If you’re ever in Germany, head over to any Italien Ice Cream Shop and you will be able to get this lovely creation called “Spaghetti Eis” it’s something you won’t really see outside of Germany. It was apparently invented by an Italian who emigrated to Germany and I guess got a little bored!
So recently Elon Musk got in some murky water with him smoking weed on a podcast with Joe Rogan. Watching the latest Casey Neistat video it made me want to watch the 2hr long vidcast because of the following statements made:
“Comparison is the thief of joy” - Theodore Roosevelt
“Happiness equals reality minus expectations” - Tom Magliozzi
This is a really cool animated short for his book with the same name. I found this video somewhat inspiring and its format is much more digestible than the book.
This is a short post about a trip I recently took to Amsterdam, Netherlands for the Easter weekend this year. My girlfriend and I decided we would do a little road trip there (because its about 4 hrs drive away) and below is a snippet of what we got up to and what I recommend you see the next time you’re there.
First of we stayed slightly out of the Centre at the NH Amsterdam Zuid Hotel which is reasonable in cost and only about a 30 minute tram ride into the city center.
We didn’t want to do all of the traditional sightseeing in Amsterdam stops as it was Easter weekend and packed. We opted for a Moreno laid back and relaxing trip.
Lunch - Foodware
This is a really cool and relaxed space. It’s setup like a deli and you design your own meal based on what high quality ingredients are currently on offer. Not only is the food really high quality the price is so reasonable.
pictured: Chicken, green beans and roast potatoes in a creamy truffle sauce.
Afternoon Snack - De Koffie Salon at Hay
As we were at the Hay House we decided to sit down and have a relaxing coffee and a cheeky little snack. The quality of the coffee was really great and having the atmosphere of being apart of a design store made it a unique experience on our trip.
Dinner - De Hallen
I was informed by a colleague who was in Amsterdam last year that a visit to De Hallen was a must. The atmosphere here was amazing, sooo many people enjoying their evening and really an amazing assortment of culinary delights. We ended up going for tacos and they were really tasty (and a little spicy). Afterwards we went to the cinema also located in this space to watch “Ready Player One”.
Design Stores We Visited:
- X Bank
- Hay House
- Nordic New
- The Frozen Fountain
Breakfast - Locals
As usual we didn’t opt to have breakfast at the hotel, but we ventured into the city looking for a nice spot for a coffee and some light good to start the day. A quick search on fourquare x Google and TripAdvisor alerted us to a small spot that had exactly what we wanted. We weren’t disappointed, the coffee, service and food were really great and our sitting location enabled us to watch the world go by through the large windows.
Lunch - Pluk
While Crisscrossing the channels the previous day we went by a cool looking spot which we added to our places for a stop. This was called “Pluk” and it was a nice break from the showers outside. The food was pretty good but I have to admit my smooth bowl still had some solid lumps of frozen herbs which weren’t so great but it was tasty overall. I could recommend this spot for a short coffee stop / to-go
Afternoon Snack - Vinnes
After a bit of walking we decided we needed a little break and a coffee to wake up a little. We stumbled across this corner retreat by accident but it was a happy accidentally!
Dinner - Cafe Amoi
One thing that we heard a lot was that the Asian food in the Dam was some of the best around! Because of this we booked a table at Cafe Amoi and we truly were happy! The food quality was exquisite
Other Stores & Activites We Did:
- Moco Museum - Banksy
- Canel Tour (Lovers) // Cannot recommend
This year I am happy to be on the board for the yearly Game Quality Forum Europe (http://bit.ly/2FHtvAr). I’ve been attending this event since its inception many moons ago and every year not only does it change location but its quality gets better and better and this year is shaping up to be the best yet with not only the speakers but the community around the event.
You can get the agenda for the event here: http://bit.ly/2FRJdw5
With Video Games becoming ever more complex, the stakeholders involved with ensuring quality grows with it. We started with the event primarily being from a QA perspective to it growing over the years to include Localisation and this year we’re happy to include Customer Service into the fold. This will help all parties involved gain vital insights and to see what kind of synergies can be created with working closer with the different departments.
Last year, I also had the pleasure to present the Quality Assistance approach which we at InnoGames are currently focusing on, as well as our general approach to Test Automation. This was also my first public speaking event and I have to admit I really enjoyed it. The event also enabled me to start a series of Knowledge Sharing events with Rovio and Nordeus that really helped all companies learn and expand their knowledge and see what areas we can grow together in this ever complicated world.
I’m really looking forward to this year’s event and I cannot wait to exchange knowledge during the events breaks and evening events as well as to see what the wonderful speakers bring to the table.
I lived on the sunny rock called Malta for around 1.5 years and I regularly get asked for tips and recommendations when it comes to people visiting the island. So below is my short guide to the island and what I recommend.
If you go to the Island you must try the below, there are really great places and they are all completely different. This helps you get a sense of the culture of the island (sorry no Maltese restaurants)
Best Cannoli - Busy Bee Cafe
Amazing Mezza - Ali Baba
Really Great Homemade Mozzarella - HiMù
Tasty Meat and an Experience - Sciacca Grill
Really Great Quality Food - Wigi's Kitchen
Great Plastizzi - Crystal Palace
Places to Visit
I can highly recommend the following places to visit to get a sense of the island
Walk around the Capital City - Valletta
Watch the Mid-day Gun (everyday at 12:00) - The Saluting Battery
Visit the Island’s first capitol and a firmiliar TV set - Mdina
Walk Around the Citadel in the Capital of Gozo - Victoria
Wander the Beautiful Streets of the Three Cities -
- Avoid using the White Taxi’s where possible, use ecabs as they charge fair prices and usually have good service - http://ecabs.com.mt/
- Get a bus card for the duraction of your visit. When I lived in Malta all buses go to and from Valletta and this usually serves as a good base - https://www.publictransport.com.mt/en/bus-card-and-ticketing
I often find it interesting what people have on their computers and how they lay out their desktop. As I use my iPad Pro as my main computing devie I live by the apps I have installed. Below is the latest screen grab of my current iPad screen. I only have 1 screen as I like to organise apps into folders.
My main apps are:
Evernote for document scanning, note taking and article reading
OmniFocus which is my second brain
Calendar which helps me focus my time effectively
YouTube is my main consumption tool
I get asked quite a lot about what books I recommend for productivity and what books helped me get the current mindfulness I have currently. Below are the books in the order I read them, that led me on a journey to where I am now:
1 - The Beginning
To start with I read the following 3 Books from 99u, they are relatively small reads and are quite easy to consume. These books helped me get into the mindset of a freelancer, treating everyone as a customer and how I should act with that.
2. The Method
The following books helped me then start work on my second Brian (my system) for being able to tackle the tasks that my clients / customers through at me.
3. The Mindset
Next came a long these 3 books. Each one targets a specific growth area and enabled me to grow as an individual. They really open your eyes to a new way of thinking and allow you to gain a different perspective.
I ofhen get asked “how do you manage to read so much?” And people seem to be expecting some kind of magic formula for this. But actually it’s even simpler than that. What I did for a few months is track how long I was doing pretty much everything, and what this showed is that my walk to and from work wasn’t being utilised effectively. I was just listening to some music on the walk, and I also noticed that this ended up just amplifying whatever mood I was in (good if I was feeling awesome! Head if I wasn’t) I firstly decided to listen to some podcasts instead, this solved the mood amplification topic but still wasn’t a truly effective use of my time.
Many people I follow and respect always talk about how they manage to read more by utilising audio books, so this was something I was actually wanting to play around with. But one of the main sticking points was “when?” Could I listen during the day and this is something that always put me off, and then a light bulb clicked! I can utilise the 40 minute commute block a day for listening to audio books and what did you know, in a 3 week period I complete an audio book quite easily, this means with reading one book the old fashioned way and utilising audio books I was averaging reading 2 books a month. This entail made 2017 the year I read so much and I really enjoyed it and learnt a lot.
So, to summarize! Look at your day, and see what activities you do which aren’t requiring your full attention (like walking to work) and utilise that time much better!
If you ever have the urge for chocolate or something a little sweet, use the recipe below to make a quick and simple chocolate cake in less than 5 minutes.
1. Get a small bowl
2. Put 1/4 Cup of Flour into the bowl
3. Put 1/4 Cup of sugar into the bowl
4. Put 2tbsp of cocoa into the bowl
5. Put a pinch of salt into the bowl
6. Stir the dry ingredients together
7. Add 2tbsp of vegetable oil to the bowl
8. Add 3tbsp of water to the bowl
9. Mix all together until its a chocolate goo (add extra water if its looking dry)
10. EXTRA - Place a handful of frozen raspberries ontop of the chocolate goo
11. Place in the microwave on full power for 2 - 3 minutes
12. EXTRA - Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top
There you go a very simple recipe for a delicious quick chocolate cake for 1
For a while now I’ve switched from using pen and paper for notes, ideas and thoughts to using purely digital tools. For me my main tool is my iPad Pro 10.9 which I find the perfect size for carrying around to meetings as well as being able to throw it in my bag whenever I go anywhere.
But one of the last bastians of the physical world was by daily gratitude journal. For me I use the 5 Minute Journal (https://www.intelligentchange.com/products/the-five-minute-journal) and its something I have in my apartment and what I utilise every morning and evening to help me reflect and be grateful for where I am in life. The company behind it launched an iOS (iPhone) and Android app but for me it just wasn’t gelling to me for some reason, and so I needed to work on an alternate.
I’ve been using the “Day One” (http://dayoneapp.com/) journal for some time as a reflection journal, which I used whenever I’ve encountered a tough day to be able to reflect on it and try to learn from it. I thought this could be the best platform for moving my gratitude journal over to it, but the problem was I would have to manually add the structure each day (the questions I need to ask myself) which would not only add to the amount of time it would take to create an entry, but would also enable my mind to see that its too much effort and try to convince me not to write in it.
The solution was to utilise the “Workflow” (https://workflow.is/) app to build a structure that would work and then everyday I just run that workflow and hey presto! We have a simple and somewhat “elegant” solution. I’ve now been running this approach for 1 month now and haven’t missed a day.
If you’re interested in the workflows I created you can grab them below:
Morning Journal - https://workflow.is/workflows/5c1920ec78974063bcd8491fb784c569
Evening Journal - https://workflow.is/workflows/9faeb42bb552456a91e45b413367c0dd