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Friday, September 30, 2005
Thanks to Deea, I found out about the new initiative by Leo Burnett, called Leo Academy.
The main objective of Leo Academy, as pointed out by Stefan Iordache (article in romanian only), are to created "the most powerfull advertising school in Romania".
Just out of curiosity, I visited their website. And I learned a lot about Leo Burnett, LB Romania, the work and clients of Leo Burnett Romania, Press releases and so on.
So where is the "educational" content, guys ?
Or is it just the second website of Leo Burnett Romania? As it seems, the two websites (Leo Burnett Romania - www.leoburnett.ro and Leo Academy - www.leoacademy.ro) are identical !
Way to go, does this mean more PR for yourself?
UPDATE: I hope on November 7th, when the Academy should be launched, there will be more training content over the website. Still, you could have done better, guys. Much better.
Posted by Mihai : 9/30/2005 10:14:00 am
Thursday, September 29, 2005
As you probably know already, Capital published the "Best Companies to work for" (Top companii pentru care sa lucrezi - in Romanian) about 2 days ago.
I found some very interesting stuff in that top, that I would like to point out.
First of all, it seems Oriflame is on the first position in the "best paying companies" top. But Ms. Monica Tatoiu, General Manager at Oriflame, says, in an interview in the same magazine: "There are no big differences between salaries in Oriflame. New employees earn about 6 million ROL and can go up to 8 million after a few months. Management personnel have salaries of about 2.400 - 2.600 EUR".
How does this sound? Best paying company hires new employees with 200 EUR and management has 10 times more and they declare "there are no big differences between salaries at Oriflame" ?? Weird.
Policolor is on the second position in the overall top. But, from the company's presentation, we can find out that the general environment in Policolor is very formal (the manager himself uses the word "formal" severeal times". And the final statement is very interesting: "For the employees who come to work by tram, we pay the monthly tram tickets. But, usually, our employees are payed good enough to come at work by their own car". Wow ! You are going to pay our tram ticket? Sounds great !!
3. Oriflame (again)
Oriflame, which is on 3rd position in the overall top, has a very interesting approach to human resources management. Here is the statement from Monica Tatoiu, General manager: "I embrace Stalin's (!!) theory: If you don't know, I will teach you; if you can't, I will help you; if you don't want, i fire you." How interesting....
This is just a few of the weird stuff in the "top companies to work for in Romania". We are looking forward for your input on more strange things you found out in Romanian companies.
Posted by Mihai : 9/29/2005 01:43:00 pm
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Lawmakers in Hungary's parliament have ratified the European Union accession treaty with Romania and Bulgaria. 257 deputies voted in favor, with six votes against and one abstention.
The accession treaty has to be approved by all 25 member states. Hungary has been a staunch supporter of Romania's accession to the EU in view of the significant Hungarian minority that lives in this neighboring country.
Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 9/28/2005 10:11:00 am
On October 3 a sun eclipse will be partially visible from Romania, according to the Romanian Academy's Astronomy Institute.
In Bucharest, the eclipse will start at 10.15 a.m. and will last until 12.50 a.m., reaching its maximum level at 12.32, when the sun's disc will be covered more than half, which is the maximum coverage visible from Romania.
The eclipse will also be visible from Northern Portugal, Spain, Sudan, Algeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tunis.
The part of the sun disk that will remain uncovered during the eclipse resembles a ring, as the shadow made by the moon's passing in front of the sun will not touch the Earth's surface.
Next March a total eclipse of the sun, with a longer time than the one visible in Romania on August 1999 will take place. The moment when the sun will be totally covered will last over four minutes.
Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 9/28/2005 10:08:00 am
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Google recently published the results of the Code Jam 2005 competition. The Code Jam tournament is a timed contest where all participants compete online to solve the same problems under the same time constraints. The competition is available in four programming languages - Java, C++, C#, and VB.
Looking at the winners list, it turns out some of the winners are from Romania...at least looking at their names. Too bad Google did not disclose the nationality of each of the winners.
So, here are the Romanian-looking names:
Matei - 15th place
cvoinescu - 57th place
Of course, there might be many other Romanians out there, with international nicknames.
Congratulations to all the contestants and specially to the winner, Marek Cygan, a student at Warsaw University, who won the USD 10.000 prize.
On Topcoder, a sponsor of this contest, Romania is ranked on 10th place.
Posted by Mihai : 9/27/2005 11:03:00 am
Friday, September 23, 2005
The is a list where being admmited requires over USD 900 million. The good thing is you don't have to pay it, you just have to own it.
Yes, I'm talking about the Forbes 400 richest Americans list.
Top of the list is, again, for the 11th consecutive year, Bill Gates of Microsoft. His wealth this year is of about USD 51 billions. He is followed, again, by Warren Buffet, with a total of USD 40 billions.
Noteworthy is the ascent of Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who were ranked 16th by Forbes with $11 billion each, up from No. 43 last year, when they each had a net worth of $4 billion. What is even more remarcable is that Brin's and Page's post-IPO wealth is raising at speeds faster than Bill Gates' wealth after Microsoft went public.
I am looking forward for the day when Google will make Microsoft "an offer they can't refuse".
Posted by Mihai : 9/23/2005 04:30:00 pm
Well, finally. After months and months of looking and admiring Alex's iPod Mini, I got one too. And it's great !!
I was (and stil am) amazed by the simplicity of the design, by how those guys managed to integrate so much functionality into a 103 grams device.
I had no problem using it, except for synchronizing it with Outlook. There, an unexpected error occured, which I didn't manage to solve. But after installing ipodsync, everything worked out fine.
It is a trully revolutionary device, that can easily outperform most of the mp3 players on the market. You can also use it as a mobile hard-drive or even as a basic-functionality PDA. You can have your calendar, contacts, notes and e-mails on it while travelling, which is awesome.
So I strongly recommend it to you. Its a really worthy investment !
Posted by Mihai : 9/23/2005 11:00:00 am
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
According to Intel, in Romania there are currently 78 wireless points. Their distribution reveals that 79% of them are in hotels, 9% are in universities and 9% are in bars and restaurants.
Bucharest has about 20 Wireless points, but Brasov is currently "The Most Unwired City", with almost 20 wireless points to a much smaller population.
Constanta has 11 wireless points, Timisoara has 6 and Cluj Napoca - 5.
I must tell you i has been quite hard for me to find wireless points in Romania, specially in pubs and bars. The only one I know is at Grand Cafe, near Turabo. Also, I heard some rumours that Turabo will install one pretty soon.
Do you know any other wireless points in Bucharest ?
Posted by Mihai : 9/21/2005 10:20:00 am
Monday, September 19, 2005
Ericsson Romania has a new general manager. Adriana Boersma-Rodriguez, will replace Janos Fugedi, who has been dismissed in April 2005.
Before this, Adriana was vicepresident and manager of the Global Services department of Ericsson. She is 43 and has a master in financial accounting and a master in industrial systems engineering.
We wish her good luck !
Posted by Mihai : 9/19/2005 11:36:00 am
Friday, September 16, 2005
It seems another low-cost operator, SkyEurope, will add Bucharest on its flights schedule. Dragos has it covered.
Posted by Mihai : 9/16/2005 10:25:00 am
Thursday, September 15, 2005
....is probably going to be Kai-Fu Lee, who is leaving Microsoft for a job at Google, in helping them to build an R&D center in China.
A few days ago, the US court ruled in favour of dr. Lee being able to work for Google, after Microsoft sueing both of the (dr Lee and Google) for breaking the confidentiality pact he done with Microsoft.
As Tom Burt (Microsoft's vice president and deputy general counsel) said, "Dr. Lee is going to be the highest-paid HR manager ever."
Speculations about his paycheck go around the figure of USD 10 million for the entire contract. Google paid Lee a USD 2.5 million signing bonus and promised a USD 1.5 million bonus after one year, plus a USD 250,000 salary and options on 10,000 shares of Google stock, according to court documents. If he stays for four years, Lee also will receive another 20,000 Google shares, currently worth USD 5.8 million.
Lee also demanded that Google pay all his legal fees if Microsoft sued, a request that was granted.
Now, this is a high paycheck. But I hope he deserves it and I hope the added value he will bring into Google will make the company even better.
It seems Google is on a hiring spree, following the hiring of "the father of internet" and a lot of other brainy guys. Also, it's very interesting to see how others react to this kind of news (throwing chairs !?! )
Posted by Mihai : 9/15/2005 09:50:00 am
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
This is great news !
Google has just launched its Blog Search Engine - http://blogsearch.google.com.
It's been nearly two and a half years since Google purchased Pyra Labs, the company that built the Blogger publishing service, and Google has been promising blog search ever since then. But now we finally have it.
Still, the goal is to include every blog that publishes a site feed (either RSS or Atom). It is not restricted to Blogger blogs, or blogs from any other service.
You can also save a blog search as an alert that gets updated any time new content is posted matching you query. Google blog search allows you to issue a query and then subscribe to that query via your RSS feed reader.
For more information, see the Google Blog Search FAQ.
Also, Google had a great initiative for helping people affected by Katrina. Congrats !
Posted by Mihai : 9/14/2005 03:54:00 pm
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
A lot of people, on forums, on blogs or in real life are complaining about poor Astral or RDS / RCS services, two of the most important cable television networks in Romania. So I decided to do a simple statistic, using the same old Google.
Basically, the assumpition is that the most popular term for expressing somehting bad in a non-formal manner is "it sucks".
So I googled Astral and RDS for the following search terms: Astral sucks, "Astral sucks", RDS sucks and "RDS sucks". Please take into account the results using " ", which indicates that the two words appear one near the other. The searches have been conducted ont he entire www, not only in Romania.
...And the results are:
Congratulations RDS - you suck more !
Posted by Mihai : 9/13/2005 03:49:00 pm
The World Bank, together with the International Finance Corporation, have recently issued a report called Ease of Doing Business 2005.
The report analyses the ease of doing business (opening, operating and closing a company) in the countries around the World.
Romania is ranked on the 79th place out of 155 countries, better than Russia, Greece, Macedonia and others. Also, China and India, some of Romania's most fierce competitors in software development, are ranked on 91st and 116th respectively.
Romania is also mentioned as a good example in the case of easiness in closing a business (isn't it ironic) - see the overview for more details.
You can read more about the report in this press release or by downloading the overview (PDF).
Update: Here is the top ten
1 New Zealand
3 United States
7 Hong Kong
9 United Kingdom
Posted by Mihai : 9/13/2005 11:22:00 am
Monday, September 12, 2005
This is not exactly news, as it happened in the beggining of September, but is certanly an important event.
Andreea Rosca, chief editor at Capital Magazine, decided to leave the publication she has been working for in the last 13 years in search of new challanges.
She will leave Capital starting from 1st of November and she will be replaced by Iulian Bortos, chief editor for the Business department of the publication.
Andreea Rosca has been working with Capital since 1992. She became editor in chief from october 1999, replacing Ionut Popescu. Ionut Popescu became recently Ministry of Finance in Romania, but has been replaced from this job a couple of weeks ago. It is almost certain that Ionut Popescu will return to Capital in the next months.
Andreea Rosca says she has not decided for any future projects now, but she will convinced her future job will still be in the Media industry.
You can read an interview with Andreea Rosca and Iulian Bortos on this subject, both of them in Romanian.
Posted by Mihai : 9/12/2005 03:46:00 pm
JCR agency has improved Romania's rating for long term foreign currency loans to "BBB minus", a low investment risk with stable perspective and to "BBB for local currency debts, according to a press release from the agency.
JCR representatives said the evolution of ratings was conditioned by the current account deficit, a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) representing 31.7% of the average GDP of EU members, the existence of corruption and human rights issues, the need to reform the legal system and to improve the competition environment.
Positive points underlined by JCR were reduced public debt-service payments brought by extended loan terms and falling interest rates, the generally improving macroeconomic trend and the maintenance of fiscal discipline.
Romania's GDP growth rate decelerated to 5.9% in the first quarter of 2005, from 8.3% in June 2004, but the economy still remains solid. First quarter growth was led by a 12.1% expansion of consumption.
Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 9/12/2005 10:47:00 am
Friday, September 09, 2005
Starting today you can order the new Diesel Dacia Logan.
The car is equiped with a 1.5l engine with 65 HP. Dacia now takes orders only for the Ambiance and Preference versions, with prices of EUR 7.270 and EUR 7.970 respectively. The price for the Laureate version will be of about EUR 8.600, but the diesel version will have no ABS.
If you are interested in testing the new Diesel Logan, you can do this in the Open Gates campaign that will take place between September 29th and October 3rd.
Posted by Mihai : 9/09/2005 11:48:00 am
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Bitdefender released the Top 10 Malefic chart, presenting the most dangerous virus threats for August 2005.
First positions are taken by Zafi.D, Antiman.A and Netsky.P. While Zafi and Netsky are quite known worldwide, Antiman is a pure Romanian viruses that is aimed at deleting the "manele" songs on infected computers. This way, it searches for specific keywords in mp3 file titles and it deletes whatever sounds like manele :)
As BitDefender said, the virus became quite popular due to its complex and well developed spreading techniques, but also because of the fans of this virus that helped it in its distructive missions.
From my knowledge, this would be one of the very few viruses with FANS helping it. Of course, everyone should take care about its side effects, like slowing down the computer and the web navigation speed.
I wonder if the creators of Antiman have any statistics about the number of files deleted by this virus. Any guess?
Posted by Mihai : 9/08/2005 10:00:00 am
Plus Discount, a subsidiary of the German distribution group, Tengelmann, will open at its first 15 stores in the Romania market in November.
The announcement came from Uwe Klostermann, the company's general company, who stated that three of these stores would be located in Bucharest.
The value of the investment is expected to be approximately 200 million euros.
The company is looking at cities with a minimum population of 30,000.
A typical company store has a total surface area of 5000 square meters, of which 1,200 is used as selling space. Each store requires a 1.5 million euro investment.
Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 9/08/2005 09:54:00 am
Low cost airliner Blue Air will include in its flights, starting September 27, Paris as a new destination.
The plans of the airline company also include Madrid, Bratislava, Torino and Verona, and these destinations should become active by the end of the year.
This destination is part of the company's new plan of diversifying the routes it is presently using.
The next destination is Madrid, starting in October.
The prices for a Blue Air ticket tart from 38 euros plus taxes and increases depending on the time of making the reservation.
Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 9/08/2005 09:48:00 am
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
UK financial magazine The Banker, member of Financial Times press group, has granted the Bank of The Year Award 2005 to Romanian commercial bank Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR).
Some 510 banks from more than 138 countries registered for The Banker 2005 Awards competiton.
BCR received the award for its continuous growth trend over the past years.
BCR's net profit rose from 43.26 mln euro in 1999 to 128.98 mln euro in 2004. BCR holds 25 percent of the market for corporate loans and 30 percent of the market for loans for individual clients in the country.
In terms of bank deposits from individual clients, BCR holds 32 percent of the market.
In addition, the award reflects the high performance of BCR group members BCR Asigurari, BCR Leasing, BCR Asset Management and BCR Securities.
Note that this is the fourth time that BCR receives The Banker Bank of the Year award.
BCR ranked 332nd in The Banker's top 1,000 commercial banks in the world last year, up 40 positions from 2003.
Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 9/07/2005 09:39:00 am
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said it raised its long- and short-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings of Romania to 'BBB-' and 'A-3', from 'BB+' and 'B', respectively, on improving government indebtedness indicators.
At the same time, the long-term local currency rating on Romania was raised to 'BBB' from 'BBB-', and the 'A-3' short-term local currency rating was affirmed.
The outlook is stable.
Romania is the twelfth sovereign currently rated by Standard & Poor's that has made the transition to investment grade from speculative grade.
The full analysis on Romania will be published later today on RatingsDirect, Standard & Poor's Web-based credit analysis system.
The report will also be posted on Standard & Poor's public website, www.standardandpoors.com (select Credit Ratings, then select Sovereigns from the left-hand menu, then find under Credit Reports).
Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 9/07/2005 09:33:00 am
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Here it goes again....I am starting to like the guys from S&P :)
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said it raised its long- and short-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of Romania to BBB- and A-3, from BB+ and B, respectively, on improving government indebtedness indicators. At the same time, the long-term local currency rating on Romania was raised to BBB from BBB-, and the A-3 short-term local currency rating was affirmed. The outlook is stable.
Romania is the twelfth sovereign currently rated by Standard & Poor's that has made the transition to investment grade from speculative grade. The full analysis on the Republic of Romania will be published later today on RatingsDirect, Standard & Poor's Web-based credit analysis system. The report will also be posted on Standard & Poor's public website, www.standardandpoors.com (select Credit Ratings, then select Sovereigns from the left-hand menu, then find under Credit Reports).
Posted by Mihai : 9/06/2005 07:55:00 pm
Romania's direct foreign investment has increased by 15 percent in the first half of this year to euro 1.48 billion (USD 1.85 billion), Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said Tuesday.
Tariceanu, who was launching Romania's new export strategy, urged authorities to do more to assist investors and local businesses to help the country be more competitive on foreign markets.
Outlining the new strategy for exports, Tariceanu said that Romanian companies should try to reorient their exports in the European Union toward more sophisticated products. He also urged Romanian businessmen to expand their operations in the southeast European region and former Soviet states.
Posted by Mihai : 9/06/2005 07:53:00 pm
Friday, September 02, 2005
One friend of mine had some interesting experiece with the Connex 3G services and I believe it is important for you to hear about them, so you won't have more surprises like he had. Below is the story I received from him:
For those who would like to purchase data services packs from Connex...
Honestly, I waited for more than a year for 3G services (UMTS technology) to enter Romanian telecommunication market so I can be able to use mobile internet broadband.
A few days ago, it happened. Along with a promotional offer for a 3G service subscription, I received a GSM/UMTS terminal. The ordinary offer (33 USD)
including voice, video streaming and data services (10 Mb) comes with a bonus of 23 Mb monthly data usage for mobile internet for a period of 11 months.
For those who need a larger traffic Connex offers data packs which can either be added to existing voice offers or be purchased as independent packs. In case one chooses a supplementary data pack to the current promotional offer they loose the 33 Mb data usage included.
I found out all these from a Connex customer service representative(*222) who at some point of our discussion put me on hold to check it with a superior, and them reconfirmed it all to me, blaming it on an error of the billing system .She suggested me to check again the company’s website, maybe I'll find an extra option that will may replace the current one.
At present, the situation is the same. I was not offered a discount at my post paid, still am not able to use the 33 Mb internet data usage included in the offer. I want to believe this is just an error in the billing system of one of the major companies on mobile telecommunication market and it will be soon taken care of.
The offer is found at:
Posted by Mihai : 9/02/2005 02:22:00 pm
I am extremely pleased to announce you the launch of one of the very few corporate blogs in Romania - that is the eKontent Blog.
eKontent Blog is eKontent's web content management solution blog. It is a source of information aimed at presenting the Romanian and international business landscape in the areas of content management, corporate portals, web design, search engine optimization and other related topics.
The eKontent blog is and will be maintained by the eKontent team, a group of fine enthusiastic guys and girls that helped and have a significant in the development of the eKontent solution - the Romanian market leader in terms of web content management solutions.
We are aiming that the eKontent blog will help the general public - by presenting the benefits and advantages of a good web content management solution implementation and the dos and don'ts, our clients - by presenting the latest innovations and add-ons and how you can benefit from them and our competitors - by giving them ideas and suggestions for improvement.
Please visit and give us feedback about it !
Posted by Mihai : 9/02/2005 11:53:00 am
The Enterprise Applications Suite market in Romania - that is mainly business software applications - will grow by 24% this year.
The value of the market was 35.4 milion dollars in 2004 (26% growth from 2003).
The main players on this market are Siveco, SAP and Oracle, which count (together) form about 60% of the market. Their rankings are:
1. SAP - 24%
2. Siveco - 18.7%
3. Oracle - 17.4%
The public sector counted for most of the spending in this industry, followed by the retail industry.
All these data come from an IDC report.
In the same market, Kondiment Solutions offers web content management solutions and Intranet - Microsoft Sharepoint - implementation services. For more information, don't hesitate to ask. And this is not a commercial, it's pure facts :)
Posted by Mihai : 9/02/2005 10:32:00 am
The total value of foreign direct investment into the Romanian economy closed in on the 1.5-billion-euro figure, growing 15 percent as compared with the same period last year, a release of the Central Bank (BNR) informs.
According to BNR in the first six months of 2004 foreign direct investments amounted to 1.29 billion euros.
Taking into account June alone, the value of FDI rose by almost 30 percent, totalling 531 million euros.
According to data provided by the National Office of the Trade Registry (ONRC) the value of social capital foreign companies had, was of 658.3 million euros.
The top five of investors sees the Netherlands in pole position, followed by Austria, France and Germany.
US ranks only fifth while Italy comes in sixth though in June alone 235 of the 1,035 newly set-up firms were Italian.
The Romanian Agency for Foreign Investment (ARIS) announced that this year's target is a FDI level of 3.2 - 3.8 billion euros.
In 2004 FDI amounted to 4.1 billion euros.
Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 9/02/2005 09:59:00 am
Thursday, September 01, 2005
A recent article from Capital Magazine discusses about the .EU domains which seems that will enter in the web space in the near future. Also, the article has an appealing name, like the .eu domains will fight with the .com domains.
In my opinion, this is just another scheme aimed at promoting the EU brand in spite of the US-of-A brand. The only difference is that .com doesn't necessarily mean that website is in the States.
The .com domain is one of the top-level domains that was created in 1985, with the purpose of serving commercial websites. Nowadays, the domain is operated by VeriSign and everyone is free to register such a domain, without the need of any proof that the website is actually doing any commercial activities.
There are other top-level domains, such as .edu, for example, where registering such a domain is not everyone's privilege. Under the present system, only post-secondary institutions that are accredited by an agency on the U.S. Department of Education's list of Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies are eligible to apply for a .edu domain.
In geographical terms the .EU domain might compete with the .US domain, in the ever-lasting European struggle to be on top of the US in every manner. Nowadays, registrants of .us domains must be United States citizens, residents, or organizations, or a foreign entity with a presence in the United States. But the domain is not highly used, being traditionally regarded as a domain for US institutions and organizations.
Personally, I am very skeptical about all the European companies switching to .eu instead of .com. It would not be very convenient, specially because (1) they might not necessarily regard themselves as "European" companies, rather German, Romanian or UK companies, depending on the country they originate from and (2) because if a company is widely European, there are a lot of chances that it is also present in non-European countries, and the .com domain name would serve it better.
Nice: Did you know that www.symbolics.com is the oldest and still existing .com domain in the world?
Posted by Mihai : 9/01/2005 03:11:00 pm
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
The have great liver
Foreign Direct Investments at 5.1 billion euros in...
New head for Citigroup Romania
Losing in the Davis Cup
Amazon.com opens R&D lab in Bucharest
Romania Needs 30 yrs to Reach EU Development Level
Julius Meinl to start coffee shop network
What to expect in 2006
Publications & Media
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I usually listen to THIS kind of music.