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Radovan Semančík's Weblog

Friday, 11 December 2009

There are lots of lots of sites that horde and gather content on the web. Sites that offer you to maintain a photo album, video collection, bookmarks and whatnots. Each and every such site tries to gather a community of its own. How could you tell apart the sites that are worth your attention and the sites that would mean just plain waste of time? How you could see whether there is healthy community or just a bunch of uninteresting loosers?

I have figured out a three-seconds test that seems to work quite universally. Just go to the site and use the search input field to search for some controversial topic. I usually search for "nude". If the search results are just porn or a horde of flame-infested discussions, the site is uncontrolled wilderness. Avoid that site. If nothing relevant turns up or you can see just some carefully censured bikini shots, the site is too conservative to be useful or entertaining. Avoid such site as well. If the search results show decent selection of artistic nudes or some good texts on nudity, it is worth the time to explore the site further.

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Posted by rsemancik at 4:31 PM in misc
Wednesday, 23 September 2009

I do shopping on-line quite frequently. It's convenient, time-saving and often cheaper. I used to be quite an non-trusting customer, opting for personal pick-up of the items and paying in cash or card on pick-up. Everything worked well, until quite recently. In last two months or so I had some problems. One local e-shop haven't even bothered to respond to my order. Another shop seemed fine, but the delivery was delayed obviously due attitude of one of the shop's employees. The problems were sorted out quickly and I hope that this specific employee is not employed any more. But the third case was the most interesting. A shop in the Luxembourg asked for a payment in advance but promised to deliver in few days. After I've paid they become silent. After a couple of weeks they sent a mail to inform me that they do not have the item I've ordered and that it could be deliver, but they need few more weeks. Unacceptable. I don't understand this. I would expect that in the times of economic crisis the shops will be struggling to attract the customers and respect them. But what I see is exact opposite. I would guess that the reason is a low entry barrier: almost anyone can open an electronic shop and pretend to be a merchant in good standing.

What I've learned is that it is better not to trust any shop too much (and not to shop in Luxembourg any more). But learning to distrust everybody is bad for business and for overall cooperation. I tend to believe that some companies should not live to see tomorrow, while others should receive much more attention that they have now. The question is which companies should die, which should flourish and how to make sure that the collateral damage is minimized during that sorting process. There are so many shops, so many customers and so many products that it is unlikely that a "word of mouth" will spread fast enough to influence future customers. Just consider for a moment what are my options to act against a dishonest merchant In my Luxembourg Case? Just walk away does not solve the problem. I was shopping there for the first time and It is not likely I will shop there again even if their service is excellent. The item I was buying was quite special - as are most of the items people buy on the Internet. I could sue that dishonest company or I could notify Luxembourg regulatory authorities, but that would cost me time and money. While I could still do it to calm my anger, it is not efficient from a rational point of view. Providing feedback should be much easier and cheaper.

We live in the information age (or at least we think so). What we need is an automated, Internet-based mechanism how to express an opinion about shops, vendors, products and similar things. I would like to express my dissatisfaction with the Luxembourg shop so my friends (and fiends of their friends) can avoid it. And I would like to express satisfaction with a shop in Slovakia that can keep up their promises, so my friends (and fiends of their friends) may prefer that shop over other similar shops. This could help to kill the weed and let the crop flourish. Especially in a hard times like these. What we need is a decent, easy-to-use and reasonably universal reputation system.

Posted by semancik at 11:19 PM in misc
Thursday, 11 December 2008

I've just switched by blog software. The I've been running quite a hacked version of perl-based blosxom (read: hacked beyond recognition) and I had problems maintaining it. It also has some drawbacks as a file-based store and I've got issues with file timestamps, no dates on comments, etc. Therefore I've decided to switch to something newer and cooler, java-based blojsom. As with any software the migration was not easy, but it looks like it works. If you notice any problems please let me now. And hey, I'm sorry for re-appearing of old posts in your feed. I haven't figured how to avoid it. Sorry.

Posted by semancik at 10:58 PM in misc
Monday, 4 August 2008

U.S. Government has made a decision. They have decided that it is OK to to seize your laptop for whatever reason, without any suspicion, for however long and to share the information stored there with anyone. This adds up to a pretty long list of nuisances for travellers. But this is the last drop.

I have made my decision. I have decided that I will not use my U.S. Visa for quite a long time. Imagine this: I would suffer a lot of discomfort to get across the ocean, willing to spend a week or so on a series of dawn-to-dusk business meetings, workshops and brainstorming sessions. And my primary tool for being effective would be seized at the borders. Bummer! All my effectively will be lost. I can buy a new laptop on the spot (and get a deal on that, USD is no longer what it used to be). But I will need to restore all the data, customize the environment, etc. I value my time high enough to risk that.

And more that that ... I may happen to carry confidential information in my laptop. Even if that information would be encrypted, can it be considered safe if seized by one of the most powerful organizations in the world? May the agent force me to submit a passphrase? Would I be held responsible for information disclosure if I submit the laptop with proprietary data to U.S.Government? I'm not sure. But I know that I'm not going to risk it.

Dear business partners in the Valley, please do not count on me flying over anytime soon.

Posted by semancik at 8:35 PM in misc
Thursday, 20 September 2007

Why, oh why I allways end up as a leader? I do not want it! But I somehow cannot espace it. Darn!

The story goes like this: Long time ago I've got my first real job after finishing university. It started great. I was an engineer, dug my nose in technology. Then my boss left the company and I was doomed. Few months later I was team leader, and before I've realized whats going on I was doing manager's job. I didn't liked it, but I've seen there is noone who could do that job. Few years later I've started to really hate it. I've had a long talk with company manager. He said: "You cannot go back. Never." and we had some kind of argument over that. I've shown him that I can go back and I've proven that by leaving the company.

Katka talked me to start new company together. It took her quite a lot of time and effort, but finally I've agreed. My only condition was that I will not be a leader. No management work. And it looked like that for quite some time. I was happy digging my nose in technology nonsense ...

And then The Project fell from heaven. I was suspicious and I've made it clear from the beginning that I will not do any management work. And it started fine, I've architected and designed and prototyped ... but then I've realized that I'm leading the design. Few months later I was leading the implementation and yet later I was leading integration as well. Bang! I fell into the same trap again! How stupid I was! Again!

Now I'm trying to find my way out of it. And the period that I've promissed to "serve" is almost at the end. And I hope I will not fall into the same trap again ...

Posted by semancik at 11:08 PM in misc
Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Avast me hearties! It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day today! Arrr! I wish you a good wind to the sails and great booty for whatever kind of piracy - errrrr sorry, I mean bussiness - you are doing.

Weigh the anchor and set sail, lousy crew!

Posted by semancik at 10:00 AM in misc
Sunday, 28 January 2007

I'm still alive. Haven't been in blogspace for more than half a year. I wonder if someone really noticed that I'm missing. I'm still very busy with really great project and that leasve only a little time for anything else. But in the last 6 months I've managed to do at least something:

  • I've finished an paper that I've been working on and off for more than a year. It's about identity metrics and my Persona Model. I have quite high hopes about that. It should be published this year.
  • I did some photography works as a form of relaxation. You should check my gallery.
  • I've got two 16th-17th century naval sabre replicas and I'm learning how to fight with them (more observant readers already noticed change of photo on my home page). It's quite different compared to swords and rapiers.
  • I've got lots of ideas for blog posts, but no time to do it. But I'm keeping these and I will try to put it here when I will have the time.
Well, it is not much, but it is at least something ...

Posted by semancik at 11:38 PM in misc
Thursday, 27 July 2006

I'm still alive, even if my blog does not shows any signs of life for quite a long time. I'm just out of time. I'm working on a new and amazing project that brought back all the joy and passion of a humble software architect. That's something that I haven't experienced in such an intensity for years. The challenge really makes me happy, even while it is not an easy one. But as a direct consequece of this, I spend 120% of my available time (willingly) on the project. Therefore expect that my activities in the blogsphere will be somewhat suspended in the near future.

Posted by semancik at 8:47 AM in misc
Tuesday, 7 March 2006

I've just got a notice that my contribution was accepted for InfoSeCon 2006 conference. The paper provides an overview and perspectives of Identity Management technologies in enterprise, Internet (user-centric) and government areas. I've decided to put toghether such a "overview" paper as the most appropriate for intended audience.

I want to thank the conference organizers for choosing such a great location. Conference venue - Cavtat is located on one of the nicest coastlines of the world. I just can't resist the beauty of "Jadran", the Adriatic sea coastline in Croatia and Montenegro. I invite all of you to see it for youself.

All of you that plan to attend the conference, please let me know that you will be there. We could meet and have a talk there. Just leave a comment here or contact me directly.

Posted by semancik at 5:06 PM in misc