Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Band's Visit

TVR surprised me with a wonderful movie - The Band's Visit - a bittersweet story about an egyptian band lost in Israel.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

RFC1855 - The Netiquette

The RFC1855 is quite an informative document. It is a pity that it is seldom followed these days. More impolite styles have arisen with the "social networks" proliferation.

For example on "Linked In" I am constantly assaulted by guys/girls from Russia or Brasil that I do not know, have never worked with and offer nothing. Linked In is not MySpace/FaceBook/Hi5... Generally there a professional attitude is recommended. 2nd category there are the "students" who try to make themselves remarked on such networks. It is not a bad thing to be there but is totally rude for them to invite people they do not know as their connections. Any kind of etiquette says that if you are not somebody's peer or senior (either by age or function) you do not initiate networking requests. This is like an subordinate is giving hand first.

Here is also Tagged - I have never visited their site but ar regular interval they suggest me people that I should meet - well I am quite a misanthrope and I do not want tomeet people online - I am good with offline + beer.

Another rude category are the  spammers and those that sell your email to spammers. The spam comments on my blog are something common now. They try to get their comments published to make some kind of SEO to their pitiful sites  by getting back links. They are suckers - the spam protection on blog got quite okay lately.
For the second category - email address sellers - they come from ebay or okazii from where I have bought some  stuff. After the purchase I have started to get mail regarding all kind of stuff (from electronic cigarettes to enlargement pills and singles announces). Then a company (mailway) started sending me "promotional" announces - to /dev/null with them.

Shortened foms on forums/StackOverflow: U, 4, 2, plz, hlp... WTF: It is a lot easier to read the whole word rather than trying to understand what the cretinoids wanted to say in their requests for solving homeworks (students again).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Solaris 11

Oracle finally lauched Solaris 11 (aka SunOS 5.11 update 11/11).
While retaining all major features of Solaris 10 (zones, ZFS, ...) this shifted towards the now defunct OpenSolaris (IPS packaging, elimination of some ancient tools, more GNU-like utilities).
I have installed it and worked OOB flawlessly, install time being of about 10 minutes. The installer seemed a little outdated but worked precisely - similar to a Linux/BSD one. After the fist boot I enjoyed tinkering a little with it. The feeling was that I have been working more with a Debian-like distro than with Solaris as many of the Linux idioms were incorporated.
On this promise Oracle (they promised to invest more on Solaris than Sun did) kept its word and shipped quite a   good system. Too bad that they have closed the ARM branch as Solaris has shown enormous potential for embedded devices.
  

Movies in weekend

Amazingly, this weekend I have seen two full movies.
Friday I have seen "The Rise of the Planet of the Apes". The story was predictable and linear but the special effects were stunning.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/81/Rise_of_the_Planet_of_the_Apes_Poster.jpg/220px-Rise_of_the_Planet_of_the_Apes_Poster.jpg)
 

Saturday I have finally seen "Inception". It is a long time since I haven't seen a movie as good as it. I found it to be a modern version of George Roy Hill's 1973 "The Sting" mixed with ideas from"The Neuromancer". The idea of dreams within dreams and the possibility of building worlds (not only scam scenes) takes the plot to a more profound level. There are lots of similarities in the plot and in the characters but Nolan's movie is deeper and have more profound connotations. Most of the cast was remarkable (except for Marion Cottliard which gave a pale representation).

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/7f/Inception_ver3.jpg/220px-Inception_ver3.jpg)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What If?

As Nokia 's handset sales are going down, I wonder what would happen if they would provide a way to simply port Android on their released phones - E series and such.

IMHO they will gain instant community response - and projects similar with Cyanogen will be born. Possibly this  will add market traction to all the other models  - as they are very impressive as hardware.

The ideal thing would be a W7/Android dual boot both for them and for us.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Driving Technical Change


Reading this book I have realized why I have often failed to promote sane techniques in my organization.
I have to brush a lot my selling skills and diplomacy.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs has resigned. Since then the press started to publish pictures with Jobs as a very sick man.
I really do not want tho see pictures.
I want to remember Jobs as the charismatic visionary that was mastering the "reality distortion field". I want to remember him as the guy in black t-shirt and jeans able to captivate people and create wonderful products.
The IT will miss the magic touch he had on every aspect of IT as he was one of the architects of humanizing this domain and make it accessible to larger masses of people. He transformed the way we interact with computers twice and created maybe the most elegant designs for computers, devices and interfaces.

Thank you for the GUI !
Good luck Mr. Jobs!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hand-Made Arduino


It is kind of done. I haven't uploaded the bootloader yet.
It hasn't exploded yet - and this is a good sign.

Update:
1. Bootloader flashed ok with a BusPirate
2. Created the first app for it - works.

Next steps: Connect a PIR sensor and a camera for a nice alarm system.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Banking software

Even ING's internet banking software has errors.
Probably it is overused - it works way better than most of the other bank's except Raiffeisen's.

 
The good part is that they show some openness to nowadays tech as Java, Spring and Magnolia.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

After a long silence

Finally I found some time to post. The blog is not dead but I have less time now.
What have I been doing lately?

Not much but:
I have started some electronics projects (a Nixie tube clock and a 3 axis CNC driver) I learnt about valves inn  the event of building a valve amp (but I have been scared about transformers). However I have learnt how to use AVR microcontrollers and about *Duino gadgets. I have burnt my fingers soldering and colored them etching the PCBs. I have also discovered the wonderfull Parallax propeller chip.

I am still following some open source projects and get excited by Linux 3.0 and JBoss 7.0 as they might impact my work in the near future.

I have turned down some work offers... Well I am still looking for a change but I want it for better not for worse or at least equal. I have been offered to make "architecture & bugfixing" on .NET 1.0 code... I decided that that's  not my wish.

I am still trying to understand what's inside our politician's head - they continue to amaze me with their lack of direction and their inept speech. Frankly & Sadly I think that Romanians will disappear as a nation in some years from now on as the result of the last 20 years policies.

I am still breathing...

Sometimes even coding.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Russian Game Consoles

When I was a kid the coolest gadget (in '86-89) were the Russian clones of Nintendo handheld consoles.
I have just stumbled on a site that resurrects those in the form of flash games.
Here is the link http://www.pica-pic.com/

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Endurance

Repair the ceiling lamp in a room with a crying baby.

You have to be fast,somehow deaf and fast.... really fast.

Agility...

I think that an agile is the enterprise where everybody think and act agile. If an eterprise praises just its champions, paladins of the 'best practices' but does nothing in changing the mentality of its management and process staff that is a non-agile enterprise

It is really not enough to have best practices posted in some obscure wiki inside the company, the best practices should become habits of every developer. It is not enough to make web casts 'bout the wonderful agile techniques, scrum and TDD but those concepts should be built in in the MANAGEMENT style.

Why agile managers? Because engineering is ever taken seriously when they propose process improvements and reduction of paperwork. Management should realize that agility is finally about money. Reducing the tasks that are not revenue generating means that the productive ones will increase and the work will be more
productive.

Finally the customer does not give a shit about waterfall/agile but it expects quality and commitment - the same virtues in a project that every PM is looking for. Agile methods (especially XP) have this by design and they produce onlythe exact quantity of results for a successful project.

Further more an agile corporation has people that train themselves, it encourages self training and the adoption of new technologies from ground up. It is totally wrong to use the 'champions' for preaching. Evangelization is not preaching. It is nice to have evangelists - they are gifted, smart, well read and inspired. Preachers are just annoying screaming dorks who know a subject by approximation. Developers inside an agile company learn 7 languages in 7 days because they want it, because they are interested in their craft. Non agile ones stick to one technology, to one language. They might be very good ones, but  they are like dinosaurs, they will fear change. They will flock for secure change opportunities with lots of trainings and coaching and then, after mastering the subject again they will stick there again in the same immobility and fear... Agile ones will learn Lisp or Erlang by themselves in order to simplify some annoying tasks in their project and will be able to advocate and evangelize that among peers.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Xubuntu

After more than 6 years with Ubuntu as my main OS, having Kubuntu or Fedora episodes I finally settled for Xubuntu.
Why? Because Ubuntu lacks Gnome 3 and the new Unity interface is an usability nightmare. I was almost there choosing Kubuntu as I like it's neat look but I felt quite helpless with KDE - as I said before I was unable to add an icon to desktop.
Xubuntu on the other hand is minimalist and all the GUI idioms I know from GTK are there. It takes less resources on my computer and with minimal customizations it has all the features of its Ubuntu/Kubuntu brothers.
Linux Mint - might have also been an alternative but I do not feel that it can keep up with the major distros.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

VoceOnline

DISCLAIMER: this is not publicity

Romtelecom created one of the most innovative and hackable(not crackable) services in the telecom market. It is called VoceOnline and basically it is a SIP service providing a Romanian number (+4037xyyyyyy) both as prepaid or postpaid solutions.

This awesome as I could connect Asterisk/Yate with this number and experiment with my little VXML toy.
Another awesome thing is that I can use a Romanian number wherever in the world and my folks can call me
at local rates an I can call back at the same rates.

I wished that Romtelecom would launch more services as this one.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rants on the Romanian language

"Ceau" - the most idiotic greeting formula. It is used only in Timisoara. I think that it is a romanization of the Italian "Ciao" but misspelled. I hate when I receive mails started with "Ceau Nilu" or I am greeted with "Ceau".

"Decat" - is an adverb that requires a negative verb for correct semantics. For positive the correct adverb is "doar". EG: "Nu am decat 5 lei" - is correct but "Am decat 5 lei" is scratching both my ears and the Romanian grammar. In the positive case the expression should be "Am doar 5 lei". But the "meltenesque" population is using the wrong form... I am doomed to hear them.

The extreme usage of Accusative in the detriment of the Genitive-Dative forms: "I-am lat lu' fata" instead of "I-am dat fetei"...
As my reader Bogdan Alexandru remarked I have put a wrong example on my post. In fact the idea was the usage of the "la" Accusative preposition for expressing the Dative "I-am dat la fata" instead of "I-am dat fetei". The problem is that the substantive "fata" has an Nominative/Accusative form because of the preposition. In my example there is also a problem of accord for the gender - it was an ear scratching expression heard yesterday.

I am not a linguist but I like speaking and hearing a correct language. But what I hear around is just a "gipsy"-anization of the language based on the precarious education in the Romanian institutes. Language is in my opinion a sacred asset for a nation and should be guarded with all the possible energies.

The Lent Paradox

85% of Romanian population claims to be orthodox.
During the lent I have to eat in an Halal Lebanese restaurant in order to find some appropriate food.
I wonder how many of the 85% are respecting the lent? In fact is quite hard to do it as all the restaurants offer the same meat based menus which are even cheaper than the lent cuisine.
An why the Romanian Orthodox Church does not create small fast foods with food for lent - as the monks have delicious recipes and in this way they can raise funds for charity and construction of the Cathedral.

Just my rants...

Monday, April 11, 2011

ROFL!!!

Via Alexei I stumbled upon this very funny clip:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

IEEE

For some years now I have been an IEEE member.
I have joined this organization for several reasons - the main one being access to latest "trustworthy"  information and research.
This year I decided to give up IEEE. Last year I was roughly paying about  42 USD for one year membership (no printed material) but this year the offer was advertised at 50 USD. When I tried to renew my membership I discovered that the charge was in fact 63 USD (50 Electronic subscription + 13 local chapter). In fact 50% more than last year... For what? Spectrum digital edition and access to a web site? A local chapter that is almost inexistent in my country?
IEEE is a great organization and they have been influential in all aspects of engineering in the last 50 years - but they are growing more expensive year after year... That's a pitty.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Savings

Google is lately heavily advertising their Google Apps related savings.
I have tweaked the assumptions in order to match the following 5 nines setup:

  • ZFS + dedup storage backends 
  • clustered frontends (Solaris Cluster):
    • Postfix + Dovecot + SpamAssasin + OpenLDAP
    • RoundCube webmail
  • Mercurial for versioning
  • MediaWiki for content
The result was:

Do not get me wrong - Google Apps is a great SaaS. However In case of a large organization who happens to be cheap/money conscious, _EXTREMELY_ concerned about privacy and with it's own data centers - there are some alternative solutions. The costs go mainly in hardware as all software used is free and system admins are creative and payed well below the 70 USD/h that Google is assuming.
  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Headhunting callflow







A                        Daniel                   Continental              
|----INVITE (Interview)->|                        |                        
|                        |                        |                        
|<-200 OK----------------|                        |                        
|                        |                        |                        
|                        |<-INVITE----------------|                        
|                        |                        |                        
|                        * Discussion with A      |
|                        * A proposes work for    |
|                        * Continental            |            
|                        * Proposal sounds good   |
|                        * Better rates than Conti|                        
|                        * Decline Continental    |
|                        |                        |                        
|                        |-488 NotAcceptableHere->|                        
|                        |                        | ???                         
|<-183 In Progress--------------------------------|
|                        |                        |                        
|----INFO (In Progress)->|                        |                        
|                        * Puzzled...             |                        
|                        * In what progress?      |                        
|-------------------BYE->|                        |                        
|                        * Amused                 |                        
|<-200 OK----------------|                        |                        
|                        |                        |                        
A                        Daniel                   Continental  


Isn't this callflow flawed?
What the heck... I refused Continental with a brutal 488. Still they believe that they are in progress.
Their timers are completely screwed. However I understand them - It would have been cheaper for them to hire me directly  than via A.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lately

I am spending time with my daughter. Not as much as I'd like.
We listen to all kind of music - she enjoys Mozart and "Dead can Dance".
We also dance sometimes, The Blue Danube waltz - is her favorite.

In the meanwhile VXML scripting and some cracking of a Java based license system. I was lucky with the cracking as the vendor made mostly no obfuscation and DID NOT sign the jar files... It would have been considerably harder to crack it if at leat one of those two have been applied.

I have set up a server(web, mail, etc) for an online community. I installed RoundCube webmail (I was considering Zimbra for that but hardware was terrible) and I found it extremely pleasant to use.