Life in Paris, my universe and potentially everything

Another WordPress Update

Disclaimer: if you don’t use WordPress yourself (or don’t even know what it is), don’t bother reading this post, it’ll be a waste of your time. You have been warned… ;)

Still here? Good. So here goes:

Whew – it’s been a while, but contrary to all rumors I haven’t abandoned my blog, and just finished updating to the latest version of WordPress, as I was told there were serious security issues with the older versions. So, for everybody who’s still using a version < 2.6.2: the good news is that upgrading wordpress has become a bit simpler than before, and the bad news is that it still isn’t fun.

But still one hint for people like me who don’t always RTFM: one of the things that might be trouble is that you need to either recreate your wp-config.php or add a few lines (see wp-config-sample.php for details…).

Fun with the Death Star on YouTube

Just a short note on two videos on YouTube that friends sent me the links to and I kinda liked: The Death Star’s Canteen in the Lego Men enactment and the (slightly longer) original version by a totally drag Eddie Izzard on stage. Seen it five times and still think it’s hilarious. (Thanks Astrid!)

And even though it is already kind of old and most people who read this will probably already, once again for everybody who speaks German: ‘Virales Marketing auf dem Todesstern Stuttgart‘, hanoile… 

Three links…

Just a short note on three sites that for one reason or the other caught my attention over the course of this week and are IMHO worth checking out:

Number one is a project called “Songbird” which is a browser-mash-up-itunes-ripoff-and-a-few-things-more, done by a few apparently pretty creative people who also got a few thingsrght about web design, i.e. I really liked the site.

Then there’s one of those “someone’s finally done it” things, a free skype-compatible client for the iPhone. As far as I’ve been told Fring has been around for quite a while, but the beta-client for the iphone seems to be pretty new. Your phone needs to be jailbroken to run the app, which fortunately no longer is a big deal

And finally number three, which is work related: my colleagues working in the German office launched a new site, which I was quite happy about, since it includes a few ideas and features. It is called Decido (to be found at and so far only available in German, but if you have a minute check it out – constructive criticism is of course always welcome, feel free to leave a comment…

Remember D-Fens?

For those who don’t: D-Fens is the “middle name”/pseudo of the character Michael Douglas plays in “Falling Down” (ou bien “Chute libre” pour mes amis français ;) ), which is a movie I liked a lot. To me one of the most memorable quotes in the movie is in the scene where D-Fens unpacks some sorry excuse for a burger, looks at it and then at the picture the burger joint had put up to advertise it: “Can anybody tell me what’s wrong with this picture…? …anyone?”.
(In case you don’t remember it, the original clip is available on youtube)

Well now – about 15 years later – Frank (who recently exchanged maps for answers) pointed me to this page, that kind of asks the same question. Good one if you ask me… :)

Math roolz

Seriously. And no even if I’m pretty sure that many people beg to differ, I must say that math can be very good for your peace of mind.

And here’s why: apart from the update to the latest version of WordPress, I changed one more thing in this blog – if you want to leave a comment (which you are of course more than welcome to do) you now have to answer a simple math question. This has become necessary as lately pretty much the only people entities using the comment feature here were frikkin’ spammers spam bots. The good news is: ever since the ‘did you pass math’ plugin is active, the number of comment spam attempts has gone from 5-10 a day to a sleek zero… :)

So, in case you’re also using WordPress, I can only recommend installing this…

Names and i18n

Well – nothing big, but there are moments when knowing more than one language can come in handy and choosing a brand name would definitely one of them. Want proof?

Here ya go:

There is for example an internet startup that could actually become a search engine that means serious competition for google as the people behind it are former google brass. The knack: the name is “cuill” (they pronounce it ‘cool’), which is basically fine, but maybe not as cool in France where “les cuilles” means “balls” (yes, balls as in testicals and not just as in ’round things in general’). Anyway – I’ll be sure to check out their site as soon as they go live…

Another thing that is completely different, but in the same ranks is a new brand of deep frozen diet food here in France that I did of course also have to check out even though I usually try to avoid things that are dubbed ‘light’ or ‘diet’:

…and yes, they also do chocolate ice cream – at least that’s what I still hope it was (although judging from the taste there might be more truth to the name than I thought)

In case they plan to expand to the German market I’d strongly recommend a change in names.
[In case there's anyone reading this who doesn't speak German: 'Kot' is German for 'faeces' (or 'feces' for you Americans).]



Hey! Only just over five months and already there’s movement in my blog again. I finally spent the time to update WordPress to version 2.5 and must say the admin interface has improved (What? You couldn’t care less? Well, thought so. Back to business then…).

So all that rests is to do as Christian asked and start writing again – for starters: the next thing that happened after the last entry was “30 puissance 4″, i.e. Antoine coming back from L.A. to celebrate his 30th bday. And as the evenings motto was “La vie en rose” (life in pink) it looked something like this:

30 puissance 30

Sten and Antoine en rose

And now, a few months later, it looks like Antoine’s trying a new look (rumor has it that the launch of is imminent…).

Other than that there’s plenty of things going on over the last few months, including concerts, more strikes (hey – this is France after all…), vacations and new toys – more on this right here, rsn…

Berlin & Strikes here and there…

In case you’re based in Germany I guess you have had a lot of discussions about the train drivers’ strike over the last couple of weeks. While I see how that is really annoying and must have been quite unnerving for a lot of people, I must also say that strikes are actually a lot more common over here in France and just to prove my point, the RATP (which is Paris’ public transport authority) staff have also been on strike about 10 days ago.

Still there are a few differences – over here most people were kind of disgruntled by the unavailability of most public transport, but things like a strike day being canceled b/c the striking workers are afraid of the angry mob customers, is something that certainly wouldn’t happen over here.

The one nice thing for me in all this was that I’m lucky enough to use line 14 of the Metro to go from/to work. “Lucky” because there are two things special about that line, one: it is very fast and two: fully automatic, which means that during the RATP strike service was just the same as every other day.

And this would where the karma thing comes into play: maybe I shouldn’t have laughed as loud when my colleagues told me how difficult or plain impossible it was to get to work those days, since about one week later (i.e. last weekend) the PNC (cabin crews) of AirFrance were on strike. And that actually did affect me, as we (my friend Tina and I) were going to Berlin to see some old friends. In a nutshell: the flight to Berlin was three hours late that we spent waiting at the airport, so I had basically taken off half a day for *nothing*.

So far: already not cool. But then there also was the matter of getting back to Paris, and as we were informed just before taking off to Berlin, our return flight had been canceled, and that was why we found our tickets changed to the flight that left two hours earlier the same day. But as simply losing another two hours of an otherwise very fun weekend trip would have been way too easy, that flight also was canceled and we were informed by a very friendly AirFrance staff member that our options were to take a bus to the beautiful city of Leipzig (which is about two hours away) and take a flight from there or nothing really. To make the already long story a little shorter: to our surprise, the flight from Leipzig did not get canceled, but still was about one and a half hours late. I had almost forgotten just how much fun air travel can be…

At least there was some time left for sightseeing, in this case “Schloss Charlottenburg”:

Christian and the Schloss Charlottenburg

Other things I learned that weekend (to name but a few): the iPod Touch is about as nice as it is expensive, Christian’s car really is fun to drive, if I were playing XBox360 games for a living I’d probably starve, if you would like to save the otters, you can do so by joining the “Otterzentrum” (which I didn’t – at least not yet…) and that the “Schwarzes Café” might be the place where “we were going 10 years ago”, but still is good for a beer (or two) after a late dinner…

New design, finally

So I finally got around to deploying a complete WordPress installation and that means I could finally change the theme! While I think this is one is kind of nice I’m of course open for suggestions, in case you found *the* theme to have.

Other than that I’m back from a great weekend in Berlin visiting my old friend Christian Ebayhard – the going there and back home turned out to be a little more complicated than expected, but more on that in the next post, I’m off to bed now…

Relax Baby Be Cool

Ooooh yes. You gotta love living in a big city. Especially given all the concerts available – after last month’s gig of Wir sind Helden, we went to see Stereo Total yesterday who were playing at La Maroquinerie and seriously: Monday evenings don’t get any better than this. While I can totally see how their music might not be everybody’s cup of tea, I’d still recommend going to one of their concerts to about anybody. They played for about one and a half hours and had some American guy called “Hawnay Troof” as supporting act (and special guest) who himself also was great fun to watch and kind of left us with the impression that you can actually make a career of your medical condition. I bought his CD – ask me for it the next time you see me and you’ll see (well hear actually…) what I mean :-P

As I still haven’t bought a new phone with a better camera so the quality of the photographic proof has room for improvement:

Yes – various instruments were being used, including an aluminium ladder…

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