• Mobile communication hub: Fring

    If you've been following my blog for a while then you know that I'm very interested in using Skype on my mobile phone. But so far, they broke all their promises to release a Symbian S60 version of the Skype client.

    It seems it needed a third party vendor to step in and deliver: Fring Fring is a free communication software for S60 that you install on your phone. It then connects to several services if you enter your account credentials. Apart from Skype, there are also Google Talk, SIP and as the most recent addition, Twitter For Skype, Google Talk and Twitter, Fring also offers a chat function to exchange text messages.

    The Fring client connects to their servers which in turn make a connection to Skype, Google, Twitter or the SIP contact you want to talk to.

    So far, Fring works quite nicely on my Nokia E61. The voice quality over Skype is acceptable and by enabling me to also send instant messages from the same application makes Fring my single mobile communication hub. The only thing I'm afraid of is how running Fring will drain the phone's battery. But I'll see about that.

  • [Meme] Sesame Street

    HulaLena made me go on a trip back to my childhood by asking some questions about Sesame Street

    h3. What Sesame Street character did you find the coolest?

    Lefty the Salesman ("Schlehmil"). I found it hilarious how Ernie always thwarted his attempts to sneakily sell an O like it was something forbidden.

    h3. Whom didn't you like?

    The grumpy "Herr Bödefeld" from the german insertions.

    h3. Can you recite a song from Sesame Street? Which one?

    I know the title song by heart, and both my brother and I still love to recite Hey diddle diddle, the cat has a fiddle, the cow jumps over the moon

    h3. What tought you Sesame Street?

    One of the most important things a teacher needs to know I learned from Grover ("Grobi"): you have to really make an effort if you want to teach people things. "Near... (running to the back) Far! (running to the front) Near... (huff huff huff) Far again!"

    h3. When did you watch Sesame Street the last time?

    I'm afraid that must be two decades ago. But I still like to watch The Muppets, especially the movies, e.g. "The Muppets Treasure Island" ("Not bad for an amphibian, hm?").

    I pass this Stöckchen" on to "Carolin!.html and Kai

  • Gentoo is for learning, Ubuntu is for using

    I never used Gentoo myself, but I'm hearing every now and then that Gentoo users tend to switch to Ubuntu once their learning curve flattens and the compile cycles become increasingly annoying. "I want to do work with my system, not on my system", some switchers say.

    I've been using Kubuntu on my ThinkPad R52 laptop for months now and I'm totally satisfied. There are no complicated or time-consuming procedures to install new software. I just do apt-get install, and that's it. And from the "universe", "multiverse" and "medibuntu" repositories, I can get all the applications I need.

    The same goes for my web servers. With Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, I have everything I need to run web, mail, chat and other services. Thanks to "Long Time Support", I won't have to do an upgrade to a newer distribution version for years.

    I've been a SuSE Linux user for many years, but now I guess I could become a Ubuntu Linux user for at least as long. And since I passed the "Learning Linux" phase long ago, I may never be inclined to try Gentoo...

  • My space, not MySpace

    The folks over at WebWorker Daily asked for a picture of my work space. No problem, here's where I work when I'm at home:

    I also put a larger, annotated picture on Flickr

  • Getting out of the rat race

    Alex, the Chief Happiness Officer, put a great illustration of the rat race we're always tempted to join in his blog. It was a revelation to me that I've been one of these rats during the recent weeks. Steadily getting more work, watching my to-do lists grow, trying to stay organized, failing in some cases, hurrying to correct those situations, losing focus on the important things and getting frustrated from missing the feeling of accomplishment. And all the while losing more and more energy, thus worsening this vicious circle. Now I know why they called that successful racing game "Burnout".

    I decided to break the circle today. I wanted to concentrate on some topics that I should have finished long ago, without getting disturbed or distracted. That's why I decided to work from home today. Here I have everything I need -- a computer, a cup of tea and tranquility. The ideal environment to focus on the tasks at hand.

    I started work half an hour early because I didn't have to commute and finished many tasks over the course of the morning that I tried to do all week in vain. But instead of feeling pressure and stress like on the days before, I feel more energized with every entry I'm able to cross out on my to-do list. I'm actually looking forward to the things I get to tackle after having some light lunch.

    When you don't succeed, trying harder is not always the solution. Often it's trying something different.