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02 January 2005

Bericht von der Generalversammlung des griechischen Mac-Clubs

Am 12.12.2004 fuhr ich nach Larissa zur jährlichen HelMUG Generalversammlung

Am 12. Dezember bin ich nach Larissa gefahren, um die Generalversammlung
des griechischen Mac-Clubs HelMUG zu besuchen. Da ich selber Erfahrung im Vorstand eines grossen Mac-Clubs in der Schweiz (MUS) habe, war der Event für mich besonders interessant. Viele der Probleme sind mir sehr bekannt vorgekommen. Mein Besuch hat Spass gemacht und wurde geschätzt. Für den MUS-Falter habe ich einen längeren Bericht geschrieben...

Continue reading "Bericht von der Generalversammlung des griechischen Mac-Clubs"
Posted by betabug at 23:24 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
10 January 2005

Greek and Athens Public Transport and Its Mysteries

It's better than it was, but there are still strange rules in the game

The system in public transport here is that passengers have to know how things work. When riding the bus you are expected to know when to get out. Bus stations are not announced. You are also mostly expected to guess that the bus to take is Nr. 117, where to get your ticket (in the bus, at the station, at the vending machine), and when taking the ticket at the vending machine which ticket you need. But things have improved, so read on for some hints...

Continue reading "Greek and Athens Public Transport and Its Mysteries"
Posted by betabug at 16:50 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
14 January 2005

Buying a Mac in Greece is tough, but Rainbow is not Apple

More and more I hear weird stories about Apple's importer in Greece

Buying a Mac in Greece can be a weird experience. And when you get to the price tag, you are up for big surprises. Prices should be equivalent to european prices, except I don't get how they come up with those high Euro prices considering the currently low Dollar. And then Rainbow (the importer) puts a hefty surprice on the machine for translating the system software to Greek. They make a mess of the market, having invented one of the weirdest systems of doing business online, and showing a lack of sense for business in general. Diomidis Spinellis (a professor at the Athens University of Economy and Business, and simultaneously a FreeBSD committer) gives his experiences under the title "Apple's Presence in Greece Appears to be a Joke."

Nice take, but one big point is that Rainbow is not Apple. You can't blame Apple as if Rainbow was part of their flesh and blood. But Apple can and should be blamed for not forcing Rainbow to behave. After all they let Rainbow represent Apple in Greece. The low market share of Macs in Greece is in my oppinion at least partly Rainbow's fault. And I've seen Apple react much more stringent in cases where much smaller harm was done to their name.

Posted by betabug at 13:02 | Comments (13) | Trackbacks (0)
15 January 2005

Σοκολατένιες εμπειρίες σε γαλλικό στυλ

"ΣΟΚΟΛΑΤΑ - ιστορία και ζαχαροπλαστική" (εκδόσεις Μοντέρνοι Καιροί)

Κάτι ξέρουν και οι Γάλλοι.. ψάχναμε στις 200 συνταγές του βιβλίου "ΣΟΚΟΛΑΤΑ - ιστορία και ζαχαροπλαστική" (ο εκδότης φαίνεται να μην έχει ιστοσελίδα). Θέλαμε κάτι εύκολο για να κάνουμε μια αρχή. Μετά από αρκετή ώρα ξεφυλλίζοντας και χαζεύοντας τις εικόνες, καταλήξαμε στο "Γαλλικό κέϊκ σοκολάτας". Αρχικά, η συνταγή έμοιαζε να είναι αρκετά εύκολη με απλά υλικά και η φωτογραφία μας άνοιγε την όρεξη!

Τα δύσκολα σημεία ήτανε λίγα. Δεν είχαμε μικρό σουρωτήρι να κοσκινίσουμε το αλεύρι και να το ρίξουμε σιγά σιγά στα αυγά χωρίς να σβολιάσει. Αργότερα, όταν ήτανε να βάλουμε το μικρό ταψί σε ένα μεγαλύτερο με ζεστό νερό στο φούρνο, ήταν δύσκολο να αποφύγεις το κάψιμο! Ειδικά εμείς που είχαμε ταψί μιας χρήσεως που είναι φτιαγμένο από πολύ μαλακό υλικό, ήταν όχι μόνο δύσκολο να μπορέσουμε να αποφύγουμε το κάψιμο αλλά και να μην μας χυθεί η ζύμη! Κατά τ' άλλα ήτανε εύκολη η συνταγή.

Η γεύση όμως ήτανε υπέροχη. Έλιωνε στη γλώσσα Όχι πολύ γλυκό και με ωραία γεύση σοκολάτας. Και πήγε πολύ καλά με την κρέμα σαντιγί. Κάτι ξέρουν και οι Γάλλοι!

Posted by betabug at 12:40 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 January 2005

Other Weblog Headlines

Get the Headlines from some other weblogs I read or might find interesting

Using RDF Summary, a DTML/COREblog module, a python script and some duct tape I made another info box. This one has the newest 3 headlines of some weblogs I find intersting. Updates should happen once a day, as these are not very active blogs.

Problems were mainly to get the formats to work, since RDF Summary has to be told in the source code about tags it does not know yet. Also scuds blog does not emit "date" information for blog entries, which produced an error (that is now caught).

Posted by betabug at 12:42 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
19 January 2005

Call for a "Greek & Mac FAQ"

Working in Greek on a Mac needs many fixes yet

Setting up a professional work environment (for example for graphics professionals) on a Mac with Mac OS X in Greek is not there yet. At least not out of the box. There still is a lot of information needed. Even working with a system in English using Greek contents (fonts, text) has its problems still. I propose an FAQ on this topic.


  • How to get the Greek system (GRUpdate by Rainbow)? Who can get it? Where to get it? What do I have to do to get it running? Do I really need it?
  • Trouble with GRUpdate: Updates of the system software have to be synced with updates of GRUpdate, delays due to that, crashes and kernel panics that IMHO could have been a result of GRUpdate, translations of qustionable quality, ...
  • Installation of a Mac in Greek needs knowledge of another language. Someone who knows only Greek can not install his own Mac, while someone who knows only Swedish or Italian can. This is because with the Greek Mac, installation is a two step process, first installing an English system, then installing the Greek language kit. With languages supported directly by Apple you just choose the language as the very first step of the installation, and then all the installation process is in "your" language.
  • As for contents and applications, there is Greek and there is Greek. Some of it is Unicode (the newer stuff) and some of it is in Mac encoding (the GRUpdate / Rainbow / Mac OS 9 stuff).

And some applications give their users a hard time too. Examples:

  • Apparently even the newest Quark Xpress does not really work with Greek, despite claims of the company and the importer (Rainbow again).
  • Adobe Applications seem to be better, but it's still a frequently asked question which versions work and how. And it's still a difference if fonts are for Unicode or for Mac encoding.
  • My personal problem was with getting Greek to work in the Terminal. Gave me a hard time. I persisted and got it to work. I promise to write a howto sometimes.
  • AppleWorks and other Carbon applications usually don't do Unicode Greek. The new iWorks Pages may go better, but that is another buy to make for people who bought an iMac or eMac.

My friend Spyros keeps bugging me with questions, while I keep bugging him to make the switch from 9 to X. And my friend Yorix tells me that many of the problems and questions are brought up again and again. A case for a FAQ. HelMUG - the greek Mac User Group is one of the information providers in the field of Mac OS X and Greek. But is it inpolite to make a call for a big FAQ on that topic?

Posted by betabug at 12:32 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
20 January 2005

Closing a Info Window Using the Keyboard Only

No mouse please!

When I'm in Mac OS X Terminal I operate by keyboard only. Works very well for me, because switching to and from the mouse interrupts my thoughts. lets me switch windows with Command-RightArrow and bring up the Info window with Command-I. I use the Info window a lot, because I am a dancer between using Unicode UTF-8 (for Greek) and "Western (ASCII)" for English and German (with an occasional "Western ISO Latin 1" for German with umlauts). All nice and dandy, except choosing the "Display" pane in the popup menu and closing that damn Info window. Command-W closes the underlying Terminal. "Escape" closes the Info window, but only if you haven't switched Terminal windows in the meantime. Solution: Hit Command-I again, then press "Escape".

Posted by betabug at 15:18 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
23 January 2005

Certification Labyrinths By Sun and Cisco

To understand recursion, one has first to understand recursion.

A few days ago I was looking into certifications. I got sent from one end of the world to the other. But let's tell the story from the start... despite many years of professional experience I don't have shiny diplomas, certificates and other papers. So I was on the web, searching for papers I could get with a small effort.

On my list were Sun with some kind of certificate for system administration and Cisco for network stuff. So, onwards to I went, found some info for exams, certification paths and prices. But these were meant for "US" only. For international certifications I was told to look on my countries website. The link to the "Greeks" brought me a page with some greek content and a lot of english content that was marked with "". By clicking on "certification" the site shoved me straight back to the Americans. Which in turn pointed me back to the Greeks. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Cisco was just a bit better, but that bit mattered. I had a lot of trouble to locate a country specific testing site on the Cisco pages. Until I noticed that Cisco handed off all that stuff to two independent companies, and indeed on those companies websites I found addresses of testing sites in Greece. What I did not find out were the prices for Cisco certification.

Also it was very funny how Ciscos training pages are full of acronyms (CCIE, CCNA, CCXY, CCwhatever) and they avoid to explain them, as if they had something to hide. I spotted the meaning of CCIE only inside a logo image (Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert, if you care).

One question I do not expect to find answered on those websites: Will I be able to get through the certification exams by studying on my own, without paying for expensive training classes? We will see.

Posted by betabug at 13:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Snow in Greece

If all the snow that is on TV would be on the streets, we would have a problem

For the last weekend (15/16 of January) the media promised us (the inhabitants of Greece) a major snow chaos. Snow was said to be reaching the center of Athens. As it turned out it was mostly hype. Northern Greece had snow of course, but I guess the people there are used to it. Comes with living on a mountain. It was almost comical how the journalists especially on TV went on a snow hunt. There has to be a story somewhere. In Athens we just had a lot of rain and empty streets, people stayed home, because they were afraid to be blocked off by the frightening snow.

Update 2006: Looking for information on the current situation (January 24 and 25, 2006) in Athens and Greece? Look at the new posts: Winter... Chaos? and Snowy Athens

Update 2008: It's been snowing again, resulting in even more chaos, see Oh, yeah, the Snow in Greece

Posted by betabug at 13:39 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
24 January 2005

Για kαφέ με την HelMUG

Ένα μεσημέρι γεμάτο ιδέες, με τους χρήστες των Macintosh

Πήγα την Κυριακή και βρήκα τα καλά παιδιά της HelMUG σε μια συνάντηση στην άνετη καφετέρια "Bamboo" στους Αμπελόκηπους. (Ναι, ακούγεται σαν διαφήμιση, μα μου άρεσε στ'αλήθεια.) Μια τυπική συνάντηση user group σημαίνει τέσσερις ώρες κουβέντα για Mac, για εθελοντές, ΔΣ, Apple και άλλα θέματα ενός σωματείου. Με ένα φλιτζάνι στο χέρι βοηθάει ο ένας τον άλλον βρίσκοντας λύσεις σε μικρά τεχνικά προβλήματα. Και τι περίεργο που πολλά από αυτά καταλήγουν στα πασίγνωστα προβλήματα με το GRUpdate της αγαπημένης μας Rainbow.

Ενδιαφέρον ήτανε ότι το μέλος του HelMUG thrilos δουλεύει πάνω σε μια λύση του προβλήματος για τα ελληνικά στα Mac. Η λύση του είναι απλή και δεν χρειάζεται τίποτα ούτε από την Apple ούτε από την Rainbow. Τίποτα ακόμα στην ιστοσελίδα του, αλλά μείνετε συντονισμένοι!

Posted by betabug at 17:37 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 January 2005

Two COREblog patches coming soon

More features coming soon to a COREblog near you

Today I fixed up two little patches for COREblog (the software behind
the blog you are currently reading). One is an improvement of the
"moblog" (mobile blog) feature, I've added Subtitle support. Couldn't
help it, I'm a Subtitle freak. The other one is a fix/hack for a bug
with Trackbacks. Trackbacks appeared when you clicked on them, but the
Trackback-Count was still listed as zero. Detailed information, patches
and instructions follow after some more testing.

Posted by betabug at 15:33 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

betabug und MUS im St.Galler Tagblatt

Ein Artikel über mich als Vereinsinternationaler in der Tagespresse

Vor einigen Wochen kontaktierte mich Andreas Fagetti vom St.Galler Tagblatt wegen einer Artikelserie über Vereinsmenschen. Für den Start dieser neuen Serie im überregionalen Teil des Tagblatts wollte er jemanden aus einem eher ungewöhnlichen Verein, zum Beispiel aus einem Computerverein. Über eine Websuche fand er mich als Mac- und 2CV-Freak. Auf seine Anfrage, ob ich zu einem Interview bereit wäre, antwortete ich ungefähr: Schon, aber ich bin inzwischen in Griechenland, ob ihm das so auch recht ist. Und "so" fand er das dann noch interessanter.

Das Interview machten wir per Telefon, ich hätte ihm ja das Budget für einen Ausflug nach Athen gewünscht. Mit Spyros zog ich auf den Syntagma-Platz, wo Spyros mich mit einem der Evzonen-Wachen und meinem HelMUG-T-Shirt fotografierte. Und wie es ausschaut hat schliesslich alles geklappt, am Donnerstag, den 26. Januar sollte der Artikel erscheinen. Dann hoffentlich online zu finden unter Einen detaillierten Link werde ich noch posten, falls verfügbar.

Posted by betabug at 18:34 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 January 2005

Link zum Artikel online

Fast so schön wie gedruck!

Der Artikel ist jetzt online abrufbar bei
Also ich hoffe mal, dass der Link funktioniert, denn ich bin momentan nicht online, sondern mobil am webloggen. Falls es nicht tut, bei auf "suche" klicken und in "Allen Ressorts" nach "Sascha Welter" suchen.

Update 28.1.: Link korrigiert.

Posted by betabug at 20:45 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
28 January 2005

Patching Moblog to Support Subtitles

Details and source for the patch

This procedure will allow you to add entries to your blog with COREblog's "moblog" feature and get a "subtitle" line too. Out of the box "moblogged" entries can just have a title (which is transmitted in the mail's "Subject" line) and picture (attached image, automatically added to the start of the entry). With the patch, you will have Subtitles for your moblog entries too. And yes, WARNING: This works for me, but who knows if it messes up everything for you. Test thoroughly if it works for you and if you don't know the stuff about getting it to work, better ask someone to help you with this.

Continue reading "Patching Moblog to Support Subtitles"
Posted by betabug at 13:22 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Earthquake in Headlines

Newspaper headlines something between funny and misleading

Walking on Kerkyra Street I passed by a newsstand and noticed a big headline:


"Wow," I said to myself, "I must have missed The Big One (TM)!" I have had previous encounters with small earthquakes in Athens. The city is said to be built on hard rock, it should not have that much of a problem itself, so I did not fear that much. And then I went closer...


in the church

... it said. Bummer. Nothing special for Greek newspapers. Headlines are often misleading in this way. Some observations about Greek newspapers:...

Continue reading "Earthquake in Headlines"
Posted by betabug at 23:06 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
29 January 2005

Leben in der Science Fiction

Halbvergessene Gespräche über die Zukunft

Werden wir nie in einer der Phantasiewelten aus SciFi-Filmen leben? Unsere Technik ist weit, weit fortgeschritten. Doch wir leben immer noch in unserem normalen Alltag. Unsere Technologie ist langsam in unseren Alltag hineingewachsen und lange nicht so perfekt wie in einem ganz normalen SciFi-Streifen. Darum ist es unsere Welt und keine der Zukunft. Oder? Ich bin der Meinung, dass ich in Athen in einer Science Fiction Welt angekommen bin...

Continue reading "Leben in der Science Fiction"
Posted by betabug at 16:29 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
30 January 2005

Noch eine SciFi Referenz: Chimaeren

Was sagte ich gerade?

Gestern poste ich meinen Text über Science Fiction im Leben, heute finde ich bei earthshine einen Beitrag über eine Zellkreuzung von menschlichen Zellen mit solchen von Hasen. post und Original-Beitrag von National Geographic.

Posted by betabug at 13:36 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
31 January 2005

More Sports than Politics

What do Greek newspaper sales statistics tell us?

Daily sales of sports morning newspapers for Friday 14.1.2005 where 139.000, while political newspapers on that day sold only 35.940 copies. Can we deduce from that, that sport (mainly football) is much bigger in Greece than politics? Sports newspapers carry 95% football, maybe 4% basket, everything else in 1% of coverage (these are my own guesses).

The newspaper circulation numbers I got out of the Athens Voice for January 27. When I read those numbers, I was surprised by the high proportion with which the sports press topps the political press. It made me think about the reasons. Sports is just so much safer an occupation. But then, looking at my own note about newspaper language in this weblog, I might guess that there is another small reason in the language used. The sports press definitely uses an easier language. What slang they will use is well understood by their clientele.

Another thought that comes up: I don't remember the statistics for - say - Switzerland. But I seem to remember that "Tages Anzeiger" (the biggest newspaper) has a circulation of somewhere around 200.000. Greece is just so much more a TV nation.

Posted by betabug at 02:45 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)