The truth about my life

Fri, 26 Jul 2013

Long time no blog.

I might as well take down the site and nominate myself for Internet's Darwin Awards. A futile attempt to help clear the web, that would be.

So, I turned 31 a few weeks ago. No big deal, no cake, no party, with family and a few friends noticing, much less social media auto-birdhday-reminder fuss.

Life revs up at higher rpms. Start-up guy does it again. Sleeping too much. Having fun. Running less. Putting on a bit more weight. And yeah, wrinkles, Clooney.

So far, so good.

Thu, 12 Jul 2012

A quote from the Wikipedia article about Nikola Tesla, probably the greatest inventor of all time and one of the people who inspire me most (he was around 30 back then):

In 1886, Tesla formed his own company, Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing. The initial financial investors disagreed with Tesla on his plan for an alternating current motor and eventually fired him, forcing him to work as a ditch digger for $2 per day. Tesla considered the winter of 1886/1887 a time of "terrible headaches and bitter tears" and questioned the value of his education.

It was a year of bitter tears, indeed. But I'd like to paint a better picture for the next one by celebrating my 30th birthday, 13 July around 8pm Istanbul time at a pub named Karga. I'd be delighted if you could join me for a drink.

Sun, 13 May 2012

So, Avea texted me when I was at Trabzon for a family visit and a quick seminar about free software as a sidekick. Very early in the morning I did a SIM switch and it was on.

About 2 months with Avea, many cities, a lot of travel and on-the-go conference-calls; I'm happy to report that I have experienced not a single glitch. Avea network works as expected. I'm a satisfied customer.

Now that being said, call sound quality is slightly worse than expected. Avea is a GSM1800 network, and it drains my phone battery slightly faster, compared to any GSM800 network (Turkcell, for example).

Fri, 30 Mar 2012

Believe it or not, blogging about this is a // TODO item since 2006.

On June 30, 2006; long before the financial crisis and the acquisition by Oracle, Jonathan Schwartz, then CEO of former Sun Microsystems wrote:

I had lunch with Tony Blair today. (And yes, I have been waiting all afternoon to type that.)

[...]

[The Prime Minister] wanted advice on advancing the United Kingdom's position in Europe for research and development. Nearly everyone in the room referenced Stanford and Berkeley's role in making the Valley attractive - as a source of graduates, to be sure, but more as a revolving door for research, partnership, education, dialog.

[...]

So if you want to attract companies like Sun to your economy, focus on investing in education, in your students, and in your leaders. Focus on educating your policy makers as to why you're committed to education - not to build prestigious institutions, but to invest in progress, academic as well as economic. Focus on the value of broad based talent as a competitive weapon, don't be distracted by cost reducing labor.

All good and dandy; but we actually want to build the next Sun or Oracle or IBM. Calling sharks in by bleeding, like Schwartz assumes that’s what countries around the world want, may not be a good idea after all. A mere source of labor is not what we want to become.

And this made me think for a while, like, 6 years. I've connected a lot of things.

All these funds, incentives and tax exceptions provided by the Turkish government and EU, innovation centers, "technology parks" and campuses within universities; bits and pieces of good ideas that form a nurturing environment are there, but it's not working. It's not a stupid question to ask why.

We need to understand that failing is the default for start-ups, as Paul Graham stated in his article, appropriately titled "Why startup hubs work?", which I will shamelessly quote here:

The problem is not that most towns kill startups. It's that death is the default for startups, and most towns don't save them. Instead of thinking of most places as being sprayed with startupicide, it's more accurate to think of startups as all being poisoned, and a few places being sprayed with the antidote.

Startups in other places are just doing what startups naturally do: fail. The real question is, what's saving startups in places like Silicon Valley?

[...]

In most places, if you start a startup, people treat you as if you're unemployed. People in the Valley aren't automatically impressed with you just because you're starting a company, but they pay attention. Anyone who's been here any amount of time knows not to default to skepticism, no matter how inexperienced you seem or how unpromising your idea sounds at first, because they've all seen inexperienced founders with unpromising sounding ideas who a few years later were billionaires.

[...]

The antidote is people. It's not the physical infrastructure of Silicon Valley that makes it work, or the weather, or anything like that. Those helped get it started, but now that the reaction is self-sustaining what drives it is the people.

It's not working, because Turkey, a mega town indeed, is not sprayed with the antidote. We treat people as if they're unemployed when they start a startup. We pity them. We feel an urge to start a fight with their ideas and methods.

We do these bad things, because the Turkish system of education finally succeeded in creating uniform mediocrity, and anything beyond that scares us. From early years of education, kids are seldom encouraged to work together and collaborate to achieve a common goal. We're given separate tasks to carry on, and we race against each other to finish faster and earlier.

This competitive environment and the mindset that comes along with it creates a dangerous selfish personality. We don't want to help each other. In fact, we depend on everyone else to fail, so we can succeed with least effort, or at least have a feeling of justice and equality.

Very first of all, we have to substitute competition with collaboration. Doing that with a population driven by the scarcity of everything is the main challenge. We have to come and work together for anything, just to learn how to collaborate with each other.

It should be obvious that the only way we stimulate not only growth but progress in our civilization is that we have to invest in better education of generations to come, patiently. Planning better education for future alone is a very hard task, and still it's not enough. We have to begin preparing a friendly environment and shift towards a nurturing and collaborating culture; so it will be okay to try and fail, and perhaps occasionally succeed.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012

Degerli hocam Ugur Ozmen'in blogunda gorup almaya karar vermis fakat ancak birkac hafta sonra almaya firsat bulabilmistim Yekta Kopan'in kisa oykulerden olusan Bir de baktim yoksun adli kitabini.

Uzun sure arabanin icinde Istanbul'u dolastirdiktan sonra Pazar aksami eve getirdim, bakistik karsilikli ama baslayamadim. Bu gece birkac saat evvel iste o sek raki bardagini yarisina kadar doldurup okumaya basladim, bitirmeden de duramadim. Once raki, sonra kitap bitti.

Bu yaziyi da gunlugume yazmak icin sabahi bekleyemedim. 2007'den beri kitaplarla ilgili yazmamisim, bu oyku kitabina kismetmis.

Fri, 23 Mar 2012

Uzun bir aradan sonra LKD ve Pardus hakkında tekrar yazıyorum. Değerli arkadaşım A. Murat Eren'in Google Plus'daki çağrısı üzerine bir grup arkadaş yorumlarını gönderdi, ben de biraz zaman bulup aşağıdaki metni yayınladım. Diğer tüm yorumlarla birlikte benimki de Meren'in derlemesinde yer alıyor, oradan herkesin yazılarını okuyabilirsiniz.

Pardus projesi ile, projede çalışanların bazıları ile projenin başlaması evvelinde aynı şirketlerde çalışmış olmamız, bazıları ile de LKD ve diğer özgür yazılım topluluklarındaki ortak çalışmalarımızda tanıştığım arkadaşlarım olması dolayısıyla bir gönül bağım var.

O zaman da doğrudan özgür yazılım dünyasının içinde değildim, bugün de değilim. Telekomünikasyon ve internet yazılımları sektöründe yazılım çözümleri geliştiriyor ve satıyorum. Geliştirdiğim çözümlerin bazılarını özgür yazılımların üstüne kuruyorum. O zamanlarda yazılımları kendim de geliştiriyordum; bugünlerde daha az yazılım geliştirir oldum.

Pardus projesi en başta Türkiye'de derebeylikleri veya küçük kamplar şeklinde organize olmuş özgür yazılımla kendince oynayıp duran insanları toplayıp aynı hedefe yönlendirerek Türkiye genelinde yaygın şekilde kullanılabilecek bir ürün çıkarma işini LKD hiç denemediği ve hatta bu işe kalkışmadığı için TÜBİTAK'ın bu boşluğu doldururken kâr dahi edilebileceği ihtimalini görmüş olmasından başlamış olabilir. Ortamı görebiliyorum, ama TÜBİTAK'ı asıl eyleme geçirenin gerçekte kim ve ne olduğunu hep merak etmişimdir.

Biz LKD üyeleri olarak böyle bir iş yapacak değildik. Yani LKD dernek olarak kanuni mecburiyet olan finansal takip işlerinin yapılabilmesi için dışarıdan muhasebeci tutmaya bütçe ayırmayı daha yakın zamanda başarabilmiş; yönetim kurulu seçimlerinde bir avuç insanın toplandığı, elini taşın altına gerçekten koymak isteyecek insanların pek az olduğu bir dernektir. Böyle bir işe bugün dahi LKD'nin boyu yetmez.

Pardus projesinin önceliği yeni ve özgün bir dağıtımı en baştan yapmak idi.

O zaman bu devrimsel metod maliyeti ve ilk yaygınlaştırılabilir ürünün piyasaya sürülmesine dek geçecek zamanın uzunluğu dolayısıyla çok riskli ve hatta tehlikeli görünmüştü bana.

Yapısal sorunları çözme maliyetlerinin küresel özgür yazılımcılarla daha hızlı paylaşılacağı paylaşımlı bir model bana daha çekici ve makul geliyordu. O zamanlarda (belki eski arşivlerde, günlüğümde veya arkadaşlarla yazışmalarda vardır) Debian dağıtımı tabanlı, insanların göreceği yerleri ülkemiz görsel ve işitsel ihtiyaçlarını karşılayacak şekilde güzelce boyanmış bir ürünle piyasaya çıkıp halkın ihtiyaçlarına daha erken odaklanmayı daha çekici buluyordum; bence hiç olmazsa o yoldan gidilmeli idi.

Fakat projenin en büyük problemi bence bundan (yani teknoloji ve metod seçimi kaynaklı maliyetlerden) ibaret değildi. Yani ben o zamanlarda öyle sanıyordum, fakat birkaç yıl önce öyle olmadığını açıkça görebildim. İnsan yaşı ilerledikçe biraz akıllanıyor herhalde, o zaman görememiştim.

Bence en büyük problem projenin hedef kitle seçimini daha ilk günden hatalı yapmak idi; daha o zamandan projenin akıbeti belli idi.

Mühendislerden oluşan bir ekip kolayına kaçıp "herkes" deyiverdi galiba. Üretilecek bir ürünün toplumun eline geçerek, toplumun elinde değer yaratmasını sağlayacak adama pazarlamacı denir ve o da hedef kitleyi belirler. O adam proje ekibinde yoktu, o vazifeyi de kimse üstlenebilmiş gibi görünmüyordu. TÜBİTAK da mühendislik odaklı bir organizasyon olduğundan mühendislerin yaptığı bu hatalı "herkes" hedef kitlesi seçimini çok yadırgamamış olabilir. Pazarlama konusunda yeterince iyi bir insan proje ekibinde en baştan bulunsaydı muhtemelen ortaya çıkacak ürün "masaüstü bilgisayarlarda çalıştırılacak herkesin kullanabileceği bir Linux dağıtımı" yerine; belki de, "Türkiye'de yaşayan, Türkçe konuşan, 10 yaşından büyük ilköğretim ve lise öğrencileri tarafından eğitim ve eğlence amaçlı kullanılacak bir eğitim, öğretim ve iletişim sistemi" olurdu. Tabii benim bu kadarcık aklı edinebilmem için çok badireler atlatmam gerekti.

Biz girişimcilerin bu Pardus tecrübesinden ve dünyadaki benzer örneklerden edinebileceğimiz çok tecrübe var. En önemliden başlayarak, sırası ile saymak gerekirse:

  • "Milli" veya "Ulusal" sözcüklerinin bir yerine yapıştığı özgür yazılım projeleri sonunda başarısız oluyor. Brezilya, Çin, Kore, İspanya başarısız örnekleri var. Başarılı örnek benim bildiğim yok. Doğumuna milliyetçiliğin veya ulusalcılığın sebep olduğu projeler çok hızlı değişen ve gelişen küresel özgür yazılım (ve teknoloji) dünyasını sadece takip etmekte bile hantal ve hatta finansal olarak güçsüz kalıyorlar; önüne geçip gelişimin bayraktarı olmayı konuşmuyorum bile. Bilginin milliyeti veya ulusu olmayacağını Pardus (veya eski adıyla Uludağ -- Ulusal Dağıtım) projesi başladığında da biliyorduk zaten ama, işte ne yaparsın, basiretimiz bağlandı herhalde. İçimden bir ses milli/ulusal kaygı ile başlayan çoğu projenin eninde sonunda başarısız olacağını söylese de, bu iddiayı sürdürecek ve analiz edecek bilgiye sahip değilim.
  • Yapılan işten bağımsız olarak, pazarlama fonksiyonu fikrin doğumundan itibaren orada bulunmak zorunda.
  • Yanlış hedef kitle seçimi öldürür. Kitle seçimi hakkında alfabe için: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Target_audience
  • Projenin en başında başarının ne olduğunu iyi tanımlamak gerek. Örnek: Ubuntu #1.
  • Özgün olmak başarı kriteri değildir. Başarılı olduktan sonra övünülebilecek bazı şeylerden biri olabilir, ama bir kriter değildir.

Başkalarının ne ders çıkaracağını bilemem, ben kendime bunları çıkardım.

Pardus'a dair en doğru şey sanırım tertemiz kalpli, pırıl pırıl, çok yetenekli ve çok hevesli insanları bir araya toplamaktaki başarısı idi.

Pardus projesinin özgür yazılımların ülkemizde kullanılabilirliğini biraz artırmaya katkısını ve başarısını kabul etmekle birlikte; dünyanın geri kalanına kayda değer bir katkı sağlayabildiğine inanmıyorum.

Son olarak LKD'nin amaçlarına yadsınamaz katkılar yaptığını, ülkemizdeki özgür yazılım topluluğunun her ferdinin, hiç olmazsa bu değerli katkılar sebebiyle yolu Pardus projesinden geçmiş herkese minnettar olması gerektiğini düşünüyorum. Ben kendi adıma minnettarım.

Wed, 29 Feb 2012

No, I didn't kill the phone too. And no, I'm not defaulting to smoke signal for communication. Not yet.

I'm a Turkcell customer for probably about 10 years or a bit more. The network worked great, almost all the time. Turkcell is an awesome example if I ever decide to build an operations company, all around.

But their premium pricing is not good enough, and now that I depend even more on my phone for communication since I've killed pretty much every other method, it became costly. But it's not critical enough for ~$100/month item in my operational cost. I'll happily accept 5% call drop rates, 20% slower internet etc. in exchange for a 50% discount; because my communication is not that critical. Realizing that, I thought, maybe I should try and experience how mobile number portability works in Turkey firsthand.

After checking prices and packages, I settled on Avea, a long time Telenity customer. Almost all of their mobile messaging infrastructure runs on Telenity software. So I took a visit, but finding an Avea dealer is not easy, not as widespread as Turkcell. They obviously have a database on their website, but I went to the closest but the dealer store was closed for renovation.

The experience was smooth. It took about 2 mins for the nice guy at the dealer to fill out the form for me, I read the agreement briefly and signed here and there, took my new SIM and left without paying a dime. Apparently I'll get a text message soon that tells me when to switch SIM cards. After the switch, I'll be back again with the same number in Avea network, paying about $25 a month for a much larger communications package. Saving 75%, not that bad.

I'll try to keep you posted about my Avea experience once in a while.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012

I'm finally on Android. I ditched my beloved Nokia E65 in favor of a SonyEricsson Xperia Mini Pro, the smallest Android device with a keyboard. It also happens to be my best buy since Laguna.

Change of the device simplifies my artillery of gadgetry. No need to carry a digital camera and the bluetooth GPS receiver that served me well for the last 2 years can be put to rest.

Its A2DP support means I can finally use my bluetooth stereo earphones to replace inconsistent gym music with awesome beats to suit my running sessions.

This post was made possible using ConnectBot to a vim in a screen, but lacks HTML-proper because the keyboard has no < and > chars bound to any key. Obviously this is no hacker keyboard.

Update: VX ConnectBot to the rescue, excellent support for SEXperiaMiniPro (I know, sounds kinky when spelled this way).

Sun, 12 Feb 2012

In another attempt to gain more time for life, I've also axed instant messaging. Until now I actively used my own Jabber, Google Talk, MSN and also Skype. I will not be online on any of these instant messaging services anymore. Now all I've got is a regular cell phone (maybe I'll kill that one, hmm?) and of course you can get in touch with me via e-mail.

It really is like drug addiction treatment. You've got to be tough, or it won't work.

In other news, FOSDEM wasn't good enough. I don't expect everyone to be a great keynote speaker, but if I kept listening to some of these talks I could actually cure my insomnia. That's how good they were. Brussels weather was freezingly cold but friends were pretty warm. Turkish speaking Iranian and Tunisian taxi drivers everywhere. I'll certainly take another visit to Belgium.

Fri, 03 Feb 2012

Dear friends,

I'm taking the next plane to Brussels for FOSDEM, I hope to be able to attend the Friday Night Beer Event. Let me know if you're coming too.

Tue, 24 Jan 2012

(This is a re-post, I accidentally removed the one on G+. I know, I'm getting old.)

Last night I deleted my FriendFeed account. Unlike any other social network, FriendFeed was a beloved one. I made many good friends over there. Nonetheless, it had to go. Now why would this matter to you?

I found that social networks as we know them can easily consume a lot of my time. I was almost an addict for many social networks: Twitter, 4sq, friendfeed, facebook to name just the worst offenders. Although privacy concern was the motif principal, precious and scarce hours I wasted shuffling pictures of party pics from nasty friends was what pushed the knife to the bone. Enough was enough. No more nasty party pix.

But the treatment didn't come soft and sweet. It's just as bad as the quit-smoking experience. Discipline was the key for me. I feel the urge to flick open the cellphone and tweet something that just happened or came to mind many times a day, but I resist. Nobody really gives a flying saucer about what I'm about to post anyway, and knowing this helps a bit.

Now the blog is different, because it started with an ego-centric narcissism. I don't expect any flying saucers here, most of the time, unless I'm replying someone. And it's what it is, a web log, diary of the captain obvious, on the web, no? As of today, LinkedIn and Google+ is what's left. Next-up, maybe Google Talk (and IM concept in general) is getting axed.

Oh, happy 2012 too. 2011 was bad, maybe this one will be better.

Wed, 28 Dec 2011

Folks,

I've got jobs for everyone. Plan to switch? Looking for a dream job? Get in touch with me, I'm sure we can get you something.

I'm looking for software engineers, system admins, test engineers, customer care/support specialists and a few similar positions at high and lower ranking profiles.

As usual with my job postings, I don't care about your diploma, military service status or your age. All I'm looking for is the ability to get the damn thing done with least noise and quickly.

Wed, 21 Dec 2011

I've been spending most of my time reading more books. I've never been a good writer, yet I have decided that the blog deserves a little bit more love.

I have deactivated all social networks except Google+ and Linkedin. Considering that Twitter was the most time consuming thing, I'm hoping that I'll have even more time to read and finally get back to blogging.

As a side effect, I won't be reachable through twitter and facebook and alike. I'm e-mail and phone only.

Hi, again.

Tue, 12 Jul 2011

Yağmurluk

Bu geciken yazıyı yazabilmek için yağmurluğu bagajdan çıkarıp bu sıcakta giydim :)

25 Haziran günü blogger arkadaşlarla birlikte Bi Büyük Fest'te eser miktarda Yeni Rakı, muhteşem bir manzara ve yağmur eşliğinde Gripin, Şevval Sam ve Emel Sayın izledik. İlk defa (belki de son defa) Emel Sayın'ı canlı izleme fırsatı buldum; söyleyecek pek birşey yok. Şevval Sam ayrıca harika bir insanmış, mütevaziliği güzelliğini ve yeteneğini gizlemeye yetmiyor.

Bizi harika şekilde ağırlayan ve yağmur başlar başlamaz herkese fotoğraftaki lacivert yağmurlukların dağıtılacağını bile öngören Yeni Rakı ekibine çok teşekkür ederim.

Sat, 13 Nov 2010

I was a very happy owner of a Renault Megane, but after putting about 135,000 kilometers and some recent problems (a diesel injector, front right axle, alternator belt) I paid about 10% of its value to fix, I decided it's time for a change.

Now, I had a budget of up to about 60,000 Turkish Liras (€30,000). I looked at many cars and I've built a spreadsheet of feature comparison like any engineer would do. My primary criteria:

  • 2.0L or smaller diesel engine with an average fuel consumption of 7L/100km or less
  • A boot of at least 400dm3 in volume
  • Cruise control
  • All electric windows
  • Large and comfortable interior
  • Extremely comfortable seats
  • ESP

I don't care about exterior design; all that matters is what I interact with daily. What I'd love to have is:

  • Xenon headlights
  • Electrochromatic (auto-darkening) rear view mirror or a curtain on the rear window
  • Parking sensor
  • Automatic transmission
  • Electric hybrid (there was none available)

I tested these cars:

  • Opel Insignia 1.6 180hp stickshift Edition Elegance (a total disappointment)
  • Citroen C5 1.6 HDI SX PK (great comfy car, weird steering wheel, very complex dashboard and controls, beautiful transmission)
  • Peugeot 407 (kinda old but very nice overall, falls short on fuel consumption and replaced by ugly 508)
  • Ford Mondeo Titanium 2.0 TDCI (very good handling and suspension, feels huge but not really comfy seats)
  • Renault Laguna (I'll get back to it)

And I looked at many other cars including BMW 520d, Honda Accord, VW Passat, Skoda Superb, Audi A6, Seat Exeo, Volvo S60. Some of these were obviously beyond my budget, some failed my primary criteria.

A few friends suggested SUV models but I really don't want an inefficient gas guzzler so SUVs are out. Cross-overs like Nissan Qashqai, Audi Q5, Ford Kuga and BMW X1 are out too. I'm too humble to overlook other people.

I wanted to test drive a Renault Laguna. I did what you'd do and walked into a Renault dealer but they didn't have one because it was going to be replaced with Latitude model in next few months. After paying visits to many other dealers and receiving disappointing customer experience I decided to pull an emergency lever. I like Renault but as a prospective customer I didn’t like how they treated me, and I thought, maybe they don’t know about the problem. Imagine this: you walk into a dealer but nobody notices you, the car you probably will buy is on the website but no dealer has it, you leave your contact details to many dealers but they never call back, nobody knows when the successor Latitude will be available or what it will be like, showrooms and cars are not really clean, cars in showrooms are underequipped etc.

I called out to my friend Cem Batu from Proximity Istanbul and he got me in touch with Renault Turkey and I told them the story and they apologized for the inconvenience and something amazing happened: they got me a fairly equipped 2008 Laguna 1.5 dCi 110hp Dynamique stickshift for a weekend ride, which I enjoyed a lot. They also provided a Megane Sport-Tourer for a day just to cure my curiosity, but I was so upset with it I turned it back after a 10 minute ride and ran away with a cab. Bear with me for the bribery, but just to validate they took my criticism seriously I paid a couple more visits to dealers nearby and all I can say is that Renault has improved the overall experience significantly, they’re still far from perfect but better than many others.

While we're on customer experience, I have to explicitly mention the one Citroen creates. I was test driving a Citroen C5 10 minutes after I walked in the dealer, and I was very impressed with their informative and welcoming sales process. I could have bought one right away.

I’ll also mention Ford’s. It was terrible. Their Turkey website is downright ugly and useless. Their dealer showrooms are designed to sell crops not cars -- just plain dirty. Their salespeople are undertrained. Their pricing figures and feature packages are sad. Their financing options are good and that’s the only good thing about Ford’s customer experience.

The problem with Laguna was its unavailability, and that's what turned me to shop around the second hand market. I called my good friend Selçuk Bertan from Bimexcar and in just a week I was test driving the 2009 Laguna III 2.0 dCi Privilege I bought the day after. I either buy stuff from people I know or I get to know with people I buy stuff from. It was top of the line with every optional feature but satellite navigation (even my cell phone has it). I did some 5000km with it already and I'm very, very happy with these:

  • The 150hp M9R engine puts out a torque of 340Nm/sec, takes the 1620kg me excluded giant to 100km/h in just 9.3 seconds and adds more oomph than enough to my daily commute. It's also fitted with a DPF.
  • The 6-speed AJ0 automatic transmission is a smooth operator. It does exactly what I'd do if I was to shift it up or down, but it's quicker than me and gear changes are barely noticeable.
  • Fuel consumption is, well, let's just say it's slightly better than the class average. With very careful driving I was able to get as good as 6.8lt/100km, but as I said to many of my friends, if you feed a lion you don’t worry about its food. I suspect it can be improved with a software change though.
  • Handling (and also braking) is excellent, but for the educated driver who loves digging for details, Ford Mondeo is a tiny bit better in this area. The difference between Megane and Laguna is huge though.
  • I can talk all day long about how comfortable all electric adjusted heated beige leather seats are. You sit "in"to seats unlike "on"to them like you do in a Volkswagen or a Ford. Seats are the most welcoming component of Laguna's interior.
  • Keyless-go is by far the most useful feature. The keycard is in my wallet in my pocket, I walk in and it unlocks magically and I just push the start button to go -- without inserting any key. I stop the engine and walk out and it locks itself and folds up side mirrors. The relationship between the car and me was always hi and good-bye so far.
  • Automatic bi-xenon headlights adapt beams to vehicle speed and direction to provide light at the point where my eyes are focused on the road. It's very natural.
  • All glass electric roof and dual-zone climate control are nice to have.
  • The parking brake is fully automatic but in case you want to control it, there’s a tiny little on/off button located at the armrest where you’d expect an ugly stick to occupy.
  • The cabin is very quiet compared to other cars I tested even at speeds higher than 150km/h.

What I don’t like is:

  • Fuel consumption could be better. If 2011 BMW 520d can do it, Renault can do it too.
  • Curtains on dual window roof could be electric controlled too.
  • No front parking sensor: I added a little scratch on my first day, the nose is huge! No proximity display for parking sensor. Apparently this is fixed on Latitude.
  • Warranty period is just 2 years/100,000km. For comparison, Honda is 6 years/150,000km.
  • Service intervals could be more stretch; Laguna wants to be serviced every 15,000km in Turkey. I’ve sent an e-mail to Renault about this and I’ll keep you posted.
  • White Power-LEDs could be used for low-dipped lights, instead of yellow old little bulbs.
  • It doesn’t drive itself. As Eric Schmidt of Google says, it’s a bug that cars were invented before computers.

Any questions about my tests or perceptions about other cars and Laguna, you know where to get me and you’re free to prove me wrong :-)

Fri, 12 Nov 2010

Davut and me in Gölcük, Bolu

I’m very sad to write this, Davut passed away on Friday evening last week and lost the battle against the stomach cancer he was diagnosed with more than 3 years ago.

I received the news on Saturday morning and I was fortunate enought to attend the funeral in Manisa after a 5 hour drive. His family was devastated as you might expect.

I felt what’s going to happen in late August when he was transported to Istanbul with an ambulance from Manisa because his intestines stopped functioning. I told him to take a plane next time and abusing ambulances to avoid horrible Istanbul traffic is unethical when I visited him at the hospital. He looked like he’s going to pull it off.

Davut left detailed information about his last few years on his blog. He even wrote a book that will be printed soon. Both the blog and the book is in Turkish and a few volunteers with golden hearts are working on an English translation. He worked very hard. He was always like that.

Friends say that he suffered badly in the last week and was on a very high morphine dose.

There was a lot of grief and love in social networks and groups he was active in, but what gave me chills was his last tweet, asking me where I am. He was loved by many thousands of people.

He will be missed.

Sat, 05 Jun 2010

Bizim için her şeyin iyisini düşünen, planlayan ve uygulayan liberal demokratik kapitalizmin konfor ve rahat, mutluluk ve huzur içinde villalarına tıktığı sağlıklı ve güzel insanların can sıkıntısından patlayacakları yeni yüzyıl.

Eski çağlarda açlık ve esaret isyanlara sebep olurdu. Modern çağlarda milliyetçilik ve sosyalizm. Gelen dünyada ise can sıkıntısı.

Batı'da Hayat

Gündelik hayatlarında kanunlara aşırı bir hassasiyet, dikkat ve neredeyse hürmetle uyan insanlar asla özgür değillerdir; iyi yetiştirilmiş, terbiyeli, uslu ve saygılı çocuklara benzerler. Köle değillerdir doğrusu böyle çocuklar; sefil ve perişan da değillerdir; aptal veya enayi de diyemem onlara; huzurlu ve mutlu dahi olabilirler ama bir büyük kusurları vardır ki, hayat denilen bu olağanüstü macerada en çekilmez sakatlıktır: can sıkarlar.

Emre Yılmaz, Şeytan'ın Fısıldadıkları adlı kitaptan. Benim yaptığımı yapmayın, bu kitabı hayatınızla ilgili önemli kararlar verdikten sonraya bırakmayın.

Güncelleme: bir de şunu demiş...

Eski kahvehanelerle ilgili bir kitap okuyordum. Bu asrın başında İstanbul'da her mahallede özgürce afyon ve esrar içilebilen en az bir kahvehane varmış. Bugünlerin Amsterdam'ı gibi. İki binli yıllarda ise evde kedi beslemek bile yasaklanacak.

Fri, 12 Feb 2010

Dear friends,

I'm delighted to announce the results of our agreement with Telenity: we got acquired. Effective as of today, all Construia assets (products, source code, business plans and other intellectual property) are now owned, marketed and supported by Telenity. This is very good news, because we now have access to Telenity's existing global sales and support organization, not to mention their existing customer base all around the world, starving for mobile marketing oriented products and services.

By integrating our innovative approach to mobile marketing with Telenity's line of products, we strive to make meaning and help change the world to a better place for everyone.

I'd like to thank all our partners and existing customers for their continuous support. Rest assured that we'll do our very best to prevent any interruptions in our services throughout the short transition period. Eventually the brand Construia will be replaced by Telenity and our current website will point to a page in Telenity's website.

I joined Telenity team as Business Development Manager and Product Manager of Mobile Marketing products.. Although I'll still be overseeing the ongoing deployment projects of Construia products, in my new role I hope to bring more to the table soon, mostly in the mobile marketing business, which is already targeted with Construia product line.

As a side note, Telenity is exhibiting at the Mobile World Congress Hall 1-B51 in the beautiful city of Barcelona. I'll join our product management, sales and executive staff at the stand, please let me know if you'll stop by.

Thu, 04 Feb 2010

Yazageldiğim senaryolardandır. Bir trafik polisi bizi çevirecek, direksiyonda ben olacağım, bu soruyu soracak ve arka koltuktaki çakırkeyif arkadaş dibinde iki parmak kalmış Ege'nin yaş üzümlerinden yapılma 70'lik rakı şişesini uzatacak, "bu kadar kaldı abi içersen buyur" diyecek. Sonra ben boruya üfleyeceğim, olaylar gelişecek... Aslında kısmen yaşandı bu. Üfledim, 30 promil alkol ve 200 promil adrenalin çıktı, devam ettik.

Rakı'nın hayatımda çok büyük bir önemi yok; ancak musiki ve değerli insanlarla bir araya geldiğinde katalizör oluyor. Tabii bir kültürü var bu meretin, öyle vodka bira gibi dik kafaya gitsin şeklinde içmek makbul değil. Bu sebeple arka koltuktaki çakırkeyif arkadaş pratikte dayağı hakediyor, dibinde iki parmak kalmış rakı şişesini alelade uzattığı için. Onun doğrusu; hep birlikte arabadan inilir, bagaj açılır, mangal indirilir, hızlıca bir çilingir sofrası kurulur, arzu edenlere ikram edilir. Şişenin dibinde kalan iki parmaklık nimeti paylaşmaktır rakı; kadehe rakı koyarken gösterilen laborant hassasiyetidir. Bizi biz yapandır.

Bu bağlamda Yeni Rakı'nın Yeni İletişim Devi temalı kampanyasını çok beğendiğimi belirtmeden geçmeyeceğim. "Bluetooth yerine elini tut" kadar yaratıcı birşey görmeyeli biraz zaman olmuştu, pek güldük arkadaş arasında. Emeği geçen herkesi tebrik ediyorum.

Tanıyan arkadaşlar Boşnak olduğumu bilir. Bizim oralarda šljìvovica veya mürdüm eriğinden yapılma tekniği rakıya benzediği için rakija da derler; bu vesile ile siz değerli okuyucularımı kendisi ile tanıştırmak istiyorum:

Bu kadar andık, çok da eski olmayan bir fotoğrafı da paylaşmadan olmaz, sağlığınıza!

Dipnot: bir süredir sek içiyorum, fotoğraf yanıltmasın.

Sun, 22 Nov 2009

Another success in making sure that I'm invited: There was a blogger gathering, a tour actually, to the factory the car I currently drive was produced. Witnessing flat sheets of metal become the monster I spend some hours inside almost every day firsthand alone is a fascinating experience. That set aside, I had to be there, because Oyak-Renault Bursa factory is where the successor to our ride, Fluence (a 4-door saloon small family car), is going to be made.

My current rideFluence

Man, it is big. Wait, I mean it, really big:

Ertan Etike showing the location of the conference room on a picture taken from a chopper

3 weeks before the tour, in Frankfurt Motor Show, Renault announced their full line of electric vehicles. In case you didn't see it, here is a picture of the world's most complete line up of EVs (Concept electric versions of Fluence, Twizy, Kangoo and Zoe, respectively):

Now that the word is well out, and every little bit of information about the all new Fluence is available on the Google, I'm not going to post pictures here, but you can get to see them on my Public Picasa Gallery. Instead, I'll post main differences between the Megane II Sedan and Fluence. I'm yet to test drive the Fluence, please bear with me.

  • Fluence is slightly longer than Megane, and again is a slightly lowered ride.
  • Many of the in-cabin storage boxes are gone: front under-mat hidden boxes, front in-door boxes, wide but short box under rear window, and more. Storage under the arm rest is slightly smaller in Fluence, but (illuminated and refrigerated) glovebox is slightly larger.
  • Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) is standard for all diesel models now.
  • They will start offering the Volkswagen-invented super efficient dual-clutch automatic (they call it DCT) gearbox starting from 2011. This is the simplest, yet the best idea I've seen in this area. CVT gearbox will also be available, no exact date of availability though.
  • Fuel consumption is further improved, but your mileage may vary. You really can do better by improving your shifting times and avoiding unnecessary braking; but new hardware on Fluence helps a bit more too. DCT, for example, is a real good step forward. I hold the record in this area; I've done a bit more than 1300km on a single tank of diesel fuel (Megane has a 60lt tank).
  • Driver seat provides a more comfortable (read: laid back) driving position, compared to Megane. Although it's a boring sedan, the seat makes you feel like you're driving a large sports car.
  • Dashboard has more electronics: there's a small LCD display in the middle. I really like this electronics trend in all cars: I'd rather have a display in the middle of the steering wheel and ditch the dashboard altogether in favor of a better view. Maybe I'll do some sketches sometime.
  • While we're on it, they have replaced the steering wheel with the one from Laguna. It's a weird shape you have to get used to, but it's okay. I think I liked the one in Renault Megane Coupe Concept much better, but you know, it's probably a concept for a reason.
  • They offer integrated navigation as an option. Meh.
  • Sunroof is still small. You can't get an all-glass roof yet.
  • Fluence gets the upgraded air conditioner from Megane III.
  • Overall quality is upgraded. More durable, better quality plastics are used. Particularly I like the little upgrades to doors: added softeners make a more stable sound when you slam a door.
  • I don't give a flying kite about the upgraded music system. I honestly couldn't tell any difference from my stock-music-system Megane.
  • Passenger cabin is a little bit more comfortable. Megane Sedan was a choice because I'm slightly tall, I don't feel comfortable when my knees are too close to anything. I like to be able to use backseats when I sit comfortable at the driver's seat, and that's what Megane provided. Fluence improves a bit, and there's more room for backseats now.

Overall, Fluence is a nice upgrade over my ride. It mimics some exterior features of Laguna, particularly the bonnet, which I like quite a bit. I'm slightly upset about the tail though -- they could have designed something better, I guess.

We were not allowed to take pictures of the production line, but I spotted this where the just-produced-rubber-meets-the-road. In case you don't know the car; it's Devrim, an icon of some sad history of Turkish car manufacturing industry.

Devrim

What really would have made me wet my pants would be examining this baby firsthand, but unfortunately that didn't happen:

Fluence ZE Concept

I'm really looking forward to learn any specific details about the zero-emission electric Fluence, and I'll be the #1 customer: I would have left my beloved Megane in Bursa and come back with the prototype Fluence ZE right away.

A bunch of thanks go to Cem Batu, Beliz Top and all the other friends from Proximity Istanbul, and congrats for the great idea of trying out an offline blog design event, and also for bearing with my tight-schedule on that Saturday morning. I'd really have preferred to join other fellow bloggers on the VIP bus, but I had to attend some other event I was invited as a speaker and thus had to rush-drive to the factory after the keynote. Fortunately, I arrived earlier than the rest of the crew and enjoyed a 30 minute privilege of meeting our hosts.

When it comes to hosting; Ertan Etike, Directeur de la Communication Oyak-Renault, also a Bosniak like myself, was an honour to meet in person, is among the best presentation speakers I met. Emre Demirel, Chef de Produit Fluence, whom I owe a few drinks handled a plethora of questions I was throwing at him all day long patiently and professionally. It was a pleasure to chat with him. I'd also like to thank all the people, names I unfortunately didn't have the chance to note down, working at the factory who spent considerable effort throughout our visit.

Last words guys, I'm closing: I'd also like to thank Uğur Günyüz of Kırmızı Kedi, the tireless and exceptionally good photographer, for all the hard work he has done.

There's more to blog about Renault's zero-emissions line, probably this week. Way too much has been changing rapidly in the last couple weeks, please bear with me until I settle everything down. Thanks for reading.

About me

I'm Enver ALTIN. I'm from the other side of the river.

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