A half-decade taste of Norway

A half-decade has passed since I first arrived in Norway, and the last one year has been a rather calm year. After completing my PhD last year, I have been focusing mainly on developing my software development skills and on getting more exposure in the Norwegian oil and gas industry by taking part in a continuous development cycle of an environmental accounting software called NEMS AccounterÂŽ, which has been widely used by operators on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The experience so far has been satisfying, I would say, as I have been able to practice test-driven development on daily basis (although I must admit that I still create test code after the implementation code most of the time), and work with (relatively) old/legacy code. Refactoring has been my daily bread since I moved to Stavanger area in mid June 2014, and I believe it has been done for good reasons. I have been working with experienced and smart colleagues, and have been blessed with the opportunity to learn new things from them while claiming my (fair) share of contribution to the software’s code base. I completed a 6-month probation/trial period in mid December 2014, and have since been a regular employee.

However, as most things in life, not everything is milk and honey (I actually almost wrote “not everything is oil and gas”, as I currently live in Norway😀 ). It is widely known that the oil price has been (roughly) halved since June 2014, and downsizing has been inevitable in the very sector I have been working in. I tried to make a joke among my office colleagues telling them that I was perhaps the bad omen to this industry as I started to work in mid June 2014, just before the oil price went down hill (I think the Brent crude price was still hovering around 100 USD per barrel at that time). After all, oil is just another commodity that is subject to supply-and-demand law’s mercy. As supply surged without increasing demand at the same scale, price would naturally collapse (it does not sound like a rocket science, does it?). Well, I am not an oil and gas expert, but I have heard that the main culprit has been the wide use of a relatively new technology called hydraulic fracturing (or fracking in short), which has enabled operators to gain access to hydrocarbon reserves that were previously difficult to extract, which lead to a huge increase in production/supply (I heard this mainly happened in north America). Anyhow, I feel sorry for my colleagues who have been hit by the downsizing, and hope for the best for their future endeavours.

Apart from work, I have been experiencing everything for the first time in the Stavanger area (I have actually been living in Sandnes, working in Stavanger part of Forus), including Christmas and Easter. There was not much snow during the winter, with more share of rain compared to Grimstad. I attended a team-building event with office colleagues (the developer team) in mid November 2014 (ice skating and dinner at an Indian restaurant), and a company gathering dinner in the third week of November 2014 (mainly with the environmental department team) at an Italian restaurant in the city centre.

Ice skating -- Stavanger, Norway

Ice skating — Stavanger, Norway

I watched the lighting of Christmas tree by the end of November 2014 in the city centre, attended a morning Christmas celebration mass on 25th December 2014, and went with some friends to the city centre to celebrate the new year (watching some fireworks).

Christmas tree lighting -- Stavanger, Norway

Christmas tree lighting — Stavanger, Norway

Christmas day -- Stavanger, Norway

Christmas day — Stavanger, Norway

Nothing much happened during the first quarter of 2015. I went to the city centre with a friend to watch the celebration of the Norwegian Constitution Day on 17th May 2015 (food market and parades).

17. mai -- Stavanger, Norway

17. mai — Stavanger, Norway

As in many other cities, summer is always a nice time for some outdoor activities. I attended another team-building event with the developer team in the second week of June 2015. This time we were canoeing and doing a bit of running orienteering (one of the developer team members is an orienteering expert/veteran).

Canoeing -- Sandnes, Norway

Canoeing — Sandnes, Norway

I travelled to Indonesia (Jakarta, Bojonegoro, Yogyakarta) for 2 weeks in mid July 2015 mainly for family-related event and several short reunions with old friends.

When the weather was good, having lunch at the office’s rooftop was actually a nice thing to do during the summer (when there was not so much wind). I figured this out with some office colleagues in mid August 2015, and we repeated it several times.

Office rooftop lunch -- Stavanger, Norway

Office rooftop lunch — Stavanger, Norway

I celebrated the 70th Indonesian independence day with other fellow Indonesians in the Stavanger region at the end of August 2015, and attended another company team-building event in the third week of October 2015 (høydepunkt game and dinner at a hotel in the city centre) with mainly the environmental department group.

And here I am, having another birthday, getting older and (hopefully) more awesome😀

4th year of Norway chapter, welcoming the 4th decade of life

…people can now call you Dr. Trinugroho…

That sentence marked the culmination of a 3+-year filled with dedication, hard work, long nights and weekends, and sincere prayers. A sentence so precious that I believe I will remember for the rest of my life. It was said by the head of the ICT department of the University of Agder at the end of my PhD disputation/defence on September 17th 2014. I am very grateful to have gone through all the tough days as a PhD student and made it to the end. My sincere gratitude goes to God, great supervisors, external reviewers and opponents, colleagues, family and friends. It would not have been possible without their kind help and support. Thank you!

"...people can now call you Dr. Trinugroho..."

“…people can now call you Dr. Trinugroho…” — Grimstad, Norway

Four years have passed since I came to Norway, and today I turn 30, which means I have spent three good decades on this planet. Looking back to the past ten years, I realise that formal education had a big share of my time. B.Sc., double M.Sc., Ph.D., all took place in my 20s. And quite surprisingly, I realise that they were attained in distinct countries (i.e. Indonesia, Italy, Germany, Norway). I do not regret nor complain about this fact (at least not yet🙂 ), and in fact, if I had the chance to repeat my 20s, I would most probably choose to do it all over again. I love learning, and academic degrees will not change that any bit. I have promised myself to keep learning new things in my 30s, albeit not in an academic setting. Starting my own family sounds interesting as well during my 30s.

Continuing from where I left off (which was a year ago), I spent the last quarter of 2013 writing my last paper for a journal publication and doing my best to put all my (research) work findings in a thesis that was planned to be submitted during the first quarter of 2014. Thankfully the journal paper was accepted, and I managed to submit my PhD thesis by the end of February 2014. I even managed to co-author a book chapter to be published in early 2015. Sounds like hard work paid off? Well, so far my answer has been quite consistent: yes, hard work does pay off. Although honestly I plan to relax my muscles a bit and enjoy the weekends more in the coming year(s)🙂

Home thesis workspace -- Grimstad, Norway

Home thesis workspace — Grimstad, Norway

Knowing that my PhD research fellowship contract would end rather soon, I spent some of my thesis writing break time to think what to do next. After a couple rounds of brainstorming, I decided to apply for jobs that are related to software development in industry since I like building stuff that is more concrete, used in real life (as opposed to research work that typically spans from ideation to prototypes/proof-of-concepts). I started applying for jobs in mid November 2013, attended several interviews, and finally chose to join Add Energy, a company based in Stavanger, Norway (I received the job offer around late January 2014). I was impressed with the fact that the company has several software solutions/products that have been developed in-house (instead of being outsourced to third party companies), and I was also interested to learn more about the Norwegian oil & gas industry, which at that time accounted for roughly 20% of the country’s economy. So it was not a difficult decision to accept the job offer, although that means I had to move to Stavanger.

I did not start the new job until mid June 2014 since my PhD research fellowship contract was in effect until end of May 2014. After submitting my PhD thesis in late February 2014, I traveled to Pittsburgh, PA, USA for a research visitation at the University of Pittsburgh from March to May 2014. It was a nice experience to meet new colleagues and experience new research environment where I dedicated my time building an initial prototype of an mHealth solution.

The cathedral of learning -- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

The Cathedral of Learning — Pittsburgh, PA, USA

During my stay in Pittsburgh, I managed to visit Washington, DC, with some friends.

The White House -- Washington, D.C., USA

The White House — Washington, DC, USA

And also the Niagara Falls.

The Niagara Falls -- Washington, DC, USA

The Niagara Falls — NY, USA

I traveled back to Grimstad on June 1st 2014, then visited Indonesia for roughly 2 weeks for a family-related special occasion. I started to work on my new job as a software developer on June 16th 2014. I have enjoyed myself working at the new workplace with nice and smart colleagues, and I have learned new things both within the software development domain and the oil & gas domain in general. Ah…. And I found the office desks at the new workplace fascinating: it can be raised or lowered with a button push🙂 It is especially useful when calling a colleague for help so that he/she does not have to bring a chair since we can discuss while standing and looking to the monitors. I think it should become the standard for all (office) workspaces.

Cool office desk -- Stavanger, Norway

Cool office desk — Stavanger, Norway

Well, today my 20s is officially over, and I look forward to experiencing the 4th decade of my life. It will not be very academic, but I believe many things are to be learned on my way. I hereby welcome my 30s🙂

3rd year of Norway chapter

Time runs very fast. But I run faster!

That, I wish. Unfortunately I have tasted a bit of exhaustion pushing myself forward in the seemingly endless marathon track of an academic race. The view gets even more daunting as deadlines constantly knock my front door. I could of course escape through the rear passage, but I think I have decided to fight all the way till the finish line. After all, I am the one who chose this tough path.

This month, 3 years ago, I landed in Norway for pursuing an academic route. Honestly speaking, Norway has been treating me well, perhaps very well, to a point where I was granted a permanent residence permit earlier this month, just a couple of days before my birthday. Yes, today is my birthday, and sadly speaking, I’m getting older. On the bright side, I have seen some personal improvements that I have wished for during the last couple of years. More knowledgeable and hopefully also wiser. I intentionally spend some time writing this personal log about major activities during the last 1 year, which otherwise would (most probably) be forgotten as time passes by.

I travelled back to Indonesia during the winter holiday last year (end of December 2012) for a couple of weeks, celebrating Christmas and New Year with my family as well as meeting some old friends for a reunion. I visited 3 cities: Jakarta, Yogyakarta, and Bojonegoro. On my return trip to Norway, I transitted in Amsterdam and took a walk around the city for a couple of hours, visiting several tourist attractions. Upon my arrival in Grimstad, Norway, I caught a strong and annoying cold which forced me to have bed rest for a week or so.

I didn’t involve myself much in external activities during the first half of 2013, mainly focusing on the implementation of a prototype of my work (dedicating myself to programming work). I attended a Persian New Year party arranged by several students in March 2013, and a potluck gathering in May 2013. I made a fried rice and claimed it to be one of Indonesian specialties🙂 I also attended a First Communion ceremony of my office mate’s daughters in mid May 2013, which was followed by a nice barbecue session under a bright sunny Nordic sky. On May 17th I went downtown to watch live children parade, commemorating the Norwegian Constitution Day.

Then comes the eHelseUKA 2013 event in early June 2013, where the eHealth group showed off our developed prototypes alongside some posters of the group’s projects. I attended the PhD defence of my office colleague in mid June 2013, and attended the HERMES (a student association) barbecue event a couple of days later, where I enjoyed a football match as a centre back (sort of). I presented the latest progress of my work in late June 2013 in a PhD forum event (including a demo of the running prototype).

eHelseUKA 2013

eHelseUKA 2013 — Grimstad, Norway

World-class centre back :-)

World-class centre back🙂 — Grimstad, Norway

PhD forum June 2013

PhD forum June 2013 — Grimstad, Norway

I travelled to Trolltunga during the second week of July 2013 with a friend. It was roughly a 9-hour hike up and down, and I remember feeling both my legs broken into pieces. It was simply very challenging to me. But it was worth the while since the scenery was amazing. I tried swimming in Groos beach as well in mid July 2013. The water was a bit cold. I attended another barbecue event at the end of July 2013, celebrating an office mate’s birthday.


Trolltunga — Odda, Norway

I travelled to Bali, Indonesia, in late August 2013 mainly to present a paper for publication at APCC 2013 conference. I visited a friend in Singapore and took a walk around the city during my transit time for a couple of hours. I visited my parents in Jakarta for a couple of days before heading back to Bali for a short vacation. I found Bali really amazing, especially the beaches (it was my first time to the island although it is part of Indonesia and I’m myself an Indonesian).

The Merlion

The Merlion — Singapore

APCC 2013 conference

APCC 2013 conference — Bali, Indonesia

Balinese traditional "Kecak" dance

Balinese traditional “Kecak” dance — Bali, Indonesia

I took part in showing a demo of one of the eHealth group’s prototypes in the Forskningsdagene 2013 event in Grimstad with 2 other group members. We were allocated a tent in the city centre where people can visit, see, and discuss with us surrounding our research projects.

Those are the major events taking place during the last 1 year of my life. Currently I’m facing a tough challenge to finish my work which I started a couple of years ago, and I promise myself to put my spirit to the test. I don’t know how the outcome will look like, but I will surely do my very best.

2nd year of Norway chapter

Another one-year has gone by. November 1st 2012 marked the end of my 2nd year stay in Norway. Time flies. The upside of the story is that good things occurred during the last one year. Some progress on my research work, some (conference) trips to new places, made new friends along the way, tasted new traditional food and drinks, tried (fake) cross-country skiing, met old friends, and the list goes on. However, downside is inevitable, which includes not enough progress on my research work (at least from my feeling’s perspective), time inefficiency at workplace, could have worked harder for research results, not enough outdoor activities, and Facebooked too much (the actual list can indeed be longer than this). Ah yes, I could have blogged more frequently as well😛 As I have promised myself, I will do my best to update my weblog at least once a year, and I believe my birthday is a good time for looking back and review my life journey throughout the last one year.

I went to Paris, France, in late December 2011 (the third week or so), visiting an old friend whom I used to work with arranging small events at the university during the good old bachelor days back in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It was not my first time visiting Paris (in fact the first time I visited Paris was when I was about 10 or so during school summer break with my parents), but it was a bit special since it was the first time I celebrated Christmas in Paris. I (and my old friend plus his wife) attended a late night Christmas Eve mass at Notre Dame Cathedral. I missed visiting the Palace of Versailles and Disneyland Paris, though (due to time constraint).

Eiffel tower, Paris, France

I visited Aalborg, Denmark, in the third week of January 2012 for two days with my professor for a meeting with one of UiA’s partners. During the first week of February 2012, I visited Vilamoura, Portugal, to present a paper for publication at a scientific conference. There was nothing much to do or see apart from attending the conference (and walking around the marina and the beach), though. Too bad that the conference tour and dinner required extra payment (which stopped me from participating since such event’s cost will not be covered by the university where I currently work for). But it was still special for me since it was my very first time touching the soil of Portugal. And the 4-star hotel where I stayed for several nights was quite good as well. Quite a bad experience during my return trip to Grimstad, though. Luggage issue due to wrong information from a check-in desk staff at Lisbon airport.

Healthinf 2012 conference, Vilamoura, Portugal

I bought cross country skiing equipments in mid February 2012, and was quite surprised to find out that the boots are made in Indonesia (yes, Indonesia is located at the earth’s equator, and there is no snow all year round). I tried skiing with a friend in an open field covered with snow (hard thick snow actually, since the winter was almost over), and found it quite interesting. Will definitely try again this winter.

Cross country skiing, Grimstad, Norway

I moved to a university apartment nearby the university (distanced <100 meters from the university) in late March 2012 due to noise issues from the neighbours who couldn’t respect night hour regulations (and also the fact that everyone living in the building will have to move by June 2012 due to total renovation plan). The new apartment/dorm is much better in many ways, so I was quite satisfied with the move.

I went to Nordkapp on a cruise trip (Hurtigruten) during the first weekend of April 2012 with an old friend (we studied together in Aachen, Germany). Nordkapp is considered to be the northern-most spot of continental Europe (although I remember the tour guide mentioned that it is actually not the northern-most point, but the northern-most point that can be easily accessed by humans). The interior of the ship actually looked more like a hotel than a ship, but anyhow, we slept inside a small cabin (the cheapest available option). I remember being baptised (with ice) by (fake) king Neptune in a special ritual when the ship passed through the Arctic circle. We also tried the yakuzi (hot pool) on the top deck of the ship. It was quite an amazing sea-trip experience.

Nordkapp, Norway

During mid June 2012, an eHealth week event took place at University of Agder campus Grimstad. I and one master student presented our latest research results as well. During the same week, the eHealth group of UiA was highlighted on a local newspaper, Agderposten.

eHealth week 2012, UiA Grimstad, Norway

Agderposten, 11.06.2012

Jump to the first weekend of July 2012, I and three other friends (two of them were flatmates when I was in Trento, Italy) travelled to Preikestolen, not far from Stavanger, Norway. The hike to the top was demanding, and the weather was not friendly at all (light showers and quite hard rain at some points). But we made it to the top (and back) anyway. The scenery was awesome from the top. Unfortunately I did not dare to sit at the edge of the cliff (as many people did). We travelled around the city center of Stavanger as well the day after hiking.

Preikestolen, Norway

In the same month, I attended another scientific conference in Lisbon, Portugal, and presented a paper for publication. I found the city of Lisbon quite amazing (although it was very hot in mid July). Strolling around the city center while enjoying ice cream was simply unforgettable🙂 The (free of charge) conference trip and dinner to Obidos was also exciting. I remember having a nice walking trip with a friend from the conference at the closing day of the conference. The hotel where I stayed during the conference was unstarred, so I did not expect much for the provided service.

Belem tower, Lisbon, Portugal

During the last weekend of July 2012, I and two other friends had a cruise trip around Sognefjord in Bergen, Norway. We went to FjĂŚrland and saw the largest glacier site in Norway, Jostedalsbreen. The scenery along the fjords was very beautiful. Highly recommended for nature-lovers. In the evening we walked around the city center of Bergen, and enjoyed a delicious Thai food dinner.

Sognefjord, Norway

During the first week of August 2012, I and three other friends visited Istanbul, Turkey. It is a beautiful city with rich historical background and many things to see. We visited, among others, the famous Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace. We also tried the hop on-off bus tour which passed through the Bosphorus bridge which connects European and Asian parts of Istanbul (yes, we spent some time in the Asian part of Istanbul).

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

At the closing date of August 2012, I presented my research progress for the second (or third, I cannot remember exactly) time at the PhD forum at University of Agder in Grimstad, Norway. Not many people attended my presentation, but I still received some inputs as well as questions.

UiA PhD forum, Grimstad, Norway

I attended another conference in Oslo, Norway, during the last week of September 2012, and once again presented a paper for publication. Several days earlier, UiA’s eHealth group appeared once again on a local newspaper, Grimstad Adressetidende.

Grimstad Adressetidende, 20.09.2012

During the third week of October 2012, I travelled to Madrid, Spain, to attend two co-located conferences. I presented two papers for publications in those two conferences, and (luckily) one of the papers got best paper award (yeah!)😀 The conference’s (free of charge) tour and dinner event was nice as well. The 4-star hotel where I spent some nights was good, except that the cleaning service personnel seem to occupy most of the afternoon for hours cleaning the rooms. I spent some time walking around the city center of Madrid, and was touched by the lively vibrant atmosphere. I even saw a (peaceful) demonstration taking place. On Saturday, October 20th 2012, I watched a live match between Real Madrid and Celta Vigo at the renowned Santiago Bernabeu stadium. I also took a stadium tour the following day.

Santiago Bernabeu stadium, Madrid, Spain

Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty – Santiago Bernabeu stadium, Madrid, Spain

During my stay in Madrid for the conference, UiA’s eHealth group was featured on Computerworld Norway. The article can be accessed here.

And last but not least, November 5th is my birthday (which is today). Sadly time flies so fast, and I am now 28. I hope I can overcome my shortcomings in the previous year, and be more productive while still enjoying every bit of daily activities, which hopefully will be illuminated with wonderful experiences. Ah yes, by the way, for my birthday present I bought myself a Google Nexus 7 tablet computer😀

Boxed Nexus 7 and a birthday card from far away

It was an exciting one-year experience during my second year stay in Grimstad, Norway. Life goes on, and I hope great adventures and experiences will await me in the following year.

Something new on the net: www.dafferianto.info

My official personal website is up today. Its initial purpose was to provide information about me and my activities, and thus, it is expected to be very static. However, this site is open to new roles in the future.

The website can be accessed at www.dafferianto.info.

Everyone is welcome to make a visit.

Sharing the Erasmus Mundus experience (in Bahasa Indonesia)

If you are interested to experience the Erasmus Mundus programme, please visit this link for more information.

1st year of Norway chapter

It has been a year since I first stepped my feet on Norway‘s soil. Many events happened during the last one year, adding new experiences to my personal and unique life-experience library in my mind. However, it is sometimes difficult to direct the memory pointer to the correct storage point inside the memory repository, and thus, copying them to the outside world (from my brain’s perspective), in this case a weblog, may ease the searching process when in need. The bad news is that one year is long enough for me to forget many details. Thus, the granularity may not be so high.

I have been living in Grimstad, a lovely small town in southern tip of Norway, since I first came to Norway in November 2010. The winter may look somehow gloomy for some people, but the summer is definitely enchanting, to a point that I felt I wanted it to last forever. This is in particular true especially since I live in an apartment by the sea. The beach is an excellent place to relax during the mid of year season with a very beautiful scenery in the surrounding. The only downside I experienced during the golden season of the year was the fact that the weather was a bit unpredictable. When rain came, the temperature could drop suddenly to a situation where I needed more layers of clothing than just wearing a mere t-shirt.

Groos beach - Grimstad, Norway

I was busy writing project description related to my work during the first couple of months of stay in Norway. I was quite new in the research arena, and I found being employed as a research fellow was quite tough. But hopefully the initial hardships will yield sweet fruits in the future. My research project proposal was approved around February 2011 by the research education committee, and I started to conduct the planned steps. As part of the PhD programme, I had to take 30 ECTS credits of courses during the entire lifetime of the contract, and thank God I have completed 25 of the projected 30 credits at the time of writing of this post. The first year was not that bad as I managed to publish two papers at IEEE-channel conferences, although I must admit that the papers were not of high quality.

In mid March 2011, I was invited by one of my supervisors to take part in a study tour to Edinburgh, UK. This trip was mainly a visitation to several partner institutions in the UK which had conducted some collaborations with the university (my current employer) in the past.

Edinburgh castle, Edinburgh, UK

In late March 2011 I travelled to Oslo for attending a block course which lasted for several weeks, and in mid April 2011 I went  to Kjeller for a block seminar which lasted for several days.

Royal Palace, Oslo, Norway

In late May 2011 I travelled to Aachen, Germany, to fetch my left luggage in my previous apartment. My sincere thank you to my previous flatmate as well as friend who stayed in my old room. Congratulations to him as well for landing a high-profile job at Facebook‘s HQ in the US.

June 2011 was quite a busy month since I had to travel to Missouri, US, for presenting my first paper, and continued with another trip to Lesbos, Greece, for attending a mandatory summer course in Philosophy. A paper deadline by the end of June made things look worse, but in the end I managed to go through all hurdles on my way.

University of Missouri - Columbia, MO, USA

Lesbos, Greece

In July 2011 I visited Indonesia and met my big families and old friends.

Borobudur temple, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

In late August 2011 I presented my work progress in a PhD forum at UiA.

PhD forum ICT UiA, Grimstad, Norway

In early September 2011 I presented a poster in another PhD forum at UiA, but this time held jointly with Mechatronics department. Soon after I presented my second paper in Gjøvik, Norway.

PhD forum ICT-Mechatronics UiA, Grimstad, Norway

Gjøvik, Norway

In mid September 2011 I had the chance for visiting Stockholm with some friends for several days.

Stockholm, Sweden

In late October 2011 I presented my latest work progress in a workshop in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen, Denmark

And at last, I was born in November. This means I am a year older now. I do hope that I will be wiser, smarter, and stronger. Hopefully the road ahead will open up a way for me to taste more interesting experiences, and hopefully good things will come my way.