Archive for May 22nd, 2007

OSNews on the Helio Ocean

Michael from MobileBurn was once again very kind to send me a screenshot of Helio Ocean’s browser rendering OSNews. By default all content goes through Google’s transcoder (resulting in an ugly rendering of sites that don’t necessarily require the transcoding), but thankfully there is a way to bypass that and render the site normally. When bypassing Google’s transcoder, the user agent of the phone is just the cryptic: NGB/3.0

SIP/SIMPLE configuration on Pidgin

Here is how you can configure your Ekiga or FWD account under Pidgin to get SIP Presence support by using Pidgin’s SIP/SIMPLE plugin. It works with Ekiga & FWD, but Pidgin completely crashes when doing the same for VoipBuster.

The commoditization of transportation

This whole reading about near-dead languages got me today in this page. Arvanitic is a Tosk-Albanian dialect, still spoken in some places in Greece. Reading about it made me remember my aunt, Stavroula. My aunt Stavroula got married around 1958 to an (ethnic Greek) man. She is a very strong and driven woman, but she had a real hard time at the beginning. Not only she had to marry this man who has only seen once in her life through a pre-arranged marriage, but she moved at his village, where they would ONLY speak Arvanitic! The groom could speak Greek, but his mother and most of his relatives could not. All the surrounding villages would only speak Arvanitic with only children who’ve been to a school (and the priest & teacher of each village) could speak Greek. She managed though, she learned the language pretty fast and she got fluent in it.

Now, you probably think that she got married in a far away land. The truth is, that she got married just 30km away! But these were the times were good roads and cars were difficult to find in that region of Greece, and so she would not come back to visit her parents and siblings more than once a year! And this just makes me think how different our lives are today compared to just 50 years ago. Europeans and Americans won’t understand what I am saying because for them the change between being mostly “static” in one place and easily transporting between places happened 100-150 years ago, not 50. But because for me the change is much more recent, I can see how much different some regions were and how it’s possible to have completely different languages or dialects spoken just a few kilometers away from you.

Heck, until a few years ago, even my mother had never being to Ioanina, one of the biggest cities in Greece, which resides just 90 Khm away from our home. And each time JBQ and I visit Greece and we tell her “today we are going to visit Parga” she replies “ooh, why are you going so far away?”. Parga is a touristic town is just 25 khm away from our home! Want more examples? My father was the only one of his 6 siblings who had a honeymoon. He went with my mother in Lefkada in 1971. An island just 50 khm away! It felt like a new country to my mother (and she hated it btw)!

Departure from the past

I somehow ended up on some pages (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) about still-barely-alive Greek-derived dialects and I couldn’t stop crying. I am one of the least chauvinistic people you will ever meet in your life, but when it comes to “old things” I get attached to them in a weird way. For example, having just 500 people left who still speak ancient Doric, or another 20,000 who speak another Doric dialect (in southern Italy no less), and another… 60 people left still speaking an ancient Attic dialect it’s just difficult to bear.

Even when something breaks at home and I need to throw away, I depart with it by thinking “thank you, you served me well”. Once or twice I have said that aloud, and JBQ would make weird faces on me. I get attached to things that have served me or others for a long time. It’s like departing with something important that was part of me for a long time or other’s lives for thousands of years. It’s just painful.