Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Relax times

Francois' comment in my Comparisons article triggered another synapse in my neural pathways :-). He mentioned that he loves to ride his BMW motorcycle with his wife Nina along and go cruising the highways... I got a bit jealous, because lately the only relax time for Margarita and I comes when we go see a movie, have a nice dinner somewhere or visit a couple friends. No longer are we willing to endure the smokey, jam-packed claustrophobic rooms that are called night clubs here in Athens, to get ripped off with overpriced, diluted alcoholic drinks and bad music.
With a seven-year-old child, it's all but impossible to think about a weekend escapade, not because we don't have "baby parking", thank her parents, but because we already see him little during the week (school, work, all) so leaving him with the grandparents for a whole weekend is a big rise in the guilt-o-meter.
Some might say "take him with you". I am sure you don't have kids, do you? :-) It will certainly be very enjoyable, but it will definitely NOT be relax time.
So- what to do? Comments welcome!

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Something that happened last night got me thinking...

We were visiting my godmother when Margarita reminded me that we had forgotten to ask her parents to tape a show she likes to watch on TV, as we'd be out for the evening. She wanted to call, but to ask them a third Friday in a row might be considered indelicate, so I suggested that I remotely log on from my godmother's PC onto the home PC, from there onto the sat dish receiver (it's based on Linux) and, through its web connection, program the timer to "tape" the show onto its embedded hard disk.

Just a measly two years ago, this wouldn't have been possible: My house didn't have a permanent Internet connection (now we have ADSL), we didn't have a remotely accessible sat dish receiver (most dish receivers were using proprietary software written just for them) and there was none of that "connectivity" that makes the world a much smaller place...

Yet, this connectivity doesn't necessarily provide the requisite freedom, does it? Since my computer is always on the Internet, my friends bitch more when I am not online, because they know that I work from home, so I have no excuse for not opening Messenger to chat.

If anything, it provides even less freedom than before: My guilt levels go up anytime I consciously turn it off so I can relax and watch a bit of TV or play a game. So I've resorted to taking Margarita out to the movies, as a means of not feeling so bad about not being on the computer working, if I am at home...

What's the point of having so much "help" from gadgets and technology, if all it does is make us less free?

Sunday, January 22, 2006


[Rant mode ON]

I cannot figure out any good way of making users READ the friggin README.TXT file. You know, the one that BEGS you: READ ME! READ ME! READ ME!

Some installers will automatically open the README.TXT file as the last step before finishing the product installation, but even then, the user is not guaranteed (read: 95% of the time, won't do it) to actually put some effort into making sense of what's been written in there.

Can we get an installer that will pop out a semi-automatic, point it to the PC and play a .wav to say "If you don't ACTUALLY read the stupid thing, I am PULLING THE TRIGGER"?

Actually, bad idea... we'll get even more support calls that way, with people bitching that there was a huge explosion and a hard disk fragment popped their eye socket out or something...

[Rant mode OFF]

If anyone has any good solutions on this, I am all ears...

Friday, January 06, 2006

I'd like to go flying again...

The weather around Athens has been so bad lately (25-30kt winds blowing constantly, drizzle, cold weather and general misery) that I had to unthink my desire to go flying these past two weeks. This is bad for a variety of reasons: a) I will have to spend an hour with an instructor again, as it's been almost two months since last time I flew, but more importantly b) I don't get to reset the craving levels, so the amounts of craving are increasing to almost unbearable limits. ;-)

Meanwhile, Margarita and I are keeping ourselves busy watching the entire second season of 24 - the TV series,
that we got on DVD, all in a period of a week or so (yes, that's 2-3 episodes per night). There's something to be said about good TV series productions and this is one of them. One major complaint though, now that we've finished with the second season series: Could they not have ended it without a cliffhanger this time? We'd watch Season 3 anyway :-). (Well, I can't complain - we've got Season 3 on DVD as well - starting next week).

Why next week? Well, we're going to spend the weekend at Euro-Disney with the kids. 4 days, in fact. Hopefully, this will be an unforgettable experience to them: at 10, 9 and 7, they're at the right age to enjoy this as thoroughly as possible - hopefully the weather forecasts will turn to be wrong (-3 degrees projected and rain/snow for the entire duration). At least the crowds will choose not to go :-).

Lastly, this is something I've wanted to do for awhile: Post a picture of myself and Robert Randazzo, so PMDG customers can put a name to a face. (I am the guy in the white shirt / blue shorts).