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12 Feb 2003: Kurisumasu

As I type this, I am suffering from the curse of influenza. Coughing, fever, headache, the works. I am finding it difficult to just sit around and feel sorry for myself, so I've decided to devote a little of my mental energy to putting some more photos on the website. You will find below a set of pictures that try to convey Christmas in Tokyo.

Work at BGI is going well and I'm now on shift duty. The software I work with is Windows-based, which means I'm having to live without the familiar Unix command-line prompt. No more typing tail -f or using isql. Still, I am getting to know SQL Server and Perl and maybe even some Java if I'm lucky. On top of this, my research into .NET has started moving again, so maybe I'll be able to add something to Wander soon.

I have also started going to my Japanese lessons again. This is good because I just found out I failed my level 2 exam! Of course, it's no surprise - I would have been shocked if I had passed. My score was 40% which is decent and is a good base to build on. By the end of this year, I should be a lot more confident of success.

Book corner! I've just finished reading Michael Lewis' Liar's Poker, about the author's experience working as a bond salesman at Salomon Brothers during the 80s. It gets a bit bogged down with emphasis on Salomon's mortgage trading department, but I pretty much enjoyed the rest of the ride. Although the main thrust of the book is the political and social culture that existed inside the firm at that time (ego, excess), it provides some interesting accounts of the 80s financial phenomena such as the junk bond/corporate raiding boom. I give it a thumbs up.

I've also skimmed trough Alistair Cockburn's Surviving Object-Oriented Projects which is a level-headed exploration of managing object-oriented software projects. This isn't about design, or where to place your variables, it's about project management. I didn't read in detail, because most of the information just isn't relevant at the moment. I haven't worked on any object-oriented projects so far but I've been a believer in object-orientation for 10 years. I'll re-read the book thoroughly at a more appropriate point. It's a very clear and concise book, and advocates strong control of all project risks.