Archive for May, 2005

A warning – don’t waste your time and money on this.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Somehow, I got the impression that people liked the last part of the prequels to the classic Star Wars trilogy, Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, more than episodes one and two. I wonder how this happened. Yesterday evening I watched it with Olli here in the Kulturbrauerei in a dubbed version. It was as terrible as the others were. Cheesy dialogue, non-working puns, uncompelling actors, and – as Olli pointed out – no focus on a real main character. The story dips into this and that, people say that they are troubled, but everything remains wooden and unplausible. Of course, the special effects department is good, but I wasn’t blown away either. The soundtrack has nothing particularly enchanting or interesting in store and the pictures are much too obviously linked to what feeling currently should be induced into the audience. Bah. Nothing at all of the gritty and edgy charm that the original trilogy had in its best moments. Stay away. Don’t throw any more money into George Lucas’ throat. Maybe that keeps him from writing and directing more of this expensive garbage in the future.
IMDb entry

The beast in decline.

Friday, May 27th, 2005

browser share for May 25th 2005 as shown by my SiteMeter statisticsOn the diagram you can see a pretty average distribution of browsers visiting my site. Since the free account at SiteMeter only includes browser share statistics for the last 100 visits the variation can be pretty big. Firefox’s share has been increasing over the last few months, although it has been hovering around 20% for the last two months or so. The development which I watch most closely these days is the percentage of Internet Explorer 5.x users that are visiting this site. This has been steadily decreasing and is usually below 10%. What is even better: more than half of the IE 5.x share consists of Mac Internet Explorer versions that are much, much better at rendering according to standards (that is, their Tasman rendering engine keeps up with most of the CSS Level 1 code that I throw at it). This makes the actual share of Windows IE 5.x – a.k.a. the beast – using visitors something below 5%. That in turn means that I will soon stop supporting this browser and rely more heavily on using modern CSS to manage the layout of my page. I did a similar thing when I dropped support for Netscape 4.x versions several months ago. However, in that case I waited until the Netscape 4.x share dropped below 1%. Why do I handle things differently for Win IE 5.x and start dropping support at a share of about 5%? Because windows machines that are able to run IE 5.x are able to run Firefox well enough too. And they should run it because of the tons of security holes that are opened by browsing the web with this hideous beast of a browser.
The new background image in the main column of this blog is one visible step in the direction redesign and recoding will take – most of the work will remain invisible to those browsing the site. However, that work will enhance accessibility and standards compliance (and propably the search engine ranking too).

Finally a custom favicon.

Tuesday, May 24th, 2005

Beginning with tomorrow’s nightly build my favorite web browser, Camino, will finally support displaying non-root-level favicons such as the one used for my homepage. Favicon? Yup. Favicons are the little icons displayed by all decent browsers in their respective address bars to the left of the web address.
To greet this change in an adequate way I have changed the code for my blog to support my custom favicon in the blog too. Hope you like it, even though I am totally not a designer.

Bicycles for everyone.

Monday, May 23rd, 2005

You might think that this is an utopian program. You’re wrong. If you would have been to Copenhagen you might know that you just need a 20 Kroner (about three Euros) coin to get yourself a public bicycle. What is even better, you will get the coin back when you reattach the bike to one of the many stations in central Copenhagen. This is what we love about Scandinavia. The bikes are, of course, not high-tech or as speedy as the DB bikes in Berlin, Frankfurt, and in other major German cities. But they are free and you don’t need a mobile phone and a credit card to use them. We had a nice time riding with the bikes through Copenhagen, looking at the sea, visiting the Experimentarium and exploring the different bros of Copenhagen.

Tiger installed.

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

After Cisco updated its (still buggy) VPN client to be compatible with Mac OS X 10.4, I was finally able to upgrade my trusty workhorse, the Pismo PowerBook, to new version of Apple’s operating system, codenamed Tiger. For major system revisions my tactic has always been to do a complete reinstall of everything and this is what I did with my Pismo as well. Worked out great. (I manually imported all my old mail, which took a long time. However, got the impression that a lot of people had problems with just updating their mail archives.) I still find it astonishing that with every major Mac OS X revision the speed of the operating system accelerates – even on old hardware such as my almost five years old laptop. I like the interface and integrated search features. You have probably read about these features yourself. Therefore I will report two advances that I did not know about before even though they are quite substantial for me:

  • When synching Address Book with my SonyEricsson K700 all fields are now synchronized. That means that I am finally able to read street addresses and even contact notes on my K700. Awesome. I really wanted this.
  • The other thing is the new power and versatily of the System Profiler – now it tells me how much capacity is left in my batteries, and even how big the actual power drain is while using the laptop. There are tons of other new infos in the overhauled System Profiler – you should definitely check it out. (The only thing that continues to bug me is that this app’s window still doesn’t remember it’s size and position after quitting.)

Well, I guess thats it so far. I will keep you informed if I stumble into anything else worth telling Tiger-wise.

Poor plants.

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

I have wanted to move my trusty old cereus cactus to a new, larger pot for at least 10 years. I have this cactus (it is about two meters high) since sometime in the early eighties which means for more than twenty years. It has suffered many injuries, went through diseases, dismemberments, was infested by scales and generally not always treated very well. Nonetheless, it has survived and stayed with me, accompanying me through at least 10 different apartments, occupying sometimes nicer and sometimes more remote places in them. Now he’s getting a breath of fresh earth, water, air, and sun outside on the balcony. Good chap.
I also moved Junior, our small banana plant, to the now vacant pot which offers more space for Junior to spread it’s roots and develop into a huge tropical banana-bunches-bearing tree!

Besonders ärgerlicher Spam

Sunday, May 15th, 2005

Wie die meisten mittlerweile wohl festgestellt haben, triffen seit heute Nacht große Mengen rechtsradikal motivierter Spam Nachrichten in die E-Mailboxen ein. Heise gibt dazu mehr Informationen in einer Meldung via Newsticker. Anscheinend ist ein Variante des Wurms Sober für die Verbreitung der Spam Nachrichten zuständig. Grrrr.

At least it is politically correct.

Sunday, May 15th, 2005

There are Cinemaxxes in Copenhagen too! And they play the kind of movies that you would expect there too. In this case it was the highly advertised Kingdom of Heaven. It is not as worse as I had feared – Kerstin told me in advance that it is not a “now-we-will-show-you-in-a-sandal-flick-how-evil the arabs-always-were” kind of movie, so we decided to take the risk and watch it (no rental of DVDs without a Danish “yellow card” – whatever that may be). I would have expected the acting of Orlando Bloom to be worse, even though I still think they should have been able to cast somebody else for this role. For me it would suffice to cast Bloom for support roles. Other actors were much better. Kerstin really liked Eve Green as Princess Sibylla and I have to admit that she was quite enchanting with all this mascara. I also liked many of the other actors in Ridley Scott‘s otherwise great cast, especially Liam Neeson (it took me ages to realize that I have last seen him as Professor Kinsey). The quality of the pictures and many of the cast make it a movie for the theater, Bloom and the script of the movie make me recommend it for one of those DVD evenings when some sandal-wise entertainment is in order…
IMDb entry | Trailer

Europe in Episodes.

Saturday, May 14th, 2005

Last week, I saw One Day in Europe with Olli. Who dampened my expectations a bit. However, I really wanted to see it since I quite liked the trailer. It was a good decision (and Olli thought so too). Solid movie, every episode had some comic aspects without being silly. What I liked most is that the actors, though comic, all had a somewhat tragic touch to them. Which is probably the result of all of them being involved with some kind of theft or robbery in a foreign and strange city… Sometimes though the film-maker’s philosophy creeps into the dialogues, which doesn’t work too well. If it’s still running in a theater close to you, check it out and spend a nice evening.

IMDb entry

Wissenschaft und Kunst.

Thursday, May 5th, 2005

Etwas kurzfristig, aber hier noch eine kleine Ankündigung: in den kommenden Tagen (vom 5. bis zum 8. Mai) wird das Projekt X-Wohnungen im Märkischen Viertel in Berlin stattfinden. Eine der Künstlerinnen, die dort eine Wohnungsbegehung konzipiert und gestaltet hat, ist Hannah Groninger. Ich werde ihr Projekt Mobiles Wohnen als Soziologe begleiten – wir haben uns im Vorfeld des Projekts über soziologische Aspekte verständigt und planen auch eine an das Projekt anschließende weitere Zusammenarbeit. Mehr zu ihrem Projekt in Kürze auf meiner Startseite. Karten gibt es nur im Vorverkauf (Telefonnummer usw. siehe den X-Wohnungen Link oben).