Wednesday, December 19, 2012

RyanAir lowering prices by 100£ in Xmas season!

RyanAir is really smart in what they are doing. Based on analytics data can exactly predict who is willing to pay more... Wish I wait a little while before purchasing flights for Xmas:

Today - Wednesday 19th December 220£


3 weeks ago - Friday 30th November 320£


I really mean it - you know your stuff. Mind if I join your online marketing team?


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Charity Hack Review


Writing on the train, formatting and publishing this post from #AngelHack

First Hack: BeMyApp with Tomasz Jureczko. We did it!

Next Hack: GoogleTV won with @nodisonaur and @fraserhardy_uk That was such a shock to win!

Another weekend: GameHack - giagantic TV studio venue. Then I realized to focus on JS entirely.

CharityHack - that was just by concidence! In 2011 I worked for Twisted Records, home of artists such as Shpongle and Hallucinogen. I knew I'm coming to London so I arranged with @pornelski to leave my suitcase. You are going to hackathon? Lovely, see you there :) So here we are, in a super hip mansion, in the heart of Richmond, one of the top premium London location...

***


  • I came first on stage to pitch idea.
  • Actually I was thinking about this some time now and honestly: I have no clear outlook.
  • They say it's a people not technology problem, what I know there is something on the case.
  • With no clear winner I titled the last slide "please help connect the dots".
  • I couldn't have received better feedback, this week on AngelHack I'll work on something else.


***


  • I really liked couple of projects and personalities.
  • I have immediately jumped into Twilio quiz game.
  • I'm a great fan of Twilio, I used their service do activate Google Voice by responding with DTFM codes: How to enable Goole Voice outside the US
  • Their API couldn't have been any simpler, the learning curve enables you to run "hello world" in no time.
  • Unfortunately there were no Three reception so debugging phone calls were not that easy :)


***

8:00pm 16 hours to go. I'm recording video, publishing to Youtube. This could be subject of another story, as two-step Google authentication don't like Youtube app on iOS 6.0.

9:00pm video uploaded, on my way to Twistival... I don't really like the word "party" - with people coming from US, Japan, Australia it's more like a intergalactic summit than just a "party".

10:30pm So I'm there... Disposable throw-away laptop, 32GB Go Pro with external battery. People were staring at my buffet, it must have been a funny view: everyone slighly more than tipsy and me trying to connect to WiFi. Dropping internet connection. So no live streaming on this occassion.

6:00am End of the event.

7:00am First DLR

8:30am Back in Richmond.


Final stretch

7:00pm Google Campus. Flashing WRT. Detailed tutorials, my mental juices drained, viva la powernap!

10:00pm Hackspace. Following the rule number zero I'm not on fire.

12:00pm Catching some sleep.

6:45am train to Cambridge, writing this post.

8:30am almost at home.

9:30am Breakfast, shower, ready for yet another productive week at work!

****

Now, one week later I'm also on the train... 
What happens next - depends on you :)




If you noticed a few boxes this is because I'm jumping off the cliff and moving to London: TechnologyStartup.tumblr.com


You can call me Accessibility Consultant. Last 6 months I was working on screenreaders, high-contrast mode, keyboard navigation, focus management and basically making all the front-end stuff more accessible to the users.

1 second faster load → 7% rise of conversions! 
(I can clearly sell these skills, I can simply show you money)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Charity Hack

Thank you so much,

It was a fantastic weekend!


[shameless self promotion] 
Selling everything, everything must go (moving to London babe)
[/shameless self promotion] 

[update 1] Video:


[update 2] Press coverage:

- fundraising.co.uk
- Jamie Parkins
- charityhack.org
- mintdigital.com/blog
- #charityhack

Computer:

- failure of HDD, purchased SSD
- installed Hackint0sh
- not quite happy with lack of WiFi support
- resulted in Win8
- no tools, no nothing, fresh install

Journey:

- careful planning (bus, train, tube, walk)
- minor delay, ended up being 41st (no RasPi on this occassion)
- rushing to get demo recorded (and then went straight to the party)
- return via Google Campus and Hackspace
- productive 45 mins on the train to Cambridge (just enough to write this post, formatting at home)

Charity Hack:

- the smartest people, the latest and greatest technologies
- I mean this is crowd to hang out with
- PayPal: backbone of the internet
- abundance of premium food and drinks
- seriosuly there was a cool supply of goodies

250k Angel Hack:

- next weekend
- same time as SilliconMilkroundabout
- Lord Sugar offers 250k (BBC The Apprentice)
- Springboard effective valuation is 250k (3 founders 5k each for 6% shares, see article)
- recover, plan, prepare: GET YOURSELF READY !!!

Twistival:

- Twisted Records - independent label with vibrant history
- classic, theatrical venue (Troxy)
- people coming from Japan, Australia, US to see it LIVE
- some of them stranded because of the hurracine and flights cancellation
- fantastic staff, all the contractors (bar, cloakroom, security)  doing their job dilligently

Presentation:

- received fantastic feedback
- let it go completely, was in the flow, was having fun
- got it recorded, headmount camera as Google Glass for poor
- need to practice pronouncation and dealing with awkward questions
- will do this for the living as community manager at Basho (makers of Riak)

(mobile screenshot of a tweet containing...)

Winners:

- I knew the winners in sense I knew who is going to win :)
- having seen their progress on Saturday I was opting do some work and join them
- apparently there were no more work to do
@pornelski and @noamso were ready to go on Sunday morning
- all they were doing on Sunday were rephrasing call-to-actions and prepping for the demo!


Random thoughts:

- there is a notion of "reinventing email" - see presentation
- technical problems apply to everyone, live with it
- mind your target audience, hack for lulz OK, talk with VC is not
- London, Richmond, mansion (Whittaker House), PayPal, Twisted... (good to be in a good company)
- like the concept of sepating hardware and intellectual property (cheap disposable devices, just like RasPi)

Checkpoints:

- 45 likes and 2 comments in 27 minutes (twitter)
- DLR  (twitter)
- seriously cool car in Shoreditch (instagram)
- RFID door to IRC channels (internet of things, Google Campus, Hackspace)
- Basho at night:



About me:

- reinventing myself: MichalStefanow.com

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I am the Hacker

Everything I want to do is either not possible, prohibited, penalized or forbidden by law.

Recently I've learnt to mind the target audience. In this case the Target Audience is me. Just saying that is increasingly frustrating to encounter technological boundaries.

***

Best interface is no interface. Why my phone doesn't know which app I want to launch? Why do I have to use all these devices?



Currently there is a huge movement of hardware startups:



***

And here is the problem:
- Dell Latitude D430
- broken hard drive (Samsung HS082HB)
- need replacement, preferably SSD
- why would I use SSD if I can use a SD card
- there are literally no 1.8'' SD to ZIF converters!



Well, there is
- 1.8'' Compact Flash to ZIF on Amazon for £15 (full search results)
- Minimum Order Quantity: 10 Pieces on Alibaba

I'll just probably buy a SSD... But why? They say you can get anything on Amazon / eBay / Alibaba unless (big hairy unless) you have specific needs...

Monday, October 8, 2012

8 things to remember when upgrading Xen Server

Working for Citrix give me the opportunity to do fantastic stuff in the server room. Last Friday we have upgraded XenServer to 6.1 and I would like to explain in layman terms what it takes to work in a lab:




1) Test your own
Naturally I first practised at my own private box.

2) Extra CD
You never know if particular drive likes particular disc.
This will also enable you to do things in parallel.

3) Do it on weekend
People not being able to carry on with their job? You know the answer: no no.

In case of failure: less impact.
No wonder why all major upgrades are in wee hours.

4) Keep it up to date
We've noticed that there were previously installed some patches, such as: "Driver Disk for Broadcom bnx2 v2.72.13 - For XenServer 6.0.2 with Hotfix XS602E007" Quirki name, isn't it? You'd better off applying all patches for security and performance!

5) Paperclip
Speaking of CD trays. They haven’t been used in months, occasionally they got stuck. Need to straigten paperclip to get job done.

6) BIOS boot menu
In some cases it was sufficient to insert CD. In most cases you will have manually specify boot order by pressing F2, F10, F12, DEL or any other button.

7) Label everything
Date. Version. IP. Post-it notes do not behave properly in aircon room they are flying everywhere. Be creative.

8) Go cloud
Why would anyone want do all of these? Go virtual, go cloud.
Hovewer at some point it must run on a physical box.

In general - afternoon in lab was a great experience. Right now I know: I would really like to build my own cloud and be independent! :)



Remember: shit happens, see Natwest meltdown. It's data and labour that are expensive, hardware and electricity in comparison cost peanuts. If I were to deploy some top-tier system there will be off-site mirroring.

Note to self: next time screw CD, boot from LAN!

Note to Xen: please allow upgrades with not the slightest downtime... It should be possible now: hot swap running VM... Interesting area indeed :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Section 508 Accessibility Compliance

In July I haven't committed a single line of code

Rescue Time indicated that I was using Word and Outlook (hate with passion) most of the time to produce some documentation. Here is extract from Section 508 (wiki):
Amendment that requires Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities comparable to the access to and use of the information and data by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities; 

Among many other things it required each element to accessible using keyboard. I actually suggested to surround divs an tag rather than assigned a tabindex (that would require changing the tabindex of all elements present on the website).

After giving it a second thought I realized there must be some kind of tabindex=auto. And here we are tabindex=0 is your friend, my friend!

Here is jsFiddle:




And here is insightful discussion on StackOverflow with critical examples when it breaks IE. General advice: use your common sense:
Finally HTML5 offers pretty much no guarantees about the tab order between elements that have a tabindex of 0, merely stating that it should follow platform conventions.
Following platform conventions is enough reason for me, don't really need to worry about reinventing the wheel. 

PS. Here is my "normal" efficiency graph:
Yeah, just signup using this link.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why #CiscoCloud let people down?

London Olympics 2012.
Inspire a generation.
Billions of people watching TV.
Huge event in general.
Shameful amounts of money spent.
Now imagine marketing...

#CiscoCloud



1) CitrixTV
Brad Peterson on CitrixTV - known as Citrix Chief Demo Officer with his famous iJacket and iTie:



2) Evening Standard


3) Crowd stewards


4) Huge banner "Visit the CiscoCloud in the park" 

Invitations Only FTW!

PR message sent: "we are corporate, do not bother contacting us, we are so important"

I was actually expecting this to be accessible only for the ticket holders - see the official map:

But I wouldn't be was left disappointed if not their marketing efforts - they wanted me to be there!

Speaking of marketing


While hundreds of people work hard so you cannot use words such as: summer, 2012, London you can still pass your message relatively easy:



Of course I tried the traditional to get tickets traditional way: the second I pull out cardboard "tickets" the steward was there telling me that buying and selling tickets in Olympic Park means one thing: arrest. Police officer told me about "here", "there" and borderline of the Olympic Park... Actually basically no chance on getting tickets on site (been there, tried that)


Couple of slides: You will never do it (March 2011) - as you see it's only one click away:




[update 16 Aug 2012] Tom's hardware: "personal or private access points, along with 3G hubs and a ton of other items, are not allowed inside" - see photo:

PS. I moved to London (February 2011) to experience the cutting edge. Now when Games are over what else is there?

Friday, August 10, 2012

What's the reason of find my iPhone if it does not work without internet access?

Post inspired my noble case described hereWiredHacker News, etc...

What's use of  find my iDevice one may wonder?


Apple forum"But the reality is most thieves are well versed in how to restore a stolen iPad as a new device, so it's probably lost for good."

Apparently there is nothing that could prevent prevent serious crime. It only works if you left your phone in a  cafe for 5 mins. Here is some marketing on Apple website. Exactly, it does not protect from theft, just against misplacing:

Additionally: There are some security features on Mac:
Is there any thief who not knowing the password is able to the connect computer o WiFi? Cannot really wait for the first PR stunt similar CIA Prey case. IMO false sense of security is worse than no security. 


Stay reasonable



There are kensington locks to "deterrent to prevent opportunist theft". Why don't include GPS sensor in high-end, special purposes laptops (e.g. toughbooks) and market them as an improved security?

Discussion on Make (from 2006) with some links and again some PR bullshit  (see report on Intel / Dell):


Hardware is actually peanuts: Average laptop replacement: $1,582.22, roughly 3% of total cost!

Estimated cost of intellectual property of business information is extreme case is $250m. Do basic math, that is why the average is ridiculously high. Another interesting finding: having the backup increases the costs of lost laptop!



Stay reasonable 


Here is my explanation: there were 130 laptops in the survey. Only part of them had a backup. Assumption: people who have backups do have data to backup. Thus the average cost of stolen laptop with backup was higher... By no means having the backup increases the cost of stolen laptop, it was just me rephrasing the sentence to add some dramatic effect.


You should do it: I did it long time ago and I sleep really well - 2-step auth for Gmail, follow Matt Cutts.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

How to enable Google Voice outside the US?

You cannot have Google Voice outside the US, do you? That's a shame... Well... I actually managed to do it :)

Simple steps:
• In order to have Google Voice you need to be based in US
• Use VPN.
• Create fresh Google Acount.
• Confirm your phone number (type in "50" when called) 
• Have phone number. 
• Buy from Twilio: 1$ / month.
• Set up basic response.
Support forum: record DTFM! Dual-tone multi-frequency signaling - all these beep sounds are just predifined frequencies. 
• 4 lines of code

It's all about comunication!

After experiencing Twilio I can absolutely positively say: this is the way to incorporate calling and texting into your app. It is so simple. Now it comes with texting support in 150 countries! Wish I could go into the wild and observe how people are using their mobiles. I'm just aware that living in UK with newest Apple gear, unlimited 3G, fast-reliable broadband and working in the the Cloud I have no real image on how people are using technology (I live in the bubble)

Economist.com: "mobile banking in some African countries has reached extraordinary levels"

TL;DR


Who is already incorporating texting into the apps?

Airbnb is doing it really well, although it is missing 00 before country code and response is not delivered. Bug or feature?

Speaking of Airbnb - I do really enjoy all UI and user experience! Fantastic job, made with love. Register on Airbnb to visit our Hacker House it's only £13.37 per night.  Here is my CouchSurfing profile so now you know that this not about the money. I invite world to come to my place because we don't travel much at the moment and here is why:



Meet Gaia, my beloved daughter! :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What is the best Operating System Screen Reader? (answer is: Chrome)

Chrome

Features of ChromeBook (apparently text to speech isn't featured)

ChromeVox manual (baked in in into ChromeOS)

You can install it from Chrome Web Store

Mac OS


Windows:
Research says that most of the screenreaders users are using Windows.



Windows is not that expensive.

But the software is.

Option 1

Option 2

Such a shame built in narrator does not read HTML.

I would say this is the best engine Ivona Text To Speech


Do you know why Windows is the most popular operating system among screenreader users?


Or maybe the research was performed in corporate environment where everyone is using Windows?

Friday, July 13, 2012

8 Reasons why to use Google Docs (over SharePoint)

Michal Stefanow absolutely positively recommends Google Docs:

  • Simultaneous editing
  • Chat window
  • Easy access from any device
  • Linking to a particular paragraph in URL
  • No need to login, convenient permission management
  • I can work in the office across Windows 7, iMac and home computer
  • Features like headers, styles, table of contents are simpler therefore easier to use...
  • ...I haven’t seen a .docx document in the company that uses 10% of Word features








Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

I am the Specialist

There are a thousand reasons to hire me.

I did a couple of things I am really proud of.


991) Launched mobile app to Android Market within 48hrs:


992) Established relationships on various events:
  • Facebook Developer Garage London
  • PHP London
  • Devnest
  • Social Media World Forum
  • UX London
  • Digital Shoreditch
  • Internet World
  • silicon milkroundabout
  • eBusiness Bootcamp
  • World Internet Summit
  • Search Marketing Expo (New York)


993) New language to the team assets (38m emerging market in Central Europe) and I am not afraid to speak:


994) I code a little bit:


995) First website 11 years ago. First job 6 years ago. First campaign 2.5 years ago. 39% CTR:

(I am taking part in Google Engage for Agencies programme and I have received GAP certificate)

996) 1m views on Facebook and 1% CTR:




997) Reclaimed legendary page and generated 1k likes:


998) My idea went viral and gained 8k shares in 7 days:

(other service: 11k votes and 60 comments)

999) You can name boards and fabric a "startup". Currently: 20k fans on Facebook:


1000) I play bridge on world-class level.(World Bridge Federation). It prooves analytical skills:




Looking for challenging opportunities.

Willing to change the World.


mstefanow@gmail.com


LAST BUT NOT LEAST:


I can be humble, I can be proud. I have obtained MSc in Computer Science from the second largest technical university in Poland. That makes me look positive into the future.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Olympic Opinion

Go and visit: OlympicOpinion.com


That was something really great! Tomasz is an amazing guy and expert in his field (he works for BBC and launches his company soon).

This photo from Flickr become my favourite:


And I realized I do really need to work on my accent - I speak like Borat. Some media coverage from CNET:


Hell Yeah! OlympicOpinion.com

BTW: I am the specialist!