Monday, December 15, 2008

IP mapping Romanian sites around the world

It happens (sometimes) in life that you are very close to something/someone(? :-) and because of it you cannot grasp the full extent of your opportunities. Taking few steps back/away might help, if you train yourself in thinking out of the box; Otherwise, taking a few years break will definitely bring the "argh, I could have done this & that" moments :-)

Which bring us to the subject: I could have done it in 2000 (maybe), I could have done it in 2004 (definitely, maybe :-) or, I'll just do it now (2008)

The task at hand was/is quite daunting, but one can break it in a few "easy" steps:
  1. build your own web crawler/robot
  2. feed it with previous art or just google
  3. let it crunch the data/web for a while or two :-)
  4. (hopefully your robot behaves and no one will ban you; sorry guys)
  5. extract the www sites from the stack
  6. perform some IP magic/geo tagging on them
  7. find a good/nice way to plot/display your data
I guess by the time one reaches 6. his/her chances of finishing the job go above 80% :-)

Luckily, I managed to do 7+ and to the left is the static result of it. A more dynamic map of Romanian sites around the world is hosted by Mapeed until January 2009, so be quick to enjoy it (Santa comes earlier this year for the ones clicking with IQ :-)


Update: the data was interpolated/reduced (depends on how you look at it :-) to ~50K geo locations that follow the initial distribution found in the collected data set. I have no time, nor excessive passion/knowledge(? :-) to run the numbers in a complete statistical way, it's like what I learned the other day: it's good to have some data to question, rather than having no data at all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

good practices: protect/manage your linux server for/over 366 days

After 366 days of uptime, my dear Debian server sent me an email via SMARTd and you can imagine my joy when I read the title ("back up data NOW", haha).


Luckily, I learned something 366 days ago (when I just reinstalled on another drive, no real data to worry about): 
  • use hddtemp to monitor the HDDs temperature (i.e. via syslog); if this goes up, your drives will start singing different tunes and none is pleasing to your ears/data :-)
  • install SMART monitoring tools
  • employ mirroring / redundancy via RAID 1, 5, or better
Luckily (again), I got a spare drive some days ago and already started the magnificent mirroring process on a running server (many thanks Falko!). Unfortunately (finally! :-), I didn't complete it then, since it required downtime and I wasn't that eager to reboot. Now, with the main drive failing I had to reconsider...

So, I just went on shutting down the services, bring the system to its knees (almost) and issue the last rsync (yeps, Falko is teaching you on how to do it on a working/ideal environment). Yes, there's a chance to ruin your good copy trying to rsync from a zombie device, but hey, I just let the blonde moments taking over... and they didn't dissapoint (at this point you should stop thinking about "good practices" and just harbor a smiley :-)

What Falko doesn't tell you, is that you should stop your services before taking a hot copy (via cp, see close to bottom on the second page), or else, you'll start fixing your services (like DBs, etc) when the RAID is ready.

Rsyncing went fine, but devil's tail came into play: I got this funny idea that I should start the services again (keeping uptime, heh?). Do NOT DO IT on a failing drive! In fact you should concentrate ONLY on the important data, back that up and once that's safe try to recover more. Sometimes you're lucky, some other times you're not and I was stuck with the latter; I couldn't do *it than reboot. To my surprise, the system came up and I had a new chance to fix it by following Falko's steps.

Remember, once the new/RAID drive is ready make sure you install the bootloader on it, or else, the reboot will teach you that. What else is the reboot teaching you? Make sure you add both (hd0,0) and (hd1,0) as root for your RAID stanzas! If the failing drive (i.e. hd0) dies for good, your BIOS will see your second drive as (hd0) and the grub config is now a bit off...

I still have one reboot underway (lets call it "maintenance break", shall we? :-), but with these new lessons learned I hope I can safely close this chapter... Happy rsyncing/mirroring to everyone!

Monday, November 10, 2008

the VIA iceman reviewed

A few months ago I won (via CrunchGear) a nice piece of hardware that now replaces the veteran hdd divx player I bought from Hong Kong about the same time last year. The enclosure was much more reliable than the other "made in china" (sic) stuff I bought back then, but somehow its remote died this summer and it's not that fun to pause/play/stop using the built-in buttons. It works, but one has to leave the couch in order to do it :-)


Introducing the iceman: VIA's Weather Resistant PC System, fanless and with MPEG-2 hardware acceleration. Yes, sounds like your ideal outdoor computer (or in-car?), but it fares pretty well in the home also. After unpacking, you'll see:


- main unit (includes 2.5" HDD PATA), all black
- power cord + interesting/round power socket
- CD with drivers for Windows (no Linux, Mac :-(
- 4 page booklet (outdated/useless)
- wireless module (yeps, I bought this one :-)
- screws, mounting frame, wireless antenna


Now, your engineering skill kicks in: mounting the wireless module. You need to open the (black) box, find a place for the module, then, screw it... yeah, sort of. VIA didn't provide me the small screws needed to attach the wireless module to the main chasis, therefore for aesthetic reasons :-) I decided to pack everything back and use it sans wireless (sits close to the router anyway, no biggie)

Still, in the process, I snapped a few photos:

(on the back of the unit)
- 10/100 NIC (argh, where is the Gigabit?)
- 4x USB 2.0 (quite close one to each other)
- TV-out (S-Video & RCA) + VGA
- serial (ha?) and 2x PS/2
- audio (Line-out, Line-in, Mic-in)
- on/green led
- red power button











Removing the back, the front screws, lifting the top, looking at the wireless module...

The next shock wave: how can I upgrade the RAM in this unit? Err, I took a look inside, applied some pressure, took another look inside, applied a bit more pressure then, an Angel whispered: be careful, you might break it! So I paused for a minute and then it hit me: the CPU's sink is glued to the chassis!

Well, that's quite ok if you want to better dissipate the heat... but it gives you more headache (or chances to FUBAR it) if you want to change some parts inside :-( For me it was now the U-turn point: wrap it up, power it up and start...

Searching for an USB floppy (what?) or an USB CD-ROM since iceman's HDD was virgin. I gave up quite quickly on installing Linux (no real Bluetooth support) and followed this nice guide on installing Windows XP SP2 using an USB memory stick. All went fine and I got my iceman with XP SP2 booting... from power up to complete log in... in something like... 5-10 seconds! WTF? :-)

Upgrading to XP SP3 solves this "problem", back to the 20-30s booting times :-|

Overall,

The Good:
  • runs cool/just a bit warm after a few days on
  • completely silent
  • very good booting times
  • can scale up DVD video to 720p on a wide screen
  • plenty of options in the BIOS
The Bad:
  • no mounting (mini) screws for the wireless module
  • too slow for anything more than DVD quality (argh, where the hell is that MPEG-2 hardware acceleration?)
  • no Gbit NIC
  • the USB ports are too close one to each other
The Ugly:
  • very hard to upgrade the RAM (if needed)

Missing from this review: the wireless keyboard I'm using with this system, the USB Bluetooth adapter that helps me send wirelessly the sound to my mini HIFI system (now you see why I had to ditch Linux? :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

(stock market) investment advice

Yay, stocks are falling lately but this is not quite about it, it's about you silly and me (or something I inferred/learned about late 2001 or maybe during 2002)


Never hold stock or invest in the company that employs you.

The logic is rather simple: if something goes wrong and the stock sinks, you're in for a double fingering: once from the stocks you own and a second time (royally) might be from your own employer (you know, yada yada, cutting corners, streamlining, saving toilet paper, etc)

Of course, there are some caveats:
  • you are the company that employs you, in this case the answer is obvious
  • you are working for a startup in which your input/work really contributes to the output; well usually high risks can bring high benefits, IF... your gut feelings are in charge/shape
  • I never said you shouldn't play that stock in your advantage :-)
  • you got stock options for your nice eyes or hard works, just one word: sell
But you don't have to take my word on it, just look at one BusinessWeek from September 2008, page 94, in red: Keep your portfolio investments in sectors that don't have the same economic risks as your company and industry.

PS. It's one of the core rules in investment: diversify!

Now, I've been reading some inept isights about the current market situation and the basic idea was: hold your positions. Don't be stupid, square in your losses and dump (if you haven't done it already), exit from this madness, let the big guys hold their horses/positions. (no investment advisor will openly tell you to dump, because that can really bring down the whole show/sky)


PPS. but, I'm not an investment advisor, so use common sense, your IQ and your gut feelings :-)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

a time to take cover

I don't usually do copy&paste, but this time bomb seems to be really big:

Arctic scientists discover new global warming threat as melting permafrost releases millions of tons of a gas 20 times more damaging than carbon dioxide.

Preliminary findings suggest that massive deposits of subsea methane are bubbling to the surface as the Arctic region becomes warmer and its ice retreats.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

is Symbian going to sucksid or not?

I'd like to comment on an older story I haven't touch since. Yep, it's about The Other Big Blue (from the North): Nokia managed to score 40% market share for the last quarter, fully owns now Symbian and pledged to make it open (source?) in 2 years time.


Quite a move (in defensive?) from them (and a bit late if you ever heard of Linus Torvalds, his works and origins), but it's the 2 years part that can get them into trouble. Lets look at one year timeframe (the past year):
  • Apple came from "nobody" in the telecom arena to a significant player with its iPhone(s) and AppStore turning heads (and maybe rolling some heads as well, but that's another story :-)
  • Google baked the shinny, multipurpose (make no mistake about it, it's meant to run on devices from mobile phones, to your big screen TV, to even your car) open OS named Android which can be seen these days in the wild (on T-Mobile/HTC G1, see below)
So, are you/Nokia giving these guys (Apple+Google) another 2 More Years?!


Update: Android pre-sale devices sold out, Nokia might uncover something on October 2nd.

Friday, September 19, 2008

a dedication to the IT managers out there

This isn't a good example of leadership, but would you fire your boss if in a position to do so?

And a short explanation (from the above sources) of leadership versus management:

Management is telling people what to do, which is a vital part of any industrial economy. Leadership is figuring out what ought to be done then getting people to do it, which is very different.

(PS. I guess I would have done it at least one time with the respectfully kick in the backside :-)

too odd

Yeah, that's Sergey Brin's last move/trend in blogging... blue on black, WTF?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

respect for the individual

No, this is not about me bashing others (some of my previous posts might have that scent), but about a big/multinational (iron) company and their respect for the individual...

Here it goes, with my bold, added italics and some "random" replacements:


from: Big Iron Co - Do Not Reply "noreply@bigiron.com"
to: individual@home

subject: Your application to ...


Dear individual,

I have received your application for the position of ... After careful consideration (sic) and thorough selection process, I regret to inform you that you have not been selected for this position.

...

In case you would like to have further details about the selection and decision making process, please contact me.

Best regards,
same-name-here

Hmm, this looks like a good candidate for The Daily WTF, R5/KT :-)

PS. yeah, from what I've heard it should get corrected soon ("definitely maybe" to be more exact, LOL) after more than one year in the wild wide web.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

the future revealed - part 1

or, I saw the future - part 1

This is going to be a multi-part post over time, not only because I had a bad feeling when I wrote the previous post, but because sometimes I surprise myself with my own deductions/insights :-)

Lets go back to December 2007 when I wrote about GMM and quote myself:

And the real (location services) killer app will be an open API to GMM My Location in order for the other/all mobile applications to be able to geo-locate and provide local services.
What can you learn these days from the (tech)news?
Imagine if web sites could provide you with customized information based on your current location, even if you don't have GPS. Today we're launching the Gears Geolocation API for mobile...
via Google Mobile Blog

That was I nice one and ahead of its times I have to say :-)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

small versus big in the corporate world

Ok, so you're done with studying and you want to go productive (as in salary, independent, self sufficient, etc). What do you do, do you go for A) small company or B) the big one?

At this point (since you're a freshman) you have NFI (=no-f-ing-idea), but let me give you some (way)points :-)

A)

  • whatever you do, it will be easier (for others) to see/compensate/value
  • usually they pay better
  • you get to learn new things, rather quick :-)
  • you get to know (as in making friends) the people
  • you're moving the company forward!
B)
  • ever get lost in the forest?
  • most of the time you end up paying for the privilege of working there, not the other way around
  • you'll learn the magic word called routine, rather quick :-)
  • you get to know (as in meet/see) LOTS of people, because for whatever (new thing) you want to do you have to get/request approval, find the one(s) that can help you or give you the green light, let others know that you're doing it (so that they won't do it too :-), etc
  • you won't believe how FUBAR(=f-ed-up-beyond-any-recognition) is the organization (or its bureaucracy), therefore
  • social engineering/connectivity is your best friend
  • if you measure your achievements by the stars on your shoulder, then this is the place to be

So, which one is it going to be? :-)

a dedication to the project/product managers out there

This rant reminded me of my first journey in building/programming something useful and the sour taste you feel in your mouth when the customers/clients don't see the beauty of your creation (maybe because they're too lazy to read the documentation, or they're not that computer literate, or they don't want to learn new things, etc)

But lets forget the sour part (it can be sweet&sour later on anyway :-) and focus on the process:

  • ONLY BUILD STUFF (as) FOR YOURSELF
  • you're done writing not when there's nothing left to add, but when there's nothing left to take away
  • (and my personal addition) listen to your (possible) customers, but don't transform yourself in a tool* to implement their (most of the time - petard) requests; dissect, digest, think, implement;

* unless they pay you in gold, that is :-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

when your IQ representation goes single digit

(esqueeze me? :-)

... you obviously need some help with the direction/translation/interpretation; if you automagically landed here, here's the past year... "uncovered" (wow, this blog is one year old :-)


More (or less) to come, stay tuned :-)

how to measure your evilness (against Google)

Well, in measurements you always need a reference unit (be it meter, kg, liter, etc) and a precision (-1%, +2%, etc). Have them and you can go out and play...

But is there a reference unit for evilness?! You're about to find it out... Of course there is, it's Google with its own "don't be evil!" slogan/BS. But how do you use it, how do you measure against it? Well, it's fairly simple: you use one of their services, lets take for instance AdSense to show their ads on your pages and guess what? It's an auto sensing measurement! If they consider anything on your pages as being *evil*, you'll find it out quite fast (via email).

What's the precision of it? Well, well, well, the sky is the limit, but we live on Earth, so... it can be really low. They take crowd input (and if you did your math in school you might have learned about crowd IQ), then it gets reviewed by pigeons (err, not quite, the staff might be IQ potent, at least the urban legend goes like that), then some magic mambo-jumbo and... bang, you're evil!

a (false) sense of security

Most of the time you use a service/product in confidence with the vendor's claims/guaranties/PR, but how many times do you think about and inspect their promises versus the technical side? Not very often, right? :-)

Do people trust Skype as safe? Yeah, sometimes. But if you read a bit about it, you'll be worried. FaceTime's GEM product can see/filter urls from your Skype IMs; WoW, what a feat! (why stopping at urls?) They are doing GEMs in partnership with Skype.com, so you can safely RIP the security/privacy of your Skype messages.

What about the Skype calls? What about them?! If your IQ representation takes 3 digits, you can figure it out easily: your user/pass is the only way to authenticate to Skype; take them to another computer, type them in, wua.la... you're in. If you let Skype online a bit longer on a few computers you'll notice some nice side effects: IMs are broadcasted to all instances. (what a) nice feat! (again).

If IMs are broadcasted, why voice/voip shouldn't inherit the same property? Yeah, just because this guy security reviewed an ancient version of Skype it doesn't mean it's safe forever after. In his paper you'll get to know the jargon about public/private keys, complicated mathematics that are basically rendered useless by the front door: user authentication with nickname & password. If they/Skype would have used public/private keys from the beginning/front door (by letting an open source tool to manage the keys and the encryption/decryption/signing process) they would have angried a lot of 3 letters nicknamed organizations, worldwide. (not to mention the corporate world). But that didn't happened. Instead, they choose the downside of closed source software. Now, presuming that Skype.com would have followed (somehow) the open source road, what would you have done next? Embarking on the next trip...

Generating the public/private keys. Going to Thawte.com for it will reinforce your (false) sense of security. Thawte is well known for their SSL certificates, but they have also this other nice feat: free personal certificates for email. You generate the public/private keys (on their site), you download them, you use them. The catch? At all times your secret/private key is with them. Try this: your encrypted email lands in the hands of some 3 letters named org, they send their regards to Thawte, which in turn gives them your secret key. Security/Privacy? ("at its best")

So, I guess your're left (again)... with your open source friends :-)

Some other service I was promoting to you here, was... wua.la - some p2p brother of skype who plays with your backup/files. Again, their service would have been great it they would have managed to let the open source tools do the encryption/decryption and public/private key handling. Unfortunately, they don't... (and most likely, won't). Why providing security/privacy/protection to your user base when you can channel you dev efforts to the next big thing, web gui?


Note to self(s):

+ use open source
+ transparent SSH your way out (or in, :big grin: )
+ for (some) privacy in (small) companies (who might not afford GEMs), use skype
+ in big corporados, be open source only (pidgin + pidgin.encryption plugin might* do wonders :-)
+ if forced against the wall, use https://mail.google.com and its integrated gtalk client (it should* be able to do wonders as well :-)


* - needs some further testing; a fight to be fought some other day...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

the last lecture

(when life is short on you)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

wuala invitations - online p2p network storage

This might be your last chance to be an early adopter of Wuala (private beta, still invite only) and get some free network storage = +1GB per friend you invite, before they open the shop as public beta testing (when everyone can create their own account and compete for free storage with you :-)

Or, you can buy your way in via prepaid online network storage, the planned offer looks like:

  • 10 GB (for 15 EUR per year)
  • 50 GB (for 60 EUR per year)
  • 100 GB (for 100 EUR per year)
  • 500 GB (for 400 EUR per year)
  • 1 TB (for 640 EUR per year)
So, grab one of the invitations below, install java, install the wuala client (win/mac/linux), type in the invitation code, invite your friends and save at least €15 per year in online storage costs :-)

PS. Speeds are torrent like, both for upload and download, your wire is the limit... unlike conventional network storage solutions where upload/download speed depends on the internet connection of the storage provider and the server(s) they employ. Plus, with Wuala your files are encrypted locally before they are saved in the p2p network, something you won't find with others.

After you install the client, you'll be asked one secret invitation code - choose one from here:
unfair15suffer page69through hoop34tomato grasshopper43many thirsty7library stick42armful into0seen bathe16lookout draw41hey peaceful39must mow19train order43tax serve70stop acts38have explain67feed outlaw32stream fact16thanks cart95terrible clothing6tobacco soldier32soldier hem63book ladder61axe under56cradle meadow51outdoors many15running gum83fits end20steam sweet67before hers8handle awhile66except mean69saddle band91study divide34seen brick96warm star39brush aid17dam major67clever blue28frown meet22rapidly those13farmer officer54shepherd raise70flashlight tar79nearby hot41start terrible70price felt44fear childhood6passenger instead38quickly shining58handwriting perhaps73someone dead33kept witch16proper bran16pup jail70desert bet90rubber shine36square fall73rose lightning24only footprint3low bathtub45alley bookkeeper37tardy what61downstairs lose98spot citizen91quarter champion25popped airplane26clover tip22chicken chief3before thursday33prune catcher51rock tin68hill size84cuff organ87honor

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Yes, outsource, outsource NOW!

In other/ZDNet news:

Google has confirmed that personal data of US employees hired prior to 2006 has been stolen in a recent burglary.

Records kept at Colt Express Outsourcing Services, an external company used by Google and other companies to handle human-resources functions, were stolen in a burglary on 26 May.

An undisclosed number of employees’ details and those of dependents, such as names, addresses, and social security numbers, were on the stolen computers.>> Credit card numbers were reportedly not among the stolen data. ZDnet’s Brendon Chase adds that it is understood “that Colt did not employ encryption to protect the information.”

(bold) Way to go...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fiat 500 versus Smart ForTwo














This month I got the opportunity to drive an Fiat 500/Smart ForTwo for about 10e/5e a day in a country where the public transport costs you about 3e per an hour. The catch? The car is covered by nice adverts (it doesn't look far from an Christmas tree, but it's cool, that I can tell you for sure :-)

Anyway, lets look some other day into their business (model) and run a quick comparative list (err, forgot to mention, I'm not a pro-driver, more like a beginner/rookie one and since my pro-driver is busy doing some consultancy work for others, you have to live with it)

The Fiat 500 (2008)

+ 4 seater
+ power steering
+ manual gearbox (close to the driving wheel, sweet :-)
+ air conditioning (update: maybe it was broken on my test car, but it is there :-)
+ nice sound system (not fully tested, busy driving, still better than in the Smart :-)

The Smart ForTwo (2008)

- 2 seater (heh)
- no power steering
+ automatic gearbox
+ air conditioning

Needless to say (as a rookie) I like the Smart a bit more (in the city). You can park it almost anywhere (btw: the rented cars come with their already paid parking place downtown, beat that :P), you don't have to change gears, you feel and you are cool at all times :-) But, I favour the Fiat when going out of the city (at least the wind doesn't blow you out of the highway :-)


PS. Too bad I forgot to take (some) pictures with the Smart, they'll come in another (sunny) day :-)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

use your mobile as an WLAN access point

How to connect your laptop to the Internet, when there is no WLAN around?

Well, you can start by using the phone's supplied application(s) that usually are able to open the GPRS/3G channel once your laptop is connected by wire or Bluetooth to the phone. But, how about if you want more?

How about if you're in a meeting (or far away with your friends) and you're the only/lucky one with an 3G capable device, but you all need Internet connectivity? What do you do then?

Well, you install JoikuSpot Light of course :-) And this toy will create an WLAN access point on top of your GPRS/3G data channel (assuming your phone is WLAN capable as well). You can setup WEP security or just go Open WLAN, tunnel SSH over HTTP (if you really insist) but there are also some limitations you should learn about.


PS. Too bad the toy is unable to create the WLAN over an WAP access point :-)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

packing for a short break

From time to time one has to take (short) breaks to detach from things or spend time with family. I guess I am about to do so... if I haven't started it already :-)

I just packed my laptop, plus the (un)usual accessories and some memories from Easter (yeah, mine was a bit late).

Ready to roll & snore :-)

v2.o is out

... in the wild (for some time now :-)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

about those pesky (Romanian) gypsies


they will kill you with their ti..ger glare...


they have no family values...

-image missing-

they will make open fires close to your cars...


they aren't that black, are they?

-image missing-

bye, bye...


Update: if you feel you own the copyright for the above pictures, please let me know

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

MOTOrola down the drain

(or one of the stars falls from the sky)

Is quite unusual to hear harsh comments about the managing board (or CEO for that matter) of a big company, but today you just got lucky :-) Lets taste a bit the chilli(ng) MOTO sauce:

  • entire profit machine was run by the company's CMO -- not the rest of the company's executives, who are as inept now as they have ever been
  • Zander, who seemed to care more about his golf score
  • apparently different from the rest of the incompetent senior executive
  • Your lack of understanding of the consumer side of Motorola... shows how much you value the safety of your incompetence
Affirmations made by the man (Numair Faraz) who stood behind the CMO during the golden RAZR days.


PS. makes you wonder who the h-ll is running those heavily traded companies, or how inept to be in order to spin off 2/3 of your company, when prior art/FreeScale shows you failing?

PPS. or why the f--k should you care when you can get a $30M golden parachute for dismissal?!

Google (board) starts being Evil

Quote from Blogoscoped:

Google’s filing with the US Securities and Exchange commission reads:

Q: How does the board of directors recommend that I vote?

A: ... (4) “AGAINST” the stockholder proposal regarding Internet censorship, and (5) “AGAINST” the stockholder proposal regarding the creation of a Board Committee on Human Rights.


Guy Kawasaki in The Art of The Start was recommending a simple (yet powerful) mission statement (mantra in his terms) for startups/companies.

Here's one you can use with whatever your company is into: Bullsh-t as Usual (just 3 words, applies to 9 out of 10 companies, be it G or the small shop around the corner)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sniper position for rent during NATO Summit

tim, tim, KaBoom almost made my day (quote with my italics):

From my terrace you have a clear view of the People’s House where the NATO 2008 Summit will take place between 2nd and 4th of April. I’m renting out space for whatever needs you might have: TV crew, sniper, etc.

Details:

- each spot has 1m width

- multiple spots available

- 24/7 access to the terrace

- soft drinks and snacks included

- access to a bathroom and storage facility (limited availability)

Price: 5000 EUR / spot / day

For preferred positioning a 25% surcharge will be applied (first come first served basis).

Only one person is allowed for every spot purchased. Additional persons are charged at 500 EUR / person / day for a maximum of 3 persons / spot.

Outside NATO summit period you get a 50% discount for all services.

Full prepayment is required one week in advance to book a spot. I can take Cash, VISA/Mastercard via PayPal or Bank transfer in Romania or offshore account.

Serious inquiries only.

also in original. I guess he might end up seeing some blue eyes before April :|

Later update: well, there is quite a view (also from above) to the main parking (North) entrance of the building; the official entrance is the one from the East...



Saturday, February 16, 2008

best practices: firefox + adblock + noscript

I've been a long time fan of AdBlock Plus, but until recently I haven't discovered the true power of another Firefox add-on - NoScript. The magic with this one is that the little Serpent removes all the JunkScript (err, JavaScript) from the page your are visiting, unless told otherwise. Thing that will break lots of sites in this web2.0+ world, but brings a bit more safety to your browsing.

There's also a helper add-on for AdBlock, which is Adblock Filterset.G Updater and handles the task of feeding up-to-date filters to it; What filters? (Internet) Ad removal filters, you'll see the sites as never seen before! :-)

Side comments:

  • if you enable NoScript, don't forget to allow Google Analytics or other trusted visitor tracking engines outhere (be fair towards the webmasters)
  • FireFox 3 Beta seems to be (a bit) more faster than FF2 and the support for 3rd party add-ons is growing; just take it for a ride if your time allows it
  • hey, you have commercials/ads on this page! What?! I don't see any... do you still see them? :-)

why should you use Gmail

Sometimes I'm sort of an evangelist for Gmail, nagging (some of) my friends to switch from Hotmail or Yahoo!Mail, if for some unknown reason they are still using these. But, why should you do it? (the switch)

Lets make a short(?) list but let me drop the hammer first:

  • when one of the Yahoo GURUs is actively using Gmail and has a dormant Yahoo!Mail account, what do I have to say more? Maybe that...
  • the Gmail SPAM filters are way better (than Yahoo's/others, except SpamCop)
  • Gmail can/will import your Outlook meeting requests directly in Google Calendar, which in turn can be configured to send/buzz you a free SMS in advance of the meeting
  • you have free POP3/IMAP/forwarding option
  • no annoying signatures added by default to your emails!
  • you can play/listen to your MP3s attachments directly within Gmail
  • attached pictures display better in Gmail
  • searching emails is... so simple and fast, soo... Google :-)
  • last, but not least: you can always import your Yahoo/Hotmail/whatever emails with help from YPOPs! or FreePOPs
  • you can even host your own domain with Google Apps to benefit from all these
Yep, you can use this link in your arguments, I will use it for sure :-)


Later update: oops, remember the initial hammer? Lets rise it once more: a fresh study by Hitwise in the USA reveals that the users of Yahoo services tend to be younger and poorer than the people using Google services. Noticed via TechCrunch

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Pirate Bay - is it legal or not?

News broke the other day that The Pirate Bay will have soon(er or later) its day in court. That's really good news for MPAA &friends, but what the analyst has failed to realize (or underscore) is the strong/popular support that TPB enjoys in Sweden. I wasn't quite sure about it, until I ran into this one: 13 members of the Swedish Parliament are trying to put forward a law that will make non-commercial file sharing legal. Well, something to worth watching in 2008...

Friday, January 4, 2008

xname.org status/DNS monitoring now online

Well, well, well... if you remember this outage, something bad has happened again. Our lovely DNS provider was on a holiday break, this time for about 12h - and no one tells (to this date) anything about it. It hurt a bit, but we are over it.

Moreover, we are monitoring them now with Pingdom. There's a "ping" check ticking every minute on ns0 and a "dns" check on ns0 (verifies a test zone if answered properly) also every minute. If in doubt (is it really up/down?), just go to XName.org status monitoring and you'll find it out immediately.


PS. You can contribute to this (pet) monitoring project by allocating some of your Pingdom checks to the other XName servers (ns1, ns2) or by contacting me, with a small donation - in order to setup more checks :-)

Update: ok, they did tell... 1 or 2 days later...

this is me


Can you fill the tabs? :-)