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01 February 2007

Messed Up my Antispam Settings

Shut out everybody - sorry for the confusion!

This afternoon I had a big run of commentspammers hammering the site like crazy. I had to stop them, so I went and blocked their user-agent string. But doing that I made a small mistake... the result was that all the world got shut out with a 403 error and a message claiming that they weren't human. I'm sorry for the confusion! The error is corrected now (you can read this), and I hope it won't happen again.

Posted by betabug at 23:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
03 February 2007

North Bound Again

...Larissa ...Thessaloniki

HelMUG weekend now. Saturday is a board meeting in Larissa, so I'm sitting in the car with fellow Mac people theogood, argp, and stefanos. It rained in Athens this morning, but we drove into the sun and blue sky.

Driving on the national road reminds me of childhood vacations, driving through a landscape flooded with light. Watching the olive trees by the side of the road, spotting a glimpse of the sea from time to time.

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

Board Meeting in Larissa

Organize me!

Here we see 3 members of the current board of HelMUG in Larissa: Argyris (argp), Theofanis (theogood), and me (betab...ut you knew this one).

Before we went down to the bureaucratical work of going through the financial paperwork with last years board, we enjoyed a stroll through the city of Larissa. A nice place with lots of pedestrian areas and spaceous "plateies".

Right now I'm back in a car's backseat, en route to Thessaloniki.

Posted by betabug at 22:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
04 February 2007

HelMUG @ Clocks

Meeting in Thessaloniki

The HelMUG meeting in Thessaloniki has started. We're sitting in the cafe "clocks", chatting about Macs and (i)Phones.

Next thing will be the new years cake. Jocker has assembled some prices to give away. We're about 20 people till now.

Posted by betabug at 16:50 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
05 February 2007

Wieder zuhause in Athen

Streik, Regen, ... alles da!

Heute morgen um 6:30 kam ich mit dem Schlafwagenzug aus Thessaloniki wieder hier in Athen an. Geschlafen habe ich zwar schon, aber als kleines Mitbringsel einen Krampf im Genick mitgebebracht, so eine Zugliege hat halt schon nicht den nötigen Bewegungsraum. Ansonsten funktioniert der Nachtzug wirklich gut, fährt pünklich ab, kommt pünktlich an, sauberes Bettzeug. Und mit Ohrenstöpseln kann ich dann auch halbwegs schlafen.

Am Bahnhof in Athen war grosser Markt der Taxifahrer. Ein Pulk von denen wartete wie die Geier auf die Zugspassagiere. Ich dachte "was soll denn das, jeder der sich halbwegs auskennt nimmt doch die Metro" und stiefelte mit einem übernächtigten Grinsen Richtung U-Bahn. Pustekuchen: Streik von 6 bis 9 Uhr, heute morgen keine U-Bahn. Also weiter zu Plan B, denn einen gierigen Taxifahrer der 3 oder 4 Fahrten in seine Taxe presst und dann auch noch ein "Extra-Trinkgeld" rauszuschinden versucht, das muss ich mir nicht freiwillig antun.

Zum Glück kenne ich mich aus, hab ja schliesslich mal ganz in der Nähe des Bahnhofs gewohnt. Abmarsch durch den Regen in Richtung Patision-Strasse. Nach 5 leicht feuchten Minuten bin ich an der grossen Strasse die sowohl am Politechnion als auch an der Athener Wirtschafts-Uni vorbeiführt und auf der die Linie eines (heute nicht streikenden) Busses verkehrt, der mich direkt nach Hause kutschiert. An solchen Kleinigkeiten merke ich dann schon, dass ich hier inzwischen zuhause bin. War auch mal wieder schön meine alte "Nachbarschaft" zu sehen. Jetzt bin ich - nach einer heissen Dusche und einer weiteren Busfahrt - wieder an der Arbeit.

Posted by betabug at 11:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
06 February 2007

MacMade - το e-zine του HelMUG

Η kseni ετοίμασε το τεύχος 3!

Χτες βγήκε η καινούρια έκδοση του e-φυλλάδα του HelMUG. Το MacMade περιέχει άρθρα για το πρόσφατο Keynote του Steve Jobs, προγράμματα, Games, και πολλά άλλα. Έχει και ένα δικό μου κειμενάκι μέσα, το οποίο το μετάφρασε ο Στέφανος με την Jill. Πιάστε το σε μορφή PDF από ένα mirror κοντά σας!

Πάρα πολύ μου άρεσε ο τρόπος που φτιάχτηκε το καινούριο τεύχος. Για πολύ καιρό δεν είχαμε MacMade, κυρίως γιατί η Dina (aka kseni στο HelMUG) ήτανε απασχολημένη αλλού. Πρόσφατα το ξανασκέφτηκε και ρώτησε στο φόρουμ Εθελοντές για κείμενα. Εγώ της είπα για 2 κείμενα (το ένα έδωσα, το άλλο περιμένει μετάφραση...), και πολλοί άλλοι πρόσφεραν βοήθεια και (πιθανών με πολύ δουλειά από την πλευρά της Dinas) ένα-μισό μήνα μετά το έχει έτοιμο και ο σύλλογος μπορεί να προσφέρει e-zine ξανά! Αυτό που μου άρεσε είναι ότι η ενέργεια δεν ήρθε "από πάνω κάτω", δεν έλεγε το ΔΣ "πρέπει να κάνουμε κάτι" και έβαλε τους άλλους να τρέχουν. Η ενέργεια ήρθε από τους μέλους και το ΔΣ απλά βοήθησε τους μέλους να δημιουργηθεί κάτι ξεχωριστό.

Posted by betabug at 09:13 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
07 February 2007

Phishing National Bank of Greece Customers

A glimpse into the pit

This morning at work I was greeted by a phishing mail (nothing rare) but in Greek - a first for me. The phishers are attempting to get people click on links labelled "", apparently the homebanking site of the National Bank of Greece - which will then take them to a site with a korean domain. In the mail message is the usual spiel about "you need to renew your login data". The message itself is quite "real" looking, with only a few "phishy" details...

Continue reading "Phishing National Bank of Greece Customers"
Posted by betabug at 09:46 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)

Restored Pictures on Weblog

Probably *all* back now

After the breakdown of the G3 back in November there were a handful of pictures missing on this weblog. They had been "falling into the hole" between the last backup and the machine failure. Today I had the simple idea to look for them on the machines where I had done the image editing... duh. Life can be so easy when you think of it and yay! for being a packrat sometimes. Also yay! for keeping backups in the first place, they're what had saved the other 99% of my ass. The month views for October and November look so much better now. Those were some really nice pictures missing.

Posted by betabug at 19:16 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
08 February 2007

The Children of men

A tough book by P.D. James

When I came back from Munich I had run out of books. So I went to a bookshop at the airport and looked what I could get. What I got was "The Children of men", from P.D. James, which had lately been turned into a movie. It's been a tough book for me and I can't imagine any sane Hollywood movie coming out of it...

Continue reading "The Children of men"
Posted by betabug at 09:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
09 February 2007

Ouch... another Server Outage

Got stuck

The rough times keep coming in. This morning I wanted to check my mails and couldn't connect to Looks like the machine got stuck somewhere after midnight. Lucky me, someone of the helpful people from IN-Ulm came by and rebooted the box a couple of hours later. As for the reason, there was nothing useful in the logs, it looked like the machine had just frozen up at that time. Very bad, especially as this has happened before, right after the server move. I was *very* gloomy in the morning due to this, my mood improved during the day though.

I'm now getting the system to an up-to-date OpenBSD -stable (for those who know what that means :-), maybe that helps. If not I will at least need something that lets me remote reboot the box, or look into other hardware. Besides, I should stop taking my hobby server so serious.

Posted by betabug at 17:58 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Laibach in Concert

Let stone break

Went with Panos to the concert of Laibach at the Fuzz club in Athens. Laibach is a band from Slowenjia, playing dark music in the industrial, electro direction.. Someone on wikipedia described them as Rammstein for grownups.

The current piece is incredibly loud. Almost bearable - I am of course packing earplugs. Apart from that the music is interesting and good.

Posted by betabug at 22:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
12 February 2007

Wish You Were in Athens

Pink Floyd in Zografou

This weekend I've been listening a lot to "Wish you were here" from Pink Floyd. That album I had been listening to as a kid, when I was very, very young, at the very edge of my ability to remember things. Must have swept into my subconscious there, as I seem to know most of the tunes and riffs to a strange level. It's like driving on a road where I had driven many, many times before (but a long time back) - I seem to remember every turn and pothole, but only ever in the last instance or even after the fact. Still I like the record a lot and have been listening to it on the way to work this morning.

Listening to Pink Floyd while walking from Zografou to the bus on Vassilissis Sofias is a strange experience. Spherical guitars as backdrop to the weeks market with the smell of oranges and earth (smells are very intensive right now, because it had rained all yesterday and the night). Walking through traffic jams to "welcome to the machine", right.

Posted by betabug at 09:08 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
13 February 2007

ADAE / ΑΔΑΕ are you listening?

So... this Solaris telnet exploit tells us *what* about Vodafone?

It was forever and a day ago that I wrote about rumours about a telnetd root Backdoor in Vodafone's Ericsson Systems. Now like a puppy peeing on an old carpet, around comes this gem from the 80s: Solaris Telnet 0day or Embarrassment. Apparently a "hole" of embarrassing simplicity is still there since the 80s in the telnetd on Sun's Solaris systems, enabled by default.

No, I don't know if Vodafone and/or Ericsson has these Solaris based systems configured with telnetd left open. But according to said rumour I highly suspect it. Frankly I believe that these people have no interest whatsoever in the privacy of their customers. Maybe the phat fine Vodafone will likely have to pay will change that, but I doubt it. More likely it will just make sure that the next time something like this happens, nobody won't say a word.

Don't get me started about "closing access to telnet on the perimeter firewall" and "telnet should be fine on a secure network". Can anybody make sure that all of Ericsson's and all of Vodafone's employees are trusted on the level of their top system administrators (even the guy they send around for getting coffee and watering the plants)? So, ADAE are you listening?

Posted by betabug at 10:47 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
14 February 2007

ZWiki Code Contributions

Doing a start

Yesterday I started to look more into contributing patches and bugfixes to ZWiki. As I start to feel more confident in Zope hacking, I feel I can maybe contribute something for the first time. So yesterday I went through the steps on the page, installed darcs and set it up. Easy. Sent in my first patches too.

Instant gratification: My patches appear on the "zwiki repo summary page". Browsing through that commit list made me want to contribute even more. ZWiki is such a great product and so far it's all been Simon's work, blood and sweat! He really could use more contributions!

Posted by betabug at 21:15 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
15 February 2007 offline, awaiting backup

Crossing fingers, looking for future solutions

The host of (and with it all the wikis on are currently offline due to technical problems. To me it looks like filesystem corruption (about the only thing that can bring a ZODB to its knees). Simon requested restoration from a backup from his provider after trying all kind of things. We'll have to wait for that now...

In the meantime we can meditate on how much of a community service and really are providing. Simon currently has a very small hosting plan, so I'm thinking about finding ways to get together the means to upgrade to a bigger plan (see his provider's VPS plans), Simon currently has VPS-1, which is really tight for such a big and busy Zope site. Getting him to put on VPS-2 would be the fastest and simplest solution. Ideas?

Posted by betabug at 10:12 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0) is back!

Only a few edits lost

Thanks to Simon and his provider (and thanks to regular backups - you're doing yours, right?) is back online. We've lost a few edits that happened in the hours from the last backup to the problems. That's bad, but not as bad as a full desaster would have been. Thank you Simon for all the work you are putting into this community thing!

Posted by betabug at 21:58 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
17 February 2007

Saturday Night Parade

Patras Carnival

It's time for the carnival! Here I am, dancing right through all the Saturday parade.

We're dressed as white and red clowns, very stylish complete with white gloves and umbrellas. (I balanced my umbrella whenever I needed a break from dancing).

Now we're out to party!

Posted by betabug at 18:50 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 February 2007

Send in the Clowns

Patras Carnival Day 2

We're getting ready for Sunday's parade. A few minutes and we will be dancing an even longer course than yesterday.

Party here we come!

Posted by betabug at 13:50 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)


Fertig aber lustig

Uff, geschafft. Wir haben auch die (grössere) Parade vom Sonntag am Karneval in Patras durchgetanzt. Stimmung war nochmal viel besser als gestern.

Anstrengend ist die Sache schon, drum spannen wir erstmal etwas aus. Heut abend geht es dann mit Party und Feuerwerk weiter.

Posted by betabug at 16:50 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
22 February 2007

Rembetiko im Goethe-Institut

...und als nächstes Souvlaki mit brauner Sauce

Statt gestern abend endlich die Bilder vom Karneval in Patras aufs Netz zu stellen sind wir ausgegangen. Im Goethe-Institut wurden Filme von Angela Milonaki gezeigt. Danach spielten die "Mourmourakia", eine Rembetiko-Truppe, die wir aus München kennen. Der Abend war ganz interessant...

Continue reading "Rembetiko im Goethe-Institut"
Posted by betabug at 09:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Zwiki Bugday this Friday?

Anybody in to smoke out those little buggers?

Got some "free to play" time at work (yay my boss!). This Friday (tomorrow) would be a nice chance to make a Zwiki bugday, like Simon used to organize a few times. Anybody in for it? I would be at it from 10 in the morning till 18:30 in the Afternoon (GMT+2).

The is full of stuff that needs sorting out. Even if you don't know much Zope/Python programming you could help by going through the issues, try to reproduce them, add instructions how to reproduce them and feedback into the comments. If you *do* know python/zope hacking, patches, comments, hints are of course welcome!

So, what do you think? Join us at #zwiki on, comment on or or leave a comment here!

Posted by betabug at 11:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
23 February 2007

Zwiki Bugday Fun

...but tired

I'm done with my part of the BugDay and Frank went home too. We have so far closed 13 issues and opened 1 new one. A lot of "oldies" have been closed after failing to reproduce them, but we also got patches for some issues into the darcs repository.

I started the day with something a little bigger (#1299 getting Zwiki-in-Plone to do mailout again) and rounded it out with smaller stuff. Quite often all I had to do was to implement and test existing patches or the patches Frank gave me and put them into darcs. Zope hacking is fun.

Now I'm really tired but happy! Good bughunting to Simon and whoever lends a hand to continue the bugday!

Posted by betabug at 18:42 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 February 2007

Someone Smashed my Car!

Gotta take the bus now :-(
Someone smashed my car

Update: It was a joke, I don't own a car... see comments below

Look what I saw this morning when I came out of my home: Someone had smashed into my car (that was parked on the corner, should have taken it into my parking, but it was late when I came home from the club). There wasn't even a note saying "sorry" or something, no phone number, anything. It's not as much that I'll have to run for the insurance company now, but I'll be forced to take a taxi or (gasp!) the bus to get into town!

I wonder if it's worth to fix it at all, I mean, who wants to drive a sportscar if you know it had looked like this before? Maybe better buy a new one right away.

Posted by betabug at 10:22 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
28 February 2007

Zwiki "Conditional HTTP GET" handling

On on

Today a new development version of Zwiki code went online on (and related sites). This version has the ability to handle "If-modified-since" based "conditional HTTP GET" requests. The result? A bunch of much, much snappier Zwiki sites.

Based on my previous work on my COREBlog, I had hacked 304 handling (as "conditional HTTP GET" is often refered too, after the 304 status response the server may send back) into the Zwiki code. There are even setup instructions online. Links with more explanation about "conditional HTTP GET" at the end of that page. It's really easy to do in Zope, standard "Image" objects even do this out of the box.

The RFC says that the server "SHOULD" implement "conditional HTTP GET" using ETags together with If-Modified-Since. But I believe for Zwiki it doesn't make sense to implement that, since calculating a checksum on the page would require the page to be rendered for each request. That's exactly what we try to avoid to steer clear of the limited RAM problem on The "Last-Modified" time is cheap to get and works fine most of the time.

Simon also made some changes to the ZEO and ZODB cache setup on the site. All together, the result is that the sites on feel much faster. This is in part to the browser taking pages from cache, and also in part to the overall load on the server being reduced.

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