July 31st, 2009

The phone number

At f***ing last. Skype is finally offering dial-in numbers in my country.

Residents of South Africa, Netherlands and Malta can now take advantage of Skype online numbers. They’re perfect if you have friends, family or colleagues who don’t use Skype – anyone can dial your online number and reach you on Skype, wherever you are.

July 29th, 2009

The hero

From the Huffington Post (and they seem to have it from Associated press, oh my, we might have to pay for this).

A Sudanese female journalist facing 40 lashes for wearing trousers in public in violation of the country’s strict Islamic laws told a packed Khartoum courtroom Wednesday she is resigning from a U.N. job that grants her immunity so she can challenge the law on women’s public dress code.

Lubna Hussein was among 13 women arrested July 3 in a raid by members of the public order police force on a popular Khartoum cafe for wearing trousers, considered indecent by the strict interpretation of Islamic law adopted by Sudan’s Islamic regime. All but three of the women were flogged at a police station two days later.

This is the sort of thing that makes my blood boil. Lubna is my hero (but at what price?)

July 27th, 2009

The city of Sin (and politicians) (kinda revisited)

See this post from last year please.

This year, a politician from, mind you, the largest party in our system, a moderate Christian bunch, are literally rocking the boat, read, will join in with about 40 gay, Christian people in the yearly parade through the Amsterdam canals. Not my party mind you, but I applaud this step forwards. The boat is called “holy boat”, hee hee.

An achor man from a fundamental Christian radio and tv network here, who was invited too, was denied the pleasure by his employer, stating “we choose our own methods and means to lift the taboo on homosexual Christians”. Yeah.

More on the nest here.

July 15th, 2009

The love, the death

And while not trying to hijacking the subject, I couldn’t be helped but being moved by this news. Fair use excerpt:

LONDON — He spent his life conducting world-renowned orchestras, but was almost blind and growing deaf – the music he loved increasingly out of reach. His wife of 54 years had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. So Edward and Joan Downes decided to die together.

Downes – Sir Edward since he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1991 – and his wife ended their lives last week at a Zurich clinic run by the assisted suicide group Dignitas. They drank a small amount of clear liquid and died hand-in-hand, their two adult children by their side. He was 85 and she was 74.

It is a story with mixed sides. A love story, the horrific notion of body and mind fading; ones own or, or in this case, and of your beloved ones, government deciding what’s best for you (not). In my country, things are reasonably well arranged but under pressure of the Christian right. Actually, the father of one of my oldest friends passed away like this. I remember the friend telling me how weird it was to have a future entry in his calendar “Dad dies”.

Anyway, I feel sorry for people needing to go to Switzerland to die. I wouldn’t mind dying in that beautiful environment, but I would hate needing to do so because some idiots determined there was no other way.

July 14th, 2009

Allan Tesche

Aaron Selbig and Alan Tesche, August 1, 2008

Aaron Selbig and Allan Tesche, August 1, 2008

Long time Anchorage political heavyweight Allan Tesche passed away today.

Fair winds Alan, you’ll be sorely missed.

July 13th, 2009

The nest

We are seeing bogus comments flowing in at an alarming rate. I have changed a setting so we, the admins, need to approve comments before they appear. Sorry folks, we’ll try to get rid of this as soon as possible.

July 11th, 2009

The google and the blackberry

Personal sortakinda rant, but I hope some of you can benefit.

I have been an enthusiastic user of marked product. Google docs is fantastic when co-working on documents real-time. Gmail is a terrific email system, Latitude/maps is of unheard quality and the blackberry product line, in my case a modest 8310 is, in lieu of the wonderful iPhone, the only enterprise grade smart phone. Having said that I have been running in an avalanche of issues I will share only on  a high level, as this is no tech blog. Hope it helps.

  1. gmail: when sending mail to self it used to pop up on the blackberry (using BIS, not BES) instantly, making it ideal for getting ie a link to the smartphone for copy-pasting. Not anymore. This seems to be completely on googles side. Everything goes to the blackberry, but not emails to self. Solution: create a dedicated email for this purpose. My advice would be to setup an email address directly on BIS, as it is pushed straight away to the phone.
  2. gmail: mail suddenly stopped flowing to the Blackberry. This one was hair-pulling, tried everything and more. The only solution I have found so far is to brick the Blackberry and reload the OS and everything else from the ground up. HAVE BACKUPS!!
  3. calendar: loss of sync entirely. Ditto. Note this is an entirely different beast as syncing is done using the google sync client software on the Blackberry, whereas mail is entirely handled on server farms. HAVE BACKUPS!!
  4. calendar: assuming you have gmail already and want to start using calendar, BEFORE you install google sync ensure your gmail address is set as the Standard account for the ICAL servicebook.
  5. latitude/maps: long story short, if you ever want to share your position with friends using latitude, make absolutely sure both you and the friends have ONE google username, and NOT any other associated email address they can use for login too. Not abiding to this rule will end you up in an endless loop once you try to break the latitude friendship. Google has acknowledged the issue and rolled out some fixes that…… didn’t fix it! A workaround floats that unfortunately didn’t do it for me.

Reading the above it all sounds horribly unreliable. It doesn’t seem to be, and after some serious swearing (and completely reloading a device is NOT fun), I am happy with the setup again. I’ll keep you posted if things go horribly wrong again.

Update: 1) gone forever I guess. Workaround is fine for me ~ 2) yes, solved I am pretty sure after bricking ~ 3) solved after bricking and after ensuring what was mentioned under 4 ~ 5) I did the workaround for friend and myself a couple of days ago and that did not help. I tried again this morning and I was finally able to delete the “friendship”. This could have been a combination of the workaround mentioned, google fixing things and a timeout.

Update: next to a few updates above, I was also confronted with a flaw in the trip program I wrote. New version available (for free).

July 6th, 2009

Wasilla Teabaggers, a photo diary

Saturday the 4th of July was a gorgeous day for a holiday. So nice WillowaRaven and I decided to head up to Wasilla and check out the premier Teabagger gathering in Alaska. Following the marvelous news from Saint Sarah the day before, how could we miss it?

Read the rest of this entry

July 4th, 2009
July 4th, 2009

Beating some odds

September 9th last year this girl was given only 4 months to live.

Good girl Hidey.

And it wouldn’t have happened if JDW hadn’t spent so much time with her. Hidey got literally weeks if not months of lap time, and a special place on the bed. JDW never let Hidey have a second where she didn’t know she was loved. Thanks sweetheart.