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wxWidgets application out of focus in Mac OS X
August 29th, 2010 under Mac OS X, Programming. [ Comments: none ]

When starting a compiled wxWidgets application in Mac OS X you may have problems getting the focus of the application. You can solve this problem by creating a Mac OS X bundle application and start this instead of the binary:


Make sure you configure Xcode (or whatever IDE you are using) to use the bundle or start the application manually.

Key West and Going North
August 8th, 2010 under USA. [ Comments: none ]

What to do on Key West? Well plenty. There is snorkeling, SCUBA diving, Jet Ski, sailing, …, basically anything one can do in water. Our  plan was to see the Dry Tortugas national park but the motel owner persuaded us to divert from this plan. Dry Tortugas is the “most” remote national park in the us. There as boats that take you there but such a tour takes a whole day. The owner meant that there are better and thing more fun to do.

So we followed her proposal and went on a sailing trip which includes canoeing and snorkeling. This way we covered three activities with one trip. The sailing trip started in the afternoon and returned after sunset. This way we could enjoy another marvelous sunset.

Anyway, before we went on the sailing trip we decided to stroll around town and go jet skying. After this magnificent day we decided to pay another key a visit. Since we enjoyed snorkeling a lot and wanted also to see some corals (which we didn’t see on the sailing trip), we decided that Key Largo is our next destination (well also the Monkey Island link helped to decide :P).

On Key Largo we took a two hour snorkeling trip to the close by reef. It was great! Well, the reef isn’t as impressive as the Great Barrier Reef but the fish were as colorful as the ones near Cairns.

The next destination on our list was Miami. So after the snorkeling experiences on the Florida Key we headed to the city where “the heat is on” (according to Will Smith at least). Well, the heat was on. It was boiling hot. This explains this view

crowded beaches. The beaches look like the beaches in Turkey or the Greek Islands (overloaded with umbrellas). However, not only the beach reminded of the standard vacation resorts but also the streets close to the beach. Overall Miami seems to be a place to party or relax all day but apart from that it didn’t seem to offer much. That’s why we decided to continue driving north to Ft. Lauderdale.

In my humble opinion, Ft. Lauderdale is way prettier than Miami; more easy-going and not as touristic and crowded. So, we spent the evening there with an nice sunset dinner on the shore. As for the meal…. the best ribs I’ve ever had so far; Baby Back Ribs. These alone a worth a stop in Ft. Lauderdale :D.

Now only two days remained till we had to return our rental car (no trouble with the car this time ;)). Thus, we drove close to the Kennedy Space Center so that we could spend a day there and then drop off the car. Since we were still far south we drove a whole day and ended up in this motel

This was in a town called Cocoa Beach. Unfortunately, we didn’t go swimming because this was the first day the weather didn’t play along. Shortly after we checked in it started raining and didn’t stop until late night.

The next day we made it to the Kennedy Space Center

Overall the park isn’t that big. The best part are the two IMAX films, one abount the Apollo program and one about the Hubble Space Telescope. Then there is a two hour tour through the grounds of the space center. But apart from one or two buildings it is mostly empty. Here and there you’ve got a real rocket or shuttle which is great. However, to me it was 
not extremely educational.

The next day we returned our car in Orlando and went to the first theme park. We chose to go to the Universal Studios. Well, it hasn’t a lot to do with any Studios. It just the same park as in Hollywood, CA except the studio tour, which makes the Universal Studios worthwhile. So we enjoyed waiting in line and some nice rides. The second day we went to see the second Universal theme park, Adventure Island. There a new theme area opened this spring. It’s the wizarding world of Harry Potter. They rebuilt Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. This is just amazing. The best I’ve seen in any park yet. You actually get the unique vibe from the Harry Potter movies I love so much. The only thing that is out of place is how the tourists are dressed but apart from that … wow. Just great. A must see for all Harry Potter fans.

Next on the list were Walt Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which covered the missing studio tour in the Universal Studios and eventually Sea World. Except the Harry Potter theme I liked Sea World the most of all parks. Its shows are incredible and simply beautiful. My advise skip the Universal Studios and go to Sea World.

After four days of waiting a long time in lines we boarded our flight to Washington D.C….

To Key West
August 2nd, 2010 under USA. [ Comments: none ]

On our way to the Florida Keys, Key West especially, we figured we could drop by the Alligator Farm to see Alligators close up. Well we saw plenty of alligators, even baby-gators.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that the park is just a money-making-machine. The park is basically crammed up with alligators in a small ponds. The worst of all though was the “take-a-picture-with-you-and-an-alligator”. This was a dry pond with a single alligator whose mouth was locked up with a rope so that it cannot bite any visitor who wants a picture with it. Moreover, there was a tiny shack that was filled to the roof with very tiny terrariums. Each of which hold at least two snakes. I’m no expert but the view of all these snakes crammed i such a tiny place made me just feel sad for the animals.

Apart from the animals there was also an airboat ride. The part was fun. It’s amazing how fast these things go. But they’re not only fast but also extremely loud. It was absolutely necessary to put on ear protection.

After  the rather disappointing visit to the Alligator Farm we continued driving south. We were amazed by how close the Florida Keys are to Miami. It takes just about an hour to get the to first key, Key Largo (reminds me of the Largo Embargo) but to actually get out to Key West its another two hours. Let me just tell you this; it is worth the trip. Key West is exactly how I pictured it in my mind. Clear blue sky, clear blue water, gorgeous houses and of course long bridges.

After finally arriving in Key West, finding an absolutely lovely Motel we enjoyed another beautiful sunset.

August 1st, 2010 under USA. [ Comments: none ]

A part of the Everglades National Park is called the Ten Thousand Islands. You may guess why it is called that. In fact there are even more islands. According to our guide of a tour we took around these islands, there are between 11000 to 16000 island. The number varies because of the tides. Since the area of the everglades is extremely flat there are around 16000 island at low tide and only 11000 island during high tide.

On the tour we took, we saw a wide variety of wildlife. From dolphins to eagles.

According to our guide and brochures the everglades is also home to …

yes manatees. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any. What I learned tough was that there is a water way through the whole everglades that can be explored by kayak or canoe. After getting a first glimpse of the Everglades it was clear to me that doing this kayaking tour will be one of my next holidays. Supposedly,  it takes at least ten days to conquer the 99 mile waterway.

The nature in the Everglades changes very quickly. On the one hand there are the beautiful waterways with hundreds on islands and on the other hand to are the wet plains with all the alligators. A bit further east of the ten thousand island is the shark valley. Well it is barely a valley. Our guide told us that the elevation on each side is only a few inches. So it is clear that the view from the observation tower at the end of our tour looked something like this

The tower itself looks rather Myst-like.

Even though all guides told us that during summer there isn’t much wildlife, for me it seemed there is. We saw plenty of alligators and even an alligator nest that was guarded by the mother-gator.

Overall the Everglade National Park is probably the most beautiful wildlife sanctuary that I’ve seen in my life. The variety of the scenery as well as the variety of animals one can observe is simply marvelous.

I dare say that the Everglades is the ONE sight in Florida and should be on everybody’s “Places-I-Must-Visit”

Next up…The Florida Keys