Bucharest

openSUSE 11.2 is coming!

Posted by Strainu on November 04, 2009
Open Content, Software / No Comments

Varianta în română o găsiţi aici.

On November the 12th, Novell and the openSUSE community will launch openSUSE 11.2. This calls, of course, for a celebration. Actually, there will be 2 celebrations in Bucharest:

  • On November 12th, 20:00 EET, there will be a gathering at Trattoria di Bugsy, Bd. Iuliu Maniu 59, Bucharest – Map
  • On November 14th, starting from 14:00 EET, we will have some presentations together with the guys from Fedora and Firefox in UPB, Room EG301 – Map

We’re waiting for as many of you as possible!

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Intermodal transport for Bucharest

Posted by Strainu on November 22, 2008
Society / No Comments

There’s been a lot of fuss these last days about the opening of 4 more stations of the Bucharest subway. Unfortunately, the 19-years long, 175 million euros project was just another leftover from the communist era. Will it help the development of the eastern part of the city? Sure, but it will also cause further crowding in the main exchange stations.

What Bucharest needs is a true intermodal transportation network. A first step was the made around 2003, with the opening of the passageway between the Crângaşi metro station and tramway station. There are also hopes for a “train to the plane” (the metro to Otopeni) and “automobiles on trains”. These are all important parts of a true intermodal transport network, but each development is made separately, without thinking about connections.

Add talked about “park and ride” on the newly opened line. What I want to talk about today is the other end of the future M3 line, the exit from Bucharest onto A1. Near Păcii station there is an old bus terminal, from which buses leave to many cities in Muntenia. As you can see from this article (in Romanian), the terminal itself is very clean and comfortable, but the area around it is in ruins and many bus companies prefer to avoid the tolls by using the streets in the zone for departures.

If the City Hall’s transportation department would be serious about intermodal transportation, it would take some measures for cleaning up the area. First of all, it should do daily sweeps with the police and get read of the bus companies leaving from other places. That would free up the traffic in the area, especially because that’s also the place where Iuliu Maniu Bvd. get from 4 lanes to only 2.

Then, it should build a direct passageway from the metro to the bus terminal. This would cut transfer time by 5 to 10 minutes and reducing the risks for the commuters (it’s an adventure to cross the boulevard now). Of course, the subterranean access should be accessible for the disabled.

The unused space of the terminal could be used for a parking. And for the parking ticket, you could get a 1 day ticket on RATB+subway – the classic “park and ride” scheme. And if there still is some leftover space, a small park would do wonders for the area.

Unfortunately, this is just wishful thinking from me. A passage costs much more than a street crossing and the terrain could be disputed by former owners. And most importantly, the politicians must decide that this project is not impeding on their little “affairs”.

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CS Faculty Review: The School

Posted by Strainu on February 15, 2008
School / No Comments

I start my look back on my years at UPB by looking at how the main campus (the one between Regie and Iuliu Maniu) has changed from 2003.

When I first entered the campus (in February 2003) it seemed like a huge, abandoned city to me. The new library building looked as is if it was just started, the roads were full of potholes and there was nobody around. 😀 I later found out that the lack of people was caused by the exams, but at that time it was pretty scary.

I entered by the lower gate (near the Dâmboviţa river) and I had to work my way to the other side of the campus, were my future faculty was. There were some signs at every crossroads, but they were so vague they turned out to be an annoyance rather than helpful.

The first image of the faculty that I remember is pretty much like this one. As i neared the buildings, though, i started to see the signs of time on the building – rusty window profiles, broken windows, etc.

Later on that year, I had the opportunity to see the interiors. Not too impressive for a future student, I must say. Old paint jobs, water leaking from the roof of the top floor, broken chairs, blackboards that looked like they were bombarded with chalk, etc. All that hasn’t put me down and I soon became a student at the faculty I’ve always wanted to study at. 😀

Unfortunately, that was like opening Pandora’s box. I soon discovered that the much publicized labs were only used by students in their last year or by teachers. For newbies, there were some leftovers – Pentium 1 computers with as little as 16MB of RAM. The bottom of the pit was in the second year when we had an assembler lab that was made out of 286 IBM PC’s. Yes, that kind of stuff (minus the color screen). They didn’t even had they’re own hard-disks, but were just terminals connected to a mainframe computer. State of the art technology… from 20 years ago.

So has all this changed? Well, some of it has. The buildings are slowly being renovated. Unfortunately, the well-known habit of handing over the works to relatives of the men in charge of the projects has taken its toll: the roof of some newly painted labs is leaking, the linoleum has already peeled off, and so on.

However, there are now 2 course halls fitted with projectors, and the doorman has another one to be used in the other halls. The “minimum” requirements for a computer has (apparently) gone up to 64MB of RAM. Impressive compared with that old 286. 😛

Some expenses are less than useful: the faculty had 2 LCD TVs installed last year, and 2 more this year. To what purpose? They only showed informations that you could easily get from the website. After some break-ins last year, there was a new security system installed. Too bad it was installed to the dean’s office and not the labs. Perhaps some people were concerned they might loose their Solitaire high-scores, who knows? 😀

And because I mentioned the new library building, I must admit I was partially wrong about it – in the first year, I said it still won’t have walls when I would finish the faculty. Well, it now has walls and a roof. Actually, it seems pretty much done on the outside, probably needs some finishing touches on the interior.

Another thing that HAS changed about the campus are the cars – like everywhere in the city, there are a lot of cars, slowly taking over the green space. The solution? Put a barrier in the middle of the campus and don’t let anyone pass except the teachers. That was probably the dumbest idea I’ve seen in this University.

So, how much longer until we’ll (or rather you’ll) have a decent campus? I don’t know. I hope for the best, but expect something much worse. 🙂

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