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01 July 2005

Python Ελληνικά (Greek) to Greeklish Converter

Life is a one way street... so is this script

As mentioned in this post about my mutt mail setup for Greek mails and in this post about Greek in OS X Terminal, I have a special setup. On my OSX machine I teached mutt and vim to do Greek. But on my OpenBSD system I translate incoming Greek mails to "Greeklish" for viewing through ssh. Until yesterday I was using the gr2gr perl script for this, but now I finished my own python version, with the advantage that it works for UTF-8 mails too. Read on for the source code...

Continue reading "Python Ελληνικά (Greek) to Greeklish Converter"
Posted by betabug at 10:02 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
03 July 2005


Regentropfen statt Schweisstropfen

Bis heute morgen war es heiss, sauheiss. Tagsüber fast 40 Grad, auch nachts kühlte es nur leicht ab. Fast kein Wind, dafür Schweiss ohne Ende. Heute morgen hat es sich dann eingetrübt, wie angekündigt. Jetzt regnet es in Strömen, mit Blitz und Donner. Ich sitze in Μοσχάτο (Moshato, ein Vorort in Richtung Piräus) und schaue mir den Regen an.

Posted by betabug at 15:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
05 July 2005

Actual Battery Recycling Container Spotted

There really seems to be battery recycling in Greece
Battery recycling container in greek supermarket Marinopoulos

Last saturday spotted in a super market of the Marinopoulos / Champion / Carrefour variety: An actual battery recycling container. It seems to be completely unmarked and unadvertised, but some people found out what it is for, so there are batteries inside, waiting to be shipped off for propper recycling.

I wrote more about battery recycling in Greece here and some more entries about recycling in Greece in general.

Posted by betabug at 08:59 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
06 July 2005

GZip compression on COREBlog entries

Smaller is beatyfull

In order to speed up download time and save some bandwidth I've now setup gzip compression for some of my weblog pages. I really hope this works for everyone. If you discover something that does not work, drop me a note. Setting this up in COREBlog was quite easy, all it needed was one line of dtml

<dtml-call "RESPONSE.enableHTTPCompression(REQUEST)">
to be added to the templates in question. The effect on some of the bigger "pages" is impressive: A big category page can go down from 140kB to 40kB. The page feels quite speedy too (client on ADSL, though I assume on a modem line the speedup will be even more noticeable).

On a sidenote: I have added a category "zope", in order to get the size of the category pages a bit down. I will later move some of the "digital" entries to this category. Last step will then be to set up batching ([previous page] / [next page] links) on category/month templates.

Posted by betabug at 12:48 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
07 July 2005

Atmosphäre zum Programmieren

Im Zug, im Büro

Um zu Programmieren braucht man bekanntlich Konzentration. Meine Erfahrung ist, dass ich diese Konzentration nicht immer in ruhiger Umgebung finde. Einen Grossteil des Sourcecodes des damaligen STAR TV SMS-Chats (Friede seiner Seele) habe ich im Zug geschrieben, umgeben von ein- und aussteigenden Leuten, gedrängt im Abteil sitzend. Andere Male brauche ich Stille und visuelle Ruhe um mich.

Worauf es schlussendlich rausläuft ist, dass ich am besten arbeiten kann, wenn ich meine Umgebung (vor allem deren Lärmpegel) beeinflussen kann. Deswegen nehme ich den iPod zur Arbeit mit. Mit einer breiten Musikauswahl kann ich etwas ruhiges hören (Leonard Cohen zum Durchdenken von verzwickten Problemstellungen) oder etwas aggressives (Soundtrack von "Matrix", Skunk Anansie zum "Auswalzen"/Schreiben von Code). Was hingegen im Büro fehlt, ist die Möglichkeitalle Umgebungsgeräusche zu dämpfen, nicht nur zu übertönen. Es gibt eben keine Tür, die ich schliessen kann.

In viuseller Hinsicht klappt das etwas besser, vor allem auf dem Monitor. Wenn es "ruhiger" sein muss, schliesse ich einfach viele Fenster, stelle auch das Terminal mit irssi (IRC, ICQ, AIM) in den Hintergrund. Wenn viel Los sein soll werden Fenster mit Logs von Mail- und Webserver geöffnet und auch mal ein tcpdump -x -s 1500 ;-)

Posted by betabug at 11:02 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
08 July 2005

Ferry Schedules to Greek Islands

Time for vacations coming closer

As my August vacation is drawing closer I am looking out for the ferry boat schedules. Also friends want to visit me in the litte house on Limnos. So more timetables to look up. Conclusion one: Limnos is hard to get to and come from. Conclusion two: There are multiple websites for ferry tickets and ferry reservation. They all work with the same database backend from forth-crs. Most of them have ugly sites with big graphics, large pages in bad html. One of them constantly crashed FireFox with a Java applet.

Today I finally found the "mother" of those sites, from the company that runs the database. So my recommendation for ferryboat timetables for Greece and Greek islands is I especially like the ability to do a search "from [ALL] to [LIMNOS]", so I get a display with ships coming from Pireus *or* Lavrio and going to my destination. On the other sites this is usually a two or three step process. The display of overnight trips is a bit confusing at first, but I was able to get used to it, since it is short and not very explicit, but the correct way (27/7/2005 01:00 - 13:40 is a boat leaving July 27th, 1AM in the night, while 28/8/2005 19:00 - 7:45 is a boat leaving July 28th 7PM and arriving the next morning 7:45). I also had a small problem testing the Trip search function with lynx, it seems that the "To" popup-menu is implemented with JavaScript, without a Noscript alternative. That's a pitty.

I haven't tryed any of the booking functions. The data of the timetibles is as accurate as it is on the other sites of that kind, they all operate with the same database in the backend.

Posted by betabug at 13:27 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
09 July 2005

Road Signs to Karpen Island

Εκδρομη με την HelMUG 1

Είμαστε στο δρόμο για το Καρπενήσι με τον libero. Ωραίες πινακίδες έχει στην Εθνική: "Καλό ταξίδι σας εύχεται ο Δήμος Οπούντιων"... "Φονιάς ΑΕ".

Update: Corrected "Οπούντων" -> "Οπούντιων", και είδαμε και την "Ξυλεία Κολλημένος"...

Posted by betabug at 11:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
11 July 2005

Back in Civilization

I took the boat from Karpen Island

After a wild weekend with HelMUG (the greek Mac user group) I'm back at the office, the Internet, the civilization. Mountains up there around Καρπενήσι (Karpenisi) were wonderfull, had a great time with the HelMUG people, more stories and pictures to come.

Posted by betabug at 09:17 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
12 July 2005

Report from Karpenisi HelMUG Excursion

Leave the city behind... and the Macs

A weekend spent with some 20 people from the Greek Mac User Group HelMUG, in a mountain city in central Greece. I had expected a lot of computer talk and a beautifull mountain landscape. I got the beautyfull landscape alright, but we concentrated more on good food and company than on the computer stuff. Read on for my report and some pictures...

Continue reading "Report from Karpenisi HelMUG Excursion"
Posted by betabug at 11:12 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
15 July 2005

Zope Methods with a Dot in the name

Playing the game with setattr

Again one of those boring work problems: I have a bunch of Zope python / filesystem products. Most of them when instantiated contain an image called "preview.jpg". One of the little critters is different though. It wants to have a Zope Page Template (ZPT) instead of "preview.jpg". But Zope (and I think python) don't allow dots in method names. I banged my head on this particular wall for a while, until first Peter Bengtsson and then Chris McDonough gave me a big push on #zope. Read on for the solution...

Continue reading "Zope Methods with a Dot in the name"
Posted by betabug at 14:04 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
19 July 2005

Feierabend at the Beach

Relaxing after a working day
betabug at the waterfront in Kalamaki

Yesterday evening, after a day working at the office, we took the bus to Voula. We stepped off at Kalamaki, my old neighbourhood. There we had a nice stroll at the waterfront and sat a while to watch the waves. The beach was quite crowded (but not as crowded as on that Sunday about a month ago when I went for a swim). Still, if I had brought my swimsuit, I could have gone for a cooling swim, a bit more over where there are small mini-beaches between the rocks. Less crowded there, more waves in the sea.

Every time I come back to the Kalamaki seaside I'm surprised. Back in the old times when I was living here, nobody went to swim here. The water was not clean. The water quality has improved much in those years, due to waste water processing. Very nice. Now we were just relaxing and taking a stroll. The air is much better near the sea, and for most of our visit there was a soft wind. This helped much with the temperature (as did taking my T-Shirt off :-).

In other news: Yesterday on TV we were informed of a heat wave coming in the next few days. They advised people to wear hats and light clothing, use suncream, drink enough, stay out of the sun, and don't exercise too much. Most Athenians won't have much problem with the last point.

Posted by betabug at 09:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
20 July 2005

Πως γράφουμε "γριήτηκη" λογικά;

Ο betabug μαθαίνει ελληνικά, επεισόδιο 137

Πως, λοιπόν, γράφουμε την λέξη "γριήτικη" (όπως λέμε "Τι γριήτικη πιτζάμα είναι αυτή;!"). Μπερδεύομαι συνέχεια με όλα αυτά τα ι, η, υ, οι, ει, ιη, ηι, κ.τ.λ. Παρ όλα αυτά, η ελληνική γλώσσα έχει λογική. Και προσφέρει βοήθεια σε όσους έχουνε μεγάλη ανάγκη. Όπως σε μερικές τράπεζες. Πως γίνεται αυτό; Το καταλαβαίνεις όταν κυκλοφορείς με λεωφορείο.

Απόδειξη μέρος Α: Όταν μια λέξη αναφέρεται σε κάτι θηλυκό, το οποίο είναι από την Κρήτη, αυτή είναι... κρητική. Σωστό; Σωστό!

Απόδειξη μέρος Β: Πέρασα με το λεωφορείο στην Συγγρού από μια τράπεζα από την Κρήτη... τράπεζα... (θηλυκή λέξη)... από την κρήτη... τότε: κρητική τράπεζα! Σωστό; Λάθος! "Παγκρητικιά Τράπεζα" λέει η πινακίδα. Εγώ (αγράμματος Ελβετός) δεν το κατάλαβα, μέχρι που σκέφτηκα ότι μια "Παγκρητική τράπεζα" δεν θα συμμετείχε εύκολα στο παιχνίδι των "νεανικών" μεγάλων εταιρειών. Τι ευτυχία που η ελληνική γλώσσα βοηθάει.

Posted by betabug at 09:42 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Looking for the HelMUG Server on 2005/7/20?

The HelMUG server moves and will be down for a day or so

As mentioned on the HelMUG site:

Τετάρτη 20/7/2005 και ώρα 17:00 θα γίνει η μεταφορά του XServe του Συλλόγου στο data room του νέου χορηγού του colocation του XServe, OTEnet.

Ο server και κατ' επέκταση όλες οι υπηρεσίες (site, email e.t.c.) θα είναι εκτός λειτουργίας για μία πλήρη εργάσιμη ημέρα (είναι ο χρόνος που χρειάζεται για να ενημερωθεί ο hostmaster για την αλλαγή των DNS διευθύνσεων)
In other words, if you can't reach right now, don't worry. It will be back in a day or two.

Since the server will be set up from scratch later on, all users with mail accounts are asked to download and backup their mail till end of August.

Posted by betabug at 12:57 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 July 2005

HelMUG Server has moved to Athens

Welcome to the Capital!

The HelMUG server has arrived in Athens, the capital of Greece! Currently the DNS servers still point to the old IP address, so the server is not reachable. DNS setup is supposed to change today at noon. Your friendly neighborhood DNS server may take some more time to pick up changes though. So have patience.

Note for next time moving a server:

  • Move the DNS to new provider (let it still point to old IP of machine).
  • Old provider should remove DNS records.
  • New provider will reduce timeout on DNS records to minimum (or some reasonable low value).
  • Move server physically and to new IP.
  • Have new provider change IP in DNS records to new IP.
  • New provider will set dns timeout to standard value again.
That way the DNS change will be picked up much faster. If you don't understand these instructions, never mind: I am always surprised how few people really grok DNS. In no way do I claim to be super knowledgeable in respect to DNS, but I think I got this right :-)

Update: As a short time solution, I've set up, you can reach the web site with this domain. It will work for mail retrieval too, but likely will not work for mail sending. (And since mail sending does not work, mail retrieval is no good :-) Note that this will disappear once the normal DNS is up again.

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

Server moved... to Thessaloniki

Error correction

So, the server did not move to Athens, indeed it just moved to another facility (OTEnet) in Thessaloniki. MacYannis just corrected me. So, welcome back to Thessaloniki!

Posted by betabug at 14:13 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
24 July 2005 Update on DNS Status

She's on her way!

Finally DNS is on its way: Yesterday we managed to set up DNS service at We had some organizational problems to get this going, mainly an expired Credit Card :-(. Then I configured DNS records for,, and the mx for It took a while for and then to pick up the changes.

When I checked sunday morning at 2am, most changes had made it through DNS caches for my provider in Switzerland. The MX record had not expired yet. It takes even longer for OTEnet: Right now they still have the old DNS entries. I hope that everyone's provider's DNS picks up the changes soon, but right now we can just wait.

If you are in a hurry to see the helmug website, you can - for the moment - see it through But this will disappear once DNS works properly, and also mail does not work with this domain.

Update: Apparently the "time to live" on the old DNS records was set to 48 hours. So don't expect changes (for example for OTEnet customers) to happen really fast. Once the records are in the DNS cache, they are kept there for 2 days, so those providers customers will properly see on Monday evening. Note to people moving servers: Reducing the "time to live" on the old DNS is a good idea.

Posted by betabug at 15:13 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
25 July 2005

Party under the Acropolis

...till way beyond the break of dawn
Acropolis over party

Saturday I was out to party... three of my flatmates friends have their birthdays around this date. So each year they throw a party together. We went to a terrace in the Psiri area, with a view both on the Acropolis and the Lykabettos. Nice. And another "Happy Birthday" to Parthenopi, Zoi, and Fivos! (Hope I got the names right with my greeklish.)

Haralambos (my flatmate) was doing the DJ job for a lot of the evening. Also along were our flatmate-grrrl Eleni and another Haralambos (who is a childhood friend of "our" H) together with his flatmate-grrrl Leka (on visit from Brazil, via London). Lots of good people around, dancing, drinking, 3 birthday pies. I took some nice pictures with Zoi's digicam, maybe I get to see (and post?) some of them later.

Things I have learned: The floodlights on the Acropolis go out at 3:30. The Metro starts its service around 5/5:30. There was no real sunrise to be seen, still the Acropolis was nice to see in that light. We stopped for some food on the way home, then everybody went to sleep half the day through.

Posted by betabug at 18:06 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 July 2005 down again

DNS trouble on OTEnet to blame?

Right now, is down again. From what I observe on the machine the problem might be with DNS:

  • resolving on gives the old IP
  • resolving on gives the old IP and the old authoritative nameservers
  • at some point OTEnets DNS servers had the proper IPs for this host all right
  • those names resolve just fine with other providers
  • they are also properly set up at the authoritative name servers
  • the web and pop/imap servers can be contacted, but they don't respond properly after initial connection
  • web and pop/imap have lots of funny error messages in their log files: "Warning: mysql_connect(): Too many connections in /Library/WebServer/Documents/pnadodb/drivers/ on line 170" and the like
  • restarting the mail service does not change anything
  • contrary to the first problems we had when all DNS servers showed the old IP, using does not work for web and pop/imap
To me the conclusion is that the providers (OTEnet) DNS servers have wrong information (either they jumped back in time and are grossly outdated again) or someone there fscked up the settings for their DNS (tryed to redefine the zone?). And since the server wants to look up its own name, it gets wrong information, which messes everything up in a deep way.

If anyone has more clue than me, please enlighten me!

Posted by betabug at 18:20 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
27 July 2005

OS X Server 10.3 Cyrus Mailserver Trouble?

Rebuilding the mail database might help

The Cyrus mail server on some Mac OS X server machine acted up yesterday. It turned out the Cyrus DB file was damaged, something that happens sometimes it seems. I searched the web for the error message and after a while came up with something. This morning I rebuilt the database and service is back up. Read on for the description...

Continue reading "OS X Server 10.3 Cyrus Mailserver Trouble?"
Posted by betabug at 10:19 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
28 July 2005

Plone NavTreePortlet Sortorder Problem and Workaround

Objects "falling out" of the sort order

Having problems with objects not appearing in the right sort order in your Plone NavTreePortlet? I had that problem on a Plone 2.0.5 with LinguaPlone, which gives me the "new style" navigation portlet. Sometimes, especially after changing the id of an object, that object would just "fall down" to the end of the list, no matter where it was sorted in inside the folder_contents list. Read on for a workaround...

Continue reading "Plone NavTreePortlet Sortorder Problem and Workaround"
Posted by betabug at 15:12 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Im Ausgang in Piräus

Einen Blick auf die Boote geniessen
Cafe Leon in Piraeus

Gestern abend war ich mit meinem Freund Michalis in Piräus. Wir sind zuerst am Meer und der Hafenpromenade entlang gelaufen. Dabei haben wir abgesehen von den üblichen Segelbooten und Motorbooten auch ein fettes Kreuzfahrtschiff gesehen (siehe Bild). Dann sind wir im Cafe Leon etwas trinken gewesen. Dort ist es wunderschön, Blick auf Hafeneinfahrt, wir hatten auch den passenden Sonnenuntergang, Wellen, frische Luft (siehe anderes Bild :-).

Michalis der Schiffseigner

Die Preise sind allerdings von der gesalzenen Sorte, wie es seit einigen Jahren in der griechischen Gastronomie Mode ist: 4 Euro für ein Bier, und dann sich über die immer öfter mal ausbleibenden Gäste aus dem Ausland beschweren. Was solls, dann holt man halt das nächste Mal das Bier vom Kiosk und setzt sich auf eine Bank an der Hafenpromenade, da ist es auch schön.

Nachher sind wir bei einer Freundin von Michalis vorbeigegangen, die eine Wohnung mit Terasse und Blick auf den "Pasalimani" von Piräus hat. Würde ich da wohnen, ich wäre jeden Abend zuhause und würde mir den Anblick zur Entspannung geben. Zum Abschluss des Abends waren wir Essen, ganz untypisch für die Gegend günstig und sehr gut: Vom Pasalimani Richtung Osten am Meer entlang laufen, kurz nach der Post kommt das Restaurant "To Mantraki". Sehr familiär, gut gewürzt, ruhig und günstig. Werd ich wieder hingehen.

Posted by betabug at 15:38 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
30 July 2005

Panorama from Thursdays Night in Pireus

...or how to get almost 1 Megapixel out of a P910i camera phone!
Panoramic view of place in Pireus

Thursday night I was out with my friend Michalis in Pireus, as mentioned in the last (german) entry. When we sat in the Cafe, I took some Pictures with the camera of my Sony Ericsson P910i, since I liked the view of the place. Well, the church isn't really beautyfull, but the road up the hill has some atmosphere. Sadly that uphill road doesn't come out very atmospheric on the picture. With the simplistic lens of the phone camera distortion is usually quite bad. Stitching the pix together worked fine though. Looking at this experiment, I plan to make some more panorama shots. And this way I get almost 1 Megapixel out of the camera :-) (which has 640x400 pixel VGA resolution). You can click on the image to see the full resolution view, though heavily JPEG compressed.

Posted by betabug at 16:52 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)