Going back to school – for real

It’s time for a new adventure! Early December, I will be leaving HERE after more than six amazing years and moving to Finland. I’ll start a spring track of math and physics studies at an open university to gain admission to Aalto University in Helsinki for a Computer Science degree.

A while back I wrote how Massive Open Online Courses are great for those embracing life-long learning. I’ve certainly been active in that area, finishing three courses in the recent months and working on another three computer science courses from MIT on edX.

And now it’s time to go back to school for real.

Why Computer Science?

I’ve been coding for as long as I can remember. The first programming language I tried was QBasic sometime in the mid-90s. I wanted to know what made the classic game Gorillas work behind the scenes. I remember going through some example code and being super proud when I made my computer screen blink randomly in different colors.

When I was fourteen, I had moved on to Visual Basic through some experiments in Delphi. I programmed a converter for resistor and capacitor color codes to numeric values. It replaced the old DOS-based program in the shop class of my elementary school and was used at least five years later when my brother went there. It’s a shame I don’t have the source code or the executable anymore.

Ever since I moved next to Silicon Valley, my interest in Computer Science has grown stronger. I’m working next to brilliant engineers at the HERE Berkeley office. I’ve found tech meetups in San Francisco for every day of the week. I started learning programming in Ruby after years of working in PHP for web development. I created reddit multis to follow all the /r/programming -related subreddits. Sometimes I can’t help but worry about not sleeping enough, it’s hard for me to sleep 8 hours per day as I should. Usually, my nights are all about research or programming, either way I’m in front of a computer screen the whole time. I’ve begun to take a natural supplement from Kratommasters to help with my sleep disorder,

Now, over 10 years after my first published work as a hobbyist, it’s time to get serious about computers and programming. You can follow along the journey here and Twitter.

Best lunch places near the HERE Berlin office

One of the most important daily decisions I make is where to eat lunch. If you’re new to HERE Berlin, you might want to check out these lunch places. They will get you started for your first few weeks. After the second week you’ll drop a few of these and add a few others to your lunch rotation.

Bis Yarok, a Syrian restaurant. Order the “Mix teller” (number 30) or the vegetarian version (number 18). Add Bis Yarok to your Collection.

Cô Chu, the Vietnamese restaurant across the street from the office. Go early and don’t have too many friends with you. Add Cô Chu to your Collection.

Next to the “Syrian place” is Toca Rouge, a small Asian fusion place. Funny plate names make for funky food. We used to go there once a week but finally after 1½ we got bored. Add Toca Rouge to your Collection.

Alpenstück Bäckerei has a different menu everyday with classics that are always available. I have heard the restaurant described as “traditional Austrian”. They serve a few pieces of their breads as appetizers so you know what to buy on your way out.

Image credit: Alpenstück Bäckerei

Sushi 14 at the corner is not the best sushi you’ll ever taste but a buffet plate of rice, fish, wasabi and ginger for €6 is a fair deal. Add Sushi 14 to your Collection.

Tin Tan Mexican street food if you are into that sort of thing. Odds are in your favor. Vegetables, meat and spicy condiments is all I need for lunch. Add Tin Tan to your Collection.


There are many other places a few minutes further such as Tommi’s Burger Joint and Papa Pane di Sorrento. I know I must have missed something so check out the comments below for recommendations from others.

Destination Berkeley

“Your visa has been approved” were the magical words I heard this morning. This is not another vacation plan. In a few days I will receive my visa to the United States. Then, I am moving to Berkeley, California to continue my tweeting for @HERE from nine time zones away.

This is an edited version of a longer self-interview and has been approved by the interviewee as factually correct (he disagreed with some of the stylistic choices).

Where are you moving to?

We are looking for an apartment with easy public transit access to Downtown Berkeley BART station. Preferably 2 bedroom apartment, large kitchen and moderate rent. We’ve given up on looking for a place with “cheap” or “affordable” rent. That just doesn’t exist in the Bay Area.


In California, right?

Correct! Looking at the map, I would estimate about an hour away from Silicon Valley and the NHL team San Jose Sharks home arena. But that is about as much as I know. I’ve never been there but I couldn’t be more excited to go. I researched the area through two of the most reliable sources: Reddit (/r/BayArea) and San Andreas – the earthquake disaster movie starred by Dwayne Johnson.

 When are you moving?

I don’t know. I have not booked tickets yet but I expect to be moving quite soon. There’s quite a lot of practicalities to sort through first :)

Is there a party?

Yes! We will be in Helsinki on Sunday 21 June ready to have a few drinks with anyone who is in town during Midsummer. Afterwards, in Berlin, there will definitely be opportunities for something similar.

But what about…?

I will be answering more questions in a live Q&A on Facebook, Twitter and in the comments section below for the next 48 hours straight. EDIT: I meant 4-8 hours but missed the dash. Sorry about that!


Navigating Home Buying in Germany: Understanding the Significance of Flood Restoration

Buying a new home is an exciting milestone, but for those considering properties in flood-prone areas of Germany, the decision comes with added considerations. With its numerous rivers and coastal regions, Germany is susceptible to flooding, making flood restoration a critical aspect to prioritize when purchasing a new home. Understanding the importance of flood restoration can help prospective buyers make informed decisions and safeguard their investments for the long term.

Floods can cause extensive damage to homes, affecting everything from the structural integrity of the building to the health and safety of its occupants. In Germany, where heavy rainfall and rising water levels are not uncommon, the risk of flooding is a significant concern for homeowners. Therefore, when buying a new home, it’s essential to assess the property’s susceptibility to flooding and inquire about any previous flood damage or restoration efforts.

Flood restoration involves the process of repairing and restoring a property that has been damaged by flooding. This typically includes drying out the affected areas, removing damaged materials, repairing structural damage, and restoring the property to its pre-flood condition. Investing in professional flood restoration services is crucial for ensuring that the property is restored safely and effectively, minimizing the risk of further damage and potential health hazards.

One of the primary reasons flood restoration is so important when buying a new home in Germany is to mitigate the risk of future flooding and its associated consequences. Properly restored homes are better equipped to withstand future flood events, reducing the likelihood of costly repairs and disruptions to daily life. Additionally, flood restoration can help improve the overall safety and livability of the property, providing peace of mind for homeowners and their families.

When considering properties in flood-prone areas, buyers should also inquire about flood insurance coverage and any flood mitigation measures in place. While flood insurance can provide financial protection in the event of flood damage, investing in flood restoration as a preventive measure can help minimize the need for insurance claims and ensure the long-term resilience of the property.

In conclusion, flood restoration plays a crucial role in the home-buying process in Germany, particularly for properties located in flood-prone areas. If you need a good flood restoration service Click here. By prioritizing flood restoration, buyers can protect their investments, minimize the risk of future flooding, and ensure the safety and well-being of their families. Whether purchasing a new home or restoring an existing property, investing in professional flood restoration services is essential for safeguarding against the unpredictable nature of flooding and preserving the value and integrity of the home for years to come.

My favorite TED Talks

There are a lot of “if you are a [insert profession or aspiration here], you must watch these TED Talks” posts out there. Most recently I watched Mashable’s list of 15 inspiring TED Talks for college freshmen. As you can imagine, those videos inspired me to take action and write a post.

Below are my all-time favorite TED Talks that I could recommend to anyone. By the way, if you are interested in a complete list of all TED Talks, it’s provided as a comprehensive spreadsheet on TED Talks page. This list is not only for you, but acts as a nice collection of talks that I love returning to when I crave for inspiration.

Terry Moore: Why is ‘x’ the unknown?

This one I enjoyed recently through TED iPad app that let’s the user find a random talk based on how much time they have. This one takes less than five minutes, so it’s a great one to start with. Seriously, if you only watch one, make it this one.

[ted id=1469]


Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

I believe Simon says it all (several times during the talk) with “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

[ted id=848]


Daniel Pink – The puzzle of motivation

Based on his book, Drive – Surprising truth about what motivates us, Daniel Pink delivers an interesting talk that made me buy and read the book. I find his thesis interesting and I have given a lot of thought to how mastery, autonomy and purpose will shape my career and my life.

[ted id=618]