Monday, December 31, 2007

A look back at 2007...

It's a weird feeling sitting here in front of my notebook after basically not using the machine during the past few days. The last time I checked my e-mails was 2 or 3 days ago and overall I've probably spent less than an hour on the computer since Christmas. And you know what? It's been an extremely relaxing week! :-)

I spent most of my time sleeping, meeting friends, going to the movies (saw Gus van Sant's "Paranoid Park" yesterday and David Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises" today, both well recommended) and reading (I finished Cormac McCarthy's "No County For Old Men" in less than 24h). All in all it's certainly been a very relaxing week and I guess the only one who's had an even more relaxing week is our cat, who spent most of the last 2 days lying next to me and sleeping all day long.

Anyway, tomorrow I'll be heading to Vienna to celebrate New Year's with some friends and once I sober up (which will probably take until Jan. 2nd;-) I'll get back into the swing of things and start being productive again. I've lots and lots of things on my to-do list, the most important items being: studying for university as I've got lots of exams coming up over the next few weeks, preparing my bachelor thesis, finally sorting through my TransSib photos and also uploading the ones which I took on the recent trip to the USA, getting OLPC-related stuff done, getting work done for EPIACENTER, etc. So I certainly won't be bored...

While hangin' around these past few days I also spent some time thinking about 2007 and as ever so often I was amazed at just how quickly it went by. I tried coming up with some core things I did this year but too much has happened to really be able to compile that into something short'n'sweet. So here's a slightly chaotic look back at 2007:

Travel: If there's one thing that certainly kept me busy this year than it was travelling. All in all I spent about 9 weeks outside of Austria, a pretty decent amount I dare say. Starting with the family trip to Barcelona in February, continuing with my standard CeBIT visit in March, to be followed by visiting one of my closest friends in Granada. In June I flew out to Taiwan to attend Computex, in mid-July I spent a weekend in Paris and at the end of August I took off on one of the finest journeys I've ever made, the one along the Transsiberian Railway from Beijing, through Mongolia to Moscow. And now the last-minute decision to head to Washington and Boston which made for a very nice end-of-the-year in terms of my travels. I'm not quite sure what 2008 will bring but at the moment I know that I'll certainly be at CeBIT again, plus I'm very likely to head back to South America (with a focus on Brazil and Argentina) come August. Plus I'm pretty sure some other opportunities will present themselves and knowing myself I'll probably jump on every one of them.

Concerts: While certainly not having been to as many concerts as my dear friend Patrick I did see a couple of very good shows. Off the top of my head I'd probably say that the recent Ennio Morricone concert in Vienna was amongst my favourite ones. The best one however was the Nine Inch Nails concert back in March, I've never seen that kind of jump-start energy as when Trent Reznor hit the stage on March, 29th. Again it remains to be seen what 2008 will bring, at the moment I'm trying to get tickets to the Korn show in February and the tickets for the Smashing Pumpkins concert in January have already been bought. The interesting decision will be which festival to attend, at the moment the first band-announcements for the ones close by haven't been too exciting so we might head to Southside in Germany this time 'round.

Movies: I haven't had a chance to count my movie-stubs (I collect those) for 2007 but I'm guessing I saw about >50 movies in the cinema this year. Most of them during my two favourite film-festivals around here: the Crossing Europe in Linz and the Viennale in Vienna. It's certainly been a very good year when it came to great movies!

OLPC: The single biggest theme that makes this year different to previous ones is my involvement in the One Laptop per Child project and more specifically OLPC Austria. I can't even begin to count all the great people I've meet within and thanks to OLPC Austria, the countless hours I've spent on that project, the many lessons I learned about myself, ICT, education, project-management, collaboration, etc. This is probably the single best thing that happened to me in 2007 and I'm thankful for being able to work on this project because it's really an amazing experience.

University: I'm very happy with the progress I've made these past 12 months and if all goes well I'll finish my bachelor degree no later than autumn 2008. As mentioned above I'm currently in the brainstorming- and planning-stage for my bachelor thesis (surprise, surprise, it's something in the OLPC context) and that will definitely keep me busy during my semester-holidays in February. Looking back it's really quite amazing to see how much I've learned during this past year, both in terms of actual technical skills (especially thanks to two lectures about object-orientated programming and software engineering) and more general skills that I now find to be applicable in a variety of settings and projects. With regards to the future of my studies I'm not to happy with the stock Master programs offered at my university so I'll probably go for a custom-tailored one with a focus on ICT and its correlation with society. Plus even though I absolutely love living in Vienna it's definitely time to pack my bags and study abroad for at least half-a-year in the not-so-distant future. No clue about when, where or what but again I'm sure I'll figure it out along the way.

Blog: I have to say that I'm also quite happy that I managed to keep this blog alive after my TransSib journey and at the moment I'm up to around 80 posts with some of them remaining unfinished and sitting in the background. This highlights an issue that most bloggers are likely to encounter: Not having the time to update the blog as much as one would want to. It really does take a lot of discipline to keep posting and I hope to be able to do better in that regard in 2008.

Well, what's left for me to say at this point? All I can say that 2007 has been an outstanding year and just looking back at this mini-summary above I'm extremely happy with how it went. Now bring it on 2008!!! :-)

I wish all of you a Happy New Year and a great start into 2008 (at least once that hangover goes by)!

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