56: Tripping Balls

Hello internet friends!

Have you seen ‘Lucy’ yet?
I haven’t but when I will, at some point, I won’t be able to not see it through this lens.


Those who hit the paths for 150 minutes or more a week, or who were particularly speedy, clipping off six-minute miles or better, lived longer than those who didn’t run. But they didn’t live significantly longer those who ran the least, including people running as little as five or 10 minutes a day at a leisurely pace of 10 minutes a mile or slower.

I’m not even all that sure if “living longer” should really be the goal, to be honest.


I am quite tempted to get one of those quadcopters with a camera. Posts like this are not helping.


The Case Against Cards Against Humanity:

I want to believe everyone’s motives are pure, even though I honestly don’t even know that about my own motives.
I want to believe that I can have absolute confidence that neither I nor any other people around me are horrible. Cards Against Humanity is built on that wishful thinking.

I have honestly given up on that, which is freeing in its own way.


Have a good day, folks.


55: Hats

Hello, internet friends! Remember me?
Now how about this – you can turn your selfies into stickers for text messages with this app.[1]
A couple of weeks ago the internet was furious – furious! – that Facebook played around with their feed algorithm to see what kind of effect it has on people. Now OKCupid admits to doing the same, sort of, and more of it. Who cares, though? And why not?
Talking about data gathering on how people behave – Disney is tracking guests in their theme parks with RFID bracelets. On the one hand – ugh! – on the other hand: this looks like a pretty interesting data set. It would be pretty cool[2] to be able to get access to the data of one’s bracelet. Maybe offer an API. Auto checkin people to rides on Swarm.[3]
Now this is pretty funny – a bunch of drunk students put in a little fake fact into Wikipedia a couple of years ago. Not only did it stay there, it also spread far. Here’s what one of them – now a journalist – wrote after she discovered that her little joke is still alive and well these day. It also got her banned from Wikipedia.
Have a good one, folks.
I’ll be back.

  1. I know you guys are exactly the kind of people who get really excited about apps like that. Am I right?  ↩
  2. In the sense of “cool” that people, who do not find it to be cool, call it creepy and a nerdy and a bit sick.  ↩
  3. Swarm. You know. What used to be Foursquare. Remember Foursquare?  ↩

54: Nails

Hello, internet friends!

As someone who has the tendency to acquire a dangerous amount of superficial knowledge about topics that interest me – often sprinkled with useless, but fun facts – I tend to be baffled by the amount of people who use stuff and have not a single interest in how they work.
Which is something that is fine when it comes to things like, uh, a toaster oven or a dish washing machine, but even though I should know better, I am constantly surprised how little people know about the networked tools that they use for both job and leisure every day. And I am not talking about some kind of smart home automation things, it’s rather basic things like email. Or which password to use where.

Maybe things are too complicated? Maybe it is not immediately obvious, that your router and your email provider and Facebook are different entities. Maybe IMAP is really too hard to understand and the fact, that an email is gone on “the computer” after it has been deleted on the phone is really weird and troubling. I don’t know.

So maybe we shouldn’t urge people to learn how to code. It might be a better idea to make people understand how their soft- and hardware works. Things that they use everyday and that they will have to use rather more than less in the future.


Well, next email will be more links.

Have a good one!


53: Calisson

Hello, internet friends!

As basically every person, who I didn’t manage to avoid this morning, told me: we are the world champions. Sitting here, overly sleepy and with an aching back, I surely do not feel like a champion, but hey – whatever gets you through the day.

Lately I noticed that I have more and more a problem interacting with people with whom I don’t share at least some “ambient intimacy”[1] – which for me mostly means people I can follow on Twitter or Tumblr. Or read their blog. Honestly, even Instagram would suffice.
The careful dance around small talk topics to find a way to tune each others’ frequency for managing a less forced conversation and some actual bonding – that is a skill that I used to have, a bit, and that seems to be completely gone. Once I am through with the weather, I am a bit lost at what else might be a common ground for conversation. I am not interested in sports or what’s on TV and therefore can’t talk about it. I refuse to discuss politics and religion and then which topic is left if you don’t know a person, yet? Apparently existential dread and the fear of the future – while something we all seem to have in common – are not topics for light conversation.
My current approach – to just be open about my limitation in that field and make it a meta-conversation topic – has the inverse effect: suddenly people who had no problem holding a conversation start to think about it, don’t really know what to say, it’s getting awkward and then that is usually it. They find someone else to talk to, I go home and watch Snowpiercer or something.
Well, uh, but hey: World champion, am I right? Yeah.

Well, I’m sorry. I guess I’m just slightly grumpy because my new bike is already losing air and now I have to take care of that and ugh, so much bother, why can’t things just be low maintenance.

This episode of “First World Problems” has been presented by: lack of coffee. At least that is something I can fix right away. Have a good monday!


  1. Ambient intimacy is an actually quite old (in internet years) term, which Leisa Reichelt coined back in 2007. Go read that article, it’s still interesting and relevant. And it sure shaped how I feel and think about all our weird social media things.  ↩

51: The Links Must Flow

Hello, internet friends!

It’s monday, I’m still half asleep, so here are links! (You all like links, right? What do you like? I hardly know it.)


Maciej Cegłowski went to the capital of Yemen, Sana’a – and the post on his first day there might be one of the best blog posts I have read in a long while.


The 747 is probably the most recognizable passenger jet in the world – and after almost 50 years and 1500 planes built its era is likely coming to an end. The Air & Space Magazine has some history.


I have never heard of Ryn Weaver’s “OctaHate” before, but it seems to be quite agreeable summer pop. There might be a reason I – and more or less nobody – have heard about the young lady: she was a struggling actress before some people decided she should be famous.


Are we entertained, yet?


50: Ring

Hello, internet friends!

Before we start with anything, let me give you the link to a properly useful article, full of proven career advice: 10 Tricks to Appear Smart During Meetings.

Now that the LinkedIn crowd is gone, (and depending on their intellectual ability amused, offended, befuddled or any mix of those three) let’s talk internet.

As I have mentioned before, (You don’t need to click this, it goes back to an old issue.) one of my early summer rituals is to re-read “The Beach.” It’s a pretty quick read that works fine when read on the first warm evening of the year.
It’s also a bit of a (very shaky) allegory for “the internet” – because this is basically the internet now.
Either that or I am getting old and finally blooming into my true form as constantly grumpy middle-aged dude. Or maybe I should just stop reading the internet for a while. Or unfollow the outrage crowd.

Maybe instead of tech articles, which tend to make me grumpy, I should just read fascinating articles like this one about ad-hoc transit in New York.

Have a good day. And if you don’t: this too shall pass.


49: Vox Populi

Hello, internet friends!

I got some nice feedback to last issue’s rant:

I just figured out your emails are full of hints, like the sky is full of stars.

Thank you, very much! I try.


Now here we go, this time with a bunch of links, again. Because who doesn’t like links? Everybody likes links.


A ‘safe’ way to see Bangkok’s seedier side

The Bangkok Hangover Tour offers an imaginative and theatrical visit to some of the city’s best bars and nightclubs, and honors the Hollywood movie “Hangover Part II,” which is set primarily in Bangkok.
To emphasize that guests will be following some of that character’s footsteps, Hangover Tour guides stick a washable Maori tattoo on all the guests’ faces, heightening the sense of being in their own version of the movie.

Sounds great.


Fly Art

An homage to the finer things in life: Art and Hip Hop.

This is actually quite brilliant.


‘Neuromancer’ and I Are the Same Age

Neuromancer was ground zero for cyberpunk, a kind of science fiction that doesn’t point up, up, and away. Instead, like Gibson’s sprawling cities, it spreads out laterally, in layers of increasing density; cyberpunk is the science fiction of the visceral now, of encroaching slums, biotech, the degradation of flesh, vacuity, political corruption, the corporatization of the world, social disorder, dark alleyways, and new drugs.

Neuromancer is 30 years old this year and there will probably be many articles about it. I liked this one.
And if you haven’t read it yet, it might be a good idea to do so. In fact, almost all Gibson books are highly readable. (Now how do I get to work for Blue Ant?)


People tell me quite often that they don’t quite get my references or words that I use. Maybe I should start explaining things in footnotes and/or a website? Would you like that?


Peace out, yo!


48: Hashtag


I sure hope you are all doing well.

I just need to let you know that I walk around thinking that you folks are the smartest people possible, blessed with way more intelligence than the average person and of course a lot hotter, too.

Okay, done with the pandering, but of course it is all true. Which is why I always wince when one of my friends (i.e. you) says or does something that even I with my limited intellectual capabilities can recognise as something really, really dumb.

It doesn’t happen a lot, but sometimes even my extraordinarily intelligent and attractive friends share something from Upworthy on Facebook or link to a 9gag joke or committed some other internet etiquette atrocity. Really. And being the helpful nerd with a vast insight into how humans work, I want to help my friends – usually by telling them that they just did or said something so daft that even a shrew would be deadly ashamed being caught in a situation like that.

I don’t know why people usually get defensive and tell me to fuck off instead of organising a parade or at least buy a fruit basket for me. I clearly helped them, right?

Now today I happened to find a public Facebook post by a “German online thought leader”[1] who in all earnestness warned his… his… thought followers(?) – and I paraphrase – that manipulative click-baity headlines on Facebook manipulate people into clicking them. And that he also shared them in the past and that he feels very sorry for that.
No shit, Sherlock?
And people ate it up. They were very grateful for this information and that finally someone uncovered that conspiracy of manipulation.

I was completely stunned.

Both that these people didn’t already by default realise that these clickbait articles are evil and that they were so grateful for the fact that someone – finally – spoke out about it.

So, apparently to get people to realise they are doing dumb thing it doesn’t help to post links to Clickhole and yelling at them for not noticing that it’s satire – instead, people need to get told these very basic things.

I am still stunned.

Not you guys, though – I know you’re all a lot more intelligent than that.

Now which Game of Thrones character did you get in that quiz?


  1. Gnnngnnngnnn.  ↩