Thursday Jul 03, 2008

Zoo Station

I and some french colleagues caught the S-Bahn from Zoo Station to Fredriechstrasse Station, and took in the views of the Reichstag building and Bundekanzleramt.

Zoo Station

We had a beer at Die Deponie nr 3, an exclellent and authentic beer shop (excellent service, thank you) then walked down to Potsdammer Platz via the Brandenburger Tor, the Tiergarten and the Monument to the Dead Jews.

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Monday Jun 30, 2008

Back to Berlin

I am travelling to Berlin via London City airport for the first time. I am flying with Lufthansa. Its a longer journey to the airport than Heathrow but hopefully the airport experience is better and Lufthansa's flights to Berlin from Heathrow are somewhat limited. The overground journey is pretty OK. Taxi, Train and DLR, at least I am not driving. I leave at 6:20 am and arrive at City at 8:30 am. The queues are not well advertised; it seems you must use the automated check in machines so it may be best to do it online before you set out; Lufthansa have only two kiosks and today one was broken. The queue was longer than I'd hoped.

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Tuesday Jun 17, 2008

The last leg

I returned on Sunday, and contrary to my twitter broadcast, Preveza airport was very efficient and friendly.

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Sunday Jun 15, 2008

Sailing in the Ionian Sea

This holiday had been a long time ambition of mine in order to see Ithaca, the legendry home of Oddessyus from the sea. Actually I wanted to land there and explore, but for various reasons, this didn't happen, and at least I have an excuse to return.

On the Beat

I chartered the boat from Sunsail, as part of their Kalamos flotilla and flew from Gatwick to Preveza in North West of Greece. We arrived in the evening and had a meal in one of the local taverna's in Paleros, a nearby village which also has an ATM. Our route involved sailing from Vounaki to Port Atheni in Meganissi, then onto Kalmos via the north channel, out into the inland sea and back to Port Leone. We then sailed to one house bay and east of Ithaca north to return to Port Atheni. We then sailed around Meganissi to Spartkhori and then back to Vounaki. I prepared a google map...


View Larger Map

I had one of my best beers ever at Port Atheni,

Port Atheni

not because it was a better beer, but because Port Atheni is such a pretty place, the sun was shining and we'd had such a great day. The rest of the pictures are in my Ionian Sea set on http://www.flickr.com/, my planning page is on my snipsnap bliki's Greece page.

This article has been backdated to the publication date. It was posted on 20th June.

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Monday May 12, 2008

We're all off to sunny Spain!

I am off to Barcelona to represent Sun at Gartner's Spring ITexpo in Barcelona. Given Barcelona's historic role as the centre of the world's ever largest Anarchist party, I wonder if the presentation "The future of Government is No Government" is knowledgeable irony, or ignorant co-incidence.

I remarked the other day that Terminal One at Heathrow is a much better place for BA having left it, however, they still use it for their Iberia ticket shares (as well as some other european ticket share flights.) So...hoorah, two hours late taking off, one hour late landing, hmm... don't tell me the airlines over estimate their journey times to allow them some leeway on the compulsory compensations they need to pay. We were told that the replacement co-pilot had been delayed arriving at the plane; there wern't enough buses. Meanwhile in Barcelona, despite the long walk to pick up my baggage, I was off the airport estate in 25 minutes, and checked into the hotel 15 minutes later.

Tuesday Apr 01, 2008

the church on the island

Lake Bled has been one of Slovenia's holiday attractions for many years, famously it has an island in the middle of the lake, with a church on it.

 

The Church on the Island

 

Other pictures are at my slovenia set, part of my photo collection at flickr.

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Sunday Mar 30, 2008

Europe, its bigger than you think

I thought I'd been so clever, flying through Munich to Ljubljana, but Adria, the second stage carrier decided it was in their interests to wait in Ljubljana for two hours for some of the incoming passengers. This left me in Munich for over four hours. Just so we both know, they chose to make me and my fellow passengers wait, rather than those who were late to arrive in Ljubljana. I don't remember anyone waiting for me last time Adria were late getting me to Frankfurt.

I didn't get to the hotel in Bled until after midnight. Straight to bed, as I need to get up in time for the EU's "Future of the Internet" conference later today.

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Saturday Mar 15, 2008

Are the English giving up with foreign languages?

Earlier this week, the Guardian reported that Cambridge University had finally dropped the requirement that undergraduate students have a language GCSE (16+). I remarked that I thought it a shame, and that the english education system should teach foreign languages, but it was pointed out to me that the national curriculum no longer mandates a language at GCSE and so Cambridge's previous policy would in future conflict with their and the government's goal of opening Oxbridge up to more state sector applicants. It seems to be a fact that english schools find it harder to get higher grades in languages than other subjects and that the pressure of the league table places has led a number of them to drop languages very rapidly.

Its yet another example of allowing the difficult to fall out of the education system.

Back in December, when I visited the EU Parliament building. I was taken aback by the number of languages spoken in the EU, since the translation booths are situated around the hall, and it is a very physical demonstration of europe's linguistic diversity. There 23 official languages. I have had it pointed out several times in my recent travels that the ubiquity of English means that I don't have to worry, to which I have two replies. The first is that, when I was at school, no-one had any idea of whether the EU was going to work or not nor how English would become so pervasive. I was offered the opportunity to learn both French and German, which I did with varying degrees of success. Secondly, its very rude to assume that others will learn your language, particularly if you are in their their country. I wish I could do better, but it seems the UK's educators disagree.

The map below is off the European Union and references the EU membership page.

 

Countries of the EU

 

On the EU membership page itself, the map has an HTML image map which displays the languages by country as you hover over each country. Interesting how such an old technology has such descriptive power. I wonder if I could have used an <IFRAME> to include this on the blog, although including other peoples material without permission in a way that is not clearly hyperlinked is not very good manners.

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Friday Mar 14, 2008

Hong Kong...

I have never been to Hong Kong before but have just returned from a trip there to meet up with my new colleagues, the Chief Technologist for the Asia-Pacific region, his country Chief Technologists and their management peers and bosses. It was great to meet such a diverse yet energetic team and the conversations and social events. I visited one of the restaurants on the peak for the evening and had one of the largest meals I have ever eaten, or at least one with the most courses. On the way back down to central, I took this picture, the view down to the harbour.

 

Skyscrapers

 

This article has been backdated.

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Tuesday Feb 26, 2008

More Snow

The Q Center is an ex-school in its own grounds, I popped out at lunch to take some pictures of the snow laden trees. Here's one...

 

Trees in the Snow

 

The rest can be found here at flickr.

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Wrong way round

Today, I am mainly studying TOGAF! Given that I was travelling on day one, I am going to do the course in the wrong order. I doubt this'll make it easier.

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Snow

It's snowed overnight, and I am staying at the Q Center (sic), in St Charles.

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Monday Feb 25, 2008

Commuting in Illinois

I wish US Taxi drivers gave me more confidence that they knew where they're going. (I suppose I mean I wish this driver gave me more confidence). The view is a typically dreary US urban architecture, which I wish I could capture in the same way that 'Lost America' does at flickr.

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Back to the US today

Flying with Virgin to Chicago, in order to join my America's co-workers on an in-house training course.

This is the emptiest plane I have ever seen.

 

A cabin to myself

 

But I was able to get a picture of the Union Flag decorated wing tips.

 

Virgin skies

 

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Thursday Feb 21, 2008

Organisation and Communication

Just trying to sort myself out from my last trip abroad.

Firstly, I have sorted out my twitter so that I am now receiving on the phone from all my correspondents. I have looked at forwarding my twits onto my personal planet, but wget fails for some reason. I need to investigate further, although twitter's FAQ talks about a configuration feature. I shall only be using it occasionally, probably in emergencies to let people know that facebook/e-mail is not available to me, and to use other means to contact me.

It might be sensible to ensure that really important people subscribe and follow me, although they might expect a personal message, and also don't care about my internet connectivity.

I have also revised the my flickr application on facebook so that it forwards everything, not just the London pictures, and my facebook correspondents can now see the pictures as I upload them. I am not sure if it auto-updates, but I can force it to write into my mini-feed, so hopefully people get notified when new pictures go up. Now I just have to find time to upload them. The most recent uploads are from Spain and my Madrid trip, the most recent pictures are from Dubai. This will hopefully improve the quality of my facebook feed for those who follow me there.

Its a shame that I am trapped on such an old version of planet-planet, there's a couple of things that don't work as well as I'd hope. The slynkr posts are still broken, they don't display the description, but a generated comment, I have never got round to including either this blog, nor the flickr pictures. The plazes feed My Plazes - Atom feed is also mis-mapped, but  I am working my way through the O'Reilly python book to see if this helps me build a personal feed that does what I want.

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