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01 November 2007

Zwiki Bunker

Hack the planet... what else?

My spanish friends r0sk and Wu coined the term "bunker" for a couple of hackers getting together and working/teaching/learning together on some topics till late in the night. Had the first Zwiki bunker here now... still tired today. What happened? Yesterday evening tralala (George Tellalov) came over to my place so we could do some work on a new plugin for Zwiki. What we were trying to do is build a proper plugin, following the functionality of the TaggingPrototype from John Maxwell.

It's been a long time that I had the chance to do some pair programming. It was great. tralala is an extremely capable python programmer. I hope I was able to give him some pointers on the Zope and Zwiki related stuff (and some links into using darcs). Looks like I have some reading up to do in the python department :-) e.g. this unifying types and classes thing. I'm so behind the times.

Unfortunately the solution evaded us in the last moment. It was all set up nice and cool, but something got stuck in the Zope innards. The tagging stuff itself is no big deal, straightforward. But we were also aiming at providing a proper hook system for plugins to register snippets of html to display in the wiki interface. tralala found an elegant solution, it's just not working with Zope yet. Stay tuned!

Posted by betabug at 09:30 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)

feedparser media:title problems

Then there's a workaround...

For some days, some of my "other weblogs" feeds had displayed something funny in some of the entries. For example the titles of Adamo's posts were shown just as "adamo". Turns out there is a little bug in the python feedparser module... it's already a submitted issue, that the media:title tag is misparsed as title. For me this happened with two feeds from Wordpress blogs. The workaround was to use the atom feed instead of the rss feed, as described on the MiniPlanet wiki page.

Update: There's even an unofficial patch for the issue. I haven't tested this one yet.

Posted by betabug at 18:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
04 November 2007

Greek what?

What are these people searching for?

Could anybody explain to me what "Greek Moves" are? There seem to a good number of people searching Google for this term and finding the Greece Moves Forward To the Past in Informatics post - which is a nice and important enough post in itself, but I guess has nothing whatever to do with that term. Looking at this term in my logs for some months now, it spiked my curiosity. What do they mean?

Of course now this post will pop right to the top of the results for that Google term. Maybe I should have obfuscated the term in question to avoid Google picking it up. Or if you came here searching for that term, could you post a comment and explain what it is you're looking for?

Posted by betabug at 10:01 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)

Ah, c'est jolie!

Babylon in grün!

Die letzten Tage gings bei mir zuhause multi-kulti zu. Meine Mitbewohnerin hat Besuch aus Frankreich. So finde ich wiedermal raus, wie wenig oder wie viel Französisch ich noch versteh - und vor allem spreche. Am Anfang hatte ich doch tatsächlich noch leichte Hemmungen zu radebrechen, sonst gar nicht mein Stil. Dann kam am Donnerstag der Panos vorbei, der selber grad Französisch lernt, der hat die Gelegenheit genutzt: Lieber drauflosreden und was lernen als dumm rumschweigen! Hab ich mich doch gleich angeschlossen.

Bei mir ist das Problem eher, dass ich einige Wörter konstant mit dem Griechischen vermixe. Ging mir schon länger so, vor Jahren hatten mich mal französische Touristen in Kalamaki nach dem Weg gefragt, da hatte ich dann den sprachlichen Mixer auf Hochtouren laufen. Das hat sich heutzutage etwas gebessert, wie ich jetzt feststelle. Liegt vielleicht daran, dass sich wenigstens mein Griechisch etwas gefestigt hat. Wenn die Mädels untereinander so richtig losquatschen ist es allerdings schnell vorbei mit dem Verstehen. Aber schön anhören tut sich's wenigstens :-)

Posted by betabug at 10:20 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
05 November 2007

Visit to a Rainy Acropolis

Have a view from the top

Living in Athens means that I have the privilege to go and visit the Akropolis from time to time. I'm there in under an hour from home. The entrance fee is a bit hefty, but between 1st of November and 31st of March it's free on every Sunday (see official Acropolis info). So yesterday up I went. The day was cloudy, dizzy, with an occasional rain shower here and there, and the sun sending a rare ray through from time to time...

Continue reading "Visit to a Rainy Acropolis"
Posted by betabug at 10:24 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
06 November 2007

MiniPlanet, a Mini Feed Aggregator for Zope

Released fresh from the tar presses!

Here it is: a minimal planet for collecting the RSS (and atom) feeds of blogs and other sites you are reading, and for showing them off to your visitors on your Zope site. Want to see an example? Just look at the lower right corner of my weblogs main page, there it is.

This thing has been in the making for a while, but that just means it's already in production use for a while too (here and recently on Wu's blog too). In the last week or so I've cleaned it up, added a couple more features and tests and release documentation.

The code tries to write to the ZODB as little as possible. It uses BTrees for almost everything, follows If-modifed-since headers (actually it uses feedparser, and feedparser does that). It's also optimized to use only very little screen space... it's a mini planet.

Get it from the MiniPlanet release page (with download link) on my wiki!

Posted by betabug at 20:51 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
07 November 2007

Old Code

Hey there, nice to see you!

Just now I went to fix a little bug I had in one of the oldest pieces of code I wrote in this company. It's like seeing a family member I haven't visited for a long time. It made me think of "back then" when I started here. How long ago that was, how nervous, unsure of myself I was, but also how happy I am here. The code isn't really that great, I was out of touch with hacking for some time back then.

But then, that piece of code does a good job if you take the crufty bits aside, there is some elegance in there. I will give it a cleanup soon, and it will be with loving care, none of that "I hate this old code I wrote, lets just rip it all out and write from scratch". The idea of that code has proven to be very successful, let's go for something of a family reunion.

Oh yes, that bug. It's gone. Was gone in no time actually, I still know my way around in that code, and it was kind of obvious were the bug would be sitting.

Posted by betabug at 15:22 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
08 November 2007

Cables cut: OTEnet (and HelMUG) Offline

Cuts the mustard

Since this morning 11:00 the HelMUG server had been unreachable. Net traffic in all of Greece was sucking real bad, at times I had packet loss of 90% in getting abroad. Apparently optical cables were cut in two places at once: in Κάστρο Βοιωτίας (Kastro Viotias) and Χιλιομόδι Κορινθίας (Hiliomodi, Corinth). Don't ask me where that is. See the official announcement from OTEnet (in Greek). I don't know how much of OTEnet is out, but the OTEnet hosting in Thessaloniki is definitely not reachable.

Update: about at 17:00 connectivity was back to the HelMUG server.

Posted by betabug at 14:42 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
10 November 2007

Leïla Olivesi Quartet at the Institut Français


I was on a jazz blind date yesterday. When my flatmate mentioned going to a jazz concert at the Institut Français, me and Panos didn't ask long and agreed to come for a listen. We didn't know what we would hear. Even when we arrived at the Institut and met some of my flatmates friends, nobody knew who was playing. Man, we were in for a surprise...

We went in to the hall, and it was a big room, almost like a cinema. Wider, but with chairs like in a cinema. It wasn't really what I would want a groovy jazz concert to be in. I mean, no space to move and dance in. We settled down anyway. The place was filling up, a lot of young people too. A guy from the Institut spoke up, telling us how pleased they are about this concert and that there is good jazz all over the place, and there is good french jazz too, so here is some. He was right.

What we heard is the Leila Olivesi Quartet, with a grand piano, an upgright bass, drums, and electrical guitar. I don't know what label or classification is normally applied to their jazz. To me it's a very groovy, cool but dreamy sound. The electrical guitar reminded me a lot of some Pat Metheny tunes, but the overall sound was wider than that.

I appreciated the comfy seat, leaned back and enjoyed the tunes. It's music to dream away, let the thoughts wander and the alpha waves flow your brain. Just enough tension and spikes of action to keep you awake. There was this moment when every desire to go on in time stopped, I just wanted to let this moment hang around.

The concert did end at some point. No idea how long we listened. We went out and moved from Kolonaki to Exarheia, were we had dinner at the "Fasoli".

Posted by betabug at 20:25 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
12 November 2007

Jazz Drawing

Another lazy sketch
Bass and Drums from Leila Olivesi Quartet at the Institut Francais

In the midst of Friday's jazz concert at the Institut Français (listening to the Leïla Olivesi Quartet, see last post) I took out my notebook and started to draw the bass player. It was almost too dark to see what I was doing. My fingers did not seem to have had a problem, they were guided by the music.

When I was "done" with drawing the bassist, I was happy to draw a rough outline of the drummer too. I think the sketch got even more wild there. I tried to get the drummer's grin in, but I don't think I succeeded. In the end (when the light came back on), the drawing looked acceptable to me. It's not my usual style at all, but I like it anyway :-)

Some of the bassist's posture is reflected in the drawing, which brings back the evening in my mind, and that's all it takes. As usual, click on the thumb for a bigger view.

Posted by betabug at 09:55 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)


Sags doch schnell per Telefon

Manchmal sitze ich im Bus und dann fallen mir einfach so Worte ein. Heute "fernmündlich", d.h. "per Telefon". Ich glaube nicht, dass ich grad jemanden telefonieren gesehen hatte, aber vielleicht kam die Assoziation ja verzögert, telefoniert wird bei uns im Bus genug. Also eben, fernmündlich gesprochen...

Continue reading "Fernmündlich"
Posted by betabug at 22:24 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
13 November 2007

Stupid apache adds Content-type to 304 Replies

Now that we fixed it in Zope...

Last weekend I upgraded my Zope to profit from the bugfix for the 304 responses should not have Content-Length header issue. Funny enough, my pages were still setting Content-type headers for those empty 304 responses. I was ready to blame Zope, until I noticed that my local test instance didn't do it. In fact Zope doesn't do this at all, but as soon as you place it behind apache, apache 1.3 will happily add the DefaultType content-type to empty replies. Don't believe me? It's easy to try it yourself. Also these tomcat people noticed the same thing - they seem to disagree on the reading of the RFC though.

So what do I do now with the Zwiki code that handles "If-modified-since" headers and 304 replies? Add the header back in, f* the RFC? What a mess. It wouldn't be so bad if some proxy servers and Safari didn't mess it up when they get a 304 with text/plain all of a sudden on a locally cached page.

Posted by betabug at 21:27 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
14 November 2007



Es hat gestern abend geregnet, es hat heute morgen geregnet. Ich bin warm angezogen und hab heut morgen einen Schirm mitgenommen. Manche Leute haben seltsame Vorstellungen, wie man sich bei Regen anzieht. So komm ich beim Büro aus der Unterführung und sehe da einen Typen stehen, mit einem neuen Handy in der Hand.

Er trägt eine warme Jacke, Schal, eine dunkelgraue, recht warm aussehende Hose... und blaue Flip-Flops. Ja genau, die offenen Plastik-Sandalen, die mit einem Band zwischen grossem Zeh und den anderen Zehen am Fuss halten. Was soll man da sagen?

Posted by betabug at 10:08 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
16 November 2007

Crêpes Party - French Culture 101

Eat and Party!

Yesterday's crêpes party was quite nice. It seems that breton crêpes indeed are special. They are much lighter, fluffier than what one gets here, and very tasty. We only had crêpes, no gallettes - didn't find the right flour (buckwheat) to make those. So we had apple mousse, honey, sugar (with or without lemon), Nutella, and marmelade to go with our "french pancakes" (if I'm allowed to make this crude translation).

Having good company in the house was fun too. As usual we had a babylonian mess of languages. The conversation going from Greek to French, to English, with a word of German sometimes.

I wasn't so sure about the actual concept of how a "crêpes party" works. It seems this just means that some people make the crêpes in the kitchen (one cook, the others for company), while everybody hangs out in the living room. From time to time the cooking team delivers a plate of crêpes to the party zone and all jump on the delicacy. I tried to lecture our guests about the dangers of eating too much (and volunteered to take some of the burden upon me), but they wouldn't listen. These were really good crêpes, you know.

Posted by betabug at 14:23 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
17 November 2007

The Duets - Brubeck and Desmond

Music at the Airport

So I'm early for my flight to wintery Munich today, wandering around the airport here. Boredom has me and I flip through the CD racks at the airport CD store. My eyes fall on a CD labelled "1975: The Duets - Brubeck & Desmond". It's about 7 Euro only (!) so I grab it. Digitizing it while waiting for my boarding to start... who needs plastic coasters anyway. Though the printed inlet is nice. And the music?

The music is just wonderful. Relaxed and dreamy, Paul Desmond and Dave Brubeck get along very well. I'm a longtime Brubeck fan, even seen the man play life with his band, which is an experience. Desmond describes these duets in the inlet text as

"...kind of mind-blowing. With just the two of us playing, an almost eerie feeling of freedom occured, which seldom happens when there are other instruments to be considered."

This feeling certainly is there to listen to in the recording. It's a record to play when you want to relax and flow away. I'm not yet at the point where I can distinguish the songs really, except maybe for "Koto Song" (which I also have on "Late Night Brubeck") and "You Go To My Head", which was recorded life on the cruise ship where the duet idea was born.

Posted by betabug at 14:56 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 November 2007

The Man Who Went Out To The Cold

Arriving in Munich
pic of wing in flight, evening sky

This picture is for Ovelikios from Athens Daily Photo who likes flying. Myself, I had a good flight to already wintery Munich. A good flight means a lot of space (a row of seats to myself), acceptable food (the airline didn't try to cook up something artistic, tortellini work even in prefab airplane food), no delays, turbulences, etc.

Highlight of the flight was the captain's introduction. He didn't just say hello, he described the flight route in detail, almost like a geography lesson. In the English version he said (paraphrasing from memory):

"...the weather in our destination is the usual misery of autumn in Germany: Overclouded, cold, foggy, with a sprinkling of snow."

All the plane was laughing. In fact when I came out of the airport building in Munich, I almost turned around: The temperature difference for me going from Athens to Munich was about 23º C. Shock! I'm staying indoors a lot. In fact I have much more problems with the dry air (especially in heated rooms), my nose and throat are not liking it and give me a hard time.

Olympia Stadium in Munich, seen from the Olympia Park

This afternoon we enjoyed some sunshine. We went for a walk in the Olympia Park. It looked like most of Munich had the same idea. Families, cyclists, joggers, people with dogs. All the usual suspects for a Sunday walk.

At one point I wanted to draw some of the architecture, so we sat down for a moment. Bad idea. The moment you stop moving, you freeze to death. The picture didn't went well, so here is a photo instead. If you can't draw, you better have a camera.

Posted by betabug at 17:33 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
19 November 2007

Working Away

Modern World

The first day of "working but not being in the office" turned out to be productive. Setting myself up took some time at first. I also found out, that our office with a proper office chair and desk is much more ergonomic than a corner of the gf's desk or a spot on the sofa. That was counteracted by a much more than average work motivation :-) It's cool to be able to be here and work!

At first I had to bring my laptop to work level again. A secure tunnel to my company mail, ssh-agent for company cvs access, bringing my local repo up-to-date, installing some packages I'd been missing, configuring my local testing setup (where the biggest problem was that I didn't have access to my bookmarks from work). It seems that it's been some while since I've been hacking company stuff from the macbook. A VPN would have been useful, if I get to do more "away working", I'll look into setting one up.

As for the actual work, for the moment I'm mostly cleaning up older code. Now that we've moved to Zope 2.9 and therefore Python 2.4, I'm replacing popen calls with the new subprocess module's Popen class. That stuff is much more flexible and it allows me to keep STDERR output out of the console. I'm also examining some of my older datastructures for stuff like I'd described in Quasi-Normal in Numbers - where an approach using BTrees saves a lot of memory and disk writes. It seems I'm getting more and more strict in these matters.

Posted by betabug at 18:32 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
20 November 2007


Jazz-Bar Vogler in Munich

Going out on Monday evening in Munich? You like good life jazz, but you are on a budget? I can recommend the Jazz-Bar Vogler near the Reichenbachplatz. We went there yesterday evening, payed just 3 Euro entrance fee, moderate prices for our drinks (and they have food till very late too). There's a trio of piano, upright bass, drums playing. Later some other singers, trombone, saxophone players joined in. The place is relaxed, so you can enjoy the music but also chat and just have fun.

I liked the music. At the start they seemed mostly to be jamming along (or maybe I just didn't recognize any of the pieces). Later I recognized some of the songs with the other musicians. I like the drum solo in one of the pieces in the first part a lot. It wasn't just rhythm and "banging on drums", there was something melodic to it. Even though the program said 'Blues-Jazz-Latin", we got only the Jazz part. We left early at 11, so maybe Latin and Blues came on later.

Posted by betabug at 15:08 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 November 2007


Hooking up a serial port to the server
serial port adaptor and "cybertool" swiss army knife

It's not good to talk to a dead server. But when your server is only almost dead, it might be possible to talk to it through a serial console. Apple's G4 computers never had serial ports built in, but there are products that let you exchange the modem with a "real" serial port. Wildweasel (of #bsdcow fame) got me one, and he also soldered me a suitable cable with his own bare hands (thanks wiwi!). Yesterday I finally set out to install it on my server. It was quite an adventure, but my server is still running (hey, you're reading this on it)...

Continue reading "Cereal-Killer!"
Posted by betabug at 18:02 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
23 November 2007

Hofbräuhaus... und Käse

"... die Herren sind ja grösstenteils Akademiker"

Was tut man als Tourist in München? Man geht ins Hofbräuhaus. Ich auch, und zwar am Mittwoch abend. Unten drin gibts die "Schwemme", da ist der Bär los und es wird jeden Abend "die Wiesn" gegeben für meine japanischen und amerikanischen Mit-Touristen. Blasmusik, lange Tische, Bier in Massen. Wir begaben uns nach oben ins Bräustüberl. Dort ist es auch bayrisch, gemütlich, aber eher ruhig. Es spielt ein Akkordeon und man isst sehr gut, zu moderaten Preisen. Wenn man die Lage (beste Innenstadt) einrechnet, sogar günstig.

Heut abend gibts dann Fondue. "Man hat ja nicht jeden Tag einen Schweizer im Haus." Ich habs ja schon einige Male gemacht, aber etwas Nervenkitzel ist immer dabei: Gelingts oder nicht?

Aus irgendeinem Grund hat sich dann die Frage gestellt, "bei welcher Temperatur schmilzt so ein Käse eigentlich?" Das Gesuche geht los... gar nicht so einfach zu finden. Laut Bundesamt für Landwirtschaft, Pflichtenheft für Vacherin Fribourgeous (.pdf) weiss ich nun, "muss [Vacherin] durch Zusatz von Wasser bei einer Temperatur von unter 48° C schmelzen". Wir haben zwar Emmentaler und Greyerzer, aber als Anhaltspunkt solls reichen. Solche Fragen sind sowieso gefährlich, siehe Tucholsky's berühmten Text Wo kommen die Löcher im Käse her?. Die Antwort darauf gibt's bei

Posted by betabug at 18:16 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
25 November 2007

Back from Foggy Munich

Much warmer already
Frauenkirche in Munich in the fog

Yesterday we had a stroll through the center of Munich. It wasn't the best idea to do that on a Saturday, with Christmas on the horizon. The city was stuffed with shoppers. Nevermind, we had our Rostbratwurst at the Naschmarkt Viktualienmarkt, shopped for some books, and had a good look at the symbol of Munich, the Frauenkirche. Well, we would have had a good look at that one, but the fog was hiding it. See the Rathaus in the picture, and behind it the towers of the Frauenkirche in the fog.

Woke up early this morning to take the flight back home. In Munich the weather report was having us expect snow, but instead the weather kept on steady with the fog. The flight home was nothing special. I noticed that it's nicer to have a half empty plane, with a row of seats to myself (like on the trip to Germany). But I already knew that sitting in a stuffed plane next to some complicated old ladies isn't so comfortable (like on the trip back to Greece).

The temperature difference upon arriving here was even more impressive. I was tempted to take off my sweatshirt. The buildings in Munich are somehow all so "inside-focussed". Few balconies, a lot of the balconies that are there are going to the inside, small windows, etc. etc. Here it's much different, with all the balconies around the houses. Well, I'm back. Just stowed away all my warm clothes again.

Posted by betabug at 21:25 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
29 November 2007

Χριστουγεννιάτικο Bazaar Ζωόφιλων

Καλό πράμα να έχουν αφίσα

Σήμερα το πρωί από το λεωφορείο είδα μια αφίσα για το επόμενο παζάρι του Σωματείο Ζωόφιλων στο Πάρκο Ελευθερίας: Σάββατο / Κυριακή 1.+2. Δεκεμβρίου. Είχα πάει εκεί πριν μερικά χρόνια, βρήκα κάποιο βιβλίο. Να δούμε αν θα βρω χρόνο το σ/κ.


Posted by betabug at 11:11 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
30 November 2007

Είναι έτοιμη η Ελλάδα για το Internet;

Ή καλύτερα να περιμένουμε λιγάκι;

<rant>Χτες και σήμερα κοίταξα λίγο τα moderation requests των mailing lists του HelMUG (Hellenic Mac User Group). Οι λίστες αυτές δεν είναι moderated, μόνο αν το λογισμικό υποθέτει να είναι spam το μήνιμα μας το κρατάει. Πολλά από τα συνηθισμένα λοιπόν, χαπάκια κτλ. - αλλά και μερικά που αλλού έχουν γίνει πολύ σπάνια πια: Γιατί πιστεύουν τόσοι μικρή επιχειρηματίες ότι μπορούν να στείλουν "διαφημιστικά email" (δλδ. spam) οπού θέλουν; "Προσφορές" για έντυπα, σεμινάρια, web sites, κτλ. σε έναν σύλλογο; Θα μπορούσα να πω ότι ηλίθιοι και άνθρωποι χωρίς ηθική υπάρχουν παντού - και μάλλον θα το πω αυτό για να κρατηθώ...

Continue reading "Είναι έτοιμη η Ελλάδα για το Internet;"
Posted by betabug at 09:59 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)