Feeds:
Posts
Comments

About 20 years ago I discovered windsurfing in one of the many vacations I had in Greece.
Everything started in Rhodes – as far as I remember – with a German sailor that taught me the beginning of the windsurf magics.
I then sailed in every single vacation I remember always in summer season but it was only until my recent vacation in Sardinia that I realize how much I am hooked to this sport for the most part of my life.

Since early August I now started to go regularly to practice every weekend – despite the  adverse conditions – in the North Sea in  Belgium and the Netherlands, as well in lakes. However, I try to practice wherever I can.

I need to do practice to feel that sense of accomplishment that you get when you gradually advance towards your targets.

Having concentrated on work, studies and kids for the  past years I feel I have lost  “sight” for my internal pleasure. Now that I found back the way to please myself I want to keep improving and get that “feel good” vibe.

Here the spots I have visited so far:

  • Lac de la Platte Taille – Espace Fun (FroidChapelle, Belgium)
    Very nice place for beginner, water is always flat (hey, is a lake!) but as well for advanced sailors, lots of materials to rent but boards are a bit old and  not always well maintain. A good spot for people with kids and wife, as there are some alternatives to stay on the beach when it’s too windy. Ask for Philippe, he’s a great guy with a good sense of humor.
  • Surfers Paradise (Knokke, Belgium)
    Great spot for intermediate, advanced sailors. The best spot for materials to rent, they have everything you need and the material is pretty recent. The resto-bar is  opened since 30 years and it worth a visit. Sea conditions are always a bit choppy as this is open sea. Advanced sailors will enjoy the choppy waves.
  • Grevelingendam (Netherlands)
    Perfect spot for all sailors. There are some “pools” where beginner and intermediate sailors can perfect their techniques and some “open salty lake” where winds get stronger and advanced sailors get the most fun. Rentals are good but do not expect too much of material. Jos is guy to go when asking for windsurfing.
  • Fregene (Rome, Italy)
    A nice place run by Filippo, a great guy with love for the sport of Windsurf. Together with some friends he recovered an abandoned building and now he stuffed it with plenty of boards and sails for you to have fun.
    Conditions are always choppy but in the morning can welcome more beginner but also intermediate can have fun here.

 

Advertisements

Some thoughts about positive and negative countries.
The economic crisis seems to deteriorate emotional statuses among EU individuals. In PIGS countries (Portugal, Italy&Ireland, Greece, Spain) a climbing negative feeling is evident when speaking to citizens.
One of the most common feeling is their loss of hope in the government and in their potential to change corrent the state of things in these countries. Few jobs, thousands of applicants, low wages, decreasing quality of life and expectations make social conditions dominated by a negative approach, as confirmed by the incredible amount of people loosing jobs or struggling to survive till the next payslip. This is frustrating for most of EU people. And even more frightening  is the potential that these countries have in extending their “negative feeling” virus to neighbor countries, by migrating workers looking for better conditions.
As a result, we may soon end up in an economical and psychological depressed Europe. Which may be dubbed as a league of “negative” countries.
So the solution to a positive living where to grow our families should be seen somewhere else.
But where?
US is a lottery and not so happy recently. Africa is dangerous and not so profitable. Middle-East is growing but quality of life is low.
Northern Europe – which seems to be a safe harbor for the moment – is simply waiting its turn to be tormented by austerity regulations.
Where should one emigrate to live in a “positive” country with good wages and decent quality of life?

This video from a company named Leap Motion demonstrates an innovative device  that will be soon changing our way of working and most of all, videogaming.

It seems it is using a mix of gestures (finger-triggered actions introduced with Apple mousepads) and spatial movements (those introduced by Microsoft Kinect).

Hope to see more about this and, definitely I must have it!!!

When I first wrote my e-commerce software I believed it was a good practice handling shopping carts in session (I remember I did some search around it ) and then invalidating it at session expiration.
Most of the sites you can find about, still suggest the session scope to handle memory structures that keeps items and quantities, but for reporting and performance purposes this is horrible.

First, handling shopping carts in session is cumbersome – either in PHP or in Java –  and second, it does not provide a good customer experience.https://i2.wp.com/www.thinkprofits.com/images/shopping-cart.jpg
In many online shops, a customer is requested to register to complete the buying process, because only after registration, the system is able to calculate the shipping costs on the destination address.
But if we consider for example, a customer that has added 2 products to the shopping cart and after  registration realizes that the shipping costs are too high and closes the site, its buying preferences are lost forever.
When the customer comes back on the site, the shopping cart is empty, so the entire previous buying experience is annihilated, to say the least.
Talking about security, if not carefully implemented, a malicious user can use the session shopping cart to shop for millions of items that will end to saturate the memory of the server.

https://i2.wp.com/cdn1.iconfinder.com/data/icons/database/PNG/512/Database_1.pngOn the other hand, if you used a database for storing the shopping cart, you will be giving your users a better user experience. Doesn’t matter if he simply lost the connection or he leaved for a coffee,  when he comes back, he’ll find his previous shopping cart, along with the personal customization where present.
If the customer will never come back, this shall gives you an hint that your purchasing process is flawed somewhere. Maybe your shipping costs are too high or your order processing is too complicated.
Last but not least, storing database shopping carts will give the sales department the possibility to identify the most/less requested items and design the product catalogue accordingly.

These are valuable insights for any e-commerce initiative and should be carefully considered when designing your software.

 

 

I want to share (only with myself most probably) my thoughts about why is important to have an English CV, the de-facto international working language.

Although It was almost by accident that I translated my CV in English, I later recognized its power.

First, fast-growing companies use English as their main language. Which means that companies that can face market crisis, speak English.
Which in turn, leads me to observe that those companies who wants to establish businesses in top-growing economies (a.k.a emerging countries) must speak English, because at least internally they must have a common language.
So to be recruited by those companies, you must have a CV in English.

Second, if you aim at relocating, best international recruiters uses English as a de-facto standard language to post job descriptions, interview and recruit new talents.
English is more conversational than other languages and it’s lot easier to express yourself during interviews, not least many national languages’ business terms are nowadays borrowed from English.

Third, if you are hired by someone who doesn’t asks you if you speak English, you may not be looking for an internationally-open environment. Conclusion: the company is losing a big portion of the market.
For example, if you’re looking for services in an hospital or a public administration and the workforce doesn’t speak English, they can’t effectively offer services to English-speaking expats which may be willing to pay even more than nationals.

Fourth, If you look for a job in your country and still hesitate to translate it in English because not many companies are requesting it, having a CV in English can nothing but duplicating the chances to land the job of your dreams.
It differentiate you, it gives you a plus against other candidates that didn’t do it.

On the other hand, I think today we need a structured format of CVs that can be interchanged among different companies and despite the language used, describe and qualifies the skills of an individual.
An attempt is made by the European Commission, with the eCompetence Framework, that (at least in the ICT Sector) aims at establishing this format.
Again in English.

 

In the almost imminent release of the album celebrating the 15th anniversary of their success, The Prodigy have included some dubstep  remixes of Smack My Bitch Up (by the dutch Noisia) and Breathe (by Zeds Dead).
The remix made by Noisia has hitted the first position on the BeatPort dubstep top 100 that’s why I am writing about it.

I am not a fan of dubstep music, but it’s funny to see that this relatively new genre has been so prolific that Skrillex – a.k.a the king of the dubstep scene  – has dubbed a soundtrack for a Disney’s featured movie (Wreck-it Ralph);  The Prodigy – hands up – have started including featured tracks in their album, and many other genres increasingly include dubstep-like taste to their tunes.

If I remember correctly, February 29, 2012, the ceiling of my living room collapsed while me, my pregnant wife and my mother in law, were dining. We relocated temporarily to an hotel and I immediately started to look for a new apartment to rent because my wife was due to deliver in a few days (delivery was foreseen for March 4).
While we stayed in the hotel, me, my wife and my mother in law spent days and nights looking for apartments furnished and ready to be rented because, as you can imagine, we wanted a safe and quite place once the baby was born.

It was not an easy challenge because my wife was still shocked by the collapsing and we literally run everywhere through the city to find an immediately available apartment.
It was difficult for my wife because she got tired quickly as the pregnancy imposed and I was extremely nervous about the situation. I was alone with 2 women, without a house. In a few cases, I felt desperate.

The game of life is hard but you have to keep playing.

So March 2 we found a lovely apartment not far from our old apartment, but  the rent was considerably higher than expected. My wife was happy with that and we rented it straight away for 3 months, hoping to go back to our ancient apartment once the reconstruction would have fixed the ceiling.
The date for signing the contract was the day after, March 3 at 1 o’clock. “I did it” I thought,  but keep calm, we are not done yet.

During the night of March 2, my wife started labouring and at 2 a.m we rushed to the Saint Jean hospital for a first screening. After 3 hours of exams, we came back to the hotel. False start.
Once in the hotel, just after you made it through your pijama and you are comfortable with your pillow, at 6 a.m my wife was again feeling labour pains.

Again, faster than light, I was in the car, driving at crazy speed with my wife and her mother (my mother-in-law) to the hospital maternity department.
The screening revealed not a sufficient dilatation for the delivery but enough to stay under supervision.

We did all the papers, all the “training” (thanks a lot to the man/woman who entered balloons in the pregancy room), all the recommendations needed “just in the case” but at 12.30, March 3,  we were still there, waiting for the dilatation to become sufficient for starting the delivery.

After being assured by the doctors that I wouldn’t have missed the delivery, I gave a kiss to my wife saying that I would have come back in 1 hour or less as I was going to sign the contract of our new apartment.

I was excited but I was driving relaxed while thinking to the emotions I got in less than 100 hours, when a police officer stopped my car for a routine control.

The police man found that my car insurance was expired and that he was obliged by law to seize the car for further controls: at first I thought it was a candid camera and someone was pulling my legs.
But when I realized that I was not dreaming, and the police man didn’t believe my story (well, who could!)  the only words that came out of my mouth were “Take the car, I have better things to do than wasting my time with you”.No way, the police man didn’t let me go, they wanted me to follow him to the police station! I was desperate, once more.

I abandoned myself to a desperate laugh when, thanks God, another police office came in help and gave me a fine and let me go.

Back on track, I was late, I needed desperately to sign the contract and to rush back to my wife: my son was ready to come!!!

I signed the contract and I went back in time to the hospital to see  Adriano, was born March 3 at 6.08 pm, 3.620 grams of tenderness.

I stayed in the delivery room all the time, side by side with my wife during the hardest moment of a woman’s life and the most beautiful moment for a father to be.
When this new little creature was born I started crying, full of joy, for this beautiful being which joined us and turned us in a lovely family.

Nothing give you the feeling of life as your son does.