Last weekend I’ve been to my homestead Buchholz, where we had our annual graduation meeting (Abitreffen) – this time with the participation of two of our former teachers, which was really nice. After the meeting we spread out into the Buchholzer Stadtfest, trying to make the best of bad DJs and lackluster dance settings, and succeeding. After that I spent a few days in Kiel. The weather was most excellent: lots of wind and sun, and a short thunderstorm, all very matching to the coastal city style. The German Historian’s Conference was taking place there too, so I took the opportunity and listened to a few talks. Historians seem to be a bit older on average that sociologists, at least those that go to the biannual conferences of their respective discipline. Even more striking, though not particularly surprising, is that historians actually wear their name badges the whole time. Nerdy historians.
Archive for 2004
Motivated by an article in the most recent issue of c’t called Absender-Authentifizierung schützt vor Spam I decided to give it a shot and install certificates into Mail.app, the default E-Mail programm for OS X. This was not exactly a trivial issue, but the goal was worth it: being able to digitally sign my e-mail and also use encryption. (I am an avid user of PGP/GPG encryption technology since the late nineties, but I also wanted to check out this alternative, since, sadly, very few people actually use PGP.) First I wanted to use the certificate provided by the German mail provider web.de. Since that did initially not work as intended, I checked an enormously helpful site called macosxhints. There I found quite a few tips that helped me tackle certification, signing, and encrypting issues in Mac OS X. Since I had problems with the web.de certificates I decided to follow the advices on that macosxhints and got myself free personal e-mail certificates from thawte. After a few experiments I finally got the certificates installed: I had to use either Firefox or Mozilla to install the certificates into these browsers and then was able to ex- and import these certificates into the Mac OS X keychain, which is used by Mail, Safari and other Mac OS X native apps. After importing these certificates everything went as expected. For good measure I later installed the root certificates of web.de , the DFN, and several relevant German universities.
Regarding the problems I had with the web.de certificate: I did not install the web.de root certificates when I first tried to use their certificate for signing purposes, which might be the reason why it did not work. Problem is, I was looking for a link to the root certificates in my personal options pages at web.de but did not find anything. They weren’t even mentioned, even though I explicitly looked for them. One more thing regarding web.de: the c’t article gives a link to the web.de TrustCenter, saying that under this link free certificates can be acquired. This is not true anymore. One has to have a web.de account to get a certificate. (The account is free though – but I think the author thought registration for an account wasn’t necessary, otherwise it would probably have been mentioned.)
Fingerprints for all of my keys/certificates can be found at the bottom of the sidebar on this page.
Zu meinem persönlichen Leidwesen war es seit mehreren Jahren das erste Mal, dass im Seevegarten wieder ein Fest gefeiert wurde. Ich habe mich sehr gefreut, dass so viele Leute gekommen sind – besonders erwähnen möchte ich natürlich meine Mitkollegiaten, die nicht nur ein Reimgewitter haben ertönen lassen, sondern auch noch extra aus Darmstadt und Leipzig/Greifswald angereist sind. Es war ein gelungenes Fest, und ich verspreche hiermit, im nächsten Jahr wieder Gelegenheit zum Planschen in der Seeve, zum Hacken von Holz, zur Völlerei und zum ins Lagerfeuer starren zu geben. Vielleicht klappt’s ja sogar zweimal über den Sommer verteilt? Ich freue mich auf jeden Fall schon jetzt darauf, wieder nette Menschen im Garten begrüßen zu können!
On the way to my brother’s wedding I’ve been recoding the root page of my site. It was one of the first page I ever made, and it’s biggest problems were accessibility and manageability because it was based on a table for layout purposes. Until last weekend I only made minor enhancements, but now I have completely dropped the old code and begun from scratch, only keeping the content. I have waited to do the redesign until the percentage of people using Netscape 4.x browsers dropped well under one percent, so that I can rely on recent web standards and extensively use CSS for layout purposes. Not supporting Netscape 4.x versions may seem as if I erected a barrier, however, dropping support for this browser dinosaur actually tears down other, more significant barriers: it makes the page more accessible for people using screenreaders, PDAs and so forth.
The only thing about which I am not at all sure so far is the design of the page. It is functional and not exactly ugly, but it is also a bit boring… However, using CSS the design of the site can be modified without changing the HTML code of the site, as is most wonderfully demonstrated in the css Zen Garden.
Any feedback about the new code and the new design is very welcome!
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie done by Jim Jarmusch, but I always liked them. Therefore I was really looking forward to see Coffee and Cigarettes and found a nice opportunity to do so during my stay in Oslo. I did not know anything about the movie’s storyline before going in; I only knew that the cast is great (Cate Blanchett alone would make me go and watch the movie) and that the thing would be in black and white. It was fun to slowly realize how the movie is done, to guess what will come next and how it will be presented. After a while, I was pretty sure that the movie is made up of short segments that seem to be connected to each other mainly by two things: (1) people will sit at small tables with checkered design tops, drink coffee (and once a cup of tea – for the British), and smoke cigarettes. (2) People seem to have problems communicating which each other. Did I think that this is enough of a plot for a good movie? In my opinion it definitely was. I really enjoyed the slow pace, the quiet and funny moments, the strangeness. I hope you enjoy it too.
Wow. That was a first timer. As these lines are written new comment spam is being generated in my blog, and, of course, immediately afterwards deleted. Lucky occurence that I did another spam check after deleting the entries which I found, so that I saw that new ones suddenly sprang into existence. If only one could catch and identify the perpetrator in the act…
Noch vorgestern Abend habe ich die Lektüre von Krokodil im Nacken von Klaus Kordon beendet – das Buch habe ich von Steffen zum Geburtstag bekommen. Was heisst, dass sich das Buch gut gelesen hat und ich mich weder überfordert noch gelangweilt gefühlt habe. Es war wirklich interessant über (Ost)Berlin in der Zeit zwischen 1943 und 1973 zu lesen, viele Orte, die ich auch kenne, werden von Kordon beschrieben oder zumindest erwähnt. Auch der intime Einblick in die Biographie und die Gedanken eines DDR-Flüchtlings war spannend und überzeugend. Kordon ist kein Sprachgenie, manche Personen und Ereignisse blieben leider etwas farblos, und dann und wann wurden mir auch zu viele Personen vorgeführt: immer wieder neue Akteure, die für sich genommen auch interessant scheinen, aber denen nur wenig Zeit bleibt, sich zu mehrdimensionalen Charakteren zu entwickeln. Es kann natürlich sein, dass dies auch aus der Perspektive des Erzählers so ist, und mir leuchtet auch ein, dass man im Verlauf von dreißig Jahren viele interessante Persönlickeiten trifft, aber aus meiner Perspektive wäre hier und da eine Reduktion ganz angenehm gewesen. Ansonsten kann ich das Buch an diejenigen weiterempfehlen, die sich für Berliner Geschichte und oder DDR und Flüchtlingsgeschichte interessieren – für mich war es eine gute Urlaubslektüre und ich werde mir die Kunstfabrik beim nächsten Besuch noch etwas genauer anschauen.
To get back to the wonderful German saying “to make yourself to the spoon” (literal translation of “sich zum Löffel machen”“, which is more accurately translated as “make a spoon of yourself”) I want to report something which I just saw on NRK 1, a public Norwegian TV channel. A high ranking, uniformed police officer was interviewed about the recent theft of The Scream, the famous painting by Edvard Munch. During the interview he pulled a mask over his face, a mask like the one used by the robbers in the museum. Funny thing is, he kept this mask on for quite a while, answering the questions of the interviewer in the most serious manner. It was totally hilarious. It has been a while since I saw a uniformed person make himself to the spoon in front of a camera in such a blatant way. Still extraordinarily amused, yours truly.
*climbs onto the soap box* I know that Quantity can turn into Quality, sure do I know that. Nonetheless, I am wondering if we get too see boring
I can throw this discus 51cm further that you! or
I can run one hundred meters 10 milliseconds faster than you! instead of the awsome women’s finals in diving because the free market values quantity (as in exchange-value) more than quality (as in use-value). Can anyone think of another reason? *climbs down again and walks off sadly shaking his head*
Ah well, summertime is reading time. Especially when you are travelling, and most particularly when you are on the deck of a ferry slowly shipping you from Frederikshavn to Oslo, and the weather is fine. Under these circumstances I was finally able to finish some readings which I have begun a significant amount of time ago.
Even before entering the ferry I was able to finish reading The Human Stain by Philip Roth. That was a good book, and, as everybody says, his language is well crafted. I might want to add to that this praise is especially justified because it is crafty without being overly concerned with displaying craftiness. Nonetheless, I wasn’t really gripped by this novel playing in a college setting. It seems I did not really connect to the characters in this book. Even though I do work in such a setting.
In contrast, I was gripped by several of the short stories in the collection of Dostoevsky‘s early stories which I read over the course of the last year or so. The story which I read on the ferry is called A Little Hero. It has a touching romantic ending, and it is both lighthearted and enlightening. A story of the first awakening of love in a boy’s heart.
After finishing this classic work, I embarked on making myself to the spoon – as we say in German. To the spoon? How? By reading the most recent pocket book by Max Goldt: Wenn man einen weißen Anzug anhat. People who know Max Goldt know that the spoonishness doesn’t stem from carrying around a book written by a bad author, instead the spoonishness manifests itself in spontaneous laughing attacks suffered by its readership – evoking raised eyebrows and whatnot in listening range of the poor reader a.k.a. spoon.
And now, I am reading Krokodil im Nacken by Klaus Kordon. A book about a man who wanted to flee from the German Democratic Republic with his family. Much of the story is set in East Berlin, which makes the book an interesting read for me. I will tell you more when I am done reading it (which might take a while, since it has almost 800 pages… ).
Two acts of electronic data cleaning have been performed today. (1) There were about fifty new comment spam entries (generated only a few minutes before I performed the daily routine check, therefore an almost non-existent risk of them having been indexed by a search engine) which I deleted. And (2) today the Mac OS X 10.3.5 update was published, which I used as an occasion and excuse to clean out caches, rebuild indexes and directory maps and generally let the electronic equivalent of a fresh breeze sweep through my machines here. The updates went smoothly, and, of course, the world is now a better and snappier place.
Yesterday I saw Fahrenheit 9/11. It is a good movie, although I am not sure how many of the awards were given for it’s politcal message, and not for it’s quality as a documentary. Not that I don’t agree with it’s message, and not that I don’t think awards shouldn’t be handed out for political reasons at all; as Sahra, one of the several people with whom I went to see the movie, said: it nicely fits all our expectations, stereotypes and judgements. I guess it will serve the purpose of making some people in the US not vote for Bush which, of course, is a Very Good Thing™.
I liked the beginning of the movie most, especially the way 9/11 itself was portayed was excellent. The rest of the movie moves between funny, shocking and disgusting, all accompanied by the well known comments of Michael Moore. If you haven’t read much of the many in depth and well researched critiques of the Bush administration and the war against Iraq and Afghanistan you might want to catch up a bit by watching this movie.
IMDb entry | Trailer
Sorry for the long silence, and sorry for the coming continuation of same. Tomorrow I will leave with the rest of the Graduiertenkolleg for Manigot, France, where we will be workshopping the next week. After my return I will tell you more about the last week, about Spiderman 2 (which was ok but not better than the first one), and the German comedy (T)Raumschiff Surprise: Periode 1 (which was, as expected, really bad).
To explain my absence from the blogosphere: I had visitors, end of the semester action, and am coordinating Kerstin’s departure to Oslo, all of which did not leave much time for blogging…
Sometimes you get lucky. Watching two very good movies in a row is not a very frequent occurrence. You may have noticed that I rarely write harsh reviews as I am usually content with being entertained by watching movies; in addition, my taste is pretty varied and I can live with most genres even when it’s current example not exactly superbly executed. But then there are the movies that make you go to the theaters even when you encounter a cinematic blunder from time to time. Gegen die Wand has been such a case and it has been followed by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Vergißmeinnicht) this week.
Charlie Kaufman wrote the script for this movie, if you want to have an idea of what this might mean, you should know that he also wrote the ingenious scripts for Being John Malkovich and for Adaptation. The plot is full of unexpected but plausible surprises, almost all characters that are at least somewhat involved have multi-dimensional, interesting characters, the dialogues are brilliant, and the ideas behind the story are both intriguing and presented in a very casual way. There is no attitude of grandeur about this movie, and there doesn’t need to be.
Still not convinced? Well, the main actors are Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. I don’t like either of them. I have been bored and annoyed both by Jim Carrey’s hyper-active comedy acting and by Kate Winslet’s sighs and eyelashes. But in this movie both of them have jumped up several leagues in my appreciation. Both have moments in which they are actually attractive and interesting – who would have thought that?
I could continue and elaborate this hymn even further, but I don’t want to waste your time which is better spent organizing a visit to a movie theater with a few friends.
One more thing, though… this is not only a movie of interesting ideas, but it also is a very beautiful and powerful love story.
IMBd entry | Trailer
Today, I finished updating all my pages so that their use is regulated by the Creative Commons License. Again, I encourage you to inform yourself about this project, for example by checking out this small explanatory comic.
In addition, I also reworked some of the code that I’ve been using on my pages. Now it is, of course, even more up-to-date, more accessible (Triple-A conformity almost everywhere) and less cluttered. I especially enhanced the CSS code, because I finally got myself acquainted with the properties of nested CSS.
Bis vor kurzem gehörte ich ja auch noch zu den Leuten, die Gegen die Wand noch nicht gesehen haben, obwohl dieser Film ja bekanntlich gut sein soll und den Publikumspreis bei der Berlinale gewonnen hat. Alles Lob zu recht. Habe den Film in einem kleinen Kinosaal in Darmstadt gesehen, aber das hat diesem Film keinen Abbruch getan – trotz schneller, manchmal fast Videocliphaft anmutender Schnitte kommt kein Viva oder MTV Gefühl auf. Der Film ist sehr intensiv; Darsteller, Dialoge und Kamera erzeugen eine stimmige, starke Atmosphäre. Der Soundtrack ist ebenfalls sehr gut – ich warte schon gespannt darauf, in Dörtes Kopie noch einmal rein zu lauschen. Dieser Film ist so, wie Reality Bites gerne gewesen wäre. Ach ja: der Film spielt zu einem großen Teil in Hamburg.
IMBd entry | Homepage