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01 June 2006

Driving into Athens by Night

Big roads, strange place

Wednesday evening I had left Athens to meet with some people from HelMUG in Porto Rafti, on the other side of Attica. We came back the same night. Sitting outside near the seaside, the evening had become chilly with humidity, my clothes damp and cold. We climbed into the car, rolled the windows up and turned the heating on to defog the windows, quite the statement in a city that is hot even in Spring. Then we drove back into Athens at night time...


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Posted by betabug at 09:04 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)

Burning Bytes Faster with sed

Logfile Unix Trivia Quiz

This morning's Unix trivia quiz from my friend Saad: What tool to use to chop down a logfile to list only entries after a certain date? Modern admins would likely pull out their Perl, Python, TCL, or other scripting language tool chest. My answer: There is a much, much faster tool for such a simple job. And it's a one liner too. The solution:

sed -n '/02\/Jun\/2006:08:47:14 +0200/,$ p' < infile > outfile
This will find the first line with that date/time in the logfile, then print this and any following lines. A bit of shell redirecting will push it all neatly into a new file.

Reply to the solution: "f* fast sed!" Tools that were written on 1Mhz class machines tend to be fast. It's interesting how e.g. Perl advocates say that using a tool like Perl is better than shell toolkit based solutions, because Perl doesn't need to spawn so many processes. But sed is so fast, you can spawn and run a couple of sed jobs while Perl is still waking up and scratching its camel ballz. Sometimes there is just the right tool for the job. Even though I use sed only very infrequently I managed with a little sed web help to come up with my oneliner while saad was still pushing {/} braces into Perl code... pwned!


Posted by betabug at 10:49 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
02 June 2006

HelMUG Generalversammlung diesen Sonntag

Diesmal in Athen

Die letztjährige Generalversammlung des griechischen Mac Clubs "HelMUG" ist mir noch lebhaft in Erinnerung. Seitdem ist unglaublich viel passiert. Bei "denen im Vorstand" hat es viel Durcheinander gegeben, die GV ist dieses Jahr auch stark verspätet. Ich selber bin inzwischen Hilfs-Systemadministrator auf dem HelMUG-Server. Den Server hatten wir bei einem Ausflug nach Thessaloniki komplett neu aufgesetzt.

Diesen Sonntag ist jetzt also wieder Generalversammlung. Dieses Jahr in Athen, in der Piräus-Strasse, so dass mich diesmal keine Bahnfahr-Abenteuer erwarten. Ganz ohne Abenteuer wird die Anreise wohl nicht ablaufen, denn am gleichen Tag findet in Athen wieder der "Stadtlauf" statt, der "Γύρος της Αθήνας" (Link auf Griechisch). Dafür wird die gesammte Innenstadt abgesperrt und mit der Anreise mit Bus ist nix. Ich werde versuchen das Stadtzentrum zu "unterfahren", mit der Metro.


Posted by betabug at 15:59 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
03 June 2006

Neoclassical Houses in Athens

Athinaidos street montage
neoclassical houses in Athinaidos street, Athens center

Went with company for a shopping trip to Ermou street and later into the smaller sidestreets (they shopped, not me). At some point I got bored and started taking pictures. Lots of neoclassical buildings there, some of them well restored.

As usual you can click on the image to see a bigger view. I had some problems with the lighting conditions. My camera phone is not really able to cope with the bright evening sky and dusky building fronts in the same picture set. Also I have to adjust for a metric ton of magenta thrown in by the image chip.

Even with those impediments, the atmosphere of the moment is there for me. That's what makes photography worthwile in the end. Having a beautyful picture and a "Vergissmeinicht" of the moment. BTW: I added a category "montage" for those panorama and montage pictures I'm making. It appears empty, but contains all the posts with pictures like this one.


Posted by betabug at 18:39 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
04 June 2006

First Swim this Year

Splish, splash, I was taking a bath...
 

After the very interesting HelMUG meeting this morning, Panos "libero" (vice-president of HelMUG) invited me over to go for a swim on a beach near the place where he lives. We hopped into his car and drove to Porto Rafti on the other side of Attica, same place where I've been just a few days ago. This time we went right down to the beach. There were people there, but it wasn't too crowded. It's a family beach with shallow water. I went for my first swim this year - I'm late! - enjoyed it very much, even though the water was very cold. Usually it's warmer at that place, but occasionally the sea currents carry colder waters. A good sunbath afterwards was the proper remedy.


Posted by betabug at 21:37 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
06 June 2006

Just a lazy update

"Best Of", Summer, RSS and COREBlog

Just a small update, as I'm not too creative today (outside of work at least, work hax0ring goes fine, thank you). I've been playing around with my COREBlog setup lately, which is the software this weblog runs on. The changes amount to lotsa links in post pages, updated "Best Of" links, and redesigned and validated RSS feeds. If you feel bored, here are some more details...


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Posted by betabug at 22:25 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
07 June 2006

Scribbling and Handwriting at Work

Thinking Instruments
 
Paper notes and headphones on the betabug's desk

In Writing the old way Rodolfo writes about how good it feels to write on old fashioned paper. Which today reminded me to tell you about one of my work habits. My work as a programmer involves some thinking time. This may be in big chunks of time when I sit there and think about how to design a big piece of my work. Or I might be in the middle of coding and having to think a particular small problem through. Writing and scribbling on a piece of paper is one of my preferred tools at that point.

My notes might be complete writeups with diagrams, or they might be just some words and reminders. Sometimes I just knock some method names on the paper. But I never really throw those notes away.

You see, keeping it all is part of my strategy. Next to my desk I have two small piles of these note papers. They are vaguely in historic order. Normally I never look at them, but it happens that I have to think about an old idea and then you can find me leafing through those old notes, looking for that scribbled diagram I remember I once made.

Those piles aren't too big (I don't need so many notes). It all looks kind of neat, especially since my desk is almost empty - everything but those notes is inside the computer. Interesting enough I'm a "messy desk" person usually, dunno how I manage at work to have a clean desk.


Posted by betabug at 10:01 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
08 June 2006

Unexpected abuse@ Reply

Got spammed, wrote to abuse@ of the proxy, and... got a reply

This morning when I opened mutt to see my mails, I saw the result of another trackback spam run on my weblog, 30 or so trackback notification mails, all alike. I'm all set up, so I deleted the turds in a second (trackbacks are moderated anyway, so nothing was shown online). Then I looked up the originating IPs and added them to the blocklist on the firewall. Most were open relays or zombie machines in Asia or South America. But two of them looked like more "western" addresses. I assembled some data, and fired off two quick mails to the abuse@ accounts at those domains. Something unexpected happened...

...I actually got a real reply on one of them. This is a first for me. I've had mails to providers abuse@ addresses bounce (which should never happen), vanish into a black hole, vanish into a black hole after receiving a boilerplate from an auto-reply script, or being replied by someone who doesn't know a mail server from a washing machine. This reply came from an admin who actually thanked me for pointing out the problem, and seemed to hint at getting things fixed.


Posted by betabug at 23:13 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
10 June 2006

Winged, Weird Creatures, Book

"Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town", by Cory Doctorow

Thursday evening I started craving for a book to read. I had an old recommendation from Marialena for a bookstore with english books in the Ambelokipoi area, so I went to have a look. As it turns out, that bookstore does not have english books any more, but I had a stroll through the interesting neighborhood around the stadium of Panathinaikos football club. I went back home, still with a desire to read, and remembered the books of Cory Doctorow . Doctorow is a canadian science fiction writer who puts his books online as soon as they are out in print versions. He does not put teasers or sample chapters online, but the complete books, ready to download and read. Which I did...


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Posted by betabug at 20:23 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
11 June 2006

Der Papagei im Park

Ein freier Papagei im griechischen Nationalgarten

Ich war gerade auf den Nachhauseweg gewesen und hatte einen kleinen Umweg durch den griechischen Nationalgarten gemacht, zwischen dem Zappeion-Palast und dem Parlament am Syntagma-Platz gelegen. Ich war an den Käfigen vorbeigegangen, in denen früher Löwen und Wölfe eingezwängt waren und wo heute die Gänse und Enten vor der Vogelgrippe weggesperrt werden. Ich dachte darüber nach, wie traurig diese Käfige früher waren und wie egal es den Enten schien, auch wenn sie den Zugang zu ihrem grossen Teich verloren hatten. Sie quakten und schnatterten vor sich hin, begleitet von all dem anderen Vogelvieh im Park, eingesperrt oder nicht. Einer der Vögel pfiff wie ein Papagei.


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Posted by betabug at 20:43 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
14 June 2006

Breaking Down of the Cell Walls

A window to the soul, even if you don't want to see
 

Everybody likes watching people in the bus. You came in a couple of stops after me, dressed up nice and decent, ready for the office. You sat down next to another girl, not far from me, with the telephone already on the ear.

Πως είσαι, μπαμπά;
...
Όχι καλά;
...
Τι εννοείς όχι καλά;


(How are you papa?
...
Not good?
...
What do you mean, not good?)


Continue reading "Breaking Down of the Cell Walls"
Posted by betabug at 09:41 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

IMAPS setup: Please wait for Mail.app to time out

Yes, there is an 'S' at the end of "IMAPS"

Why are some mail clients so obviously dumbed down in respect to secure IMAPS? For the server of HelMUG (where I'm co-serveradmin), I'm testing our soon-to-be IMAPS setup. We are going to open up only SSL based IMAPS, not plain IMAP. And what are programs like Apple's Mail.app (in 10.4) trying to do when you set up an account? They test the availability of the IMAP server only without SSL. Result: Users have to wait for that test to time out. Maybe the developers of that app have never heard or imagined a setup where security is at least a bit of a consideration...


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Posted by betabug at 22:14 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (1)
15 June 2006

A View at Kerameikos

My beloved ancient site in Athens
Panorama of Kerameikos ancient site

Ever since I was hanging out in a motorcycle repair shop next door to it, the archaeological site of Kerameikos was my beloved ancient place in Athens. It's not just old stones, it's a garden in itself. Like the very best of the ancient places, it has a special atmosphere to it.

Last Sunday I had planned to visit it again. Somewhere in my memory I had stored that entrance to archeological sites in Athens is free on Sundays. Well, it is, but only in the winter season. Right now it's the full 12 Euro - a bit hefty, even if you consider that the ticket is valid for many archeological sites all over Athens. So I was cheap and didn't go, I had a walk around Acropolis instead (which led to me discovering the parrot on my way home through the national garden, another story).

Back to Kerameikos, on Tuesday I passed by it, and I snapped a few pictures from the outside through the fence. Here is one result of them, also available in medium size and huge size.


Posted by betabug at 20:48 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
16 June 2006

Reject No-Reference Trackback

You don't link to me? Don't trackback to me!
 

To help me against the plague of trackback spam on this server, I've adapted my COREBlog to check for links to my blog on pages that want to trackback to me. The patch is just one changed line. COREBlog is so great, it has already code in there that checks for such links, and one could make such trackbacks without link get moderated (the "Moderate No-Reference Trackback" option in the "Comment,Trackback" settings). With my patch, such trackbacks will now just be rejected...


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Posted by betabug at 11:11 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
18 June 2006

Turtles in the National Garden

turtles in the Athens national garden

Turtles in the Athens National Garden. They have a big basin, with places to climb out and lay in the sun. Picture is still from last weeks walk. There are lots of them together, when one goes closer to the basin, some of them swim over to have a look at you.

They are the ones with the red spots in the face (too lazy to look up the family name now), and they're quite big, some of them are probably 20cm or more in length. AFAIR these turtles live in hot climate in their natural surroundings, so Athens should be a perfect place for them.

I especially enjoyed looking at their swimming patterns, how they move their feet. Every foot kicks on it's own, it's (for example) front right, back left, front left, back right. If they are not in a hurry, each movement is very distinctly on its own.

Update: "Red-eared Slider" or "Trachemys scripta elegans", that seem to be their official names.


Posted by betabug at 10:46 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
19 June 2006

Schweizer Zaubertrank

Rivella in der griechischen Hitze

Als kleine Überraschung hat Ελένη aus Deutschland[1] zwei Flaschen Rivella mitgebracht. Das Zeug wird scheints gerade in Deutschland eingeführt und da ich mal davon erzählt hatte, wollte sie es probieren. Für mich ist Rivella eine Kindheitserinnerung, nicht unbedingt was, was ich jeden Tag trinken würde. Das dann hier in Athen in der momentanen Hitze zu trinken war schon etwas seltsam.

Ach ja, und bevor mir alle Nordlichter erzählen, wie heiss es bei Euch ist, hier ist es wirklich heiss. Die Temperatur fällt auch Nachts nicht weit unter 30 Grad, und tagsüber wird man in der Sonne schlicht und einfach gebraten. Bei meinen Mitbewohnerinnen ist der Schweizer Zaubertrank denn vielleicht auch dank Hitze gut angekommen. Nächster Exportmarkt Griechenland?

1: Sie war an der Fussballweltmeisterschaft. Als freiwillige Helferin, ups, "Volunteer" heisst das ja jetzt. Sozusagen das Ein-Frau-Expeditionscorps von Zografou. Ist jetzt wieder hier, weil der Griechisch Intensiv-Sommerkurs wieder losgeht. Ich halte den Ausflug ja für Blödsinn, auch wenn sie es geschafft hat, beim Eröffnungsspiel im Stadium zu sein. Bah, Fussball.


Posted by betabug at 21:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
20 June 2006

Άκουα φόρτε στην παραλία

Βραδινή βόλτα στο Φάληρο
Chessplayers in a pavillion on the Palaio Faliron Sewalk

Σάββατο βράδυ, ζεστούλα, γιαυτό βόλτα κοντά στην θάλασσα. Το λεωφορείο που πάει στο Φάληρο μας βολεύει, και ο περίπατος διπλά στην θάλασσα είναι πολύ ωραίος εκεί. Σε μία φάση περνάμε από ένα παβιλιόν με σκακιστές. Πολλοί θεατές παρακολουθούν την παρτίδα στην πρώτη σκακιέρα, την "μεγάλη σκηνή". Ανάμεσα στους θεατές και ένας σκύλος, που φαίνεται είχε τις δικές του ιδέες τι έπρεπε να γίνει με τις ξύλινες φιγούρες. Σε κάτι τραπέζια δίπλα άλλες παρτίδες, πάνω σε σκακιέρες με πιο νορμάλ μέγεθος.

Λίγο ποιο πέρα περνάμε από έναν μπάρμπα πωλητή που πουλάει καπέλα, μπλούζες, πετσέτες, βερμούδες κτλ. καλοκαιρινά. Ο τύπος τά'λεγε με κάτι άλλους γέρους που καθότανε σε ένα παγκάκι. (Καλή φάση και αυτή, να κάθεσαι σε ένα παγκάκι το βράδυ δίπλα από την θάλασσα.) Ακούω πως λέει κάτι για ούζο και σταματάω για να μην χάσω ένα μάθημα. Λέει:

"Καλά, άμα πίνεις ούζο "12", ... [εδώ σταματάει λίγο να βρει την σωστή έκφραση] ...καλύτερα να πίνεις ένα μπουκάλι άκουα φόρτε!"
Όπως καταλαβαίνουμε χάθηκε ένας καθηγητής στο πανεπιστήμιο τον οινοπνευματωδών. Ο μπάρμπας ξέρει το ούζο του (και ποιο δεν είναι το ούζο του) και εγώ συμφωνώ απολύτως.


Posted by betabug at 10:18 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 June 2006

World Refugee Day

Being down and out
 

Yesterday was World Refugee Day, of which I learned through DeviousDiva. I missed writing about it on time, but better late than never. Myself I'm living in a "foreign" country - which is, in a country whose passport I don't have and where I wasn't born or have a direct cultural background in. But I'm not here as a refugee (no, running away from the shitty weather in northern Europe doesn't count). I have papers (lots of them), an official job, a work permit for the next five years, I pay taxes. It's quite a difference and still it fuels my thoughts...


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Posted by betabug at 23:56 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
22 June 2006

Using RCS for Config Files

But I didn't change anything!

Using rcs to keep track of changes in configuration files is a great idea... that sometimes helps me to recover from my own stupid mistakes mucho faster. I must admit to my own shame that I managed to kill my employers web site for a day or so - it was noticed today. To my defense I should say that I immediately suspected myself and went on to solve the problem right away. "What have I changed at the config?", I asked myself. And the answer would be "Nothing" - as usual. Which of course is the wrong answer, as bit rot doesn't kill a web server so fast...


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Posted by betabug at 22:13 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
23 June 2006

Note to People who follow RSS

Is your refresh time reasonable?

If you have a feed reader, please take a moment and think if your refresh / update interval is set reasonable. I'm doing at most a post every day, so is it really necessary to check back every 10-15 minutes (or - ugh - every 5 minutes like someone once did)? It's not like my stuff is that urgent or something, or like I'm such a celebrity :-). Setting the interval to once an hour should be good enough.

While you're at it maybe look at the settings for some other of your subscribed blogs too, maybe you can save someone some extra traffic. Thanks for listening!


Posted by betabug at 10:09 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
24 June 2006

Get Out of Town... to Kea

More island hopping



This very moment I'm on board the ship to the island of Kea. Athens is hot and unpleasant right now, so we took the bus to Lavrio (about 1.5h) and hopped aboard the next ship to Kea.

I'm not really well prepared. All I know about Kea is that it's a beautyful island, a bit rocky, and close to the Attika peninsula. But I'm sure to get to know her well.

Looking forward to a fast trip (only one hour on this ship), going swimming, enjoying a weekend out.


Posted by betabug at 14:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Kea - First Impressions

An aftenoon at the seaside


We've spent the afternoon at the beach bar and the beach, swimming, relaxing. The plan was to rent a bike and explore the island. But the rent-a-bike was out of bikes. So much for planning things. I've learnt that the main island town is inland.

Today we've stayed in the village near the harbour. Lots of tourist restaurants and hotels. Still when we left the beach as the sun went down, we noticed that it would be difficult to find a room. Kea is close to Athens, so they have lots of weekend guests - and today is Saturday. Lots of walking around to find a room. Then we had a bit of luck and got the last room in an oldfashioned hotel.

Went out to eat at a tavern behind the football field, the place where the locals seem to go. Now we're back in the 50s charm of our hotel.

Speaking of charm: This part of the island has a rough charm. Rocks and dry land on one side, but from our room we've seen a very green slope of a hill behind the village. We'll try to find a way to see the inland tomorrow.


Posted by betabug at 23:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
25 June 2006

Ioulida, another carfree city

A visit to the inland of Kea island



Yesterday evening I fell asleep to the sound of the surf on the beach near to our hotel. I woke up late (again, the mosquitoes had woken me up earlier in the morning). We went out for beeakfast and an excursion to see more of the island.

As bus service is sporadic and undocumented, we took a taxi. For 5 Euros, we got up the 5.5km to Ioulida (or Χωρα / chora, as it's sometimes called). The landscape of Kea is mountaineous, terrassed hillsides. Lots of trees, the green gives the eyes someplace to rest. Once you get over a certain level, you see the sea again in the distance, with other islands (Makronissos, Euboae) on the horizon.

Next you see a corner of Ioulida, houses built on a mountainslope. The town covers three summits, as if it was built into the sky. The taxi delivered us onto the bus station and parking lot. There are no cars in the city. The paths are too narrow, so Ioulida on Kea is a carfree town like Hydra.

We walked the streets during the hottest hours of midday, so there was not much "traffic". We went up one slope where we had seen a small church built into a cave. The picture shows a bit of the view, with the city and the sea in the distance.

We continued our walk through the narrow streets of the town and finally went for coffee in a cafe built onto a plattform above the mountainside. There we sat in the shadw and played tavli (backgammon).

We went down again by taxi. From the harbour town we walked to the beach of the next village. This beach is a bit more protected from the north wind that started to blow during the night. It also happens to be a real beauty and the "in" beach of the area. But swimming and sunbathing is ok for lamers like me too. People who sit on the beach and hack blogposts into mobile phones :-)


Posted by betabug at 17:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Beach Bug

Splish splash!



And while we're at it: I like the beach life! Sun, sea and fun! Καλοκαιρινές διακοπές για πάντα!


Posted by betabug at 17:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 June 2006

Getting Firewire Back From G4 to iPod

No hard reset needed
 

As noted in my famous[1] post iPod hard reset, I've had trouble connecting my iPod to the G4 in my office before. The first time around I had the iPod hooked up while running "Software Update" and subsequently rebooting. Bad idea, the iPod wouldn't connect to the G4 any more, but it would still work with my PowerBook. (On the G4 it did charge, but did not show up on the Desktop / in iTunes / in the System Profiler / in Disk Utility.) Diagnosis: Hosed Firewire on the G4. Somehow confirmed by the inability to get other Firewire devices to work. But nothing is as lame as a valid diagnosis when you can't change it. So looking for solutions I had discovered the various ways to "reset" the Firewire on a G4. Back then I solved that problem through luck, then it came back and I solved it again...


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Posted by betabug at 16:14 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
28 June 2006

Ablenkungen, Pläne und das Leben

Was mach ich denn mal als nächstes?
 

Vor etwas mehr als einer Woche habe ich mich mal hingesetzt und aufgeschrieben, was mir so an Projekten einfällt, die ich für mich gerne machen würde. Schön und gut, jetzt habe ich also so eine Liste in meinem Notizbuch. Da sind Sachen dabei, dich ich schon länger als wichtig einstufe und anderes, das mir in letzter Zeit so eingefallen ist. Die Idee dahinter wäre ja, jetzt zu sehen, welches von diesen Projekten mich wirklich genug interessieren, dass ich meine freie Zeit darauf konzentriere. Oder so...


Continue reading "Ablenkungen, Pläne und das Leben"
Posted by betabug at 21:41 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 June 2006

Griechische Rechtschreibprüfung bei Mac OS X

CocoAspell macht's möglich
 

Es gibt für Mac OS X eine frei verfügbare Rechtschreibprüfung für das Griechische. Von Haus aus hat OS X schon einige "Wörterbücher", z.B. für Deutsch, Englisch, Französisch, usw., Griechisch ist nicht dabei. Doch nicht verzagen, mit CocoAspell wird der Open Source "Spellchecker" Aspell in die Macintosh Rechtschreibkontrolle eingeklinkt. Dadurch können wir das ebenfalls frei verfügbare griechische Rechtschreiblexikon benutzen.

Die Installation geht recht einfach, ich gebe hier mal den Überblick:

  • Download von CocoAspell
  • Installer laufen lassen
  • Download des griechischen Wörterbuchs, das neueste nehmen und sich von Warnungen betreffend der Version nicht ins Boxhorn jagen lassen, Wörterbuch am richtigen Ort ablegen - siehe Readme-Datei
  • Aus-/Einloggen (oder für altmodische Leute: Neustarten)
  • Konfiguration des neuen "Kontrollfeldes" in den Systemeinstellungen

Die Rechtschreibkontrolle für's Griechische funktioniert nun überall da, wo die systemeigene Rechtschreibkorrektur benutzt wird: In Mail.app, TextEdit, Pages, iChat (!), und so weiter.


Posted by betabug at 20:49 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)

Kea: Church, Rock, Ioulida From Above Panorama

A bit rough, but so was the rock
Panorama view from church in a cave above Ioulida, Kea island

The weekends picture from Ioulida was in fact part of a panorama shot. Here you've got the stitched together version. It's a bit rough (I blame the heat, my brain must have been fried), but the rock above the church was rough too. The little church is in good shape, but does not look like it's being serviced very often (the lock on the door was pretty rusty). To the right of the rocks, one can spot a bit of a sea view. The city in the background is Ioulida (or Ioulis), the capital of the island of Kea, in Greece.

As usual: Click on the image for a bigger version.


Posted by betabug at 21:13 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)