A timeless time machine

In the picture below you see my first love computer: the Schneider CPC 464. It had a build-in tape deck and was sold with either a green or a color monitor. It was never as popular as its rival, the C64, but that did’t matter to me. I got the brownish monolith in ’85 as a Christmas present and 35 years later it still looks timeless, I think.

Sure, the screen is a bit small (size and resolution wise) for todays standard, 64k RAM is not too great, and music tapes are not a popular storage medium anymore – but it can still play the game heroes of my childhood: Elite, Gauntlet and Saboteur.
That’s why I decided a while ago to re-buy my first computer, since I sold mine in my late teens to get money for a newer computer.

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Notes to my (forgetful) future self

A few of my hobbies require quite a bit of research – hobbies like hardware tinkering, programming, installing stuff on a Raspberry Pi, building a 3d printer, coffee roasting, cooking… And since there are so many topics but only limited space in my head for quirky stuff, I started the habit of taking extensive notes. They became quite a life saver, since I often have to put things aside for a while – for example when “regular” life happens. Strange, I know.

If you care about note taking, take note (pun intended) and consider reading on. 

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DIY Raspberry Pi Laptop

In 2012 Motorola had a brillant idea on how to change the mobile computer landscape. They introduced the LapDock to the world (yes, I guess the pun was intended) – a laptop?like computer dock for your mobile phone. The German marketing slogan for it was: die Zukunft mobiler Computer Technik! (the future of mobiler computer technology).

This also describes the problem of the lapdock, it was too much future for 2012. Remember the Android phones of 2012? Using this thing must have been horrible. It also had steep price point (around $450). Thus it never really revolutionized the phone market.

But today the lapdock can be put to good use. You can turn it into a raspberry pi laptop with a few cables. You can get one for around 60 Euros on eBay every now and then. If you asked me why (a friend did), the short answer is: because we can!

You can find the writeup of the project over at hackster.io and build one to climb up a step on the Raspberry Pi nerd ladder.

Rereading the Classics

For design to become corporate competency, it has to be more than just a department of people with the cool shoes, more than the activity you perform just prior to commercialization. Design is a way of approaching problem solving, decision making, and strategic planning that can yield better outcomes. It’s an open approach, and anyone in the organization can participate […].

Subject to Change, 2008



Peter Merholz wrote that in 2008 – more than a decade ago. And organizations are still trying to get a grip on this.


No longer AFK

Hey, long time no hear. I hope you are still around and haven’t given up on me. The last two months were quite busy, so I didn’t find the time to write. Sorry for that.

But I have a long list of things I want to tell you. This post will be a short update on the things that have kept my attention.

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So what you gonna do when the DS-GVO comes for you?

Bis letzte Woche war ich noch entspannt uninformiert was die oben genannte Abkürzung angeht. Hätte ich raten sollen, was das sein soll, hätte ich gesagt: „Vielleicht ein Sprayer-Pseudonym oder ein neues Hipster-Label, das versucht ohne Konsonanten auszukommen.“ Leider beides falsch.

Wie ihr wahrscheinlich schon lange wisst, handelt es sich um die neue Datenschutzgrundverordnung, die am 25. Mai 2018 in Kraft tritt. Mit ihr gibt uns die EU neue Rechte zum Datenschutz im Internet und gleichzeitig bekommen Personen und Firmen, die Dinge im Internet machen, neue Pflichten. (Welche genau, lest ihr besser bei Menschen nach, die sich damit auskennen, z.B. [1], [2], [3], [4].) Das europäische Internet hat quasi einen umfassenden Datenschutz-Frühjahrsputz verordnet bekommen.

Für mich bedeutet das, das mein Blog komplett überarbeitet werden muss. Inhalte, Plugins und das verwendete Layout wollen angepasst und zum Teil ausgetauscht werden. Zum Glück ist mein Blog recht schmal (wenig Inhalt!) und reduziert (ich nutzte bisher fünf Plugins). So musste ich vergleichsweise wenig anpassen. Super! Aber Spaß geht anders…

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Technology and (the Lack of) User Value

About a year ago Mark Zuckerberg released a video clip about the result of his personal challenge of 2016: Jarvis, a simple AI to control his home.

Back in December 2016 this was cutting edge technology: a smart home assistant you could talk to or chat with. It was able to play music, inform Zuckerberg about events, recognize faces, and control household applicants, of course.

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The Crumbling Nerd Barrier of Physical Prototyping

When I tell people that I build physical prototypes (a.k.a things with knobs, displays and wires, which demonstrate how physical user interfaces of products that are going to get built will work) they usually smile, often sadly, and say: „Yes, but that’s easy for you, since you are such a nerd.“

That’s of course a grand misconception. Of me (probably) and of the general situation as a whole. People still believe that extensive programming and electrical engineering skills are needed, but that is no longer true. The nerd barrier has been torn down in quite a few places.

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Blogging Aspirations vs. Reality

The avid and attentive reader of this blog might have noticed another (silent) relaunch of my blog – the giveaway was the change of design.

This is the result of aspirations meeting reality. As I mentioned before, I wanted to use a small and lightweight engine for this blog and say goodbye to the behemoth called WordPress. Back in September I picked Kirby, since it ticked all the boxes. I bought a license and a decent theme, and loved the fact that I could now write my posts in markup and simply upload the files to the server.

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