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Manue & Me

 Joerg's Blog 


If you are reading this, you must definitly be bored.
Either that, or you're looking for information about this site and/or its author.
For the first group of people I advise YouTube. For the second group, well, read on.

This is my personal blog page. I'll be referring about all things happening to me - that might be interesting for whoever reads it. I can not garantee it will be very high level for everyone though... But it is mainly maintained for far away relatives/family to have a glimpse of what I do with my life.

So - what is a blog anyway ? For this - check out Wikipedia - they have the best description for this. If you want to contact me - you'll have to reformat my E-Mail - so - good luck.

What I am ? I call myself a hacker.
Please note - most people think about the bad guys doing bad things to other computers. Well - I would say - that those guys are the Black Hat guys - also known as crackers. What I call myself - is a White Hat hacker. See it as a system administrator using professional tools to probe the robustness of his own systems and networks, and trying to get the maximum out of the used hardware - making its use as efficient as possible. This is legitimate - as I do not break into anything - while crackers attempt gaining unauthorized access to systems for eventual unethic actions.
The difference between hackers and crackers does not lie in the tools or techniques they use (the same hammer can be used to build a wall, or break it down), but in their intentions !
For me - building a stable and secure system is a very interesting challenge, and to know it is stable and secure - I need to test it with all tools available. And this is what I like doing most.

Please note that all I say on these pages is for personal use only and under no circumstance has to be taken/used/copied without my explicit written permission !


Beautiful Spain   [ 
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 Our holidays were not just about diving. We also enjoyed the Mediterranean climate and the Spanish way of life. We rented a huge apartment (with a private pool) on the Spanish side of the border in a charming little town called Portbou. The road which leads there is absolutely spectacular as it meanders along the mountain with a gorgeous view of the sea (Check our online album).
It took us barely 5 minutes to go down to the beach, enjoy lunch or diner on the harbour. But it took us a little longer to reach our other destinations such as the very cute seaside town of Cadaqués, famous because this is where Salvador Dali lived. We couldn't miss the museum dedicated to his special and quite inspired art a little bit further in Figueres.
Girona was a huge surprise. The town is a maze of little streets still marked by their medieval past. The Jewish neighbourhood is particularly well preserved and one must definitely enjoy a cold drink looking up at the cathedral which (as the town) was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones.
We just spent one day in Barcelona on a very hot and sunny day, just walking around and taking a look at some of Gaudi's most famous architectural achievements. We promised ourselves to come back one day and take more time. It's a plan !!! 

Written on Saturday, 28 July 2018 - 14:05 | 2282 views
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Achievement Unlocked: PADI Rescue Diver   [ 
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 as the entire family is slowly getting into the Scuba-Diving hobby, I felt I had to do a little bit to make sure that we can dive as secure as possible. Also, in terms to reduce the costs of diving in future, the only possibility would be to be able to just rent the air-tanks (imagine the average cost of all of us doing one dive would be 200 euro) which costs up to 10 Euro/Tank, I'd need to be able to handle our entire dive alltogether. For that - the plan is to become Divemaster next year. This year, I just made up Rescue Diver (as is level 3 of the PADI diver program).

We did (Family and I) go down to the Banyuls underwater reserve for me to actually make the Rescue Diver course, while my oldest daughter did dive during my trainings (with other buddy's), and sometimes, my wife and youngest joined to make a Discovery Dive (actually, they each made 4). Even our son joined us and also did a Discovery dive over the Weekend.
Needless to say that the underwater world was totally different from what we had seen in Greece. So many fish, and so big! Check it out for yourself. I uploaded a rather large video on Youtube about our dives. 

Written on Saturday, 28 July 2018 - 14:02 | 2824 views
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Amazing Biker Week End   [ 
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 We've decided to enhance our Bikers experience level, and our friends helped us do it. They organized for all of us a 2 days round-trip which started in Clermont, led us to Honfleur and Etretat, and back.
It was great, the weather was almost perfect (32°C - which for Bikers is very hot), the Bikes ran smooth as kittens (3 BMW - Deutsche Qualität!), the group was completely in-tune (we laughed the whole time) and the places we visited were absolutely gorgeous.

Honfleur is a cute touristic town on the Channel, an ancient port welcoming today hordes of tourists, but still managing to be welcoming.
Etretat on the other hand, is more spectacular. The cliffs meet the sea in broken patterns and as the tide was low, we were able to walk around and even explore a tunnel leading us not far from the famous Needle rising 70 meters above the sea. In between those two destinations, we drove through amazing little villages were we sometimes enjoyed coffee or refreshments.

All in all, it was a 600Km roundrip in 2 days, which left our asses sour but our moral high :laughing: face-laughing.svg.
The Biker Gang in Etretat.  

Written on Tuesday, 10 July 2018 - 20:42 | 2361 views
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Japan Expo 2018   [ 
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Japan Expo

 As announced last year, we decided to become a Steampunk family. Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction which incorporates technology and aesthetic designs dating back to the 19th century. But it can also incorporate elements from fantasy worlds or any world one seems fit as long as some characteristics are respected. For example, black, browns and beige would be the dominant colors. Women would favour bustiers and asymmetrical skirts whereas men and children would eventually wear frilled shirts. Cogs are an almost must-have accessory, scattered everywhere and brass goggles are some sort of trademark.

Most items can be bought but the most beautiful steampunk costumes are hand-made and it is the case here enabling each of us to embody a special type of character. I, the only male, represent the fighter (hence the shoulder armor and pistol on arm band). Our oldest is the enchantress and she can write, with her quills and parchments stored in her hair and armbands, all the known spells recorded in the book hanging from her belt. The youngest is our magician using a wooden wand and crafting potions of all sorts fixed on the same type of garments. And finally there is our mysterious healer, hidden behind her mask, equipped with scissors, threads and needles with which she created us.

The coherence and the quality of the work produced an amazing result and we were regularly stopped and asked to be photographed. We also met people with whom we shared information and knowledge on the Steampunk world. All in all, it was a great day and we look forward to the next pure Steampunk convention which will take place in Luxemburg at the end of September. Cya then !!!
Shudan pictures had taken some shots too - see here.  

Written on Saturday, 7 July 2018 - 23:43 | 2272 views
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Music festival: Rétro c'trop   [ 
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 For the first time, we took the girls to a music festival lasting an entire week-end. The festival of our choice was Rétro c'trop, and luckily it was located just a 45min car-drive from home.

Even though there were 10 groups performing, those we enjoyed most were Roger Hodgson (co-founder of Supertramp), Nazareth, Steven Wilson and Sting.
Needless to say, that despite the 34°C (see picture on the right) - it was an amazing experience for all of us.

Some pictures of the performers, the never changing Roger Hodgsons, followed by Nazareth, Steven Wilson and finally Sting


Written on Monday, 2 July 2018 - 00:40 | 2379 views
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Achievement unlocked: French Citizenship   [ 
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 Today, I was invited to receive my french citizenship booklet at the prefecture de Beauvais/France, with all the relevant official papers.
It was a touching moment - as this is one episode in my life I have atteined through free will.
The funniest part actually was that we all had to sing the french national hymn. And to our surprise, we almost all knew the text :cool: face-cool.svg 

Written on Tuesday, 12 June 2018 - 19:04 | 2315 views
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Our amazing trip to Japan   [ 
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Japan trip

 having had planned our trip to Japan for a long time now (actually, my wife did all the planing. She is a Fan of the culture, and even started learning the language 4 years ago), we had decided to go for the O hanami (Cherry Blossom) in April. Unfortunately, we missed it by 2 weeks. The weather was not our ally this time. But this leaves room for another trip in the future 

The beginning was quite stressful, as of course, during almost all holidays, Air-France pilots decided to go on strike. The problem with that was that in the event that our flight would not take-off, we'd have to take another flight some days later (which was out of the question, the planning was finished and we would have lost too much time). Fortunately we have a friend working at Air France who "made" some ladies contact us to change our flight, 3 days earlier (instead of Monday, we took off the previous Friday). So we had to book a Hotel for 3 nights. Very honestly, in Tokyo a double room has just enough place to lay down next to each other and stop moving. Tiny! But cute as an origami awaited us.

But let's focus on the trip !!! As we had “only” around 18 days onsite, the plan was to check out Tokyo the first half, then Kyoto the second half. And - as we wanted to live it the Japanese way, the flats we rented (through AirBnB) were also Japanese type flats with tatamis all over. Needless to say we ate with Chopsticks and sat on the floor all the time. We met incredible people, warm and welcoming, always ready to help when we looked a bit lost. These people are amazing and their country is a textbook for efficiency, politeness and cleanliness.

Tokyo (photos are here) is mostly a modern city because it suffered innumerable earthquakes throughout its history and extensive bombing during the 2WW (for example, the Senso-ji was completely destroyed but rebuilt a few years later – all were not so lucky). Hence the skyscrapers and brightly lit districts such as Akihabara, Shibuya and Ikebukuro where we strolled and didn't manage to take a lot of good pictures because it is so lit and teaming with life, it was close to impossible to have a clear image. But we did experience the Maid's Café which was funny but indecently expensive. We also went to the movies to watch Ready player one in English (our oldest is fluent and the young one is improving everyday). We also had a peak of the famous Shibuya crossing from Starbucks overlooking the flow. To sum up, our evenings were quite busy.

Of course we visited some of the wonders of this city which was first named Edo (and it has a fascinating museum dedicated to this period) and was the “capital” of Japan's equivalent Chief of Staff, named Shogun. Before settling in Edo, they were ruling Kamakura which today is home to numerous temples (we only managed to visit 4 during the day, our favorite being the Tokei-ji) and the world famous and very impressive Daibutsu or Great Buddha. The Shogun who unified Japan and brought peace to the archipelago was named Tokugawa Ieyasu and he is a main figure in Japan. We visited monuments dedicated to him such as the Toshogu Shrine in Ueno or the overcrowded but mouth-dropping mausoleum in Nikko. But Shoguns' control ended at the end of the 19th century when the emperor took back his power and moved to Edo, changing its name into Tokyo (which means capital city of the East). Emperor Meiji (it was his name) had a huge park built for himself and his wife. They reopened Japan to western trade and were granted caskets of wine. The imperial family also took over what would become the Shinjuku Gyoen Park and both are absolutely amazing to walk in. As soon as you pass the Torii quietness just falls on you and the bustling of the city just vanishes.

But the kids also had their imperatives such as the Pokemon Centre where they bought stuffed Pokemons and other goodies. We also purchased stuff in the Ghibli dedicated shops (it had been to late to find tickets for the Museum). Seeing the great pandas and their baby at Ueno zoo, the oldest one in Japan, was unavoidable. So we complied  Finally, we made the trip to the fashionable beach resort of Tokyo's inhabitants and it was indeed quite crowded but we enjoyed reading and listening to music on the sand.

We spent the second half of our trip in Kyoto which is very different from the Tokyo as you will see in this slideshow.

In Kyoto, everything is ancient and wonderfully preserved as the city has escaped most of the traumas Tokyo has experienced. Kyoto was, until the end of the 19th century the imperial capital of Japan (hence the imperial palace) and it is literally smothered by temples and shrines. We only visited a selected few amongst the world famous (Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ju, Tenryu-ji and Saiho-ji for example) but we also wandered and were captivated by less known (in Europe) religious places such as the Sanjusangen-do, Kodai-ji or Ninna-ji. The buildings are all in wood, sometimes very sober, other times lavishly decorated. Wooden pathways enable visitors to walk from building to building and to enjoy zen gardens entirely made of gravel with designs and obviously symbolism. We regularly had to take our shoes off and we followed the example of the Japanese visitors who sat and watched those gardens which were almost always close to a pond and a beautiful garden. These places epitomise serenity!

We also left Kyoto to go sightseeing and we visited 2 of the most famous places in Europe and the world: Himeji castle also called the White Heron as it is indeed very white. The exteriors are breathtaking … but the inside is completely empty. We were lucky to be the last to enter the grounds in around 4 pm and we avoided the 2 hours of line which awaited us at 10 am. But it was for ...  Read more  

Written on Sunday, 10 June 2018 - 22:36 | 2471 views
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SteamBOX   [ 
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 Having a gamer Family (Yes - we are all gamers), and no Console at home, I decided to give a try to a SteamBox. Only - there wasn't any out there that fit my requirements, so I decided to set one up myself.

When I saw the Sentry case, I knew I actually had found the case for the SteamBox. Being on the 3rd batch of Backers, it took a while to arrive though. But when it was finally here, and lots of reading in the forums about what to put inside of it, I finally decided to get the following hardware

  • Gigabyte Z370N Wifi Mini-ITX Motherboard
  • Intel Core i5-8400 with the stock Cooler
  • 2x8GB Ram Corsaire Vengeance 2666-16
  • 500GB SSD 1.8/3.2 960 EVO PCIe M.2
  • Gigabyte 6GB 1060 GTX D5 Gaming
  • Silverstone SST-ST45SF-GF v2 450W Power Supply

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Sentry case. I have never (and I do build up computers for +28years now) seen such good quality for a case.
All chosen parts did fit as if the Box was specifically built around. I didn't have to adapt a thing! See for yourself

I have been quite disappointed by Windows 10 Home. Even though I have an amazingly fast system compared to our old gaming Rigs (CPU twice as fast, GPU twice as fast, M.2 4 to 6 times faster), the Windows 10 System feels way slower than the gaming rigs (They run Win 7, and there is no Browser and no AV running on these. Only Steam and Minecraft allowed).
I'll be doing some benchmarks one of these days. Maybe I will figure out a way to speed things up.
If however it does not work, I'll Install a Win 7 copy on it for testing (we can test for 30 days ...).
If all that does not work out, SteamOS it is! even though there will be some games I won't be able to play. But - it is free, and it does not force me to sell out my familys privacy through all Telemetry-data etc., and I can decide if an AV is required or not myself!

Update: Dumped Windows 10, and installed SteamOS Beta. The OS and even Steam (in big picture mode) is way smoother and more reactive. The Steam_remote works as expected (very nicely), and even the games appear to be as fast (if not faster) as under Windows 10. A :cool: face-cool.svg change IMHO
I was surprised to see Steam to install a recovery partition, and take a Clonezilla dump during the installation onto that partition. A very good idea, other Linux distributions could do too.
Only thing now is that not all games run under SteamOS. But there are quite many indie games, and some AAA Titles (Dying light, Tomb Raider, Metro last light etc.) that do.  

Written on Monday, 12 March 2018 - 22:47 | 2318 views
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RQ-7 Build blog   [ 
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RC Logo

 Well - as winter is long, and weather is bad - I decided to go for building a UAV from scratch, using a laser cut kit provided by Hobbking. In terms of hardware to put into, some is already planned as seen in the RC DB

So far - only the main body is glued and start to taking shape.
It will still need some Kit and sanding before applying the cover film to have that part finished. The only sad thing about gluing that plane together is that it requires, despit the laser cut, quite some detail re-work to get it all fit together. This is definitely not a plane for a beginner, and not having built a RC plane in years forces me to actually think the process over and over until I have found the optimal way to do it. This - takes time :} face-smirk.svg

Written on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 - 08:11 | 6972 views
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James Blunt au Zenit   [ 
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James Blunt small

 when my wife saw that James Blunt was to perform at the Zenith in Paris, it took barely 5 minutes to buy tickets. And the big day was finally there.
As a man who enjoys music, I went with her - and was seated between my wife and another female groupie who, when both of them started sreaming, made me deaf for the next minute.
Contrary to the other bands we have seen this year, this show was perfect. Audio was very good, and James Blunt himself performed flawlessly for all :cool: face-cool.svg groupies in the Zenith hall :smile: face-smile.svg

I also did enjoy the show immensely. Contrary to many other "so called" artists, James Blunt really answers to the definition. He definitely has an enjoyable voice, he plays various instruments (Keyboard, Guitars etc.) and he also is nice with his audience, cracking jokes, sharing stories and making the audience participate to the show.. A real showmaster who can be considered as brilliant on stage as the french Singer -M-, whose concert we attended 2 years ago but unfortunately forgot to take pictures. 

Written on Friday, 10 November 2017 - 20:02 | 2739 views
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