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Dear /dev/null,

That's what weblogs are these days, it seems. :-( And I've just lost way too much time getting this quality PHP software to run on my new webserver.

All it is for me at this point is a place to post random small projects I've worked on. Something fun (ADS-B-related) will hopefully appear soon...

Do you hear that, Doug? I'm coming to London!

Yes, London. You know: fish, chips, cup 'o tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary fucking Poppins... LONDON. Or as I said it on Twitter last week already, I'll be subtracting 309 from my international dialing code.

My team is moving to London over the next months, and I'm moving with it. It's been five years already since I landed here in Ireland by now, longer than I ever expected when I arrived. Living in the UK instead of in Ireland will be a nice change. It's still off the European continent, but with directs flights to home for both of us we'll feel like we're much closer. And I expect there are more advantages that will offset living in what is also a heavily congested city.

I'll still be doing the same work, just in a different location for various practical reasons. The move will happen somewhere halfway the next quarter, so we're slowly starting preparations. Besides packing and cancelling utilities/services/etc, that also means experiencing Ireland as a tourist. After living here for five years, I've still not seen the Giant's Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher and some other stuff ... so should give that a shot now!

I might be posting here a little bit more over the next while. :-)

edns-client-ip

Finally, the Internet-Draft I was working on with my team over the last months made it to the public.

http://googlecode.blogspot.com/2010/01/proposal-to-extend-dns-protocol.html
http://www.ietf.org/id/draft-vandergaast-edns-client-ip-00.txt

This draft was the main purpose of my visit to IETF76 last year. I'll have to go to 77/78 this year then to hopefully get this idea accepted as a working group item.

It's interesting to see all the comments coming up claiming that this is evil and meant for tracking purposes just because it has the name Google on it... :-/

Google Public DNS

Today at work my first user facing product was released, Google Public DNS. I've worked a lot on it over the last months and it was actually the reason for my visit to NY this Summer. :-)

But now, finally after a long time, I can actually start calling the thing by its name instead of saying "my secret project at work", which makes me very happy.

Praise, complaints and comments about the service are welcome! :-)

Back from Japan

I'm back ... for almost two weeks already. Getting used again to bad weather (today's a very foggy and cold day in Dublin), working and all the other things of daily life. Japan was fantastic. I'll be careful to not sound like your average "everything's better in Japan" idiot, but admittedly, there were some things there I really liked.

One of the first things I noticed was that a rule about escalators I really like is actually enforced over there. Wherever I've been so far escalators are always full of people who don't understand how stairs work; they think the fact that the escalator goes up means they can just put their lazy feet on it and wait (forgetting that for lazy people we already invented elevators :-P). Many civilizations have tried introducing a "stand still on the left, walk on the right" rule, but Japan's the only place where I've seen people all obeying it.

Getting around there indeed turned out to be challenging at times. Even though people (at least from "my generation") learn English for about ten years at school, many people still don't or hardly speak it. This was never really a problem though. Menus in restaurants have pictures and pointing at things is the most successful international language ever invented. :-) One of the first days I had sushi in a place just a few steps away from my hotel in Tokyo. While eating my meal, the man behind the bar (probably also the owner of the place) came to me with a map, asking me to point at where I come from. Also, the little origami bird he folded for me from my chopsticks wrapper is still sitting on my desk here. :-D

The ramen place I went to for breakfast one of the first days was also amazing. Not so much because of the food (which was also good), but because of the size. Literally, it was a room of maybe just over 2m wide, about 10m deep, with a bar separating it into two small 10m × something areas. Two people working on one side, and ten seats on the other (all occupied, most of the time).

My camera claims I made over 700 pictures there. Obviously there are many duplicates and worthless pictures, and after soring there will probably only be around 100 left. I hope to put them online soon, and probably with some more stories. I wrote too much now already.

All I know is that I'm definitely going there again.

Good morning from Tōkyō

It's always morning somewhere, and right now it's still morning in Tokyo! (Although not for long anymore.)

I arrived here yesterday morning, found my hotel and some good food. I'll spend the next three or so days here and then take the Nozomi (very fast train) to Hiroshima for IETF76.

My current plan is to find some breakfast, then go to Ueno Park and Akihabara (which is supposed to be like Fry's but then good). And generally just see what the city is like. Planning to join the Tokyo Bicycle Tour on Saturday, also. Any suggestions for other things to do here are welcome, assuming they have nothing to do with anime. :-P

Fun in Irish shops

The Daily WTF once posted an image like this IIRC, and I thought "Come on, I see this all the time in Irish supermarkets!". For example, I saw this in Tesco last Saturday:

http://wilmer.gaast.net/blog/uploads/20090808_one7up.jpeg

One 2l bottle of 7up for EUR 1.92. (How much does that cost in The Netherlands BTW, I wonder...) Now 2l is more than enough for me, but imagine it's not and maybe I want two bottles. HAVE THEY GOT A DEAL FOR ME!

http://wilmer.gaast.net/blog/uploads/20090808_two7up.jpeg

TWO bottles for only EUR 3.95! What a bargain! But, wait... 2×1.92=3.84, so I pay five cents more per bottle if I get two. At least they're nice enough to give the price per litre for people who don't like maths. :-) Maybe this is Ireland's way of keeping its people on a healthy diet?

In other news, I miss Maplin from two years ago. It used to be a useful store for electronics (and components) and there used to be a guy who pretty much knew my name and actually knew what he's selling. But now... Jelena went there to get me some 2.5mm heatshrinks. I gave her a pack of 1.5mm ones with order numbers of what I need written on the label. Back home, it turned out that the guy in the shop tossed away the 1.5mm pack she had with her, for one reason of the other ...

Or not? Last weekend I was in the shop myself, and guess what I saw in the rack of 1.5mm heatshrinks? MY PACK OF HEATSHRINKS! With my handwriting on it and everything. Even better, opened and everything (I already used quite a few centimeters since I bought the pack months ago).

That's not how you get yourself happy customers, guys...

One week of New York

One week passed and in 24 hours I will already be almost halfway on my way back!

New York is great, both as a city and as a Google office, and I'll definitely try to have some more trips to here in the future. The first night I walked here, on my way from the Penn Ave LIRR station to the apartment, I already decided I'd spend as little time in the apartment as possible. Weather forecasts looked like they were going to get in the way, but the actual weather was pretty fine (almost) all the time.

What did I see? Loads of high buildings, walked along the water quite a bit, saw the building site that used to be the WTC (I expected to see some monument, but nope!), Times Square, a view from on the General Electric Building, the Statue of Liberty from far away, a tiny piece of Central Park, another park near it closer to the water, and blisters on my feet after walking for many hours especially during the weekend. I tried to not be a typical tourist and probably failed, but I must say that I saw a few of these things by accident by just running into them while pointlessly walking around through the city.

I made over 500 pictures and will try to make a decent selection of what's actually interesting and original. This is probably going to take a while... :-(

Time to catch some sleep now; in the morning I will finish packing and spend half a day at work. After that I'll get the joy of travelling to/being at JFK airport the night before the Independence Day weekend. My planning was definitely "splendid" with that detail in mind...