Monday, January 29, 2007

Move: lessons learned

  • It is difficult to find estimate online how much will move cost you
  • Shipping companies prefer Full Cargo Load (FCL). For 6 foot container (content of 3 bedroom house excluding vehicles, cca. 30 cubic meters) will cost you about NZD 14,000 to Belgrade. I assume most of other destinations will be bit cheaper (20,000+ km by sea and 800 km by truck component).
  • You can't deal directly with shipping companies, so you have to go through agents

Description: Sedan 4dr Auto 4sp 2.0i
Red Book Code: FORD05AQ

Condition: Good
Kilometres: 15,000
Trade-in Price: $14,800
Private Sale Price: $19,500

  • It is much easier to sell Toyota than Ford
  • Dealers generally add 30 to 35% markup on vehicles (could be more) – you are much better off buying privately and selling privately and getting mechanical breakdown insurance (NZD 800 for 3 years if you shop around).
  • If you sell car within 6 months of purchase you virtually paid off nothing after adding booking fees, insurance and interest which is high in beginning. Don’t buy expensive car if you plan to sell it in few months – rather buy something cheaper to minimize your loss.
  • If you are selling car on Trademe put it on auction (other option is just an advert). Unless you are selling vintage car almost nobody bids online. Having closing time for auction will prompt buyers to contact you. If auction expires (price to high) you can restart it within 14 days at no cost. IMHO it is worth putting start price same as reserve as rarely anyone does this – it makes it easier for buyer.
  • One way tickets can be almost half of price contrary to popular belief that they are not much cheaper.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Enterprise Application Development Books

Work colleague asked me to recommend books on software development. This is short recap on books and articles I found helpful.

I started developing Object Oriented software in ’97. At that time OO was a developing field and there was not much written on developing Object Oriented enterprise applications. Situation is much better now. There is huge variation in quality of published books and some of those that I will mention stand out as “classics”.

One of first books I read was Object Oriented Modeling and Design (1990, Jim Rumbaugh et al. ). Notation used in this book is OMT, which later on became basis for UML .Although some material might be dated, most of it would still be relevant. Patterns for Object to Relational Mapping were discussed.

I found number of interesting articles on Object Mentor site, particularly articles written by Robert C. Martin. Most of those were later published in the book Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices. It would recommend you read following articles:

If you are new to UML I would recommend reading related articles on the same site.

Any OO book list would be incomplete without mentioning classic work Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software (1995, Gang of Four). This must be most exciting book of all times that I have read. At the time I got it we were struggling big time with concepts in our OO design. What is most striking about this book is model of thinking that you adopt when you start applying patterns. These are everyday situations that you face doing Analysis, Design or coding. It is worth coming back to this book over and over as you develop understanding of problems you face in software development.

In recent times another classic work emerged: Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture (2002, Martin Fowler). This books brings patterns closer to enterprise applications. One of most exciting patterns is Domain Model. This pattern leads to creation of OO model representing business domain used in your applications. From early days it was my assumption that this is only valid way of developing OO enterprise applications. This equates to notion of problem domain and solution domain in Object-Oriented Analysis and Design with Applications (1993, Grady Booch). BTW I found this book a hard read at the time and although it does contain number of interesting concepts I would recommend you don't spend too much time reading it.

This subject is further developed in Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software (2003, Eric Evans) . This is a must read if you want to apply OO to enterprise applications. There is a very good debate going on Domain Driven Design Group (Yahoo) on applying DDD.

Another book you might consider reading after this book is Applying Domain-Driven Design and Patterns: With Examples in C# and .NET (2006, Jimmy Nilsson). This covers more practical approach to applying Domain Driven Design.

Benefit of books like this is development of common vocabulary and frames of reference for software development team. Although silver bullet doesn’t exist and you will need to apply yourself to understand business problem first these books give you powerful set of tools to tackle issues you will find in enterprise application development.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Feeling Begins

Dates are all set: movers are coming on 31st January and we are flying on 9th February. I expect furniture to arrive mid April. Good news is that we can "house sit" apartment next to Jelena's sister until April.

I had a look at local property market and feeling is that prices doubled in last 4 years (I did not have a look at any hard market data). Mortgage market looks quite buoyant: Euro denominated loans and 20% government guarantee take out most of the risk from lenders. Interest rates and payments are relatively low (still out of reach for general population). You can find interesting payment calculator here: fields from top are mortgage amount, deposit, monthly income, term.

Some analysts point out to discrepancies between supply (3,500 apartments per year) and demand (apparently 50,000 apartments) as a key reason for price increase and believe that with return of larger construction companies prices should drop. I would not hold my breath for that - good example how far market can go is Zagreb. Croatia has much higher per capita GDP (USD 8,000 vs. USD 3,200 for Serbia) but salaries in Serbia are increasing on much faster pace than GDP. It is also a question of market segmentation, exclusive property in Belgrade can be more expensive than equivalent in Auckland, NZ.

Serbian parliamentary elections are due to start in few hours. Politics is a source of great frustration (for a reason) for anyone from these parts. Focus of these elections was more on economy and issues that affect everyday life than on politics of people of heaven (see Lazar of Serbia: Aftermath and Myth). After reading Serbian newspapers and websites I struggled to go to sleep for hours. It looks like Serbia is moving away from abyss but you can still get vertigo if you dare to look over the edge.

I'm not looking forward to prospect of going to winter. This winter in Europe looks particularly mild which takes away excuse that we could catch up with some winter sports activities.