• From fresh to tired in one day

    Last week was really relaxing. I had taken four days off, which with the public holiday (All Saints) on thursday, resulted in a whole week of time completely at my own disposal.

    I was finally able to whip my self management back into shape, giving me the feeling of being in control of my many tasks back again. I emptied my private email inbox, answering many mails that were waiting for days. I worked on the material and answered questions from participants of my Perl online course and did some thinking about new courses. I even kept a thin lifeline to Karlsruhe, answering select emails from the data center. And, of course, I spent much time with Carolin.

    Today, I went back to my office at 1&1. Where I stayed for a few minutes before I joined my IT management colleagues for a three-day ITIL foundation class. Unfortunately, once again, the curse of existing knowledge hit me: since the trainer spent the whole day on basics I mostly already knew, there wasn't much to keep me alert. Since I had to get up at 5:30 to be at the seminar in time after over an hour of train commute, I drank an overdose of coffee, which I'm afraid won't let me go to sleep as early as would be necessary to get up freshly in time tomorrow. But if that wasn't enough for a first day back at work, we had a meeting afterwards to discuss some mistakes that happened in system administration over the recent weeks with my boss's boss. I'm now sitting tired on a homebound train that will reach Freiburg at 19:00.

    Almost all the energy I gained last week seems to have vanished already. I long for a quiet evening with my precious to recharge at least a bit. Which probably means an episode of Black Books before I pass out.

    Two more days of training left. After that, I'll have to recover from 8 days of absence from my desk. Oh the joy. Seems I'll have to reread a blog entry about self-motivation I posted last week.

  • BlogCamp Switzerland

    It's now been almost a week since I attended BlogCamp Switzerland at the ETH Zürich. I just didn't have the time to write about it yet.

    We -- that is Sebastian, Diana and Sven -- met early in the morning to have Sebastian drive us across the Swiss border to Zürich. We managed to arrive just in time, so we registered and immediately joined about a hundred other participants in one of the lecture halls. After a warm welcome by Peter Hogenkamp, we had a short introduction round where everyone stated their name and three personal tags. I was one of the speakers that then explained their topic, each followed by a show of hands to determine the audience's interest.

    But first, I went to Adrian Heydecker's talk about "Blog Usability". He not only gave some good advice about blog layouts that help building an audience, he also coped quite well with two projector outages (one caused by me by accidentally unplugging the power cord when I returned from the restroom, the other one from a lamp failure).

    Several people had supported my topic "Getting Blogs Done" and I got one of the slots at 11:15. In about half an hour, I gave a short introduction into David Allen's "Getting Things Done" concept and then explained how I used it to organize my blogging more productively. We had an interesting Q&A session afterwards, and there are comment threads in Markurs Tressl's blog and my Selbstadministration blog.

    With "10 Tipps für bessere Blogtexte" ("10 tips for a better blog copy"), Jürg Vollmer shared interesting insights about what to look out for when writing blog posts.

    The last talk I attended was "Große Blogprojekte" ("Big blog projects") by Jan Theofel. He demonstrated some of his successful blog projects that generated a impressive number of hits per day, and explained what he took care of to get and keep his audience.

    All in all, it was a day well spent. We were amazed how well organized everything was and enjoyed the conversations with other swiss and german bloggers. Next time in 2008, BlogCamp Switzerland will be an event during the "Computer Science Days". I'll be there if my time allows.

  • Apple vs Nokia is like CompuServe vs the Internet

    I'm still certain that I won't buy an iPhone although I'm as much an Apple geek as the next guy. But a mobile device is only really of use to me if I can freely install additional applications on it.

    When I first saw the Palm Pilot 1000 in the 90s, I found it cute, but not until I realized that there's more software available than Palm delivered with the devide I knew it would improve my life. I decided on the Nokia E61 as my current cell phone because the S60 platform has many applications to choose from. Since it also has WiFi and 3G, the only advantage of the iPhone is its groundbreaking user interface. But to me, that's not enough to justify spending about 2000 Euro over two years on device and T-Mobile fees.

    If I really need another gadget, it will probably be a Nokia internet tablet of the N800 series. The newly released N810 has a great display and a slide-out keyboard. GPS as well as WiFi is built in and if there's no hotspot available, I can use my E61 as a 3G modem over BlueTooth.

    And then there's the software side again: That it runs Linux gives it endless possibilities of usage. But other than on the iPhone, this platform is open; Nokia doesn't try to control what may be installed and what not.

    Alistair Croll does a good job of pointing out this important difference. He compares the platform strategies of Apple versus Nokia with those of CompuServe versus the open Internet. As I was a CompuServe user until I could get PPP dial-up elsewhere, imagine me nodding heavily now.

  • T-Mobile throttles IPhone bandwidth for german power users

    I just found the official rates T-Mobile will charge IPhone users in Germany:

    • "Complete M": 100 minutes and 40 SMS for 49 €
    • "Complete L": 200 minutes and 150 SMS for 69 €
    • "Complete XL": 1000 minutes and 300 SMS for 89 €

    As usual, unused talk minutes and SMS will expire at the end of each month.

    But the main bummer is in the fine print: T-Mobile will limit the bandwidth to a maximum of 64 kbit/s (8KB/sec) downstream and 16 kbit/s (2KB/sec) upstream after 200MB for "Complete M", after 1GB for L, or after 5GB for XL.

    Thanks, T-Mobile, for making not buying an IPhone this easy.

    (via fscklog)

  • I find Dilbert spooky

    In a timeframe of about a week, I'll always find a Dilbert cartoon that fits what happens around me at work.

    Okay, this one from Friday is timeless and generic. :-)