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A Trip to İYTE, Part V

This will be the last post con­cern­ing my trip to Turkey this year. During the next days, I’ll only try to update the previous posts and this one in order to add some pictures or correct typos.

Even though I probably don’t need to stress it again, the tem­per­at­ure didn’t change again. We’ve had a strong breeze from time to time which greatly influ­enced the felt air tem­per­at­ure, though. That was indeed very welcome as walking through the bazaar can be quite exhaust­ing at times, the most tedious part being con­stantly rejecting the tourist hunters who want you to eat döner or lahmacun, drink beer, or visit their shops just a few meters away. This time we even managed to not get jumped. At least we think so or didn’t notice.

As for today it’s worth noting that we visited Konak Pier, a Turkish high society shopping mall. The prices are com­par­able to that ones in Germany plus a bonus for the peer and the sea around it on top. Then, by reducing the price by 2050% because of sales, you might reach a price more realistic than the one presented. Taking photos within that peer is not allowed, at least that is what we were told by the security standing next to the metal detector at the entrance. Konak Pier is, in my opinion, only worth visiting to see that place from inside. I per­son­ally wouldn’t spend a cent or kuruş in the shops.

Having been to that place made us keep walking along the water front before returning to the bazaar. Back there, I wanted to buy some small stuff which, after virtually walking through the whole area, took again some time. As I also wanted to buy some Turkish sweets in a shop just next to the bazaar and because it already was quite late, we had to hurry up a bit. Having started to walk in that direction a bit more speedy, a pidgin hit the ground in a not-so-nice manner just about two meters away from us. The pidgin’s right leg only shrug once after the impact. That is at least what we were able to see any. Looking above the rooftops, a quite large seagull with some feathers left in its beak looked down a bit detached. For­tu­nately, it was a direct flight without an inter­me­di­ate stop on my head.

After having spent quite some Turkish Lira on sweets, the day seemed over and about to be ter­min­ated suc­cess­fully with all tasks finished.

It was a really nice and also a quite hot week in Turkey with even some free time and a visit to Izmir. Next time I’ll be prepared and have organised the trip more thor­oughly :)

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Excitements Travel Work

A Trip to İYTE, Part IV

Again a new day and the last one in İYTE. After finishing all the relevant duties, a car brought us to the city centre of Izmir. Being that close to the airport hopefully makes getting to the airport it easier for us.

The tem­per­at­ure’s still well above the average I’m familiar with. However, it seems that I slowly adapt to the quite different envir­on­ment­al con­di­tions including not being under­stood well enough. Con­sid­er­ing the kind of summer we currently have in Germany, getting used to the heat is quite insane. Improving com­mu­nic­a­tion abilites where possible, at least to get some tea, in turn, should be a well-thought idea and seems to work out somehow. Except for this Wednesday evening: we decided to walk along the water front, looked out for some nice res­taur­ant, and even­tu­ally passed by one of these nice-looking seafood places. Ok, less nice-looking than clean and organised but the menu read quite well. And as I thought of having some appet­isers which the menu promoted in a really tasty way, we dicided to risk it. In the end it really was risky, though.

Looking at the dishes promised something really worth the prices — price-wise, they’re all well above what we found elsewhere in Izmir. We started with some appet­isers for 6 TL each, as we found out later (2 TL relates approx­im­ately 1 EUR). Quite expensive for what we finally got. Water was obviously not included as they charged another 8 TL (refill, I suppose). The cover charge was 6 TL per person. Then we wanted to eat some fish, which actually was the reason why we hung around that place. I called for the waiter and asked him how to order fish; the main dishes seemed to have nothing to do with sea or food or seafood. He explained to me that we would be charged 100 TL per kilo of (fresh?) fish and that the fish weights quite exactly 1.25 kg. Being charged by kilo is perfectly ok but not that price for that fish. So I told him that we first have to discuss and that I’ll come back on him or his colleague later. He looked like being a bit annoyed and threw the fish back into the box.

We finally decided to only have some salad for 9 TL and 19 TL respect­ively. Not that cheap but still not that expensive either. And it really was enough. Just in the middle of our green meal, a waitress approaches with two pices (halves) of fish, grilled and plain without any side dishes. Quite aston­ished I told her that we didn’t order fish but salad. She, looking quite confused, took the fish and called for the other waiter. He approached, again with the fish. I again told him that we did not order fish but a salad. For­tu­nately, he vanished imme­di­ately, though with a quite fierce look. From that moment on, he always looked very annoyed when passing by.

We finished our salads and ordered the bill. Something around 70 TL (including an already added tip of 10%) for a salad with some appet­isers. Well done, tourists!

A photo and the name of this place with the not-so-friendly waiters will follow. By the way, they even only offered paper napkins, so really no high-class place but something with exclus­ively high-class prices (also food-wise). I’d guess that there are many res­taur­ants in the centre of İzmir that offer good service and quality. So try to look out for these or maybe give me some hints? Don’t actually know when I’ll be back ™ but who knows? :)

Except the fact that I was almost knocked over by a taxi (taksi) because I just didn’t notice that something very fast approaches me just as fast, nothing else worth to be mentioned happened that evening.

Tomor­row’s the last regular day in Izmir. We’ll start preparing ourselves for Germany and try to buy some nice sweets that might help bridging the gap between 16°C and 36°C.

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Excitements Travel Work

A Trip to İYTE, Part III

This moring I realised that leaving my shoes outside is really not a so good idea. It seems that something (probably a dog) took one of my shoes and … well, it’s gone. Thank­fully, I still have one pair. When going back to the City of Izmir, I’ll have to have a look at the bazaar in search for shoes. The ones left are defin­it­ively not suited very well for the weather in Germany — about 26°C less than here in Turkey.

Tuesday again was a warm day, even though it would have get a bit “colder”. Even though we only had around 36°C, the afternoon was reserved for my book. In the morning, the air con­di­tioned computer engin­eer­ing depart­ment helped for­get­ting the dry outside and even­tuelly, I also didn’t see the sun that often. A dis­cus­sion about some ideas for joint projects and a possible erasmus cooper­a­tion almost concluded that second day at İYTE.

One thing still open on my todo list for that: pay the guest house. Seemed to me like a quite straight forward idea but again, the language problem showed up. Almost nobody I met on and around the campus is able to speak or under­stand the English language. With a little bit of gesturing, however, things get man­age­able again. The very nice guy from the security in the dean’s office tried to guide me into the right direction and offered me a bagfull of Turkish words I really wasn’t able to translate into something more useful to me. Ok, I admit that one should probably be better prepared when trav­el­ling to a foreign country. As it was only one week, I decided to go with only English, though. Finally, after talking or gesturing to two more persons (to be honest, I just showed them a post-it with the depart­ment and the name of the respons­ible person written to it), both of them very, very nice and very helpful, I reached my des­tin­a­tion and was able to pay. Ten minutes later I let the building, headed towards the computer science depart­ment and again stayed there for some minutes to enjoy the well-tem­per­at­ured air and use a free internet access.

Con­sid­er­ing the WLAN thingy, there’s something to say here. In one of the previous posts I mentioned that there is free WLAN available on the campus. Well, yes, there are open access points but the one I used in the beginning was shut down on Monday. The second one I spotted worked quite well except that the signal was much worse. Yesterday evening, after having placed a phone call where I had to stand quite still in the middle of the street in order to have a well-balanced signal to no signal ratio, a guy from the security approached slowly. I decided to end the con­ver­sa­tion and leave.

During my first day on the campus, I spotted several other open networks, each of which would have required me to walk more than thirty minutes one way. Yesterday, I spotted another two, one on the campus and one in a bar right next to the campus. But as I’ve decided to go to Izmir on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday it’s now obsolete anyway. But more on that tomorrow, once everything’s finished and packed again.

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Excitements Travel Work

A Trip to İYTE, Part I

It was around January when I was invited to give an Erasmus lecture at the İzmir Institute of Tech­no­logy (IYTE) in İzmir, Turkey. The campus is located near Urla at the Aegean Sea. Now in July, one of the hottest months of the year in that medi­ter­ranean area with tem­per­at­ures around 35°C in average, it would be the best to just stay in or near the sea, lying under and be shaded by palm trees for the whole day. But as this is no holiday but a working trip, I’ll probably be in air­con­di­tioned rooms more often than at the seaside anyway. Be assured, I’ll try to optimise this time schedule towards the latter option :) For a guy from Germany, the tem­per­at­ures are defin­it­ively much more con­veni­ent in Spring or Autumn. This week, the weather forecast announced around 40°C.

On Saturday evening, my plane arrived at İzmir airport (ADB). A car from İYTE waited and took me right onto the campus near Urla and the small town Güzel­bahçe. Having some guest room on the campus is much more con­veni­ent, I thought, so I booked it for the week. Having a cab to take me to the institute every day would defin­it­ively be annoying. The lectures were scheduled for three days, Monday to Wednesday but only for half a day each. The topic of the whole course is “Beha­vi­our­al Robotics” whereas my part covers cooper­a­tion in that domain. The slides will be made available soon.

The DIVE Lab headed by Bora İ. Kumova is a well equipped place to study robotics. A bunch of NXTs are available for labs and students to play around with — given they prefer doing stuff like that instead of hanging out with friends in some bar near the campus. I’ll cover more on that topic (robotics, not the bar) later today, as Bora will hopefully show me around his lab and the institute.

Yesterday was my first day at İYTE. We drove around the campus and had a look at the buildings and insti­tutes, the small town of Güzel­bahçe, and the beach. It’s only about 2 km away from the guest house and well reachable by foot; you only have to take care not to step over the dead fox lying somewhere on the trail. The location gives a quite impress­ive scenery, lying on a kind of small peninsula between mountains and the Aegean sea. There are res­taur­ants and super­mar­kets available in Güzel­bahçe, offering fresh fruit grown in the region, so you don’t need to be afraid of starving. A drawback: the sea is not that refresh­ing as the water is just as the air around it, warm.

For­tu­nately, several open WLANs (and therefore free) are available on the campus, so it is possible to check mails or even place a call. The mobile phone costs would otherwise ruine the callee for sure.

Today, I’ll be in the computer engin­eer­ing depart­ment at İYTE and maybe can provide more inform­a­tion later today. Some pictures will also be added once better suited Internet access is available.

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Binary World Excitements Philosophized Private

Facebook Experiment

The Facebook exper­i­ment I started exactly one year ago ended almost ended yesterday. I decided to delete my account because of Face­book’s privacy policy. It’s just ridicu­lous, far beyond common sense and I really don’t see a reason for accepting something that stupid.

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Success for CarpeNoctem at the RoboCup World Championships 2006 in Bremen

We (the Carpe Noctem RoboCup Team) have achieved the seventh place at the RoboCup World Champ­tion­ships 2006 in Bremen, Germany. It was a great match with fantastic teams. Thanks to our boss, our sponsors, and our team!

More inform­a­tion is available here: http://carpenoctem.das-lab.net/

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Uncategorized Work

Kryptotag 3

On thursday I gave my second talk at the third Kryptotag in Darmstadt. It was as inter­est­ing as the last time. A really great idea to organize something like this in Germany, par­tic­u­larly because security and crypto­logy is a bit under­rep­res­en­ted here.

I’ve put the slides and the abstract here.

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ipv6 again

The newly registered IPv6 tunnel is down again. Something went wrong, don’t actually know what. Nev­er­the­less, I won’t re-register with tun­nel­broker. I got a new IPv6-range from in-ulm.de, an Internet and net­work­ing asso­ci­ation from Ulm/Neu-Ulm, Germany. The latency will therefore decrease quite a lot, from approx­im­ately about 200400 ms to about 30ms from npw.net to the next hop.

I actually do not know when the tunnel (will be something encrypted) is ready, so IPv6 will be down for some days (weeks?).