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01 March 2006

Current Weather in Greece on Weblog

Let you see what spring is like

Commemorating the fine weather (like spring on the first of march, sunny 13 Celsius in the morning), I've installed two little weather applets in the lower right corner of the main weblog page. They show the current temperature and via the picture the weather condition for Athens and Limnos, courtesy of Weather Underground.

Posted by betabug at 10:08 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

telnetd root Backdoor in Vodafone's Ericsson Systems?

Some rumors for ΑΔΑΕ/ADAE

The investigation in the Vodafone phone tapping scandal in Greece has lead to some information being published in the last days. What the published information from ADAE say boils down to this being an "insiders" job. I agree and I have some of what I would call "qualified rumors" for ΑΔΑΕ: Maybe they should have a look at the backdoor Ericsson puts in the telnetd...

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Posted by betabug at 23:34 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
03 March 2006

US Ex-Diplomat Points Finger at CIA for Phone Tapping

Behind the Vodafone scandal could be "only one organization"

An american ex-diplomat points his finger at the CIA (and the americans in general) for the source of the phone tapping. A diplomat who had a name to be "considered one of the good experts on problems of the Middle East and the Arab world with 20 years of service in the diplomatic corps" (Athens News Agency). But also a diplomat who (according to the same ANA bulletin) resigned in opposition to the US governments handling of the Iraq crisis. The article by John Brady Kiesling in "The Nation" has some good points, but relies on the same stuff everyone else reads in the news.

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Posted by betabug at 10:21 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
04 March 2006

On The Way To Patras Carnival

Come and see the betabug sing and dance

Right now I'm sitting in an overland bus to Patras, where this weekend the carnival is at full speed. I'll stay with my ex-flatmate there and yes, I'll take part in a group. We will dress up as cream cakes and take part in the parade. Not that I'm a fan of this kind of activity, but I'll try it out and have fun at the party.

The bus terminal to Patras is crowded these days, with busses departing every 5 minutes or so. Every bus has a few unbooked seats, so there is a run on them. But the situation is well organized. Let's see if I can attach a picture.

Posted by betabug at 12:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Carnival Parade

Sweety, sweaty

So this is how we are dressed up, sweet cakes! The picture is taken right before the parade. I jumped and danced all through the parade.

Looks like I als appeared on TV, a team asked me a few questions about our costumes. Now our group went to a cafeteria where the party continues. But right now I need a break, I'm... cake.

Posted by betabug at 20:15 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
05 March 2006

Party after the party

Parade again, then for coffee at the lighthouse

Today we had another parade, even longer than yesterdays. Again our costumes were a great success. I got asked to pose with others many times. No TV interviews for me today though. OTOH my gf saw me on TV.

After this second parade I was even more tired than yesterday. We then went to see the rest of the parade from a balkony. After that we went to this beautyfull cafe in a lighthouse.

The pic shows one ex-flatmate posing with one still-flatmate in our cool costumes.

Posted by betabug at 18:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
09 March 2006

The Easiest CMS on Zope... Zwiki

Install Zwiki, style it, lock it down, done

Remember, Zope is an application server, not a CMS (content management system). A typical beginners mistake while learning Zope is to only use the built-in elements (for example Folder and Page Templates) and push content into these. That is "wanting it the easy way", which is one good recipe to end up with the head on a brickwall while having a velocity above the usual rotation of this planet. "Zope is an application server, not a CMS" means: You need an application to run on Zope. A proper application consists of a bunch of python filesystem based products. One very typical application of that is a CMS. There are some CMS for Zope out there that are well known, but that I don't like so much. One easy, fast, and simple alternative is a closed Zwiki...

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Posted by betabug at 11:02 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
12 March 2006

Reading List Fillup

Some more food for thoughts

Saturday I went to the city to get some Ethernet cables to fix my wireless network. Yeah, insert appropriate jokes here. My airport card is toast (or connects as much as a toaster anyway), so I now laid 20m of cat6 to my room. On the way back from the store I passed by Politeias bookstore, where they have a good section with english books. After browsing through the racks for a long time, I walked out with Robert A. Heinlein's "Stranger in a strange land". Will be interesting to read some "normal" science fiction after getting addicted to cyberpunk.

I haven't started with that one yet though, because there was a lame article on slashdot about eBook readers. Yawn, eBook readers again. But in the comments to that article there was a link to a site that sells SciFi electronic books and they have lots of free ones for advertising purposes (to get you hooked if you want). The site is called and apparently the publisher is Baen. I'm reading Bedlam Boyz by Ellen Guon right now and enjoying it. Magic and faeries set into todays world. It's not going to be on the literary frontpages any time soon, but it has nice fodder for thought, what I want from SciFi.

Then today we went to visit a philanthropic bazaar at the Parko Eleftherias. Lot's of boring second hand clothes and a few books. Among a pile of trash pulp crime fiction I found a gem: I picked up "Gödel, Escher, Bach" from Douglas R. Hofstadter for one Euro. Not too shabby. So I have lots of nice stuff on my reading list right now.

Posted by betabug at 23:37 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
13 March 2006

December Party Pictures

That was my/our Birthday Bash

Last December we had a combined birthday party here at TEH FLAT(tm). Some cool people came over and we drank and talked all night. After a long wait my friend Panos (libero of HelMUG fame) has provided us with some pictures. Enjoy!

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Posted by betabug at 19:56 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
15 March 2006

Zuhause arbeiten am Streiktag

April-Wetter im März, teure Taxen, billige Flüge

Für Heute ist hier in Athen Generalstreik angesagt. Geplant war deswegen, dass ich am Abend vorher mit einem geliehenen Auto von der Arbeit komme und heute mit dem Auto hin und her fahre. Dann habe ich gestern gehört, dass die Athener Busse ab 7:30 Uhr doch fahren. Da ich nicht unbedingt ein Fan von Autofahren in Athen bin und noch weniger ein Fan von Parkplatzsuchen bin (weder Zuhause noch an meinem Arbeitsplatz gibt es wirklich Parkplätze), habe ich doch lieber den Bus genommen. Ist aber etwas anders rausgekommen als geplant...

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Posted by betabug at 17:48 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
17 March 2006

Movie Theater Cell Phone Jamming

We're jamming, yeah!

Bruce Schneier linked to a weblog entry about the movie theater industry in the US asking for cell phone jammers. Greece has one of the highest density of cell phones, but you don't hear a ring in a cinema very often. People aren't usually very considerate here either. I believe cell phone jammers are here already. Not in every cinema, but in some cinemas you just don't get a signal. Not that they are in remote areas, right in the center of Athens. I don't know if they use high tech solutions (maybe in some of the larger movie theaters), or if they did some homebrew faradays cage style insulation. But it's common enough that a couple of people around me have noticed.

When you do get a signal in a cinema it's common to hear about one phone call during a movie (when the theater is full). But they cut it short because they want to see the film. Greeks also aren't above telling the guy (or gal) in question to "voulose'to" ("stuff it up"). Without happening what happened to an Australian tourist in the US: She just touched the disturbing caller on the top of the arm to tell her to quiet it... she got charged for "disorderly conduct" and fined $675.

Posted by betabug at 10:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 March 2006

Put The Bomb Down Slowly

Athens schoolchildren demonstration against the war in Iraq

Passing by Vassilissis Sofias today (on our way to the Parko Eleftherias) we noticed the street being blocked from traffic. Next thing we saw were about 15 light armored police transport busses in front of the american embassy. That's the place where a lot of demonstrations end up these days, and a lot of demonstrations in Athens end with a battle between the cops and some radicals...

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Posted by betabug at 22:02 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
20 March 2006

Έχει και άλλο!

Παιδικές εκφράσεις

Πέρσι ήμουν με τον φίλο μου τον Μιχάλη στον Πειραιά για καφέ. Η καφετέρια ακριβός δίπλα από το νερό (δεν λέω "θάλασσα" εδώ...) Και σε μια φάση περνάει ένα κρουαζιερόπλοιο πίσω από την καφετέρια. Εντυπωσιακό πράμα, γιατί καθόμαστε περίπου 1 μέτρο πάνω από το νερό και σε 20 μετρά απόσταση περνάει αυτό το βουνό. Στο διπλανό τραπέζι κάθεται μια οικογένεια με μικρά παιδιά. Η μαμά: "Κοίτα το πλοίο, τεράστιο!" Απαντάει το παιδί: "Μόνο τεράστιο; Έχει και άλλο!"

Το είπα μετά στην Μαίρη και μας έμεινε σαν έκφραση. "Κοίτα το φορτηγό εκεί, τεράστιο δεν είναι;" "Μόνο τεράστιο; ..." Ή και έτσι: "Μιάμ, νόστιμα τα σιροπιαστά από το Ίμβρος!" [1] ... "Μόνο νόστιμα; Έχει και άλλο!"

[1] Το "Ίμβρος" είναι ένα ζαχαροπλαστείο στα Ιλίσια που έχει πολύ νόστιμα σιροπιαστά παραδοσιακά από την Ίμβρο.

Posted by betabug at 09:56 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
23 March 2006

ADSL-Preise in Griechenland

Teuer, verwirrend

Aus der guten alten Schweiz erreichte mich eine Anfrage zum Thema "Preise für ADSL in Griechenland".

> Hast Du vielleicht einen Tipp welche ADSL-Verbindungen in Athen günstig
> sind?
Die Antwort ist vielleicht auch für andere Interessant, daher lege ich sie hier auf den Weblog...
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Posted by betabug at 10:56 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Evening Sky After Rainstorm

OK, maybe a small rainstorm
Cloudy evening sky after the rain

Came out of the office to see this wonderfull eveing sky. The day had started very fine, sunny and warm even in the morning. Then in the afternoon someone shouted in the office: "It's raining!" Even more so, it was thundering along to that. I was half expecting to go out to a rainy evening after work, but the sun came back and offered us this view. Click on the image for a bigger view.

Posted by betabug at 19:27 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
24 March 2006

Beefed Up Trackback Notification

Looking at Zope sending email

This morning I needed an example of how to send a simple plaintext mail notification from Zope. So... [think, think], COREBlog has a notification example, which I had beefed up a bit sometime. I used that one as my example and went on to augment the corresponding Trackback-Notification script....

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Posted by betabug at 10:25 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

COREBlog Existences

Look who's using COREBlog

It's sometimes just astonishing how fast Open Source developers are. It took Atsushi Shibata (famous author of COREBlog) only about an hour to implement a new feature on I had jammered on the mailing list that "existences" - the ping page of that site - is overrun by spammers and suggested as a feature that only COREBlog trackbacks would be listed. Now we have a new ping tracker that lists pings from COREBlog users only, so we can have a look at what other COREBlog users are up to. Great job!

Posted by betabug at 13:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
25 March 2006

iTunesDB Gone Foobar

All songs still on disk, but nothing shows up

Yesterday afternoon my iPod went Foobar [1] all of a sudden. All songs are still on the disk, but the library that holds all the information (where each song is etc.) is gone. Disk repair and even DiskWarrior were no help (the file is there, it's just wrong) and a look into the hidden configuration directory shows the iTunesDB file to be abnormally small. No backup file around either (there should be one next to the one in use). Damned. Searching on the web the only solution seems to be to restore the iPod (which erases everything) and to load the songs back to the iPod from iTunes. Since I sync my stuff manually (from home and work) it will take me some time to get the little white muzak box back to order. So much for using a closed format DB file, dear Apple...

[1]: And for our non-techies, FOOBAR stands for F* Up Beyond All Repair (or Recognition). See the defintion of foo from the "jargon file" for some background.

Posted by betabug at 13:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 March 2006

Evening Window Shopping Walk on Ermou

A small relaxing walk through Athens center

Some catching up with the weekend's events: Friday evening was relatively warm and nice outside, so we wanted to take a little walk. Our choice was to go from Syntagma Square down Ermou street to the Monastiraki metro station... for window shopping.

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Posted by betabug at 22:36 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Griechischer Unabhängigkeitstag

Samstag war "der 25ste", Stockfisch und Bummel durch die Plaka

Diesen Samstag war der 25. März, griechischer Unabhängigkeitstag, oft einfach als "der 25ste" bezeichnet und einer der grossen Feiertage. Diesmal habe ich lange geschlafen und deswegen die grosse Parade verpasst. Naja, muss ja auch nicht jedes mal sein. Die ganze Stadt (oder eher das ganze Land) ist beflaggt, bis in die Seitenstrassen (siehe Bild). Am 25.3.1821 beschlossen die Anführer der griechischen Revolution den Aufstand gegen die türkischen Besatzer. Deshalb geht's auf der Parade auch recht militärisch zu und im Fernsehen laufen Historienschinken ohne Ende. Gegessen wird auch speziell...

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Posted by betabug at 23:09 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 March 2006

Φοιτητή! Ρε φοιτητή!

Άκουσε και λίγο τον καθηγητή

Αληθινό θέμα από εξαμηνιαίες εξετάσεις από ελληνικό πανεπιστήμιο:

Μιας κι έχετε γίνει ειδικοί στις αντιγραφές αρχείων, που περιέχουν τις εργασίες που σας δίνονται ως υποχρεωτικές ασκήσεις, γράψτε μια συνάρτηση που να αντιγράφει το περιεχόμενο ενός αρχείου με περιγραφητή fd1 στο αρχείο που έχει περιγραφητή fd2.
Μπράβο, και όπως λένε στα αγγλικά: You just made my day! (Και thanks Μαίρη που μου το έδειξες!)

Posted by betabug at 15:19 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Hax0ring around with COREBlog again

Added If-Modified-Since Headers to some methods

I've been playing around with COREBlog this evening again. Managed to get processing of If-Modified-Since Headers [1] working for my RSS feeds and the weblog entries. Hopefully this will save me some bandwidth and my server some work. If things break for some reason, please give me a shout. It looks like Safari just ignores this, but apparently Firefox uses it and Google/Yahoo use it too. I'll publish the patch and description soonish I hope.

[1]: aka "Conditional HTTP GET", see for example HTTP Conditional Get for RSS Hackers from The Fishbowl.

Posted by betabug at 23:58 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
28 March 2006

How-To For Conditional HTTP GET For COREBlog

Patch for handling the If-Modified-Since header

Last nights hack seems to work just fine. Nobody has complained yet and the log shows some successfull entries. As seen in the previous post, conditional HTTP GET is saving bandwidth by giving the browser (or RSS reader) the page content only when it has changed since a given date. So, time to publish the patch. Use at your own risk, better you know what you are doing, no warranty, it just works for me YMMV etc. but here it is...

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Posted by betabug at 10:21 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 March 2006

Spring and Comics at the Park

From last Sunday afternoon
Flowers at the Parko Eleftherias

This is a picture from last Sunday. We went to the Parko Eleftherias, sat in the grass and read newspapers in the sun. Watched playing children. Just as relaxing as you can get in the neighbourhood. The flowers have been set in a short while ago, I've seen the job from the bus. It didn't look like municipal people, more like a neighbourhood group.

Then we wandered over to the small culture center in the park. They had the "international realistic comic festival" there. Which sounds much bigger than it is. It's just a hall with comics on the wall and some talks. I understand the program is on If you are into comics, the "festival" is still up a few days, till April 1st, go have a look, admission is free. The comics are of course the serious kind, not the Micky Mouse variety, that's why it's called "realistic". I liked the comics good enough, though I wondered a bit of the use of showing them in an exhibition. Some of them were obviously originals, and seeing the work of the artist more "up personal" was indeed interesting.

Back to Athens: Spring is here. It's not so much the weather (warmer all the time), but much more the smell. Ever heard them tell "the air smells like spring"? It does now.

Posted by betabug at 10:12 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Partial Eclipse of the Sun

86% covered here in Athens
Me and Mary, watching the eclypse

Just came back from watching the peak of the partical eclipse of the sun. In Athens the sun was covered 86%, which was quite impressive. But I've read that even 99% is not the same as a total eclipse, since the effects of the surroundings going totally "night" are missing (dogs barking, wind etc.).

Over here it got a bit darker, as if it was a completely overhung, cloudy day. We had light clouds. Most of the time I was able to see things well (using the special glasses of course), only one small moment did the clouds interfere. The sun turned into a thin sickel, like an early waxing moon. At times I seemed to see something like a halo on the covered side, but it could have been the clouds. Now the sun is slowly growing back again, it gets ligher outside.

It also got noticeable colder. The roof of our office building has a good view, not only on the sun, but also on the surroundings. We had a view on the sea and could see Pireus.

Posted by betabug at 13:13 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
31 March 2006

Das Leben ist (wieder mal) gut

Gerenne, Kopfweh, Aufenthalt
Bluehender Baum im
Athener Fruehling

Heute scheint die Sonne wieder, das Leben ist gut und ich kann lachen. Gestern gings mir schlecht, und das kam so: Vor kurzem stellte ich fest, dass meine Aufenthalts- und Arbeitserlaubnis fuer meine Wahlheimat abläuft. Kein Problem, ich kann ja ganz legal diese Erlaubnis verlängern, muss mich nur durch den (auch relativ glimpflichen) Bürokratie-Schlauch quälen. Gestern gings los...

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Posted by betabug at 19:07 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)