A German Self-Reflection

In a land of one-eyed people, a two-eyed person is king:

Germany, to put it mildly, needs to fix its digital deficiencies. Where else in Europe are local health authorities faxing data on new infections to their capitals in 2021? Yes, faxing.

However, we are forgetting just how important young start-ups are, self-employed people, artists and others in the culture sector who no one thinks about because they are often not visible as individuals. And they are currently being crushed by bureaucracy.

https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-germans-and-how-they-see-themselves/a-56667478

The reality is that Germany is (like other nations with an imperial past) so hyped on its own past growth that it still cannot grasp where we’re headed to. The future is here and it’s not just migration and renewable energy… It’s digital automation, the blockchain, cryptocurrency, decentralization and (if we fail at our present social and environmental challenges) disintegration.

The Great Zuckerfrei Diet

Leaving the facebook ecosystem is pretty much like giving up a major addiction. Trust me, I know: I am a wholehearted coffee addict! At some point in my life, I actively gave in to coffee addiction. Literally told myself: a lifetime of pleasure is worth more than two weeks of headaches. This is my one addiction and I owned it 🙂

Facebook tentacles were the next hardest thing for me to escape: it took me a decade. I haven’t had a Google app on a phone in a while, but Whatsapp has managed to stay installed on my device forever. It took an unexpected ally for me to succeed: the iPad. Aparently, my story – our stories – with modern technology are epic tales of giants in the vein of literary classics. Like Thor or Goliath, these giants also go by a single name only: Apple, Google, Facebook. They have no surnames and they need none, for they’re in the business of getting up close and personal.

I left facebook itself years ago. Facebook is an online disease that only tech-savvy or young people seem able to recover from. The place where both the Internet and general education went to die. No-one needs this cancer; even the people still on it could easily be elsewhere if everyone decided at once where this else would be (wink: Matrix, Mastodon, Diaspora, even Twitter would be better despite having been temporarily overrun by beasts with horns)… The problem was that facebook bought itself the next two direct competitors. Legislators recently started cracking down on anti-competitive acquisitions by giant tech companies, but it’s too late. The complexity of an online world gave this century’s companies a much longer runway than Microsoft ever had in the 90s.

With my expat family and my German class all on Whatsapp and nothing else, I just couldn’t cut the cord. Until last week, when I got an iPad mini. For me, the beautiful thing about the iPad wasn’t the poorly adapted application interfaces (yes kids, that was sarcasm;)). I mean, the big screen is nice, but not with a tiny font size, nor for apps too lazy to do something more with the extra space. No… the beautiful thing was that facebook didn’t bother making an official Whatsapp for iPad. Go Signal!

I had my out. I’m not even keeping said iPad, but I made it out. After a decade, I am barely on any social platform and I am definitely free of Mark Zuckerberg. Only coffee retains control over me. I am fine with that.

Is it time to rent, not buy, electronics?

E-waste is a growing problem. But if manufacturers kept ownership of their products and leased them to us, recycling could make good business sense.
— Read on m.dw.com/en/is-it-time-to-rent-not-buy-electronics/a-55948968

Personally, I like fully owning my stuff. However I don’t love crappy battery life, progressive slowdowns, software sunsets, waste or unethical manufacturing… So perhaps that is the way of the future!

Berlin Winter Season

Christmas Market at Gendarmenmarkt

Winter has arrived in Berlin and, with it, the fun Christmas markets. Here are some highlights of the opening of the season…

Brandenburger Tor / Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburger Tor / Brandenburg Gate
US Embassy with Brandenburg Gate in the background
The US Embassy with Brandenburg Gate in the background
Jewish Memorial Monument
The Jewish Memorial Monument
Berliner Dom
Berliner Dom
Christmas Market at Gendarmenmarkt
Christmas Market at Gendarmenmarkt
Konzerthaus at Gendarmenmarkt
Konzerthaus at Gendarmenmarkt