English Muffins! Dampfnudeln! SketchUp!

I’m glad I’m not working this week — I might not have had the pleasure of these several experiences  In reverse chronological order:

Thanks, Wikipedia!
Thanks, Wikipedia!
  1. I stumbled upon English Muffins at Edeka this afternoon! I’ve been looking for these puppies for like five years now. Maybe they were there the whole time and I’m just not a good finder (ask Sarah), but I prefer to believe that they’re new to the market (at least around here). Stocked up this afternoon, tried ’em out this evening with a little lemon curd spread over them and…yum!
  2. Dampfnudel Uli is one of those places I’ve been walking or biking past for about five years now and haven’t ever tried — though locals have recommended it to me on occasion. It’s literally a hole in the wall around the corner from L’Osteria tucked back in one of those Altstadt streets which are almost too narrow for my bike. Besides Dampfnudeln, they specialize in kitsch*. We should have figured this out from their odd hours: 10:01 to 15:01 weekdays (and they’re closed Sundays and Mondays). Sarah and I ducked in there on a whim today for dessert after a combined meter of sausage on this, the Weihnachtsmarkt’s final day. Results: mixed.
    • The coffee was dreadful.
    • The special of the day was OK, if a little weird. It was beer-battered Apfelkücherl in a Weißwein-Vanillesoße. I’m not sure how I felt about the vanilla pudding with a white wine aftertaste.
    • The Dampfnudeln in their own non-boozy Vanillasoße (on sale every day) were excellent.

    Just goes to show: go with what you know.

  3. Google SketchUp looked neat as all get out for 3D-diagramming — especially in the training videos. I’d heard Tammy was happy with Google SketchUp for layouting their furniture in their new apartment. Unfortunately, for diagramming ours, it’s not working out at all. Of course I looked for a Linux version first. No dice there. Then I tried installing it on the Windows machine at my disposal. It appears to install OK, but quickly crashes as soon as I try to launch the application. I got it installed easily on our Mac, but it’s a real pig to use (even after watching the nifty tutorials). It’s slow and jerky and every action (adding a new polygon, erasing an existing one) invokes the pinwheel and 10-15 seconds of waiting. Yuck. I know my Mac is weak*, but c’mon.

    Has anyone managed to get it to work?

18 thoughts on “English Muffins! Dampfnudeln! SketchUp!”

  1. Tammy

    I wouldn’t say I was happy with Google Sketchup, but I got it to do what I needed it to do. I never watched the tutorial or read any instructions. I just made it work through brute force, which means I wasted a lot of time trying to figure it out on my own. you can tell I am trained as a physicist; the entire field works that way. It’s a wonder we ever figure things out.

  2. cliff1976

    I forgot to give some details about those English Muffins. I found them next to the romantic pumpernickel under the brand name “Toasties” by the brand Golden Toast — the company we most often selling American-style white or wheat bread; ostensibly what the Germans use when they want toast (I have always preferred rye).

  3. cliff1976

    I wouldn’t say I was happy with Google Sketchup

    Doh! I stand corrected then…Sorry! The videos really do make it look neat, but I wonder what kind of computer you have to have in order to use it properly (and why does it continually crash on my Windows machine?).

  4. Tammy

    We must have some kind of mental connection on the English muffins. I saw some yesterday in Kaufland and made a mental note to get some when we get back to Regensburg.

  5. cliff1976

    Sarah and I just got back from the Kaufland in the Arcaden and I did a double-check to see if they were there, too. They were, so I bought another bag (darn, only six muffins per bag). That’s an easy breakfast or light dinner deal for me. Especially with some cheese (like this or this) melted on them. I haven’t tried that yet, but I expect it to be yummy.

  6. Dan Kegel

    Howdy. I’ve run Sketchup on quite a few Linux machines. It tends to work
    well if you have a recent Nvidia chip, and if you use an up to date wine
    (wine-1.1.11 is the latest, and has several fixes). See
    wiki.winehq.org/GoogleSketchup for more info.

    But I may be biased… I’m a Wine developer, and I work at Google.

  7. cliff1976

    Hi Dan,
    Thanks for the tips…so far no dice. I’ve sent in a couple bug reports already. I’m on Kubuntu 8.04 with an ATI Radeon video card in it. I just installed WINE version 1.1.10 for the express purpose of trying out Google SketchUp on Linux. Is the Kubuntu 8.04 the reason I’m not seeing WINE 1.1.11 (your recommendation) in the repository? I added the lines to my APT sources list and am looking for registry keys to mess with…with only limited success.

    If you have any specific tips for me, I’m all ears. Otherwise I’ll keep playing with it when I can. Too bad (a) there’s no native version for Linux and (b) the Windows version crashes upon launch (though I’m tempted to try the registry tweaks for those as well), and the Mac version is pretty much unusable (possibly due to my Mac’s own wimpiness).

  8. Dan Kegel

    1.1.11 is very new, perhaps the packages haven’t percolated out yet.

    Sketchup seems to find lots of graphics driver problems. Nvidia
    seems to make the best drivers. ATI is iffy for Sketchup, even on Windows.

    Which ATI Radeon card?

  9. Tammy

    I can see you are putting a lot of energy into the important aspects of the move like modeling the new apartment and all of your furniture :-) A man after my own heart….

  10. cliff1976


    cliff@maria:~$ lspci | grep -i vga; uname -a
    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon RV100 QY [Radeon 7000/VE]
    Linux maria 2.6.24-22-generic #1 SMP Mon Nov 24 18:32:42 UTC 2008 i686 GNU/Linux

    After I got Wine running (suprisingly easy, despite the KDE System Settings reporting that a module was misconfigured or something), I did manage to follow hints at winehq.com for tweaking the registry. And the software launched without crashing, too…but it was unusable — I couldn’t see the 3D grid at all; just a black space where I would have expected to sketch my stuff. Screenshot is up here.

    @Tammy: Just trying to figure how much

    • existing stuff we have that we can use 1:1 in the same way at the new place
    • existing stuff we have that will need to be used in new ways
    • existing stuff we have that will have to be scrapped
    • stuff we will have to acquire

    We’re working with approximately the same overall areas, but on average, the individual rooms are smaller and more discrete.

  11. Dan Kegel

    I think the ATI Radeon 7000 is too old, even on Windows,
    to run Sketchup. From what I can tell, it isn’t supported
    by their modern fglrx drivers.

    You can probably buy a sufficient graphics cards for $50 or so.

  12. cliff1976

    Good news, Dan!

    cliff@liesl:~$ lspci | grep -i vga; uname -a
    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. UniChrome Pro IGP (rev 01)
    Linux liesl 2.6.24-21-generic #1 SMP Tue Oct 21 23:43:45 UTC 2008 i686 GNU/Linux

    google_sketchup_via_wine_via_graphics_cardThis seems to be working much better than with my other Linux machine. This is a laptop; the other one is a much older desktop. Maybe the $50 investment isn’t necessary after all. But hey, it’s Christmas. I’m worth it, right?

  13. cliff1976

    Bad news, Dan!
    I can get SketchUp running as reported above, but I can’t save my work at all — neither in the fake Windows folders WINE sets up, nor elsewhere on my filesystem.

    Good thing I figured this out before getting too deep into Sketchup. I wonder if I’ll run into the same problem on the desktop machine if I invest the $50 to upgrade my video card.

    I’m submitting bug reports via the Bug Splat thinger; hope those help.

  14. Christina | AmiExpat

    Hey, just thought I’d add that English muffins have been around since I moved to Germany, so at least 6.5 years. I get them on occasion. See you guys soon!

    1. Cliff

      Doh! And I’ve been missing them all this time! Do you know of any other brands besides “Golden Toast Toasties”? Where do you buy them? Thanks!

  15. Christina | AmiExpat

    I get them at Real or Edeka. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen other brands, I think I even get them at the Aldi in Nittendorf sometimes, but I can’t remember what other brands there might be. Golden Toast Toasties is the most common.

  16. Christina | AmiExpat

    I checked, the Edeka at the Köwe Center has Müller English muffins in regular and whole wheat. Pretty tasty.

    1. cliff1976

      Thanks for checking! I’ve never been to the Köwe Center — anything good there?

      The Sudi across the street from our new place also carries the Müller brand. Had some whole wheat ones for breakfast yesterday. But they were the last package I found in the store — hope they’re going to restock.

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