Update on the open source humor post:

In the current issue of Linux Weekly News, somebody wrote an article mentioning the following Python command:

from __future__ import braces

Let's try:

$ python Python 2.4.3 (#1, Mar 30 2006, 11:02:16) [GCC 4.0.1 (Apple Computer, Inc. build 5250)] on darwin Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information. >>> from future import braces File "<stdin>", line 1 SyntaxError: not a chance >>>

Hm, not bad for a programming language.

(Oh, and if you didn't understand it, don't worry, it's pretty easy: Python uses indentation to distinguish between code blocks, not curly braces like C, Java and others. And they are proud of it.)

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Oh, lange kein englisches Lieblingswort mehr verlauten lassen. Heute ein "idiom":

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Distanzbedingt blogge ich ja nun eher selten aus der Heimat. Aber bekanntlich macht ja flickr die Welt ein bisschen kleiner.

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Almost everything in our world goes bad eventually. The milk you bought a week ago will be bad in a while. The leftovers you brought from that Chinese place last Tuesday expired long before but you took them anyway. Hell, even your domains expire if you don't renew them.

Everything is changing, faster than ever before. Some countries even put expiration dates on their laws so that they don't keep around bad ideas for centuries. Smart idea. And yes, also copyrights expire.

Only our blog posts are meant to be there for eternity.

Yes? No, not quite. And yet there is no expiration date we could set in our blog softwares to get rid of them after a while (deactivate, maybe, not necessarily delete them). Think of all those old, useless blog posts, moldering in the attic of your blog, waiting to catch dust, comment spam, or both.

Admittedly, some of the things we write are quite useful for a long, long time. But, admit it, that's not true for a lot or our posts.

So how about a wordpress plugin (or whatever software you use) that does the following:

  • gives you the choice to set an expiration date for every blog post you write (defaulting to does not expire, or maybe something sensible)
  • deactivates said post after the specified period
  • and maybe has some fancy more choices like letting you choose on your dashboard if you actually want it to expire (yes, deactivate or yes, delete) or if you want to reactivate it. For a new expiration period, or forever, finally, because this article turned out to be helpful for all generations to come.

Hm, so what do you think about my crazy Monday night plugin idea? Let me know.

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Windows Vista is now much more secure:

You are not allowed to do this! Do you want to?

What do they call this, half-root? :)

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Ha, heute musste ich doch glatt meine Weltenbummeln-Karte updaten.

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Als ich vorhin am "Wilson" Studentenwohnheim vorbeilief, plärrte aus einem Fenster im ersten Obergeschoss volles Rohr "Schrei nach Liebe" von den Ärzten.

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So, nun ist es also so weit. Nachdem ich ein Jahr an der OSU studiert habe, muss ich nun wieder weiterstudieren.

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OpenOffice LogoI am a convinced OpenOffice user. Part of it is because the "old bull" of office suites, Microsoft Office, is expensive, even for students. Even more convincingly, though, MS Office often just plain sucks.

I have worked for a few years as a research assistant, among my major everyday tasks being "please fix my Word document".

Now admittedly, the people I was working for are not even close to being computer geeks, or experienced wordprocessor users, for that matter. But they happen to have a job that requires them to write. A lot. Sometimes documents with a few hundred pages.

Unfortunately, they never really understood what those predefined formats (header? foot note? page break?) actually meant, so they passionately screwed up their entire document's formats. Eventually, a few hundred pages later, it turned out that changing a single line's format for the fiftieth time in a row broke all subsequent 183 pages, requiring them to cry and forward the file to me for help.

Sadly enough, sometimes it was too late. Word had choked itself trying to open the file and left little more than a sad pile of 0s and 1s, unreadable for itself and -- oh lovely closed-source formats -- unfixable by any other program.

Now another time, one person tried to be smart about it. He used OpenOffice, well, actually StarOffice, because he had heard good things about it. He wrote a 200-page-document and, not surprisingly, he made the same mistakes they all did with Word before. StarOffice became quite slow when accessing that document, and yes, it also crashed a few times. My help was only needed shortly, to redefine some font faces for a few foot notes. Eventually, he was fortunately able to finish his document anyway, and he could successfully publish it. Oh surprise. No sad, useless pile of data involved? No, not this time.

This little story leaves us with two conclusions. If you screw up, you'll kill OpenOffice just as well, or at least close to the way you do with Microsoft Office. You are still able to absolutely horribly destroy your documents, just like you always did. Nothing new here. But if you do not want to pay several hundreds of dollars for that, you are right at OpenOffice. Not even mentioning the open source file format which guarantees that you will still be able to access your files in 20 years, and not being locked out of your own documents because Microsoft decides not to support an old 2006 .DOC file anymore in 2015.

Oh, and recently, not even Mac users have an excuse anymore to run MS Office on their boxes: NeoOffice, a native, open source clone of OpenOffice for OS X, released their NeoOffice 2.0 beta earlier this week, and it works like a charm.

So what are you waiting for?

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Wenn Leute hier irgendwo ausziehen, kann das schon mal vorkommen, dass sie Geld auf die Straße werfen. Das ist ja auch nett, dass man seine Möbel und so weiter nicht in den Müll wirft, sondern für jemanden, der sie gebrauchen kann, an die Straße stellt. Idealerweise mit einem "free" Schild drauf. Oder auch nicht -- abgeholt werden sie so oder so.

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