Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Shall the joy oh His birth to enlight your souls!

I know that it sounds quite conventional but in fact this hollydays is about His birth.
We might have forgotten the true meaning of this as we are daily assaulted by Christmas publicity asking as to buy and give presents that are not for our souls but for our stomaches.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Team!


My team: AI, AAU, DIU, CNA, IGN, TPA and me on the bottom.


Others from SRP: PRU, TPA, Me, SRD, SCA, CTU.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Linux vs. FreeBSD

I had recently downloaded and used FreeBSD 6. I felt a little bit clumsy in the beginning but then I found it to be okay. I addapted myself relly fast with the slight different syntax of the parameters in BSD and, hourray, it worked like a charm.
In the meantime I have had some bad experiences with FedoraCore 4 that proved to be buggy during install, full of unwanted/untested/unnecessary/buggy packages. Since RedHat 6.2 - the best ever Linux distribution. I believe that that all other RPM based distributions are a big step backwards. I am still wondeing why as long as Debian and gentoo are going nicely ahead. I am hopping for a better release of FC...

I have found thoug some nice things:
1. OpenSolaris + NexentaOS - http://www.opensolaris.org
2. AuroraLinux - I will try it on my old SpacStation Classic.

Time saving tools

I found that I can spare about 2 hours daily using the following tools:
1. OmeaReader
2. Google Desktop
3. Mozilla Firefox
4. Rainlendar
5. 1GB Sandisk Cruzer

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Almost free world?

Yes I know, I haven' wrote for a very long time although I promised it. That's life....
I discovered yesterday that almost everything can be done almost for free. I was shocked. I am not referrin here to minor things but to things that are really expensive. For example:

1. VIDEO STREAMING
Take for example thesolution DarwinStreamingServer + MPEG4IP + ImToo or VLC => in no time I can create a powerfull enough streaming server thatcould support hundreds of streams even on my not so powerfull machine. OK. In order to make it a commercial grade solutin what I have to so? I have to invest about 2000 EUR in a Apple XServe G5 and in some bandwith from a decent ISP and I have a good VOD server. If I could talk to a wireless operator I could offer him a cheap/pretty powerfull solution for streaming. If not I will keep the ideea as a hobby. BTW: Proprietary solutions cost well over 20000 EUR.

2. TELEPHONY
The catch here is VoIP. Especially SIP. There are many solutions that could be used to talk for free. I am not reffering here to Yahoo, SkyPE, GoogleTalk or so bu to a custom based solution. AsteriskPBX + X-lite(or any other SIP phone - even hardware as ZyXel). In a couple of hours of configuration and tests I was able to create a working solution that enabled me to talk to my friends. Add to this a E1/SS7 interface and you will be able to create a goood solution for a company. Not the best, but very near to a commercial grade one. Add alsoa wireless router and some WiFi phones and you could use it to provide voice to distant/hardly accesible spots.
If we add to this also som IM features we are in heaven.

3. Software Defined Radio
This is WOW! Just imagine how nice it would be to transform my PC - a junk -into a UMTS/GSM/anything immaginable radio/tv using only a cheap board... GNU Radio Project is great...

If you don't believe me check those out:
1. Darwin Streaming Server - http://www.apple.com/quicktime/streamingserver/
2. Video Lan Client - http://www.videolan.org/streaming/
3. Mpeg 4 IP - http://www.mpeg4ip.net
4. Asterisk PBX - http://www.asterisk.org/
5. SIP Express Router - http://www.iptel.org/ser/
6. YATE - http://yate.null.ro


A plethora of information can be found at:
http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Old cartoon of mine


This one is made when I was in highschool by the talented painter Vasile Gheorghita.

You might see othher works of him at: http://vasilegheorghita.lx.ro

You can also check for the paintings of Mariana Bojan and Arina Gheorghita

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Hello again!

There are roughly four months since my last post. Too busy in this days. I have had a lot of things to do, but now I think I will take my good habits back.

Monday, June 6, 2005

Weekend

I had a quite agittated weekend.
Good things:
- Florian came to TM.
- I have listened to a nice Chamber Music concert
Bad things:
- A relative of mine died... I felt very sorry for him as he was onnly 49 years old.
- My godfather is in hospital.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Nice projects

I have seen (or seen again) some nice projects:
1. http://webonswing.org
2. http://damagecontrol.codehaus.org - best ever Continuous Integration tool
3. http://xstream.codehaus.org - handy tool for class serialization/deserialization in XML

Miserable week

I had a miserable week.

Apart from daily misery I had to get some big time shit:
1. I went to my dentist - four obturations + three changes
2. The same shit with buying the products for the platform. Until I will see them I will have my beard grown white
3. Annual interview - hmmm... It was an almost fair one. But the fact that I have legft my previous team and had a quarrel with my ex teamleader was visible.
4. Correcting the tests for the candidates for Alcatel jobs. They _MUST_ be stupid.
How can you get to an interview for SW Engineering without knowing what a class or an object is. Not to mention C.
5. Clima installation: Fuck me - am I a clima installation engineer or a fucking software one ?

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Justin's Birthday

Justin's Birthday !
He is now five years old !

I have bought him a nice present !

Monday, May 30, 2005

14 years

Today are 14 years since my father is gone.
Lord, please rest his soul with the righteous ones !

Monday, May 9, 2005

After the Hollydays

I was away from my desktop for a couple of weeks.
First week I was in Bucharest to attend a training held at ROMSYS.
The training itself was quite boring and I couldn't get something very new and interesting from it except for a colorful diploma.
The week in Bucharest was okaish, I visited the city, I met some friends as Zeul, Arthur and missed some other as Mihaela and Erika.
On Friday evening I went for Sighet. I spent the hollidays home with my folks.
I came back in Timisoara yesterday after an adventurous trip by bus on the way to Timisoara.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

All praise the almighty LINUX !

When it comes to do handy stuff in the network, Linux is the tool you need.
It offers many beautiful and powerful tools.
For example today I had to solve two issues:
1. To set up a boot server for a Sun CPI1500/440 machine. Using the standard tool provided under Linux I was able to do it in no time. It was easy to setup bootparamd, rarpd, tftpd and nfs.
2. To use the SAPGui client on my Linux machine. I am quite proud that I succeeded in doing this. I will post the details tomorrow.

It's already 2100 hours and I am still at work - so it means that I worked today for 12 hours.
I AM A WORKAHOLIC !

Thursday, April 14, 2005

WebOnSwing

Some time ago I was discussing with my friend Florian the possibility of transforming plain Swing applications into webapplications by making Swing to render HTML as an output. We had a samll attempt to do it but we gave up as it was quite an overload for both of us and of course not an easy job :).

I have seen yesterday WebOnSwing and it is fantastic. Far abobe what I have ever imagined it could be ! Congratulations to the developpers !

Stucked in compilation - the solution

The LD_LIBRARY_PATH was WRONG. I have corrected it and, voila, it works.

Network Adventures

I found the time to post again.
Today I felt miserable. I spent most of the day trying to see why some equipment does not work.

The "problem" equipment was an Chase Iolan+ serial port multiplexer.
This ancient piece of hardware has a NON NEGOTIATING 10 Mbps HALF DUPLEX interface that fucked up all the network when it was plugged directly into a Alcatel layer 3 switch.
It fucked up the VLANs defined in the switch so bad that I couldn't have acces to any of the hosts plugged in the same swich (and for this I have kept my developpers from working for about 4 hours)

I solved the incident by connecting all the equipment in a dumb old SMC layer 2switch and cascading this one into the layer 3 switch.

PS:
Eclipse goes native !
Hourray !

Fedora Core 4 test2 appeared !

Two interesting firewalls: m0n0wall and smothwall.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Stucked in compilation

I am stucked in compiling an applet on Solaris 8.
I downloaded the libxml2 from http://www.sunfreeware.com added it as a package with pkgadd and tried to compile my applet. It compiled well but when I tried to run the applet I got a "Cannot open libxml2.so.2" message.

The same happens when I try to run the examples provided along with libxml2.

Any ideas why ?

Monday, March 28, 2005

User support at Mobifon/Connex

I was home yesterday and I wanted to read my e-mail. As usual I dialed my crappy Clicknet connection but I couldn't hook up to the ISP. It kept giving me busy tone.

So I decided to ask my mobile operator - Connex/Mobifon future Vodafone Romania - to provide me GPRS internet access.
I have a pretty good phone, a Siemens S65 that is GPRS Class 10 capable, and I wanted to use it.
I called the technical support and ... asked them the settings for my phone. The girl activated my data account and gave me the settings.
I made the connection but somehow the nameserver ceased to respond.
I started to verify the settings and I found out that "Extra initialization commands" for the GPRS modem were somehow wrong. I called the support again.
This time I found an angry girl. She talked with in a very upset tone. I told her my problem and what I thought the solution was. Again in a very upset tone she started to dictate me the code AT+GCDCONT="1","ip","internet.connex.ro".
I was quite frustrating that she spoke fast and I couldn't hear everything she said. I asked her to repeat. The tone of her voice became more and more uppset and repeated in a disgusted manner the string.
I started the connection while I was talking to her and told her that. She said that it was impossible for me to use GPRS and voice in the same time. I got irritated and told her that as GPRS and voice are not on the same timeslot of the air interface it is possible and I was right. The connection was done while talking to her.

I thanked her politely for the precious help she gave me and hung up the phone.

I cannot understand why do they hire such persons for this kind of position. She seemed both aggresive and incompetent.

--

Deactivate Windows updates when you are on GPRS. It will make lots of traffic which is VERY expensive.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Hiding things from final users

Yesterday I had a surprise. Part of the application I was working on suddenly changed its aspect.
It was because some "smart" figured out what are those .jpg and .xml files that were dongling in a directory called res. So he modified them in a almost funny way.
It is nice for an application to offer some sknins or look&feels, but when those can be so easily modified and the whole application is messed up you start to think about it.
An obvious solution was to hide the resources in a container that can be sealed and distributed safely. So I did. I have made a whole archive with the resource files and modified the sources to ask for a certain resource not from the filesystem but from the archive instead by the means of a ResorceProvider class.
Another good thing happened as a result of this. Now my application is made only from jar files and is quite easy to distribute it to the users by the means of Java Webstart/JNLP.

Hourray !

Solaris scripts debuging

I have startted to work today on Solaris.
I felt quite excited of the event. It was always one of my desires to work with Solaris and Sun hardware. Today I looked on a strange behaviour on a Korn shell script.
I could't have some variable set. I made various tests and finally I found out why.
I have setted the variable to a custom value at the beginning of the script:

#!/bin/ksh
FOO="bar"

...
Several lines later the original author did something like:


if [ -f ~/.profile ]; then
. ~/.profile
fi


No need to say that FOO was resetted to its defaults in .profile.

Anyway Solaris seems nice. Except for the fact that the console works awfull and the version of vi is antique. Unfortunatelly I cannot install software on the machine...

Monday, March 21, 2005

Javahelp 2.0 issues

I had to write some "help" file using Javahelp 2.0.
I used a DOCBOOK source and XSLT to generate the HTML files needed by Javahelp.
The output was not so nice. So I decided to attach a stylesheet to it.
Bad idea placing the <link> tag and the css inside the jar made Javahelp crash.
Placing the css inside a <style> tag yelded to a blank output.

Any ideas how to accomplish that ?

Bonus:
Aqua LNF from Birosoft crashes horribly when used with JDK 1.5.0

Hmmm, interesting.

http://www.edgewall.com/trac/.
I will give it a shot today. It seems tasty... Subversion, Python...

Awesome Python

I am totally impressed by Python. Yesterday I suceeded to make a quick and dirty application to talk to Excel via win32com.client and perform some ccomputations inside Python and put the results back in Excel. It worked like a bliss. In less than 120 lines of code I did much of the job it would have taken me more than two days otherwise.

I have recently tried to work with COM objects in Java and I must say it was a painful job. From this point of view I think Python is excellent.
I am also thinking to use PsyCo to improve the speed of the code and maybe to make a small wrapping GUI over the application.

Bonus for me: http://pysonic.sf.net - a cool wrapper over the excellent fmod library (http://www.fmod.org)

Because I was talking about Python I must say that I have also seen a nice Ruby project called RubyOnRails. I is very nice indeed.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Beer inside - St. Patrick's Gift




Beer inside. After yesterday...

St. Patrick's Day

Yesterday I won a Guiness hat in Artclub. It was a promotional item on the occasion.
Sadly I lost it almost immediately in a subsequent bet.
The night was a mix of Heineken and Guiness.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Happyness



Alex is very happy. He sits between two girls.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Karaoke

I went today at Dan and Vera. Vera found a nice Karaoke program am ve started to make a fool of ourselves singing on some very aproximative midi tunes. We sang from "Pink Floyd - Hey you". Unbelievable.! Not to mention Ugly Kid Joe, A-Ha, GNR, Lisa Loeb Alanis Morisette ...

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Lunch with Alina, Nick and Cipri

I went today at "Pont d'Eiffel" Taverna in Timisoara. I was a little confused by the name. The place was called "Italian Taverna" then "Romanian Taverna" and now "Pont d'Eiffel". Maybe to confuse the customers.

Although it seemed quite creepy at first sight as a small window on the front door was broken, the food was good enough. We ate some grilled trout with potatoes and drank some Murfatlar Pinot Gris.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Overtime

Today I have almost finished the tool I was working on. Some software engineering thing proved to be magnificent while refactoring some code written before. I never believed that I would forget so fast what I had written two month ago. Now I'll have to prepare the documentation for the code.

I am also preparing to fight with my team leader. The conflict has been around for too long and I have to do it. The sooner the better.

Plans for tonight: Beer with some friends and maybe a pool game.

Is our university education good ?

(DISCLAIMER: This is appliable only to my knowledge. It might sound a little too general but this is the way I see things.)


These days in Romania is a big fuss about how the educational system will change.

Mainly the 4 ears universities will become 3 years undergraduated studies and an additional 2 years master courses.
For technical universities the 5 years of studies will become 4 years as undergraduated and 2 years as graduated studies.

This is not the problem though. The main problem is the superficiality of the entire romanian educational system. I have recently looked for "the best" universities in the world and I found that no romanian university is among the first 500.

The explanation for this is the terrible superficiality. This comes both from the teachers that are underpayed and in order to earn enough money they have to teach more than one or two courses. In extreme cases they are teaching about 5 to 7 courses in the same university, not to mention the other, smaller universities around.

In these conditions there is a slight probability that the teacher will ever have vtime to take care of his subjects, to go into research or update his knowledge. A very few of them are doing research these days and if they are doing research it means that they are on some external funding or they have a second very well payed job.

The students on the other hand come to the universities just for fun. They have no interest in learning and they try to cheat on every occasion. Sad but true. In Romania this is a very common practice.
After graduation they are employed at some companies where the fail to do their jobs.
They are even trying to bribe the but most of them are realising that they don't belong here and tjhey leave abroad teachers and the often succeed into it.
There are also very capable students but most of them are leaving for foreign universities. The rest of capable persons are very rare... Almost a dying breed...

The result of those facts is taht fresh graduates are mostly submediocre.

I am still amazed how can foreign companies employ so many mediocre guys in Romania.
Up to some extent in major multinational companies I have seen many of my worst students. Are we so cheap that even with this bubmediocre individuals we are appealing to them ?

Does it worth to employ seven stupids to do a good man's job ?

I still do not know...

Rebirth

Yes !

I have decided to write in English. My latest blog was in Romanian and I almost sure that nobody bothered to read it.
The idea came to my mind after I did something similar with another blog I am writing in.
I am intending to keep this one more thechnical and the othes more personal.

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Tunnel



Three graces... They are all SW Engineers.  From left to right: Vera, Oana and Nico.