RIP, Mikhail Kalashnikov

Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1949
Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1949

Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the world famous AK-47 assault rifle, has passed away today, at the age of 94.  He was a true genius and a patriot of his country.  Coming from a very simple family, with very little education, after serving as a tank mechanic and later as a tank commander, after being wounded, he designed more than 150 models of small weapons – rifles, assault rifles, machine guns, etc.

Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer … I always wanted to construct agriculture machinery.

Such were the times, I guess – growing up in the post Civil War, Revolution and First World War country, serving during the Second World War and seeing all horrors and dangers first hand, his peaceful mind was turned the other way.

I’m proud of my invention, but I’m sad that it is used by terrorists … I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work — for example a lawn mower.

Looking into his engineering genius, I see the good old principle of keeping things simple:

When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, ‘All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed’ … So this has been my lifetime motto – I have been creating weapons to defend the borders of my fatherland, to be simple and reliable.

Truly inspiring.  RIP.

Glafcos Clerides, RIP

Today, Cyprus is mourning the death of Glafcos Clerides.  I’m not much into politics in any country, but I did like him.  He was the President back in 1996 when I came to Cyprus, and he remained so during my first few years here.  As I said, I didn’t care much for politics, but I felt the good vibe.  And even years after he left from major TV news, it was always pleasant to see him on an occasion – always respectful and positive, even in old age.

Clerides

I’ve spoken to quite a few people about Clerides and I seem to get mixed feedback.  Some people liked him, some didn’t.  But the common theme seemed to be respect.  You can agree or disagree with his political views and his involvement in different movements and initiatives, but, I think, nobody can say that he was a slacker or a silly guy.  He believed in something and he was pushing it.  He worked a lot, and he has achieved plenty.

Also, he did plenty before he became active in Cyprus politics.  For example, during the World War II he was a pilot in Royal Air Force.  In 1942 he was shot down over Germany and was captured, spending the rest of the war years a prisoner of war.  His military activity has been noticed and he was mentioned in dispatches.

As I said, I don’t really care much for the political games. But I for one will miss this charming old guy.  Rest in peace, Glafkos, and thank you so much for that you have done.

Dennis Ritchie, RIP


I’ve just learned of yet another great loss – Dennis Ritchie, who passed away a few days ago at the age of 70. It’s difficult to describe his contributions and achievements to non-technical people, but anyone with even a grain of knowledge of computer history and modern affairs can appreciate what this man have done. Here is a quote from the Wikipedia page:

Ritchie was best known as the creator of the C programming language and a key developer of the Unix operating system, and as co-author of the definitive book on C, The C Programming Language, commonly referred to as K&R (in reference to the authors Kernighan and Ritchie).
Ritchie’s invention of C and his role in the development of Unix alongside Ken Thompson has placed him as an important pioneer of modern computing. The C language is still widely used today in application and operating system development, and its influence is seen in most modern programming languages. Unix has also been influential, establishing concepts and principles that are now well-established precepts of computing.
Ritchie was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1988 for “development of the ‘C’ programming language and for co-development of the UNIX operating system.”

Thank you Sir for all your hard work. Rest in peace.

RIP Steve Jobs

It doesn’t matter if you know, like or use any of the Apple products. If you are reading this, your life has been influenced by Steve Jobs.  The computer mouse that you are holding in your hand now, the computer, table, or a mobile device which you use to read this, the browser window, the fonts, the buttons, and other elements of the user interface – these are just a few things that are different today because of Steve’s work.  His contribution was huge.

I’m not going to idolize him – each and every human being has his ups and downs.  We all make mistakes and we all screw up.  But the important thing, I guess, is whether each and every one of us makes this world any better.  Steve Jobs has improved this world a lot.  And he inspired many others to do the same.  For that, I am grateful to him.  For that I respect him a lot.

Thank you, Steve.  Rest in peace.

Alexander Sorokin, rest in peace

Yesterday I’ve heard the bad news – my uncle, Alexander Sorokin, passed away at an age of 44.  He was on a business trip, almost a 1000 kilometers away from home, when he had a stroke.  He was a really good man.

He was the person who got me into computers many years ago.  He was always involved with technology, and it was him who first arrange a PC for our house.  At first it wasn’t for me, it was for my mother.  But he encouraged my curiosity.  More so, it was him spending countless days and nights in our house, trying to fix the consequences of my curiosity, when important documents got missing or system would get stuck with no way to boot.  All he said after would be “Don’t do this again”.  And on the next occasion: “Oh, that’s OK, I see it’s different this time”.

Strong, kind, smart, and funny.  A very good friend, and an example of a Good Man.  That’s how I will remember him.

Rest in peace…

R.I.P. Lucky

LuckyMy all time favourite dog of all times has been killed by a car. :( These are really really sad news. Lucky was a truly adorable dog. Noone who saw him could stay away. Everyone wanted to pet him and play with him. He was very kind, fun, and full of life. I am really going to miss him…

My condolences to Martin, who I know feels totally screwed now.