Archive for March, 2004

Independent US-style.

Wednesday, March 31st, 2004

A while ago I saw Pieces of April in the Blow Up here in Berlin. (I haven’t been in this movie theater since ages – the last time I’ve been there must have been in the late nineties – the backyard is totally renovated, there is a whole big apartment building that I did not know, and the popcorn contained to many unpopped corns.) This movie seems to try to be a mix of dogma style cinema and sit-coms. It works pretty well though. Casting and characters are convincing (perhaps with the exception of Beth the perfect daughter and Wayne the neighbor with the perfect stove) and I liked the way their small stories were told. Perhaps there was a bit of Wayne Wang in this movie too, although this does not really compare to Smoke or Blue in the Face. You might want to watch this movie – it was better than expected.
IMDb entry | trailer

Code overhaul.

Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

This blog is now written in XHTML 1.0 Transitional. Which should be an invisible change except for the different W3C badge in the column to the right. Another change is much more visible: during the overhaul I realized that the default font size for the blog was set to 10 pixels. I changed it to a relative setting and made it a bit bigger (still set to the value “small” though) – this should increase readability and reduce everbody’s squinting at the screen, though it might not be as pretty as the old setting.


Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

Juchei! Heute wurde das Gerüst im Hinterhof abgebaut. Man glaubt es nicht. Nach mehr drei Jahren eingerüstet-sein. Das dieser Tag noch kommen würde. Haben gleich reinegemacht und das Küchenfenster zum Hof geputzt. Wurde wohl vor ungefähr fünf Jahren das letzte Mal geputzt…

Industrial style.

Saturday, March 27th, 2004

Yesterday I was helping our friend and co-Buffy watcher Olli to get rid of some old furniture and other garbage. We first wanted to bring the stuff to one of the recycling locations where one can deliver bulk rubbish and they take it for free. Alas, they only accept a maximum of two cubic meters and we had about four to five m3
The workers at the municipal recycling location recommended driving to the ALBA Recycling Plant in Berlin Reinickendorf. That we did. And then we were awed. This is a huge place. You drive your vehicle onto a giant truck scale, get it weighed, then go on to drive to the actual plant and now the fun starts: it is a huge building where you drive up to one of several truck-sized gates, and then you can just throw everything you want to get rid of down in to a big concrete basin where mighty machines with claws grab your stuff and dump it into a shredder. Everything! It was exciting. We took the opportunity and tried to bash all the stuff we had onboard into pieces when throwing it into the concrete bassin. However, either we’re too inexperienced in making this stuff crash, or the furniture (including glass panels and everything that sounds like fun) was just really sturdy… Nonetheless, we had a great time. When we were weighed again, Olli had to pay almost 40 € though (it’s 80 €/ton).

Comment spam deleted.

Friday, March 26th, 2004

If you missed the ‘opportunity’ to check what I meant in Tuesday’s entry, I have uploaded a screenshot of the comments of this hot topic, to quote daniel…

Triple-A is too much.

Friday, March 26th, 2004

Today I read my way through the current working draft of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 and decided that I won’t be able to invest the time and effort to conform to the upcoming guidelines sufficiently to ever claim triple-A conformance. However, they clarified the conditions necessitating a sitemap (yay!): documents greater than 50,000 words or sites larger than 50 perceived pages. They admit that this isn’t a very clear requirement: What’s a perceived page? What if it’s a voice XML application? How does it apply to Web applications? Why 50 and 50,000? – but it’s good enough for me.


Wednesday, March 24th, 2004

I just checked the hot topics link in the column to the right to see if anyone has commented on any not-immediately-visible entry and guess what I found: someone is spamming my blog with porn links! This is the first time I noticed this, I haven’t even heard that people do this. How I hate that. If you want to check out what happened take a look at these spammed comments. I will remove this stuff tomorrow, so that you have a chance to see yourself (if you want to). Things like this are the reasons why people put disclaimers on their sites, I guess…

To sitemap or not to sitemap.

Wednesday, March 24th, 2004

A while ago, I noticed that the World Wide Web Consortium does not only offer Web Content Accessibility Guidelines – it also offers these nice logos for the three different levels of conformance. After reading the guidelines it seemed to me that the only criterion that the post-graduate college’s page (which I designed) does not completely comply with is checkpoint 13.3, because it doesn’t offer a sitemap or table of contents. Since I have this weird urge to get the best W3C accessibility badge available I started to read a bit about sitemap design. I quickly realized that there is not nearly as much literature on this topic to be found as I would have thought. So I read what I found and started to think, draw a few basic designs, and hack some CSS code to display the stuff in a map-ish way without relying on a static picture or tables. After investing quite a bit of time into the whole issue, I realized that it just doesn’t make sense to produce a sitemap for a site that does not have any real complexity. The few sections that are available can be navigated to on every page via the navigation bar, and the if there are further links in the respective section they are all available from that page. Looking at these facts, I decided that the site does fully comply to section 13 as it is, because navigating this site would only be made more complex if I add a mostly redundant sitemap or table of contents. *eyes WAI AAA badge eagerly*

Another nominee.

Monday, March 22nd, 2004

We were not really thorough in our preparation for this year’s Academy Awards – partly by choice, partly because not all nominated movies had been shown in Germany yet, and partly caused by lack of financial and temporal resources. For Seabiscuit both reasons number one and three are applicable. Nonetheless, we got it on DVD a few days ago, and proceeded to watch it without much hesitation. It was a nice enough experience. Some US American Pathos (including a interesting bow to Keynesian political economy), some typical sports movie features, but mostly a good story with really excellent actors. Tobey Maguire probably is my favorite youngish actor, while Chris Cooper has the incredible talent to play even very diverse and totally different characters in the most convincing manner. The screenplay is good and it seemed to refrain from overdramatizing the ‘true story’ of the horse Seabiscuit. It was a relief that they did not introduce some unhappy love affair or chilling crime story elements to pep up the story.
IMDb entry | Trailer

A well chosen movie.

Saturday, March 20th, 2004

Before I left Darmstadt for the semester break, our Belgian post-graduate college member Dominique gave me a little present which she thought fitting to my dissertation project: the movie Kitchen Stories (original Norwegian title: Salmer fra kjøkkenet.) I was curious why she thought this movie would be fitting – she only said that is has something to do with “observation.” Well, right she was. This movie has everything to do with observation. Not in a scandalous voyeuristic manner, but more in a low key, calm, and very humane manner. It was a lot of fun to watch this movie. It provides a less spectacular insight into mid-twentieth century social science than Das Experiment – a movie which deals with the notorious Stanford Prison Experiment.
This movie is not only recommendable if you like slow movies, have a knack for Scandinavia, and the potential curiosities of the social sciences – this movie is a nice treat in general and I highly recommend it: good actors, excellent story, well done photography.

Citizen Frers.

Friday, March 19th, 2004

Being a good and honorable member of the residential community living in the Choriner Straße I did my duty today and cleaned the windows. Of course, it was sunny when I started cleaning, and cloudy when I finally finished… thus are the meteorological conditions that we have to live with. Now, if only the first sprouts would be discernible in our balcony plantation I would be a happier man.

Tooth Fairy time?

Thursday, March 18th, 2004

I am not well enough acquainted with Anglo American customs, but does the Tooth Fairy come for wisdom teeth too? I guess not. But that is quite unfair – Kerstin is in a pretty poor condition after the surgeon took out the remaining two wisdom teeth she had. Consoling comments are welcome.

Balcony Day.

Wednesday, March 17th, 2004

Ah, how wonderful – today we had temperatures above 20° Celsius. Kerstin and I had a very relaxing late breakfast on the balcony, then we both surfed the net a bit. (Today the first preview of the Norwegian browser Opera 7.5 for Mac OS X was published – I tested it for while and it is chugging along nicely and has some neat features. If it would be free I might have given more thought to actually using it.) After this trip into virtual space we returned to more serious matters and started to stick our hands into the earth of our balcony vegetation vessels. Now everything is fresh, some plants have already been sowed, and we are eagerly awaiting the appearance of the first sprouts. Oh what a day!

Flatterhemden und Absinth.

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004

Und junge Menschen, wie sie sich zwanzig- bis Mitte dreißig Jährige mit einem Faible für die ja so aufregenden späten zwanziger Jahre wünschen. Gute Darsteller, ein ordentliches Drehbuch und auch einige schöne Bilder halten das, was Was nützt die Liebe in Gedanken verspricht. Mich haut die Geschichte, die in diesem Film erzählt wird, ja nicht so vom Hocker, aber was soll’s…
Nur eine Sache hab ich wirklich zu bemäkeln: Immer sind die Hanse in der Welt der zwanziger Jahre holzschnittartig charakterisierte, flache Charaktere, deren Aufgabe es ist ungebrochen, roh aber doch schön und kraftvoll zu sein. Ansonsten aber sind sie zum Einschlafen. Das finde ich blöd und langweilig. Einen Link zum Trailer gibt’s trotzdem.

New entries in the pipeline.

Saturday, March 13th, 2004

During the next days you’ll read about at least two movies which I have seen recently: Kitchen Stories (a.k.a. Salmer fra kjøkkenet) and Was nützt die Liebe in Gedanken.

I’ve been to Darmstadt for a few days this week and I borrowed one of the college’s microphones – they are of a pretty high quality and I already re-recorded the German summary of my diploma thesis about the Potsdamer Platz. The mp3 file is embedded in the starting page of my thesis. I plan to record more stuff during the next week and put it online as additional content.

Und es hallt dumpf.

Sunday, March 7th, 2004

Gestern habe ich nebenbei (wie man so sagt) die Echoverleihung im TV verfolgt. Man kann Götz Alsmann nur Recht geben, der im anschließenden Interview kritisierte, dass es für eine Preisverleihung unangemessen sei, andere Preisträger schlecht zu machen. Auf Preisverleihungen feiert man die Preisträger, auch wenn sie anderes machen, als man selbst. Es zeugt nicht gerade von Format, nur sich selbst und seinen eigenen künstlerischen Stil als in einem solchen Rahmen feiernswert zu behandeln.
Abgesehen davon hat es mich ja besonders gefreut, dass Wir sind Helden so hervorragend abgeschnitten haben. Es ist ja nicht so, dass ich mich nicht mehr freue, wenn eine solche Band gewinnt, die einen eigenen, nicht rein marktorientierten Stil entwickelt – insbesondere freut es mich, wenn das auch geht, ohne das die Sängerin eine “Superstar”-gerechte saubere Gesangsstimme hat. Ein Hoch auf das sich Versingen und die sich überschlagende Stimme!

Spring waiting and ready to go.

Thursday, March 4th, 2004

Yesterday was a fine day with lots of sun – it was the first day of this year that allowed me to sit on the balcony and let the sun shine on my face. Well, things have changed again. Today the sky is cloudy, and temperatures were freezing during the night only reaching levels slightly above 0° C today. However, life is slowly finding its way back into the pots on our balcony and the first sprouts can be discerned. I am looking forward to the first real gardening activity of this year!>