Stop waiting for that one idea

Me and my friends have spent these past three years doing our regular university assigments and working on small personal programming projects on the side. Nothing ambitious or serious, because we were always waiting for – and discussing about – that “one idea” that we would eventually have. A great idea worth focussing on, worth spending all of our time with and worth sending it out to the world.

And now here we are, three years later and still not working on a project together. I think it’s time to think differently.

Ideas can be great and deceiving at the same time. You think you would like to have a tool that does this and that for you – why not build that yourself? Five minutes of Google later you have a list of three projects that solve that exact problem. Sigh.

But wait. Does everything you build necessarily need to reinvent the wheel? It would be great if it did, but which idea has ever done that? What if you realize that all major inventions you think of (telephone, plane, car, google, …) weren’t really fresh ideas but rather good combinations of existing concepts or improvements of existing systems that tried to solve the same problem?

It has taken me a while, but now I am aware of one central fact: You do not have to find a problem no one has ever solved, you just have to come up with a better solution. With that new realization in mind I am more eager than ever to just sit down and build something – and to create good solutions for problems I experience along the way.

Just get started and try to be as good as possible. You won’t create something perfect from the start, so just keep practicing. You will fail, so just pick up the pieces, move on and start fresh. And that’s what I’ll do now.

In a hole in the ground

…there lived a hobbit. Yes, I have finally made it to Matamata, or should I say Hobbiton? João, Lauren, Paula, Lillian and me did an exicting road trip up the North Island (I’ve actually survived driving a car on the left side of the road) to visit the movie set as it was used for the Lord Of The Rings and now of course for the upcoming two Hobbit movies.

After my “Lord Of The Rings” movie tour some weeks ago I was kind of expecting some bits and pieces of props here and there with a few hobbit holes and a lot of space for camera and crew all around. To my surprise the whole set could as well be a real hobbit village in the middle of nowhere. The landscape all around is dominated by those beautiful rolling green hills, the only direct neighbours are 12,000 sheep and the Alexander family that owns the farm the set is located at. I can imagine how intense the filming experience must have been when you really can’t see any modern building from where you’re standing.

Now that we are at it, let me introduce Pickles, the cat that has been living on the set for quite some time already. Not only did she like following us visitors, but also has she been present during the filming of the Hobbit last year. I will have a look out for her in the movie as she has probably made it in some of the scenes.

The rest of the weekend has been great fun as well with lots of hours on the road, one night in Matamata and another in Taupo, my first experience playing Golf and a lot of good food (second breakfast, you know what I’m talking about). Of course, every place is only as good as the people you meet there – isn’t that what they say? If that’s true then I understand why I enjoy my time here so much. Sadly it’s time to say goodbye to Lauren who will be going back home to Hawaii/San Francisco this week. But in general it’s also time to say thank you guys for making my time here such a great experience. Really, thank you.

Flight Of The Conchords

There is so much going on right now that I barely find the time to go through the heaps of photos and video clips making their way to my harddrive. To at least blow out some of that stuff I might go for some short post in the nearer future.

One week ago, João and me had tickets for the last Flight Of The Conchords concert of their New Zealand tour. Located in Wellington’s TSB arena, it was a huge event – in my opinion even a bit too huge for the personal touch these two guys give everything they do. It still was a great evening and supporting act Arj Barker did his part to get the crowd in a good mood.

As some of my German readers might not know what I’m talking about: The Flight Of The Conchords are a comedy duo from Wellington, you might know some of their songs or heard of their TV series that was running in the US. If you haven’t, you should definitely check it out. I just finished watching the second and final season and am really loving their kind of humor.

When the earth moves below your feet

I am far from being an expert at earthquakes, let alone do I know what to do if one occurs. So when that 6.5 magnitude quake hit not two hours ago, I wasn’t prepared at all and probably underestimated the potential danger. What felt like not much more than a little movement of the house must have been way worse in the rest of the area, since we live in a new and pretty earthquake proof building.

All turned out to be fine – but as the first thing I did during the quake was to grab my camera (and the first thing after was to update my facebook status) I might need to check on some emergency knowledge for future events like that. At least I managed to stay calm when I was with João who had a lot healthier sense of danger in that situation than I did.

When past and future meet

Take a bunch of nerdy guys, throw in some vintage arcade games and the newest equipment for a couple matches of Lasertag. That will give you the right ingredients for a perfect Thursday night! We were six people – all from different countries again – and really enjoyed one of the last nights together with Nix, who will soon go to Azerbaijan. Have a good time there, mate, it was a pleasure laser-fighting side-by-side with you!

Forgive my excessive use of effects today, surrounded by laserblasts and explosions I just felt like it.

Abel Tasman National Park

Despite the fact of spending half our time on busses and boats, the weekend trip to the South Island was very rewarding, especially when we finally got to Abel Tasman National Park, located at the South Island’s north end. Golden beaches, dreamy green water and a bright blue sky made for an awesome day – and a glimpse on how incredible this place must be in summer.

The guide on our taxi boat had a touching sense of dry humor (“you might think this is worth taking photos of, but believe me, after 7 years in this job I can tell you that it’s not”) and introcuded himself by answering the three most boring questions he is asked every day.

How deep is the water? About 2 meters. Is the weather always like this? No, it can be even calmer but it can get a hell lot rougher, I’m telling ya. Are these mountains over there the North Island? No, those are the northernmost parts of the Marlborough Sounds.

That being said, he showed us around this beautiful workplace of his and dropped us off at one of the beaches from where we made our way back to the afternoon pick-up spot. What a great day, what a great country, what a great experience!

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