Information Technology,Travel Notes,Software Libre — Tags: , — Антон Марчуков @ 07.02.12 22:22

As you already know I was on FOSDEM 2012 conference in Brussels this weekend. Unfortunately due to unexpected snow fallout resulted in several transportation problems I was not able to visit a lot of technical talks this year. I will have to catch up later on them using recorded videos.

But, there are still some things to report:

  • I participated in the OpenPGP keysigning party. This will allow me to completely obsolete the old key and fully switch to the new stronger one.
  • I also has been assured by CACert enough times to become an assurer myself. I did not passed new assurer challenge yet. I want to use smart cards for X.509 certs like I do it for my new PGP key. I will need to choose and buy a Linux compatible smart card reader for ExpressCard slot. Based on my assurance experience looks like buying a black light lamp is also needed.
  • Of cause I now have more cool t-shirts. This is expected from any open source conference.
  • And finally I got addicted to a morning latte with a croissant. I did not like coffee before, but now I feel a daily need. There is simply nothing else to do daily early in the morning on a cold railway station than drinking coffee with a croissant. Now I just continuing this practice, but without a cold railway station.

Plan to Visit FOSDEM 2012

Debian GNU/Linux,Travel Notes,Software Libre — Tags: , — Антон Марчуков @ 13.01.12 1:21

I plan to visit FOSDEM 2012 this year. Actually I already bought the tickets. So, one can meet me at Brussels on the weekend of Feb 4 – Feb 5. It is even nicer since I will also get my new key signed on FOSDEM 2012 Keysigning Party.

Joy of Cobblestone Cycling

Cycling Mania,Travel Notes — Tags: , — Антон Марчуков @ 20.12.11 0:20

One problem that a rider feels on a road bicycle is racing on the surfaces other than smooth asphalt. It seems that the only solution for this problem is to buy a more appropriate bicycle. But there is another way that is not that traditional and intended only for fanatics.

Rheinradweg really surprised me with diversity of surfaces. Besides trite asphalt and not less trite ground there is a plethora of different surfaces ranging from smooth panels up to round and not so round cobblestones. Feelings from tightly pressured slicks riding on such a surface are similar to a visit to a sadistic dentist equipped by an industrial perforator. The pain is everywhere and the gel is not a helper. You really feel what the guys riding Paris–Roubaix or the Tour of Flanders feel.

But at the road end when you sense that you did not brake and that your bicycle did not brake either the real feeling comes. The feeling of a great pleasure. Only due to this pleasure one need to do a cobblestone ride on a road bicycle. And now lack of smooth asphalt does not sound like a big problem to me. Since I want to return to that hardest cobblestones in order to complete them one more time. On a road bicycle of cause.

Flight Lappeenranta – Weeze by Ryanair with a Bicycle

Cycling Mania,Travel Notes — Tags: , , , , — Антон Марчуков @ 07.08.10 1:44

Can small town with just ten thousands of inhabitants attract millions passengers per year? Yeah, it is possible. Especially when such a town has an airport used by discount airlines. Due to this reason we arrived to German town Weeze.

Irish discount air company Ryanair launched a regular connection between Finnish town Lappeenranta and German town Weeze on March 2010. Lappeenranta is about fifty kilometers away from Russian town Vyborg. This means that it is quite easy to get there from Saint Petersburg. Even on a bicycle if you use a commuter train from Saint Petersburg to Vyborg. I think this alternative can even make a competition to a car when there are queues on the border.

Round trip flight including transportation of a bicycle was just €126 when booked ahead (€45 passenger fare plus €80 bicycle cargo). I have noted no major damages to the bicycle after the transportation. The bicycle has been packed to a standard transportation bag produced by the PIK-99 company. Additionally using rods and strainers I have fixed a rudder the way it does not move freely, also I tied previously removed front wheel to the frame. One needs to be prepared that the bicycle will have to be fully tunned after the transportation. This will most likely include things like tightening wire ropes and steering. In order not to pay for the second baggage item all the camping gear and other items have been put to a rag bag and taken as a cabin baggage. All things that are not allowed to take to the cabin went out in the bicycle bag along with the bicycle.

I need to say that Ryanair has quite a restrictive baggage allowance policy. This is a side effect of discounted airlines. Such restrictions can be loosen by additional payments. But since I did not want additional payments I took the restrictions into account when staffing the things. I counted that everything should fit into a bag with 55сm x 40сm x 20сm dimensions and weighted no more than 10 kilos. Of cause I also counted that something will go along with the bicycle in one bag that has a limit of 30 kilos and higher dimensions. Even if a bicycle would weight 15 kilos, there are 15 more kilos for useful stuff left. However, I tried to lower the amount of things traveling along with the bicycle since I worried to soil or damage them (a bicycle is big, made of iron and has lubricants).

We took trains from Weeze to the Constance – a starting point of our route. Happily a group railway ticket makes such travelling not that expensive at all although with lots and lots of train changes. Such a route direction also makes sense. It is more convenient to ride from the Alps down than the opposite. Those are relief peculiarities.

Weeze has another attracting point besides the airport. A semaphore railway signalling is still in use there.

Rheinradweg Cycle Route Done in its Two Weeks Extent

Cycling Mania,Travel Notes — Tags: , , , , , — Антон Марчуков @ 02.08.10 15:13

Last two weeks from Jun 18 till Jun 29 a group of five cyclists including myself completed a part of European cycle route Rheinradweg along the Rhine river from Konstanz to Köln. The route went along Germany, Switzerland and France. In total we cycled slightly more than 1000 km from Lake Constance to Westphalia region. This equals to around 100 km per day.

Such a route when going by the official cycle way may impress one by variety of different surfaces and steepness of curves. The surface easily changes from smooth asphalt to stones and wet dirt after the rain. Constant curves and artificial barriers right across the cycle way do not allow to keep the rate constant. But, there are also long descents where one can relax and rest. Definitely recommended to go on a race bicycle as part of preparations to the Paris–Roubaix race competition.

Along with restoring my mind I will do a set of additional postings regarding the different aspects of the route.

Synoptic Approach Weather Forecast for Saint Petersburg

Cycling Mania,Travel Notes,Yachting — Антон Марчуков @ 29.06.10 14:58

Are you tired of raw data from different numerical weather prediction models? Short-term weather forecasts for Saint Petersburg made by a synoptic approach are available on the web site of the Russian State Hydrometeorological University (in Russian):

Погода в Санкт-Петербурге. Прогноз погоды в СПБ от РГГМУ (Российский государственный гидрометеорологический университет). Официальный сайт погоды.

Fishing on Saimaa Lake – My First Fish

Travel Notes,Finland — Tags: , — Антон Марчуков @ 16.06.10 23:37

Last weekend I had being learning tricks of fishing on Saimaa lake. This is my first caught fish not counting small bleaks that I caught in my childhood using a float rod. But this zander of 1.10 kg weight was caught by trolling. Of cause those all were not possible without help from my friend Tommi who helped me with choosing a rod and that is far more important – a lure. Thank you, Tommi!

Also on the next day a pike of 1.49 kg has been caught. All the fish have been eaten with pleasure.

Snow Mud on the Seashore

Travel Notes,Yachting — Tags: , , — Антон Марчуков @ 17.05.10 15:10

This heap of snow and mud lays behind the “Neva” marina on the shore of Srednaya Nevka river on Krestovskiy island and slowly melts under the spring sun. Needless to say that this heap is not related to the marina and appeared there as a result of winter city snow disposal actions. Now all this mud along with anti-ice reagents happily go to the river and then further to the Baltic Sea. Hi to our western neighbours.

Having this on the background, blames to any next Saint Petersburg marina that is for some reason not yet closed by city government look quite cynical.

The Ice is Breaking Up On The Gulf of Finland

Travel Notes,Finland,Yachting — Tags: , , — Антон Марчуков @ 17.04.10 0:36

I was in Helsinki last weekend. The ice is breaking up on the Gulf of Finland and last Saturday one was able to find the sea of quite summer-style at open parts of Suomenlinna island.

Winter Voyage on Icebreaking Ferry from Lomonosov to Kronstadt

Travel Notes,Yachting — Tags: , , , , — Антон Марчуков @ 24.01.10 3:45

Kronstadt is a town and a district of Saint Petersburg located on Kotlin island in the Gulf of Finland. Sea transportation was the only way to get to the island for a long time. Nowadays, construction of the Saint Petersburg Flood Prevention Facility Complex allows traveling to Kronstadt by the road on a dam built through the gulf. Construction of north area of the dam connecting the island with the north coast is finished. Construction of the south area is almost complete.

Seven killometers far from Kronstadt, on the south coast of the gulf there is a town called Lomonosov also known as Oranienbaum. In 1966 year, icebreaking ferries “Nikolay Kaplunov” and “Andrey Korobitsyn” had been introduced as a replacement to the winter road Lomonosov-Kronstadt going on the frozen gulf. The ferries were designed to take passengers and cars and they are operating to this day providing the link between two towns all the year round. When the south area of the dam will be finished, the ferries may become a history passing their role to a bus connection.

A week ago on January 20 2010, we took a commuter train to Oranienbaum-1 station in order to experience still functioning icebreaking passenger connection between the towns.

“Andrey Korobitsyn” is one of two ferries on the route between passenger dock of Lomonosov and winter dock of Kronstadt. This time we took another ferry of the same construction – “Nikolay Kaplunov”. The one way ticket costs just 35 rubles. Trip to Kronstadt takes approximately 30 minutes. Ferry timetables are available on the site of Kronstadt town (in Russian).

Паром «Андрей Коробицын»|Ferry "Andrey Korobitsyn"

When boarding it was possible to see a tug turning a tanker “Gazpromneft East” to the exit of Lomonosov harbor. The tanker went out of the harbor followed by the tug before us.

Ломоносовская гавань|Lomonosov Harbor

Now it is our time to follow the tanker, leave the harbor and take the course to the Kotlin island along the fairway #7. In spite of frost we took a place on the deck. There is a heated place for the passengers on the ferry equipped with seats, but there is not much possible to see through a porthole.

Кронштадт прямо по курсу|Kronstadt at twelve o'clock

Kronstadt is quite near. We are crossing the fairway #2 also known as Saint Petersburg Sea Channel. The channel is used for vessel traffic to the sea port of Saint Petersburg located at shallow Neva Bay. Winter traffic is supported by icebreakers. You can see the above noted tanker and tug going to the Saint Petersburg along the channel.

Пересекаем санкт-петербургский морской канал|Crossing Saint Petersburg Sea Channel

And now after short period of time we are entering Srednyaya harbor of Kronstadt through Lesnyye gates where the final point of our voyage Zimnyaya dock is located. Traffic to and from the port of Kronstadt is mostly using Lesnyye gates and controlled by the signs posted on the signal beacon located near the gates.

Входим в Cреднюю гавань Кронштадта|Entering Srednyaya harbor of Kronstadt

This ferry is at the moment the affordable and easy way of having a winter sea voyage in the east part of the Gulf of Finland. The ferry connection most likely will not close till the end of the winter navigation, thus everybody who wants to try still has the time to do it.

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