Monday, October 15, 2007

Google Sydney 2007

Google FlashyI had a fantastic adventure at Google Sydney for the 2007 Anita Borg Scholarship this past week, but now unfortunately it's back to reality. I was a finalist again this year, and the winner, Tracy, is from Perth UWA, so it's great to have a Perth girl on the winner's list!

gOOgleThe actual retreat involved spending lots of time at the Google Sydney office, listening to talks, chatting with engineers, and generally meeting a lot of smart people. It was also really fun to meet up with people from last year's retreat! I especially enjoyed the talk given by Robin, which involved the story of how she got to where she was today, and was very inspirational. There were also some "break out sessions" where the finalists were split up into small groups to talk about issues concerning women in computer science, and it was interesting to hear about everyone's experiences of how they ended up in this discipline.

The Opera House at NightGoogle pretty much took care of everything, and spoiled us thoroughly with hotel rooms in the Hilton, snacks provided every hour, dinner on the warf, and a cruise of the harbour. Plus I've made some friends for life from all over Australia, which is priceless given that the engineering and technical community is so tight here.

Tree LizardWe also had a lot of spare time, which I mostly spent with Tracy, Dana, and Liz wandering about Sydney, shopping and the like. We also did the touristy stuff like going up the Sydney Tower and taking lots of photos of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. On the last day of our trip, Tracy and I went to Taronga Zoo which was voted to be the best zoo in the world a few years ago, and it really was fantastic. The position makes it much more than a zoo, with breathtaking views of the harbour from the chairlift and lookouts throughout. The highlight for me was definitely the giraffes and the tigers, and I'd highly recommend that everyone who goes to Sydney should spend a day there.

So the moral of the story is - APPLY FOR THE SCHOLARSHIP! Going to the finalist retreat at the Google office is a really great experience, so give it a shot girls :)
Aussie Branding

Saturday, October 6, 2007

IKEA Wonderland

Had a very productive day today - shopping wise, not uni wise of course. Matt and I decided to take a trip down to IKEA to see what they had to offer by way of coffee tables and TV stands. We found two perfect pieces among a mostly crappy assortment of furniture, but that's always the way with budget furniture stores.

1. LACK Coffee Table: $49
Coffee Table

2. LACK Shelving Unit: $119
TV Table

3. Enjoying our new dining room: priceless.
OK so it's not priceless - it actually cost $168, but it's great to finally have some non-hand-me-down furniture of our own!

We also took a trip next door to Freedom and Furniture Bazaar, which are both slightly more pricey (but higher quality) establishments than IKEA. We definitely saw a few things to aspire to, but since a simple coffee table can cost over $400 we may put it off for a few years yet!

Matt's New and Improved Site

Matt's new site design is all done and looking shiny! Check it out for some cool widgets and iPhone apps :)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Busy Time

Well it's coming up to the end of semester and boy is there a lot to do! I don't think I've ever had so much stuff due all at once, and considering that Electromag Theory is one of my units, even the simplest* things take me days to finish.

I'm also sorting out my final year project for next year, and it looks about 99% sure that I'll be doing a CEED project with Nautronix (the company I've been doing vacation work for). It turns out that the engineering manager at Nautronix actually did a research project with my supervisor from uni so it looks like the project will go smoothly in terms of everyone getting along!

This weekend I also need to pack for Sydney for the Google retreat next week. I can't wait, but I'll be missing an important lab and also skipping out on my group assignments, so I'm trying heaps done before I leave so I don't feel too guilty. More on that when I get back, yay!

Matt's house is going very well, and I think we've pretty much moved in. We have all the basics; bed, fridge, table, tv, but we're still missing a washing machine so we've been dropping off the washing at mum's (good ol' mum and grandma to the rescue). I'm getting a knack for this cooking business, but given mine and Matt's busy schedule, it's been a chore to keep the fridge filled up with stuff to cook with.

No other major news really, since I've officially had no life since mid semester break. I'm missing the royal show AGAIN this year which is really unfortunate since I've been looking forward to seeing the duck parade again since 2 years ago :( Oh well, next year!

Keep an eye out next week for news on the Google Retreat!

*simple meaning simple to a person with an astrophysics degree