Leaving Berlin

On the plane again. I have left Berlin with an Airbus 320-200 of Alitalia. Pushing away news of a bomb being found on board of one of Alitalia‘s flights recently I try to do something useful with my “air time”.

I grab one of the “Herald Tribunes”. Actually I grabbed three of them. Probably because I am used to being handed over a three-kilogram edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine on other flights and I forget that international US magazines and newspapers are usually not that thick because there is nothing to report on the world because nothing happens. At least nothing happens that you could explain to Americans that‘s easy to swallow.

The Tribune presents the usual stuff: photos of US soldiers in Iraq accompanied by happy children, US soldiers in Iraq taking away guns from civilians, US presidents claiming that the weapons of mass destruction will be found sooner or later. Hmm. The USA dropped so many cluster bombs and mines on that country, why don‘t they just take of them?

The cabin crew tells us there is a “problem with the catering”. What they mean is: there is no catering. Instead they serve disgusting coffee and tasteless crackers. The crew actually looks more swedish to me: they are all blond. But once they open their mouths it is clear they are not. It is difficult to tell if they are talking in italian or in english to you. It boths sound more or less the same.

So I turn to my computer and watch my battery drain faster than speed of light. When it awoke it showed 86%. I am sure it was fully charged when I left. My PowerBook G4 is two years old. And it shows: the PC-Card slot stopped working long time ago, the power connector has a Wackelkontakt, two pixel columns on the screen produce a fancy blue vertical line and the overall look of the machine can only be classified as “used”. I like the “used” style, but I would be much happier if Apple would start asking people like me what their computers should be made like. 76%.

I mean, you usually pay around 3000 to 4000 EUR for such a machine, depending on configuration. Quite a lot of cash. And if you drop it on the floor, it‘s kaputt. Funny, eh? Why can‘t these machines be rugged at the first hand? But no: they bend, they scratch, screws fall out of it and so on. The life cycle of a laptop is two years, not more. This has to change. But WWDC looms, “rumour” has it there might be a new PowerBook as well. My sources tell me that there will be a new PowerMac for sure but it is still unclear if there will be a new laptop. 66%.

Landed in Rome. It‘s hot when I enter the bus and I am happy to be back in air-conditioned realms again. I proceed to the transfer zone. Another bag check. My co-travellers are still too dumb to know that they have to take their metal stuff off before going throught the detector. However, the transfer zone is boring. Lots of shops, I choose the pizza place, I mean: this is Italy, isn‘t it?

It isn‘t. The pizza is just yet another junk product. But at least it tastes totally different from what I am used to in Germany. All the products are described in italian only. I don‘t care. I open my PowerBook: no wireless network available. Sigh. I was told there will be Internet in Torino airport. We‘ll see.

I bump into a “Telecom Italia” lounge-style area. It has six Windows terminals and some nice red couches with plugs for power, Ethernet and head phones (3,5mm so that standard computer headphones don‘t fit, oh my). And: there is a wireless network as well. But logging in is prohibited: the router blocks me because – as the helpless girls at the info counter put it – I am not a Telecom Italia customer. Why are they so stupid everywhere? Is it so complicated to just switch Internet ON at airports? I mean, they provide water and electricity for free. Why no Internet access? I don‘t get it. 46%.

However. My next flight is waiting. Bringing me to Torino (or should I call it Turin? No, I stick to the original name as I would do with any german city as well). No food on this flight at all. Just some dry biscuits and a bit of orange juice. I keep on reading until everything is over. Touchdown in Torino. There will be Olypmpics here in 2006. How interesting. My friends are late. I sit down and try to get Internet: nada. Again. I want to be in Helsinki now :-)

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