Plato’s cave

It is the task of the enlightened not only to ascend to learning and to see the good but to be willing to descend again to those prisoners and to share their troubles and their honors, whether they are worth having or not. And this they must do, even with the prospect of death.

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It’s not about Open Source

Three days ago we celebrated 25 years from the birth of Linux. I have been an Open Source user for over a decate now and I consider myself lucky to be part of this awesome network.

Open Source gave me free access to applications that, have they been proprietary, I would need to pay good money or illegally obtain them. Open Source fueled my research when I was an undergrad computer science student and, later on, during my MSc and currently during my PhD endeavor. As a researcher it gave me the opportunity to be part of EU funded research projects and get paid to study what I love. As a freelancer it gave me the means to rapidly develop software and therefore deliver competitive, high quality and tested software to my clients. It also allowed me to do consulting work for a couple of amazing software development companies and startups.

Anyways, it was not until recently that I realized that it’s not about Open Source! I was invited as a guest speaker to an event of the Arcitecture Dept., Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. My mission was to present a short history of the free software movement / open source initiative and then present applications of open source to the arts / creative professions. I have never touched a similar area before so I tried to think as a creative professional (NOT easy, if you are a tech person!) and imagine how open source, open licenses and so forth could benefit my world.

After my experiment was over the following came in mind: Open Source helped the world get familiar with the concept of sharing the raw materials of a creation, plus know-how (if needed), allowing the community to take it to the next level. Initially, those creations were open source software and their raw materials the source code but, nowadays, we have moved past that. Books, music, video productions, hardware even games are being published under open licenses.

Supporting openness is a choice anyone can make. Following the philosophy of openness however is a whole different discussion. One that I will leave for another post 🙂

Happy birthday Linux! Happy birthday Open Source!

 

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31

Φέτος τα (31α) γενέθλιά μου με βρήκαν να υπηρετώ τη θητεία μου ( περισσότερα για αυτό σε επόμενο άρθρο 😛 ). Ο περασμένος χρόνος έφυγε πολύ γρήγορα και δαπανήθηκε σχεδόν εξ’ ολοκλήρου σε δουλειά. Δουλειά, που πλαισιώθηκε ευτυχώς από ενδιαφέρουσες προκλήσεις.

Την χρονιά που πέρασε είχα την χαρά να δω την Social Mind να μεγαλώνει κι άλλο και την ομάδα μας να αποκτά ουσιαστικούς δεσμούς εντός και εκτός γραφείου (στο τελευταίο θέλω να πιστεύω ότι βοήθησε αρκετά και η διοίκηση :P). Λειτουργώντας σε ένα περιβάλλον πλήρους οικονομικής, πολιτικής και, δυστυχώς, κοινωνικής αβεβαιότητας είχα τον φόβο ότι όλα τα παραπάνω μπορεί να έχουν αντίκτυπο στην παραγωγικότητα και / ή την λειτουργία της εταιρίας. Πολύ γρήγορα όμως διαψεύσθηκα και για αυτό, Άγγελε, Θεόφιλε, Θοδωρή, Ιωάννα, Πελαγία, Angel, Κυριάκο, Γιώργο, σας είμαι ευγνώμων. Αυτή τη χρονιά, παρόλο που η κατάσταση της χώρας βρίσκεται στην ίδια, αν όχι χειρότερη, κατάσταση επέλεξα να εμπιστευθώ την ομάδα μου και να μην αγχωθώ προκαταβολικά 😛

Εν όψη θητείας χρειάστηκε να απομακρυνθώ σταδιακά από κάποιες ομάδες τις οποίες αγαπώ ιδαίτερα. Το Open Coffee Thessaloniki, το οποίο παρά τα 9 χρόνια παρουσίας στην πόλη, συνεχίζει να αποτελεί ένα από τα πιο αγαπητά events αυτής. Είναι περίεργο να λαμβάνω πλέον το πρόγραμμα των συναντήσεων και να μην ξέρω από πριν τους ομιλητές αλλά με αποζημιώνει η άριστη δουλειά που κάνουν ο Γιώργος και ο Χρήστος 🙂 Ο Σύλλογος Αποφοίτων του Π.Σ.Π.Θ. υπήρξε η πρώτη ομάδα της οποίας έγινα μέλος το 2003 αμέσως μετά την αποφοίτησή μου από το Λύκειο. Πρόκειται για ένα από τα παλαιότερα σωματεία της πόλης το οποίο σήμερα αναβιώνει (κατά την άποψή μου) με έναν σύγχρονο χαρακτήρα διατηρώντας παράλληλα όλα τα ποιοτικά χαρακτηριστικά του παρελθόντος. Τέλος, το Open Thessaloniki, μια ιδιαίτερη ομάδα εργασίας συνεχίζει να λειτουργεί σχεδόν under the hood παράγοντας όμως ποιοτική και στοχευμένη δουλειά (με τη στόχευση να έχει επιτευχθεί αφότου αποχώρησα οπότε, ίσως άργησα κιόλας :P). Θέμη, Άρτεμις, Σοφία, Βασίλη, Κώστα, αναλάβατε πάνω στην ώρα!

Τον Αύγουστο του 2015 συμμετείχα στο πρόγραμμα Train the Trainer του Open Data Institute. Ανεξαρτήτως της πιστοποίησης, το συγκεκριμένο πρόγραμμα υπήρξε μια από τις μεγαλύτερες προκλήσεις του περασμένου χρόνου αφού αναγκάστηκα να λειτουργήσω σε ένα εντελώς διαφορετικό περιβάλλον εκμάθησης από αυτό που είχα συνηθίσει και να διδαχθώ αντικείμενα εκπαίδευσης για τα οποία είχα μέχρι τότε μαύρα μεσάνυχτα.

Σε επίπεδο προσωπικών στόχων μπορώ να πω ότι ήταν μια χρονιά αποτυχιών. Δεν κατάφερα να αυξήσω τον προσωπικό μου χρόνο, πράγμα που ήταν και ο βασικότερος στόχος που έθεσα στην αρχή της χρονιάς. Επίσης κάποιοι στόχοι για “πιο” υγιεινή ζωή παραμελήθηκαν. Για τα 32 αποφάσισα να μην θέσω συγκεκριμένους στόχους αλλά να αφήσω τα πράγματα που ήδη τρέχουν να εξελιχθούν. Πιστεύω πως θα είναι μια εξαιρετικά ενδιαφέρουσα χρονιά με νέες προκλήσεις και σημαντικές αλλαγές στον τρόπο ζωής μου, ελπίζω προς το καλύτερο 🙂

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3 life lessons software metrics can teach us (and make good resolutions)

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Happy new year everybody! In case you are looking for a couple of good resolutions to add to your 2016 list, here’s a bunch of geeky ones coming from software engineering research field 🙂

1. Keep your diff low

Diff (short for difficulty) is one of the Halstead complexity measures. It is used to measure the difficulty of the source code of a specific software system.

Moral: try to measure your difficulty level and keep it as low as possible. If you meet a difficult person, try to engage and understand how s/he thinks. It will help you identify you own difficulty level.

2. Keep your effort low

Effort is another Halstead complexity measure. As you probably already guessed it measures the effort one needs to understand the source code of a specific software system.

Moral: do you open up to people? Do you make it easy for them to understand how you think, where you come from? There is a fine line between mystery and perplexity. Make sure you balance them right.

3. Keep your LCOM low

LCOM (abrr. for Lack of cohesion of methods) is a Chidamber  & Kemerer metric measuring the cohesion of a class. High levels of the LCOM increases complexity. Also, classes with low cohesion could probably be subdivided into two or more subclasses with increased cohesion.

Moral: the more things you engage with, the less cohesive you are. Try to focus on the things that really matter.

(photo credit: pintanescu @ flickr)

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How to completely remove kubuntu desktop from your Ubuntu 14.04

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Say you wanna try (for fun) to experience the Kubuntu desktop environment while you run Ubuntu 14.04. Now say that after you play a while you decide you wanna go back to your familiar Ubuntu interface and you wanna get read of the Kubuntu desktop you have installed.

If you are not lucky (I usually am not!) things will get messy!

Long story short, it happened to me this morning and it took me some time to get things back to normal. Here’s what I did (hopefully it will save you some time).

CALL TO ACTION: If you do the routine and the problem is not resolved or you take some extra steps, or whatever, please leave a comment so as to help future readers 🙂 THANKS!

THE ROUTINE

A. You:

sudo apt-get remove --purge kde-plasma-desktop kde-workspace kubuntu* plymouth-theme-kubuntu-logo plymouth-theme-kubuntu-text
sudo apt-get autoremove --purge && apt-get autoclean
[via: askubuntu]

Hopefully everything works fine now!

B. If you find yourself missing some system icons 😛 (sound, language, mouse, etc…) try this:

sudo apt-get remove unity-control-center
sudo apt-get install unity-control-center
[via: askubuntu]

(image credit: flickr)

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How to make ClickShare work with Ubuntu

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Last time I had to do a presentation was during ODI’s Train the Trainer program. One of the options we were given in order to connect to the projector was ClickShare. If you don’t know what ClickShare is, watch this!

In order to use ClickShare you have to plug it to your machine. It works like a USB flash drive so a folder opens and gives you executables for Windows and iOS. Normally you install one of them and you are good to go.

But what happens if you use a Linux machine? Well, you will probably have to use a cable because “this thing does not work well with Linux”. That’s what I was told! But it wasn’t good enough for me 🙂

So, if you happen to use Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and want to use ClickShare, all you have to do is:

  1. go here
  2. download the Linux launcher
  3. install it to your machine
  4. open the application
  5. plug the dongle

If you are getting steady white light then you are good to go (hit it, it will normally go red and your screen should be up!).

NOTE: According to Barco, they currently support  Fedora 20 and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. If you are using a different Linux OS this solution will probably not work but you might find some answers to this official thread!

Cheers!

(image credit: 2piradians @ flickr)

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[Updated] A Windows 10 update tale!

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So this is how it started…

I was already aware that Windows 10 will be freely given to previous Microsoft Windows users (even pirates!) but I felt it was not such a big deal. All the machines worth spending time to keep up to date are pretty much doing it themselves and for free since they run on linux (Ubuntu).

The only machine I own and runs on Windows is my home desktop and it runs on Windows only because other people have access to it and I value democracy 🙂

So, home PC running Windows 7, opportunity for trying Windows 10 for free… a geek’s got to do what has got to do!

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(image credit)

FYI, the specs of my machine were:

  • Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q8200 @ 2.33GHz 2.34GHz
  • 3,00 GB RAM

The update Golgotha

The core update to Windows 10 went smoothly but once I was prompted to login, Murphy jumped in!

  1. Wireless Mouse / Keyboard inaccessibility: Apparently is a known issue that Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop 700 v2 doesn’t play well with Windows 10 (yet?). I didn’t expect every single device to work out of the box with Windows 10 but I would expect (at least) Microsoft hardware to be compatible 🙁 Anyways I changed to cable mouse / keyboard and proceeded.
  2. My DVD drive was not automatically detected ( o.O ): Thinking back, over time I have used: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7. I cannot remember a single time when a CD / DVD drive wasn’t automatically detected! Well, I guess there’s a first time for everything.
    • FIX: Should you face the same problem, this solution worked like charm for me! Don’t forget to restart 😉
  3. After logging in for the first time “special” buttons (start, notifications, search) did not work:
    • FIX: Restart (legit: right click to the windows icon and choose restart) a couple of times and everything should be fine.

The One Drive Perk

Along with Windows 10, came the One Drive suggestion. Once you have updated, the one drive application starts automatically with windows and prompts you to login or create an account if you don’t already have one. Initially I thought about skipping the whole thing since the 59 gigs in Dropbox and the 15 gigs in Google Drive are more than enough for me (at least for the time being). However, since a little more free space to the cloud never hurt anybody I decided to enable One Drive as well. I was surprised (positively) to able to subscribe using my Gmail account and not having to create a new one to Microsoft.

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(image credit)

Everything went smoothly and now I have 15 gigs of space that I’ll probably never use 😛

Microsft Office: The unexpected Perk!

After everything was solved I decided that it was time to relax and watch a couple of Gotham episodes! Since I keep the progress of the TV Series I watch on a spreadsheet, initially I went for Libre Office! Then I remembered that I always wanted to give a shot to MS Office 2013 since my last experience was with MS Office 2010. Normally you have to pay but thanks to my academic affiliation, as a PhD candidate with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, I get to use it for free!

FireShot Screen Capture #248 - 'Office 365' - portal_office_com_Home#

I think academic accounts are also entitled to 1 TB One Drive space for 1 year!

The future!

Up to now, I have seen several pros and cons to Windows 10. I might get back with another post listing them. There’s also an interesting discussion about Windows 10 features & privacy to the following episode of This Week In Tech.

Enjoy!

[Update: SEP 13th, 2015]

After less than a month of using Windows 10 the graphics card’s driver stopped working. I tried to find a compatible driver with no luck so I (guess what?) rolled back to Windows 7 🙂

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How to successfully instal Microsoft Office to Ubuntu

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If you are a Linux enthusiast you are probably already find the title of the post strange and / or insulting. At this point I am going to have to ask you to take a deep breath and consider this…

LIFE IS NOT FAIR!
WHY SHOULD DIGITAL LIFE BE?

Sometimes we are forced to use tools we wouldn’t normally just because our environment “force” us to. For example:

  1. I like using Libre Office but all the partners and employees of my firm are used to work in MS Office. I certainly can’t force the whole company to change ( at least in a day 😉 )
  2. I host Open Coffee Thessaloniki meetings where interesting people share their entrepreneurial experiences with us on a monthly basis. Most of them are using either MS Power Point or Keynote… and love effects on their presentations 🙂

THE PROBLEM

I am using Linux and I want to be able to occasionally use Microsoft Office documents by preserving the Microsoft special format.

SOLUTIONS

#1. Install Microsoft Office Online Apps in Ubuntu.

With this solution we are basically using the online tools connected to MS One Drive to view and edit (?) MS documents. From my experience edit doesn’t work that well 🙂 but still it’s a neat solution to easily view documents.

#2. Install MS Office via Play On Linux.

Wasn’t working (at least for me) for Ubuntu Versions before 14.04. Tried it on Ubuntu 14.04 for Office 2010 and it worked fine.

EXTRAS

You might also want to install MS fonts for better compatibility 😉

Cheers and good luck!

(image credit: sysads)

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