surprise, surprise…

just read on [spiegel-online][] about a debit card scam where the crackers broke and entered into gardening centers at night and modified the debit card reading machines — and subsequently obtained a large number of debit card numbers and PINs. surprise, surprise… that must be one of the easiest ways of getting at those details: who is going to check the wiring in your local supermarket or gardening center? just splice a bluetooth node (or a long distance zigbee node, capable of covering 1km range) into the card reader cable, and, voila!

time to switch to real smart cards and do [challenge–response based schemes][].

[spiegel-online]: http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/0,1518,471531,00.html
[challenge–response based schemes]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Challenge_response

two for the price of one…or: up in winter, down in summer

back from a fantastic day at glaubenberg. fantastic and also a bit unexpected. we took the 8:15 train from adliswil to zürich this morning, then went to lucerne and changed into the brünig pass train but only as far as sarnen. the weather was fantastic: blue skies and mild.

at sarnen we were _not_ the only ones: quite a number of snow shoe walkers, just plain walkers, and ski tourers were going up to langis by post bus as well! while we were stuffing our gear into the bus’s luggage compartment, the post bus driver of the melchsee-frutt bus drops the remark that the melchsee-frutt ski area was already overcrowded!

after another post horn ride (if the roads are narrow and winding enough, the swiss post bus drivers are sounding their post bus horn, nice sound that) we get to langis. the snow cover looks so-so — enough to start the snow shoe trail, though.

basically, the snow show trail follows the summer trail to jänzi: at first along a meandering creek, then, after about 2km we leave the creek and start the ascent. we are on the western side of the mountain range which jänzi is part of and the the trail leads us through a forest — which means that the snow is still more or less “snow shoeable” and we enjoy the winding snow shoe trail up the mountain.

tracking down from jänzi once up at jänzi there’s a fantastic view across the swiss alps! after a brief break we continue on our trail — which only works out for about 500m: the snow very quickly turns into slush and all of a sudden is no longer with us…it’s like we’ve stepped from winter into summer just by traversing 50m of mountain slope: it’s sunny, quite warm (nice), at a nearby alp walkers are sunbathing. in view of the hopeless situation (it doesn’t really look like we are going to have a severe snow storm bring 1m of snow within the next 10min — actually, it doesn’t look like it’s ever going to snow again this side of the summer solstice, coming to think of it), we alter our plans slightly and instead of completing the circuit we descend to sarnen 🙂

as i said, a rather nice summer walk (well, with the exception of some thick trees who still deem themselves in winter)…a funny day out: starting in winter, ending in summer.

thinkpad spare part delivery, rain covers, planning sunday’s tour

somewhere a door-buzzer is doing its job…repeatedly…with a jolt i’m wide awake: it’s our door-buzzer! rats! i get out of bed, jump into my trousers and rush to the door…over the intercom it’s the deep voice of our postman: an express delivery! the downstairs door seems to be still locked, requiring me to grab my keys and run down to let him in: instead of the anticipated swiss maps it’s the replacement keyboard cover for my X60s (which started disintegrating last three days ago) from the IBM spare parts center…

today we are going downtown to buy rain covers for our rucksacks as well as a day rucksack for dorothee. after a long breakfast we are finally off and take the bus and tram to [eiselin sport][] (where we get everything we wanted), then continue to orell-füssli to look for some decent C# books (no decent ones to be had) — our attempt to have cup of coffee at the [hiltl][] fails miserably: they have not yet reopened 🙁 duh, so we retreat back home.

[eiselin sport]: http://www.eiselin-sport.ch/
[hiltl]: http://www.hiltl.ch/

for tomorrow we originally had an afternoon walk in mind — however! — i’m itching to do another snow shoe trail (sst) and remember that our alpine consultant mr r once mumbled something about the [glaubenberg area][]. a look at the [globaltrail][] pages tells us that the trail langis–jänzi–langis trail seems to be open, the [web cam][] shows that they do have snow (at least the area the web cam is covering…). so, we decide to skip tomorrow’s worship service and take the train to lucerne and then to sarnen and the post bus up to langis! let’s see how that works out!

[glaubenberg area]: http://www.langis-glaubenberg.ch/
[web cam]: http://www.loipe-langis.ch/webcam/webcam-rueckblick.html
[globaltrail]: http://www.globaltrail.ch/en.html