interview!
  • Prepare questions that you want ask on the interview and don’t be afraid of asking questions! Check how looks a working life, how the company is organised and everything that is important for you to be happy at work.
 *) Why? Even, if you remove yourself from websites and unsubscribed from recruiters ‘databases’, you will be still spammed by them(up to 6 months in my case).
 **) The graduate job is a type of job that is design to hiring students who are about to graduate from schools, universities or look for experience.If during study university allows you to do “sandwich year”, DO IT!
***) If you lack experience then participation in open source projects is the easiest way to get some. As a bonus, it teaches you how to cooperate with others and helps you improve your code quality through feedback from others.

My quick thoughts on new Star Trek: Discovery

WARNING: Spoiler alert!

If you do not bother to read the whole article, then they are the main takeaway points:

GOOD THINGS

  1. Sounds effects are sublime.
  2. The idea for a plot.
  3. Intro sequence.
  4. The first episode of the prologue.
  5. USS Shenzhou.
  6. Netflix has subtitles in Klingon!
  7. Special effects and visuals.
BAD THING

  1. ‘Epic” battle was utterly rubbish.
  2. The second episode of the prologue.
  3. After Trek.
  4. Intergalactic mind-meld?
  5. Michael Burnham name ?
Summary:

    It was the best prologue to Star Trek TV series but the second part of the prologue was a bit disappointing. I really like prologue and plot for new series and I am looking forward to seeing the first season of Star Trek Discovery. 

 

After watching 2 episode prologue I was quite impressed but I feel distaste for the second part of the prologue.

I think the best thing in new Star Trek series is … sounds effect.  Sound effects are mind-blowing. What is even more amazing, that they are many sound references from other Star Trek series. ( i cannot wait to a read waterfall of shit from star trek fans about “this sound effect is from TNG, not TOS and it ruins everything”).

Second best thing is a special effect. They were spectacular with one exception. The main battle was ugliest and shitiest looking Sci-Fi battle I have ever seen in Star Trek. It looks like ships battle done by a toddler, where ships exchange fire using colourful needles, not deadly weaponry.  Most of the special effect was breathtaking. I like the holographic communication,  navigator’s helm and other modern looking stuff. I like JJ style of the ship. Visuals are fantastic which will be a massive problem for “Star Trek fanatics” because TOS doesn’t have this, that and other bullshit but I don’t care because “visual representation” should have “retro” feeling and that’s all.

The third thing was an idea for a plot. I really like the idea of unification of Klingon by a  spiritual leader using war as a path to achieve it. I also like the design of intrigue to start a war.  It was not a simple clone of the pseudo-Islamic terrorism attack but the sequence of actions to an annihilation of federation’s fleet.  I am interested how they will show Klingons in this TV series as they are different from what I used to see.

The fourth is a most beautiful title sequence. It is unique, fresh and stunning. I love it.

I like the interaction between Captin Phillipa G played by Michelle Yeoh as Asian teacher with troublesome protégé Michael Burnham. However, I was a bit perplexed about cohesion between people on the USS Shenzhou like Saru and Michael. The interaction between Saru and Michael looks a bit childish.  I will expect crew after 7 years they will be less conflicted but maybe I just got used to StarTrek perfect cohesion in the past and this will show want show bit different approach to this, so I hope it will look a bit less childish.

As prologue episode, it was my favourite one for Star Trek series.  However, It was far from perfect while the first episode was great but then the second episode was bit depressing.  As I mentioned before the big battle was utter rubbish and then last part of the second episode looks messy and like re-written in hurry by me on few hours before the deadline. However, they were a lot of problems during the creation of the show that delayed the launch by more than a year and I guess that explains this but still could be done much better. However,  Star Trek TV series usually starts very poorly and getting more interesting around the middle of season 3 or beginning of season 4 and this one start much better than others.

Other things:

  • USS Shenzhou is one of my favourite ships and I am impressed that it survived with the amount of damage it took.
  • I like all 3 major characters they showed in this episode and admiral. I hope rest of the cast will have something unique.
  • After Trek is crap. I switched off after few minutes because I hate fake chat shows. I mean, I like the concept but the execution looks like it has been done by some teenager YouTuber with drug problems. ” So happy, everything is f.. awesome.”

 

I have high hopes for new series but there are 2 problems with problems of Star Trek: Discovery:

  1. Hardcore fans and shit storm they created over every detail.
  2. StarTrek IP belongs to CBS – Paramount Pictures which causes damage to Star Trek universe.

What’s your opinion?

How looks process of finding a job as software developer part 1: What I am looking for and where to look.

WARNINGS:

This is a NOT a professional advice. It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet. It will contain many grammar mistakes. Please drink double espresso and energy drink as an article is long and boring.

It is part of series “How looks process of finding a job as the software developer”.

I LOOKING FOR …

It is a most important question.
What do you want to do?
Always start with this question… Seriously.

Describe what you would like to do and write it down.

  • List of languages and technologies that you want to use in the new job.
  • Consider other important things like minimum salary ( do research about salary depends on your experience/location and be REALISTIC about it!), maximum commute distance, work hours, perks and so on.
  • Prioritize your search criteria by importance ( for example salary, annual leave, commute time, tech stack, work culture and so on)  and where the trade-off is possible and where not.

WHERE TO LOOK?

There are  few ways to look for a job these days:

  1. Friends (best option)
  2. Companies website (especially, your dream companies)
  3. LinkedIn is a great source for gathering information about company and possibility to find which company recruiting at the moment.
  4. Job hunting Website ( only if the job is advertised by the company but not the recruitment agency.
  5. Jobcentre Plus in theory (in the UK) are quite useless for professional jobs but It can be a good place free advice.
  6. Recruiters

How looks process of finding a job as software developer : Introduction

WARNINGS:

This is a NOT a professional advice.It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet.It will contain many grammar mistakes.Please drink double espresso and energy drink as an article is long and boring.



It is an extended version of my previous blog entry on my IT Blog which I wrote some time ago. It will be a series of short notes about various stages of recruitment and what I learnt from it. I hope you will enjoy it.


This is a list of notes:

  1. Answer on the question .i looking for
  2. Preparation
  3. How to write a good CV?
  4. How to write a good cover letter?
  5. Do I need Linkedin?
  6. Company’s job specification
  7. Recruiters
  8. Phone interview
  9. Homework (tests, task,etc.)
  10. Face to face interview
  11. Troubleshooting
  12. What to do, if you get 2 and more offers. (which one, I should choose?)
  13. Conclusion

My journey with StarCraft

I was inspired to write this blog by fact that Starcraft: Remastered will be released soon, podcast by Incontrol who talks about his life in Evil Genius as Starfact player, commentator and personality and I want to write a post for last 3 years about my  view on game industry and e-sport from viewer who watched games but does not have time to play it.  This post will be about my experience as a spectator of e-sport game which will contain an answer to the question “Why you watching other’s people playing the game” and “Why you watching e-sport”?

 

IN THE BEGINNING …

I discovered Starcraft in an internet cafe just before brood war expansion was released.

      I wasted many hours and spent a fortune to play single player campaign.  I was impressed with the storyline, one of the most amazing cut scenes I have ever seen in the game. I remember until today when I saw other guy playing a campaign where Terrans were under siege by zerg and they need to survive for some time. It was a hard mission for me as I was constantly attacked and I barely won. What stunned me and it is a reason why I still remember is when I saw the guy playing Starcraft for the first time and he maybe built 2 bunkers and he won … without hassle as zergs sent 1 hydralisk per minute. I had on of the biggest WTF face expression. I guess these days I will shout on Twitter how this game is imba! I played some multiplayer games too. I even won 2 vs 2 … even if I had 1 zealot and 1 pylon left on field :). It was a great fun.

    Anyway, this is NOT a blog entry about grandpa sharing experience when he was young, so it summary I had a great time with this game and I consider as one of my favourite game of all my life. (XCOM: Enemy Unknown is my favourite).

 STARCRAFT REBORN BY YOUTUBE

Life moved on and I forgot about Starcraft. A few years later when I was preparing to exams and I needed “5 minutes” break and I discover a YouTube channel  (Klazart, VioleTAK or Moletrap) where some guys made a commentary of Starcraft tournament in South Korea. I was shocked because :

  • An ancient game is not dead.
  • Playing Starcraft in South Korea is a big thing.
  • There are many tournaments.
  • They stream it on TV!

Here, I have an advice for people who looking for 5 minutes break in the middle night during preparation to exams on next day at 9 am. Do not use Social Media or content making website where you can discover as it will make surviving at exam … much more challenging.

Anyway, back to the topic. I started watching all matches with commentaries created by Cholera, Klazart, Moletrap, Tasteless with Little Susie and during Starcraft 2 era Husky, Incontrol and Day9 (more about Starcraft 2 later).

I still remember watching finals where Moletrap did his commentary from the car on the university campus which makes Cholera and other laughs. It shows the passion of these people to create content about things that they care about it. It was amazing. I felt really sad when each of them decided to retire.

Watching Starcraft became my hobby. Yes, it is correct. For me, watching game’s tournament was my way to relax after work and exams. It is like being a football fan. You can play for fun and still watching professional matches.  In fact, there is no difference between watching football and e-sport like Starcraft.

STARCRAFT 2 ERA

Blizzard announced that Starcraft 2 will be released in 3 parts. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and 2 expansions StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. In the beginning, it sounds like release the same things 3 times and cash-in on people but then I realized that it can be a good idea as it will help re-shape game in each major release like Brood War changed original Starcraft. As it turns out, it exceeded my expectations because each release has an epic single game campaign and good impact on multiplayer. I decided to play all 3 campaigns at once and I am planning to buy at some point in near future.

During Starcraft 2 era I enjoyed commentary by Husky, StarcraftHD, Day9 and  Incontrol.  My favourite player was White-Ra because of his good heart personality. I also support TLO, White-Ra and all polish players.

Unfortunately, at some point, I got busy in real life (got married, change job and so on) and at the same time Starcraft 2 pass his peak time, lost momentum and start dropping in terms of quantity and quality of the tournaments which makes back to watch tournaments more and more difficult over time.

LEGACY OF THE STARCRAFT

Personally, it is sad to see that popularity of Starcraft is going down so sharply but Starcraft exists for 20 years and it must happen sooner or later. I think Blizzard did a great job to keep the game for so long even if some mistakes and slow response to game’s needs may speed up this process of fading out of this game.

On a side note. One of the big advantages of being e-sport player than sport is that players can switch games if things go wrong over time. Something that is almost impossible in normal sport).

In my personal opinion, Starcraft and Korean scene were one of the main factors to popularize e-sport and create professional e-sport in the world. Thanks to other games I think e-sport will grow rapidly and one of the games will match the level of popularity as football. Speaking of football.  Unfortunately, mistakes like corruption, match fixing and drugs appear in Starcraft too. However, I will discuss this subject in the future blog entry.

Thanks to the internet we as a society is under revolution from the industrial age into the digital age where information and content is a value, not goods. It allows e-sport and games like Starcraft to create digital content by people can share their passion with others from all over the world. They didn’t need big media but they need the digital platform like YouTube and Twitch (known as Justin.tv). It creates internet based shows like “State Of The Game” by JP and channels like Day9Tv and much more.

From my point of view, everything during a time of early days of Starcraft and e-sport was amazing and I have hoped that e-sport learnt from mistakes made by sports organisations. Unfortunately, real life was a bit different.  I didn’ know about dirty politics between Kaspa, Blizzard and so on. As mentioned before there were incidents with match fixing. Sadly innocent time is over. In my opinion, it will go in the same as football where the game industry will control everything. Again a subject that is worth its own blog entry.

If you are interested in the history of Starcraft’s e-sport history from various perspectives then I suggest you watch:

WHY I WATCH OTHER PEOPLE PLAY GAMES?

WHY I WATCH E-SPORT TOURNAMENT?

Many people didn’t understand why I watch other people playing games or watch e-sport. How I explain them this? Other people enjoy to watch sport, tv series or play the radio in the background while they are doing something else. I am doing the same but I watch e-sport tournament or watch somebody play game in the background while I am doing my things. Simple. As time goes more and more people will do the same.

SUMMARY

As you can see,  Starcraft contribution to the game industry and e-sport is massive. I just briefly mention a few of them.

Big money brings great shows but it kills the spirit. Is it bad? No. It is great an e-sport is a booming industry now and who knows maybe my son will be part of this some day. These days e-sport is growing rapidly and a digital-sport becoming as popular as the physical sport with all good and very bad things.

I think I was lucky as I enjoy the best part of e-sport when it was in incubation. When ordinary people did commentary full of passion and players plays for being the best player. It creates many spectacular moments which I am grateful for.

I was an anonymous viewer who enjoys watching all these shows, thanks to commentators like:

  • Cholera
  • Klazart
  • Moletrap
  • Tasteless
  • Little Susie
  • Husky
  •  and a few more who I should mention but I forgot.

and players like:

  • Boxer
  • Flash
  • Bisu
  • Stork
  • Day9
  • White-Ra
  • Firebat
  •  and a few more who I should mention but I forgot.

It will be great to meet these commentators and players someday and say in person…

THANK YOU

I hope all of you who I mentioned (or should mention but I don’t remember) somehow find this page, read and know somebody in this world appreciates what you did.

Anyway, I am looking forward to playing a Starcraft: Remastered to enjoy a campaign for fun.

Image source: http://www.blizzard.com (Official press resouces)

Laptop HP Pavilion 14-al119na review.

This is not a professional review. This is more daily experience with using this laptop.

If you do not bother to read the whole article, then this is a main take away points:

GOOD

  1. Cheap
  2. Good 14″ Spec for money
  3. Speakers
BAD

  1. Glossy screen
  2. No backlight on keyboard
Summary:

   It is a pragmatic choice if you want reasonably priced 13-14” secondary laptop for a commute, lightweight work, learning or medium distance travelling. Don’t buy this laptop if are surrounding for fashion police or hipster developers. If you good spec for money then you should choose 15.6” laptops or looking to spend £700 at least.

 

STORY

    I needed an Ultrabook as my tablet is a great device for content consumption but for the simple content creation and practice some development skills failed. I tried Nexus9 with keyboard and …it didn’t work for me. I needed a device that I can use during my commute on Tube and as a secondary device while I am trying to survive as being a super father at home.  I didn’t want to spend a fortune as I assume this laptop will be murdered by my son someday during his “crash tests” of all items that he can grab or drop.

 

MY EXPECTATION:

    I want to use this laptop to practice programming skills, write blogs and be able to use as my travel laptop. I decided that laptop should have:

  • 13-14” screen with low resolution
  • Core i3 minimum. Prefer i5
  • 8GB RAM,
  • 128GB SDD (minimum 256GB will be perfect)
  • Decent battery life
  • lightweight

    Problem is that ultrabook is designed for hipster developers so it must be expensive and offer spec that it is pointless for most of them. Is it any budget ultrabook?  I did research and it turns there are not too many choices for the budget ultrabook. Best choice turns out to be HP. However, I don’t like this brand but in this price range, it was a most pragmatic choice. Anyway. It looks like a most valuable option.

This is specification:

Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-7100U CPU @ 2.40GHz

RAM 8 GB

SDD 128GB (Samsung MZNTY128HDHP-000H1)

GPU Intel(R) HD Graphics 620

WiFi Intel(R) Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168

Sound Realtek with some B&O tunning.

Cost £400

In shortcut, not a good spec for 15.6” laptop but for 13-14” is not too bad.

 

FIRST IMPRESSION

    It came with the small package. It has just essentials. I will skip unboxing as you can find sponsored videos when people are much more orgasmic about the process of unboxing. Believe me seeing a middle aged fat guy cutting his finger during the process is …boring. Anyway.

    I read some complaints about battery but this one was enough to hold whole day but I use from time to time and I used for playing music, videos online and install few important apps and enjoying endless Windows Updates.

    Laptop looks quite decent outside but cheap when you open and when you touch you feel … cheated. Everything works. Typing on the keyboard is great. The touchpad is usable. The screen is good but it is glossy so I see my ugly face instead of the screen on sunny days. Overall, I was happy with the choice.

 

Screen

    It is a 14″ Screen with resolution 1366 x 768 pixels and it is perfect. I know, having a screen that is less than 4k is considered as a disadvantage, but for me, it is the ideal resolution for content creation and consumption and development.

There is a one big problem Glossy screen. It is great for narcissist person, but I am not one of them, so it is annoying to see my face on screen while I am developing. Glossy screen and battery saver change your screen to mirror. You can see your face, but you cannot see what you are typing. I am not sure what is the purpose of glossy screen apart of collecting your fingerprints and make it impossible to see anything during the sunny day while the laptop is in battery saver mode.

    The image is sharp and colours look nice but vertical view range is not good enough as I usually most adjust it.  

Keyboard

    The keyboard is OK. Key layout for this size of the keyboard is quite good. There are only 3 problems with it. 2 major and 1 minor.

  1. The Enter button is very small and it is a problem for me as a person who hit Enter all the time.
  2. The pause button is put in weird place (fn+right shift).It was difficult to find at first, but I used this button rarely, so it is not a problem.
  3. Up/Down arrows are tiny and cause some problems during development.

    Most weird thing is that there is enough space for one more column for keys which will solve all these problems. Overall, it is good enough keyboard to type but you can find much better one.

TOUCHPAD

    The touchpad is usable but not comfortable.  Moving pointer on the touchpad is quite good. It is smooth. Buttons work a bit better than on my Asus laptop but it still quite annoying to use. Left clicks works, usually. Right clicks can be tricky to trigger on many occasion. It works, but it depends on its mood. Overall, you can survive without using a mouse but it will be an unpleasant experience. 

 

BATTERY

    As I mentioned in the first impression there is concern about average battery life. With limited choices in this price range, it is hard for me to define an average and good battery. My aim was to have a battery that lasts for 5 hours of developing and listening music in background and laptop seems can holder even longer on battery saver mode. If you planning fly Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Auckland and your seat socket doesn’t work then, unfortunately, you are screwed, but for a bit shorter … like  5 hours journeys should be OK. 

 

MUSIC

    Let’s face it. This laptop is not for DJs who want play drum and bass from laptop’s speaker. However, the sound quality is great for their size. If you don’t  expect to experience a brainquake from bass then you should be happy. B&O did a great job with this speakers. For background noise, play songs to a baby or listen to the podcast at room is perfect. For teenagers who want share, they passion to dubstep in public is a bad option.

 

MY DAILY EXPERIENCE WITH Laptop HP Pavilion 14-al119na

  • I was surprised that fan works all the time. When I was exploring ‘rich’ configuration possibilities in BIOS (as I looked can you set this CPU in specific mode), I discover option “fan always on” is enabled. If you disabled, fan works when CPU gets hot. When you disabled “fan always on”, the laptop is very quiet. I have no idea what was the reason behind it, but so far laptop temperature is good.
  • Some people complain that it WiFi doesn’t support AC standard. Is it a problem? Not really. This laptop wasn’t designed with best possible performance in mind. It was designed to be cheap ultrabook and this cut seems to be reasonable. If you need ac-standard, then … it is not a laptop for you. Most funny thing is I check my laptop. It supports AC.
  • People moan on the internet that Ethernet doesn’t support gigabit standard. Many portable laptops do not have this port at all because it is not needed in wireless communication times. Another thing is it should not be a problem for me as with 128GB SSD there is unlikely that you will flood this drive with many data. I think it is good that it has a port at all.
  • I saw on the internet complaining about a lack of DVD-ROM. It should NOT have one. Ultrabook is designed to work on the move and the n digital age. This is no retro machine to support ancient technologies like CD-ROM, floppy disk and N64 cartridges. DVD-ROM is just waste of space and increases cost and weight.
  • Bluetooth works. I connect my headphones, ‘no name’ speakers’ and everything seems to work.
  • The battery is good enough for my 3 hours commute plus 1 hour spent at the coffee place and spend some time at home on doing various things.
  • It doesn’t have a keyboard with backlight which is especially useful in ultrabook.
  • Performance seems to be ok for my need playing video, having browsers with many tabs and running various CPU intense tasks. My unit tests running around twice longer than tests on my Asus laptop or worse. Performance can be sluggish on rare occasion on battery save mode.
  • Windows didn’t crash.
  • If you looking value for money, then buying 15’ish” laptop is a better idea.

 

SUMMARY

    It is weird for me to say about HP laptops but this is quite a decent laptop for my requirements in this price. I am happy with the choice.  It seems is good enough to handle browser with many tabs and developing a medium sized project without any hiccups. 

 

Doms learn Chinese: Word Game v17.3 released!

Doms learn Chinese: Word Game
v17.3

 You can download from here:
It is a maintenance release, where I removed AppBrain as an Ad platform and left google ads only.
CHANGE LOG
  1. Remove AppBrain ads and keep Google Ads only.
  2. Add some words.
  3. Minor improvements.
LINKS

USS Dominik: Chesham

USS stands for underground secret search and it is about exploring things around London’s underground station. Read more about it in my introduction: https://dominiksymonowicz.com/2017/07/07/uss-dominik-underground-secrets-search-introduction/

CHESHAM

    The station was opened on 8 July 1889. Accidentally,  I have visited this station on the 128th anniversary of the opening.

    You can get here by Tube (Metropolitan line to Chesham, Zone 9*). It takes just … 74 minutes from Aldgate to Chesham. It is a very beautiful little station with old water tower, signal box and very lovely garden in the place where was track to another platform.

    I am very perplexed about Chesham. From one side it is a very beautiful little town with a decent high street that has a few local shops, big park, nice houses, churches ( St. Mary’s Church) and many places for a walk (I recommend Chess Valley Walk)  but … I had a feeling that Chesham is in decline. It looks like council just abandon this place. Park looks lovely but is lie shit mind field and pond looks like sewage tank. I want to go to Chesham Museum to learn more about Chesham but unfortunately, they just closed down during a lack of funding. 

Is any Good independent coffee place nearby?

I didn’t see any.

Is any good pub nearby?

    I didn’t find any local pub yet. Queen’s Head is a Fuller’s chain. I like this place for a unique character. They have a few popular craft beer. Beers are reasonably priced.

Is any good restaurant nearby?

    There are a few restaurants in Chesham. We tried Queen’s Head which is a pub with Thai food. The place is family (you can bring a child in pram) and dog-friendly which is always a plus. The food was OK but I get one of the tiniest portions of rice I ever had. 

    I tried also sandwich in Sandwich bar on High Street. It was  OK’ish, but it is worth to mention that they charge me £3  but price everywhere was £2.95. I have a rule, that if this kind of thing happens I never go there again. I do NOT recommend a Sandwich bar.

Is interesting places to see nearby?

  1. High Street
  2. Chesham Clock Tower
  3. Chesham War Memorial
  4. A few religious places

Interesting walks nearby?

There are many good walks. Check this website for details  http://www.chesham.gov.uk/Walks/Local_Chesham_Walks.aspx

On this blog, you can find my experience from some of these walks.

Trivia and other interesting and non-interesting  facts:

  1. In movie The Imitation Game, 73 Church Street in Chesham appears as Alan Turing’s lodging house in Bletchley (Source: Wikipedia)
  2. Chesham station is around 40 km north-west of central London (measured from a famous place in Trafalgar Square near Charing Cross, making it the furthest London Underground station from central London.
  3. It is a northernmost London Underground Station.
  4. It is a westernmost London Underground Station.
  5. The distance between Chesham and Chalfont & Latimer is the longest between stations on the London Underground network.

SUMMARY

Chesham station looks great. Chesham as a place is like heaven for people who love work in the city, have access to an endless amount of events but relax in a peaceful place. It is something which I always dream about it. Unfortunately, this place looks like is decaying and beauty is dying, therefore, you should see it before it lost its magic.

*) Yes, Zone 9 exists in London … well, it is outside of London, but Zone 9 exits on Tube.

Sources:

Some Chesham citizen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGPQfVMTaJQ (Geoff Marshall/Londonist)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesham (Wikipedia)

USS Dominik : Underground Secrets Search : Introduction

USS Dominik is sort of acronym for Underground Secrets Search by Dominik.

This is a 5 years mission: to explore strange new stations, to seek out new places and new civilizations, to boldly go where I didn’t bother to have gone before … eee … I got a bit too StarTreky. Am I?

This is my idea to explore and discover London. I came across this idea, because near the place where I live. Vibrant local shops disappeared in scary rate and they are replaced by soulless chains, charity shops, and property management.

I watch catch what is left before it will devour by clones of the same.

For each place I am planning write a short entry where  I will try find interesting places and facts about it station and surrounding area.

I will look for independent coffee shops, pubs, and unique restaurant.

I will see are they any interesting walks to do nearby.

I will do some pictures of interesting places.

 

I am planning to do this on weekly basis, but I will start from 1 note per 2 weeks in the first 3 months.

I started on 1 July 2017 and I am planning to complete this quest by 1 July 2022.