Wednesday, 29 April 2009

3 Degrees

This morning it is 3 degrees Celsius. That was the lowest temperature I have experienced in Melbourne last year. Can only hope that it would be the same this year.
On the other hand, it does not feel that cold. Either I am getting used to these quick changes or I’m paying more attention to clothing this year. :)

Since the Winter is only just starting it is futile to hope it will pass soon. In European terms, this would be the last day of October.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

iGENEA: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Genetic analysis for Bosnia. It appears that Illyrian traces are the most present in Bosnian genetic pool.

Indigenous Peoples in Bosnia-Herzegovina Illyrian 40 % Teuton 20 % Celtic 15 % Slav 15 % Hunnians 6 % Thracians 4 %

See the link below (in German):

iGENEA: DNA Genealogy, Ancestry, Surname

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Online Fantasy and Strategy Games (Free)

I decided to try out some of the new online games and post the results. The focus is on the free games. So far I can recommend the following:

  • Rubies of Eventide (link) - similar to World of Warcraft. Downloadable client 320MB.
And all of the UMGE titles (link):
  • Evony (link) - browser-based game. Done in Flash and very much resembles The Age of Empires. The first proper browser-based game I'm aware of. Shows what these games are supposed to look like.
  • Surge of Valor (link) - downloadable MMORPG client.
  • Leuric (link) - browser-based Flash game with Vikings and Atlantians.
Other games:
  • Warrior Epic (link), downloadable client
  • Glory of Fellowland (link), browser based
  • King War (link)
  • Travian - browser based
  • Adventure Quest (link)
  • 1483 online (link)
  • Holy War (link)
  • Tagoria (link)
  • Cabal Online (link)
  • Silkroad
  • Ikariam, and others (link)
  • Quake Live (link)
Lists of games:

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

EU Visa Regime for Serbia Could End in 2009

Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Vuk Jeremic, after a meeting with EU officials Javier Solana and Oli Rehn, said that the EU visa regime for Serbian citizens could end up this year. This would be a welcome progress in the Balkans region.

In addition, some money from EU pre-accession funds could be directed to aid Serbia soon.

Source: Balkan Insight article

Sunday, 19 April 2009

326 Days

There are 326 days left until my citizenship requirements are met. Today I have looked at the citizenship web site and calculated my requirements date. It appears that on March 12, 2010, I will have the two years of residence, actually two years of physical presence on the Australian soil, which will make me eligible for Australian citizenship. The only other requirement I need to do before then is to apply for the citizenship test. It is free to apply and I reckon I should do this a couple of months before the date is due, just to leave enough room for eventual processing or whatever may appear.

These circumstances made me think of how time flies. It has now been more than a year since my arrival to the new land, new country and lifestyle. Well, it appears to have coincided with the start of the Great Recession so the experiences could have been better. The situation in the IT, and elsewhere, is not that great at the moment and makes me wonder about different things and priorities in life. It certainly is better than back in Bosnia, and probably Europe, but that's not all. A few days ago I have passed my goal mark - the numbers assumed to represent financial independence. Of course, the numbers are way off as the economic landscape has changed significantly but it is still a mark. Only a year ago those numbers and goals were completely different. Just for illustration, the Australian Dollar collapsed about 30% off its peaks in 2007 when I was transferring some savings to Australia. Now it is recovering slowly but is still way off those heights. That simple fact means I am progressing towards my goal way slower than I originally anticipated. On the other hand, maybe things here move more quickly than back home and so any change makes more difference. Whichever is the case, I feel a bit without direction at the moment. I simply can not visualize the next 18 months or set any further goals or plans. Not to mention longer time frames. I can not see that I see myself in any country or continent, any position or any company anywhere in the world.

Lately I started thinking about going solo. Something like consultancy or being a contractor. The negative side is that there is no reliable income stream and this kind of activity is not very common in the Balkans. Plus the recession has already brought the decrease in economic activity and reduction in employment so I am not sure on how that is going to work out with contractual work. Simply too many questions. I guess I should simply enjoy the day and go out. Right now. :)

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Government Stimulus Payment

Today I received a notice from the Australian Tax Office that the stimulus payment has been made into my bank account. Although I knew about the Government’s economic stimulus, I did not know if and how much would I get. So, in a way, I almost forgot about it. Therefore the more surprise and excitement today after I read the notice.

Amazingly enough, this was so unexpected – and other things so thoroughly planned – that I did not know what to do with this extra cash. I see it as a small push forward towards achieving my goals faster.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Coding Weekend

While for some this weekend has been a long one, including and additional two days of Easter holidays, for me it was quite a busy one. After working on Friday and Saturday, I was onto fast-track development in Java, using Eclipse, Google Web Toolkit, and Google Apps framework. I converted my web sites/applications from Python to Java. On the outside, not much can is visible at the first sight. But, the whole underlying technology is changed. Now, having a proper IDE for development and the language that is easier to develop in (for me), plus having tons of libraries available out there and years of development included into it, I’m quite happy to have a framework set up that allows me to improve the web sites with active content relatively easily.

Plugins for Eclipse allow creation of Google Apps web project and deployment to the server. Today I also included Google Web Toolkit. It is a piece I used to ignore but now it seems a perfect fit for an effective UI, utilizing AJAX and very easy development. It uses Java to develop client-side behaviour. Java gets compiled into JavaScript optimized libraries. The UI is very similar to what Google uses in their applications. I find it excellent for what I’m looking to do.

My new project, that includes all these technologies is VanguardPrices. It will have the following features:

  • display the list of funds at Vanguard Australia,
  • accept user input for the date and fund,
  • retrieve the price from the web,
  • store the price into storage,
  • accept the date parameters for chart display,
  • retrieve series of prices from storage for the given period,
  • display prices in a chart.

I’m currently still working on proof of concept for all of the above. Once that is done I will move to assembling these different parts together. Most of these are proven in the past couple of days and I’m looking forward to assembling the pieces together in the near future. The progress so far has been excellent. Hey, Google just announced Java support a few days ago and I’ve only started on Friday! A few times I even wished to change to Java development professionally. :)

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Conspiracy Theories 2

This topic has enough food for thought that it's no wonder why these stories live on and on. Now that it got my interest, finding out that there is so much material, I decided to do a little research. I'll first gather some material and try to pull out some conclusions over time...

See "Truth About Bosnia" part in this article published in Nexus magazine.

A few quotes about Warren Zimmerman and former Yugoslavia, from History Commons, here.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Conspiracy Theories

Yesterday I watched Obama Deception movie (movie page, movie link). It spurred a discussion among the colleagues about all-the-well-known conspiracy theories involving the same groups and organizations – Bilderberg group, Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, etc. These kind of stories remind me of Marty Mystere comic novels and are very entertaining and inspirational.

There are many interesting facts in the movie. One, interesting to me but not mentioned in the movie, was that Mr. Obama was a guest of Council on Foreign Relations within the first month after he was elected the President of the United States.

Another interesting fact is that Lord Carrington is the chairman of the Bilderberg group. He is a former Secretary-General of NATO and an author of one of the first peace plans for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992, even before the actual war started.

Another well-known “Bosnian” is Paddy Ashdown (biography at OHR site) - “Paddy Ashdown failed to declare [to the House of Commons] his 1989 attendance [of the Bilderberg conference]”. (article) He was a High Representative of the EU in Bosnia and Herzegovina for several years. He was the only one who actually removed politicians from power but many claim that his actions in his last years as the High Representative were contradictory.

The Council on Foreign Relations is a bit more public than the other two groups and it is quite enlightening to see the list of corporate members. These are all “too big to fail” companies. :)

A few interesting books on these and other topics, resembling the X-Files themes, were written by Semir Osmanagic. The books are available here. He is the organizing the archaeological site researching pyramids in Visoko, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Here are some interesting links… follows the Bilderberg group. Wikipedia contains articles on all three groups: Bilderberg, Trilateral Commission, and Council on Foreign Relations. There are various other articles on these topics available on the web, like The world’s most powerful secret society.
There is an interview on BBC with Viscount Etienne Davignon, chairman of the Bilderberg group.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Autumns in Australia

This is probably the most beautiful time of year in Australia. Autumns are warm and there is not much rain. Sometimes it rains at night just enough to freshen the plants and keep the parks green. The temperatures these days range between 20 and 30 degrees. This is probably the most pleasant temperature range for humans. The air is pretty dry and even a light breeze will make you feel cooler.

This time of the year reminds me of my arrival here. It has been just more than a year now. And, it’s been a full year since I’ve been at my current job and at my current address. I can’t say much has happened since but it’s been a pleasurable experience.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Svjetlana Cenic Interview at Sarajevo-X

INTERVJU ZA SARAJEVO-X.COM: Svetlana Cenić: "Ovdje će biti revolucije" -

A great summary of the political situation in Bosnia given by Svjetlana Cenic. Not much has changed for the better in recent times and she even foresees some kind of revolution or a similar social upheaval.
I think that would show that people have some initiative after all and so it is not likely to happen. Unfortunately.