Tuesday, November 30, 2004



Is that your phone ringing or are you just glad to see me?

Via [Gizmodo]

Thursday, November 25, 2004


One good thing about going to London


My first earthquake

Another flight to London, another disaster, this time an earthquake! Guess someone is trying to tell me something...

The first time in my life I had the pleasure to experience an earthquake. I was falling asleep when the bed started shaking and the doors of the closet started banging. The 5.2 (Richter) earthquake in Salo close to Lago di Garda only lasted 20 seconds or so. Could feel it pretty well even though it's 120km away from home.

I hardly had time to think 'The KIDS!' before it was over. Guess people in people living in California would be out in the streets completely dressed before was out of bed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


The other (north) side of Dublin

I lived in Dublin for several years but I never realised it was so bad on the northside. I guess I should be glad I lived on the southside. The Guardian reports on the problems in one Dublin suburb.

The Westies, one of the most dangerous of Dublin's organised crime gangs, dominated the local heroin trade in the 90s and still operate. But in an area where some children drop out of school at 11, the gangsters are becoming younger and better armed, with sawn-off shotguns sometimes handed to teenagers. One Dublin newspaper described the new gangs as "mini-armies".

One of the leading younger hard men was a figure worthy of one of Ireland's best gangster biopics. Declan Curran was a local drug addict and teenage car thief. By 24, he was linked to violent bank robberies, assaults, drive-by shootings and gangland executions.

He had worn a colostomy bag since 19 when he was shot in the back and lost a kidney fleeing a gunman during a feud. But he refused to let it hold him back. He took steroids to pump himself up and was addicted to cocaine



Big Brother is watching your printouts

Government Uses Color Laser Printer Technology to Track Documents

Next time you make a printout from your color laser printer, shine an LED flashlight beam on it and examine it closely with a magnifying glass. You might be able to see the small, scattered yellow dots printer there that could be used to trace the document back to you

Peter Crean, a senior research fellow at Xerox, says his company's laser printers, copiers and multifunction workstations, such as its WorkCentre Pro series, put the "serial number of each machine coded in little yellow dots" in every printout. The millimeter-sized dots appear about every inch on a page, nestled within the printed words and margins.

Guess I should bring my old dot matrix printer out of retirement in order to print documents without Big Brother watching. I wonder if this thing is even legal in countries that have stricter privacy laws.

Via [Feroze Daud's WebLog]

Friday, November 19, 2004


Another trip to London and another radar problem

I go to London and the Italian radar blacks out again. No hardware problems this time though.

This time the radar operators are on strike so they're causing a nice disaster all over the country. 172 flights canceled by Alitalia today and loads of delays. Let's hope they allow us to take of from London or I'll have to spend a night in the airport…

Italians and their love for random, unannounced strikes…. Grrrrr



In London

In London on a business trip for a couple of days. It's cold so the decorated Christmas trees almost put me in the Christmas mood:
 (it would have if it was snowing)

What's the story with English and their pillows anyway?

Two huge pillows and a tube. Anybody feel like explaining their use (that doesn't involve X-rated movies?)

Thursday, November 18, 2004


Early flight problems

Waking up at 5:30 to take an early flight is never a good thing.

Took an early flight to London yesterday so they served an English breakfast: scrambled eggs, mushrooms, sausages and tomatoes. I spent several years working in Ireland but I never got used to their breakfast (love their beer though :-)

Anyway, they also had fruits. Eating it was a bit of a challenge as the designer of the small table must have been inspired by the leaning tower in Pisa. OK for flat foods like slices pineapple but a PITA for round stuff like grapes. Gravity did its job and made one of the grapes roll of the plate onto my shirt leaving a tiny magenta spot. No problem I thought, I'll clean it with the (green) paper towel. Fast forward 2 minutes and I'm sitting there like and idiot with a big green spot instead of a tiny one.

Lesson learned: I shouldn't do anything before I've had a coffee.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Adopt A Sniper

Is this site for real? Adopt A Sniper What do they give you as a receipt: a signed picture of guys after they get a bullet through the head?

No point of donating scopes as the US army is busy executing injured men these days.

FALLUJA, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. military is investigating whether a Marine shot dead an unarmed, wounded insurgent during the battle for Falluja in an incident captured on videotape by a pool reporter.

The man was shot in the head at close range Saturday by a Marine who found him among a group of wounded men.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


Crap phone: Palm Tungsten W

The designer of the Palm Tungsten W should have its head examined. How can you make a phone that only works with the hands free headset? The worst thing is that it accepts and makes phone calls without the headset! I have no words (that can be posted here anyway)

Power management got slightly better with the latest firmware release but it is still buggy. I turn off the device before putting it in my back pack. At least once a week I find it frozen with the backlight on. Needless to say: a few hours with the backlight on and the batteries go flat. And when they go flat ... you loose everything.

The Palm Tungsten W is great for texting and e-mails though. The keyboard looks tiny but it works well typing with two thumbs when you get used to it.

I find the Versa Mail e-mail client better than the Pocket PC e-mail client as it adds several useful features:

  • Scheduled downloads. It extends PPC supports by adding day and hour limitation per e-mail account. My work mail can then be downloaded 9-5 Monday-Friday but my support mail works 24x7

  • Automatic BCC. I want a copy of my all my sent mail in Outlook. With the PPC must manually add an account in BCC each time. Versa mail does it automatically.

Another cool feature is that the SIM can be changed easily with the lid on the back without turning of the device or taking out batteries. Or at least it was a cool feature until the lid just broke.

I have been a faithful Palm user for many years but I must admit that my HP iPAQ H4150 paired with a small Bluetooth phone works a lot better. It also has WiFi, Bluetooth and great integration with Microsoft software.

Friday, November 12, 2004


Enrico Mentana fired

Enrico Mentana was 'let go' as the director and anchor of TG5 yesterday after 13 years of service. I missed the announcement yesterday as I went to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

TG5 has become my favorite Italian news program. Mentana has built a great news team. TG5 is doing better than ever so the news came as a shock to everyone. Today's presenter is usually smiling and happy, but I have never seen her as sad as today. The employees are pissed off and it looks like they'll strike as well. Way to go: finally Italian employees striking for something that makes sense!

Mediaset has chosen Carlo Rosella, currently director of the magazine Panorama, to replace Mentana. Why replace Mentana in the first place? The official explanation: To better use Mentana's potential by making him "editorial director" in Mediaset. Sounds like bullshit to me.

I believe more in Repubblica's version :

It's bad news for the Italian media, which was already in a sorry state….Enrico Mentana wasn't servile enough for the bosses.

The Italian Prime Minister's office version of the facts is pretty different from the Reuters version 

Thursday, November 11, 2004


US troops getting nasty

San Fransisco Cronicle reports on the fighting in Fallujah. The effects of the phosphorous rounds sounda a lot like the banned Napalm to me:

"Usually we keep the gloves on," said Army Capt. Erik Krivda, of Gaithersburg, Md., the senior officer in charge of the 1st Infantry Division's Task Force 2-2 tactical operations command center. "For this operation, we took the gloves off."

Some artillery guns fired white phosphorous rounds that create a screen of fire that cannot be extinguished with water. Insurgents reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns.

Kamal Hadeethi, a physician at a regional hospital, said, "The corpses of the mujahedeen which we received were burned, and some corpses were melted."

Via [BoingBoing]

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


The drawbacks of living close to a hospital

Living close to a hospital can be reassuring at times but it also has it's drawbacks…

At lunch time I came back after 12 hours in the office for the release of Vodafone live!. Guess who was waiting for me at the gate in front of the house? An old guy pissing on the gate!

Whoever you are; I guess you don't read this blog, but if you do, explain me this:

  • What's wrong with pissing on the trees on other side of the road like other animals do?

  • What's wrong with saying sorry, or at least pretend that you're embarrassed

I almost wish I had a camera phone so I could post your picture on the blog for all the world to see.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004


Another use for Coca Cola: Pesticide

Guardian report: Things grow better with Coke

Instead of paying hefty fees to international chemical companies for patented pesticides, they are reportedly spraying their cotton and chilli fields with Coca-Cola

Gotu Laxmaiah, a farmer from Ramakrishnapuram in Andra Pradesh, said he was delighted with his new cola spray, which he applied this year to several hectares of cotton. "I observed that the pests began to die after the soft drink was sprayed on my cotton," he told the Deccan Herald newspaper
One litre of highly concentrated Avant, Tracer and Nuvocron, three popular Indian pesticides, costs around 10,000 rupees (£120), but one-and-a-half litres of locally made Coca-Cola is 30 rupees. To spray an acre would be a mere 270 rupees.

Some more interesting things you can use Coca Cola for:

  • You can put a t-bone steak in a bowl of Coca Cola and it will be gone in two days.

  • To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl ....... Let the "real thing" sit for one hour, then flush clean.