This blog is about the adventures of a software developer from Amsterdam who is now living in Nice and working in Sophia Antipolis, on the Côte d'Azur.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

iPod manufacturing

These days everyone and their mother owns an i-pod. Apart from the fact that these devices sell for outrageous prices, and that it's apparently quite usual to be re-formatting them regularly (for example if you use some 3rd party program, and Boom! it's gone. No problem, just re-format..), it also appears that your beloved snubs' company Apple has them produced in Shenzhen, China, in circumstances that are bad enough to put this company on a par with other heroes of exploitation like Nike and McDonalds. See for example this story.

If you really must ignore the circumstances of where you are, plugging your auditory orifices with out-of-ambience sound, why don't you assemble a small radio for yourself? Low-tech, low-price, and you're not stuck with the same songs you already heard too often.

"Peace Dormitory" where many hundreds of iPod assembly employees stink together after their 15 hour work day

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Last weekend I went with my visitors Ingrid, Roy and Youri to Puget-Theniers, a village some 65 km north-west of Nice (or 1,5 hours by the little train) in a mountainous area. The train basically follows the Var, the river that meanders down to Nice in a pebbly river bed at least 10 times wider than the river itself. We did a beautiful hike, at times a bit scary for those who fear heights (like me), especially when crossing a ridge with steep limestone ravine-ish slopes to both sides. We enjoyed nice views over the vally of the Var, though. I'll definitely do more exploring in this area.

World Cup 2006

A bit after the fact, here you have some pictures of the final match of the World Cup football: France - Italy. The game where Zidane exited his career with the famous head-butt. Italy won.

The phenomenon of football is in France not nearly the social issue that it is, for example, in Holland. All the time during the World Cup no-one was interested in it at all, not until France won the semi-finals from Brazil and there were just a few days to go to the finals. No French flags in every street and every shop - this kind of thing, which
in Holland so sickens me, blissfully absent. For the final match, however, a very large screen was put out on the Promenade des Anglais, and thousands of people came to watch. Another striking contrast to how this would have been in Holland: the crowd was completely quiet during the game, no fighting, even practically no shouting - and when lost, everyone simply went home and the 25% Italians in Nice took over the streets..

Crowd watches match on the Promenade

Meanwhile, the beach lies quiet

Some fireworks when Italy won

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Jellyfish Côte d’Azur

The last couple of days, this blog has been frequently visited by American people searching Google for jellyfish in Nice or Corsica. Somehow this blog turns up high, even before this post, all because of 1 picture of a jellyfish in Corsica. So what's the news? Earlier this summer the newspaper Nice-Matin ran a story that there were "more" jellyfish than in normal years, here in the Baie des Anges. The article also neatly explained the effect of a sting (feels like an electric shock and a hot iron at the same time) and what to do about it when you get one (go to medical post at the beach; or rinse with 10% ammonia solution; and there was something involving tomatoes or bananas too, I don't remember).

Personally I've seen only one jellyfish so far, this side of the sea. And it doesn't look like anyone at all is deterred from the beaches and the sea for this reason. But yesterday, the Riviera Times ran a story explaining

Hundreds of Pelagia noctiluca jellyfish that swept in on a current from Italy at the weekend are still present on the Côte d’Azur

So now we know where they are from !!

In any case, they are very beautiful.. just think of that to ease your pain.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bus #230 summertime blues

Now that it's July and August, the company STCAR that operates line #230, the "express" between Nice and Sophia Antipolis, has had the brilliant idea of reducing bus frequency. Not that it was all that frequent anyway, but why not even less buses.. it's summer after all. Unfortunately this does not quite correspond to any lesser number of potential passengers. Added to that the fact that this bus does not take anyone if all seats are taken, the effect is that in the more popular hours, like going-to-work-time, the bus everyday refuses passengers at my stop Gambetta/Promenade. If it happens to you, you just have to hope the next bus (which will come after a very long time) has a seat for you. Or else, the one after that.. in which case you might as well take the rest of the day off and stay on the beach.

My own solution is preventing this by walking all the way to the stop at Albert Premier at the edge of the old town. This way I get on the bus a couple of stops earlier, and I've never been refused there yet. But I have to leave home even earlier..

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Trailing mouse pointer

Happened to open this site, which features an interesting but eery trailing mouse pointer.. you never get to see his face.