First week at Opera

11 Nov 2008

I’m now full-time with Opera, and have just finished my first week, touring two of the (many!) Opera offices, meeting colleagues and getting up to speed on projects.

On Monday 3rd, I took my first trip to Sweden, to the office in Linköping. The train from Stockholm airport gave me lovely views of Swedish country architecture and time to play some Jens Lekman and Pelle Carlberg. As soon as I arrived I was briefed about the Big Secret Project™, and found out what I’d let myself in for.

As well as large wall of myriad mobile devices for testing, the Linköping office has a mesmerising interactive screen – showing a graph of the number of page requests through Opera Mini around the globe, represented by tiny dots (no private info of course – just the raw data of the number of requests through the Mini servers). The globe image is fed other live data such as night/day and terrain, and the dots emanate from their source (like the Genesis Project from The Wrath of Khan). It’s kind of hard to explain, but I could’ve watched it for hours. Someone at Linköping needs to do a video!

At the end of my first day there, there was some twitter baiting to get me to talk like the Swedish chef from The Muppet Show. Stupidly, I clicked on a link from Tim Van Damme, and soon the whole office got to hear an example on YouTube. I couldn’t get to the mute button quickly enough. Hopefully no one was offended…

After lunch on the Wednesday (Doner Kebab & French Fries Pizza was a revelation quite frankly) a group of us took the 7 hour train journey to Oslo. Thursday and Friday were spent at the Oslo headquarters, getting to know all the lovely people there.

The Oslo office has a great canteen where beers are served after work on a Friday, and it was here that I finally got to meet Ralf Demuth. Ralf isn’t an Opera employee as such, he’s an ‘Elektran’ – a kind of volunteer QA chappie, but he’s a legend in Mac Opera Skinning. Until recently, he was really the only person making Mac skins for Opera. Nice to meet you Ralf! Pretty soon after that I had to catch my flight home, leaving just in time to see some snow fall.

It’s a relief to be finally getting on with the work in hand, and my main priority will be the UI for the next version of Opera Mini, although I probably can’t say anymore than that. There’s plenty of other stuff in the pipeline too, which I’ll talk about when it’s time for them to go public.

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