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01 March 2007

Umzug demnächst

...und auch sonst echt geschafft

Wenn man durch die letzten Tage auf diesem Weblog schaut, dann könnte man der Meinung sein, dass ich mich nur noch mit Zwiki beschäftige und ansonsten viel freie Zeit haben müsste. Ist aber nicht ganz so: Letzte Woche hatte ich beschlossen, endlich eine neue Wohnung suchen zu wollen und ich konnte meine Mitbewohnerinnen überzeugen. Kurz drauf eine Wohnung gefunden, am Sonntag haben wir den Vertrag unterschrieben, das ging echt schnell. Umzug ist demnächst...

Continue reading "Umzug demnächst"
Posted by betabug at 14:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
04 March 2007

Week's Preview: Busy

Moving week

The preview for the coming week says that I will be pretty busy. Me and my flatmates, we're moving to a bigger (and nicer I believe) appartment. I'm looking forward to a lot of work, packing, cleaning, carrying, that kind of stuff. The new place is worth it. We get one more room, for the same rent. My own room will be a little smaller. But since I'm next to the living room, I'll just hop over when I want to stretch my feet on the sofa. One reason I wanted to get a bigger appartment is that now friends can stay for a few days when they come to visit here in Athens.

Living in Greece is special in this respect: It's a vacation country. Athens itself might not be the first choice vacation spot, but it improved a lot in the last years, now it's interesting and cool for a city trip. So it happens that friends and familiy come to visit or pass by on the way to their vacation destinations. Now with the extra living room we will be able to provide them with a couch-bed. And some privacy, since the living room can be closed.

Posted by betabug at 21:31 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
06 March 2007

Greece on Wireless

Come in, we're open!

Another big Yay! to my boss, I got a new MacBook [1]. Armed with this one and its built in Airport card, I checked the wifi nets both at my old and new place... wow, has Greece changed in respect to the Internet...

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Posted by betabug at 09:14 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
09 March 2007

Box Moving

...or playing with new computer

I should be putting stuff into cardboard boxen, instead I'm using every opportunity to do something else. Playing around with my new computer definitely counts in that category and is way more fun than preparing for moving to the new apartment. Yesterday evening I found out that the macbook runs the Zwiki unit tests in 17-20 seconds, even on battery and in "Better Battery Life" energy saving mode. Did I mention that the battery life is fantastic, even considering that the battery is new? I haven't yet done anything with the machine that really taxed it. But the test install of Plone [1] is a good indicator: The machine is so fast that Plohn pages load almost at acceptable speed! Now back to stuffing things into cardboard...

1: Yes, Plone sucks and I wouldn't touch it with a stick. The reason is simply that I need this install for Zwiki debugging and testing.

Posted by betabug at 22:27 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
11 March 2007

Born to Screw

Scew it!

Tired, that's what I am and moving hasn't finished yet, the tough part comes today. Yesterday I dismantled my bed, which is a huge metal affair that lets me sleep "upstairs". Lots of screws to unscrew. Funny how my years spent in a motorcycle repair shop prepared me for this: I never have to think in which direction to turn a screw, no matter which 3-dimensional position it holds against me. Unless of course I start to think about all this, at that moment I get totally stuck and won't remember which way to turn even if I think about it.

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

Schlepp Dings

Umzug geschafft, ich auch
Kisten beim Umzug

Uff, das gröbste ist geschafft... und ich auch. Wir sind umgezogen und ab heute in der neuen Wohnung. Wie man sieht steht momentan alles noch in Kisten rum. Es gibt also noch genug zu tun, aber wenigstens ist die Schlepperei vorbei.

Einen "neuen" Kühlschrank haben wir heute auch noch gleich abgeholt. Waschmaschine gabs in der Wohnung schon. Jetzt mach ich erstmal eine Pause und dann werden die wichtigsten Sachen ausgepackt.

Posted by betabug at 13:22 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
13 March 2007

The Writing on the Wall

Ping my mind

Even though I've worked in advertising for some years, there are some pieces of advertising that really annoy me. For example the poster for "tap dogs" (a musical? a dance show? whatever...) at a lot of Athens bus stations. I didn't like the poster from the start, and it's there for ages now. Can we have something a little bit more intelligent, or at least a new one once in a while?

On the other hand, while trying to find the shortest path from the new appartment to work this morning, I walked through a street that has an anarchist graffiti about every second or third house. Now, I'm not a houseowner, so I don't know if those would annoy me if they were on *my* house. But that street sure had some interesting thoughts. "We haven't had so much football and cops since the military dictature" - that sure pings my mind. Could it really be? Wouldn't it be logical, with all the student demonstrations lately. There sure is a lot of football lately too.

Posted by betabug at 09:59 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
15 March 2007

The Joys of Being Offline... and UTF-8 mutt

Offline except for my trusty GPRS connection of course

One of the less comfortable results of the move to the new appartment is that I currently don't have an Internet connection at home. I could force my way into one of the wifi networks around here, but I won't (and the one that has been completely open has been slightly locked down lately).

So I'm back to my trusty Bluetooth/GPRS connection, well known since my island days. It's a nice reminence for the moment. I hope Vivodi won't break their record in waiting time to get us an ADSL connection. Today I had a phone call from them, someone who worked on my application had a question. Still meditating about this being a good or bad sign.

Yesterday I had copied some Zwiki issues to my laptop, and was sitting all the evening on the new sofa, hacking and investigating along. Sadly most of the issues were just old stuff that should have been closed a long time ago, nothing for me to fix. I started with some other, bigger stuff, but sometimes it would be nice to be able to look up something on the web.

Part of my "diet Internet" setup is using mutt for mail. It's *way* more economical for bandwidth, and of course nothing beats a terminal window in userfriendliness (assuming the terminal decides you are its friend). Yesterday at work I had downloaded the tarballs for mutt and... drumroll... ncurses. Mac OS X has ncurses already. But I wanted to try build mutt with ncursesw, that is with "wide-char" support. Whenever I try to build software while offline I invariably miss a library and have to stop till I get a connection to download it another time.

This time everything worked. And it worked very well, my mutt does Greek in UTF-8 everywhere now. Displaying messages properly in the pager, subjects in the message listings... everything as it should. I'll try the same thing on OpenBSD next.

On Mac OS X (10.4) I built ncurses / ncursesw like this: ./configure --enable-widec --prefix=/usr/local and then I went on to build mutt with this incantation: ./configure --with-curses=/usr/local/include/ncursesw --enable-pop --enable-imap --with-ssl. My is set up for UTF-8 (as described in other posts on this filty blog, see "Best Of").

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

Exceptions, PGP, and Athens by Night and Bike

Weekend in new appartment

Yesterday I worked some more on Zwiki, sitting on the new sofa, hacking on the new laptop. Even though I didn't get out much, I enjoyed the good weather in the new, shiny and light apartment. My main target was reducing the "blanked" except-clauses. Catching exceptions in the code is a good thing, but only if we catch the specific exceptions that reasonably might happen. Moving forward on that topic.

pop bar in Athens

Also I made some progress with the PGP seminar I'm preparing for HelMUG. I had started writing up for this two months ago. Now I reread what I had said, decided it's all boring and not up to standard and started anew. I'm done with most of it now, but still have to fill in some blanks. Also need a lot of corrections in the Greek text.

After all that "work" in the evening I went out with libero (of HelMUG fame). We rode on his Vespa across town. Athens by night on a bike is always a special experience. Driving between rows of cars to be the first on the traffic light. In difference to the 1980's we're wearing helmets now. Modern times. We rode to a bar called "Pop", near Ermou / Agios Markos. There we had a drink (or three) and enjoyed the good music. Before going home we picked up a meal at a 24h restaurant near my place. Nice way to end a good day.

Posted by betabug at 15:01 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
19 March 2007

Generating Tags for Python Code (including Subfolders)

Another of those Unix / Shell "reminder to self" posts

If you want to create a "tags" file for use with vi / vim (or even emacs [makes sign of cross]), there are a couple of tools out there. ctags(1) comes with most modern OSs, but it doesn't do python. So hint 1: Use the script that came with your python distribution [1]. To build tags for all python files in a directory the usage is something like: *.py

Hint 2: If you want to build tags for all python scripts in a folder hierarchy (say for some project) you can use:

find -X . -name \*.py -print | xargs
These of course assume that you moved to somewhere in your shell's $PATH. Hint 3 would be the -X argument to find(1), it's a safety switch that tells find(1) to ignore filenames xargs would choke on.

1: If your system has python but doesn't have, download the matching tarball from, just untar it and find it in the contents (Tools/scripts/

Posted by betabug at 08:53 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
20 March 2007

PGP Talk for HelMUG

An introduction to encryption on email using PGP / GPG

Yesterday evening I was with citylop (of HelMUG fame) at the Dasein in Exarheia. We were going through my notes for a PGP Talk which I will be giving for the Hellenic Macintosh Users Group HelMUG. We also signed up for the Dasein's event room. The talk will be on Sunday, April 22nd (13:00 at the Dasein). The official invitation and a signup form are forthcoming. The event will be free - maybe we will let a hat go round in promotion of the user group - but participants will likely have to sign up in advance.

I will hold this talk in Greek. Yes, that's right. The betabug speaks Greek, even though giving a complete talk in that language still scares the hell out of him. You can bet that I will rehearse a couple of times.

Motivation for this is at once that I take a masochistic pleasure in public speaking (preparation is usually so bad that I swear each and every time to never do it again, but giving the talk is really fun). Also we want to get a series of talks going in promotion of HelMUG, to further spread the word that there is a Mac user group in Greece and that it's good for Mac users here to unite and help each other. So someone has to make a start!

Oh, about the talk. It's titled something like "Introduction to PGP - protecting your privacy in email". I'll give a very basic introduction to the why and how to encrypt and sign your mails. It's not going to be a workshop where you install software yourself (maybe another time), but rather an occasion to get a simple introduction to what you can do, even if you're not a tech-head.

Posted by betabug at 20:15 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
21 March 2007

Back when Steve and me presented the iMac

Those where the days
Me and Steve Jobs presenting the new iMac back then...

While slowly moving my digital stuff to the new MacBook, I came across this old picture of mine. Man, those where the days. Now I'll be giving a talk about PGP for HelMUG (see previous post), back then I presented the new iMac together with Steve Jobs. Next time I'll be sure to wear some flowers in my hair too when I come to San Francisco! (As usual, click on the image for a bigger view.)

Posted by betabug at 12:19 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)


Reden wir über das Wetter

Schon komisch wie der Frühlingsanfang "nach Kalender" dieses Jahr mit dem Wetter-Frühlingsanfang zusammenzufallen scheint. Obwohl es die letzten Tage windig war und etwas abgekühlt hat riecht es anders und die Luft "fühlt sich anders an". Dazu kommt noch, dass es mir immer schon gefallen hat, wenn es stürmt und windet. Als ich heute aus dem Büro kam, musste ich sofort an Urlaub denken. Liegt wohl dran, dass das Büro nicht allzuweit vom Meer entfernt ist und da kommt vielleicht mit dem Wind etwas unterschwelliger Meeresgeruch mit.

Posted by betabug at 21:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
24 March 2007

A Story of Workarounds and Bugfixes

Footnote here

I like bugfixing. No idea if it's my nickname that's at fault (the nickname was there before my appetite for bugfixing), but I also seem to have some success with it. Sometimes it can get a nice twist. Take for example this problem Zwiki had in rendering footnotes in RST pages: It looked like we would need a workaround in the code to make the problem go away, a special case with extra checks, bells and whistles. I took the plunge into the code and started looking for where to apply that...

Continue reading "A Story of Workarounds and Bugfixes"
Posted by betabug at 10:57 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
25 March 2007

Ημερομηνίες και άνθρωποι

...και μπριζόλες στο τζάκι

Δεν θα θυμάμαι ποτέ πια μέρα γιορτάζει ποιος. Ημερομηνίες γενέθλιων σχεδόν τα ίδια χάλια. Το ότι γιορτάζουμε την 25 Μαρτίου δεν το ξέχασα, αλλά είναι εύκολο, αφού ονόμασαν την γιορτή με την ημερομηνία. Έτσι και αλλιώς πιο πολύ μου αρέσει να γιορτάζουν τους ανθρώπους. Χτες για παράδειγμα ήμουν στο σπίτι του Πάνου. Είχε καλέσει παλιούς φίλους του, έψησε μπριζόλες στο τζάκι και καλοπεράσαμε. Διάφορα ενδιαφέρουσα...

Πολλοί φίλοι του "από τότε" έχουν παιδιά τώρα. Θα μπορούσα να κάνω στατιστική με ηλικίες, αλλά φτάνει να πω ότι μερικά ήτανε περίπου ένα μέτρο σε ύψος και τρέχανε, αλλά οι περισσότεροι ήταν σε μέγεθος που τους κουβαλάνε ακόμα συνέχεια (αν δεν τους πάνε σε καρότσι). Ο τόπος λοιπόν είχε γεμίσει παιδιά, αλλά το "volume" ήταν σε επίπεδο λογικό ακόμα, μέχρι σχεδόν το τέλος όταν είχαν κουραστεί και αύξησαν τις εκπομπές. Σημειώνουμε ότι το βρέφος που μένει σε κάποια αγκαλιά και διασκεδάζεται με διάφορους τρόπους από μπαμπάδες και φίλους μένει σε καλή διάθεση για πολύ χρόνο.

Για να φτιάχνει κανείς μπριζόλες στο τζάκι είναι καλό να έχεις όχι μόνο σχάρα αλλά και μερικά τούβλα να μπορείς να σηκώσεις την σχάρα ποιο ψιλά όταν η φωτιά είναι πολύ έντωνη. Μια μπριζόλα που φαίνεται καλή απ' έξω αλλά είναι ωμή μέσα, μπορεί να γίνει καλό φαγητό όταν την βάζεις την επόμενη μέρα στο φούρνο. Όταν είσαι ο μόνος που πίνει ούζο είναι πολύ εύκολο να ξαναβρείς το ποτήρι σου, ενώ όταν είσαι ένας από όλους αυτούς που πίνουν κρασί, άντε να ψάξεις.

Σήμερα παρ' όλο που είναι γιορτή δεν έκανα πάρα μια μικρή βόλτα στο πάρκο. Και η ξεκούραση είναι κάτι ωραίο.

Posted by betabug at 17:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 March 2007

Zwiki 0.59 RC2 is out... test, test!

A lot of bugfixes

Over the weekend Simon has released Zwiki 0.59 RC2 over at It's been a while since there was a Zwiki release, so this one contains a lot of bugfixes. Some of the bugfixes are relevant to making your fight against the spammers and vandals who haunt any "open" wiki a better fight. We also have a few select new features, like "If-modified-since" handling (aka "conditional HTTP GET", or "304") to reduce traffic and server load, and sortable views of the issue tracker.

This is a Release Candidate, so please download and test it. Don't be afraid of testing though: The code is already running on, my own wikis and a few other places, so it's stable enough. We also need all translators to look through RC2. The final 0.59 release is due April 2.

Posted by betabug at 09:56 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 March 2007

Zope in Greece Meetup

Who's out there?

On Thursday I will meet with a couple of people who are also doing Zope stuff in Greece. It will be just an informal meetup, going out for coffee basically, maybe looking at examples of what people are doing. The interesting part is that many of us felt like they are the only one's doing Zope stuff here. So a little getting in touch could be fun.

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Posted by betabug at 21:06 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
30 March 2007

FloCafe - Starbucks 1:0

Greece wins in wifi and hospitality

Yesterdays Zope meetup showed one interesting result: The outcome of the "wifi battle" of Greece's cafeteria chain FloCafe against the imported Starbucks chain ended with an easy win for FloCafe. Starbucks has been offering wifi Internet access for a long time now, but charging 6 Euro or so per hour is no defense against plain free wifi access at the wifi newcomer FloCafe. Coupled with good old greek hospitality the result is clear...

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Posted by betabug at 12:29 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)