My favorites for week 17, 2011

Big GrinSomething to laugh: my favorite comic strip of the weekabout redundancy

One road to simplification leads through reducing redundancy. Redundant solutions or processes lead to confusion, expensive overhead and loss of productivity. Thus, it is important to not introduce more redundancy in the attempt to reduce it or to “simplify”. Simplification  should mean throwing things away instead of adding more. Nicely illustrated in this Dilbert comic strip !

NerdSomething to watch: my favorite video clip of the weekabout the smallest computer in the world

How small can you make a computer ? Well, this version, nicely presented by John, has a keyboard with just one key. John show us how to use it in this funny video “THE FUTURE TECHNOLOGY!”.

  Something to enjoy: my favorite photo  on flickr under a Common Creative licenseabout Egypt

Egypt
"Egypt" by NASA Goddard Photo and Video.

This impressive photo from NASA shows Egypt in spring, where you can see the green Nile delta and vegetation zone following the river throughout the desert.  The photo was taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard the Terra satellite on April 11th. Where the Nile begins to broaden and form the delta, the city of Cairo can be seen as a gray oval smudge.

Cool Something to discover: my favorite bookmark of the weekabout a nice little time saver for Lotus Notes
Tired of typing the same thing again and again ? “ has been a question I recently asked in my blog when I introduced a little gadget I developed using AutoIt: TypeBot, a little tool letting you define phrases to be typed into windows with a particular title through a simple single click on that phrase. Meanwhile version 2 became available allowing you to add, change and delete your own phrases through the GUI, allowing to handle multiple INI-files and also coming with an executable so that you can use the tool without having to install AutoIt.
Alan Lepofsky must have had a similar thought when he developed the Paste Information Application,  a little Lotus Notes database and tool to avoid re-typing the same things again and again, allowing you to paste pre-defined bits of information that you reuse often into Lotus Notes documents and mails with two simple clicks ( one to select that bit from a listbox, one to click OK ). In his blog he nicely describes the application and how to install it, and provides links to download the needed Lotus Notes database.
I installed it on my Lotus Notes 8.5.1 client and it works like a charm.

My favorites for week 13, 2011

Big GrinSomething to laugh: my favorite comic strip of the weekabout Baseball 2.0

Things 2.0 are sometimes very different to how they used to be in the good old times, don’t you think ? How do you like this  “Moderately Confused” comic strip ?

And since we have April Fool’s day, here is another one from Wizard Of Id:

NerdSomething to watch: my favorite video clip of the weekabout a lighthouse keeper

Since a new version of Blender has been announced it is may be a good time to look at one of those awesome animation videos created with this software. Watch “Lighthouse” and learn a great message from this film. See for yourself …
The Responsibility Projecthttp://www.responsibilityproject.com/lib/flash/video-player.swf?videoID=13&location=remote
Cool Something to discover: my favorite bookmark of the weekabout Parkopedia
Recommended by Lifehacker today: Parkopedia, a well designed site giving you a great overview and detailed and valuable information like prices and reviews for 15 million parking spaces in 20 countries. I was surprised to see that it covers Mainz, Germany, as well. Whenever you come to Mainz, this is my recommended parking space: Spacious and cheap, my recommended parking place when going downtown. Probably 10 minute walk to Dome and Old Town.

Surprise Something to surprise: my favorite "I really didn’t know this" of the weekabout bees

A Lot Of Bees
"A Lot Of Bees" by Will Merydith.

Did you know that

  • one third of our food needs the help of bees to grow,
  • there are 20.000 different species of bees on the world.
  • a swarm of bees consists of 50.000 bees in summer and 20.000 in winter; a bee swarm is an excellent example for swarm intelligence and an efficient social system; such a swarm can be seen as a new life form providing much more functions than a single bee could provde.
  • one bee can dust up to 3000 blooms per day
  • dusting 15 million blooms and 300.000 flight kilometer are needed for 1 kilo honey
  • a bee queen lives 5 years and lays up to 200.000 eggs in summer
  • RFID technology is used to track thousands of bees in a single swarm as part of the beegroup project run by the University of Würzburg, Germany

Source: bild der wissenschaft 4/2011

  Something to enjoy: my favorite photo  on flickr under a Common Creative licenseabout Queenstown

pcp-39.jpg
"pcp-39.jpg" by Paul Clark Images.

Queenstown in New Zealand, where I have been 2 years ago, is a remarkable ski area, as Paul Clark proofs with this dramatic shot.

Something to talk about: my favorite quote of the weekabout tools

I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.

Hammer
"Hammer" by Markus Wichmann.

I think we have the opposite problem today: too many tools to choose from, thus it is difficult to find the hammer for a given nail and thus we often use a different tool to deal with it.

My favorites for week 1, 2011

Big GrinSomething to laugh: my favorite comic strip of the weekabout change

Since I ended last year with a comic strip from Garfield, let’s start the New Year with Garfield as well:

 

Change is not always good, and change does not necessarily mean progress. Anyway, things are changing permanently, the entire world is changing all the time, whether we like it or not. So, why not better liking it ?

Keep in mind that when you type a date into some document nowadays you have to write 2011 instead of 2010 ! Change is everywhere. And as soon as you got used to it it will … change. 2012 is not too far away.

Surprise Something to surprise: my favorite "I really didn’t know this" of the weekabout the automobile

Did you know that

  • the motorcar will celebrate its 125th anniversary this year,  
  • the first car built by Carl Friedrich Benz in 1886 came with 1 horse power, electrical ignition, water cooling and a crank shaft,
  • many people attacked this vehicle and perceived it as violent and dangerous technology. If asked what they want, they said: “Faster horses”, according to Henry Ford, who started manufacturing cars in high volume using conveyors in 1913,
  • 2.4 billion cars have been built since then on our planet.

Source: “ADAC Motorwelt 1/2011”, a German motorcar magazine. Photo from wikipedia.

NerdSomething to watch: my favorite video clip of the weekabout Windows XP

How would The Matrix run on Windows XP ? See by yourself in "Matrix Runs on Windows XP ".


Embedding doesn’t work for this video ( and doesn’t work in WordPress anyway ), thus you need to head to this youtube page to watch it.
I personally think that WIndows XP has been one of the best Windows releases. I wonder how The Matrix would run on WIndows Vista ?

  Something to enjoy: my favorite photo  on flickr under a Common Creative licenseabout Mantas in Bali

Manta Point
"Manta Point" by Francesc Balagué.

Manta encounter in Bali. Lots of nice scuba diving and other photos from Bali in this photo stream under a CreativeCommons license by Francesc Balagué.

Something to talk about: my favorite quote of the weekabout decisions

Hmmm, I can’t decide whether this makes sense or not
Anyway, have you decided upon your New Year Resolutions yet ? I haven’t, since I usually don’t come up with any.
You can read here “Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Are Doomed to Fail”.

My favorites for week 50, 2010

Big GrinSomething to laugh: my favorite comic strip of the weekabout Christmas presents

Every year you have to find out: what to buy for your beloved ones for Christmas ? Do you better ask them instead of buying something they really don’t like nor need ? Or do you prefer to surprise them ?

 

Comic strip from: Garfield

  Something to enjoy: my favorite photo  on flickr under a Common Creative licenseabout a telephone booth in London

Lonely in London
"Lonely in London" by Trey Ratcliff.

A simple telephone booth in the streets of London can make up a nice photo, as nicely demonstrated by Trey Ratcliff: “Lonely in London”.

Something to talk about: my favorite quote of the weekabout technology

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.

It is not technology that makes our planet smarter, it is us. Things are not smart, even some things have the capability to do fast number crunching or to exchange information. Human beings have the capability to be smart. Also It is not new technology which creates problems for us, it is us and how we decide to use it.

All righty, this will be my last “my_favorites” posting here for this year. Have a  good Christmas time, again lots of fun with your family or whatever you do during those days and a good start into 2011 !

My favorites for week 33, 2010

Big GrinSomething to laugh: my favorite comic strip of the weekabout next generations

  This “Moderately Confused” comic strip reminds me of a day a few years ago when friends visited our house and had promised their kids that I would show them my turn table player. With big eyes they watched how I played one of those gramophone records on this strange device – strange for them of course. Man, I felt old that day.

NerdSomething to watch: my favorite video clip of the weekabout people under water

Can people walk, talk and breath under water ? Apparently they can – as long as this is no real water as in this Amazing Japanese Fake Pool.

ApplauseSomething to learn: my favorite tip of the weekabout “undo” in firefox

Hit Undo in Firefox’s Address Bar to Browse Your Recent History is a tip published by Lifehacker beginning of this week: Hit the undo shortcut (Ctrl+z/Cmd+z) in Firefox’s address bar to move through your recent history via keyboard and find tabs you’ve closed—sort of like a lightweight version of the Undo Closed Tab feature. And: You can re-open closed tabs in browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Opera by hitting the Ctrl+Shift+T shortcut (or Cmd+Shift+T on Mac) … !

  Something to enjoy: my favorite photo  on flickr under a Common Creative licenseabout the smallest monkey of the world

Pigmy marmoset
"Pigmy marmoset" by Tambako The Jaguar.

“This is is a pygmy marmoset, which is the smallest monkey of the world. They come from Brazil …” writes Tambako the Jaguar in the description to this photo. He has an awesome collection of animal photos in his flickr photo stream.

Something to talk about: my favorite quote of the weekabout decisions made by groups of people

A committee can make a decision that is dumber than any of its members.

What is said here about a committee might hold true as well for teams or any other type of group of people. As a project manager I should believe in the power of teams, but frankly speaking I actually buy this quote. Often teams come up with a bad decision, because that decision is not derived from true thinking, intelligence and honesty, it is derived from politics and power struggle. >> Where there are people there are politics << is a quote from a PM education class about taking control of an existing project I participated in more than one year ago. My father used to give me the following advice: “Stay away from the opinion and behavior of the majority”.

DVD Recorder out of control …

Some days things just go wrong. You make a mistake and in order to fix that you make an even worse decision.

Last week I was attempting to format a DVD on my new computer with Windows Vista installed. Since this seemed to take a very long time I wanted to do something on my second computer I currently have available in parallel ( with good old Windows XP on it ) but unfortunately I confused the keyboards and after hitting the wrong key the formatting of the DVD was aborted. After that Vista was having problems accessing it again, thus I decided to feed it into my DVD Recorder which would do the formatting much faster anyway. So I thought.

After the DVD disappeared in my recorder ( an Orion DVD/VR-2962 SI ) it went into “Reading…” mode …. and stayed there forever. “Reading…” was displayed on the screen ( actually “Lese…”, which is “Reading…” in German language ), and didn’t go away even after minutes. The problem with this machine is that as long as it is analyzing ( “Reading….” ) a new DVD there is no way to access the setup menu or do anything else with it. No multi-tasking Sad.

Now I really seemed to be in trouble. I pressed the Eject button but nothing happened. What to do ?`I tried several alternatives like pressing the Eject button for a minute or pressing it rapidly again and again, I turned off and on the recorder keeping the Eject button pressed … nothing. I started reading the user instructions – an unmistakable sign of trouble. First I scanned through the troubleshooting pages: nothing useful. Did those pages every helped anyone solving a problem ? Thus I started reading more through the instructions without finding anything helpful.

My insubordinate DVD recorder.

I started my research in the internet. Almost nothing, except one hint: disconnecting the machine from the wall power, waiting for 1 minute, then turning it on again and keeping the Eject button pressed or press it rapidly. I tried this and several variations of this procedure. Nothing. “Reading …”. No way to do anything with this recorder anymore. Basically a piece of scrap now, except I could start to disassemble it. Damn, that’s really not what I wanted to spent the next hour with after I already wasted almost an hour of my time. I tried to push the DVD tray or even used a knife trying to open it with some form of violence. Nope, didn’t work. Damn ! I did what more was a reaction of frustration than another attempt to fix the situation: I hit the recorder with my hand on its top right above the DVD tray. The Eject symbol appeared on the screen and the tray opened smoothly.

Violence against machines – and of course against people – should always be the last option. It is said to make things worse. And I guess this is true in most cases. But not always.

Of course I didn’t try this again. After a reboot of my Vista machine it was cooperating again and recognizing the DVD and I was able to get it formatted. What a silly way to spend my time. At least I got some story to blog about here.

Engineers needed ! ( EWeek 2008 started in Germany )

 

EWeek is coming up again here in Germany. Since three years I am participating as one of the engineers sent to several schools in our area to explain students why it is important ( for our economy ) and exciting to become an engineer and what should be considered before chosing this profession.

As I updated my presentation for this year ( only some minor updates so far with some new statistics ), I discovered some interesting facts:

  • in the year 2006 48.000 job offerings could not be filled with engineers in Germany,
  • causing a loss of 3.5 billion Euro for our economy. Other studies even mention loosing orders worth 18.5 Euro !
  • Most engineers ( 15.000 ) have been missing for research and knowledge management related services,
  • 12.500 engineers have been missing for metal processing, electrical industry and automotive,
  • machine construction ( the classical and in Germany very traditional engineering discipline ) is on rank 3 with a lack of 8.000 engineers.
  • The average yearly salary of an engineer in Germany is 58.550 Euro, this is 20.000 above the overall average  salary in Germany ( pre-tax ).

Source: bild der wissenschaft 08/2007