Fish Zapping

Hello internet friends,

I hope this letter finds you well, after it travelled back and forth underneath the oceans.

We stay underwater and have a lot into the past. Apparently Herodotus described a type of boat that nobody else whose words made it through the millenia ever mentioned, so people most thought: eh, old Herodotus. A world-class historian, not much of a nautical engineer.
Turns out if you look at the right place, you actually find more proof that this kind of boat exists – and where, if not the river Nile, would you find an old boat? Nile shipwreck discovery proves Herodotus right – after 2,469 years. Nice.

More underwater news? This interview is pretty bonkers: Latest Generation of Lionfish-Hunting Robot Can Find and Zap More Fish Than Ever
It sounds like a great idea to release an army of app-controlled fish-zapping robots. What could possibly go wrong?

Okay, enough underwater now, let’s go up in the sky!
Apparently a huge meteor hit the earth some time in December and nobody really noticed: Meteor blast over Bering Sea was 10 times size of Hiroshima
What’s even more interesting: a Japanese satellite took a picture of the entry event – and you’ll have to zoom it quite a bit to see it.

Okay, some more bits and pieces:


So Much Harder

Hello internet friends,

did you ever wonder why your work life is so much harder than everyone else’s?
(I mean, seriously, did you? I have no numbers, but I’m pretty sure almost all of you have a nice-ish office job. We have it a lot easier than many, many people. But anyway, besides the silly headline, it is an interesting article.)

At the next roundabout, take the second exit

One can’t really argue that driving is a lot easier these days, thanks to navigation apps. And yet the The Perfect Selfishness of Mapping Apps is a problem for city and traffic planners. (I tend to tell myself that that is the reason why I rather follow traffic signs than turn-by-turn navigation, but usually it is because I’m an old (more so in my head than in actual years, but that’s a whole different topic) and actually do research on a map where I want to drive and how to get there before I do.)

Cases for Raspberry Pis and… Bugattis?

Almost everybody I know who has a 3D printer or went to a makerspace with one of those machines doesn’t really know what to answer when asked: “So, after a little toy figurine and a case for the Raspberry Pi that you’re not using, what will you print next?”
Turns out people are actually using the technology for useful stuff: Porsche and Bugatti turn to 3D printing for complex or rare parts



Netflix’s Terrace House: Opening New Doors is a major return to form and it is now on Netflix outside of Japan, too. You don’t need to find ways to watch it.
(Except if you’re as annoyed with the music for the international release as I am.)

The revolution will be YouTube-ized

The related videos on YouTube are almost always trash. But worse than trash, they’re also dangerous: YouTube, the Great Radicalizer
I’m mostly using YouTube to watch streams of obscure car racing series around the world, so I should be safe for now…


Puppy Culture

Hello internet friends!

Let’s get right to the links, how about that?

Buy! Buy! Buy!

The trend du jour that doesn’t seem to go away are the people (well, let’s be honest – ladies) in a tube that you can yell at to play some music. There’s the Amazon one, I think Microsoft has something as well and for people who like to talk to their phone, there’s Siri. And obviously there’s something from Google. And Google being an advertising company and not being able to stop themselves from being, well, Google, it seems like their person in a tube helpfully pointed out to people that they might want to watch the new Disney movie.


People like to look at baby animals on the internet. Not a very new idea. People like to argue politics on the internet. Also not a very new idea. But combining baby animals and puppies? A new idea. Here is why that is happening and the psychology behind it.

Buy! Buy! Buy! (again)

Most city centers these days feel like mall already – it’s not terribly hard to find the same couple of chain stores in most cities and it can be a bit samey-samey. But actually merging the two concepts – a city center, open to the public, and a mall, a centrally owned retail space – seems like something new. I’m not too sure I approve of that, I’m quite in favour of the public owning at least the walking areas between stores.

Internet Culture

Don’t worry. For a change this is actually something positive. People are happily(?) paying for online content. Not only via subscription services like Netflix and Spotify, but also for small, independent creators. At the heart of it is Patreon, a platform I really do like – I’m able to support people who do good stuff online, yay. (I’d have absolutely no moral problems with setting up a Patreon account for this newsletter, but… eh.)

Long Live The Queen

But what if she doesn’t? There’s a (not so) secret plan for what happens next. At least they won’t have to expire her in time for the press like one of her predecessors:

“The King’s life is moving peacefully towards its close,” was the final notice issued by George V’s doctor, Lord Dawson, at 9.30pm on the night of 20 January 1936. Not long afterwards, Dawson injected the king with 750mg of morphine and a gram of cocaine – enough to kill him twice over – in order to ease the monarch’s suffering, and to have him expire in time for the printing presses of the Times, which rolled at midnight.

Well, that’s it for today. Comment, like and subscribe!



Hello internet friends,

were you as excited as I am about long tweets to hopefully get rid of tweetstorms? (Not that this would ever happen, mostly because.) Well, I do have some bad news for you: the 140 characters are here to stay. And so are screenshots of text. Which I have seen on Medium by now, too.
What is wrong with people?

Anyway, onwards! I am sure by now everyone of you have heard of or even played the wonderful Firewatch game. If not, give it a try – it’s very pretty, not terribly expensive for a couple of hours of entertainment and it is very playable even for people who are not natural gamers.
And once you’re done with it, why not read these notes by Panic, the company that published the game, about their experience as a first time game publisher.

Everybody seems to be really into the idea of self-driving cars these days. And then there are these kinds of people who want to ruin it for everybody else.

Love emoji? Of course you do. What kind of joyless person doesn’t? Well, behind every emoji is a letter code and those are maintained by people called the Unicode Editorial Committee. And this is how that works.

We all have seen those pictures of immaculate kitchens/desks/… that our designer-y friends like to share. They tend to follow a certain aesthetic – and more often than not it is one that comes from the Kinfolk, which is apparently the last lifestyle magazine.
Do read the article, I found it fascinating how much of this comes from Mormonism, of all places. As a Dudeist this is all pretty weird in my eyes, but I guess this makes me a bit of a garbage person. But then it is very likely that these neat little photos of neat little living and work spaces are just a bit of an act – which might actually help some folks. Or maybe not.

And now for something completely different and actually great: Pigeons With Backpacks Are Fighting Air Pollution in London. I don’t have anything to add to this.



Hello internet friends!

Not only is Tinder more expensive for people over 30, you’ll probably also get hit on by advertising bots.

By now you probably know that Sir Terry Pratchett has passed away. He’s always been one of my favourite authors and I do own all of his books, having pre-ordered every book as soon as that was an option.
And then there is this delightful and very nerdy way to commemorate Mr Pratchett: sending a special HTTP header.

I am not a huge fan of ephemeral “social” live broadcasting – I was under the impression that the ability to time-shift media was one of the biggest achievement of the digital age. But even though I really don’t understand Meerkat, the fact that Twitter rained on their parade was a real dickmove.

Have a good week, everybody.


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,