Archive for September, 2004

Adequate to Asimov.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

Last week Olli and I went to the Cinemaxx Colosseum in Berlin to watch I, Robot. I find it harder and harder not to succumb to the urge to raise my nose up a few inches and express my dislike for the multiplex theater industry. Slowly the Cinemaxxes are losing the appeal that they had during their first appearances here in Germany: they have lost the pristine newness. Patina doesn’t work in the multiplex world, in this context it is shabbyness. Dolby surround sound systems aren’t rare anymore, you can find good sound even in smaller independant cinemas. What is left is not very convincing: neither do they serve my favorite ice cream brand (no Nogger, no Cujamara Split!) nor do they provide a pleasant or at least festive atmosphere. The xth version of the Shrek 2 Menu with action puppets is not very inspiring. Well, back to the movie. It was better than I expected. Less action oriented than I would have thought. In contrast to Minority Report which was disappointing because it was just to clean to represent the depth and power of Philip K. Dick’s novel, this movie is based on elements from the many robot centered novels by Isaac Asimov, to which it seems to do some justice (it’s been a while since I read Asimov though… ) – obviously, I think Dick’s work is more complex and intriguing than Asimov’s.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Wie angekündigt.

Thursday, September 23rd, 2004

Nach Einlegen einer Nachtschicht und heute noch einer lebendigen Diskussion mit Kerstin Bornholdt von der Universität Oslo habe ich den ersten Teil meines lektürebegleitenden Essays zu Maurice Merleau-Pontys Phänomenologie der Wahrnehmung ins WWW gestellt. Wie immer bin ich über jedwede Rückmeldung erfreut, dieses Mal vielleicht sogar noch mehr als gewöhnlich, da ich mich hier in das fremde Terrain der Philosophie wage…

Mit einiger Verzögerung.

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004

Den Text habe ich zwar schon im Mai geschrieben, und die Seite auch schon im Juni fertig gecodet, aber erst heute mache ich meinen Text zu den Begriffen Dinge und Materialität, Praxis und Perfomativität online verfügbar. Ich habe den Text im Anschluß an meine Präsentation im Graduiertenkolleg am 21. Mai geschrieben, um in der Diskussion aufgekommene Fragen zu klären und dem provisorischen und offenen Charakter der Präsentation noch etwas solideres folgen zu lassen. Bevor ich den Text ins Netz befördere wollte ich unter anderem noch Rücksprache mit meinem Betreuer und anderen halten; dies ist nun geschehen und jetzt solls endlich neue Inhalte auf meiner Seite geben!
In den nächsten Tagen werde ich auch den ersten Teil meiner Merleau-Ponty Verwurstung fertig geschrieben haben und ihn ebenfalls auf den Webserver hochladen.


Saturday, September 18th, 2004

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.

Some things aren’t easy even when they should be.

Saturday, September 11th, 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, 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 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 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 , the DFN, and several relevant German universities.

Regarding the problems I had with the certificate: I did not install the 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 but did not find anything. They weren’t even mentioned, even though I explicitly looked for them. One more thing regarding the c’t article gives a link to the TrustCenter, saying that under this link free certificates can be acquired. This is not true anymore. One has to have a 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.

Feste feiern an der Seeve.

Thursday, September 9th, 2004

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!

New entry page.

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

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!

old page | new page | new style sheet

Pleasant against-the-grain-ness.

Wednesday, September 1st, 2004

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.

IMDb entry | Trailer