Oct 31 2005

Google Reader

Jeffrey Larson

My posting titled RSS Reader Application was a plug for RSSOwl, a Java powered application I started using for reading blogs and news sites.

I have since uninstalled RSSOwl from my desktop computer at home. The main motivation for such was the lack of the ability to synchronize read/unread articles between my office and home computers. I wanted to be able to read some articles at work, and some at home, and RSSOwl wasn’t doing the trick.

From there I went to find a web-based RSS Reader that would keep track of my read articles no matter where I read each of them. I found Gregarius which did the job quite well. It’s a PHP powered application that you can host on your own webserver, so I liked that.

Recently though, I found Google’s Reader on the Labs page and I’m really liking what I’ve seen. I’ve imported all my news and blog site RSS URLs with the handy OPML import feature and now I’m reading with the online feed reader that holds to my requirements. The other good thing about it is I didn’t have to create a new account with another website, since Google accounts are all integrated. I’ve got a Gmail account and to use the reader it’s the same account.


Oct 13 2005

Done and done.

Jeffrey Larson

We’re home and our trip has drawn to a close. It was such a great time.

Our last couple days in Rome were pretty fun. We checked out the old Roman stuff which took most of the day, and the next day we rode a bus and saw the Trevi Fountain (you know, 3 coins in a fountain) and the Pantheon (supposedly the best maintained ancient roman structure).

On the Monday of our flights we decided to take the bus/metro to the train station and catch the train to the airport from there. If we had only known there would be a fake terrorist attack drill. (See this article)

The first bus ride was fine. We got on the metro no problem. Rode a few stops and then we were told to get off and leave the station. We were about halfway to the train station. No one would tell us what was going on. Up on the street it was pouring rain and there were hundreds of people trying to catch buses. I guess we needed to catch a bus past where the problem with the train was and continue on.

We walk a block or so and asking a bunch of people ended up on an empty bus who’s driver said he was going to a metro stop that would allow us to get to the train station (Roma “Termini”). The bus soon filled to the brim with people trying to get to where they were going and also out of the rain.

Traffic was slow on this second bus of ours. We had calculated the worst-case time for us to arrive at the airport, but hadn’t factored in the possibility of the metro shutting down. Oh well, as long as we make our flight.

The bus came to a round about which was packed with cars… there were uniforms everywhere, taping off roads. The bus turned a bit to the left and everyone on the bus started yelling in Italian. The bus driver yelling back, we have no idea what he’s saying. He turns the corner further and the bus empties… everyone leave except us and a couple other people. The driver says that this bus is going to the train station, and he says that its not going. Huh? We end up getting off, in the rain, and asking some uniforms which way to the Termini. They say no, we say yes, termini, they point, we walk.

Eventually after walking quite a while (all with our giant packs on) and asking everyone we see which way to Termini, we get there. The airport platforms are quite a walk inside the termini. We make it the the train at pretty much the time it’s meant to depart. The lady says, that our eurail passes won’t work with this train since there are no 2nd class seats left. !? We end up paying 11€ each! Cram on to this already full train. There is no place to sit, no even a place to stand, smashed up against people on the isle, we are on our way to the airport…. some first class that was.

Anyway, we made it to the airport, 3 hours after leaving the campground, and 24€ later. Too bad we decided not to take the 9€/person shuttle directly from our campground to the airport. Who knew we could have saved 6€, and avoided taking 2 buses, a metro, walked part way across downtown Rome, being confused for a long time, and being crammed on a “1st class” express train to the airport…. who knew indeed.

Sarah and I joked that we needed one last adventure before taking off. Yep, I’d call that an adventure.

We arrive in a cool Copenhagen which was quiet, clean and pretty. Our two days spent there were relaxing and expensive. Everything there is the equivalent of double what we pay in Canada… as in, a cheeseburger meal at McD’s is $15 CDN… not that we ate there, heh.

It feels good to be home, in a place that’s familiar… and most of all, it’s great to have our own giant bed back.

We couldn’t sleep much the night we got back so we drove to Kamloops that morning and then spent Thanksgiving weekend with my family. What a great way to finish off an amazing trip.

Thanks for reading about it, and checking out all of our pictures (they are all uploaded by the way).


Oct 1 2005

Roma

Sarah Marttunen

Yesterday we toured the Vatican museums and city. We spent 7 hours looking around! Needless to say we were exhausted by the end. It was pretty cool. We saw Leonardo DaVinci, Raphael, Michelangelo and many other famous artists works. At first the Sistine Chapel was not as exciting as I thought it would be. There were about 4 or 500 people inside at one time all “speaking in hushed tones” which meant talking loudly (: But as we looked closely at the paintings on the walls and ceilings it grew on me. It is really quite spectacular. It was neat to see the famous “Creation of Adam”… I’ve seen it so many times in posters and such, it was surreal to see the original.

We also spent some time climbing to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica to see Michelangelo’s Duomo up close… but AFTER we got to the top (like 500 stairs or something ridiculous like that) we discovered that it was closed due to mass. Argh. We went into the Basilica and saw two popes… their bodies anyway… each in a glass tomb. Sort of weird… one was green.

Today we head to the Forum, Palatine hill and the Colosseum. We are looking forward to seeing these, some of which being over 2000 years old.

We’re slowly posting pictures, internet is expensive and slow in Italy so some may wait until we are back in Canada. Which is coming soon…. we’re sad to be at the end but ready for our own bed to sleep in!!