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04 October 2010

No Cars on Panepistimiou

Kids and bikes instead
Laughing kid on Athens Panepistimiou street without traffic

Saturday the 24th of September I had to buy some stuff in the center. Since the $#%* line 3 is still under repair, I went to Panepistimiou metro station, got up and... wow... no cars.

Seems there was some kind of "public transport week" or "carfree week" going on. I had heard something of it before, by way of the public transport system letting you drive around all day with a single ticket. But I hadn't heard about this stunt.

It was incredible. Panepistimiou street, roaring with traffic usually, a place where you can cross the street as a pedestrian by way of traffic lights or - if you're in shape - by waiting for a lull in traffic and running over. I've seen it without traffic before, after demonstrations. This was different, since there were cafes on the street, games for the kids (and I guess some games for the grownups). The sun was quite warm, but a part of the street was in the shade.

BMX bike on Athens Panepistimiou street without traffic

I took out my camera, set it up and then I strolled through the shade, looking for something interesting to show in my pictures. Mostly bicycles, kids playing, the cafes. I enjoyed myself too. If "they" made a pedestrian area out of Panepistimiou street, now that would be a dream.

Posted by betabug at 20:10 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
07 October 2010

crypto cult programming

To the tune of "cargo cult programming"

crypto cult programming /n./ The believe that if you throw enough crypto babble at your code, put in enough hashes, rounds of encryption, bits of keys, you will end up with secure code. Somewhere along the line of cargo cult programming (link to the jargon file).

I was sitting here, thinking about one project idea that seems to have stalled due to some inherent trust problem in a client-client relationship. Then I read the post Putting Unique Codes on Objects to Detect Counterfeiting from Bruce Schneier. Hey, I said to myself, maybe something like that could do the trick. But yeah... no trust is no trust here, no matter if you make it cryptographically twiddleable.

Which reminded me about a flash game that one company I worked for back in .ch had made. Some people were cheating on the high scores. We thought long and hard about how to encrypt stuff, sign stuff, crypto up stuff... but as long as everything is on the clients computer, really "secure" is not going to be an option, it's still gonna be crypto cult programming.

Posted by betabug at 09:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
08 October 2010

That Fill of the Washing Machine

.. and doing it all at once
Pireus Street in autumn sunlight

In spring and autumn, I often get that special fill of the washing machine. The one that is half full of one season's clothing. Today I looked at that half-fill of those summer clothes and thought: "I'm not going to wear these in a while." Other people pack their summer clothes away about now. I'm just less organized.

While running that washing machine, I was at the same time scanning some negs and developing a film. Now, buddhist wisdom says that if you do multiple things at once, you will do all of them bad. I seem to have gotten the washing machine through fine, but I scanned some negatives that I had already scanned. And I forgot one step in my carefully crafted film drying procedure.

The film will still be fine (knocking on wood here), the double scanned negatives are nothing more than a nuisance. I reminded myself to pay more attention, since the next time I get myself into such a mess, I might forget something more important. (The picture shows Pireus street, some weeks ago in autumn weather with sunlight.)

Posted by betabug at 21:17 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
11 October 2010

Die Verurteilung eines Kindermörders als politische Justiz

Gibt es noch Gerechtigkeit?

Am 6. Dezember 2008 tötete der Polizist Επαμεινώνδα Κορκονέα (Epominonda Korkonea) den 15-jährigen Alexandros Grigoropoulos nach einer "verbalen Auseinandersetzung", wie die NZZ so schön schreibt. Was folgte waren Wochen mit schweren Unruhen, Schülerdemonstrationen, Polizeigewalt. Ich war damals für Wochen nie im Zentrum der Stadt, keine Lust auf Randale. Heute ist der Polizist für vorsätzlichen Mord zu lebenslanger Haft verurteilt worden. Gibt es noch Gerechtigkeit? Oder handelt es sich auch bei diesem Urteil um politische Justiz?

Continue reading "Die Verurteilung eines Kindermörders als politische Justiz"
Posted by betabug at 21:52 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
14 October 2010

The Joys of Mobile Phone Taxes

Hey, I'm helping to save the economy here!

Well, I got a new phone number. My company stopped paying for the employees mobile phones. Yeah, well... So I shopped around for a new contract. The funny thing was that when I found one that was "almost affordable" and offering more or less what I needed (in short: too many free minutes and SMS, too little MB bandwidth for Internet). The funny thing was checking out the prices and then hearing different prices in the shop.

Whereas I would be paying about 38 Euros according to the web site of Wind, the shop told me it's 42.90. When I asked about it, they explained it's the "communications tax" that's been put on by the government last year. It runs to 12% (on a monthly bill up to 50 Euros, 15% from there on and even more). The fact is that this is not mentioned anywhere on that I could find it - and I've searched that buggy sucker of a website up and down. I guess it's either totally absent or they've hidden it somewhere deep in the terms of use.

But hey, anything to save the economy! Having Γιωργάκι ("little George" Papandreou) fly around in a jet on tax money while preaching ecological and economical behavior is so totally worth it!

Posted by betabug at 14:24 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
19 October 2010

Upper Case Crash

Nokia/Ovi Maps vs. Mac OSuX

Now that I've changed phone providers I unslacked enough to upgrade my phone firmware. Cue Arnie's voice (in "Last Action Hero"}... "Big Mistake." Well, my excuse is that I wanted free navigation with Nokia/Ovi Maps. Somehow ironic that it's now mainly the Maps application that is crashing.

The reason is quite simple: when I try to transfer the map files, I fail. My first try was to download the files using this link page (the download is actually still from Nokia's site}. Then I'd unpack the zip and transfer the files to the phone's memory card. But for some unknown reason (likely to make fun of me}, Mac OS X uppercased the file names. Result: Maps crashes once it tries to access the parts of the map on those files.

Next try was the official Map Loader application. Argh, what a crappy piece of software! Besides, it chokes on some files and crashes. I'll try the windows version next or maybe hooking up the memory card to an OpenBSD system.

Apart from Maps crashing, various apps and some settings disappeared. Most missed so far is the Wellness Tracker app.

Posted by betabug at 22:07 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
20 October 2010

Στον πρώτο, παρακαλώ

someone must have told you if you work too hard you can sweat

Πριν μερικές μέρες πάω στην στάση του τρόλεϊ, η όποια είναι και αφετηρία της γραμμής. Βράδυ, αλλά το τρόλεϊ ήταν ήδη εκεί, οπότε κάθομαι. Μαζί μου ένα παλικάρι, ας πούμε τριάντα χρονών. Μιλάει στο τηλέφωνο με κάποιον και λέει: "Ε, σε κάνα πεντάλεπτο θα φύγει." Τελικά ήταν πιο κοντά στο δεκάλεπτο, με ένα βιβλίο περνάει η ώρα. Να όμως που το παλικάρι κατεβαίνει στην πρώτη στάση... απόσταση με τα πόδια 3 λεπτά.

Στο κτίριο που δουλεύω έχουμε εφτά ορόφους, το γραφείο μας είναι πάνω πάνω. Εγώ είμαι και πυροβολημένος, οπότε το πρωί πάω από την σκάλα. Κατεβαίνω με το ασανσέρ (το κατέβασμα δεν προσφέρει τίποτα από αθλητική όψη και βασανίζει και τα γόνατα) και όταν έχω δουλειές έξω κατά την διάρκεια της μέρας ανεβαίνω με το ασανσέρ. Συχνά συμβαίνει να ανεβαίνω με άλλους στο ασανσέρ οι όποιοι πατάνε το κουμπί για τον πρώτον.

Όπως λέει και το τραγούδι, "someone must have told you if you work too hard you can sweat". Ένας όροφος; Τρία λεπτά με τα πόδια; Τι είναι αυτά, μπορεί να μου πει κανείς; Δεν λέω να πάνε στον τέταρτο με τα πόδια (τίποτα και αυτό), ούτε στον έβδομο. Αλλά λιγάκι να τα κουνάς τα κοκκαλάκια, θα σου κάνει καλό, ρώτα και τον καρδιολόγο σου. Δεν έχεις καρδιολόγο; Μην φοβάσαι, έτσι να κάνεις, θα αποκτήσεις και σχέση με καρδιολόγο κάποια στιγμή.

Posted by betabug at 09:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 October 2010

Way to go, Marketeers and Wannabe-Spammers

Looks like times are hard, why not make some people angry?

Looks like times are hard. The last view weeks I've increasingly received e-mail advertising from companies whose customer I was once a long time ago. Quite often I hardly remember what the product was or when I bought it. Seems that now they remember that they have those mail lists around and... "why don't we spam them a bit, since we have them?"

Most of them seem to be pretty aware that what they'll mostly get is annoyed people. Hey, we're dealing with this "spam" thing for such a long time that most people consider it "spam" even if it isn't UCE (unsolicited comercial email). Sensing this, these companies usually feature an unsubscribe link popular on top. There are some who even turn it around, they send one mail that asks you to confirm that you want to receive marketing mails. When DynDNS tried that, it probably didn't work out the way they expected: So they sent 2 or 3 reminders behind it, to notify me that I really won't receive any mails if I don't react.

Today's mail (that triggered this post) was from a company called Prosoft Engineering. They make a program called "Data Rescue" (which recovers deleted and formatted data on Macintosh HFS disks, good thing). I think we've bought that thing in the company once a long time ago in an emergency. Well, the funny thing with the marketing spam from Prosoft Engineering was, that it said:

Please reconfirm your interest in receiving email from us. If you do not wish to receive any more emails, you can unsubscribe here Confirm URL h..p://

So, there it is, what everybody searches at first sight: The unsubscribe link. But click on it and you'll get a screen saying "Email address confirmed". Uh, that's not what we wanted... look again. The text says that you can unsubscribe here, but then right following is the "confirm" URL. The "unsubscribe" URL is at the end of the mail. Their "marketing" department will be happy to have a lot of "confirmed" mail addresses... with lots of very annoyed mail recipients on the next mass mailing they send out.

Also funny is the use of a throwaway domain, registered to some random company. They probably expect this domain to land on various black lists and don't want to get their proper company domain in trouble. Way to go, wannabe-spammers from Prosoft Engineering.

Posted by betabug at 09:23 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
22 October 2010

Χρήσιμα τελικά τα κομμένα δέντρα του Ομέρ Πριόνη;

Κάθε κακό και ένα καλό
Το περίπτερο του Νικίτα Κακλαμάνη στην Πλατεία Συντάγματος

Το περίπτερο του Νικήτα Κακλαμάνη στην Πλατεία Συντάγματος είναι άραγε φτιαγμένο από τα ξύλα τον δέντρων που έκοψε αυτός στο πάρκο Κύπρου και Πατησίων;

Δεν φαίνεται πολύ καλά στην φωτογραφία κινητού εδώ: Το περίπτερο για της δημοτικές εκλογές έχει σανίδες από άβαφτο ξύλο απ' έξω. Μάλλον θέλει να δείχνει κάτι ζεστό και "κοντά στην φύση". Εμένα πάλι μου θύμισε τα 45 δέντρα που κόπηκαν για να γίνει πάρκινγκ, πράγμα που αποτέλεσε το παρατσούκλι "Ομέρ Πριόνης" για τον Δήμαρχο της Αθήνας.

Posted by betabug at 10:54 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
23 October 2010

Gutes Brot

... aus Halkida, zu kaufen in Athen
Brot-Laden Athinas 39 beim Monastiraki

Wirklich gutes Brot ist in Athen schwer aufzutreiben. Was die meisten "Bäcker" anbieten ist meistens ein aus Fertigmix angerührtes weisses Etwas, dass - wenn es gut kommt - am ersten Tag gut schmeckt. Ab dem zweiten Tag wurde es früher hart, mit den heutigen (wahrscheinlich chemischen) Zutaten wird es zum Schwamm. Wenn es schlecht läuft, so schmeckt das Brot schon am ersten Tag schlimmer als "nach gar nichts", so bei einem "Bäcker" in Ano Glyfada, der das Glück hat in seiner Umgebung der einzige zu sein.

Als wirkliche Alternative gibt es diesen Laden, der Brot verkauft. Wirkliches Brot, gebacken auf Euböa. Das Brot ist fest und voll. Es schmeckt gut. Auch nach einer Woche ist es noch essbar - halt einfach aussen etwas härter und etwas trockener. Es macht auch richtig satt. Also bin ich die letzten Wochen dazu übergegangen, etwa einmal pro Woche in der Athinas 39 vorbeizugehen, ganz in der Nähe von der Station Monastiraki (Παραδοσιακό Ψωμί Χαλκίδας, Αθηνάς 39, Té 210 3222622. Dort nehme ich einen halben bis ganzen Leib Brot (ein ganzer hat rund 2 Kilo).

Es gibt dunkles und helles Brot, ich habe bisher immer das dunkle genommen, wenn schon, denn schon. Daneben verkaufen sie auch Honig und noch ein paar süsse Sachen, von denen ich "Δίπλες Μάνης" (Diples Manis, die etwas an Fasnachtskuchen erinnern) schon probiert habe..

Posted by betabug at 09:00 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 October 2010

Abstimmen per Internet

Frisch eingetroffen

Als Auslandschweizer darf ich ja bekanntlich bei Bundes-Abstimmungen mitstimmen. Neuerdings gibt es da einen Versuch zur Abstimmung über das Internet. Vorgestern sind bei mir die Abstimmungs-Unterlagen eingetroffen. Ich habe bis jetzt nur einen ganz kurzen Blick drauf geworfen, aber das sieht schon mal sehr interessant aus.

Da gibt es zum Beispiel einen abgedeckten Code, den man zum Abstimmen verwenden muss. Man kann weiterhin brieflich oder aber per Internet abstimmen - aber natürlich nicht beides zusammen. Das wird scheints erkannt falls es passiert und ist natürlich strafbar.

Ich muss das ganze Paket mal genauer studieren und auseinandernehmen. Die Problematik bei diesen Geschichten ist ja immer, dass es entweder nicht sicher ist (d.h. z.B. Stimmen könnten mehrfach abgegeben werden oder geändert werden) oder aber es kann nachverfolgt werden, wie jemand gestimmt hat. Digitale Abstimmungen wirklich sicher zu organisieren ist seeeehr schwer. Es wird spannend.

Posted by betabug at 09:58 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)