Thursday, December 13, 2012


Q: Do you know how to keep a stupid man in suspense?
A: We will call you as soon as possible and tell you how!

I wanted to buy a Macbook Pro 13 (late 2011) from Flanco. Went to their site and placed an order online. As the product was not in their stocks I received an email saying that I will be contacted as soon as possible by their sales consultants... There are four days since. I feel stupid.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Movies this weekend

Ronal the Barbarian

Quite a funny animation. It mocks up the barbarian stereotypes in a story placed somewhere between "Lord of the Rings" and "Discworld".

Les Infideles

The best French comedy in the last decade. A must see.



ING has refreshed its Home'Bank application. It looks fresher and cleaner. Also Adevarul and Vodafone have nicer and faster web interfaces

Betting on wrong horses

I have been betting on the wrong voices on "Vocea Romaniei". As always the choices were dubious and had nothing to do neither with the voice nor with the looks of the contestants. It is even worse than last year...


This year I really have no choice for voting. None of the candidates represents any of my political ideas. Besides - all of them are involved in suspect business or are political migrants.


As the winter season approached the center is again crowded with wooden barracks in which they sell the same thing over and over again. The same kitsch Christmas products, roasted meat, sausages and wine - in front of the cathedral although during a lent period.


Meh. I am just tired.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


One of the things a company needs is a long term strategy and a clear vision on the market and its future.
Having said that I must admit that as long as I was with ALu I was not always able to see the big picture (as I was part ow a some time orwell-esque world inside). Having stepped back a little and looking to my former employer I have to say that they are trying to reshape the telco world as we know it with three ground breaking technologies:

1. Light Radio
Light radio changes the way the RAN will be built by transforming the large bulky towers into ubiquous cubes able to harvest radio signals with less power and in a denser grid. They are one of the most elegant implementation of the SDR concept and here we can see the fine touch of the Bell Labs. They are able tho modulate everything from GSM, 3G, WiMax to LTE as they are in fact remote radio heads driven optically from the network.

2. FP3
In order to accommodate the traffic the LightRadio will sustain due to the increasing HD video, P2P and such a new transport infrastructure has to be put in place. The FP3 network processor is the device that makes possible to create the switching fabric for the the data tide the is about to come. its 400Gbps capacity is intended for the future and can offer a competitive advantage in an all-IP network.

3. CloudBand 
If the two technologies described above are already on the market Cloud band is not yet there. Its aim is to create a completely virtualizable core network. However this is the trickiest and the most sensitive part of the strategy as ALu is not really a software company. Having the core network as PaaS raises lots of unknown points as core QoS, core HA, core network security. I doubt that the telco operators will ever want to put their money making services in somebody's else cloud as there is sensitive data and the core is somehow quite realtime sensitive - wich puts a lot of pressure on the cloud. As for HA I think what the current providers have is far less than the 99.999% the telcos need (think about the AWS outages).

ALu's strategy makes sense but their timing and execution is endangered. If they succeed (as they have the brain mass for creation) they will for sure be disruptive. Until them they have to finance their research on a shrinking margin market with a fierce concurrence from giants as Ericsson and Huawei.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Commit comments on BitBucket

I have been using BitBucket for quite a while and now, with the new interface I discovered much to my shame how important are relevant commit messages.

After some years of Clearcase where the commit message was "." or the id of the bug the new system exposes the changeset's meaning which is great as it forces to think about the relevance of the commit.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Art Exhibitions

I have recently went to two art exhibitions in Timisoara. The first one was master's Ioan Tuculescu. I enjoyed it a lot as I have learnt how he shifted from water colors and academic style to a harsher oil on canvas and a crypto-symbolic language. Totems and imagery from the Romanian tapestries are populating his later works.

The second exhibition I went was Ana Ruxandra Ilfoveanu's (the wife of Sorin Ilfoveanu - a big name in Romanian contemporary painting). The works resemble much the one of her husband, they share the same ancient-like drawing technique (although his is more subtle with elements of rupestre pictures)

One interesting fact about her is that her work was associated with the image of Rotemberg winery (wich really produces a good wine). It is interesting how her drawings illustrate the the premium bottles' labels.

Image from

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Smart Phones killed Intelligent Network

IN was designed to provide logic for the dumb terminals on PSTN or GSM RAN.
As smart phones invaded the market in the latest years most of the functions the initially IN provided moved to the phone or could be achieved over IP links (Is somebody still using MMS anymore?)

IMHO the only remaining use case of IN is in this moment charging for voice and data services.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Lately I have witnessed a new trend: LinkedIn endorsements. I have been endorsed and I have endorsed myself several people.

The problem with endorsements is that they are flawed by design. It is possible that an surgeon to endorse a software engineer for knowledge on Dante's works. I have seen HR people endorsing project managers for Java skills and because I know them both I can state that the endorsement is not relevant. I have also seen technical endorsements between people who  had not even shared the same hallway for technical talks, not to mention the fact that they never worked on the same team/group/project or even seen each-other's code or design.

I have no silver bullet idea how would it be possible to make endorsements reliable. One way would be to bet on people's honesty, but...everybody lies.
Another way would be to limit the endorsements to the intersection of the skills the two individuals have hence making it harder to endorse  someone blindly as the intersection of the skill sets would limit the interaction to peers.

A finer grained approach  would be to have the skill sets associated to a position and the endorsements to be enabled only for the skills the endorser end the endorsee have in common if both worked in the same company or the were in a common project or in a business relation for the period.

In the meanwhile I am curious how LinkedIn will solve this.   

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lack of story

I have seen recently both "Sherlock Holmes- A Game of Shadows" and the long anticipated "Prometheus" and I must say the I have been completely unimpressed.

They were both some FX bloated movies with no real story behind them and with quite a predictable action...


Monday, August 27, 2012


A Danny Boyle directed SF movie. Quite an interesting story and  extremely well chosen cast.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Screen Sizes

It is almost impossible nowadays to get a 16:10 1280x800 screen on a laptop but they are common on tablets.
On laptops almost all screens are the 16:9 1366x768 which is a pain for programming/text editing  tasks.
I wonder why all the producers think that the laptops are just mouse driven jukeboxes. They are business machines and at least the business series/ultrabooks should have been designed as such. Unfortunately none of the ultrabooks or laptops I have checked have 16:10 screens anymore (HP Folio, Lenovo U300s/U310, Asus X36/UX31).
It seems that the last 16:10 display is on the MacBook. I am wondering why?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

O Brother Where Art Thou!

Excellent choice for this weekend. The music is awesome and the cast shines in this excellent comedy. The best part is that many of the goofy moments of the election campaign in the movie could be also seen even today in Romania's election. Each and every character in the movie can be associated with one on our political scene.
I am wondering if TVR did it on purpose... :) 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sci-Fi days

I have recently watched two SF movies I haven't seen when they were first launched.

1st is "Star Trek (2009)". A pitiful story with angry Vulcans and cruel Romulans  of the universe and with idiotic Spock and Kirk. Only McCoy keeps something from its original character while Scotie, Checkhov and Sulu are just pathetic. Overall it was quite a waste of time.
2nd one was "The Chronicles of Riddick". Inspite a thin plot the movie is visually impressive and is catchy. I admit that I like the anti-hero Riddick and  his serious-violent-funny character. The story focuses on the action and lacks explanation on the necromonger's technology and underverse.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

MIDI over network

I have just finished a small toy for my personal HAM training.
I mad a small app to stream messages over network in Morse code and decode them at the other end as MIDI sounds. I have to listen to them and compare what I hear with the exact message I received.
Maybe I will port it to Android also.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wishful thinking (2)

Enterprises missed a big opportunity in internal communication by NOT using Google Wave.
As wave was both a document and a communication it would have simplified the email pollution with tons of people in CC and countless Reply All... Not to mention the "OoO" answers.

Google, please give us the wave back (or at least sell cheap boxes to enterprises) in order to keep our communication sane.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wishful thinking

I think Eclipse is a great IDE. It offers probably the best tooling possible for Java based languages and also for related works. What it really annoys me on Eclipse is the lack of organizing the plugins. With Eclipse either you  have all the plugins altogether (albeit they step on each-other's toes) or you have to install redundant copies of the IDE in order to keep plugins separated per installation.

It would be great to have the choice of having profiles (Java, C++, Python, Web) and install on every profile a set of needed plugins (or use some of the global plugins) hence clearing up the mess.

Most of developers work in time on various technologies so this would help them use the same IDE but customize it for their needs.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Six degrees of separation

It might be possible to judge the technical value of an engineer by creating a tool that gathers some data about it as:

  • number of LinkedIn 1st degree engineering connections in Amazon/Google/Microsoft/IBM/Oracle 
  • belongs to interesting groups on hot technologies
  • StackOverflow posts
For sure the companies like online portfolios as GitHub but, in case of companies with  rigid IP politics, engineers are discouraged to have such a public presence.
Hence the idea of an indirect measurement as a composite metric shown above.
I'll have to chew it better.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Better than the leaf of the "Carpathian's Garden"

I have stumbled upon the blog of UK's ambassador in Romania - Mr. Martin Harris. Needless to say that this Scott casts a better light on Romania  than any governmental program ever attempted in Romania.

Read for yourselves:

Politics 2012

I guess that the current political situation in Romania is perfectly illustrated by these quotes:

  • "Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage."

    H.L. Mencken 

  • "What luck for rulers that men do not think."

    Adolf Hitler 

I have nothing more to say. I do not want to be cryptic nor perfectly explicit but in the light of the last soap-like events of our politics we assist to a circus for dumb people.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tube Magic

For me the tube amplifiers have some kind of magic... This one in particular has a huge wow factor due to the "magic eye" vu-meter.

Office fun

Just a quick and dirty copper wire and post-it replica for one of Alexander Calder's works - Redmobile.
The sculpture appeared on the "Introduction to Algorithms" by Cormen and intrigued me for a while until I learn what it represented.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Changing a ligtbulb

Q: How many days needs a Software Engineer for changing a lightbulb?
A: 4.

It was complicated.

Saturday evening the toilet light refused to switch on. Obviuously my first thougt was that the problem had been the lamp.I took down the TL5 flourescent lamp and discovered some dark spots near the connector - a clear sign that the tube was burnt..

Sunday I went to Baumax and bought an expensive (~ 20 EUR) Philips TL5 lamp. Just after arriving home I have changed it but I was not lucky. The new lamp did not work either. I measured that I do have current in lamp's connector so I concluded that it must be broken. So I took it back to Baumax and they were helpful and changed it for me. I went home again and tried the new lamp. Failure again.

So I unmounted the whole lamp from the wall and measured the output of the electronic ballast aka."drossel".
Strangely there was no current flowing although the test light screwdriver indicated some voltage...
I concluded that the ballast was somehow broken. A new Philips Matchbox one was again extremely expensive (~ 18 EUR) and  I haven't found any original ballast in the stores nearby.

Monday was a religious holiday so I haven't done much.

Tuesday I finally found another electronic "drossel" at  Dedeman and I decided to buy it and adapt it to the Philips. After about two hours of work I finally succeed to repair the lamp.

Next time I will buy lamps with cheaper and easier to change spares...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Happy Easter!

Even the Easter Eggs can take a hi-tech touch.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Sound of a Relay Computer

As a geek I have always been fascinated by the odd and old devices as valves and relays. The design of the old computers is still clever and there are still solutions that worth looked at. We are just reinventing the wheel sometime in our modern computers.
I have recently started to study if I can realise a small 4-6 bit computer with relays. After some initial designs
I looked on the web for some of the issues I had with the CPU. I found this extraordinary project:

Sunday, April 8, 2012


I have seen this movie a long time ago on TVR. I felt like watching it again and I am extremely happy I did it. A masterpiece.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rapsberry PI

I have been watching the project for several months and I am quite happy that it finally launched.
The good thing about it is that it offers 90% of the BeagleBoard's (xM) features at roughly 30% of the price. This makes the Berry the new Arduino platform for me.