The world’s as miserable as before, but I continue to blog

August 2, 2007

I have been a few weeks now back in Germany and I recently thought about school which is going to start in about exactly … 4 days. Oh hell! I am going to have Mathematics and English as Leistungskurs (I always tried to translate this word in various languages during various discussions, but I always failed … maybe I should look into a dictionary right now. Okay, the dictionary itself is not sure which word is to use) and I thought about my skills in both subjects.

I know that my English skill is not as good as a year ago, so I decided I ought to restart blogging more frequently. Won’t hurt anyway and as long as I’ll just gab about some bullshit every now and then I don’t waste too much time for it. Especially my vocabulary degraded like hell. So don’t wonder when I’ll try to use some exquisite vocabulary ;-)

In the end I care anyway less about English than I do about maths. I should have started to learn the stuff I missed a few weeks ago. I didn’t of course.

So school is about to start….but I finish here my entry, because the compile process of sauerbraten finished and I’ll try it out now. Have fun out there, my non-existent readers!

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It’s time to go

June 28, 2007

Finally, my time in Latvia is over. Tomorrow at 2 o’ clock the airplane goes to Berlin over Frankfurt and I won’t ever be able to come back …. okay, just a joke … so be prepared, I will be back!

How to fuck up your hard disk – and how to recover it

April 8, 2007

A few days ago, I got a computer from my host dad to avoid conflicts with my host brother about using his computer. There was still Windows XP installed with files and data from the previous owner, but I wanted to install Ubuntu anyway. That day the internet in my room wasn’t working so I really had nothing to do and started right away to install Ubuntu.

This shouldn’t have been that difficult – I installed Ubuntu already a few times on different computers and have never experienced any problems. That’s why I didn’t made any precautions. Lesson learned, I won’t ever do that again. Always make a damn update!

I would have made one, but I was/am rather short of funds: It’s an old machine, Pentium III, floppy disk (thank god – nowadays many computers are shipped without, I myself sometimes consider it as lesser important), CD drive and a 10 gb hard disk drive. So how am I supposed to do an backup without the resources I can use in Germany?!

Live Disk as usual, I change the partition by hand. It seems to go well – until to the next installation step: I need to assign root and swap to the partitions. But the wizard tells me the partitions are somehow broken. WTF? I cancel the installation, but it was too late, Windows wouldn’t boot any more.

It’s about fine with me – I could have used Ubuntu only. The big nasty problem was that my host dad, or better the computer’s previous owner needed some files he forgot to copy/backup/whatever. Shit.

I knew there were recovery tools for these kind of problems. I just had never ever needed something like that and I had to teach myself from scratch how to do it. Where? Big, old pal Internet would help.

I got a few tools which made hope, it showed all the data. But it was only freeware and didn’t allow to write the found data. How convenient.

I had a hell of a stress the last days. My host dad wasn’t that happy when he found out what’d happened. But after all it only confirmed his opinion that I was responsible for breaking every computer. My host brother didn’t let me use his computer, because he always has been pissed of about the need to share it and afterall I had now my own computer. Fine.

Last option: Internet cafe. A very interesting experience. Surrounded by Russians (age 9-17) playing Counter Strike and similar games. But at least the feeling that you can use a computer as long as you want and need to (okay, I had to pay … but that were peanuts 1Ls/3 hours).

I figured out how to use a tool I already tried out, but with which I was overburdened: testdisk. Back home I tried it out (after arguing with my host brother to change keyboards – I had only one for usb port which is pretty useless in DOS) and was relieved that it worked about as described, although it was a slightly newer version.

Even better: Windows worked. Internet worked. Ha, life is fine.

I wondered how I could donate something (I don’t have Paypal), but the main brain behind the tool also collects Euro coins! Very good, I ordered my parents to collect some and sent them over to France. Maybe I can even think of some lines in French to write him!

imified for easy blogging

March 26, 2007

This is a short article, because I’m trying out imified.com which is a very useful web2.0 application, although I really had problems to figure out it’s use at the beginning. But you should really try it!

Note: It’s still very very alpha and buggy.

Exam, exam, exam …

March 9, 2007

In about 5 hours I am going to sit in the exam room, trying to get the most out of my brain. Cambridge exam, precisely called FCE (First Certificate in English) and on today’s timetable stands the Listening and Speaking part.  Tomorrow it continues with Reading (easy peasy), Grammar (bit tougher) and Writing. Probably the toughest part.

I haven’t been nervous a single time all the last week, but yesterday, trying hard to fell asleep, there it was. I feel a bit jumpily still and I think it won’t go away until I’ll sit there concentrating on the exam. By the way, it was exactly the same the day, or rather the day before, I flew to Latvia. Not a single sign all the days before and then, in one moment a rush of feelings. Kind of my nature.

Still more things to discover

February 3, 2007

Today I stumbled upon a thing I had never heard before: SSI – Server Side Includes. I found a forum post explaining ten popular (and/or annoying mistakes webdesigners make. One was:

I’ve seen people who code each individual page of their site. […] While they may not know of modular/SSI-based design, I’ve personally told a few of them about it and found them not taking my advice.

Of course I didn’t wanted to belong to those ignorant people and looked it up. Wikipedia and Google, as usual. I didn’t found anything up to date about SSI. Isn’t anyone still using it in times of Web2.0? I rather liked it from the first moment on and I am definitively going to try it out.

One reason it’s not so popular (anymore?)  might be that developers nowdays trust in content managment systems. Okay, that’s a point. But I think, a site that is too small for using a CMS, can still be large enough to be a lot of work which could be reduced using SSI.

One more thing I learned today: There are still a helluva lot of things to learn. I better keep on going.

Cambridge Certificate

January 26, 2007

I registered now for the First Certificate in English (FCE) and payed the fee. I think I saved some money in Latvia, but to be true, that are just peanuts. Anyway, I went to the British Council and looked through the library. The teaching books didn’t seemed that difficult to me. And I thought I should have directly tried to achieve the next level, the Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

I took no books with me, because I would have needed to pay a 7-Lats fee for one year of library use and I decided with a look into my empty wallet I would first search the internet and ask my english teacher. As far as I know my school in Latvia (after all it is called Riga English Grammar School) has a library to and I can get books there for free. They should have training material there too.

But first I look in the internet. It took me some time to find something, although there is plenty material on the official website. Blind as a bat I found some link from somewhere else to the site … after half an hour research. There is just no ‘real’ material besides the official provided one and everything else are just book offers. Really.

I tried out the Reading Part which consists of several texts and questions about them and is about 70 minutes. I found it unexpected difficult, but I managed to finish ways under the time limit and got a result of 87% correct answers of the maximum points. In my opinion a good result for the first try.

And finally I discoverd that I had downloaded the CPE papers instead of CFE. A pity that I didn’t registered for the more advanced level … but anyway, I’m content with the easier level, because there are sure some more difficult parts waiting than Reading, as Writing, Listening and … finally Grammar. These remain to be trained. And then will see, on 10 of March.

It’s ice cold now

January 24, 2007

Of course it’s not that cold – usually it should be a helluva lot colder at this time of the year in Latvia. Still, it is cold enough for snow (unfortunately there isn’t any yet) and in my opinion it doesn’t need to get any colder.

Still, I wonder whether this could be called a real latvian winter. Probably not.

Today I had to do a bit of leg work and I was glad I had my ocassionally working iPod with me – music is very usefull to distract from the cold.

One year blogging

January 7, 2007

One year ago I started this blog. And I have to correct myself: I started blogging ways earlier, it’s just that this blog celebrates it’s first anual birthday.

Some kind of resolution wanted? Okay, I’ll give it a try. Although the idea came a bit later (i just registered the blog to test wordpress.com) I though I could use this blog to use and improve my English. And have fun doing it. That’s all.

I  fullfilled my aim. Absolutely. Although I can’t really say if it’s all just the blog – I read I lot of books too (to be exactly I kind a read nearly only English books) and I spoke English at the beginning in Latvia. So somehow it works all together but I think the blog was a milestone.

Did I had fun? Yeah. It’s especially obvious looking at my ultra long posts. I just started writing and couldn’t stop anymore.

What else? I would have enjoyed a few more comments, but as this isn’t an A-blog (rather ranking D to F) I can’t expect there too much. I didn’t want to push the traffic anyway.

General resolution: I’m happy.

And a short general prediction: It will stay pretty much the same.

finetune – create your own radio playlist

January 4, 2007

A friend of mine just spotted aVery Interesting Idea, finetune. You can browse a directory of thousands of authors and take from each one up to 3 tracks to complete your own 45 tracks including playlist. And of course with all the webtwopointohh stuff – tagging, user profiles, playlist sharing and so on and on.

And, as it is web 2.0 – it’s still beta too (or shall I say alpha?). It’s a bit buggy too. But still, you can give it a try.