Category Archives: personalog

The QCon London 2009 Week

It is once again the time for QCon London and you might know that this is already the 3rd year in a row we are organizing the event (and indeed, there is a QCon San Francisco for our friends on that side of the world).

I know I may be accused of being subjective (as I am one of the InfoQ co-founders which is the co-organizer of the event), but people that know me and those that have participated at least once at QCon will know that what I’m going to write stands true.

QCon is the event that will provide at least 2 things: the opportunity to learn something new (there are a lot of different tracks — you can find the ones for this year here) and the best opportunity to connect with renowned experts in various fields.

You might wonder why I do think that QCon is better than other events to connect with people. The reason is that most of the people participating at QCon (speakers included) are spending their time at the conference (as opposed to just flying in, delivering the presentation and leaving), correlated with the fact that the conference is not , plus the venue, plus the parties will offer you enough time to get to these guys. All you need to do is just come and have the guts to walk to whoever you want to meet and say Hi!

I really hope that next year you will be here and you’ll just say Hi (well, leave aside the fact that I don’t consider myself some sort of guru, I’d still appreciate it).


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Google Desktop Breaking Privacy and More ‘Good’ Things about Google

Google and Privacy

This last week, I’ve decided to install Google Desktop for Mac, as I wasn’t very satisfied with how my PDFs are indexed by Spotlight and/or Yep.

While, so far I’m pretty happy with the way Google Desktop has indexed my PDFs, I have noticed one thing that makes me feel completely unsecure about Google products!


Even if I have configured Google Desktop NOT to send any statistics (see above screenshot), the firewall caught Google Desktop repeatedly attempting to connect and submit private information without my consent!

I’ll not rant about what this means, but this is a major security and privacy breach in Google Desktop.

Gmail: Multi-Inboxes

This is a brilliant idea that offers a way to have multiple ‘portlets’ on your GMail account, each configured to display mails according to specific rules.

While playing with it, I’ve noticed a couple of things:

  • the Lab feature is useful for displaying emails that are either Archived or configured to skip the Inbox. If you configure the portlets to match emails in the Inbox then things may get a bit confusing (duplication, actions, etc).
  • The sidebar display option seemed to be the most appealing configuration. Remember we are having wider, not longer screens
  • In case you categorize your emails using multiple labels or you are watching group emails (so you have real email threads), the sidebar display configuration is pretty unusable as the displayed information is unreadable (basically, the email subject is not visible)
    Picture 2.png

    Now, I am trying out the option to display the portlets underneath the main area, but so far I don’t really like it.

Offline Gmail

I suppose you’ve already read about this as it was covered by all major and not so major blogs, everybody praising it. But, I guess somebody must be reticent about it, so why not that being me.

In my opinion, the offline GMail in the current form is useless.

But let me tell you my reasons. The offline support is auto-configured, meaning that you don’t have any control on what and how it is brought for offline access. I frankly prefer to access specific emails while being offline than to read what some statistical algorithm is telling me to read.

I think there is an easy solution for it though: GMail should introduce a special Offline label that you can use to specify what emails you want for offline access. Then it can use this humanly input metadata to take offline those emails and the last X days in the Inbox. That would make Offline GMail really useful!

Google Analytics Loosing Data

While analyzing the monthly data for one of my Google Analytics accounts, I’ve noticed a 10 days gap in the collected data.

It looks like Google Analytics completely missed collecting data for that period and when trying to get some support help for this major problem in Google Analytics, the answer I’ve got back was along the lines: “Don’t complain! It is a free product!”. I’ll let you judge by yourself how I feel about it.

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Internet History in 8 minutes

You’ve probably seen it already, but I thought it is worth re-sharing it:

As you can imagine, reducing the 50 years of internet to 8 minutes only is not easy, but the video does a great job explaining the major steps that lead to what we take today for granted.

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Short Version of The Tipping Point

I just finished reading the well-known book written by Malcolm Gladwell: The Tipping Point. This is the sort of book that you can summarize in just a couple of sentences (that’s not to say it is not a good reading).

The book is built around the central thesis that:

Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.

Malcom Gladwell

If you want yours do the same then what you are looking for is:

  • finding the right people (connectors, mavens and salesmen)
  • making your message sticky (a message that sticks around, that is easy to be remembered, etc)
  • paying much attention to and using the context

Even if I was able to summarize it in just 2 paragraphs, the book was an enjoyable read, full of interesting and sticky stories that are helpful in understanding the above ideas.

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Ice Hockey: Games on 10/23

NHL games scheduled for today:

  • tor.pngToronto Maple Leafs (TOR) 23:6-2-1 – bos.pngBoston Bruins (BOS) 14:2-1-3 (7:00PM)
  • dal.pngDallas Stars (DAL) 21 – nyi.pngNew York Islanders (NYI) 29 (7:00PM)
  • car.pngCarolina Hurricanes (CAR) 12:3-1-1 – pit.pngPittsburgh Penguins (PIT) 7:4-2-1 (7:30PM)
  • cgy.pngCalgary Flames (CGY) 24:2-3-1 – nsh.pngNashville Predators (NSH) 18:3-3-0 (8:00PM)
  • buf.pngBuffalo Sabres (BUF) 4:5-0-1 – min.pngMinnesota Wild (MIN) 11:4-0-0 (8:00PM)
  • edm.pngEdmonton Oilers (EDM) 9:4-1-0 – col.pngColorado Avalanche (COL) 17:3-3-0 (9:30PM)
  • wsh.pngWashington Capitals (WSH) 13:3-2-1 – phx.pngPhoenix Coyotes (PHX) 28:2-3-0 (10:00PM)

Which one is the game of the day? I’d say Sabres vs Wild and Hurricanes vs Penguins, but what do I know 🙂.

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Ice Hockey: What team should I watch?

I don’t think I’ve said it before, but I really love hockey (and to be correct ice hockey). Anyways, in my part of the world, there isn’t much happening related to ice hockey. Indeed, we have a couple of teams playing a regular season, but the level is really disappointing. So, the best I can get is to wait for the Ice Hockey World Championship and hope that some TV channel will broadcast a couple of the final games.

Well, things are changing! Not about our ice hockey league and unfortunately not about broadcasted games. (in case you cannot identify one of nhl team logo you can drop me a comment, as I’ve spent some time learning them)

Couple of weeks ago, I’ve been to Toronto and even if I was really busy at that time, I had the chance to watch a couple of NHL games for the 2008-09 season. Man, I love that! And now I am really trying to follow NHL much closely.

There is one small issue though. I don’t know what team I should be watching! I guess you are usually a fan of your hometown team, but as long as I don’t live in US or Canada things are a bit different. So, I am wondering: what team would you recommend me? I know this may sound a bit stupid and that it will be difficult to become a real fan, but I do think that I should have one or two teams that I should be more fanatic about. So, what team are you a fan of? And why?

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Wozniak: Where Is the Reward?

From a recent interview with Steve Wozniak:

The rewards are in your head. The reward is invisible. It’s what you like to do,

Sometimes when you’re short of resources it forces you to do better work

Steve wants to be this guy…who wants to change the world. Every time we’d create something great, he’d have the idea to sell it,

As the Apple computer’s designer, Wozniak got employee No. 1. “Sometimes I go into an Apple store and say ‘I’m an employee, I get a discount.’ They say, ‘What’s your number?'”

So, the secret is in passion and scarcity?

If you are interested in the Romanian online market (and you read Romanian), you can check my other blog: Koolapp: web-ul viitorului. web de calitate

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Did you Know that…

Did you know that the iPhone doesn’t allow background applications?

I know this sounds unbelievable, but 3rd party apps are really not allowed to run in background. You can ask Google to verify it.

Did you know that the Amazon EC2 filesystem was temporary?

As pointed in a previous post, the Amazon EC2 was not offering a persistent local filesystem and you had to use some smart setup using Amazon S3. Anyways, this is fixed now, as Amazon launched the Elastic Block Store.

Did you know that the iPhone doesn’t support Copy&Paste?

Wicked, ha? There is an open source initiative (OpenClip) to get this one fixed. Unfortunately, I am not sure that Apple will embrace it and so the Apple apps like Safari, email, and SMS, where copy&paste is really needed, will still miss it.

Do you know any other such wicked facts?

If you are interested in the Romanian online market (and you read Romanian), you can follow my other blogs: Koolapp: web-ul viitorului. web de calitate and Din fotoliu

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What Smartphone Would You Pick?

Lately I have spent some time trying to figure out what smartphone should I buy. I must confess upfront that I haven’t owned one before and sometimes I am quite picky.

The phones that caught my attention so far are:

  • Nokia E71
  • BlackBerry Bold 9000 (just released)
  • Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 (not released yet)
  • HTC Touch Pro (available) or HTC Dream (the Google Phone – not released yet)
  • iPhone 3G (not available from my carrier)

In terms of features most of these are looking pretty similar (one feature that I do consider quite important is the QWERTY keyboard). Unfortunately, in terms of costs, the phones span 2 different ranges: Nokia and BlackBerry being under €500, while the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 and HTC Touch Pro seems to be around €800. So, I’m wondering what would you recommend me?

I have also watched the Android demos on Gizmodo and the one below on MobileCrunch:

and even if I think the Android platform might be a good option, I am worried that the price of the HTC phone will be quite high.

Update 1: According to an article posted on VentureBeat: BlackBerry Bold is strong but ‘not a game changer’. Not sure what is missing, though.

If you are interested in the Romanian online market (and you read Romanian), you can follow my other blogs: Koolapp: web-ul viitorului. web de calitate and Din fotoliu

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Fun: Advanced Blogging Terms

If the blaudience will not understand that his bloglet does not fit into a blath nor into a blawg, then I guess you can have some fun reading 91 Blogging Terms.

Translation: If the readers will not understand that this very short blog entry does not fit into a math or legal blog…

Sorry, but I couldn’t resist this one. It was way too funny.

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