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Sunday, August 26, 2007
Keep an eye on VOBM
I have just uploaded some of the photos taken in Alkmaar, The Netherlands. More to come, as I have seen quite a lot in the past few days :)

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posted by Alina @ 9:47 PM   2 comments
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Trip to the Netherlands: how much?
As some of you know, I'm now enjoying my amazing vacation in the Netherlands. I thought I should share some prices and information with you, as it may turn out to be pretty useful in the future:

  • flight to Bucharest to Dortmund/Dortmund to Bucharest - WizzAir - 270 EUR for 2 persons. No serious incidents. A 30 minutes delay because the stupid personnel of the Baneasa Airport had sent a refueling truck that had no fuel left...
  • Baneasa Airport generally sucks. First they announce boarding for our flight at gates 3 and 4. One slight problem: gate 7 does not exist. Then they announce boarding at gates 1 and 2. Gate 2 is of course closed...Really poor organization! And to think that they've been closed for renovation for so long! I still prefer Otopeni.
  • Meal during the flight - you can have a sandwich, drink and something sweet for 6 EUR. But their selection of sandwiches is really limited and you end up having nothing to choose from, only one type was left by the time they got to the middle of the plane.
  • Train ride - round trip - Dortmund to Alkmaar - 195 EUR for 2 persons. At first I though I should have chosen a direct flight, but this turned out to be a pretty adventurous experience and I've enjoyed every minute of it.
  • Dortumund airport-Dortmund Central Station: bus 440 till stop Alplerback (2.10 EUR per person) and metro U47 util the station (another 2.10 EUR per person). The ticket buying machine is quite complicated, especially when language selection is not working. Pray for people who speak English.
  • Bus fare in Alkmaar - 1 EUR per person/per trip. Really great Aloe and Apple juice in the Turkish market. Really good cappuccinos. Interesting hot dogs. Yesterday I knew how to ask for a hot dog in Dutch...
That's all for now, I'll be back later with photos and info

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posted by Alina @ 10:36 AM   2 comments
Connecting Capital Cities
Trips through several European countries are quite common these days. And if one would like to choose countries with connected historical background and some similarities, an interesting choice would be to visit Austria and Germany during the same trip. And the highlights for both countries are their capital cities, Vienna and Berlin.

Such a trip would imply a clear schedule, reservations at one of the hotels in Berlin and the hotels in Vienna and choosing a means of transportation. Given the fact that the two countries have a huge number of tourist attractions, I'd recommend a way to save time for more visiting, and that is flying. There are several companies offering direct flights between Berlin and Germany or almost direct ones (flight and one hour airport shuttle ride). One of the best known and the oldest on the market is Lufthansa, who also offers online-only deals. Other alternatives are Air Berlin, Germanwings and SkyEurope. These three companies are all operating in the low cost segment.

While hotels in Berlin and hotels in Vienna can be easily booked online, air flight seats can be also booked in the same fashion, thus leaving you one more decision to make: what to visit and in what order.

Brought by

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posted by Alina @ 9:56 AM   0 comments
Friday, August 17, 2007
I Still Feel Bad
Last night we stopped for pizza on our way home. Ordered it and decide to eat it there, at one of the tables placed on the sidewalk. When we were about to start, a woman came and sat at the table near ours. She was old, poorly dressed and looked a bit sad to me. But she was not asking for anything...

I had no idea what to do. Offer my help? Back off? My friend Cristina did have an experience with a beggar throwing money back at her in a moment of anger at life...What was my big problem? I'll tell you!

If someone looks at me when I am eating and really craves for (or I think he/she really craves for) what I am eating, I can no longer eat. Yes folks. Where does this come from? Legacy of the Communists actually. See, when I was about 4 or 5, good food was scarce. And one afternoon, when my dad was taking me home from kindergarten, he noticed they had brought salami at the some shop near our house. There was a huge queue. And he left me there, waiting for him to get his salami card from home. Well, yes, there were cards for everything: meat, bread, oil, milk. You could not buy anything without one and you certainly couldn't buy more than allowed on the card.

I spend about 20 minutes queuing, with this huge fear that the salami will be over before my dad came back or that I will get in from of the saleswoman before he returned and I will be thrown out from the queue. He got there in time, and as I had been standing there for so long, my dad asked the saleswoman to cut a slice for me, and I took a bite instantly.

As I was small and the salami sold there had a pretty large diameter, I got to bite once more before exiting the shop. And my dad said: "Alina, please put the slice in the bag. Some other children, whose parents didn't get to buy them salami, might see you. And they'll cry when they get home." I obeyed instantly, remembering my fresh fear they will run out of salami.

That is why if someone looks in a certain way to what I am eating, although everything is now available for purchase, I can no longer it. Not everyone can afford everything I can, and I am pretty obsessed by this.

What did I do with the lady? I only ate half the pizza and left the other half on the table. It was her choice to take it or not. No offense, nothing imposed. I still wish I could have done more...And I still cannot understand how some can still praise the Communist period!

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posted by Alina @ 5:32 PM   3 comments
Some Fun Before My Vacation
What brings geeks and Huns, Goths and Vandals together? Well Hacking of course :)

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posted by Alina @ 11:10 AM   0 comments
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Take Your Photos With You
This is not my first time writing about digital photo frames. But I have discovered a new utility these gadgets entail. You know, when you go see friends who live far away and who you rarely get to see, they need a serious update on how your life has been. And what do you do then? Besides the nights when you stay up late chit chatting about everything that has happened, you need to show a lot of photos.

So what would your choices be? Carry your laptop with you? Too big...Carry a flash drive? That obliges them to have an available computer for you and prevents you from doing all the talking while sightseeing. Therefore a digital picture frame storing a few hundred photos might be helpful. It would make it all easy and take a lot less space when carried around.

DigitalFramez has a beautiful collection of such gadgets, varying in sizes. And if you get bored of photos, you can also watch movies or play mp3 files. Music videos I'd choose, to make a pleasant atmosphere. The make a perfect, yet a bit expensive, gift for gadget lovers and geeks wannabe as myself.

Brought by DigitalFramez


posted by Alina @ 3:36 PM   2 comments
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Mig's Birthday
Well folks, it's a very special day today. It's Mig's Birthday. And as there is no other way the the virtual world to congratulate her, here goes:

PS. Have no idea where the photo's from. Hope I am not upsetting anyone.
posted by Alina @ 1:37 PM   2 comments
Monday, August 13, 2007
Hold on to What You've Been Given Lately
This song of KT Tunstall is a new favorite of both D and I. Listened to it on Radio Guerrilla for a few times and we instantly loved it. Enjoy!
Say you to me
You're a bird with an eye for the enemy shining
Searching the land for a hero of a man
You say I need
More than my fair share of attention
But I think you know
That just isn't so

Oh underneath I felt the fire of a burning question
Tearing me apart,
Right from the very start.
And now I see,
That it dont take a trick
Of the light to excite me.
So Strong
So Long
You'll see

Hold on to what you've been given lately.
Hold on to what you know you've got.
Hold on to what you've been given lately.
Hold on 'cause the world will turn if you're ready or not.

A heart of gold, an old head and young shoulders
Quiet and lovely,
Becoming part of me.
And now I see from a handful of names and a thousand faces.

One light burning

I was tired of January
Tired of June
I felt a change coming
oh oh
I was tired of January
I was tired of June
I felt a change coming
oh oh
I felt a change coming,
I felt a change coming,
I felt a change coming sooon.

Hold on to what you've been given lately.
Hold on to what you know you've got.
Hold on to what you've been given lately.
Hold on 'cause the world will turn if you're ready or not.

Hold on to what you've been given lately.
Hold on to what you know you've got.
Hold on to what you've been given lately.
Hold on 'cause the world will turn if you're ready or not.

Well the world will turn if you're ready or not
Whoa-oh, Yes the world will turn if you're ready or not.

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posted by Alina @ 8:18 AM   0 comments
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Input Wanted! What matters most to you: information or membership?
Given the fact that I have faced some rejection towards certain pieces of information, I have to ask this question:
What matters more to you? The information a person holds and is able and willing to share or their being part of a certain commercial organization?
Let's take a general topic, such as email security for end users, more precisely, best practices for those using email as a business tool, not caring much about how things happen after they push the send ore receive button. Would you like to receive the advices a messaging solutions expert can give or would you care more about his working for the X company that provides commercial antispam solutions. Is his experience rendered irrelevant by the fact his company sells something when his view is free and stays away from marketing skims?

Yes, he states his position to explain why he has an opinion or recommendation on the subject in the first place. But would you trade relevant tips and trick to keep the ears of your audience clear from hearing a company name?

I am really anxious to hear what you have to say!

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posted by Alina @ 4:55 PM   4 comments
Much Needed Guide to Intelligent Giving
The large majority of people are willing to help others. They could spare some money, if that means giving a hand to someone in real need. What people lack are time, information and trust. Time to search for the missing information and any kind of guarantee the money or goods they contribute are used as they would want them to be.

That’s why having an extensive database of all available charities might turn extremely useful and also convincing. That’s why I like Charity Navigator so much. What do they understand by Intelligent Giving? Well you start by searching their site and locating a charity you really believe in. You can search by category, alphabetically or by number of stars a charity has been awarded (stars range from 1 to 4).

The charity I have selected is Action Against Hunger. Charity Navigator has detailed information on each charity, including their usage of available funds, total revenues and comparisons with other similar charities. It gives you a feeling of transparency and helps build trust.

Foto from the AAH site.

Established in 1985, AAH is the US branch of Action Contre le Faim, an international, non-governmental, non-religious organization. Founded in Paris in 1979, ACF focuses on fighting hunger, malnutrition, physical suffering and the associated distress threatening the lives of children, women, and men in extreme situations such as wars, conflicts or natural disasters taking place around the globe. ACF has over 400 experts in fields such as nutrition, agriculture, water and sanitation and public health working in 40 countries from 5 continents. The local teams ACF employs amount to 6,000 people.

Who is behind Charity Navigator? His name is a Navtej Kohli, a business owner doing a great job as a philanthropist. Mr. Kohli’s charity, the Tej Kohli Foundation has an experience of 5 years in philanthropic activities. As he explains, the personal experience one has when meeting those in need directly renders charity works efficient:

“It is quite something else to be presented with these images in the flesh, meeting disabled and impoverished children and their families face to face. For me, meeting such people changed my outlook on philanthropy and helped me to understand that calling a toll-free phone line or pledging a couple of dollars to a trust fund isn’t the same as actually working to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Take a tour of both Charity Navigator and the AAH presentation page and then decide for yourself how you’d rather help.

Brought by Mr. Navtej Kohli

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posted by Alina @ 4:23 PM   0 comments
Blog Soon-to-be Tourists Should Keep an Eye on

If you are looking for a blog featuring accommodation news, travel tips, featured destination and pretty much every piece of information useful while traveling, I recommend the Accomline blog. If you want luxury to surround you on your trip, read about the most expensive cities in the world. As most of us know, London is one of them. Moscow, however, was a big surprise for me.

Although a little different from the Accomline website, the blog inherits the same color range and has a pretty clear, easy to read template. One of the articles I enjoyed a lot was the one on transforming trains and trams into hotels. One of the train hotels is actually located in the Netherlands, maybe I’ll get to see it during my vacation there.

Accomline’s Blogline also features articles published on the AsiaHotels blog. Structered as tops (three cheapest cities for shopaholics, 5 weirdest things Chinese people it in Guanghhou) or as guides, they can turn out to be quite a useful resource for people traveling to that part of the globe.

The blog was only started last month. Thus, it is pretty new and lacks relevant reader feedback. I’ll keep an eye on it to see how well they do at replying comments and keeping the conversation going.

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posted by Alina @ 9:48 AM   2 comments
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Help Others by Donating a Car

Car donations can turn out to be a very good way of helping others. How would a Donate my car action actually help? Well, single mothers would have an easier life taking their children to and from school, extracurricular activities and so on, you would be helping others distribute promotional materials, you’d also be helping homeless people, teenagers and adults with addiction problems, you’d also be facilitating food distribution and making life better for orphans.

A simple old car donation can help achieve all that and more. Such a gesture should not be seen as charity only, as one willing to donate an old car, a boat or a trailer can benefit from certain advantages, such as tax deductions, avoiding all the fuss involved in getting smog certificate and other papers from the Department of Motor Vehicles, having the car picked up for free when it’s no longer running and canceling your insurance while still keeping the plates.

The CarAngel Ministries are a non profit auto donation charity specialized in facilitating give away of old cars, boats, trailers etc, thus saving you the time of selling your old automobile. While you help them help others, you also help yourself as CarAngel handles all the hassle.

Brought by CarAngel Ministries.


posted by Alina @ 9:32 AM   0 comments
Monday, August 06, 2007
Sites for Internet Addicts
I found out of PC Worlds top of 25 sites to keep an eye on via Sorin. I took a close look at some of them and here's what I found to be interesting or useful when spending most of your awake time online:

Wayfaring allows users to create maps for events, trips, day to day routes etc. Maps can be shared and viewed by other site users.

Swivel is the place to go for any type of research results, with graphs as a twist. It can turn out to be pretty useful for projects needing data.

Clipmarks is some kind of Stumpleupon with some cool extra features.

BlogBackupOnline is useful when your web hosting service or the free platform you're using does not satisfy your backup needs. It's a simple way to feel safer with your blog's content.

Approver lets you have certain documents distributed to an entire group to have them reviewed and approved.

Picnik is the site to go to when you need to edit a photo fast and have no photo editing software installed.

As you can see, only six of them. But take a look at the whole list and select your own favorites. Happy surfing everyone!

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posted by Alina @ 1:49 PM   0 comments
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
The Comic Strip Saga
After reading Piled Higher and Deeper, I never thought I'd run into another comic strip that was relevant to me to the extent of having me start reading from episode one and keep me going and going.

And I did. It's called Questionable Content. It has everything: geeks, shy people, smart people, ironical and even cynical people, drama, love, parties, fun, dinners and coffee shops. Oh, did I mention a professional dominatrix mother in all of this? It's fun to read, hope you like it as much as I did.

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posted by Alina @ 4:05 PM   1 comments
About Me

Name: Alina
Home: Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
About Me: "This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts". It's also where I feel free and my preferred means of expression.
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