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02 September 2005

Big City Syndrome in Athens?

Smiling faces in trains
Train on the Athens ISAP metro line

In his post The Spanish Trio, Saad asks the question: "is Madrid victim to BCS?" With BCS == "Big City Syndrome" defined by Saad something like:

If you already visited Paris and took public transportation (the legendary Metro for example), you have certainly been surprised at the closed, smileless, gloomy faces of Paris inhabitants. People do not talk that much to each other (I call that the Big City Syndrom, but I haven't patented that word yet). And when they talk each other, they don't speak loud and keep their voice volume set to low.

I don't know about Madrid, but Athens is a bit different, with much less BCS. There are some gloomy faces in the Metro system in the rush hour, everybody moving in and out of work. (The picture showing the older trains on the ΗΣΑΠ (ISAP) metro line 1.) But get a few minutes out of the rush hour (and often enough even in the rush hour), much more in the evening than in the morning, you will get children running around, people arguing with all their heart (even if they are strangers putting on a noisy show), lovers kissing, groups of teenagers laughing out loud. For me this is enough to save us of BCS.

On another note: That blogger thing so many people are using really should get trackback.

Posted by betabug at 09:03 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
03 September 2005

Πότε γιορτάζει ο Sascha;

Η πρώτη μου γιορτή (την περασμένη τρίτη)

Την Τρίτη το πρώι με πληροφόρησε η Μαίρη ότι γιορτάζω. Το "Sascha" βγαίνει άπο τον "Αλέξανδρο" (μην με ρώτατε πώς, ρώτατε τους Ρώσους, αυτοί το βγάλανε). Εμείς οι Ελβετοί γιορτάζουμε μόνο τα γενέθλια. Άλλα σε μισό δευτερόλεπτο έιχα πιάσει το νόημα: Περίπτωση να φάμε και να πιούμε! Έτσι είχαμε την ιδέα να οργανώσουμε μία μικρή γιορτή.

Επειδή πιθανώς κανείς δεν θα ήξερε ότι γιορτάζω, τους πήρα τηλέφωνο εγώ (να πω την αλήθεια, ο Σπύρος τό'ξερε, άλλα τον πρόλαβα). Με τν περίπου αριθμό τον καλεσμένον κανονήσαμε το μενού. Τους είχα πει να έρθουνε για ούζο και μεζέ. Ούζο έφερα άπο την Λήμνο (ντόπιο, σπιτικό απο τον παππού του Χρίστο). Για το μεζέ καταλήξαμε σε κεφτέδες και πατάτες στο φούρνο, σαλάτα, τσατζίκι, μελιτζάνες τιγανιτές, ελιές, τυρί. Άπο το Super (εδώ φανταστείτε να λέω την λέξη με γαλλική προφορά) φέραμε και κρασί "Λήμνο" και βέλγικες μπύρες.

Την μισή μέρα καθαρίσαμε, μαγειρέψαμε, ετοιμάσαμε. Εάν είμασταν σε καμία Ελβετία θα είχανε έρθει στις 8. Άλλα εδώ φτάσανε στις 9 και τέταρτο οι πρώτοι, ώστε εμείς είχαμε αρκετό χρώνο να τελειώσουμε τις προετοιμασίες μας.

Όταν τελικά φτάσανε, χάρικα πάρα πολύ. Σε πολύ λίγο χρώνο γεμίσαμε το σαλόνι και το μπαλκόνι με καλούς ανθρώπους (όχι και εκατοντάδες βέβαια, περίπου 12). Περάσαμε πολύ καλά, όλοι μιλήσανε μεταξύ τους. Όλοι το ούζο άπο την Λήμνο πίνανε και τελικά οι μπύρες είναι ακόμα εδώ.

Posted by betabug at 21:58 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
04 September 2005

Globalisiere mich!

Besuch bei IKEA am Flughafen Athen

Kurz vor der Eröffnung der olympischen Sommerspiele in Athen 2004 eröffnete der schwedische Möbelhandels-Gigant IKEA eine Filiale in Athen. Im Nordosten Athens, gleich beim ebenfalls recht neuen Flughafen, ist der Schraubfassadenbau ein Sinnbild des neuen, globalisierten Griechenlands. Am Samstag machte ich mich zur Besichtigung auf...

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Posted by betabug at 21:47 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
09 September 2005

HTML and CSS (and Zope) job offer

We're hiring, I'm looking for help

We're looking for someone to help me with application development. Mainly it's HTML (handcrafted, please!), CSS2 and some Zope integration. So if you are looking for a job and either live in Athens, Greece or would be interested to move here, contact me! Read on for some observations on my candidate search...

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Posted by betabug at 13:42 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
10 September 2005

Looking For a Flat or Room in Athens

Have anything to rent?

Things with the renewal of the contract for the flat I'm currently sharing did not work out as expected. So I'm back looking for either a small flat or a room in Athens, especially in the southern suburbs. My workplace is on the lower part of Syggrou and I am especially looking somewhere around there (Nea Smyrni, Kallithea) or someplace where I can commute easily to Syggrou. If you know something please let me know!

Posted by betabug at 16:21 | Comments (11) | Trackbacks (0)
11 September 2005

Continuing to Search For a Flat

Choices, choices

Yesterday and today I started to speed up a bit with the search for a flat. This morning I looked at a small place in Nea Smyrni, just some minutes walk from the office. Nice and quiet, but the place needs a bit of work to make it interesting. Also living alone will be a change. At noon I went with one of my current flatmates to look at a big flat near her university. Nice, roomy place, I would have company, and I would save some money. But I have to investigate about the commute, it's a long way to the office.

Even if I don't take that particular place near my office, there are others to be found there. Nea Smyrni is a nice area after all, lots of trees. I will have to think about my choices: Company and economical vs. closer and on my own. I will let it settle over night and do some looking up for public transport and then some thinking tomorrow.

Posted by betabug at 20:43 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
12 September 2005

Athens Public Transport Maps (Detailed)

Download them as PDF from the ΟΑΣΑ site now
cutout from public transport map

Behind my back(!) ΟΑΣΑ (OASA, the Athens public transport organization) has added a new service to their website this spring: You can download PDF maps of Athens, with the routes of busses, trolleys, trams and subways outlined.

The maps are a bit complicated to get a grip on, but when you have to find a connection across town, they are much more usefull than the site's search engine. The bus line search engine does not allow for two point from-X-to-Y searches. But with the maps you can see which busses pass by your starting point and in combination with the seach engine you can look up route details. This gives a huge improvement in usefullness of the OASA site.

Not all PDFs are available (yet?). They are pretty big, around 6 to 10MB, mainly because this city is pretty big. Probably too big to load onto my phone and view with the scaled down PDF viewer. Most maps are available only with Greek lettering. If you travel to Athens with a laptop it might be interesting to get these maps. You can also order paper copies of these maps for free from the same site, though the form looks like you will have to send it in again and again for each map you want.

Update 2007-10-20: Fixed the link to the maps page.

Posted by betabug at 16:29 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
15 September 2005

Athens Weather and News Roundup

Small stuff you likely did not want to know anyway

Just a few remarks about the weather, disfunctional computer kiosks, the effect of the Athens 2004 Olympics on the city, and the smells of small streets in the Athens suburbs...

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Posted by betabug at 09:18 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 September 2005

Παίζουμε και μαθαίνουμε

Πρόστυχο σταυρόλεξο με τον betabug

Όταν μαθαίνεις μια καινούρια γλώσσα, είναι πολύ σημαντικό, να διασκεδάζεις και λίγο. Συνέχεια "στεγνό" διάβασμα δεν κάνει, και ο καλύτερος μαθητής θα απελπιστεί. Ο betabug μας (δηλαδή εγώ) δεν είναι ο καλύτερος μαθητής, αλλά αυτόν τον κανόνα τον θυμάται πάντα...

Continue reading "Παίζουμε και μαθαίνουμε"
Posted by betabug at 18:51 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
19 September 2005

Flat Search Officially Over

Moving in and moving out

My search for a flat or room is now officially over. I will be moving in to the new flat of my current flatmatte-grrl. I won't be so close to the center any more (less noise: good, less creative chaos: bad). I'll still have a long way each day to work. But I won't have to change busses any more, since there is a direct connection.

OK, so lets put some more of the good stuff down with this: First of all, flatsearching sucks, so I have my head free of that business. Second, I'll have good company where I live. The new area is still close enough to the center to be able to go out and party without having to move far.

Posted by betabug at 09:55 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Introducing the RewriteRule Witch

Get those pesky Apache RewriteRules for Zope VHM right

Are you fluent with Apaches RewriteRules for Zope virtual hosting with VirtualHostMonster? Do you have to dig that stuff out of the documentation each time you use it? Save a little bit of guesswork with a spell from the "Rewrite Rule Witch"...

Virtual hosting with Zope usually involves setting up Apache "in front" of Zope, putting a Virtual Host Monster into your Zope Root and configuring some RewriteRules in your httpd.conf. Since I don't do this every day (like most zopistas, I guess), every time I have to dig up my knowledge of rewrite rules again from almost scratch. Now I wrote a little script to help me with the most frequent cases of those RewriteRules. You can try out the Rewrite Rule Witch online.

Still testing!

Please note that there might still be bugs and mistakes in there. I'm happy to receive feedback about this thing. Especially interesting would be to try out some of the configurations you have and see if the result is what you actually use. I cover only the most basic variants, but likely the ones used for 95% of Zope setups. I do not yet cover rewriting "/manage" URLs to https (next project!)

Posted by betabug at 15:29 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
21 September 2005

Bookfair Under the Acropolis

Books, books, books, what else?
stalls at the book fair

A few days ago we visited a book fair under the Acropolis. It was already dark, both the old stones up the hill and the book stalls were lit up (see pic). Some things that left an impression on me:

  • Lots of stalls, almost 300, lined up in the middle of the street, you walked up the one side and again down the other. There are a lot of small book publishers in Greece.
  • A book typically cost 10 Euro. At least most of the ones we bought. Except one which was 25, a bit bigger, lots of pictures.
  • We bought a book for me to read, supposedly the language is easy to understand. I did not start yet (still on my re-re-reread of "Neuromancer").
  • A lot of people came to see the book fair. Metro trains were full, crowds before the stalls, people were looking at and browsing through books.
  • We looked at some big photo books from Unesco, very nice, but at 130 Euro (cash) or 145 Euro (installments), you think twice.
  • One of the first stalls had Greek authors in translation. I should have bought some to give away. To my defense: It was a case of "we will pass by here again on the way back".

UPDATE: The big books are from Unesco, not Unicef

Posted by betabug at 09:19 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
22 September 2005

Autofreier Tag und andere Auto-Geschichten

Leeren, schütteln, schweissen und... BUUUMM!

Heute ist in Athen "autofreier Tag", "Tag ohne Auto" oder so ähnlich. Die öffentlichen Verkehrsmittel sind umsonst von morgens bis 5 Uhr Nachmittags. Das ist natürlich ein Scherz. Die Strassen sind voll wie immer, die U-Bahn war nicht voller als sonst. Es ist zwar leicht bewölkt (trotzdem ganz schön warm), aber es regnet nicht. Wenn es regnet füllen sich die "öffentlichen" von den Leuten die darauf verzichten mit dem 2-Rad durch die nassen Strassen zu schlittern.

Noch eine Auto-Geschichte: Bruce Schneier berichtet von Rekordverkäufen von abschliessbaren Tankdeckeln im Land der Dumping-Sprit-Preise. Einer der Kommentare enthält den Hinweis darauf, dass die meisten Autotanks eine Entfüllöffnung mit einer simplen Schraube drin haben:

After all, how do you expect a garage mechanic to safely do work (eg. welding, grinding, etc) near a petrol tank containing fuel?
Haha! Das hat mich an die alte Geschichte erinnert, von dem Motorrad-Mechaniker, der einen Tank schweissen musste. Er lässt also das Benzin ab und um sicherzugehen, dass der Tank auch wirklich leer ist, schaut er rein und schüttelt den Tank. Dann fängt er an zu schweissen und BUUUUUMMMM!!! Ein Benzin-Luft-Gemisch ist explosiv, während Benzin an sich nicht mal besonders leicht in Brand zu setzen ist. Beim Schweissen nahe eines Benzintanks ist die beste Option dass der Tank voll ist oder ganz entfernt wird. Beim Schweissen am Tank selber sollte man ihn wohl lieber gut und lang entlüften...

Mein Grossvater war Mechaniker und hatte (der Überlieferung gemäss) immer einen offenen Eimer mit Benzin in seiner Werkstatt. Da warfen sie ihre Zigaretten rein, um sie auszumachen.

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

Video Club Identification

...and the movie "The Jacket"

Raided the local Video Club yesterday evening with still-flatmate and the gf [1]. They have a very lax system for identification. Basically all you need is some customers name and phone number (no, it won't work with my name :-). It seems some accounts (the newer ones?) also have an identification code. But more interesting: There is a poster on the counter that promotes a special setting on your account. With the special setting they will ask you for a valid ID (ID card, passport, drivers license) each and every time you lend a movie. You probably must be as paranoid as me to let them bug you like that. But it seems that at this video club you can decide on a wide range of security vs. convenience.

[1] If you care: We saw The Jacket which was much more interesting than I had expected. I did not have any problems to "get" the whole "timetravel" thing. The movie has a philosophy (if you can call it that) of balancing life with a predefined fate and being able to change your life in a more than usually accepted way (in this case by going through time). The word "time travel" just does not fit this, for me it was more like going to the future as a ghost. Also it was nice to see Kris Kristofferson again.

Posted by betabug at 12:42 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
23 September 2005

Denial Of Service Attack on Athens

Getting wet

Yesterday evening I was at home, snug and dry, when I noticed it started to rain. And it started to really rain, to pour down, thunder and lightning. I was feeling so good to be inside, warm and dry. Then for some undisclosed personal reason I had to go out on a mission. Part of this mission was going to be to get a taxi and go someplace. Mission impossible. Instead I decided to take all this as a personal experience and journalistic expedition. What else can you do when you get drenched in water to the bone...

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Posted by betabug at 18:28 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
25 September 2005

Wer hätte gedacht, dass es in Athen einen Radweg gibt?

Überraschung! Überraschung! Umzug!
Radweg im Athener Stadtteil Zografou

Das schöne an Athen ist, dass man immer wieder neues entdeckt: So zum Beispiel beim Besuch im Stadtteil Zografou. Dort habe ich nochmals einen Blick auf meine neue Unterkunft geworfen, um zu schauen, was ich an Möbeln und weiterem Wohngerümpel noch brauche[1]. Und was entdecke ich auf dem Rückweg? Einen Radweg. Ohne Scherz, die Gemeinde Zografou hat scheints sowas eingerichtet. Nicht, dass ich glaube, dass auch nur ein Einwohner des Grossraumes Athen wüsste, um was es sich da handelt. Immerhin waren keine Autos drauf geparkt, was schonmal ein Wunder ist.

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Posted by betabug at 22:36 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
26 September 2005

Another Euro Championship won for Greece

I've seen that one before

Yesterday evening the basketball team of Greece won the european championship. Small deja-vu for me: I was around in Athens in 1987 when they won that for the first time. Back then I had followed many games on TV. Then I was around last year (but on Limnos), when the football team won the european championship 2004 in Portugal. And now basket again, in Belgrad. What's next? I must admit that I did not go down to Omonia square to watch the raging masses. I'm blaming a mixture of lazyness, being tired and not interested to scream at the top of my lungs.

Posted by betabug at 09:34 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 September 2005

Introduction to some Zope security settings

How to declare Roles and Permissions to your Zope Product

Say you have made your own disk based python product in Zope. Now we want to secure some of your methods. We have two classes of users, let's call them "Client" and "Supervisor". We have two sample methods, which we want to secure for who is allowed to view them. Let's call these methods "display_sprockets" and "display_sprocket_orders". Obviously mere Clients can't be allowed to see orders, only Supervisors should. We could click our way through ZMI, but we want this to be as smooth as possible when installing our product. So let's look at a sample setup...

Continue reading "Introduction to some Zope security settings"
Posted by betabug at 11:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 September 2005

Move, move,... moved! (partied too)

The worst is over, still to unpack and a surprise party

Yesterday was moving day. I did not go to work, but instead spent the morning packing things up. Then with the help of the gf (m4d gr33tz to you!), a couple of current and now ex-flatmates and Chris from work we moved everything downstairs. Four stairs of downstairs, especially for the big bookcase, which was plain hell. Chris took the heavy load on him, while Haralambos helped around the corners. More thanks to all of them. Read on for more on the move and a party...

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