01 October 2006
Skinning a ZWiki
Coding at home for the "nautica" ZWiki project
This weekend I wasn't content with relaxing and enjoying going out with
friends for coffee and with the HelMUG guys for... eh... coffee too. I
worked on a little coding project with ZWiki.
Hacking in my spare time today was fun. Even though I did nearly the
same stuff I do at work, I feel relaxed. It seems that because I did
something new, was on a "discovery" tour, there was something playful to
it, like playing a game. Now, what was it all about, this ZWiki and
Continue reading "Skinning a ZWiki"
02 October 2006
Καινούριες εξελίξεις στο τρεντ του "merging"
Υπάρχουνε εταιρείες που κάνουν παράξενα πράγματα, και υπάρχουν εταιρείες που κάνουν κάπως νορμάλ πράγματα άλλα σε παράξενο συνδυασμό. Το πρωί έβλεπα ένα φορτηγό με την επιγραφή "Δορυφορικά συστήματα" και στην επόμενη γραμμή από κάτω "Έπιπλα Ψάθινα Δώρα".
Μπορεί βεβαίως να έχουν "ενώσει τις δυνάμεις τους" δυο εταιρείες (δεν πρόλαβα να δω αν γράφει "Όμιλος Εταιρειών Νικολάκη" από κάτω), άλλα πιο ενδιαφέρουσα θα ήταν η σκέψη ότι πουλάνε ψάθινες δορυφορικές κεραίες που κάνουν και για καθίσματα και έρχονται σε συσκευασία δώρου...
03 October 2006
From my notebook, pen selection, practice!
This afternoon after work, I went to Kerameikos again. I had left
a little bit earlier, but still had only a short time with direct
sunlight. Made two and a half sketches, the last "half" one abandoned
and given up on. My newly filled up pen is much better than what I used
last time, but I need a lot of more practice. The sketches are from the
last visit, the first shows the Acropolis as seen from the Kerameikos archeological site...
Continue reading "Sketching Kerameikos"
05 October 2006
Menu: Souvlaki (and that's it)
A visit to an old fashioned Souvlaki shop
Souvlaki is one of the internationally most known Greek foods. Essentially
it is just meat on a stick, but comes in many varieties. In Athenian
parlance, the term "souvlaki" also means the complete small pita bread with
souvlaki, fries, tomato, tsatsiki, and anything else - confusing enough
it may be called souvlaki even if it contains a sausage or gyros
instead of a real souvlaki. The modern souvlaki shops offer a wide
variety of the stuff, customized to the nth degree.
Yesterday we went to an old fashioned souvlaki shop. They offer
exactly one food on their menu: Souvlaki. To be more precise, they
offer what in Athens is called "Kalamaki", small wooden stick
souvlaki with bread, no pita, no fries, no tomatoes, no salad to
go with it, nothing...
Continue reading "Menu: Souvlaki (and that's it)"
06 October 2006
Eating Like the Ancient Greeks
Visiting the restaurant Αρχαίων (Arhaion) for some "old" food
It's full moon time. Time for doing something romantic, like going to
the Acropolis in moonshine. Unfortunately the nights when the Acropolis
is open to the public in full moon nights are only in Summer. As an
alternative we went to dine in the garden of the restaurant Αρχαίων
(Arhaion), eating food like the ancient Greeks did. We had an
interesting food experience and a good view of the moon too...
Continue reading "Eating Like the Ancient Greeks"
07 October 2006
Towing, Ancient Recipes, Pictures
Bits and pieces...
While coming home from Αρχαίων (Arhaion, the restaurant with "ancient" Greek food) by bus, we found our bus suddenly blocked in a small street. In front of us was another bus, and before that one was someone who had parked his car in a corner and walked away. We were close to home, so went out and contemplated walking the last bit. While we thought about it, we had the chance to watch the tow car arrive, hook the offending car up, and tow it away. Revenge! The car didn't have a car alarm, so the sound effects were low-key.
Also I wanted to remark on my last post about that restaurant Αρχαίων. Obviously they can't tell you that their food is really exactly like in ancient Greece, because nobody alive today (and out of a psych clinic) has eaten genuine ancient Greek food. But it's the idea that counts, and maybe the old texts and inspiration were enough for the chef to produce something that could pass for ancient food. It's a bit like "experimental archeology", where they build huts and run around in self-made cloths out of hand-spun wool.
Today we went for coffee at the very nice kafeneion in the National Garden next to Syntagma square. I made a little drawing there, which I liked (no bragging here!) and would have really wanted to use to illustrate this post. But somehow with the drawings I am back to where I was before the digital camera in my phone: I'll have to scan it in and then I can publish it. Maybe I should combine taking photos and doing sketches. Adding the drawings to the posts two days later isn't such a great idea in the weblog format, so maybe I'll add small posts just with the drawings as they come along.
08 October 2006
Magic Dice & Cloud
Tomorrow Eleni will be traveling to Germany. So today we met again with
friends, this time in the cafeteria in the Parko Eleftherias. On the way
home we noticed that there were big towering clouds on the horizon, on
an otherwise spotless blue sky.
I snapped a few pictures, hoping to catch the spirit of those huge
towers, looking along all the street canyons, as there were different
clouds in multiple directions. They were based in the hills around
Likely they are a weather phenomenon due to the shape of the land Athens
is built on. The megalopolis is stretched out over a relatively flat
and wide bowl (just a few hills in the middle), with a ring of hills
around it (and open to the side where the sea is of course). When the
exhaust from cars and heating gets stuck in that ring of hills, we get
smog. Today it seems that those hills caused different layers of air to
intermingle and produce those clouds.
Despite the clouds it's pretty warm, we saw a sign giving 24C at around
19:00 in the afternoon. Warm enough to eat on the balcony and then play
some backgammon out there too. In the process of getting my 3rd or so
doubled game in, I dropped a dice... from the third floor.
Luck had it, there was no one down there. I saw it bounce off the street
a couple of time. I picked up a spare to continue the game (as I'm a
crypto-nut, I always have enough dice at home, the particular one I had
bought in a shop selling backgammon and chess sets in Monastiraki).
Right after the game I looked down from the balcony again, in reverence
to the dice who went down there. And I saw a light spot, on the opposite
side of the street, right next to the line of a car's shade. Must be the
dice! I jumped up and went down (the stairs!), and indeed it was! The dice is mostly
unharmed, with some grey spots on the corners and a hardly noticeable
dent on one side. A magic dice indeed!
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!
Mobile Internet in Greece
Some thoughts on getting online with a GSM phone
Updated: As of 2008/2009, the information in this article is outdated. Please read the Update: Mobile Internet for Visitors in Greece 2009 instead!
I have written before about
Internet in Greece,
Griechenland (in German) and
SMTP on the Go with CosmOTE, and the
result is that sometimes people email me with further questions. Dave
from England wrote me asking about getting online from a mobile phone:
Continue reading "Mobile Internet in Greece"
13 October 2006
Writing Zope and RewriteRule documentation
Meanwhile, over at zopewiki.org...
Yesterday evening I made an effort to rewrite the Zope and Apache page over at zopewiki.org. Something that I had intended to do for a long time. The old version of the page always had seemed confusing to me, especially in mentioning stuff like ProxyPass that zopistas don't really use any more nowadays. I hope "my" version is better now.
Today I noticed still some things missing, I went a step further and added a section about "Debugging, Common Pitfalls, Problems", in short the things that can go wrong and where to look after them.
Usually I would have written this kind of guide or how-to on my own site somewhere. But on the one hand, the basis has been there before (and I left in much more than I added or rewrote) and on the other hand being part of something like zopewiki.org and sharing in a community project is an experiment for me that gave me some good vibes.
16 October 2006
Kühler, also Zeit zu schreiben
...oder lieber gleich mit dem Winterschlaf anfangen?
Die letzten Tage ist es bei uns einiges kühler geworden, vor einer Woche hatten wir oft auch spät abends noch 20 Grad, momentan wirds mit 17 Grad schon richtig kühl. Natürlich nichts im Vergleich zu nördlichen Ländern :-). Die "Temperatureinstellung" des Menschen ist schon was komisches. Heute morgen musste ich noch kurz was erledigen und ging etwas früher aus dem Haus. Ich ertappte mich doch tatsächlich dabei, dass ich probierte ob mein Atem in der kalten Luft sichtbar ist... als ob wir auch nur irgendwo in der Nähe vom Gefrierpunkt wären. Man gewöhnt sich halt an das sommerliche und auch spätsommerlich warme Wetter.
Gerade mit den kühleren Temperaturen habe ich nicht immer so viel Lust rauszugehen und gross was zu unternehmen. Also mehr Zuhause sein und mit etwas Glück auch mal was kreatives machen. So ist zuletzt eben die zopewiki.org/ZopeAndApache-Seite zu einer Überarbeitung gekommen und neue Ideen für anderes habe ich auch schon. Also nur noch die Tendenz zum beginnenden Winterschlaf überwinden und los geht's...
17 October 2006
IP Telephony, Here I Come!
Skype, Gizmo, ...and Vivodi
Yesterday I signed up with Internet telephony services Gizmo and Skype.
I had been looking into the options for a while, but then just came the
time. The thing is, that I need cheaper phone calls to some European
countries right now, and yesterday was the day to finally get it
Continue reading "IP Telephony, Here I Come!"
18 October 2006
Μου μιλάς ακόμα;
Πως να τσεκάρουμε αν είναι ζωντανός ένας εξυπηρετητής
Ένας γνωστός server τον όποιον διαχειρίζομαι με άλλους έχει πρόβλημα και σταματάει τη λειτουργία του κάθε τόσο. Μάλλον πρόβλημα hardware, αλλά είναι δύσκολο να ξέρουμε. Αυτό που θέλω να κάνω, όμως, είναι να μαθαίνω νωρίτερα αν υπάρχει πρόβλημα, δηλαδή αν δεν απαντάει...
Continue reading "Μου μιλάς ακόμα;"
19 October 2006
Blow my fuse, baby!
The last 24 hours were deeply rooted in the power of electricity. First
of all on Wednesday evening at home our super quality electricity system
blew a fuse, which left me sitting in the dark, right as I was talking
on the phone. Then I came into work on Friday morning, logged into
betabug.ch only to find that there had been a power failure in the
housing, which hadn't worked out so well with the G3 (no, no, I'm lucky
there has no permanent problem). And to round things out my new
bluetooth headset acted up in the afternoon, which isn't really in the
electricity category by itself, but I needed the charger to get it to
work again, and the charger was of course at home...
Continue reading "Power Day"
21 October 2006
Walking from Floisvos to Kalamaki
Today I was in need of some fresh air. One of the best oxygen suppliers in Athens is the sea. So I took the bus to Faliro and walked along the promenade.
The sea is agitated and in some places illuminated. It's pretty warm so the experience is very agreeable.
I had stopped at the chess pavilion and watched two fast games. The spectators were shouting and commenting out loud. Not what they usually do in chess, but since they all knew each other it was good fun.
22 October 2006
One Rule to RewriteRule them all
New version of the witch out
This very moment I've uploaded a new version of the RewriteRule Witch,
the RewriteRule generator that helps you to get proper RewriteRules for
Zope VirtualHosting through apache. So, what's new? The witch outputs
now only one rule. We still cover both cases that the old "two rule"
version did, but with an "or" inside the regular expression we need only
one rule now...
Continue reading "One Rule to RewriteRule them all"
23 October 2006
Places of Enjoyment in Athens
Marialena's list of 10+1 special places
Marialena, in one of the blogs I follow regularly because I like their
writing, has posted some weeks ago a post about
10+1 places of
Enjoyment in Athens (where "places" could also be translated as
"moments" - the article is in Greek).
At first I had thought about making my own list, possibly sharing some
points with Marialena (the National Garden would be right there in
my list too). But there is a special quality to her list, one that I
can't try to answer or further: She doesn't just have a checklist of
places ("go there, look at that"), but instead some of these places are
situations or special occasions in the flow of the city.
So all I can do now is to tell you to go and read through that list
(assuming you understand some Greek), maybe look at the few pictures,
let yourself be inspired to look out for your own special moments and
places here (and if you live somewhere else, in your own place). I'll go
as far as to illustrate this post with a small drawing I did in the
kafeneion of the National Garden. The sun was shining, autumn was almost
there and we enjoyed a quiet, green moment almost out of town.
24 October 2006
Automatic Menus on the Nautica Project
The easiest CMS on Zope just got easier
Yesterday evening I spent some "quality time" online with sm (this morning
for him) to improve further on the ZWiki Nautica Project. In case
you missed that, it's a site that skins a ZWiki in a good looking
template from http://www.openwebdesign.org/,
thereby trying to prove the point that a ZWiki is really the easiest CMS
on Zope. There still are some things missing, but we improved a lot on
how the menu is done...
Continue reading "Automatic Menus on the Nautica Project"
25 October 2006
Long Time No See
Going for a special coffee in Kalamaki
When I was about to leave work yesterday, I made a phone call to my
friend Φωτεινή (Fotini, or Fofi for short) from old times, back when I was
living in Athens for the first time. We haven't seen each other for
what? 15? 16? or 17 years? A very long time. From work I took the bus
and went to Faliron, from where I walked to Kalamaki. I could have taken
another bus of course, but I had plenty of time and the sea was a sight
(click on the picture for a bigger view).
Then we finally met again, went for coffee and had lots of stories to
tell. I had the pleasure to see that she's doing very well, turned out
to become a successful and
busy businesswoman. There were lots of moments when I was just struck by
the situation and probably couldn't open my mouth and say a word. Let me
say just so much now: That was a very long time.
26 October 2006
I'm Saying Good-Bye to emusic.com
...and thanks for all the great music
Last week I took a step that was in the pipeline for a long time now
- I unsubscribed from the emusic.com
download music service. I did that despite believing that emusic is the
best, correction: the only real download music service. In contrast to
many systems that kind of let you "lend" the music while pumping it
full of copy protection crap, limiting you by what you can do with the
tracks (or even how long you can play them) emusic lets you download
real, unencumbered MP3s. They also have a lot of good music (but they
don't have mainstream top ten stuff). So why did I leave? A monthly
subscription just doesn't fit my listening habits, read on for an
Continue reading "I'm Saying Good-Bye to emusic.com"
28 October 2006
Mit einem Lächeln von der Arbeit
Manchmal klappt's halt auch
Manche Arbeitstage funktionieren halt besser als andere... am Freitag kam ich zum Beispiel mit einem Lächeln aus dem Büro. Unsere Applikation wird immer runder, voller und (wenn ich das mal selber behaupten darf) besser. Da kommen dann halt die Enden schön zusammen und wenn die Einzelteile "zusammenklicken" macht das Spielen mit Bauklötzen ja bekanntlich auch mehr Spass. Wenn dann mein Chef noch nach gewünschten Funktionen fragt und es ist alles schon da und eingebaut, da fängt es richtig an witzig zu werden.
Dann habe ich für die HelMUG auf dem Server noch was gebastelt, was sich "greylisting" nennt und den SPAM reduzieren sollte. Zuerst hat es sich beim Einbauen etwas quer gestellt, dann gings doch noch. Und dann habe ich das Logfile vom Mailserver aufgemacht und mitlaufen lassen... die SPAMs prallen auf eine Betonwand. Platsch! Das macht dann auch Spass zuzuschauen.
Greylisting ist nicht ganz unumstritten, aber für den Moment reduziert es sowohl den SPAM, den die Benutzer abkriegen, als auch den Arbeitsaufwand den der Server hat, denn die SPAMs wurden immer auch noch auf Viren geprüft, was aufwendig ist. Für den kurzen Auwand den ich hatte (selbst mit Problemen beim installieren), hat sich's gelohnt.
29 October 2006
Business Class Emigrants
The Swiss Embassy performs
After a while where they couldn't get my address change right, the Swiss
Embassy here in Athens found out where I am and sent me some mail. Next
to the usual bimonthly color news magazine, there was also a letter
from the ambassador. He's informing "the swiss colony in Greece" (my
translation) about what to do in case of a crisis.
The first thought that came to my mind was that being a swiss emigrant
nowadays really is the business class of emigration. I mean, which other
country produces a four color magazine for its expatriates? And offers
so much hand holding? (Even though the embassy doesn't really help when
you come and ask for things like where to do your papers in the Greek
bureaucracy, or where to find a lawyer/doctor/whatever.) I've seen the
people waiting outside some third world embassies, and they aren't
treated like that, they can feel lucky if their embassy gives them their
necessary (and rightful) papers in a reasonable time. Ah well, can't
change the world (especially not through writing in a weblog).
Then I looked through the info sheet about the crises. It isn't half
bad, actually it's quite a good idea. I mean, I'm quite paranoid, but
some swiss people arriving here could be ignorant about the fact that,
yes, Greece has earthquakes, and yes, all kind of ugly stuff can happen
in a middle to major earthquake. It's just good advice, not pushing
things up and scaring people. There might be a tiny dose of CYA ("cover
your ass") in there, where they state that in any natural catastrophic
event, the duty of rescuing people (etc.) is on the Greek authorities.
But all in all it reminded me of the usual swiss mentality of planning
for the worst too and buying lots of insurance. I'll even go and
implement some of their advice.
30 October 2006
Jail for an RSS Link?
Freedom of oppinion is a joke
The weblogger and administrator of the Greek blog aggregator blogme.gr was handcuffed, arrested, and had his computer hard disk confiscated,... all because his blog aggregator had picked up an RSS feed where a TV evangelist was satyrized. At the same time we have the UN organized Internet Governance Forum, right here in Vouliagmeni. Gonna be a lot of talk about freedom of speech, while they put handcuffs on people for less than that.
What do I intend to do? I signed up for the Internet Governance Forum. And I urge you to do the same. If my application comes through, especially I want to go to the main session on Tuesday morning, titled "Openness" (see the program). I want to hear what they say, and maybe I can get to ask a question or two. Like "what good is all this talk when people can get in jail for a link, even in democratic countries like Greece?"
Update στα Ελληνικά:
Ο Έλληνας blogger και blog aggregator του blogme.gr συνελήφθη γιατί το aggregator του περιείχε ένα link σε ένα blog που κορόιδεψε τον Λιακόπουλο.
Τι να κάνουμε; Πάμε βόλτα στην Βουλιαγμένη! Εγγραφείτε για το φόρουμ και πείτε την γνώμη σας, όπως θα το κάνω εγώ.
31 October 2006
The Case at the Internet Governance Forum
Greek government official hears about blogme.gr
So I've arrived at the Internet Governance Forum here in Greece. I was a bit delayed due to the heavy rain and lack of geographic information. But I managed to arrive towards the end of the "Openness" session. I've heard some lame speeches (example: they asked the Microsoft guy about human rights and he started to talk about protecting software from being copied and how China has advanced in this respect). Later I heard Kieren McCarthy (from The Register) bring the blogme.gr case to the attention of the panel. He used some strong words, naming the issue a disgrace for Greece and the forum...
Continue reading "The Case at the Internet Governance Forum"
IGF - the Double Chinese Wall
Listening to the panel on Security
The speaker from China gave us some examples where they had responded to IPs spewing out SPAM and viruses. Before that audience members had raised points about the security of the network and the connectivity of developing nations.
I started to think about these two. In practice some of network admins block all of china to their port 25. If this happens, connectivity for developing countries is at stake. OTOH I could open a couple of mail logs and probably give the chinese CNCERT man offending IPs faster than he could write down those cases.
And that's not just china. Spam comes in through home broadcast IPs nowadays. Governments are more keen on using collaboration on their political or pet crime (IP) topics. Spammers are mostly immune to collaborative law investigation for example.
Day at IGF Sum-Up
Interesting, after all
Here I am, back home, still a bit cold after all the rain I've been in and out of. To sum up this day, I've seen and heard some interesting things, I've been reminded that all these problem areas on the Internet now and in the future need solutions. I helped getting the story of blogme.gr mentioned once in the "Openness" session (where Kieren McCarthy brought it up), and once I mentioned it again in the afternoon session in the big room, when I sneaked it into a question I asked...
Continue reading "Day at IGF Sum-Up"