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01 April 2010

Alles klar für Ostern

Gutes Wetter und freie Parkplätze
Blühende Bäume zu Ostern

Obwohl Ostern dieses Jahr auf einen frühen Termin fällt, spielt das Wetter freundlicherweise mit. Es ist warm, die Sonne scheint mehr oder weniger und hier in der Stadt blühen die Bäume. Das Photo habe ich auf dem Weg zur Arbeit noch schnell geknippst.

Wie immer zu Ostern leert sich die Stadt langsam. Deutlichstes Anzeichen: Die Zahl freier Parkplätze nimmt zu. Die Leute fragen sich gegenseitig wo sie hinfahren (d.h. auf sein oder ihr Dorf - ganz moderne fliegen ins Ausland um dem Trubel zu entgehen).

Hier im Büro lichten sich die Reihen auch schon, die einen sind gestern schon gefahren, die andern nur heute morgen noch kurz zur Arbeit erschienen und wir letzten werden wohl auch etwas früher gehen. Alles klar für Ostern also!

Posted by betabug at 13:50 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
05 April 2010

Extraship to Naxos

Easter holiday on the island

Easter holidays is on of the top occasions for all Greeks to return to their villages. Streets and boats are full. The ferry boat line that serves the island of Naxos put on an extra ship on Friday morning for Paros and Naxos. I took that ship and arrived midday of easter friday here.

The island is in full spring mode: Flowers everywhere, everything is green. The sun is shining. When you sit in the sun, it gets warm, but ifyou sit in the shade it gets a bit chilly with the wind.

This long weekend I used to relax and to take pictures. I'm taking little walks with the Arca strapped on my back, then I take pictures of flowery hillsides and paths, of white aegean houses under blue skies. There's the odd byzantine church and some venetian towers too. There are far more things to take nice pictures of, than I have time to take them. This camera is first of all slow.

Posted by betabug at 20:20 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
06 April 2010

Picking up on a New Feature

Loose ends flapping around

The long easter weekend is over, today is high time to pick up work again on one of the new features I'm building for one of our Products. Being the sole member of my development team, when some bugfixes and other stuff came along, I had left off building this stuff a while ago. Now I'm here on the island, in a quiet and relaxed setup to continue from where I stopped last time.

Which would be really nice if it wasn't for the little things I've left for myself: Half-finished code not yet committed, a method that I don't really remember as being necessary, some functional tests that don't pass. Not to mention a lot of notes that document different approaches to build things, where it's not always 100% clear which one is the right one. It's not really helping too much to get a flying start, but at least with "clean up", my first task is well defined.

Posted by betabug at 15:22 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

ValueError: The permission XYZ is invalid

It ain't used really

Oh, and while I'm at the topic of "stupid little things I've left off half finished", let me add a note to self: When you get an error "ValueError: The permission XYZ is invalid" in Zope 2, it's because you've set up a permission (e.g. with manage_permission()), but you haven't actually used it to declare security on a method somewhere.

This will probably bite you only if you prepare for using that new permission, then leave things as they are, only to later return and innocently expect unit tests to run through. When in doubt, just add a bogus method that is declareProtected() with your new permission and the Tracebacks will stop blowing up in your face.

Posted by betabug at 16:12 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
08 April 2010

Local Lunch

... an agri-cultural Naxos thing

So, what do we have here? It's my local lunch today: Local eggs, local cheese (γραβιέρα, graviera), local bread, local butter, local milk, local spinach pie. Not pictured: Local apple pie, which I had for dessert. All these local products taste great

Actually most of the products are not local-local, i.e. they are not from this village, but from Naxos in general. There is one bakery in Naxos town that has nicer bread than the local bakery. The milk and butter go through the naxian milk cooperative, but there might well be part of the local milk from this village in there. It just isn't viable to get unpasteurized milk from the next farmer any more.

The spinach and apple pie are from a friend's sister's workshop in Naxos town. She makes exclusively pies like that, very good ones at that. We hadn't found the shop on former visits, since sometimes finding things in Naxos town's little maze of streets is a bit of a venture. (plug: it's called "ανέκαμμα", πλατεία πρωτοκικείου, "anekamma", protodikeio square in Naxos, tel. 22850 26404.)

Also not in the picture: local steaks, which we bought on the way back from buying the milk and other stuff here in the village. I have high hopes for those too.

Posted by betabug at 14:26 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
10 April 2010

10 Days of Work and Fun

All kinds of creativity
The good old Arca-Swiss on the rocks

Right after the Easter weekend, I stayed here in Naxos for another week. From Tuesday till Friday, I worked relaxed and creatively on new features in one of our office's projects. Apart from a somewhat restricted Internet connection (restricted per max bandwidth), I can work as if I was in the office. Things moved well, the relaxed environment always motivates me.

After work I used to pack up the Arca-Swiss, pick up a map and a guidebook and go roam the old hiking paths in the center of Naxos island. That way I'd get the last afternoon light and evening light, when landscape photography is most interesting. Only problem is that sometimes the light fades fast, so you have to work fast... and working fast isn't one of the strong points of the Arca.

Now I'm left with not even one frame of unexposed film. Time to go home and see what I have done. Even if nothing was on the film (knock on wood here), I had a splendid time roaming the hills and fields.

Posted by betabug at 19:49 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
17 April 2010

Που κάνεις; Τι είσαι;

... οι σημαντικές ερωτήσεις στην ζωή

Χτες βράδυ έξω από τον σταυρό του Ταύρου, γυρίζοντας από μια έκθεση περάσαμε από μια άλλη παρέα. Μια κοπέλα από εκείνη την παρέα σήκωσε το κινητό της και μόλις είχε καταλάβει ποιος είναι από την άλλη είπε: "Που κάνεις; Τι είσαι;" Θεά η κοπέλα... μεγάλο γέλιο από μας και την άλλη παρέα βεβαίως και το κατάλαβε αμέσως και εννοείται που γέλασε και η ίδια.

Posted by betabug at 17:13 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 April 2010

Ansel Adams' "Museum Set" at the Benaki Museum

Better in Real Life

Saturday at noontime I went to see the Ansel Adams exhibition at the Benaki Museum. The exhibition shows the "Museum set", 72 pictures, selected and printed by "Saint Ansel" himself, to be shown to represent his life's work. Adams is one of the, maybe the best known photographers. In the field of landscape photography and/or large format photography, he's the big name, not only having done outstanding photography, but also having published books about how to do it. Not to forget, he also worked out the "Zone System" for exposing and developing photos.

Myself, I had seen his pictures only printed in books. Some of them were printed good, but more often than not, the resulting pictures were just ok. Now for the first time I saw the real prints.

Continue reading "Ansel Adams' "Museum Set" at the Benaki Museum"
Posted by betabug at 22:41 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
20 April 2010

The Windmill

In almost working condition
Windmill on Naxos, in front of evening sky

When I was on Naxos, each evening after work I would set out with the camera to take pictures in the late afternoon and evening light. One of those evenings, while walking on the path to the next village, I had set up my camera to take a picture of some cane grass with the village in the background, when up the path came some small, almost fox-like dogs. After the dogs came their owner, a square shaped farmer, with a face and hands to tell of years of work.

We of course started to talk. I've met Stelios again over the course of the next few days. He's one of the few traditional guys left, he even has some horses to till the fields that are so far off that a tractor can't reach them. Amongst other things, he told me some things about this windmill, right up to the hill from where I'm staying. In fact, this thing is in almost working condition. The main shaft is broken outside (due to the weather working on the wood for a looong time), but the replacement is lined up outside.

Internally, all the gears, the millstones and all that stuff are in perfect working condition. Stelios said they'll have the shaft and arms up again come summer time. One day I'll see him again, on his way to milking his cows, or maybe coming back from there, and he'll have the key with him and then we could take some pictures of the inside of the mill. I'm looking forward to it.

Picture taken with the Arca-Swiss 6x9cm, the scan isn't perfect, but so what, it still shows a hint of the evening sky and the mill standing there, almost ready to produce some great, old fashioned wheat flour.

Posted by betabug at 10:22 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
23 April 2010

Flickr Shoulder Slapping Evaluator

... an idea for a funny app

If you use Flickr (or, as some people lovingly call it, "Fuckr"), you might have noticed, that it's almost impossible to get real critique or even real comments on your pictures. All most people ever seem to get is shoulder slapping in the form of "Good shot", "wonderful capture", and "well taken" etc.. This might be feeling good for an average of 3 days when you start out, but it turns sour and empty fast. Well, being a geek and all, I thought about a technical solution or, failing that, at least messing with the stuff in a fun way.

To be honest, I haven't even looked at the flickr API, so no idea if this is possible, but here is what I propose: Write a bot that trawls the comments on your photos. Analyse the comments (maybe some bayesian playtime is needed, maybe not even) to see which comments are shoulder slaps. Have the bot check out the users who posted comments, analyse the comments they get vs. the comments they make. Find some magic pagerank style number to give a real value to the comments people give you.

What you want to know is if the comment "wow, great capture" on the picture of the red plastic bathtub in your backyard comes from a user with a firehose of such shoulder slappings or if it's the one-off comment from someone who usually does careful analysis. While you're at it, discard all the "please add this picture to the worlds-greatest-red-bathtubs group" group invitations. Then assign a score to your pictures. Something that tells you "people who care really cared for this picture". Or at least it tells you "the shoulder slappers will know I see through them". And if you didn't like it you can still look at all those "amazing picture" comments.

Update: Had a short look at the flickr API, this stuff should be well inside the realm of the possible.

Update 2: Just found this flickr comment generator - wonderful work!

Posted by betabug at 10:03 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
27 April 2010

Circular Rainbow

All around, up in the sky behind my hand
(part of) a circular rainbow, up in the sky behind my hand

On Sunday I went with a group from a mountain club to a place called Αχαρνές (Aharnes) to an educational rock climbing place. While we waited on a parking lot outside the village for people to dripple in, someone spotted this rainbow in the sky. The sky was slightly cloudy, slightly sunny. There was the sun behind some hazy clouds, throwing a perfect circular rainbow around.

I took some snaps with the mobile phone camera, covering the sun itself with my hand. This one is the best shot, slightly tweaked to correct a bit of the camera's color cast. I couldn't get all of the circle into the picture, too bad.

The day spent at the rocks was nice too. I didn't climb more than 2 meters, due to a small accident with my fingers beforehand. Seems you need all your fingers for this climbing business. Those borrowed climbing shoes that hurt like hell also didn't really help. I also took 2 pictures with the Arca, but ran into some technical problems... heck, this camera is pretty old. More on that another time though.

Posted by betabug at 14:11 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)