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posts for 2009. (page 4.)

we started our canada tour by flying up to yellowknife, the capital of canadas northwest territories. it’s a town having around 20.000 inhabitants, but it is probably the most touristic place in the northwest of canada, and there are a lot of (non-expensive) flights going there. and, one reason why we went there, it’s quite likely that you can see northern lights. besides that, the area is also very different from southern canada.
on our first day there, it was sunny and we did a hike on the trail around frame lake. this resulted in many beautiful views and photos, some of whose can be seen here:

next, we did a trip to calgary’s zoo.

the zoo contains a dinosaur part, which i didn’t really commented on last time. it features a landscape which is supposed to look like back then, and a few dinosaur models. some of these models look really unrealistic, or more funny. the following photos also feature some of those:

after the ha link peak, we explored calgary’s prince’s island park, where i have been before several times.

maybe you, the reader, noticed that i didn’t really wrote anything here during the last three weeks. well, the reason was that i had a visitor here, namely my girlfriend, and that we did a 10 day tour through western canada. in this and the following posts, i will show some photos from our trip.
the first thing we did was attend our department’s excursion, a hike on top of ha ling peak. here are some impressions from the hike:

in my post on wikipedia, i was complaining that the article about the chilenian doom metal band mar de grises has been deleted because it the band is “irrelevant”. hence, i thought it would be a good idea to write a bit about them. when writing the post on wikipedia, i re-started listening to them more intensely, and in fact have been listening to their two albums the tatterdemalion express and draining the waterheart pretty intensively over the last weeks.
their music is a beautiful mixture of dark, gloomy metal, intense doom, beautiful melancholic melodies. progressive elements, sometimes experimental elements, often slow, always dark. it is complex, never boring.
mar de grises is one of the bands you should keep an eye on, as they are rising and they are good.

while talking with a friend about learning programming, i searched for course material for the best programming course i ever had so far, namely dibo‘s “programmierkurs java” (which i praised so often when it comes to this topic). while looking, i found a new website by dibo, called programmierkurs java, which features the lectures (both slides and video recordings!) and exercises. in case you want to learn programming and understand german well enough, take a look there!
ok, so much for advertising. when taking to the friend, another topic was “what is the right programming language to begin with?” in this case, the canidates java and c++ were named. i would definitely go for java, even though i prefer to use c++ myself for most things i program, as java is more allergic to programming errors: if you try to access an array out of the boundaries, it will throw an exception and will not result in unexpected behaviour. moreover, it is widely available (for free!) and easy to set up, there is a huge amount of (good and bad) literature about it, it is not too far off from the real world programming languages which one might use later (in case one wants to learn more than one language, it might also be a good idea to start with something more esoteric, like functional programming). moreover, it can be used both imperatively (which is in particular useful in the beginning) and object oriented (which one shouldn’t touch too early, in my opinion).

posted in: computer thoughts

i got another external hard drive today. the main reason is that i want to encrypt my (current) backup harddisk, which requires reformatting the disk. but if i do so, i’m left with nothing but the original data on the laptop, and no backup. in case something goes terribly wrong, i’m screwed. i just created an encrypted partition on the disk; this is really pretty easy and not much command line typing is required, in particular if everything is set up: then linux will ask me for the password as soon as i plug the usb cable in, and automatically mount it using that password. that’s how it should be. and so far, it works perfect.
currently, rsync is mirroring my home directory onto the disk. as soon as it is done, i will copy some stuff from the other backup disk over (like my server’s backups) which i don’t have on the laptop’s harddisk (which is 180 gb smaller than each of the backup disks), and after that, my old backup disk will be reformatted as well and also filled.
after that, i will deposit one of the backup drives somewhere outside my apartment: in case something goes wrong (like house burns down, someone decides to break in, …), i still have a backup somewhere. and, as it is encrypted, nobody but me can read it. (even if someone breaks in here, and steals both laptop and backup, they can’t access the data without my password. and yes, i am aware of xkcd.)

after watching shakespeare’s a midsummer night’s dream, we walked around on prince’s island park, near to the shore of the bow river. the shore area is really nice, it is green while being mostly deserted from mankind. lots of green corners, where one can hide, even though the surrounding freeways are still audible.
here are some impressions: