Search Results: "koala"

1 September 2021

Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities August 2021

Focus This month I didn't have any particular focus. I just worked on issues in my info bubble.




  • Debian servers: expand LV, fix debbugs config
  • Debian wiki: unblock IP addresses, approve accounts
  • Debian QA services: deploy changes


Sponsors The pyemd, pytest-rerunfailures, libpst, sptag, librecaptcha work was sponsored by my employer. All other work was done on a volunteer basis.

1 June 2020

Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities May 2020

Focus This month I didn't have any particular focus. I just worked on issues in my info bubble.




  • nsntrace: talk to upstream about collaborative maintenance
  • Debian: deploy changes, debug issue with GPS markers file generation, migrate bls/DUCK from alioth-archive to salsa
  • Debian website: ran map cron job, synced mirrors
  • Debian wiki: approve accounts, ping folks with bouncing email


Sponsors The apt-offline work and the libfile-libmagic-perl backports were sponsored. All other work was done on a volunteer basis.

5 April 2015

Daniel Pocock: Australian wildlife

Here are some of the animals we have seen so far during our trip to Australia. Kookaburra Some kookaburras flying into the trees around a friend's beach house at Kennett River on the Great Ocean Road. Koala's in the wild It is easy to find koala bears in many of the trees around Kennett River: Python At the Moonlit Sanctuary, we were introduced to a python: BBQ My cousin Hagen prepares the BBQ for lunch at the sanctuary: More koala bears It was also possible to get up close to one of the koala bears at the sanctuary. Be careful not to get so close to them in the wild. Wallaby The wallaby is like a small kangaroo: Kangaroo Carla was able to get up close to a family of kangaroos and feed them some snacks: Tasmanian Devil Saving the best for last, the Tasmanian devil is not just a cartoon character. His jaw is strong enough to crush your finger as if you had been run over by a train and he can run faster than just about anybody except for a trained sprinter. Consequently, we didn't jump in the enclosure to pose with him for this photo:

20 March 2015

Steve McIntyre: Tour of Australia

Jo and I just got back from our massive holiday in Australia. We had an awesome time overall, fitting in lots of stuff in 4 weeks. Time for a quick write-up and some photos! Ayers Rock We flew into Sydney, then straight onto Uluru for the obligatory sunset and sunrise viewings. We didn't climb the Rock, both for sensitivity reasons and (to be more honest!) it looked way too much like hard work in 40-plus degree heat. Ghan train Coach over to Alice Springs, where we had a very quick look around before taking the Ghan train down to Adelaide. The train was fun for a day, and we got to see a lot of desert. In Adelaide, we had a look around the city (lovely colonial feel!) and got a couple of evenings in fun comedy shows at the Fringe. Great fun! Cuddling a sleepy wombat! On to Tasmania, where we did a quick (3 days) run around the island by car: into Hobart, up the east coast. Stopped in Swansea (a nice version!) for some heavenly Devonshire teas, then on up to Grindelwald near Launceston. Visited Trowunna Wildlife Park to see (and cuddle!) lots of local animals, which was amazing - Jo's favourite day of the holiday. Then on to Queenstown and drive back down to Hobart past some impossibly beautiful views around Cradle Mountain. Tassie's gorgeous - like the best bits of Scotland, Wales and Cornwall but with even fewer people and better weather. Sydney Opera House Next, on to Sydney for Harry and Cath's wedding. We stayed up in Chatswood. Not knowing anything about the area beforehand, we were a little surprised to basically find ourselves back in Hong Kong! We spent most of the weekend catching up with friends from the wedding group, and the wedding itself was at Quarantine Station, overlooking the harbour. It couldn't have been a more perfect location / weather / view for our friends' big day! We squeezed in a couple of the open-top bus tours of Sydney on the Sunday, but got caught in the horrendous storm that hit and ended up sheltering downstairs under cover on the bus. I'm told Bondi is lovely, but it all looked grey from the bus. :-P Puffing Billy, Yarra Valley Down to Melbourne on the train (bit of a wasted day, in hindsight), where we wandered around the city quite a bit. Caught up with an old friend who lives there for a day, and we did a wine tour up the Yarra Valley which was fun too. Snorkelling at the Reef - all OK! Up to Port Douglas, where we headed out to the Reef for my highlight of the holiday: a snorkelling tour with some local marine experts who showed us the local flora and fauna. We also visited a local Aboriginal cultural centre, skyrail and scenic railway around Kuranda village. Koala! :-) Down to Hervey Bay and a 1-day tour of Fraser Island - an amazing place in combination with quite a thrill-ride experience just being driven around on the sand tracks. Finally, down to Brisbane where we wandered around and visited both the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (more cuddles!) and the Gold Coast. Then the long flights home. Whew! We're knackered now. We knew we could't fit everything in, but we're glad we travelled all over and got tastes of almost everything. Now we can work out where we want to spend more time on our future visit(s). We'll definitely want to head over and see Perth and some of WA next time, and definitely more time in Tasmania, Sydney and Adelaide.

5 September 2013

Keith Packard: Airfest-altimeter-testing

Altimeter Testing at Airfest Bdale and I, along with AJ Towns and Mike Beattie, spent last weekend in Argonia, Kansas, flying rockets with our Kloudbusters friends at Airfest 19. We had a great time! AJ and Mike both arrived a week early at Bdale s to build L3 project airframes, and both flew successful cert flights at Airfest! Airfest was an opportunity for us to test fly prototypes of new flight electronics Bdale and I have spent the last few weeks developing, and I thought I d take a few minutes today to write some notes about what we built and flew. TeleMega We ve been working on TeleMega for quite a while. It s a huge step up in complexity from our original TeleMetrum, as it has a raft of external sensors and six pyro circuits. Bdale flew TeleMega in his new fiberglass 4 airframe on a Loki 75mm blue M demo motor. GPS tracking was excellent; you can see here that GPS altitude tracked the barometric sensor timing exactly: GPS lost lock when the motor lit, but about 3 seconds after motor burnout, it re-acquired the satellite signals and was reporting usable altitude data right away. The GPS reported altitude was higher than the baro sensor, but that can be explained by our approximation of an atmospheric model used to convert pressure into altitude. The rest of the flight was also nominal; TeleMega deployed drogue and main chutes just fine. TeleMetrum We ve redesigned TeleMetrum. The new version uses better sensors (MS5607 baro sensor, MMA6555 accelerometer) and a higher power radio (CC1120 40mW). The board is the same size, all the connectors are in the same places so it s a drop-in replacement, and it s still got two pyro channels and USB for configuration, data download and battery charging. I loaded up my Candy-Cane airframe with a small 5 grain 38mm CTI classic: The flight computer worked perfectly, but GPS reception was not as good as we d like to see: Given how well TeleMega was receiving GPS signals, I m hopeful that we ll be able to tweak TeleMetrum to improve performance. TeleMini We ve also redesigned TeleMini. It s still a two-channel flight computer with logging and telemetry, but we ve replaced the baro sensor with the MS5607, added on-board flash for increased logging space and added on-board screw terminals for an external battery and power switch. You can still use one of our 3.7V batteries, but you can also use another battery providing from 3.7 to 15V. I was hoping to finish up the firmware and fly it, but I ran out of time before the launch. The good news is that all of the components of the board have been tested and work correctly, and the firmware is feature complete , meaning we ve gotten all of the features coded, it s just not quite working yet. EasyMini EasyMini is a new product for us. It s essentially the same as a TeleMini, but without a radio. Two channels, baro-only, with logging. Like TeleMini, it includes an on-board USB connector and can use either one of our 3.7V batteries, or an external battery from 3.7V to 15V. EasyMini and TeleMini are the same size, and have holes in the same places, so you can swap between them easily. I flew EasyMini in my Koala airframe with a 29mm 3 grain CTI blue-streak motor. EasyMini successfully deployed the main chute and logged flight data: We also sent a couple of boards home with Kevin Trojanowski and Greg Rothman for them to play with. TeleGPS TeleGPS is a GPS tracker, incorporating a u-blox Max receiver and a 70cm transmitter. It can send position information via APRS or our usual digital telemetry formats. I was also hoping to have the TeleGPS firmware working, and I spent a couple of nights in the motel coding, but didn t manage to finish up. So, no data from this board either. Production Plans Given the success of the latest TeleMega prototype, we re hoping to have it into production first. We ll do some more RF testing on the bench with the boards to make sure it meets our standards before sending it out for the first production run. The goal is to have TeleMega ready to sell by the end of October. TeleMetrum clearly needs work on the layout to improve GPS RF performance. With the testing equipment that Bdale is in the midst of re-acquiring, it should be possible to finish this up fairly soon. However, the flight firmware looks great, so we re hoping to get these done in time to sell by the end of November. TeleMini is looking great from a hardware perspective, but the firmware needs work. Once the firmware is running, we ll need to make enough test flights to shake out any remaining issues before moving forward with it. EasyMini is also looking finished; I ve got a stack of prototypes and will be getting people to fly them at my local launch in another couple of weeks. The plan here is to build a small batch by hand and get them into the store once we re finished testing, using those to gauge interest before we pay for a larger production run.

30 August 2011

Keith Packard: TeleMini

TeleMini Dual-deploy altimeter with telemetry now available TeleMini is a miniature dual-deploy flight computer with data logging and radio telemetry. Small enough to fit comfortably in an 18mm tube, this powerful package does everything you need on a single board: I don t have anything in these images to show just how tiny this board is but the spacing between the screw terminals is 2.54mm (0.1in), and the whole board is only 13mm wide (1/2in). We ve been flying these for quite a while; testing the hardware and tuning the firmware. My new 29mm mmt airframe, Koala, sports a TeleMini board for apogee-only deployment. It s been really nice to have something flying on G s and H s that doesn t depend on the vagaries of delay grains.

13 March 2010

Joerg Jaspert: Vacation fun

As some people know, I had a vacation in February. Only very few knew that I was heading down to Taiwan. I was leaving Germany at the 8th and back here on the 24th of February. Yes, that neatly fit this years Chinese New Years parties. Was at home for four days (and at work for one), after which I went off to this years Cebit. Until the day I arrived in Taiwan it looked like we do not have a booth there, but then everything changed while I was having a nice vacation. I really have to thank Alex here. Cebit was actually my task, but he jumped in and did all the preparatory work that was needed right in the time I started my vacation. Without that either my vacation would have been much different and less nice or we wouldn t have had a booth. I am back home since some days now, without any travel plans for the next few weeks/months to come. Though I wish I had a job (and private life) that would allow me to just go off again, ie. something I could do everywhere where there is net. Meh. Of course I did take some pictures (more than 2500) and also some notes during the trip. And having a blog that one or two people read, I think I should bore you all with it. But hey, you can skip it if you want. :) Yes, I should really take some time and work a bit on the pictures I took. Right now I only selected around seven hundred which I show off to people (and to link to from here), but they are basically just copies. While some are great in itself, many can need a bit of work here and there (cut out unimportant, blurry, colors, the usual stuff). And I also prepared multiple shots for HDR processing or to make a panorama view from, but thats something that takes time and has to wait. Just for the record, I think that this, this and this are very nice ones.
This is a public version of this text, so names and also various events and days have been cut out. Yes, people who know those in my pictures will know names, but thats no reason to feed the evil $searchengine caches more with hits for their names. Flight down, 8 Feb. Flight down from Frankfurt, using KLM so it went via Amsterdam and Bangkok (short Transit stop) to Taipei. The days before we had lots of snow and cold and all that stuff which tends to get flights cancelled, but I was lucky, none of that for me. The only slightly annoying thing was in Taipei, where KLM demonstrated how much a Business class Priority luggage sign is worth for them sometimes. We came in half an hour before schedule, but then had to wait an hour for our luggage (while all of economy luggage passed by). I think the business class Priority sign actually meant Priority to wait . The food on the flight from AMS to BGK was good, having a No Lactose Meal actually tasting well. Can t remember what it was, but better than the fish I got from BGK to TPE. Catering from Thai Airways, they do not know anything besides Fish when preparing No lactose meal and then they also manage to prepare it in the most boring way possible. Sad thing, but happened four times now, all the times I had catering prepared by them. Other than those points, no trouble at all. Immigration was done in about 20 seconds, customs didn t want to look at me, just the asians in front and behind me, all fine. Met my Travel Companion outside and off we got. First to the Taipei Main Station, where we got some food. Some rice (with a bit of meat) and red sauce, together with a soup. And a glass of tea, but that had an oily surface. Umm. Guess the cup wasn t all that clean, we both skipped that. Then I tried to get money from an ATM. First had to find one that actually wants my european credit card. And then, as usual when I travel offroad, I managed to forget my pin. Bah. Well, found an HSBC somewhere that actually takes my Maestro card, so at some point I got money (a pretty helpful thing, that is).
Wednesday, 10 Feb. First night in a new Timezone which is 7 hours before my normal one. Makes my body think I should not be allowed to sleep much. So it only allowed me some two hours before I woke up again. It didn t listen to any argument and didn t care that it was all dark and night, so I couldn t sleep more. Wellwell, got up at the same time as $TC then, we got some breakfast, egg/ham sandwich and tea. From there I set off and juggled my way through Taipei MRT over to YuanShan Station.
Confucius Temple
It is good for a visit of the Confucius Temple and also the Dalongdong Baoan Temple which is right beside it. Later on I got told there are much more impressive Confucius temples elsewhere, but it is still a good place to start off. And it just means I have one more reason for another visit. After those two temples I moved over to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. Took about an hour to go through that museum, which again made it pretty clear to me: Some people just have too much time and money. I do not even get the setup in the entry hall, even though it looks nice, and let s not start about the rest they show there. Definitely not my thing, Fine Arts , nothing worth to waste money on, at least for me.
Having fun
So I left there after just about an hour and fought the MRT again. This time it spit me out at the Taipei Zoo station and I went through that. Appearently the nice sunny weather let some animals have fun, and that all in public. Tssk. Won t someone please think of the children?! :) Otherwise it is a pretty big area with lots of animals. Not all of them seem to be in areas that (I think) are big enough for them, though I m no expert in that. But it looked small for them. Also, while I thought it pretty well visited, many people there, I bet for Taiwanese standards the zoo was nearly empty. At least looking at their preparations for queues, like in front of the koala house, they are used to deal with like 20 times the amount of people. I count me lucky that there haven t been that many, else I would have needed to wait everywhere, which I hate. Queues are bad, mmmmmkay? As I already mentioned, the weather that day was pretty nice. Mostly sunny, only few clouds and some 25 til 29 degrees. No rain. Now that s a nice winter day.
Dinner was scheduled for 1800h, a Hot Pot session. 5 people in total. Appears you order the meat for the hot pots from the waiter and let them bring it, but all the additional stuff you get yourself. They have a big selection of vegetables, seafood, bread/cake like stuff and whatnot you can take. I first also went there and got a small dish with stuff. But stopped right then and let the Taiwanese do the rest. Better that way, they know it. And hey, we had been 5 and they got stuff for like 35 people. :) It was a nice 2 hour session, in which we had lots of different kinds of additions to the hotpot (two pots actually, one spicy and one not spicy). I know of some meats, some vegetables, but then there also was said to be duck bladder and some other organs which they couldn t (or didn t want to? :) ) name in english. Now, db sounds worse than it is, it doesn t have a special taste and is mostly boring, I think. Of course, not liking seafood, I skipped on that, but about all the rest was nice. I like Hot Pot :) After this session the other 3 left for various reasons and $TC and me had a nice walk around/through the University, before going back to $TCs place.
Thursday, 11 Feb Had another short night as I only got to bed around 2AM, just to get up around 9AM. Additional fun that my body again insisted in being elsewhere, not accustomed to the timezone in Taiwan yet, waking me up a few times during the night.
Fishermans Wharf
Got an easypass for the MRT as that is a little better than buying a chip for every single trip and battled with MRT again, finally emerging at Danshui station. Sat a bit at the beach eating breakfast before finally starting a walk out to the Fisherman s Wharf . It is some 4 kilometers to it, made out as a bicycle path, but I just walked. Visited Fort San Domingo on the way and then went all the way up in that Wharf area, another kilometer. Got me a nice peppermint ice tea, though it was a funny process to it. The salesperson didn t speak english and my chinese is - well, limited is a too soft word to describe it. But it worked pretty well, with us pointing around on the menu and then the salesman showing me various additions, if I would want them. Like showing a milk bottle Want milk in tea? , showing sugar,
At the bridge in that Wharf I was approached by some Asian people, asking me to take a picture of them in front of the bridge. Fine, did it, did it again in another setting and then, when done, they asked me where I am from. When I said Germany they thanked me in German which surprised me a little. :) That is something funny anyways. Wherever I go, people look. They aren t much used to someone my size. Kids are usually more direct with pointing, grinning and sometimes crossing my way on purpose, just saying hi (some kind of test of courage, I bet). Every now and then I also get asked if they can take a picture with me. Right now there are like 20 pictures of me (that I know of) all over Taiwan that I didn t take, nor have. :) Now, who here loves Spongebob? This is the country for you! The picture only shows one small table, you can find much much more. Same goes for Hello Kitty and other such stuff.
Dinner this day was initially planned to be at some place called Maokong, but then plans changed, as $TC and others that we should meet there needed to pack for the next day. So $TC and me just went to the Shilin Night Market. Right beside it is a big food plaza. Like a thousand square meters (or probably a few more, what do I know, I haven t measured it, but it wasn t all too big) having some hundred or more little kitchens where you can get a very broad mix of things. We had cold noodles with some slightly spicy sauce and then some fresh guava juice. Tasty tasty. Though noodles with chopsticks was something new, but it worked out well enough. Later I had a noodle soup, that was something more tricky, but in the end you just need to find the right trick.
Little crowded
After food we went through the night market. Well. Parts of it. It s big. And its crowded. About the most crowded place I ve been to. Heck, half of Taiwan was in that street area. :) Didn t buy anything. The only stuff I thought interesting was a T-Shirt with a Taiwan map on it, but do try getting some in my size. Ha. Small asians. They say they have big sizes, but then its XL only (or a totally ugly color, brrr). We finished early here, as the packing for the trip starting Friday right in the middle of the night still needed to be done, and getting up at 6AM you do not want to stay up too late. But it was nice there anyways.
Friday, 12 Feb Got up early. I mean, early. 6 AM. ARGS. Not really my favorite thing to do, but as our plan said we have to get the HighSpeedRail to Kaohsiung at 7:42AM there wasn t much else to do. Pretty nice train, lots of room to sit, even in second class. Don t know business, but probably even more. And it looks fast, if I can trust the display it had we where going near 300km/h. After arrival in Kaohsiung we went out to $TC s place to get our luggage away, as it is annoying to move around with all the stuff. I got another easypass here, this time a lent one from $TC s Mother. It s fun, there are two MRT systems in Taiwan using the same technics, basically the one in Kaohsiung is built like the one in Taipei, using the same style of RFID cards (and chips for single trips). But they made them incompatible. One can not use a pass from Taipei in Kaohsiung and vice versa, for whatever reason. It s not like the two cities are very far away from each other, it would actually make sense to be compatible, but that is probably what stops them doing it. We took this Friday and also the Saturday to get around Kaohsiung, visiting several places. As the MRT in Kaohsiung has a different station design at every of its stations we did look at some of those too. Especially Formosa Boulevard , a station that has two points describing it best:
one part of the dome of light
Right outside one of the exits is a funny little cosmetic surgery. I only remember it thanks to the english name of the Doc, but somehow I don t think it was chosen wisely: Dr. Luck . . Aiik, you need be lucky to get out there looking better? Dr. Unlucky might not be good for you taking a wrong cut? :) (Yes, I know, I m crazy, don t tell me. Ok, if you really want, queue up, you aren t the first.) At one point we went out to Sizihwan, where we walked to a ferry. Actually we tried renting bikes, but this little bike shop wasn t prepared for a small german like me, not having bikes my size. (And no safe way to get the saddle of the smaller ones into a height I could start using the bike). So walk it was, not nice bike trip. Still ok, got to the ferry, got over to the other side and had a nice walk there to the/along the coast.
one more temple
We bypassed multiple temples there, at one of which a great cite came up: Temples in Taiwan are something like 7-eleven. They are everywhere. I love it. And somehow it s true, you can find one around each other corner, a little like those churches in Puebla, Mexico. In the evening we had been out for a night market. The first one was pretty boring. While having been announced in the MRT station near it to be a night market for New Years things, we found it to be about empty and very boring, so we went over to another one nearby. Wasn t as crowded as the Shilin one, and not as large, but nice. At the end of it had been a small game stand, where one could shoot balloons to get some price. I ended up getting the biggest available, as this isn t really a challenge. How anyone can miss hitting a balloon there I don t know. They are only like 3m away, not moving, you have clear view, and if you really need it even get a laser pointer on your gun. Anyways, was fun enough, I repeated shooting enough times to get the biggest available Patrick doll they had (a meter). Hrhr. Who likes Spongebob, eh? Speak up! :) I got a few nice shots of the night skyline of Kaohsiung late one of those evenings, where we went to the Dream Mall and up into the big wheel . Also had some game spots there, but turns out I m not as good throwing things at a target than I am shooting at them. We also went out to a historical sugar refinery, looking around. Of course, this being Chinese New Years eve, there haven t been that much people moving around, it was pretty empty. And the people working there all just waiting for their shift to end. But still got some pretty nice pictures from and around it. Also tasted a new kind of icecream (new for me that is), which actually has a kind of sand like feel. I like it. Like I actually liked most of the food, pretty much all the time. Of course everyone has things one does not like, but in general the food is great. Especially the largely different style compared to the european way of cooking. I ate lots of things I won t ever touch here in Germany.
Sunday, 14 Feb; Monday 15 Feb A nice two days some way out of Kaohsiung. Found out I am pretty good at losing various things: I got a bag full of (Li n w ; Syzygium samarangense; wax apple, love apple, java apple, bellfruit, see the wikipedia page for more on it) and about an hour later I totally had lost track where it ended up. The same happened with a big bag of tissues I had bought. Somehow both of the bags got feet and ended up elsewhere without telling me.
ocean place
That one evening we went out for Dinner, a big party of people. Was a place right beside the ocean, so yes, seafood. Oh yay, I don t like that too much. Happy enough there must have been a conversation going on like Hey people, this silly german doesn t like seafood much, lets get one other option too . So we had a plate with some cold chicken on. But I tried various of the seafood dishes too and liked some of them. Actually some I had tried in Germany at some point where I learned to hate them and now I liked them as I got them in Taiwan. People also seemed to think I am good at using chopsticks, though I think I am just fiddling around and be lucky when I get my stuff. But maybe it just means Hey, it looks funny what you are doing. Keep going, we like to laugh. :) ). We actually had been around this place a little earlier that day, taking a walk around it, drinking some tea, that type of thing. And got a set of nice bottles of fresh coconut juice. My first time i got it fresh, I think. But I also managed to lose track of it. I bet somewhere there is a party consisting of tissues, (Li n w ) and a bottle of coconut juice, singing classic songs like Strike, we escaped the german Lunch the other day happened to be a big family meetup. Lots of people, lots of chatting, lots of fun (I think :) ). When we arrived it started out by about all of them trying to get me to sit down somewhere. And me bad impolite german not wanting to. But there was no way to escape, so finally they won and I sat, with a number of people around me, trying to chat with me. Which is actually hard work for both sides, but every now and then gets a good laugh. But my chinese is far far away from being useful for even a small meaningful sentence, so they had to activate their english knowledge, especially for the times $TC had been elsewhere and couldn t help out translating. Somehow the job got done, they asked their questions and I hope they mostly understood my replies. Bad me, speaking too fast english sometimes. We had a nice lunch there, with the most notable part being the way I got called to it. It s interesting how much you can say by just using body language and pointing. (Oh, of course food was very good too, but that fact is one you can take as a given, even if I don t mention it again). Later on a dice game started, and after a short explanation of the rules I joined in. Took only a little, but then I got the rules, its easy. I didn t get any of the chatting that happened during the whole game, but it was very much fun and really insane (so would also fit DebConf very well) and nearly no times you do need words to understand what is going on. I like this game and they gave me a set of dices, so I can train it and come back to play again. Ha. A bit after that dice game people unpacked some of the sweets I brought from Germany. One of them being spicy. Really nicely spicy, at least for the average Taiwanese. If you happen to have been at DebConf9 and also had the luck to be one of those I offered some chocolate or wine gum to, you know what I write about. The stuff here was slightly less spicy, but still more than enough to leave a nice impression. They had lots of - well - fun trying them out, gave a good set of laughter. And ordered more for next time. Uhoh, I already know which I will take with me, but then there have to be special preparations before testing. :) I ve also got invited to come back next year. Might be I haven t made the worst impression. Well, lets see if I can take this up and if they still want me in a years time. At least my chinese should be much better by then, given another year of training. (Even if I find it actually hard to learn. For some reason its not easy for me to memorize language things, at least not chinese. Oh my, one year, I should have some 3 words more, I hope :) ). In the evening, back in Kaohsiung, $TC also told me rules of a second dice game that I had seen some people playing. Also seems like fun if played with enough people.
Tuesday, 16th Feb
35mins delay
We started the trip by taking the train from Kaohsiung to Taitung. We had been a little late for it, had to run from the MRT to the train station. Silly me took that as an opportunity to fall down a set of stairs. Only to discover, when getting to the platform, that the Taiwan Railway wanted to give me a feeling of home, delaying the train. First by 31 minutes, later it got up to 43 minutes. Somehow felt like Deutsche Bahn, being late is also their best quality. When the train finally got in we saw that we had been lucky to have seats reserved, this train was full, lots of people moving around within Taiwan that day. We got to Taitung all fine and had the Hotel send someone to pick us up at the train station, as it is a long way from the train station over to the Hotel. Got our room and left it pretty soon again to look around.
Hello Kitty
Spotted a funny little Hello Kitty car and got some food for lunch followed by a walk along the beach. Found some sculptures made of wood, where one of it seems to have some bad stomach problems
Wooden figure with stomach problems
Later on we had a nice and long walk through Taitung Forest Park. Took some time, got some nice pictures. It was getting dark when we got back into town, time for Dinner already. Yay, food. Next day a train trip to Hualien was set, but only for the afternoon, so we had time to look around. We first went through the Peinan Cultural Park, but unfortunately
Park your dog
we had no dog to park there. After that we rented a scooter to get a little farther away from the train station. After getting some fuel for it we headed to National Museum of Prehistory (which was much more interesting than the Fine Arts one earlier) and later on just drove around some time. Just looking around, without a clear direction, simply for the look around. Was fun, but too short actually. But we had to head back at some point to catch our train over to Hualien. In Hualien we again got a Taxi to the Hotel. We left that soon after arriving, Hotel rooms are boring, and it was food time again anyways. Only a little annoying, one of the few days we had rain and I can imagine something nicer than rain when I am outside. But somehow this damn weather doesn t bother to stop raining when I go out.
Thursday, 18th Feb A full day stay in Hualien, no Hotel change. Just a trip over to the Taroko Gorge.
Taroko Gorge
Which is a very nice and impressive place to visit, sure too much for a single day, I definitely have to come back here. (Well, I have to come back for multiple other reasons, but this sure is one). We took the bus to the first stop in that park, somewhere around the Leader Village Taroko. Probably a nice place for a night or ten.
Nice place?
There was a short trail we followed, getting some more pictures and impressions, but it didn t take us long until we where back in a queue for a bus, this one going all the way up to the furthest away spot a bus goes to. There we had some lunch before we wanted to start walking around. Unfortunately (for my nose) we then passed by a place selling Stinking Tofu . Other customers there said that this is not the best available, but I got a taste of it. Don t really need that version more often, even though its not as bad as it smells or the name suggests. We walked a little there and I got some more pictures before we set off to climb the stairs to the Hsiang-Te Temple of Taroko .
Hsiang-Te Temple of Taroko
Looking down from there we saw a lot of buses which was our sign to get back to the bus station, as the last bus was scheduled to get off somewhere at 3 in the afternoon. And as we didn t have a Hotel place here it is pretty helpful to catch the bus. So we queued up once more and had a bus ride back to the train station. Next time there should definitely be a night or more in some Hotel somewhere there. On the way back we took a slight detour, having another time at the beach, not enjoying the weather which insisted on a little rain and lots of wind.
Friday, 19th Feb This day saw us moving to Luodong, another place with a day of rain. Still, my gps log tells me we where moving around a lot, even though I do not have a single picture from the whole day. And as pictures are the main source of my memory ups. Well, I remember the rain, of course. I also remember that I got a steak at some place and that we bought various kinds of food (and tea and juice! :) ) on one of those markets, eating it in our Hotel room. (Rain is bad, mmmmmmmkay?!). And there was some kind of park too, in which I got a funny little game. Oh well.
Saturday, 20th Feb
Way to go
There is nothing nicer than starting a day with a fun bus trip in the morning. Going high up into the mountains. On a day where the clouds reach down to some level underground, more or less. Using very narrow streets and the usual mountain like narrow curves. While not being able to see far. We got up to Taipingshan all fine but once there we had to wait for our room to be ready. So we took a walk around. Actually not a walk. More a climb. Being a mountain place, and those mountains never having heard of those nice invention called elevator or that other named escalator, people setup stairs. Millions of them.
Besides the stairs it is a very nice place to walk around. We took various of the trails through the area and besides me sometimes nearly falling down (damn slippery grounds) it was great. At some point in the afternoon we got our room and also ate some instant noodles before taking another trail, one that took us some 2 hours. You should really take a look at all the pictures I took, as the few I link directly sure do not present this area right. Taipingshan starts at Picture 434 and continues up to Picture 634, but a good number of them is from the second day too.
Sunday, 21st Feb Contrary to the day before there wasn t a single cloud to spot. Ok, ok, there have been some, pictures proof it, but it was a nice sunny day. Nice start of the end of the trip through Taiwan (still one and a half day in Taipei to follow, but the trip around country is over). Of course that meant taking a lot of pictures again,
a sunny morning
and soon after breakfast we took the BongBong Train over over to the Maosing station. There are again a few prepared trails, most of which we took. We only skipped on the one going to the waterfalls, as it wouldn t have fit into our schedule. Got compensated with a pretty adventurous track with lots of nice sights following the old train tracks. Thanks to a number of landslides there is no train going anymore and thus it is a nice way to walk.
It is a 1500m long walk and sometimes you really have to be careful, but it provides many great views and is a really nice trail. Got a few hundred pictures, yay. Including a proof I ve really been there. I hate pictures with me, really, they are just shit by default (maybe I shouldn t be in them?), but in total I got 11 pictures that proof I was really there and not only sent a camera (four of those are included in that gallery I always link to). We got back to the main place around noon and after Lunch we took the Bus back down to Ylan. The bus was scheduled to go at 15:30h, so we went to it fifteen minutes earlier. While we had a sunny day, clouds had started coming in at 15:00h, and at the time the bus started it was all white and there wasn t much too see for the driver again.
me was there
But it turned out that this makes no difference. The driver must have a very prominent wish to die while taking his passengers with him. Or he is insane. Or has a very important appointment somewhere else. Whatever it is, he drove down, on narrow streets, very tight curves, not too much sight and all that with a speed thats incredible. Several times a part of our bus was out over the abyss. I found it pretty fun and all that, especially as it made for a set of very nice views all over the area, and appearently another passenger thought similar, but $TC did have quite the opposite of thoughts and did not feel all that great. We arrived in Ylan one hour before schedule, which, on a 70km trip through mountain area should give a hint how it was. Took a minute off to regenerate and then we wanted to look around a bit. Having our luggage with us that is annoying so we tried to leave that at the train stations baggage service counter. Turns out the personell there is a bunch of crackmonkeys not following their own advertised opening times. Probably wanted to go home early, those lazy dolts. Fortunately the people at the ticket counter were better and exchanged our tickets and we took the Train back to Taipei a little earlier than initially planned.
Monday, 22nd Feb Bad day for all those people who had a nice vacation during Chinese New Year, they had to get back to work. I didn t have that problem and so went around Taipei a bit. Initially I had plans of going to some tourist spots, like the National Palace Museum or others, but then just skipped them all and just took a walk through various spots of Taipei. Basically just Get out of MRT station XY, walk around . The GPS track later told me that I actually covered about 15 km that way, and my feet agreed to that. At some point I did bypass a German Cuisine restaurant, called Zum Fass . Don t ask me how the food is there, I wasn t in, but still had to grin a little when reading the menu. In the evening we went out to get me some Tea to bring back to Germany. Well, some is some kind of understatement, it was lots, as much as I could pack. But good stuff, some of it is steaming right now right besides the keyboard here. Yummy.
Tuesday, 23rd Feb
As always, the worst day of any vacation. The day you have to leave and go back home. My flight was scheduled for 20:00h, so I took another half a day just looking around Taipei. Which made me even more jealous of those not having to get away, as I happened to pass by some preparations for the Lantern festival. Which happened only a few days after I got away. Next year I have to plan better and stay longer, what I saw on preparations, and that only at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall definitely makes it worth it. Timing in the afternoon was very tight, I actually got the last bus that was in time for my flight. Just one later would have created some trouble, my total time on the airport was something around 30 minutes before boarding started. Just enough to get the minimum needed amount of postcards written and off to boarding. The flight back was boring. Food from TPE to BGK was a pretty good variation on No lactose , some noodles with stuff. Of course from BGK over to AMS it was fish again, same boring Thai Catering as usual. I was unable to sleep well on the flight. Somehow I woke up very often despite earplugs and eye mask. With all that I turned out to be half asleep when we arrived in Amsterdam and so I accidently took an opened half litre bottle of water with me through security. Funny, they didn t spot it. Instead they decided to make a big fuss about my camera bag, asking me in detail what I have in there, supposedly trying to check if I know what I carry. And made an even bigger show of scanning it again. And that bad liquid that those idiotic stupid laws written by brainless monkeys from our governments forbid got no notice at all. Imagine what I could have done to air safety with it! Oh my. Back in Germany my luggage got out first, so no waiting at all. I passed by work to leave some weight there (Hello boss, want some tea?) and went back home. This was also my first trip where I had a noticable jetlag after coming back. For nearly a week my damn body insisted on being in Taiwans timezone, waking me up at times I should sleep, feeling tired when I should be awake. Tssk. Conclusion of this trip: I will be back in Taiwan for sure. I don t care if you take this as a promise or threat, but I will be back! :)

12 March 2010

Craig Small: VMware at last

Well I suppose its a bit heretical running something such as VMware, but its an important piece of software at my workplace, it also allows me to run some important VMKs or modules. But at first it just wouldn't compile.

And then I found this wonderful blog about Installing VMware on Ubuntu and it worked wonderfully. The author patched the code and it all installed nicely.

The next problem was one of the services would not start. Port 8308 would refuse to work and when I went to the management screen and said Service Unavailable. I tracked this down to the Java program dying at socket binding time.

The absolute first thing you should check if you are having TCP/IP problems with Java is the sysctl path net.ipv6.bindv6only which you can check with
sysctl net.ipv6.bindv6only.

If it is 1, it might mean bad Java code network problems. And in fact this time it was the problem, changing it to 0 and the Java daemon started and stayed running and all was good.

Incidently if you use the Cisco ASA firewall Java client and it dies, use this trick for it too. On Debian systems, edit the file /etc/sysctl.d/bindv6only and set that option to 0. I don't think its the fault of the key, but bad Java code (but is there anything but bad Java code?)
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29 November 2009

Torsten Landschoff: New development box installation woes

I got a new computer at home a week ago and finally got around to assemble all the parts. Which wasn t as easy as expected, especially fitting the CPU cooler was a hard fight. Specs For the curious, here are the specs:
AMD Phenom II X4 965 (4 3.4 GHz)
MSI 790GX-G65
ATI Radeon HD 3300 (on-board)
8 GB, DDR3
Hard drives
2x SATA 1.5 TB (by Western Digital)
Ubuntu installation For testing and having a first look, I installed Ubuntu karmic koala (amd64). Installation went like a breeze, everything was detected and worked out of the box. Well, kind of graphics performance was dreadful. Which was kind of expected. Debian installation I originally thought about using Debian only inside virtual machines or change roots. Still, Ubuntu does not really feel like the real thing . So I went to install Debian, aiming at a sid/unstable installation. The first boot using the official squeeze snapshot netinst image (Binary-1 20091128-11:21) went fine. Up to the first prompt: No input was possible. Probably a problem with the USB keyboard I had connected (Logitech wireless). Out of curiosity I tried the graphical installer, which did not even get so far. It was stuck in an endless loop trying to start an X11 server. So I dug for a PS/2 connected keyboard and had more luck. I got to the point where the installer searches for the CD-ROM drive. As I did not want to dismantle my old system yet, I used an external USB DVD/RW drive. This was not detected by the installer so I was unable to continue installation. I guess, the NIC driver was also on the disc so no ethernet either. Today I installed the DVD burner into the tower and had more luck. It still amazes me how easy it is to create my default storage setup using d-i (LVM on RAID). However, the installer failed to reread the partitions after I created two on each drive, interestingly telling me about /dev/sda2 being busy. Perhaps a left-over swap partition from the Ubuntu install? Anyway, after running fdisk manually and writing the same partition table again, I was able to continue. The remaining d-i steps went fine, with just a nuisance: I was asked for the console font setting twice. And I had no idea what it was asking of me, AFAIK UTF-8 should be fine for all possible uses. I selected # Latin1 and Latin5 western Europe and Turkic languages. Not that I will see the console unless Xorg fails to run After having the base system running, I rebooted without selecting any more software, partly because I knew that the resync on md1 will need restarting after booting into the new system. The new system booted fine and I called aptitude to install build-essential, Xorg and both KDE and Gnome desktops. This pulled in MySQL via akonadi-server (ouch!) and I was asked for a MySQL root password. Seriously, I don t care, this is a desktop system. I tend to forget the password anyway and the last time, root was able to reset it. So I just hit Enter, leaving no password set. This lead to the installation asking me two more times for the password, which really sucks given that the server is only used by Akonadi for whatever reason and the last time I looked, it creates its own MySQL configuration. Albeit my old system is 8 years old, the new system still seemed slower. Which of course is due to disk latencies, given that /dev/md1 was being synchronized in the background. Anyway, I was eager to test the desktop experience and started gdm. X came up fine, but again I had no mouse and no keyboard (USB mouse, keyboard connected as well as PS/2 keyboard). I also was unable to switch to a VT, so I logged in remotely and rebooted the new system. After the reboot, hal obviously picked up the input devices and X11 worked fine now. At this point, I stopped as the sunday almost passed already. Summary: Debian installation still needs some improvements I think. Maybe our distribution is just too stable, after all my last install is 3 years back due to a disk crash Relevant Debian bugs

4 November 2009

Stephan Peijnik: How to move panels in Gnome 2.28

I just installed Ubuntu Karmic Koala on my workstation and came across the problem of not being able to move/drag Gnome panels around in order to have the panels on my primary monitor.
On the Debian system that was powering the workstation before this was a non-issue as I could simply click, hold and drag both the upper and the lower panel, but this didn t work. So, after a few minutes of googling I came across an entry at[0] and a blog post, but I cannot seem to remember the URL to that one. I can imagine that some of you might be having the exact same problem, so the solution is holding down the ALT, whilst dragging as usual. [0]

25 October 2009

Julian Andres Klode: I m back

I returned to Germany from my vacation in Greece yesterday, and I just installed my new hard drive into my laptop. The old Hitachi hard drive had some bad sectors after a very long usage time (compared to my other disks) we ll see how the new Samsung SpinPoint M7 will work. Another side benefit is the upgrade from 120GB to 500GB which means I don t have to delete files during the next months. It is also much faster (hdparm -t was 80MB/s, 2 times faster than the old one). I m currently running the release candidate of Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala on this system, but I expect to return to my full Debian unstable developer environment during the next week(s). Karmic seems to be pretty stable already, but I have experienced problems with PulseAudio and my PCM control getting set to +13dB which is horrible. I will probably also pre-order a Nokia N900 soon, which will be my largest investment this year but I really need a new mobile phone, camera and music player. And not to forget the ability to develop software for it, and testing my software on those less powerful devices (compared to my laptop). All in all, I m back and soon ready to hack again. Posted in General

15 May 2009

Philipp Kern: Infinote-based Gobby hits Karmic

Gobby 0.5 (or to be more precise 0.4.92) just hit the Karmic Koala. Below you can see a screenshot of the new version (just click on it to get a large version). It is sadly not protocol compatible to the old version but it features local undo and redo! Furthermore it's not yet stable on-the-wire wise. The software itself is fairly stable but it could be a bit bumpy if the server protocol version goes out of date. Gobby 0.4.92 thumbnail If you want to try it out on earlier versions, I offer backports in the Infinote PPA for Intrepid and up. I hope to get to Hardy soon, sadly it needs some more backports. There is a public server available on if you want to try it out (connections are encrypted, but all contents are public and can be deleted by everybody, wiki-like; so please be considerate and non-destructive). On local networks Gobby will look for servers through Avahi. That said Gobby is not yet able to host servers by itself, like the old version did. You have to install the infinoted server. You can do this on any computer, even on the local network and take advantage of Avahi. If you want encrypted connections you need to create certificates but if an unencrypted session is acceptable you can get an ad-hoc server by invoking infinoted --security-policy=no-tls without further configuration. It will persist content across invocations, too. Thanks to Greg Heynes, there will also be a KDE client for Gobby, called... Kobby! The first time someone actually uses the fact that the software uses a library for interoperability. Interesting that it's done now when the library's C instead of C++ (which obby was written in), with Qt being C++ anyway. I'm not yet aware of packages but I really hope that we can release with both. If you encounter problems, please report them to our Trac (preferred) or Launchpad.

13 April 2009

Jeff Bailey: Suggestion for renaming of Karmic Koala

Dear Ubuntu Technical Committee,

Please consider the following proposal to both delay the 9.10 release slightly, and also to deviate the naming sequence slightly to use a previous letter that was skipped.

I propose that the next release of Ubuntu be 9.11, and be called "Bumbling Bush"

Sincerely Yours,
Jeff Bailey, Ubuntu Core Dev.

14 September 2006

Evan Prodromou: 28 Fructidor CCXIV

Yesterday was my turn as "primary care giver" (PCG) with Amita June, so I took the opportunity to do some shopping. I was on Autoroute 40 on my way out to the Ikea on rue Cavendish around 1PM when they had a breaking bulletin on the CBC. Yes, the Dawson C gep shooting -- they were sending a reporter to the scene. For those of you outside Montreal, yes, I and my family are fine, and we don't have any friends who were affected by the shooting. It's been strange in town, but we're physically safe and sound. Thanks to everyone who's asked. tags:

Piknic Electronik On a more cheery note, this upcoming Sunday is the last Piknic Electronik for 2006. The last picnik is always quite sweet, and as usual Ninja Tune will be closing out the season. Smart, fun Kid Koala and, my personal fave, Ghostbeard, are on the lineup. Should be a great time, and it's supposed to be sunny on Sunday, so a nice day to be in Parc Jean Drapeau. tags:

Ignition 2006 Burning Man just finished up last week, and here in Montreal the local Burning Man community is having a campout and bonfire to celebrate. The so-called "regional burn", called Ignition, is going to happen 22-24 September in the wt:Eastern Townships; more info on the Br leurs wiki. Maj and I are the regional coordinators for Burning Man activities, and we've been busy the last few weeks lining up the basics (tickets, toilets, insurance... check, check, check). Now we're looking forward to seeing what folks will be doing this time around. Our local Burning Man community is fabuloso -- the people are extra cool. tags:

31 July 2006

Eric Dorland: Fantasia Roundup

I'm a little behind having seen my last film on Monday, but here we go:

6 November 2005

Clint Adams: Dead uncle Allotheria

flurble, would you rather have a pet badger or a pet koala? Update: Matt gave this an index of 2 . Update: She picked koala. Reasoning is implied here.