XMPP? Nice, but …

I keep on repeatedly promoting and suggesting people to take a closer look at XMPP for their messaging needs instead of falling back to “proprietary” and disputable (yet astoundingly widespread) messengers such as WhatsApp, and repeatedly I fail. And, from some point of view, I have to admit this “failing” doesn’t just happen because of WhatsApps user base being so extremely large. It also happens because, rudely speaking, while providing a load of technical advantages, XMPP is not at all anywhere near WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal or Threema from an end-user point of view. My background here: Professionally, I run an internal XMPP server (on top of openfire) for corporate instant messaging, server alert notifications and group chats for particular purposes. Personally, at some point I tried getting close contacts, family, relatives to use XMPP as a full replacement for any other messenger because I use an XMPP client on the desktop anyway and would like to cut down the amount of tools required for communication…

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Been trying for quite a while to find a reasonable way of managing a “reading list”, with requirements pretty simple: I want to remember a bunch of web resources I stumble across during the day to check them out as soon as I find some time. Tried various approaches, didn’t really enjoy any of them. Right now, my solution to this issue is both bare-bone and effective: Used to set up a “bookmark@” mail address for my mail domain, and configured most of my tools (desktop browser, feed readers on smartphone and tablet, …) to be able to quickly post URLs there. Outcome: I end up with a chronologically sorted inbox of findings I easily can work through given some time. Maybe it’s a clumsy solution but so far I haven’t found a better approach for doing so, given I don’t want to manually move bookmark.html files around, and given most of the services I tried out for such purposes either don’t work as desired anymore (looking at you, delicious.com) or add additional complexity to my workflow by providing a load of additional features I don’t need. Ultimately, I managed to both remove a bunch of apps off my mobile devices and close down some accounts registered at some popular services for falling back to quite an archaic workflow. So if anyone could recommend a easy-to-use and open facility for keeping bookmarks and reading lists – I welcome any recommendations. ;)


October already, again. Year’s moving on fast. Looking through my history, there are few years that have seen as little activity on this blog as this one. Maybe it’s a a mix of being active in some prominent social networks as well (which ends up being a dump for a load of day-to-day snippets, links random thoughts) all along with lacking really a load of things to write about.

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Der Spätsommer ist heiß in diesem Jahr. Wir haben lang Federball gespielt, bis wir die letzten Bälle ins Dickicht entlang des Platzes geschlagen haben und in der Dämmerung nicht mehr wiederfinden konnten. Nur an den kürzer werdenden Tagen spürt man den frühen Herbst. Die Hinterhöfe sind immer noch voll Musik, die Autos holpern immer noch krachend laut über die Straße vor den offenen Fenstern, die Häuserfront gegenüber ist immer noch dunkel, weil die Menschen irgendwo sind – unterwegs, in den Ferien, draußen am Fluß. Ich versuche zu schreiben, lösche, schreibe, lösche wieder. Es ist zu warm für alles, zu warm, sich zu bewegen, zu warm zum Denken. Zu warm zum Arbeiten. (Sollte man jenseits der Dämmerung überhaupt noch arbeiten wollen?) Stattdessen blättere ich in Büchern, mehr oder weniger kreuz und quer. Danielewski. Houellebecq. Jaccottet, Pessoa. Kaum mehr als Fragmente, unkonzentriert, aber immer noch besser als andere Medien, denen man sich aussetzen kann dieser Tage. Ein paar der Fragmente bleiben hängen, bringen mich auf andere Gedanken in dieser warmen, voranschreitenden Nacht. Bringen vielleicht auch wieder Inspirationen für Dinge, in die es sich lohnt, Zeit, Kraft und Energie zu investieren. Bringen vielleicht Inspirationen und Anstöße, ohne nurmehr abzulenken…

Hidden patterns: 99 Percent Invisible

I’m into listening to podcasts for quite a while now, with a modestly fixed set of just enough sources to not make listening to all the interesting episodes an impossible task. Usually, the time for me to listen to that kind of things is on my way to work in the morning which takes between 15 minutes by bicycle or roughly an hour if I decide to walk – enough time for following through one or two episodes, depending upon the podcast of course.

However, a new addition to my playlist that I have excessively been listening to the last two weeks is 99 percent invisible. I stumbled across this while browsing the web for podcasts, and indeed just the very description did read rather promising:

99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.

In the end, not all episodes completely deal with exactly this particular topic. But they all are pretty insightful, no matter whether dealing with the meaning of the term “average” in relation to people, the history of the most important of the Bauhaus photographies, unpleasant design and architecture preventing antisocial behaviour in public space or even the story of a lone phone booth right in the Mojave Desert. The podcast seems an independent production on a very high quality level, all the stories really are enjoyable listening to, but they also feature an awful load of information that will make you think and wonder more than just once. Highly recommended if you got some time to spare for such things. ;)