Security Alarms Checked: Ok!

Don’t know why we have the bloody things in the first place.

Other than to add an extra challenge to our home-coming after every holiday: exactly 45 seconds to input a six-digit code before the entire house lights up like a Christmas tree accompanied by a wailing sampled from the sound of nails dragged across a blackboard added to a cat’s appreciation of being plunged into the Rhine on New Year’s Eve.

Not that we actually have anything worth stealing either; it’s just the thought of coming home to find that “someone else has been walking around your abode which makes my skin crawl.

Aargh: My EOS Doesn’t Like Me Anymore..

As part of my pre-holiday responsibilities (which I thoroughly enjoy as, for once, it doesn’t involve anything which smells or might kill you if you don’t know what you’re doing); as I was saying, as part of my pre-holiday responsibilities, I thought it would be a good time to check out my photographic equipment (Canon EOS-300D); i.e. batteries, filters, clean the objectives…

My EOS

The (unique) battery was miserably flat, so flat that the camera even showed up an error message on the display: “Err 2″. So I left the battery to charge for a full eight hours before checking it out again.

“Err 2″: “we-are-really-sorry-but-it’s-not-the-battery-keep-on-searching-dickhead“. One of these moments when you’re thankful to have a 24/7 internet connection at hand!

Not that I was able to erudite a definite diagnosis, mind you: the Canon Support page was incredibly absent of any error messages and the various forums I visited tended to point me towards a problem with the Compact Flash card.

Finally, after spending a couple of hours of digging through quite a lot of irrelevant threads, I finally removed the memory chip, peared into the interface and noticed that, indeed, one of the 50+ pins was bent.

Oooh: the “ol’ bent-pin syndrome”, my irrelevant forums informed me: “that’s going to be expensive”!

Crap! And that just three days before leaving the country..

“Sorry guys: no pics this year!” Was all I had to offer my poor family at that time, while fully aware that a reparation would cost approx. €170..

My Legendary Sandwiches

My ham sandwiches are, indeed, legendary.

During the first 18 months of my professional career when, as a 100% Genevois, I had had the honour to relocate to Zürich and become a “Marketing Assistant” (i.e “gopher“) for an American Biotech company, I used to religiously prepare my midday feast every Monday evening for the rest of the week.

This included:

  • 1 baguette (french loaf)
  • Fresh salad
  • Tomatoes
  • Butter
  • Mayonnaise

Sounds pretty standard, eh? Every Monday I used to prepare enough for the rest of the week and stick them into my freezer. Then, every morning, I would take one of them with me, leave it on my office bookshelf to defrost (which it finally did at approx. 15:30 every day) and devour it with relish.

Since I was luckily enough to find an alternative source for my nourishment within a year and a half (and ended up marrying it to ensure that I would never have to suck frosen ham, salad and tomato sandwiches again), I never looked back at my culinary creations until my very own kids were around 10 years-old and, episodically, required my kitchen skills.

So when Sarah rung me yesterday evening – while I was on my way home – and informed me (as the last minute as usual) that she would be going on a school outing the next day and required nourishment, I knew the answer…

Up at 06:00 I was, baking baguettes and chopping tomatoes before sending a very happy sailor off onto her trip.

The outcome? A couple of local kids who will call me next time they’re on the road.

I told you: I can’t “cook” much, but when I do…. Simply legendary! ;-)

I’m Too Old For This Shit!

Nipped up to Nürenberg yesterday to discuss an outsourcing project with a major customer.

I must admit that, since I gave up sales and entered the brilliant and fascinating world of IT 9 years ago, I rarely had the chance to experience the familiar situation whereby you sit in-front of a customer and try to convince him (or her/it) that whatever you have to offer is even better than sliced bread.

So I actually looked forward to the day and was determined to assert whether I actually missed my previous occupation or not:

1) Getting up at 05:00 is totally uncool!: don’t know about you, but the flesh on MY face invariably only wakes up around 09:30. Sitting on your terrace while consuming your first IV of caffeine at 05:15 is quite interesting though: you can catch various members of the local wildlife doing things you wouldn’t even dream of doing (and I don’t mean the “ghastly neighbours..).

2) Purchasing your train ticket the day-before is cool: my colleague turned up 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time and stood for 8-9 minutes in a queue which was serving 2 (out of 4) counters.

3) Having a BRAIN which only wakes up at 09:30 can be cool: the Deutsche Bahn has banned smoking from its train stations since September 1; including the platforms. Said colleague immediately lit up as soon as we had deposited our rucksacks on the floor. I spent the last few minutes waiting for our train eying the conductor which was standing a mere 2 meters away.

4) Eating a lavish breakfast on a train is absolutely cool: I don’t eat breakfast during the week. Somehow I still can’t get rid of the taste of the porridge Mum used to force-feed me with; neither can I forget the porridge-tasting burps which would then burden me for most of the morning.

Sundays are something altogether: our weekly brunches are legendary and we all fully enjoy the gentle carelessness associated to the absence of school/work.

So what to do at 07:30 if you’ve got 5 hours train ride in front of you?

Simple:

Breakfast at DB’s

5) Taking souvenir pics in a factory is absolutely uncool: especially if there are signs literally EVERYWHERE warning potential paparazzi of the fate which awaits them. Still, it is rather tempting when your cell-phone has an inbuilt camera. BTW: t’was the above-mentioned colleague once again; not ME! ;-)

6) Eating a Double Whopper with Bacon in the DB first class lounge is uncool: especially surrounded by managers slurping Darjeeling.

7) Finding out that each platform has this neat yellow “smoking-allowed” perimeter is cool: so you can smoke if you absolutely need to; but those who don’t want to share your exhalations know where you exactly where you are and can avoid you at leisure.

8) Getting a phone call from your boss asking you to solve a technical problem once you’re back home is totally *BLEEP*: especially if you can’t benefit from the the wireless LAN which will be present in the ICE you’ll be travelling in because your battery is dead. And you know you won’t be home before 23:00. (Colleague again)

9) Reverse-engineering your laptop’s power plug by breaking off the grounding pin in order to make it German-power-socket-compatible is cool (as long as your power supply never finds itself needing that pin).

10) Finding out that the promised-WLAN is out of order is uncool: especially has you’ve managed to solve your power problem.

11) Connecting yourself via your cell-phone, GPRS and Bluetooth is technically cool: I’m just glad I won’t be the one submitting my colleague’s expense reports!

12) Solving the problem while hurtling through the Black Forest at 200 KMH is “way-out” cool: but see point 11.

13) Arriving back home at 00:10, 19 hours after having originally left the warmth of my mattress is more uncool than you can ever imagine: I’m too old for this shit!

Internet + Incompetence: a Sweet Combination

Earlier this week, the FIA published the hearings relative to the Ferrari-McLaren spy issue on the ‘Net.

For those of you who really couldn’t care two hoots about Formula One Racing, let’s just say that the wife of an engineer employed by team A (McLaren) was caught in a copy-shop while… copying a confidential 700+ page technical document belonging to team B (Ferrari).

After a few squeaks from team B, team A was finally fined a whopping €100’000’000 and was disqualified from this year’s F1 constructors championship (which is rather awkward as it is one of the two major trophies these gentlemen compete for). Find out more here if you really need to.

The reason for this post?

Someone obviously didn’t do their homework and commited EXACTLY the same mistake as previously mentioned on this blog: the “sensitive bits” such as people’s salaries, or worse even technical information about team B’s car (which thus became available for EVERYONE) were, yet again, censored by blacking them out in the published PDF document.

Such as:

FIA Hearings before

By simply copying the text in Adobe Reader and pasting it into your notepad, this is what you get:

FIA Hearings after

Brilliant eh? :-) So basically, Ferrari’s cars are based on a double-rear master cylinder with a spring. Got that?

Just don’t tell anyone you read it here….

Oh: and just in case, here are the two offending documents which were “rapidly” removed from the web.

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