• Catch 22 in an email only world

    After playing through Half-Life 2, I had a look at the Steam forums to check out the pending bugfixes, screenshots, and wallpapers. Some of the posts warranted a reply, so I went to the registration page and submitted the necessary data.

  • The Internet generation

    Sometime when I was younger, I heard that generations normally shift with 30 years' interval. So either I was just on the "old" side of the last shift, or the generations are changing faster now than my parents' lore would have it.

  • Sex & violence on the 'net

    Context: Slashdot recently featured an article entitled "Internet Porn More Addictive Than Crack, Senate Told". As is usual on Slashdot, the most interesting part of the articles are the comments from the readers, often extending to tens of pages of political, religious, and technical debate. Sure, most people seem to be left-leaning nerds, but everyone gets to say their piece. Back to the article, it touches the highly controversial theme of how "computerized" sex and violence influence people of all ages, and whether and how it should be controlled. I started on a new comment at Slashdot, but realized that it had slid into being quite off-topic, so instead I'll post it here. Comments are welcome, but please note:

  • Patent suicide

    Yeah, I know. Everyone's writing about it, so this isn't going to get too original. But I'd like to write some of this down before the Black Monday of patent hogs happens, and the system finally gets the review and revolution it needs.

  • The road to driving, part 4

    Calling the DRIRE was quite fruitless. Close, but no cigar. So I tried calling the Lyon Police again, but it seems that the person I talked to only two days ago must have been from a parallel universe; suddenly nobody knows anything about sound tests! I talked to at least three persons, and all of them seemed to be unable to get past asking me why I needed the paper. I tried my best to explain, but obviously I was not coming through. At the umptieth "Je ne compris pas" (I don't understand), I asked my French office colleague to please explain my situation. After talking to four different persons, she gets a number which, according to the person somewhere else, might be the right one. I don't have the energy to cross my fingers.

  • Tire shopping in the Geneva / St. Genis area

    For those only interested in the result, please skip to the last table.

  • The road to driving, part 3

    I tried calling the number I got from DRIRE ( twice, but I got no answer. So I tried looking for the "Brigade de police de Lyon" in the Pages Jaunes (Yellow Pages). There were no exact matches, but I looked under the heading "Police" and tried the first number, to the commissariat du 1er arrondissement (5 pl Sathonay 69001 LYON) @ 04 78 28 11 87. I could swear the officer answered something like "Good day, Mr. Engmark"... After I had explained quickly what I was calling about, the officer asked me whether I rather wanted to speak English. Now this went above all my expectations, and the officer seemed to have the whole story on his desk(top) already! I heard that I was supposed to have received the "notice descriptive du type" with the "certificate de conformite partielle". I probably have, and just delivered it to the sub-prefecture. I was also told that the engine of my car had never been registered in France, and that they therefore couldn't perform the necessary tests to produce a "justificatifs concernant le niveau de sonore" (sic). But I was told that my engine was very close to one identified as B202L, and was adviced to try to explain it to the DRIRE technicians in order to get a "justificatifs concernant le niveau de sonore" for this engine instead. So I called...

  • The road to driving, part 2

    After telling SAAB to please reply in plain text, I get an answer which is just barely accepted by the spam filter. I have to wait for the "Homologation Department"...

  • Thwarted attempt at "unauthorized" CERN access

    I tried getting to work by car via the new French "E" / "Charles de Gaulle" entrance this morning. As instructed (Update: sorry, the link is dead), I kept my access card and "Attestation de fonctions" ready. Before the gate, a person was walking past the cars to do some kind of check(s) before allowing people access. Approaching my car, I put up the documents and rolled down the window. But he didn't even look at them. He just explained that since I had a temporary car sticker, I couldn't pass. So I turned around and used the other entrance, which makes the road to work about thrice as long. On the way, I stopped at building 55 (Update: sorry, the link is dead) and got the new azur access card, no fuzz included.

  • The road to driving, part 1

    [this post and the following parts are a reprint of the "Getting an Italian car registered in France" (aka "The glory of paperwork, part 78") post. Stoopid me didn't realize the way blogs work... Note that the date of the first entry is uncertain.]