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My life in Vienna
September 2000The first days of being unemployed were nice, the weather was good and I had my mind set on the two week hiking trip from Hallstatt to Millstatt. The day before I was supposed to leave I got ill, not terribly ill but it felt lousy enough not to go on the hike. It took a week to recover but then on the 11th I finally packed my backpack, strapped on the tent and the tripod and took the train to Hallstatt. 4 hours later the weather and the views on the town were great so after building the tent on the local campsite I took the camera with me and went for a walk, well, it is a nice town but also very touristy. The good thing is that most of the busses head back for the Salzburger hotels at around 5-ish and then it's suddenly pretty quiet.
The day after didn't start well, I started walking but the first hour was terrible. Still had some trouble with my cold and got lots of problems with my heavy backpack, I think that it will be the last time that I take a sleeping bag, spare clothes for two weeks, food the a week, a tent, a tripod and three(!) large cameras with me, next time one of the cameras will have to stay at home :o) well, ok, the walk was going from 700 meters to 1873 meters so it was not supposed to be an easy hike but hey, I felt bad, very bad. After that first hour it started to be fun, the 'pack was still too heavy and my legs still too untrained but at least the scenery was there and it was relaxing to walk. The plan was to go to the second hut (at 2100 meters) but the view at the Wiesberghütte were nice enough for me so at 15:00 I called it a day and only walked to take some pictures on the trail going down to the Schilcher Hütte. The food was nice, the views on te balcony as well and the book I brought was half finished before I went to bed...
The plan for the next day was to first climb up to the Simony Hütte (2206 meters) and then have an easy walk to the Adamek Hütte (2106 meters). The first hour went fine, the way up to the first hut was steep but nice and not too difficult. After half an hour rest I started the walk to the destination hut. Well, I overloked one tiny little remark on the map that said Gorge and the height lines were pretty close together as well so it turned out to be a heavy hike after all. The first part went straight, then going through the gorge to reach the saddle at 2355 meters required some steep climbing on a small ledge. Then after that saddle the trail went down for a hundred meters before it went up again to the next saddle. Some climbing was required and I can tell you, with a heavy backpack it can get scary sometimes. Then the valley on the other side of the saddle was filled with clouds, very nice to walk on a moon landscape formed by hundreds of thousands of years of gletscher activity, covered with holes and little rims without having any idea of where you're heading. The only thing you could see was the next marker which were convienently placed within 10-15 metres from each other, just enough to be seen in this fog. Then it started raining so I was glad to reach the hut after having walked for over 6 hours. Not necessary to mention that the evening ended early, in my nice and warm sleeping bag.
The third day was supposed to be nice as well since I had to go from the Adamek Hütte (2196 meters) to the campsite in the valley at about 1100 meters. The walk started well, going down for about 50 metres into an old getscher valley, no snow or loose rocks, just perfect. The problems started on the other side. Since the walls there were very steep one had to use the hooks and ropes to climb up. Very convenient with a heavy backpack... The walking on a small ledge, with 200 metres of straight-up mountain on the left and 100 metres of straight-down mountain on the right and some plaques placed on the trail to commemorate mountaineers who died on those spots, was not very pleasing. Then after a bent I could see the other former gletscher valley. Suddenly you had to go down in it, 100 meters straight down, with about 50 metres of hooks and rope to hold on to. Going down backwards, without any safety gear can be scary to say the least. The finally at the bottom it was nice to walk on flat grounds again, well it seemed to be flat compared to the trail before, it was going up and down at about 30 degrees or so. After a bit of rest I had to go up to the saddle. First with the 30 degrees climbing, the via some small snowfields to the larger snowfield where it went up with 60-70 degrees. Well, I didn't notice really since I was trying not to loose my balance. Whereever there was no snow the ground was full of small gravel, very slippery stuff.
Having finally reached the saddle at nearly 2400 meters you had a great view over the Bachl alm, the destination and about 900 meters lower and the worst part of it: it went straight down at 60-70 degrees from 2400 to 1700 meters with loose gravel and snowfields. That was scary. Sometime you had to use the hooks and rope again which provided at least some support but other parts were nearly as steep and since I had seen a good friend slipping on a snowfield and ending up 50 meters lower 3 years ago I didn't want to do the same, in my case it would have meant hundreds of meters lower since there was no place where you would stop before reaching the valley. So it took me a while and a lot of sweat to come down in a safe way. Then being in the valley I finally slipped, because of the mud and tree roots but at least I stopped moving straight away :o) It was very easy to reach the campsite after that. A smooth, not too steep tarred road.
The plan for the next days was to take a bus to another town to go hiking there, no way I could walk to the meeting point at the Millstätter See to meet my friend on Monday. Well, the weather forecast for the weekend was very bad so I decided to go back to Vienna to spend the weekend conveniently at home instead of being bored to death in my small one-man tent for the weekend. It turned out to be a good decision as it has been raining heavily for the entire weekend...
On Mondag I went with Angelika a friend from Wien to Kärnten, to the Millstättersee to be precise. Apart from one night where it was really bad weather, lightning, rain, storm and all that, the weather was fine although a bit chilly at night. We were camping in the tent I took with me during the cycling trip but since we had very nice German neighbours we could use their table and chairs during breakfast and dinner so it was more or less an unknown luxury for me, for Angelika it was still rough since it was her first time camping but she completed the week without too many complaints.
The first day was spent walking around the Millstätter See. It was a bit longer than expected, about 30 km and the South shore didn't provide any nice views so we gave up walking about 10 km before the end and took the ferry to Millstatt, from where it was another 4 km hike back to the campsite. Millstatt itself looks nice, it's really touristy and I wouldn't want to be there during the high season but now it was nice, the town itself looks really nice from the seaside, a bit like hallstatt, but also a little more modern. Since the campsite is located on the eastern side of the lake we woke up with a nice view on Millstatt.
After that walk we did things a bit more relaxing, taking the car to the Nockalmstrasse and Gmünd, the Goldeck mountains and Weissensee, Bad Kleinkirchheim and the mountains around, Villach, the Ossiacher See and Burg Landskron and since I found a postcard with a nice picture of Burg Hochosterwitz I just had to go to this Burg der Burgen and it was very very nice. Also very touristy but it was great to see it. More interesting outside than from the inside though...
So yeah, I'm back in Wien, cleaning the two weeks of dirt from all the gear and cleaning two weeks of dust in my flat, Vienna is so dusty. In the mean time my internet connection has been taken down, one of the good things with DIS was that I had a home office with an internet connection via a leased line but of course that has been taken down. I also don't have access to a scanner anymore so that means that I will need to buy one to scan in my pictures, a total of 6 rolls of film, one from the 3 day hike and another five from the week in Käernten, it's crazy but there were so many nice views, I need to go back into the rest of Austria. Vienna is beautiful but the rest of Austria is equally as nice. Maybe I should go traveling again, a few weeks from home, how could I tell Katrin, who will come back on the 28th after having been gone for nearly 3 months :o)
October 2000Wow, when I look back on the past three weeks I can proudly say that I haven't done anything. Well, not entirely true since my book shelve of 'books to read' is nearly empty and the shelves with 'read books' are pretty much full now but apart from that... It's nice to be lazy, to do nothing, to play around a bit but then again, things are getting a bit boring now. There is only so much laziness that you can handle. So yeah, hopefully I will soon hear more details about the offer a large telecomms company has made me because it's time to go back to work, well, in December I think. First Katrin and myself will go to Amsterdam for a week at the end of October, when things work out the way they are supposed to work out we will also go to the musical Chicago with friends, another musical on my list.
As an answer to the people who have told me that they couldn't reach this homepage anymore. They were right. I've had some problems with my internet provider (some people know who that was) which caused my website to be offline from one minute to the other. Now the pages are hosted by some other providers (it's a full 30 Mbyte by now so it's not easy to find a reliable and cheap provider for that) and since I'm actually paying for it, it's more or less guaranteed to continue working. At the time of writing this the page has not been uploaded yet but uploading so much data takes a while, even via an ISDN line, I mean, the data goes all the way the the other side of the world (USA) :o) So yeah, hopefully no more problems wit the page. Unfortunately I won't get access to any detailed statistics anymore, the stats you get from Apache are pretty detailed and it was fun to see who accessed the site and which pages were retrieved, no more spying on my friends anymore :o(
In the mean time we've been working on Katrin's homepage. Not that she has much to say but she took some great pictures in Tanzania and of course they need to be on line as well so yeah, watch this space. I guess that her pages will become available via www.3106.net/katrin but I'll put an update here to link to her page when it's there.
Ok my friends, might see you in Amsterdam, might see you in Wien or might talk to you on e-mail. Have fun!
The one week in the Netherlands was great. The first day with my parents to see Noord Holland (Alkmaar, Medemblik, Enkhuizen and Hoorn), one day to Utrecht for the musical Chicago and three days in Amsterdam. It was very very relaxing, great to stay at friend's places, no hassle with impersonal hotels and check-out times. The only minor draw-back was the weather. Holland has the worst weather in October/November and March/April but the light was great for pictures, somehow I never had seemed to notice up till now so another two rolls of film will come soon to the page.
Beginning of November it's time to start looking for a job, of course I will keep this page updated on the progress, hopefully my feelings about my necessity for the telecommunications community are right so that I'll be able to start in December with a new job somewhere. Oh one more thing, the 3106.net URL became available again and this includes some new e-mail addresses as well. So some very close friends already have a new address via 3106.net and mine is firstname.lastname@example.org. Well, it's not a full email account just a forwarding service but it works and it's fun to finally have my own email account via my own domain name. For info on your own account (with the reason why you would like to have it, I actually have to pay for the addresses) you can mail me at email@example.com, very cool :o) On to November....
November 2000These weeks seem to be filled with musicals. After having seen Chicago in The Netherlands on sunday, the musical on the saturday after was Josef and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Some weeks ago I watched video version and now the Wiener theater version of the same musical. It's fun, it's fast and it's all about colours, different music styles and dance. It was nice, not a spectacular story but just a lot of fun.
Being back at home I got back to the same rythm as the weeks before the holiday, i.e. reading, sleeping and being lazy. Ah well, got a very interesting phone call on Friday to talk about a job offer, very interesting indeed, no details on the web yet but when the contract has been signed the information can of course be read here.
I've finally done it! For the people who've ever been at my place in Wien and have complained about me not having any real curtains in front of the windows, since today (10/11) they're hanging. Bought them already a year ago and they were just laying around somewhere waiting for me to organise a drilling machine but thanks to Ulli I borrowed one and now the work is done. So those who will come over will be amazed :o) On to the next job: repair my ceiling...
Lots of things have change in my appartment, the wardrobe is complete (no more coats falling down), the bedroom was restyled by Katrin and IKEA, and she does have her own desk, I do have a new desk as well since a new job is coming up and it will involve working from home so yeah, need to have some decent equipment then, will buy my own PC soon as well. So yeah, the week has not been very busy but there were enough things to do in the appartment to keep me busy.
* news * news * news * GOT A JOB * news * news * news *
A former colleague contacted me to see if I was interested in working with him again. We used to work on the same product during my first 3 years in BT (1993-1996) and he had a job for someone with my experience. End of November things are agreed, the contract is being written and the job will start per the 1st of December. Some really nice advantages. For starters the job itself is interesting and international. I will work in an small international team again, not like in DIS where the majority of the work was done for Austrian customers, of course, when you're a sales engineer you will work for customers in the country you're in and it's not bad but working in an international team is really nice. This time I won't see any customers directly and actually, I won't see anyone at all, the work will be done from home. A real homeoffice job... Think that I might occasionally miss having colleagues around but it will also be much easier to concentrate on the projects I will be doing. Very interesting.
Consequently I had to buy a homeoffice as I was still working on the DIS laptop I had left from my previous homeoffice, time to give it back now. Of course working from home for at least 8 hours a day means that the PC had to be a good one so yeah, got a very nice one now with a large harddisk, a large monitor and lots of memory. Amazing how they get better all the time. When I arrived in Wien two years ago I got a state-of-the-art PC:
Now, only two years later for less money I got a very nice, standard PC:
No more problems with a harddisk full with scans. On second thought, that was what I already thought two years ago about a 2 Gb harddisk, so much space would last forever. There was a young couple in the shop discussing which PC to buy. The woman wanted to have a computer which would last for at least 8 years. So she wanted to wait for the recently announced Pentium 4. Then I started dreaming back to what I had 8 years ago, 1992. A very nice big, built like a tank 80286 (called an IBM AT compatible) with 2x 20 Mb full size (like a standard CD ROM drive now) harddisks, 5.25" and 3.5" drives, 12" Black and White screen (Hercules graphics) and a clockspeed of a full 12 Mhz! That was already pretty fast compared to the one I had before, an XT compatible (8088) with only 10 Mhz clockspeed, a major improvement.
So yeah, I didn't really want to tell her that her idea might be nice for a house or so but not for a PC. Of course we have everything we want to do with a computer now: multimedia, internet, multitasking so no need to upgrade anymore. Well, what we all thought 8 years ago: we can write documents and do large calculations and we can play games. What more do you want. History's repeating itself over and over again.
So yeah, then I had to make a copy of the files from the laptop to the new PC. Having no ethernet cards and -hub it meant that I had to go back to the old days again: communications can be done with disks or with the serial port. Copying over 400 photo scans of 1.5 Mb each plus lots of other documents with disks didn't sound like a fun way to pass the time so I hooked them up via the COM port. That turned out to be only slightly faster. Were people dreaming of transfer rates of 100 Kbps 8 years ago, now we are used to having the speed of 10 Mb ethernet. So yeah, even though the transfer succeeded it still took some time, using Hyperterminal with Zmodem or Ymodem-G does work but since 100 Kbps means an effective speed of 512 KB per minute = 30 Mb per hour. Having to copy 800 Mb meant over 24 hours worth of transfer. Ah well, the PCs were busy, I was not :o)
Ok, back to you in December, in my new job for Concert.
December 2000The final month of this year and lots of changes in my life. As you just have read in November, I'm back at work again, working from home for Concert. Well, as usual, things start slowly when you start in a new job and it's not been different for me. Access needs to be arranged, projects to be started and what not. In the mean time I've been looking for some specific info on the projects but couldn't find the complete info. So I though about a way to get it and decided to create it myself by combining different sources. The only problem was that everything was in a different format and since Microsoft's scripting language in Excel and Word is still a mystery to me I decided to pick up C-programming again. Since things have slipped away over the past years I had to get myself a book to pick the programming up again but after a day I was in bussiness again and the tools were completed within a day and they worked perfectly. Very nice to be back in the old habbit of programming my own tools.
The tools were written in standard ANSI-C so that they would work on both Unix and my Windows PC (running in a DOS box). Inprise offers their Borland command line compiler for free so it was not hard was to decide which compiler to use, always worked with Borland products before...
When I told a friend about the programming stuff he sent me this joke (warning: only fun for insiders)
while (!asleep()) sheep++;For the rest things are a bit slow, Vienna is cold, wet and hazy so to be outside is not really a lot of fun, no more traveling, no more sightseeing, just back at work :o)
thoughtsAnother year is gone, a year with quite a few changes in my life. Having been together with Katrin, my girlfriend, for a full year, a change of jobs, some new friends, a better relationship with new friends, some very nice and active holidays again and of course the theater. Another year where it turns out that the most important part in someone's life is the friends you have and what you get from them and what they get from you. During your life you continue to make new friends you loose contact with others but they all have an lasting influence on your life.
All in all it's been a very interesting year, thanks to all that have contributed to this part of my life and we will hopefully see each other again in the new year.
Have a great 2001!