02 October 2009
Status of helmug.gr
Thank you PHP...
Some people seem to search the web in order to find out what happened to the site helmug.gr. The current status is that the site was taken down because of multiple security incidents that had resulted in phishers abusing the server to host fake sites (e.g. fake paypal forms). The problem behind that is, that the software used (PHPBB) is a total piece of crap, "programmed" by people who are totally, utterly clueless . I can and do blame PHP for this, I doubt that any other web programming system has such a record of bad quality code output.
The webmaster and one of the server admins are currently trying to switch the site to a different software... trying, because importing the content seems not to be too easy. Myself I'm not currently helping, I'm too busy. The other two guys are busy too (hey, everybody has a job and a life), so work progresses only as fast as it can.
Current status: Please wait for the site to come up again, sorry!
05 October 2009
Greek Parliament Elections 2009 Done
Can we go on now...?
I'm happy that the elections are over and with it the pre-election period. Now we should get spared the over sized faces of politicians on all the bus stops and around street corners. We won't have to throw out a bunch of leaflets from under our entrances each morning and afternoon. Oh, and maybe the "news" will have a tiny little bit less of the "politician A says that politician B is wrong" style of announcements.
By the way, yes, so we will have a different government now. Instead of blue it will be green now. Not the "ecologically correct" "Green party" green, the "we gave our party the green color, because others were using red and blue" green.
In order to help you stay informed on the country where I chose to live (because I like to live here, let's not forget this), here are the ...
- 30% ... couldn't be bothered to vote
- 40% Κομματόσκυλα - and no matter what their party is (Kommatoskyla, literally "Party-Dogs", is a very derogative term for the die-hard supporters of a party, following the party-line no matter what - in the worst case because their cousin got a job in the public service through someone from the party or they hope to... or similar things. OK, I'll be flamed for labelling so many people with this really bad term... go on, I'll put on my asbestos underwear, bring on the flames!)
- 15% Swing voters who vote whoever they didn't vote last time in our dual-party system, in order to punish the party that is currently in power... totally forgetting that the last time they had it the other way around.
- 5% Angry, disillusioned, freaked outs, who are ready to vote no matter what right party (free choice between far-right and right-away fascist), because the right "offers" extreme solutions and/or claims to be no part of the dual-party system.
- 4% Protest voting the left, chosing between... what was it?... 6 or 7 left/communist parties of different shades.
- 2% People who value the environment over everything else, voting a "green/ecologist" party, even though nobody has ever heard of these guys.
- Almost 1% people who would consider it good for strategical reasons if that unknown "green/ecologist" party was in the parliament, even though they themselves don't really dig these unknown guys or don't really trust them that much.
- that leaves me with 3% who voted for some fun parties ("I give away real estate and free debts party" or "CHICKEN party" anyone?) or probably were confused and handed in any random paper because frankly, what could one really vote in these elections?
Or did I forget anybody?
I'm not a Greek citizen, so I didn't get to vote. I'm actually thankful for it, because hey, what could one really vote in these elections?
Personally, I'm not totally happy about these results, but I think it could have been worse. For one thing, the thought that the angry, disillusioned far-right voters are still so little is comforting - even though it's ugly if you think how many people that really are.
I'm surprised and mildly shocked each and every time about how many people still are in the category of the Κομματόσκυλα (Kommatoskyla). Maybe it's because... no, can't really grasp it there. It's a very old thing though, going back a long time through Greek history probably to the time of fiefdoms and swearing allegiance to some local warlord in exchange for a favor. I declare myself exempt from having to comment on it any further. At least for now.
I also would have liked the ecologists/greens to be in the parliament (right now it looks like they just about won't be in), even if it was only for an experiment in applied sociology, so count me into that 1% I gave up there.
07 October 2009
Evening Clouds and Customer Service from e-shop.gr
Unexpected but nice
Back down from the soapbox post of a political, not really so usual style for me... I had a nice
little experience of customer service yesterday. As regular readers of this uneventful weblog
will have noticed, my Pentax Optio W60 broke down (with a shutter button that gave up work). It's
within warranty time, but... I must admit I don't know where I left the receipt. Big search
everywhere, no luck. Yesterday afternoon I called the e-shop.gr contact phone number. I didn't get
so far as to tell the guy
on the phone the whole story, when he interrupted me and told me: "Go to the store where you
bought it, ask them to print you another receipt."
That I did. It was that easy. Of course, given that they have on record everything I bought, one
could consider this an easy one for them. In fact it is, but as so many things with customer
service, when it fails, it fails on stuff that would be easy. So when a company does the customer
service on the easy stuff, I've come to appreciate that. Next step is of course to get the
camera to the warranty repair. Wish me luck on this one!
The picture on the other hand has nothing to do with this story. Maybe it has, as I had to snap
this nice scenery with my mobile phone, since the Pentax is broken and the Arca Swiss is not
strictly functional yet (no tripod - and of course I didn't have it with me, the Arca is not
really the camera you always
have with you). I just saw the evening light on the buildings and that tip of the cloud lighting
up. Better a phone picture than no picture.
15 October 2009
Rainy Night in Georgia
It's raining this morning in Athens, winter is here. In the office someone entered "rain" in the search field of iTunes and clicked on play... voilà, instant rain themed music day. Currently Playing "Rainy Night in Georgia" from Brook Benton. We also heard "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" by Bob Dylan and of course "Here Comes The Rain Again" by Annie Lennox.
I took an umbrella to walk to work.
20 October 2009
Little Patient W60
Sent the Pentax to the camera clinic
This morning I woke up slightly earlier and got my little digital point-and-shoot camera to the importers office for repair. The shutter button is stuck. The camera is a Pentax Optio W60, waterproof and fun. They told me there is a surge of camera repairs, since after summer, so it will take a week to hear about it.
Even though I got back into large format photography with my (very) old camera, I want the little Pentax back. It's just the right camera to have always with you. I really mean always, given that it's waterproof and quite robust (due to the lens not "zooming out" as in most point-and-shoot cameras). If you take the limitations of the optics and software (no manual mode) into account, it allows to take nice pictures too.
The last reason goes back to the large format camera too: I want to use the digicam as a photometer. Set it to "spot-metering", do some tests to get the metering about synced with the film and my handheld photometer and it should do a good job.
23 October 2009
Early Morning Sunshine
Catch the first light of the day
This morning I got up early, took my camera and went up to Filopappou hill. That's one of the hills opposite the Akropolis. I arrived a bit before sunrise, which is late here, due to the Ymittos hills covering the horizon in the east. I'd been there in the morning some days ago already, so I knew more or less which pictures I wanted to take.
One of them was the coastline and Pireus in the first rays of the morning light. As I took these pictures on film and as the film isn't developed yet, all I can show you right now is this documentary shot from my mobile phone.
This one is from some days before. I had set up my tripod and camera even a bit earlier and waited out the sunrise, with a view on the Akropolis and Lycabettus hill.
I made a couple of exposures with different stages of the sun coming up. I also moved the camera once, since while waiting I decided that from a bit further to the left I'd get a better cut of the city from above between the trees in the foreground.
Taking pictures with this camera (an old Arca-Swiss, with a lens from 1967) takes some discipline (lots of ways that one can spoil the end result) and patience. I enjoy the process, it was nice standing there, watching the day grow ever lighter. There is also an amount of uncertainty - I have no results yet and can only hope that I did everything right and the pictures come out ok. If they will be worth it or good enough... that is another question.