el mejor amigo del hombre es el libro…

I am looking forward to buying a notebook (laptop) with the following criteria:

  • CPU Pentium M Centrino 1,7 GHz or better
  • HDD min 80 GB (100 GB)
  • 1024 MB RAM
  • decent graphics card (ATI & Co.)
  • WLAN b/g, Bluetooth, IR, modem, 10/100 NIC
  • built-in WEBCAM (!)
  • double-layer DVD burner
  • USB, (COM), PP, Firewire
  • battery runtime of at least 4hrs
  • decent keyboard with a normal RETURN key
  • built-in SD/MMCard drive
  • disengageable trackpad
  • max. weight ~ 3kg
  • …and a built-in MIC!

There are so many notebooks on the market, however, most of the good ones (read: good deals) lack a built-in ~50 cents microphone. Can you imagine? Even my old Acer Travelmate 513T of 1999 had a built-in mic…

Any recommendations? I thought of a Samsung X20, but these ASUS A6V/A7V notebooks are also nice…hmm…

im Metronom

1. Die Ansagen im Metronom zwischen UE und Gö sollten eigentlich mal von Dittsche gesprochen werden. Ma soagn, nä?
2. Ich brauche dringend ein Notebook, um unterwegs arbeiten oder aber mit 3. mithalten zu können…
3. Die Welt, so scheint es, besteht an einem Cebit Sonntag abend aus einer lustigen Horde von Informatikern, die man meist an ihren langen dürren Fingerchen erkennt, welche sie entweder in fast schon spastischer Haltung von sich strecken oder aber eifrig auf einem PDA herumfuchteln und Solitaire spielen. Natürlich gibt es auch dickere Informatiker – diese erkennt man dann meist an ihrem unvorteilhaften (da sperrigen) Rucksack. …die alle ganz tolles Spielzeug dabei haben!

Nein, ich war nicht auf der Cebit. Nur im gleichen Zug :-)

06-02-024.jpg 06-02-023.jpg

…dazu der passende Soundtrack: Eagle – It Was A Lovely Parade (mp3, 1,4MB)

International Women’s Day

…is an important occasion around the world to remind everyone of the following facts:

  • About 25,000 brides are burned to death each year in India because of insufficient dowries. The groom’s family will set the bride on fire, presenting it as an accident or suicide. The groom is then free to remarry.
  • In a number of countries, women who have been raped are sometimes killed by their own families to preserve the family’s honor. Honor killings have been reported in Jordan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and other Persian Gulf countries.
  • According to the World Health Organization, 85 million to 115 million girls and women have undergone some form of female genital mutilation. Today, this practice is carried out in 28 African countries, despite the fact that it is outlawed in a number of these nations.
  • Rape as a weapon of war has been used in Chiapas, Mexico, Rwanda, Kuwait, Haiti, Colombia, Yugoslavia, Darfur and elsewhere.
  • ……(the list goes on and on)…

All of this happening on the same globe we’re all living on.

AOB: Bembeya Jazz National – mami wata :-)



"Mei, oder noch intensiver ja mei bzw. o mei, o mei ist wörtlich nicht einfach zu übersetzen. Von ausschlaggebender Bedeutung ist auch hier die Betonung:
Ein kurz gesprochenes ja mei bedeutet wenig Interesse an einer Sache. Ein gedehntes ja mei mit steigender Stimmhöhe schon erfreutes Erstaunen und ein seufzendes ja mei bzw. ein o mei, o mei, gar noch mit entsprechender Geste, höchste Anteilnahme.
Norddeutsche benötigen dagegen meist einen Wortschwall, um ihre Gefühle so differenziert ausdrücken zu können."


Wi Norddüütschen verleert jo mennichmol nich so veel Woer un goht oft grodlinig op dat wat wi vörhebbt op dol:
Mi Deern, di kunn ik leev hebben!!


Interesting to note that the word "BIA" (beer) is the same in Kiswahili & Bavarian – which might explain why there are so many bavarian tourists in Kenya, eh? ;-)


Look what I’ve found in the basement the other day:
a “blueprint for a new Kenya, Post Election Action Arogramme (PEAP)”

An interesting paper, issued with the help of the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation in 1992 in Nairobi, which summarizes some interesting facts and data as of 1992 – and on which the former regional director of FNF Kenya got expelled from the country. Sure, a document that played a role in Kenyas democratisation process at some point – and the initial starting point to this blog entry today…

Now, 14 years later, Kenya has experienced a major shift from something I call “the Kartasi era” to “the simu ya mkononi era”.
We’ve witnessed a lot of change, people advancing in so many ways and especially this breakup spirit right after the last elections in 2002 that made a lot of KTs reconsider their own coming home and thus reducing the brain drain.

There was hope that things might change to the better.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 – a wall that separated two parts of Germany for more than 28 years – the people in Germany soon realized that next to that hope for a much desired change, they needed to learn how to get along after all those years of separation and ideological distance.
Kenya (I think) experiences a similar fate: mixing the difficult past of colonial rule and a single party system with a new challenge of globalization and internal conflicts. Accepting diversity within the country and using this huge potential to sustain stability.
No one ever assumed this would become an easy task. And no one expects drastic change within a few days.

However, there’s this issue of politicians vs. leaders; business(wo)men vs. civil servants that keeps on coming up:

Be it Kenya or Germany – I think what we need are dedicated leaders that restore faith and hope and make us believe in the system again. Because if not, the world(s) will continue breaking up into little pieces and the only bigger social net we’ll have then is the Internet.

Where and who are those leaders of tomorrow?

webbed world

The positive side effect to note down after yesterday’s raid on a newspaper and a tv station in Kenya is that all these informal networks like the (kenyan) blogosphere and even multimedia websites like Kenyamoto (as pictured above) kept on supplying the world with the required information the so-called leaders try to hide from the public. And who knows what was shared through short messages (SMS) on mobile phone networks and e-mails…
All these networks can not be switched off by intimidating the media; and it makes me realize that people ARE connected – both at home and abroad. What a great potential!

on sharing colours

When I came across the shameful news of the raid on The Standard & KTN in Kenya last night (thx 4 sharing, IW), the first thing that came to my mind was 1933 and the infamous Book burning that destroyed a lot of intellectual property.
While some of you might consider this an overreaction to yesterday’s events, to me this just isn’t a government harassing the press and trying to cover up unpleasant stories, but a direct insult of telling people – the people – what to think.

We, the citizens of this world, are still intelligent enough to figure out what’s relevant and what’s not.

On a lighter note: did you know that the Kenyan and German flag share almost the same colours? I think that’s a nice coincidence :-)

a proposal…

Without any proper scientific proof at my hands right now, I would still like to focus your attention to an urgent problem that keeps on arising and needs to be tackled soon: Africa, I think, has become the landfill for the West. And East!

Remember China’s interest in various African countries? Not that they only exploit the continent of natural resources – in return the markets are flooded with cheap products that end up somewhere on a landfill. All these plastic items, be it useful buckets or just toys, eventually end up as rubbish and need to disposed of (one way products). Recycling is an option, yes, yet in most cases it’s a downcycling process (material quality deteriorates) and just a delay on its way to the landfill. In the end it’s still waste.
And of course it isn’t China only. I’ve just watched this youtube video of an NGO that helps schools in Uganda going online. Nice! However, to look at backgrounds – isn’t it that most of those computers are 2nd hand and thus disposed of to countries like Uganda?
Or Kenya: ever wondered why there are so many plastic bags flying around? People grew up with organic products, they were used to goat bones and maize/corncob that would eventually decompose over the years. And with those plastic bags and batteries? No one told them that those items are polluting the environment (ok, except for schools). And no one wants to be responsible. People applauded Dr. Wangari Maathai for winning the nobel peace prize but it seems they never really got the message – which I think is taking fate into your own hands and starting to change something without waiting for others. No wonder Kenyans are more into political discussions than in identifying leadership. Dito Germans, btw, and in many other countries. People, it seems to me, are more into living a pleasant life and securing their amenity values. Business and maximization of profits is valued these days – whereas commendable professions like teaching or serving jobs like in the civil service aren’t really honoured. But I digress…

waste on the streets in Nairobi, Kenya // instead of better waste management, wouldn’t it be better to avoid all this waste in the first place by using more intelligent products?

Please don’t get me wrong – capitalism per se isn’t that bad and mandatory for progress. Only, what we’ll need to have are sustainable, eco-effective products that won’t have any negative effect on the environment and that only become better the more we buy/consume/produce. And we’ll need to design them in such a way that we don’t need to depend on the intelligence of people/users.
E.g. if 9 out of 10 people care for the environment and only 1 of them continually ignores all product handling directions by let’s say throwing batteries into a river, all others have to suffer. And since there will ALWAYS be someone violating guidelines (we can not change anyones behaviour), we have to change the products themselves.

Look for solutions, not problems. (Dan Eldon)

I’m not the typical theoretician that tries to lament on problems, writes reports on various subjects and has many different IF/WHEN/THEN-solutions to a problem. What I want is action, and I want it soon.

To make a start, I would like to tell you about this product idea I may have been talking about before and which I choose to blog instead of keeping it in a drawer somewhere. Besides, some companies may already be thinking about it, so anyways, here you go:

While working on this sewage treatment plant some time ago, I came across a huge pile of Q-TIPS® (cotton swabs) in the sewage sludge. The cotton part of them would dissolve in the wastewater whereas the plastic stick in the middle would remain and end on the sludge landfill. Those plastic components also contributed to a lot of mechanical problems on the treatment plant by destroying various pumps and other intergrated machinery.
The first question that arises of course asks for the dumb users that throw cotton swabs (among other things) in their toilets. According to what I’ve encounterded a lot of people do that. Out of sight – out of their mind(s)?
Whatever. You can not change them.

What I CAN do, or try at least, is changing the products they are using. I thought of re-designing those Q-TIPS®/cotton swabs in such a way that the plastic stick will be substituted by a material that is made of (corn) starch, chitosan, plant fibres or other biomaterials. This biological material could then dissolve in the wastewater or decompose on the landfill after use and people could continue throwing their waste into the sewage system without harming the environment that much.

I think some companies are already doing r&d on these products and it will only be a matter of time until customers are informed enough to ask for more and more sustainable products. The different approach, though, is that this shouldn’t be only focused on those that can afford to buy “good” products – the African continent with it’s still traditional and comprehensible view of nature and biological cycles should play a leading role in these (not so new) new technologies and I think it’s about time for more and more companies to start focusing on this instead of just copying various technologies/industries from the West.

This might just be small idea for progress, but at least it’s a start, or? What do you think?