02 February 2009
On the way back to unfreeze
So, I'm on the way back, sitting in the Zurich airport, waiting as usual. It's been cold in Switzerland. At -3c I like to pack myself in as if I was travelling Antarctica. At the higher points, there was some snow. For the most part it was dry though, dry and cold.
I bought some chocolate, in order to fulfill my "swiss cliche quota". Then I switched on "full tourist mode", pulled out my new camera and took some lame pictures. And as the family events I came for where all successful, I can now board that plane cool and easy.
09 February 2009
Και το όνομά μου θα είναι...
Μερικοί έχουν χιούμορ λέμε
Την περασμένη εβδομάδα πήγαμε με φίλους για φαΐ στα Εξάρχεια (μετά από πολύ καιρό... άλλη ιστορία). Τώρα που έχω το καινούριο μου τηλέφωνο έχω πάντα κάτι να παίζω (έχει built in κομπολόι να πούμε), π. χ. παίζω με το wifi, να δω τι δίκτυα υπάρχουν κοντά και αν έχει ανοικτά δύκτια. Γελάγαμε πολύ με αυτό το "POUSTARAS" που βλέπετε στην φώτο. Τουλάχιστον ανοικτό δεν ήτανε.
14 February 2009
Schnee auf den Hügeln
Sowas wie ein Wintereinbruch
Bis jetzt war dieser Winter eher mild in Athen. Seit gestern ist es aber schon mal kälter geworden. Wie man an diesem Foto sehen kann, liegt heute auf den Hügeln, die die Stadt umgeben, schon etwas Schnee. In der Stadt natürlich keine Spur von Schnee, dafür ein frischer, kühler Wind.
Das Bild ist vom kleinen Hügel gegenüber dem Eingang der Akropolis aufgenommen, ungefähr in nördliche Richtung schauend.
15 February 2009
Με το καινούργιο τηλέφωνο μου ξεκίνησα πάλι να ακούω ράδιο. Φάση; βάζουν κάποιο 'infomercial' για κάποιο πρόγραμμα σινεμά και μες στην μέση που μιλάει μια κοπέλλα (ηχογραφημένα) ξεκινάει παράλληλα να παίζει ένα τραγούδι. Καλός συνδυασμός, δεν λέω, αλλά λογικά λάθος ήταν, γιατί δεν κατάλαβες τίποτα πια. Εκεί λοιπόν που τα κάνανε όλα 'να μην πω', βάζουν και το 'jingle' του σταθμού και μετά ξεκινάνε με ειδήσεις.
Δηλαδή: Μετά που τα μπέρδεψαν όλα, ήθελαν παραπάνω να βεβαιωθούν ότι ξέρουμε ποιος τα κατάφερε όλα αυτά τόσο ωραία;
16 February 2009
IRC and Bluetooth Keyboard on e71
Take that, iPhone! (... or "another lame mobile phone post")
Before I got my phone I was considering getting an iPhone. I had played around with friends' iPhones and wasn't really that impressed, so I searched around and finally got what I got, this Nokia e71 thing. Now the more I hack around on it, the better I seem to like it. Last week I went looking for an IRC client. The first I found was phIRC, which stated that it's beta and apparently just a fun project that didn't go much anywhere. It connected and somehow "worked", but really didn't work. Next I found mIRGGI. mIRGGI appears to be a fun project too, but it's polished, it works, it has a well thought out user interface that is a joy to use.
Now the nice thing about IRC is that the data volume is incredibly low, there really isn't much overhead to the text you're reading and writing. That means it's very nice to use even over a limited data plan, for when I have no wifi network around. Have to wait somewhere half an hour for the bus? Go and chat a while with the homies on IRC!
Besides, Symbian powered phones do multitasking (in difference to the iPhone), which means that you can chat, listen to the radio, take a phone call, and look up something on the web at the same time. Beats me why the iPhone, which is based on a Unix based OS, doesn't do background processes.
While I'm bashing the iPhone: Right after I got IRC to work, I went and fetched the Apple Bluetooth keyboard we have in the office. I had tried once to hook it up to my phone but had no luck. A few days ago though, I had spotted a little "Wlss. keybd" application with a bluetooth icon on my phone. This time I tried to pair the keyboard using this application and it worked in no time at all! The app lead me through the setup: Enter a code on the keyboard, enter same code on the phone, again on the keyboard... done.
Clickety-click, typing on the real keyboard, text appears on phone. Next step: search the web for iPhone and bluetooth keyboard pairing... all you'll find is people frantically looking for it, but no solutions, it just doesn't work.
17 February 2009
Anafiotika, an Island in the City of Athens
Wind in hair, eyes wander far
Athens is a sea of concrete. But there are islands in every sea.
On the northern side of the Akropolis, right in the center of Athens, there is a village called Anafiotika,
which was built by people coming from the island of Anafi, right after
the independence of the modern Greek state.
It's a place for a nice walk, best on a day with some wind and a clear
view. The island architecture is refreshing over the city covering the
plain from horizon to horizon. There are no cafes or restaurants here,
but the Plaka is not far with all the tourist places.
(Sidenote: I've posted the picture much bigger than usually, I think it's worth it - but if you experience problems or dislike so big pictures in my weblog, feel free to drop me a note in the comments!)
18 February 2009
Move a Python module from one Zope Product to another
From the 'Movers and Shakers' department
Last December I started on a another refactoring of our company's Zope Application. This time I was going to split out some of the stuff into separate Products, so I could install them only when needed. All nice and clean, but the instances of those classes / products in the ZODB didn't like their code to be moved out from under their feet. I asked around on #zope and TresEquis showed me what to do. Since this stuff is kind of hard to find, here is a little writeup.
Continue reading "Move a Python module from one Zope Product to another"
21 February 2009
Métro - Public Transport on Smartphone
Nice, but limited usefulness for Athens
There is a clever "little" program for PDAs and smartphones that lets you orientate yourself in the public transport networks of many cities. It's called Métro and is available for free. You install the program and then install the databases for the cities you need it for. I've installed it on my phone (Nokia e71) and played around with it. Basically it tells you how to get from point A to point B in the maze of an unknown city's public transport net.
The program itself works fine, even though some of the user interface is a bit counter intuitive to what I got used to on this Symbian phone. The Athens Public Transport information is limited to the Metro/Treno lines, the tram, the "suburban railway" (προαστιακός) and the trolley lines. Missing are all the bus lines - which constitute probably 80-90% of the public transport network in Athens.
This limitation is probably due to the stated limitation of the Métro software, which on their site is given as "when a database contains more than 80 to 120 lines, trouble is looming". This is quite understandable, since many variations of the software have to run on limited hardware.
So, is the software still useful for visitors to Athens? If you're a tourist, probably yes. Most tourists are overwhelmed with the Athenian bus system anyway (ok, the "Métro" software could well change that with bus line info) and stick to the Metro and tram lines. In that case Métro might save you some studying of line diagrams and help you plan your tours to visit the tourist spots. Or it might help you reschedule your excursions on the spot when you feel like it. If on the other hand you want to explore Athens in depth, the ΟΑΣΑ site and pdf transport maps will be a better, but much more tiresome resource.
22 February 2009
Up and Down
Another Lycabettus hill visit
The last few weeks I have a tendency to go to places with wide views, preferably up. One such place is the Λυκαβηττός (Lycavitos, also transliterated as Lycabettus sometimes), a steep hill, where one has a wide view all around Athens.
Continue reading "Up and Down"
24 February 2009
Sonne und Regen
Dieses Jahr scheinen wir in Griechenland ein gutes Jahr für Orangen zu haben. Wenn man Orangen (und andere Früchte) immer im Supermarkt kauft, dann merkt man sowas ja nicht, aber die Saison für Orangen ist der Winter.
Die griechischen Orangen haben eine dicke Schale, die sich auch ohne Messer lösen lässt, einfach nur mit der Hand. Dazu sehen sie noch alle verschieden aus. Wenn es im Sommer nicht genug Sonne gab, dann sind die Orangen nicht süss. Wenn es hingegen nicht zum richtigen Zeitpunkt im Herbst / Anfang Winter regnet, dann haben die Früchte keinen Saft. Dieses Jahr scheint beides geklappt zu haben.
Wikipedia hat zum Thema Orange einen interessanten Artikel. Da hab ich so Sachen gelernt, wie dass das griechische Wort Πορτοκάλι (Portokali) vom Land "Portugal" abstammt, denn die süsse Variante der Orange erreichte Europa und den mittleren Osten von China aus über Portugal und portugiesische Händler.
28 February 2009
Crazy Mobile Guy
This evening I went out with friends... and played with my mobile phone while doing so. First we needed some driving directions when we had to reschedule due to a closed café... the e71's GPS and map program came to the rescue. I don't have the paid service to speak the driving directions, but since we were enough people in the car, the "co-pilot" improvised that part.
Next in the cafeteria we looked up when the Akropolis is accessible for free (in this season each Sunday). Then I started to play around with IRC. It's of course highly in-polite (or should I say anti-social) to IRC while in a cafe with other people, but it really was more of an experiment. So, 2 hours 13 minutes of IRC and aGPS access resultet in 34kByte download, 14kByte upload. Even if you have to pay full for your data, that's not so much. I kept IRC open in the cafe, while we were driving to a restaurant, during dinner and on the way home.
In that time I received a phone call, wrote an SMS, gave driving directions with the help of the GPS/maps app. The data connection didn't drop and IRC stayed connected in the background - with me checking and leaving a message from time to time. I don't think I'll let this get a habit, but it was a nice experiment: be "crazy mobile guy" for an evening.