Service? Not in Germany.

I just received an email from my university’s library telling me that I forgot to bring in a book – again. They charge me € 2.50, which is not a huge amount of money and while it´s cheaper now than one or two years ago when they sent you a letter which made you pay an extra 55 cents for postage, it´s still dissapointing: Couldn´ t they send an email reminder a few days before this happens? I would even pay them some 10 to 50 cents for that service.
Or think of a widget on their website, which makes it easy to import that crucial date into your favourite online calendar solution like facebook or Google Calendar or does so automatically?
They could do it, but I bet they didn´ t even think about it.
What a fabulous service.

AVATAR

Finally I made it and saw this James Cameron movie called “Avatar”. A true masterpiece of animation (even though I didn´t see it in 3D – some scenes must be really frightening in 3D as they even made me moving watching it in 2D) is what comes two my mind first, trying to summarize what I saw, though I have to admit that I don´t know much about animation – nontheless: I liked what I saw. I am rather into stories, I read them, I write them, I tell them in my spare time.

Well, from what I remember of “Titanic”´s storyboard (the only other James Cameron movie I ever saw/enjoyed and remember) I have to say that I feel like it is similar in a way – in fact many other movies are. Not that this would be a bad point, but what do we have? An impossible love story. And beyond this modern society is criticized, but you will rather remember the love story than this criticism.

But of course there are differences, there have to be. I rather don´t blather about Titanic‘ now, because I didn´t watch that one in years and might mix things up – I have to stick to “Avatar”. It is the dream of a discovery of another civilization, which might be inferior at a first, technology centric look, but will turn out by far superior in its spirituality, happiness and wisdom. While the invaders have messed up their own planet and culture, the invaded have a feeling for their surroundings, they live in a perfect symbiosis with their environment, that are really attached to it. We´ve all read this more than once, it is the story of the invaded paradise. It is the story of invaders, who just see the money they can make and are willing to destroy holy places, homes and habitats that are really unique – unlike that ‘uniqueness’ you bullshit about in business.
Yeah, maybe it is this back to the roots, back to mother earth destiny thing, the feeling that we are so far away from perfect harmony, that depresses today’s mass societies. ‘”Avatar” is addressing all this, but not in a way that could really make people a lot more aware. It is not a movie that will revolutionize the world. It has just some impact on the movie aesthetics, art and business. There is this love story ruining all that´s beyond it, but certainly in a very nice way.

Inspiration (or books that I recommend without even knowing them)

Years ago, when I was getting into ‘designing’ web pages, well, not in my very first day´ s of doing so, but during the later ones, let´ s say in 2005 or 2006, i accidentally hit this great online magazine named “A List Apart” looking for some advise for doing i don´t know what.

Soon there will be ‘a book apart’. On HTML5. And as I feel like getting a beautifully layouted book on that topic, I will buy it. And I recommend you to do so as well, without knowing the book.

So head over to “A Book Apart” and preorder Jeremy Keith´s “HTML5 for Web Designers”

And as the topic is inspiration, I´ve got another great link that everybody into web design or development should have on her or his bookmarks list: 24ways.

Me again WebDev!

Sorry, but I couldn´t think of a more stupid headline. But it is very descriptive, as I started to work on my CSS and (X)HTML skills again, as it recently turned out that I could make some money with doing a little bit of valid frontend work. Besides it´s a lot of fun, as it has always been (I don´t know why I ever stopped this), and it keeps you busy. And with my mum being sick (lymphoma) I´ve got reasons to keep myself busy as hell.

With this site being my personal blog (not more, not less) this means that I could end up making the look of this place a little bit more vivid, especially to exercise stuff I am new to (like HTML5, jQuery, SVG, CSS3)…. You´ll see.

Oh, I do it all wrong.

While the headlne is english, the text has to be german this time. It will be about my personal failure using domains.

Es ist ernüchternd, was ich gerade eben feststellte, bei einem kurzen Blick in mein kleines Domainportfolio. Klingt unverständlich, ich weiß es – ich will versuchen es zu erklären. Und dazu braucht es eine kleine Zeitreise zurück in das Jahr 2006, in den Herbst 2006. Ich führte damals, neben meinem damligen “Hauptblog” (dessen Domains ich noch besitze und deren Verkauf ich erwäge) ein kleines aber feines, nennen wir es mal wohlwollend Kunstprojekt durch, befristet auf einen Zeitraum, an den ich mich nicht mehr allzu genau erinnere. Es bestand aus einer Reihe von gesprochenen Wortbeträgen (teils gelesene Texte, teils improvisiertes Gelaber, teils mit Synthesizer), die sich noch auf meiner Festplatte befinden, und mit einer nicht wirklich guten Digitalkamera (Bestandteil eines Mobiltelefons) geschossenen Bildern (die ich auch noch haben müsste, aber müsste ist ja ein dehnbarer Begriff).

Das ganze Treiben ging unter der Domain “protonenstrahl.de” vor sich. Ein Protonenstrahl, ein Strahl aus Protonen also, für die, die es nicht wissen, ist etwas, womit nach wie vor (und vermutlich für immer) von Physikern und Chemikern und Anderen experimentiert wird – etwa am CERN in Genf oder zu Zwecken der Tumorbekämpfung.

Kurzum: Es handelt sich eher um eine naturwissenschaftlich/technische Sache.

Dieses Bildgelaber, welches ich dereinst auf protonenstrahl.de veranstaltete, ging mir dann irgendwann selbst auf die Nerven und ich entfernte es, worauf die Domain eine Zeit lang brach lag. Was man heute sieht, wenn man protonenstrahl.de anklickt, ist die Idee, die ich danach zu Verwendung der Domain hatte: Eine Plattform für kreative Erzeugnisse, eine Müllhalde für meine schlechten Ideen. Wie man aber nur zu deutlich sieht, setzte ich diese Idee nicht um. Aber das Verlangen danach blieb, und da ich mich an “protonenstrahl.de” satt gesehen hatte, registrierte ich schließlich die Domain “brimborium.net”, um sie dann, schlußendlich, für einen persönliches Weblog zu verwenden, welches dann, da ich über einige Zeit vor allem über Technik geschrieben hatte und meine peinlichen Kurzgeschichten und Gedichte wo anders ablege, überaus tech-dominiert wurde und somit an sich einen Turn-Around braucht, oder auch in die endlose Liste meiner gescheiterten Projekte eingehen wird.

Worauf ich hinaus will: Für’s schreiben über Technik könnte sich u.U. der Domainname mit dem naturwissenschaftlich/technischem Phänomen viel eher anbieten, während Brimborium ja eher das Nutzlose beschreibt. Man kann mir also Domain-Missmanagement vorwerfen.

Imprēssions

Finally I got myself a Palm prē after this Toshiba TG01 dissapointment, and well, what shall I say? It’s yet another dissapointment? Well, that would be the truth, almost. The prē is a package of promises, but Palm didn’t manage to fullfill them. My complaints are those that you’ve probably heard a couple times. Quality issues for example. The sliders bottom is sharp enough to cut cheese, which is really bad because it makes using the tiny keyboard even more unpleasent. And the slider itself could be more snappy – as there is no soft keyboard, you have to slide the phone open whenever you feel urged to type something. It’s annoying. HTCs Android first timer (for those of you that forgot it: The first two iterations of Android (1.0 and 1.1) didn’t have a software keyboard as well) did much better. And this isn’t one of the first prē’s – it’s a shame Palm didn’t manage to address these issues yet – rumors have it that they managed to do better with the Prē Plus – but still: Without HP Palm would have failed, and this mismanagement regarding the quality issues might have very well killed Palm.

Let’s skip hardware without mentionning the good points (lovely form factor), and move on to software. WebOS is a nice platform, no doubt about that. But it isn’t that mature yet, if you ask me. And there are some things, that do annoy me. Example? Take the lack of something like APNdroid, which is so nice for Android, not just to save money (you can’t use the Prē without a data contract), but as well to prolong battery life. Take the mail client, which annoyed me by not threading mails. I am really locked into Android apparently – and if there is one more device of the current smartphones out there that I would try, it was probably be the Motorola Milestone.

I buy a Palm Pre and HP buys Palm

While there is no more text needed, I have to say that I am pleased that it is HP that buys Palm: While HP is powerful (in terms of capital and distribution) Palm has all those nice patents and WebOS, which is (with all its flaws) certainly one of the todays greatest operatings systems.

While I don´t believe in HP with Palm integrated (I hope that they don´t waste the Palm brandname) being the next Apple, I am pretty sure that HP aims to get closer to Apple with this aquisition in terms of becoming a brand that delivers excellent, innovative products (they do so, just have a look at the design of their “Envy” notebooks). That´s probably why this transaction is good for the future of WebOS: While Android is something that everybody can adopt and customize, WebOS is something special, differentiating. If you think that this conclusion is pathetic, you might be right, but you have to accept that I consider you´re wrong.

I am just happy about this right now, because I believe that HP and Palm fit rather well together, it´s two US american companys joining each other. There could have been worse team ups for Palm, and it was very important that this was announced now: Every single more week with Palm struggling would have damaged Palms´ platform.

Thinking about the Pre.

The Palm Pre has been released before a long time. Admittedly, the european release of the GSM Pre is not that long ago (fourth quarter of 2010), but as the Palm Pre was presented on last years CES in Vegas, the device feels already pretty old. It’s the gadget hunger that drives me to looking at different devices – it’s pretty affordable on eBay right now, you get new (or almost new) devices for ~200€.

There are many reasons for Pre prices dropping so quickly. I could name them here but Engadget did a write up recently (naming several other issues Palm should address), so I don’t have to sum it up entirely. One problem was (or still is) hardware quality (sliders, power buttons, screens – all broken too often for a premium device), an other is (apparently, from what I read) software stability. And WebOS is a unique platform. While I fell in love with it when I saw it for the first time, WebOS has (in comparison to iPhone OS, Android or Windows Mobile) a rather small userbase, which leads to what you might guess: There aren’t as many apps as on other popular platforms, rumors are telling me that it are still less than 500 here in Germany.

Still, hopes are high that this situation will change, as Palm just introduced paid Apps to its european ‘App Catalogs’ and because of the PDK which is said to make porting iPhoneOS Apps easy.

But this is just the App situation. Let’s have a look at the Hardware. The Pre Plus, which is going to be released in Europe this month, in May or June is not a big change compared to the original Pre – it is just (as you might have guessed) a tweaked and tuned Pre, featuring a better keyboard, no “pearl”, and twice the ram and flash memory. Considering the Pre Plus, the Palm Pre is still a good choice for the budget gadget guy, because the difference isn’t that big.

So will I drop some money at a Pre? It’s very likely.

1. April.

Fundstück 1: Titanic.

Fundstück 2: Google Topeka

Fundstück 3: Inhabitat – People-Powered Skyscraper to Claim New “World’s Tallest” Crown in Dubai

Fundstück 4: YouTube – bandbreitensparender Textmodus

Vielleicht folgt mehr…

Toshiba TG01 – Impressions

The gadget hunger won again – and so I got myself a Snapdragon device: A black Toshiba TG01 “Tsunagi”.

Yeah, it is a Windows Mobile Device. Yes, there is no Android / Linux port for the TG01 right now. But still: A 4.1″ 3G (MID size) Snapdragon slate, less than a centimeter thick – I could not resist.

Hardware

The formfactor is really impressive. It is just as pocketable as my G1 – or even more pocketable, as it is really so thin that people almost won’t see you’ve got a phone in your pocket. But that doesn’t mean that the hardware is perfect – the resistive touchscreen of the TG01 is a good one – but I would still prefer the capacitive one of my HTC Dream. One more bad thing: No 3,5mm audio jack, and the USB port (the only port of the device) is placed on the side of the device. Small pockets and a headset? No way. No need to mention that the slimness leads to a small battery and that should lead to a “not that great” battery life.

Switching the device on you will see a customized Windows Mobile – depending on your operator you might see a special, operator made home screen replacement, e.g. SPB Mobile Shell or Toshiba’s stripe UI.

Besides this the button placement is not perfect: The camera button is directly on the other side of the volume buttons, so if you press the camera button it might happen that you press the volume buttons as well.

Windows Mobile 6.5

With the TG01 being my first Windows Mobile 6.5 device, I have to admit that I like what Microsoft did to make the UI seem more competitive – comparing this to 6.1, it is a pleasure to use – though it is in my opinion inferior to Android. The whole platform is inferior in my opinion, due to its age and a lack of APIs. Looking at the TG01, you will find out that the inbuilt G-Sensor won’t work with some games or applications that work with, say, HTC devices.

Further impressions

While Phone quality and sound are ok with the latest Swiss Orange firmware, the device feels pretty slow, considering it has an advanced 1GHz ARM v7 SoC. Scrolling isn’t even as fluent as on my good old T-Mobile G1 – but I am pretty much convinced that this is a simple OS matter – the Windows Mobile 6.5 CE 5.2 kernel is pretty old, it is still close to 2005´s Windows Mobile 5 kernel. The ARMv7 instructions don’t seem to have a noticable impact on the devices performance – though compared to the Windows Mobile devices I had before it is without a single question the fastest one.

More soon..