Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wikimedia Berlin Hackathon 2012


Better late than never:) Exactly one month ago I had a chance to be present at Wikimedia Berlin Hackathon 2012. To be short - the event was really great. If you have ever tried to do some programming for Wikipedia or to MediaWiki in general, I'm sure you would find interesting talks for you. And you may find them now - videos from some of those talks are available on the Vimeo channel of Wikimedia Deutschland. Later they should appear on Wikimedia Commons also.

First presentation that was the most interesting for me was about using Lua for developing templates. Now MediaWiki (and thus Wikipedia) uses own domain-specific markup language for creating reusable parts (templates) of pages (articles, help pages, whatever). Being declarative language, it puts some restrictions for template creators. Lua introduces imperative programming instead. I already can see how some quite complex templates can be simplified a lot. Cannot wait when the Lua support will be included into the new MediaWiki release and deployed to Wikipedia:)

You can watch videos of the Lua presentation here or here. Try it at

Other very interesting talk for me was about new features of ResourceLoader (the delivery system in MediaWiki for the optimized loading and managing of modules). Better management, better localization, better code sharing. Of course, I doubt that it could be exciting for you, if you have never dealt with development of gadgets for MediaWiki. If you did, check the presentation slides. Too bad that the video recording is still not available. I hope it will.

I was unlucky to catch a cold in Berlin, so I didn't attend all talks at the event. You know, the weather in Berlin with about 15°C, cold wind and sometimes rain was too cold for a guy who came there from sunny Crete:) Still I managed to do also some sightseeing in Berlin, including the huge Berlin Zoo and the also huge German Museum of Technology. Last one was right near the Berlin Hackathon venue and definitely worth visiting. Check it if you will ever be in Berlin, you will find a lot of exciting stuff there.

At last I was to thank Wikimedia Foundation and Sumana Harihareswara in particular for the invitation to attend the event and for the travel support as well. Thank you for the great time in Berlin!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Blog resurrection

Hi my dear readers!

Are you ready for one more try to recover my blog?:)  So first of all I think I should briefly describe what happened in my professional life in the last year when I was too lazy to blog. And then I'll note what topics will arise in my blog now because I'm sure that you'll see some changes:)

After that time when I wrote my last post in this blog I've changed a job. Twice:) First time, I changed it to another IT company in my city Lviv just to try something new and to learn that new stuff. And I think I accomplished that goal. Also it was good opportunity to work in very good and collaborative team. Guys, you rock! Especially, in team building! :) Nice times, I'll always remember them.

And I recently I've changed my job once more. Why, you'll probably ask. Well, because I will do something different that I used to do before. I'd say, very different. This time I will not work as software engineer. I will work as researcher. As novice researcher:) To be more precise, Early Stage Researcher. And I'll work in the computer science field and specifically in the distributed computing field. If you want to know more, please, refer to our project's page: TransForm.

While that last job change was a significant change in my life because of totally different kind of work I'll do, another reason why it was so significant is that I moved to another country quite far from my home.So if you can read Ukrainian, you may find interesting another blog that I contribute to - Українці на Криті. It contains impressions and feelings of me and my wife when we moved to the beautiful Crete island. 

So I think following posts will be less related to pure programming topics like my previous posts. But I hope that you'll find here other interesting stuff related to the computer science and specifically to the field of my research. Briefly speaking I'll put here everything what I'll find interesting for me. So stay tuned! And wish me to not be so lazy as I was in the last year:)   

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Digest: TopCoder, Python and other stuff

Hi all! This blog post will be in form of a digest just to summarize all that I had to post in last two months:)

"Welcome back to TopCoder" or "TopCoder: go up, go down". Recently I considered to resume my activity at TopCoder in those tracks that I've participated before. While unfortunately I didn't manage to code some TC component due to lack of free time, I participated in both algorithm tracks - SRMs and Marathons. Actually second part of this paragraph's header is related to my Algorithm's rating :) Just look at it. I managed to reach my highest rating ever and then to get -300 :) I cannot actually explain why my results are so unstable, maybe it is just "shit happens"-behavior, or maybe sometimes I can reach "clear mind" state and sometimes I can't. You suggestions in comments are welcomed.

As for marathons, my rating decrease was foreseeable because my aim was just to code working solutions in Python in free time and I accomplished that goal in two matches (one of those was unrated). This was done just to practice in Python and it's a little pity that there weren't too much Python solutions to compare with or to learn them.

Learning Python. IMO the best way to learn new language/technology is to code as much as possible. Of course, you need to know some must-know stuff but don't accent reading many textbooks without actual coding, of course, if all what you need is not just to pass one of those dummy MS certificate exams:) So as I mentioned above I practiced Python in TC Marathons. With the same purpose I registered at SPOJ - the only major online judge that I know to have possibility to test solutions in Python. Though currently I don't have much to boast of on SPOJ :)  Also I'm considering to start contributing to some Python open-source project, probably, Orange or Natural Language Toolkit. Any considerations on the subject?

Master's degree. Yes, finally I've got it:) Believe me or not, I'm not sure how my degree title sounds like officially :-[ I think it's either Master of Applied Mathematics or Master in System Analysis and Management but let's wait when I hold my diploma in my hands:) Maybe something will change in future, but now my decision is to cease my further academic education for several reasons. This will help me concentrate on other things.

Important personal stuff. Well, this blog is intended to be purely with programming-related topics, but there is something that I cannot ignore to mention. I'm going to get married!:) And it will happen in a month. That also explains why I was so busy lately:) You congratulations are welcomed in comments :-P

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Google Summer of Code 2011: didn't pass as well

Yesterday Google announced accepted student proposals of Google Summer of Code. To be honest I had a hope to pass at least on one of my applications, but unfortunately I both of them were unsuccessful. What I don't like in such selections that I don't have any feedback to know what's wrong with my skills actually:)

What's is your opinion? Should you ask for feedback every time when you don't pass some interview/selection process etc? Please, share you thoughts in comments:)

And some stats. As someone wrote in GSoC IRC channel there were ~5.7 thousands of applications from ~ 3.2 thousands students. And as you probable now 1,116 students passed to coding phase. Not too large rivalry, I think - approximately only three people for one ticket. So I can make conclusion that either I haven't made good choice of projects that meet my qualification (I tried to get Python ones even I haven't too much experience on it), or my qualification weren't just enough to apply to global program of such level:) Well, no luck here and I should just move on.

BTW I discovered that my Microsoft Certification Pack voucher expired on June 30, 2011, so I should take any MS exam by that date in order not to loose my precious money:) Seeking advice from my friend I'll take ASP.NET exam most probably. So if I don't pass this exam, he will be responsible for that :) Just kidding :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

IBM Great Minds 2011: my failed attempt

That is nothing new already but I want you to know that I'm failed once more time:) This time it was Great Minds student internships 2011 at IBM Research – Zurich.

IBM Great Minds is a great opportunity for students who pursue the Master degree in computer science related fields. If your application is successful, you'll be able to try yourself as researcher in IBM research center with compensation adequate to living expenses.

Of course I haven't had big chances to pass their application process, but definitely it was worth a try. At that moment I was really unsure (and now I'm still a bit unsure) what way to choose  - to go in research or in software development. So I prepared required documents and asked vice-dean to sent them to IBM.

Well, I didn't pass:) I tried to apply to similar program at IBM Research – Haifa but I didn't pass there as well. As I said I had only vague hopes but anyway it was a little disappointment for me.

It is to be regretted that I haven't found out what exactly my weak qualifications made me not to pass applications. Of course such info is always helpful  as you can take it into account and use for self-improvement. Unfortunately they didn't provide me that information even after I'd asked them for that.

Anyway I'm optimistic about a lot of other great opportunities in the software development/computer science world:) Even if there are a bit less of them when you finish your master's:)

The one who searches will find, and for the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New commenting system on my blog: DISQUS

My previous post showed me that I need threaded commenting system on my blog:) So after a bit of research I chose DISQUS mainly because I saw it before on some other blogs.

So enjoy my new commenting system where you can reply to someone directly, like some comment, use your Twitter or Facebook account to log in and use other cool features :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Google Summer of Code 2011: don't miss it!

It is almost unbelievable that I haven't heard about this program before, especially taking into account that this is already seventh year when it takes place. So what is that actually?

In short it is a global program for students who would like to work on some interest open-source project, to get working experience and by the way to get money for that:) Yeah, Google pays $5000 to every successful participant. Not a big money actually for three months if you have more or less good job (I'm talking about Ukraine, of course), but as for me it is quite possible that I'd give up my work if I get a chance to work on a really interesting project.

Anyway if you are still student as of April 25, 2011 and you would like to become a part of something interesting don't miss your chance! The deadline for an application is April 8. Not too much time's left. Where to start? Read the Frequently Asked Questions page, check out the list of 175 mentoring organizations and their ideas lists and go ahead with your application!

Even at first sight I found few ideas that could be interesting for me. What's about you? Share your thoughts in the form of comments! :)