Archive for May, 2004

More wikipedia.

Saturday, May 29th, 2004

After making several minor updates to the entry on Ethnomethodologie and linking to the German entry on conversation analysis, I quickly updated that one too. This is fun! Finally a possibility to contribute real content to an open source project without having to know a programming language. I urge you to try it out yourself, makes you feel good.
German wikipedia | English wikipedia

Joining the wikipedia.

Friday, May 28th, 2004

I just participated in the German Wikipedia for the first time. Inspired by today’s reading I edited the entry for Ethnomethodologie. We’ll see where this is going…

Getting back into gear.

Thursday, May 27th, 2004

Now that I did my presentations at the college, graded last semester’s papers, and finished the hopefully-to-be-published conversation analysis article I can hopefully can fully re-engage with the actual work on my dissertation. Today I read some more Garfinkel. Referring to my short essay Am I an Ethnomethodologist, you can see that I haven’t read Garfinkel’s Studies in Ethnomethodology at that point in time – this was one of the theoretical gaps that I definitely wanted to close before I start to write my dissertation. Well, I am happy about having made that decision. It is quite an inspiring, if sometimes cumbersome read. Here’s a small citation:

To treat instructions as though ad hoc features in their use were a nuisance, or to treat their presence as grounds for complaint about the incompleteness of instructions, is very much like complaining that if the walls of a building were only gotten out of the way one could see better what was keeping the roof up.[Harold Garfinkel – Studies in Ethnomethodology (1967), p. 22]

Another favorite:

Although it may at first appear strange to do so, suppose we drop the assumption that in order to describe a usage as a feature of a community of understanding we must at the outset know what the substantive common understandings consist of. With it, drop the assumption’s accompanying theory of signs, according to which a sign and referent are respectively properties of something said and something talked about, and which in this fashion proposes sign and referent to be related as corresponding contents. By dropping such a theory of signs we drop as well, thereby, the possibility that an invoked shared agreement on substantive matters explains a usage.
If these notions are dropped, then what the parties talked about could not be distinguished from how the parties were speaking. An explanation of what the parties were talking about would then consist entirely of describing how the parties had been speaking…
[Harold Garfinkel – Studies in Ethnomethodology (1967), p. 28f]

And finally, if you have ever asked yourself what to study as a professional sociologist, here is Harold’s answer:

Not a method of understanding, but immensely various methods of understanding are the professional sociologist’s proper and and hitherto unstudied and critical phenomena.[Harold Garfinkel – Studies in Ethnomethodology (1967), p. 31]

Been busy, having visitors.

Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

Last week I had a presentation at the post-grad college (which went reasonably well, as I might discuss in more detail in another post), over the weekend I’ve been in Hamburg, and yesterday I came back together with my mom, whose Windows machine I am currently de-sassering… Soon!

Bluetooth scare.

Saturday, May 15th, 2004

On my way to Darmstadt this Wednesday I had the luck to sit in an ICE2 wagon, which provides power for my PowerBook – usually you only have ‘powerless’ ICE1 wagons going from Berlin via Franfurt to Basel or Zürich. So I had my PowerBook up and running including digital paraphernalia such as my USB bluetooth dongle to connect to my mobile. Well, I was pretty surprised when suddenly a message popped up that a file called “vorsicht.pwi” was sent to my computer via bluetooth! A look into the directory which I have designated to be the receiving directory for bluetooth files revealed that indeed, there was a new file bearing that name. This was the content of the file (there were a lot of non-readable characters in the file too, you can download this and the other file as a zipped archive if you want to check out the exact contents):

 Vorsicht, sie wurden gehackt! Sit auch im Zug!!    B ”   #     O 

A minute or two later I got another message with the same name. This time the content read:

   d d    P   /   =
    S     S    @    
    F    E *  !   A *   E L     +
 Vorsicht, sie wurden gehackt! Sitze auch im Zug!! Bitte aufstehen!!!    B +   $
 !      ’
 A !    B ” 

Well, I did not stand up, as the ‘hacker’ requested, instead unplugging the bluetooth dongle and then checking my bluetooth settings. So far I had both not changed the default settings which turn on visibility for my bluetooth port and which disable encryption for bluetooth connections. I then used my mobile (a SonyEricsson T68i) to look for other visible bluetooth devices in the train compartment, and subsequently discovered a device with the name “Nokia6610” (not sure if the model number was this or something else). I didn’t do anything related to the Nokia though and later decided to turn on my bluetooth connection again, this time with visibility turned off and encryption turned on. No more detectable hassles for the rest of the trip. Strange nonetheless. I guess this person did at maximum have access to the directory which I have designated as being accessible for bluetooth devices. Seemed to be more a joke to scare people off (and correctly point to the weaknesses of unprotected bluetooth connections). However, Heise has posted an article on bluetooth device security problems on the same day that I was ‘hacked’ – nice coincidence.

Massive silence and the accordion.

Wednesday, May 12th, 2004

Horst Krause plays a retiring miner, who slowly (very slowly) discoveres life after and outside the mine and his small hometown in Eastern Germany Schultze Gets The Blues. Both time and space play a major role in this movie, and they are used accordingly – if you have a problem with dialogue and action poor movies this is probably not a very attractive movie for you. If you sometimes find joy in the solitude of people and places and small moments of genuine community you will find plenty of that. Preparing Jambalya in a conservative Sachsen-Anhaltinian setting, playing something that is not Polka on the accordion, and running aground in Lousiana’s swamps all have their particular charms in this pleasantly open minded and well casted movie.
IMDb entry

Oslo – Europe’s warmest capital.

Monday, May 10th, 2004

This morning Kerstin told me that VG, Norway’s popular yellow press newpaper, features a story in which we are told that last Sunday, temperatures in Oslo have been higher than in any other European capital. Awesome! Now, that’s something to celebrate! Wohooo!

No glitter necessary.

Monday, May 10th, 2004

Yesterday evening I saw Veronica Guerin. I admit that the picture of Cate Blanchett on the movie’s poster was the main reason why I wanted to see this movie, besides it obviously being a politically correct “true story”. The story is indeed politically correct, the fate of Veronica Guerin a moving, but not revolutionary one. Guerin obviously was a very courageous woman, and Cate Blanchett plays her role in a most excellent manner. Other than that the movie is very solidly made, and seems to have been carefully researched, – however, from a cinematographic perspective is has nothing inspiring to offer. Which may be a good thing for this kind of documentary…
IMDb entry | Trailer

The elegance of showing worlds collide.

Saturday, May 8th, 2004

On Tuesday I finally saw the Barbarian Invasions. Lars, Master Berking and yours truly entered the audimax in Darmstadt equipped with a six pack of Pfungstädter and good moods. We left with empty bottles and even better moods. It was an excellent movie – the best I saw this year together with Lost In Translation. Although several reliable sources told me that this movie would be worth seeing, I have not exactly felt like watching a movie about a dying university professor who gets visited by a bunch of relatives and friends at the right place and in the right time so far. I do not regret that it took me a while to watch it, because the setting was fun, and the movie was in French with German subs, which made it possible to appreciate some of the very crafty, intellegent and funny dialogues. The translation was fine, but it still was a welcome enhancement to listen to the actors talking a charming mix of Canadian french and English. The conflicts between father and son, between junkie and broker, wife and ex-affairs were developed in a plausible, dramatic and definitely entertainingly un-boring way. In a very elegant way, this movie combined pain and joy, without resorting to clichée or special effects. If you haven’t seen it yet, take steps to rid yourself of being in such an unfortunate situation.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Ploughing through the Water.

Thursday, May 6th, 2004

1400m. Dolphin distance: 75m. My shoulder and back muscles: aching, sore, stiff.

Zombies shouldn’t be fast moving.

Wednesday, May 5th, 2004

That makes them too scary. That’s at least my experience with Dawn of the Dead, where the Zombies are passionate and altmost athletic runners and gropers. Though the groping and biting part was zombie-esque enough. This is not the scariest movie I ever saw, but it was neat horror movie entertainment and not as trashy as Resident Evil. Then again & of course, there is no one who comes even close to Milla in this movie.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Low price contest Berlin – Darmstadt.

Tuesday, May 4th, 2004

A single ticket for one of the public pools in Berlin is 4 €. However, they also offer an unbelievably great deal: 10 tickets for just 36 €! Isn’t that great? A single ticket for a public pool in Darmstadt is 2 € and 10 tickets for students are … tada! … 10 €! That’s a fair price.

With the price barrier being not existent here in Darmstadt I went swimming with Tina an hour ago. For the first time for several years I did some serious swimming. After 1200 meters strength and spirit left me though. And I did not manage to do the dolphin for more than 30 meters. Well, there we have a goal!

This wasn’t much of a contest so far, wasn’t it? Alas, typing is exhausting for the athlete.

Life in and around 603qm.

Sunday, May 2nd, 2004

After a longish wait the opening hour finally draws near: in 5 minutes I will hop over to the 603qm, where the Spätstück is waiting. Me hungry for food and lounging time.

Tanz in den Mai – Yoho!

Sunday, May 2nd, 2004

Well, that was something. Friday night we went to the 603qm here in Darmstadt and participated in the Tanz in den Mai party. After a perfect, lazy Friday afternoon with soundchecks, sun, and an impromptu picknick with a few stray raindrops in the air the sounds of the event finally lured a few people from our post-graduate college and me to the place.

The evening opened with a live performance by Stahljustiz called Dance Baader, Dance. First, I just perceived the performance as a somewhat blatantly weird but still funny act, but when the kidnapped victim was portraied as a person, not just a victim, the atmosphere changed for me, and I actually got involved with the performance, giving up some of my distance as an observer.

Turbulenzia, the first band to enter the stage, did not really get me on the hook. Their songs did not have a real profile, were not straight enough, and did not seem to really let loose and rock.

Pornophonique has a new fan. Too bad I missed the opportunity to buy a T-Shirt, since they don’t sell them on their website. I am no music geek, but for me their sound was fresh, funny, and not too ironic. The mixture of gameboy, acoustic guitar, and C64 sounds was a new thing for me. Covering both Britney Spears and AC/DC is cool enough, but their own songs were even better. Sad, Sad Robot already entered my mind during their soundcheck in the afternoon. Felix Hauser is the Vince Clark of the Nintendo Age, while Kai Richter successfully took the difficult route between cute boy and rock’n’roller – together they made a great team on stage. For their future gigs I envision crying girls being carried away because they totally passed out.

Die Türen from Berlin were great. I was surprised that they were playing here in Darmstadt for this party. During the soundcheck I sat with my back to the stage and did not see that they were playing, wondering where and when I heard this cool sound before, asking the waiter if he knew the name of the band which we were hearing. Well, he pointed behind me and said it was them, playing live a few meters behind me. Call me Clint. They got the crowd moving! I just love it when a band is standing on stage, all of them frontally rocking, playing their guitars, everybody singing into their mikes and giving what they got. Which was a lot. Their tracks are very danceable, their German lyrics sometimes even irritatingly good Wenn Du willst, dass alles so bleibt, steh auf. Wenn Du willst, dass alles so bleibt, klatsch in die Hände. NDW meets breakbeat meets punkrock – great band with a website that sucks.