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Scotland Trip – 2017

Note: It appeared that this post was hanging in the drafts for almost a year. Only a year after, going through all the articles, that I kept aside for publishing, I finally decided to get this one in.

Island escape

Living in Cyprus for almost half of my life, whenever I was choosing the destination for vacations, my wife and I were picking the places that had to follow:

  • Lack of sun (those who lives on the sunny island will get what I mean)
  • Sightseeings that weren’t demolished by Punic Wars or anything that happened before Christ death.
  • Cultural shift
  • Transportation

Mediterranean Europe: why not?

April is a lovely time to travel around Southern Europe. It’s still not too crowded by tourists, the sun won’t melt you on the spot. Italy, Spain, Greece – lovely countries to visit.

But one of the things that these places have in common – is slow relaxed culture, that pretty much the same we have in Cyprus. That’s what you might want to escape for a week or two, when you need to rewire your brain on vacation.

Going North – Scotland

I’ll be honest with you, one of the crucial reasons, of choosing Scotland over other Central/Northern European countries for the holiday’s trip – was the fact that my brother already settled down there for studies. As It matched all the points from the requirements list, we picked the travel dates and bought the tickets.

And in about a week, we landed in Edinburgh with the plan of staying there for a week, with a short visit to Aberdeen to pick my brother for Easter vacations, and head back to Cyprus.

Edinburgh, here we go!

Going anywhere abroad, you can be sure, that you will meet someone who’s connected to Cyprus by any means. The very thing happened to us, without even leaving Edinburgh airport. An officer on the passport control, seeing our documents, was mind blown.

– Flying from Cyprus to Scotland, in April?! I surved in Nicosia for 3 years in the UN troops. It’s lovely sunny place!
– That’s one of the reasons we choose Edinburgh, as we haven’t seen rains for almost a year!
– Well, you’re in the right place! Welcome to Scotland!

30 minutes drive from the airport, and we arrived to lovely A-Haven Town House hotel built in Victorian period in Newhaven area. The hotel is located in 10 minutes walk from old centre of the town.

A-Haven TownHouse Hotel

Unlike Cyprus, most of sightseeing in Scotland dates in AD epoch. We were lucky of staying for a week in this lovely town and visit most of the major tourist places without repeating even once.

You can easily lose yourself in the town centre among various monuments, and other cultural heritage buildings. Throughout the week we managed to check:

The weather was favourable for us, it was raining only twice during the night. So we managed to catch up with most of the places we could reach during the day.

Heading North to Aberdeen

By the end of the journey we went to granite city of Scotland – Aberdeen. A lovely small town, centre of oil & gas industry of Scotland. And one of the biggest student cities of the North.

After 2 hours on the train from Waverley Station we got to Aberdeen.

University of Aberdeen was found in 1495, which currently hosts around 14000 students from around the globe.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to explore the city. We managed to visit the university campus and the down town. Due to its industrial/student vibe, the city was less crowded with wandering tourists. Nevertheless, Aderdeen left positive impressions of great hospitality, solid beautiful architecture.

Back to Cyprus

Recalling the trip to Scotland, I would say that it was a memorable experience. It was filled with hospitality, great places, excellent food. Edinburgh definitely has its charm, that makes you want to go back and explore the city even more.

Hopefully, next time we manage to get to the West coast of Scotland, Glasgow and castles of Skye islands.

“Choose Life” from Trainspotting 2

In 90s Irvine Welsh published “Trainspotting“, that soon became a bestseller and was filmed by Danny Boyle.

An anthem of punk subculture, and anarchy portrayed by Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller following great cast. 20 years later, the story got its continuation in “T2: Trainspotting”.  Same characters, 20 years older, and somewhat wiser, facing pretty much same problems and unresolved conflicts.

One of the famous monologues from the first movie intro puts an end to what life film characters have chosen:

Culture of appreciation in dev communities

Github recently released its annual report – Octoverse 2018. Ben Halpern descried an interesting fact about the use of emojis in in Github issue tracker.

According to Github infographics in the report, “the kindest” development community is Ruby developers. In a sense of support and appreciation for other developers via the use of emojis.

Some might say that this metric won’t say much about the “the kindness” of the community. So you might consider also the age distribution of the developers. As younger generation use emojis more often, I would still consider Ruby programming language as a young one (it’s mid 90s). 

On another hand, showing some basic appreciation to someone’s work would retain these people contributing to the community.

People often forget that most of open-source projects are voluntary. So you have to give some feedback to contributors. 

On the contrary, it wouldn’t mean that the world is all unicorns and rainbows. Scott Gilbertson from Wired magazine published an article about the most “swearing” programming communities back in 2011. 

C++ takes top honours, but just barely. Ruby and JavaScript are neck and neck behind C++. 

Wired magazine

We’ve been trying to adapt culture of appreciation in Qobo, whenever we receive contributions from in the wild. So far, we managed to keep our WTF/minute ration quiet low, and show as much positive feedback as we could.

So, whenever you contribute to any of our projects – don’t forget to buy us the beer. It will definitely boost the approval speed  of your pull requests. 

Indiana Jones GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

“The mess we are in” by Joe Armstrong

Great talk from Joe Armstrong on how they created Erlang, and how Programming community looked back in the days. Amazing, inspiring, worth watching:

Chromium build to replace Edge on Windows

Microsoft is building its own Chromium browser to replace the default on Windows 10. The software giant first introduced its Edge browser three years ago, with a redesign to replace Internet Explorer and modernize the default browsing experience to compete with Chrome and others.

While the modern look and feel has paid off for Edge, the underlying browser engine (EdgeHTML) has struggled to keep up with Chromium. Microsoft is finally giving up and moving its default Windows 10 browser to Chromium.


And yet, I will hold my sight. I quoted from Brad Frost 3 years ago: “But the truth is I don’t care”. 

Update: SwiftOnSecurity brings up interesting thoughts on the reasons behind this move. Mostly related with Electron, Skype for Business and EdgeHTML.