Books 2012

 Feb 3rd, 2013 

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Some time ago I read an article about Kindle owners reading more books than others. The author was explaining that owning a Kindle makes you read more. Owning a Kindle is definitely not the cause. I believe it is the other way around – reading more makes you buy a Kindle, therefore Kindle owners seem to read more. Anyway, the reasoning there is not the topic of this post.

In 2012, my goal was to read 1 book/quarter. I am happy to say that I managed to read three times as much.

I was taken on a fantastic journey of mysteries and discoveries through the streets of London by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. After that, my mind has ventured through Wonderland with the help of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. With today’s knowledge, it is easy to imagine what would be required to go to the center of the Earth. But, can you believe that Jules Verne imagined that with the knowledge of 1864? Just like most of his books, A Journey to the Center of the Earth is one fascinating reading. From the center of the Earth I went back back in 1943 to the story of a Norwegian hunted by Nazi troops. David Howarth and Stephen E. Ambrose describe the incredible story about survivorship and human spirit in We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance. Finally, I was taken closer to the present day and financial topics by David Lender’s Bull Street which is a pretty good mixture of reality and fiction about the life on Wall Street.

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Guess who’s back?

 Sep 9th, 2012 

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Yes, I am still alive :) I was too lazy to write any posts in the last months.

Stay tuned for the next technical post on Wednesday (Sept. 9, 2012) morning. Until then, here’s a picture taken from the 73rd floor of the tallest building in Seattle:

A new start… again

 Oct 19th, 2011 

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It’s been a while since my last post. I believe that this was the longest inactivity period of this blog. However, there is a good reason why there were no posts – I was in vacation and then I did a big change in my life. The vacation was great but this post is about the change.

I started a new job at Microsoft in the United States. I am now working with the X++ compiler team. In case you haven’t heard of X++, you should know that X++ is the programming language that allows developers to extend Dynamics AX so that it matches their needs and business.

Also, I now live in the Seattle area. One of the most famous attraction in the area is the Space Needle, therefore I included a picture of the top platform of the tower. I took the picture on Saturday when the weather was sunny – it was one of the two sunny days that we had in the last three since I arrived here.

The PIN code: now you have it, now you don’t

 May 15th, 2011 

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I have the feeling that I’m getting old :) Last week I went to the supermarket to buy groceries. I was in front of the cashier when I took my credit card out from the wallet, put it in the POS and typed the PIN code. Surprisingly, I got an “Invalid PIN code” message. At that point I realized that the code I typed is actually the security code of something else, not of my card.

“Well… That’s not a big issue. I use that PIN everyday and shouldn’t be hard to type the correct one on the second attempt”, I told to myself. The second attempt ended with another “Invalid PIN code”. So did the third and my card got blocked.

The PIN code just vanished from my head. I tried to recall it, I know that it must be somewhere there, but I can’t.There are a lot of numbers in my head, some are of other cards and some I don’t know what they are. I even unblocked my card, tried 3 more codes that I thought might work and got the card blocked again.

Why can’t I remember the code? Meanwhile I ordered a new PIN…

New clothes

 May 17th, 2010 

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As you may have noticed, the blog got new clothes (a new theme).

This new theme is completely written by myself (yeah, I wrote PHP :-) ) but I used some other sites and themes as sources of inspiration. First of all, I tried to create a theme that will present just the actions that are available in and related to the current context. For example: you will not see the recent archive on the About page. Similarly, you will not see my link recommendations or details about me on the main page; for such details access the About page.

Secondly, the sidebar is fully dynamic and, usually, changes as you navigate through the site. It will display information related to the current (context) page. For the moment, some sidebars are quite empty since I have some more widgets to develop.

Voting was moved at the end of the post and is visible only when you see the full post. In my opinion, there is no reason to vote a post until you went through it. Also, the starts for voting were replaced by a binary choice (Like/Dislike).

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Just ONE project

 Jun 12th, 2009 

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For the first time in many years I have just one project that I must work on.

My only assignement, excepting the bird detection software from work (just ignore it :D ), is the bachelor thesis. I have two more weeks to finish the project and the documentation.

Until now I always had two, three or even four projects to finish (ex: Imagine Cup + 2-3 school project, blog article(s) + ASP.NET project + project management assignment, etc.). Now there is just *ONE* (ONE!!) and I really enjoy writing about expert systems (Rete Algorithm) and applications running on Windows Azure. Oh, by the way my thesis is called “Expert Systems – Rete Algorithm” and is about the Rete forward chaining algorithm and it’s implementation as a scalable service on Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.

I think will publish the final documentation (written in Romanian) here in order to help others understand Rete Algorithm and Software as a Service. By the way, do you know what an expert system is? :)

Let’s assume that we have three rules:

  1. IF is cloudy THEN it will rain
  2. IF is sunny THEN it will not rain
  3. IF it will rain THEN I need an umbrella

These three rules are called the Knowledge Base (KB) and are stored in the system. If I say “I cloudy today” the system will use the rules and infere that I need an umbrella. So an expert system is capable of taking decision based on some rules and some facts. However, based on the implementation, it can be a naive form of artificial intelligence because it cannot distinct between correct and incorrect rules, is highly dependent on the correctness of the knowledge base and is acting on the principle of “garbage in, garbage out”.

So an expert system has a knowledge base and given a set of facts can infere other facts (can take decisions). Will write more about this in the documentation.

Do you think expert system will be used in the future or the future belong to something else?

PS: Oh f***, I have to write part three from “Software + Services: A Modern Approach” article.