Cyprus shipping photo competition

If you are a photography enthusiast in Cyprus, Cyprus Mail has some exciting news for you:

The deputy ministry of shipping has launched a photo competition in cooperation with the Cyprus Marine Club and the support of the Cyprus Photographic Society.


The competition – launched this week – will run until January 11, 2019 and is open to persons over 18.

All images should be related to merchant shipping and/or the Cyprus maritime tradition. Participants may submit up to five colour and/or black and white images. Images should be the original work of the entrants. Photos that have received awards in other competitions or have already been publicly posted will not be accepted. Participation in the competition is free of charge.

A five-member committee will choose the three best photos. The first prize is €500, second €250 and third €125. The three winners will also receive an engraved glass trophy.

There aren’t that many photography related events in Cyprus, and even less so for amateurs and enthusiasts.  So here’s your chance to participate, showcase your skills and creativity, compare yourself to other photographers, and win some money and recognition while you are at it.

Cyprus has changed significantly in the last few years, with new ports, terminals, marinas, skylines, and possibilities for aerial photography (hello drones), opening up new opportunities for photographers of all levels.  Don’t miss out on this one.

The Rising Stakes In SaaS

In his article “The Rising Stakes In SaaS” Tomasz Tunguz somewhat confirms my sentiment about the end of the startup era:

Machine learning, broad consolidation, category creation, and new distribution models each will change the SaaS ecosystem in fundamental ways. As the number of new startups ebbs, and major forces in the industry reshape it, I suspect we’re going to see a massive amount of innovation in SaaS, a reinvention after the perfection of a 20 year old playbook.

I found the rest of his article interesting as well.  In particular this part on how companies tend to react to the massive levels of competition:

This rivalry causes four major responses:

  1. Verticalization – compete with a horizontal player by picking one customer segment and building a product better suited to them. Trades market size for better product market fit.
  2. Segmentation – focus on SMB, Mid-Market, or Enterprise, to play where competition isn’t present.
  3. Feature optimization – develop a product with 20% of the features but 80% of the value, and use a simplified product to challenge the competition.
  4. Opting out of starting a company – deciding the timing isn’t right because of the competition.

10k Apart – Inspiring the Web with Just 10k

10k apart

From this article, I’ve learned about an excellent (for our times) 10k Apart competition:

With so much of an emphasis on front-end frameworks and JavaScript runtimes, it’s time to get back to basics—back to optimizing every little byte like your life depends on it and ensuring your site can work, no matter what. The Challenge? Build a compelling web experience that can be delivered in 10kB and works without JavaScript.

Think you’ve got what it takes? You have until September 30th.

I can’t wait to see the submissions and all the ways to squeeze the awesomeness of the modern web into just 10 kilobytes.  This reminds me of the Perl Golf posts over at PerlMonks and Assembly PC 64K Intro from my childhood early days (here are some examples).

GitHub’s Data Challenge II winners announced

GitHub, being a massive data store, is constantly looking for new and improved ways of extracting knowledge from its data.

In April we announced the second annual GitHub data challenge.


After receiving some amazing entries in the previous challenge, we were excited to see what people would discover with another year of data. The results blew us away: we saw many more entrants and novel applications of our data. GitHubbers ranked their favorite entries, and after tallying the votes, we’re happy to announce the top 3 entries for the 2013 GitHub data challenge.

The second place (Popular Convention by Outsider) and third place (open source contributions by location by David Fischer) winners are very nice.  But the first place winner is truly amazing (The Open Source Report Card, by Dan Foreman-Mackey).  It’s an excellent combination of data crunching with beautiful presentation.  Of course, you’ll need some publicly visible repositories and contributions to see anything interesting, but once you do, it’s quite impressive.  Have a look at mine, for example.

Really, FairSearch?

Apparently, there is a new kid on the block – Here is a quote from their About page: is a group of businesses and organizations united to promote economic growth, innovation and choice across the Internet ecosystem by fostering and defending competition in online and mobile search. We believe in enforcement of existing laws to prevent anticompetitive behavior that harms consumers.

Further down on the same page is the list of companies involved.  Among them, some of those that should not even be allowed to use the word ‘fair’: Microsoft, Oracle, Nokia.

So, this bunch of clowns (my apologies to the clowns) tried and failed to control the web search and the mobile markets, and now they are trying to bring Google down by joining their forces and attempting a government campaign.  Pathetic!  Here is what they write to the EU:

Google’s Android is the dominant smartphone operating system, running in 70% of units shipped at the end of 2012, according to Strategy Analytics. Google also dominates mobile search advertising with 96% of the market, according to eMarketer. The complaint says Google uses deceptive conduct to lockout competition in mobile.

“Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data,” said Thomas Vinje, Brussels-based counsel to the FairSearch coalition. “We are asking the Commission to move quickly and decisively to protect competition and innovation in this critical market. Failure to act will only embolden Google to repeat its desktop abuses of dominance as consumers increasingly turn to a mobile platform dominated by Google’s Android operating system.”

FairSearch is an international coalition of 17 specialized search and technology companies whose members include Expedia, Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, and TripAdvisor.

Google achieved its dominance in the smartphone operating system market by giving Android to device-makers for ‘free.’ But in reality, Android phone makers who want to include must-have Google apps such as Maps, YouTube or Play are required to pre-load an entire suite of Google mobile services and to give them prominent default placement on the phone, the complaint says. This disadvantages other providers, and puts Google’s Android in control of consumer data on a majority of smartphones shipped today.

What a load of bollocks!  Google Android devices aren’t all built by Google.  In fact, the majority of Android devices are shipped by other companies.  Are all of them producing below the cost?  Of course not.  That would just be stupid.   Secondly, Android is very much based on the Open Source Software, Linux and such.  I’m guessing that’s one of the main reasons it grows so fast and is cheaper to make.  Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle are well-known foes of Open Source.  But guess what, it’s not up to them anymore.  People vote with the wallet.  The choice is here, and people can finally buy the devices that they like, not the ones that are being shoved down their throats.

And as far the as the web search goes, that’s even more pathetic of a subject than mobile.   Just build a better search engine and people will switch over.  It takes nothing, absolutely NOTHING, to use a different search engine. But the truth is, Google is by far superior search engine to Microsoft’s Bing or anything else that popped up recently.  Result manipulation my a$$.  If people who use the search engine will lose trust in the results, they’ll just leave.  But as long as it works, who cares really?