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03 January 2007

Another Happy New Year with ch-athens

Happy New Year! Guet's Neus! Καλή χρονιά!

Another year passed for this weblog and the world, happy new year to everyone! ch-athens is 2 years old now (for those coming in late, it started as a new years resolution on new year of 2005). The last year has brought a lot more traffic, where I reported about 97000 pageviews in 2005, in 2006 my stats claim to have recorded about 243000 pageviews. This number is a bit rough, because after moving the server there was a lot of downtime (no pageviews) and some time where the server was up but the stats weren't counting. Yes, amongst all the nice stuff there was trouble too, let's look back if you like to....

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Posted by betabug at 01:19 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Shipping News... and Party in Patras

How I spent New Years Eve
Patras Harbour

We were in Patras to party into 2007 with my ex-flatmate Haralambos. He and his gang had rented a cafeteria and transfered it into a bar for the night. We danced and partied and got to sleep at about 7:30 in the morning. I seem to be at a party whenever I go to Patras. (Remember how we went there for the carnival?)

We went home by train, which was easy and relaxed. The train is a bit slower than the bus, but the bus terminal in Athens is a bit outside town, so we have to take another bus to get to Omonia square and from there the train/metro home. The train station in Athens is easier, with direct access to the metro system.

Still in Patras, while we waited for our train, we took a little stroll around the harbour area (which is right next to the train station). It seems that due to New Year, a lot of the big ferry boats weren't travelling, there was a meeting of the sleeping elephants. The view was phantastic in the evening light, so I snapped two panoramas, giving you here the bigger (and better) of them. As usual, click on the image for a bigger view. There were far more of the huge ferryboats, but they didn't fit all on one picture, even a panorama!

Posted by betabug at 12:57 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
04 January 2007

Meet HelMUG at Dasein!

This months MUG meeting at new location

Next Sunday (2007-01-07) is our monthly HelMUG meeting in Athens. For various reasons, we are at a new location, in the cafe Dasein in Exarheia. The Dasein has a room with a projector that we could use for future presentations and seminars, it has more free space than the cafe Ethnikon on Sintagma this time of year. So since there is no wifi on Sintagma this week, it's time to give the Dasein a chance!

If you are in Athens next sunday, consider yourself invited, attendance is free for members and non-members. There won't be much more than having coffee and chatting about Macs and the world. But maybe you can get some questions answered and catch up with Mac tech talk. The Dasein is near Exarheia square, at 12 Solomou street (which is parallel to Stournari street, where all the computer shops are :-) we will start to arrive around 11:30 in the morning.

Posted by betabug at 10:50 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
06 January 2007

Blimp at Athens Airport

Pic taken from bus

While bringing Eleni to the airport I spotted this blimp next to the road on the fenced off airport area. According to the markings it belongs to "" "". It was tethered down, and I didn't see anyone near.

Makes me wonder if they fly it over the mediterranean to the arab emirates. Would be an impressive tripp.

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

Vivodi Upgraded our ADSL to 2048/256

But the line stutters...

This noon after a short line outage I logged into the router's web interface to notice that we have a faster ADSL line now. Vivodi (our ISP here) upgraded our ADSL line to 2048/256. For almost all their customers this was done automatically, I've had to order it, since I previously had the smallest package they offered, a meager 256/128 line. The higher speed is nice and welcome.

The downside are currently a lot of line drops. The line keeps up for somewhere between 4 and 30 minutes. Then it starts to loose packets and in the end it completely disconnects, the router reports "DSL connection down". Currently the "uptime" gets longer each time, so I hope it "fixes itself". If it doesn't, I'll have to call the support number, which unfortunately is the worst experience with this provider. "Please wait..." Let's wait and see if I'll have to.

Posted by betabug at 23:39 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
07 January 2007

Sofa Mac Users


When the HelMUG people went to the cafe Dasein for todays meeting, they found it closed. Reason unknown. They moved over to another cafe on Exarheia square.

Here we see escape, hadderakk, and citylop (from behind). Note the relaxed ambiance. We were about 10 people.

Update: Dasein was just late in opening. Should have been open by 12:00, but likely they delayed a bit. Pity.

Posted by betabug at 14:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
08 January 2007

gzip encoding/compressing ZWiki pages

Smaller is beautyful!

I had been gzip encoding/compressing my COREBlog pages for some time now, now I thought about doing the same for my ZWiki pages at the papaki. There are two approaches:

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Posted by betabug at 10:06 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
09 January 2007

ADSL Trouble

We're up... we're not... we're up... we're not!

After last weekends upgrade of our ADSL line to 2Mb, we had a lot of trouble. The line goes down every 10 minutes to 1 hour. SSH connections are stuck. Phone calls get either cut or disturbed - our phone runs on VoIP over the ADSL line. Apparently the VoIP box can recover some phone calls, but it's very ugly. When this happens, the router/modem's web interface informs us that "Your DSL connectioin is down" - who would have guessed? This evening I called Vivodi (our ISP).

After waiting for a long while on hold, I talked to a kid who said they'd temporarely put the line down to 1Mb, so it wouldn't disconnect, then they would go investigate and fix it. Good. So far they already lowered the line speed to 1Mb, like he said. But the drops of DSL connectivity keep on. For the moment it seems to be even worse. Will have to see if their investigation turns up something, or else I'll have to call them again. It's the first time ever that I've had trouble with our Vivodi line, so I hope it comes out fine.

Posted by betabug at 20:52 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
10 January 2007

babel diese!

Meine 10 Gebote für mehrsprachige Weblogs

Heute morgen las ich, dass mein Freund Wu aus Galizien seinen Weblog jetzt auch auf Mehrsprachigkeit umgestellt hat, mit Hinweis auf mich. Als ich vor zwei Jahren mit der Weblog-Schreiberei anfing, war mir eigentlich schon klar, dass ich die Sprachen mixen würde, wie es grade kommt. Mehrsprachig sollte mein Weblog werden, genau wie ich. Etwa zur gleichen Zeit schrieb Luistxo Fernandez aus dem Baskenland zum Thema mehrsprachige Blogs zuerst über False, true, symmetrical and asymetrical multilingual blogs und dann noch seine 10 Gebote auf: Ten Commandments for bilingual blogs. Schaun wir mal, wie es da bei mir ausschaut und was meine eigenen 10 Gebote für mehrsprachige Weblogs sind...

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Posted by betabug at 14:18 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
12 January 2007

Bazooka at American Embassy

...hit the toilets on 3rd floor!

Apparently someone fired a bazooka at the american embassy at 5:57 local time this morning. They were aiming for the "seal" sign in the front, but hit only the toilets in 3rd floor. Police spokespeople announced that the ambassador will have to go downstairs now to take a crap. When I passed by in the bus on the way to work this morning there was police all around the street outside the embassy. Traffic had been closed for hours (actually all the area had been closed off), but I was lucky that it was reopened in time for my commute.

Nobody was hurt, we're all happy about that. In other news on an average weekend in Greece about 20 people die in road accidents. Oh you didn't want to hear that? Let's see, the number of civilians dying (or being seriously wounded) in Iraq each day likely passes that number. More to your liking? Apparently a small scale local leftist group claimed responsibility for the act.

Looking at my server logs I noticed "people" hotlinking to a picture of mine of the american embassy. Let me tell you one thing: The architecture of the american embassy in Athens, Greece is the biggest PR desaster the "U.S.A." had ever had. But, if you want to use a picture of that ugly building go make your own. If you hotlink to my pictures, you put your page at my mercy. My high tech surveillance technology updates my pictures in real time, so you might not get what you expected.

In response to the uneducated and idiotic remarks in those discussions (of the style "Get out of Athens now", "I can't send my son to Greece any more"): Athens is one of the safest cities in Europe (and likely in the world). In the average Greek village I'd leave my car, front door and sleeping room door unlocked without so much as a second thought. Sending your son to Athens could pose a different danger though, he might learn that there is more to the world than north america and Hollywood.

Posted by betabug at 11:38 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
13 January 2007

500 Posts

A *lot* of posts

This is the 500th post in my weblog. That's a big round number, and I'm still struck by it. It means that many, many times in the last two years I have unslacked enough to write down some thoughts, experiences, or information...

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Posted by betabug at 21:36 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
14 January 2007

Longboarding the Coast Line

From Kalamaki to Faliron

I was in Kalamaki (my old neighbourhood from way back) today, helping Manos with setting up a streaming server [1]. On the way back it was already dark, but nonetheless I went down to the coast. I had some difficulty to pass Poseidonos Avenue (Sunday evening traffic already coming in), but then I was rolling on my longboard along the waterline, passing by the fancy yachts, then on to the promenade...

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Posted by betabug at 22:47 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
15 January 2007

Date Calculations in Shell Scripts

Keeping 3 days of backups...

Let's say we are dumping a database into a file for backup purposes. We want to keep 3 days of backups around. We could of course rotate the filenames (similar to what newsyslog does: basename.gz, basename.0.gz, basename.1.gz). But we want to backup the directory to a remote host using rsync - and renaming the files would mean to transmit all files with each remote backup. A better naming scheme is to use names with dates, like basename_20070115.gz. That way names don't change and rsync doesn't retransmit yesterday's file. The problem then is that we have to delete backup files older than 3 days. We need a way to calculate dates in a shell script...

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Posted by betabug at 23:26 | Comments (13) | Trackbacks (0)
19 January 2007

Literarisches Mischmasch, sogar in Indien

Stories überall!

Die letzten Tage war ich mit einer leichten Erkältung nicht so ganz auf dem Dampfer. Was also besseres tun als zu lesen? Am besten gleich alles durcheinander: Wenn ich im Bus zur Arbeit fahre, lese ich "Eragon" von Christopher Paolini (so eine Art Tolkien-Verschnitt, leicht ins schnulzige abdriftend, schon mal gelesen aber lange genug her, dass ich mich nicht mehr an alle Details erinnere), wenn ich vor dem Computer sitze lese ich zwischendurch in Rudyard Kiplings "Kim" weiter. Schlussendlich lese ich von Vangelis Hatziyannidis "Vier Wände" auf Griechisch ("Οι τέσσερις τοίχοι"), allerdings brauche ich dafür etwas mehr Konzentration.

Als ich gestern ein paar Seiten in Kiplings Buch las passierte etwas seltsames. Auf dem #zope irc channel kam jemand vorbei mit ein paar Fragen wegen etwas was in seinem Code nicht funktioniert. An der Art seiner Sprache schien mir etwas seltsam und ich wusste nicht, ob das dran lag, dass ich grade Kiplings altertümliche und indisches Englisch nachahmende Sprache gelesen hatte. Ich hatte das Gefühl als wäre ich noch halb im Buch. Schliesslich schaute ich per /whois nach, woher er kam und siehe da... aus Indien. Was für ein Zufall.

Ich nutzte die Gelegenheit, ihn zu fragen, ob er Kiplings Buch für Quatsch hält, oder ob er denkt dass es zumindest etwas mit Indien zu tun hat. Er meinte dass Kipling ein uraltes Indien beschreibt, dass Indien sehr vielfältig ist ("India is too diverse to describe in one book.") und dass ich doch vorbeikommen und es mir anschauen sollte. Da hat er wohl recht.

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

Vroom, vroom!

Up north we go

We are on our way. The Graphics Garage team is on the road to northern Greece, where we will spend the weekend at Plastira lake.

I'm sitting in the backseat of a small Opel, meditating about german car makers and their inability to produce a backseat where one can sit on. In other annoyances the keyboard of my p910 is not lit and the ride is too jumpy for the 'toothpick and onscreen keyboard' routine.

But life is fun, as is travelling!

Posted by betabug at 18:50 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
20 January 2007

Waking Up To a Summerish Lake

Beauty and warmth

It's incredible that this is January. I woke up to strong sunshine on my bed.

It's warm outside, like spring. The climate change is upon us. Out of the house where I slept there is this view of the lake of Plastira.

Now I'm drinking mountain tea with everybody from the garage sitting around chatting. Next thing should be a fine walk somewhere in the forrest or to the lake.

Posted by betabug at 12:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)


Frische Luft und grün

Nach dem Frühstück gings los zum Spaziergang. Eine Gruppe ging zum See runter in Richtung Staudamm, während ich mit einer kleineren Gruppe nach oben Richtung Aussichtspunkt loszogen.

Der Aussichtspunkt wird im Sommer zur Feuerwacht benutzt. Wir bogen irgendwo falsch ab und weil nicht alle wandergewohnt waren schafften wir es nicht bis ganz oben.

Trotzdem hatten wir Aussicht bis zum Olymp und Pilion. Es war shön mit frischer Luft im Wald zu laufen. Ich war froh meine Wanderschuhe aus der Schweiz mitgebracht zu haben. Morgen hoffe ich, dass wir noch zum See runter gehen.

Posted by betabug at 16:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 January 2007

Lake Sunday

Evening games, another walk, coming home

I'm back home, a bit tired, but happy for a well spent weekend. Saturday evening we stayed at the hotel, occupied the restaurant and played silly games. This morning I wanted to go down to the lake, so after breakfast I asked around for people to join me. Everybody was tired or uninterested, but Debbie (who had gone up to the mountain group with me the day before). So the two of us went on, found the path to the lake and walked a good length on the shore line. If I hadn't gone down to see the lake I would have missed something. Lake pictures coming tomorrow.

We came back to everybody packing up and leaving. Most of us went for another long lunch, then we went on the road back to Athens. The ride was fast and uneventful, traffic not as thick as I had feared. Went home the last hop with the Metro, back in the thick crowds of the city.

Posted by betabug at 23:18 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
23 January 2007

Scheduled Downtime

Server will move again

We will have some scheduled downtime at and, because I will attempt to move the server to his proper location again. The server will be shut down on Wednesday 2007-01-24 around 17:00 (GMT+2) and should arrive at his proper home and go online again on Thursday 2007-01-25 around 21:00 (GMT+2). There will be no web or mail service (or any other of the stuff the machine does) during that time. Backups are taken care of. Thank you for your patience, please knock on wood and cross your fingers.

Posted by betabug at 18:11 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 January 2007

Gezügelt - here we go again

Server move worked out

Moving the server machine worked out today. I had started out Wednesday evening, went from Athens to Markopoulos, next morning to Munich, and that evening onwards to Ulm. I was still shell shocked from my last experience with the failed upgrade of the G3, but this time everything worked out nicely. DNS for might take a while to update everywhere, otherwise everything is working as expected.

Posted by betabug at 02:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 January 2007

Two Days in the Cold

What happened so far

Thursday morning my friend Panos had given me a lift to the airport, where I boarded the flight to Munich. With me I carried a big cardboard box (provided by my friend Thanassis), which sheltered my "new" PowerMac G4 server on the way to his new home. I expected lots of trouble with taking this on as luggage, but neither the Airport, nor Lufthansa had any problems. In Munich we transported the box through snow and ice to Eleni's place, where I had some time to relax, before we went on the next adventure: Getting the box to Ulm, and seeing if it would start up...

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Posted by betabug at 16:18 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 January 2007

Back from Munich

A few pix

Now that I'm back from Munich, I got some pix from my phone cam for your pleasure, two of them show my server, while the third one show's Munich with the snow already melting...

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Posted by betabug at 23:47 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
30 January 2007

Lake Plastira Pictures

A view on the water

Last weekend the Graphics Garage Team went on an excursion to Lake Plastira (Λίμνη Πλαστήρα) in northern Greece. I took some pictures (with my usual crappy phone camera) and made some of my (again usual) panorama pictures...

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Posted by betabug at 12:23 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
31 January 2007 online

Eine weitere ZWiki Website
Screenshot Website

Seit ein paar Wochen waren wir am vorbereiten, jetzt mit meinem frisch gezügelten Server hat es geklappt: Die Website vom Restaurant Drahtseilbahn in St.Gallen ist online unter Die Website hat bereits einen kleinen Bestand an Seiten, angelegt um nach und nach zu wachsen. Technisch gesehen basiert sie auf Zope und ZWiki. Das führt dazu, dass ich sie ohne zögern in die Hände von Ruth und Urs (meinem Vater) zur weiteren Inhaltspflege übergeben kann. Tatsächlich hat den aktuellen Inhalt bereits mein Vater eingefügt, ZWiki zu bedienen ist halt angenehm und einfach.

Die Lösung mit ZWiki ist für mich gut, weil sie ein paar der klassischen Probleme angeht, die entstehen, wenn man "für jemanden" eine Website macht...

Continue reading " online"
Posted by betabug at 21:33 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)