Category: Journal

re:publica Thessaloniki 2017. Smart Cities, Open Data & Citizen Participation

(the original article – in greek – can be found here)

This year I had the privilege of participating in the maiden voyage of re:publica (2017) in Thessaloniki, as an ODI Open Data Certified Trainer and an entrepreneur, in a panel about smart cities, open data and citizen participation in open government procedures. You can watch the video of the discussion on YouTube (in greek)!

Following you will find three key points that, in my personal opinion, summarize the discussion:

I. Why bother working with open data when the citizens don’t seem to care?

A sound open data infrastructure can, potentially, function as a means of transparency and / or fighting corruption. The possibility that citizens are indifferent towards open data should not discourage a public authority that wants to continuously evolve and become better. Moreover, we need to ask ourselves whether the information published as open data is understandable and has a practical use for the interested parties (citizens, companies, organizations, etc.).

II. Civil servants might hesitate or  be negative  towards open data education.

Yes they might! However, their reaction depends on the motivators that accompany education. If dealing with open data is, or will become in the near future, a de facto responsibility of all civil servants, the idea that an expert can train them to undertake this “new” responsibility quick and easy, might not strike them as such a bad idea.

III. Open data published by public authorities are  usually too “specific” for a third party (i.e. freelancer, company, etc.) to exploit.

A great opportunity accompanying open data is the fact that open datasets can be combined. For example lets say we have an open dataset of the public schools in a city and another open dataset about crime in that same city. Studying them separately those two datasets probably give as basic knowledge but, combined, could become the fuel for an application that could help a young couple to choose in which neighborhood to live.

Open Data can be the means to innovation for companies that develop software, freelance developers, students, researcher and so forth. And (ideally) this software can then function as the interface between the citizen and the public authorities.

(special thanks to Heinrich Böll Stiftung Greece for the invitation)


Merry Christmas by Social Mind team

This time every year I wonder: how the Christmas spirit and the feelings that dominate those festive days of the year help us to think more with love in mind. Is this sense of love, the warmth, a real feeling or it is yet another result of “Christmas marketing”. A result of the decorations, of the festive TV and radio spots, of the facebook posts, covers, of the instagram selfies beside Christmas trees and Santa Claus figures and snowgoons and reindeers…

Every year I end up with the feeling that Christmas is a time to be with the ones you love. To feel things, even if those things are not always happy and entertaining. But feel them always without misery, without arrogance. To not quit when hard times come and try for the best, despite the circumstances. To change with your words and actions your life and the lives of those around you for the better.

With those few thoughts, on behalf of Social Mind team, I wish you Merry Christmas and the troubles you faced until today, be over with the end of 2016 ????

(I asked everyone on my team, Social Mind, to send me a favorite movie and a phrase that accompanies it and expresses the Christmas spirit. The lines above are the synthesis of those phrases and the respective trailers of the movies are linked to the text.)

A greek version of the post can be found at Social Mind blog.


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

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)


2013 Revelation

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

— Albert Camus


Η ηλεκτρονική παρακολούθηση, τα προσωπικά δεδομένα και… εγώ (;)

Σε λίγες ημέρες πρόκειται να συμμετάσχω σε συνέδριο με τίτλο Whatever happened to Privacy? A Mobilize! Event. Μεταξύ άλλων βασικές ενότητες της συνάντησης αποτελούν:

  • Ηλεκτρονική παρακολούθηση πολιτών από την κυβέρνηση
  • Προσωπικά δεδομένα και καταπάτησή τους
  • Ελευθερία έκφρασης και λόγου στο διαδίκτυο

Προσπαθώ να κάνω σχετική αποδελτίωση των ομάδων, φορέων, κινήσεων και δράσεων, τυπικών ή άτυπων, που ασχολούνται με τα συγκεκριμένα ζητήματα στην Ελλάδα

… και σκέφθηκα να το ανοίξω σε όλους εσάς για να γίνει πιο αποτελεσματική καταγραφή!

Σε περίπτωση που έχετε κάτι σχετικό να αναφέρετε απλά αφήστε το σαν σχόλιο σε αυτό το άρθρο και εφόσον κολλάει με κάποια από τις θεματικές θα μεταφερθεί στην παρουσίαση που θα ετοιμάσω με αναφορά σε εσάς (ονοματεπώνυμο ή ψευδώνυμο). Αν ΔΕΝ επιθυμείτε, για οποιοδήποτε λόγο, να σας αναφέρω, απλά ΜΗΝ υπογράψετε το σχόλιό σας.

Εκτός της παρουσίασης, το σύνολο της πληροφορίας θα δοθεί υπό μορφήν άρθρου στην παρούσα ιστοσελίδα (το περιεχόμενο της οποίας δημοσιεύεται κάτω από άδεια Creative Commons)

ΣΗΜΕΙΩΣΗ: Θα παρακαλούσα θερμά να μην γίνει εκμετάλλευση του άρθρου για επίθεση σε φυσικά πρόσωπα, ομάδες, κόμματα, δράσεις, κλπ.


I own a «Corked, a memoir» copy. And it’s signed!

Lately, good things happen in my life. As a matter of fact it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to tag the current period as “a series of fortunate events”. Therefore, since I haven’t updated my blog for some time now, be prepared for a combo of “good things happen to my life” posts.

Today’s article has to do with a “late Christmas present” I received some days ago. Miss Kathryn Borel’s “Corked, a memoir” (if you don’t know what I am talking about have a look here). To cut a long story short Kathryn kindly sent me a copy of her first book as a gift. I’ve already started reading it and, as expected, it is a really interesting work. Want to know what the best part is? It is signed! (you can find exhibits below…).

NOTE: For my Greek friends that may not be proficient with handwritten English…

“dearest apostolos, you are and always will be my very first greek fan. i hope you like the book, even though it is highly undemocratic and is without math … things I know greeks value the most. kathryn borel”

SUBNOTE: By “even though it is highly undemocratic and is without math …” Kathryn refers to a comment she made the very first time we spoke that she is fond of Greece which she has affiliated with Democracy, Math and the Olympic Games

NOTE (2): The date is November 17th, 2009 so it wasn’t actually a late Christmas present, just came from far, far away 🙂

(Featured image courtesy of