Emotional Girly Stuff

Because I am just sort of trying to figure out what I want to do with my life and in what direction to head I have been looking at the character and the life stories of many people I would consider successfully and happy. This includes people that have made a lot of money like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs but also people that just seam to love what they do like Dag Wieers and Alan Cox. And looking at these people they all have one thing in common. If they have an idea they sit down and do it. This was something really striking about all of them. Both Bill and Steve left University because they believed in what they were doing and just did it. Everyday I meet people that tell me about their great ideas and think it will change the world, but till today only a very small amount of these people actually sit down and get on with it. I have come to think that this is the great difference between making a successful product and not. When I first met Dag we had this great idea about using a Nintendo WiiMote as a remote for presentations, while I would have just talked about it for a while and then given up, he sat down and started implementing it. Because of this we had a brilliant time and I use wiipresent every time I give a talk. If you make something and put it out there it at last has the chance to become popular. But if you just talk about your great idea and don't do it, chances are someone else in the world will have a similar idea and if he implements it you loose out and will complain for the rest of your life how this guy nicked your idea. So stop talking about all these ideas you have and how great they are make a beta version and publish it. Chances are most people will say "What is this shit" and it will never go anywhere, but if you put out enough, one is bound to be a success just by chance.

I love the mascot for the London 2012 Olympic

As some of you might know the two mascots for the Olympics in London have been released. This is a time where England should present itself and show the world our best side. And what did we choose as the mascots? Two cameras that can walk and are made of steel. I can't believe, who came up with this, didn't get the irony. England is the most surveyed country in the world, we have about 1 camera for 14 of us
There are more than 4.5 million closed circuit TV cameras here, one per every 14 people.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ and that is from Aug. 2009
China a country where everyone is complaining all the time has 1 for 472,000 of its citizens. We are the only European country to be marked "Endemic surveillance society" by privacyinternational and then we choose two cameras as mascots. I can not believe it! We are showing the world that we are proud of being surveyed. A sad moment to life in the UK and having looked forward to the Olympics.

Security and Usability book review

I just finished reading the book Security and Usability a compilation of many papers about this topic. And like all books that are like this there are always good parts and bad parts, this also applies to this one. There are some really good chapters that teach you new stuff and some chapters that are quite boring. Because they are scientific papers some chapters are hard to read and I would by now means describe it as a casual easy to read book that you can just enjoy like Bruces Beyond Fear. But it still touches a lot of interesting topics that I think a well educated person in IT should know about, like graphical passwords and biometrics. Another really good point is that it is not only written by scientist but also by people from industry that describe how they solved problems in the real world. I was pleasantly surprised that also some Open Source projects where described. Because of this it is not a classical collection of "boring" papers. Unfortunately the book is five years old and so some topics have already been solved or not really applicable anymore, so maybe some selective reading is at hand. I also found some errors in the book and tried to get them fixed but I got no reply from the authors, so I am assuming that there is no interest in this book anymore. Despite this, it is still a really good book and really good read, and you can just have it lying around and read a chapter once in a while.

Another rant on Software courses

I live with two musicians, probably some of the best there are in Europe and absolute specialists in their respective area. I would say that they are so good that they could just walk up on any stage and play pretty much anything. But still after 40 (+/-) years of experience they still practice pretty much every day for hours and hours. Their attitude is not "I am so good I can do without practice" NO they feel like they need to keep on practising and improving. When asked why they do it they compare it to sport. "A good runner has to keep on running otherwise he will become slow".
The more I think about this the more this attitude should also be applied to Software Engineering. In my master course I did near to no programming at all and even in my BSc course programming was not the main topic, but still most of us are going into jobs where we are going to program. I am a programmer by upbringing, I started programming and probably I am going to program for quite some time. But my years at University have hugely reduced the time I spend in front of an editor learning new things. So how can I assume that I know programming if I haven't really trained it for such a long time. If you look at the Music degrees the main focus is on playing and just a little bit of theory. It seams to be a problem that most Computer degrees originate from the math departments where theory is important. But looking at my year doing a math course a lot of even that degree is actually solving formulas. I think there is a need for a finer grain split in computer courses. (Not only Computer Science and Software Engineering) maybe there is a need for a really programming course. So the Engineers can model stuff and do formal validation, testing etc ..., the Scientists can do the theory of sorting, searching, etc ... and then programmers then implement it.

GMail not getting my mail

GMail is not getting my mail any more from my POP accounts? One hour delay is OK but 16 hours. Naaa that is a little long.

CentOS Pulse #1003 - The CentOS Newsletter


Another release of the Newsletter has just been published. After the recent release of RHEL 5.5, we have been allowed no rest at all as "The Upstream Vendor" announced their release of RHEL 6 Beta for public testing just over a week ago. Of course we have full coverage of this, a interview with Frank Cox, a featured article that discusses alternative backup tools and much much more.

You can read the English newsletter at:

Further thanks to our great community we also have the translations:

More information about the newsletter and how you can contribute is
available from:

We always welcome comments and suggestions :)

Enjoy Reading!

The Newsletter Team.

Peer to Peer Computing: The Evolution of a Disruptive Technology

Another book I just read is
Peer to Peer Computing: The Evolution of a Disruptive Technology
This is a collection of papers that have P2P as a central topic. With all these collection books some of the articles are really good and some of them are really bad. I was a little disappointed that the coherence was not as good as you would expect. There where quite big logical gaps between the different articles. But overall I learnt something but not too much. It was a good read because I didn't really know much about it, except having used P2P, but I was never really aware of all the research that has gone into it. It really astonished me that people did all this work on something that I always perceived as something for people to steal music. Because of the article base there is also some repetition but this is hard to avoid. The biggest problem I have is the price with £62.65 for something I could have found out by using Goog$e scholar it is a little steep and not worth the investment. If you want to learn something about this technology use a search engine and print it. The paper for the text will cost you 3 Pounds and you have saved 60. ConclusionL: An academic text trying to describe what hackers have come up with.

Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware

I have been reading quite a lot of books lately. (One every two days on average) So I want to start blogging about them a little more and share my thoughts. One book I bought because I liked the title was
Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware
I have always been interested in how my brain works and have already read quite a lot about this topic, so I didn't really expect too much from this. The Pragmatic Programmers series is really good at introducing you to a subject but normally if you have a little knowledge about the area it will not introduce anything new. Looking back I had the same experience with the The Pragmatic Programmer which doesn't mean that it is a bad book, actually I really enjoyed reading it. Ok so after going over that your brain has two sides and that they behave differently the book goes into a little more detail and explains what you can do to use this power. I really liked that there where all these examples and stuff to do while you where reading it. I had to draw a man sitting the wrong way up and this made it really fun to read. Further this book is really worth reading if you are a geek or use computers a lot. It is full with little programming references and jokes. Sometimes "brain" books can be really dull and full of theory, this book took a different approach and normally after some easy to understand explanation it explained how you can use this function of your brain to your advantage and how you can utilize it more effectively. They seam to quote their other books a little too much for my opinion but it was still a really good read and if you don't know anything about this area you should definitely read it.