Convicted!

I have posted before about my time in Albania as an expat returning from abroad to serve my country of birth.

That ended in my resignation, and later some interesting adventures with the legal system of the Albanian state mafia.

So here is my story in short (with attached pdf’s of various documents that corroborate it).

It was somewhere the beginning of 2010 at the University of Vlora in Albania. I was in charge of the computer science department at the time, and as a side project in charge of building a student information and management system for the university with my students.

At this time unknown to me, a local judge by the name of Simo Kolagji, wanted a diploma for his son and decided that the university of vlora would be the right university for that.

So far so good, except that his son was not a student there, but at an unrecognized private school in another town, a diploma mill going by the name of “Kristal University”. Regardless he had arranged for the junior kolagji to take some classes at the University of Vlora as a special student, and that seemed to be enough in his mind to make such an outrageous demand.

His reasoning at the time was some “courses” from “Kristal” could be transferred over to his son’s transcript at UV, in order to graduate there with a full transcript.

I know, if you have read this far your are probably wandering as to the mental health of the judge in question, or what was I doing in such a place? If you read on, it gets worse.

These demands were turned down by the university administration (of which I was not a part of at that time), and Simo sued.

The case was handled by his close friend Fuat Muka, in the same courthouse where he worked. To make a long story short the local court ‘ordered’ the university to award the requested diploma. Here is that vendimi. (The appeals court upheld the decision and the high court too.)

This happened sometime in July 2010 when I was still at the Computer Science department.

Now comes the interesting bit. The university refused to comply with the ruling on the grounds that it could not add fake courses in the transcript of a student that did not exist (officially at least).

In the university computerized system whose development I oversaw such ‘students’ were flagged and were not allowed to register for classes like regular students. That made the computer system implicated in a legal case. And its main creator, me.

The next step for Simo and his friends was to sue university administrators personally in criminal court, for not abiding by a court ruling, and the local prosecutor, another friend of his, barged into my office demanding that the computer system be ‘confiscated’ and ‘turned over’ for ‘investigation on wrongdoing.’ (btw. this system was built an ran on a volunteer basis out of my hosting provider which also hosted geocoder.ca in Toronto. The university never paid a dime for its development, nor for its running costs.)

I explained as best as I could that the ‘system’ was a computer program, running in ‘the cloud’, it was not a physical object or a person that could be turned over, but access to its data was always available to everyone who asked for it through official channels. I also explained that the system itself can not obstruct justice, there are users at various levels of access to the system that implement written policies using the system as a tool to facilitate such work.

Anyhow, by now it was November 2010, a time of major political pressure on the university which caused the university president to resign blaming the prime minister and the minister of education for destroying the autonomy of the university and higher education in Albania. I resigned shortly after and returned to Canada.

Then sometime in May 2011, unknown to me (I was back in Albania at this time because of family obligations), the prosecutors’ office had started a criminal investigation against the former university president and myself. Although I was in Albania during this time, the prosecutor never took the time to call, or inform me in writing of the charges.

The absurdity of such action is obvious for another fact. Vlora is such a small town, that almost everyone there knows when I am in town or out of it. My strong suspicion is that they did not even want me to find out I had been charged with a crime lest I hire a lawyer to fight those charges.

I found out when the matter had gone before a judge. The text of the charges (which can be seen in pdf format at the bottom of this page) against me is mind-boggling.  I am accused of building and ‘controlling’ a computer system that had committed a major crime. Maybe the prosecutor took my explanation of the system being in the ‘cloud’ in a litteral meaning, thus thought I was joking with the aim to ridicule their institution and thus obstruct justice (which is the charge against me, carrying a maximum of 3 years in prison if convicted).

Nevertheless, I was charged while I was there without even given an opportunity to explain or defend myself against those charges, and recently in absentia the prosecutor concluded his case demanding that I go to prison for 6 months.

Today another judge (Hektor Sinani) passed a guilty verdict.

I am waiting for a copy of the verdict but my friend in Albania who is trying to get a copy tells me they are too lazy to write, so it could take a while until it is available.

So, I am now a convicted felon in the country I went to help develop. I will post more information about this case on this blog when it is available.

K2C 1N5

11 of the 17 years I’ve been in Canada I’ve resided at this postal code: “K2C 1N5.” It is the only otherwise meaningless alphanumeric string I remember most clearly, having written it over the years on countless letters, web forms, tax forms, applications and the like. As of today I can no longer call it my ‘postal code.’ Because as of today I have been personally sued in federal court over the use of the trademarked word combination: ‘postal code.’ So, I am taking the personal decision to just call it my ‘zip code.’ You’ll still know what I mean.

Sounds incredible right? Wrong!

The Canadapost corporation has just amended their statement of claim against my company, geocoder.ca, to name me personally as a defendant in their ongoing legal action to assert copyright over everything ‘postal code.’ (Both the Amended Statement of Claim and the Amended Statement of Defense will be posted here soon).

These people do move slowly (it has been over a year since their original claim) but they do just when I thought they were ready to drop their claims, which were ridiculous to begin with. It is funny because just a few days ago I was reading in the news about the financial woes of the crown corporation that enjoys the position of monopoly in certain areas. It is also fitting though for a mismanaged company to spend their last dollars on lawyers, we’ve seen it before (remember SCO?)

Other than filling my mailbox with junk mail, misusing the legal system to pursue absurd claims appears to be to be the way those overpaid pencil sharpeners see as the way out of the woods.

Maybe they envision a world where every website that mentions the word ‘postal code’ or uses the postal code to identify a location, pays a fee to the corporation. They want me to be the first one to do so.

They even extended their claim to other websites I own, namely foodpages.ca, to sieze any profits this website makes by having people type various location entities (address, intersection, city, postal code) to find a nearby restaurant. Perhaps in their ideal world, these profits belong to them because of the ‘postal code’ option.

Alas, there are thousands of websites that let users look up information associated with a postal code. Some of them use the geocoder.ca free XML port. There are lots of other alternatives too. Those websites would operate just fine if they stop accepting postal codes mind you. The user would simply have to type in a few more letters te enter their address instead.

In my case though they overdo it a bit. The revised statement of claim also mentions as targets the so called “Ruci Websites”, (FoodPages.ca, FoodHouse.com, AussieSalon.com, Yelpus.com, DineHere.us, FoodPages.us and SalonPages.com)

This is just absurdly funny. Their $1000 an hour lawyers can not even muster the competence of a simple whois query which would reveal that at least three of these websites have nothing to do with me, indeed they are not websites at all, just domain names registered by some unknown spammer and plastered with ads. I just verified that.

Maybe someone at Canadapost just heard the proverbial sentence that “there is money on the internet” and they unleashed their lawyers to get it. Maybe they think that their ‘postal code’ (if the courts decide it is ‘theirs’ in the first place) is the backbone of the internet and these websites can not exist without this ingredient. So, they must pay the ‘postal code’ tax!

Seeing no end to this madness I am taking the following preemptive action. I am renaming the ‘postal code’ to ‘zip code’ on every website, blog, application or other publication I write.

I will also kindly ask the federal government to stop asking me about my postal code on tax forms, and any other communications they have with me. Due to copyright reasons I might not be able to answer that question and I also hold them responsible for bringing this situation to a head.

Finally, like I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, it is unfortunate that the corporation is facing financial problems. It is tough being short of a $1 billion a year. They will never get it from me though. From a very very large number of people in my position, maybe, but I doubt it. Taxpayers who cover their $1b shortfall, CIPPIC who is representing me pro bono, myself and those who have donated to my legal defense fund will bear the cost of such legal action.

A company founded and still operating on the mentality of the pre-internet age, or even the pre-transistor age, has to understand the realities of new technologies. Starting with the simplest fact that a ‘postal code’ is not solely for the purpose of sending mail via Canadapost’ as they claim.  There are opportunities for this old company to make money in this new environment and they are much better positioned than a one-man company like geocoder.ca, to do so.

I do not know who advises the Canada Post CEO on all these matters, but I do have one advice for him. Fire them!

Or better yet. Fire Yourself!

Per hir te se vertetes

Kjo eshte nje histori e vertete.

Ishte fillimi i vitit 2008. Tanush Shaska erdhi i ftuar nga kryeministri i vendit Sali Berisha, per te krijuar nje universitet modern ne Vlore.

Ndoshta nuk keni degjuar per Profesor Tanush Shasken. I njihni me mire hajdutet pa profesion qe dalin ne publik sepse duan tju qeverrisin, po jo kete njeri, ish- te persekutuar, qe u largua per ne Amerike ne fillim te viteve 90, ku perfundoi studimet e Doktoratures nen drejtimin e Profesor John G. Thompson, dhe eshte sot nje matematicien i njohur Shqiptaro-Amerikan me titull Associate Professor ne Oakland University, Michigan.

Profesor Tanush Shaska sot eshte nen gjykim ne gjykatat shqiptare per dy “krime” specifike:

1. Refuzoi ti firmose diplomen fallco te birit te nje gjykatesi.

2. Botoi nje liber cilesor matematike per nivelin universitar.

Per “krimin” e pare, profesor Shasken drejtesia shqiptare kerkon ta denoje me burg, per te dytin me gjobe.

Do te ndalem ne sejcilin “krim” me detaje.

I pari ishte fundi i nje beteje te gjate me sistemin e korruptuar te drejtesise qe profesor Shaska gjeti perballe ne perpjektjet e tij per te krijuar nje universitet modern bazuar ne meritokraci. Ne universitetin e Vlores asohohe “vlonin” rryshfetet. Mirepo te gjithe ata qe u pushuan nga puna per shkak te marrjes se rryshfetit, madje edhe ata qe u kapen ne flagrance ne ambientet e universitetit duke mare para ne dore nga studentet, e hodhen universitetin ne gjyq dhe fituan! Lloji mbron llojin. Gjykatat e korruptuara mbrojne pedagoget e korruptuar. Pedagoget e korruptuar prodhojne studente te korruptuar te cilet marrin diploma dhe behen prokurore e gjykates te korruptuar. Cikel i mbyllur.

Kush jane keta gjykates dhe prokurore? Jane te shumte, e disa prej tyre jane permendur ne kohe te ndryshme me emra dhe me bema ne kete faqe (uv blog).

Ne fillim te vitit 2010 erdhi ne univeritet nje gjykates me emrin Simo Kolagji qe kishte rregjistruar te birin ne Universitetin Kristal, Dega Fier. Ky gjykates i kerkoi profesor Shaskes ta transferoje te birin e Simos ne Universitetin e Vlores, e ti jape nje diplome ne juridik ne baze te “lendeve” qe i kishte blere tek “Kristali,” sepse i kishte gjetur te birit punen dhe i duhej vetem ajo “cope” diplome. Them “kishte blere,” sepse Kristali njihej athere per keto lloj gjerash, ashtu sic u vertetua nje vit me vone kur doli qe po ky Kristal i kishte dhene diplome djalit te Bosit pa qene asnje dite ne shkolle.

Profesor Shaska ia refuzoi kete “nder” qe i kerkoi gjykates Kolagji, dhe gjykates Kolagji e hodhi universitetin ne gjyq, ne gjykaten ku punonte vete, dhe shoku i tij i ngushte gjykatesi tjeter Fuat Muka, nxjorri nje vendim per te “detyruar” universitetin ti jape te birit te Simos diplome. Ketu keni vendimin e tij.

Universiteti i Vlores e apeloi vendimin dhe humbi ne te gjithe shkallet e gjyqesorit! Universiteti i shkruajti zyrtarisht Ministrise se Drejtesise, Presidentit, Keshillit te Larte te Drejtesise ne lidhje me kete ceshtje, po nuk mori asnje pergjigje. Titullari i atij institucioni, Kreshnik Spahiu, asokohe ishte duke themeluar Aleancen Kuq e Zi per te kundershtuar rregjistrimin e popullsise mbi baza etnike dhe fetare, ndersa Bamir Topi si president i vendit qendronte ne maje te pirgut me pleh te krimbur qe quajme sistemi i drejtesise pa bere as “gek” as “mek.”

Askush nuk foli per te mbrojtur nje universitet publik dhe autonomine e tij nga sulmi i shtetit. Askush nuk e mbrojti Universitetin nga nje vendim i bazuar ne argumentin e “te drejtes kushtetuese te arsimit te larte.” A e keni lexuar kushtetuten? Askush nuk ka te drejte kushtetuese te veje ne universitet, aq me teper ne universitetin qe drejtonte profesor Shaska! Po pak rendesi ka kushtetuta!

Ne Shqiperi mos-respektimi i nje vendimi gjykate eshte dicka e padegjuar(?!). Nuk e di sa i pagoi Simo Kolagji gazetaret e emisionit Fiks-Fare, qe erdhen me vrap per te zbuluar kete rast unik, kur nje universitet publik refuzon te zbatoje vendimin e nje gjykate. Une isha duke vajtur ne zyre kur se nga mbiu dikush me mikrofon ne dore me Simo Kolagjin nga mbrapa qe me thoshte: “tani ta shikoni juve!”

E keni ne film nje copez te atij emisioni, ku une kuotohem duke thene qe “universiteti nuk do te zbatoje kete vendim gjykate.” Ne fakt ajo qe thashe ishte qe “universiteti nuk do ta zbatoje, sepse nuk mund te zbatoje kete vendim gjykate. Neqoftese e zbaton ate do te kryente nje fallsifikim. Do te ishte hera e pare qe nje universitet detyrohet te falsifikoje e te jape nje diplome falco i detyruar nga gjykatat. Jam gati te jap doreheqjen ne rast se kjo ndodh!” Mirepo Simua do ti kete paguar mire zoterinjte e emisionit Fare-Fiks per ti rregulluar fjalet e mia fiks si u duheshin.

Dicka qe nuk e kuptojne dot njerezit aty eshte qe une nuk e kam ndier veten asnjehere te lidhur ngushte me “karriken”. Kur dikush nuk me le te qete ne punen time, doreheqja prej saj eshte menyra me e civilizuar e veprimit.

Profesor Shaska dha doreheqjen ne Nentor 2010, pasi akuzoi publikisht ministrin e arsimit Myqerrem Tafaj, dhe Kryeministrin Sali Berisha, per shkaterrimin e arsimit te larte dhe krijimin e konditave ne te cilat ishte e pamundur te kryente detyren e tij si Rektor. Une gjithashtu dhashe doreheqjen nga posti i Zv. Rektorit dhe cfaredolloj posti tjeter qe mbaja dhe u ktheva perseri ne Kanada, ku jetoj e punoj i qete.

Mirepo keta nuk na kishin harruar.

Ne Maj te vitit 2011, Tanush Shaska dhe Ervin Ruci u paditen penalisht nga gjykates Simua dhe shoket e tij. (shiko ne fund te kesaj faqeje) Pa na informuar  asnjehere mbi akuzat e pa na u dhene mundesia per tu mbrojtur, para disa muajsh nje prokuror i ri me emrin Dorian Tafili kerkoi denim me burg per Shasken dhe Rucin. Gjykatesi Hektor Sinanaj i shpalli fajtor para nje muaji. Profesor Shasken e shpalli fajtor per pengimin a diplomimit te te birit te Simos. Mua me shpalli fajtor per pengimin e zbulimit te se vertetes me synim mbrojtjen e Shaskes nga zbulimi i “krimit” te tij.

Ciles te vertete? E verteta eshte kjo qe po shkruaj ne keto rreshta. Nuk kam fshehur asgje per te mbrojtur Shasken, ose kedo tjeter! Edhe sot do te beja pikerisht te njeten gje! Sepse ndryshe nga keta gjykates e prokurore, une nuk i kam borxh askujt, asgje, per vendin qe mbaj sot. Une jam i qete ne ndergjegje per gjithcka kam bere e thene, dhe do te beja pikerisht perseri te njeten gje, te te njejtat rrethana. Ndersa keta prokurore e gjykates do te vepronin sipas situates dhe “detyrimeve” qe kane ndaj atyre qe i kane vene ne ato poste. Degjova qe pasi e mbyllen kete ceshtje i ngriten ne detyre, Dorian Tafilin e vune krye-prokuror te rrethit te Vlores, ndersa Hektor Sinanin kryetar gjykate …

Juve mund te thoni me shume te drejte qe ne te gjithe boten nuk diskutohen vendimet e gjykatave, mirepo keto tonat nuk jane gjykata. Keto jane bordello te ligjit, ku (pa)drejtesia shitet e blihet. Rasti i mesiperm perben dicka te pa-precedent, madje edhe per standartet teper te uleta te ketij lloj prostitucioni gjyqesor. Tjeter gje kur sistemi perdoret thjesht per perfitim financiar, me kete gje jeni mesuar dhe e konsideroni normale. Kesaj rradhe sistemi i drejtesise eshte perdorur si mjet presioni dhe hakmarrjeje ndaj nje shkencetari te pafajshem. U kthye ne nje mjet inkuizicioni mesjetar. Dhe as nje media, institucion i pavarur apo force politike nuk pati guximin te thote asgje.

Keto emra te perlyer te sistemit te drejtesise qe po permend ketu me larte, jane thjesht disa personazhe qe pata fatin e keq qe tu degjoj emrin. Ka dhe shume te tjere qe per fat te mire nuk ua mbaj mend emrin. Jam i sigurt qe opinioni publik i njeh mire.

Per mua ky ishte fundi i persekutimit gjyqesor – per momentin. E verteta, eshte e vetmja pergjigje qe kam per te gjithe ata, qe i tremben realisht zbulimit te se vertetes.

Ndersa persekutimi i ish-Rektorit Shaska vazhdon akoma. Profesor Shaska eshte akuzuar ne nje proces te dyte gjyqesor edhe per nje tjeter “krim”, botoi nje liber matematike.

Neqoftese patet veshtiresi per ta gjetur “krimin” ketu me larte, ky i dyti eshte akoma me i veshtire per tu kuptuar megjithe perfshirjen e “elites” akademiko-shkencore-intelektuale shqiptare ne zbulimin e tij.

Ndoshta profesor Shaska nuk e dinte, po ne Shqiperi ekziston nje teknike e njohur per te pasuruar akademiket dhe pedagoget e universiteteve. Ata botojne nje liber qe zakonisht nuk e shkruajne vete, dmth thjesht vene studentet te bejne nje perkthim te keq te ndonje libri ne gjuhe te huaj dhe e botojne si te tyren. Pastaj i detyrojne te gjithe studentet ta blejne ate me nje cmim te kripur, neqoftese duan te kene shanse per te mare note kaluese. Keshtu qe u nxituan ti vene shenjen e barazimit per ta ulur “profesorin armik” ne nivelin e kesaj turrme “akademikesh”.

Profesor Shaska shkruajti nje liber ne nje fushe ku nje liber ekuivalent nuk ekzistonte ne gjuhen shqipe. Kalkulusin, qe eshte baza e cdo programi universitar ne boten e zhvilluar. Ky liber u be pjese e detyrueshme e kurrikules me vendim te senatit te universitetit te Vlores. Ishte nje levizje me vend ne nje universitet ku per shkak te masivizimit te arsimit te larte, shumica e studenteve ne vit te pare nuk dinin te benin as veprime te thjeshta me thyesa.

Mirepo, te paret qe u hodhen ne sulm publikisht kunder universitetit per kete ishin Ministria e Arsimit dhe Shkences me ne krye Nora Malajn, duke thene qe “po i detyroni studentet te mesojne matematike” ose “jo te gjithe duhet te mesojne matematiken per te mare diplome.”  Pastaj e hodhi kapelen ne ring edhe kryetari i akademise se shkencave, zoti Gudar Beqiraj duke thene pak a shume qe: “edhe une kam shume miq qe nuk jane matematikane, po qe mund te jene edhe me te zgjuar sesa une.” Ca donte te thoshte Gudari ishte qe matematika nuk te ben te zgjuar, sepse ai e konsideron veten matematikan e njeri te zgjuar (?!) jo nje militant te rendomte, i katapultuar ne maje te pirgut me plehra qe eshte bere sot Akademia e Shkencave, institucioni me i larte e shkences dhe arsimit ne Shqiperi! Pastaj folen me rradhe edhe disa “intelektuale” te tjere ne zinxhirin ushqimor akademiko-shkencor duke ofruar opinione te ngjajshme.

Keta intelektuale te shkences dhe shtetit ishin kaq koketrashe sa te besonin se universiteti po perpiqej ti bente studentet te “zgjuar” duke i detyruar te mesonin nga nje liber i sakte. Pastaj shteti vuri ne levizje kontrollin e larte te shtetit, per te pare si ishte puna e ketij libri, rrethanat e shitjes se tij ne universitet dhe per te ndeshkuar autorin e tij. Zyrtaret e kontrollit te larte te shtetit qendruan me muaj te tere ne universitetin e Vlores ne fillim te vitit 2011 per te zbuluar “krimet” e ish-Rektorit. Njeri prej tyre, Piro Ymeraj, mbahet mend kur tha ne pranine e disa punonjesve te universitetit dhe kolegeve te tij: “Cudi, si eshte e mundur qe Shaska nuk ka vjedhur?”

Keta zyrtare te kontrollit kishin ardhur me nje mision te qarte, te cilin nuk perpiqeshin as ta fshehin. Duhej gjetur dicka per te persekutuar ish-drejtuesit e universitetit. Vepruan jo si kontroll i shtetit, por si nje organ hetimor duke mare ne pyetje te gjithe, qe nga roja i deres e deri tek rektori i ri Albert Qarri, qe ishte ne fakt vegla e tyre dhe punoi me zell se bashku me disa sahanlepires te tjere per ti “ndihmuar” te gjenin “krimet” ekonomike te ish Rektorit. Dhe me ne fund, e gjeten!

“Krimi” i profesor Shaskes sipas tyre qendron ne faktin qe libri Kalkulus, u shit ne universitetin ku profesori ishte ne pozicionin administrativ te rektorit. Bazat e kesaj ceshtjeje ishin hedhur qe ne Tetor te vitit 2010 ku nje pjese e medias me shtytjen e Zv. Ministres se Arsimit, Nora Malaj,  trumpetuan nje lajm fals, sikur gjoja studentet po e blinin librin e profesor Shaskes per 110 dollare, kur ne fakt cmimi ishte vetem 35 mije lek te vjetra. Po sidoqofte, cfare rendesie ka cmimi? Ate e vendos botuesi, jo autori! Njesoj si ne kohe te Partise se Punes, ne Shqiperi po te duan te te denojne do ta gjejne nje shkak. Ne fund te fundit keta gjykates jane te njejtet gjykates qe dikur gjykonin njerez te pafajshm ne gjykatat ushtarake te rregjimit komunist. As qe ia vlen te merresh me logjiken e gjykimit te tyre.

Shteti i sotem shqiptar ka vendosur ta kryqezoje profesor Tanush Shasken, nje shkencetar i vleresuar ne fushen e tij dhe njeri me integritet te paster moral.

Ishte po ky shtet qe ne vend ta vleresonte njeriun i cili e ngriti Universitetin e Vlores ne vend te pare ne Shqiperi per sa i perket akvititetit shkencor, e sulmoi ate. Sepse ne mendjen e ketyre njerezve universiteti vleresohet per kapacitetin qe mbart per te punesuar militantet e partise ne pushtet, jo per produktin e tij, qe jane studentet dhe veprimtaria shkencore. Perkundrazi titullaret e Ministrise se Arsimit dhe Shkences dolen publikisht per te vene ne dyshim kete pune shkencore dhe keto organizata te huaja te vleresimit te cilesise se arsimit te larte, qe e renditen Universitetin te Vlores ne vend te pare. Pastaj dolen dhe thane qe matjen e sakte do ta bente vete ministria me ane te nje te kontraktuari prej tyre. Se perse u munduan kaq shume per te matur cilesine e universiteteve shqiptare qe jane te gjithe pak a shume te gjithe nga nje zero me xhufke nga cilesia, jam i sigurt qe ky ishte shkaku. Ja edhe zanafilla e projektit te matjes se cilesise te universiteteve shqiptare qe te gjithe e dini se si perfundoi.

Pse jua them te gjitha keto? Une nuk jam as ne ndonje parti te madhe as te vogel. Nuk jam as minorance as maxhorance. Une jam vetem nje. Une. Nuk kerkoj voten tuaj. Nuk me duhet fare! Nuk dua tju mbush mendjen per te mare ndonje vleresim. Nuk kerkoj te jetoj si juve. Thjesht po reflektoj mbi 4 vjet te jetes sime qe punova per ti sherbyer vendit tim te lindjes, ne te cilin nuk besoj se do te dua te kthehem me. Jo sepse nuk me pelqen vendi im. Nuk me pelqen shteti i nje pakice te korruptuarish qe qeverris e qete me ndihmen e nje turrme injorantesh.

Cili eshte shteti shqiptar sot? Nje strukture e perbere nga hajdute e kriminele, te medhenj e te vegjel. E pranojme tani qe kur nje “akademik” vjedh si nje “xhepist” kur del jashte shtetit me pushime, thuhet qe, “he mo cfare vodhi ky?” E pranojme pra qe te te gjithe vjedhin, qe nga kryeministri e deri tek mesuesi i kopshtit. Keshtu i edukoni edhe femijet tuaj. I mesoni te vjedhin nga te mundin, nga njeri tjetri, nga prinderit e tyre. Te marrin nje diplome qe nuk e meritojne. Nje vend pune qe nuk u takon. Eshte i vetmi mesim qe i vlen femijes tuaj ne Shqiperi. Mos harroni qe nje dite do ta paguani vete koston e mesimit te nje morali akoma me te ulet sesa juaji.

Ky shtet te cilit sapo i festuat 100-vjetorin eshte nje kufome, te cilen e hane vazhdimish me mijra krimba, te medhenj e te vegjel. Tani nje gjymtyre e krimbur e ketij shteti kerkon te denoje nje njeri te ndershem dhe te afte.

Sepse refuzoi te kthehej ne krimb. Sepse nuk kishte rruge tjeter.

Ky ishte i vetmi “krim” i tij.

Location Intelligence @Ottawa IT Camp 2013

I’m giving a talk on location intelligence at the Ottawa IT Camp 2013 (IT Pro track) at Algonquin College. I’ll be talking about a location entity recognition engine I’ve been developing over the past year and some practical applications built on top of it.

 

Confirm+-+ Undo-+-

An important UI aspect is the “Confirm X action.” Some windows os-es even took it a step further by requiring confirmation on _any_ action, thus rendering the whole thing useless. I doubt it made those operating systems less prone to virus intrusions originating from user actions.

The “confirm this action” button is still quite widespread in web applications, but apart from those requiring confirmation of some financial transaction, I do not really see the point.

The more confirmation steps involved in an action the less attentive we are to what we are doing, because instinctively we think of the confirmation button as someone checking over our work to prevent us from making a mistake. This way we delegate part of the thinking to a silly button that is nothing more than an extra bump in the road.

Let’s lose the “confirm” button.

Instead, it would make more sense to have a number of undo steps available after each action, or even a number of undo steps that equals the number of actions (the maximum number of undo step you can possibly have).

It is more work, but if you visualize the problem as a tree like graph of actions, the undo steps could simply traverse that graph in reverse order at any possible node to arrive at any possible other node.

That’s what I would have to call a very well written application.

the price is (al)right

Price discrimination is not a new thing. There are anecdotes showing it has been applied in ancient times. “The King was charged an exorbitant price for an egg while on a visit to the countryside. “Oh, eggs must be rare around these parts!” the King exclaims. “Oh, no. The eggs are not rare, Kings are.” retorted the villager.

Or even some years back when I was visiting Albania I discovered that returning emigres living abroad like myself, were being charged double for a haircut compared to people living there.

The list goes on…

Who would have thought that western corporations would join the likes of medieval peasants and Albanian barbers in applying this time honored technique?

An article on ABC news today, pointed out that Mac users are more likely to be shown higher prices than PC users, while shopping for fares on Orbitz.com. Orbitz says its data show that Mac users spend as much as 30 percent more on hotels than PC users do. Great! Does this mean that Mac users are richer, or just that PC users are cheap? They should have included this in the “I am a mac, I am a pc” ad.

Even more intriguing is recent a patent application, which aims to present the invention of “guessing” a user’s purchasing power online, and using that information to display the highest price that the user can bear. Fantastic! Those who have more must pay more. It is the same with taxes.

Or is it?

The law must be hacked

I recently read a post about using a time honored IT technique for improving a largely flawed system, namely the legal system. Normally geeks like us would not bother with such boring subjects, but since these subjects routinely bother us and with us, it is perhaps time to take a look at it and try to fix what’s broken and buggy.

The solution that has been put forward by the Brooklyn Law school’s incubator and policy clinic (BLIPin their ‘legal hackathon’ is this:

Instead of hacking computer code, attendees — mostly lawyers, law students, coders, and entrepreneurs — used the hacking ethos to devise technologically sophisticated solutions to legal problems. These included attempts to crowdsource mayoral candidacies in New York City and hacking model privacy policies for ISPs.”

Now, that’s something I’d really cheer for! A versioning control system for laws, along with a requirements spec for each law and a wikipedia like system for citizen participation would be a good start.

It has been a while, but now thanks to technology perhaps democracy will be back at work where it has recently failed most miserably. Laws should be made by people not lobbyists.

And technology will help that process along.