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).
02 January 2006
Re: A lot of people must have had iPods for Xmas
Is there a real "reset problem" with iPods?
As Tor shows in his post A lot of people must have had iPods for Xmas, he has gotten a lot of referrers from search engines for people looking for phrases like "ipod hard reset". To which I just can add: Me too. "ipod hard reset" and "hard reset ipod" are constantly on the top of my incoming search phrases.
I guess that altogether ipod hard reset related stuff accounts for about 20% of my search phrases. Indeed when searching the major search engine for one of these phrases I am on the first page with the post Re: iPod hard reset and as mentioned in the previous post, that page is way up in my access stats. My post does not even spell out the procedure (Tor has it in his post about the topic). For some time my post was about on place 2 or 3 there, now it went a bit more below.
For me there is no gain, as most (>99%?) of these visitors don't stay on my weblog to see what interesting stuff might be here. And I don't think it's a "christmas only" phenomenon, I think there is a general problem with iPods, more on Windows than on Mac. As Tor says, lots of people got iPods for Christmas, so the problem comes to the surface.
03 January 2006
Sleeping Bags, Lifestyle and Body Conditioning
Cold night, sleep well
Sleeping bag manufacturer Ajungilak (from Norway) have a nice pdf on
their website about
temperature standard regulations for sleeping bags. The PDF is quite
large and contains some dry stuff about this and that measuring
standard. But behind that there are two interesting stories: One, the
geeky story how the "performance" of sleeping bags began to be measured.
Two, there is a glimpse about how people are different towards accepting
cold, and how conditioning affects that...
Continue reading "Sleeping Bags, Lifestyle and Body Conditioning"
04 January 2006
Spirited Platforms for Running Zope
IRC has it's moments of joy, even #zope (on freenode) is sometimes funny (not just helpful and interesting):
vermoos> error: invalid Python installation: unable to open
/usr/lib/python2.3/config/Makefile (No such file or directory)
betabug> you're on some funny platform that requires installing a
vermoos> ubuntu breezy badger
betabug> sounds like one of them kiddy booze drinks
vermoos> its no alcopop - better than xandros which isnt free
All references to existing operating systems are purely coincidental and mean no endorsement by the author, rather the author would endorse OpenBSD to run any server out there.
08 January 2006
vim, Greek, and utf-8 Keyboard Commands
More progress, getting it to work with utf-8
Trying something I wanted to play around with for a long time, I made
more progress in setting up vim to work with Greek. As seen in the
previous posts about this topic there are some prerequisites to get this
working (especially on Mac OS X). To get keyboard commands work with the
greek keyboard too, you can use the map keyboard command, it's a bit
more tedious than langmap, but you can put it into your .vimrc and have
it always ready. Read on for details...
Continue reading "vim, Greek, and utf-8 Keyboard Commands"
Another small quake shaking up
Right when I was putting the "vim and Greek" post online, my desk and
chair started to shake. At first I thought that my knee had touched the
desk (the desk is a bit underengineered), but the movement got stronger.
Then I realized: It's an earthquake. I called out to the other people in
the flat and we went under a doorframe each . The quake lasted for quite
some time, I would guess 20 seconds more or less. The candelier in the
living room shook for a long time after that and I thought I'd still
felt a tiny little bit of movement even a minute or two later. TV cut
its program for a special news bulletin, but they did not have details
yet. Nature knocking at civilizations door.
1: The trick with the doorframe is that above the doors there are
concrete and steel reinforcements. These could protect you if small
pieces of plaster or stones come down (if the quake would get
09 January 2006
Swiss Secret Service and CIA Prisons
Ups, it's in the news now
Everybody in Switzerland knows that the Swiss have a secret service. But we don't expect it to do much more than spy on this countries own citizens and hunt for ghosts of "communists". This morning it turns out they were able to intercept a fax that seems to prove the illegal and secret CIA prisons in eastern Europe (read at the NZZ in german and english). The ministry of defense refuses to comment on the matter since the document is classified as "secret" (but does not deny anything either).
Other parts of "official" Switzerland are boiling up: Possibly transports of prisoners by the americans may have violated Switzerland's neutrality and there is even the general attorney investigating because it may be that someone had illegally worked for a foreign nation. The matter also moves forward investigations for the European Council. Overall I feel proud of this being brought forward by the Swiss papers (even by something as despicable as the "Sonntags-Blick" tabloid). I wish the authorities the courage to stay tough through this. Maybe the neutrality and diplomatic integrity of Switzerland lives up to it's name for once.
10 January 2006
Weihnachtsgeschenk für Pantoffelhelden
Gerade recht, jetzt wo es so kühl ist
Meine Mitbewohnerin hat mir aus Deutschland ein verspätetes Weihnachtsgeschenk mitgebracht: Ein paar Überpantoffeln. Was genau sie darstellen ist mir noch nicht so klar: Vogelfüsse? Drachenfüsse?
Sie haben vorne drei Krallen und eine hinten. Und sie sind groooooss. Dazu noch superwarm. Genau richtig also für die Jahreszeit, denn auch hier ist es kühler geworden, zwischen 3 und 10 Grad Celsius, mit Wind und leichtem Regen recht unangenehm. Da sitzt man doch besser Zuhause mit warmen Pantoffeln!
11 January 2006
Melts in the Pan, Not in your Hand!
Fondue in the house
Yesterday evening we had friends come over for fondue. In case you
missed your "Swiss Food Culture 101" course, fondue is a swiss
speciality that consists almost entirely of melted cheese. Basically you
put a lot of swiss cheese into a special pot (with a small flame
underneath to keep it warm), heat it until it melts and boils, and when
all is ready, you put pieces of bread on long forks and dunk them in the
cheese. Yummy for cheese lovers, a great idea for cold winter
Continue reading "Melts in the Pan, Not in your Hand!"
12 January 2006
Breaking the Seal
...and this tells us what?
Downstairs from my office there is an insurance company. Or was, since last week I walked up the stairs and noticed a strange white band with wax on their door. I asked someone in our office and indeed the insurance company has been shut down, presumably by the state attorney. Mind you, it's an insurance company, not just an agency. I don't know the full story (so I won't give names), but it seems they were one of the insurance companies that just never paid up. They seem to have gotten a few warnings and now it's shut up. Their office have indeed be sealed shut. My point though is a different one: This morning I came in and one of the seals was broken... now what?
Continue reading "Breaking the Seal"
14 January 2006
Greek Restaurant Papayannis
Restaurant Tip in Ilissia
Friday evening is sometimes too lazy to cook and too weekendish to
stay at home. We went to an old fashioned tavern in the Ιλίσσια
(Ilissia) area. "Old fashioned" in the sense that this place has been
there seemingly for ever. We enjoyed not only the good old laid back
atmosphere, but also the very good food. The place is not expensive at
all, so read on for a bit more of a review...
Continue reading "Greek Restaurant Papayannis"
17 January 2006
Just doubled my space
Yesterday my new bed arrived, had ordered it on Saturday. Lucky me my flatmates were around when the truck came. When I came home from work in the evening I started to assemble the thing, assisted by my gf and my flatmate-grrl (the process reminding me of the SAS guys in Cryptonomicon who assembled the Vickers, a passage that I promptly read this morning in the bus to work, passing the columns of the temple of Zeus near Syntagma square). It all went well, so I spent a night in lofty heights: My new bed is what they call a "Loft Bed", which leads to higher dreams and more space, and some thoughts about Greece and all that...
Continue reading "Sleeping High"
18 January 2006
OS X on Intel... Any Intel
Apparently the new Mac OS X for Intel, really intended for the new Intel processor based Macs, is being run on "any brand" PC hardware. There is a mention on Wired News called Mac Hacks Allow OS X on PCs. And right now I got asked a support question on irc from someone playing around with it. (Yes, this implies that the person is actually using it, it's running.)
What will be the implications of this? For the high income countries I think Apple will loose only very few sales because of this. It's just not the same as buying supported hardware and software. But the lower the incomes go, the higher the chances that lousy hardware will replace Apple stuff and rippoff copies will replace original software CDs. It's a showing sign that a page for the necessary patches to get this going is in Russia.
Personally, if I was to own hardware with Intel processors (appart from Apple stuff), I would choose to run with OpenBSD. But even for Apple hardware, for my own, personal taste, Intel processors are just so un-sexy. I think this whole development is just sad, another part of diversity going down the drain.
19 January 2006
Wahlen zum HelMUG Vorstand, Athener Treffen am Freitag
Letzten Sonntag wäre eigentlich die Generalversammlung des Vereins
der griechischen Mac-User gewesen. Am Abend vorher erreichte mich noch
ein Mail, dass die Wahlen verschoben werden, weil nicht genug Bewerber
für die Vorstandsplätze da waren. Es wäre jetzt natürlich einfach,
witzige Bemerkungen über die chaotischen Griechen zu machen. Doch ich
weiss aus eigener Erfahrung, dass es nicht so einfach ist, einen Verein
am laufen zu halten, noch dazu einen mit vielen Mitgliedern und mit
grossen geographischen Distanzen. Letztes Jahr waren die Wahlen in
Larissa, dieses Jahr sollten sie in Athen sein, doch speziell die Leute
aus Thessaloniki waren wohl von der Ortswahl nicht begeistert.
Mehr von den Hintergründen könnte ich am Freitag abend erfahren. In
Athen gibt es nämlich ein Treffen mit (wie üblich) lockerem
Zusammensitzen, 20. Januar, um 19 Uhr, Shoppingcenter "The Mall" (mit
der Metro ΗΣΑΠ - ISAP einfach zu erreichen), im 3. Stock, das Lokal
heisst glaube ich B-Tween.
Ich bin kein grosser Fan von "The Mall", der
Monster-Shopping-Palast ist mir einfach zu Seelenlos. Ich denke das
Treffen ist dort, weil man dann gleich Ortstermin bei einigen Läden
machen kann, die dort Macs verkaufen: Besonders die französische Buch-
und Medienkette fnac ist hier aufgefallen, aber auch MultiRama verkauft
Macs und ist dort. Ob ich hingehe weiss ich
noch nicht, im Moment sind meine Augen von der Arbeit etwas übermüdet
und so könnte ich etwas Ruhe schätzen. Wenn mich jemand dort treffen
will, einfach einen Kommentar machen oder ein Mail schicken, vielleicht
ändere ich dann meine Meinung... :-)
22 January 2006
Γυναίκα: Μα αυτή είναι κοπέλα επιπέδου! Μορφωμένη! Μα είναι δυνατόν
να σε πει εσένα βλάχο;
Γυναίκα: Εδώ δεν λένε βλάχους τον Γρηγόρη, τον Σωτήρη, τον Κώστα
που είναι από χωριό. Και θα πουν εσένα βλάχο που σε πήρα από την
καρδιά του Αγρινίου, την πόλη, αριστοκράτη!
Άνδρας (Σε βλάχικη διάλεκτο): Δεν πειράζει
Γυναίκα: Μα δεν το δέχομαι εγώ!
23 January 2006
Greece and Snow and News
Since about Sunday morning, the news are going crazy about a sudden
influx of winter weather in Greece. We were warned to check on heating,
exterior plumbing, warm clothing, and possibly on suitable large
supplies of Ouzo. In Athens it's inconveniently cold, raining and windy.
But nothing to scare anyone from middle to northern Europe: About 5°
Celsius (plus) here in Athens I would guess. Northern Greece got it
a bit colder, lowest we have seen was -10° Celsius. So what does a
mountain hardened Swiss do in such conditions? Ha! I adapt to local
customs and sit in front of the TV set and watch the horror show that is
called the TV news.
Continue reading "Winter... Chaos?"
25 January 2006
2 meters of snow... in the width - snow in Greece is exceptional!
Yes, it is indeed snowing in the center of Athens. Yesterday I stayed home, because I have a cold and did not want it to get worse. But today I feel a bit better and got bored of staying at home, so I went to work. I had a bit of a delay, since we wanted to be sure there is indeed working public transport (busses and the subway are working just fine). It's not too cold, it's not really too snowy, only thing ugly is that it's a bit wet. On the way to work I took two pictures...
Continue reading "Snowy Athens"
28 January 2006
Erlebnisprogramm kurzzeitig ausser Betrieb
Was so eine kleine Erkältung schafft
Normalerweise versuche ich jede Woche (wenn nicht gar jeden Tag) etwas
kleines zu unternehmen. So macht das Leben in einem fremden Land
besonders Spass: Das Land auch kulturell erleben, rausgehen und aktiv
sein. Es muss nicht immer etwas grosses sein. Das schlägt sich glaube
ich auch ganz gut in diesem Weblog nieder, wenn ich viel unternehme habe
ich auch viel zu schreiben.
Die letzten Tage kam mein Programm aber etwas aus dem Tritt. Grund dafür
ist eine einfache Erkältung und gleichzeitig wiedermal eine
heroische "Held der Arbeit" Woche in der Arbeit. Erkältung und
konzentriertes Programmieren, das passt nicht immer gut zusammen.
Freitag fühlte sich mein Kopf dann an, als wäre er mit Watte ausgestopft
gewesen. Definitiv nicht, was es braucht um zum Beispiel ins Theater zu
Freitag abend und Samstag habe ich daher vor allem mit Schlaf gefüllt,
unterbrochen nur von Dampfbädern, um die Atemwege wenigstens
einigermassen zur Sauerstoffzufuhr zu bewegen. Samstag abend gingen wir
dann aber wieder aus, ins Café "Info-Cafe" hier in Zografou. Das
Info-Cafe ist ein sehr angenehmes, ruhiges Café mit integrierter
Buchhandlung und ein paar Computern mit Internet-Zugang. So kann das
Erlebniprogramm schon langsam wieder in Gang kommen.
29 January 2006
Try One with Greek Spellchecking in vim
Not quite there yet, need wide curses
After getting utf8 input in my vim right (see older entries), my next
task on the wish list is to get spell checking going for Greek text inside
vim. Why? Obviously my spelling is lousy in Greek, so a spellchecker is
a huge improvement for me. The spellchecker to have for vim seems to be
Aspell. Downloading and compiling is
easy enough, so I did that. What I did not get just right yet is the
display of that pesky Unicode UTF-8 stuff... but I learned something in
Continue reading "Try One with Greek Spellchecking in vim"
31 January 2006
Awaiting Home Connection
Getting Internet at home finally
Yesterday I got a phone call from Vivodi. Looks like today a technician should show up at my home, installing ADSL (a meager 256/128k line) and phone service. It's been a looooong time that I had proper Internet access at home. Now of course there is still the chance that the technician will say something like "Oh, your [something] is not [like I expected | as it should be | as we always do it | the way I like it] here. And besided I did not have coffee yet. I will come back next month." So let's cross fingers and see what we get.
Next step will then be: How to get the connection to all the flatmates and to my room (which is on the other end of the flat from the likely location of the connection). Wireless? Ethernet over power line? Stringing a cable? We'll see.