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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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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, 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)