Category Archives: Holidays

MeKa 2009

In January 1994 a group of Amiga fans in Karlsruhe organized the first Meeting Karlsruhe, or in short MeKa. The meeting was a get-together for Amiga users and software developers. During MeKa programs were written in collaboration, freely distributable software was exchanged and a computer network got set up.

Setting up a network was quite a challenge back then. We had to fight with software problems (lack of congestion control in Amiga Envoy, unfinished IP routing support in the Linux kernel), hardware problems (Commodore ARCnet cards with the wrong network chip), cabling problems (too many long Thin Ethernet cables, sometimes mixed with a rogue RG59 cable) and power outages (too many desktop computers and CRT monitors). But when it was finally working we could enjoy a permanent, fast Internet connection which was quite a luxury at that time.

Fifteen years after the first event another MeKa took place last weekend. A lot has changed since the early days. The attendance has gone down and the average age of the participants up. There are still a few Amiga computers (among a lot of notebooks and the odd and often exotic desktop) but it is no longer about them. It is now a reunion of a bunch of old friends who only manage to stay in touch via e-mail or IRC for most of the year. But for one weekend in January we all come to Karlsruhe and meet again.

Over the years a fair number of NetBSD developers have joined the ranks. Just like in the previous years we managed to organize a BSD dinner on Saturday and Silke and I were happy to meet a few NetBSD developers for the first time.

Over the years there have only been two problems with MeKa:

  1. It is always over too soon.
  2. You never get enough sleep.

But well … that never stopped us from coming back the next year. 🙂

A trip to York

Last weekend Silke and I visited York in the North of England (this may be debatable, but coming from Cambridge it is the North). York is a beautiful city with a lot of medieval buildings including remainders of the fortification around its centre. The city was founded by the Romans almost 2000 years ago.

A bridge in York

On Saturday we visited the York Minster, the impressive church on the northern fringe of the city centre. There was no way to get a complete photo so a partial will have to do.

York Minster

The next morning we toured the National Railway Museum. There are a lot of famous trains on display in the museum including Queen Victoria’s carriage and the Mallard, the allegedly fastest steam locomotive of the world.

Hungry and a bit tired from exploring the museum for hours we had a really nice lunch break in Bettys CafĂ© Tea Rooms. After another walk through the city centre we set out to drive home –  and just in time as it started raining.

Tales of Scottish Hills and No French Chocolate

Silke and I are back in Edinburgh. We had a great time during our last visit and there was just not enough time to visit all the interesting spots.

After wandering through Old Town and visiting Mary King’s Close yesterday we decided to go to Holyrood park and climb up on Arthur’s Seat today. During our last holiday here we both hadn’t been well enough to get to the top. But we were determined to make it this time.

The weather seemed to be on our side and pampered us with a blue sky and sun shine. But we forgot about the wind. The higher we climbed up the stronger the wind got. When we finally reached the peak it felt like being caught in a storm. Silke had a real hard time to take some nice photos because gusts of wind kept shaking the camera. But she managed to get a decent shot of the Salisbury Crags and the castle nevertheless.

Although the view was spectacular we didn’t linger for long because the wind was quite unpleasant. When we were back down we decided that we had earned a treat after this ordeal.

We started for New Town to visit the Plaisir du Chocolat, our favourite cafe in Edinburgh. But when we arrived there about an hour later we were deeply disappointed. The cafe which had been relocated to Thistle Street during the last year was closed … hopefully only for redecoration.

After a break in the Great Grog bar we took a walk through New Town and finally had dinner at The Sizzling Scot which was opened to our delight.