July 31, 2003
Obsession - or just a sign of the times?
Mum observes the changing world.
Overheard conversations in the street this morning were laced with references to www, the internet, email and similar........it used to be that folk discussed the weather, shopping, TV and so on. Are we becoming obsessed?
This week, a couple of news items caught my eye that underline the fact that time may be running out for software development in Europe. First off, Deutsche Bank announced that it is outsourcing 5500 jobs to external service companies or low-cost countries and today I read that Software AG is moving some software development to India as well. Now this isn't really new, but the number of companies announcing these types of changes seems to be increasing.
July 30, 2003
Bye Bye Beetle
The last Beetle rolled out of production in Mexico today. Sniff. My first car back in the early 1980s. Sniff. Ah the memories.
Yes I know there are loads of pages about this topic, but I'm looking for the "I'm a MySQL expert and these are the 10 steps to MySQL heaven" page on optimizing a MySQL installation. In particular information on making slow selects FASTER (i.e. check this, then this, then this and then buy more memory :-)). Leave pointers in the comments. Thanks.
The marriage has begun
Quite a bit of interesting Cocoon news today. First, Carsten announced the release of Cocoon 2.1 rc 1. This release is another big step on the way towards the actual release of 2.1. Next, my colleague Guido was put forward as a possible committer on the Cocoon project. And lastly (well so far), Steven announced this year's Cocoon GetTogether.
Today was the last day of school here. Now the kids are off until September. The last few days before the break they seem to be even wilder than normal. Ah....those were the days.....
July 29, 2003
Open Source Flying
Something I wrote up after OSCON while sitting in Portland airport waiting for my flight back to Germany.
It's the End of the World As We know it - Bets?
I thought Doc (Happy Birthday!) was having a joke with this pointer. But it's true. Sign up and start investing in political happenings in the Far East. Betting as a form of gathering intelligence information...they must be desperate.
Later:Looks like it's already over. What a pity.
Sun set to spoil Microsoft's tea-party?
Details on Sun's Linux desktop solution "Mad Hatter" have been around since late last year. However the exact components of the product offering (with/without hardware) seem to be settling. This German article on Heise details that Mad Hatter will be a Linux distribution with additional desktop applications such as StarOffice, Mozilla and Gnome. Interesting: the bundling of Ximians Evolution. Mad Hatter is scheduled for release in "September or October".
Today I stumbled across FlashMobbing. The spontaneous formation of "mobs" through the use of email, weblogs or other messaging systems seems to be becoming something of a fad. Basically the mobs are being synchronized using say email to go to a particular place at a certain time and do something "strange" - then the mob breaks up. Here is an article on how it all started. Here is a directory of upcoming or past FlashMobbing events.
Although at the moment the events seem like fun, imagine what they could do. Howard Rheingold's book Smart Mobs details how mobile phones are being used to do this in Japan and how a world of "ad-hocracy" is being created.
NoFluffJustStuff in Europe?
Sometimes I just shake my head when stuff like this happens. In Portland I chatted with Erik Hatcher about the idea of a European version of the NoFluffJustStuff Symposiums. Now Werner Ramaekers has picked up the same idea and is discussing what a European version of the symposium would look like. Great!
July 27, 2003
Kensington WiFi Finder
This gadget is getting a lot of mentions lately. Of course it's cool to be able to see whether you're in reach of a WiFi network - but 3 lights to show the signal strength - come on - that's not really that helpful. At least add an indicator that shows whether it's an open network and display the SSID. Please.
July 26, 2003
Amazon goes RSS
At last, they get it. Actually I'm pretty impressed. Especially because I think that most European companies still don't know what RSS is.
July 24, 2003
Arnie for President
Now you know why he keeps saying "I'll be back". If he does decide to run for governor then does that mean no more Arnie films? Or could this be some plan by the machines to actually...but no, they're just films - aren't they?
A couple of years ago, Cocoon was often criticized because of the lack of form-handling and validation. Other projects, such as Struts were always pointed to as the "optimal" solution for form-handling. Nowadays, Cocoon ist often criticized because it now has several different ways of doing form-handling and validation. Thanks to Sylvain, it looks like we have started down the path that will lead to hopefully a single way of "doing things". And Struts will have one less argument in the marketplace.
July 23, 2003
Watch this space
Looks like WoZ have some interesting stuff in the pipeline. I need at least 3 of those tags :-).
Frank makes some interesting comments on Mitch Kapor's problems with his new mobile. I'm currently having the same problem in that I'm trying to sort out what I need in order to use my mobile for Internet access while on vacation in Denmark. Can I use GPRS or am I limited to the normal 9600 connection? Should I even use GPRS or is that too expensive. And how can I configure my Powerbook so that it's easy to connect up my mobile via Bluetooth and just dial up. I tried this neat looking program (Mobile High Speed) - but it didn't work. Anyone used it with Mac OS X 10.2.6 and a Nokia 3650? It reads all the data from the mobile ok, but when I press "activate" the program just flashes and dies.
I'm back from my part of the Cocoon training in Bavaria. Thankfully all other trips between now and vacation look like being day-trips only. Time to dig through the pile that has resulted in the last few weeks. And check out what has been happening "out there".
July 20, 2003
Googling from any application
Steve and I talked about how cool it would be to be able to initiate a Google search from any application. Today, Evan Williams from Blogger (who I was lucky enough to meet 2 weeks ago while at Google) points here. It works too.
Apart from the Dazzle Hollywood Bridge and using another camcorder in passthru mode - what other ways are there to get analog video from my old camcorder into the Mac? The Dazzle Video Creator 80 looks like just what I would need - but it only seems to run on Windows...
July 19, 2003
July 18, 2003
Portlet Spec released
On Sunday, Carsten and I head South to do our famous Cocoon training somewhere in Bavaria. A weeks long course on all that is Cocoon. I'll only be down there for the first couple of days and Carsten will be doing the rest this time. However we will be accompanied by a colleague who has been using Cocoon in real projects and solutions for the last couple of years. And it is his hands-on experience (read: tales from the trenches) that may give this training an interesting spin. It's a test anyway and if it works out will give us some interesting options.
July 17, 2003
There are no words to describe how I feel today. We arrived back in Paderborn around 1am this morning after flying and driving through some of the worst thunderstorms I've ever seen. You don't want to go there. It's amazing how the plane bobs around in the storm and yet the pilot manages to set it down for a near perfect landing. They know their stuff.
July 16, 2003
Arrived in a sweltering hot Bristol yesterday evening after an interesting trip. Basically it took a long time at Heathrow to gather everyone who is attending todays meeting. Nice pub dinner last night and the first interesting discussions on what we are here for. We are here to talk about Digital Repositories in general and how we can work together on a European scale. Combining research and commercial industries from all over Europe. Interesting - but complex stuff. The rain has set in this morning and thunderstorms are spreading over the area. Should make for an interesting flight back this evening.
Cool site of the day
An archive of information (including pictures and videos) about endangered species.
July 15, 2003
Leaving for Bristol in a few minutes. So blogging will be light (at best) until Thursday.
Computerworld on OSCON
Computerworld has an article on last weeks OSCON that echoes my thoughts entirely.
Tidbit of the day
West Wing has always been one of my favorite source of quotes. Today, Stefan has one that I didn't post.
July 14, 2003
Ugo hits home
In a comment (which I shall refrain from pointing to) - Ugo makes the point that perhaps I should be .. umm.. eating less :-) and exercising more. Actually, while digging in to my All American Breakfast before a day of OSCON sessions the thought did actually pass my mind :). After my current traveling (I go off for another couple of days next week), I hope to get back to running regularly. On the subject of diets - I'm very anti-diet because I've yet to see one that actually works over a longer period of time while still making life worth living. Actually I did browse through the range of books on that subject at Borders...but..... Of course I'd be interested in hearing any opinions - including yours Ugo!
No sooner have I arrived and it's off again. This time for two days to Bristol, UK. A gathering of Orixo companies and partners, together with other institutions interested in stuff like this.
Later: As Armin points out in the comments, the drive between Heathrow and Bristol will take me close to where I was born (Faringdon, Oxfordshire). Unfortunately there will not be time for a trip down memory lane. This time.
Ah, a picture of me from OSCON. See if you can spot me.
July 13, 2003
Back home after my flights from PDX->FRA->PAD. Really non-events but the long stopover in Frankfurt made the trip tiring. I think I'm still on Portland time so it will be interesting to see what happens when I go to bed in a couple of hours. Regrouping.
July 12, 2003
OSCON 2003 is over and it's time for some sort of summary. First off it looks as though Portland will be home to OSCON next year. The number of registered attendees was around 1800 which is the same - if not slightly higher than last year. A success given the current economic situation.
It's hard to do a theme summary when it was only possible to visit one session at any given time. Some new themes that were big this year: Scripting languages (with Ruby now joining the game) and Business models for Open Source. One of the things that struck me the most is way the Open Source crowd is recognizing the "business aspects" of the subject and also how companies like MySQL and even - to some extent - Microsoft or Oracle - are accepted participants at an event like this.
Portland is a town that you need to get used to. I wasn't too excited when I first arrived but it grows on you. Oregon does not have sales tax - so that's a great advantage when shopping. Also, it only rained one morning and apart from that the sun kept shining - and it got quite hot (quite different to what I was expecting and had been told). Also, the public transport system is good and you can get around the city easily. However, I think I've had enough now and if I see one more Starbucks I'll probably scream.
July 11, 2003
Miguel is next up talking on Mono. He gives an overview of the Mono platform. Then there's a demonstration of an app that integrates all the different programs you might have like chat, email and web to provide an overview ("dashboard") of linked and related information. Written in Mono.
George Dyson's Keynote
George Dyson is talking about Van Neumanns universe. George has researched the very dawn of computing and is showing the documents and papers the first ideas of logical circuits were sketched out on. The origins of machine commands, bits, AND/OR gates etc. George emphasizes the way the original van Neumann machine was developed in an open way with each step of the design process being published. And indeed people cloned the machine as the development proceeded.Fascinating talk. And the only keynote that received a standing ovation.
I was in Doc Searls talk on how Open Source is changing the IT world in that companies are becoming more of a Do-it-yourself organization when it comes to building software applications. Open Source is helping them do that and software vendors will have increased difficulty if they don't adapt to this model.
July 10, 2003
In on the Chandler presentation. An Open Source Personal Information Manager. The talk is a basic overview of the Chandler architecture and illustrates design decisions. Still early in development it will be interesting to see how this project goes. It's a very open project being developed fairly completely out in the open (as far as I can judge). Does a product like this have a future? Will commercial entities be interested in replacing say Outlook with Chandler?
Scripting languages have a high profile here and so (colleagues take note) I am going to take a look at Ruby today. First up is Matz speaking about The Power and Philosophy of Ruby. Lots of heckling between the Ruby fans and the Perl/Python fans here. Just spotted Miguel here also. Matz is talking about the philosophy that lead to the creation of Ruby. An interesting talk about how programming languages influence the way programmers think and the principles behind good language design.
Mitch Kapor's Keynote
Mitch (apart from all the other stuff he's done) is the founder of OSAF. He is talking about Linux' Journey to the Mainstream Desktop. Mitch states that Linux will end up with a significant share of the desktop. Falling cost of hardware puts pressure on software to lower prices. There is a desire for open standards and level playing field. The climate is more open for an alternative. Mitch mentions Munich as an example of significant Linux desktop deployments. Mitch gives an overview of the Desktop Linux Adoption Cycle. Linux on the desktop will move into a second phase of users that are "transactional users". People who work in call centers for example. Knowledge workers, Small business, Consumers will take until 2007 to start moving to Linux as a desktop solution. Mitch predicts: Price cuts by Microsoft, Public sector adoption as a driver, 10% desktops globally for desktop Linux, Selective adoption in enterprises, No consumer momentum for a while. Points to OpenSector.org and Chandler as stuff they are doing or supporting.
Stormy Peter's Keynote
Strormy runs HP Open Source business. Is Open Source changing business? It is not "will Linux dominate the world" but "what part of the world will it dominate". Open Source is here to stay. Stormy talks about how Open Source is invading traditional software models. There was an article in the newspaper about Oracle's problems with MySQL. Stormy describes the different business models around Open Source. A very basic introduction to Open Source so far. HP has a website for Open Source. Tim O'Reilly asks Stormy about the pushback she gets: "Fear of copylefting something", "who's supporting it". Large companies are the ones looking more into Open Source. The argument that gets the most interest is "it saves money".
Open Source Awards announcement
Eric Raymond is on stage to announce the formation of the Open Source awards. The community equivalent of the Hugo or Oscars. A reward structure for Open Source awards. Cnet is sponsoring. Press conference to follow.
I met Rob Flickinger this evening while talking with some folks from O'Reilly. Rob's new book sounds interesting: "Wireless hacks".
Just wanted to mention that I am doing all my notetaking in the sessions with OmniOutliner - which is a great tool for exactly that sort of stuff. So basically I am writing notes in parallel with blogging the session using NetNewsWire. And at the end of the day I'm sort of tired :).
I went to the session on "Open development and Commercial Business models" - which was a panel discussion that included someone from Microsoft, Novell, Tim O'Reilly and Dave Stutz. My take on the current touchy-feely stuff is that there is a lot of "reaching out" going on. The boundaries are blurring anyway with companies like MySQL taking on a commercially oriented approach to open source and Microsoft with its shared source model.
Now sitting in the session on "MySQL and Java". Lots of interesting stuff on performance and testing of Java/DB applications. Many of the topics are not MySQL specific.
Last session of the day for me is DJ talking about integrating Open Source with SAP.
July 09, 2003
Perl lighning talks
Now sitting in Perl lightning talks to find out what makes this community tick. A very large crowd and as noted last night Perl is still going strong despite the other scripting languages that are around (someone is going to hit me for that). This morning we were discussing this at breakfast and Erik was trying to convince me that Ruby was the way to go and not Python.
I'm going to sit in on the first half of Erik's "Applied Ant". It's a two part session and I want to see another one - so i'll miss the second part. But Ant is an interesting project and we're using it more and more. Erik showed some interesting stuff in the first half - probably old hat to my colleagues. He also introduced stuff like Anthill and CruiseControl - things I certainly think we need to look at more. Unfortunately I left to head for another talk - which was on Open Source Business Strategies. But it wasn't what I expected.
Paul Buck's Keynote
Paul Buck is speaking on Eclipse. At the moment he is giving a general introduction. Why was Eclipse launched as Open Source: To create a platform for people to build products - not just IDEs and receive contributions from the community. Eclipse is "an IDE for anything and for nothing in particular". For tool developers Eclipse is the "middleware of tooling". You don't need to start from scratch.
Note: Paul is giving more of a product pitch. Old habits die hard :)
Note: Larry Wall talked last night about the "universal architectural diagram" that you can use to illustrate nearly everything on slides. Unfortunately I can't draw it here (I just tried). And now Paul is using it in his slides :). Talk continues with an overview of the Eclipse architecture. Eclipse now has a C/C++ IDE Plug-in for Linux (and one for tetris :)). There's even one for Microsoft's VSS.
Tim O'Reilly's Keynote
Tim O'Reilly will be giving his keynote in a moment. He cracks a joke about Microsoft sponsoring the lunches (a subject that made it onto Slashdot) and then launches into the talk entitled "The Open Source Paradigm Shift". He starts off describing the PC Paradigm Shift (Hardware). "Companies stuck in the old paradigm die off: Digital etc.". In the PC Paradigm Shift (Software): Software became decoupled from the hardware. Lock-In moves to software and from IBM to Microsoft.
Tim now goes into Paradigm failures in Open Source software. User-friendly applications on Linux are Google and Amazon. Open Source applications but the code is proprietary. Quote from William Gibson "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet".
Lock in is based on data and customer relations, not proprietary software. Beyond Licensing - the three C's: Commoditization of Software, User-Customizable systems and architectures, Network-enabled Collaboration. Open Source promotes competition and drives down margins. Open Unix/Linux/Internet architecture makes "plug compatible" software the norm. Proprietary alternatives must become free (with added value). Internet era applications are updated daily, not yearly. Dynamic languages like Perl, PHP, Python are key to daily update: managing infoware interfaces.
Note: This is the talk Tim gave in Denmark at Reboot.
Network enabled collaboration consists of like minded developers who find each other and work together. Software development teams can be distributed even internationally. Users help to build documentation.
With a large-enough development organization, OSS-like behavior emerges. Tim is talking about how ASP.net was started at Microsoft.
Collaboration at the Data Layer: People (users) contribute to the system. Examples: Napster, Google (linkers via PageRank algorithm), Amazon (comments). "We are collectively building Google".
State of Open Source?
Tuesday evening at OSCON sees the annual States of the Union speeches and the Active State Active Awards Ceremony.
Things kick off with Larry Wall talking about the State of Perl. Larry reflects on Perl using the Blue Collar Creed: "We the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible..". Having done little in the Perl area I can't follow many of the jokes or word plays Larry uses. Perl has a big following though and the community seems very strong - something that is also expressed by things such as CPAN.
Next up is Guido van Rossum who is speaking on the State of Python. Python.org hits in May 2003: 11.9 M requests (5.5 M in Feb 2001). 65% of downloads are for Windows - other operating systems have it installed. Guido announces that he has left Zope and is moving to a startup in San Mateo. He says that he will still have time for Python. Python 2.3 scheduled for release in August. Guido also gives an overview of Python 3.0. However Python 3.0 will not be available any time soon. Actually - reading between the lines I would say that the future of Python may be somewhat clouded - or am I reading too much into it?
Shane Caraveo is next up to talk about the state of PHP. PHP 5.0 Beta 1 was released in July 2003. PHP 4.3 adds a command line interface.
The State of MySQL is up next. 35000 downloads per day of the server. In wide use at Google (for the ads) and Yahoo. Cisco, AP, Telecom companies. The company has about 70-80 people around the world. Mostly developers working from home. How do they make money: Dual licencing (GPL, Commercial), Support, Training, Consulting. Documentation is written by 3 paid documentation writers. The "My" of MySQL is actually the name of the daughter of one of the founders. Now you know. Deal with SAP. SAP-DB features will be incorporated in developed product. But most of SAP-DB is written in Pascal. The people are more important. MySQL also received venture capital. EWeek did independent full scale test and MySQL came in close second (to Oracle). Core development team is 27 now (up from 5). Ooh: MySQL has a query cache. So the result is stored with the query and if you send the same query before data changes you get the answer from the cache. This is especially for Web applications. Version 4.1 supports sub queries. So you can integrate queries into queries. MySQL supports client-server connections using SSL. MySQL also offers MySQL Control Center - a graphical front-end.
Greg Stein is next to speak on the State of Apache. Gives an overview of Apache and talks about the ASF in general. Describes the Apache Software License and states that the goal is to allow the largest number of people to use the software.
Theodore Ts'o is speaking on Linux. Linux 2.4.0 was released in Jan 2001. Linux 2.5 feature freeze in Halloween 2002 (Because Linus was going on a Geek cruise and he moved the date up). Linux 2.6 release "real soon now". Linux 2.5 is already more stable than 2.4. Quote: "Java - write once, run screaming" (to do with the number of threads you need to maintain socket connections).
Bea releases XMLBeans to Open Source and JBoss news
July 08, 2003
OSCON now starts in earnest for me with the Struts tutorial this afternoon. "Building Web Applications With the Struts Framework", given by Craig McClanahan and Amy Roh. Slides are available here. Dear Tim: Why isn't there a Cocoon tutorial?
Of course someone asked Craig to compare Cocoon to Struts and he answered quite diplomatically. "If you are more into XML then Cocoon may be right and if you're more into Java then perhaps Struts is right". He hinted at the fact that Cocoon may be hard to understand - although he said that the Cocoon programmers were smart. Actually it would appear that Struts 1.1 has "copied" some of the aspects of Cocoon. After the basic introduction of Struts the example application in being presented - but not in a way I can understand easily. The level of the tutorial is slowly dropping. Also, how do you do multi-channel apps with Struts? All the Struts stuff is embedded in your HTML layout. In a addition Struts only provides a very basic way to actually get at your data. No components like the different Generators or Transformers in Cocoon. In the break I introduced myself to Craig, so he knows that there's someone from the Cocoon fraction in on the tutorial. My main criticism on the tutorial would be that there was too much generic stuff and not enough on Struts itself.
Microsoft at OSCON
This article describes the Microsoft "invasion" at OSCON this year. They are also sponsoring lunches.
Nokia charger needed
If you happen to be at OSCON and have a Nokia 3650 compatible charger - then drop me a line at matthew at silent-penguin dot com. Thanks.
OSCON is a place where I get to meet the people I've been emailing over the past year or so. Today I had a breakfast chat with DJ Adams and Piers Harding. I've seen Erik twice today and suggested they do the NoFluffJustStuff tour in Europe. I also said hi to Tim O'Reilly while we both waited for the ride up to our rooms.
Pictures from the Valley
In order to get into Google you need a visitors pass and you also have to sign an NDA. Not that I then actually saw anything that it would be difficult to write about - except of course that whiteboard where they had the plans...(just joking Ovidiu). We went straight for lunch which is truely great there. Although they need to expand for the number of employees they now have. At lunch Ovidiu introduced to me to someone (sorry I didn't catch the name) who used to work at Microsoft on Internet Explorer and the Microsoft JVM for IE 4. The guys were pretty interested in what we do in the Open Source area and we agreed that it will be interesting to see how Microsoft approaches the Open Source challenge. After lunch, Ovidiu showed me a computer where Google employees can follow where the searches are coming from (worldwide) and what is being searched for. The results are filtered to protect the innocent. Walking through the building where Ovidiu works, we went into the Blogger area and I met Evan Williams. I promptly told him that I now use Movable Type but that Mum has a Blogger weblog (so he didn't hit me). Evan told me about Bloggers move down to Mountain View from San Francisco and we talked a bit about the various blogger tools. After that Ovidiu showed me where he works (so he really does work there it seems). Walking around Google and you can see why the company is popular as an employer. A very relaxed and diversified atmosphere. Cool. So, thanks Ovidiu for sparing so much time for me - a trip well worth making!
First we went into Palo Alto for coffee and parked in front of the Apple store there. It opened at 10am and so we had to wait a while before going in. I didn't buy anything! After the Apple store we drove round looking for the HP garage - where it all started. It's not that easy to find - but after asking a few people we stood in front of the "Birthplace of Silicon Valley". Actually we had walked past it several times because we didn't notice the sign. Next stop was Stanford University where we took a quick walk round the campus. After that we drove to Apple in Cupertino and went through the store there (again I didn't buy anything). After Apple we drove to Frys for a quick tour of the large electronics shop before driving to Google for lunch.
I woke up with plenty of time to make the train out to Portland airport this morning. This was the one time that jetlag came in handy. I gave myself an hours time at the airport which, as it turned out, was barely enough. Long security induced lines at checkin and before the gates meant that I got to the plane 10 minutes after boarding started. Fortunately that was still enough time. The Alaskan Airlines flight down to San Jose was calm. American pilots seem however to have an interesting way of talking to their passengers: "We're going to put this baby down by 8:28". Very laid back. Ovidiu picked me up and my tour around the Valley began.
July 07, 2003
Open Source BOF
Steve and I are doing an Open Source BOF tomorrow. Steve had the idea of doing something where we introduce Open Source and talk about some general concepts so people can get up to speed on the subject in general. I will be covering the business related aspects and generally be sharing some of the stuff that has happened to us in the last 3 years.
Tomorrow sees an early start for me as I have to get up at around 4:30 to catch my flight to San Jose. Ovidiu will (hopefully :-)) be picking me up at the airport and driving me around until my flight back to Portland leaves at around 3:30. We plan on visiting some interesting places so there will be more to tell when I get back.
My wireless access point disappeared so I had to go find another. I'm now sitting on the floor on the level where all the conference rooms are. Everything looks prepared and the line to register was long even though it was only Sunday.
Wireless at the Marriott
I've now found a WLAN node to use at the Marriott. As I only bought a days worth of Internet connection this is a Good Thing. Registration opens a 4pm and so I'll get down there in moment.
July 06, 2003
Breakfast with Steve
I met Steve by chance in the restaurant so he joined my while I ate my All American Breakfast. After waking up at 3 I was able to get a few more hours sleep so hopefully I will survive the day.
Blues in Portland
This is the blues festival that is happening across the road from the hotel. It went on (very loudly) until around 10:30 pm last night. Although I'm not really a blues fan the music I could hear was good.
3:30 am here in Portland and I'm awake. Thanks to the available Internet connection I can at least spend my time chatting with people who are in time-zones more awake than this one.
Happy Birthday Mum!
Mum is 64 today. Actually that is "today" where I am now and not "today" where she currently is - where it would be "yesterday". And I think I can put the age because she's a blogging 64 - which is probably not that common. Oh wait, isn't there a song...
The flight to Portland was delayed for about an hour because they had to find another plane for us ("there was something wrong with the engine"). But apart from that the flight was great. I sat next to an Iranian-American who told some interesting stories. Flying in to Portland I had a great view of Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier. I took the train from the airport to the Marriott and then spent some time walking around Portland. Across from the hotel there is a blues festival - so it's not particularly quiet at the moment. Downtown Portland is - well - downtown. The same as all the other downtowns - but smaller. At the moment I'm just trying to stay awake as long as possible. The hotel offers high-speed internet for 9.95$ a day. I couldn't find a WLAN hotspot I could get on while walking round Portland so I decided to pay the 9.95$.
The following took place Saturday - but I had to wait until I got to Portland and purchased some Internet time in the hotel to post.
11:53 CEST FRA - Waiting at the gate - still no WLAN. Bummer. My Powerbook got special treatment at security. They used the "sniffer" on it.
11:16 CEST FRA - cloudy. Still can't find WLAN. The short flight from PAD to FRA was uneventful and only takes around 40 minutes. Business class gets a "meal" and we mortals a drink. They should scrap the meal and invest the money in teaching the stewardess which muscles in her face she needs to pull in order to smile. I mean it's not my fault they didn't make Lufthansa and have to make do with working on a regional airline ist it?
9:35 CEST PAD - light rain, Paderborn is a regional airport that has expanded rapidly over the past years. Unfortunately they don't have any form of WLAN, so I'm typing this offline and hoping for some net connection in Frankfurt.
July 04, 2003
Yesterday I tested the different browsers on Mac OS X so that I can ready my work email while away, today I discover that we also have a POP3/SSL way of getting at our emails. And it works too. Now I can read all my emails using the Mail application. Great.
My first flight leaves at 10:20 tomorrow morning (PAD->FRA). Then a short wait and onwards towards PDX. Weather seems to good there. Warm. Most of the packing is done and as always I will take too much with me.
July 03, 2003
Now first off my German is far from perfect even after over 25 years here - so who am I to rant about bad language use. But then again I can rant about whatever I damn well like can't I.
So now it's about the use of English phrases in German advertising. Sometime I here or see English used in ways that makes my toenails curl. Here are just two examples:
A well known shop chain uses the slogan "Come in and find out". That's it. Ugh.
A German TV show (star search) is using the phrase "I dream I wasn't dreaming" - double ugh. And there are lots more.
Mac OS X browsers and Java
While away next week I will be using the companies webmail to access my day-job emails. The webmail frontend is part of Lotus Notes and uses Java applets for some of the functionality. I've always had problems with this under Mac OSX and so this evening I took Safari, Opera and Mozilla (in each case the newest versions) for a spin and see which one would actually do the job. Surprise: Opera 6.02 is the only browser that seems to be able to handle the embedded applets properly.
iCal schedule for OSCON
There is an iCal schedule of the OSCON sessions here. Only problem is that iCal has converted all the local times to my current time zone. This means all the sessions now start in the evening and last until the early morning. So I need to either tell iCal not to do that (i.e keep times absolute) or wait until I get to Portland to import it. Or...?
Last couple of days before my trip to the US and I'm deep in work stuff and "getting ready" stuff so there is little blogging at the moment from moi. Tune in again next week as I will be covering as much of OSCON as I can type.
July 01, 2003
WLAN Passport arrived!
Imagine my glee this evening when I got my T-Mobile WLAN global passport in the mail. You will have seen the advertisements all over the place no doubt. 10$ a month gives me unlimited roaming WLAN access in Europe and the US. I even get a free coffee at Starbucks if I show them the passport. The days of working out where the hotspots are and where I need to apply for an id are over at last. It took long enough for them to get all the hotspots up and the roaming sorted out. I mean - come on - I remember when I jokingly blogged about the possibility back in 2003!
On Saturday I'm off to Portland and therefore interested in any tips out there for surviving transatlantic flights and the following couple of days. Actually I seem worse off coming back to Europe (and I've heard that it's normally the other way around). Anyway - 2 things I have learnt in past trips is to a) drink as much water as I can both before the flight and while on the plane (so I normally arm myself with several bottles) and b) to stay up until local time reaches when I would normally go to bed. Any other tips?