Vesterby glasses: awesome

March 15th, 2015

I really like my Vesterby frames.

When I needed spare parts I got in touch, and they sent them right away and to the address where I would be.

Awesome service. I can only recommend them: Vesterby

robo phone phishing

November 28th, 2014

3rd robo phishing call in as many days.
Today it spoofed my own number as it’s caller ID
and pretended to be AT&T. Telling me to enter
the last 4 of my social. Their scheme was that
my account had been “flagged”. Entering
false four digits prompted in a “flag has been removed”
message. So that people easier forget. I wonder what
people want to do with the combination of my
phone number and the last 4 of my social.

It is frightening to think that they might a have a success
rate in the double digit percentages with this scheme.

Lufthansa “NONSTOP messing with YOU”

October 20th, 2014

Lufthansa is on their 8th strike in 2014. If you are affected this is how it looks like:

An email arrives that the final leg of flight got cancelled 24 hours before departure.
Logging in to the website suggests to get a train ticket.
Trying to do so results in a generic failure.
Phone lines are not being answered by Lufthansa in Germany or the US.
At 6am there is another email informs you that the outbound flight is also cancelled.
Phone lines still don't work.
The web interface says to contact phone numbers that have not been answered in the last 20 hours.
The phone numbers tell you to check the web.

I hate this guy

March 11th, 2013

Working on some code which is from 1992. Amazing fact number one is that the bits did not rot. Still compiles like a charm. But I really really hate the guy who wrote it. I know that back in the day storage was an issue. Things needed to be a bit more optimized than today. But having it all come down to a line like:


pos1 = ((*(*(l+x)+y)));

feels a bit outdated. Sure, it still works. Couple of comments could have been nice. Those extra brackets barely make up for it. I think the best thing that the author of those lines did, was not to get under a bus or die in any other way: I would not be here in that case.

“Fight Club” in 2013

January 27th, 2013

Watching “Fight Club” again today is a strange and very interesting experience.

So much has changed since the book / film came out. It is clearly set in a different epoch.

Its character ‘Tyler Durden’ says:

God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables;
slaves with white collars.  Advertising has us chasing cars
and clothes, working jobs  we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. 
	
…
	
We've all been raised on television to believe
that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods,
and rock stars. 
	
But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact.
And we're very, very pissed off.

It seemed fitting at the time. What happened since then?

Many of those jobs are gone. People in that slice of society
make less money today. Sometimes even in absolute dollars.
Certainly corrected for inflation. In the same time the share
of the upper sliver of society on the other end of the wealth
distribution has nothing but exploded.

So why seems the portrayed unrest even further removed
from reality than less than a score years ago?

The answer might lie in the proliferation of computer games and the Internet
during that time.

Both soak up all that extra male testosterone and time that would
otherwise find not much constructive application in the world of 2013.

Oh, and it looked absolutely awesome. I miss movies shot on film.

fun to work with great companies

July 2nd, 2012

Moving is not fun. I used Bevery Hills Transfer and Storage before and things worked really well.

When I recently had to plan a move I was delighted that they still around. And everything was as perfect as it can be.

It makes such a difference if one knows that there are actual people who care about the job. I think that this kind of attitude can be found if the size of the company matches the task: If they are too small then stretched resources might make things inflexible. If a company gets too large people often stop caring. Since they do the big company starts to treat their people and customers like cattle. Prodding them into the flow via a byzantine set of rules and call centers.

Luckily Bevery Hills Transfer and Storage is the right size, and the people do care. That makes moving almost fun.

There are probably other companies out there that do a good job as well. Those I just don’t know. These people I have a great experience with. So they are the ones that I will call for my next move. And I am happy that I found them back in the day.

Delta online flight booking

June 24th, 2012

One would think that Delta would know by now how to run an online booking system.

Seems not to be the case.

Just booked a flight. In the end the system told me that I took to long and that I should start over.

Bummer.

But I did.

Succeeded the second time.

When I checked my credit card statement I saw both the failed and the successful one on there.

The credit card company could not help.

Delta eventually credited the redundant flight. So they claim. It takes “7 to 10 business days” to charge this back.

Spent 1 hour with them on the phone to undo this.

I don’t need something complicated. I am just looking to buy a flight. Online. And maybe in one attempt.

This has been a seriously underwhelming experience. I think that “Delta” should start setting money aside to do a “Pacbell”.

Rebranding is probably gonna cheaper than trying to increase customer service or getting their systems to work properly and
to regain customers back the old fashioned way.

the real side

April 27th, 2012

I like ‘Breaking Bad’ allot. A great show.

The real side of meth production looks way less glamorous.

London Appartment

April 4th, 2012

Just returned from a very nice stay in London.

We lucked out with the accommodation and with the weather alike.

We had a wonderful time in Notting Hill. The location is just awesome. A minute away from Embassy Row or the tube - yet very quiet.
Likewise the house has history and character while the apartment has all things in perfect condition.

If we would have liked to have the same space and features in a Hotel then we would have paid ridiculous amounts. I like that the Internet allows for a high quality services
like this apartment to find an audience. Hope that we find something similar in Brooklyn in the summer.

The New and the Old

February 26th, 2012

Recently I noticed two interactions I had with products / companies / services.

They are un related. I remember them both since they were better / worse than what I had expected.

The bad one

Being bored in a Hotel room I switch on the TV. Since I never watched I was shocked again how bad it was. That was NOT unexpected. I just keep forgetting that. I stumbled upon “Blue Valentine”. I liked it a lot. And interesting movie to watch from the middle. I liked it quiet a bit and wanted to watch it completely. I ordered the BluRay Version.

I liked the entire movie as well. Nice to see that this kind of project gets made.

What really bothered me was the previews and trailers that want to play every time I insert the disc. I can fwd skip through things. But it is annoying. Very.

People do no longer buy media on discs anymore. As a reaction it seems that people try to sell things even harder. An junk-loop-spiral towards doom. Much like the Hotel phone prices jumping up when cell phones took away the call volume. A failed attempt to keep revenues steady in a shrinking market.

The good one

I wondered if it is possible to get a report from Amazon on past purchases. Sure enough it is. It works well. And it is so helpful. I never choose Amazon because of this. I had no idea I existed. I would use them if they had no reports.

Both - the disc makers and Amazon - deliver the core product that they offer.

The difference is in what they do extra: Amazon tries to think about what could be helpful for me. The disc makers try to think what is helpful for them.

How funny that they think that that will work.

time to …

February 6th, 2012

It is time that we start taxing sugar. R. Lustig and C. Brindis published a very compelling opinion piece in the current issue of Nature. (Vol 482)

It is ALSO high time that Nature stops paywalling ALL articles. Op pieces like this one SHOULD be public on the net.

Science and Nature are both on this idiot pay-wall trip. They need to get over that.

The should be ways so that they have their content online for all and still give extra for people that pay now for the content.

loving a suitcase?

November 18th, 2011

Last century we bought 3 full size Samsonite Oyster suitcases. Back then you had to put some stickers on them to distinguish them from all the others that people had.
That changed. Now there are all those black soft textile bags on the belt. I never understood why.

Those suitcases are simply amazing. They have traveled ridiculous miles by now. Life is tough if you are luggage. I can not imagine what kind of treatment they have gone through. They always worked.

I was very saddened when he lock broke on one of them. I don’t think I want any other suitcase. Rimowa seems to be en vogue. But I feel that they would not work better and probably look pretty beat up within a couple of months. I also don’t like if my luggage tells the world “Hey - check this out - I have money - stealing here is worth the risk”.

But as it turns out Samsonite did not only make awesome products, their service rocks as well:

I emailed them, asking if I could order a spare lock. They asked for my address and will send me a replacement lock for free.

I love it if things work right. I think this kind of service is truly inspiring.

Me loves my Samsonites!

progress

November 10th, 2011

At7T now

vs

Nextel 5 years ago

No More Credit Card offers!!

November 8th, 2011

Yeah for OptOutPrescreen. Takes less than a minute to have five years of no credit card offers in your mail box.
Unless they are not who they say they are and half of Ukraine is gonna have a big party now with my social and other info. Well - luckily https is still pretty safe,
and so is google showing the site as the first hit, as long one is careful.

I was expecting the Opt Out process to be tedius. Turns out it wasn’t at all. Nice. Now let’s see when the letters top coming in …

expression of fear

October 29th, 2011

looks like Munch got it right (there are clips inside of the slideshow)

ecoli map germany

June 5th, 2011

I made a map of the current ecoli outbreak in Germany.

There is actually also a german version: Ehec Karte Deutschland

guess the country

April 5th, 2011

On the carton of orange juice it reads “low in saturated fat”. Orange juice, fat?? WTF. What are they thinking. How many people ever considered OJ to be fatty? Pretty clear which country you are in when you read this kind of ‘nutrition information’.

The invisble hand of working stuff.

March 28th, 2011

Switching machines I realized that I had to re-install webmailer. This wonderful preference plane lets you launch any web based mail program whenever your default mail application would be launched.

I have used it for years. Thousands of times. And it always worked.

And I failed to appreciate that. Going through our lives our attention is where we need to act or avoid. The broken and annoying stuff is what we notice.

All the well working things that surround us go naturally under appreciated. And, since people have piled up allot of technology and culture in the last couple of generations there is actually a huge amount of that.

If a thousand items worked and one does not, that one will be all we think about.

nice idea

March 2nd, 2011

brand feedback

via Eric Alba.

lots of HD TVs - very few showing HD

November 8th, 2010

Nielsen numbers suggest that about one third of HD TV sets actually display HD. I wonder how many sets are still set to the store default mode: It is set as bright and vibrant as possible to make the units “look good”. But it kills the picture.

It is a tragedy: Back in the day of analog TVs it was allot of work and engineering needed to get that electron beam create a pretty and truthful picture. Today it would be easy. The whole pipeline is digital. A majority of households could enjoy unprecedented image quality. LCD and Plasma panels are impressively stable and predictable. But -no surprise there- people don’t care enough. Neither do the makers of the sets.

In a better world the sets could inform viewers about the input resolution. They could ship with a little set up tutorial (all acted out, and understandable) playing from a couple MB of memory somewhere in the set. The store mode would mention that it is active during power up. Remote controls would make sense. A Bluray player would come with a demo / promo / set up Disc that shows how wonderful the format can be. What you can do with it, and why Samsung,Sony,LG,insert-maker-name-here is awesome.

what do you do after you invented gmail …

October 25th, 2010

… and a couple of other things? Whatever it is that Paul Buchheit is doing today, luckily blogging is among it. Specially since he seems to think about what he writes.

fun spam

September 29th, 2010

“you look great in your profile picture” the mail said. When I realized that I actually checked the link (not by clicking it obviously) I had to laugh about myself. Never thought I’d derive some fun out of spam and the way I happen to look.

time to make the donuts

June 28th, 2010

Hugh MacLeod about self employment

glowing rectangle

March 28th, 2010

Are we in trouble when the Onion has a point?

death and social networks

March 15th, 2010

Death is a certainty with daily varying degrees of probability. I wonder if people that twitter think about what their final tweet would be. What google search results they should be remembered for.

Oh, and if you hunt for business ideas, I am sure there is one here. When people believed firmly in the progress of technology, they paid good money to have their bodies frozen. Hoping that tech would catch up. And that future scientists would have nothing better to do then to get them out of the freezer and frankenstein them back to live. Maybe one should offer a ‘digital legacy’ service. Keeping peoples musings, and if Moore’s Law keeps progressing, run some sanitizing filters over them. Of course the next step would be to figure out what you would have tweeted were your thumbs not worm feed. That would be as charming as Polar Express I guess.

Ars Technica has a more realistic and helpful article about the state of death and social media.

With digital technology it is feasible for the first time to keep a vast amount of data around that is related to dead people. How much information do you have about your ancestors? 2, 3, 5 generations back? It thins down pretty quickly. There is no more reason for this. Again: There is a business model here. Probably one that Facebook will pick up. Chances are that Mr Zuckerberg will live longer than many of us.

boarding pass

February 11th, 2010

A boarding pass design

I really like this. Also because it gets to show that we take too much junk in the -after all- man made environment around us for granted.

Boarding passes right now have a format that looks like a computer punch card, which came into being in that size since dollar bills in the days of Mr. Hollerith where that big.
So your boarding pass does not fit anywhere because people used to pay with paper money of that size more than 120 years ago …

While we are at it: The airlines could get an image from me, since I am frequent flier. Then they could super impose it over a QR Code and add a check sum.

An optical scan would reveal instantly if that boarding pass would actually BE for me. Quick: Go and patent that. It might be worth your time. I am busy with other
stuff and would just be happy to see better boarding passes. Among a couple of other things.

via Eric Alba, who referenced passfail where Davin Yoon’s design can be found in the bottom of the page.

insomnia - the movies

May 30th, 2009

A while back I watched Insomnia, I think I found it by some lateral IMDB connection of its director Chris Nolan. It was not bad for most parts. Watching the DVD extras I found out ,that this was actually a remake of a swedish movie with the same title. Since that was the only choice I got the stupidly overpriced criterion disc.

Watching the US remake and original revealed some american movie codes that -looking at them in the light of these films- are just plain stupid. Essential story points got bent. It was not that horrible to watch Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank act in the 2002 version. The original rarely reveals the thesping. People, surroundings and the issues suggested simply feel more reel. All the style, sound design, fog, acting and writing in serpentines to avoid a dog being shot make the US version feel dense, crafted and inept compared to the original.

The swedish film is certainly not without its flaws. But Insomnia is a remake that makes you wonder why there is such as thing a remake.

Nature - human one

March 26th, 2008

The wrong Craigslist add can cause allot of damage.

Interesting here I find the people in the truck that rejected to give the owner his stuff back. It would be short sighted to say “those people” and how “they could do such thing”. Fact is, everybody wants to believe in personal gain. Much more attractive than reality it seems. Lottery tickets are the same deal. And such was the Bush Bubble Boom. People wanted to believe that their house made them more money than they could have gained via serious work. They wanted this to be true. After all it was the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. It’s human nature. The Fed and the administration failed to act while the bubble was building. They actually encouraged it with their monentary decission. “The economy is strong” said the man from Crawford. What a moron. Some people got rich. Super filthy mega rich. It was Enron all over again. Just that it was not one company but the whole country. Quiet interesting if just printing dollars as fast as they can will get things corrected. Doubtfully so .

But human nature is also to settle for simple fairly tails instead to look at the grim realities. So let see who will be blamed for the disentegration of american wealth.

a better place

March 22nd, 2008

The world would be a better place if people looking for a free spot in a parking structure only wait for a car to exit after that car is showing the lights indicating that it is in rear gear. If those white lights are not on yet then you just pass it. Simple.

en passant critique

March 19th, 2008

Anton: “Who is that?”
Me: “Philip Glass”
Anton: “He is invisible to my ears”