Archive for 2009

December 29th, 2009

Had a peaceful Christmas

As said in the last post, we spent the Christmas time with my parents in North Carelia. The decision to go there was a wise one. I haven’t such a relaxing holiday season for a while. We mostly spent time eating, playing games, and watching videos. The only minus was the cold weather; when it is -20C outside the house, you don’t want to spend too many minutes there.

Aapo got a big Lego pirate ship that he built (99% by himself — which is an achievement for a guy less than five years old) during the days after Christmas Eve. Niilo got a load of wooden groceries (and a few fake bottles of Pepsi Max…). Boys also got a couple of DVDs, and they watched the Chip & Dale disc at least five times during the holidays.

We arrived back to Espoo on Sunday evening, and I’ve been coding ever since. Such small luxuries of life…

December 19th, 2009

Christmas approaching

I’ve finally started to feel that Christmas is coming. This seems to happen later and later every year, due to mounting pressures at work and general haste in life. I made enormous push during the past two weeks, and purchased all presents, wrappings, and other paraphernalia needed. Now I just need to wrap the presents, and hide them for a few days.

We’ll spend the holiday season in North Carelia, in my parents to be exact. Boys are eagerly waiting for the extended weekend with the grandparents, and I’m looking forward for a couple of days that are at least relatively peaceful and quiet.

Before that, however, there are still things to be done — I need to continue wrapping up the presents.

December 11th, 2009

Relaxing time in London

We had quite a wonderful time in London. The hotel was shock-middle London downtown, a couple hundred meters from Oxford Circus — and we were able to walk everywhere. This was a huge relief compared to the usual situation where one travels back and forth with the tube most of the day. I can whole-heartedly recommend No. 5 Maddox Street.

The programme was also relaxed. The business related stuff had their own time and place, but they didn’t spill over that much; only once or twice… Boys behaved extremely well for the most of the time — flying has never been this easy. Hopefully this is a continuing trend, and not an exception.

Saturday was the best day. The weather was nice, no business needs, a nice visit to Transportation Museum in Covent Garden, and a lot of small-scale shopping. Oxford and Regent Streets were closed from cars, and there were huge amount of people walking on the streets. I and Aapo made a long visit to Hamleys at the end of the day, and bought a pack of Legos, teddybear for Niilo, and some Thomas the Tank Engine railroad items.

December 2nd, 2009

To London

Tomorrow I’ll leave to London for a couple of days with my family. The programme includes a few meetings, shopping, good food, and hopefully also a lot of sleep — the latter has been in a short supply during this week.

We have two full days to spent there, so the plans are really low-key. One day for shopping, and then visit to London Transport Museum. Probably this is as much as (or even more than) the boys can cope with. Fortunately, they are eagerly waiting for visit to Hamleys.

Excellent Thai food

Thaise Snackbar Bird is relatively compact restaurant for fast Thai snacks and meals on Zeedijk street. The snackbar is operated by a larger and more formal Thai restaurant on the opposite side of the street. They have separate kitchens, and there are differences in menus.

The food we had there were just superb, very authentic and rich in flavour. Spicyness was also on a good level. I loved especially the crunchy spring rolls, but the curries were excellent, too.

The restaurant has like twenty places to sit, and it fills really quickly. Fortunately, people do not stay to hang around after eating.

www.thai-bird.nl, Zeedijk 72, Amsterdam, Netherlands, +32 20 420 6289

November 25th, 2009

Being a single parent for a day

Sanna is now on a business trip to the Netherlands, and I’m trying to be a single dad for two nights and one day. The first evening is now over, and boys are sleeping. Everything went better than I thought (or feared…), and hopefully everyone is able to enjoy a good night’s sleep.

It is surprisingly hard job to do parenting only by yourself. I’ve usually handled the morning routines from bed to kindergarten, and Sanna takes care of afternoons and evening meal. There is surprisingly many things to do when you fetch kids from a kindergarten; clothes must be checked for stains and tears, everything need to be cleaned, kids must be fed and entertained, and so on.

Fortunately they went to bed without too much trouble, and I am able to focus on some things of my own. Early bed time has a flipside of early waking up time, so I need to get some sleep before midnight…

Hip hotel with small rooms

The hotel selection in Amsterdam is quite polarized; there are really good and expensive hotels, and really bad and inexpensive hotels. Trying to find a hotel that does not cost a fortune, and has good rooms, decent breakfast, and nice location can be hard.

Hotel V somewhat fits the bill. It is a design hotel, in other words, a lot of time and energy has been put to the surroundings, rooms, and generic atmosphere. Despite being in a crummy neighbourhood, Hotel V has been able to execute this pretty well.

Our room was small, as most hotel rooms tend to be in Amsterdam — there are huge ones, too, I’ve even slept in such a room. The room looked way bigger in the pictures, so be warned. The breakfast was excellent, and service in general was nice. Free WLAN is always a good perk.

The hotel location is not the best, it is a bit out of the city centre, though near the museum sector. Tram is a good option, and it takes about fifteen minutes to reach the central station. We had booked a bike special, and rode around the town for a day — excellent way to see the city, and also get to the places.

www.hotelv.nl, Victorieplein 42, Amsterdam, Netherlands

November 14th, 2009

Mac troubles, part two

Issues with my Mac continued, and the backup failed several times — I checked the problematic file, deleted it, and then tried again. No avail.

On Tuesday, I made a full copy of my working files to a server in the network. Then I continued to rescue my hard disk, finally getting into situation in which my Mac would not boot — except into single mode. Apple’s disk “repair” program “repaired” my disk into an unusable state. It was readable in single user mode, but OS X’s graphical front-end was broken on the disk, due to a bad block.

I had to purchase a new hard drive, that fortunately was available in 24 hours, and install the whole system again. This took most part of Wednesday afternoon and evening. I got the system up and running just before midnight, when the Time Machine backup was restored.

I installed OS X first from scratch, and then restored the backup. This resulted a situation that some of the settings, such as contents of /etc directory were not restored. Some settings, like my custom keyboard was restored with no issues. I copied the old contents of /etc to my desktop, and I have since then copied stuff to the current /etc when something is not working as expected.

I would probably have avoided this issue by running restore while installing the OS. When everything was done, it was too late to start from scratch.

My computer is now faster than earlier, so probably the disk has been somewhat broken for some time.

This is now third or fourth disk trouble that we’ve experienced in the company during this autumn. Either we have had really bad luck, or Apple’s quality is deteriorating. I suspect the latter, as some of my friends have experienced similar issues with their laptops.

Further, HFS+ sucks as a file system. It cannot recover itself from a bad block, and the tools to fix disk issues are really bad. They cannot do much and then they don’t tell you anything informative. Time Machine is extremely bad in the latter sense. There’s never any reasons why the backup failed. Is it so hard to make a couple of informative error messages.

It’s sad that ZFS project went bust, as Apple needs to have a better filesystem. And they should also invest a bit more money to have better quality hard drives. These issues — along other hardware issues that we’ve experienced in the past — should not occur with hardware priced like Apple’s.