skidding

just back from an unusual afternoon and evening: the [IBM ZRL hobbyclub][] had organized an anti-skidding course at the [anti-skidding school regensdorf (assr)][ASSR]. the weather was fantastic for the occasion: it’s raining cats and dogs. the course took place at the driving range of the [ASSR][] in [regensdorf][] — we got there by 14:00. the driving range is arranged like a stretched and slightly flattened letter ‘B’ with two loops at each end joining a long straight stretch in the middle. the middle stretch consists of a wide piece of specially treated road having the same characteristics as ice, the practical exercises are done in cars provided by ASSR — specially treated cars that is: the back tires are completely without profile…

[IBM ZRL hobbyclub]: http://www.hobbyclub.ch/index.htm
[ASSR]: http://www.assr.ch/
[regensdorf]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regensdorf

the whole afternoon was highly educating — as well as highly nerve wrecking: we split up into teams of two and then had to practise sudden lane changes. even though we drove at low speed (20–30kph) as soon as we yanked the steering wheel around it was ballet time: almost all of us at first ended up [pirouetting][] — a hair-raising experience, loosing control over the car completely; even worse if you are **not** in the driver’s seat. eventually though we kind of managed to get the hang of loosing control in a controlled way 🙂 and regaining it. then it was more theory on the art of braking:

* learnt that the legally prescribed amount of force to effect an all-out braking is 80kg: meaning you have to press with at least 80kg on the brake pedal, i manage (2nd attempt) 99kg with a reaction time of 0.47secs — which translates to a stopping distance of 19m from 50kph
* we also were reminded of the relationship between speed and kinetic energy: it’s quadratic not linear, meaning that if you double the speed, the kinetic energy of your car is quadrupled — and, hence, you need four times the distance to come to a complete stop!
* when you are going 60kph instead of, let’s say 50kph, by the time you’d have come to a complete and full stop when braking from 50kph you are still going 40kph — a kid running into the street would certainly be dead, an adult might be dead
* similar thing with going 50kph in a 30kph zone: at the distance you’d have covered to come to a complete stop when braking from 30kph you’d still be going 50kph because of the delayed reaction and kinetic energy

sobering, very sobering. again we practice all-out breaking on the driving range: with and without [ABS][] — which makes a tremendous difference (but is not the silver bullet the car industry wants to make us believe: you can still — and easily — get your car into a sideways skid rendering the car completely uncontrollable) — this time i manage to keep the car straight 🙂

[ABS]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-lock_braking_system

after a final session on keeping distance (the old [two-second rule][]!) — every single day there are between 6 and 8 bumper crashes in the three zurich road tunnels with every single bumper crash due to violation of the two-second rule! — and new and changed swiss road rules (crossing a solid line is punished with suspension of your license, changing lanes at an autobahn junction to let cars in is not allowed, every change of direction has to be signaled — even if following a right-of-way road through a junction), we are out again practising double lane changes: utilizing the skid of the car from the first lane change to get back into the original lane after the obstacle.

[two-second rule]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-second_rule_%28road%29

all in all a very educating afternoon, nerve wrecking but also fun 🙂
[pirouetting]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_ballet#Pirouette

two worship services done…none remaining

with the [mobility car][] parked again at [adliswil station][], we are now back home. the service in wollishofen went very well as well — after the “small walk” this afternoon, though, i was a bit tired and fighting against falling asleep during the prayer time…

it seems the weather has finally decided to turn autumnal: after weeks of relatively warm weather, it started raining as soon as we sat inside the S4 train from sihlbrugg to adliswil after our walk, and now it’s become gusty and is really pouring down from time to time.

i guess this was the last walk we did this year — but there’s hope: we’ve discovered [snowshoeing…][].

[mobility car]: http://www.mobility.ch
[adliswil station]: http://www.szu.ch/de/dyn_output.html?content.void=1035&navid=185&SID=82c2bb79c558a7f74b0aca61f93eee81#baustein2
[snowshoeing…]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowshoe

quite a nice sunday all in all. tired but happy.

a “small” walk…broken tombstones…

we just made it back in time: the worship service in [wollishofen][] is in about 55min 🙂 the walk was fantastic, lots of pictures (need to process & upload them still), lots of things to see — including a footpath (near sihlbrugg) consisting partially of broken tombstones, both old and new ones! very weird and a bit disconcerting to walk across somebody tombstone…we had a coffee and a piece of torte at the “pub” in sprüermüli: the torte was advertised as a _kirschtorte_ leading me to believe it would be a torte containing cheerries — well, not quite: what i got was a colorful cake-something that was soaked in [kirsch][]…lol

[kirsch]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirsch
[wollishofen]: http://www.umc-europe.org/zuerich2/

in the train i take a look at mrs d’s guide book: that “small walk” was an 18km one!

one worship service done, one to go…

just back from the first worship service today — mrs d and i are in charge of the morning service in [adliswil][] as well as the evening service in [wollishofen][] tonight (19:00). the theme was (and still is) [“silence — prayer — humility — obedience”,][sermon] a rather interesting and difficult one. we got good feedback and had a couple of good discussions afterwards — can’t have been to far off the mark then…

[adliswil]: http://www.umc-europe.org/adliswil/
[wollishofen]: http://www.umc-europe.org/wollishofen/
[sermon]: http://d2h.net/blog/stuff/schweigen-gebet-demut-gehorsam.pdf

after a second breakfast we are now off to [sihlbrugg][] to do a “small” walk from [sihlbrugg][] to [hirzel][] to [sihlsprung][] and then back to sihlbrugg.

[sihlbrugg]: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sihlbrugg
[hirzel]: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirzel
[sihlsprung]: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sihl

two across: fast german car, also an author

after a leisurely morning and same breakfast we eventually make our way into town: tickets to [heidelberg][] for mrs d, hiking boots to try on for mrs d, [nik-wax][] waterproofing stuff for me, and a browse through our local bookshop, [thalia].

[heidelberg]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidelberg
[nik-wax]: http://www.nikwax.co.uk/en-gb/index.php
[thalia]: http://www.service.thalia.de/thalia.vorort.php?vst=524

the queue at the ticket counter is a bit long so we go for the hiking boots and the nik-wax first: the boots are the right size but still too wide for mrs d (they promise to order the smaller variant), i do get the _cotton nik-wax_ stuff. we return to the railway station: the queue is still quite long, so we bite the bullet and join it. eventually it’s our turn, we get our tickets, pay and leave. the chinese lady that was already keeping one of the three ticket counters busy when we joined the queue (she apparently was trying to get tickets to [einsiedeln][] — at least that’s what i overheard) is still discussing things with the poor guy behind ticket counter 1…

[einsiedeln]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einsiedeln%2C_Switzerland

at thalia i come across _[skybreaker][]_ by [kenneth oppel] and start reading it…until mrs d comes by to pick me up again — the beginning is quite a fascinating read (it apparently plays in the 1930s in a world that has a well established airship industry) and i make a note to get a copy (there’s a “german” car manufacturer [it really is GM] called opel, and oppel is kind of the short pronounciation: so “fast german car and also an author” is a good way to remember the author’s name 🙂

[skybreaker]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skybreaker
[kenneth oppel]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Oppell

mission impossible…

i’m back in erlangen. for lunch (it’s raining and getting cold) i venture into town to have a döner kebab and also look for a pair of black [geox][] shoes. the döner part of my lunch break is quite successful, the shoe part turns out to be mission impossible.

the _schuh schuster_ shoe shop is not really interested in selling shoes it seems, the sales assistant is visibly annoyed at having to deal with me — oh, well, i oblige and leave…_schuh mengin_ does have geox shoes and also has a model that suits me — the bloke who said hello in passing (whom i had assumed to be a student who mistook me for someone else) turns out to be a rather casually dressed sales assistant!

and what a sales assistant he turns out to be: he’s wearing a headset and microphone — and once i’ve managed to convey my interest in a shoe consultancy he is quickly at hand, listens to my query (would they have that model in size 45 as well?), and very quickly gets me a pair in 45. very fast! — and very wrong: wrong model. having pointed out that little detail to him, he really gets into action: now’s the hour of the headset and microphone! he retreats a bit with and then starts mumbling numbers (and eventually “size 45…or 46”) — alas, it’s mission impossible: even the high tech gear doesn’t help, ground control on the other end of the wireless link informs him that they don’t have the model i took a fancy to, neither in 45 nor in 46…

…neither do the rest of erlangen’s shoe shops. mission impossible.

[geox]: http://www.geox.com/

swisscom eurospot doing a man-in-the-middle attack???

i woke up early this morning (well, early for me), and, not having had a chance to check on my email since sunday, decided to buy two hours worth of WLAN time from [swisscom eurospot][] — i’m currently on a business trip to mainz in germany. accessing my mail was not a problem, replying to it turned out to be one:

[swisscom eurospot]: http://www.swisscom.com/hospitality/


man in the middle attack detected

at first i thought my mail server had a problem…quickly checking the log files via SSH turned out that it didn’t even see the mail connection attempt! weirder and weirder! the domain name entry was still correct:

> > dig mail.d2h.net
> ; <<>> DiG 9.3.2 <<>> mail.d2h.net
> ;; global options: printcmd
> ;; Got answer:
> ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 9420 > ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 4, ADDITIONAL: 4
>
> ;; QUESTION SECTION:
> ;mail.d2h.net. IN A
>
> ;; ANSWER SECTION:
> mail.d2h.net. 120 IN A 62.2.105.228

next step was to check directly what was going on via telnet to the mail server port:

> > telnet mail.d2h.net 25
> Trying 62.2.105.228…
> Connected to mail.d2h.net.
> Escape character is ‘^]’.
> 220 safetwo.sceur.ch NO UCE ESMTP Postfix

and, **bingo!**, it looks like a **[classical man-in-the-middle attack!][] is swisscom eurospot trying to intercept the mail traffic???**

[classical man-in-the-middle attack!]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_in_the_middle

just to show you what should have happened, here’s a proper response from mail.d2h.net (captured from a non-eurospot-tampered-with-connection):

> > telnet mail.d2h.net 25
> Trying 62.2.105.228…
> Connected to mail.d2h.net.
> Escape character is ‘^]’.
> 220 mail.d2h.net ESMTP Postfix

not good at all. i consider this an invasion into my privacy as well as an interferring with my mail traffic.