Particulate Matter Pollution

PM sensor

The PM sensor (hidden in a grey pipe) mounted next to my Diamond x30n VHF/UHF antenna. A bit ugly, but we are on the 4th floor, so it doesn’t really matter and the windows are closed all day long.

There may be worse places on earth when it comes to Particulate Matter (PM) Pollution, but I happen to live next to a busy road with daily traffic jams and, as a consequence of that, have a dusty room that I need to clean almost every day. I also read about expats in countries like China or India who are complaining about the air quality in those places and who meticulously invest in good air filters for each room in their appartments. Good air filters are expensive! Hence, clean air seems to be be a commodity that also comes with a commercial value among other attributes. We take it for granted but complain when it isn’t available. And another issue with clean air is that you often don’t see the pollution – only the results. Polluted air reminds me of radioactivity or unhygienic surfaces: you don’t see it, hence can’t estimate the potential danger. That’s why a sensor to measure the Particulate Matter Pollution yourself is an approach to this open question. Read more →

Aiwa TPR-930

When was the last time you’ve switched on a radio? In your car, maybe. And at home? In the kitchen? In your garage? And when was the last time you’ve listened to music from a tape?
Most (publicly funded) radio stations in Germany suck, as they often only play dumb music (“Formatradio“) – so if you’re into music and live in Germany, you’ll probably prefer golden silence or music from an mp3 source.

Picked this from the trash last week.

Picked this from the trash last week.

If you’re a fan of radios though, have a knack for fixing stuff and don’t mind the space vintage equipment takes up in your tiny city apartment, then you probably can’t let go when you come across a neglected radio full of chicken shit and which has a need for some TLC.

And here’s why: Read more →

Kalonji und der Luxus

Bevor es dieses Twitterdings gab, habe ich hier längere Blogbeiträge veröffentlicht. Mein Blogging-Mojo ist dann immer mehr in Richtung Twitter und Instagram abgewandert – für mehr Infoaufnahme fehlt den meisten Lesern dann oft die Zeit, oder auch: “Ich lese keine Blogposts”, sagte mir jemand letztens auf meine Verwunderung hin, wieso ein hier beschriebener Produkttest nicht bekannt sei. Hätte er den gelesen, gäbe es ein Problem weniger.

Kalonji, das neue Familienmitglied.

Kalonji, das neue Familienmitglied.

Ich schreibe aber gerne. Und manchmal muss es dann doch raus, vor allem wenn man sich im Leben weiterentwickelt und mit 40 Dinge macht, die andere wahrscheinlich schon mit 20 abhaken. Die Anderen aber, die haben jetzt Kinder und konsumieren wahrscheinlich höchstens den Content, der in der WhatsApp-Gruppe der Krabbelkindergruppe / Sportgruppe herumgeschickt wird. Kinder sind ja doch ein Fulltime-Job, der gut auslastet und weniger Raum für eigene Inhalte bietet. Ich habe da vollstes Verständnis. Eigene Kinder gibt es vielleicht auch mal, jetzt gibt es aber erstmal einen Hund – und das dazu passende Fahrzeug.

Read more →

Dell Latitude E6220

Dell Latitude E6220

My Dell Latitude E6220 with a unique branding.

My backup laptop during the last two years has been an 11,6″ Acer notebook in a netbook size. “Backup”, as in “a second computer that works when machine no.1 doesn’t and else works as a logbook for amateur (ham) radio and other experiments”. Armed with an 1,5 GHz Intel Pentium 987 CPU, 8 GB of RAM and an SSD, it scored okayish on Geekbench and also has a very portable power supply (which in my mind is one of the most important aspects of mobile computing). The Acer, however, lacks VT-x, which prevented Virtualbox from running properly. And the irony is that I also have an identical Acer Chromebook C710 with a partly broken screen that I had bought for spare parts and managed to restore – which has a Celeron 847 CPU and thus an enabled VT-x. Read more →

Email clients on MS Windows

The following could be a long rant on bad email clients for MS Windows, but instead of describing the agony I’ve experienced with various email clients in the past few years, let me just ask this one question (from a user perspective):

“Why do we have really smart apps on our mobile phones, but when it comes to email clients on a desktop computer, there is no perfect solution?”

Yes, there may be legal reasons for this development (i.e. patents) and the fact that most consumers just don’t care, but then: it’s email, the most important (business) application next to Excel or Word. How come this still !!!!! has such a low priority? I don’t get it.

I keep coming back to this blog post on the subject. Matteo is a Linux dev who occasionally uses a Windows machine. For a project, he required a “perfect desktop mail client”. Ha! Welcome to the club, Matteo. They obviously all suck for one reason or another, and my particular requirements are rather mundane:

  • Fast and reliable IMAP sync
  • Decent HTML rendering
  • Integrated calendar and contact sync
  • Global Inbox

That’s it. And yes, support for encrypted mails would be a huge bonus, but one step at a time.

Going by this list of requirements, I have now eventually switched from MS Outlook 2010 to eM Client. Which also means: no Postbox, no TheBat!, no Mailbird, no Thunderbird,  no Windows Mail (lol), no Eudora, no EssentialPIM, no Sylpheed (which is really nice). Conversation threading? Hell, no. Or the new N1 by Nylas? Not yet. Just a client that looks like MS Outlook 2010, imports all the stuff from there (!) but also doesn’t bug me with idle time. All email accounts accessible via IMAP, calendar and contacts sync without issues (like they used to with plugins in other clients) and all mails show up in a global inbox and global junk mail folder.

Looks like MS Outlook, but with less bugs: eM Client.

Looks like MS Outlook, but with less bugs: eM Client.

Em Client is advertised as the “best email client for Windows”, which Mailbird 2.0 btw also claims. The Bat! also claims to be “the best secure email client software”. Which is probably true, but also begs the question: if they are all “the best”, how come they are still not as popular as the rest? Costs? Em Client is expensive, a full licence costs around 47 EUR (incl. VAT), no discounts granted. A free version is available, but limited to two email accounts. I will still cough up that amount because a good email tool should cost money. Which is why I also bought Postbox in the past. I am willing to spend money on good software. A) to support the developer and show my appreciation and b) because I don’t want my data to be their business model. But that’s just me, others are more into open software, or even the “free” (as in free beer) side to it and probably don’t agree.

Coming back to my initial question: how come that we have a lot of nice apps on our mobile devices, while email is so neglected? Why can’t email as an application be as smart as SMS or the use of other Instant Messengers? Kids have their mobile number and user name as an entry card into the digital world – not necessarily email (like we did). While this may answer the priority on optimized communication channels, it still doesn’t answer why MS Outlook or even Lotus IBM Notes (and Thunderbird for many private and Linux users) should be the best options. Could we please have a great email client software? Something that just works?