Alex Sweet
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Alex Sweet | About Me

As you may have gathered, my name is Alex and I'm currently employed as a full time programmer in Kent, England. I have been doing all things computers for a very long time and I also love gaming and generally being creative. I decided to make this website as a place for me to put things and share information about myself, updates in my life and the services I can offer. I also love running, drumming, singing, the guitar, traveling, learning new things and my motorbike.

Updates in Alex's life:


So, it's been approximately forever since an update. Regarding my last update, I haven't gained any more weight but it's been quite the battle just staying at the point I am at now. Never mind, my diet does seem to improve all the time now and I just bought an indoor exercise bike! Yeah... we'll see how that goes. It'd be nice for my BMI to be lower than 30.

So what's been happening in my life? Life has been very good. Two months ago or so I got a new job which finally feels like the sort of programming job I've been waiting for. It's with a marketing company that for its size has remained very successful. It's fun working there because I'm one of only two programmers supporting a massive user base and this is also the first time I've had the opportunity to work within a team and really get to know and work with colleagues in this way. I think the most fun I have so far is working with the graphic designer. It still seems like madness that I can just ask someone sitting a desk across from me for a pretty design and it'll just be handed back to me not long afterwards for me to turn in to an email, website or application. Being able to rapidly communicate with everyone who is involved in some part of the business is also quite pleasing.

So there we have it, Alex is pretty happy. I've been forced to use a new PHP frame work (codeigniter), which I have to admit isn't bad, but it can be annoying when all it really wants to do is get in the way of your programming whenever your code structure is even slightly more complicated than just MVC. Still, I have to admit it's useful and I'm gaining lots of new and incredibly valuable experience. Particularly with massive databases, all things digital and email marketing, linux admin and AJAX - I'm feeling a new flood of motivation to keep on working at the skills I have which certainly feels overdue.

It seems that I never have time for anything beyond my job, my wonderful girlfriend, supporting my previous clients and just resting but right now I'm happy to be in the place I'm in, and I think for the first time since moving to Kent I'm feeling pretty comfortable. My motorbike is doing well (mostly) and apart from the cold that just set in I'm enjoying commuting on it, changing it's tires and oil although I'm pretty sure I need a new chain.

Oh, and there's one particular personal project that is going to start getting a whole lot more love from me now. I can't say what it is yet but it's very exciting for me. I think it might just be the most useful application I've ever made.

Until next time.

13:00 PM October 22, 2011
Dear Blog and readers thereof. Life is going well generally but it has come to my attention that programming full time for the last six months has some serious consequences on my diet and calorie consumption in general. The fact is, I started at a respectable 13 stone (182 lbs / 82.5 kg) and now I find myself this morning (quite alarmingly, I must say) at 15 stone (120 lbs / 95.25 kg)!

So what can be done to rectify this? Well, get fit of course. Firstly I'm going to stop reaching for a tasty fried snack or sugary drink while trying to find an elusive bug or figure out why my latest algorithm is slower than Youtube over dial-up. The worst thing is that I don't even realise I'm doing it because I'm clearly concentrating so hard on the code. Secondly: accountability.

That's where this often neglected website comes in I guess. I'm going to tell the whole world. I am hereby acknowledging that I weigh 15 stone and that this downward (outward?) trend must be stopped! It's getting depressingly hard to fit in to some of my favourite jeans and to make it worse I have a belly, like a real gut, for the first time in my life. Sigh. The good news is that I used to be a runner. But two years ago I was training hard for a half marathon and managed to run the 20K in under two hours. What changed you ask? Laziness. Nothing to see here move along.

The even better news is that I finally found my old running shoes and went for a jog today. Sure I hit the wall pretty much immediately and all my joints are aching like crazy but it's a good start right? So my plan is to post another blog every time I go for a run, which will hopefully be at least three times a week. I only managed 20 minutes today but I will improve.

For your entertainment I shall be providing a handy graph tracking my weight and time I run for every time I post. Wish me luck everyone. Here's to getting my fitness back on track.

In other news my job is going well, I'm just about to move in to a nice new flat and spring is upon us! (Which means it's motorbike season all too soon - I shall have to buy a new one). 0:25 AM February 24, 2011
Hi everyone, so I finished university and as ever decided to neglect this website. The good news is that I immediately got offered two full time jobs (I hadn't put out a CV or anything), accepted one and I have now been in the land of full time work for around 4 months. I'm now living and working in Kent, which isn't so bad. Still riding motorbikes too. It's definitely very satisfying for me to programming full time. Other things I've been up to:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<html>
    <head>
    <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1250">
        <title>xkcd</title>
        <style>
            body {
                text-align: center;
            }
            h1 {
                font-family: Lucida, sans-serif;
            }
        </style>
    </head>
    <body>
<?php

for ($x = 1; $x < (829 + 1); $x++) {
    
    if ($x != 404) {

        $handle = fopen('http://xkcd.com/'.$x.'/', 'r');
        $contents = stream_get_contents($handle);
        fclose($handle);

        //title
        $Title = explode('<h1>', $contents);
        $Title = explode('</h1>', $Title[1]);
        $Title = $Title[0];

        //image + alt
        $Image = explode('<img src="http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/', $contents);
        $Image = explode('" title="', $Image[1]);
        $Alt = explode('" alt="', $Image[1]);
        $Alt = $Alt[0];
        $Image = 'http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/' . $Image[0];

        ?>

            <div class='xkcd'>
                <h1><?php echo $Title;?></h1>
                <img src='<?php echo $Image;?>' />
                <p>
                    <?php echo $Alt;?>
                </p>
            </div>

        <?php

    }

}
?>
    </body>
</html>


I made this script because I needed to come up with a present for someone and I knew they might be vaguely interested in (or if they didn't know of it, they would soon like it) my favourite web comic, xkcd. I thought I might offer it up to the internet to see if anyone else might make use of it. And yes it's a script thrown together in 5 minutes, I'm aware it could be better. If you have any feedback get in contact though, it would be nice to hear from you.

Using the script I managed to create this PDF. Merry Christmas everyone.

In other news I'm using twitter more now so I'll put a feed on this site soon, and maybe even a comments section. I spend all day every day writing many lines of PHP and I haven't yet been bothered to put some love in to this site. That shall have to be rectified! 14:59 PM December 4, 2010
Well, it's been a whole year since an update. In 2009 I received a Foundation Degree from the University of Brighton (at last!), have done many travels on my little motorbike, built many website and database applications, played some memorable gigs and have generally been searching for what to do in life. I have been working for various companies and continuing some part time education at university in order to be allowed to complete a top up year should I desire to finish a degree. Having travelled so much in life this is hard as all I really want to do is explore new places I haven't been before, but I realise I should be focusing on more "important" things. I also find myself constantly considering my own business venture, or trying to just be employed and on a decent career path already. Conflicting advice is all around me but time will very soon reveal where the next step will take me. Does anyone have an amazing job opportunity they could offer me? That would be pretty sweet. As ever I remain a geek passionate about programming, I just wish I could get paid for all of the code I write and meet more like minded people. Oh well, until next time. 5:52 AM February 18, 2010
Dear diary, I've come to realise that I neglect updating this website. This saddens me but I am committed to doubling my efforts in the future. So anyway no one warned me that the second year of university would be so much harder than the first. I've been, busy, busy, busy. Right now I'm just starting my final year project and making a big-ish database application for a local company. It's turned out to be quite rewarding so far but I've been programming so much recently I'm becoming sick of it. I know how to create a feature, for example, but it takes a few hours of typing to get there. The only other thing to tell is that in two weeks I'm flying to norway for christmas. December is freezing cold and it feels like christmas already. As they say in Norway; "God Jul". 13:14 PM December 9, 2008
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Email me at alex@alexsweet.co.uk