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01 September 2006

Lesvos in Exarchia

Ouzeri "Lesvos"

Gestern abend waren wir eingeladen zum Essen in einem Restaurant nach Lust und Laune. Zusammen mit unseren Gastgebern Sabine und Thrasivolos suchten wir in Εξάρχια (Exarchia) nach einem Lokal das uns gefiel. Jeder hatte so seine Tipps (ich kann mich bei meinen immer nur so halb erinnern wo die Lokale dann sind). Schlussendlich landeten wir in der Ouzeri "Λέσβος" ("Lesvos") in der Εμμανουήλ Μπενάκη ("Emmanuil Benaki"). Dort tranken wir Ouzo "Veto" aus Lesvos (sehr zu empfehlen) und Wein, assen dazu Vorspeisen: Gegrillten Tintenfisch, Langusten, Käse, Fleischbällchen.

Die Ouzeri "Lesvos" ist ein schönes Beispiel für eine typische griechische Ouzeri. Kein Schummerlicht, sondern direktes, hartes Neonlicht. Einfache Tische und Stühle auf dem Bürgersteig. Es gibt die Vorspeisen des Tages und sonst nichts. Ich wollte schon zwei, drei mal hingehen und dort essen, aber bis jetzt war es jedesmal zu (Sonntag oder Montag abend geschlossen?). Diesmal hat es geklappt, sehr gut gefallen und wir sassen und quatschten bis der Laden zumachte. Danke an unsere Gastgeber!

Update: Ta Nea hat einen Artikel über die Ouzeri Lesvos - auf Griechisch.

Posted by betabug at 09:44 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
02 September 2006


Wo geht man denn da hin...
Besuch auf der Akropolis

Mein Onkel Heinz ist gestern mit zwei Freunden zu einem Besuch in Athen angekommen. Heute morgen haben wir ihn und seine Freunde getroffen und sind schon mal die Stadt anschauen gegangen. Den Fleischmarkt in der Athinas-Strasse hatten sie schon vor uns entdeckt. Zusammen haben wir uns Thision, Monastiraki (mit den letzten Resten des samstäglichen Flohmarkts) angeschaut, dann sind wir im Fleischmarkt essen gegangen.

Nach einer Siesta sind wir dann mit Onkel Heinz auf die Akropolis, im Familienfoto sind Ελένη (Helene) und Heinz auf den Stufen zur Akropolis. Danach gings noch nach Thision zum Kaffee trinken und nach Exarchia zum Essen. Bis jetzt ein interessanter Familienbesuch, Fortsetzung folgt...

Posted by betabug at 23:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
05 September 2006

Rewriting All... but a few

More Zope RewriteRule fun

The RewriteRule Witch has eliminated a lot of questions about "apache and zope" on the #zope channel. One use case is not really covered yet though: The case where one wants to host everything in Zope, except for a few directories. This is easy to do though...

Continue reading "Rewriting All... but a few"
Posted by betabug at 09:24 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
06 September 2006

Drinking with the Phrench

And "On the concept of signing PGP keys"
mitch at the lesbian ouzerie

For a few days a friend of Saad came over to Athens for work. Jerome (aka mitch) didn't have time for anything but work, but yesterday he managed to sneak out for a few hours. We went to the Ouzerie "Lesvos", which is run by people from the island of Lesbos, where they are said to be making the best Ouzo. Naturally we drank a few (small) bottles of Ouzo and ate some small plates of fish, meat balls, cheese, and salad. The food there is simple but good. A nice evening after all, we chatted with Jerome about work, countries, prices, OpenBSD, the student movement and employment laws in France, ... and we did some PGP key signing...

Continue reading "Drinking with the Phrench"
Posted by betabug at 09:49 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
07 September 2006

Akropolis am Abend, Aegina am Sonntag

...und weitere Abenteuer mit Onkel Heinz

Letztes Wochenende war bekanntlich mein Onkel hier zu Besuch mit seinen Freunden. Am Samstag abend waren wir mit ihnen auf der Akropolis, wo ich einige Aufnahmen gemacht habe, von denen ich eine zu einem netten Panorama zusammengesetzt habe. Parthenon im Abendlicht. Am Sonntag standen wir früh auf, nahmen den "Ilektriko" (den "Elektrischen", von den Athenern auch einfach als "den Zug" bezeichnet, gemeint ist die alte U-Bahnlinie von Kifisia nach Piräus). Von Piräus aus gings per guter alter Fähre weiter auf die Insel Aegina...

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Posted by betabug at 19:19 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
10 September 2006

Hiking on Parnitha

Fresh air and exercise!

Went hiking today with Panos "libero" from HelMUG, with the "Mountain and Chess" club.

We're currently at the "Flambouri" peak, which has a big mountain club house (from another club).

In the picture chairman libero explains the view.

Posted by betabug at 12:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
13 September 2006

Ton-Erinnerungen, Jazz, warten


Sitze in einer Ladenpassage in der Innenstadt und warte darauf, dass ein Jazz-Konzert anfängt, über dass ich nichts weiss als dass es hier ist und mehr Leute warten als Stühle da sind. Gehört habe ich davon über meine Mitbewohnerin, die von einem Bekannten eine SMS bekommen hat. Und dann macht es hier eben so ein Klack im Publikum.

Manchmal lösen einzelne, auch nur halb gehörte Töne Erinnerungen und Gedanken aus. Das "Klack" brachte mich darauf, wie ich als Kind einen Tischtennisball mit dem Schläger in der Luft hielt. Klack, klack, klack. Eine Beschäftigung die bei der Warterei ganz nett wäre, wenn auch unmöglich, denn so langsam wird es gesteckt voll.

Lang werde ich wohl nicht bleiben. Die Soundqualität ist miserabel und das wird sich wohl auch nicht ändern wenn die Konserve durch "life" ersertzt wird.

Posted by betabug at 21:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
15 September 2006

Books Again on Wednesday

Bookshops, Catchers, Songlines, and The Cruel Sea

Sometimes I wonder why I go to Papasotiriou book shops at all when I look for english books. All they have is Dan Brown style fast food. "Politia" at Akadimias has a much better section, much more serious. They have stacks of e.g. John Steinbeck and Bukowski, where Papasotiriou has a single token Bukowski. So I went there next on Wednesday after work...

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Posted by betabug at 01:02 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (1)

My Notebook

Tough little black book

A few days ago, Eleni's father came through Athens, and in the few hours he was in town we went to eat and walked to Syntagma for coffee. Somewhere around Evripidou street he said he'd want a notebook for a journal and asked me where to get a good notebook in Athens. I pull out the little black notebook I use and recommend it. As it seems he was looking for something cheaper... which is ironic, since we went to Syntagma square for coffee, another term for throwing money out of the window.

The brand of my notebook is in fashion, it's a Moleskine. There is a big marketing hype around these notebooks (that BBC article gives a good roundup of some of the ambivalences about these things). So much hype indeed, that I at times felt an urge to look out for something else. They are quite expensive too. But I didn't buy mine, both the small, plain one and the bigger one have been presents. I keep and use them for some simple reasons: They are very useful and tough enough for me. I carry the small notebook with me every day since more than two years now, traveling all around Greece and Athens. I did not expect it to survive that long, even given that I don't carry it in my trousers pockets. But so far it has kept up and with no prospect of failure apparent either. The binding is enduring, the outer cover is absent of cracks. Apart from that it's a functional notebook.

notebook page with drawing from Palaiokastro, Limnos

With these notebooks it has become a fashion to publish pages from it. Especially the painters and sketchers love it and I enjoyed some good examples online. To show you what I do with mine, I've put the picture online. Mostly I scribble down thoughts and ideas, small things I try to remember, to-do lists, anything. Sometimes I can get enough spirit up to do a little drawing. I like drawing with a normal pen. It is very hard, every little mistake shows up, but when I like the result it is a good reward. The picture show's the cape of "Palaiokastro" near Plaka on the island of Limnos. Of course as I'm not an artist, these pages are very rare. (Click on the image for a bigger view.)

When I went to the bookshop on Wednesday I turned the marketing hype upside down. Instead of buying a moleskine because of the famed reputation Bruce Chatwin gave them (via the marketing hype), I went and bought the book in which Chatwin mentions the notebook.

Posted by betabug at 22:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
16 September 2006

A Garden Full of Stones


My beloved archeological site in Athens is Κεραμεικος (Keramikos). Today I went here to spend some time in this green island. Κεραμεικος is almost like a garden, lots of green with little paths. In ancient times it was partly a cemetary, but there are also pieces of the city wall here.

So far I have taken four sketches. Now my hand got tired and the pen started to lazily smear around. I don't think I went so well.

Now I'm sitting in the shade of a tree. Watching a cat in the shade under a small palmtree and a turtle who roams around a hillside. The turtle just walked by me keeping a distance of about 1.5m. Life could be more often like this.

Small update: There is a site with wonderful QTVR panorama shots from Kerameikos.

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

First September Rain

More than one month without now...

Just seen the first little bit of rain after more than a month. I think the last time I saw a bit of rain was in early August on Limnos, on a stray rainy day. But it is such a faint memory that I might be messing it up with another year's summer. Right now there was a little downpour, after the day having been gray and cloudy all along. This is so totally unimportant, but it feels strange after the long summer :-)

Posted by betabug at 19:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 September 2006

Lining Up Form Elements and Labels with CSS

No tables, no floats!

Most forms have labeled fields in a simple pattern, each form element has a label next to it, usually on the same visual line to the left. Form elements should align horizontally on the same line. There are a couple of ways to do this...

Continue reading "Lining Up Form Elements and Labels with CSS"
Posted by betabug at 16:22 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
21 September 2006

Wednesday Jazz at the Stoa

A swinging evening with Deborah Herbert

Last Wednesday we went with friends to one of a series of Jazz evenings that take place in a "Stoa", an athenian shopping passage. I've been there the week before and noted the bad sound quality. That wasn't much better, but this time we were with good company, enjoyed the party and ourselves. Towards the end we danced and had lots of fun. It wasn't exactly a concert, more like a big party with many unknown people and a life band somewhere.

Despite the lousy sound quality (mainly I guess due to the unfitness of the surroundings for a quality concert), I liked the music by the Doug Sides Trio featuring Deborah Herbert. Especially Miss Herbert was great. Route 66, Summertime, she gave some great, well known Jazz songs. In better surroundings I could comment on her voice. This way I can only praise the swing in her voice, which got us swinging along.

Information about the Wednesday evening concerts can be found in Greek (I had to change the encoding manual to ISO-8859-7) on The concerts are free with free drinks, which is quite the deal. Expect lots of people and only standing room.

Posted by betabug at 22:18 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 September 2006

betaBUMM... so, what happened?

Hard Disk failure

If you visited this site between Saturday and Tuesday evening, you may have noticed a friendly but unhelpful outage notice. The server was down. What has happened? The server has moved to a proper server housing. That was the reason for a couple of hours offline time from Saturday morning till noon. But when the server was started up at the new location it wouldn't boot. The machine output something about disk consistency failure, always a bad sign. On Tuesday evening with a lot of help from friends, I was finally able to diagnose the problem further and to bring the machine up.

One of the hard disks in the Apple PowerMac G3 B&W failed. Either due to coincidence or due to the physical movement, this happened during the move. I'm lucky to have multiple disks in there, and the disk which failed wasn't the one with the main operating system partition.

What I've lost are the /home partitions and the partition for /var/mail, which is where incoming mail is stored. That's pretty bad. I'm again lucky (or I was wise, depending on point of view) to have made nightly backups of /home. I didn't do this for /var/mail. Myself I'm moving mails to my mail directory in /home once I read them, but some other people on the machine don't do that. For them it is very important to make local copies of their mail in their mail client before reconnecting. Otherwise their mail client will delete the local copies once it finds they are gone from the server. This is the way IMAP works, it assumes that when a message is gone from the server that you deleted it.

Future outlook

The server started a fun project with no direct reason and no professional service attitude. But after some time it turned out that I like what it's doing so much, that I would miss it if it was gone. That was the reason for moving it to proper housing when the current location wasn't feasible any more. For the near future I will have to find a suitable replacement SCSI hard disk. I will then revise my backup strategy to cover more possibilities. But in any case, the machine is a hobby server and failures may happen again, that's just life. As they say, with hard disks it's not the question "if" they fail, but "when".

Big thanks go to Charlott, Peter, Martin, and Jerome for all their help!

Posted by betabug at 07:48 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Playing with One-time Pads

A crypto steckenpferd

"One-time pad" encryption is something between the holy grail and the torture chamber of cryptography. On one hand it is the only encryption method which is provable secure, on the other that security comes with a clause: "...if handled properly". The "proper" way to use one-time pad encryption makes it extremely unpractical, solves the wrong problem in today's crypto needs, and if ill-used OTP encryption may become as insecure as a children's "decoder-ring" from a cereal box.

In other words, a nice toy for me to play around with. My interests goes first to the "understanding it" stage, then to the "trying it out" stage, passing by "is it really good for anything", and finally to the "can I write some code for it" stage. Some thoughts on this follow...

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Posted by betabug at 19:42 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
28 September 2006

Besuch auf dem Lycabettos

Stadt von oben
Aussicht von halber Hoehe des Lycabettos, Athen

Montag abends war ich noch ordentlich nervös, wegen dem Server-Umzug, der mit einer defekten HD etwas unschön verlaufen war. Das heisst, Montags wusste ich ja noch nicht so genau, was schief gelaufen war. Ich wartete darauf, dass am Dienstag Peter von den Ulmern eine Tastatur anhängen könnte und das wir dann mehr wüssten was abging. Bei so viel Zitterpartie ist ein Ausflug oft das beste, da denkt man mal an was anderes. Was schon länger auf dem Programm stand, war der Besuch auf dem Lycabettos, dem höchsten Hügel in der Athener Innenstadt...

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Posted by betabug at 16:29 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 September 2006

Password Protected RSS Feeds and CookieCrumbler

Disable the cookie login for RSS!

Another one of those "remind myself" posts. Just tried to get past a problem with our "extranet" feeds, which are password protected and through SSL. The problem was that they are embedded in our Zope site, which uses CookieCrumbler for cookie based authentication. The feedreaders would always get the login page instead of the feed, even when using proper authentication. Solution: Disable cookie login by appending "?disable_cookie_login__=1" to the URL. Of course the state of feedreaders was part of the problem...

Continue reading "Password Protected RSS Feeds and CookieCrumbler"
Posted by betabug at 11:56 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
30 September 2006

See Athens, Take the Bus!

Trying out the Athens Sightseeing Bus Line 400

Update 2010: The sightseeing busline 400 was stopped on 2010-06-01, due to "lack of demand". Sorry to see it go.

Yesterday evening we had some spare hours between buying a new fill for my rotring pen and meeting with Lorena and Kostis for Ouzo and Meze. We were near the Athens Archeological Museum and trying out the sightseeing bus line 400 from OASA (the Athens public transport) was on our to do list for some time now. So we hopped in. It was an interesting experience, though we should have handled things a bit different...

Continue reading "See Athens, Take the Bus!"
Posted by betabug at 12:45 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)