Greg
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October 2004
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Friday, 1 October 2004 Echunga
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This continually panicking zaphod is really getting on my nerves, mainly because it's keeping me from other work. Spent most of the day working on it today, and finally found some more details, though I still haven't finished; it looks as if we might almost be able to just ignore the condition.

In the meantime to Mount Barker to look at our kitchen oven, which has been having temperature control problems. Fun to be able to do some simple debugging; it's looking either like a thermostat with fused contacts (the mechanical part works fine, and so does the electrical part most of the time), or possibly a short to the chassis; it seems that the elements are live, and that the thermostat shorts to neutral. A strange arrangement, meaning that a short to earth will also cause it to heat. The only explanation I have is that this oven is German. German power plugs don't distinguish between live and neutral (you can insert them either way round), so probably the constructors didn't consider this lethal arrangement to be a problem.


Saturday, 2 October 2004 Echunga
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More work on my tutorial notes today, including running zaphod with a conditional breakpoint in the function vtryrecycle. That slowed things down by an order of magnitude: by midnight, the find had used almost exactly 100% CPU time, and sleep 10 was taking up to 5 minutes to complete:

Sat Oct  2 23:59:13 CST 2004
root     666 80.9  0.2  1264  868 dco  R+   12:04PM 710:27.57 find /src -type f

That's 710 minutes out of 715, so clearly the 81% indicated CPU is incorrect. I wonder how long a single conditional breakpoint takes when the breakpoint condition isn't met.

Didn't do much else. Why am I so tired?


Sunday, 3 October 2004 Echunga
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Off early to Mount Crawford this morning for another endurance training ride. After last time's rather shocking discovery that Darah could, indeed, get tired, I was a little concerned. I didn't need be: Darah was in fine form. Her pulse rate was 50 before leaving and 46 after the cooling down period after returning. For the first time, I also got a vet check (Greg Rodda was on duty) immediately on return, a relatively fast canter. Result: 96, which Greg thought was perfectly acceptable at the point.

My condition was a different matter. I was exhausted, and did almost nothing for the rest of the day. A timely reminder that it's been 15 years since my first endurance ride. Maybe I'm just too old for it.


Monday, 4 October 2004 Echunga
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Labour day holiday today, just as well given my condition: as expected, I was somewhat stiff after yesterday's ride. I really need to consider whether I'm not getting too old for this kind of exertion; if I'm not, I certainly need to work on my physical condition.

Continued work on the zaphod panics. I had thought I was close to success, but it turns out that I still had a long way to go. This has been a fascinating dump to follow; I currently have about 50 pages of documentation on it. But it would be nice to finally find the problem and fix it.

Apart from zaphod panicking, we still have problems with the oven that I looked at with Barry on Friday. Had it connected to a different power socket, one on a residual current detector; it blew, thus confirming our hypothesis of a short to earth.


Tuesday, 5 October 2004 Echunga
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This crashing zaphod is driving me mad! Kept going deeper and deeper into the VFS, generating more and more notes as I went—I now have over 50 pages of notes on this crash alone. In the end, came to the conclusion that the VFS code is probably correct in returning VBAD for this directory entry, so concentrated on handling it correctly when pulling it off the free list. That proved to be relatively simple, so I now have fixed my panics. Thank God for that! But I'm still left with the feeling that I should have made it to where the VFS decided that this vnode was bad.

Apart from that, documentation is the flavour of the week. There's the possibility that I'll be presenting my work at a conference next year, so it's high time to start thinking about documenting what I'm doing.

During the night I had had a flash of inspiration about the oven, and in the evening confirmed it. In fact, it had been staring us in the face: when we first got it back from repair (replacement of a heating element), one of the connectors to the element had shorted to the rear panel, tripping the circuit breaker. I had fixed that some weeks ago by turning the spade connector around, increasing the distance to the rear panel by a couple of millimetres. The other one didn't seem to need it. On Friday I had actually shown Barry the spark marks of the short circuit—and there were two of them. But it didn't twig until this morning. Obviously the first one was live (throwing the circuit breaker), so the other one had to be neutral. Turning the second spade terminal around was all I needed to do. But I should have realized that on Friday.


Wednesday, 6 October 2004 Echunga Images for 6 October 2004
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After finally fixing things yesterday (and yes, zaphod no longer panics), thought I was done with the issue, but it turned out there was quite a bit of administration to do, and that took all day. dump is simply no longer the right tool. In the days when file systems were only a few hundred MB at most, it made sense. My /src file system is 180 GB, and just backing it up takes 8 hours. Restoring a file from the dump would take an average of 4 hours, which is just too much. I need to find a way to back up at a sub-file system level.

Apart from that, more documentation. It's difficult to find a good way to explain the concepts, and I spent most of the time trying to structure the document.


Thursday, 7 October 2004 Echunga
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Another day with not much to show. Finally got round to running fsck on zaphod, which took multiple passes to clean up. I have some surprisingly old stuff on the disk, such as broken symlinks to a file system I got rid of about 12 years ago. Now I have my machines back up and running, but my dump disks (a total of 320 GB) are overflowing. As a result of the problems of the last few months, I have multiple copies of some backups, so spent some time shuffling things around.

Documenting my program is not easy. I know what I want to say, but how do I structure it so that other people will understand?


Friday, 8 October 2004 Echunga
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Yet another day with mainly routine. Juggling my backups has become a problem, and spent some time working on mklinks, a program I wrote some time ago for manipulating directory trees. Found a couple of bugs in that, and fixed it, but it's still a very difficult to use tool. I must improve on it.

Documentation is gradually fitting into place. It's a big job, though.

In preparation for our Europe trip, installed Apache on my laptop, eucla. To my surprise, it worked out of the box: I had already copied the configuration files from echunga (also known as http://wwww.lemis.com/, my local firewalled server).


Saturday, 9 October 2004 Echunga
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Into Echunga early today for the federal elections. Since the last time I voted at a polling booth, I've been exposed to the discussion around EVACS, the electronic voting system trialled in the Australian Capital Territory a few years ago. Many of the concerns raised are valid; they pale in comparison, however, with the current system. Yana and I turned up there, and I gave our names and address (lot number and hundred; we don't have a real address). They found our names on a register, crossed them off and asked if we had voted before in this election. Theoretically we could have voted multiple times at different polling booths. I wonder if they really go to the trouble to correlate all the registers before announcing the results.

Filling out a senate voting form is also a pain. We had only 47 candidates; in Victoria it was 61. We have the choice of choosing one of about 10 “tickets”, predetermined (and undisclosed) sequences, or entering our own sequence for each candidate. The ballot form is so big that it needed to be folded to fit in the ballot box; that doesn't exactly suggest careful planning.

Spent the rest of the day tidying up AUUGN. It's about ready to go now. I've started including the Lions Book in installments; I wonder how popular that will be after 27 years.


Sunday, 10 October 2004 Echunga
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Into town for a Rocksoft company barbecue at Wendy Begg's place. Had a nice time while it lasted, but got a call from Yana with concerns about Serenade, Seren's foal. Got back home and found nothing wrong, but by that time it was too late. This isn't the first time that something like this has happened; we should make better preparations.

Finally finished and sent off both AUUGN and my tutorial notes for BSDCon Europe. Thank God for that!


Monday, 11 October 2004 Echunga
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Relatively quiet day now that I have AUUGN and my tutorial notes for BSDCon Europe out of the way. Spent most of my time doing program documentation instead.


Tuesday, 12 October 2004 Echunga Images for 12 October 2004
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Had lots of deadlines today, but somehow missed most of them preparing for our Europe trip.


Wednesday, 13 October 2004 Echunga → Melbourne → Singapore →
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Off to Europe today, leaving at 9 am. It's the first time that Yvonne and I have been on holidays together for nearly 10 years, and it's a funny feeling. By midnight we were in Singapore, this time terminal 2, where there was no free Internet access at all, despite all claims. There are computers everywhere, all offering Microsoft and “Internet Explorer”, but no other protocols, nothing secure at all. I mentioned it to a couple of people using the facility, but their response was moronic.


Thursday, 14 October 2004 → Frankfurt → Kleinenbroich Images for 14 October 2004
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Arrived at Frankfurt at 6 am and had to wait until the very end for our “priority” baggage; somebody had removed the priority tags. Still got to the railway station relatively quickly, and we left on a train within 1½ hours of arrival. Got to Kleinenbroich with no trouble, only a little after 3 hours after arrival. We keep forgetting how small this country is.

In the afternoon into town to do some shopping. Yvonne has certainly forgotten Germany, and she was not overly pleased by what she saw (“all these people!”). After that, we had a bit of time, so we set off to look at where I used to live in Schermbeck and Friedrichsfeld. I had intended to go to Oberhausen as well, but gradually got too tired. We're pretty close to the Rhine here (if it weren't for a bend, the house in Friedrichsfeld would actually have been in the Rhine); we crossed the Rhine three times today.

Early to bed.


Friday, 15 October 2004 Kleinenbroich → Strasbourg → Zürich Images for 15 October 2004
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I hate Braun electric toothbrushes! They work well, but they must be some of the most unreliable electric devices I know. Today my new toothbrush failed, the one I bought in March this year to replace another one that never worked properly. It always seems to be an issue of electrical contacts, notably the switch; shaking it would turn it on or off. Today it decided to stay on until it discharged the battery. Sure, it's still under guarantee (in Singapore), but that doesn't clean my teeth.

Then off without too much difficulty towards the South, roughly following the Rhine and helped by nice sunny weather. Despite the small size of the country and the high speeds we're allowed to drive, didn't make much more progress than in Australia: as I've observed before, the traffic slows you down to a point where the higher speeds are no longer advantage.

By lunchtime arrived in Mundolsheim, just to the West of Strasbourg, where we used to do our shopping in France when we lived in Germany. Some things don't seem to have changed; despite a deviation we found it without a map. Did some shopping, including two new Braun toothbrushes (not so much “in case one fails” as because Yana also has one that has failed) and then on to Switzerland, crossing the Rhine again in the process.

The weather deteriorated significantly when we entered Switzerland (at Basel/Basle/Bâle), and to add to that we hit the Friday evening rush hour, so finding our way to Zürich took 1½ hours. Finally made it to Daniel Demuth's place; he can't get over seeing us here, when we're part of his Australian environment. Had a (cheese) fondue, of course; pleasant evening.


Saturday, 16 October 2004 Zürich → Buchs (SG) Images for 16 October 2004
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With Daniel to his riding facility in Forch this morning, where he showed us his new horse “L'Illiade du Canon”. After that off towards Buchs in St. Gallen, where Yvonne has relatives and where she spent a lot of time in her childhood. The weather had picked up again, so took the scenic route:

Got there in mid-afternoon. Buchs is–where else?–on the Rhein, just opposite the bridge leading to Liechtenstein, so took a brief drive through the principality, crossing the Rhein two more times in the process.

Then back to Buchs to visit Erwin and Marlis Jost, relatives of Yvonne, where we're staying the next couple of nights. That's a little different, too; they're intrepid travelers, and previously they had always visited us.

Dinner was a fondue of course. It's interesting to note the differences between what we do with fondues and what they do here (summary: we're pretty much on the mark, but there are differences).


Sunday, 17 October 2004 Buchs (SG) Images for 17 October 2004
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Family reunion day today. For some reason in our previous (unannounced) visits to Buchs we never saw much of Yvonne's family, but we made up for it today. Marlis had invited two cousins along for lunch, along with their family, and we had a pleasant afternoon with far too much good food and a free lesson in understanding Schwyzerdütsch (Swiss German, in this case the Sankt Gallener dialect). Took many photos

After lunch up to the famous “Berghüsli” (“mountain hut”), which Yvonne has been wanting to show me for over 20 years. It's much more substantial than I thought, though it still doesn't have running water. It also has a wonderful view over the Rhine valley; it must be the only place I know from where you can see an entire country, from one end to the other (Liechtenstein). The building towards the top of the open window here is the castle, and the river in the middle is the Rhein:


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Quiet evening; Erwin showed us the videos he had taken in Australia in February 2000.


Monday, 18 October 2004 Buchs → Bayrischzell Images for 18 October 2004
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Into town early this morning to do some shopping: a 10 litre container of vinegar for Michael and a lot of Werdenbergeli chocolates (specialty of Buchs, and available nowhere else). Then off to the North into Austria, crossing the Rhine again for the eighth time and through some particularly slow traffic round the East end of the Bodensee to Germany, where we discovered that we could have taken another Autobahn all the way.

First a quick diversion to Tettnang, the home of some of the best German hops, and then to Füssen and Neuschwanstein. I had visited the castle decades ago, but things have changed since then. It's clear enough that everything costs money, but I hadn't expected to have to spend 90 minutes waiting for a computerized admission. The tour itself was 30 minutes, but I suppose it's one of the few sights that really need to have been seen.

Our next stop was Bayrischzell, where I had arranged to meet Volker Rothbauer, the manufacturer of the BrauEule (“brewing owl”; I have no idea why it's called that). It turned out that the best way to get there was to go back into Austria (both Neuschwanstein and Bayrischzell are only a few kilometers from the border), where there was an Autobahn. Despite that, as a result of the delays in Neuschwanstein, didn't get there until well after 7 pm, by which time it was dark, and the lack of street signs didn't help find the place. Volker no longer had time, though he did show his “Braueule”. Found a room in the Landhaus Vogelsang and relatively early to bed.


Tuesday, 19 October 2004 Bayrischzell → Praha Images for 19 October 2004
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There's something special about the little “Pensionen” in Bavaria (I suppose “bed and breakfast” would be the closest translation, but the typical Bavarian Pension, such as the Landhaus Vogelsang, comes closer to being a hotel). Had a very pleasant and filling breakfast with a view over the hills before setting off.

We had intended to make only a short trip today, to Salzburg, where I had planned to meet Hubert Hanghofer; unfortunately he didn't have time, so we decided to go on to Linz and see the sights there. When we got there, however, discovered that there wasn't very much to see, so decided to press on to Ceské Bujejovice, maybe better known by the old German name of Budweis, the home of Budweiser beer, with the intention of spending the night there.

It's my first time in the Czech republic, and it's a bit of an eye-opener. Elsewhere in the world they have street walkers, but just across the border from Austria they have highway walkers. Things didn't look too pleasant in southern Bohemia, though they improved as we went further north.

It turns out that there's not much to be seen there, so had a Budweiser and pressed on to Praha, where we had some difficulty finding a room; it's unusual to be in Europe and to have so much difficulty communicating. Finally got a room at the Hotel Otto, a nice spacious room and more power points than I have ever seen in a hotel room. Unfortunately, they're the French variant of the German “Schuko” points, and normal German plugs don't fit (there's an extra pin which prevents the plug from entering, rather like putting an 80 conductor IDE connector into a 40 conductor socket).

The hotel prices here aren't much different from Germany, but the food is remarkably cheap, and the beer even cheaper—half a litre of Pilsener Urquell for 23 crowns, about USD 0.90.


Wednesday, 20 October 2004 Praha (Prague) Images for 20 October 2004
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The hotel is interesting. It's quite modern and comfortable, but they're missing some of the basics. For example, breakfast (in itself quite good) offers only instant coffee (first time I've seen that in years) or Earl Grey tea, not quite what you'd want with breakfast.

Spent quite some time trying to work out what to do today, more hindered then helped by our Green Michelin Guide. I've been using the Michelin guides for decades, but this one here is as good as useless.

Finally found our way to the Prazky Hrad. Or is that Hradcany? Or Hradschhin? Or Château de Prague? The Michelin told us to go to a particular spot, marked only on the map (in Czech), but it didn't know how to get us there. Neither did the hotel porter. The maps are terrible, and so we only made an approximation.

First, though, we had to catch a tram. That's easy: they're everywhere, and the maps at least show them. But there's no provision to buy tickets, neither on the trams nor at the stations. You have to find a kiosk and show them what you want, since almost nobody there speaks English or German (we didn't even try French).

It was worthwhile going there, though the crowds of tourists were unbelievable. It's good that we're in the off season of a bad year. Took a look round the usual sites and then down into the Mala Strana, where we had lunch and decided that there was enough to see to stay another day, so looked round the Chrám sv. Mikuláse (St. Nicholas Church) and the Karlùv Most (bridge), and then back to the hotel for a rest.

In the evening, had the problem that, despite two expensive guidebooks, we didn't even know where to look for some food. Finally down to the Andél metro station and to a relatively noisy restaurant. Beer here is treated very differently from in Germany. We had barely sat down when a waiter came by and put two ½ litre glasses of Pilsener Urquell on the table. Ordering a refill is practically instantaneous, a far cry from the “It takes 5 minutes to pour a Pilsener” (and the consequent danger of dying of thirst) in Germany. Something to be imitated.


Thursday, 21 October 2004 Praha (Prague) Images for 21 October 2004
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Having done Malá Strana yesterday, went to the other side of the river today. For a city awash with beer, it's not surprising that there's a continual smell of boiling wort in the air, at least in the area we're in: we're just around the corner from the Staropramen brewery, and the map shows another one marked just as “Praha brewery”. But that's the maps for you.

The other side of the river wasn't as interesting. After some interpretation of the maps, arrived at Vaclávske Námestí. Well, that's what the Michelin Guide calls it in the map on page 99. It doesn't refer to it in the index, and only by additional knowledge that the French name is “Place Venceslas” could we find a description. It was disappointing. Yvonne was hoping to see the statue of St. Václav (presumably; they just call him Venceslas, clearly the same name as Wenceslas), mainly because he's mounted on a horse. Unfortunately, the statue is being repaired and is completely covered in scaffolding and plastic, and we could only see the head.

Then to the Staromestské Námestí, which was worth seeing, and on to look at the Jewish quarter (ghetto?), where we discovered that the sights were about to close for lunch, and that admission was pretty steep. The combination made us decide against it, so had lunch and then back to the hotel to relax.

Out again in the evening to a concert at the Chrám sv. Mikuláse, organ and baritone and quite pleasant, then to a relatively expensive restaurant for some better than average food.


Friday, 22 October 2004 Praha (Prague) → Plzen (Pilsen) → Klafferstraß Images for 22 October 2004
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Off early this morning towards Plzeň. The weather has been wonderful, and the scenery along the way was excellent.

Got to Plzeň in plenty of time for the brewery tour at 12:30, so first to the museum in the middle of town. There's a lot of stuff there, but it reminds me forcibly that beer is a mass commodity, and the museum is more a beer museum than a brewing museum. What information they had on the brewing process was mainly a display of old machinery, including bottling; nothing described the brewing process. They did have a real hop garden outside, facing north and east; a few hardy hops, presumably Zatec (Saaz) were still growing there:


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It's interesting to see how they use the poles. Maybe that's an idea for me next time round.

After that to the brewery, where we booked a tour, in English because we thought it would be more successful. We had plenty of time, so we first went to the souvenir shop, where I looked for anything of interest about the technology, but drew a blank. Glasses, T-shirts and beer (at elevated prices) were everywhere. Finally the ticket sales people told me that there was, in fact, a book on the subject, in Czech and German. Back to the shop, where they drew one out of a drawer behind the counter. Indeed they're not geared towards brewers.

The tour was not the most successful. To her own admission, the guide is a great-grandmother, her English is much worse than her German, and we ended up having to translate for her. Again, unfortunately, there was little detail about the brewing process. At the entry to the brew house we saw the following chart, rather unnecessarily animated:


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This at least gave some details of the brewing process:

Next we were shown around a new brewing facility, which has been open for only 6 weeks. The kettles are in pairs (or maybe groups of four?):


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The first pair are the mashing pair (the one at the bottom for boiling the decoction). If my guess is right, the other two are for straining and boiling the wort, as shown in the previous diagram.

I also saw some older kettles; unfortunately, the photo was spoilt by reflections of the flash. They looked essentially identical, just no longer so shiny.

After that into the cellars (9 km long). This was disappointing. We saw ample evidence of the way it was once done, but we didn't see any beer lagering at all. Until 10 years ago they lagered (and apparently fermented) in barrels, both in the cellar. Now they don't, but we didn't find out how it's done; it seems that they still use barrels, but the statements were somewhat contradictory.

After that, to see yet more evidence of the cooper's trade, then to see a film which had been intended to be shown at the beginning of the tour. I'd say it shouldn't have been shown at all; apart from being a commercial for Pilsener Urquell, and a bad one at that, it said nothing.

Off after that to Germany, intending to get to Villa Kunterbunt in a couple of hours. Things didn't quite work out that way.

[May 2017] On the way we stopped to do some shopping, something that I didn't mention at the time. I did, however, take a photo of the beer on sale:

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The exchange rate at the time was (I think) about 25 CZK for 1 AUD, so the prices here were less than $ 0.50 per bottle (0.5 l) for even the most expensive beers. It's also interesting to note the labels on Budweiser beer inside the Czech Republic:

 
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Shortly before the German border, at Železná Ruda, filled up with petrol, intending to pay in part with Czech crowns and in part by credit card. They refused that combination, apparently because their computers couldn't handle it. If I had filled twice, it would have worked. As it was, I ended up calling the police, who persuaded the people to change my remaining crowns into Euros.

That wasn't the only delay; from Plzeň to the border are about 82 km. I had thought that that would be the bulk of the distance; in the end, though, we ended up driving over 100 km on the other side of the border before finally making it to Klafferstraß at about 1845, 5 hours after leaving. I had intended to go to Regensburg tonight to visit the BSD community there, but that no longer seemed to make sense.

It's amazing how we've been avoiding Germany and hugging borders. This is only the third night in Germany, and we're not more than 2 km from the border with Austria

In fact, with the aid of Google Maps, I discover that the distance from the house door to the Austrian border was 195 m.

and 10 km from the border with the Czech republic [in fact, about 6.5 km] . The second night we spent in Bayrischzell was only about 10 km from the Austrian border [in fact, about 5.5 km], and the time in Buchs was about 1 km from the Austrian border.


Saturday, 23 October 2004 Klafferstraß Images for 23 October 2004
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Today was the start of a two-day clicker training seminar that Chrissi and Yvonne set up; about 20 people showed up. I've seen all this before, so spent much of the time catching up on my mail, though they did drag me in to see if I had as much intelligence as a horse (fortunately, I passed the test).

In the afternoon, took a look around the countryside, including a drive into Passau, a pretty little town, then back along the Austrian side of the Danube, nearly ending up in Linz before I found a bridge across to the other side and back through the Bayrischen Wald (or is that Böhmerwald?). It sounds funny to translate them into English, though I suppose they're called the Bavarian Forest and the Bohemian Forest. The difference is more the country you're in than anything else.


Sunday, 24 October 2004 Klafferstraß → Pocking
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Second day of the horse training today, and I spent more time catching up on computer stuff, including updating my web page generation scripts. Got that finished and then discovered “It's just what I asked for, but not what I want”. More work, but not today.

In the afternoon off to visit Gabi and Gerd Reichert, old friends of Yvonne (she's known them longer than me). They live just on the other side of Passau, so we thought of dropping in to Passau and buying a present for Gabi, whose birthday is coming up. That was a mistake: Germany has changed a lot in the last 10 years, and coming up to Christmas on a very warm October day (temperatures over 20°), the place was crowded out. At least it meant that the shops were open on a Sunday, something that Yvonne had taken for granted.

Then off to the Reicherts, crossing into Austria and back for the fun of it—we're continuing our policy of staying close to the border, and the Reicherts can't live more than 10 km away. Gerd now has a new Porsche 911, and took me out for a drive in it. After this funny Chrysler machine it's certainly a big difference. The speedometer is difficult to read: at the angle of 315°, most cars show about 60 km/h. The Porsche shows 150.


Monday, 25 October 2004 Pocking Images for 25 October 2004
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Quiet day. Spent some time trying to access the network with Gerd's ISDN router, which is connected to t-online.de, and kept getting messages like:

*** Connection closed from efnet.xs4all.nl: Connection reset by peer

After far too much time came to the conclusion that something was disconnecting the IP connection before dropping the ISDN line; a simple ping -i 30 to a remote machine solved the problem, but that took hours of continual reconnects to understand. They still have big problems with name resolution, though, and they seem to block local name resolution traffic. t-online may not be Deutsche Bundespest, but they still wouldn't be my choice if I lived here.

Also did some work on the slides for Karlsruhe. Finally got a workaround for the hard-coded page size in the PostScript output, but it could still do with some improvement.


Tuesday, 26 October 2004 Pocking → Salzburg → Marktoberdorf Images for 26 October 2004
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Off cross-country to Salzburg today. Unfortunately, the weather hadn't held, and just about the whole journey was through fog. Had intended to make it to the Wolfgangsee, but only managed Attersee and Mondsee before meeting Hubert Hanghofer at “Die Weiße” brewery in Salzburg. Hubert knows the owners and was allowed to show me round the place, though today was the national holiday, and as a result, like most places, the brewery was closed.

Spent the afternoon walking round Salzburg and looking at the sights and another brewery, the Augustiner monastery brewery. Pleasant time, but we had to leave early for Germany, by which time it had also started to rain. Through heavy traffic past München and finally ended up spending the night in Marktoberdorf in the Eastern Allgäu.


Wednesday, 27 October 2004 Marktoberdorf → Illhaeusern Images for 27 October 2004
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Off into another gloomy late October morning today, heading—once again—for the border, this time in Tirol (Austria), where the sun came out almost as soon as we had crossed. Thence into Switzerland, crossing the Rhine in the process, and on to Alsace (France), crossing the Rhine another couple of times. I think our plan of avoiding the German Autobahnen has paid off. The traffic was heavy between Zürich and Basel, but it kept moving at a reasonable pace. Every time we've gone any distance in Germany, we've come into some kind of really slow traffic.

Checked into the “La Clarière” hotel in Guémar. Not quite up to the standard of the other places we've stayed, but quite pleasant. The problem is that it is by far the most expensive place we've stayed at: € 105 per night without breakfast. That can only happen because of their proximity with L'auberge de l'Ill, where we had dinner.

We've been to the Auberge de l'Ill several times before, and it's always been a pleasant experience. We've always taken the standard menu, though. Tonight, for the first time, we decided to go à la carte. The food was excellent, of course, and the service impeccable, but we hadn't reckoned with the difference in serving sizes between the menu and the carte, and we didn't make it to the cheese. Still, a very pleasant evening. It seems that they have taken note of the fact that we live in Australia, and we had some discussion with the waiter about it. Maybe that's why Yvonne got such a large portion of foie gras for the first course; it would almost have made a meal by itself. Who says that haute cuisine must mean small portions?


Thursday, 28 October 2004 Illhaeusern → Karlsruhe Images for 28 October 2004
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What a pain these stupid showers are! Off in a mildly bad mood towards Germany to look for some breakfast (we thought that € 13 per person for coffee, bread and jam was less than acceptable), and had passed Freiburg im Breisgau before we finally got something. Then up through the Black Forest through less than excellent weather, and finally made it to Karlsruhe in the early afternoon.

In the evening other people started to trickle in, and off to the Wolf Bräu brewery pub, ending up with about 18 of us. The food was acceptable, but not more; the beer was quite good.


Friday, 29 October 2004 Karlsruhe Images for 29 October 2004
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My debug workshop again today, with a surprising number of participants. I didn't count them, but I was told there were 40. Tried to emphasize the kernel aspects more this time, but shortly after lunch it was clear that I was losing them. Tried instead to debug a user's problem, but he was running a recent FreeBSD CURRENT system, and it seems that remote gdb no longer works. Spent the last ¼ of the workshop trying to get things to work, without success. I suppose that's an illustration of real-life debugging, but hardly satisfying.

Out with the locals for dinner in the evening, missing the majority of people who were just leaving when we returned. That may have been just as well.


Saturday, 30 October 2004 Karlsruhe Images for 30 October 2004
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Today the conference proper started, and I saw a few more familiar faces at breakfast, notably Ollivier Robert and Jordan Hubbard. Nevertheless, despite the good turnout—over 200 people—a lot of the old familiar faces were missing.

Jordan started with a keynote on MacOS and BSD, pointing out, rather amusingly, that far from dying, BSD has (with Apple's help) overtaken Linux as the most used free operating system. Then Antti Kantee talked about checkpointing long-running applications, rather the way Tandem did it decades ago; reminds me of HIBUG, a debugger I wrote at the time which had the ability to save (re-)executable dumps. After that, Alistair Crooks and Veleriy Ushakov demonstrated some miniature machines, halfway between a small laptop and a pocket calculator, running NetBSD. That might be just what I need for a more comprehensive video remote control.

In the afternoon more NetBSD stuff about the packages collection and cross-building, and Yannick Cadin did a useful tutorial on DHCP, unfortunately running out of time. I must check the slides that he's going to put up; they could be very useful.

In the evening to the Nancy-Halle to listen to Luigi Colani talk about his understanding of technology. I've never been impressed by him, and he didn't change that with his talk. Seeing a model of an aeroplane with the comment “Aerodynamics by Colani” almost sounded like a joke. Had some food there as well, not too bad, but I was more than a little put off by the fact that we had to pay for all drinks, even water (and pretty steep prices at that; water was € 8 per litre). Left pretty soon and off to the Wolfbräu for some more substantial and much less expensive drinks. Again early to bed.


Sunday, 31 October 2004 Karlsruhe Images for 31 October 2004
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This morning for the first time, we were asked for our room numbers at breakfast. I was wondering about that: it seems that a number of people not staying here had breakfast. At least at our table, all people were really staying.

I only found one talk worth listening to today, Massimiliano Stucchi and Matteo Riondato talking about FreeSBIE, GUFI's (Italian FreeBSD User Group's) answer to Knoppix. Interesting talk, going into much more detail than I had expected. Others seemed to think so too: the talk came third place in the “best talk” competition.

Apart from that, talked to a number of people, though not as many as I had hoped. Towards the end, Erwin Lansing brought some samples of his own beer; he got the idea when visiting us about this time last year.

In the evening, off to the Alten Brauhof where we ate on Friday. Somehow ended up with just about everybody who was left there; took a number of photos. Nonetheless, the conference finished without me meeting a couple of people I had wanted to meet.


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