Finding my way around Shenzhen – Part One

I have spent the last month au pairing and studying in Shenzhen, China through a LoPair programme. I have had some incredible experiences, and have been documenting my journey through the LoPair blog. LoPair is an established au pair agency with an extensive track record on au pair placements, arrival orientations and support care. If you are interested in finding out more about the company, go here.


 

The art of using chopsticks: like all things in China, it requires focus, speed and precision. It is something I have been getting used to these past few weeks, and like the hustle and bustle of the city, it is slowly becoming a second nature to me.

My experience in the Middle Kingdom has been stimulating to say the least.

From traversing the subway system to tackling testy VPN connections, Shenzhen has not been without its challenges, but like most trials, it has also borne some satisfying ends.

Despite not being particularly known for their warm hospitality worldwide, the people in China have been among the friendliest that I have come across. When you walk around the city, the only danger you face is the traffic (or getting lost!) and the weather is a warm welcome, and a fine departure from the cold drizzle commonly found in Britain.

You are taken in by the vibrance and stir of the city, and by the aroma of street markets and restaurants. The city is young and fresh, and in this moment, you are one of its makers.

Hangzhou group

Arrival orientation in Hangzhou

I have been in Shenzhen for about a month now and in this time, I have gained the pleasure of getting to know my host brother Brian. A sweet-natured five year old boy, he has taken to British children songs like a regular native. From memorising the words to 10 Green Bottles to Coulter’s Candy (a Scottish classic) to even Frère Jacques (allowing him to expand his repertoire of foreign songs from English to French), it has been a sight to see him grow in confidence in learning popular culture from the West.

It is with this eager companion of mine, I have experienced some of my best days here. From swimming in Guangzhou – a marvellous city where Chinese tradition meets modernity – to trying different teas (how I could write about the tea!) to finding a song in every object (Circle, square, triangle, I see shapes everywhere ‘’ Rain, rain go away, come again another day), China has been full of small wonders, and it is these wonders I look forward to, day in and day out.

As a third of my trip goes by, I find myself wistfully yearning for the next adventures of my Chinese experience.

Guanzhou city view

A city full of people – the opportunities are out there!

 

The original blog can be found here. If you have any tips or advice that you would like to share, or you have any questions, leave a comment down below.

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Key Change: Fringe Review

I’m excited to announce that I am part of the feminist fest blogging team this summer as supported by Engender and YWCA Scotland. I’ve just finished a review on an amazing show called Key Change. Please check it out, and check out the other reviews because they’re simply wonderful! They’ll tell you all you need to know about the must-see shows in Edinburgh involving gender and equality.

Key Change is a powerful show exploring the lives of female convicts affected by gender violence and domestic abuse. Their story sounds all too familiar for the thousands of women trapped in the UK criminal justice system.

We’re given a performance that toes the line between entertainment and reality. We observe the lives of teenagers, mothers, addicts, and most importantly – women.

This theatrical piece is wonderfully written, and gives us an insight into the lives of forgotten women. Through powerful music and choreography, we’re transported to a different world full of emotional turmoil and heartbreak.

This isn’t a tale of friendship. It’s a tale of survival.

As the prisoners list all the things they miss in their former lives, one line particularly resonated with me:

“I miss being treated with respect.”

In captivity, women are denied recognition, and have their identity stripped away.

Make no mistake: this performance doesn’t end with a happily ever after. It’s raw, dark, and honest. It’s the reality for most female inmates.

One thing we know for sure is this. These women are not victims; they’re survivors.

The History of Storage and the Challenges of Ever Increasing Data

This week, I spent three days working in iomart, shadowing their marketing team! I had a fantastic time and wrote a blog post on the history of data storage. Please check it out, and please visit their website. iomart is a brilliant company, and I really enjoyed working there!

The way we store data has changed drastically over the years. From the physical books we stored in libraries; the documents we placed in filing cabinets; to the music we embedded in vinyl records, we have moved to an altogether different method of storage because of the explosion of data. Today, a Kindle can hold over 3000 novels, a flash drive can hold a terabyte of data, and an iPod can hold up to 14,000 songs. The change in the technology we use has been phenomenal, and the change in the way we manage and store it has been extraordinary too because of our reluctance to press delete.

Historic Timeline:

In 1928, magnetic tape was invented to record audio data. Back then it was used to pre-record radio programs and songs on gramophones.

In 1946, the Selectron tube – an early form of digital computer memory – was developed. One tube could store 4096 bits. To put things into perspective, a regular smartphone nowadays holds 64000000000 bits (8 GB). The Selectron tube was later discontinued due to its cost.

In 1956, the first commercial computer using magnetic disk storage the RAMAC was developed by IBM. It weighed a tonne, literally, requiring multiple delivery men to wheel it into buildings. It could store 4.4 MB of data, and was considered to be a revolutionary invention.
In 1963, Philips released a tape that could distribute a pre-recorded mix of music tracks. This later evolved into the popular Walkman (owned by Sony) in 1979.

In 1971, floppy disks (portable storage device) were created. The 8-inch disk could hold 79.75 kilobytes of data. Several editions have been released over the years, shrinking in size each time, with a 3 ½ inch high capacity disk capable of carrying 150-200 MB, entering the market in 1998.
In 1980, CDs were developed. This allowed people to listen to pre-recorded music on a small disk. CDs now have more functions, and can be used to read information on a computer.

A similar invention was created in 1995- the DVD. These disks store multimedia data (e.g. movies).

In 1999, flash drives were created to hold data. They had a storage capacity of 8 GB which could store 5 times the amount of data of a floppy disk. There are now plans to create a 2 TB flash drive which is more than double the capacity of its original model.
Today, we are creating so much data that new methods have had to be created to deal with it: these are cloud storage services.

Data usage has grown rapidly over the years. In 1995, less than 1% of the world population had an internet connection, according to statistics from Internet Live. Now, 40% of the world has a connection and the number of connected devices being used is twice that of the global population. More people are using data, and future growth is staggeringly high. According to Tech Spartan more than 200 million emails and over 400,000 tweets are sent per minute. With rates as high as these, there has been a growing concern over our networks’ ability to handle the traffic. Expansion is all well and good, however as networks grow bigger, the debate has shifted to how security can be maintained and information kept secure. A blend of cloud storage and cloud backup provides most organisations with a secure and reliable solution to protecting their data.

iomart offers a range of cloud storage and backup solutions. Data is hosted in a wholly-owned network of secure global data centres and on state-of-the-art arrays. Secure enterprise grade solutions eliminate the security concerns of public platforms, and are backed by industry leading Service Level Agreements (SLAs). CTERA File Sync & Share bridges the gap between cloud and local storage and allows collaboration across teams while CTERA Cloud Storage Gateway provides local network storage combined with asynchronously replicated off-site cloud storage. EMC GeoDrive offers reliable cloud file management software allowing users to drag and drop files into the cloud. Meanwhile the Panzura Global Cloud Storage System and OpenStack Swift Object Storage Platform offer truly enterprise solutions to meet the storage challenges faced by large companies.

Data storage is ever-changing, requiring new and improved solutions to tackle security and capacity issues. With cloud storage, information can be kept safe and secure eliminating concerns about confidentiality and reliability.

To find out more information about iomart’s cloud storage solutions, click here.

My PR Internship: “The Hot Tin Roof Experience” (Day One)

I experienced my first internship last week at a public relations agency called Hot Tin Roof. I really loved spending time there – I learned so much and took away so many great memories.

During my internship, I wrote a blog about my experience which I would love to share with you.

I will be publishing this blog on a daily basis (My PR internship: “The Hot Tin Roof experience”) so please check it out, and hopefully it will inspire you to undertake an internship yourself!

Having grown up in the technological era, it would make sense I would want to work in technology- specifically technological journalism, however, it was only recently that I decided to hunt down a work placement in Public Relations. Just as I started to lose hope on finding a placement, a Public Relations company called Hot Tin Roof, one of my top choices, asked me to come in for an informational interview.

 The one piece of advice I’d give to anyone going in for an informational interview is to plan your questions wisely – luckily I already prepared a set of questions I wanted to ask!

After securing my placement and sorting the paperwork, all that was left was to undertake it.

Day One (14/10/13)

20 minutes early.

After all, William Shakespeare did say, “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late”!

After greeting everyone, I shadowed Sarah Lee, MD. I thoroughly enjoyed shadowing Sarah – she was really professional and was happy to answer any questions I had!

She then gave me my first assignment – calculating her time sheet. As Hot Tin Roof is an agency, they get paid based on the number of hours they work on a particular company. Personally, I found that a fair way to judge a company’s merits, which in HTR, was stellar.

Halfway through counting the hours, I was ushered into a meeting. 

During the meeting, I was given extra duties to fulfil whilst Sarah and Jen, a colleague at HTR, discussed what they would be doing the next couple of weeks.

We also analysed an appointment press release, which gave me a great insight into what I would have to be doing later on in the week. I began thinking PR-related questions about the press release such as “what message am I trying to send?” or “what clients am I mentioning and why?”

After the meeting I finished the time sheet which, with the help of Jen, was inputted into an excel sheet. The actual process of ‘inputting’, however, was done after a quick research and a much needed lunch hour!

After researching and comparing several past HTR press releases I went on to cut and scan an article on Scotland on Sunday featuring one of our clients. This went on to ‘the board’ before being placed into HTR’s bulky portfolio.

Before I knew it, it was 4’oclock! I had a really good time today and learnt so much – I can’t wait for the rest of the week!

Have you experienced an internship that you would love to share? Let me know!

And as always, feel free to leave any feedback or questions in the comments section down below.

New Website

I have set up a new website (http://ayahs93.weebly.com) – Don’t worry I’m not leaving wordpress!

I decided to get a new website portfolio so that I would have more freedom in designing my pages and content.

My portfolio was born at 20:45pm GMT on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. It weighs a healthy 2 pages and 40 element.. I’m very proud! I have already merged all the guest posts on this blog to the website so you don’t have to worry about losing any content!

Please check it out and voice your opinion! Remember I always want to know what you think of my work :)

New Blog!

Yes.. as said by my title I will have a new blog.

This blog will continue to remain active – so don’t worry!

However I will be making a new blog exclusive for my photos.

I will be posting my existing photo-blogs and, whenever I have the time, adding new ones.

My new blog will be called EXPRESS.YOURSELF. as I will be expressing myself.

This is its domain-link (orwhateverit’scalled-url): ayahsphotography.wordpress.com 

so please VISIT IT.

Down in the comments please give me any ideas on what photos to take – any inspiration will be much appreciated. THAnks.

FBOTY (intro)

Sorry for taking ages,I know, my first blog this year!

I had all these commitments, no excuse I know, but I’m here now. (it’s the thought that counts.)

Since it’s my [first blog of the year]!! I’ve decided to do something special – rehashing all the topics I’ve left out over the year.

My top moments of 2012 (and the ones that just need to be said) and a few moments from 2013

I’ll be spreading these moments within a few blogs – so look out for them by searching up                        FBOTY

until then.. a final apology.. Sorry!

Image‘Patrick’s sorry too..’