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01 June 2008

Greek Oriental Fusion Jazz

A visit to the 8th European Jazz Festival
iristho en parodo on stage at the 8th European Jazz Festival Athens

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 in Jazz!"


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Posted by betabug at 13:35 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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.


Posted by betabug at 09:39 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

What happened on June 2nd to Mail.app and port 993?

Give me a time out!
 
Hairy flowered tree in a little park in Athens

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.


Posted by betabug at 13:37 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
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).


Posted by betabug at 15:23 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
07 June 2008

Patch Fun

Instant gratification
 

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.


Posted by betabug at 22:35 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
08 June 2008

Hacking and Beach day

This is how life is meant to be
Toy truck in the Alsos Ilision

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 it?

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...


Posted by betabug at 20:24 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
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...


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Posted by betabug at 10:41 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)

Fussball und Regen

Experten-Meinung
 
Regen verwandelt die Syggrou in Athen in eine Schmierseifenbahn

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.


Posted by betabug at 22:25 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
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...


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Posted by betabug at 14:06 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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.


Posted by betabug at 09:01 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)

The Privileges of Living in Athens

Areopagos, the Festival, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company
sketch of Lycabetos, as seen from next to the Acropolis

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!


Posted by betabug at 19:34 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
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...


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Posted by betabug at 18:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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.


Posted by betabug at 10:21 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

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.


Posted by betabug at 10:57 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
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.


Posted by betabug at 13:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Τι μου θύμισες πάλι;

Ξανά φωτιές
 
Canadair στον ουρανό της Αθήνας

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.


Posted by betabug at 20:01 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
27 June 2008

οι

Χωρίς λόγια
ΕΝΟΙΚΙΑΖΕΤΑΙ ΟΙ ΠΩΛΕΙΤΑΙ

Χωρίς λόγια... Γιατί τι να πω εγώ;


Posted by betabug at 10:24 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

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...


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Posted by betabug at 11:13 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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.


Posted by betabug at 22:48 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)