May 01 2019

Blast form the past (part 1)

Category: English posts,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 4:19

In a comment of the previous post I’ve promised to try to add here some pictures from my youth. Since I’ve never been rich, I don’t have many pictures of me from when I was a kid or an adolescent. I actually started to take pictures and save them in 2009, after I found a camera. Yes, found, on the ground, I don’t even remember where. I just know that I found it, it was in bad shape and my boyfriend at the time managed to fix it. Pictures from that time don’t have the best quality though, but they’re better than nothing.

The oldest picture I have of myself is from 2006 (I think). Somebody else took that picture of me, and I did not even know how or why, but he shared it with me later. And since I’m not posting a lot of pictures, I will add what I remember about that time.

In this picture I am 21 years old, I am in the 5th year of faculty, in a city called Iasi, located in the North-Eastern part of Romania. I am wearing a Marilyn Manson t-shirt and on the wall on my left are dried roses I received from my then boyfriend, let’s call him John, who was a sweet and simple guy, but my friends all had the impression I was out of his league. We were quite an odd pair and  turns out I really was out of his league, but realized it quite late, when things started to go downhill after one year or so of being with him.

There is also a poster of Vile Valo on my wall, I remember keeping it there just because it pissed up my hip-hop listening boyfriend.

The way of keeping my pens from getting lost was quite ingenious and I think I used that system of a piece of hard paper stuck with tape to the wall for years until my pens became too many to keep that way.

The CRT monitor you see is a View Sonic  17″, and I do not remember the model number, but I bought it from a second hand shop and I payed a very low price, but it was pristine. If LCD and LED monitors wouldn’t have become cheaper, probably I wouldn’t have given it up. I don’t remember where that monitor ended up. But now that I remember how good it was I will probably check out and see if the company still exists and what are they selling these days.

And that’s pretty much it.

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Apr 13 2019

My first crush

Category: English posts,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 8:14

I’m not sure when I first saw “The never ending story“, but I loved the idea behind it. I cried when Artax, Atreyu’s horse, drowned in Swamp of Sadness, and at the time the analogy for the mental illness of depression was not lost on me. Even if it was not as loved as the first one, I loved “The Neverending Story II” as well. Probably because I had the appropriate age. Bastian was growing up, making mistakes and atoning for them. Bastian was becoming an adult, but learning not to lose his imagination either.

And Bastian was played by Jonathan Brandis that probably was my first crush. I liked his blue eyes, his dimple chin and the way he smiled, by pulling the corner of his left cheek a little harder than the right.

I remember having posters with him on the walls in my room. I definitely had this one.

And then Seaquest happened. I loved that series and I used to wake up at night to watch re-runs. I loved seeing him grow up from a kid into a beautiful young man. The fact that in the series they paired  him at some point with a hacker named Julianna might have been the moment when I decided that maybe being a software engineer is possible for a girl. I was so fascinated with him that I remembered writing letters to some papers asking them to write articles about him and print pictures with him. And they delivered.

I re-watched Seaquest during my faculty years, because I just could not accept that he was dead. He killed himself in 2003. I had access to internet by then and I Googled him from time to time. The news broke my heart, and it was very difficult to explain to my boyfriend at the time why. For him, he was just an actor, one of many. For me, it felt like we grew up together. There are a lot of assumptions about the reasons behind his suicide, and it is so sad to read about it. He was a single child of good decent, hard-working people and I am so sad for his parents, because they must be inconsolable.

Every year, around the time when his birthday would have been I remember him and watch an episode of Seaquest to remember his blue eyes and his voice. And I wonder how he was as a person. What kind of pancakes did he like most? Did he even like pancakes? What did he like to do on Sunday mornings? Which book was his favorite? I dreamed of meeting him one day and asking him all these questions while sharing my own preferred things about this world. I really, really wanted to get to know the man that brought my favorite character from Seaquest to life. But I guess every teenager with a crush of him at the time wanted the same thing.

Rest in Peace, dear Jonathan. I am glad you were part of my life through your work. I only wish you would have stuck around, because we might have ended up meeting one day.

[Later edit] And for all of you fighting suicidal thoughts, just you wait. Things are never as bad as you think, and reality beats movies when things start going right. I’ve had suicidal thoughts since I was about 10 years old. I made it to 32 and finally won the battle. You will too and there are people willing to help. And feel free to drop me an email if you feel the need to talk about it. Just hang on and stick around, don’t rob someone of the pleasure to meet you.

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Apr 07 2019

Is Spring still relevant?

Category: English posts,TechnicalIuliana @ 13:39

This Friday I’ve had a debate at the company with a colleague of mine which is known to be a straight up genius about the topic in the title. Obviously, I was arguing that Spring is still relevant, and my colleagues was arguing that it is not. How did I end up in this position? Well, since I’ve written so many books about Spring, why not? I’ve written books about how it can be used, explained its under-the-hood internals to others, I could talk to others about it, right? Well, turns out… not really. I am really bad at debates with geniuses, that happened to study computer science. Because I’m an engineer, I’m practical, I get down in the dirt to make sense of things and fix them up. I build things from scratch, and although I do overthink and design things, my overall direction is practicality. And this is what being relevant is for me. Can it make my work easier, faster, stable and can in the end produce revenue? Then it is relevant. So yeah, for me being needed and being useful means being relevant.

For him, being relevant, means change, means driving the domains toward innovation.

And because, our definition of relevant was different, the debate was a cluster-fuck. Funny as hell, but a cluster-fuck nonetheless.

Here is my take on this.

Continue reading “Is Spring still relevant?”

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Mar 05 2019

The case of online harassment and cyber-bullying

Category: English posts,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 22:08

When I was a kid/adolescent, from 6 to 14 years old  I was most of the time the quiet type. I don’t remember many details, or my filters might be distorted by now but I don’t remember bullying being so bad. There were the usual fucked up kids that would say nasty things to you, maybe shove you here and there, but nothing traumatic. At least I don’t view those experience as being traumatic through my now adult eyes. But I do remember crying and asking my mom “why they won’t just leave me alone?” and my mother brushing it off and just saying that I should ignore them. Seriously, I had some intervals in my childhood when all I wanted was to be invisible. Problem with real life bullies is that you cannot ignore them. Ignoring them, only makes them desire to be noticed and be in your way.  With real-life bullying the only two possible solutions are to involve serious adults that will use any tool necessary including therapy for the bully to fix the problems in his or her life that cause violent outbursts or … and you won’t like this probably, become the bully yourself.

But online harassment and cyber-bullying, have much easier solutions. Remove yourself from the medium where the bullying happens, or put your accounts private, or block or limit access to people even trying to be assholes. I know it seems difficult or even impossible, because social networks seem like the place to be for anybody these days, but believe me it is easier than you think. Be brave and detach yourself from anything that hurts you. If somebody would call you on the phone and insult you, you would end their call and block the number, right?  Believe me, you can do the same thing on the internet.

Continue reading “The case of online harassment and cyber-bullying”

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Mar 04 2019

When real life copies art

Category: English posts,FunnyIuliana @ 1:27

I haven’t been sick too many times in my life, at least not many of the problems I’ve had required me going to the hospital. So I think I can be considered quite lucky. I was hospitalized as a child only once for the treatment of measles. And I remember having a lot of fun. I will never understand why my parents did not leave me in there with a lot of books to keep me occupied. And since I was in a room with four other kids, all with measles we found ways to keep ourselves busy. We had one cupboard with a broken door. I managed to get myself locked in it. I saved the syringes, filled them with water and attacked nurses and doctors from our window. Until we got caught and nurses would not leave the syringes in our garbage bin anymore. And many more. Although sick, I was bored out of my mind and very creative. But I digress.

Continue reading “When real life copies art”

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Feb 17 2019

Brave New World

Category: English postsIuliana @ 1:41

No, this entry is not about the dystopian novel that we all know and love. This post is about how me, a person that has lived more than 30 years of life in eastern Europe just clashed with the reality of a more civilized country.

When I lived in Romania I never had to justify my income. I started writing books for Apress and I started receiving payments form US in my ING account and nobody from the bank called to ask me where is that money coming from and if it was taxed. The reason for that is that Eastern Europe is quite relaxed when it comes to a lot of rules, which gives people a sense of freedom, but people with bad intentions use this to their advantage, that is why there is so much corruption in the official institutions.

Well, here I am in the UK. And things have changed. As I’ve probably mentioned here, before I left Romania I installed Revolut, the wonder money-management application that helped me swim across the turbulent and diverse system that is the banking system. Until yesterday 4:00 am I was their biggest fan and preached to everyone who wanted to listen how advantageous using Revolut is. But, all good things come to an end. Go get yourself a big coffee, because this will be a loooong read.

Continue reading “Brave New World”

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Jan 30 2019

Technical Muse

Category: English posts,PersonalIuliana @ 2:35

If you do not know what a muse is, here are a few definitions:

1. Greek Mythology: Any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science.
2. muse
a. A guiding spirit.
b. A source of inspiration: the lover who was the painter’s muse.
3. muse Archaic:A poet.
(source:https://www.thefreedictionary.com/muse)

The most wide spread meaning, aside the band of course, is a source of inspiration. And it is usually used when talking about artists. The Romanian national poet had quite a few muses, and being a heterosexual white men, clearly they were women. His romantic poems are hymns to their beauty and how they made him feel. Ask the members of Fleetwood Mac who their songs are about, or ask The Beatles members or John Mayer. Their best creations are about a person that they either loved or admired so much that the overall feeling was one of worship. The subject has been even approached in Californication series in season six. The best creations of artists are born when a muse is involved. It is not always have to be a woman, it can be a heart-shattering event or a drop of rain if the artist is in the right state of mind(or high enough :D). But, in my later years I noticed that muses are not present(and necessary) only in the art world.

Fortunately I don’t need a muse for my work, but I do need discipline, time and the right state of mind. But I’ve had an epiphany recently, while talking to a good friend of mine.

You know how in IT there’s a technique called Rubber Duck Debugging, which involves talking to another person or a rubber duck if there’s no one available trying to explain the problem you are having in multiple ways, to gain new perspectives with the final goal of finding a solution? Well, that rubber duck, or the person can only help you so much, it cannot really inspire you, or maybe they cannot ask the right questions, or provide the incentive you need for you to properly focus on solving the problem. But you know who can do all that? A muse.

Well, for this friend of mine, I’ve always been a technical muse. The irony is that even if we both work in IT, he is working in a slightly different area, but I still can ask the right technical questions, provide the appropriate advice and inspiration that help him find solutions and keep him engaged in his work. He is the one that made me realize I am good at this. And because of my strong technical background, I can actually provide some real technical assistance too. He started joking that he will hire me as a muse and pay for my services, but I am still like… what the actual fuck?

That is until another person asked me for help with a project. Initially I was, like: No, I don’t have the time, Don’t pay me, let’s see if I have any idea of what you are trying to do here, etc. But slowly, I was able to provide the technical help and advice necessary to make the project happen. And because he was in a difficult situation at work, a lot of managers and architects involved, each with their opinion and reasons for putting their mark on his solution, with little valid technical arguments I might say, I also advised him what to say in order to make things happen his way. And apparently it worked.

So here I am, apparently I am a technical muse. I know how this sounds. And I know this sounds just as ridiculous as Technical –  Evangelist, Monk, Champion or Guru. I never liked those terms, because IT is a logical domain. And regarding those terms – it’s not a religion, it’s not a belief.

For me it’s something I enjoy a lot doing.I ‘m passionate about it, I am engaged, I am driven. But I would never try to “convert” someone to this domain or to the programming language I work in. Mozart made music for people to listen and enjoy, not to transform everybody into the genius that he was. He could probably teach someone his songs, but their interpretation and creations would be their own, and marked by their own inspiration and talent. I’m a bad ass at what I do. And it’s not just Java. It’s Software Engineering. I can share insights, I can direct a person in the right direction, but their path is their own. And I’m very good at this too.

So yeah, I’m a technical muse. Apparently. But I won’t use this term in the technical world until I get more than two people to recommend me as such. ;) So anybody out there needs a technical muse? :D

Stay safe, stay happy!