01 June 2008
Greek Oriental Fusion Jazz
A visit to the 8th European Jazz Festival
There probably isn't a Jazz festival anywhere with so many people and so
little Jazz. Don't get me wrong, the 8th European Jazz Festival is a
wonderful event. I went there yesterday evening with friends and I had a
great time and listened to some very good Jazz. But the first thought that
formed in my head was: "All those people do not really have any interest
Continue reading "Greek Oriental Fusion Jazz"
03 June 2008
Philip Glass and Leonard Cohen... coming to town
The book of longing and at the Terra Vibe
On the way to work, lazily looking out from the bus, I spotted a poster, something about Leonard Cohen and Philip Glass. Two of my favorite musicians, and as the poster mentioned something about Athens, and as I didn't manage to see much more, I went to search for that event. It turns out there is a concert of Philip Glass' music, based on Leonard Cohen's book "The book of longing". It's Philip Glass performing himself, with his orchestra, but it looks to me like Leonard Cohen won't be there (as he's on his world tour then). Still a great event! (More info at the site of the Badminton Theater or in English here by grhomeboy.)
I've seen Philip Glass perform La belle et la bête in Athens, so I can really recommend this performance.
Leonard Cohen himself will be playing in Greece too: On July 30th at the Terra Vibe (some big concert stage outside of Athens). No link or further info yet, appart from that world tour link given above.
What happened on June 2nd to Mail.app and port 993?
Give me a time out!
When I just had a glance at my web stats, I noticed a lot of accesses to an old post of mine about IMAPS setup: Please wait for Mail.app to time out suddenly getting lots of hits. Usually I know which posts still get attention, and if a not-so-interesting post starts to get traffic, it means a new kind of bot got through my defenses. Not so this time.
Apparently at about 2008-06-02 19:16 (CET) a lot of people started to have problems with Mail.app timing out on port 993 (which is for IMAPS, the secure / encrypted variant of the IMAP protocol). Since then google refers them (amongst other pages) to that weblog post of mine. Leaves me curious. What happened? Some Apple upgrade wrecked imaps? Some service (mac.com?) which is used mainly by Mac users had problems with imaps? Comments welcome!
Semi-update: graffic suspects the 10.5.3 update..., also I've added a picture to please the discriminating Mac user crowd.
05 June 2008
Web Developer wanted in Athens
What's with those PHP guys hiding?
My friend Manos (aka "scud" from HelMUG) is looking for a web developer. He's looking for a while already. I know him for a long time now and I know from experience that he's a serious guy to work with, so I can really recommend him. I've been to their new offices, which are very nice, close to the sea (ok, not really next to the sea, but close enough to be able to get to the sea for a stroll after work), decently reachable by public transport.
The job he offers is for someone for full time, working in their offices. They have various projects for clients and some of their own stuff. The catch: It's apparently mostly PHP. You can go and check out his JobAd (in Greek, on my wiki for now).
So what's it with programmers in Greece? Heck, PHP isn't rocket science! There ought to be some people around who know decent PHP (or other web technologies, personally I don't like PHP at all, but don't let that stop you) and are looking for a good job. But so far... no, he's still searching. There are lots of kids who know zilch, nothing out there. BTW: No, knowing "Dreamweaver" is not a substitute for knowing the underlying HTML and that's just one example of the kind of stuff he got. Anyway, if you are interested or know someone who might be, check out the ad (in Greek).
07 June 2008
For a few days now I've been hacking with Wu on a fun project of his. It's nothing too serious or even too useful, but that's not the point. For him it's a project to learn a bit more about Zope 2, while for me... for me it's just fun to show him how to do stuff clean and in "the right way" in Zope. (Yes, there's a lot of room to do things clean in Zope 2.) We're talking about simple stuff here, I sometimes wrote a patch between waking up and having breakfast. It's also not too serious, and the small scale gives me instant gratification.
Now looking through the patches one after another, I notice that they're a bit like an online course for an aspiring Zope programmer. I try to explain well what I did in the check in comments, as my target isn't writing a lot of code, but teaching through writing code.
08 June 2008
Hacking and Beach day
This is how life is meant to be
Went together with graffic to Panos place today for some computer time
and later for a visit to the beach. Panos was taking his ibook apart
to install a new hard drive, while graffic and me did a little Zope
teaching session and some look at distributed version control. Then we
drove to the nearby beach and went for a swim. The sea being a bit
colder than last week actually, were it takes a bit of perseverance to
get into, after a while and a good crawl it gets to be just refreshing.
After messing with Zope (how to install, a few basic
looks into creating a Product), we looked at some distributed versioning
system things. First we had a look at darcs, using it for our sample
Product, pulling patches from the repos we had set up on each other's
laptops. Then we watched Linus Torvald's talk at google (the one where
he says some bad words about subversion), which was fun.
We had arrived at around 13:00 and when Panos had the ibook assembled
(at a little after 18:00, those ibooks are a total PITA to take apart)
we took his car and went to the nearby beach for a swim. It's so nice to
go to swim towards the end of the day. OK, it's nice to spend a day at
the beach too, but if I have to choose between late afternoon / evening
or 11 in the morning, I'll prefer the late afternoon for the beach most
of the time.
Now that we're back I'm attempting to actually install git on my
MacBook. Naive as I am, I tried to download the source and compile it.
Pfff, the list of dependencies seems to be endless. Next was to search
for binary installer... no such luck, there is one but it seems to be
of the "try it, it might work" variety. Last try (as suggested by Bill
Clementson was to get MacPorts and use that to compile git. It worked,
but boy did it compile a lot of crap. I mean, haven't these guys heard
of the news that Mac OS X comes with OpenSSH nowadays? Even if they want
a newer client, what's this garbage they do, install a startup item for
Here I was, thinking that darcs is complicated to install, because I
have to install ghc, but that was actually easier to get than this
stuff. Something tells me that I won't be switching neither to using MacPorts nor to git...
09 June 2008
Shell fun: at(1) and leave(1)
Time is on your side!
Want to send a mail message at a pre-specified time? Want to be reminded when to leave from work? People have worked with the Unix shell for many years now and they have developed the tools to make things like that easy. Here is how to do these things with at and leave...
Continue reading "Shell fun: at(1) and leave(1)"
Fussball und Regen
Es ist Europameisterschaft im Fussball: In Athen laufen die Fernseher. Ich selber interessiere mich ja nicht wirklich für Fussball, aber ich hab mich mal erkundigt, was die Leute so denken. Schliesslich ist Griechenland vor vier Jahren Europameister geworden, gerade so als ich hier angekommen war. Was sagen die Experten? Also während Christos (Bürokollege) der festen Überzeugung ist, dass Griechenland beim Euro 08 ganz gross mitspielen wird, ist Stavros (vom Gemüseladen in der Nachbarschaft) nicht so überzeugt.
Christos findet, dass eigentlich nur die russische Mannschaft eine Gefahr darstellt, während Stavros sich bei der ganzen Gruppe lieber nicht zu viel Hoffnungen macht. Christos: "Wir kriegen das schon hin" - Stavros: "Was solls, wir werden ein paar Wochen Spass vor dem Fernseher haben, nicht so ernst nehmen." Das klingt doch ganz brauchbar.
Heut hats dann noch geregnet, was in nördlichen Gefilden vielleicht normal ist. Hier hingegen ist Sommer und im Sommer regnet es in Athen eigentlich nicht - oder nur in Ausnahmefällen wie heute. Das Resultat ist, dass sich die Strassen mit allem angesammelten Staub, Dreck und Reifenabrieb in Schmierseifenbahnen verwandeln. Auf dem Foto ist das ganz hübsch zu sehen.
12 June 2008
Shell fun: get reminders with calendar(1)
This is so obvious
Quite similar to my last, lame shell fun post (which mentioned at(1)), is the calendar utility. This thing (when your system is set up properly) will send you reminder mails for calendar events you write into a special plain text file. It can also remind you of upcoming stuff when you log into your system. calendar is ages old, but still very useful when done right, especially for us coder types, who don't have 25 appointments each day...
Continue reading "Shell fun: get reminders with calendar(1)"
13 June 2008
Patch fun: have a look
Wu's learning resource online
A few days ago I reported about Wu's "learning Zope product", where I helped out with patches and advice. In the meantime Wu has put some resources online: There's svn public access and a little project description on his trac (with instructions to get the code via svn).
Note that this isn't a full fledged, "production quality", working product, it's more something to look at and learn (and if you know better, send patches and improvements). If you want to learn, I suggest you follow some of the patches in the timeline - they're each like a small mini-lesson in Zope Product programming. There's one where we are putting in a Catalog, one where we start batching results, ... and whenever we find time we will add more.
The Privileges of Living in Athens
Areopagos, the Festival, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company
Even though there are a lot of people who complain about this city (ok,
sometimes with reason), there are really some great privileges that come
with living here. For example you can sit on the Areopagos (just outside
the doors of the Acropolis) in the evening sun, watch the tourist snap
photo after photo of the "rock" (nickname of the Acropolis), while
sketching mount Lycabetos on the other side of a sea of concrete. During
winter time you can even go and visit the Acropolis itself - the sight
is as beautiful as in summer, but it's not as hot.
Such a big city also offers some cultural events that are worth it.
Right now we have the Athens Festival running, with the most famous
venue being the Herodion theater. On Wednesday we went and watched the
"Paul Taylor Dance Company". Normally my policy with going to the
Herodion is very strict: I go there only when I'm 100% sure that I will
like the event, because sitting on marble (with a small cushion) is hard
on the "behind" and since you can't lean back, you have to sit all
straight up and after 1.5 hours your back will make itself known.
This time I was lucky: Despite not being much into dance, I liked the
show. The first part of the show was very graphic, very much flowing, with a very
good integration of the visual movement and the music (something from
Bach). Didn't like the 2nd part so much, while the 3rd was good again,
but not as great as the 1st. I also had luck with my seat: There was
no one sitting on the seat behind (and above) me, so I could borrow a
spare cushion and from time to time lean my back against the marble of
the next step.
The place itself is of course an experience each time. If you happen to
come to Athens at the time of the festival, give it a go!
17 June 2008
Shell fun: escape ssh(1)
Hidden channels of communication
This shell fun post really needs a hat tip to kargig for his SSH Escape
Characters post. I had read about ssh escape characters ages ago
and never considered them very useful. kargig's post inspired me to
experiment a bit more and finally (with a default setup that works for me
and 2 nice use cases for me) I start to like those hidden beasts...
Continue reading "Shell fun: escape ssh(1)"
24 June 2008
Θα τους το δώσουν;
Πέρι της ελβετικής "Landsgemeinde"
Συζήτηση με τον Πάνο για το Ελβετικό παλαιό σύστημα της Landsgemeinde. Εκεί πάνε όλοι οι πολίτες μιας κοινότητας να ψηφίζουν κάποια ζητήματα σηκώνοντας (ή μη σηκώνοντας) τα χέρια τους. Σε ένα μέρος (το Appenzell, γνωστό για ένα τυρί με πολύ δυνατή γεύση) είχαν σταματήσει να ψηφίζουν έτσι, αλλά τώρα θέλουν το παλαιό σύστημα πίσω.
Ρωτάει ο Πάνος: "και τι θα γίνει; θα τους το δώσουν;" Σε αυτό το σημείο με πιάσανε τα γέλια: "πολύ Έλληνας είσαι... αν θέλει η πλειοψηφία, όλα γίνονται, η ερώτηση είναι 'θα θέλουν να το πάρουν πίσω;'" Απαντάει ο Πάνος: "βλέπεις, εδώ η αντίληψη είναι ότι δεν υπάρχει 'δικό μας' και 'όχι δικό μας', εδώ εκλαμβάνουμε ότι οι πολιτικοί μας το παίρνουν και δεν πρόκειται να μας το δώσουν". Τι να πεις, δίκιο έχει και σταματάνε τα γέλια.
About Changes and Leaving
... and about quotes
Some good friends and some acquaintances who were here to study for a year are about to leave. Last Saturday we were sitting at a kafeneion, discussing about things, when one of the people there expressed something that I later found again in a quote from Anatole France:
Tous les changements, même les plus souhaités ont leur mélancolie, car ce que nous quittons, c'est une partie de nous-mêmes; il faut mourir à une vie pour entrer dans une autre.
from "Le Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard" and the same in an English translation:
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
I had found the English version somewhere in my collection of mail .sig(nature) files. Found a source for the original French quote on wikiquotes (full text of the book on Project Gutenberg in English translation). Being someone who lives (again) far from where he came from (a vague definition with me, as it is in itself far from where I was born), having left friends behind many times, I know this sentiment all too well.
25 June 2008
Blackout in Athens
Due to forest fire
A few minutes ago the power went out here in the office. Before that, there were some instants where the lights were dimming. Now we hear some building alarms outside. Traffic is still rolling normally, but I suspect in some areas there will be confusion when the traffic lights went out. Large areas of Athens (or in general the Attiki area) are without electrical power.
News sites report that this problem is due to a forest fire on mount Ymittos (as if we didn't have enough of those from last year). A power line went down there, despite "the anti-fire system having operated", as those sources say. They say the power failure will be on for a couple of hours.
In here it starts to get hot, as no power also means "no air condition". It also means "no work", since in our company (yeah, the link is dead right now) everything is done on computers... got to bring out the colored markers, scissors and glue soon.
Update 13:34 (14:34 in Athens GMT+2 time): power is back, at least for our area. The wait was much shorter than expected.
Τι μου θύμισες πάλι;
Μήπως τα είχαμε ξεχάσει; Αν ήτανε έτσι, το μπλακ άουτ τις επανέφερε πάλι στην προσοχή μας, τις φωτιές που είχαμε πέρσι ... και όπως φαίνεται, είμαστε στο καλύτερο δρόμο να έχουμε τα ίδια ξανά φέτος.
Μέχρι τώρα βλέπω μια διαφορά: Εκεί που πέρσι είδα 2 Canadair και το ρωσικό στον ουρανό της Αθήνας, σήμερα το απόγευμα είδα 4 Canadair την ίδια στιγμή (και μπορεί να είχε και άλλα). Επιμένουν, τους βλέπω ξανά και ξανά να επιστρέφουν στον Υμηττό και ο αέρας μυρίζει κηροζίνη. Μακάρι να κάνουν δουλειά γρήγορα. Μακάρι και να βάλαμε μυαλό σαν κοινωνία.
27 June 2008
Χωρίς λόγια... Γιατί τι να πω εγώ;
darcs match reminder
Usefull options: exact, date
I'm one of the happiest cows around ever since sm made me discover darcs when I started hacking on Zwiki. Lately I've switched to darcs at work too. For a long time there was one single task in the user interface that had me confused: Seeing the diff for one particular patch in the past...
Continue reading "darcs match reminder"
29 June 2008
In geheimer Mission
... durch die Wüste Gobi
Vor vielen, vielen Jahren fand ich in der Schulbibliothek ein Buch in
zwei Bänden, in dem zwei Jungen durch eine ferne Welt reisten. Ich
hatte keine Ahnung, ob das Buch einen wirklichen Hintergrund hatte (und
nicht erstunken und erlogen war wie die Schinken von Karl May). Trotzdem
gefiel mir das Buch sehr gut. Es hinterliess einen tiefen Eindruck bei
mir, ich erinnerte mich immer wieder daran, hatte aber Autor und Titel
vergessen. Im Mai stolperte ich dann in der NZZ über einen Artikel zu
einer Hörspiel-Adaption, deren Geschichte mir irgendwie bekannt
vorkam. Ich suchte auf dem Netz nach und tatsächlich, das war das Buch,
dass ich gelesen hatte.
Nicht nur das: Ich fand auch heraus, wer der Autor Fritz Mühlenweg
wirklich war und dass seine Bücher auf Tatsachen und persönlichen
Erfahrungen aufbauen. Wie üblich dauerte es noch eine Weile, bis ich
mich zum Handeln durchringen konnte, aber schlussendlich wollte ich das
Buch haben und wieder lesen. Da Eleni sowieso ein anderes Paket nach
Griechenland schicken sollte, war sie so freundlich und kaufte das Buch
für mich, um es mitzuschicken.
Das Buch schildert den "Road Trip" zweier Jungen, die im chinesischen
Bürgerkrieg plötzlich nicht mehr auf direktem Weg nach Hause können und
deswegen einen kleinen Umweg machen müssen... quer durch die Wüste Gobi.
Dabei lernen sie nicht nur ihre chinesischen Begleiter von unerwarteten
Seiten kennen, sondern auch die gänzliche unbekannte und neue Welt der
Mongolei, soviel anders als was sie von China gewohnt sind (und von dem
was wir als europäische Leser gewohnt sind erst recht).
Und jetzt? Jetzt hab ich's durchgelesen und ich werd's wohl recht bald
nochmal durchlesen. Klar ist es zu einem Teil ein Jugend-Buch und als
solches nicht immer zu tiefst anspruchsvoll zu lesen. Zum Beispiel ist
der eigentlich Fehltritt, der die sofortige Rückkehr verhindert, doch
etwas fadenscheinig - aber was solls, wir wollen ja, dass die beiden
ihre Abenteuer erleben und irgendwo muss die Reise ja anfangen.
Das Buch macht das "Jugendbuch-Etikett" locker wieder in Lebendigkeit
und Lesefreude wett. Wer das Buch noch nicht kennt, dem kann ich es
empfehlen, wer es schon damals gelesen hat, dem wird das wiedersehen
sowieso Spass machen.