Thursday, December 28, 2006 is all about music!

I'm a computer guy for many of my friends/family. Besides cleaning system from bad, bad and nasty things , installing better software and educating why to use it, this also includes promoting of useful services that exists on the web. Many times I am disappointed to find out that most of my friends now a little about them. A lot of people use computer only for Web surfing, email poking and music playback. This has inspired me to write down the list of services I use and might be generally useful to others as well.

Most of them use principles of Web2.0 (which in short is about socializing the web using latest technologies to provide dynamic rich content/services). There is a lot of Web2.0 services around, from famous google maps, picture sharing at flickr to massive tagging systems like delicious or digg.

Today I introduce, at first it looks like web radio station. Type the name of artist and it plays it for you. Behind is much more, this site falls into social bookmarking category. Users listen to the music just like they did, information about what they listen is send to the service and stored in the user's profile. When listening to music every other day (like I do) during few months there is enough data about user's taste so the system is able to recommend new never tried artist or someone who shares the same music enthusiasm. From already played songs that are free to broadcast over the internet system creates radio. So when next time someone asks "What are you listening to?", just give him your profile.

What I do like about this service is that it is non obtrusive. Just listen to your music, statistics are generated automatically. Also I found it great site for checking for background info of who you listen to. For example you get some music from your friend, throw it on your enabled player (i.e Rhythmbox or Muine on linux), play it and if you like it, open your profile (mine in this case) on and click on the name of recently played artist. Many times a lot of information about the band is revealed including similar artists that may interest you as well.

There are also many other additional features provided by this site like joining groups, chatting with friends and blogging about recent music actions, even those are rarely used (at least by me) you can use them anytime later.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Office documents? Just throw them onto your browser

For a while I know about google Docs service. One can upload/create/edit various types of office documents. It has very good compatibility with MS Office and is able to talk OpenOffice formats as well. Once you are done with your editing you can save into PDF file and send to friends.
On line collaboration is of course supported as well, documents can be read-only or shared among friends by sending them invitation email. Besides corporations this means you do not have to have Office tools installed on your PC as long as you have Internet access or you do prefer to have solid and robust OpenOffice installed (free of course). When it comes to corporations, this might not work as some obscure macros are usually deployed in this sphere.
Today when reading about GoogleToolbar 3.0 (still in beta yet) I found out new cool feature. When applied one can throw documents on your browser window and they are automatically opened in GoogleDocs and ready to be viewed/edited. When you have you google account ready, there is even no need to sign in anymore.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Microsoft? What a bright future.

Recently I talked to a good friend of mine and we discussed Microsoft. She met some good people from this company and asked me why I am so skeptic about this company. For some time I'm now sorting my mind on this topic and found two great sources where everything is expressed in a much better way than I can do.

First is Why Does Everyone hate Microsoft? posted on slashdot, where some serious facts and nice opinions are posted. Here I admitted to myself, I do not hate Microsoft. But I used to, I swear, every time when commanding probably the biggest battle in time and a game crashed back in 1996 it could drove me crazy, really. I still do remember those frustrating moments when something crashed, or not worked at all and I spend endless hours in effort to debug the problem. People say their desktop does not crash anymore, well done Microsoft, we have not crashing MS desktop after almost two decades of coding. Now we have it full of viruses, spy-ware, malware and more. Microsoft people says that this is because Windows is #1 operating system and if other OS's were used as much they would suffer from the same issues. I do not think so, I believe there is something rotten, hidden in the system.

Then today I've discovered 1990-1995: Microsoft yellow road to Cairo posted on This guy seems to have very good overall knowledge about the history of the company and points out many unknown facts about the company. It gives a perfect idea why the system is rotten inside and how the company works.

In short, monopoly tactics used everywhere, killing other companies that offer innovation, FUD, poor products, missing interoperability (yes sharing is good!), frustration, locked users/companies all covered in very shiny and juice wrap promising heaven on PC (just stay tuned). But try to explain this to uninterested user in two minutes and not bore him into death.

time to move over it

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Wexford, Ireland

Vacation is over now, what a crazy week. Friends, parties, alcohol, fast foods, Fiifa06, Playstation, more playstation and no hacking at all. I have to say, all people I met in Wexford were great. And girls, always smiling, even when they took the last penny off me while playing BlackJack in Casino. Well I got back next day, with more luck then and earned my money back!
Another must is Michal, after I've consumed the best hamburger in the world, Poli leaned to me and asked: "How did ya like SOYA meat!" Fantastic.
While doing nothing, I had time to explore, go straight to Top Favorites, All Time and and look for Chad Vader, hilarious. Will Ferrel on Google video as George Bush is funny as well.

Well, glad to be home again, in one piece, ready to do some coding again.

Some pictures from Ireland:

Friday, December 1, 2006

Off to Dublin, again

The speed of this year is amazing, to my surprise it is already end of it and I still had 10 days of vacation left. Well not anymore, took the oportunity and I'm off to Dublin again. Last time it was exactly a year ago, I was visiting Eva, this time it's a friend of mine Poli.
I guess to sprinkle things a bit I got sick just a day before the leave, not so funny. Then I spent 400Kc for 3 teas and mineral water, still in Prague, unbelievable. Dublin is beatiful, maybe because of this we took several roundabouts twice and couple of extra miles more before we got right on N-8 to Wexford.
Time to relax, watch some movies and who knows, Google is here!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Well done, Mr. Bond

We just got back from Casino Royale and I have to say it was very nice surprise. Despite all the rumors and specially my first feelings when I saw Daniel Craig about a year ago, he did very well and movie is far better than the previous fairy tales. Realistic script, dynamic story and a balanced action scenes are characteristics for this movie.

Bond this time starts from ground zero and is tougher, much tougher. Some actions scenes are maybe too much action for my girlfriend, but I liked them very much. There is about right number of these scenes spread through out the movie. Bond get some scratches, but nothing he cannot handle, maybe the nail was a bit much.

We've recognized a lot places from Czech Republic, Karlovy Vary, Prague and also couple of actors seemed familiar, nice distraction.

My rating? 8.2, let me say again

Well done, Mr. Bond

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sun Tech Days

At first, list of Christmas wishes sounded like a great idea for a first post, but then something that makes more sense came in.

What a nice surprise when on Monday I realized there is FREE Friday this week in Czech Republic. And what a surprise to find out on Tuesday, there is Sun Tech Days happening from 15th to 16th November at Prague's Congress Center. After I missed last Java Developers conference in Prague, this became must attend to event.

This year, more than 1100 mainly technical oriented people are attending various seminars and presentations. Event was spread into two days.

Day one
Jeff Jackson during his keynote talked about importance and growing usage of Java and SUN these days. He introduced project Glassfish which is a reference implementation of J2EE 5 where many companies contributes to this opensource stack. Ubuntu will be shipping Glassfish as their J2EE server. great. Then followed by courses about Java DB, simplified persistence in J2EE5 vie EJB v3.0 which eases a life of developer a lot. For example, one can use POJO's implementing business interface as an Session bean. No home or remote interface is necessary, this is being taken care by implementing container, all possible due to Annotations (new feature in JAVA5). Great and in-depth seminar about Web Services and Java and XML was held afternoon and after that we've enjoyed great buffet. Leaving about 8pm.

Day two
First session: Future of Java and open source communities in a vision of Sun. Monday 13th October, Sun after 10 years of development of Java has announced Java and even Duke are going open source. Sun's business model was introduced. There are 5 milion Java developers around the world. Today SUN is recognized as one of the most contributors to Open Source Community, by opening many of their products like OpenOffice, Java, OpenSolaris, NetBeans and more. Sun's business is whole platform (HW+operating systems+environment where applications run) strongly depending on creating strong communities around their products thus leveraging running cost significantly. Sun likes sharing. Sirhar Redy had nice talk about importance of software freedom, open source momentum and license issues. Then attended a J2ME session and this reminded me time of sprites on C64 and ZX80. In the afternoon I got to in-depth session about building JSF and AJAX enable web pages held by Dr. Doris Chen. Really nice talk, full of hands on examples about jMaki, Dojotoolkit, Google Web Toolkit and more. After all these events, I realized that probably the biggest show stopper for new Java Developer is the CHOICE. There are so many great technologies, platforms and toolkits that it takes a time to get used to all of them and pick the right one for your project.

Summary: two t-shirts, one Duke, met many friends from University of West Bohemia. Great two days!

More info and slides at SUN Tech Days web page:

And oh yes my wish list:
  • 7 iron golf club
  • hand glow (golf of course)
  • I'll come up with more

Some pictures: