Monday, October 15, 2007

Today is Blog Action Day

Although hardly anyone is reading my blog, I just wanted to make sure that I participate in this cool initiative: Blog Action Day.

And what would be a better topic for this occasion than Al Gore's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize last Friday? There are people who wonder what environmentalism has to do with peace or dealing with worldwide conflict. But since there is no similar prize for helping the environment, I think it's a good idea to use this for giving some credit to people like Al Gore. After all, you could argue that he is helping to promote 'peace' between nature and society.

Anyhow, I just wonder how Al Gore would be as a president of the U.S. Would there be a total shift in environmental policies or would other interests and pressure from lobbyists result in only moderate changes? But I don't believe that we will ever know for sure as he probably will never again run for an office in the White House.

Friday, October 05, 2007

My first blog entry sent from my iPhone

Since this is sent from the iPhone it should also be about this much hyped gadget from Apple.

How does Apple do this? Why can't any of the other cell phone manufacturers come up with such an intuitive UI and sexy design. At least they could copy some ideas and use their experience to make the product even better. It's amazing when you think about the untapped potential of the iPhone. Some of the 3rd party applications available to the iPhone users who hacked their device show how something so cool can be even better.

Unfortunately, Apple's hardline position on hacked phones is not helping the consumers. Steve Jobs wants to limit the abilities of the iPhone to what the manufacturer offers out of the box. In the current version this results in a pretty long wish list of additional features:
- Games. The device with the accellerometer and the amazing touch screen would be perfect for games.
- MMS messages. You can send pictures through email but not through MMS.
- Copy/paste funtionality. My old Palm III had copy/paste abilities.
- Password manager. How can anyone remember all the passwords you need nowadays.
- Flash and Javascript support. However, I love the iPhone's Safari browser, especially with pages that are not optimized for mobile devices.
- Better Bluetooth support. It's an iPod phone with Bluetooth but it doesn't support wireless stereo headsets. Many other newer phones have that feature.
More feature requests:

Some people argue that there are better smartphones out there. If only the Nokia N95 was sexier, I would have bought that one instead.

Monday, July 03, 2006

World Cup in Germany and I'm not there

Being German, I couldn't avoid growing up with soccer. Although, I'm not the biggest fan - and unlike most boys I actually only played for a short time - big soccer events are always fun. I remember sitting in front of the TV an being captivated by the excitement of the matches.

Especially great were the parties on the streets when Germany won against a tough opponent. I remember how the streets with the most bars in my home town were packed with celebrating and happy (and drunk) people after Germany won the World Cup in 1990 and the European Championship in 1996.

And now that the World Cup is hosted in Germany, I am in the U.S. and only able to see the excitement in other parts of the world on TV. Today, Germany is playing Italy in the semi finals. My guess: 2:1 for us. If we in fact win this one, I'll have something else to celebrate on this 4th of July. Unfortunately, I will be pretty much on my own on the streets in Palo Alto.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Russian Reality TV or Science?

Russia's Federal Space Agency (Rosaviakosmos) is planning a simulation of a manned flight to Mars. But this test will not be performed just on the computer using simulation models. To analyze the human aspect of the mission, 6 men are placed in a very tight space for 500 days - the time the journey would take.

This sounds extremely like an extreme version of the TV reality show Big Brother. But in this case, no one will be voted out - it would also be a little harsh to let someone go if it was a real Mars trip.

The 6 men (I guess, the fact that no women will participate makes it less attractive for a typical reality show audience) will have a bedroom, a kitchen, and a lab in the small "apartment". Outside communication will be very limited.

I just wonder who would volunteer for such an experiment unless the survivors will also be paid the usual reality TV amount of $1 million after 500 days.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Kids in Virginia Better Stop Wearing Underpants

The House of Delegates in the state of Virginia voted on Tuesday to impose a $50 fine on anyone found wearing pants low enough that a substantial portion of undergarments is showing. With 60 to 34, it wasn't even a close call.

Algie Howell, the author of the no-underpants-bill, believes that the law will make people more attractive to prospective employers and therefore less likely to be become criminals. Yeah right, because without that law, everyone would show their new boss the underwear during the job interview.

The law seems to be targeted at both, the rapper-like baggy pants wearer with the boxer shorts peeking out, as well as the low-waist tight pants wearing girls with the exposed thong.

This whole thing makes me wonder whether it would be ok if the kids did not wear any underwear at all. How much naked butt are you allowed to show in the state of Virginia? There must be some flexibility - otherwise all the plumbers working under the sink in the kitchen with their pants sliding down and exposing the hairy butt would be broke. And believe it or not: Not all plumbers have the looks and the money like the one on "Desperate Housewives".