Friday, 18 December 2009

Don't beat around the bush

[Post published by Liviu on Liviu's [Computer Science] Blog]

Let's assume you address to person X in some matter.

Since X is very busy, X dislikes it when people waste his/her time with long and unclear messages, i.e. messages full of twists and turns X does not understand.

So, X would appreciate if you could not beat around the bush:
  1. Keep it short and simple
  2. Make it clear, concise and coherent

X thanks you for following this approach and is delighted to read your message now.

Note: feel free to use the ideas from this post in your daily activities: e-mails, scientific papers, presenting your ideas to peers etc.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Universe: a proposal for writing a research proposal for several future enhancements

[Post published by Liviu on Liviu's [Computer Science] Blog]

I used to consider the Universe being huge and incredibly fast, i.e. the best invented thing ever.
Well, it's not that good. [Seth Lloyd, Abstruse Goose]

Therefore, it may require improvements. I'm thinking on writing a research proposal for a better design of the Universe. Cool, isn't it?

Q.1: I have one problem though: I can't find the instructions manual or the complete specifications. OK, nobody shall thoroughly read those anyway, but it would look bad not to reference them.
Does anybody have them?

Q.2: Who should I submit the proposal to? I'm not sure who's in charge of it all:
(1) God - How do I reach Him/Her?
(2) NSF, NASA, CIA or some other secret US governmental agency?
(3) European Space Agency?

Friday, 20 November 2009

Bucharest (capital city of Romania) on Google Maps

Great! We finally have the map of Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, on Google Maps. Really, take a look!
Ok, Googe has to improve its street names, since Magheru Blvd. is currently Kiseleff, but hey!, it's a good start! I've been waiting for this for a long time!

View Larger Map

Monday, 12 October 2009

Frauda (en: scam) super tare pe Orange, cu 2 telefoane deschise

Ce s-a intamplat ieri

Imi povestesc azi ai mei ca i-a sunat ieri cineva (sa-l numim Trudy :D ca sa folosim limbajul din "Computer Networks", de Tanenbaum) in timp ce munceau prin casa. Nah, cand muncesti prin casa, nu te gandesti sa verifici identitatea celui care te suna, cand incepe direct si increzator ca e de la Orange etc.

Trudy initial a vrut sa stie numele celui cu care vorbeste (deci nici nu stia cu cine vorbeste!) si a pretins ca au vorbit mult cu Spania si Italia si au super factura de platit. Nu i-a prins, pentru ca ai mei n-au vorbit; nu permitea abonamentul telefonului, ha ha ha!

Apoi Trudy a trecut la ce-l interesa: daca mai au un telefon Orange si apoi sa-l deschida si pe acel celalalt telefon Orange si sa sune nu-stiu-unde. Li s-a parut ciudat. Totusi, au zis sa-l deschida, dar l-au inchis pe primul. Trudy s-a enervat (aici ai mei s-au prins ca e ceva dubios, si s-au oprit din orice), Trudy s-a speriat, a inchis.

Ai mei m-au intrebat pe mine, eu am google-uit. Si am gasit ceva destul de inteligent pe net...

Explicatia fraudei (Mecanismul)

Mecanismul este foarte destept si funny explicat aici. (side note: cred ca am descoperit un blog inteligent cu ocazia asta)

Monday, 28 September 2009

Most remarkable inventions of the human species

Indeed, I should have been taking a shower now so I could do my reading afterward, but given my mental status (i.e. stressed, angry et. al.), I decided to catch up a bit with all the Reader posts that piled up.

So, I came across xckd's post The Search, more specifically its tooltip.

So, here we are to the [rather funny] objective of this post, i.e. a Liviu index of the human species' most important discoveries/inventions (I have first written it as a funny comment on my shared items on Google Reader).

First, discovery/invention of the cat flap (by Sir Isaac Newton). I admit, it's taken from Hitchhiker's Guide, since it's brilliant. Go ahead, laugh!

Second, Sir Isaac Newton's (yes, he got second place too) Law of Universal Gravitation, so he could have a good explanation to present to his wife for his head getting hit all too often when standing under an apple tree. (It's gravity, for God's sake, and even God cannot do anything about it.)
Update (Sep, 30th): since Sir Isaac Newton did not have a wife (see the first comment, thank you for pointing that detail that I missed) and Wikipedia concurs it, I must rephrase my theory: he developed the Law in order to have a good explanation to present to his lovers or mistresses. Now, since he didn't actually have a wife, the theory was either too bad for women to believe it, or too good and kept him both popular and trouble-free. (There's also the possibility he did not have any interest whatsoever in women, but that would prove boring to develop comments on.)

Third, Einstein's general theory of relativity, to prove, in part, to his wife that every time he had been late (just as I used to be many times) he has in fact arrived sooner. (One may find entertaining the relativity priority dispute, especially considering his wife was very smart also.)

Fourth, e-mail, so students can submit their assignments (homework) without having to come to school, therefore longer time intervals could be dedicated to even more assignments, improving both levels of education and stress.

Fifth, my favorite trio: electricity, computers and Internet - so everyone could have access to [and waste their short life with] unlimited knowledge and entertainment.
Knowledge implies studying/learning, and, since it gives quite nice headaches, most humans have learned to avoid it.
Entertainment implies the instant messaging services (text and/or audio and/or video), piracy (software, entertainment TV programs, movies, songs etc.), pornography (which is a feature of Internet, not a bug, as most think), DOS (and DDOS) attacks, e-commerce for those too shy to talk to the pretty/handsome shop assistant etc.

Sixth, running water, both cold and (especially) warm, so everyone has what to wash with their cats once they enter the house through the flap door, and the shower (for humans), which I should have been taking about 1.5 hours now, which means I'm behind my already stressed schedule, making me even more stressed.

Seventh, file sharing networks, which have helped faster development in less developed countries, on the expense of the more developed countries. Ok, piracy is the main issue here, it may be bad, but helped a lot. Thank you! This comment was for real, no kidding included!

I certainly hope I made you laugh a bit or a bit more. Life ain't perfect, so try enjoying the stress!

See you next time with some more technical and boring posts!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

BGP: security threats etc. and a bit of Google

While doing intensive reading on Tuesday (yes, school got me again growing some more white hair), I stumbled upon this quite interesting article Analysis of BGP prefix origins during Google's May 2005 outage (full text available from Carleton). One might be interested, I don't know. Or one might just read it and say to himself/herself: well, that was a funny reason.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Mozilla Firefox, Google search plugin (in the address bar) => remove local redirection (i.e. remove search redirection based on your IP)

A short note to myself: This post is, first of all, for me, to preserve my brain sanity (joking!) and increase my efficiency when I deal with this situation again. This has been the 4th time when I had to perform a search to solve it, therefore it's time I write it down for future reference.


The Google search plugin (in the search bar) in Firefox behaves different to what I expect:
  • The search string is redirected to the local country code Google engine, i.e. .ro, but I prefer the international .com search => I must remove the redirection aka no country redirection

  • The search result only offers 10 results per page, but I prefer 100.
I noticed that this happens in any one of the following situations:
  • Firefox is reinstalled

  • Firefox self updates, e.g. the update to 3.0.7 erased the old google.xml and I had to modify it again.
Therefore, I need a solution.


First, go to C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\searchplugins

Second, open the google.xml file
This is where all the search bar settings are kept. Once you enter some text in that bar and hit enter, the search is performed based on the settings in that .xml

Perform the following modifications to the file:
  • Add the following lines:
    <Param name="hl" value="en"/>
    <Param name="num" value="100"/>

    between the tags <Url> and </Url> (you will see similar lines there, but with other parameters)

  • Delete all the lines of dynamic parameters: start with <!-- Dynamic parameters --> and stop before deleting </Url>

  • Optional: between the tags ShortName, feel free to replace Google with Liviu's Google Search, since I think it's fun.

  • Save the google.xml file, then restart Firefox. Select the Google search from the address bar (which contains many search options). Insert some string, perform the search. The address bar shall behave as Liviu, i.e. I, likes it to behave.

Another solution

One can download the search plugin from the Mycroft Project page: click on the Google (No country redirect)

Some useful links:

The search parameters, as explained by Google - who knows, maybe you want to add some more parameters?...
The article that inspired me the first time when I solved this problem.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Mustek PowerMust 800 USB: just got broken

Indeed, my UPS Mustek PowerMust 800 USB just got broken this morning (this is my second UPS that gets broken).

A brief history of my power supplier and the power network
I am unfortunate enough to leave in an area where the power supplier is kind of stupid (although it has changed many names over time) and the network is bad enough (since it hasn't been fixed by any power supplier). The problems last since forever i.e. almost 15 years now.
The power supplier has had many names: Renel, Conel, Electrica etc. Nowadays it's simply called Enel (feel free to read, in Romanian, about the acquisition of Electrica Energie Muntenia by Enel S.p.A)

Technically, the problem is simple: the power goes down every 2-3 months or so, on average; when it comes up, it brings with itself spikes, which hurt the electronics. This had broken me in the last 12 years (chronologically) the following stuff: some 2 HDDs, 1 computer, 1 UPS.

Current situation
Starting some weeks ago (maybe a month or so) the UPS Mustek PowerMust 800 USB that I had (this was my second UPS) started to behave strange: after the power came up, it was beeping continuously.
The power went down this morning too. Since the UPS was beeping continuously when the power came up, I turned it off, then on again. However, all the lights/LEDs (green, yellow, red) were on and the UPS was not providing any power to output whatsoever. I checked the manual and there's no mention of that to troubleshooting - just that red means fault...
Bad news: according to the documents I had since I had acquired it, it's out of warranty too. It had a 2 year warranty and almost 3 years have passed now => a funny detail: the date when I had acquired it was almost exactly 3 years now, minus 12 days...
All in all, the UPS is dead, and now it stays in a nice place waiting for the trip to the trash bin.

So, now got broken the 2nd UPS. Hooray! I have a feeling I should go shopping for another UPS...