GPS & Cycling 
Friday, 10 .June, 2005, 19:29 - English Entries, Travel, Technology

I bought the Nokia LD-1W GPS receiver a while ago, in order to keep track of my cycle trips. The device itself is pretty easy, it receives GPS data and cannot store them itself. So one needs to connect a mobile phone via Bluetooth to it and on that phone needs to be an application running that is able to receive the GPS data.


Trip done today by bike through Helsinki
Recorded with PowerNavigation 2
Visualization by gpsvisualizer.com

I am not really interested in a navigation system, i.e. in a software that shows me how i get from A to B. Although that would be nice to have, it is too complex and is also very expensive. All I want is to see where I went and how fast I was.

The whole business of keeping track and putting the routes finally on maps is everything else but trivial and I am already several days hanging over the devices and different PC applications to get something out of it.

There are several applications for the phone type I have, that can connect to a GPS receiver. Of all of them I first thought AFTrack as useful, as it can store the track (i.e. the route that is drive/cycled/walked) in the IGC format, which is a standardized format. Yes, AFTrack can do that, but most of the time it suddenly stoped when I moved. So it looks perfectly working for a while and then - sssssddd - disappears. Thank you, that is not useful.

Some days ago I found now PowerNavigation 2 - this tool is keeping track reliably. So this is now running on my Series60 mobile.

Next step is to get the route on maps. There is no easy way for that. Some programs allow scanning of maps and calibrating them to the latitudes / longitudes that are drawn on it. The OziExplorer is such a program, it really works fine, but the scanning of maps is a nightmare. I tried it and it all works fine as long as I have only one piece of a map. But usually I want a whole map scanned and as my scanner is not big enough I need to break down the map into pieces (tiles). I tried to combine these scanned tiles to a big map on the PC - I used several graphics programs and also specialized programs for this purpose. It simply does not work, most likely I am too stupid.

But there is a nice online tool, the GPS visualizer. It has basic maps, which seem to be made from satellite photographs. These maps do not contain any city names or whatsoever legend, but still they give a basic backround for the covered distance.


Trip (by car) from Quebec to Montreal

This all seems to be a science on its own. If somebody here knows more about such tools or how to use them more efficiently, I would be happy to read about it.


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Eagles and Angels 
Monday, 06 .June, 2005, 19:27 - English Entries, Literature

During the flights to and from Canada and the stay in Quebec I read the German version of Eagles and Angels (German edition: Adler und Engel) of Juli Zeh

It is hard to judge this book. Juli Zeh is a German writer and she for sure has the most poetic language that I have read in any modern German book. The book is never anything like boring - it is a crime and a brutal love story (nothing romantic for sure), it is the European version of a drug delirium report and the disillusioned selfexamination of a man willing to die but not knowing how to do. Yes, it is not exactly a funny story - you better read Harry Potter if you dislike the thought that people on the edge do really exist in your country.

Zehs language, as already said, is pure gold. She puts sentences, paragraphs, chapters one after the other and every metaphor hits right into the back of the brain, makes it impossible not to listen further to the words. One could say this is brilliant, that is for sure right, but most of all this is new and daring. This is a tongue never tried for such purposes.

The characters are all described with the care that they need, because they are all maniacs, drug addicts, self-centred and mentally ill. The perfect community for a good read. Frustration about life and society drops from every page, mixes with Zehs sarcastic humor and the few true feelings that are left for overfed and bored-to-death consumers.

I do not know how Juli Zeh (22 years old) found out about the lightless depths of a middle-aged mans mind. Her descriptions of the main characters thoughts are in many places well-known to me. It makes me afraid to see that a mans mind seems to be so obvious to a 22 year old woman.

But this is where the fascination is in this book: in the words and the personalities. The story is good, but the more it comes to an end it seems constructed. The whole case has one or two coincidences too many, the bigger background picture just seems too unrealistic. The story leapes over the beautiful frame of the book and leaves a strange taste.

Nevertheless a book for sure worth reading. If it would not be summer, it would get 10 out of 10 points, as it is so beautifully depressed. But the temperatures are over zero, so I am only able to give 8 out of 10.

And for those of you who know and love Vienna I especially recommend this book. The bigger part of it is settled in the Austrian capital. There are sentences that describe the city better than anything read or heard up till now. One example may be allowed "The city lay flat like a person awaiting death from fever, without movement, dryed out, halluzinating under the surface" (see German edition, page 97, last paragraph).



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The Meeting Room 
Wednesday, 01 .June, 2005, 19:26 - English Entries, Thoughts


For meetings that go on over several days, only one meeting room exists in time and space. That room has seeral rows of tables and chairs, a white projection screen and no windows. Sometimes there are microfones on the tables, sometimes they are located on the walkway between the tables. Sometimes there is a carafe of water on every table, sometimes you can get water in the back of the room. These things change from meeting to meeting, but that is only done to make the participants think, they would sit in a different meeting room than last time. But that is not true. It is always the same.

Usually outside the meeting room the sun is shining. That's why there are no windows. An urban legend reports, that there once was a meeting room with a window front, but the curtains were closed all the time in order to make the projected picture of a laptop screen visible for the participants.


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Notes from Quebeck City 
Tuesday, 31 .May, 2005, 19:07 - English Entries, Travel, Photographs

Greetings from Quebec City, Canada, where I arrived yesterday evening and will stay until Friday evening.

The flight yesterday was very relaxing - no hurries, no troubles, just go to Vantaa airport, check in, fly to Munich, change the gate, fly to Montreal. I took a car and went from Montreal to Quebeck city in something around three hours. The street was straight, the music good, the night fell gently and what was visible from the land gave the eye enough room to let loose any wrong thought into the far distance.


Note: This is still (somehow) Canada...


...but certainly not a typcial Northern American City

Today I have one of these inbetween days. The meeting starts tomorrow, the working day ended in Europe when I opend my eyes. Looking down from the 20th floor, where my room is located, on the world showed me that everything here is golden in the sunlight. There seemed to be also enough wind to move the flags in an adequate way for taking pictures of them.


The Parliament

After a long breakfast I took a walk into the old city and sat down at the promenade that follows the river Saint Laurent. An couple was singing jazz songs, the guy played the saxophone, people were walking. I started wondering whether my mind got severly damaged at some point, as the last weeks had so many nice days, but then decided that such illusions arise from the beginning of the summer time. Knowing that everything was fine with my mind helped me to walk the promenade further down.


The Promenade and View from it

There are certain questions that come to my mind. One is, why do people work. I know there are some smart answers to this question - they better exist - but I just forgot them while strolling around through the park here. Our ancestors worked for tens of thousands of years. On days like these it seems time for a big break - just some two hundred years of leaning back and forgetting about the skin cancer that one can get from sun rays and all the other things that extend our lives until we all feel miserable and fall off the tree. Let's just rot in the sun.


Local Artists

Time did not move forward. The sund stood for several hours at its highest point and only the pages of the book, that I currently read, turned over the minutes.

People are talking French here in a way as the Americans talk English. I do not speak French at all, but the language sounds different here than in France.

There is more to come - but don't hope for anything reasonable.


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Theresa visits Helsinki - part 2 
Sunday, 29 .May, 2005, 19:06 - English Entries, Helsinki, Finland, Photographs, Family

Yesterday we were able to fulfill the most important task of the whole week. We again walked to Seurasaari and looked out for the crazy squirrels. First they did not show up and a major desaster was already approaching the little island and our day. After a coffee I was finally willing to go to the center of the island. I first refused to do so because ... well, we were there the second time in a week. Anyhow, we went (of course) and found the squirrels (of course) and after a little training Theresa was able to feed one of them (wow!!).


Feeding Squirrels

Also on Seurasaari we saw a men who fed the birds from out of his hand. He just stood there, whistled, held his hand full of nuts out and the birds were coming and picking the nuts. He was really happy and surprised about that, he told me in Finish and although I do not speak the local language it was obvious what he was trying to say.


Feeding Birds


Windmills of my mind

We went by bus (#24) to city center, where I bought a set of cycle maps at Stockmann - the biggest department store in Helsinki. They had exactly what I wanted and the day became better and better. We had sun, a little bit of wind - everything was perfect.

During the next hours we walked around 10 kilometers through Helsinki. From the Esplanad, where we saw and listened to a xylophone player, to Eira and into Kaivopuisto. We tried to eat in the restaurant in the park, but it was looking so expensive that we escaped, further along the shore until we reached Karuselli where we eat sandwiches and I had coffee.


Music in the streets

But the Karuselli could not hold us - on we walked, right through the middle of Ruholahti until we reached the Hietaniemi cementary. Theresas feet began to hurt and we made another break. She was brave and when we came to Hietaniemi beach every pain was forgotten and we made it happily to my home in Töölö.



All around Helsinki


On the Beach

After that we both know all the hidden paths and secret ways through Helsinki - we walked where no bike has ever gone.

The evening again was filled with musik (Avril Lavigne - sk8er boi, Beatley - Help and Penny Lane, Abba - Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!, Mama Mia and Money, Money, Money, Tocotronic - Pure Vernunft darf niemals siegen, Die Welt kann mich nicht mehr verstehn und Es ist einfach Rockmusik) and long talks about cycling tours and other religous phenomenons.

Unfortunately I thought Theresas plane would leave around 16:00 today. It left already at 13:25 and so we were in quite a hurry in the morning. But everything went well and I brought her to the airport in time.

It was a great time - everything was just right and the sun gave her blessings.


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