Stupid Flanders

1.0 Silly

The main reaction I got to my participation in the “100 happy days” project was: well, that’s silly. Or: I thought about doing it, but it’s too silly. And then this was probably the worst (THE WORST!) reaction:

Railing against the silliness of inspirational posters and images but doing inspirational internet challenge projects.

Err, yes. I am well aware of this dichotomy. In fact, I find the whole 100 happy days to be awefully silly, too. But hey, it gives me a reason to actually take pictures and try not to take the same picture every day. Because at some point, “blue sky with sun” gets incredibly boring.

2.0 Fluff

I have a lot of half-written sections for these emails. I start to write them, often with a short sentence that would make a medium-good tweet, then I start to elaborate on it and suddenly

a. the content of that first sentence starts to look incredibly dumb and
b. start to ramble without finding a proper point that ties everything back together.

So yes, basically I am now at a point where I can only manage thoughts that are about the length of a tweet and often have the substance of a cotton ball. Don’t stare too hard, it might catch fire.

3.0 Queue

If you are familiar with Tumblr, you might know their queue system. It’s a rather ingenious feature that allows the user to, well, queue posts instead of posting them right away. This way it’s not completely apparent at which times someone is online and (re-)blogging, the danger of completely dominating the dashboard of the readers is mitigated and, well, one spreads the posts more evenly over the day to constantly command attention.
It works well for blogs with a theme that are often consciously uncoupled from the blogger’s personality. These tend to be the blogs that end up getting book-deals because they are about something and not about the author.

As some (or most) of you know, I am way too active over on Tumblr. It is not much work and has instant gratification built in – exactly the kind of Skinner box that works well on me. And because I like to try things, I put stuff in the queue instead of instantly reblogging them this morning. The effect for me was very strange, the uncanny valley of Tumblr. When the posts appeared on my blog and on the dashboard, they were carrying my name and I do know that I put them there and that I liked them when I reblogged them, but the context was suddenly a different one.
I guess I am already too conditioned to get the instant joy of seeing “my” post right there on the dashboard.

4.0 Gracias

I hope you’re all doing well. (In the words of the wise Louis CK: Hoping is all I can do for you.)


1.0 Coffee!
Still slightly fired up from being angry about being angry – good day to you all, wherever you may roam. This is the first picture of that silly challenge:

2.0 Second worlds
So, Facebook bought Oculus.
For those who didn’t follow the story so far: (I know I didn’t, because I’m not much of a gamer. So if I get anything wrong, please let me know – just reply to the email.) Oculus is a Kickstarter-funded Start-Up that works on a Virtual Reality headset called Oculus Rift. A lot of indie developers jumped on the idea of an independently financed VR headset and began creating (or porting) games over.
Now that Facebook bought Oculus for a bucketload of money, many people of course feel slighted, mostly for two reason:

  1. People don’t trust Facebook.
  2. Once again the evils of capitalism crushed an indie dream of collaborative creation and cooperation. This is very much the stronger point here. None of the people who gave money to Oculus through Kickstarter is getting any money back. (As far as I know.) And all of those smaller indie software companies, that thought they’d grow together with an indie hardware company to shape the future of gaming and virtual reality, do now have to deal with a huge, mostly anonymous entity. I guess if they want that, they can just go back to developing for Sony and Microsoft hardware. And as someone who had contact with Instagram developer relations people before the Facebook deal and after, let me tell you one thing: it does make a huge difference.

Just read the blog post by Markus Persson, the guy who gave the world Minecraft.

3.0 Green! Super green!
Have a good Wednesday, everybody.

Grumpy Old Man

1.0 Arnold

It might not be such a bad idea to listen to the Nerdist podcast episode with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It is pretty fascinating, I don’t think I have ever heard or read an interview with him that was more than the usual movie promo stuff.
Go ahead, listen to it. I’ll still be here later.

Now I know he is a rather controversial person and I wouldn’t agree with many things he said, but it is fascinating nonetheless how he managed to get to where he is now. For people who actually learn lessons from stories like that, his might not be the worst one. (Work hard, invest smartly, be at the right place at the right time, don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn English.) Needless to say, I prefer the last two.

2.0 Happy!

You probably don’t know me as the most upbeat, optimistic and cheerful person around. The word that might come to mind is “grumpy.” (Which might also be because I’ve used that extensively in the past to describe myself.) I have even extensively quoted Marc Maron on positivity and yes, I do maintain a certain distrust towards “glass half full” kind of people, because they seem to be in denial about reality, man.
But fuck that. I am currently surrounded mostly by people whose main conversational topic is being angry about stuff or that things are wrong and that people are not behaving the way they are supposed to. (Remember? It is pretty bloody toxic, to be honest and I have no idea how to be part of those conversations.) I mean, what the hell is going on when I think there is too much negativity around?
So I will actually do something that I made fun of just a couple of hours ago: I will actively do that stupid #100happydays thing. Yes, it is really silly. Yes, I have figured out that it is just a thinly veiled attempt to sell people their own pictures as photobook. I have no real interest in that – all my photobook attempts so far have ended in disaster. But still! I should be able to think of a thing or two a day that at least has the potential to make me happy. And while I am at it, I will try to research something positive that can start a conversation.
“These stupid people can’t park!” – “Have you heard? They renewed ‘Episodes’ for another season!”
Maybe something different than that. But it might be a start.

3.0 Happy Happy!

I still hate those “Happy” videos. I get it, people have access to a camera and to dancing and to the internet these days. Wow. Much viral. Such Pharrell.

Yours, still grumpy that he’s not the most grumpy anymore,

Mass Transit

1.0 Public Transport

Fun fact: I actually enjoy public transport. That is probably due to the fact that I was never really in a position where I had to rely on it for more than a couple of days. But nonetheless, I actually find it to be pretty interesting to take a train. (Or god forbid, a bus.)
I am pretty sure because it is the perfect way for an introvert to be amongst people. There are people around – something that the social animal called human seems to enjoy for whatever reason – but one is not required to interact with them. In fact, it is highly discouraged to interact with them and it’s usually the starrers and talkers that seem to be attract the ire of people.
In a way, taking public transport, especially during commuting times, feels a lot like lurking on the more open social parts of the internet. One gets to experience (for better or worse) a lot of different people and their life choices – something that opens the mind and the heart to the fact that, yes, people do take very different routes through life and that this is mostly a good thing.

2.0 Gadgets!

After I mentioned my Bluetooth speaker in my last email, I got a few questions about it.
I have the Logitech UE Mini Boom, which I bought after reading about it on The Wirecutter. It’s rather small but has a good sound quality for a speaker that size. It pairs well with my iPhone, I tried it once with my mother’s Lumia, which went well, too – so I guess it works with every device that supports audio over bluetooth. The battery life is pretty incredible – once it’s charged all the way I can listen to music and podcasts on it for the whole remaining day without having to think about it. It’s much more likely that my phone ends up yammering for a recharge.

That’s all, folks.
Thanks for reading, have a good start into the week.


1.0 Lifehack

Don’t use the bathroom before going to bed. Nothing helps you get out of bed faster in the morning than a certain amount of pressure.

2.0 Shower music

I tried listening to podcasts during my morning shower. I noticed pretty soon that I have trouble listening to people talk while water is flowing onto my head. So I checked the next possible source of audio entertainment on my phone and found Spotify.

My taste in music is very much “it depends” – something that tends to freak out fans of a specific genre of music. I am perfectly fine to listen to country music one day, dubstep the next one, classical music on the third day and trippy surfer music the day after that.
Now I am really tempted to write a little script that runs around the time I am usually done with my morning rituals, checks if I listened to any music in the last hour, take one random song and post it somewhere.
Useless? Yes. But it might be interesting and could even help someone discover new music.

Yay or nay?

2.1 Wait, what?

Yes, I listen to music from my iPhone while taking a shower. No, it’s not in there with me, I’d be scared to have water damage. I’m a bit less scared for my little bluetooth speaker to have water damage, so that one is in the bathroom and the iPhone is outside, nice and safe.
Maybe I should even consider spending money on a waterproof bluetooth speaker, then I don’t have to crank it up to 11 to hear it on my side of the shower curtain.

3.0 !!!!1111!!!

Once we all use smartphones, nobody will understand why we put ones in our row of exclamation marks.
He said, not knowing where non-iPhone smartphones have the exclamation mark on their virtual keyboards.

4.0 Hello, new readers!

This is what you get, it won’t get any deeper or smarter.
Take care,


1.0 Dislike!

I openly admit – I am not very skilled at talking to normal people.
Don’t worry, I am not talking about any of you – normal people would never even think of subscribing to a newsletter by some random Internet dude. What would be the point?
Now currently I am in the terrible situation that I am almost exclusively sourrounded by normal people. People, who are scared of the part of the web that isn’t for buying stuff. People, who print out their emails, so they can put them in folders and never look at them again – in case they need them as reference. And if they use their smartphones then for WhatsApp and malware-laden free games. It’s a very alien world for me.
So – how to talk to these people? I don’t want to be aloof or unsocial.
I tried to listen to what they talk about. But I still don’t understand. Is it really worth discussing for hours who kicked what thing in which kind of sportsball? Am I supposed to have an enraged opinion on the way the postman is delivering letters? Do I need to loudly ponder the end of Christianity when I see a bunch of dark-skinned kids hang out at a bus stop? Is it expected of me to make fun of people who actually create something if it doesn’t match my taste? Maybe even pronounce someone to be a dumb idiot because he has a slightly different point of view? Maybe I need to join one of those clubs that mostly seem to be there so that people can have a reason to be mean to each other?
Honestly, I am a bit lost.

2.0 Like!

I got some nice feedback for the last couple of mails and that is very lovely.
After I calmed down from each wave of performance anxiety – “Omg, they liked that last one, what can I do that they like the next one, too?” – by tapping into my seemingly endless reservoire of acceptance for my own mediocrity, I started to think about the way we are social online. (What else.)
Most of our tools these days are built to provide a single, one-click way to deliver instant positive reinforcement. Likes, faves, thumbs up, stars, retweets, hearts – yay!

It’s easy to get addicted. It feels good to get those small notifications that not only someone paid attention to what one put online but also liked it enough to mark it as something they liked.
And yes, it might seem a meaningless thing – it doesn’t take much to tap or click that button. But still, it is a token of appreciation and a small note that someone out there saw something we did and didn’t hate it.

So, is there anything you want me to pay attention to and like that I might not know, yet? Let me know.

3.0 A website! A website!

As much as writing an email is refreshing, I am still at heart a web person. So here we go, the archive of the newsletter as a website.
Thanks for reading,


1.0 Take my money

One would think that in the current economic climate, people and companies would be willing to exchange their goods and services for money.
Apparently that is not the case.

1.1 The curious case of the broken web shop

A while ago I decided I needed to buy something online that for some reason was not available through Amazon. I know that sounds crazy but apparently not everything is on there. So I tried the manufacturer’s online shop, which was looking all pretty, with happy good-looking young people using that product. Of course I immediately started to believe that just owning that product would also make me happy and good-looking, so: job well done, designer of that online shop.
Sadly whatever the designer did right, the developer(s) did wrong. Nothing worked properly. I added an item to the shopping cart, suddenly it was in there – twice. I removed one of them, added another item. That worked, but now the total sum was completely wrong. I tried to order anyway, guessing they’d figure out that there was something wrong before sendingme to Paypal. I shall never know if they do that because when I tried to use Paypal as a payment method, the whole thing gave me a pretty unspecific error and closed my session.
So far nothing unusual. Online shops are not an easy problem, even after amost 18 years of them in existence.
Then I tried the “Chat with one of our friendly support people” button and it got really strange. The support dude’s German was pretty basic. He refused my offer to switch to English and basically told me: “Well, that’s how it is, maybe try again tomorrow?” Say what?
So I tried the free support hotline. Because – well. It’s not like I have anything better to do with my life anyway. And don’t forget – their product will make me happy and good-looking! The lady on the phone didn’t need all that long to find the problem. “Some items just break the system, we also don’t know why.” “So – you just don’t sell them at all?” “Usually we re-enter them once a customer tells us about the problem, that tends to solve it.” Say what?

1.2 Do It Yourself

For some reason or another the pipe for the used water is broken on my washing machine. Not that this mattered at my last two appartments, but now it suddenly does, because just having a drain where the water goes, this one has some strange valve-thing that needs a proper connection to that pipe.
Having learned that the hard way, (And by hard I meant having some dude telling me in a condescending voice. I’m a fragile flower of a man.) I now have to find a way to have it fixed.
Being a modern, 21st century person I looked at the one place that I know to have the answer to every problem in the world: Google. Apparently not many people around here arrived in the 21st centry yet, so I found only one dude who advertises his ability to fix washing machines online. And when I tried to call him and his answering machine told me to rather contact him by email, I thought for a short, glorious moment: That’s the guy I want to pay for fixing my washing machine. Findable with Google, prefers email to phone calls – yes, yes. 21st century handyman.
And while that might be the case, he is also a handyman who doesn’t seem to need my money. “Just order a new pipe and repair the machine yourself.” Say what?
So in case you don’t hear from me again – I electrocuted myself putting in a pipe in a machine that mates electricity with water in a scary way.
Or I need to re-learn skills from the dark ages and find someone who can fix that bloody thing without using Google.

2.0 Thank you

Not much else to say. I am really thankful for Alexander’s nice motivational poster.
Until next time,

But it helps

Wednesday’s newsletter was a bit wonky, I want to apologize for that. It’s probably going to happen again. And even though I tend to blame myself for everything that goes wrong, in this case I want to point to the computer and curse. Because it’s there and because there is nothing it can do about it. Yet. Once it can, we’re all fucked.

1.0 Motivate!

I really don’t understand motivational quotes or posters. Yet everybody else seems to love them. There is a company that prints them for startups. There are many different people who post them on Facebook and Tumblr and Twitter.
I don’t get it. Does it really help people when a lossy JPG or a crummy print-to-order poster tells them to keep going? I can’t for the love of whatever deity one might chose to believe in understand the thought process that is going on in that moment.

Oh, the expense report that I just filed had a typo in it, so my boss yelled at me. But here is that picture of a kitten in boxing gloves that says ‘Keep fighting’ so all is well!

The only thing that works for me is people who tell me once in a while that I am not such a terrible person. And do it convincingly enough that I believe them. Luckily I have some of those, so thanks for that.
But a JPG with a garish color gradient that tells me that tomorrow is another day?
Oh, fuck off.

2.0 Vanished

For what it’s worth, my two sources for news about the vanished Malaysia Airlines flight are this (long!) MeFi thread and this blog.

3.0 Monday

Have a good start into the week and take care, everyone.

Who am I?

Don’t expect this to happen at regular intervals. The name might have been a hint. Basically I will write this whenever I feel like it. (Or when someone sends me a bucket of gold to do so. Honestly, I’ve always been willing to sell out.

1.0 Delivered/Read

Most modern messaging clients tell the sender of a message if the recipient recieved and actually read the sent message. Some, like WhatsApp, even show the last time people used the software.
That is literally hell for people with an unhealthy dose of social anxiety. Most people might not read too much into it, but it’s a whole new layer on how and what to communicate.
And disabling those features – as it is possible on some clients – sends a whole other message, because even that is usually visible for other people.

And the fact is that those technologies are still pretty young and we haven’t quite figured out what the proper etiquette around them are.

We have learned that requiring read receipts in emails is something that only Outlook users know about and only people with sociopathic and controllic tendencies would do. (There is a surprising overlap in those two groups.) Most of us have also learned to keep emails short and sweet. (The irony of mentioning that in a rambling newsletter is not lost on me.) We do know that calling people in the middle of the night is really quite rude.
Most of us might even think that calling unannounced at every point of the day is pretty rude. Who is using phones for calling people anymore, anyway?


This matches well with the Ox and Moron section of the last newsletter. People – and by people I mean me – tend to have different standards on how to understand their own and other people’s behavior around these issues. While it’s perfectly fine to just ignore a message for now when I do it, I do feel slightly miffed when I see that someone has received and read my message and does not respond right away.
I might even be forced to call them.

2.0 This is the wurst! Or not.

Last sunday I have figured out an ingenious way to judge German towns.
If I manage to find a nice bratwurst in a bun on a Sunday afternoon in town without having to take a car, the town gets the thumbs up.

I am sad to say that Lörrach didn’t make it.

3.0 A brief moment of panic

Last night, Twitter was down for a short while.
Last week, I was unable to use Instagram for a couple of days.
Both events scared me more than they should. Crisis of identity. Who am I if not @dominik?
Now that I am back living in my home town, I seem to be “The young Mr Schwind” to most people which freaks me out even more.

This should do it for now. Thanks again for reading, it is rather nice of you to do so.
If you have anything at all to say, you can just use the reply function. Tinyletter says that I get those and I do take their word for it.

Floating Particles

1.0 Hi!

After I posted the link to this newsletter on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and WeChat, a whole bunch of you signed up – thanks a lot! You’re all wonderful people! And I am pretty sure I can even say this without lying, which is even nicer.

2.0 $$$

Yesterday I skipped a podcast commercial for the first time.

I usually don’t do this. And even though I am one of the many people who feel that their lovely internet of yore got taken over by the evils of commercialism, I tend to not mind well-made advertisement in my media. And by well-made I mostly mean: relevant without giving me the feeling that they were creepily targeted towards exactly me.
Podcast ads more or less work for me in that way – I have bought goods and services because they paid for air time on a podcast. Given that I doubt that anyone tracks me and inserts the right audio ad in a podcast, it does not feel creepy, even though it is targeted right at the market segment that I chose to belong to.

Now that I said that out loud, I am sure that someone is actively working on that idea. Cookies could work in podcast clients. Move the audio files with markers through a central ad-network server. Insert targeted audio ads.
Honestly, no. Do not do that. Please. Ever.

3.0 You’re an ox and a moron

A few days ago I saw an article in which the author was mad – really mad – that someone changed their opinion on a topic between in the timeframe between 2007 and 2014.
It is pretty amazing that we humans in general tend to grow, learn new facts, adapt to new realities, process new information and yet we are utterly confused when someone else does it.

Of course we don’t want people in positions of power to suddenly turn 180° on important topics – we would be right in being pretty mad at a politician who suddenly made policy that goes very much against what they promised during their election campaign.
Well, we probably would be mad but not all that surprised.

But we don’t even have to look at a timeframe of seven years – people contradict themselves and change their minds all the time. Going from “having a coffee would be a clever idea” to “drinking that coffee was not a clever idea” only needs the (apparently at this point surprising and new) information that it’s 10pm and one needs to get up early the next day.

4.0 Monday

Have a good start of the week, everybody. Stay healthy and awesome.