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Free Greek language packs made for iPod July 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Games & Gadgets, Learn To Speak Greek.
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Coolgorilla has announced the release of their two most recent iPod language packs, French and Greek. Developed in coordination with Lastminute.com, the new language packs join an already released pack in German, and are free downloads.

Read the article here > Free French, Greek language packs made for iPod


EU boosts Greek computing > update July 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web.
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The EU is to hand out some €210m to Greece to fund broadband networks, computers and training.

The near £150m hand out has been approved by the European Commission on the basis that it would boost adoption in areas of the country where consumers and businesses have difficulties accessing Internet connections.

This essentially translates as anywhere outside the main metropolitan areas of Athens and Thessaloniki.

The EU described the funding as ‘the most significant broadband project undertaken by a Member State’. Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: ‘I am pleased to endorse public funding for the deployment of broadband networks in under-served regions of Greece.

‘To date, this is the most ambitious broadband project notified under the state aid rules. The project is fully in line with the Commission’s policy to promote broadband in rural and remote areas and with the state aid rules.’

The money will be spent on ‘the provision of broadband access services by service providers’ as well as funding the purchase of PCs, modems, and any other Internet-related services such as training by end-users.

It’s no secret that Greece needs help, nor that the EU has funding plans to help bridge the digital divides in Europe.

In March the EU proposed that ‘Public intervention in the forms of loans and grants, often as public-private partnerships, should be further developed in under-served areas. Fiscal incentives for subscribers should be explored by Member States, in compliance with competition rules and technological neutrality’.

An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and its report on broadband for 2005 put Greece right at the bottom of the pile. It has no cable services to speak of; yet even with DSL access, connection rates are running at just 1.4 per 100 inhabitants.

But it’s not simply an issue of population density at the root of the problem. Greece’s population density of around 90 people per square kilometre looks pretty good against the likes of Australia or Iceland, which barely make a blip on the chart. Yet the latter boasts the highest figures for broadband penetration: 26.7 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. And in real numbers, Greece has more connections than Iceland.

Despite the physical problems of rolling out DSL services to a country made up of islands, another barrier to bridging the divide is simply a lack of interest and skills. A recent Eurostat survey put a figure of 65 per cent on the population of Greece that was unable to use a computer. And for the 55 and over demographic, that figure rockets to 93 per cent.

Spotlight on Greek cafes in Australia July 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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Inverell Greek cafés and their history will soon be showcased in an international touring exhibition.

Cafés such as Inverell’s former IXL Café and Monterey Café and the Australian Café, along with others from all over the country, will be featured in the exhibition Selling the American Dream: Australia’s Greek Cafés to be shown in Chicago, Washington, Canada, Canberra, Sydney and hopefully some regional centres.

Macquarie University’s historian Leonard Janiszewski and his partner and senior photographer Effy Alexakis, who are compiling the exhibition, hope the photographs and people’s stories can be enhanced by recollections from Inverell people who frequented the cafés.

“We want to know their stories – where they went, what they did there, what they ate and what the cafés looked like,” Mr Janiszewski said. “We want to know whether they went on their first date there or may have gone there for a Saturday treat.”

Mr Janiszewski said it was stories from the people who frequented the cafés that would make them come alive.

The duo has been researching Greek cafés and their affect on the Americanisation of Australia for a number of years, revealing a number of surprising discoveries.

Greek Americans who established the milk bars were responsible for introducing us to sweet, thick American icecream, the soda fountain, ‘spiders (more commonly known as icecream sodas), the juke box, many cinemas and a whole range of new decor styles.

The names also reflected the American origin of the cafés, with names such as ‘The Golden Gate’, ‘The Californian’ and ‘The Niagra’.

Mr Janiszewski said unfortunately the cafés which began as oyster saloons, made way for American giants such as McDonald’s and KFC which are now slowly running the few small country cafés still in existence out of business.

To contact Leonard Janiszewski and Effy Alexakis phone Macquarie University, (02) 9850 6886.

Tribute to UK Greek island war dead July 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News, Politics.
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Relatives of British servicemen killed during an attempt to liberate Greek islands in the eastern Aegean Sea during WWII have been commemorating the dead.

Wreaths were laid on the water near the island of Kalymnos, where two British ships, HMS Hurworth and HMS Eclipse, struck mines and sank in 1943. The warship struck a mine in Kalymnos Bay as it went to help survivors of a Greek vessel, the Adrias, which had been holed by a German torpedo.

The seaborne ceremony was not just about British sacrifice, it was also a reminder of Greek courage.

Read the story at > Tribute to UK Greek island war dead

Wisconsin’s Greek Festival July 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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It seemed inevitable that with the growing fame surrounding its food, especially the chicken dinners and the gooey baklava, Greek Fest would outgrow its home for 40 years at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.

This year, the festival moves to Wisconsin State Fair Park, a decision sure to give patrons and organizers more elbow room. Sadly, it also means visitors won’t have the beautiful church, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, as a backdrop to the fun.

All the other good stuff will be there, however: spanakopita spinach pies, gyros, saganaki flaming cheese and a variety of Greek pastries. Visitors also can see traditional Greek dancers in authentic costume and hear continuous live music on multiple stages.

Greek Fest hours are noon to 10 p.m. today through Sunday, in the North Lot of State Fair Park, 8100 W. Greenfield Ave. Visitors should enter at Gate 6, near the Pettit National Ice Center. Admission is free until 3 p.m. each day, $3 after that for people over 12.

For information, see www.annunciationwi.com  or call (414) 461-9400.

Socrates is a great example July 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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Socrates is a great example. When he was told to shut up or face the consequences, he refused to stop philosophizing. His fellow citizens decided to put him to death. When his friend Crito asked why he did not simply leave Athens, he replied:

“Or is your wisdom such that you do not see
that more than mother and father and all other ancestors
the country is honorable and revered and holy
and in greater esteem both among the gods
and among humans who have intelligence,
also she must be revered and more yielded to and humored”

“and suffer whatever she directs be suffered,
keeping quiet, and if beaten or imprisoned
or brought to war to be wounded or killed,
these are to be done,
and justice is like this,
and not yielding nor retreating nor leaving the post,
not only in war and in court but everywhere
one must do what the state and the country may order”

Socrates might have gotten away from everything. He could have run off to Rome, for example, as was the custom. In fact, 300 years later, there were so many Greeks in Rome that Juvenal complained that they were ruining the city. “I cannot abide…a Rome of Greeks…there is no room for any Roman here.” Nothing about the Greeks appealed to him.

Ovid, by contrast, didn’t have to worry about any Greeks crowding into Rome since he was exiled to the Black Sea for writing what was either naughty or critical, historians are not sure which. He couldn’t bear being away from Rome – even if it was filling up with low-life Greeks.

From his exile, he kvetched about the weather (too cold), the people (barbarians), the language (incomprehensible) – everything.

And to the poetry he continued sending back to Rome, he added plaintively, “I wish to be with you in any way I can”. He even concocted a few lies about the climate – complaining about the snow lying on the ground all year round and wine freezing in the bottle – to get Augustus to let him go back.

Of course, not all the ancients were homebodies like Socrates and Ovid. When the Cynic Diogenes, for instance, was asked where he came from, he replied: “I am a citizen of the world”. He meant he was not ruled by local concerns and customs but by a more universal code, what the Stoics elaborated as a “kosmou polites” – or worldwide citizenry.

Marcus Aurelius extolled the virtues of the kosmous polites. “One must first learn many things before one can judge another’s action with understanding” he said.

But we have noticed that the more we learn, the less we know. Hardly have we got one idea down then another comes along to challenge it.

In Socrates’ view, the masses need shared values to make the city-state work.

Are we ready to follow Socrates’ example?

Your comments are welcomed!

The philosophy of happiness July 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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So, what is the philosophy of happiness?

While one can have serious concerns about his views on this important subject, let me begin with mentioning Herodotus who is a remarkable example of wisdom.

One of the important things to emerge from this historical approach is that happiness is a concept heavily dependent on cultural atmosphere. The view of the ancient Greeks was that no person could be declared happy until they were dead, since untold calamities might intervene before their demise.

Happiness was then a “characterisation of an entire life that can be reckoned only at death” – a notion which, were it widely held today, would force the entire self-help industry to the wall.

This sort of “happiness” is specific to the Greeks. Likewise, the idea of happiness as related to property and consumption depended on what one calls the central creed of the new “secular religion” that developed at the end of the 19th century: economic growth.

But is economic growth the only aspect of happiness?

Let us read your comments!