back online

My page is back online after it was down for quite some time.

As you might know, this website resides on a Mac mini at my home and runs WordPress. Internet outages are not the problem, but rather the aging Mac mini, or more specifically the hard drive that’s in it. Recently, it decided to just show me a blank grey screen after powering on. I thought the hard drive had died, but wanted to make absolutely sure that exactly that and nothing else is the case. I asked my good friend Oliver if he had a FireWire cable to spare so I could boot the Mac mini in Target Disk Mode and find out whether this was really the end. Luckily, it wasn’t, and it booted right back up as if nothing ever happened. Maybe giving the hard drive a break was enough to let it “catch a breath”.

But I know my hardware too good to let it fool me. I’ve seen hard drives die, than resurrect only to die again. Things inevitably break, that’s how the world works. But with hard drives, they tend to break when they’re not spinning, at least in my experience. So my solution is to never shut down the Mac mini ever again and hope for the best. The end will come sooner or later, but I am going to squeeze every last bit of usefulness out of this brave Mac mini and its hard drive as long as I can.

A long overdue update

I’ve been using the «twentyeleven» wordpress theme for quite a while now, and as the name suggests, 2011 has long passed. The site deserves a new theme! After about an hour (!) of looking through many themes available on wordpress.org, I finally stumbled upon a theme that not only looks good but also is simple and undestracting yet functional. Jeez, I’m starting to sound like Johny Ive in those Apple promo videos.

So anyway, here it is: the Full Frame theme! You’re looking at it now. Check out wordpress.org/themes/full-frame.

I have to say though, my main motivation to update my site was the fact that I plan to use it as polling tool to decide which show we should watch in an English class I’m teaching. Gotta look respectable when showing your students your homepage!

Goodbye TUAW and Joystiq

I regret to inform you that two of my favorite news sites, TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog) and Joystiq, are shutting down. Thanks for nothing, AOL.

But you know what they say: change is good. Having mentioned that, I’m glad to see at least Joystiq live on in some sort of way at engadget.com/gaming.

I still had so many TUAW and Joystiq posts to show you. I’ve been stacking them in my bookmarks but never got around to link them here and write down some of my thoughts along with them. Now, with both sites vanishing, I don’t know how long their old posts will stay up. I feel like suddenly time is running out. That’s why I will dump all links to those posts I still wanted to direct your attention to here and maybe write something about them later.

It’s an odd thought that anything on the internet could vanish at all. We take it for granted that sites will exist forever and ever, but all it takes is a corporation to decide to shut down a website or a server. Hopefully though, we will always have archive.org and its WayBackMachine. In fact, I just tried it and both the TUAW and Joystiq websites are well preserved. Good job!

Anyway, check out all these interesting tidbits. I tried to group them more or less topically and list them more or less chronologically.

TUAW

Why 9:41 AM is always the time displayed on iPhones and iPads
Why is time on Apple Watch promotional ads set to 10:09?

LaCie XtremKey USB 3.0: the flash drive you want for the zombie apocalypse

iPhone 5s fingerprint sensor gets completely misunderstood

Go, You Chicken Fat, Go!: The story of the Youth Fitness Song

Legendary ad man Lee Clow talks about Steve Jobs’ love of branding and more
Steve Jobs sobbed in the wake of Antennagate
Video: Every Steve Jobs “boom” in under four minutes
Funny moments with Steve Jobs

Jony Ive talks about the link between design and engineering, the need for failure, and more

This Apple 3.0 poster is a must-have for every Apple fan

Apps teachers use to tame the classroom and teach their students
Educational bloggers chime in with their favorite back-to-school apps
Best educational apps for middle schoolers
Best educational apps for high school students

How to make OS X Mavericks re-run the Setup Assistant

Joystiq

Speedrunners make Super Mario World reprogram itself to play Pong, Snake

Sonic the Hedgehog box art illustrator Greg Martin passes away

Travel to the Nebula of NES Games in this handy chart

‘Project Unity’ is 15 fully-functional consoles in one giant box
RetroN 5 and the uncomfortable tension between old and new
All-in-one retrogaming console RetroN 5 now available for pre-order
RetroN 5 retro console delayed to December 10
RetroArch authors: RetroN 5’s emulators, code violate licenses

Study: Dance games help bladder control, urinary incontinence

PBS’ Game/Show asks, ‘What is a Gamer?’
Co-Opinion: How sporty are eSports?
Capcom officially uploads I Am Street Fighter documentary to YouTube
Editor’s Note: We Are Always Fighting
StarCraft 2 and the quest for the highest APM

What happened to all of the women coders in 1984
Nightline investigates GamerGate, online harassment

RealLife Comics

I have long enjoyed the webcomic RealLife. The first strip was published on November 15, 1999 and Greg Dean, the author, has been putting out new strips ever since. Though I didn’t start reading the comic until around 2003, I have read every strip. The majority made me laugh, some just made me smile, but some were so hilarious that I decided to bookmark them. And instead of keeping those bookmarks to myself, I will share my favorite RealLife Comic strips with you.

I did not embed all strips directly into this post, because A) that would take up too much space and B) I want to give reallifecomics.com some traffic (and kudos!)

On the topic of nerdiness
Geek Olympics (October 03, 2000)
Can’t Hit Macs (November 27, 2000) (the one you see above)
L33tness (February 22, 2001)
All Your Base (April 13, 2001)
Network Cable (April 19, 2001)
Over-clocked Hamster (April 30, 2002)
Xtreme Spam Deleting (January 21, 2004)
Service Pack 2 (August 13, 2004)

On the topic of games and LAN-parties
UT 2003 (September 19, 2002)
Redeemer (January 10, 2003)
What’s Unreal Tournament? (February 04, 2003)
Counter-Strike (May 24, 2004)

On the topic of food & drinks
Damn (December 29, 2000)
Water. Astounding. (May 20, 2002)
I Won’t Believe That’s Butter! (February 19, 2002)

On the topic of interesting facts
At The Movie Theatre (May 10, 2002)
Human Reaction #243 (January 08, 2003)

On the topic of plain silliness
Weather Phenomenon (February 21, 2001)
The Muffin (December 06, 2001)
End Freeway (June 11, 2002)
Fuego! (February 27, 2004)

I know, these are all pretty old, but the new ones are good, too, I promise! Here’s an example:
Episode VII (October 31, 2012)
Tell me which ones you like best in the comments!

Nevermind the previous post

What I don’t like about NetworkedBlogs is that in Twitter, the link posted is a shortened one, so it does not start with “dikk.org”. My URLs are very short already. Shortening it would save only few characters, and would not promote my blog 😀 Also, when clicking on that link, it displays an own NetworkedBlogs bar at the top.
Also, when it publishes to Facebook, the post looks nice, but depending on the link you click on, it directs you to the NetworkedBlogs page.

So, here’s to two new WordPress plugins!  WP to Twitter and SharePress.

If you can read this, you know it worked.

So about this blog stuff…

Blogs.

Do they still exist?
Are they still relevant?
Do kids these days even know what a blog is?

I mean, it’s all Twitter and Facebook these days, isn’t it? At least it seems to be so for me. But neither of them offers the kind of container for my thoughts as does my good old WordPress blog running on my own domain. That’s why I will still use it, but try out a new syndication tool called NetworkedBlogs, which offers blog-to-facebook and blog-to-twitter publication of my posts.

Oh, I also found this nice Demotivational Poster. Pretty much sums it all up.

(http://www.motifake.com/blogging-demotivational-posters-51231.html)

The sound of 1000 knuckles cracking

I stole this one from joystiq.com, so I’ll just copy-paste what they wrote. Really scary, but really funny, short video.

There are few words one could use to describe the audio phenomenon which occurs at each Penny Arcade Expo, other than, of course, yuckyThe video posted after the jump was captured at the first Penny Arcade panel at PAX East, in which everyone in the room simultaneously cracks their knuckles. It is really, really gross and nobody should watch it. We wish we hadn’t seen it. We also wish we hadn’t filmed it, and then copied it to our computer, and put it online, and put it in this post — a process forcing us to relive that horrifying moment eight or nine times.

//www.viddler.com/embed/f5cada51/?f=1&offset=0&autoplay=0&disablebranding=0
PAX East: The Sound of 1,000 Knuckles Cracking

Question: What social/forward icons do you want?

Beneath each of my posts, you can find a few colorful icons that allow you to tweet this, post this to facebook, email this to somebody or get the RSS feed of this post. They are supplied by a WordPress plugin called Sociable.

Sociable however offers a lot more of these colorul icons. Here is a complete list:

(as usual, click to magnify so you don’t have to squint)

I grabbed this from http://blogplay.com/plugin-for-web/

So please, my dear readers, tell me what icons you want! If you know all of them, you’re pretty good, because some of them listed I have never even seen let alone heard of!

Working for Apple

Originally, this post was a draft from September 29, 2008, named “About the new Apple Store in Glattzentrum”, never finished, never published. It’s the oldest draft I have, so I’m gonna start with this one.

Below is the what I wrote.

As you might have guessed from the photo earlier, I was there last Friday when the second Apple Retail Store in Switzerland opened in Glattzentrum. (Geneva “Rue de Rive” was the first on the day before.)

I didn’t go there like super early and wait in line, but I visited the store about one hour and twenty minutes after it opened, so about at 11:20 AM. And I still was among the first 1500 customers, so I even got the free t-shirt ^^

The applauding and cheering that was going on was pretty much predictable, at least for me, because I’ve seen videos of Apple Stores opening and people buying iPhones on the launch day. There are usually clapping Apple employees all over the place. But the people passing by the store…

I didn’t even finish the sentence! I think I wanted to say: “But the people passing by the store have no idea what’s going on, they think it’s some sort of celebration (which it is!) and deriving from the crowds that form, they think there must be a chance to get something for free or at a reduced price.

No. (Except for the free t-shirt)

It’s just a store opening. But what a fabulous one! I don’t know any other retail store that attracts so many enthusiastic people on opening day like an Apple Store! Correct me if I’m wrong!

As you know from my earlier posts, I then began working for Apple. First at the Apple Store Glattzentrum, then helped the Apple Store Rosenstraße for opening and first two weeks, and also experienced the Apple Store Rue de Rive before finally opening the Apple Store Bahnhofstrasse and staying there. Working for Apple is awesome, although sometimes exhausting, nerve-wracking and frustrating, but always enriching. By the way, if you work for Apple too and are reading this, let me say this (as a matter of fact, let me say this to everyone):

Working for Apple is my dream come true. Literally.

It’s not picture-perfect, but nothing in life is. Anyway I’m not gonna go into detail here. Not because I’m not allowed to, but because there is no need for it. The only thing that gets on my nerves from time to time are narrow-minded customers (that’s what I meant by “sometimes exhausting, nerve-wracking and frustrating”). If there were any unpleasant circumstances within the company I work for, I would rant about them of course; I am not afraid of speaking my mind freely while being monitored. There. I said it.

Of course, like I said, there is nothing to rant about, except for certain customers who do not understand and simply accept certain things (insert noise of grinding teeth here). I don’t blame them for anything, I’ld get mad too if certain things don’t work out as I expected them to. But please, people, chill out. Or sign up for Yoga classes or something.

I could go on and on, but that’s beside the point. By the way, the thankful customers overweigh. I especially like Americans. “Awesome”, “I appreciate it”, “I really appreciate it” is what you hear the most. I love ’em! And then there are the really thankful customers who bring you sweets like chocolate as a token of their appreciation.

Bottom line: it’s a rollercoaster, depending on the day and the customers. But it definitely builds character.