Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm back!

... not that I had gone anywhere...

In the last 4 years, I've been involved in a lot of projects:
  • I've worked for Alonia (www.alonia.ro)
  • I've worked on Windows Mobile
  • I've worked on some poker related projects
  • I've done some pretty cool QT GUIs
  • Done some heavy low-level Windows-hooks programming
  • Some C# and Java
  • Some Linux (even though Windows is still my favorite)

The same holds true for all projects, no matter what language: the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid). If it's simple, you can maintain, fix, extend it as easy as a breeze!

Another word of advice - if it's a constant, make it a runtime setting! Can't explain how easy this can make your life! Instead of recompiling to see what happens if "we're using a 100Mb cache instead of 50Mb", just change one line of text, re-run, and boom - you know it!

Well, that's it for now, cya soon!


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Don't let teachers interfere with your education...

They usually say "Don't let school interfere with your education..." - but school is only part of the problem.

You grow up being told that School is the ultimate tool to crave our future, and we need to obey School. You need to learn everything they teach in School. You need to get good grades, you can't skip School, and so on...

Our parents tell us that we need to respect the Teachers. You can't be a troublesome kid, "do what the Teacher tells you to" - and that's how the problem develops.

We, as kids, see that Teachers are the authority. If the Teacher says X, you do X.

But worst of all, the Teacher has the right to say "You failed this exam. Yes, the Teacher has the holy right to fail you - and you'll need to take the exam again and again, until he decides you can pass.

(side-note: this is seen much clearer in Universities/Colleges, as opposed to High Schools/Primary or Secondary School)

Teachers know this, and a very lot of them overuse this power. It's going to their head - a lot of Teachers consider themselves as super-beings. Most of them think that the class they teach is a must - you will never succeed in life without their precious advices. And since they have the power to fail you, they can subtly force you do stuff you normally don't need to do. Like, in Romania, it's common use for a University Teacher to force you to buy his book (or, you won't pass the exam) - and most such books, just between you and me, are crap.

In Romania (and it seems quite often abroad as well), attending courses is obligatory. That is plain stupid, to say the least. What if I can learn by myself? What if I have something better to do? Give me a fair exam at the end of the semester, and be objective. How I study your courses - that's my problem. Why do you have to force me attend your courses? Holy Teacher, is this the best you can do?

But the cherry on the top - if you fail an exam, you need to take it again and again until you pass it (and sometimes you need to re-take the courses over and over). To this, I have a simple question: "Why?"

Why do You have to decide for me if a class is important to me? Just to show me that I'm small and you're BIG. So that You'll show me who's the authority... We all know we need to respect authority. We all know we need to respect Teachers.

Well, not me - I don't respect teachers - just because they're teachers. You, as teacher, need to earn my respect - I don't respect you by default.

Getting back to the problem at hand - why can't the school let you graduate with some exams failed? Fine, I failed some exams - I don't care - it's most likely classes I never cared, nor will ever care about. At the end of the school, just give me a diploma, and write my grades on it - if anybody want's to know, they'll check that. It's my interest we're talking about - if I fail an exam I care about, I'll feel ashamed, and take that course again because I want to.

School - as is right now, is obsolete - and I'm not talking about Romania here. Instead of forcing you to obey (which is what schools do now), they should show you free will. It's very hard to have free will if all your life you've been taught to obey.

Just think about it, when for your work, you attend a one-week course, those teachers are really amazing and they do everything in their power to make you understand. And at the end of the course, You give a grade to your teacher. That's how it should be.

Because, if we come to think of school as a business,
  • the teachers are the employees
  • the students are the customers
  • and the customer is always right
So, in the end,

If you're a teacher, remember
  • you're not a super-being, and
  • not all the students care about your class - this is ok, those that really care, will actually learn/be interested about your class
  • failing students will not help them
  • if you truly care about what you teach, make sure your classes are interactive, and that you actually care about what your students have to say
If you're a student, remember:
  • you don't need to respect a teacher just because he's a teacher
  • focus on the classes that you care about
  • you can learn a lot by yourself from books - often better than what teachers teach
  • university (lowercase "u") is not the holy grail - don't let teachers interfere with your education...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

eGUI++ - Easy GUI for C++

Hey guys,

It's finally here: eGUI++ (Easy GUI for C++). It's the follower of win32gui, much easier to use, much simpler, cool code-completion, events are very simple to use, and a lot more goodies.

Read about it on MSDN
And download it from here


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Craving for more?

When describing desires, people fall into 2 categories:
  • Person F, who has an income of 4500 euros, or 4700, but strives for 5000 euros
  • Person M, who has an income of 4600 euro, but strives for 400 more euros
Person F strives for a fixed amount, while Person M strives for more X euros. Do you see a fundamental difference here?

If not, let me give you a slightly different example. Say you're looking for a new job, and before going to any interviews, you said: "I'm targeting 5000 euros".

You get 2 offers:
  • Offer 1: 4800 euros, flexible hours, not very stressful
  • Offer 2: 5500 euors, 9-to-5 hours, with the possibility of aprox 20% overtime
Person F will choose Offer 1, while Person M will choose Offer 2.

Before delving into more details, let me give you the facts:
  • there are a lot more of Person M in the universe
  • Person F live a quite happier life than Person M
The fundamental difference between Person F and Person M is:
  • Person F has a fixed goal, knows when the goal is reached (in our case, the 5000 euros/mo), and takes the time to enjoy it, before eventually moving on to other goals
  • Person M will always want more, even if he reaches 6 or 7000 euros (while also ending up working more and being more stressed)
There's something very comforting about reaching a goal, and slowing down for a while, just to enjoy it.

The trouble with being a Person M, is that it unconsciously means more work on your part. You want more, you need to do more. The fundamental difference is that Person F understands this, while Person M doesn't (and doesn't know when to stop).

What type are you, and, if you're a Person M, are you willing/do you want to change?

P.S. It's my birthday today, so Happy Birthday to meee!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The ancients and their fax machines...

Personally, I don't understand people that still use the fax. It truly denotes a lot of stupidity on their part, when email is soooooooo much better.

Email is so much easier :
  • to store
  • to copy
  • to search
  • to send/receive
  • to categories
  • to forward
  • the service is 99.99% available

And who can be so stupid to use the fax? At least the following: the Romanian Pu(b)lic Administration. Unfortunately, they're not alone: there are other idiots that use it (like, Grupul de Presa Roman, aka, Romania Libera).

When I hear of an organization that uses the fax, a bell rings - this clearly has quite a few employees that are there just to slow down a process.

Unfortunately, you do need to deal with idiots now and then. I used to be very pissed before, since I don't have a fax and had to go to the Post Office to send faxes.

Well, finally, I'm using www.efax.com to send my faxes online. They haven't payed me for advertising, I'm just happy they exist - I've sent a few faxes using their service, and amazingly, it works. Just one less stress for me :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yahoo Mail is plain stupid...

I don't care what you think, but the fact that yahoo has email addresses like someone@yahoo.co.uk, or someone@yahoo.it, etc. - that's completely idiotic.

Why do I need to remember, besides the username, the yahoo extension? It's like saying "Hey, his name is James, but you need to call him James Jayjay before he answers".

I really don't care about Yahoo's history, but this should not exist. If it's yahoo, it should be "yahoo.com". I'm more and more inclined to forget about Yahoo completely. Really.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Addicted to blogging?

It seems that more and more bloggers have their blogs crowded - that is, 3-6 blog entries per day, or more. Probably they think they'll get more readers that way (the law of the big numbers - I will write more, so that a reader will find at least something I wrote interesting).

(side-note: I'm not talking about "magazine-like" blogs, where more authors write to the same blog; I'm talking about a single author's blog)

Well, for some, this has definitely proved to be a winning strategy. But for the rest, this is a waste of time twofold:
  • for the blogger, that wastes time finding stories to tell (having links to other blogs, etc)
  • for the reader, trying to find something useful, but finding just "cover-stories"
Why am I saying this?

Today I unsubscribed from 6 blogs. I value my time, and I don't want to waste it reading pointless stories.

I really value bloggers that write 1 post every 1-2 days, or even more seldom: Joel, Seth, Stevey, etc.

When I read a story, I see that they took the time to write and refine it. I know reading their posts is not a waste of my time. They give me "The Wow! effect" (I'll blog about this later).

So, why not write less, but say more?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Answering thy phone...

Seth Godin makes a very valid point. And it's happened to me quite a few times - someone bored answering the phone, not giving me the information I need, etc.

The solution?

  • Conversations need to be recorded
  • Bad feedback
    • must reach management; his needs to happen right away - if you can't forward the person directly to a manager, forward him the recording of the call
    • when receiving bad feedback, ask the caller for a phone no. or email, so that you can later reach him/her
  • Allow your customers to rate the person they talked to. I've seen this happen for some enterprise corporations like IBM, HP - kudos to them!
  • The marks your phone operators get - record them, and also forward them back to the phone operators
  • Have rewards for operators that are rated best
It's not that hard, you just need to truly care for your customers...

Monday, March 31, 2008

IM versus Phone

I enjoy IM much more than phone. Of course phone is best at times.

However, mostly, I really enjoy IM
  • IM doesn't have the "urgency" attached to it - I can solve a request on my own time
  • IM is logged by default (while phone is not recorded by default)
  • sometimes you forget things over the phone, while with an IM, you can later remember them
What do you enjoy?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thy Visual search... - update

After a few more clicks, I found out there's another 3d search engine: www.spacetime.com

First of all, this works now. I downloaded it, it's really really cool. I did find a few bugs, but it's understandable. So, prepare for the next era of browsing...