Friday, September 30, 2005

Back to the School Bench

This week was my first week at the Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication (Networked Media Environments). Wednesday was enrolment, where you payed your fees, fill out all kind of registration forms. The process went quite smoothly and I was able to return home by noon. Today was the first introduction day, when we received our logins and passwords to access the intranet and the various online tools of the insitute.

Furthermore, we were able to join a couple of final presentations of last year's class. This was an interesting experience.

I am very excited about the studies and will continue reporting about my projects and experiences in this institute at this place.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Being Canadian

Last Wednesday, I was talking to a future classmate whom I have met at the enrolment. We were on the train back into town and introducing ourselves to each other. San comes from South Korea and has been living in London for one year now. A lady who was sitting in the same cabin picked up our coversation and joined in. She was from Iran and told stories about when she first arrived in London and everything was new to her. During the conversation, she asked me where I came from and in this situations, I love to ask back, what people would guess. She was guessing "Canada?". Funny, that is.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Choose your future

Tomorrow will be a decisive day for Switzerland. The swiss voters will once again decide, if Switzerland should move towards a cooperation with the European Union or choose the "we will do it on our own"-way.

Since I have been living here in London (this city alone has 7 million inhabitants - roughly the same as entire Switzerland) I have realised, how crucial Switzerland's cooperation with the EU is. Switzerland is such a small and insignificant country, it hardly gets any notice, in particular if you are in the media and communication business as I am. All the companies, we have been working with (Sony, Warner Brothers, Universal just to name a few) focus their investments in Europe, especially in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

Not only do I think it is naive and silly to think, Switzerland can do it on its own, I even think it is essential for the survival of the swiss economy in the long term to partner up with Europe.

As CNN analizes:
During World War II, Switzerland and tiny neighbor Liechtenstein stood alone in central Europe in maintaining their independence from Nazi Germany. Switzerland considered itself a "special case" as its postwar economy forged ahead of its neighbors.

It is now slowly realizing that its special status may no longer be sustainable. The coalition government favors closer cooperation with and eventually joining the EU, but many of the country's German speakers -- who make up about two-thirds of the population -- are opposed to integration.

Source: CNN

To me, this whole discussion somehow has the flavour of the Olden Days, when people used to think, the Earth was the center of the universe, until we slowly realized, that our planet is just one of a billions. From the outside, Earth suddenly turns out to be completely insignificant. It is time for the conservatives in Switzerland to realize, that this country is just one out of a twohundredsomething - and it's even e very small one. So better parnter up if you don't want to miss the chances of a prosperous future in which cooperation would be more important than ever.

A Tiny Political Statement

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."

"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"

His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Soviet Standard Blue

Today I was playing around with Babelfish. I'm sorry to tell all Scots out there, that Scotland doesn't seem to exist in the Chinese language. If you translate "United Kingdom" into Chinese, you will get 英国. Translate it back, you will get "England". How about "Scotland"? It translates into 苏格兰. Ok, and now, what does the se signs mean?

苏 - Soviet
格 - Standard
兰 - Blue

England, however seems to have its own sign:
英 - England
国 - Country

Didn't try Wales and Northern Ireland, though. Switzerland seems to have its own symbol as well:
瑞 - Switzerland
士 - Gentleman

I have no clue, where the "Gentleman" comes from.

PS: Of course I couldn't resist translating "asshole" back and forth: 笨蛋.
笨 - Stupid
蛋 - Egg

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Flickr Update

Last week, I have uploaded the Philippines Pictures in Flickr. Check them out! I will add more images to Flickr, as I really like this service! By the way, if you want to know, how to sort your Flickr images within a so called "Set", use to do so. For some reason, you need third party software to order your pictures by EXIF date.

Dennis Bergkamp spoils the party

Last Wednesday was a big day for Swiss football. FC Thun met Arsenal here in London in the Highbury Stadium. A mate at work organized tickets for me and another mate to see the match. The bets were standing around 70 to 1 for "The Gunners" to win. So everybody seemed to know, how the match would turn out.

The initial 20 minutes or so were quite boring. Nothing really happened, Arsenal struggled to score a goal, Thun's defence seemed quite well organized. However tention began to rise, when in the 45th minute, an Arsenal player had to leave due to a Red Card (severe foul). The entire Stadium (34'498 spectactors minus a couple of Hardcore Thun Fans) tuned in the chorus " ♫ The Ref-eree ♫♪ is a Wanker! ♪♫ The Ref-eree is a Wan-ker! ♪♫". Nevertheless, in the 51. minute, Arsenal scored the first goal and the whole stadium broke out into euphory... for one minute. 1:1 in the 52nd minute. Now, tension began to rise. Would the match turn out to a complete embarrassment for Arsenal? Everything was possible.

Disappointed Arsenal fans had already left the stadium when in the 93rd minute a third goal was scored. Dennis Bergkamp, Hollands National Team player and probably Aresnal's Fan's favourite player managed to score the winning goal for the Gunners. Their honor was saved. However, it was thight. I would have loved seeing the few Thun fans leaving the stadium in joy while other 34'400 or so Gunner fans left the stadium a little bit more down to earth.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

A Brief History Lesson

Since I am here in Britain, I would also like to jump at the chance to get to know more about this country. I noticed, that there is a confusion about the definitions, when you ask people on the streets. Most of them are referring to "England" but mean "Great Britain". What about the "United Kingdom" and what is the "Common Wealth"? What is the difference between "Great Britain" and "United Kingdom"?

"Britain" is often being used as the colloquial term for "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", which is the official name of this country. "Great Britain" consists of the three parts "England", "Scotland" and "Wales". The "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" has been founded in 1801 with an "Act of Parliament".

Before that time, in the Middle Ages, Wales consisted of multiple Kingdoms and Princedoms. Around 1300 the English took control and in 1536, Wales was "integrated" into England by a law.

Scotland and England were separate kingdoms until in 1603 King James VI of Scotland (or King James I of England) successed Queen Elisabeth I creating the "Kingdom of Great Britain". In 1707 both countries were finally merged.

Since the 12th Century, Ireland was under English influence until it had been integrated into Great Britain in 1801 . In 1922 the southern part of Ireland segregated and became the "Republic of Ireland". (Thanks Ursi for the information provided)