Visit the tumblr blog

I update my tumblr blog much more often, and post pictures from our current course work nearly every day :) tumblr
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Tumblr blog

One of my classmates had the idea to create a blog for the class so that we could upload pictures of what we’re currently working on. We got stuck on the discussions whether to use wordpress or tumblr, and in the end now we’re waiting for a server sponsored by the school so that we can finally start for real.

Meanwhile, I decided to create my own tumblr to upload process pictures of what I’m working on. It’s a bit more personal than the class once, since it’s only me uploading my work. But still the goal is to what what we do at IDI.

idi2014justyna.tumblr.com

How to get a phone on contract in Sweden

I came to Sweden this time with an ingenious plan to get an iPhone, I checked the options, asked friends around if I need to be employed to get a contract (as it apparently is in Poland, or was). It seemed possible. All I needed, I thought, was a Swedish civic number. But I planned to get that one anyway.

I’ve waited quite a long time to get my civic number, because migration board messed up and lost my residence permit. During the time I waited for my civic number I was asking in Telia shops what do I need to get a phone on contract and whether the phone I want is available or will be available again. They asked me how long I have been in Sweden, I said one year, and apparently that was enough to fulfill the requirement. Once I finally got my Swedish civic number I marched into the local Telia shop… just to be told I need to wait 7 months!  Apparently, it doesn’t matter how long I have been in Sweden because my number has been registered only one week, not one year…

Meanwhile, in November my phone broke down, so I was particularly desperate for a new phone. And new iPhone 5S has just been released in late October, and the contract price on it was same as on older models. But I couldn’t do anything. I needed to wait 7 months. I found some Chinese double-SIM crap phone on eBay with an intent it’s gonna let me survive next 6 months. I really dislike Android (personal preference, I just don’t like it…) but that was the only option, and if I were to hate it anyway I’d rather pay very little. Neadless to say, the phone is really crappy, texting on it is excruciating, screen is terrible. But it filled its purpose – I hate it, I don’t feel bad about discarding it.

7 months passed 2 weeks ago. Today I finally made another trip to Telia, believing now I finally can get my iPhone. I wait 30-40 minutes in a line in Telia shop. Finally my number is called. I go to the desk. I say I want a phone on a contract. I get asked for an ID, I give my Polish (EU) ID… just to hear it’s not valid because it’s not a Swedish ID. And that the need a Swedish ID according to the rules because other might be fake. Seriously?! I travel with that ID, thanks to that ID I got a bank account, and basically everything. It’s a EU member country ID. It just doesn’t make sense.

So I’m unpleasantly surprised again. As I walk away from the counter the Telia assistant wishes me a nice day. I go to Skatteverket to ask about a Swedish ID. Apparently I need to pay 400 kr to get it done and I need a valid passport issued after 2007. I don’t remember if mine is.

On the way home I decided to go again to another Telia shop and ask one final confirmation of what I need to finally get the phone. Again I waited probably 30-40 minutes. Then I hear I need to be registered for 8 months, not 7 but the clerk is not sure. He says that’s all I need. He asks me for my ID. And there it goes again… Then I remembered to ask about the procedure online. I asked if I then need to scan my Swedish ID? And apparently all that’s needed is some bank ID I get from my online bank. What?! Why can’t they accept anything other than Swedish ID in a shop if they can accept some online bank ID?

Oh well. Now, I’m confused whether it’s 7 or 8 month. Either way 8 months is gonna be in 2 weeks. I’m waiting for the next portion of problems. Why can they never give me full information at once, a clear requirement of what I need? Heh. I’m giving up on choosing my number. Gonna order online and hope I get something decent.

Snow on the last day of April

I woke up at 9 today, it was nice and sunny, but I didn’t feel like getting up. When I got up 2 hours later, it wasn’t sunny anymore. At 12 it started… snowing. Now, 12:45, it became a really heavy snowfall, and now it’s almost like a snowflake wall. Like right in the middle of winter.

And today is Valborg – a celebration of spring. How appropriate! Just as i was mentioning yesterday, that surprisingly there was no snow in April this year! We had a month of spring though.

Realizations

Ever since I came here to Umeå I keep meeting people who make me realize things about myself I have never thought about. Changing my point of view and broadening my perspective. It’s in fact incredible, really. I guess it’s going to be easier to create sort of a list with that.

1. Quite early on, right after beginning studying in the HCI program I was presented with what academics is. I also noticed that I was one of the youngest, if not the youngest in the class. That made me realize it’s not necessary to complete the studies in 5 years, get a job and work there for the rest of my life. It’s fine to study even being older, while wanting to change the  field of work, etc. I also realized that great careers and clear view on what I want to do in life is not for people my age, which I was delusionally believing. I was made believe that I need to complete my studies all at once and find a work and be great at it. Of course, there are some “genius” young people like that, but in most cases it comes with experience – working in different places, trying a bit of different things, independently from education.

2. I realized everyone has some work experience, except for me. Some people worked for a couple of yours in the field related to their studies, some – just anything. I have NO EXPERIENCE AT ALL.

3. At some point in the beginning I talked with a classmate about how much I love playing video games. The conversation made me realize that this industry also offers jobs. Literally, I have not realized it before. And it’s not necessary for the best of the best. Of course, it’s not easy to get a job in game industry, but I think it just requires motivation in working towards it. A bunch of people play video games, but many are lazy, they might say it would be nice to work in a gaming industry but don’t do anything to make it true. It’s like grinding for an achievement for beating the hardest difficulty, I’m talking like Dante Must Die mode in Devil May Cry or well, harder, requiring much more persistence, motivation, and skills, but so damn rewarding.

4. Games I classified as “not real games” are, in fact, real games. Just the target audience is different. I thought I’ve been playing video games since 2007 when I started with Devil May Cry 3, because The Sims or Harry Potter games don’t count. But they do count! Right now I’m re-playing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which I played 10 years ago, and it feels very much like a proper game to me, even though it does not require shooting and slashing through enemies. I have never also counted the Pegasus games, because it was a Pegasus, ever kid had it. Just recently, I learned it was original Nintendo games, and Pegasus was a Super Nintendo rip-off. And I had my first computer where I played Dizzy on Norton because Windows was crap back then. Looking at it this way I have nearly 20 years gaming experience, not 6 years as I thought. Writing an essay for one course made me realize it.

5. I am actually above average. Both essays for two previous courses that I’ve done last moment (as usual) that I evaluated as terrible quality got a pass with distinction. But that’s teachers’ opinions and preferences. I also see I have more skills in design than others. Well, of course, I’ve been doing that for many years now, purely as a hobbyist though. But still, I’m surprised with how often I’m meeting with “I wouldn’t be able to do that”. Just surprised. It comes down to me realizing I have more skills than I thought I had, and they are not strictly amateur skills.

6. I tend to judge people based on their skills in speaking English. Basically, the better you speak English the more I want you to be my friend. Concerns mostly spoken, and accent influenced by person’s mother tongue. This one is really disturbing though, I realized it last week I think.

7. Sometimes it’s quantity over quality. I wish to apply to study interaction design at some point. I talked with a couple of people about portfolios and such. Apparently what matters is variety of skills rather than great skills in one thing – something that I believed until now.

8. Continuing the last point, I realized that I have experience with variety of “artistic” expressions. I have never really been into drawing, what for me is the ultimate artistic expression. I’ve done some simple things such as scrapbooking-style cards for my friend. I can obviously do some images in Photoshop. I can design and code websites. I am doing some amateur photography, going with my Canon camera thinking I’m so pro, haha. At some point a couple years ago I even done some simple drawing in watercolors. I have also even wrote a story once, and I keep writing various blogs for many years now. Recently, I had a workshop in movie animation. Earlier I also had one course in putting together a movie. Although quality of many things was questionable, I have experienced them and in a way it goes into my portfolio, at least the one that could make me qualify for interaction design. Most of all, I LOVE trying new forms of expression.

9. My wasting time on the Internet is not entirely pointless. I see a lot of images. I collect my inspiration designs, pictures, awesome stuff. I learn about some technologies or just awesome things that exist. As a result, I can come up with ideas in brainstorming more easily than as I thought. I can usually come up with some idea fairly quickly, maybe it’s not a great idea , but often good enough for a starter one. I always thought I’m terrible in imagining solutions, but maybe not so much after all.

10. I started a course at the Institute of Design recently, and I learned that what they mean by sketching is not the artistic sketching I have in my mind, and that interaction design does not require a degree-in-arts-level drawing skills. And as this entire list says – many things I thought were certain way or meant certain things are not that. In the end, all that made me realize that I have some substantial skills and abilities, however, unfortunately, unproven in the real world. Still, they seem like skills that could be useful in real world, at some point, hopefully.

10 points for less than a year, that’s pretty fair amount actually. So even if I haven’t learned much on the courses here, I learned a lot about myself and my surrounding, in a certain sense. Definitely worth coming. Staying back home I would probably still not be aware of many of those possibilities, reasons, etc.