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Expect Emotions May 25, 2008

Posted by CK in Miscellaneous.
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I am not into marketing or advertising, but I can’t help being impressed every now and then, by the ideas and creativity of some people working in that arena. This is just a very short post to say how much I liked the slogan of Euro 2008, i.e. “Expect Emotions“. It is so accurate (judging from what many Greeks felt 4 years ago), though so short and direct. I could have almost sworn that it’s an idea produced by an skilled engineer πŸ™‚


On offering integrated bouquets of services to users May 20, 2008

Posted by CK in IT, Productivity.
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The enrollment to my new employer‘s facilities was hiding a small surprise for me. While in Dortmund this last week, I did all the paperwork with the University, and eventually signed my contract. Then, I asked about my new email address etc, to which I received the reply “it will be done automatically; you’ll be notified“. And I was.

This morning, my email address was made available to me, after a very short/quick process for the registration of my new account. But it wasn’t only the email address I was receiving (which, by the way, is valid FOR LIFE). I automatically also got authorization to access all the services that the University’s “IT and Media Centre” offers:

  • A host of mail services: Web mail, mailing lists, aliases
  • Access to the university-wide wireless network
  • VPN
  • Dialup access
  • Access to library data
  • Access to the university’s videoconferencing facilities
  • If requested with an additional application, backup/archiving of my servers and desktops
  • Personal firewall for MS Windows (I’m using a Mac but it would be there if I needed it)
  • Virus protection for MS Windows (see above)
  • Spam filtering
  • Access to the Centre’s computing facilities for HPC — its latest addition is the D-Grid Resource Center Ruhr (DGRZR) with 2048 cores and 108 TB of storage space
  • Access to ARBS
  • DFN roaming

…and too many others to mention (just look here if you can read German, or try this machine translation). This level of integration is something I have not witnessed before. The University where I studied is known to be a pioneer in Greece in offering such services to its community, but having everything or almost everything work automatically just after enrolling with a single application, is simply awesome.

Python is like cycling May 15, 2008

Posted by CK in IT.
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So I’m here in Dortmund for the third day now, and I can tell you that if I didn’t have the help from my local colleagues, it would be totally impossible to get by without speaking German — at least for this first batch of paperwork and house hunting. In the process of looking for a flat to rent, I have been searching in newspapers and web sites, all of which are in German. How to deal with that?

Enters Google Translate. Very efficient and quite correct, as it turns out. But then again, opening a browser and clicking on a bookmark etc all the time is a bit of a hassle.

Enters Python πŸ™‚ My bias towards this language is well known to those who have been working with me in the recent years. I haven’t really written any real code for a long time now, more than 4 years actually, but in less than 30 minutes (also putting WebScarab in use, I managed to have a simple but fully functional command-line client for Google Translate in place.

Clearly, Python is like cycling; Once you learn it, you never forget it.

Umzug nach Deutschland May 11, 2008

Posted by CK in Personal.
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…or, “Moving to Germany” if Google Translate is correct. Some personal news:

I recently had a collaboration proposal from the University of Dortmund, Germany, to move there and work on a new research project. I have worked with these people in the past, and appreciated a lot their style and expertise; furthermore, this project is highly relevant to what I’m dealing with in my PhD, so the challenge was grand. I decided it’s just too good an opportunity to pass, also due to my unfulfilled wish to live abroad for a while.

This last Friday was the last day at my previous job. I liked it there a lot — great place to work. Now I’m implementing project Moving and it’s damn hard. Too many details to take care off. I’ll try to post experience here in another post, in case other fellow Greeks find any use to it in similar circumstances.

Being in business for (nearly) 250 years May 11, 2008

Posted by CK in Miscellaneous.
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Following this link from friend George’s blog post, I couldn’t help noticing the copyright notice:

Β© 1761-2008 Faber-Castell

Three letters: WOW. I’m wondering how it could be to work for a company which is in business for almost 250 years. One could always assume that this holds for all public sector employes in countries which exist for such a period of time πŸ™‚ but clearly, the parallel is somewhat far-fetched.

I was also wondering whether it is realistic to assume that there are still ideas floating around, which can spin off a company and make it last this long.