Category Archives: general

Using Passbook for Boarding a Flight

On my trip to Berlin for the Scala Days conference, I used Passbook for the first time to store my boarding pass. I thought it would be interesting to share this first paperless boarding experience with you.

When I did the check-in on Swiss’ website the day before my flight, I chose to receive the boarding pass electronically. In the e-mail I got, there was a Passbook file, which I opened with my iPhone. The Passbook app was started and showed the boarding pass. On it there were a couple of information like the boarding time, flight number, seat, and a large 2D-code shown up.

When I arrived at the airport, I asked someone if I needed to go through the self check-in, since I did not receive any luggage sticker yet. Fortunately it was not needed. I could go directly to the luggage drop-off. It was a fair amount of time saved for me. The queue at the luggage drop-off was fair to quite large, but fortunately things were moving at a sustained pace there. After having dropped my bag, it was time to pass the security check. Before that, I had to scan the 2D code to get into the passenger only zone. It was a bit strange to scan my phone display while most of the other passengers had their paper slip processed. But things went smoothly.

The first time I felt the need to grab the — backup — paper boarding pass was when I was in the duty free zone. I wanted to check which gate I was supposed to embark on and could not find this information in Passbook. So I digged the paper print from my bag to see that this information was also missing on it. There was apparently a large display with the gate and departure times, though I had some issue finding my flight, since it had two flight numbers at the same time, being conjointly operated by Swiss and Lufthansa.

Last but not least, I could embark, this time again, by scanning my phone display showing the boarding pass.

Overall it was a fun experience. Next time I might try it without a paper backup.

On the plus side
- Web check-in with Swiss airline quickly done in four easy steps (less time spent queuing at the airport).
- No print out of the boarding pass needed
- Passbook shows automatically the boarding pass on the iPhone lock screen while I was at the airport (that would be an advantage compared to only showing the boarding e-mail with a smartphone)

On the minus side
- Passbook locks the screen — and hides the boarding pass — after just a couple of seconds
- Watch out for the battery level, would not be cool to run out of power!
- Looks geeky — this one might be a plus point though!

How to Know if a File on Linux is Sparse?

A sparse file is a file which does not take more space on disk than needed. Such a file is usually used to store a partition image on disk, for instance with a virtualization solution like Xen.

It’s super easy, to know if a file is sparse or not. Just use the ‘s’ option of ls.

ls -alsh

will yield:

4.0K drwxr-xr-x 9 root root 4.0K 2010-03-23 18:22 .
4.0K drwxr-xr-x 23 root root 4.0K 2009-01-09 19:47 ..
12G -rw-r----- 1 root root 24G 2007-01-10 19:55
3.7G -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 7.1G 2009-01-06 21:09 dompat-hardy.sys
501M -rw-r----- 1 root root 501M 2007-01-07 16:40 dompat.swap

Where the first size column is the effective space taken on disk while the second size column is the max space of that file. We see that is sparse, since its max size is 24 GB while it takes only 12 GB on disk.


  • More information on command which can handle sparse files in this article

New Mix: Electro-rock to Minimal

Check out my new mix in the sound section! I did something a bit different than the previous time, as I wanted to explore the electro-rock style, which is really a great and energetic combination.

  • Extrabright Mix 02: From electro-rock to minimal, with an electronica introduction and a new age epilogue. Calvin Harris remixed by Mr. Oizo, Ellen Alien, Justice, Miss Kittin, Love Motel and a couple of other great tracks.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

TED Talks

I like particularly the TED talks. They are creative, expose innovative ideas in the fields of science, art, education, technology, design and even spirituality. It is a great source of inspiration. Now with leopard I can also watch my TED podcasts on TV using the new frontrow application. This is awesome.

In The following talk, Ken Robinson talks about creativity and education in “Do schools today kill creativity?”.

[youtube iG9CE55wbtY]

Swiss Elections

Let me just comment what happened this week-end in Switzerland through a couple of quotes from international newspapers.

Le Monde, Paris “La droite ultranationaliste renforce sa position dominante aux élections législatives en Suisse” (“The ultra-nationalist right-wing party reinforces its position at the legislative elections in Switzerland”).

El Pais, Madrid “La derecha xenófoba suiza gana las elecciones con el 29% de los votos” (“The xenophobic right wing movement wins the elections with 29% of the votes”).

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Frankfurt “Leichter Ruck nach rechts” (“Slight hitch to the right”).

The Times, London: “Billionaire inspired by ancient martyr, Christoph Blocher of the Swiss People’s Party led his party to victory after a campaign with a trident anti-immigrant tone“.

Back in Madrid

We arrived yesterday in Madrid, back from a short week in Extremadura. It was a nice journey. We visited some other nice pueblos. Caceres about 80 km North of Don Benito, where we saw nice roman and arab ruins, in particular a few towers around the antique city along with walls protecting against invaders. Caceres shows a nice mix between the original roman style and arab constructions. We went also to Guadalupe, a village in the mountain at 1.5 hour driving North East from Don Benito. There we visited an old monastery, where lots of antique christian objects in the purest Spanish and baroque tradition have been conserved. We did finally a short stop on Thursday in Medellin, that I mentioned already in my last post. There we saw of course a statue of Hernan Cortes. I am wondering if this guy is worth admiring, considering what has been done by the spanish conquistadors in South America, where the native peoples were persecuted, their culture and language largely cannibilized by the spanish invaders.

¡Visitando España!

Spending some holidays in Spain at the moment. We arrived on Saturday in Madrid and then went to Don Benito on Sunday. It is a small town at 3.5 hours driving from Madrid, in Extremadura, a state in the center of Spain bording Portugal. Very nice. The area has lots of antique roman buildings to visit. We were yesterday in Merida, about 60 km away from Don Benito, where we visited lots roman ruins like a stadium, a theatre, various houses and roman roads, as well as an incredible roman bridge that is still in use today and is a couple of hundreds meter long! Definitely worth visiting.

It’s funny, because around here there are lots of villages or small town with well known names. A village beside Don Benito is named Medellin. There are just a couple of thousands people living there. But it is also the home village of the spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes, so no wonder that there is a city in South America, in Colombia, with that name. Merida, is also a name found in Equator and some other place around the world. Although I am not sure why.

What is it?

Ok, I have another brain-teaser for you guys. Please don’t post the answer in the comments, so the one arriving afterwards can guess as well. You can drop me a line to check if your answer is right (pajai at extrabright dot com).

- It is more powerful than god

- More evil than the devil

- The riches don’t have it

- The poors do have it

- If we eat it, we die.

Which Way?

A prisoner is escaping from jail. At some point on his path, he is arriving at a crossing. He can take either the road to the left or the one to the right. One will lead him to freedom while the other back to jail. He does not know which one. On each side of the road, there is a guy waiting. The prisoner knows that one of them is honest while the other is not. The prisoner is allowed to ask just one question to one of them, in order to find his way. What is the right question to ask?