CEU Campus Tour

When I was in Budapest for our 10-year MBA reunion, a classmate had organized a tour of the brand-new CEU campus. As you enter on Nador utca 15, you’re greeted by this quote from George Soros.

CEU Soros Quote

The entire new campus so beautiful, functional and full of well-designed details, it kind of makes you want to go back to university again.

CEU Staircase (1)

CEU Staircase (2)

CEU Library

CEU Atrium

 

CEU Hallway (1)

There are little study areas with computer screens around every corner.

CEU Hallway (2)

Even the benches on the roof have power outlets, so you can sit there with your laptop and get work done. Though I doubt, people would want to work there, when the can instead enjoy the sun and a view of all of Budapest’s architectural highlights.

CEU Rooftop (1)

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Characters in John Lanchester’s Capital

Capital by John Lanchester has been mentioned on this blog several times [1], [2], [3] as it is one of my favorite books. I particularly like its many initially distinct, but eventually overlapping story lines.

When we read complex books like this in school, the teacher would make us plot out the locations where the story took place or visualize the connections between its characters.

I didn’t believe it at the time, but it’s true that such as structured approach to a story really does make you understand and thus appreciate it more. It’s too bad I didn’t have this realization back then. Sorry, Ms. Bartholdi.

So having just finished the book (again), I tried graphing the connections between all of the main characters (i.e. characters that are connected to two or more other characters). At the center is the We Want What You Have campaign that brings them all together.

Capital Characters

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

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.