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Nov 5 08

Pack the correct electrical transformer

by Ted

powerplugI just came across this great resource for electrical outlets and plugs: Domestic AC Power Plugs and Outlets. It’s an exciting topic, down right electrifying. Sarcasm aside, this was the perfect answer for which transformer I need for a trip to Romania in the morning.

The Europlug is used in Class II applications throughout continental Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Iceland, Slovenia, Poland, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria). It is also used in Middle East, most of Africa, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Indonesia as well as the former Soviet republics, and many developing nations.

This plug is intended for use with devices that require 2.5 A or less. Because it can be inserted in either direction into the socket, live and neutral are connected at random.
Domestic AC Power Plugs and Outlets

Jun 28 08

Paris Gay Pride Parade

by Ted

I’ve been to several Pride Parades in California and was looking forward to seeing one in Paris. I expected a similar format: groups of floats, bands, people in cars, Dykes on Bikes, and politicians riding down the route as thousands of people watched and cheered.Paris gay pride route

I was really shocked when I arrived at the route a couple hours before the start and saw no signs of an event about to happen. Where were the crowds? Where were the signs, the chairs, the families?

I should have known better. This is Paris, not California. this is a country where protests, rallies, and parades are a common occurrence. They are participatory events. There were thousands of people in the parade, just not watching the parade.

The Pride Parade follows the standard parade/rally format. People show up at a designated area to prepare and coordinate. At the scheduled time, or after the standard delays, people start marching/walking/dancing/participating along the route to the final destination. Paris Pride Parade (Marche des Fiertes)Upon completion of the parade, there will be more music, dancing, eating, talking, and discussions.

If you’ve become bored of the French Pride Parade, take a trip to California or New York for a new perspective. Likewise, the Paris parade is a great alternative to the standard American exhibition.

Jun 14 08

Learn to be French via the iPod

by Ted

Gare du Nord

You’ll have a lot to learn when you move to France. You’ll need French language lessons, pick up the cultural references, and understand the history of Europe to truly appreciate your experience.

But how do you find the time to do all of this studying? Fortunately, we spend many hours each week riding the metro and your trusty Apple iPod or iPhone makes this job much easier.

Note: you cannot go directly to the podcasts or iTunesU material on the internet. The following links will prompt your computer to open your computer’s iTunes program. This is really annoying, but blame Apple, not me.

Podcasts and iTunesU

Podcasts are audio productions that are published on a regular basis. You can subscribe to them via iTunes and they will automatically appear on your iPod every time you synchronize. They are free and you’ll find a

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huge variety of topics to choose from.

Here are some useful podcasts for the new Parisian.

ITunesU – it’s like going to college without the dorm

ITunesU is a collaboration between Apple and the top Universities and educational organizations around the world. They typically record and publish the symposiums and extended study programs, rather than the normal courses. This gives you access to concentrated information by leading lecturers. I have found UC Berkeley and Stanford University presentations to be of the highest quality. Here are some of the iTunesU courses that I have found particularly interesting.

These are just a sampling of the information you can get on iTunes and iTunesU. The content is free and you’ll find your commutes much more productive as you learn history, language, and culture as you travel to work, school, or the museums. Take some time to explore iTunes, there are a lot of hidden gems.

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Apr 26 08

Easily convert square meters to square feet

by Ted

Paris in SpringIt’s a bit difficult shopping for a new apartment in France when you come from the United States, the non-metric country. How many square feet is that 35m2 apartment listed on Craigslist? Can I really fit my clothes and computer equipment?

I’ve gotten pretty good at converting temperatures, money, and lengths in my mind, but squaring those measurements just causes a headache. Luckily, I found this simple web page with an easy to use grid for comparing areas. Metric Conversions has several other useful tools as well. Add this bookmark and you’ll find it much easier determining what you need in an apartment.

Metric Conversion Charts