24: So comrades, come rally!

1.0 Fourth Annual Orgy of Caring

I might have mentioned that I quite like the “Silicon Valley” series.
What gets me most about it is the fact that even in the German “tech scene” – and to be honest, I am not as exposed to that as one might expect – I have met most of these people. And what might be even worse: I have met a lot of people who aspire so, so much to be like one of the guys in “Silicon Valley.”

Okay, maybe even I do. I mean Big Head’s “Rest and Vest” seems like a pretty sweet deal.

2.0 Company emails

Recently I signed up at some online service or another. It’s not strictly aimed at consumers and that’s how they communicate, too – basically their customers are their peers and what their peers are, are other technical professionals. So far so great. It is just weird, when someone new from within their company contacts me, because they forget one thing: they don’t introduce themselves.

Hi Dominik,
as you have probably seen, we have deployed a new version of our API, which is 100% backwards-compatible.
No action is needed on your part.

Uhm, hi Bob. We haven’t met, yet. Why do I need to wait until your email signature to find out that you work for that company? I know it is an automated email to all customers, many of whom know who Bob is, but still:

Hi Dominik,
this is Bob from Great Service Company. As you have…

would have helped me not to almost delete the mail unread. But maybe that’s just me and most people read all their email until the very end?

3.0 Oh, the pain

I have seen many of you use Runtastic and post their workouts to Facebook. I wonder what made you pick them over Runkeeper?
I actually want to know, so send me a quick reply if you’re a Runtastic user and maybe looked at Runkeeper as well.

That’s all I have for today. Tomorrow is May 1st, so if you are so inclined, enjoy your day of sanctioned class war.
Speaking of comrades, if you are interested in our tech world and in history and generally like to watch a great talk, go here: Our Comrade The Electron

Super Grotesk

A couple of emails back I mentioned that I am reading a book, making notes about it and might write down and send you all my annotations.
Well, tough luck.

As usual I am only able to read longer texts when I don’t have a proper internet connection or when it feels more socially acceptable to read than to play some random computer game. (Even though for me that looks more and more like the same kind of interaction with the same kind of device.)
And don’t get me started on writing. Just while writing this short note, I cmd-tabbed to Twitter twice and read two articles that someone linked to: VEB Typoart: The East German Type Betriebsstätte and “Well actually, in the books…” 15 differences from text to TV in Game Of Thrones.
Shame on me.

And yet, even though I know I am not really able to read longer texts anymore, I keep buying interesting books. Creativity, Inc., a book about creativity by one of the founders of Pixar, looks mighty interesting, as well.
But don’t be too happy too soon – I will get to finish that book sooner or later and then you’ll have to endure what I have to say about it.
I hope you all manage to be more productive and less easily distracted, but I am pretty sure I am not alone in my internet-induced attention struggles.

22: Did I miss something?

1.0 Artisanal ugh

Sometimes I tweet “Ugh.” with a grumpy emoji in the morning. It’s what I want to say every morning, but I tend to forget.
For a while I did it so often and so regularly, that people asked me if it is automated. But indeed it is not – every morning you might or might not get an artisanal, made-for-the-occassion “Ugh.” from me.

Because automated tweets are silly.
As I realized again last night. For the last couple of days I had an IFTTT set up to ask the fine folks who follow me on twitter: “Did I miss something?”
I was hoping for good and/or funny answers, but mostly I got “no”s – which can’t obviously be true, because I miss a lot of stuff all the time. So I switched that recipe off again – it has been annoying lately.

2.0 Hammock

Boing Boing said: Having leisure time is now a marker for poverty, not riches.

Maybe it’s not so bad to be poor then? That hammock looks good to me.
On the other hand, being a poor German is actually wreaking havoc on the whole of Europe, so maybe not.

3.0 Look at my noodle!


4.0 /\

So Ridley Scott liked Prometheus so much, he’s going to turn it into a TV series?

I’m sleepy. It’s weekend.
Have a nice one!


(Not the car.)

1.0 Say what?

Current status: Hate-watching Avril Lavigne’s “Hello Kitty” video.

2.0 Pointy Boots Update!

On the topic of music: 3BallMTY has a new album.
(Pointy boots? Watch this short documentation.)

3.0 Move.

I was told that I’ll probably die alone and unloved if I don’t start doing sports and I am not one to take these threats lightly. So for the first time in many, many years I decided to actually move more than just walk from the couch to the fridge and back.

Maybe I should have picked something with smaller elevation changes because even though I managed to have a medium speed that is slower than my usual walking speed, everything hurts today. (“Everything” is in “I die!” when I have a light fever.) Yes, after less than 2.5kms.
Maybe being alone and unloved is not so bad after all.
I did sign up for one of the training sessions over at Runkeeper, though, so who knows. Maybe soon I will be able to run as fast as I walk.

4.0 A friendly warning

I am working on a longer, probably pretty angry, piece of writing on chrononormativism – a word I conveniently made up a couple of years ago. Probably triggered by Nico’s blog post about how he rises early now and his life has improved (It’s in German, but my tl;dr basically said everything.) (It’s also only a sign that he is getting older, but we’ll get there.) and by the fact that I am currently in a social situation where many people think that getting up later than six is an act of debauchery. And a clear sign that the decline of the west is further along that we’d all care to admit.

I’ll have a coffee now, I hope you all manage to do something nice for yourselves, too.


Here I am, back again. I am so sure you missed these emails.

1.0 Vexed

Honestly, do yourself the favour of watching Orphan Black. The story is crazy and the acting by Tatiana Maslany and the supporting cast is really, really good.
The second season just started, but if you only start now, you should watch the first season and not jump in right away. I am pretty sure you’ll find a way to do that.

2.0 Push it!

I actually went ahead and ordered an AeroPress. (If you don’t know, what an AeroPress is, this Diesel Sweeties comic explains it. Or if you prefer short movies over comics, this video shows how it works – and what I expected from it, to be honest. Turns out. But maybe I’m doing it wrong.
While we’re on the subject of the Aeropress – priceonomics has a rather detailed article about the history of its invention.

3.0 Here Be Germans

I am currently reading “Weniger schlecht programmieren” (“Program less bad” – I am sure there are better ways to translate the title, but that’s about all you’ll get from me today) and it is really good.
As I said before (linking to a tweet by myself a second time in one email) – it is basically “How to be a better human being” in the disguise of a software development guide. I have a whole bunch of notes and I will probably annoy you guys with a lot of my thoughts about those in the next couple of emails.

4.0 Top Ten Reasons You Love This Newsletter

10. It is a list!
And we all love lists, don’t we?

5.0 Pacts

Okay, let’s do it.

I know you enjoyed your quiet time, but get ready to hear more from me again. Take care, everybody.

post scriptum
Now playing: Indila – Mini World. Not bad at all.

post post scriptum
I just noticed it’s almost impossible to find any information on the blogging tools of yore. Those weird little services that allowed people to add additional features to their blogs, like (gasp!) comments, or a “Now Playing” field, or maybe how one was feeling while writing that post. (Complete with emoticons, if I remember correctly.)

Smoke on the water

1.0 Travel notes

I am writing this on the lovely shore of Lake Geneva – or at least in a hotel room with lake view. And while the day is dawning, it dawns on me that being a fancy technologically advanced writer on the road might not be what my future holds for me. (No surprise here.)
And maybe that’s just because my thumb already aches from typing that one paragraph on my phone.

So this is a short one, mostly to check in on you guys – how are you doing? Everything is alright? Do you have a comfortable place to sit? Do your little demons balance each other out or do they cause inner turmoil?

2.0 Well, that socks

European people all smell the same, because they’re using too much washing powder.

Maybe that’s just me, who is overdoing it, though – I walked more than usual yesterday and when I took off my socks, they smelled like detergent instead of foot. Maybe that’s not so bad, all things considered.

3.0 Consumer Advice

While we’re on the subject of cleaning chemicals: don’t buy Perrier Citron Vert soda. It tastes like bubbly water with dishwashing liquid and not refreshing at all.

Have a good day and try to get enough rest!


Wow, Much Dragons

Yes, there is one today.

1.0 Links!

1.1 Read me!

There is a public beta for Reeder for Mac and it is pretty good.

1.2 Game of Goats

You might want to watch this video of goats yelling the Game of Thrones theme.

1.3 Game of Questions

I am Peter Dinklage. You probably know me as Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones. AMA!

1.4 Tessier-Ashpool

“Now we just need a hashtag,” Ms. Hanley Mellon said.

The Mellon Lifestyle as a Brand – it’s hard to write a more absurd article.

2.0 Anger!

I can see how people might not understand how other people lead their lives. That is pretty normal, we’re all not so good at realizing that we’re not the only person with a fairly complex inner life.
What is really perplexing to me is how and why people might get angry about how other people go through life, especially if it does not even remotely influence their own life. While we all like to make fun of hipsters, I don’t see why someone from Hicksville, Südschwarzwald (a.k.a. my home town) would need to write really, really angry rants about Berlin hipsters on Facebook. I really do not get it.

Thanks for reading, have a good week.
(Man, that was both disgusting and highly satisfying on Game of Thrones, uh? Little prick. But I sure hope that the actor, who seems to be quite a good dude, manages to step out of the shadow of that role.)

All the happy creatures dancing on the lawn

1.0 Designing for the Web

Mark Boulton made his book Designing for the Web available for free under a Creative Commons licence. As someone who bought the book and managed never to really read it – mostly because every time I’d have the time and/or the idea to read it, I was not at home, where the book was – I really appreciate that move.
What I read was really good and now that I carry it around on my phone, I am sure I will get to read more of it and maybe even understand some parts.

1.1 Fiddly Bits

Fun fact: to get the book on my phone, I had to jump through quite some hoops. The epub file is a zipped download and my iPhone can’t open zip files and move the epub file to iBooks. So I tunneled into my home network, used my fileserver at home to download and unpack the zip file. I was then able to download the epub from my home server to my iPhone and now I can happily read that book on there.
There has to be some way we can make these things easier, right?

2.0 Magical

If you are a listener of Roderick on the Line and Back to Work, you might have noticed a certain theme running through them lately: technology is (getting? still?) too complicated.
A lot of their ire is directed towards Apple and the latest versions of iOS and OSX. “It just works.” seems to be a promise that they can’t keep at the moment. And a lot of that is because these things are constantly connected to what is easily the scariest place to connect to – the internet! [dramatic chipmunk!]

Now, as far as I can tell, writing software that basically runs in one neatly defined environment is still hard, but we (as in: humanity) are pretty good at it by now. Desktop software is pretty stable and so was pre-smartphone phone software. Snake never crashed on me.
But things are getting interesting as soon as they are connected to each other. Suddenly there are more outside influences than we could possibly imagine. Machines need to talk to each other and if possible in a way that nobody can intercept those messages. That adds multiple layers of complication to programs and applications. (And thanks to the Heartbleed bug we’ve all seen what happens when one of those layers breaks.)
And that’s not something we’re good at, yet. Frankly I don’t think we’ll ever really be able to tame the beast that is the internet.

But at the same time, we either demand or at least make the marketers think we demand more connectivity in our software. It is in fact pretty awesome how a text I wrote on my Mac appears on my iPad without me doing anything. But to get to that part I had to enter my iCloud credentials on both machines. (Multiple times, I might add. Bloody hell.) And I did have to know which software to buy and how to activate iCloud sync.
I am lucky that I am patient enough to do those things and interested enough to fiddle around with them to get these things to work. But I’m a nerd and many people are not. They look at these things, they fall into a deep pit of despair and then they stay with their Windows XP and their Word 2003, because for them those just work. There is no cloud-stuff going on, they can write their letter and if they want to work together with other people, there’s always Outlook and "Re: Re: Re: letter-final-v2-revision-8.doc"

Not because these people are stupid, far from it. (Some are, you know. Most. I mean, we all are. Monkeys with a bad haircut, as they say.) But because most people want their technology to be appliances. Tools. Switch it on, do what it is supposed to do, switch it off, done.
I’m not really sure where I am going with this, but I realize more and more how much we are still at the very beginning of all this “computer stuff.” (As it gets so nicely summarized by people who really really don’t want to have to do anything with it.)

3.0 Random links

3.1 Amazonology

Amazon just bought Comixology. And my Twitter stream went nuts. I was not aware I followed so many comic fans.

3.2 Condoleezza

Condoleezza Rice joins Dropbox and the internet switches to rage mode. While it is probably warranted, it’s interesting that the “Drop Dropbox” page mentions there are “fully encrypted and open-source” alternatives but doesn’t link to any. I personally quite like Bittorrent Sync. (Which is a bit strange with it’s “security through obscurity” hash thing, too. So, do you have any better ideas?)

3.3 Boink Boink Boink

Via MeFi: windy landings in Birmingham. Great to watch if you’re afraid of flying. (For someone who landed in Wellington, this is pretty tame stuff. (Not really.))

4.0 Weekend etc.

I might not send you any email next week because of reasons. I’ll be around on Instagram and Twitter.
I just realized that I put Instagram first and Twitter second and now I am scared.

Take care, everybody.

At least it gets you out in the open air

1.0 My legs are old and bent

Have we all watched the trailer for “American Blogger”? It’s pretty spectacular in it’s way.
(Just to be clear: I hope all these nice ladies have all the success and happiness possible through their blogs. But that trailer, honestly.)

2.0 My ears are grizzled

Talking about terrible videos of things that happen because of internet – I am sure you have all seen the “Let’s Get Social” video?
I’m pretty there are at least some people who think: “Wow, that was cool and it went viral! Let’s do something like that at our Social Media conference, too.
I’ve warned you.

3.0 Nose is knackered

It’s pollen season again and I could do well without it. Given that I am really bad at having even the smallest kind of health-inconvenience, the sudden allergy attacks threw me into a state of disarray in which I sent all my life savings to a drug store, in exchange for basically everything they have to battle the effects of the pollen.
If my emails in the near future seem to be even more erratic than usual and/or suddenly lucid, you know what to blame

4.0 Crucifixion’s a doddle

(Stop saying that.)
This email thing is now part of a – wait for it – Webring!
The Internet of Newsletters
I’m pretty busy subscribing to all of those right now, what I have seen so far seemed pretty good.

That’s it for today, have a nice one.


1.0 Comme des fous

If you have looked at the archive of these emails over on irregularity.co you might have noticed something that I didn’t do in the mail client, yet: I picked some rather interesting pictures from the Flickr Commons to go with each mail. And I have to say, I quite like the effect so far – it makes the archives rather pretty.
That’s why I am rather disheartened to see that the Brooklyn Museum decided to delete all their content from the Commons when leaving – instead of letting it sit there for people to enjoy.
I mean, sure: they moved them over to the Wikimedia Commons, which is nice, too. I still don’t understand why it was necessary to delete the whole account from Flickr – and I am not the only one who is concerned:

Leaving Flickr Commons could have been the perfect opportunity to invest in long-term self-hosting. Instead they’re abandoning the Titanic by hitching a ride on the Hindenberg.

Well, we’ll see.

2.0 Links!

That worked fine the last time, so here we go:

2.1 Energize!

Here is a good guide on how to save a bunch of energy on your iPhone. Worst offender apparently: Facebook.

2.2 Neeeeerds!

So, yes, I really liked the “Silicon Valley” pilot. A few interesting articles about it: ‘Silicon Valley’ Skewers the Empty Utopianism of the Tech Industry basically says that making fun of Silicon Valley is like shooting fish in a barrel. NPR basically thinks the same: What Silicon Valley’s Cast Thinks About Silicon Valley Culture:

Socially awkward people with money is a very funny area.

2.3 Sour! Sour?

If you like watching a video of babies being not very happy at all, today is your lucky day.

2.4 Sans

Of course I sent Comic Neue to all the teachers in my immediate family.

3.0 Gifs

4.0 Procrastination

Is it very obvious that I should be doing something else?

Have a good day!