Thursday, March 31

Wednesday, March 30

15 minutes of fame

what do you get when you combine the perfection of gillette mach 3 with the power of the philishave?


lots of attention!


in other words, i took down my beard, my moustache, and philishaved all my hair.


that was last night;


now, i'm getting lots of second looks;
all kinds of looks: startled, amused, surprised, and so on ...


if i had only known!


my very own 15 minutes of fame!

on destiny ...

yesterday evening i had a phone call with M. i was on my way home and decided to call her and catch up on things (since we hadn't spoken in some time)

anyway, after we spoke for a while she told me something i've been waiting to hear in a long time (one of those obvious things i don't see unless someone else points them to me).


afterwards, i had this feeling that i've passed through a food-for-thought moment in my life; that somehow all my experience, all my ... whatever it was till that moment prepared me for it, and i had just reached a turning point.



that was not it



because i only hear what i want to hear ... like the rest of us: we only see what we're ... mature (or open) enough to see.

like, sometimes you want to help and offer someone your help, and the one you want to help receives something entirely different on his side:

like hassle

or the fact that you don't consider him/her capable of being without your precious help

or something along those lines




so, you could say that if it hadn't been some particular chain of events to lead to that particular personal revelation on my part, it would have been an entirely different one, leading to another outcome (well ... that's obvious! :) ) ... and you could also argue that that other chain of (relatively small and unrelated) events lead to a predestined outcome ... or not (argued that is).



in the end it's not a matter of predestination, but a matter of choice.

Tuesday, March 29

Flexbeta Firetweaker

i just installed Flexbeta Firetweaker from Emilsoft Software and customized my firefox to get rid of the close tab icon.


that's what i was taking about.

Monday, March 28

damn waiting

i'm in the office again, waiting for the San Jose people to come to work. dammit! i have to send them a fax, and don't have a fax number.


i feel the need (almost phisically) to get out and get the damn home. and if i do i, won't have the problem solved by tomorrow and tomorrow will be another spent day.


well ... that's the way it goes i guess ...

weekend update

hey everybody, i finally moved.

it's 0:00:43 seconds (after the time change) and i'm preparing to go to sleep.


i almost had a lazy/louzy weekend (nothing done yesterday, almost nothing done on friday); but today saved it:

i went for the first sunbath of the year (for about an hour)

and i went for a picknick with some friends (then some more firends came, then some more than more firends came again, and before i knew what was hapening we were twenty ... something.


but it was ok ...




after the picknick (i still don't know if that's the way to spell picknick :( ) B helped me to cary some of my stuff to my new home.



so now, i'm in my new room, clothes stuffed in the wardrobe, scuba gear - in the wardrobe also, writing on my good-old laptop but on my new PC table, after a shower, and with no way to put this lousy text up since i forgot my net cable in the old home.




what else is there to talk about?


i didn't get that "changing your life" feeling after i came here. hell, i didn't even get a "new home" feeling, untlil i got out of the shower and finished unpacking;


i still have to go and finish the cleanup and empty of the old home, give in the keys and leave a phone number for any bill payments that should arive there after we move out.


B makes great doghnuts! he had some made for us this evening; they were great (but i'm repeating myself).


also, on a personal note, i found out that some of the stuff i say can be received in many ways (including some unpleasant ones) ... yet another reminder that my perfection could be better (or maybe not, but there's definitely place for more :o) ).


while in the shower i realized - again - that this posting (and all my rambling actually) won't change a thing! it'll not make the world a better place; not save anyone from hunger; not wisen anyone (no, not even myself), and won't improve anything! that in twenty years (give or take some 40 years to that) i'll be gone - completely gone - and all that will be left will be a memory (if any) ... or an anonymous ... scuba suit? writing on a wall? archive on the net? scratch of a stone in a public place? not even that maybe. and that is completely OK. it's fine; acceptable; accomplished;




so this all doesn't matter; and don't pay excessive attention to it;

Thursday, March 24

finally

i have finally found an amdocs blogger

random update

ok, let's see:

today i got an oracle DB dump to download from uncle sam's backyard server.

and i didn't have access to the file. again.


instead of not installing what i'm not sure i'd have to install, i'm sure i cannnot install what i'm not sure i'd have to install anyway. (if you can comprehend that phrase in one readover, you're way smarter than me).


anyway, i've been reading some booring document all day about how to perform testing with strange characters (i mean strange character sets).


well ... that and online search; and reading; (hey, i'm multitasking!!!)

i ended up adding my blog on blogwise, getblogs and Blog Search Engine.


i can't see my own head from all the work i did today! :o)


on the other hand, i'll still have to wait till seven pm in office just for a call to the land of all possibilities (time-zone differences and all that)

and tomorrow is a holiday here in cyprus, so i allready have that holiday feeling all-over.

Wednesday, March 23

browser trend

i've read lots about the new browser war, with firefox taking iexplorer's market share.


lots say it's about geekyness of firefox, even more say it's about security, tabbed browsing, following the all-mighty open-standards and not bowing your god-given free will to "the ev1l micro$oft". whatever.


i think it's a trend in user expectancies: iexplorer is a good broswer; it won the last browser war because it was better, pushing all other browsers below 90% of the browser marketshare.

but that was five years ago.



what is happening now is evolution in the user expectancies; it's not about security; if you are like me, you have access to some computer and use it to connect through some line from home; you don't care about someone really hijacking your computer because you have a dynamic ip (maybe it's just an excuse, but i'm not looking over security patches every day); and if you care, you get some patch or continuous patching service just to forget about it. becuase you actually want to not have the problem in the first place.




so, let me tell you about the user expectancy: it started with wanting to look for quality:

and users needed it in a search engine, and we got google for that (and lots of others i haven't used in years)

and users needed some good public storage, which now are provided through public services (gmail is not really public but getting there); they give you 1Gb storage or more; it's evolving fast towards a "storage space is not a problem" mind-set;

users also need access to information; if you know where to look that in no longer a problem either;



so, how does this apply to browsers? it's evolving towards customizable user experience. which iexplorer does not offer.

and now, we have alternatives, like firefox and opera;



I'm not talking about tabbed browsing; that is only part of it; and not talking about skins; that is only part of it also;

i'm talking about the user having the chioce:
  • of not needing to look at the flashy banner to read the news (provided with a customizable ad blocker)

  • and not needing to see sites in dark text over dark background (provided by custom css settings)

  • and getting the news in a menu in the bookmarks (provided by integrated css reading)

  • and ultimately the ability to extract the information separately, and presenting it to the user the way he wants it



ofcourse business owners will protest to that:
they can no longer display banners as nobody will see them;
they can no longer put tracking scripts because you filter them out;
they can no longer force customer lock-in because you can modify it dynamically;

so what's left is quality; and to offer that they need more effort; which takes more money, whick decreases profit;





so, no, it's not that firefox is a better, sexyer, first-to-save-the-world browser; far from it; actually it has his share of security problems.



i mean, ask 100 firefox users what features they use within firefox, and the 80-20 rule applies perfectly; each uses something else, in a different way;



it's that firefox is more of a platform (ok, subset of the mozilla platform), while iexplorer is a browser; a good browser, but just a browser none-the-less. and the difference is huge.



it's that you can add a new module to firefox by scripting; and that if you cannot find your needed option in Tools->Options, you can always get an extension to it that puts your option there, in 15 seconds, a firefox restart, and a trip to the bathroom.



since i use ms office for exactly that reason (it being a platform and being able to add scripting to it and being able to create an outlook macro in a snap), it amazes me that ms does not see it.

maybe they do, i don't know.


actually, iexplorer is also a platform, but much harder to use, and not by the casual user; so, until they make it easy to customize (that is: either make a comunity out of it, or provide something symilar to ms plus / windows toys for iexplorer), they are losing the browser (as in platform) war; because they are not participating to the war at all.


that was my2c on the new browser war.

Tuesday, March 22

Letter to Eurosport

mr. Nashpa Rau has posted an open Letter to Eurosport, regarding the poll "Player of the 90's".

random thought

sometimes - like just now - i feel like getting out, into the night, and ... just ... being there?


i don't know.


there is a feeling of ... waiting i'm all-too-familiar with.

it's the same feeling that i normally experience when i'm waiting something ... waiting for something to happen in the future.


except that when i'm in the balcony, staring into the night, it's somewhat different:

i'm no longer waiting for something definite ... and it's not something that will happen at a given point;

it's just ... petient waiting ...

pure, purposeless waiting ...


and it's not waiting for something in the future either; it's waiting for the now; i have this feeling that whatever i'm waiting for is already here ... allready happening ... allready happened in the second that passed ... and just now ... it's continuous ... (or timeless ... if you will)



maybe it's just that i like staring into the night ... who knows?



anyway, i guess i'm not making too much sense at this moment;


time to get some sleep.


good night!

Monday, March 21

firefox tunner

here is a freeware visual tool for tweaking firefox performance.

star-trek may be closer than you think

Softpedia has published an article about a new Siemens gadget than centralizes all needed comunication chanels on a relatively broad area to a single device, the size of a coin.

the article can be found here.

on bad habits

i would like to say something inteligent about our team:

    E=mc2

there!
nobody can say that is not inteligent! :)



so, what is the relationship between that relationship and our team (excuse the pun)?

none whatsoever!


what i actually wanted to say about my team is this: it won't improve; ever!


let me expand on that:

learning something new, is relatively easy: your boss/supervisor/personal hero/whatever comes to your cubicle, and says we need someone in our project that knows the peperoni greek salad module; please look over it.


so, having nothing better to do (since you cannot have a beer in the office), you look over the documentation, flex your fingers, and start playing with the peperoni greek salad module.

after two days, your start getting questions from your team mates about how much salt goes in there, and how to compile the damn thing.


that was the ideal case



because in my team, it's the same, but with bad habits. and unlearning bad habits is a bit harder. and when they are enforced by a lot of people, it's near damn impossible.


when you learn something new as part of a team, the team supports you (even if what you learn is keep your mouth shut, the reactions around you are encouraging you to keep your damn mouth shut; afterall you learn it because the need is there).

with bad habits, when you want to unlearn them (that is: learn not to do them, or to do something else instead) your resistence is not taken down by your team; instead, they have the same resitance you have; and the longer you have the habbit, the harder it is to unlearn;

the larger the team, the bigger the effort to impose change;


and to put the tombestone on it, our team leaders, are against change!


i mean ... if it ain't broken, don't fix it! right?


but instead of improving, were still going with the same bad habits; and making more of the same;


so, there you go: it will never improve.

Friday, March 18


pyramids from a distance

skirted dancer on a nile cruise

castle tower in cairo

egyptian man near zoser's pyramid

weekend plans

i'm in for a hectic weekend:


tonight, i'll be here (in office that is) to play some more CS (i said after last time i won't be playing anymore, but i got bored with wow).


tomorrow, i want to go diving (i hope to make it this time).


and on sunday, i'm moving in M's place with B and F.


yeah, and i got to cleanup my room before moving :-(

Thursday, March 17

random link [6]

saddam hussein can be described in many ways

random link [5]

DJ Lejo [flash]

random link [4]

here is xiaoxiao no.3

random link [3]

i'd have never thought that you can make music that sounds ok with simple Windows Noises

random link [2]

here is a nice documentary about the end of the world [flash]

god, save me from perfection

since i was very little, i have been raised with the idea that me and my brother were better than others. i didn't know what that "better" actually meant; but we were always told the details: that kids out age didn't usually understand this or that; or that we were to be the best in our classes at school;

it was in the little details;

and i went for it; all the way;

for me our family was perfect, my parents were better than others, and i was actually second place (my brother being one year older than me).

then, things went down the drain: my parents divorced (all starting with a big fight which i still remember), and my mom went away.

for years after that, my dad continued to be perfect, along with my brother and me;

my mom? i didn't understand it, but it was my brother's and my fault that she left that night; (ofcourse, nobody said that it was our fault: but my father was perfect - so ofcourse he couldn't have caused my mom to run away; and besides, he kept asking us: why didn't you stop her from leaving?!)

at one point my mom started fighting for custody over us; some years after she got it, i started thinking that hey, my dad was not as perfect as i made him out to be.

and then I was dissapointed. so much for striving for perfection ...


well ... enough about my little family drama!




let's look at something else:

it's been said that zen monks used to buy tea cups, then they broke them to pieces and glued them back together; through this, an ordinary tea cup would suddenly become something unique;
when other monks visited the monastery, they drank tea from them, and they would admire the artfull way the cup had been put together again, the uniqueness and perfection of a broken cup.


they achieved perfection in such a common hosehold item and didn't even strive for it; and most of us, would not even see it's perfection (instead we would just walk straight by it).


offtopic sidenote: "it's been said" is just a fancy way for me to say "i don't remember who said that and i don't even know if it's at all true" :)

but it's a nice story anyway





so what can i say about perfection? (i have to say something about it since this is the purpose of my little rant ... )


it's a curse;
i should know: i'm perfect afterall!;

what? don't you belive me?!
it's true! have i ever lied to you?
... on second thought ... don't answer that!




sometimes, that is to say ... a very seldom "sometimes", you go through a party or a night out with friends, or stay with a friend over a glass of wine and chat over ... nothing in particular; and then, you can honestly say it was complete, utmost perfection.

and sometimes you try that, and go to your friend's house and get out the wine, and it's ... just not there!;


maybe perfection is just an idea; something in the eye of the beholder - like beauty ( or a speck of dust :o) )

maybe its a myth; i mean, for example, you speak to your team manager or boss or guy-in-charge (or whatever his title is) and he tells you well, it worked but it's still not perfect. and he doesn't know it (or he does), but what he really wants is for you do do more, not to be perfect;

because perfect (to him) is that you will do what he tells you and that only out of passion for your job, and never ask for a raise, and do overtime just out of dedication!; (ok, i was wrong, maybe he wants you to be perfect :) )

and perfect to you, is that you don't have to do what he tells you, and still get a raise, and have a flexible program, or not have to go to work at all (because while you're in office it's a perfect time for the beach);


probably this guy could have explained it all better, but he's unfortunately very dead :(



nowadays i don't want it to be perfect; and i dont want to have a perfect life; and i don't want the perfect relationship (ok, maybe i do but ... ).

you create this image in your mind on something perfect ... then you strive for it. you see that you can achieve it, (and sometimes you do) but ... it's still not perfect; it could have been better (there's allways place for more).


i have decided that i'm as perfect as i'm going to get; or as imperfect; i'd rather have that chipped look that allows me (or others) to see the underlying perfection more often than not (and allows them to say: you know if not for your little flaw with whatever, you'd have been perfect; or maybe not).

Tuesday, March 15

yet another day at the office

i am getting bored at the moment, so i thought i'd make another day-in-the-office post.


so, what is there to say?


i woke up this morning at about 5 o'clock (then at seven, then at eight). my eyes were stinging from reading into the night; i turned towards the computer screen, and started reading again.

and, again, i found it hard to leave the reading behind to get to work.



at about half past nine i managed to get into the shower. then, i managed to find some clean clothes (at about a quarter past ten).


since originally i had wanted not to be too late in office, i took a taxi (again).

i had holiday yesterday (which would have been good for diving but i was too damn lazy to get out of the house), so i had about 40 unread mails in my office mailbox, and until half past eleven i've been sorting email and building a tasks-list:
current configuration,
mails from the-land-of-the-free requiring answer (and not),
any pending issues,
and emergencies (thank the-powers-that-be, there were none of those);

then, i answered a lengthy mail from a good friend, then i went to lunch.



so, in effect, i started my actual work a bit after one o'clock.



at three, i had another boring status meeting (boring! booriing! booooriiiing! booooooriiiing!): for an hour and a half i played with an orange from the kitchinette; and drank a coffee; and had a few laughs (every time i caught anything more or less close to funny); and i actually participated _once_ in the discutions ("dan, any issues?" / "none").



now, it's 5 minutes to six, and i'm finalizing my configuration for testing on a chinese windows server (help! i don't know how to read!).


i can't wait to get home.

Saturday, March 12

random link [1]

How To Annoy People: GetAnnoyed.com

how far can you fly?

Winter Sky in Limassolas an exercise, let us take a simple question, like:

how far can you fly?

and now, lets try to answer it:

first answer
humans cannot fly! so, the question is prety stupid!

but i'm not satisfied with that, so let's try again;

second answer
before the first flight, you would have gotten the answer above, from all people except perhaps this dead dude.

he imagined the first ever flying machine:



so, if you define flight as "lifting from the ground using a form of propusion that is temporary able to overcome gravity", then i can fly about a meter and a half, thank you very much (ok, maybe two meters, if i'm running to begin with); and then, the first flyers were the human cannonballs.


and ofcourse, let's not forget that some people fly using cannabis sativa. ( don't drink and drive when you can smoke and fly! :) ).




so, what the hell did i want to say with all that?

that the world around you, what you deem as realistic possibilities, are limited by what you see around you. what you consider impossible, or impractical (or idealistic if you will) is often just your choice to not look further.


in other words, your inner universe, your potential and possibilities are limited by your beliefs; by those affirmations that you end up bringing up while talking to your friends in a form like no, i cannot accept that <<...>>.

you can replace the <<...>> with whatever you (don't) like:

Jesus was just a man for example, or

heavier than air objects can lift of the ground through a heavier than air propulsion system, or

you are free to choose, allways and in every situation, or

god, however you define him, does not exist.

Friday, March 11

cutting through the saviour

one of the things christians do is cut through the life of jesus, until they see him as the christian religion says.

i mean we all can imagine him same as in zefirelli's film: coming over the hill, all serious and dressed in the typical clothes, folowed by a (more or less) large croud, and entering some village; then, performing a miracle we all love to read about in "some book".

but afterwards? what about before? all icons depict one scene of the bible; be it crucifiction, him and some guy, him and the apostoles and so on;

can you imagine him at night? did he light a fire? maybe sit around the fire with his friends and have a good laugh? did he wake up in the morning with red markings on is face from sleeping over his hand?

maybe he used to scratch his neck in this really weird position when answering a question; maybe if a christian icon painter saw him laughing around the fire with his friends he wouln't be able to paint him at all afterwards;

because, if (as a great many belive) he was sacred and son of mr. G, then he would not let the thought of "the moment he died" (ok. hours of agony and torture before the rest of the comunity killed him) rule his entire life.

maybe he had this strange joke that only his disciples following him understood; and maybe they were exasperated by it; i wonder what such a joke could have been about;

hey was e a vegetarian? did he get dust in his hair? what color did he enjoy wearing best? white? maybe black? green stripes? did he even care?


because i just don't buy it that he thought constantly (and i mean constantly) about saving the world and his holy sacred mission to save me every time i lust for some cubicle coleague wearing a shorter skirt here.

i mean he couldn't be some obsessed, single-minded save-the-world freak! i've tseen some of those;


he just had to have a life!

i wonder what it was like.

Tuesday, March 8

See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil

allright, i've had it!

i read the news every day (on the net, since i'm a hopeless net-addict), and i see lots of manifestations of fear. descriptions of the evil. your occasional natural disaster.


Devil in the Smoke of WTCeverywhere you look, you find things like trials for bad things, disasters, beware of the bad guy, and all-around stuff like that.


what seems amazing to me is that these things make the news; i mean the big news;

and what makes the news is what most people are most interested in (that is what generates audience; and what grows the rating of the news service);

news agencies, and mass-media attempt to put in the news what they hope will make people come back for more.



you see, what bothers me is not the news per se.

these things happen. there's no denying that.

but instead of seing them as the state of the world all-over, i choose to see them as simple symptoms;


so, the content of the daily news is not what i'm ranting about; it's not like i could stop them right now, and not like complaining about them will change them or anything.


i know that!


what bothers me (and what i'm complaining about), is that people choose to look for the bad things in the news. it's what they look for when opening the morning paper; they look over the headlines for this or that killing; for an earthquake; for signs of the worsening economy in this or that world-part; they're not life changing: your life won't get better or worse of anything because some desperate sod murdered an unborn baby in new york.

seing them, you get the feeling that the world is ending. that things are going from bad to worse. that natural disasters are multiplying by the minute. that oh my god, we're all going to die.


so, why does it happen? why do we need to see the evil in some form in the news? why not have frontlines of other events?

it's because we have split the world in bad and good; and in order to feel good, in order to feel that the current situation is good, that our lives are good, or manageable or ... not bad, we need something worse to compare it to. We need to see the bad guy, so that we feel we're not it

and you know where it comes from? from christian religion (well ... mainly; because islam is worse);

i mean, if in god's world there is good and evil, how can here be any different?!?

we simply cannot conceive that!







Cute little devil!

so no, there is no good and evil! no binary world! no inerent evil! no devil!


it's just an image in your head! in your upbringing! it's a limit you impose on your thinking! it's a bug in your version! :)


go patch yourself! :)


you can see any perpetrator as a tormented sod! as some misguided person; but most of us choose not to! we choose to have a bad guy! we want the bad guy.

because of that, we get not to help, but to punish. and becuase we turn to punishing instead o helping, things won't change.


it's all in our head.

my new attempt at creating a project

i think i mentioned before that during my entire life and vast life experience and infinite wisdom (etcaetera, etcaetera) i have started a few dozens software projects, big or small, cute and ugly, that would do various things, only to abandon them a month, or a week, or 15 days after starting;



at some point i realized that it was because i was writing no specs; later, say ... two days later, i would remember what i wanted when starting, but came with different ideas on how to accomplish it; or slightly different set of features;

in a few weeks that would turn into half written functions and structures and classes, having methods to implement this or that, only for me to realize that something was entirely not there, half of it needing a complete rewrite, and half being obsolete (that was the result of my jumping into code-attitude).


well ... not anymore!


this time, i started with a nice, long functional spec, thirty pages long! (with nice diagrams of mock-up screens; and imaginary friends).


at the moment, i'm looking into breaking it up to smaller chunks (like ... class-sized smaller chunks, the size where you could write one every day :) ); i settled for nice free UML tool for doing this, and it's going great for now.

poseidon UML is written in java and thus, very-very slow (like "do ALT-TAB, get blank screen, wait 6 seconds, and get a drawn screen" kind of slow). but that's ok (i mean it's free and really really easy to use, with a good, nice, intuitive interface that even i am able to use).


i'll post an update when anything happens with my little project ( like me abandoning it for example :) ); deep inside i'm convinced that the world needs to know about these things.

Friday, March 4

Google Technology

I just found out the secret behind the success of the Google Search functionality.

It's called PigeonRank and it's explained in great detail here.

Tuesday, March 1

Egypt - the people

i believe that the degree of civilization of a people can be seen (among other things) by how he wealth is distributed: the bigger the discrepancies between the rich and poor, the less civilized they are.


and in Egypt, most people are poor; in fact, some of the things you see in the street point to a people frozen somewhere in the last centuries (because that's what most people have access to).

(ofcourse i fiddled with the colors in this picture, but it illustrates my point perfectly)


near the pyramides there's a bunch of people trying to seem taken from 1001 arabian nights



one could argue that it's just tourism and they do it because it means more money for everyone; but it's not that;

because you see the same with the (tourist) police





ofcourse not all people are like that;


this is our guide:
and he looks ... European enough ...


and here are people in a street, looking much better:






but there are still whole areas of ugly, unfinished buildings





ok, and here is another picture of the Nile, that i couldn't figure anything significant to write, or comment about :))