Funny stuff on the LHC

Apparently today is one of those days where everybody is out of his mind. Could it possibly have anything to do with the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) ?

Some would say “YES”. An argument to that could be my IM list of friend, filled with LHC related statuses.Of all, I found 2 very interesting ones.

The first on is a live video feed from the LHC, from Adi. Although it is supposed to be very serious, scientific-like, at one moment there was some guy picking his nose! Should I start to get scared? :|

The second is a picture, from Flaviu, available below ( direct link )

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Last examination… licensed engineer

Yesterday was the last and most expected examination of my life as a student, i.e. the presentation of the Bachelor Thesis project. Although I planned to write a post about it, especially because it is a pretty interesting research project, well … I’ll do that in the future.

In a nutshell, the project is called ArhiNET, it is an integrated system for the development and processing of distributed, semantically enhanced archivistic e-content and was coordinated by Prof. Ioan Salomie and Assoc. Prof. Mihaela Dinsoreanu. If you are familiar with the Semantic Web vision and related fields, you probably realized that it was a large project, actually we’ve only started, and by “we” I mean a large staff of professors, research assistants and students. But as I said, more about this later…

Back to the presentation, I have to say that I was nervous that day as my last exam was back in February, this being the second time with verbal examination and I was worried of forgetting important aspects. But it went very well and the professors were quite interested in the analysis and development stages of the project. Additionally, the demo went even better and made a big impression.

Due to this fact, we were invited present the project (today) at the Faculty Student Symposium for Best Thesis Projects. From the orginal team consisting of Calina Zaharia, Flaviu Zapca, Ioana Iacob, Grigore Vlad, and myself, only the last 3 were able to present it, but we managed to cover pretty much everything. At the end, we were surprised to see that a large percentage of the audience (consisting of professors, students and engineers) was seriously interested in the project, more exactly in specific areas of implementation.

Finally, the most important aspect of which I’m proud of is the fact that I succesfully graduated the Computer Science Faculty at the Technical university of Cluj-Napoca, and now I’m  a licensed engineer.

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Academic Tour 4.5: Thoughts and Resources

You probably heard by now that several Microsoft products were updated to the “2008″ version a couple of weeks/months ago, and 1 is still pending. The launch campaign was called Heroes happen {here} worldwide, “Magicienii prind viata {aici}” or “Magicians come to life {here}” in Romania, for the pros community and “Ideile prind viata {aici}” or “Ideas come to life {here}” in the academic sector.

The launch started in Bucharest, hosted by a team of MVPs and MS employees, shortly followed by the “student version” in Unibuc. I say “student version” because it was hosted for the students by the students, that is by fellow MSP colleagues. Of course, events like this soon took place in every major university in Romania, hosted by local members.

Along with Adi Muresan, Cornel Rat, Ioan Lazarciuc aka ‘Cretz’ and Mihai Hudea, I had the opportunity to be part of one of these teams. Actually we were more than lucky because we got to be present in 3 other major universities in Sibiu, Brasov and Tg-Mures, we were invited by the UBB team to do a joint operation at their CS faculty and also in our home university, UTCN.

Agenda

We had a lot of presentations and demos, more exactly:

  • Visual Studio 2008, Cornel Rat
  • LINQ, Cornel Rat
  • ASP 3.5, Adrian Muresan
  • IIS 7, Adrian Muresan
  • Silverlight, Ioan Lazarciuc (“Cretz”)
  • Popfly, Ioan Lazarciuc (“Cretz”)
  • Opensource on the Microsoft Platform, Tudor Vlad
  • SQL Server 2008, Tudor Vlad
  • Windows Server 2008, Mihai Hudea
  • Thoughts

    Although the main focus of this article is the resource section, I want to presents my impressions.

    First of all, it was a great experience! We got to visit Sibiu, Brasov and Tg. Mures, all with great istoric heritage, as you can see in the pictures below:

    Sibiu
    Sibiu Brasov
    Brasov Tg. mures

    we got to interact with a lot of students and some professors, and had fun overall.

    Sibiu Brasov

    Also, as you may know, it’s not easy to speak in public, even more in front of a unfamiliar audience; well, this experience also helped us to improve our professional skills, i.e. presentation skills most importantly. Once again, we thank you for the feedback!

    [View all AT4.5 photos here]

    Resources [DRAFT - list in progress]

    As promised, we uploaded our presentations on the registration site. However, we were asked by several students for more resources (books, articles, webcasts). Next, I will present a list of links I used to learn from or heard are very good.

    One thing though: this list is still a draft, I will continue to update it as I find better resources. Hopefully, it will be a good start.

    .NET Framework 3.5

    1. .Net Framework 3.5 Whitepapers Published
    2. VS2008 and .NET 3.5 Training & Demo Kit

    Visual Studio 2008

    1. Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 – Learning Portal
    2. Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 – Webcasts
    3. Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 – Podcasts
    4. Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 – Virtual Labs
    5. Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 – Free E-Learning

    C# 3.0

    1. Overview of C# 3.0
    2. Introducing Microsoft LINQ – free ebook
    3. 101 LINQ Samples
    4. LINQ to SQL – ScottGu
    5. Extension Methods

    ASP 3.5

    1. Introducing Microsoft ASP.NET AJAX – free ebook

    Silverlight

    1. Introducing Microsoft Silverlight 1.0 – free ebook
    2. Silverlight Links and Resources
    3. Learn Silverlight
    4. Silverlight Resources
    5. Dan Wahlin’s Latest Silverlight Articles
    6. Silverlight Screencasts
    7. Silverlight2 Presentation, Resources, and Rehab…

    Popfly

    1. www.popfly.com

    Opensource on the Microsoft platform

    1. Codeplex
    2. Open Source Software in C#

    SQL Server 2008

    1. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 – Learning Portal
    2. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 – Free E-Learning
    3. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 – Learning Resources
    4. Overview (SQL Server 2008)
    5. What’s new (SQL Server 2008)
    6. LINQ to SQL support for SQL Server 2008
    7. SQL Server 2008 Webcast Series
    8. 24 hours of SQL Server 2008
    9. [RO] SQL Server 2008 – Backup Compression
    10. [RO] Integrarea Powershell cu SQL Server 2008
    11. [RO] Business Intelligence in SQL Server 2008

    Windows Server 2008

    1. Windows Server 2008 – Webcasts
    2. Windows Server 2008 – Virtual Labs
    3. Windows Server 2008 – Podcasts
    4. Windows Server 2008 – edge.technet.com

    Miscellaneous

    1. -

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    Looking for a faster antivirus

    The antivirus is one of the most important software that should be on installed on any computer. I doesn’t matter if you’re using Windows XP, Vista or Linux. “Fences” like the UAC or sudo aren’t that strong because they’ll just ask if you want to allow a program to run in privileged mode, they won’t tell you what that program will do.

    For the last 5-6 years, I’ve been a fan of Kaspersky Antivirus and I recommended it to everybody. Many friends replied that it uses to many resources and the PC runs slow, but the trick was to set the scanning to “performance” (low). That meant a faster system, with insignificantly less security due to the excellent algorithm. It also had some optimizations, like scanning only the modified files (not all) before running them.

    But since the last revision, I noticed that it started to leave a heavier footprint on my system, especially on the web and mail scanning. It takes 30 seconds to 5-6 minutes to load a youtube video or the LinkedIn page. Even with the web scanning turned off, it still takes significantly more than with the program turned off.

    Jeff Atwood, from CodingHorror.com realised this several months ahead and provides performance data from the quoted study:

    Percent slower
    Boot CPU Disk
    Norton Internet Security 2006 46% 20% 2369%
    McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8 7% 20% 2246%
    Norton Internet Security 2007 45% 8% 1515%
    Trend Micro PC-cillin AV 2006 2% 0% 1288%
    ZoneAlarm ISS 16% 0% 992%
    Norton Antivirus 2002 11% 8% 658%
    Windows Live OneCare 11% 8% 512%
    Webroot Spy Sweeper 6% 8% 369%
    Nod32 v2.5 7% 8% 177%
    avast! 4.7 Home 4% 8% 115%
    Windows Defender 5% 8% 54%
    Panda Antivirus 2007 20% 4% 15%
    AVG 7.1 Free 15% 0% 19%

    As you can clearly see, the performance decrease is significant, especially for all you Norton AV users. But this is not all!

    As Jeff points out in a later post, antiviruses are becoming less and less effective. Just look at the detection rate of new viruses, in the study done by Andreas Clementi [av-comparatives.org]. It’s between 3% and 81%, with an average of less that 40%.

    Looking at these numbers, the idea of dropping the AV security doesn’t sound that bad. But it is bad! Why? Well, because from what I’ve seen, most infections explode after the solution is available. I myself got infected this year (the only time I know I’ve been infected unintentionally) with a virus +6 months old. And it happened because I did not have an antivirus.

    The question regarding performance vs. security in an antivirus still stands. I am seriously thinking of installing a “better” AV. I think I’ll browse the net for reviews and perform some tests on the candidates, but if you know something good, please tell me.

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    New evidence on mobile phone hazard

    According to The Independent, a recent study led by a renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Vini Khurana, strongly demonstrates that prolonged exposure to mobile phone radiation will result in brain cancer and neighboring tissue damage:

    It draws on growing evidence – exclusively reported in the IoS in October – that using handsets for 10 years or more can double the risk of brain cancer. Cancers take at least a decade to develop, invalidating official safety assurances based on earlier studies which included few, if any, people who had used the phones for that long. [...]

    “It is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking,” says Professor Khurana, who told the IoS his assessment is partly based on the fact that three billion people now use the phones worldwide, three times as many as smoke. [...]

    After a quick search on the web, I managed to find the study on the Brain Surgery Research site . The key facts are:

    • Mobile phones are convenient and frequently invaluable, yet exposure to their electromagnetic radiation is invisible. Therefore, any danger this exposure poses may be easily dismissed.
    • Exposure is long-term and its effects on the body, particularly its electrical organ, the brain, are compounded by numerous other simultaneous long-term exposures including continuous waves from radio and TV transmitter towers, cordless phone base stations, power lines, and wireless/WiFi computing devices.
    • A malignant brain tumour represents a life-ending diagnosis in the vast majority of those diagnosed. There is a significant and increasing body of evidence, to date at least 8 comprehensive clinical studies internationally and one long-term meta-analysis, for a link between mobile phone usage and certain brain tumours. [...]
    • The “incubation time” or “latency” (i.e., the time from commencement of regular mobile phone usage to the diagnosis of a malignant solid brain tumour in a susceptible individual) may be in the order of 10-20 years. In the years 2008-2012, we will have reached the appropriate length of follow-up time to begin to definitively observe the impact of this global technology on brain tumour incidence rates. [...]
    • It is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking, and directly concerns all of us, particularly the younger generation, including very young children

    You can read the entire study here [PDF] and related data following the links below:

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