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01 June 2007

Updated "Other Weblogs" Listing

See them by date

When you take a close look at the lower right of the main weblog page, you will maybe notice that the "Other Weblogs" listing has changed. I used to list the first 3 entries from most of the other blogs I'm reading, but each in its own little list. The problem with that was that sometimes authors would stop to write on their weblog and I started to move things in and out depending on that.

With the new "mini planet" (a Zope product btw) I've hacked up over the last few days, the first 3 entries of each blog are mixed into a big list, sorted by date. Seems to me to be a good compromise between showing the less active but still interesting blogs, but not loosing track of what's moving. Comments welcome!

Posted by betabug at 16:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
04 June 2007

Something to write home about

Travelling to Munich and St.Gallen

Saturday morning I woke up early and took the morning flight to Munich. I slept all through the afternoon, then we went to a student party, where everybody talked about music. I declared Montepucci to be my favourite opera composer (that resulted in a bit of confusion) and met some friends of Elenis I had only heard about. Next morning we took the train to Switzerland.

Over here it's nice and green. It rained a couple of times, all the other times the weather can't quite decide if it should give us clouds or sun, cold or warm. We went to see the library of the convent of St.Gallen (Stiftsbibliothek), where they showed us some books that were about 1200 years old. Tomorrow we will make a trip by train to the mountains.

Posted by betabug at 22:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
07 June 2007

Mountains and a Lake

Grisonia and Lake Constance

Tuesday morning we woke up early and took the train to Grisonia (Graubünden), one of the mountainous cantons of Switzerland. We had thought about getting my fathers car, because the trip would have been a bit shorter. In the end, going by train proved to be a nice idea, much more relaxed and much easier to look out of the window. In Chur (the capital of Grisonia) we changed trains to go to Ilanz, a small city in the mountains with a beautiful old walled city ring. The ride up there through the canyon of the river Rhine is wonderful.

Up there we met with friends and family, enjoyed stories, food and drink. We went on by car to Laax to visit with more family. On the way back we took that ages-old traditional transport, the swiss postal coach (Postauto), then we went back by train down the Rhine's wide valley.

Public transport in Switzerland is very nice - if it weren't for the prices. If you live there, you can buy a pass that is valid for a year and cuts prices in half. But for a visitor, the prices are truly breathtaking.

On Wednesday we did a bit of chocolate shopping in St.Gallen, said good bye to everybody and went on the train back to Munich. We left the train again in Lindau on Lake Constance (Bodensee). Lindau is the bavarian stronghold on the lake. The oldest part of the city is built on an island in the lake (connected with dams and bridges for trains and cars). We had a stroll around and a good look at the lake. The weather was very sticky and warm, even though it was mostly cloudy. After our little excursion we took the train to Munich where we arrived just in time to shop for dinner and for todays food (since today is public holiday where shops are closed).

Posted by betabug at 14:14 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
10 June 2007

Bier im Zug

Alkoholismus oder so?

Einer der Eindrücke, die bei mir während meiner Reise nach Deutschland am stärksten eingeschlagen haben, war die Szene in einem Regionalzug irgendwo zwischen Lindau und München. Der Zug hatte sich an jedem Halt erneut gefüllt und überfüllt. Des öfteren stiegen Leute ein, die Bier mit sich führten. Letzten November als ich in München war, hatte mich schon beeindruckt, wie junge Männer in der Strassenbahn Bier tranken, etwas was man sich zuhause in Athen gar nicht vorstellen könnte. In diesen Regionalzug war jetzt ein junger Mann eingestiegen, der neben seiner Tasche noch drei grosse Bierdosen balancierte. Niemand hatte komisch geschaut. Etwas weiter hatte ein anderer junger Mann vier Bierflaschen in der Tasche, er selber trank zwei, sein Mitfahrer machte nach einer Schluss.

Es war kurz nach vier Uhr Nachmittags. Etwas weiter sah ich dann mit Erstaunen, wie auch ein Grüppchen älterer Zusteiger je eine Bierflasche in den Zug getragen hatte. Der ganze Zug schien zu saufen, ich könnte noch mehr Fahrgäste aufzählen. Ich glaube jeder kennt die Statistiken, die aussagen, dass Deutschland den höchsten Pro-Kopf-Konsum an Bier hat. Da bin ich also im Zug gesessen und sah die Statistik in "real time" aufblinken.

Die Art wie die Leute ihr Bier in den Zug getragen haben beeindruckte mich auch. Es war weder die Aussage von "ich bin ja so ein böser Junge, ich trinke hier Bier", noch "Bier trinken ist ja so cool", für mich hatte es mehr nach einem alltäglichen Alkoholismus ausgesehen. Die Aussage war für mich "mein Leben funktioniert immer nur leicht angetrunken; wenn ich in diesem lauten, ungemütlichen Zug zwei Stunden verbringen muss, muss ich trinken".

Posted by betabug at 14:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
11 June 2007

The Blue Containers

Recycling revisited

They have arrived while I was away. I had already seen them for some time in more central parts of Athens, but now that I returned from Germany, I found them in my neighbourhood too: The blue containers for recycleable waste. They came together with a letter from our mayor, a little brochure, and a special bag (to collect such waste, not clear if the bag goes into the container too, maybe I should read the brochure). This means that our household will be able to dispose of some things in a manner that is more soothing to the ecologically aware mind...

Continue reading "The Blue Containers"
Posted by betabug at 10:01 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
12 June 2007

Smoke Booth

Inject substance here
smokers booth in Munich airport

No, pictured in this mellow photo are no phone booths. What you see here, is the smokers corner in the Munich airport gate area (notice the "cigarette sign" on top?). Each nicotine addicted person is entitled to their own glass cage, probably well separated from each other, as not to raise any mistaken ideas of social behavior.

The cabins must have ventilation or some kind of vacuum cleaner sucking up the fumes. Still I noticed them from the cold smoke smell while walking by. No ventilation can be good enough. Good that I am a non-smoker.

Posted by betabug at 09:28 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Cover Quotes Insults

Anybody ever buys a book for *this*?

Currently I'm reading "Pattern Recognition" by William Gibson. Got it in Switzerland in a moments decision when I saw it in a bookshop, really like it of course, though I'm not through yet. While I'm reading it, I wonder about the cover quotes. Cover quotes seem to be by law stupid and meaningless. But I wonder if something like "Races along like an expert thriller" on a Gibson novel should really be taken as an insult. So, it's just "like" an expert thriller? Is it almost as good as that "whodunnit" by that "expert" guy who pushes out 4 crime novels a year? The other quotes are almost as confused and stupid as that. Why do book publishers think they need that?

Posted by betabug at 09:44 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
13 June 2007

Bunker Wanted

Hacking for fun and fulfillment

A few weeks ago, r0sk (of #bsdcow, his blog is in the list) wrote about something they call "bunker" over there in .es: A few people coming together for an evening to hack on something, be it something useful (someone's pet project) or just taking something apart, seeing how it works (and maybe getting it back together). As I came home from work yesterday evening it occured to me that this is *just* what I would need here.

Continue reading "Bunker Wanted"
Posted by betabug at 10:19 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
14 June 2007

Potatoes for Art

art athina exhibition
art athina entrance

Old news from before my trip: I had visited the "art athina" exhibition together with Thanassis (McKellaris) of HelMUG fame. It was one big circus of galleries showing off "their" artists works of art. I believe that everybody should try to make their own sense (or nonsense) out of modern art, even if I could, I wouldn't be anybody's guide. But there was at least a *bit* of something interesting, with potatoes and apparently some old fashioned censorship...

Continue reading "Potatoes for Art"
Posted by betabug at 10:35 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
17 June 2007

Code on the Go

Because spaghetti are nourishing too!

Is it just me? I like to write code while I am in public transport. Back in Switzerland, I used to commute by train, 1.5 hours each trip. A large part of that was in a clean, comfortable, and stuffed to the last place intercity train. I was often sitting there with barely enough place to move my elbows, but hacking away on my laptop (first a PowerBook 1400, a little later a Titanium PowerBook G4). I wrote most of the code for the SMS chat at STAR TV Switzerland like that.

On Saturday I flew back from Munich to Athens. I was a bit tired, not all too happy (not because of coming home, but because of that other story, personal, therefore not on the blog in public) but there I was, happily hacking away on a little Zope product (the one that lists the "other weblogs" on my blog's main page), extending little bits and ends on it.

I've noticed that I'm not doing equally well on whatever kind of hacking task I attempt while coding on the go. Debugging or writing tests doesn't work so well, and I probably wouldn't attempt to design some boring and solid system. But fleshing out some new feature, or driving through some new functionality by clicking in lines of new code, that works just fine (even if it sometimes results in a bit of spaghetti code). It's the kind of job where I am happy to leave in a comment "# TODO: add code to check these input values here". I'll come back to clean up these things later, the drive on the drive is getting the first line down on digital canvas.

Update: some of the post was missing, added all the text after "even if it sometimes results..." just now.

Posted by betabug at 01:12 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
18 June 2007

Tribüne am Meer

Für die andere Fankurve
Tribuene in Falliron am Meer

Gestern abend auf meinem Spaziergang der Küste entlang, bin ich auf diese Tribüne gestossen. Die steht da mit direktem Blick aufs Meer. Es sassen auch Leute drauf, die sich das Meer angeschaut haben. Im Meer ist nicht etwa eine Bühne aufgebaut oder so was. Vielleicht hat eine Regatta stattgefunden, ansonsten entzieht sich mir der direkte Sinn der Tribüne. Aber cool ist sie trotzdem, Aufgang A, Reihe 3 mit direktem Blick auf die Wellen!

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

Your Papers!

A surreal scene overviewed

On my Sunday evening walk along the coast between Falliron and Kalamaki I came across a surreal scene. It was evening, the sun was just setting behind Pireus in a burst of orange and pink light. The promenade was full of families with little children taking a walk, and people who had spent the day swimming and sunbathing at the beach and who were now heading home. I passed by a couple of men from (judging by what I could grasp from their talk) Romania, who had been at the beach. They were walking towards the Kalamaki tram station. Suddenly there popped up a policeman in the middle of the flow of people...

Continue reading "Your Papers!"
Posted by betabug at 16:38 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
19 June 2007

Awaiting Laurie Anderson

Under a pine tree

Lying under a pine tree, looking up at the sky. Hearing fragments of music wavering over from the rehearsal at the ancient theatre Herodion Attikis.

Lauri Anderson is performing tonight. I'll be there, with friends. I'm much too early, came right from the office. Now I have time for a nap in the shade.

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

Laurie Anderson at the Herodion

A great concert, with some stupid distractions

I really enjoyed the concert yesterday evening. Laurie Anderson makes music that left me (and I think most of the audience) in a meditative state of mind. We listened to a lot of the lyrics, had a good chuckle from time to time on some of the sarcasm and politics, even picked up the odd message. Towards the 2nd part of the concert, when the music turned to quieter songs, we would have wished for easier seeting, something to recline and cushion into. 1800 years old marble is a spiritual venue, but it makes for hard benches on your ass (with a thin cushion).

Continue reading "Laurie Anderson at the Herodion"
Posted by betabug at 12:36 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 June 2007

European Music Festival

All over town

Looks like the European Music Festival is on again, with concerts all over Athens (and some other places too) every evening till Saturday. Here is a program of concerts in Athens. The weather is fine, so let's see how much fun we can scoop up!

Posted by betabug at 16:09 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
25 June 2007

Ein Athener Wochenende

Sonntag abend, zurückdenken

Freitags nach der Arbeit bin ich gleich ins Zentrum gefahren. Verabredet war ich mit Alexandros zum Europäischen Musikfestival schauen gehen. Getroffen habe ich in schon in der Metro, so Zufälle gibts. Ab Syntagma war dann erstmal wenig los. Kurz nach Sieben spielte eine Heavy Metal Truppe aus der Schweiz auf, namens "Green Fairy". Sie spielten ganz gut, schmissen auch nett beim Headbangen mit den Langhaaren um sich. Nur die Nachmittagsstimmung passte nicht ganz dazu, es war einfach noch zu hell fuer Heavy Metal. Die nächste Band war nicht so das Wahre und so zogen wir weiter, auf der Suche nach dem nächsten Spielort. Den fanden wir aber nicht, denn dort war das Konzert schon vorbei. Dann eben in ein Cafe auf was kühles zu trinken.

Den Samstag hab ich mit Schlafen, Lesen und Gesprächen verbracht. Die neue Wohnung (naja, so neu nun auch nicht mehr) ist nicht allzu heiss, da kann mans schon mal aushalten. Dazu habe ich meinen Ventilator so montiert und justiert, dass ich die ideale Luftzufuhr bekomme, wenn ich auf meinem Hochbett meiner Siesta fröhne. Wer braucht da schon eine Klimaanlage? Die hatte ich dann doch noch, wenigstens für die heissesten zwei Stunden: Da wir immer noch kein Internetz zu hause haben, hab ich mich ins Internet-Cafe verzogen, mit zugehöriger Tiefkühlung. Beim rausgehen war die Hitze draussen richtig angenehm.

Sonntags dann aber ans Meer! Ab nach Voula, wo eine meiner Mitbewohnerinnen eine Connection mit einem ruhigen Strand hat. Endlich mal baden... ich muss gestehen, dass das für dieses Jahr mein erstes Bad im Meer war. Hat wirklich gut getan. Danach haben wir noch einen Spaziergang an ein kleines Kap gemacht. Und dann zurück nach Hause. Dabei ist mir mal wieder klar geworden, warum ich kein Auto habe: Am Sonntag abend in die Stadt zurückfahren macht einfach keinen Spass. Im öffentlichen Verkehr kann man sich fahren lassen. Auch wenns theoretisch länger dauert, ist es einfach weniger stressig. Und wer will schon sein Athener Wochenende mit Stess abschliessen lassen?

Posted by betabug at 15:02 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)

Die Hitzewelle

Thermometer oder so

Jaja, es ist heiss hier. Hitzewelle oder so. In Elefsina sind 46 Grad Celsius gemessen worden, während die Nachrichten hier davon berichten, dass in Athen die Temperaturen 40 Grad übersteigen, für Dienstag wird der Höhepunkt der Hitzewelle erreicht. So tragisch ist das für mich nicht, ich scheine die Wärme gut zu vertragen. Bin heute morgen aufgewacht, weil ich vergessen hatte in meinem Zimmer nachts den Vorhang aufzuschieben, da wurds heiss. Mal kurz den Ventilator angemacht, dann gings schon besser zum weiterschlafen.

Die NZZ berichtet derweil "1987 waren bei einer ähnlichen Hitzewelle, die damals zwölf Tage dauerte, rund 1500 Menschen ums Leben gekommen"... Liebe NZZ-Journis, lasst euch gesagt sein, das jetzt ist *nichts* im Vergleich zu 1987. Die zwei Wochen im Sommer 1987 kann man nicht so einfach beschreiben, das war eine der Gelegenheiten, wo die Natur gezeigt hat, wo der Hammer hängt, oder "wo der Heiri den Most holt", wie man in der Schweiz sagt.

Ups, bevor ichs vergesse: Mein kleines Wetterbild (rechts unten) scheint etwas aus dem Takt gekommen zu sein. Es liegt so einiges daneben bei der Temperatur die da grad angezeigt wird. Dafür ist es aber schön bunt :-)

Posted by betabug at 15:17 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 June 2007

Going Home is Hot

Moving without moving

Usually I take one bus and then walk 10-15 minutes to get home. Now with the heat wave in Athens I try to do without the walk. I take the bus, switch to the Metro, then take another bus. Takes longer, but less heat. Today I walked into the Metro station and they had no power. There was reduced light on and the passengers were informed that trains would be "a couple minutes late". The "end of time" athmosphere indeed lastet only a short time, then full lights came on again.

A minute or two more and the train came. It took me along, wondering what would happeen if power failed again with me in there.

Due to the heat wave electricity consumption is at a record high. We're half expecting a blackout. We're also being asked to save on energy to avoid that. Indeed at the office all unncessary lights are out and at home I follow the same line.

In other news, temperatures should start to drop any moment now. Fine with me, for now we've seen enough of those 44-47 degrees C.

Posted by betabug at 22:15 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
28 June 2007

The Good Thing about the Heat Wave

... because everything has a good side to it!

The Good Thing(TM) about the heat wave here in Athens is of course that... now we can talk about the weather without feeling like a total bore - it's exciting! (It also appears a few degrees less hot today, very nice.)

Posted by betabug at 08:45 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)