• 43% of Germans don't enjoy holidays in Ireland?

    In no. 8 of Bernie Goldbach's 10 Questions on Sunday, he states that according to the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation almost half of the Germans visiting Ireland during their vacations are dissatisfied.

    Unfortunately, I couldn't find a detailed substantiation why Germans are so dissatisfied with Ireland as a holiday country. I'd be very interested in details, because I don't understand that dissatisfaction at all.

    I like both the rural and city Ireland -- I even think about moving there. The people are much more relaxed than here, the cities are bursting of culture and the landscapes are marvellous. Granted, the prices aren't low, but you can find both accomodation and food to decent prices if you care to shop a little.

    BTW, being both enthusiastic about Ireland and interested in education technology is the reason why I subscribed to Bernie's blog.

  • Always wear a podcast

    Today, my walk from the train station home was quite a bit longer than usual. Because it was the train station of another town.

    Thats's what happened: Soon after boarding the train in Karlsruhe, due to the temperature inside I got rather weary and I dozed off several times. Unfortunately, one time too many: when the train stopped once again, I realized that I had missed the station where I had had to change trains. I was already in Wiesental, a neighboring town of Philippsburg, and on my way to Mannheim. At least, there was enough time to leave the train here.

    Calling my folks to pick me up was not an option -- they were watching Germany winning against Ecuador just now. Well, I had intended to go jogging this evening anyway, so I decided to just walk the few kilometres home. Weather was great, and I had put some new podcasts[1] on my iPod.

    That's what I like about podcasts: they give you an opportunity to have fun or even learn something while you can't do anything else (or don't want to). In those 25 minutes it took me to get home, I listened to an interview with Tom Limoncelli, author of Time Management for System Administrators, and learned about SVK If there's nothing else you can do, you can always listen and learn. Try it out, it's easy!

    On another note, I'm quite pleased that I now can sustain a fast-paced walk over 25 minutes without problems. Not more than a few weeks ago, even rushing to my local train station was giving me cramps!

    fn1. For those who don't know: a podcast is an audio file of people talking about stuff, like in a radio show. There are podcasts on all topics you can imagine on the internet.

  • One out, thousands in

    James Blunt actually whined a 5-year-old girl out of a coma it fell into after falling from a balcony. She awoke after 10 days of unconsciousness when the clinic radio was playing "You're beautiful".

    On the other hand, for people like me, the singer lists among the top reasons for jumping from a balcony in the first place.

  • Astonishing optical illusion

    There are a lot of optical illusions published on the net. Everybody knows the "which line is longer?" and the "are those lines parallel?" pictures. Yawn.

    But the Spanish Castle is one I find really amazing. It's a picture of a castle in false colours with a black dot in the middle. Stare at the dot for about 30 seconds, then move your mouse over the picture. You'll see the castle in real colours -- but only as long as you don't move your eyes!

    This reminds me of the "Magic Eye" pictures popular a few (gosh, I'm getting old) years ago. When I got the first Magic Eye book, I spent hours staring at the patterns trying to make the 3D shape appear...

  • I hate numbers

    After weeks of procrastination, I decided yesterday afternoon not to stop at thinking about doing my taxes, but to actually do them. I really loathe that part of my work, probably due to the traumatic effects of some not-so-good years gone by. But after the first heap of paper shifted, my motivation increased by an order of magnitude when I saw what QuickSteuer displayed as estimated tax refund.

    So, at about midnight, the cover letter was the last piece of paper running out of my printer, and this morning, a weary-eyed Jochen dropped a big envelope into the mailbox on the way to the railway station. Talk about getting things done...

    As always, I'm not sure if the Finanzamt (the german IRS) will just do a tax calculation based on my numbers or write a response like "Hey, we had a great laugh. Oh, and by the way, maybe you want to take a drug test." We'll see.