Was den Deutschen ihr "Dinner For One" zu Silvester ist, ist den Amerikanern der Trickfilm "A Charlie Brown Christmas".

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Ich hänge hier aus der Ferne zeitmäßig immer ein bisschen hinterher: Hier scheint die Sonne, es ist ein Uhr mittags, und überhaupt noch niemand tut irgendetwas Weihnachtliches: Geschenke gibt es ja ohnehin erst morgen früh.

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Dass es die Wikipedia neben der normalen Online-Variante auch in diversen Versionen erhältlich ist, ist längst keine Neuigkeit mehr. Die freie Online-Enzyklopädie kann unter anderem als CD, DVD, Druckausgabe und auch in einer mobilen Version für PDAs oder Handies heruntergeladen werden.

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A Mac Mini does not only look cool, it is also very, very quiet and therefore, recently I got one :) So far it works pretty well and I like it.

However, my opinion of OS X changes over time: When I don’t use it or see somebody else working with it, I like thinking of the “eye candy” user interface and the easiness of usage. Most of the stuff in there “just works”. And, thanks to fink and other extensions, the underlying UNIX (named Darwin) is quite mighty, too. No clicking around in the GUI if you want to grep for something in a couple of code files somewhere. And it does not only work, it also looks good at doing that. In other words: OS X is fun.

Most of the time. When it comes to details, it can become pretty annoying. Everytime I use it, I almost break my fingers using the totally unintuitive keyboard shortcuts that usually involve pressing shift, apple and some character that has nothing to do at all with the name of the function that is actually executed. What also drives me nuts is that weird spinning beach ball that appears when I do some sort of operation like accessing a network device that is currently unavailable in the OS X finder. It stops every single finder window (and some of the other applications, too) until the network device responds?!

Not to mention the response speed: I consider 1.5 GHz and half a gigabyte of RAM at least enough to have three applications open at a time. When I open another Firefox tab, though, everything apparently starts to be swapped to the hard drive. Hello? Where has all my memory gone?

To cut a long story short, just as much as the Mac Mini (the hardware) itself is what I was looking for: small, quiet, yet enough hard drive space and wireless as well as wired connections… as much the operating system keeps annoying me.

I have no problem with a GUI that “just works” (as opposed to Linus Torvalds ;) ), but I want it to be at least quick enough for me not to fall asleep when doing something “usual”.

Therefore I decided to give Linux on PPC a shot (the “Ubuntu for PPC” CD I picked up two weeks ago in Portland seems to be predestinated for that). It will be a dual-boot installation (just as with Windows on any of my other machines back home). The biggest problem that used to be there was that the Airport Extreme WiFi card was not supported at all on Linux. Big problem, as I use WiFi exclusively in my apartment. But this problem got solved just two weeks ago, too.

Another option would be to give Gentoo Linux a try, especially because a few of my colleagues would probably help if I asked them about it. On the other hand, the Mac is still not the fastest machine and I am not quite sure if I want to compile all of my stuff myself… you know: (“Ubuntu is an ancient African word and it means I’m sick of compiling Gentoo” - Jeff Waugh ;) )

I will let you know about how much progress I’ve made.

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Wenn man ein paartausend Kilometer weit weg ist, ist das persönliche Überreichen von Weihnachtsgeschenken ziemlich ausgeschlossen. Zum Glück kann man aber ja schöne Sachen im Internet bestellen, und direkt an den oder die Glückliche zustellen lassen.

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Making the EU angry can become a costly affair:

German news magazine tagesschau reports (for English, see Bloomberg, for example):

Today, the European Commission (the Brussel-based market regulator of the European Union) threatened world’s largest software maker Microsoft with a fine of no less than 2m Euro (~ 2.4 million $) a day if they do not comply with their 2004 court order.

In an antitrust order last year, Microsoft was condemned to pay a fine of 497 million Euro for misusing their market dominating position in the operating system market. They sued, however they still had to fulfill the disclosure requirements of the order:

Microsoft has to disconnect Windows Media Player far enough from the core operating system so that competitors’ products have a realistic chance to be used. Furthermore, they have to reveal exact and complete descriptions of Windows’ interfaces in order for other products to communicate with the OS.

So far, they obviously have not made too much effort to do so (even though Microsoft’s General Counsel claims so).

Maybe MS finally find out that it’s not so much of a good idea to bug the EU rather than cooperate with it. As they might have guessed before, market dominating positions and cartels are much more regulated in the EU than for example in the US. Having a monopoly is considered to imply a great responsibility rather than just “being fun”; MS does not seem to acknowledge this yet. But, if they don’t change their habits… they will be forced.

Sometimes, market regulations have a little weird effects. In this case, however, it could turn out to be beneficial for millions of people, not only in the EU but all over the world.

The case keeps being interesting…

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Seen from my home country, I am currently pretty much on the opposite side of the earth. Still, the internet keeps me connected as if I was just around the corner.

It has never been so easy to stay in touch: I use Skype and SIP for telephone calls home, and SSH to talk to servers back home.

On the other hand, due to the large distance, I am subject to many internet routing problems. It is, for example, never really sure that I my packages are routed on a “good connection”. Therefore, for example, today my voice on Skype sounded like crap because the packages visited Taiwan, Slovakia, Danmark and France before they finally reached their destinations in the northeastern and western parts of Germany.

Minutes later, I am routed over San Francisco, San Jose directly to Düsseldorf again.

Sometimes the internet is hard to understand… and sorry people for my voice sounding robot-like from time to time ;)

P.S.: Today I set up my internet connection to do quality of service, meaning VoIP traffic should be prioritized higher than anything else. Hope it helps :)

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Michael J. Fox soll angeblich planen, an einem weiteren Back to the Future Film zu arbeiten… aber diesmal will er den “Doc” spielen?

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Das wüsteste Ungetüm des Internet-Spam heißt Texas Hold’em Poker. Es macht (neben Viagra und anderen Potenzmittelchen) den Großteil des Blog-Spams aus, der hier jeden Tag aufschlägt und umweltgerecht entsorgt wird.

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In Deutschland scheint langsam Schluss zu sein mit dem allgegenwärtigen “Rumgeheule”. Im Jahr 2004 war zum Beispiel kaum etwas so sehr in die Hose gegangen wie die LKW-Maut. Und nun? Kaum Pannen und satte 2,85 Milliarden Euro im deutschen Maut-Geldbeutel. Sauber.

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