|1 Sept 2014:||
Really long time since the last update - reason is, updating the webpage is more time-consuming than using any other social network. In other platforms it is basically quick and you tend to write a lot less :)
Lots has been happing this summer, I have been back to Italy and Elba Island for vacation, then some days in the mountains and even though the weather was not really the best one (probably the worse in 30 years or so...) it has been quite enjoyable. I also had the occasion to present at the SEAA14 conference and it was a nice experience, first time I was at this conference, but I found it really well organized. I also had the occasion to meet many researchers I knew before in other occasions and/or projects and/or conferences.
I think it is unfeasible to update constantly this blog on the website, I am already in trouble updating on all social networks I am using that is facebook, twitter, flickr plus the institutional page - too much time is lost in updating all with the risk that you leave some of the platforms behind. So I am basically posting most of the updates on Twitter for the time being, it is also easier as I can link all the platforms together.
You can follow me on twitter as brrossi75.
|22 Oct 2013:||
At the moment I also started supervising students here, and I have 3 so far that either started/starting. Very likely I will have overall something like 7-10 students per year to supervise, so this will be quite different than having just 2-3 - the time devoted to each student will be clearly reduced.
The Call for Papers for OpenSym 2014 is also out: http://opensym.org/os2014, submissions are welcome and I started publicizing the call also inside my new institution. This is also the first CfP with my new affiliation.
After being almost for two months in Czech Republic, I start getting used to the local customs.
So far, I have identified some pro and cons of living here:
In the meantime I have also configured the Raspberry Pi as a sort of media center. The only component I needed to by was a monitor. I did not install software such as XMBC or OpenElec, but just with Raspbian and Omxplayer, I think the results are quite good. In particular the guide at this address was quite useful. There are many more out there that use some other scripts.
I should also update a bit the status on facebook, I actually spent some time in the last month stabilizing the position here - as well as to fix several issues back home.
|17 Sept 2013:||
For the first lab of Java Enterprise Systems I had the occasion to have a look at some of the new features of Java7 that I never used before (mostly because I was stuck with version 6). I particularly like automatic resource management, it should really lead to less verbose (and potentially less buggy code). Also multi-catch exceptions seem really a cool feature. The simplification of the instantiation with the diamond operator is a good feature, but maybe is a bit late - we are really used to the more verbose syntax. While I wonder about the usage of some features like underscores for literals, probably only the in some special cases those are really appreaciated.
Watching the students at the lab i was also wondering whether students that perform better are those that have more talent or practice or both. It remembered me the following article based on Herbert Simon's thoughts: http://nuovoeutile.it/metodo-48-la-pratica-deliberata-e-tutto (sorry it is in Italian), that reports how deliberate practice is needed to develop the skills of one person: talent is not enogugh. Furthermore, this is deliberate practice, that is practicing constantly and really in a focused way on activities we do worse - the difficulty lies exactly in this: practicing obsessively on activities that have long term benefits. Just one aspect I might not agree on is about the time necessary to acquire excellence, probably in early phases of life the time required would be less than in more developed personalities. Nevertheless, really an interesting article to read.
From abroad I got really passionate about Italian tv discussing about politics: really watched from here they are kind of hilarious - discussing for weeks about the same topic, and being always at the same point. It seems like the The Tartar Steppe (Il deserto dei Tartari), always waiting for something to happen. Being in Italy is not really funny at all. Seen from abroad it is.
Switching topic again, here in Czech Republic there are really many castles (as it is also discussed here http://www.travelblog.it/post/12543/8-cose-che-forse-non-sapete-della-repubblica-ceka). You would spend a life probably visiting all of them. For the moment, I managed to see three of them: Spilberk castle (obviously, it's here in Brno), Veveri castle (just 20min. from the city) and the Lednice castle (a bit farther away 50min.).
|9 Sept 2013:||
Arrived in Brno already from one week, so far I enjoyed my stay at the faculty, I got the office, parking place, now I need to find a more permanent apartment for the upcoming months. Let's see. It does not seem true for the moment not to have to deal with projects (yet) and bureacracy, this is probably the only advantage of not knowing the language. I can set my research plan for the upcoming months and prepare for the teaching that starts next week - that is good the sooner it starts, the sooner it ends :)
I will be teaching two labs the first semester, Enterprise Java and Software Engineering I. The former as I understood is one of the most advanced programming courses for the Master. The latter is mostly focused on teaching UML at the Bachelor level. It will be a new experience with such a large number of students.
I was reading the books for the courses in this initial week and I found that Effective Java by Joshua Bloch is quite an interesting book. First of all it is a more advanced book on the Java Programming language, so it does not waste time on explaining the basics. Secondly, because - according to the author and I could not agree more - it is not a book about the Java syntax or in general about the Java programming, but it gives hints about the best practices when developing using the language, e.g. should I use composition or inheritance? When should I convert per-generics code to the usage of generics and how? These are all matters that I did not find in other books.
It is also interesting to read books written by authors part of the committees behind the standardization of languages. They reveal many details about the decisions that were taken. As an example, another book I liked is C++ Primer by Lippman. Massive, but with lots of details that you can also skip if not necessary.
|31 Aug 2013:||
From tomorrow I will be joining the Lab of Software Architectures and Information Systems (LASARIS) at the Department of Computer Systems and Communications, Masaryk University, Brno (Czech Republic). I am really looking forward this new experience! I will be travelling tomorrow to Brno.
|18 Aug 2013:||
It has been another fantastic week on the mountains, weather has been really nice - last year it wasn't so, and it is quite sad to be in the mountains with bad weather. I also realized, as many aspects of life, that the "flow" exists also for mountain biking, that is: the more you bike, the more performant you will become, the more difficult tracks you will do, and in the end the more you will like to bike again. At the end of one week, paths that were fatiguing at the beginning become relatively easy, it is all a matter of training and also experience. We have this kind of addiction also in our daily work: the more papers/book you read, the more you would like to read, the more papers you write the more you would like to prepare next, and so on. Probably this does not work for teaching, as I do not think there is something as: the more exams you correct the more you would like to :)
|10 Aug 2013:||
Relaxed really a lot during the vacations in Tuscany, how many beautiful places are there to discover - just one week is not probably enough :) The sad thing is, even the most uncontaminated beaches are really too much crowded. In fact, even beaches that can only be reached by boat are "assaulted" by tourists.
I am supervising three students for their Master thesis currently, and having the smartphone is really one of the greatest things to be kept updated and provide directions. I remember years ago after coming back home to have the inbox full of messages, now you can just answer those that are more important and leave the rest for when you are back. In my opinion, this is more stressfull than having all the "news" at the end of the vacation. Surely, in this way you never really "switch off" from work, but it is really cool to answer mails on the beach :) Also, this is the period of the year in which you can take one or two books with you and read them without being interrupted. In fact, this is what I did :)
Next week, the vacation on the mountains will be quite more movimented: hiking seldomly and mountain biking almost every day. Also here one charge of the smartphone will be gone per day, even more considering that it will be used as router wifi for the laptop.
|31 Jul 2013:||
Left CASE at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano - it has been difficult after so many years, but we all have to look forward and take decisions that can be sometimes a bit harsh. I am really grateful to all the colleagues and friends over the years!
|14 Jul 2013:||
One thing that is really a pity in my opinion is when you see so many *potential* good photos on facebook and similar social networks ruined by a bad exposure. Beautiful scenaries and scenes with skies and mountains that are washed out. The same happens when I look at photos that I took some years ago, I always wonder: how could I have taken those pictures and consider those as relatively good at the time? This actually happens every time I let the photos "mature", so it is not only a matter of experience :)
I remember when I first bought my digital camera that I thought that photographing would have been quite a simple activity: you find an interesting subject, you frame and you shoot. In reality, this is quite different process and quite complex to take into account all the different variables. Even if you frame the subject as you want, there is light that influences the whole outcome (clearly if we discuss natural light sources) and you cannot ignore this fact, so probably you compensate the exposure. To the extreme, there are really two times of the day that are ideal for photographing: either immediately after sunrise and before the sunset (see http://www.photographymad.com/pages/view/the-golden-hour-in-photography). Now, as non-professional, if you had to follow this rule you will be missing many shots :)
Also, in my experience, it is really difficult to get the best picture in terms of contrast directly from the camera, so some sort of post-processing I think is the best option. I generally prefer to intentionally underexpose an image, but I have seen this depends also on the type of camera. I think that in all the services that allow the upload of pictures there should be an option to apply a kind of automatic optimization of pictures, at least to have a preview of the results. Even though all equipments have now an option for automatic editing, having an automatic enhancement (that the user can decide whether to apply or not), can be a good option to give to users.
|25 Jun 2013:||
Got a Sony Vaio S with SSD, and it is really an awesome machine. My initial impression is that in any case the design is a bit sacrificed to robustness compared to laptops of other brands I had in the past, at least from the first trials. It really takes just a couple of seconds to boot. It came with Microsoft Windows 8 preinstalled (there is no option to have it without OS...), so I installed Ubuntu 13.04 in dual boot. It was really a lot of effort to make it work due to settings in the BIOS (the new UEFI), secure boot options, anti-theft mechanisms, etc... Basically, by keeping the standard settings you could not even boot a live cd... I also got the impression that some vendors make the process more difficult, e.g. there is not a single SSD drive, but there are two SSDs put in RAID (in this case, this is a fake-raid configuration supported by new harware). This obliges to use dmraid in Linux for the support and makes partitioning a bit more problematic, not to tell that the installation of grub at the end of Ubuntu's installation fails. In any case, I successfully managed to have a dual boot configuration with Ubuntu 13.04 and Windows8. Just some funny aspects of the installation:
For the configuration of SSD, I found the following guide quite useful: https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/ssd
Some things I learned: when there is such a paradigm shift such as the usage of SSD disks, some optimizations are useless if not harmful. Take an example the defragmentation of an SSD: it makes no sense and on the other side it will reduce the life of you SSD. There are a couple of interesting articles on this technology on Communications of the ACM: http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2012/12/157869-anatomy-of-a-solid-state-drive/abstract. The interesting part is about building reliable equipment by means of layering on top an unreliable media (that is the percentage of errors during write operations is way higher than in media such as hard disks). Error correction is quite a serious issue here and it is partly dealt with other layers that take into account error correction. I guess new students will not have the initial approach with CS by observing an hard-drive rather an SSD drive (or better both of them).
|13 Mar 2013:||
While managing a software project with a "real" stakeholder, I got a grasp with the difficulties in managing requirements. From all of this, I got some leasson learnt, that I report here:
These are just some considerations, you can go even further with them. Collecting all of them as well as some of the key sentences during requirements elicitation would make a funny reading.
|15 Dec 2012:||
Snow in Bolzano... It is always nice as Christmas approaches. After Helsinki, I am looking into going to Brno, on Monday. I think it will be a useful experience, as the previous one. I am almost finishing the courses for this semester, only one IOSOA lab and we are on the right track, the best teams will probably manage to accomplish what required at the beginning. Also the RDSS course is right on track.
I am focusing currently on a replication paper, plus on porting the EMSE projects into some published work. I have seen in the past, that is detrimental to let the students' momentum fade away. So, if something can come out of such work, better to get it out as soon as possible!
|8 Dec 2012:||
I was in Helsinki last week, visiting Aalto Univerisity, really a nice city with a friendly population. As you can see on the left, quite cold, -14 Celsius degrees...More than the temperature, and climate, I would say that the short duration of daylight can be an issue. For sure, you can really stay focused, very likely you enter office in the morning and exit in the evening without seeing the sun. Nevertheless, I managed to spend lots of money in local gadgets and gifts for Christmas. I had some time also to visit the center of Helsinki, and walk around a bit. There was still snow from previous days, still it has been a nice walk, even though I could not really plan in advance the visit, so I was just randomly walking around and shopping. I will publish the pictures on Flickr, as soon as I will have time.
|29 Oct 2012:||
Got the focus for two EMSE projects, so two projects will start at the same time. One really took some time to narrow it down to a specific issue, but it has been really worth doing. It is also nice (well depends from the points of view) if you do a literature review, you find a good reference from 1999, you get an idea for a research to be performed on the topic, and then you discover that it has been already done, but only in 2011...
Over the weekend I also prepared Wednesday's lecture with specific focus on the labs. I extended the part about BDD with more details. Still, I think it is too early to talk about Maven integration, although Yesterday I created a project that integrates Maven and BDD, so potentially it can also deployed into a continuous integration tool. At that point students should really have all that is needed in place to develop based on requirements and acceptance tests. As I told, I really care more about the process followed rather than the final product (this is already seen in many courses). So, I care more about the specification of requirements and the acceptance and prioritization done, rather than the final quality or unit test coverage.
In theme with the period, I started yesterday watching the first season of the Walking Dead, as I missed all the first 6 episodes. So now I got the occasion to record them, and I watched the first one over the weekend, really good series. I would also like to see the difference with the comic. As reported by some people, there should be many differences.
|25 Oct 2012:||
I think students liked this first showing of Behaviour Driven Programming (BDD), or at least they have to adapt to this little mindset change. Let's see when it will be applied for their project. There is really much to discuss about, and the documentation is not really so detailed. For example, the integration with Maven is really just mentioned.
|24 Oct 2012:||
I was trying out a Tokina 50-135 that I got used from UK, and it seems really good. It does not have stabilization, so this has to be taken into account when shooting. At least the size and weight is reduced compared to other lenses like the 80-200 or 50-150. This is the main reason why I got it.
I did not have many chances to test it, so I just started photographing the moon. It can seem simple to photograph, but if you think a bit, it is emitting (by sun's reflection) a lot of light. So clearly, even if you have a camera worth $5.000, if you do not customize the settings, you will not get anything out of it. So, the results seen at the left was obtained with spot metering, -4.0 exposure, f/7.1 (I did not have a tripod), 1/250, ISO200.
If you search on Google how to photograph the moon on the web, at the current moment I found 9,560,000 hits (I do not know how many of them are really relevant). Some even give you the suggested settings according to the moon phase... Interesting is that if you input "how to photograph", the suggested searches are "...lightning", "...stars", "...moon", and "...jewelry". Now, I find the last one a bit funny :)
|23 Oct 2012:||
Curious to see how students will evaluate Behaviour Driven Programming (BDD) during tomorrow's lab. Clearly, it is something a bit different for the validation of requirements. It should be even taught during the first lab of a second semester course on programming at the Bachelor level. I would say, before of seeing unit testing.
|12 Oct 2012:||
The thesis defence of one of my students went well. He could have done a bit more from the technical point of view, but overall I was happy with what has been produced. All the questions that were made were foreseen, and I completely agreed on the points made. It is always nice to discuss openly about issues. This thesis has also been the starting point for a project that will start in the upcoming weeks.
|2 Oct 2012:||
Finished the paper on linchpin developers. Completely rewritten the last part of the paper, so everything needed to be synchronized and updated. Submitted and that's it...
Lectures will start tomorrow - so let's see, just curious to see the new students: every year they have different competences and expectations.
|1 Oct 2012:||
Heading towards finishing the paper on linchpin developers, last week during the preparation for the LUNA event, I managed to finish the analysis part for the last section of the paper, now I need to wrap-up and to finish write the paper.
|28 Sept 2012:||
Presented at the LUNA - Lunga Notte della Ricerca event. It has been a useful experience, I think, plus we got lot of visitors. Also, what works in theory about the layout of the stand, did not really work in practice (as usual). We had the idea to let people reach the end of the stand to get in touch with the smartphones with the installed apps, but really few entered so deep into the room. Also, few noticed the research poster on one side of the room, although it had a spot light. The attention was captured more from the videos, visitors did not really care about the alarms generated on the cellphones, so what we did was to take the phones and go around the room.
|26 Sept 2012:||
Looking at all the social networks, and the current website, I wonder why I have currently three different pictures...
|25 Sept 2012:||
I do not know why, but suddently I came out with the following story. "Once upon a time a king and a queen were in charge of a large reign. They had the largest reign of all the neighbouring ones and they were majority in the council of union of the reigns. They were somehow strict, and they were just assigning tasks to servants according to their personal tournaround. They were happy, others were not. They were continously praising themselves. At some point some servants started to leave, but they did not care, as the were just at the base of the pyramid and they were still the largest reign. Then, at some point, two important counsellors left, and the reign became the smallest one in terms of representativity within the union of the reigns. At this point, the king and the queen started to introduce a somehow more democratic process, so they called all the knights to the meetings. It was just too late." How will this story end? I hope not like in Kentaro Miura's Berserk...
|24 Sept 2012:||
Back from Photokina in Koeln, it was really a nice event. The trip was quite long, 10hrs by car due to rain and traffic, but it was fun. Also the city deserves a visit. Posted some pictures on facebook, but as soon as I finish uploading older pictures, then I will also upload a more interesting - and complete - overview of the event.
What's interesting during the fair, is that you can get lenses and cameras to test while walking around. I tried the Sigma 80-200mm 2.8 that I was tempted to buy, but I really found it quite heavy (as most lenses of this class) to carry around for a long period of time. So I am heading towards other alternatives to complement the Sigma 17-50 2.8 I currently own. It would be also interesting to substitute in the future the Leica D-Lux 3 that I own with the D-Lux 6 that seems really impressive. The other updates (4 and 5) were not justified by the specs, in my opinion. Let's see, it is not even on the market currently...
|21 Sept 2012:||
Wondering why some people are so bad at managing human resources. It is not that some people turns against you one day from the other. It is a process. If you cannot see this, then you should not be managing people.
Heading Koeln for the Photokina event. I am really curious about the event!
|19 Sept 2012:||
Developing the idea for the second part of the paper: querying, scripting, generating networks, running analysis, etc... But seems to be worth. Also the first part of the paper would need to be re-focused a bit.
We run the experiment for the thesis of Max Pergher, we collected useful feedback. Plus, we assigned two usb keys as a prize, extracted from all the participants.
|18 Sept 2012:||
Checked the application for prioritization, and revised the thesis: tomorrow we will have the validation. Let's see what comes out. We promised to give some free usb keys to increase the number of participants.
Got more videos for the AE event: need to assemble them from frames, to show processed versus non processed data, let's see what comes out.
Finally, got the idea for the revision of the last part of the article on linchpin developers, let's see how much time it takes to realize it, given that also the first part of the paper needs to be adapted.
|17 Sept 2012:||
Finished the app for the LUNA meeting during the weekend. Now there is the need to just finish the part about the videos and synchronization.
By the way, my last post was related to the behaviour of colleagues. There is an interesting article on the newspaper: here (in Italian) and here. Apparently colleagues that always complain are bringing down your productivity. If you consult the strategies to deal with them, you discover that it is not always easy... According to one of the authors, exposure to too much negativity destroys your learning, memorization, attention, and judgment capacity. Wow, quite a lot :) What I learned from personal experience, dealing with these guys (and according to a US survey there were 18% on a sample of 30 thousands employees), is that is really difficult to deal with them. From my experience, they find joy in distributing negativity, something that for the listener is not really positive...
|14 Sept 2012:||
Together with Anton (see his website, he is a professional), we set-up a sort of game: if you had to bet 100euros by guessing the name of one person that you will meet in CASE's corridor, which one will you bet on? We came out with two names:) Also, think at all the time spent gossiping. There was an article on Corriere della Sera about how much time we spend in a life in this activity, and the average per person is not really representative in this case. Think at all the things that you can do in a life by replacing/reducing this activity. Clearly, if you do not have other interests...
|13 Sept 2012:||
Adapted the mobile app for the LUNA meeting, just some more changes needed. I would need to check next week the set-up, we already planned to let the whole system run for couple of hours. I also added the logo for the LUNA event.
Also, just a comment, when you touch code written by others, there are two aspects that you really appreciate:correct naming of variables, and encapsulation. It is not nice to wander around the code to look for the purpose of a certain variable, to discover then that when declared there are 2 lines of comments explaining the purpose: why not using a meaningful name from the beginning? Even if the variable will be more than 10 characters, better than writing comments. For encapsulation, using class member variables as a sort of global variables that you modify from every method, is really bad practice, and can lead to buggy code. Each method should have its own input and output parameters and just operate on those. This is just good practice. Really, seeing methods with void inputs that operate on globals is really ugly.
Finished writing the QMSee report, so this can be considered done. Also, got new evidence from Sarunas' law (see my post from the 4th September) - although this time I was not the target.
|12 Sept 2012:||
Together with Juha, we set the plan for the course Infrastructure for Open Service Oriented Architecture. I set-up the topics of the labs, and got idea of all the software to use based on the topics. As usual, when doing a course for the first year, it is difficult to estimate the time needed. For the Requirements and Design of Software Systems course, the second year will be much easier. Plus, I got some ideas to make the course less boring.
Got two additional smartphones for the LUNA meeting, and started looking at the video set-ups. Reviewed the distributed prioritization application, let's see whether with the questionnaires and the validation, there is enough material for a simple paper.
|11 Sept 2012:||
Funny to see another review for a paper you reviewed, just to discover that the reviewer did not have any idea about the area. How do you get this? In a paper about software architecture, if the reviewer complains that one term is not explained (and the term is widely used in the area), then it means that the reviewer did not really get the point. As a submitter of the papers, I would be a bit upset, but it happened to all of us. With 4 reviews, you can easily spot that this is the one that is not accurate. By the way, I like this modality of showing reviews in easychair: you can only see others' reviews once you posted yours. In this way, you are not influenced.
Two projects meetings today, and hopefully the current projects are finished, so that I can be a bit more focused. Still one project report to write. Met Max Pergher for the thesis, and the work is progressing on time, both on the writing side, and on the validation part, that he should finish next week...Difficult to stay focused today with so many different activities, I have also been 2nd at an exam...
|10 Sept 2012:||
Finished all these reviews, plus ready for the project meeting. Reviewed the Master thesis for student Max Pergher that will be finishing in October. I think there is potential to write really a good thesis, from what I have seen so far. Also, by looking at the current prototype, the impression is not yet excellent, due to missing css. I am curious to see the final version with a different style. Clearly, even if all the functionalities are there, it will give a bad impression during the validation, so it is a point on which to focus now.
|7 Sept 2012:||
Finished the paper on requirements prioritization today and submitted it. Better doing this than some useless tasks!
Still need to finish the other paper about linchpin developers, then focusing on some other reviews during the weekend, plus on the preparation for a project meeting next week.
|6 Sept 2012:||
Had a meeting with the LUNA design guys, seems that all is going fine. My only worry is about having videos of enough quality for the projectors. This is something we should get from the company next week. We are then adapting a bit the Android app, let's see what comes out.
|5 Sept 2012:||
Posted two papers reviews, one paper was really good, the other really bad. It is always rewarding after you post, to discover that other reviewers agree with your opinion.
Started the preparation for the LUNA meeting, seems that we are on track, let's see after the meeting of next week. We will need to adapt a bit the Android application, but we got some ideas to avoid possible problems during a live event (like missing network connection with the server).
|4 Sept 2012:||
Currently finishing writing two papers, one on requirements prioritization that will be submitted to SAC2013, the other on linchpin developers to a SE/IS conference. For the paper about requirements prioritization, we are using material from an upcoming thesis, all has been completely rewritten and compacted for the venue. There is potential for another paper based on the second part of the thesis.
I discovered (or better got confirmation) that in CASE, when you are not in the office everybody searches for you, when you are there, nobody does. I would call this Sarunas' Law, accoding to the first author that formalized it, still validation needs to be performed :)