London – Wednesday July 10th

On Wednesday, Zuleikha’s plan was to see the British Museum, so this was where we went. After walking around the complete first floor, Zuleikha and Mitchie also wanted to see a Manga exhibition, so I decided to wait outside in front of the building.

There, I met a young lady from Korea who finished her studies as a BBA (like Mitchie), and who now worked as a tour guide in the museum. I took her portrait which I also sent to her already this morning:

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Joeun Lee in front of the British Museum, London 2019

There were more opportunities, but I mostly helped other people with their (phone) cameras, to get group shots of the whole family (or groups of friends) – so this one from Joeun Lee is the only one I’ve made with *my* camera.

Mitchie then wanted to collect some things a friend of hers brought for her from Malaysia. That friend was gone again already, but she left the stuff at her office at Petronas in London, which is close to the Thameslink station, so this is where we went. While waiting in the lobby, I took another photo of Zuleikha in some fancy visitors’ chairs:

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Zuleikha at the Petronas Lobby, London 2019

I also followed the rule “ask the locals” when Mitchie and Zuleikha said they were hungry, so the colleague of Mitchie’s friend sent us to a nice restaurant nearby which was called the “Hare & Tortoise“, and which is kind of a Japanese/Asian fusion food chain (we were at #2 of several on the map). Very fancy, and the food is very nice, just like promised.

After that, Camden:

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Camden Cat (and piano) Rescue in Camden, London 2019

But by the time we arrived at Camden Market we were all to exhausted to “go shopping for vintage clothes” as Shi sang so nicely, and Zuleikha also didn’t want to see the nearby zoo anymore, so after searching for the next overground station we all went back to the hotel. Enough for a day.

London – Tuesday July 9th

So we had more or less lost the Monday, 8th of July waiting at Brussels “South” station, and arrived late in London. But the room was nice, and after waking up on Tuesday, I took a picture (Zuleikha took more than double as many, haven’t seen them all yet). So looking out of our hotel room (4th of 4 floors), slightly to the left, it looked like this:

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Construction Sites at Canning Town, London 2019

A cable car, which reminded me of Cologne. Plus, further left (not in the picture) is the city airport, so from time to time we could see planes leaving. To the right, also not to see from our room but nearby was Canning Town station – and we had tickets for the whole week. So we went to Canning Town station by double decker bus – a first one for Zuleikha & Mitchie.

Mitchie’s first action: renew her passport at the Malaysian High Commission, so we went there and had to return at 1500 to pick it up. The time in between? Mitchie and Zuleikha went through Hyde Park, and I waited, couldn’t walk that far.

After the passport was received, we went to the National Gallery, one of the museums Zuleikha wanted to see:

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At the National Gallery, London 2019

There was an area for the younger ones, and at one place there was kind of an invitation which was hard not to accept, called #takeonepicture:

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Portrait of Zuleikha at #takeonepicture in the National Gallery, London 2019

Flickr has a cool selection tagged #takeonepicture, which is also nice to see. For us, I took another one in the room nearby:

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Venetian mask at the National Gallery, London 2019

As I wrote already, Zuleikha (and also Mitchie) took more photos and videos, but I haven’t seen everything yet, so these are only a few of mine.

We had some pasta during the day, and sandwiches in the evening, and called it a day.

Adventures, adventures…

Some time around late winter or early spring this year, Zuleikha asked me something about seasickness. To which my reply was, more or less, that this is something hard to explain, and it must rather be felt by oneself to be fully understood. I wasn’t really seasick ever, but I remembered going to England by ferry, and seeing other people struggle with it. And so the idea was born to go again. To England. By ferry.

We had planned everything nicely, using a newly found site called Rome2rio, and had booked both a hotel in London and a ferry for us and our car to spend a week in another capital (like last year already when we drove to Paris, France). And so a week ago in the night from Sunday to Monday we left, headed for England.

We passed Cologne after about two hours like planned, and were on our way to Aachen and the border to Belgium, when another light in the car’s tachometer lit – this time not the engine, but the battery. Hm. It was kind of blinking, I drove a bit faster, and it went off again. So we crossed the border, and I thought that the car should be checked again after arriving in London.

Then, on our way to Brussels, the ABS light went on. Strange. I tried the brakes, and they felt ok. The battery light came back blinking, and I thought of some kind of electrical problem. But the car itself showed no symptom, and tho worried, I continued.

Then the lights in the tachometer went out. The front lights were still on, and so I checked switching the lights off and on again. Now one after the other, all electrical signs in the car lit, while the lights in the tacho weren’t on at all…

… I stopped to check the front lights from outside, and they were on. But the power steering definitely had left us, as the car was really hard to steer by now. So the state of “being worried” went to something worse, hoping that we’d make it to the ferry (at 10am), and that the car, once off, would even start again. If it really was the battery, so my assumption, then it could be a problem with the generator loading it, and so I was worried that once I’d turn it off, that would be it with our journey…

… and so it came. The lorries we overtook started blinking, then other cars started blinking before overtaking us – and both Mitchie and me decided that this wasn’t good – if we didn’t have lights anymore, it would be too dangerous to continue – so we went off the motorway even before reaching Brussels. And: off was the car. By itself. And couldn’t be started anymore.

There we were, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere (short before Leuven, Belgium, as it turned out). So our journey went from this planned route:

to this one instead:

We called a road service, and after a while the guy came and confirmed my assumption: generator had not enough power output to load the battery. He towed us to the next Toyota garage near Leuven, where we had to wait until they opened. Planned opening time was 8 o’clock, so that was it with our ferry.

Options? #1 was to wait and see what the damage was, how long it would take to get the car repaired, forget about the ferry (non-refundable), and then think again.

And that was what we did. The car mechanic came short before eight, opened the shop, drove out some cars to sell them, and then looked at ours. Same diagnosis, so he started doing phone calls. A generator )not original) would probably be available the same day, an original one the next day. We opted for the original one, which meant that the car had to stay. The man offered that his colleague could bring us to Leuven station, which we gladly accepted, telling him that we’d need the car back next Saturday.

Again, options? #1 was to stay and wait for the car to be repaired (and to lose nights in London for which we’d paid already as well). #2 was to take a train to London instead, and #3 to take a train to Dunkirk, to hop onto the ferry as passengers without a car, and to find another train from Dover to London afterwards. I would have preferred this option, but our paid ferry was gone, and it was unclear if we could simply take another one, so it came back to #2, a train through the tunnel.

#2a: same day (expensive), or #2b: next day (expensive as well, but slightly cheaper). Since we’d paid for a hotel in London already and I didn’t fancy finding and paying again for another one in Leuven, I decided to take option #2a. The lady at Leuven station printed the tickets, and so we went Leuven-Brussels with a normal train and then Brussels-London with the Eurostar. We had informed the hotel in London that we’d be late, and so they expected us for around midnight. Which is almost the time it took us – the train we got from Brussels was a late one.

So we *did* arrive, tho slightly different from what was planned. And then, London – but that’s another (photo-) story…

As always, thanks for reading.

Debian Live Buster

So the Debian developers upgraded each and every image from ‘testing’ to ‘stable’ by now, or from ‘Stretch’ to ‘Buster’ to stay with their names. I tried the method of writing such a Debian Live image to my USB stick like mentioned in https://www.debian.org/CD/faq/#write-usb – and it worked. Booted it and selected localization support, and boom – I have German:

In fact I am writing this from Debian Live right now, and so the first thing I learned is that the keyboard is still English. Or American. But a quick and simple reconfiguration – without logoff or anything – changed that:

It even has a very cool picture of the keyboard:

So you could work like this if it has to be (like on a machine borrowed from someone else). Very good job, in fact this is excellence again. Learning new things each minute I’m spending with this. And of course you can still access your local drive(s) if you have any, or install Debian from within this Live image – very cool.

Ok, more about this later…

Welcome Buster

First I didn’t want to do it right away, but then I decided to just upgrade my machine to Debian 10 aka “Buster” (named after a character in Toy Story as always) today. So welcome Buster:

Buster artwork

For those of you who maybe have never done anything like this, you should probably read the chapter about upgrading in its handbook. For me, expecting nothing but excellence from my favourite free software team, I just updated my /etc/apt/sources.list, followed by a ‘sudo apt update’ and ‘sudo apt upgrade’ – and that was it.

Now I have to check what has changed. Of course Gnome and about every other software package is different from before, and of course Wayland looks and feels a bit different from X.Org – but time will tell.

So a big thank you goes to the Debian developers!

Had a fun car for a few days

Last week Thursday evening after the school party our car broke down – the first time after 17 years and 182.000+ km. Turned out that the ignition coils needed to be replaced with new ones, plus a few other things. And as always, our car dealer gave us a replacement while they had ours in their garage, and this time it was a nice blue “Yaris Hybrid Y20 Club”, which looks like this:

Toyota Yaris Hybrid Y20 Club

What a fun car! And more than enough to go to work each and every day, really. Could get used to that one. But I’m still happy that we have ours back by now, and that it’s running like a new one. Best car we ever had.

The hard drive in the computer is ready as well, and I took the 2TB drive out as planned, with no issues at all. Except the Windows 10 feature update 1903 which killed grub, the boot loader of my Debian partition. The thing is that this should have never happened at all – I have an UEFI system, and operating systems aren’t supposed to overwrite each others boot sectors anymore. Seems that someone at Microsoft screwed up big time, and so I had to repair my Linux. Again.

But by now I’m typing this on my normal system again, onto which I also got the possibly last upgrades before the switch from Debian 9 “Stretch” to Debian 10 “Buster”. But I’ll try Buster from USB stick first. Not that I won’t trust it, but I’m too busy at the moment to just mess around with my computer.

Again, as always, thanks for reading. And good night for now.

/etc/fstab

Over at home I’m slowly running into disk space problems – our machines all have 2TB drives for our /home directories, the NAS has two mirrored ones. And for me doing lots of photography since 2009, and music since about two years, and now videos of others making music, I was slowly approaching limits (I have about 1.6TB occupied).

So I checked prices, and SSDs are still a bit too expensive in these sizes – I have a 256GB SSD for the operating systems (Debian Linux and Windows 10), but as a replacement for my 2TB Seagate Barracuda I ordered a 4TB WD Red hard drive which is in the Top Ten of the most searched drives on Geizhals, and which is affordable (got mine for under 100€ including shipping), and according to the guys over at Heise, also nice and cool and silent enough to be built into a typical desktop PC.

It arrived yesterday, so I already formatted it with GPT (instead of MBR which is legacy and which can’t address more than 2TB), and during the night I copied everything from my Barracuda to the new Red drive (a simple one-liner under Linux, easy and reliable as always).

What still has to be done is to mount this as the new /home so that I can take out the old 2TB drive. And there’s a nice article about how to do this with a simple change of entries in the /etc/fstab file over at Linuxconfig.org, just in case you never thought about this. Easy as everything on Linux, let’s see what Windows will think about this new drive 😉

On another note, this upcoming Saturday is the planned release day for the next version of Debian Linux, which will have the name “Buster”. Release parties are planned all over the world already, but I’ll only have a short look and install it on my USB drive first – upcoming holidays, so further changes to my machine(s) have to wait until we’ll be back from a short vacation.

As always, thanks for reading. And if you want more tips like this one with the change of /etc/fstab, consider bookmarking of LXer.com where I find articles like the one mentioned above all of the time. Oh, and in the sense of a full disclosure: I’m still a member of the team over there…

As always, thanks for reading.

Stolen moments – Rita y Alba

This is sooo good:

2018 Stolen moments JOAN CHAMORRO PRESENTA ALBA ARMENGOU FEATURING RITA PAYÉS

Gracias a todos – and thanks to you for watching / listening 🙂