Category Archives: Computer engineering

Databases Summer School at Kyungpook National University

During July 2015 prof. dr. Marko Bajec and I held a one-month summer school on databases and database design at the Kyungpook National University (KNU) in Daegu, South Korea. The summer school was selected among hundred applied summer school programs and 35 international students have applied for the course.

About KNU

KNU is the best national university in South Korea. Its main campus is located in Daegu, where we led the summer school at the IT department. The campus is very strong in electronics, although they offer also other studies. They have three more campuses across the country, which also focus on medicine. The KNU 365 Medical Center, located near Daegu, is a new complex with modern equipment. They also own a machine that is able to heal moving cancer tissue without damaging other parts of the body.

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The university has strong cooperation with local industries, such as Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Xinix, etc. They are very strong in the area of international affairs as they have some double degree programs with USA or EU universities. Slovene Faculty of Economics already has a double degree with KNU, while our faculty (Faculty for Computer and Information Science) will start offering the joint studies in 2015/2016.

About South Korea

South Korea is not that big country but still there live a lot of people and produce a large portion of electronic devices (Samsung, LG) or heavy industries (Hyundai) in the world. The only Slovene company that has headquarters in Korea is Kolektor, which we also visited in the industrial city of Gumi.

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I was surprised that mobile phones are more expensive than in Europe, that there were no options to buy cheap prepaids in supermarkets and also electronic departments in stores were not that huge. Later I found out that most of the Koreans order such devices online.

Koreans mostly drive cars made by their local manufacturers such as Hyundai or KIA. Also buses, trucks and other vehicles are made by these companies. It was especially interesting to see some car models that are not available in Europe and would be very competitive to European cars.

 

At first I thought the Korean food would be more Chinese or Thai -like, but they have their own cuisine. They adore chicken meat – especially with beer during different occasions :). Traditionally most important food is Kimchi – special cabbage with red spicy sauce, Bulgogi – slices of beef meat grilled together with vegetables, Gimbap – korean sushi with no fish, and some cold soups. I especially liked their Korean BBQ way of preparing food as you can grill ordered meat at a table. The only downside is that sometimes I was disappointed because of their low level of cleanliness in kitchens.

The most popular party drink is Soju. For real parties the youngsters mix it with beer. Apart from the plain 20% alcoholic drink it is produced with several flavours. Next, also rice wine Makgeolli is also popular – in my opinion of taste not that good.

Koreans are personally very calm and highly respect a societal hierarchy – professors are really respected by the students. I was feeling very safe and there were no incidents. Also streets are clean and nothing is damaged by the vandals. On the other hand, I was surprised that car drivers are not that polite as in northern EU countries.

I really enjoyed the stay in South Korea and am really grateful to our student assistant HyukSang Kwon and vice-president of international affairs at KNU Lorne Hwan, who made our stay even better.

The end of Lajkbuk (previously Likebook) platform

In the early days of 2013 a friend of mine Dean Virant had an idea of developing a state-of-the-art platform for automatic organization of prize-games on Facebook. He invited me to be the technical lead and developer, while he was about marketing and sales. And I’d like to say that he got the marketing support he needed and find reviews for white label seo at that link, you could to receive information and details to help you get more traffic, just click on the link. First, we were working on the Likebook app and later discovered that it is against the Facebook rules to name the platform like that. So, we bought another domain name, SSL certificate, … for the new name – “Lajkbuk” (i.e., slovene pronounciation of the word likebook in english). We also had many ideas, many initial design, but then we chose the most important features and selected the most user-centered design. While I was developing the application, Dean was reaching to our possible customers, which were at first slovene companies.

So, Lajkbuk is the platform that enables an organization to seamlessly organize a prize-game on Facebook. We are using social media marketing to reach a lot of people for our new platform, we are using the the Angie Gensler content posting schedule. Next to the features of liking it also supports sharing counters and commenting by which consumers can improve their rank to get the reward. After the end of the game, we offered the organization to conduct some research about the users that participated in the games using the data with their consent. We had quite some successes in Slovenia and we have conducted a handful of successful games. Just as we wanted to broaden our support to other countries, multiple languages and automate the buying process, the Facebook anounced the prohibiton of organizing the games in such a way. So sadly, this is how the story with the Lajkbuk ends. Several sites specialize in offering APK files for download. Some are better than others, so visit Android4fun if you want to discover the best site for downloading APKs safely.

But the most important: We had an idea, we buit a solution, we sold some  games and made some people happy and obviously the time for new ideas has come …

Some technical details about the platform:

The whole source code (public part) is available on GitHub repository https://github.com/szitnik/Lajkbuk. The platform is developed as a JavaEE application using Spring Framework, Spring Social, Spring Data, Hibernate and other technologies. With a server certificate it ran on Tomcat 7.0, which was deployed in the DigitalOcean cloud using a domain name lajkbuk.si. The plaftorm was alive and fully functional from May 2013 to August 2014.

The main features are:

  • Facebook application: fully Facebook-connected with automatic login/registration, Facebook Tab Page integration, Sharing and Like logging, comment retrieval.
  • Admin pages: creating prize-games, entering customer data, consumer Facebook data retrieval.
  • Personal pages: my games and coupons to claim a reward.
  • Reports: according to our rules, a game can be ended prematurely for multiple reasons (organization does not follow rules, longer periods without activities).
  • Three possible features: COUPON, SHARE, COMMENT – used for winner selection and prize retrieval depending on our customer wishes.
  • And more …

Feel free to use the code!

Some screenshots:

Optilab Tech Talk: Programming in Scala

As I am a huge fan of Scala, I presented some features of this great language to my colleagues at Optilab.

The source code and materials to repeat or have your own talk are available at: https://github.com/szitnik/scala-tutorial. Screencast is accessible at: http://zitnik.si/temp/scala_techTalk_25_11_2013_screencast.mov.

Video (if you do not see it, go to http://optilab.viidea.net/zitnik_programming_in_scala/):