Thursday, November 29, 2007

Making solar energy cheaper than coal energy

Google announced recently they will invest/donate a large amount of money into research on how to make the generation of solar energy cheaper than the one generated by burning coal. They also plan to hire researchers in a newly created department at Google to study this problem. More here and in an interview here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What are my friends reading?

One of the cool applications I found on Facebook are those that let you show what books you read or are reading at this moment. The problem is there are multiple applications doing the same thing and I bet you cannot exchange data among them. Just looking at the profiles of my friends I saw three of them: Visual Bookshelf (the one I also use, being the first one I stumbled upon), Shelfari Books, iRead. I wish there was a monopoly in this domain :)

By the way, I finished the third book from the Harry Potter series. I started reading the forth one (the goblet of fire).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Waiting for the fiber-link...

I'm home, waiting for the cable guys to show up and install the new fiber-link internet connection. This is the second time I'm waiting for them, the last time they just didn't come :(. Poor services, but not much choice in this area: the cable operators just split the city building by building and they don't compete with each other. And I don't trust Romtelecom which is also offering internet services. They are more expensive and have an even poorer service quality record.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cultural events

We went to some nice shows lately. First was "Carmen" by Bizet, a nice performance of the National Opera from Bucharest. Next we saw "Happy Days" by Samuel Backett: a "tough" parable about what hope means. And finally, at Ateneu we saw a "camereta" concert (there was something like a half sized orchestra, strings only, plus a flute soloist). They played pre-classical pieces, mostly by Vivaldi, including the Four Seasons concerts arranged for flute. Interesting experiment, although the presto and allegro parts were hard to play on flute, they didn't sound as good as violin.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Java Puzzles

Yesterday I saw a very interesting presentation on some Java programming puzzles. Done by Josh Bloch (author of well known book "Effective Java Programming Language Guide") and Bill Pugh (professor at University of Maryland with extensive research in programming languages).

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Online social networks

I created myself a Facebook account a couple of days ago. I had previous experiences with social networks like Orkut and Hi5, but I was not impressed by what you could do in these networks. What makes Facebook different is the range of applications that you can deploy on your profile. The number of Facebook applications grew since they provided an API so that anybody can write such an application. Meanwhile Google released an API (OpenSocial) that will let you write an application deployable on any network that agrees to support this API (and a lot of them do, except guess who? Facebook). Let's see where this will take the online social networking buzz.