Friday, April 07, 2006

The fish doesn't think...

Busy period for me lately - I changed my job among other stuff - so I didn't blog for a while. I just stopped by to tell you that it's official now, according to the latest findings we evloved from fish.

...the fish knows everything.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Chat right from GMail

Google is about to introduce a new feature to GMail. You would be able to chat with somebody right from your GMail account if you see her online. This report says this is more of an attempt to attract more users towards GTalk (the IM service offered by Google). But I don't think it's necessarily this. I think it's primarily a GMail feature which will add value to the email service. I actaully sugested this chat capability a couple of months ago in the feedback form they have on the help page. We have the technology to connect to am IM network from a browser window: AJAX, not the old Java applet way. Check this cool site that lets you chat in many IM networks from your browser; it's very handy when you are on a machine which doesn't have your preferred IM client installed. So Google just added a natural feature to their service. Enjoy!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Walking on the frozen waves in Mangalia Posted by Picasa

Touristic harbour was entirely frozen Posted by Picasa

Next to the Casino Posted by Picasa

Same place, more detailed Posted by Picasa

Frozen (Black) Sea

It was very cold last week in Romania (-20 Celsius, and even colder), and the Black Sea froze near the shore. A spectacular view, that happens rarely here (I heard last time happened in 1985). I'll post some pictures from Constanta and Mangalia here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Google Video

Google has for some time now a service where you can upload videos and search and see videos uploaded by others (you can see it here). Recently they launched a video store as well, where they sell some TV series, NBA games, as well as videos which anybody can upload and request some money for others to see them. I think this will become a huge business in the future, but I don't intend to buy videos any time soon. As for the free ones, I found some funny ones, like commercials or some videoclips of Romanian bands that were off the copyright radar (they ban the videos for which the uploader does not have the copyright as soon as they find them).

What needs badly to be improved in order for this service to be usefull is the search. Currently it seems the search is done based only on the title of the video, which gives a rather poor results. I think an easy to implement idea would be to let users add keywords about a specific video. This can be abused by adding wrong keywords, but if most of the users are well behaved the resulting semantic should increase search quality.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Talking about weather

That's what English people do, I, not being able to do just that, started reading a book "The Weather in the Imagination" by Lucian Boia. This guy is a Romanian historian, specializing in the history of ideas and the imaginary of people, i.e. he takes an idea or a concept and traces back how this concept was viewed or percieved (including in the form of myths and ideologies) in different eras and cultures. This time he takes it on weather/climate and investigates ideas like that of climate which determines the character of a nation, and the global warming and the end of the world through a climate catastrophe.

I read many of his books and I find his history much more enlightening than the one generally taught in school where you have to memorize loads of dates and events. He also manages to be funny many times, so the reading is also entertaining.

The best of his books is in my opinion "History and Myth in Romanian Consciousness" which discusses many of the myths of the Romanian history. I'm not sure how interesting would be this book for someone who is not Romanian (i.e. to understand the gap between this version of history and the "official" one), but for the ones that passed through our school system, were "brain-washed" in history classes and are still open-minded persons it definitely worth a read.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Be cool, but try to stay warm

Russia is having an argument with Ukraine over the gas price, and the rest of Europe is trembling. They depend in a large measure on the gas from Russia that passes through Ukraine. European Union will hold a summit today discussing their energy policy. The trend in the latest years was to increase the imports from Russia, as ecologists obtained the closure of many nuclear reactors accross Europe. Not that I'm totally opposed to ecologists, but to close your reactors, having no real alternative plans but to depend in a large measure by Russia doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

On the other hand, as we consume more and more energy to run our computers, it's good to see more efficency on cooling them. Here is a story about a company that is doing this: optimizing the air conditioning systems in data centers.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year!

We started a new year, so we have a reason to be happy :)
And to go back to work :)