Escape from the City: Hiking at Lake Unterbach

Thanks to a public holiday I had the day off and decided to pay Düsseldorf-Unterbach and -Eller a visit. Thus checking off two more items from my list of 111 Places to see in Düsseldorf. I couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather to go hiking at Lake Unterbach (Unterbacher See).

Bootshafen Klein

Steg Klein

Großer Bootshafen Klein

On my way to Eller, this arch of unknown purpose caught my eye.

Fußgängerbrücke mit Bogen Klein

Advertisements

The Case of Outlook not downloading RSS content because of a problem connecting to the server

The Problem

I had been using Outlook to subscribe to RSS feeds for many years. Mostly because I like to have my email and news in one place with the ability to add them to my Outlook to-do list for follow-up.

Over time, however, I noticed that one feed after the other stopped updating. Even feeds from Microsoft sites such as TechNet and MSDN which I had assumed simply had to be compatible with Microsoft’s own RSS reader. Trying to remove and then re-add them gave the following error:

image

I eventually found out that all feeds that no longer updated had been switched from HTTP to HTTPS, which seems to be unsupported by Outlook.

The Cause

This support document describes the scenarios in which Outlook supports authenticated RSS feeds. Basically, support is extremely limited. Normally, HTTPS is not supported and the workaround using Internet Explorer’s Common Feed List did not work for me.

Initially, Internet Explorer would download the RSS feed and they would show up as unread items in Outlook, but after the initial download I wouldn’t get any new items in Outlook, even though they did show up in Internet Explorer.

The Solution

Searching online for a solution did not turn up anything. Either people described workarounds that did not work for me, or recommended simply abandoning Outlook in favor of some other feed reader.

So I implemented my own solution and wrote a very simple proxy server that runs a local web server via HTTP that fetches the requested feed via HTTPS from the original source. By configuring Outlook to use this proxy, I now receive updates for feeds in Outlook even when the source uses HTTPS.

This RSS-via-HTTP Proxy runs as a service in the background. Its source code and some instructions on how to configure it are available on GitHub.

Düsseldorf’s Docks: Old and New

Even though Düsseldorf’s docks have long been eclipsed by the much larger ones in nearby Neuss, there are a few spots where there are still active factories and you get a feel for what this area must have been like in busier days.

Muskator Klein

Kamin im Gegenlicht

Nonetheless, there are countless reminders that these busier days are long gone. Many buildings have been abandoned and trashed like this one.

Muskator Verwildert Klein

They are bordered by a “buffer zone”: empty lots where there used to be something and and new construction, adding to the already large number of beautiful new office buildings.

Alt und Neu

Buildings with inspiring names like SIGN!, DOCK and Capricorn (the Association of Architects has a flyer listing them all; PDF in German).

SIGN! Klein