#weeklyreview 06/24

This week there were winter holidays for the kids. They got their report cards on the last school day. Both kids still in school doing rather good. So we can’t be happier about their achievements. 🎉

Of course we spent the week in the countryside. Didn’t felt for skiing holidays this year as there doesn’t seem to be much snow in the areas we used to go to anyway – due to climate catastrophe of course!

So I just spend the week working from the countryside doing some light activities with the kids.

Wednesday we went to the cinema with a friends kid to watch the new Studio Ghibli move “The boy and the heron“.

still frame from the movie, provided for personal use by Studio Ghibli, all rights reserved

As expected this was a colourful adventure. Some scenes might be a bit drastic (scary) for young kids, but overall this goes well in line with the previous Studio Ghibli movies.

Much richer, deeper and more fantastic than your Disney movies.


A friend started a blog about 3D printing and asked me whether I’d want to contribute. Of course I want. Even had a small topic to write about: the Z-Offset mystery.

On Saturday we did a day trip to Szczecin, Poland again. Plan was to see the city during daylight, as last time we’ve been there it was already pitch black night.

This plan only worked out partially. The day started very misty in our area. So we checked the weather forecast for Szczecin and that predicted at least partial sunshine for the afternoon. Turned out that was wrong. It stayed misty and foggy and maybe only got worse in the afternoon. We went to the Cafe 22, which is on the 22nd floor of a hotel. Theoretically a nice panoramic view over the whole city. Not on that Saturday. We could barely see the city right down to our feet. The rest was just inside clouds.

this was all we could see from the Autobahn

But we still managed to walk the city a bit a take a look at some beautiful old houses in the city.

#weeklyreview 43/23

The alarm clock went off at 5am on Sunday. Plan was to leave at 6am for #Leuven, Belgium to visit the oldest kid at the University over there for a few days.

We eventually took off at 6:30am which I consider a success. A long drive ahead of us and me as the only driver this time. But since it was a Sunday, the Autobahn was OK. Apart of course from the Ruhrgebiet …

Eventually we arrived in Leuven at around 3pm

We booked the cheapest hotel we could get and the rooms don’t disappoint the low expectations 😉 But the beds are OK and we really don’t use it for more than 3 nights to sleep. So why spend more? Leuven is a rather beautiful city with lots of places to kill time.

On Monday we were visiting various places in Leuven. First the university library which was burned down two times by German soldiers in world war 1 and 2. We had a good view over the city from the top of the library tower. There was an ongoing exhibition about censorship.

Then we went on to the botanical gardens where the city were just about to store all the palm trees for winter that were decorating the city.

Tuesday we took the train to Brussels and payed The Atomium the mandatory visit. Quite impressive from the outside. Inside the usual exhibits about how the place was build and renovated over the years.

After that we drove into the city center by tram to visit the chocolate story museum. That was informative and delicious.

Just around the corner was the famous Mannekin Pis which we only noticed due to a huge crowd of Asian tourists being photographed by their tour guide in front the Mannekin. While writing this review I learned that they apparently dress up the figure on a regular basis with suits. Check the link above for pictures of that.

Wednesday was rather rainy. We had our famous yellow rain jackets and no fear. But the draw back with those jackets is that all the water goes straight down to your legs. If you don’t have watertight trousers as well, you still get rather wet. I also figured out that my trusty Blundstone shoes finally got severely cracked soles and giving me wet feets in the conditions as well.

We had plans to visit the St. Peters church in the old city center. But eventually had to learn that just this month it’s closed on Wednesdays for the public 🙁
So we ended up visiting the old town hall across the street from the church. There was an exhibition about Dieric Bouts – the cities famous painter and sculpture artist.

This was quite impressive as just on this day additional rooms of the town hall were open. There was a very kind old guide in the exhibition which gave us additional explanations in German as the electronic tour guide was only available in English.

In the evening my daughter an me went to the “Grand Cafe Industrie” (I don’t link to their page as that is apparently malware infected at the moment). One of two old but beautifully kept cafes at the place near the train station. Belgium is famous for their beers and of course I had to try one at least once during the drip.

Thursday morning we hit the road again to go back to Berlin. This time during the week, with heavy traffic expected on the Autobahn. Overall I think we were lucky that there was no real standstill for more than 2-3 Minutes. But it was quite full and basically a long chain of Trucks from the German border all the way to Berlin. It just shows that Germany completely messed up its goods transport system. Only relying on Autobahn and trucks is a rather stupid idea. Most of these trucks do long distance transports and could have easily gone on trains.

Over all this trip was quite depressing for “a German”. The Netherlands and Belgium seem to work much better than Germany. People seem more calm, friendlier and overall happier I’d say.

Friday we went off to the countryside after breakfast. Autumn has finally arrived and although rather late. Only now, at the end of October, the trees turn colourful and still got most of their leaves. Sky is grey with heavy clouds and misty rain. If you know me… than you know I like every season 😉

#weeklyreview 32/23

Sunday – Driving to the Baltic Sea

Our yearly family vacation time has arrived. Since about 20 years we‘re spending a week during the summer at the Baltic Sea on Rügen island. That’s the largest German island and a popular place for vacation just laying on the beach.

Looks this year it will be slightly different. The weather is somewhat off this year. It‘s raining heavily and is also quite stormy. Temperature seems to be as low as a 14,5° C during the day.

Usually we‘d be just baking in the sun or slowly cooking in the shade of our beach tent. Apparently not so this year. Weather forecast looks like rain and storm the whole week. Maybe a bit better towards the next weekend.

As a frequent reader you might have already figured that weather doesn’t bother me 🙂 The more weather, the better.

As a first call to action after arrival I got my trusty bright yellow rain jacket out a took a walk on the beach. Lovely weather!

Me being really excited about the weather

Monday – too many people

It’s still raining quite heavily and still stormy. That didn’t stop us from going jogging and swimming this morning. My little tough cookie K3 and I had a nice run on the beach and hopped into the too warm Baltic Sea after that. As the wind had changed direction during the night the beach was now in lee and thus the water was much quieter and save to swim in.

We entertained the idea of finally giving the Ozeaneum in Stralsund a visit. That’s quite a drive from were our apartment is, but due to the weather there wasn’t really anything better we could possibly due over here anyway.

Bad idea as it turned out. Looks like too many people had the same idea. That’s bad enough to get off the peninsula we’re at with many people trying to do the same. But apparently most of them also had the idea to go to Stralsund. I can’t explain otherwise why the city was so crowded. We circled around the Ozeaneum place a few times. But there wasn’t any parking spot closer than at least 2km away. That distance usually wouldn’t stop us. But at heavy rain we considered this too much.

Instead we drove back an payed a visit to Binz to get us some famous “Franzbrötchen” and visited the Seebrücke.

Defective by design

In the recent weeks more and more people wrote about the very bad idea that is Googles “Web Environment Integrity“ (WEI). It’s an attempt by Google to convince websites to query a special API (of course provided by Google) whether the requesting browsing client is OK (according to googles idea of “OK”) to serve.

Greg Farough wrote an in depth article why this is destroying the very idea of an open internet:

Compared to its staggering potential effects, the technical means through which WEI will accomplish its ends is relatively simple. Before serving a web page, a server can ask a third-party “verification” service to make sure that the user’s browsing environment has not been “tampered” with. A translation of the policy’s terminology will help us here: this Google-owned server will be asked to make sure that the browser does not deviate in any way from Google’s accepted browser configuration, precluding any meaningful use of the four freedoms. It is not far-fetched to imagine a future in which sites simply refuse to serve pages to users running free browsers or free operating systems. If WEI isn’t stopped now, that future will come sooner than we think.

Greg Farough – https://www.defectivebydesign.org/blog/web_environment_integrity_is_an_all_out_attack_on_free_internet

402 – Payment required

ChatGPT bot blocked from scraping my websites as training material. Thanks for the hint and code to Franz.

Wednesday – long walks

First thing in the morning was 6 km jogging barefoot on the beach. As usual, I overdid this slightly as I got some blisters under my feet from running. That wouldn’t be too much of a problem if we hadn’t planned to walk in the beach to the next village for lunch. That was also two times a roughly 5 km walk and didn’t make those blisters smaller.

I guess no more jogging this vacation then.

Thursday- Karls Erdbeerhof

Also a Tradition when we’re here: going to Karl’s Erdbeerhof. That’s a barn/farm style kids amusement park themed around strawberries. They have a large barn building turned into a restaurant, indoor playground and shopping area. They build their own sweets and manufacture them right in front of your eyes. In the outside area are a whole bunch of kids attractions like slides, climbing thingies, petting zoo etc.

I like that as it’s a local brand that has built it’s credibility over several years now. They managed to expand the concept and opened up more of these facilities in the north of Germany and even one close to Berlin. Kids love it their and their stuff is very friendly ( something unheard of in Germany).

Friday – Beach Day

Finally the weather was good enough to spent the day on the beach just chillin as we usually do during this summer vacation.

The Baltic Sea was very calm and I took a little swim straight out from the beach. Just about 200m out and then turned around to get back to the beach. The kind guys from the DLRG (German lifeguards) payed me a visit with their shiny read boat to check whether everything is OK. Apparently I was a little too far out of the formal swimming zone for their taste.

I thanked them for checking and confirmed I’m just happily paddling along back to the beach.

Earlier the day we hiked up the little hill and on top of the pilot tower to take the obligatory pictures from atop over the peninsula.

Saturday – Choo choo

Weather was good enough before lunch for beach. Wind direction has turned a bit so that we had a light breeze from the sea. Took a swim, this time properly with my buoy and parallel to the beach. No visit from the lifeguards 😉

In the afternoon kiddo and me too the traditional steam engine train from Göhren to Binz and back. Always a bit of an adventure for the steam engine nerd. The air was rather smokey and reminded me of the winters in GDR time.

#weeklyreview 31/23

Sunday – Festung Königstein

On Sunday we had to pick up the kid from its vacation camp in Saxony. Since the place wasn’t too far away from castle “Festung Königstein“, we took a little detour and had a visit.

Been there several times as a kid with my parents on vacation. Now my wife wanted to pay a visit as while we were close by anyway.

I wasn’t sure that it would be doable with the wheelchair of my wife. But we gave it a try.

Turned out it was doable. The hardest part was pushing her the approximately 600m from the parking area to the base of the castle. From there we took the elevator to the top.

On the actual castle it was comparatively easy to push her around. We almost made the whole round and took many pictures. Even had a snack at one of the many eating places.

Overall a really great trip. And again we had been very lucky with the weather. It had apparently rained heavily earlier the day. But when we were atop it was just dramatic clouds but with occasional sunshine. After we left another round of heavy rain set in.

Tuesday

Got rid of a whole bunch of old scraps at the local recycling yard. That’s quite a good service that’s included in our yearly waste treatment fee: one can drop off most of household garbage like old furniture, reasonable amounts of construction material leftovers, electronics etc. for free.

Today I’m feeling the pushing of the wheelchair up the hill on Sunday. Shins and arms are hurting a bit.

Also gave the final signature today to officially decommission our old “Verein”. That closes an era.

Wednesday – Finally Internet

Today the final connection of our new DSL landline in the countryside was activated. A Telekom technician showed up at 8am and mumbled something about wrong house number. In his documents it said just the number. While our house has a number and an additional letter.

Fortunately he was able to connect it nevertheless and measures about 100 Mbit/a DSL line capacity. So far so good.

But our Router didn’t want to connect and he thought that’s a problem with the router or actual internet provider.

Turned out the FritzBox just needed a round of calibration and then everything worked. Yay – finally our own internet connection.

Our neighbors where so kind to share their WiFi with us for the last couple of years. I had quite and adventurous setup to pickup their signal near the fence with a WiFi repeater and feed it into a LAN cable. The cable ends in the shed in an old switch from where it runs further to my trusty container office. And also into a power line adapter to get the signal inside the house. In the house a Powerline WiFi bridge provides us with wireless network.

Several trucks almost ran over the bucket that covered the WiFi Pickup near the fence. The lawnmower had close encounters with the power cable for the WiFi pickup. Also summer, winter and all sorts of insect battle tested that poor WiFi repeater. But it did its job for several years. It will get some rest now.

Took the time before lunch to rearrange and reconfigure the network devices. Almost done.

Now that I’m in control of my own router and firewall I might start hosting stuff from here as well 😉

In the afternoon I built a new bed upstairs. The old sleep sofa had its days and was a torture to get down and out. Now we went with something more simplistic and just build a raised bed from construction wood.

Thursday – rainy day

Today was again a very rainy day for this area and season. I finally cleaned up my rain gauge after I saw a toot from David de Groot

H

After the cleaning the sensor recorded about 6,5l/sqm for the day. It was surely more than that as it rained earlier in the day before the cleaning.

Friday

Got rid of even more old furniture and scraps at the local scrap yard. Of course forgot some bits as well.

The village church hosts some summer concerts. Mostly organ music. While I’m totally not a (traditional) religious person (but ask me about Unix text editors), but when there is an event in the village, you show up. Just to show your appreciation of the effort.

This time an old acquaintance of mine played the organ. He is meanwhile the priest of the church my parents go to. Of course he played some classic from Bach and Händel. But he also played “Über sieben Brücken musst du gehen” from Karat. Which is one of the most famous rock songs of the former GDR.

Saturday – too much driving

In the afternoon I planned to pick up the kid in Berlin for we are driving to the Baltic Sea vacation on Sunday.

My wife felt good enough to join me and pay a visit to our flat in Berlin for the first time in over a year. It went well and nobody was harmed 🤣

On the way back to the countryside, about 2/3 of the way we realized she had forgotten her purse with all her cash and cards. Essential items. So we did a U-turn and drove back again to Berlin 🤷‍♂️

No really looking forward for some vacation at the sea. The weather might be not the best for just laying on the beach. But I can also perfectly lay on the couch and be reading 😉 Just hope the kids will also find something to keep themselves quietly busy and occupied.

Baltic Sea

I love simple things. I don’t necessarily need some fancy place for vacation. Ideally the vacation place has lots of nature and not so many people.

A good nearby compromise is the Baltic Sea on Rügen island. The island itself is pretty crowded and popular. But it also has some remote corners that are still rather simple and down to earth. One of those places is Thiessow in the east peninsula. We go there since many years. The beach is quite long so everyone gets their space. There are a few kiosks where you can buy ice cream, fries, pizza and most importantly Crêpe. What more do you need to relax?