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The pain of downsizing

So as I said before, I’m moving to Dublin. Indeed, I got my flight ticket, I’ll be leaving Italy for good on April 6th, 2013, hoping to return here only on vacation. From one point of view I”m sad because it means I won’t be seeing my friends as often as before — but on the other hand I’ll meet new people, and it’s true I often consider closer friends people I almost never see in my life.

But there are major pains as well, and they are only partially on a sentimental plane. One of the problems is that right now I have what we can define a very big house, with a big bedroom, study room, and a garage for storage, beside the obvious kitchen and living room. I still haven’t found a permanent place in Dublin, but I’m pretty sure that it’s not going to be as big. If it was the size of only one floor of my current house. I might find something closer to this later on, if I decide to buy a house on the outskirts of the city, rather than renting an apartment within the city itself — but for the moment I’ll go with the latter.

Over time, I accumulated in this place a whole bunch of mementos, some important some less, and I’m now trying to figure out what to bring with me, and what to trash (among the stuff that has no value, and thus that cannot be sold or given away). This also means fighting with my mother who would like for me to keep all the possible school material from my childhood — myself I would trash almost all of them, but there are other things that have sentimental value attached, for me, such as the old numbers of The Games Machine, and even I know that I shouldn’t be bringing them with me because they are pointless for everything beside taking a dive in a sea of memories.

By the way, if some FLOSS hacker wants a Sun ULTRA5, an AppleTV, or an ION-based computer without an harddrive, let me know. I might be able to set them up to be shipped around.

One of the biggest problems with the downsizing is the media: I have shelves and shelves of books, DVDs, CDs, and so on. Books, is not a big deal – I went electronic a few years back and I’m very happy with my Kindle Keyboard, the only books I bought in dead-tree format last year were the two I got signed while spending my time in Los Angeles – I only wish I had more friends capable of reading English around Mestre to give my English books away; my mother is also stopping me from giving away my Italian books. The big problems are with the reset of the media. CDs, I also have a limited selection, all original, as whenever I can I buy digital directly; the only genre I have a wide collection of, at this point, is metal, simply because the AAC encoding never seems to do it any favour.

DVDs are a mess because I have tons — entire TV series, and a long list of movies. I have left some of them in the TV cabinet for my mother to watch if she feels like it, mostly those that I already bought again in Bluray, but they are still physical and take space. Going digital with these, is harder, mostly because they are all DRMd one way or the other, and I have not found a single provider I can rely on: iTunes and Amazon Instant Video both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Interestingly enough the biggest pain seems to be in the plugs! Moving from Italy to Ireland means that my devices need to either change plugs or use adapters, as we use europlugs, Schuko and two Italian specific plugs while in Ireland they use the British plugs. Funnily enough, it turns out that a dozen devices I have the British plugs for; mostly thanks to buying lots of hardware from Amazon UK and the fact that a number of suppliers nowadays, including Dell and Western Digital, provide you with power adapters with a replaceable plug head, both europlug and British.

The bigger problem is bringing the kitchen appliances – my mother does not use most of them, I’m the only one who doesn’t leave them collect dust in the cupboards – as they almost all have Schuko connectors, but for that I think I’ll just use a single Italian powerstrip with a British plug at the end, similar to the one I’ve been using here (British powerstrip with Italian plug).

Really, can’t we just get a standard plug? Please?

Comments 8
  1. One solution to the plug problem is to convert a powerstrip’s power plug to the UK-style. That’s what we did here to make use of UK-bought thingamagics.

  2. Last time I set foot in France was 10 years ago (give or take a couple of months). I guess that was part of an inevitable shift after I started my hD in Australia in 1998. I moved to New Zealand 10 years ago and my familly still have gobble of my stuff back in France. I got most of the cds (~500 at the time) but the books, comics books vynil (I remember when cds didn’t exist), university stuff even some clothes are still over there.

  3. I once boxed some stuff neatly and left it safe only to have it destroyed by a leak. Murphy reigns.

  4. You can rent an apartment in places such as Dunboyne which is a few km from Dublin. I had a friend who went to work at IBM who lived there and it was a quiet and nice place to live – that is, if you aren’t scared of bus drivers bringing you to Dublin. But they’ll be driving in Dublin’s streets as well.In my experience, it was better/quieter/prettier than Dublin’s outskirts. But yeah, you need a bus to get to the city.The house was a typical house on two levels: kitchen + living room + garden, vs two bed rooms and a bathroom.Regarding plugs, there are fewer standards in measurements units than in electric plugs! The powerstrip is hands down the way to go, I strongly discourage adapters since the british plug isn’t as firm as ours and you’d end up having a dangling mess of death by electrocution hanging on the wall.

  5. Something that comes to mind for the appliances is possibly replacing the plugs. What voltage/current/frequency/phase count is used in Italy and in Ireland? If they’re compatible or differ only in current then you could cut off the old ones and attach some new plugs from a hardware store.

  6. While not necessarily recommendable: All you need to use a euro plug in the UK/Ireland is a ballpoint pen.Push the ballpoint pen into the ground contact so that the main contacts open, then push the plug into the other contacts, it should fit nicely.I haven’t carried an adapter to the UK since ages because of that.Btw. do you really use the word “Schuko”? As far as I know that’s just the short version of the German word “Schutzkontakt” (i.e. ground connections), strange to see it spread :-).

  7. Oh, I forgot to mention a big reason why this is dangerous: For UK plugs, the fuse has to be in the plug.The main fuse is not guaranteed to keep the wattage inside safe levels, so using a Euro plug without an adapter that includes a fuse means a short can lead to overheating and a fire.Which is the big technical reason why the UK can’t really switch to our plugs, at least not unless you replace the whole electrical wiring at the same time.

  8. Yeah I got the problem with the fuses, that’s why the powerstrip was my first obvious option.Also, yes, I do use the Schuko term to refer to the plug — although most people would call it “the German plug” here. It’s only people who work with this kind of stuff that use the name. The term Schuko is on the official boxes and in general if you speak with the guys who sell these things.

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