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2009.07.01

Real-Time Google Earth GPS Tracking

In a recent trip I incorrectly assumed that real-time tracking of Google Earth's pre-cached maps with a GPS receiver would be sufficient help for navigating around the highways in Los Angeles. I therefore experimented with the way Google Earth's sparsely-documented real time tracking works, and wrote a small program to interface Google Earth with a GPS receiver. Fortunately, after seeing a colleague drive with a car-GPS device on the dashboard I came to my senses, and got a real Garmin Nuvi car-GPS device.

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2008.12.02

Sound-Bytes from the Open World Forum

I'm currently attending the Open World Forum taking place in Paris. The conference is proving extremely interesting with many notables, like, Jim Whitehurst the president and CEO of Red Hat and Mike Milinkovich the executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, talking and exchanging opinions. Many of the discussions are too cerebral to be effectively blogged, but here are some sound-bytes I noted down from the session on public policies to promote sustainable development of shared resources.

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2008.05.17

A Visit at BMW's Leipzig Factory

Yesterday I had a chance to tour the BMW Leipzig factory. It was a unique experience, in which I witnessed the sophistication of modern production methods, and the most well-organized complex human undertaking I have seen first hand. The factory literally runs like a clockwork, eerily bringing to my mind the descriptions of Mars's factories in Bogdanov's science fiction novel Red Star.

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2007.10.21

International BSD Conference in Turkey

I'm on my way back from the International BSD Conference in Turkey, which a group of enthusiastic members of our community organized on Friday and Saturday.

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2007.05.02

Of Wine and Software

Today, following the yearly IEEE Software board meeting, we visited the Casa Valduga winery near Bento Gonçalves at Rio Grande do Sul. The guide told us that the winery nowadays made all its wine in stainless steel vats, which have largely replaced the traditional oak barrels.

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2006.12.13

Secure Passports and IT Problems

In 2003 Greece, in response to new international requirements for secure travel documents, revised the application process and contents of its passports. From January 1st 2006 passports are no longer issued by the prefectures, but by the police, and from August 26th passports include an RFID chip. The new process has been fraught with problems; many of these difficulties stem from the IT system used for issuing the passports. On December 12th, the Greek Ombudsman (human rights section) issued a special 22-page report on the problems of the new passport issuing process. The report is based on 43 official citizen complaints.

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2006.09.17

NASSCOM Quality Summit 2006

Last week I attended NASSCOM's 2006 Quality Summit in Bangalore, India. There I gave a tutorial on tooling with open source software, and delivered a talk on Global Software Development in the FreeBSD Project. It was an edifying trip.

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2006.05.24

Security is a Problem of the Weakest Link

While attending the ICSE 2006 conference I stayed at the Tong Mao hotel. My room featured an impressive-looking safe: thick steel, two bolts, and a digital lock.

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2005.05.19

Cats and Cigarette Lighters

On April 14th, the US Transportation Security Administration started enforcing a new ban on cigarette lighters. A month later, I saw the corresponding announcement posted on a check-in desk at the Samos international airport. At the same airport I also saw a free-roaming cat getting its food delivered directly on the tarmac. I entered my flight feeling a lot safer.

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Unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material on this page created by Diomidis Spinellis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Greece License.