vasárnap máj. 28, 2006

Farewell

After 6 years the time has come for me to say goodbye to Sun. It was not an easy decision to make, but I think my skills and knowledge will be utilized much better this way. I'm starting my own company called MetaPrime and will be doing consultation around Java/J2EE projects. Also I've started a (EJB3, Wicket and Glassfish based) community (let's hope 2.0) portal for my home town (Esztergom) called www.szeretgom.hu (it's an anagram of the city's name and also "szeret" means "love" in Hungarian). I'll probably have blog up and running there in a week or two (http://www.szeretgom.hu/blog is the url candidate).

So, that's it. See you later...

Janos

hétfő ápr. 03, 2006

The Danube is coming

Spring came a bit late this year and it brought a huge flood on all major and minor rivers of Hungary. Both the Danube and Tisza rivers are flooded, several hundred people were evacuated from their homes. There are some cities that are completely cut off and cannot be approaced by road. Some underground stations in Budapest also experience minor water leakage, some rail services were shut down.

I've taken some pictures yesterday in Esztergom, but the Danube is expected to rise another 30-40 cm. If it does, this will be the highest flood ever recorded in the last 150 years:



More photos from the Fire Department's archive:

péntek márc. 17, 2006

Friday evening at last

Despite the fact that we only had four workdays it has been quite a busy week. My girlfriend's 5 year old brother was in hospital because of an orthopaedic surgery on his ankle. He almost died after birth due to his blood-sugar level being zero and nobody noticing it until it was almost too late. He survived but due to a minor brain damage he cannot use his left side as efficiently as his right. His leg was operated on Monday to allow him to move more freely but he will remain in bed for a month because his leg is in cast. At least they are at home now - he spent too much of his first two years in hospitals to like them.

StarOffice 8 PP2 Hungarian version master cds have arrived on Tuesday: the retail boxes are in manufacturing. I have high hopes for this project - I was sending out emails requesting this localization for so long and to so many management folks I cannot really count them all.

On Wednesday we had a national holiday. In 1848 Petőfi and his young, enthusiastic fellows decided to rebel against the Habsburgs on this very day (15th of March).

On Thursday I slowly and quietly turned 27. It doesn't feel different. Yet.

Oh, and I'm off to Prague on Sunday. I'm attending a technical course on SeeBeyond Sun Java System Integration Suite. It will be a 5 hours drive, so I'm preparing a number of CDs to listen to (although the highway between Brno and Prague is not CD player friendly at all...

péntek márc. 03, 2006

Politics in general

My week long absence from Hungary resulted in me completely forgetting about the political climate the coming April elections brought upon us. Now that I'm back it's getting more and more awkward each day. The only good news: our political powers have finally started using the Internet for their goals: for example prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány started his own blog updated daily and also allowing people to leave comments.

The black side of using the internet for political goals: a few weeks ago the right wing party (Fidesz) was accused of breaking into an internet facing system of the left wing party, MSZP illegally downloading campaign materials from the server. Evidence from the server logs showed they actually did brake in. Three young supporters of Fidesz were held accountable for the act.

Also news report that the Szeklers of Transylvania decided they've had enough of their leaders' talk and they are to come together on the 15th of March (national holiday in Hungary remembering the revolution of 1848-1849) at Székelyudvarhely to declare an Autonomy of Szeklers inside Romania. Considering the fact that no territorial autonomy was ever given peacefully to minorities in Europe (not even for the Germans living in South Tirol in Italy) I fear the worst to come.

And last but not least H5N1 is here in the neighborhood. I drive every day to Budapest through an area where authorities have already found a dead bird carrying the virus.

2006 is an interesting year...

A week in London

We went on a short trip with my girlfriend last week to London. It was fun although we've walked so much I could barely stand on my feet at the evenings. Four full days were enough only for Madame Tussaud's, London Eye, National Gallery, Oxford street, the Tower and the change of guards at the Buckingham palace - so I think we'll have to go back another time to visit more of the sights...

hétfő jan. 02, 2006

2006, here I come

Highest point of 2005: getting my Mensa test results

Lowest point of 2005: a car accident a day before we travelled to Prague. It could have ended much much worse if I had slower reflexes:

I haven't blogged for a while (as Craig reminded me in an email) for a number of reasons but if all goes according to my plans I'll have a hell of a time in 2006 with a lot of events to write about... Some of these in no particular order:

  • I'll probably get married.
  • We're going to build (or at least start constructing) a house. The site (5 thousand square meters) currently looks like this. I do intend to keep the grapes for a while (perhaps even start my own vineyard in the long run). This and this are views from the top of the property, south and west respectively.
  • A few Sun Ray deals are in the queue so after a year of doing mainly pre-sales work in this subject I hope to get my hands dirty with real stuff.

hétfő okt. 17, 2005

Fairies and wizards

The Hungarian localization of OpenOffice.org started in 2002 when a community of people translated most the GUI during a 3 day marathon. The enthusiasm and creativity of the individuals resulted in a number of interesting translations that were more of an interpretation and cultural adaptation of a given function rather than a simple translation.

The most significant change in my opinion was the appearance of Fairies instead of Wizards. In Hungarian tales and myths I cannot recall any appearance of a helpful wizard while fairies with good intentions are definitely there to guide you. They come when you need them and help you achieve your goals. So translating and modifying "Wizard" (varázsló) to "Fairy" (tündér) seems like a more logical choice given the cultural context.

When we've started translating StarOffice 8 to Hungarian we've decided to go with the terminology of OpenOffice.org. Although Microsoft Office comes with a number of "varázsló" items I hope people will find it more intuitive to ask for helpful fairies to guide their hands instead of waiting for the mercy of powerful wizards...

vasárnap szept. 11, 2005

Mother nature

A pretty big storm hit the town which caused a flood on the main street. This usually happens two or three times every year.

At least the rainbow was nice:)

szombat szept. 03, 2005

Looking at the past

The noisy mornings I've written about a few weeks ago are gone:

Looks like I was right to think they will eventually find remains of the past in the ground. There is definitely something that looks like an old wall on the front-right side of the picture. I haven't seen anybody on the site for a few weeks - they must be waiting for the archeologists to become available. There is another construction site being checked right now some 25-30 meters south from this one, so I don't how long it will take.

This is the main square of the town that is going to be under reconstruction for the following year or so. The work was started but halted immediately because the remains of the old St Lawrence Church were found. This church was built at the end of 12th century then rebuilt in gothic style in the 14th century. As usual it was destroyed during the Ottoman occupation of the town in the 17th century.

The archelogists have unveiled a cemetary with a few human remains. Some were still laying around in the ground when I took these pictures...

There is a plan to have the remains of the church become part of the new main square. The hand drawn picture is trying to give the impression how it would look like. I've always known that the buried remains of the historical town are under our feet. Still it's an interesting moment to actually experience them when some parts become uncovered.

hétfő aug. 29, 2005

Spielberg on the streets of Budapest

This is so funny. The local press was following this guy but couldn't get near him. Hungarians are not used to such rude behaviour from visiting guests, even if they are paying a huge sum to use the streets of Budapest to shoot a movie scene...

A few years ago Robert Redford and Brad Pitt was shooting some spy movie where Budapest played the role of Berlin. Even more years ago Budapest played the role of Buenos Aires in Evita. Now it's Munich's (or some Italian town's?) turn...

It's really weird...

kedd aug. 23, 2005

Back from vacation

After a two-week long vacation (which involved rain, showers, floods and more rain) I'm finally back in the office trying to catch up with work. Actually things were going smoothly without me: the StarOffice 8 localization project to Hungarian (which I'm coordinating a bit) is on schedule, the RFQ I was helping with was submitted.

Even now I'm using a custom StarOffice 8 build and even some sales guys have installed it on their notebooks to be able to show it off on customer visits. I can't wait to have the final bits: StarOffice 8 feels like something that is destined to be sold in large volumes. We're working on having a boxed version manufactured locally with some of the translated documentation (Programmer's Guide, User's Guide) in hardcopy: the boxed SuSE kits with hardcopy documentation have always been well received by this market. As we're mostly targeting small and medium businesses with this version I think it will be essential... I hope OpenOffice.org users will also appreciate the work we are doing as all localized content will be incorporated in the final OpenOffice.org 2.0 build

Before I forget... Chris is going to sit in the Budapest office for a few days). He's visiting the sales guys to position some new desktop stuff (like Tarantella) in their sales kit. We've talked in June about his visit in August and I told him it is usually a quite sunny and hot period in Hungary, so he also brought his wife to have some time off... Hope they don't blame me for the bad weather:)

BTW, after 5 years being with Sun as a contractor, looks like I finally get a chance to become a "real" Sun employee... Actually I've never really understood this contractor thing, but I'll be glad to receive a yellow badge afterall.

hétfő aug. 01, 2005

Hello Tourist

Today's most interesting Google search leading to my blog was this (things+to+do+esztergom). Somebody from the UK is planning to visit the town I live at? Wow. As Google's ranking system rates my blog as the 11th most authorative web page in this subject, I've decided to actually write up a few things to help those in dire need of information. I know the frustration when you follow a link with the expectation to find some tourist info only to find the blog of a geek full of IT stuff... :)

So, Esztergom had quite a history, still you will not see much of it walking on the streets these days. The old medieval town was destroyed in 1241-42 by the invading Mongols. The rebuilt town was then destroyed during the numerous sieges Esztergom had during the Ottoman wars (1543: Suleyman, 1595: Christians, 1605: Ottomans, 1683: Christian forces led by Polish king Jan Sobieski). What remains of this history can mostly be found in the numerous museums and exhibitions.

Cultural places to visit:

  • The town is best known for the Basilica of Esztergom (virtual tour here). The Basilica was constructed on the site of the ruined Szent Adalbert Church of the 11th century on the Castle Hill (as shown on the picture on the top of the blog) during the XIX. century. This is the most frequently visited sight of the town: if you have only one afternoon to spend, spend it here. You can climb a whole lot of stairs to enjoy the view from the top of the Basilica (if the air is clear the sight is truely exceptional). You can also visit the crypts beneath the cathedral: many former cardinals and archbishops are buried here. Also don't miss the Cathedral Treasury:)
  • Next to the Cathedral you can find the Castle which is a museum with different exhibitions showing the history of Esztergom. The museum also has an art exhibition in one of the rondellas (a round bastion) which changes from time to time. Currently you can visit an exhibition of Salvador Dali's arts: some of his lesser known paintings (parts of a private collection from Bamberg).
  • A steep stairway leads down from the Castle Hill to the Watertown part of the town: where you'll find the Archbishop's palace and the Christian Museum. Not far you can find the Balassa Museum named after a 16th century poet who died during the second siege of Esztergom.
  • Have a walk to the center of the city to find the Danube museum if you're interested in more technical things: the exhibition is primarily about the water management systems of Hungary. There are a lot of working miniatures which kids enjoy a lot. There are also seasonal exhibitions of modern arts.
  • There is an international Guitar festival every year (this year: Aug 6-12). The classical concerts are performed in the Basilica.

Places to have some time off:

  • Visit Párkány, the town on the other side of the Danube. It's much easier to cross the border since the Marie-Valerie build was rebuilt in 2001 - 57 years after it was demolished by the retreating German forces. The town is called Sturovo in Slovak, but as the majority of the inhabitants are Hungarians, you will not feel much of a difference. Párkány has a decent thermal bath called Vadas and there are fine Czech and Slovak beers in the numerous pubs.
  • Also a new spa is being built on the island of Esztergom but it is not yet functional.

Esztergom from many angles: sightseeing.bejo.hu

csütörtök júl. 14, 2005

Noisy mornings

The old cinema on the other side of the road I'm living at is being cleared away in a big hurry...

Yesterday evening Today morning

szerda júl. 13, 2005

Dubrovnik

szerda jún. 08, 2005

What to do at the evening...

Recently I've became a loyal customer of bookline.hu - an online shop that aggregates the offerings of various Hungarian second hand book stores. My last order arrived yesterday and after getting home I've decided to skip the "sit down in front of the home PC" part of my evening agenda and read one of the new books instead. I happened to chose High Crusade from Poul Anderson - a quite entertaining sci-fi short novel. It tells the story of an English baron who's army is just about to go to war against France in the Middle Ages when suddenly a spaceship lands near them. The Englishmen do not panic, they slaughter the aliens and take control of the spaceship thanks to the fact that the alien's weapons are useless in close combat. The treason of a captured alien makes them travel a few lightyears away to another planet and the story eventually evolves into a crusade against the aliens...

The book was quite short: less then two hundred pages so I arrived at the last page not long after 11pm. Still it was as entertaining read. If you think between the lines there is some harsh society criticism (aliens enslaving weaker species to keep their own life standard high, but depend too much on technology to keep the control).

Anyway, I haven't set aside much time recently to read books, although I keep buying them at the same rate (2-3 new releases every month and varying number of second hand books)...

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