One of the things I saw when I was in
Switzerland was the fireworks display. This was intended to last 50
minutes, in three parts, each from a different pyrotechnic company. It's launched from launching platforms on barges on the
lake and from the piers.
Unfortunately they had to have a delay between the first and second
parts because... one of the launching barges had a minor fire.
Five minutes later, no problem, fire was put out, part two ran and
was beautiful. Then between parts two and three... twenty minute
break! Multiple fires had started on the launching barges! Some quite
major ones! Several fireworks exploded of their own accord! Oops.
The people putting out the fires seemed remarkably relaxed about
this, too. As far as we could tell (from where we were sitting, on the roof of one of the
building lining the lake) there was just one little boat running
between the barges, and it was just meandering gently about.
Apparently they couldn't just use water hoses, since that would have
ruined the fireworks for the third part, and were just using small
buckets of water and sand which they threw on the flames.
It's the first time I've seen fires during these fireworks, although apparently they had the same problem last year. From what I've read, it's caused by some of the fireworks overheating and making other things catch fire. I guess with pyrotechnic displays this is a risk you run, but you'd think they'd know how to avoid it by now.
As always, the display ended with the Jet d'Eau being
switched back on during the finale, this year lit a deep red.
Beautiful stuff. However, overall, I don't think I was as impressed
with the finale this year as I was when I attended
Nadia (includes photos). It was beautiful, don't get me wrong, it
just wasn't overwhelming like it was back in 2002.
I'm already planning to go see the fireworks display next year. Only 51 weeks to go!
I spent two weeks in Switzerland (staying with friends and family),
and it was great. I strangely didn't miss the Internet at all. Now I
have to catch up on what I missed while I was away. My e-mail. The
news. Four hours of Stargate and two hours of Top Gear. Fifteen days
of Web comics. Work.
My e-mail alone is going to take weeks to catch up with. I had 3956
new e-mails when I checked my inbox after 358 hours off-line (not
counting any of my Opera work e-mail). 61% of that is bugmail (from
the bug systems of Mozilla, Webkit, W3C, Apache, and other projects),
from which we can determine that on average I get one bugmail every
8.8 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I won't be reading most of that bugmail. If you asked me to comment
on a bug in the last two weeks, please ask me again on IRC, or ask me
again in the bug in about 10 days (by which time I might be caught up
and reading bugmail again).
I just worked out that at the current rate of replying to mail,
it'll take me 11 months to deal with all my new messages, by which
time I'll have received another 82,000. Joy.
My mum recently got a semi-professional digital camera, so I played with
it for a while when I was visiting my parents in the mountains.
My first picture was a low-aperature-value close-up of a screw:
The hardware-store kind:
To give you an idea of how large the original picture was, here is
just the screw, at the original resolution, taken from the same original JPEG image:
Eight million pixels!
I later played around with capturing the local wildlife:
I might put some of my other photos up at some point.
In general I don't like cameras; I find people use them to "keep a
memory of" events to the point of not actually experiencing the event
they are trying to keep a memory of in the first place. I'd rather
just experience the event, and if one day I want to remember what it
is like... do it again.
However, doing photography for the purpose of doing photography,
i.e. as an art form rather than an exercise in archiving memories,
seems to be quite fun. Although quite time-consuming, as far as
hobbies go. Nor particularly cheap ($1200 for a macro lens?!).
A couple of days ago I was about to go to bed when I smelt the acrid smell of a melting electromagnet. After some sniffing around I determined the source to be my Thinkpad's power supply.
This is the second time that a laptop power supply has burnt out on me. When I went to the system admininistration team at the office for a replacement part, they told me to not work so hard...
What worries me is that when I noticed that my power supply was melting inside, my reaction wasn't "Quick! Turn off the power and shut down the laptop!", it was "Hm, I wonder if it would last the night. Maybe it might catch fire, I'd better put it in something fire-proof so that it doesn't light my clothes or the floor on fire. If it does catch fire the smoke alarm will go off anyway so I'll have time to douse it, no problem." and it was only after about 30 minutes that I realised that if it did burn up it would take the wire with it and thus light my bed on fire. Only then did I actually reluctantly turn off the laptop and unplug the power supply.
I think I may be a little too addicted to this Internet thing.
What we've done so far, in no particular order: played Twilight
Imperium III, played Robo Rally, played Ricochet Robots, played with
my trains, saw the naked statue park, visited Aker Brygge, went to a
hardware store, ate at Gio's and Taj Mahal, watched Monarch of the
Glen, played Super Smash Brothers Melee, updated the firmware on my
router (though that didn't reduce the random dropouts), went to a
decent superstore (two bus rides away from my flat), and various other
The link is strong, it's disturbing. However it wasn't strong
enough to overcome communication problems at the start of the week and
so Xiven and I failed to meet at the airport.
Next week I'll be visiting family and friends in Geneva and other
parts of Switzerland. Offline. For 15 days. Finally.