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01 March 2010

Faking it on someone's tumblr blog

Push it baby, push it real good

tumblr is a blogging service that is well known for its ease of use: Basically you can send in posts to your personal (and secret) tumblr mail address and they will appear on your blog. Cool. My COREblog has a similar "moblog" feature, but I have to give some special formatted information to make the post work - and to make it authenticate, I have to include a password (which is sent in cleartext, no real security there). This morning with my friend saad we wondered about the security of tumblr's offering: Given that someone got hold of your posting address, how good are they at weeding out faked posts?

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Posted by betabug at 14:24 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
02 March 2010

Zope 2.12 eggified Installation Stuff Learned

Learn something every day on #zope

There was a short zope-dev meeting on #zope today. I'm not a zope-dev, but after they were done, I asked a question^W^W^Wgriped a bit about the new "eggified" Zope 2.12 install procedure. A big discussion ensued. I learned / noticed a couple of things:

  • The install instructions given in the 2.12 release were confusing not only to me. (A while back I had tried to get through them, without having really much prior experience with modern python stuff like eggs... I didn't have a nice experience there.)
  • "non-dev installs shouldn't use buildout"
  • "virtualenv + easy_install is much better" (both quoted from Tres)
  • People set out immediately to rectify the install instructions, I don't know when the changed ones will appear online, but it's nice to see this kind of thing move.
  • There does not seem to be something that gives me the functionality of installing Zope offline (like I used to have by having a tarball of a certain Zope release on my disk)... on any machine more or less (more on that below). Few people (or noone) seem to care about that.
  • There seems to be a mild consensus that one recommended way to install is a Good Thing™. But we don't seem to be 100% there yet.

As for the offline-stuff (or the "why do I have to re-download all this each time"), apparently easy_install can do some kind of storage of the eggs it downloads. But this seems to work only on the same platform with the same libraries. I think it's a good idea to ensure that you get the exact same stuff in a reinstall on the same machine, but it won't help when for example the developer machines and the production boxes differ slightly. I haven't looked after it really, but there seems to be another way, setting up a local proxy of PyPi or something... but people sounded a bit like if that is a big, scary thing. Buildout seems to have a better solution there, but after my previous experience and Tres recommendation, I'm not going to go there right now.

Update: just noticed that Tres also mentioned using compoze to make a local "egg store".

Posted by betabug at 22:12 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
04 March 2010

Safety First

Fix the light... which light

Έφτασα στο δρόμο αυτό ακριβώς στην στιγμή για την παράσταση. 2 λεπτά πριν και δεν θα ήταν τίποτα, 1 λεπτό μετά και κατέβηκε ο "μάστορας".

Μου αρέσει και σαν φωτογραφία, σαν να κάνει εναέριο μπαλέτο.

Posted by betabug at 20:48 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
05 March 2010

Strike in Athens

24h public service strike
Traffic jam on Pireus Street due to public transport strike.

Today all the public services in Athens are on strike. That includes the public transport: No busses, trams, trolleys, metro are moving. People are taking their cars to the streets to get to work (well, those who aren't working in the public service and are on strike themselves). The result is a lot of chaos and traffic jams on the roads.

The reason for the strike are the economic measures announced by the politicians. Cuts on salaries and pensions, raised taxes. The economy will take a big hit for the worse.

Now, we've all heard the news saying "Greece has been living over its limits", "the Greeks have been spending too much" and all that. First of all, I'm tired of the generalizations. If you want to blame things on a whole group of people, try "the politicians" instead or "the speculators". Sure, there are a lot of people with "seats" in the public service who do nothing all day long. It would be nice to streamline the public service, but it's not going to happen by raising the taxes and doing random cuts on small people's salaries.

So, how about those fregates that the French government wants to sell to Greece? How about the - what was it, figher planes? helicopters? - that the German government wants to sell to Greece? Do "the Greeks" cut those?

(The picture shows Pireus Street leading to the center of Athens from the south-east. There is a traffic jam, but from this position the level of chaos on the streets isn't really perceivable.)

Posted by betabug at 10:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
06 March 2010

pjsua: The Geek Out SIP Client

It's as geeky as making a phone call can get

There are many options for making SIP/VoIP phone calls over the Internet. There are some with nice user interface, some that get you over almost all the the little hurdles and problems (like for example X-Lite, which you should try if you're ever stuck unable to make a connection, as it seems to work around most problems on its own). But if you're a real geek at heart, there is only one choice: pjsua. pjsua does not have any such timewasting features as a GUI or an address book.

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Posted by betabug at 14:51 | Comments (13) | Trackbacks (0)
07 March 2010

Planting Trees

In a prepared setting on a burned hillside

This morning we woke up a bit earlier than usual on a Sunday, to go and help with planting trees on the Ymmitos hills that had been burned down at the beginning of last summer.

The event was organized by the municipality, various nature and forest organizations and promoted by some TV station. The ground was prepared, holes were dug and seedlings were dispersed at the holes. We got handed a hoe (in Greek a "τσάπα") and then we marched up the hillside to start planting.

We went up to the higher part and started working our way to parts that weren't done yet. We set a lot of little trees in the ground, trying to prepare their new home as good as we could to increase their chances of survival.

Despite the cold weather with soft rain, there were lots of people working. Boy scouts, schools, families with children, young people, all ages up to pensioners. There were also firefighters from various municipalities around here.

Now I don't know how much sense this kind of organized mass planting makes. Some of the holes were prepared in rocky spots with little earth. We tried to move the seedlings to places with good soil. Whatever the sense behind all this, there's little more we can do except to have an eye on the little trees. All the rest will be nature's work and the little tree's luck and will to survive.

Posted by betabug at 12:57 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
09 March 2010

Dark Yellow Morning Sky

A science fiction setting

Yesterday morning I woke up to a darker world. We had again reddish-yellowish sand from the Sahara (or from Africa in general) in the wind. At the same time it was cold, which is kind of weird. The cold wind came from the North, the sand from the South. Apparently the meteorologists can explain that, but don't ask me. What I saw, was the special light: Even when the sun had come out in the morning, it was almost dark. The light had an orange tint. It rained, so everything was stained with reddish dust. No, I didn't take any pictures.

This morning the blue sky is back, but my veranda, like all of the city, is still covered with red dust. The entrances of buildings have red pathways, people carry the dust inside on their shoes.

In an attempt to give a little bit of practical value to this post: Here is a link to the SKIRON dust forecast from the University of Athens.

Posted by betabug at 10:24 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
12 March 2010

Παγκόσμια μέρα εναντίων της λογοκρισίας στο διαδίκτυο

Πες κάτι...

Σήμερα από τους Reporters Sans Frontières έχουμε την "Παγκόσμια μέρα εναντίων της λογοκρισίας στο διαδίκτυο" (δική μου μετάφραση). Το διαδίκτυο μας δίνει - μεταξύ άλλων - την δυνατότητα να εκφράζουμε γεγονότα και γνώμες με πιο ανοικτό και ελεύθερο τρόπο από όσο το κάναμε πριν. Σε κάποιους όμως αυτό δεν αρέσει καθόλου. Με πολλές δικαιολογίες προσπαθούν να κόβουν το λόγο σε όσους δεν εκφράζουν την γνώμη του οποιουδήποτε "υπουργείο της αλήθειας" τους.

Εγώ θα χρησιμοποιώ την ευκαιρία να αναφέρω εδώ το το θυμάστε; Δεν χρειάζεται να πάμε μακριά για τέτοια παραδείγματα. Ένας Liarkopoulos και οι "φίλοι" του "cyberμπάτσοι" φτάνουν να μας δείχνουν "την θέση μας".

Posted by betabug at 14:49 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
13 March 2010

Pictures of Burned Trees

Another photo walk on the burned hill

All this week I had a lot of appetite for photography. But my camera was somewhere else, in the evenings after work it's still dark and in the mornings it's hard to get up earlier for pictures. That leaves the weekend.

So this noon I packed up the Arca and went up the burned Hymittos hillside above Ano Glyfada. I passed by the area with the freshly planted trees, the one's we had helped to set. They look like they are doing fine.

I took three pictures, taking my time. The weather wasn't really on my side, with a mostly featureless overcast sky. Only rarely did the sun peep through to give a bit of structure to the landscape. It felt good being in the fresh air, walking and moving.

Posted by betabug at 23:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
16 March 2010

A Glimpse of the Sea

On my way to work

While I was waiting for the bus I spotted this nice but faraway view of the sea.

Waiting with me was a very neatly dressed older gentleman. He was concerned that the bus would be late. When I informed him of the scheduled time of the bus - and that the time isn't there yet - he mumbled almost inaudible a bit to himself why he needs the bus to be in time and what he needs to be there in time for.

His mumblings must have been magic, because the bus arrived a minute later and I stopped looking at that sunlit corner of the sea with the ferry boats.

Posted by betabug at 07:33 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 March 2010

A Film of 8

And a lot of burned stuff
Burned branches of a tree on the Hymittos hills

Monday morning I dropped off 2 films at the shop where they develop my color films. Tuesday morning I got them back, developed and scanned. One of the films is a roll film "120", that I exposed on the Arca-Swiss over the last weeks. The Arca's format is 6x9cm, on a roll of film like that there is space for 8 pictures. I took 2 pictures on an excursion on Kithaironas, another 3 a week later at Parnitha, the last 3 another week later on the hills of Hymittos.

Eight pictures doesn't sound like much, but the philosophy of lugging around a "large format" camera (even if the Arca is a very small large format camera), is that you take fewer pictures and attempt to take better pictures. Personally I try to be ever more relaxed, tranquil about the whole affair of taking pictures. If I get nervous about doing things right, something's wrong.

Now, even if the pictures would have been lost or bad, I had done three small excursions full of nice views and experiences. Turns out, I also got back a film with 8 "good" pictures. No more light leaks so far, no misfiring shutters or operator mistakes. Now, that was a good feeling when looking at the results. I had quite enough of "this picture wouldn't have been half bad, if it hadn't been ruined". I'm also confident with the images themselves, even if I still see a lot of potential for artistic growth.

I'm giving a small example here, the burned branches of a tree on the Hymittos hills. There are a lot of burned trees in my pictures, both from Hymittos (from a part that burned down in 2009), from Parnitha (burned 2007), and on other films from the lake of Marathon (burned 2009).

Posted by betabug at 18:36 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
19 March 2010

Python e71 Image Editing

... well at least the resize and rotate part

Yesterday I noticed that the lack of image editing app for my e71 won't be so bad anymore... it should be fairly easy to hack up a python app with pys60 for the Nokia to turn and resize images!

I could then couple it with the phone's speech recognition and end up with the image editing UI from Blade Runner. "Up 20, stop. Enhance. Give me a hardcopy." Ah, the possibilities.

(Here are some code examples, full of little bugs, but a starting point. All I really need to post stuff on my philthy blogz0r is the ability to rotate and resize to standard sizes.)

Posted by betabug at 14:54 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 March 2010

Musik ohne Kabel

... im Frühling

Wir sind heutzutage umgeben von Musik. Es dröhnt aus allen Ecken, auf Knopfdruck lassen wir uns in allen Varianten beschallen. In früheren Zeiten, vor Radio und Gramophon, war das anders. Musik war, wenn jemand sang oder spielte. Hörte der Sänger auf, war die Musik vergangen mit dem Moment.

Gestern Abend war ich bei einem Konzert. In einem Haus, das 1908 nach Plänen von Ernst Ziller erbaut wurde und das vor einigen Jahren restauriert wurde. Da es hier schon Frühling ist, blühte und roch es im Garten wunderbar.

Gegeben wurde ein Rezital von Arien und Liedern (ich bin da nicht so der Spezialist für die Bezeichnungen) von Falcioneri über Händel bis Mozart, bekannteren und unbekannteren Komponisten. Klassische Musik, aber für mich zugänglich auch ohne zu wissen, was was ist.

Es sangen der Contra-Tenor Bασίλης Mπούρης (Vassilis Bouris) und die Sopranistin Aθηνά Bασιλείου (Athina Vasiliou). Beide haben wunderschöne Stimmen und viel Ausdruck. Begleitet wurden sie am Flügel von Mαρία Nεοφυτίδου (Maria Neofitidou), die - wenn ich das richtig verstanden habe - auch die Lehrerin und Mentorin der beiden ist.

All das war mir beim Zuhören nicht so wichtig. Ich habe einfach einen Moment der intensiven Musik genossen. Schöne, volle Töne für einige Stunden und dann ... eine Erinnerung.

Posted by betabug at 13:12 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
23 March 2010

S60 VPN: The reports of unusability have been greatly exaggerated

Sure, setup is a bitch, but daily use is great

It's been a month since I successfully set up a VPN from my e71 to my OpenBSD server. A twitter from Markus Mediger - that I found by chance - claimed that "S60 VPN only works with some obscore Nokia certified HW AFAIK. Practically unusable...". This reminded me to maybe publish a little report of what I'm doing and not doing with my e71 on VPN.

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Posted by betabug at 14:53 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
25 March 2010

Independence Day in the Countryside

It's all green and smelling good

The 25th of March this year is on a Thursday, so I took Friday off and I'm with friends in a small village near Patras.

So nice to be outside the big city, away from the noise and all the traffic. Here everything is green and full of flowers. Lots of butterflies too. The one in the picture gave me enough time to try and take a good picture, even with the unwieldy phone camera.

Next thing will be to go for food, traditionally Bakaliaro me skordalia. After that the plans for the long weekend show many long walks and taking pictures.

Posted by betabug at 11:40 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
27 March 2010

Rack Trains and Village Internet

Enjoying the long weekend

Yesterday we went on an excursion to Kalavryta, taking the scenic rack railway up there. The railway trip is wonderful, travelling through a narrow gorge. The train moves quite slow and - at least now in spring - you can open the windows to take pictures. Kalavryta itself is nothing to write home about. It was rebuild after being destroyed in the war. I saw many nice scenes around Kalavryta and around the train track, but would have to return on foot to take pictures.

In the late afternoon we returned and stopped by the lighthouse at the northernmost tip of the Peloponnese. Finally as things weren't moving any more, I was able to take two pictures with the Arca. I was a bit disappointed though: I had bought two extra films in Athens and discovered they had given me the wrong films.

In the evening we were enjoying the old fashioned Internet in the village... a 56k modem connection. Due to a broken clip on the cable quite shaky too. We were able to look up things about the rack train though.

Posted by betabug at 11:24 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 March 2010

Windy on Sunday

... and a stoned Arca
Stoned Arca-Swiss... due to a heavy headwind

We came back yesterday evening from a great 4-day weekend. As mentioned before, I was with friends in a little village near Patras. I took a few pictures with the Arca. Mostly at and around the waterfront. I took some pictures of the bridge connecting the Peloponnese to the Greek mainland at Rio/Antirio. Even got a series of evening and night pictures, with the bridge illuminated in blue at night, we'll see how that worked out.

At some point I noticed that the shop where I had bought 2 extra films last week had given me the wrong film. Instead of Kodak's 160NC, they gave me 400VC. More grain, more contrast and "vivid colors" instead of "neutral colors". I noticed when I was about to load the cassette, so no real harm done, but I got so angry at the store and myself (partly because at the same moment I also had problems with the camera's filters), that I became a major pain for my friends around me. Sorry guys.

On Sunday it was very windy. I took a few more pictures of the bridge. At one point I was venturing out on a little wave breaker, found a great spot, but had to abandon it, as the spray of the waves was hitting me - and worse - the camera. I went a little bit more to the side. Still in the strong headwind I had to secure the camera and tripod with a big stone. The exposure time was short enough that I hope the vibrations didn't cause problems on the picture, but I'll find out later when I get the film back.

All over the long weekend I saw many more things that I noted down for future photo excursions. In and around the gorge where the rack railway goes to Kalavryta, especially in the evening light. Lots of other places in the hills and mountains on the north coast of the Peloponnese, the north coast with the Greek mainland opposite itself.

Posted by betabug at 10:14 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)