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Nicosia digital agency in internet limelight April 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Media Radio TV.
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A Nicosia based digital agency has been nominated for one of the most prestigious internet awards, with the winners to be announced on May 1 in New York.

Yesterday, the Webby Awards nominated Sideshow Ltd in the Best Business Blog category for its blog ‘UX Magazine’ (www.uxmag.com).

A blog is a user-generated website where entries are made in journal style, usually displayed in reverse chronological order. Approximately 50,000 new blogs are registered every day around the world. Founded in 1996 and hailed as the “Oscars of the Internet”, the 11th Annual Webby Awards received a record 8,000 entries from over 60 countries this year. It has been established as the leading international award honouring excellence on the Internet, including Websites, Interactive Advertising, Online Film & Video, and Mobile Websites.

The Cyprus-based nominee, UX Magazine, is a monthly blog publishing articles from some of the best writers in business, technology and design. According to its creators, “it was created to deliver a central place to discuss the critical disciplines that enhance user experience.”

Sideshow Ltd’s General Manager Alex Schleifer says the nomination has also shown that Cyprus can compete at the highest level. “Our nomination shows that it doesn’t matter where you are and that Cyprus can produce award-winning websites on an international level.” He added: “Since we are one of the thousands of websites who submitted as one of the nominees, it is a great honour to be short-listed, especially at the Webby Awards, which are the biggest awards in our industry.”

The winners of the awards will be honoured at the Webby Awards Gala in New York City on June 5, with the ceremony to be hosted by comedian and actor Rob Corddry, star of Fox’s new sitcom The Winner and a former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The awards are judged by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, a global organisation that includes David Bowie, Harvey Weinstein, Arianna Huffington, Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Jamie Oliver, Internet inventor Vinton Cerf, and RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser.

As a nominee for a Webby Award, UX Magazine is also eligible to win a People’s Voice Award. Voting is open to the public from April 10 to April 27 at www.peoplesvoice.webbyawards.com


Sat Nav on its way to Cyprus April 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Telecoms.
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GPS technology has arrived in Cyprus with the launch of Track and Talk, a company specialising in bespoke mobile telephony, vehicle tracking and satellite navigation integration.

Also on offer are real-time cartography solutions, street level map making and industrial devices for navigation and tracking applications. Managing Director John Chiao said that products would initially be used for logistics vehicle tracking. “They can be used by businesses right across the board so everybody can benefit.”

According to Chiao, at first it may not make sense to consider GPS tracking as a viable business solution. “However, when one thinks of what can be accomplished using such a system, and how it is possible to cut expenses, it soon makes sense to incorporate GPS tracking into your business plan.”

Fuel savings of up to 20 per cent can be achieved. “You know that if you were riding in your company vehicles, your drivers wouldn’t waste fuel by speeding, excessive idling or using the vehicle for side trips,” he said. “Additionally, with our tracking system, you can keep a watchful eye on exactly where, when and how your vehicles are transitioning, allowing you to maintain an accurate record of the whereabouts of your vehicles or goods.”

Customer service will also see an improvement, with clients supplied with a service, which will include package location and departure and arrival times of items. He added that private motor vehicles would soon have the option to be fitted with in-car satellite navigation systems, seen across much of the rest of Europe. Mobile phone users will also have the possibility of downloading maps straight to their units. With vehicle thefts on the rise, Chiao said owners would be able to rest more easily as they would know where their car or motorbike is at all times.

A deal has also been struck with the Health Ministry, whereby 52 ambulances from all General Hospitals will be kitted out with satellite navigation systems free of charge.

“What has made all of this possible is the comprehensiveness of our digital GPS, Global Positioning System, map of the whole of the island, including the north,” Chiao explained. “Small villages that have never before appeared on a map are now on our system.”

The cost is approximately £10 per month. “Devices can be very small and are used for a variety of purposes from going on treasure hunts to tracking teenagers and the elderly. “The technology is available and affordable to the everyday man or woman in the street,” Chiao said.

Since the first experimental satellite was launched in 1978, GPS has become an indispensable aid to navigation around the world, and an important tool for map-making and land surveying. GPS also provides a precise time reference used in many applications including scientific study of earthquakes, and synchronisation of telecommunications networks. The technology also allows accurate targeting of various military weapons, including cruise missiles and precision-guided munitions.

For more information: call 26 913350 or www.trackandtalk.com

Return of ancient artifacts to Greece by British professor April 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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Greek officials welcomed the return of six ancient ceramic artifacts Wednesday, after the son of an eminent British scholar returned the ceremonial pottery miniatures to Athens.

Stephen Robertson, the son of professor Martin Robertson, gave the black-glazed ceramic works, believed to date from fifth century B.C., to Greek officials in a formal ceremony on Wednesday.


Greek Culture Minister George Voulgarakis likened the return of the six pieces, along with other recently repatriated artifacts, as “links in the same chain” that he hopes will eventually lead to the complete restoration of the statuary surrounding the Acropolis.

The government has been aggressively pursuing looted Greek artifacts held in prominent museum and gallery collections worldwide. In the past few years, officials have also ramped up their campaign calling for the return of the famed Parthenon Marbles, which Britain’s Lord Elgin removed from the Acropolis and brought to the United Kingdom in the early 19th century.

The pieces returned on Wednesday had been held by Martin Robertson, a British expert on Greek art and antiquities who authored several texts on the subject and had worked for the British Museum and the Universities of London and Oxford.

Robertson had received the pieces from U.S. archaeologist Lucy Talcott, one of the officials on hand during an American team’s excavations of the ancient Agora neighbourhood in Athens during the 1930s and 1940s. Talcott had purchased the items from an antiques store during her time in Greece.

Following Martin Robertson’s death in late 2004, his son discovered his will stipulated the professor’s wish to return the six small artifacts to “his beloved Greece,” Stephen Robertson said on Wednesday.

Alexandros Mantis, the curator of the Acropolis site, accepted the pieces from Robertson with thanks and noted that their return marked the eighth major repatriation in the past year of Greek artifacts removed from the Acropolis.

The pottery pieces will be added to the display at the city’s Ancient Agora Museum.

Scientists eye Med desertification at Crete meeting April 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment.
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The island of Crete, in the southern Aegean, is among the regions most threatened with desertification, the transformation of arable or habitable land into desert, as climate changes and accompanying extreme weather phenomena, in combination with human intervention the area, and will continue to do so.

This observation was made by scientists from Greece, Italy, Spain, France and Portugal, meeting in Hania, Crete within the framework of a programme on implementation of joint actions to combat drought and desertification in the Mediterranean Basin.

3-D screens open as cinema battles for market share April 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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Village Roadshow’s two new Real D screens offer viewers a new, three-dimensional experience in cinema

Village Roadshow presented yesterday its first two three-dimension digital screens (Real D), which will operate at Village World in Palaio Faliron and at Village Park in Rendi, both within the greater Athens area. Tickets for screenings cost 10 euro, including special 3-D glasses.

“In the last few years, cinemas have not undergone any significant changes. We believe we have to move on, so Real D screens are the first step in this direction,” said Village Roadshow CEO Harry Antonopoulos. The cost of transforming a screen into a Real D one is estimated at 250,000 euro.

Besides the urge for a shift, Antonopoulos pointed at the financial side of the move: “Technological progress has increased the share of entertainment at home through home cinema or DVD players. Furthermore, ever-increasing piracy has inflicted significant damage on the movie industry. Three-dimensional projections are the answer, as this is something that cannot take place at home and cannot be copied.”

By the end of 2007, Village Roadshow will also transform two more screens into Real D, one at The Mall Athens and one at Mediterranean Cosmos in Thessaloniki.

However, there is a saturation threat in the cinema multiplex market, particularly in Athens, said Antonopoulos, along with a lack of Greek production that has kept annual ticket numbers at 14 million. This is why Village Roadshow will now position itself only at major shopping centers, it is already negotiating the creation of five or six screens at the shopping center that is under development at the Galatsi Sports Center, placing special emphasis on digital projection screens, which is the future of the sector.

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Preserving historical mosaics April 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Exhibition in Athens on the work of the late Yiannis Kolefas, one of Greece’s most esteemed conservators

The art of mosaics goes back thousands of years, yet their scientific study and conservation are fields that have been advanced mostly in the past 50 years. Artist Yiannis Kolefas (1927-1986) was the first academically trained conservator of mosaics in this country and one of the few conservators who pioneered new techniques. He trained in painting and mosaic restoration at the Ravenna Academy of Fine Arts and, after his return to Greece in the late 1950s, began traveling around the country with the mission of preserving and restoring historical landmarks.

Both his contribution to the conservation of ancient Greek and Byzantine mosaics and his parallel work as a painter is the subject of “Yiannis Kolefas: Journey in the Art of the Mosaic” an exhibition held at the Byzantine and Christian Museum and jointly curated by Eleni Margari and Kolefas’s daughter, Olga, a restorer of paintings.

Kolefas worked for almost a decade as a mosaic conservator at the museum. He was hired the same year that Manolis Chatzidakis the Museum’s Director at the time, founded the Central Conservation Laboratory. Kolefas worked in the department along with other esteemed conservators, such as Fotis Zachariou, Tassos Margaritof and Stavros Baltoyiannis.

Part of his work as a conservator entailed making copies of original mosaics, a practice that helped conservators to exercise their skills in old techniques while also making mosaics known to a broader public. Among the copies he made is the templon of the Porta-Panaghia Church in Trikala, central Greece. Included in the exhibition, this reproduction shows Kolefas’s ability to capture the patina of time.

The exhibition also includes some of the original mosaics that Kolefas worked on. A large floor mosaic depicting the four seasons and dated from the beginning of the late 4th century AD, now in the Archaeological Museum of Thebes, is one of the most impressive. A Hellenistic period mosaic showing centaurs is dated to around 325 BC and belongs to the Archaeological Museum of Pella.

In the same room, a series of photos document the process of detachment and restoration of a large mosaic dating to the Hellenistic period and depicting the ancient hero Bellerophon. The mosaic was discovered in 1975 during excavations in the ruins of the Hellenistic city on Rhodes and, thanks to the work of Kolefas and his team, was safely transferred to the island’s Archaeological Museum.The mosaics in the courtyard of the Byzantine and Christian Museum, which date from the 5th century AD, were also moved from their original sites by Kolefas.

Although the exhibition does not provide detailed information about the techniques used in the restoration of mosaics, it does present the basic steps in the craft. In one of the rooms, a display of the tools and materials used both for the making and restoration of mosaics reproduces the feeling of a workshop.

Kolefas was in charge of every step. He even visited the quarries to choose the stones himself and commissioned glass paste tesserae from Venice. His meticulous work earned him important assignments which included the restoration of the mosaics in the churches of Aghios Georgios (Rotonda) and Aghia Sophia in Thessaloniki and the mosaics at the Daphni Monastery.

However, his work as a restorator did not distract him from his vocation as a painter. Before specializing in mosaics, Kolefas had studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts. In his early works, mostly full-body portraits, the influence of his teacher Yiannis Moralis stands out.

A large part of the exhibition reveals his output as an artist. Apart from a series of mosaics, many of them based on Byzantine motifs, Kolefas also made landscapes inspired by the travels he made in Greece as a conservator. Folk subjects derived from daily life in Epirus, his homeland, recur in his work and become more pronounced in his later period. The watercolors depicting scenes of agrarian life are among the best.

Being a painter must have enhanced his skill as a restorator. In fact, one of his most important projects stems from a combination of the two. The large mosaic “Hymn to the History and Art of Macedonia” which Kolefas made for the central hall of Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University, captures his understanding of both painting and mosaics. It also expresses Kolefas’s commitment to honor the history and cultural heritage of this country. The exhibition is primarily aimed at putting across this sense of commitment. It is an exhibition that does not narrow itself to the work that Kolefas did as a restorator but sketches out a broader presentation of an artist’s creativity.

At the Byzantine and Christian Museum, 22 Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, Athens, tel 210 7211027, to June 17. Nearest metro station is Evangelismos.

Related Links > http://www.lrf.gr/demos/byz/homepage.html

A fair amount of science but not much fiction with new technologies April 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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As space travel becomes just a matter of affordability, science-fiction films of the 1950s, 60s and 70s are eerily less fantastic today.

The Hellenic American Union in Athens is hosting a two-day event on April 25-26 titled “From Science Fiction to Reality” with performance artist Stelarc and cyberpunk literature pioneer Bruce Sterling to address issues such as “The Body and the Machine” and “Redesigning the Body,” among others.

Art historian Anna Hadziyiannaki, curator of the event, notes that with the change of focus in technological research came a shift in literature and cinema that crossed the Atlantic from Europe to the USA, and which expressed the changes brought to the world by the digital age and biotechnological revolution.

The headline guests at the HAU event will discuss some of the issues that arise from these global changes. Stelarc, an artist and futurist who has been stretching the limits of the human body since the 1960s by analyzing the applications of digital technology, robotics and genetics, argues that as technology evolves, the human body becomes obsolete.

Sterling, author of the seminal anthology “Mirrorshades” and one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is one of the chief ideological promulgators of cyberpunk and a vocal opponent of Internet censorship.

At the Hellenic American Union, 22 Massalias Street, Kolonaki, Athens, tel 210 3680047. Admission to all events is free of charge.