I used to be a maker/crafter/DIYer and have in the past shared some of my work on Flickr. These days, I am the guy that people turn to when something is broken. If it’s repairable, I’ll try to fix it. I keep a repair diary of the things that I had on my table. Lots of mobile phones and laptops, but also furnitures and a chess robot. The joy of repairing something and thereby making people happy is the sweetest reward. For those who want to pay me, I do have an Amazon(.de) wishlist and a gadget list. Also, paying customers get a priority treatment.
Amateur (Ham) Radio
After over 20 years of being interested in all things radio and with a deviation to ze interwebz, I’ve finally managed to get my licence in amateur radio. It all started way back in Kenya during the early 1990s. My German call sign is DO2JKE and I am SO GLAD that I spontaneously decided in late 2015 to eventually take the exam. It’s not that difficult, just a catalogue of over 800 questions that you’ll need to know answers to in order to pass the exam. This licence thing has been on my bucket list. Full story here (in German).
Music meant a lot to me. The older I get, the less I care about it. I do have a few guitars and play once in a while.
I also appreciate how rare African music (which I collected many years ago) managed to find its way on YouTube over the years. YouTube, our pop culture archive. So glad I am not the only one who shares good stuff online and that private collectors jumped in where parastatal radio stations failed to archive their musical jewels.
Why do people do this and that? What motivates them? What are they passionate about? Why would they make an investment? – those are just some of the questions that I am interested in. You know, when you’re professionally dealing with a taboo issue like (sustainable) sanitation, one of the questions also is why we on the one hand invest a lot in food, but on the other hand don’t care about proper toilets. Stuff like that. But not only. Also: inherited values. We act in certain ways because we are used to the procedure. When you grow up in different cultures (~ the TCK thingy), you get to see this more clearly. Values, perceptions, heritage vs. challenges, opportunities, risks. User behaviour. Interface design.
My flatmate is on a vegan diet, so I am challenged to prepare interesting and delicious food. I often document it on Instagram / my photo blog, so some people ask me about recipes and when I will start my cooking-with-JKE-blog. Well, should I? My foodie pics on Instagram are purely for scientific reasons :-). Seriously, I enjoy cooking. It’s like gardening. Relaxing. Only, we don’t have a garden atm, so it’s just the kitchen. Oh well.
The initial motivation for this blog was an article for a magazine which got rejected. “**** them”, I then told myself, and quickly started my own blog. That’s over 10 years ago. My blogging has helped me in writing better articles and this blog isn’t the only place where I now write. Writing also includes social media channels, btw. There are some that I manage as side projects, and it’s great to see how they have their own nieche and content strategies. Print may be on a dying branch, but good online writing will always be appreciated when you have a story to tell.
I am part of two teams that organize events for the local tech community: Webmontag Frankfurt and TEDxRheinMain. When there’s free time, I also contribute to some other side projects that engage people and encourage them to talk about the things they are passionate about.
Products that I love and recommend
I am tall and required a backpack (“Rucksack”) that is long enough and also holds a laptop. After a LOT of trial and error, I eventually settled for the Deuter Act Trail 38 EL. EL, as in Extra Long. Deuter is a German brand, btw. Most backpacks look stupid on tall people, this one does not.
The messenger bag
My favourite messenger bag actually lacks the additional “cross strap with clips” that makes most messenger bags to be true messenger bags. It unfortunately also is out of production, but I managed to get mine in size “L” nevertheless: the Timbuk2 Commute 2.0.
I am so in love with this bag (and the details it comes with) that I bought it again. An upgrade from size M to L. So good. I also modified mine and removed the foam cushion inside so that the bag is a bit more flexible. The new Timbuk2 Commute is from 2012 onwards and completely different. The ones I have were made some time between 2006 and 2011.
The Weekender Bag: BagBase ‘Classic Holdall’ BG22
It’s cheap (<20 EUR), fits 48 L, is a bit waterproof and has a durable bottom (as opposed to all current Eastpak duffle bags).
I am a multitool fan and own quite a few Leatherman multitools. The ones I like best are the Leatherman Wave (>2004) and the Leatherman Squirt PS4. The Leatherman Charge TTi is also nice, but in the end I prefer using the Wave for most tasks.