The most desirable place to live

The Independent quotes the 2006 Mercer survey “Managing Quality of Living for Expatriates” that finds Zurich to be the city with the highest quality of living in the world. They take into account factors like security, both crime rate and terrorism-related, public transportation system and infrastructure, access to healthcare, environmental conditions and the like.
Even more interesting than the winner being in Switzerland is, perhaps, that of the first ten cities in this ranking, three are in the Swiss (Zurich, Geneva and Bern) and three in Germany (Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Munich). Third place went to Vancouver, BC, Canada and I think Vienna is in the top ten as well…
Most of the metropolises rank pretty low, with Los Angeles being the 55th, both London and Paris somewhere in the 30ies and Tokyo in the 40ies. If you think about the environmental effects that the sheer size of these cities take with them, it’s not surprising that they got such a low ranking compared to the jewellry boxes that the Swiss cities are. Even Frankfurt, where I live does not have a lot of traffic or pollution, which makes it an attractive place to live for some people (and score good on the survey).

Add comment April 11th, 2006

On Focus

I am a fan of self-development both in and outside of my profession. I find that focusing only on your work and neglecting other areas of your field is just as foolish as not paying attention to all the other knowledge that’s out there.
Are you a software engineer? Then pick up a book about history. Are you a marketer? Maybe it’s time to study some graph theory.
There is one thing that seems to matter from a practical standpoint, though and that’s focus. I find it easy to pick up a book, blog or a website about a topic, but not quite so easy to keep at it. After a tiring day at work, it’s all so easy to scour a few articles for ten minutes and then wander off doing something else. Of course, studying for ten minutes doesn’t give you ANY benefits. In my experience, the least amount of time that makes any difference is to keep doing the same thing for 30 minutes.
Think about it: Thirty minutes seems to be a short enough time that you can squeeze in doing something meaningful on a tuesday night between nine and ten, but it’s long enough to get you in the zone, to give you some returns on your time. Isn’t it more worth of putting in thirty minutes every other day and learn something than wasting fifteen minutes a day?

1 comment March 27th, 2006

Letter of reference

I’ve received my letter of reference from my previous employer, SAP. I wrote my thesis at the optimization department of the supply chain planning division in Walldorf, Germany, the SAP headquarters. German law requires your employer to give you a letter of reference after you’re no longer affiliated with the company. In this case, it took them about six-seven months and a couple of email exchanges to get the thing done, but as I got a good review from my supervisors, I was determined to get it in writing as well.

Indeed, the letter seems to imply good to very good performance on my part – again, German law prohibits that anything negative be said about an employee in a letter of reference, therefore HR developed a code-language (that’s constantly evolving) for signaling good or bad performance. For example, if it says “Mr. Applicant always strives to be on time”, that means you’ve never been able to make it to the office on time. Fortunately, mine is only saying positive things 🙂

Add comment March 25th, 2006

Long weekend ahead

Getting back to Frankfurt took about thirty minutes longer than usually; and that because of the huge snowfall that started in the morning. By noon, they started cancelling flights and I started worrying how long the 60-mile drive would take. I didn’t want to be late, because I had an appointment at my bank – apparently, they started noticing that money was starting to pile up on my account (har-har) and wanted to convince me to do something with it. Well, I was late from the meeting about half an hour, but they did not care very much (I guess it would’ve been different if I wanted to take a credit from them); I let the CSR give me a crash course on investing, so by the time I got out of the bank, it was half past five and everybody but me and the clerk I was talking to went home. It was kind of weird, being the only person in the bank 🙂

On a side note I haven’t been going out for something like two days now; I just had to go through some todo-items that I had on my list because it was getting in the way of doing work…

The weekend will probably not be very exciting, as I’m still behind with some reading for the project, so I’ll catch up on that.

Concerning the remark from the previous post, the Bangalore pictures are up:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/48164258@N00/sets/72057594065024583/show/

Add comment March 3rd, 2006

DSL at home

Back from India (photos coming up soon). I finally managed to get decent connectivity at my Heidelberg apartment, which makes life oh so much easier if you don’t count the sleep deprivation it causes!

Add comment February 10th, 2006

Indian visa

I received my business visa to India yesterday night. Normally, this is a simple procedure: You present a few documents like an invitation letter from an Indian company, an application form and two photographs and pay the fee at the counter. You submit your passport in the morning, pick it up in the afternoon and off you go.

Of course things are not that easy if you’re a Hungarian national. Altough when I called them on the phone they told me the procedure would be the same for me, upon arrival they announced they would need one week to check with the Hungarian consulate. Oh and I would only get a single entry visa since the invitation letter didn’t say I have to travel multiple times (I do).

This was bad news because I submitted my passport this monday and intended to fly on sunday. Upon hearing this, the consulate clerk told me I could check back this friday and so I did. I had to sit around for two hours but finally I got the visa at around 6:30 in the evening, so tomorrow’s off to Bangalore!

Add comment January 21st, 2006

Who am I?

Hi,

I’m Zoltan, or Zoli. Zoltan (the official and more formal version of my name) is a pretty common surname in Hungary and etimologically it comes from the turkish word sultan, which was the title of the ruler of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire. The name found its way in Hungarian while the country was occupied by said Empire between about 1600 and 1750 and curiously, doesn’t seem to exist in any other language. You might have heard about are Zoltan Kodaly, whom I share my surname with, an acclaimed Hungarian music theorist of the twentieth century. 

Zoli is the nickname of Zoltan and my friends and family call me that way. Also, I found that in an English-speaking environment, people generally find it easier to pronounce Zoli (pronounce as: Zo-lee) than Zoltan, so I use it more often in those circles. Conversely, German-speaking people seem to be better at coming to terms with Zoltan, which makes me frequent the official version of my name while in Germany.

I indeed live in Germany. I graduated recently from college with a Masters Degree of Computer Science and started working at an IT consulting company in Frankfurt. Right now, I’m in Heidelberg on a project during the week and (usually) in Frankfurt over the weekends. You can find out more about me in the – surprise! – About me section.

Add comment January 16th, 2006

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About me

Zoltan Hajnacs

I’m currently working at a large consulting firm doing offshore software development. I graduated from the Budapest Tech with a Masters degree in Computer Science and reside in Frankfurt, Germany.

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