vineri, 1 august 2008

How to maximize the number of office employees per square meter

A few years ago I had some debates about what is the standard number of square meters per employee in a multi-national corporation.

Nowadays, I left the big corporation and moved to a startup. Budgets are tight, office space is premium so we needed some innovative ideas to maximize the utilization of our office space.

The philosophy behind my solution is based on the use of motorcycles & scooters for urban transport. Each car that carries one person can be replaced in traffic with 4-6 motorcycles or scooters. The idea is to minimize secondary features of the car and keep only the main feature : motorized transport. In the office world this translates to 'minimize anything and keep the chair as the main tool'.

My solution to the office space problem is to get the hardware from our top-tech taxi advertising system and tune the office chairs. As you can notice in our proof of concept, the desktop-less workspace is at least 4 times more efficient than a standard desk.

sâmbătă, 26 iulie 2008

How to publish 16:9 video content on Vimeo

I recently purchased a widescreen camera and wanted to publish some home-made clips on the internet.
First choice was Youtube, but I soon found that I had to add black stripes on the top and bottom of the video, otherwise Youtube would strech it to 4:3 format.
I thought that it was't too nice, but my friends were happy with the result so I never searched for alternatives until I found about Vimeo. Their homepage has a special HD video section with 16:9 aspect and the help details optimum parameters for encoding and uploading HD video.
Video uses 1280x720p format and detects it automaticaly so I though that it will also be able to display standard definition widescreen video at 720x576. Unfortunately, uploading a clip with the resolution 720x576 resulted in a vertically streched 640x480 clip on Vimeo.

I could add black borders and still get double resolution than on Youtube, but I wanted a real 16:9 clip so I though about upscaling the video from 720x576 to 1280x720.
The result is astonishing :




Bellow is the Youtube version of the same clip :



The video source for both clips is the same : 9mbps mpeg2 from a HDD camera. Both clips were transcoded to x264 using mencoder, but with different settings.
The Youtube clip was downscaled, croped and encoded at 1mbps with the following parameters and profile "mencoder %1 -profile x264-YouTube-TV -vf-add expand=:480 -o %2" :

[x264-YouTube-TV]
profile-desc="H.264 YouTube TV (640x480)"
vf=pullup,softskip,pp=fd,scale=640:-2,crop=640:480,hqdn3d,harddup
lavdopts=threads=2
ovc=x264=yes
x264encopts=threads=auto:subq=5:frameref=4:me=umh:partitions=all:b-pyramid=yes:qcomp=0.8:trellis=1:8x8dct=yes:bframes=3:weightb=yes:bitrate=1000
oac=faac=yes
faacopts=br=192:raw=yes:mpeg=4:tns=yes
af=volnorm=2


The Vimeo clip was upscaled and encoded at 3mbps with the following profile "mencoder %1 -profile x264-vimeo -o %2":

[x264-vimeo]
profile-desc="h264 high res"
vf=pullup,softskip,pp=fd,hqdn3d,harddup,scale=1280:-2
lavdopts=threads=2
ovc=x264=yes
x264encopts=threads=auto:subq=5:frameref=4:me=umh:partitions=all:b-pyramid=yes:qcomp=0.8:trellis=1:8x8dct=yes:bframes=3:weightb=yes:bitrate=3000
oac=faac=yes
faacopts=br=128:raw=yes:mpeg=4:tns=yes
af=volnorm=2
sws=10

De ce sunt salarii mici in Romania ?

Pe 25 iulie 2008 Ziarul Financiar a publicat un articol numit "Peste 1,5 milioane de romani au intrat deja in recesiune in Spania si Italia".
Printre sursele citate in acel articol se afla si domnul Laurentiu Plosceanu, presedintele Asociatiei Romane a Antreprenorilor din Romania care afirma urmatoarele :
"Profiturile nu se mai fac in Spania, ci in Romania. Cea mai buna solutie ar fi ca romanii care lucreaza in Spania sa se intoarca acasa. Cu toate acestea, nu putem plati in Romania salarii ca in Spania, pentru ca nici productivitatea nu este similara".
In articol se mai mentioneaza ca salariul mediu net in constructii este de 1200 de euro in Spania si 300 de euro in Romania.

Mi se pare interesant este ca desi profiturile in Romania sunt mai mari, salariile sunt de 4 ori mai mici ca in Spania, dar as fi curios sa aflu cum explica domnul Laurentiu Plosceanu sau orice alt antreprenor din Romania diferentele de productivitate dintre Romania si Spania, in conditiile in care muncitorii sunt aceiasi ? Are ziua de munca 32 de ore in Spania si doar 8 in Romania ?
Ce factori determina ca un muncitor care toarna beton, monteaza faianta sau sudeaza sa aiba o productivitate care permite platirea unui salariu de 4 ori mai mare in Spania decat in Romania, iar in tara de origine sa nu se poata obtine aceeasi productivitate ?

duminică, 17 februarie 2008

Back button and bookmark functionality in AJAX and Flash applications

One of the most often requirement for AJAX and Flash sites is 'Implement BACK button functionality'. Most of the time the programmers have to explain to the customer why "Back" button does not work as expected in an AJAX or Flash application.

jBookmarker is an Open Source javascript library that allows any web application to implement "Back button functionality" and bookmarking in AJAX and Flash applications using a very simple API.

You can get the library, samples and check out the demos on the product page http://jbookmarker.it-base.ro .

vineri, 15 februarie 2008

Primul internet nelimitat pe mobil in Romania

Vodafone lanseaza primul internet cu adevarat nelimitat pe mobil in Romania.
Incepand cu data de 16 februarie 2008 in oferta de date a Vodafone apare "Unlimited Mobile Internet" .

Pentru 9 euro + TVA pe luna se ofera internet prin HSDPA cu 1 mbps si politica de utilizare rezonabila de 1GB/luna. Caracterul de nelimitare se manifesta la depasirea acestei limite cand traficul suplimentar nu este taxat la preturi exorbitante ca in cazul altor abonamente ci se limiteaza largimea de banda la 128kbps download, respectiv 64kbps upload.

Pentru 15 euro + TVA limita de viteza creste la 3.6mbps iar traficul 'rezonabil' la 2GB, limitele dupa depasire ramanand aceleasi.

Vitezele si limitele sunt asemanatoare cu cele pe care le oferea Astral acum cativa an pe cablu, doar ca Vodafone are preturi mai mici.

luni, 21 ianuarie 2008

Instalare modem Zapp Z020 pe Eee PC

De curand am testat si modemul Z020 de la Zapp pe acelasi Eee PC.
Am inceput prin a ma uita pe scripturile oferite de Zapp pentru Linux si am ajuns repede la concluzia ca Z020 merge ca orice alt modem folosind driverul usbserial.
Din aceleasi scripturi am extras si numarul de telefon si userul pentru conectare.

Procedura este mai simpla decat la Huawei E220:
- se porneste wizardul "Network"
- se alege "Dialup"
- se selecteaza device-ul
- se scrie numarul de telefon #777
- username linux-evdo. In scripturile Zapp nu apare nici o parola, dar wizardul insista sa nu fie goala, asa ca am pus tot linux-evdo.
- dati un nume conexiunii si apoi inchideti wizardul

miercuri, 16 ianuarie 2008

Vulnerabilitati majore in toate routerele cu UPnP

O serie de articole publicate pe GNUCITIZEN au demonstrat cum se pot modifica setarile unui router fara a avea acces la reteaua privata si parolele de administrare.
Ideea exploatata este o vulnerabilitate de design a UPnP (Universal Plug'n'Play) care consta in posibilitatea de a schimba setarile de routare fara a impune autentificarea prealabila. Astfel se pot deschide porturi in firewall, se pot forwarda porturi iar apoi se poate ataca reteaua interna sau folosi conexiunea victimei drept proxy pentru a lansa alte atacuri. Tinta principala a atacurilor o reprezinta categoria SOHO (small office & home office).

In consecinta, ar trebui sa dezactivati UPnP deoarece problema nu este datorata diferitelor implementari ci specificatiilor protocolului. Practic, indiferent de modelul de router, daca UPnP este activat, sunteti expus atacului,

Mai multe informatii despre implicatii si modalitatea de realizare a atacurilor se gasesc pe gnucitizen.org : articolul si un FAQ.

duminică, 6 ianuarie 2008

Skype 2.0 beta pentru eee PC

La ultimul update de software a venit si Skype 2.0 beta direct de la Asus, fara alte repositories.
In caz ca cineva se intreaba de ce e asa important : Skype 2.0 permite video-conferinte folosind camera integrata in eee PC.

OpenSource ECU

Pentru pasionatii de tuning de motoare pe injectie exista de ceva timp un ECU open-source. Marele avantaj al acestui ECU, fata de solutile comerciale (gen PowerCommander) este documentatia exhaustiva si software-ul opensource. Astfel sunt disponibile o suita de programe de tuning cat si mai multe versiuni de firmware pentru diferite aplicatii (de ex: turbo, NOS, injectie de apa)
Pe site-ul principal : http://www.bgsoflex.com/megasquirt.html se gasesc link-uri catre manual, faq , forum si locuri de unde se poate cumpara kit-ul (circuitul imprimat, componente, carcase, senzori).