Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Don't fly Austrian Airlines, if you're a vegetarian

Two weeks ago, I went on a 5-day trip to Vienna. I had booked a flight on Austrian Airlines, through Swiss. I'm a vegetarian, so I was quite anxious, because I was not asked if any special meal was required when I bought my tickets. I was delighted to see that the meal served during the flight was vegetarian for all passengers. It consisted of spinach and ricotta ravioli with cherry tomatoes and a cream sauce of some sort. Not that bad.

Four days later, on the flight back to Geneva, though, the meal contained ham (why in hell do people need ham or bacon in what would otherwise be perfectly fine vegetarian dishes?). I told one of the flight attendants that I was vegetarian, but she couldn't do anything about it and didn't particularly seem to care. It wasn't such a big deal, but I was really hungry. I ate the small piece of bread they gave me, as well as my dessert. When I arrived in Geneva, I was hungry again. It was 10:15 PM. I had to buy something to fill my stomach before I went to bed.

A few days later, I wrote an e-mail to Austrian Airlines. I guess I cannot reproduce their reply here, since it comes with the usual "confidential" notice. Anyway, to sum it up, they can't offer vegetarian meals, because then they would have to offer "a lot of other special meals". If it's not a bad excuse, I don't know what it is. We're in 2008. It shouldn't be too difficult to have special meals served even during short flights. After all, airlines don't make them themselves. And if I can't have a vegetarian meal, at least I shouldn't have to pay for other people's meals.

So, what airlines would you recommend or advise against for vegetarians? What are your best or worst experiences, when it comes to in-flight vegetarian meals (or lack thereof)?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Les Liaisons Dangereuses au Pulloff

Je l'avoue : je n'ai ni lu le livre ni vu ses différentes adaptations cinématographiques, dont la plus connue de Stephen Frears en 1988 (avec Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer et Keanu Reeves, rien que ça).

Par contre, il y a deux jours, j'ai vu la mise en scène de Jean-Gabriel Chobaz, au Pulloff, à Lausanne. Cette pièce est l'adaptation théâtrale du texte de Christopher Hampton, traduit en français par Jean-Claude Brisville, texte lui-même adapté du roman épistolaire de Pierre Choderlos de Laclos de 1782 (vous me suivez ?).

Si un journal gratuit médiocre (n'est-ce pas un pléonasme ?) vous a dit que la pièce comportait des scènes de nudité, n'y allez pas pour ça ou, inversément, que cela ne vous empêche pas d'y aller : oui, il y en a, mais il y a plus que ça. Il s'agit d'ailleurs bien plus d'érotisme que de nudité. C'est le texte, superbe, qui veut ça. Ambiance gothique, décadente, maquillages et costumes magnifiques, anachronismes, musique étonnamment rock ou, au contraire, classique (superbe extrait de la Suite N° 3 en ré majeur de Bach), etc. Difficile de ne pas être touché, troublé. Je vous recommande vivement d'aller le vérifier par vous-mêmes. Après le Pulloff, la pièce sera jouée ailleurs en Suisse Romande (Morges, Avenches, Treyvaux, Vevey, Yverdon-les-Bains, Berne, Bulle, Sion et Genève).

Note pour Madeline Golay, qui s'est occupée des costumes : Prince, dont je suis fan, porte le corset bien plus serré que cela (comprendront ceux qui ont vu ou verront la pièce).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Google classifies its own e-mails as spam

Warning: this blog entry is not about Microsoft and Yahoo!.

I don't know if I am the only one to experience this "bug", but whenever I receive an e-mail from Blogger (a blog publishing system acquired by Google in 2003), be it a copy of an article I just posted or a notification that a new comment has been left on my blog, it is almost always classified as spam by Gmail (which is, needless to say, also owned by Google). Kind of ironic, isn't it?

The "Not Spam" button doesn't seem to work (i.e. it doesn't seem to have any influence on the way Gmail classifies further e-mails from Blogger). Maybe this problem is caused by the fact that I am using another e-mail address for Blogger (which is redirected to my Gmail address)?

I'm generally happy with the quality of Gmail's spam filter, but I still get genuine e-mails in my spam folder, from time to time. Even e-mails that don't come from Blogger. That's the kind of things you don't want to happen with a spam filter. I'd rather have a bit more spam in my inbox. So, let's hope Google is still working on their spam filtering algorithms.

And, yes, if Flickr is indirectly acquired by Microsoft (through Yahoo!), that would suck and I would seriously consider moving to Picasa Web Albums. Maybe. Okay, maybe not, but that would definitely suck.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Copyright infringement is not theft

It has been said many times before, but it can never be said enough: copyright infringement is not theft. These are different concepts, covered by different laws. Apparently, there are still ignorant people who claim they are the same thing. It is not news. The problem is that some of these people are allowed to talk in public. A few days ago, U2's manager Paul McGuinness gave a speech at the MIDEM music industry convention in Cannes, which has been posted on U2's Web site. In that speech, McGuinness pathetically shows that he is one of these numerous music industry professionals who just want things to stay the same. But more than that, he shows that he doesn't even understand the basic difference between copyright infringement and theft:

"(...) it is terrible that a direct effect of piracy and thievery has been the destruction of so many careers."

"(...) I'm not talking just of their tolerance of copyright theft."

"(...) I suggest we shift the focus of moral pressure away from the individual P2P file thief (...)"

Thievery? Copyright theft? File thief? It is painfully obvious that McGuinness doesn't know what he's talking about. U2 should be ashamed to allow such messages to appear on their Web site.

Oh, and by the way, did you know copyright infringement is not theft?