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A thousand steps ahead November 25, 2009

Posted by CK in Miscellaneous, Travel.
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I’m writing from Stockholm, Sweden, where I came for ICSOC/ServiceWave 2009. This morning, while in the train, I noticed an advertisement of SAS for various bargain flights. What really caught my attention though, was a frame inside the advertisement, which seemed a lot like those on packets of cigarettes warning that smoking causes cancer etc. So looking a bit closer, I could deduce that it said “Flying leads to climate chaos”.

Weather aside, this place is pure amazement. Hats off.

Flygning leder till klimatkaos

Flygning leder till klimatkaos

Clojure November 6, 2009

Posted by CK in IT, Software.
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Even before I actually study it in detail, Clojure becomes my latest fixation. A Lisp-based functional, general-purpose language, which produces JVM bytecode and has access to Java libraries? Sounds like a dream come true. I never liked Java, and as a matter of fact, I consider myself a Java-dyslexic. No matter how much I tried in the past, I never got around learning enough of it to use further than “Hello, world”s. Its syntactic resemblance to C, with which I am (was?) quite proficient, didn’t help much. Nevertheless, the breadth and depth of libraries that exist in Java are mind-boggling, and the ability to use them with a different language is just great. I know there are other JVM-based languages, e.g. Scala, but somehow after reading introductory material they never enticed me enough. Also, I really don’t know how come, although a big fan of Python I never tried Jython. I assume I just preferred the real thing — Python also has an extensive and compelling set of libraries.

In any case, I’ll try to get a closer look at Clojure and come back with a more complete opinion.

Suddenly, a wave of optimism kicks in November 4, 2009

Posted by CK in Miscellaneous.
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This is mostly a post for Greek readers.

I just read (text in Greek!) that the new General Secretary for Information Systems (ΓΓΠΣ) of the Ministry of Economy and Finance is Diomidis Spinellis, a Professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business who’s blog we have linked to in the past from here. Diomidis Spinellis is well known not only in the Greek, but also in the global software engineering community, with highly regarded publications and books from publishers such as O’Reilly and Addison Wesley. His h-index of 23 (as of this moment) is proof enough.

Why is this important? The recently elected government in Greece decided, for the first time, to appoint all general secretaries for ministries after an open public tender. Until now, they were always appointed directly following decisions made by the (new) ministers. The appointment of Prof. Spinellis is a strong indication that the tender was honest, CVs were seriously taken into account, and knowledgeable people were appointed to these very critical positions.

Other than that, Prof. Spinellis is a well-known proponent of free/open source software in Greece, and has contributed to a large number of events and activities in that regard. So his appointment in this position, apart from providing some certainty as regards the technical decisions of the most critical IT systems of the Greek public sector, is also deeply satisfying as regards the prospects of FLOSS in Greece.

I can only wish him all success in his new (and difficult) tasks, and hope that my expectations will be met. Maybe Greece will be a bit better when I return 🙂