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14 October 2005

Interessanter Artikel zu Karolos Papoulias

Wer hätte das gedacht?

So wie es ausschaut, hat der "neue" griechische Staatspräsident mehr auf dem Kasten, als man auf den ersten Blick sieht. In einem Weblog-Eintrag von Gerd Höhler, dem deutschen Handelsblatt-Korrespondenten in Athen, bekommt man interessantes zu höhren. Über die Amtseinsetzung von Karolos Papoulias habe ich schon mal was geschrieben. Mir war Stefanos Stefanopoulos etwas lebhafter erschienen, aber das ist bei Politikern ja immer so eine Sache. Den Handelsblatt-Blog werde ich wohl noch weiterhin verfolgen.

Den Namen von Karolos Papoulias hatte ich aus irgendeinem Grund noch aus den 80er Jahren in den Ohren, konnte ihn aber nicht mehr einordnen. Die Geschichte mit der Wohnung im Zentrum erinnert mich an Antonis Tritsis (link auf Griechisch), auch einen eher ungewöhnlichen Politiker der 80er Jahre, der 1992 verstarb. Der war als Bürgermeister Athens mit dem Moped unterwegs statt mit der Dienstlimo.

Posted by betabug at 09:22 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
16 November 2005

Sitting and Thinking on the Evening before the Chaos

Tomorrow is Nov 17th, did you see the news?

The night before November 17th in Athens, I'm sitting in my easy chair and think. You don't know what November 17th means to Greece? 17 Νοέμβριου is the anniversary of student uprisings in the Polytechnikum that ultimately led to the end of the military dictature in the 1970's. It's also the name of a terrorist organization named after the event, which was active for around 30 years. Like every year we are expecting demonstrations, violence, and a bit more chaos than usual.

The demonstrations are by various political groups (generally left) with a variety of agendas. At the radical end of that spectrum, these demonstrations usually lead to fights with the police, to demolished cars and shops, to a lot of jailings. This year with all the action in France, all involved sides expect even more violence. It's hard to guess if the police force is really higher than in previous years, or on the other hand, if the radical left is even more bound to aggression. I'm just a bystander after all and if you don't mind I'll stand by rather far away, thank you.

A side effect of all this is obviously that some parts of Athens will be blocked for traffic and pedestrions. (Since which pedestrian wants to end up between the fronts by mistake?) The area around the polytechnic school and Vassilissis Sofias Avenue near the american Embassy are sure choke points. Why the american embassy? The americans were full supporters of the military dictature, and nobody likes them anyway.

Now that I am sitting here, what I would need is some good information. See, my bus to work passes down Vassilissis Sofias. I will take a detour tomorrow, but knowing what to expect would be nice. The medium of choice for up to date information would be TV. But there is a small problem with this. The TV news here are a debacle. They rarely contain any real news.

To explain: I do not consider a 5 minutes feature about politician A said "x is y" and politician B replied "x is not y" to be news. Especially not when it is maxed out with a discussion panel (in nice boxes on a split screen) of a priest, two journalists, two party spokespeople, and the guy who is always in those panels, because it's so funny when he starts to attack everybody else.

Wading through 40 minutes of that is just not an option today. So I'll just let it all com on tomorrow. In the meantime I will sit and think in my easy chair.

Posted by betabug at 23:52 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 November 2005

OTE: Stop Sabotaging the Internet in Greece!

Make Internet access possible, finally

The last few days the news of rising prices for dial-up Internet access in Greece were making the rounds. Yesterday evening this reached the TV news too. According to TV, the prime minister got angry and demanded this be changed. What do the new price mean? No matter what provider you use for dialup, prices will go up somewhere between 70% and 300%. This runs contrary to what all politicians see as the target for Greece's road to a modern society and broad Internet access. Let's look at this in some more details...

All dial-up access in Greece goes through OTE (the national telco provider), because they provide the "last mile" to the customer. ISPs use a special service called "ΕΠΑΚ" (EPAK) to do this. On your phone bill this is shown as "calls to the Internet". This has not been cheap to you to begin with. Likely it made you pay twice for Internet access, once a monthly fee for your ISP, once on your phone bill. On the other hand, ΕΠΑΚ was cheaper than a local phone call.

I've said it before and I will say it again: Greece is way behind in matters of computers and Internet access. I've referred to this country still being in Internet stone age. Cost of ADSL is the highest in Europe by a wide margin (and even twice as high as in Turkey or Egypt). For many people dial up is all there is, either because of financial reasons (Euro 50-100 a month is a lot of money when you earn Euro 700). Or because they are somewhere in the country side where ADSL isn't even an option. And there is no other broadband to be found. The country is a quasi-monopoly of OTE. (There is a tiny fraction of the market that has access through Vivodi, but that is available only in some big cities.)

Protesting against the raised prices was first Ένωσης Ελλήνων Χρηστών Ίντερνετ (the Greek Internet Users Association, they provided me with the protest graphic above, which says "Cheap Internet Now!"). According to TV news, after wide intervention by prime minister and politicians, OTE has retreated from the change. But in the end they said they will just move in the new prices slower and maybe make a special price for people living in areas without ADSL.

I'm all in favour of pushing broadband (though I'm no big fan of ADSL, give me a better choice!). But upping prices for those who can't afford the incredible overpriced ADSL is an insult. This is sabotage to the development of the country, especially for connecting Greece to the Internet.

Posted by betabug at 13:51 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 December 2005

Απότομη αύξηση στην κατανάλωση σοκολάτας στην Ελλάδα

Μόνο απορίες από την πλευρά των στατιστικών

Η στατιστική υπηρεσία Ελλάδος σήμερα πληροφόρησε σε έκτακτο press conference στου Ζωγράφου για την απότομα αυξημένη κατανάλωση σοκολάτας τις τελευταίες μέρες. Σύμφωνα με τα τελευταία δεδομένα πολλαπλασιάστηκαν οι πωλήσεις της γλυκιάς ουσίας. Οι στατιστικοί δεν συμφωνούν στο τι προκάλεσε το φαινόμενο. Ένα βοηθητικό στοιχείο μπορούσε να ήτανε το ότι ειδικά η ελβετική σοκολάτα παρουσίασε αυξημένη κατανάλωση κυρίως μετά τις 7 Δεκεμβρίου, αλλά οι ειδικοί ακόμα συζητάνε για τους λόγους...

Εν τω μεταξύ από την κυβέρνηση ακούσαμε φωνές για καινούρια μέτρα που μειώνουν τα εμπόδια για τον εμπορικό τομέα και κυρίως τα super market στην διανομή σοκολάτας, ενώ η αντιπολίτευση δήλωσε ότι το σχέδιο της κυβέρνησης προκαλεί προβλήματα και για τους καταναλωτές και για τους υπαλλήλους στα super market. Μια έρευνα σε τυπικό supér στου Ζωγράφου έδειξε ότι η σοκολάτα κουβερτούρα είναι τώρα σε δυο λωρίδες στο ράφι.

Εγώ σαν Ελβετός στην Ελλάδα, μήπως μπορώ να βοηθήσω με άλλες πληροφορίες; Εδώ στο σπίτι από τις 7 Δεκεμβρίου ξεκίνησαν οι τούρτες, τα γλυκά και τα σοκολατένια να τα φτιάχνουνε μέρα πάρα μέρα. Πρώτος είχα εγώ τα γενέθλιά μου, μετά κάναμε πάρτυ μαζί για τα δικά μου και τα γενέθλια της συγκατοίκου μου, μετά για τα δικά της γενέθλια. Και τώρα αρχίζουν τα χριστουγεννιάτικα... Σε 10 μέρες αγοράσαμε σχεδόν 4 κιλά σοκολάτας κουβερτούρα μόνο. Και δεν μετράω όλα τα μπισκότα, muffins, το χριστουγεννιάτικο ημερολόγιο με ένα κομματάκι σοκολάτας για κάθε μέρα, και τις σοκολάτες με φουντούκια (κατά προτίμηση της μάρκας Lindt) που "εξαφανίζονται" καθημερινά σε αυτό το σπίτι. Αληθινό φαινόμενο!

Posted by betabug at 16:21 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
01 January 2006

Happy New Year! Guet's Neus! Καλή χρονιά!

One year of ch-athens, one happy new year

So this weblog is one year old, and at the same time a new year is starting for all (or most) of us. Happy new year, καλή χρονιά, guets Neus! In this year, my webserver logged 97571 pageviews, and almost 40000 visits. Thanks for coming folks! Ofcoz not all the hits come from the weblog, but post 94 (the famous post for the broken (hearted) iPod owners) is one of the top contenders, beaten only by the main index page and tightly followed by the weblogs main page. Other top pages are the (german) howtos and workshops about OS X and the Unix shell and OS X for beginners. A new contender, but with a furious start is the witch, in a few months already in the Top 10.

By the way: That the weblog turns a year at new year is no coincidence. I started this project as a new years resolution. I've kept to it through all this year. It was mostly fun, only very, very rarely would I feel bad about not having posted for a couple of days and then post some crap just to (no, I won't tell you when that happened). I managed to crank out a post almost every day. And I plan to continue, it has not only proven to be a worthy spot for my itchy pen finger, but also it kept me on the look for interesting things to do and describe in this city. See this weblog is not only about my personal stuff and what I'm up to, but it serves also as a reminder and occasional guide to what one could do in Athens (and sometimes Greece).

Posted by betabug at 01:44 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
04 February 2006

Blog Tapping

Stats going up

The last post about the phone tapping scandal here in Greece was quite the success. Bruce Schneier linked to it, later Slashdot linked to Bruce Schneier. And since then that post got a lot of views. February already surpassed all of January in the stats. Right now the post had 5700 pageviews. It's fun to watch the access log scroll by. Even then, these numbers are not that high, about 15 hits per minute. For some websites out there that would be a joke. My server wasn't breaking a sweat either, 97% idle at all times (even though a B&W G3/350 isn't a big iron). Looks like my setup with Zope and COREBlog is working fine too (especially the setup with a RAMCacheManager, the machine rarely ever touches the disk at all).

Only very few of the visitors look at other pages too, about 94% see only the one page. But even with the few who look at another page, I feel there might be some people who maybe found something interesting that I had to provide. If you see this, take a look around and (for example) discover some of the interesting things you can experience in a visit to Athens or the island of Limnos.

Posted by betabug at 00:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
09 February 2006

Friends Weblogs Moved

Hope they packed the plates up good

As you may have noticed, I'm linking to a few weblogs that I like and occasionally even read (!). Two of them moved lately: Saad's and Deviousdiva's. I'm just glad I don't have to move myself, I would hate it to have to sort out all my software and patches [knocks on wood]. Until things are set up properly again with the feed reader on this page, there might be small hickups on the links, thanks for the patience!

Posted by betabug at 09:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
14 February 2006

Vodafone Public Relations in the Phone Tapping Storm

Security is hard... and sometimes expensive when it fails

The phone tapping scandal has been a public relations disaster on the scale of a nuclear bomb for Vodafone Greece. Vodafone has disappeared from the market. No TV spots any more (they used to be on all channels), no posters, no mention of their sponsorship for the Greek soccer team, pop star Sakis Rouvas, and others. They had started out well enough on the initial press conference, cooperating with the authorities. promising that they had done the right thing, that they had handed everything over. That changed soon enough...

The first accusations did not take long to come: Critics said that Vodafone should have left the spyware installation in place for proper forensics and even "wet" investigation of the "receiving" mobile phones. When the questions about the suicide of their employee started to turn hotter, that must have been the point when they totally closed up.

No more TV spots

Since then it's silence on the advertising media. Vodafone is perceived only through the news. And the journalists are not kind to them, especially Vodafone boss George Koronias is being quoted only in a defensive stance. I haven't seen him appear in person on TV, as if standing up and facing things wasn't bearable. Obviously Vodafone has decided to wait it out in silence. Makes me wonder: They're not just your average Greek company, they are a subsidiary of an international multi. Can't they hire some PR pros who know how to handle a crisis? Or did the pros tell them to shut it up completely?

The cost of no advertising

It must cost them a lot. It's not that existing customers are switching in drones. But starting out with a new contract or switching your contract to Vodafone (something often done to get a new phone or new services) isn't really regarded as the cool thing any more. Plus: they have to hype their new added value services. 3G, video calls, all the toys. That is the business that goes down without exposure. Let's face it, the usefulness of a video call is near zero in most cases. Nobody thinks about it if it doesn't get hyped.

Security is hard. Once you start to occupy yourself with the field, you learn that sentence. No matter how well you do your stuff, there might still be an exploit out there with the name of your code or OS on it. And if you are smart you learn fast that the golden bullets they sell just don't cut it.

Learn something... or shut it up too?

What we can learn from the Greek Vodafone phone tapping scandal is that we better stay alert. The cost of a security breech might just be in a category that exceeds all our wildest nightmares.

Some people talk about them expecting Vodafone Greece to close down. They believe that Vodafone won't recover from this bomb. I don't think so. They will wait it out and some day it will all be mostly forgotten. Pushed back by the next big media bang. Hopefully they learned something from it. The other players in the market sure did, but I don't know if it's the right thing they learned. They probably had a very good look at their installed software. But if they found anything, they would not be so stupid as to make it public now. That's something of a solution too.

Posted by betabug at 23:26 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
03 March 2006

US Ex-Diplomat Points Finger at CIA for Phone Tapping

Behind the Vodafone scandal could be "only one organization"

An american ex-diplomat points his finger at the CIA (and the americans in general) for the source of the phone tapping. A diplomat who had a name to be "considered one of the good experts on problems of the Middle East and the Arab world with 20 years of service in the diplomatic corps" (Athens News Agency). But also a diplomat who (according to the same ANA bulletin) resigned in opposition to the US governments handling of the Iraq crisis. The article by John Brady Kiesling in "The Nation" has some good points, but relies on the same stuff everyone else reads in the news.

What Kiesling can add with authority is the background of the "modus operandi" of the american diplomacy and secret services, quote from the artice in The Nation:

"only one organization still cares about the electrician whose brother-in-law was implicated in the 1975 murder of CIA station chief Richard Welch by the terrorist group called 17 November"

Especially Kiesling's analysis of the victim list is interesting. He seems to be certain that it can only point to the US. He also gives a good analysis about the reasons the Greek government tries to downplay both any accusations towards the US and of the phone tapping scandal in general. Quote:

"In espionage scandals it is the victim who gets punished. Failure to preserve the national dignity against foreigners is a hanging offense in every political system in the world."

What will certainly deny Kiesling recognition in this field is his political stand: Both the article and the surroundings of the publication in "The Nation" show this to be a piece of the opposition in the USA. The "america believers" both in the US and in Greece will see him as a traitor to his own country. Myself I found the reasoning expressed in the article to be very insightful, even though I would not count it as a proven fact now.

(And no, I'm not turning this into a political and/or link blog. Next post will likely be back to my private stuff :-)

Posted by betabug at 10:21 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
17 March 2006

Movie Theater Cell Phone Jamming

We're jamming, yeah!

Bruce Schneier linked to a weblog entry about the movie theater industry in the US asking for cell phone jammers. Greece has one of the highest density of cell phones, but you don't hear a ring in a cinema very often. People aren't usually very considerate here either. I believe cell phone jammers are here already. Not in every cinema, but in some cinemas you just don't get a signal. Not that they are in remote areas, right in the center of Athens. I don't know if they use high tech solutions (maybe in some of the larger movie theaters), or if they did some homebrew faradays cage style insulation. But it's common enough that a couple of people around me have noticed.

When you do get a signal in a cinema it's common to hear about one phone call during a movie (when the theater is full). But they cut it short because they want to see the film. Greeks also aren't above telling the guy (or gal) in question to "voulose'to" ("stuff it up"). Without happening what happened to an Australian tourist in the US: She just touched the disturbing caller on the top of the arm to tell her to quiet it... she got charged for "disorderly conduct" and fined $675.

Posted by betabug at 10:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
11 May 2006

Safety on the mobile Internet meeting invited to a focus group

Through rather random events we learned about inviting the public to a meeting with the title "Safety on the mobile Internet". There wasn't much of the public following the invitation, the audience consisted of Mary and me. But we were truly interested despite that. is a website and organization that is still very unknown but very important. They are a hotline for reports on images of child abuse, racist and xenophobic content that violates Greek law, and other content that might be illegal. They operate in coordination with Greek providers and the Greek police's cyber crime office. If you ever saw something that you thought should be reported to the police - but you didn't because the local cops probably don't know a network from a clothes line - is the place to go.

The meeting started out with an introduction that cleared up a bit of our confusion with the name. Safety on the Internet is a wide field, and the term "mobile Internet" isn't so clearly defined either. Turns out is mostly interested in protecting children. Be that from exposing them to abuse, to upsetting content, or letting them fall prey to financial trouble or exploitation. The first few talks appeared much like on a convention, the presenter giving us information about his/her field of work. A lot of this stuff repeated the others, which seems to be an inherent problem in a meeting where everybody brings their talk without knowing what the others will be saying. Contents, notes, and even video should appear online some day. Until that, here are some of my thoughts...

While some of the talks were a bit technical, they weren't really geeky, except maybe for the prof from the who showed off his work with honeypot nets and showed the (mostly grey haired) participants that we have a problem with all the virii and worms floating around. The chief security guy from provider OTEnet talked about their abuse@ department, which he claims does much more than just lift the receiver. He says they have shut down customers for breach of Netiquette reasons, even if there were no actual laws broken.

After a while some of the talks began to be more opinionated, zooming in on the problem set of security for children, and taking wild stabs at solutions. We had exponents from consumer and children's rights organizations with us. So what were suggestions? Do we filter? Do we control children's every step (with the guy from Naftemporiki suggesting parents to force children to reveal their email login data, he got a good laugh and many shaking heads for that - I believe it won't take the kids long to open another hidden mail account). Do we educate children? Their parents? Do we (can we even) outlaw and censor some content on the Internet?

Personally I don't think there are any easy solutions to be had. And I was satisfied that neither did get confused and vouched for shot-from-the-hip solutions. Their Safety Tips (Στα Ελληνικά Συμβουλές ασφάλειας) are down to earth and pretty decent in my oppinion. The last bit of the meeting was spent discussing getting the message out. Where it is hard to reach the greek public through TV, because TV stations aren't interested in plain messages and educating their viewers, I think that spreading the word for via the Web and even by snowballing mobile messages might be the thing to do.

Posted by betabug at 17:18 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (1)
17 May 2006

Calculate it in a Spreadshit!

My newest baby-meme!

From #zope on

16:24 < betabug> my python can't calculate
16:25 < betabug> adding up a sum of numbers it returns 0.0000324074 - 
       while the result is 1.1749300347 according to a spreadshit 
       (and according to a look at the numbers)
16:25 < betabug> hmm, spreadshit is a rather nice typo
16:26 < g0dil> *grin*
16:32  * betabug wonders how foobared 7 lines of code really can get
16:34 < blaamann_home> He he...spreadshit
16:35  * betabug feels like he just founded another successfull 
So from now on, please calculate your monthly performance plans in a nice spreadshit!

Posted by betabug at 16:45 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 May 2006

...wherein the betabug watches Eurovision

No, I didn't believe it either

I've always been ignorant to the Eurovision phenomenon. I mean, we surely must have watched Eurovision once or twice when we were kids, but I can't remember any details, and then I didn't as much as think a single second about the Eurovision Song Contest... until I came back to Greece two years ago. Suddenly people around me started to get all heated up about what, please? A f* european song contest? I couldn't believe it either. Despite my surroundings I have tried to continue to avoid everything about it. I say "tried", because with those surroundings the thing keeps coming after you. Yesterday I went with friends to watch Eurovision in a cafe...

To my defense I would like to state that I was there clearly for the company only. But I had spent enough time trying to find out if the city of Athens or ET (the greek state television) had set up large projections of the event in public places for the unwashed masses to see (you know, the washed masses paid 150 Euro for tickets and had the luck to get a ticket in the first 25 minutes after they started to sell and before they were sold out). I learned that there were no such public showings, but never mind, it's Greece and lots of cafe owners had projections and large TVs around.

Hanging out with the homies

Sitting in a cafe with friends is much more the greek way anyhow. So after having searched the web thing and asked around for some time, I thought it to be prudent to pay at least a bit of attention to the screen. Some thoughts about that business up there came to my mind, thoughts which probably are cold coffee for the folks who are really viewing that "show" every year.

So, they're pimping the votes, *how*?

First off, it's so hilarious how voting is really an affair of two systems, none of which has anything to do with the quality of the music or the performance on stage. First there is geography, neighboring countries voting for each other, Ukraine for Russia, Finland for Russia, the scandinavians amongst each other. The second is more economic, it follows the geography of migrant workers... Germany votes for Turkey, because all the turkish people in Germany vote for their home country.

Sometimes it goes the other way around too: Albania votes for Greece, because there are so many Albanians in Greece. Usually they give Greece their full 12 points, but this year there will likely be questions, since Greece go only 8 points from them, likely not a question that is taken easy. Heard someone say on TV this morning (about Cyprus and Bulgaria giving Greece 12 points when others didn't): "This shows who your friends really are." I hope those fools lighten it up a bit.

Lame, but thanks for trying anyway...

The organizers in Switzerland tried to bank on a third, lesser phenomenon: Sometimes artists are from other countries than the ones they represent. So the kluge people put together six singers from different Eurovision countries. It worked to a degree, as they got points from Malta and Bosnia who were represented in the swiss team that way. It made me wonder just how cheap and flat such a rouse can be to fall short.

"Fun"? That must be a mistake!

In the end sometimes it helps to have a new and unique concept. Hard rock at the Eurovision? Well, the finnish organizers tried and it worked out for once. It crashed the cement built voting systems for a moment. To me that song was a welcome break. There is only so much shallow pop muzak I can endure in one evening. Other than that, it was a really nice evening out with friends. We even went to eat sweets at 1:30 in the morning in Psiri.

Posted by betabug at 15:03 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
06 June 2006

Just a lazy update

"Best Of", Summer, RSS and COREBlog

Just a small update, as I'm not too creative today (outside of work at least, work hax0ring goes fine, thank you). I've been playing around with my COREBlog setup lately, which is the software this weblog runs on. The changes amount to lotsa links in post pages, updated "Best Of" links, and redesigned and validated RSS feeds. If you feel bored, here are some more details...

The post pages got links to the last few posts and to the "Best Of" posts now. The reason is simply that I have some posts that get a lot of traffic from search engines and exterior links, but these visitors don't stay. So with those links maybe they see something else too.

While I was at it I also updated the "Best Of" sidebox. In February Bruce Schneier linked to my post about the phone tapping scandal here in Greece, which generated a huge spike in traffic for that post. In February that page got hit 9636 times, and the traffic can still be seen trickling in. The post also generated some follow-ups. These have their own little success stories. Another little spike was my "Do you use PGP?" post, which I linked to in a slashdot comment. Result: 1400 pageviews in 5 days. Another "Best Of" post was already on the list, but got picked up for real by the search engines lately for real: "How to get to Limnos" starts to be found by people who really look for transport to that beautiful island. Nice.

Last thing, I redecorated and relabeled the RSS links. They have their own little sidebox now, with a fancy logo even. Also I tried to describe the features they offer, the 1.0 feed has excerpts of the posts text, while the 0.91 feed has only the titles. Both feeds validate now with, something I should have managed a long time ago, but there seem to have been some tomatoes on my eyes.

In other news, today was this years first day for me to wear shorts to go to work. Looks like summer is really here :-).

Posted by betabug at 22:25 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
07 July 2006

I Can't Hear You

Is it my ears or podcasts in general?

The last week or so I have been playing around with podcasts. Or rather, I'd say "recorded radio shows", because I got those podcasts from NPR. My idea is that my eyes work way too much. All day in front of a computer screen, all work passes through my eyes. Then I go home and to relax I either read a book or do some of my own hacking with the computer. (Lucky me, at least I've cut the TV.)

It's all through the eyes, and the eyes sometimes get terribly tired. Using the ears for a while would be great. I listen to music (mostly from emusic, thanks to saadz0r's recommendation), but sometimes actual information coming in is desired. I have time to listen in the bus every day, so podcasts fit my need just right, except I have a little complaint...

Insert in case you don't know: Podcasts are something like radioshows, in mp3 format (or similar), so you can download them on the Internet and play them on your mp3 player. They seem to be a big phenomenon lately, really.

I'm a really late comer to this podcast thingy, so what right do I have to complain? Any I like it seems, because I have a little problem with those podcasts. As I mentioned, I listen to these podcasts on the bus. Busses in Athens are loud (actually traffic in Athens per se is loud). Most podcasts work fine while the bus waits at a traffic light or when it zips along down Syggrou Avenue. But once it accelerates on the green light the engine noise just drowns out the speaker.

That would be almost acceptable, it happens with music too, but with music you don't miss the "sense" of the current half sentence so much. And there isn't much the podcasters could do about it, except recommend noise reducing (or canceling) headphones to me.

The worse part is though, that these podcasts seem to be recorded with wildly differing sound levels. Remember these are even professional made podcasts from radio stations. The effect is about like this:

Now I have some choices. I could pump up the volume on the iPod, till I understand the eye witness. Then my ears would pop out once the studio speaker comes back up. I could search a middle ground, then I would alternate between pain (studio) and grasping for content (local interview). Or I could try to keep the finger on the volume at all times and jog up and down, trying to follow the speakers as fast as I can.

I understand that podcasting is mainly a phenomenon that gives publishing back to the masses, this time with audio. My conclusion is that as we've seen with desktop publishing and home video before, you can't just do with the equipment. Quality needs learning, willingness to work and experience too. Wonder why the NPR pros don't get it. I'll try the podcasts at home now, they haven't passed the "bus" acid test yet.

Posted by betabug at 10:36 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
11 October 2006

Site Update Trivia

Not much changed

A few very small things have changed on this site: First, my friend xsa has finally unslacked enough to publish some of his stuff in a weblog. His feed took the place of kassandra (who seems to be on a blogging hiatus, but I'll be happy to re-list her when she starts to post her excellent writings again). In the process I discovered the problem behind the missing dates for the posts *and* managed to fix the stuff. [pats own back here]

Next thing I noticed that the one page about me had a number of hits over time. I think some of them are people who found my site due to some search query or a bad humored coincidence and then possibly clicked on that link to find out who is behind all that. The page in question had some information, but nothing that could give a quick idea. So I changed that, which was an interesting experience, writing about myself. Now we can go back to our daily lifes of luxury and fun!

Posted by betabug at 00:42 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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