Tuesday, January 13, 2009


A few small updates.

First the Germany trip (December first week).

The morning after Obama won the elections I was in Chicago, to get a German visa. It was quick and painless and got over in the morning. My return train was not until later in the afternoon. So I walked around looking for a cafe, and trying to pick up a newspaper on the way. Well, it wasn't easy. But finally I did manage to get one before heading back, at a crowded corner (and certainly looked odd in that crowd, buying less than four copies).

My first conversation in Germany (not counting the one at the railway ticket counter) was at the hotel check-in: "You are from... (looking at the computer monitor), ah, USA. So, how do you like Obama?" and later in the elevator (with another hotel staff member, on being told that I'm coming from the US, but I'm from India): "Oh, that means you can't become the president of USA."

My photo-activity (no, I don't quite mean that) seemed to be in for a revival, with the crowded Christmas markets at Frankfurt and Mainz. Until, I tried downloading all the photos on to my laptop using the USB cable and drained the battery. (Buying a charger didn't seem an exciting option.) So for the rest of my days in Germany I didn't have to continually worry that I'm under-utilizing photo opportunities.

After Christmas I was at UCLA for over a week. Nice and warm. I suppose I shouldn't be complaining that those were not the coldest days in Champaign. As always I did lug my camera along, and didn't use it much at all. Until my brother (who decided to come along, to escape a cold and lonely winter) and I visited the Getty Villa. Here's a random selection.

A few more photos are here.

And finally, today's news is that the little server in my office has been hacked into. It was a spam injection into the RSS feed of my somewhat dormant wordpress blog. Possibly sometime around Christmas (modification date on some files was Dec 28). Thanks to the folks at REN-ISAC for catching it. Not sure what all damage has been caused, but I did spend some time updating wordpress and removing an apparently new root user from my MySQL server. (I know, sounds bad!) In any case, for now, I'm not offering deals from an "online Canadian pharmacy."