Monday, December 31, 2012

St Patrick's College

Ireland is known as a Catholic country, and nowhere more so in Ireland this can be said than St Patrick's College in Maynooth.

Walking around is an amazing experience in the tranquility and tradition for a institution that was established in 1795.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

BMW Welt

Munich is known for many things and one of them is BMW.  In fact, the BMW logo is the Bavarian flag.  Oddly many Germans consider Munich to be a village in comparison to Frankfurt, the Rhein Valley and Berlin.

What's really cool is when you buy a BMW, you have the option of picking it up at the specially built receiving center where people give you a tour of your new car and the option of getting export plates to have fun on the Autobahn before heading home.

Also is included a ticket to the BMW museum, where they have a nice collection of the older and future prototypes.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

View from Deutsches Museum

The view from the observation floor on top of Deutsches Museum is quite nice view of Munich.

I like the weather instruments on the tower

View of Munich altstadt

The English gardens in the distance

Friday, December 28, 2012

Partnach Gorge

The gorge in Garmisch is not the biggest, but it's quite accessible and once you pass it, it's an amazing hike!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Irish Road Traffic

Driving out in western Ireland, you often run into these traffic jams.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Largest Alpine Fortress in Europe

Not many people know about this fort, in fact try searching for the "largest fort in Europe" and it takes you a few minutes to find it.  But the Fenestrelle Fortress is the largest in Europe.

Built and upgraded in the past hundreds of years, the fortress was originally French and then later fell into Italian hands.  This is one reason not many people know about it, but what's interesting is that it's Europe's version of the Chinees Great Wall.

Next time I'm in the area I'll try to get some photos and compare it to the Chinees version.  Inside is also a nice little museum showing how life was like for the soldiers in the 19th century stationed here.

Irish Wine

This must be one of the funniest things I've seen in Ireland - Irish wine!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Romeo and Juliet Balcony

The famous balcony in Verona, Italy.  Millions of tourists come to visit and scribble love notes on the gates and walls.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Dutch Klomp

In Holland one can find these Klomp wooden clogs everywhere in tourist shops.  According to wikipedia, they are still worn today by farmers and considered safer than steel toe boots as the wood will  protect your foot, and not just the toes.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Giant Camera

Just behind the famous Cliff House in San Francisco is this Giant Camera.  It's one of the few remaining items from the fun park that use to be along Ocean Beach.

The pyramid structure on top rotates and reflects the image to a large table inside, where you can see the image of the works around.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Middle of Nowhere

One really begins to appreciate how big the US is when you drive though states like New Mexico and Texas.

This photo was taken when we were driving back from Ohio to California along Route 66.  Note the gunshot holes in the sign, there isn't even a tree to shoot at for miles!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Little Italy in San Francisco

San Francisco has a little Italian quater with a few little stores.  At Molinari's you can get all the goodies and remind you that you may be in a little village back in the 1950's.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Frankfurt Bahnhof

Frankfurt's station is quite big.  The city has a central location in Europe and many long-distance trains pass though there.

I also like the big "Frankfurter Allgemine" ad, reminds be of the Bruno clip.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Coffee and Books

Enjoying a nice Sunday at home with coffee, books and a little Belgium chocolate.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Surfing Dog

Here's a funny picture I took down in Monterey.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

History of English

Here's an interesting post about the history of the English language.  The argument is that English comes from Scandinavian languages and thus many words are interlinked with German.

I thought it interesting how the word store has many meanings in several languages.  For example in Polish, sklep is where items are kept for safekeeping and also where items are sold.  The safekeeping word is a bit dated and I learned it though my grandfather who told me it's where they kept food outside the house for storage (usually underground where it was cool).

English has the same with store (as in a file on a hard disk) and store (where you sell things).  German too with lager.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I was really impressed with Seattle.  I thought it was going to be a small town, but turned out to be quite a nice city.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Last Flight

The last flight for the Shuttle.  When I was a kid I remember seeing this plane in Edwards.  It's ironic to see the last flight over San Francisco, like the end of a era.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Printing Press

At the Mannheim technology museum they have this old and amazing printing press.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Living in California you end up missing a proper winter.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Photography with Binoculars

This was really fun, I took a old pair of Russian-Made binoculars and just put my point-and-shoot camera up to the eyepiece.
I really like the movie look of the vignetting.  I'm also amazing how sharp the image is.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Venice at Night

Visiting Venice is a amazing experience.  Visiting it at night is even better.

The best attractions are packed during the day, but what many people don't relise is that night the city is near a ghost town.  Only a few local and die-hard tourists remain.  And you get to enjoy the glamor all to yourself.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


There's no doubt, that when someone mentions Ireland, Guinness will flow.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Polish pilots in the Battle of Britain

Polish pilots played a important role in the Battle of Britain.  Before the Americans' entered the European war, the Poles were flying British Spitfires with small "Poland" insignia's on their fuselages.

The US Air Force brought in a much bigger force, their own planes and pilots.  After that, Polish contribution was mostly forgotten.  These planes are at the Duxford airport and museum where one can buy a ticket and fly in one.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


At the Sinsheim Technical Museum in Germany, one can visit the Concorde and also the Soviet version, the TU-144, also known as the Concordsky.

Both are amazing planes, both flew and both carried passengers   Even thought both programs were criticized for being too costly, it's still amazing to think that the US never have a super-sonic passenger aircraft.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Network installation for Commerzbank

I think this was one of the coolest networking projects I've worked on.  These new switches were undergoing firmware testing for the new Commerzbank tower in Frankfurt.  There were 100 Cisco 6500 switches and my job was to install firmware and software to do QA testings.  Basically a lot of scripting with multiple CF cards.

This was back in 2008, I'm sure these modules are sold as scrap on ebay now.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Outer Hebrides Islands

We are now watching the BBC TV series Coast and one episode was about the Outer Hebrides islands. Looks like an amazing place, with rough cliffs and the elements pounding them.

Ireland's coast was also quite amazing, even though I was not really impressed with the Cliffs of Moher.  To me they seemed a bit over-sold for American tourists.
Not impressed

Northern Ireland does have the Giant's Causeway, and when I first heard about it, we jumped in our car and drove up there.  This place I did enjoy and it's one of my favorite places on the Irish Island.

Now when we watched Coast, and they showed the Outer Hebrides, I also want to jump in my car and visit them!

What also amazed me is the wild-life, and the Puffin birds.  These guys live in caves on land, look like tropical birds, mate for life and can dive down to 60m underwater.  Amazing.
Proud little guy

Friday, July 6, 2012

The cures of mobile email communications

How often do you get an email from a coworker that is vague and pointless, only to see that the last line says: Send from my iPhone.

Really, are some emails that important that need to be answered quickly and can't wait till your at a real computer where proper research can be done to write a proper email?

I guess part of the problem is that the iPhone can't mark email.  SNMP/POP/IMAP (protocols used by email) don't have a provision for flagging messages.  Almost all email clients have this built it, but you can't share this little flag among clients.

Perhaps it's time to write an RFC to incorporate the flag feature into IMAP?

Friday, June 29, 2012

End of Dialects

After reading about how Apple's speech recognition is having problems, I was thinking that the because we don't have a uniform dialect or even language among humas to interact with technology, the technology is having problems understanding our commands.  One thing that I foresee is that people will start uniforming their speech to be compatible with computer speech recognition software.  Could this mean an end to speech dialects?

Computer have changes out lives a lot in the past 20 years.  Look at hand writing, typography and language.  50 years ago there were many more languages and regional dialects.  If someone needed to learn English it was because they were interested in British/American culture, not to interact with someone from Brazil.

You can see it also in typography, where older signs and other print media had interesting fonts.  Now days almost everything is in Helvetica, old German Fraktur script is pretty much dead and only left to WWII themes.

So I wonder if it will be the same with regional dialects in America's south or parts of the UK.  Will our speek all become hegemonized to a standard that computers will be happy with?