Projects &Technology I use 04 Apr 2009 11:48 pm

Twitter & Google search greasemonkey addin

screenshot of twitter search addinI use twitter’s web interface more than anything and I hate the fact that I have to scroll down the page to go to to do a search on a hashtag or on a user or even myself. I’ve seen the experimental twitter search box on other accounts but it’s not appearing for mine yet so tonight with the help of a few friends, I modified an old greasemonkey script to add a twitter and google search box on the top right of the main twitter homepage. Suddenly my twitter experience is so much better. If you have firefox and greasemonkey installed, you can try the script here or if not, download and install greasemonkey then try the script. Let me know if you like it or if I can change it in any way. In the next version I plan to add a feature that will turn all hashtags into url’s pointing to their respective twitter search url’s. I’m also hoping to include the latest treding topics under the search boxes.

Uncategorized 01 Apr 2009 05:24 pm

dooped !!

shameful 30 Mar 2009 01:37 am

Citizens filling the gap

The number of example cases are growing, Faliron, Goudi, Villa Zographou and more. Cases of ordinary citizens taking matters into their own hands when local government has failed them.

The latest of these has been the Info Cafe campaign running at Gardenia Square in Zographou where ordinary citizens took back a large space once used as a coffee shop. Apparently the previous tenant had not paid rent to the council for several years and has left a bill of several hundred thousand euros.

Local residents have since occupied the space and have turned it into a self run “Community run cultural centre”. The city council is against them of course since they just want to find another tenant who might (or might not) pay rent. It’s a funny place, Greece. Nevertheless, the group of organisers involved here are getting things right, arranging several cool events, using the internet to announce, co-ordinate and organise more generally. Take a look at their google calendar here.

Today, while walking through Exarcheia, one of Athens’ more run down districts, I came across another citizen run action I had heard about. There is a plot of land off Navarinou str that was destined to be made a parking lot but through pressure and action of local citizens, the space has been taken back and is slowly being turned into a park. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s the city council doing the conversion: No, it’s the citizens. Today I witnessed guerrilla gardening at its best, ordinary people, fed up with urbanisation, planting trees and shrubs in the center of Athens. The day had street theater, childrens activities and more. Here’s a few pictures from there today (I didn’t take too many since Exarcheia is a risky place to take pix)

Now while on the subject of citizen action, another place that is in dire need of such activity is the Athens City Council’s Library at Agios Thomas square. The place has been closed for over two years and has at various stages been under threat of being turned into a cafeteria. I’d love to see citizens of the area take over the place and run it like the ex Info Cafe in Zographou. The place was recently broken into again and is in a truly sorry state. Take a look at the pix and judge for yourself.

life &Social Nets &the net 16 Mar 2009 04:17 pm

MediaCamp Athens ’09

We vs Me - The defining statement

We vs Me - The defining statement
credit to peter michel heilmann

It’s been 2 months since I lasted blogged and I apologise for that. Tonight has been special in that I have had the privilege of attending MediaCamp Athens ’09.

I took a lot of photo’s, some quite good, others not too good. They’re on Flickr so take a look if you like.

For the most part I have enjoyed the event (and although there have been one or two negative points upon which I’ll expand on below) first: a few notes on what was presented on this second day and what I enjoyed “consuming”

Morning demo sessions I followed were Udrive,,, greekstartups. All good but was exceptional. Better than Google. Real potential here. I loved the bit about placing advertising in a 3D live rotating view. The execution of this will be tough though, someone mentioned that advertising might appear on the Acropolis, imagine that!

The round-table Social Networks “A model for analysts” provided some heated discussion. As far as I understood, we have the potential to become less social by using social networks. (fair point if you consider we might have less physical contact if we’re constantly tweeting.

Joomla dominated today while apparently Drupal dominated yesterday. The uptake of Joomla seems fantastic. Greek company is well placed to provide services.

Vicky Kolovou and I held a discussion on TeachKidsTech – interest was good and we’re going to have a followup meeting in a couple of weeks. Join the Facebook group Teach Kids Technology if you’re interested.

And now for some comment.

The Web Startup/New Media/Social Network community or family in Greece is growing. This is a relatively young family and it is growing fast. Naturally, as families grow, the children develop and mature. They get opinions, they prefer more independence and don’t really like sharing toys. There are growing pains, jealousies and intrigues that develop too. Sometimes there are bullies about.

There is clear evidence of this happening in this family. It’s natural and there is nothing to worry about. Evolution and natural selection will occur.

Evolution is a wonderful thing. In the meantime, let’s spread the love people. Try not to be a blue meanie. The events that provide value will endure. They will survive. We should try not to stand in the wings and criticise, if we see something we don’t like, let’s lend a hand to fix it. I spoke to one person last night who felt it could have been better, but he stayed to the end, and contributed from the beginning. If you’re irked by a naturally obnoxious self promoting person or someone you feel constantly talks total crap (and there are some of those around believe me(perhaps I may be one of them)). Let the system phase them out. It will happen. Don’t worry.

I must say well done to the organisers (all of them) for their hard work in setting all this up. It was very well run. The sponsorships came through, the event was fun. Some opinions were questionable and there are more “experts” than letters in this post but you’ve got to take the good with the bad. I’ll be there next year – for sure.

Did you attend? What did you think?

Uncategorized 01 Jan 2009 07:56 pm

3 words for 2009

My three keywords for objectives for 2009 are: WRITE, LEARN, SCAFFOLD

I’m blogging less, Twittering more. 2009 should be the year I blog more, twitter less. 2009 – objective 1

In 2009 I need to use that precious commodity we have called time to learn more stuff.

Support structures as bases to new platforms, new projects, perhaps new businesses?

Projects 24 Nov 2008 12:09 pm

Athens Startup Weekend

– What an amazing experience. We presented our hastily hacked together solution, the most coherent part being the coding done by Jim and Nick who took the bull by the horns and delivered on time. I remember the last half hour where we badgered each other constantly :”Where’s my button, where’s my embed code, can I commit this version, is the blog up, what about the team photo” Then an internet outage. These last minutes are crazy. We’re still putting final touches and Jim is still coding right into the presentation prior to us. On presentation, my laptop runs out of battery. Patrick looks at me in terror – “Stavro !! Have you got battery !?!?”

“No worries!”, I lie. “I’ll wing it!”. Jokes about using openoffice ensue. We quickly connect Jim’s Macbook to the projector while I wiggle my way out of the situation with some “jumble, jumble, bla, bla” – Hand over to Jim for a demo. Goes down rather well. We got four questions from the crowd and Alex adds some important info we forgot to mention.

Andrew, Alex – Thanks for the opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Learned a ton of new stuff and have made some lifelong friends.

We aim to continue developing blognudge with weekly updates and a view to open an invite only beta in about three weeks. I think we all have indicated we’re very committed. Patrick has promised to open up the domain so it will move from to We hope to see you in testing or Beta within the next few weeks.

Thanks again.

Projects 23 Nov 2008 07:37 pm

Athens Startup Weekend

Andrew from StartupWeekend is currently in Athens and we’re all located in the Microsoft Innovation Center on Vas. Sohias str hacking away at our new baby “BlogNudge”. An idea pitched by Patrick Malone of Microsoft Hellas that he has kindly let us take forward. BlogNudge’s tagline is “Motivating Lazy Bloggers” and the motivation / incentivization aspects we’ve come up with are just superb. We’re going to launch an Alpha version tonight and have asked a few key bloggers to install and test our tool. We aim to go to Beta within the next two weeks.

Technology &the net 05 Nov 2008 11:21 am

Supporting WikiPedia

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge.

— Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia

I use wikipedia a lot. Today, I donated a small sum in support of this great service. If you use this service, please join me. Click on the Support Wikipedia image and make your contribution so that wikipedia can continue to be excellent.

From Wikimedia foundation : “Your generosity helps ensure that the Wikimedia Foundation continues to make human knowledge free and accessible to the world. The Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the largest and most popular collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, one of the world’s top ten most popular websites. Our work is important: we are grateful you have joined with us to help make it happen.”

Uncategorized 21 Oct 2008 09:44 pm

On Meeting Tim O’Reilly and Dan Gillmor

It’s been a great couple of weeks for Athens, technology wise that is. We’ve had a great group of visitors come and visit our city. Besides Jason Calacanis, Tim O’Reilly has been in Greece attending Stream08 and holidaying. We had the chance to meet and chat to him last week and he shared a bunch of insights with us on the future of the industry. Today we had the privileged of meeting and listening to Dan Gillmor. It’s been a great couple of weeks. I’ve learned a lot. I’ll post some notes here over the next few days.

the net &work 16 Oct 2008 03:00 pm

OpenCoffee Athens featuring Jason Calacanis

George and his crowd scored a real hit with the latest OpenCoffee. I witnessed one of the most inspiring talks ever. Direct, to the point. Jason was superb.

In summary:

  • Entrepeneurship is like going into battle. It’s tough and not everyone is cut out for it.
  • There are two types of people, those that are entrepreneurs and those that wish they were.
  • The only thing that stops us from starting up our own company is fear.
  • Everyone wants to be their own boss
  • The route to success is often via failure, there are always lessons in failure
  • You need to step up. Swing the bat and keep on swinging.
  • You will not hit a home run each time, but when you do it will be great
  • Share Knowledge: Give everything and you will receive much more in return
    Within the next month:
    someone to start an EC2 meetup
    someone to start a design meetup
    someone to start a Google App Engine meetup
    Next year:
    At least 5 Greek startups to present at TechCrunch50

    I’m happy to help on any of the above. Email me and we can get started. Though I’m no designer.

    Blogger Breakfast
    I was very privileged to attend a blogger breakfast the next morning that Jason kindly hosted where, Besides the opportunity to meet fellow Greek bloggers, we had the chance to bounce some ideas off each other. Thanks guys, Thanks Jason. We hope to see you back in a year!

    Books &Social Nets &Technology &the net 11 Sep 2008 11:53 pm

    Mygazines is a real winner and a game changer

    The perception we have regarding cost of magazines is that the cover price is the cost of the content within the magazine. The truth is that the cover price of a magazine these days reflects little more than the cost of printing and distribution. Few magazines actually make money from the cover price, they make money from selling advertising.

    I detest having to pay for a magazine that is 80% advertising. Add to this the hassle of us having to go to the newsstand to purchase the mag and we have a very expensive product, much more expensive than is apparent. So here’s a model that covers all the bases. Free shareable magazines. All my favourite titles are here as well as some I would find very difficult to find at any local newsagent.

    Advertisers can still advertise, adverts will still be seen. The internet and my browser takes care of the cost of distribution and the content creation is transferred solely to the advertiser. I pay for nothing but electricity and bandwidth. My end of the bargain is that I have to be exposed to the ads and if I like something, I might buy it.

    I have all the choices in the world conveniently delivered to my browser. It’s social in that my friends can suggest content that might be interesting to me and I can in turn suggest stuff to my friends.

    This is a great model and it’s truly a game changer. What do you think?

    Projects &the net &work 05 Aug 2008 11:33 pm

    Scratching your own itch

    I’m currently reading Getting Real from 37 Signals and wanted to share some phrases from it. Here’s a first

    “Build software for yourself

    A great way to build software is to start out by solving your own problems. You’ll be the target audience and you’ll know what’s important and what’s not. That gives you a great head start on delivering a breakout product.”


    “When you solve your own problem, you create a tool that you’re passionate about. And passion is key. Passion means you’ll truly use it and care about it. And that’s the best way to get others to feel passionate about it too.”

    General &life 04 Aug 2008 09:20 pm

    Never again will they “Just not get it”

    triangles.jpgI have resolved to never again say that someone “Just doesn’t get it”. Saying someone “doesn’t get it” implies that you’ve decided that you won’t take the time (or any more time) to convince them of the merits of your position and thereby proving that it’s the superior one. If your take on things is indeed better then you should provide enough evidence to convince. This can sometimes be very difficult, especially when the person has a fixed view or the person lacks sufficient knowledge in the subject.

    So, turning it on it’s head, no more “they don’t get it”. From now on it’s: “I haven’t explained it well enough yet.”

    General &life 22 Jul 2008 05:50 pm


    crowd1.gifCrowd trust is the trust I place in the crowd that has gone before me and not been burned. For example: EULAs. I never read them fully, I trust someone before me has already read it and if there was something there that was so wrong the crowd would make a fuss and get it fixed. What do you think about this?

    work 14 Jul 2008 09:40 pm

    The new way – cut and skydive

    sdive.jpgSome colleagues will recognise the concepts listed below.

    Taking a pragmatic approach, one can see where it’s going and why it’s going there.

    The aim is efficiency, to be more targeted and achieve more where it matters most.

    1) Clarify: – Identify objectives to do and Identify objectives to stop doing. Now execute both.
    2) List tasks and activities: rank in order of importance, chop bottom 20%
    3) Drucker question: If it’s a fresh start, would you do it the way you’re currently doing it?
    4) Binary budget: Don’t spread it thinly, ranked objectives get full funding, unranked get no funding.

    Now Skydive.

    This is the new way.

    General &work 14 Jul 2008 04:51 pm

    L. Take a lesson in this image and let us get on with it.


    shameful &Technology 05 Jul 2008 09:28 am

    Goudi Park, OLPC at the Athens Anti-Racism Festival

    The Athens anti-racism festival is happening right now and it’s being held in Goudi park, right across the street from where we live. Some of you may already know I’m involved in campaigning against commercial developments in Goudi Park and as such we were offered a booth and projection screen at the festival. First off, I was amazed at how many booths there were. It’s unbelievable how many people have a cause they’re passionate about. There must have been hundreds of booths. So many causes.

    First working prototype One Laptop Per ChildImage by brettwayn via FlickrOne booth I’d like to mention is the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) booth. For those who don’t know about the OLPC, in a nutshell, Nicholas Negroponte founded and leads a group of people that design and produce a cheap to make laptop.

    While chatting to the guys there, I was struck by what I was told. This very noble project is in real danger, it’s being hijacked by commercial interests that support the Windows/Intel platform. Clearly, giving billions of poor kids a linux based PC is a real threat to Wintel so wintel is deliberately sabotaging development of distributed production and distribution of the OLPC.

    Now I don’t want to misunderstood, what I’m getting at here is not about the hardware. Frankly if wintel can produce a cheaper box then let them be the winner, let them produce and distribute the the millions of PC’s necessary to bridge the digital divide and educate and empower the world. The software used is OLPC is based on open source software whereas Wintel is not. What you do when you give someone a closed source vs an open source software solution is you limit their options. You limit their opportunity to be creative. You say “let them be creative as long as they’re creative on windows.”

    Zemanta Pixie

    the net 01 Jul 2008 08:30 am

    More Direct Democracy

    more_democracy.jpgThere’s no doubt that the internet and the social networks it helped create have done two things: brought people closer and brought about much more democracy.
    A new political party in Australia called Senator Online is taking this to new extremes, it will allow each member to vote on each and every bill that is tabled at parliament. The majority vote by members is what the party representative will vote in parliament. Now that’s direct democracy !!

    With lobbies, special interest groups, back room dealing and partisan voting marring the popular will, this new alternative will be hard to compete with. The party will have no political agenda as such but will act purely according to the will of its members, helping members decide how to vote by offering impartial online information on the pros and cons of each issue. Some might think that such direct democracy could easily take a negative route. What would prevent members from voting against a tax bill, could they strip away rights of minority groups?

    Senator On-Line
    (abr. SOL) is a registered Australian political party that contested the 2007 Federal election. It is running ten candidates for the Australian Senate.Unlike other political parties, Senator On-Line does not have any policies of its own. Instead it will conduct an online poll for every bill that passes before the Senate. Anyone on the Australian electoral roll who is not a member of another political party will be allowed to register to vote in these polls and will be allowed one vote per bill. The senators will then be required to vote in accordance with the clear majority (70% and more than 100,000 votes). If there is no clear majority the senators will abstain from voting.

    The FAQ’s on the party website tries to answer these questions: To prevent a malevolent majority from overthrowing the country, Senator Online will only be represented in the upper house, The Senate. Here, the powers are limited to approving or rejecting bills. It is the Australian lower house, the House of Representatives that proposes and debates bills.

    Web based democracy is new and untested and it is very likely that, as did social networks, direct democracy groups will evolve in unexpected ways and will have profound effects on how politics is done. Special interest groups, lobbyists etc will no longer try and influence legislators but will likely focus on the masses. But the masses are exactly that, MASSES and influencing them is a going to be a lot harder.

    life &Technology &the net 22 Jun 2008 10:12 pm

    Psst … Something wonderful is happening … pass it on

    Take 4 minutes to view this great video.

    Now if that has whet your appetite, take a look at this: Charles Leadbeater at TED talks

    Technology I use &the net 20 Jun 2008 11:22 pm

    Teach the machine

    Here’s a great video about Web 2.0, the social / semantic web (4 minutes)

    the net 16 Jun 2008 09:25 pm

    What is twitter

    I’ve recently started using twitter as a microblogging service and for status updates. One really cool feature is the free sms feature for those following you. Can you imagine the creative ways this can be used? Think updating a family member about how late you’ll be or getting a direct message to bring home some milk or updating a customer about the status of a service call.

    Take a look at the video below and feel free to follow me using twitter name smessinis

    Technology I use 14 Jun 2008 07:45 am

    Children and the Internet

    children.jpgThe internet generation is here and many children from as young as about three years are spending more and more time online. This holds both risks and benefits and so needs to be carefully managed so that children are protected from the risks while still being permitted to enjoy the benefits of the internet.

    The internet holds great possibilities for early childhood education and for teaching children many new things, but what happens when your innocent little four year old accidentally clicks through to a porn or adult-only website?

    Fortunately there are ways to ensure that little James stays on Thomas the Tank Engine website and does not mistakenly click through to visit any adult websites while playing around on the internet and this is done with parental control software.

    Continue Reading »

    shameful &Technology &Technology I use &the net 05 Jun 2008 02:08 pm

    Coincidentally, Zografou City Council website finally live TODAY

    zographou.JPGI say coincidentally because, I went by their offices today and complained about their site not being available for the past year or so. I’ve recently moved to Zografou and have often needed to talk to someone at the council for various things. Naturally, being a geek, I would look to their website to provide a telephone number but there has not been a website live for over a year.

    So, today I went to the council offices to make an inquiry about something and right near the entrance I notice a sign pointing to the I.T. Dept. Naturally, I walk in. “Could you kindly tell me what the council website address is please”, I ask. I notice some bare stares from the three geeks in the room. One brave soul comes up for air from his session of bejeweled and says “Oh I think it’s” seeking confirmation from his cohorts. I respond like any unknowing citizen would. “Are you sure, because I don’t think it is. Could you show me?”

    More blank stares, then a hint of terror. They now know I know there is no site at that address but he perseveres, fingers to the keyboard – DNS error. Not Found.

    “See, thats what I get too” I say innocently. Another geek comes up for air. Google to the rescue. A couple of seconds later he calls out, “Found it!”

    “Oh good I say”, what’s the address. “” – before I can say anything the third geek jumps in. “We need to make that address known !!”

    “No,” I say, “You need to fix the Nameserver entry to point to your domain”, Cat’s out the bag. They realise I’m a geek too.

    The traditional “We’re not responsible for the site, we’re only temporary, I’m only on Stage (work experience) employment” conversation ensues to which I respond. “You’re geeks like me and even if it has been given to a contractor, a bad or non-existent website is a bad representation of you as geeks. So fix it or call someone to fix it.” You’ll have to talk to our manager, she’s not here now but we can give you the name of the person in charge of the contract.”

    I go about the rest of my business and a few minutes later, I’m back in their offices, the manager has returned. She’s been told about my little complaint and immediately tells me to take my complaint to the mayor’s office. “Superb!! I’ll see the mayor, I have some other things to tell him too.” I say and off to the mayors office I go.

    The mayor was busy. But I made my point and coincidentally, the site is live. Literally 2 hours later. It looks like it was built by Atcom They’re a great company – It’s a good site. I like it. I just hope they feed it before it dies.

    Technology 03 Jun 2008 11:19 pm

    OpenCoffee virgin

    Attended my first opencoffee event tonight and thoroughly enjoyed it. What a group of smart kids, some seniors, some money guys. A good crowd. One minor negative, nothing serious. I felt that 10min presentations aren’t enough for the motivational speakers – give them more time. [Post edited]

    Still, the event was great and I’ll make an effort to attend the next one too. I hope to bring along a couple of my geeky pals too. Keep up the good work.

    Technology I use &the net 30 May 2008 06:26 pm

    too many tweets

    image-thumb.pngToo many tweets again today. I’m beginning to realise the benefits of this platform. Twitter is fast becoming defacto goodness for all. Guys, it seems youcant handle the load more often than not. Either sell to Google who can handle the load or take the platform peer-to-peer and let everyone share the burden.

    Full of Myself &Technology 28 May 2008 11:23 pm

    Apple is Listening

    solariphone.jpgI wrote about this almost a year ago :

    NY Times reports new iPhone Patents

    ZDNET Reports on new iPhone:Will the sun power your future iPhone?

    work 22 May 2008 10:23 pm


    the sun

    40 minutes of solar radiation has enough energy content to power the world for a whole year.
    How do we store this energy. Storage is the problem. As photo-voltaic cells (PV’s) get more efficient, we need creative ways to store this energy.

    Here’s the cycle: during the day – use super efficient PV’s to collect energy and drive compressors that compress air. During the night, release this compressed air and drive turbines to provide electricity. Can we store it as compressed air in huge underground caverns?

    Explaining &Projects &work 22 May 2008 10:18 pm

    On Speeches and Presentations

    Only two things about speeches and presentations matter. Your audience is subconsciously asking:

    A. What’s your point?
    B. Why does it matter?

    Technology &Technology I use 16 Apr 2008 02:22 pm

    Google Feature Missing

    I think the most used web app for me is probably my Gmail. I use GoogleDocs quite a bit as well. One thing that is missing is a full text search across a users GoogleDocs folder directly from the Gmail interface. Gmail search is brilliant but adding an option to add Docs search would be really great.

    Explaining &General 16 Apr 2008 02:17 pm

    TV Listings Software – TVBrowser

    skytitleGreek TV is terrible. After a long day, when you just want to flop in front of the TV it’s a real shame that you are presented with total crap and more advertising than content. We used to buy the weekly TV guide, pick what we wanted to see and just watch it.

    However, in Greece, no TV guide can be trusted. Greek TV stations will interrupt shows to shove advertising down your throat whenever they can manage to sell a spot to an advertiser. This means that when a TV guide says some show will start and end at certain times, it’s most often absolutely untrue because the ad’s have thrown the timing out by hours. Forget setting the VCR the tape will end before the show does. A PVR is better. Don’t ever risk sitting through a 1,5hr feature. It will take 4,5 hrs with the ad’s.

    Too often, I find myself wasting my life in front of the TV while trying to enjoy a 1.5 hr feature. I have now completely stopped watching Greek TV and have moved onto Satellite TV. I use a great Open Source TV listings software called TVBrowser that will bring the latest Electronic Program Guide (EPG) to my desktop, allow me to set reminders, set recordings and much much more. It’s java based software and a little heavy on resources but the benefits it delivers are great.

    Stop wasting your life in front of the TV – Be picky about what you consume, use a PVR and an EPG. Don’t let the channels feed you crap.

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