I left the flat and noticed cute little fellow observing the city from the roof of my building:
I’m not used to see these guys (which I presume is a mallard) so thought it was interesting.
I left the flat and noticed cute little fellow observing the city from the roof of my building:
I’m not used to see these guys (which I presume is a mallard) so thought it was interesting.
Last day of the year I took a walk down to Fenerbahce, Kalamis and Moda which in my opinion are the best part of Istanbul.
This post is about more various pictures of Istanbul from my latest trip.
Another one of my favourite places. I spent years going back and forth on a ship between Besiktas and Kadikoy accompanied by countless seagulls!
This is the first time I ever visited this museum and enjoyed my time there.
From Besiktas I took the bus to Taksim and walked along Istiklal Street all the way down to Galata and Cihangir.
The next day I visited my family’s property at the countryside and enjoyed some fresh air and a small room my build as a bird sanctuary as he likes to spend some time in there. It’s quite refreshing and relaxing and hours may fly by just by watching the birds.
As usual, I decided to spend my holiday visiting my family in Turkey. This time I decided to take some photos and blog about it.
When I used to live in Turkey, I lived in Kadikoy all my life so this place has always been special to me. Spent some time walking in Fenerbahce, Bahariye, Goztepe and the pier and took a stroll down memory lane.
And a few videos of the seagulls accompanying the ship:
I like Regent’s Canal quite a lot so I didn’t want all the other photos I took go to waste. Here’s a few more images that I took at different times over the past few months:
Living in South East London for quite a long time, I wasn’t quite familiar with King’s Cross area. Nowadays I’m travelling here more often and had some chance to take nice pictures.
There are some nice places all around and I will probably post more in the future. For now I just wanted to post some places I enjoyed:
This is a nice luxurious business square. I guess the most impressive building here is Google’s new London headquarters
and some more pictures of the square:
This is a nice little square with little fountains:
Apparently if you download an app and connect to their WiFi you get to control the fountains but I haven’t tried it myself.
This shopping center has opened recently and it’s located right next to Granary Square:
Since it became so famous I wanted to drop by and see the famous platform but wasn’r very impressed by it to be honest. It’s just a simple plague on the wall. I don’t get what the fuss is all about!
And here’s some shots from a terrace in a building in Pancras Square:
I published a post about Regent’s Canal which is adjacent to these places. There’s is more to King’s Cross than these and there’s Camden nearby which is also a very interesting place. I’m hoping to spend some time to travel more areas in this neighbourhood and publish more.
Some plants are known to act as good air filters. I’ve been trying to grow my own plants for some time.
I had some failed attempts but I have a few in the last batch of Jasmines.
Hope these ones survive and blossom. I really want to be able to grow my own plants from seeds instead of constantly buying fully-grown ones.
The doors opened at 5:30 and I was among the early ones. I entered the arena and I was on the 2nd row which is very close to the stage but that was just temporary. As time passed the crowd got wilder and it quickly proved to be hard to stay in that area and try to watch the show so I moved back after Anthrax.
After a slightly long and repetitive introduction, at around 18:10, they took the stage. Over the years I nejoyed a few of their songs but never been a huge fan. It was nice to watch them from the 2nd row though
I think Anthrax has always been one of the leading bands in Thrash Metal. Probably a bit underrated though. Their performance was great. They started with Pantera’s Cowbows From Hell and intro to rule up the crowd. And it worked. Big time! It didn’t take too long for the first mosh pit to form! Overall they proved once again they are great at what they do.
Lamb of God is definitely one of my favourite heavy metal bands but their performance didn’t impress too much. Randy seemed to be a bit sarcastic when he asked questions like “You know why we are all here, don’t you?”
They started with Omerta and continued with their classics and the crowd went wild. But in the middle when they started playing from their newer albums it cooled down a bit. They finished with Redneck as usual.
Their show was the most impressive Slayer show I’ve ever seen. Even the way they took the stage was quite a show:
Slayer was Slayer as usual. They played all the classics. Tom didn’t interact with the crowd too much. They don’t need to rile people up anyway being Slayer and all!
Earlier this year Slayer announced they were retiring. Slayer is probably the most ‘metal’ band ever. I have seen them 4-5 times throughout the years and as soon as I heard that announcement in July I went to check the tour dates and a possible gig in London. In fact there was a gig in London but I was too late to secure a ticket. Since it was already sold out months ago, I decided to seek my chance elsewhere and bought a ticket for the Newcastle gig. I thought this would give me a last chance to bid Slayer farewell and explore Newcastle in the process.
A booked my ticket from Virgin Trains. The journey was from London King’s Cross to Newcastle Central Station which took a bit over 3 hours because of minor delays.
I don’t remember what I was thinking when I booked the hotel. I didn’t check the exact location of it until I arrived at Newcastle. I was under the impression that I could simply walk to the hotel. But apparently it was about 6KM away. Considering it was around 21:30, cold and rainy it wasn’t a very smart move.
I started walking towards the hotel but the road turned into a highway and my iPhone shut itself down instantly for no reason as it had 70% battery just a few minutes ago. Anyway, I decided to cut my losses and walked back to train station and took a taxi.
Travelodge Gateshead staff was very helpful and friendly throughout the whole stay (which was quite short anyway but still).
Travelodge I stayed in was 10-minute walk from Metrocentre. According to my taxi driver it is one of the top 10 biggest shopping centres in the entire Europe. Not sure if that information is accurate but it was quite big for sure! Even in early November, Christmas spirit was in the air:
It took a while to figure out how to get to the city centre but finally found the correct bus.
It’s a small town apparently and since I don’t like crowded places I liked the place. I will need to spend more time (maybe plan a full weekend trip just to explore the city) on my next visit to have a more educated opinion.
Well, this trip wasn’t conclusive to have a comprehensive opinion about the city. I only had 4-5 hours before the Slayer concert but I like small towns, I like rivers so it is a good candidate for me to like!
I will plan another tour later to actually visit the city and not just to spend a few hours while waiting for an event.
I’ve always been attracted to drums for some reason. In the past I made some atttempts of getting lessons and practicing at home on a PlayStation with a Rock Band drum kit. But it never took off.
This time I decided to go further in and be more serious. After some research on seemingly endless possiblities of electronic drum kits, I decided to go with Roland TD-1DMK:
I’ll keep posting on my journey if it all goes well. If not, I’ll post the link for the item on eBay!
Some time ago I decided to get rid of all my physical books and comic books. Currently I only have a few hard copy books one of which is a book called Chronicle of America.
As I was planning to embark upon a reading journey with this behemoth I wanted to check if this was a part of a series and they had a similar book about the UK. Turned out it was a series and they had a lot more than just the UK or America.
After some searching on Amazon and eBay I was able to build this great collection for around £18.
Considering the size of the books I think I had better start reading now as they seem to take a few years to finish completely!
If you’d likfe to build a similar collection I’d recommend the seller on eBay and Amazon. These are second hand books so they may not be available anymore but I’m sure you can find them on other places as well.
My client’s moved to a new office recently. The view is quite nice from their office:
It’s very close to Regent’s Canal. I decided to take walks by the canal. Especially in summer time it makes a very nice walk.
It even has a boat converted into a bookshop:
It’s quite long. The section I’m close by takes about 20 minutes end-to-end. I first finish the short-end, then walk the whole path twice and the short-end again which makes a nice brisk 50 minute-walk.
It crosses Regent’s Park too but unfortunately I’m not close to that section.
This brief introduction explains how it started (taken from Canal & River Trust’s page):
In 1812, the Regent's Canal Company was formed to cut a new canal from the Grand Junction Canal's Paddington Arm to Limehouse, where a dock was planned at the junction with the Thames. The architect John Nash played a part in its construction, using his idea of 'barges moving through an urban landscape'. Completed in 1820, it was built too close to the start of the railway age to be financially successful and at one stage the Regent’s only narrowly escaped being turned into a railway. But the canal went on to become a vital part in southern England's transport system.
I might update this post with new pictures as I keep walking by the canal. Currently I like these ones:
And this is a short video of the swans under rain:
I’ve decided to have regular trips inside the UK and as my first stop I chose Bletchley Park. This post is a compilation of my notes about the trip so that I can take a look as a refresher for the next one.
I booked train tickets on Virgin Trains and I was very pleased with the experience.
They sent helpful email and text messages before and after the platform was announced. Boarding process was completely hassle-free. Just showed the QR code that was saved in my Apple Wallet and Virgin Trains app. I used the Wallet this time but the app would work just as good probably. The train departured at the exact time so all went well. Also there was a charging unit in my seat I got to charge my laptop and phone on the way.
Euston to Milton Keynes Central takes 30 minutes only. It’s shorter than my daily commute so it ended before I knew it. The train passes through Bletchlet station but doesn’t stop. So I had to buy a return ticket to Bletchley too (which is just 1 stop away and takes a couple of minutes)
Arrived at Bletchely park at around 9:20. It opens at :30 on Saturdays but it opened earlier so didn’t have wait too long.
OVerall the staff members were very kind and helpful. In the lobby, I had my ticket printed which apparently is an annual pass so you just buy one ticket and visit the park as many times you want for a whole year which sounds like a great deal. At the end of the visit I was overwhelmed with information I just might take them on that offer and visit again to have it all sink in.
Apart from its historic significance, it’s a very beautiful park too. The weather was especially great when I first arrived so didn’t mind just taking a tour outside and enjoy the view.
The park is smaller than it first like at a first glance at the map. But walking around the whole park just takes a few minutes of brisk walk so it’s easy to find and visit all the buildings.
One interesting I learned was the founder of Graphy Theory was one of the codebreakers there: William Thomas Tutte
The building called The Mansion included library and was the headquarters and the recreations center.
Actual codebreaking was carried out in buildings called Huts. They were very well-preserved and authentic. Also they added projections and sound recordings to make the whole experience more realistic
Overall, the level of technical details was overwhleming. They explained every machine and approach to break the codes in detail.
I think I will need to make some research on my own and go back for one more time to fill in the blanks.
After the visit to the park I had a tour of Milton Keynes. It’s a small town with lots of parks, lakes and kind people.
Everybody I met was very nice. I’m not sure if it was my luck or just because people are less stressed in small towns.
It was a great weekend overall. Bletchley Park is a beautiful park and visiting a place which played such an important role in World War 2 was very exciting. I think I had better go back and complete the parts that I missed the fist time as there is so much information to digest.
This is getting harder every year. When I first made up this little tradition of mine 2 years ago I had 5 pints in 5 different pubs in my neighbourhood. This year my goal was to have 7 pints but didn’t quite work out!
Apparently it’s a thing!. I took the train to London Bridge and walked all the way to the first pub in midday only to find out it was completely full! Being not a huge fan of crowded places I made a quick change of plans and decided any pub would do! So kept on walking to hunt for empty pubs.
It was a very beautiful sunny day to be outside. So I really liked spending time in this pub: The Old Bank
I guess the problem was I spent too much time in this one that having to visit 6 more started to be daunting. But I soldiered on!
My second stop was a pub named The Ancient Foresters
with a rudish barmaid but nice cider brand called the Hogs Back
OK, after the cider here I was really looking forward to go home and enjoy the rest of my day off so I had to accept stopping at 2 pints and fail miserably.
Since I’m in charge of making up the rules for this so-called tradition I thought I could make it more useful and healthy tradition. So for this year I decided to run 7K to commemorate the past 7 years in the UK!
I’ve recently started to run early in the mornings (mostly to play Ingress and capture enemy portals!) So I thought it would be a good fit to dedicate a running session specifically for the anniversary. Maybe not as fun as 7 pints thing but still better than nothing!
So it’s made itself abundantly clear that it’s hard to find 7-8 things of the same type. So next year I might run again 8K or divide the celebrations into 2 days and make it more managable that way! Maybe 8 parks and/or museums? Or maybe mixing and maatching would work. Since the main idea is to force myself go out and do something, I guess any celebration would do. We’ll see how it goes next year.
I have been a long time Windows user. About 2 years ago I bought a MacBook but it never became my primary machine. Until now! Finally I decided to steer away from Windows and use the Macbook for development and day to day tasks.
One morning I woke up and found out that Windows restarted itself again, without asking me. At the time I had a ton of open windows and there was a VMWare Virtual Machine running but none of these stopped Windows. It just abruptly shutdown the VM whic was very annoying and this wasn’t even the first time it had happened. So I decided to migrate completely to Mac. Just to give myself a better understanding of what it took and what is missing I decided to compile this post.
I thought it would be a painful process but turns out it was quite straightforward. Here’s comparison of some key applications I use:
On Windows I used to use Mailbird as my email client. It allows managing multiple accounts and has a nice GUI and works fine. I was wondering if there would be an equivalent in Mac for that and how much it would cost me (I paid about £25 for Mailbird for a lifetime license but apparently it’s now free). I didn’t have to look far: The built-in Mail application does the job very well. Adding a new Google account is a breeze.
I like Markdown Pad 2 on Windows but it has its flaws: The live preview constanly crashes and it allows to open only 4 files in the free version. On Mac, I’m using MacDown now which has a beatiful interface and completely free.
I do like Git Extensions and it’s one of the programs I wish I had on Mac but SourceTree by Atlassian seems to do the job.
Both have web interfaces and Google Drive has desktop clients for both Mac and Windows so no issues in migrating there.
On Windows, I like Sumatra PDF which is very clean and bloatware-free. On Mac, there is no eed to install anything. The default PDF viewer is perfect. It even handles PDF merge and editing operations.
I love using virtual cesktops on Mac. Switching desktops is so easy and intuitive with a three-finger swipe. Windows 10 has support for virtual desktops now but switching is not as fluent so using them didn’t become a habit.
Now this is the only application I cannot run on Mac. Microsoft has recently released Visual Studio for Mac and they also have Visual Studio Code which is a nice code editor but they are both stripped down versions. I don’t know if .NET Core will take off but currently I use full-blown .NET Framework which only runs under Windows so for development purposes I need to keep the Windows machine alive.
I have absolutely no regrets for switching over. I love the Macbook. the keyboard is much better than my Asus’s and the OS is great. Mac has 16GB but outperforms Asus with 24GB (both have Core i& processors and SSD drives)
Here are some more annoying things that used to bug me in the past about Windows:
There are a few things that I don’t like about Mac or miss from Windows:
There’s a lot to learn on Mac but I don’t think I’ll be going back anytime soon. I’m looking into virtualizing the Windows machine now so that I can decommission the laptop. I already converted my old Windows desktop into a Linux server so would have no problem with using the laptop for other purposes.
Microsoft made flop after flop starting with Windows 8 and finally they lost another user but they don’t seem to care. If they did, they wouldn’t disrespectfully keep restarting my machine, killing all my applications and VMs!
I have a drawer full of gadgets that I bought at one point in time with hopes and dreams of magnificent projects and never even touched!
Some time ago I started a simple spreadsheet to help myself with the impulse buys. The idea was before I bought something I had to put it to that spreadsheet and it had to wait at least 7 days before I allowed myself to buy it.
After 7 days strange things started to happen: In most cases I realised I had lost appetite for that shiny new thing that I once thought was a definite must-have!
I kept at listing all the stuff but quickly it started to become hard to wield by just a spreadsheet.
The idea behind the app is to automate and “beautify” that process a little bit. It has one Shopping Cart in which the items have waiting periods.
It seemed wasteful to me doing nothing during the waiting period. After all it’s not just about dissuading myself from buying new items. I should use that time to make informed decisions about the stuff I’m planning to buy. That’s why I added the product comparison feature.
The shopping cart has a limited size. Otherwise you would be able to add anything whenever you think of something to game the system so their waiting period would start (well, at least that’s how my mind works!) if your cart is full you can still add items to the wish list and start reviewing products. It’s basically a backlog of items. This way at least you wouldn’t forget about that thing you saw in your favourite online marketplace. Once you clear up some space in your cart either by waiting to buy or deleting them permanently, you can transfer items from wish list to the cart and officially kick off the waiting period.
I have a lot of ideas to improve it but you gotta release at some point and I think it has enough to get me started. Hope anyone else finds it useful too.
If you’re interested in the app please contact me. I might be able to hook you up with a promo code.
When April 6th, 2016 marked my 5th anniversary in the UK I thought I should do something special.
I don’t know if you have seen the movie The World’s End but I liked it a lot. Inspired by the Golden Mile concept I saw in that movie, my decision was to have 5 pints in 5 pubs in the neighbourhood. 1 pint for each year. It may sound unsustainable in the long run but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to that. Without further ado, here’s the pubs I picked for my first annual celebration:
This one is definitely my favourite pub in the area. It has a very cosy and warm environment. It’s not on the main road so almost felt like discovering a hidden gem when I first noticed it. In the past it served as a nice harbour to get away from my loud and obnoxious neighbour and collect my thoughts and maintain my sanity.
I don’t watch football games in pubs a lot but when I do this is my go-to pub. Nice big screen TVs all around. The last game I saw didn’t bring much joy though.
I remember Arsenal smashing Fenerbahce 3-0 in 2013 without even breaking a sweat. Part of the reason why I don’t watch football in pubs: no need for public humiliation!
The way I remember this one was it was quite spacious with a pool table and a lot of tables to sit. I used to come here a lot to wok on my blog. Although I can’t tell the difference, I’ve been informed that this was an Irish pub. I stopped by on one St. Paddy’s day a few years ago and there was quite a colourful celebration going on. I guess that’s one way of identifying whether a pub is Irish or English!
This visit was a bit disappointing though as the whole layout has changed. Pool table was gone and my favourite booth was removed. Oddly enough there were a few bookshelves and there was even a family with two toddlers inside. It felt more like a cafe than a pub.
My 4th stop was The Rambles. Actually it used to be a pub called The Swan which was the first pub I ever visited in the UK. It was run by two kind and nice ladies. When you move to a different country and try to settle in there’s a lot of challenges you need to tackle initially and it can be overwhelming at first. The Swan was a nice refuge for me at those times to wind down and relax.
Unfortunately it closed down a few years ago and now there is bar / comedy club named The Rambles. The club doesn’t mean much to me except I’ve been there once before to see a comedy show but in remembrance of The Swan I went there anyway. As it’s bar now they open and close much later than a pub so I was the first customer there! So it might be a good place to work in quite and have a cold one if I’m looking to change venues.
I love Blackheath! It’s on a hill and a bit windy but it has a nice little lake and a great view.
I remember the Bonfire Night a few years ago which had a great fireworks show. Princess of Wales is a nice pub by the lake with a great view and I enjoyed my pint there quite a bit.
I don’t know if I should try the same path with adding a 6th one to the end of the chain or start with a brand new set or even I’ll be in the mood to do a pub crawl but I’ll decide that later. After all it’s just one of those nice problems to have!
I’ve been working on iOS development with Swift for some time and finally I managed to publish my first app on the Apple iOS app store: NoteMap.
It’s a simple app that allows you to take notes on the map. You can take photos and attach them to the note as well as text. I thought this might be helpful if you take ad hoc pictures and then forget when and why you took them.
The main challenge was working with the location manager as you require permissions to get user’s location. You have to take into all combinations of permissions as they may be changed in the phone’s settings later on.
I have a long list of features to add but wanted to keep this one simple enough just to do the bare essentials. As I hadn’t submitted an app before I wasn’t even sure it would make it to the store. But after waiting 6 days for the app to be reviewed, now it’s out there, which is a huge relief and motivation. I’ll make sure to keep at it and add more features to NoteMap and submit more!
I may not go out too often but I couldn’t miss this one for the world! Jim Jefferies is my favourite comedian and I finally had a chance to see a live show.
When I saw the terrace option I went for it. Hoping paying extra would warrant better seats. I couldn’t be wronger! Even the MC made a lot of jokes about rich people sitting miles away from the stage while regular ticket owners had very close places.
There were 3 support acts which were about 10-15 minutes each. Jim took the stage around 20:40 and stayed until 22:00.
The first half was mostly about his newborn son and his relation with his girlfriend. Second half is mostly about religion, guns and sex. Overall it was hilarious as I anticipated. I especially loved how he encouraged people to overpower the security and have free beers :-)
I’ve seen all his shows before so seeing all new material was quite refreshing. Even though the stage was in galaxy far far away and the sound was not too loud still it was very nice to watch Jim Jefferies in open air.
Yesterday I attended AWS Summit event and wanted to post my impressions and notes from the event. As you can see in the image below there were quite a few people there:
Keynote was given by Amazon.com’s CTO Werners Vogel. Some notes from the keynote:
New features introduced
After the lunch break there were a lot of sessions about various AWS features. I picked Technical Track 1 which included EC2 Container Services, Lambda, CloudFormation and CodeDeploy
I know using containers is a big deal nowadays but still haven’t the chance to try it out myself. I was hoping from this session to find out more about it but didn’t benefit much from it as it didn’t cover the very basics. But in the light of keynote, it’s obvious there’s a huge demand on containers so will be the first service I’ll try next.
This is a very cool new service. Instead of running every small job in small services in small EC2 instances now we can get rid of all the maintenance and costs and just let AWS run our code whenever an event is triggered.
The focus of the session was CloudFormation but a client of AWS showed how they used Eclipse to deploy with a single click so it can be done in several ways. (That’s why the title of the talk wasn’t CloudFormation)
This is also a great tool to automatically launch a whole infrastructure based on ERB configuration files. I don’t have much experience in this one but was a nice session to see its capabilities in action.
This is yet another cool new feature just gone out of preview mode. You can automatically deploy new code based on your rules. For example, you can deploy one-at-a-time. It verifies every deployment and moves to next one. Or you can deploy new version on half of the instances meaning that half of your system will be available even if the deployment fails. Or if you like some adrenaline rush you can deploy to all instances at once :-)
You can specify pre and post scripts that handle the clean-up tasks and verifying the deployment.
CodeDeploy has been GA (General Availability) but 2 more services were introduced yesterday: CodePipeline and CodeCommit
The idea is to fully-automate the whole process from source code checking to deployment which according to the speaker is a very time consuming task in their own applications.
It was a nice big event and I’m glad I had the chance to attend to it. The content was rich to cover every aspect of AWS. I decided to attend to the sessions instead of labs as I can do them online here. It’s also a bit overwhelming to see there’s so much to learn about but that’s always a challenge in this industry anyway. As Werner Vogels said in his keynote: “Innovation is continuous!”