General tweet

Ten Differences between Skype and Twitter

On the train to northern Germany. Three more hours to go.

It’s been a long day and my motivation to get some work done is kind of missing. So here’s a text message from the train. Longer than 140 characters. Maybe.

Two doctors across the aisle are loudly discussing other doctors, Basel hospitals, the Swiss health system, politics and other details. They are code switching between Swiss German and Arabic (or something that sounds similar). They are getting out now. They were talking non-stop for two hours.

Der Trend zu mehr als einem Betriebssystem:
BTW, I finally ordered a new 13 inch MacBook with 4GB RAM. I really like the size. I guess I am officially a Mac fan. I even tweeted about it!

Twitter vs. Skype:
How do you explain the difference between Twitter and Skype? I was talking about the Twitter Dinner I attended on Monday and a work colleague asked “What’s the difference to instant messaging?”

For the casual observer, none really. Nothing revolutionary. 140 characters organized chronological on a webpage. Like the first webpages, nothing truly spectacular.

Yet again, it is another way to publish even faster. Faster than a static HTML-based webpage or a dynamic server-side based blog.

The future of Twitter will be exciting to watch. Maybe it will just dwindle and die. Maybe new business models will emerge and it will become commercial like websites. Maybe it’s just a stepping stone to something new.

Anyway here we go, my first list in a long time. Here are:

Ten differences between Skype and Twitter:

  1. One to many vs one to one or one to two: I have more Twitter followers than Skype contacts. I don’t follow all of my Twitter followers, while Skype is more or less reciprocal and if somebody doesn’t add me as a contact, I start wondering why.
  2. Public With Twitter I can view the stream, and the faves before clicking the ominous Follow button. By default Skype messages are not public.
  3. More options Skype is direct and immediate between me and another person or a second person. Twitter can be direct and immediate between my friends and me, but it doesn’t have to be. I can post a tweet message without any follow-up or call to action. On the other hand Skypers expect a more immediate reaction. And tend to follow general conversational patterns.
  4. Easier to search thru I can search thru Tweet streams much more easily, thanks to add-on services such as Twitter Search/Summize.
  5. Monitor Like with Google, or Flickr, I use Summize/Twitter Search to find new content on topics of interest, c.f comments on the famous Nutella Alternatives group (funny!) or on a more serious note tweets from Malawi and Zimbabwe. In the same way, companies can find what people are saying about their products. Consumers are more likely to write a 140 character message than a full A4 review on your product. I.e. Twitter forms opinions on products. And unlike statements at a cocktail party, these mini-reviews are searchable.
  6. Unfiltered news from strangers With Twitter I can get raw, unfiltered messages on current news as they happen, c.f the recent bombings in Mumbai. Following “breaking news” on Twitter is more exciting than on CNN and co, as they scramble to get a correspondent online and show the same video sequence over and over again.
  7. Mobile Cos it’s so simple, Twitter offers better mobile phone integration from the start. Unfortunately, the best Twitter feature by far was shut down in September 08. What I call the downstream, i.e. the forwarding of Twitter messages to my cell phone.
  8. Ubiquituous software All I need is a browser and my login data. And browsers are everywhere. I think there’s a possibility to use a Skype widget within a browser, but so far I have never used this feature.
  9. Faves I can store Twitter messages I like by fav’ing them.
  10. Fun I use Skype for work-related stuff. Twitter is for fun. I’m not twittering for the marketing effect. Just fun. I don’t care if 1000 people follow me or not.

And finally it’s art:
I learnt at LIFT 08, that I’m part of a giganormous art project.

Where else can you follow the different time zones having their first cup of coffee in the morning?


Late Nite Prototyping

(work in progress, here’s a provisional brain dump)

Quick test install to demonstrate how WordPress can be used for a corporate newsroom:

(Update – 3rd November 2009 – Note from the Editor:
The prototype has been discontinued – but rest assured that the knowledge is still available)

The main page shows all news in chronological order.

Categories classify the various entries: press release, events, newsletter, industry sector…etc.

A click on category shows all items for that category, e.g. all events.

RSS feed for a specific category can be displayed on other web pages, external sites or can be subscribed by customers.

Next steps:

Delete blog features that are not needed, e.g. comments.

Change css design to match company corporate design.

é voila! Corporate News 2.0hhhhh

architecture basel

Metropole Switzerland

Before I moved to Switzerland I read an article discussing the idea or rather the vision of Switzerland being one metropolitan area with ultra-fast trains zipping to and fro between the commercial centres.

Recently this topic has filtered through to me again. I’m assuming that in a specialized context it has been discussed all along.

metropolitane schweiz


As I mentioned in one of my Flickr comments, the urban area around Basel will probably continue to grow and it would better if cities and towns cooperated on important regional issues such as traffic, public transport, waste disposal, city planning and education.

In October I took part in an interesting architecture tour called Birsstadt, which discussed and highlighted the importance of regional vs town assembly planning and management.

But I’m just a private person noticing a trend and commenting…



some personal stuff about me that you don’t want to know:

Two days ago I spilled hot coffee on my laptop keyboard. I feel very stupid. I am mad at myself… my only hope is that the letter m will recover. I am thinking of setting up a Donate button. I didn’t think something so stupid would happen to me.

Feel free to strike me from your feed reader. TBTSCAOTL … The blogger that spilled coffee all over the laptop. Anybody want to start a therapy group?

Change of topic: I have been viewing a couple of apartments ‘cos I’m thinking of moving (happens every winter when the temperatures fall below zero). Two of the three places I viewed are having difficulties with the property managers – very few flats are managed by private persons in the Basel region. At one of the places I viewed, the tenant was called by the landlord while I was there. Disputes the tenants are always very open about. But which will not hurt the property managers ‘cos there is a continuous lack of affordable housing in Basel.

Get informed. Renting a flat is very different to Germany or other places.
There’s a mieterverband for Basel-Stadt that offers infos and legal help.

BTW, this blog post is brought to you by the letter m.


Chiperoni weather in Bern

Just showing WordPress and how fast publishing has become!

books marketing

Reading List

A regular reader of has suggested that I add a book list.

Yesterday I stopped by at the uni library and browsed thru the marketing section. I picked up “How Customers Think” by Gerald Zaltmann. And some pages caught my eye. The 10’000 feet view.

four challenges

Ways to find original ideas and get out of the customary, surface-oriented thinking about consumers:
for fleeing our worn cognitive hampers

He describes the Titanic Effect here:
the titanic effect

Another book I browsed thru is:
Marketing-Erfolg im Internet” by Martin Blatter-Constantin. It stood out of the crowd ‘cos it offers nifty black and white icons in the left column. And I liked the fact that it talks about personas from the beginning.

anna analog vs achim digit vs dane digital

Other books I brought along for reference purposes, include:

  • The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott – a recommended read; I wrote a couple of blog posts here and here.
  • Marketing your Business, A Guide to Developing a Strategic Marketing Plan by Ronald A. Nykel – no opinion yet.

Last in today’s list is “The Marketing Mavens” by Noel Capon:
marketing maven

africa Photos tech ubuntu

Text Snippets Circling Around

Pêle-mêle off the top of my head:

Learnt yesterday:
The number of English-speaking Internet users is decreasing, currently at about 35% of total number of Internet users.

Shared yesterday:
Who writes about African technology developments? From the list, I follow White African, Afrigadget, and sometimes Google Alert points me to IT News Africa.

Photo processing software for Ubuntu:
I’m currently MacBook-less (there are plans to change this very soon), but in the meantime I’ve installed Ubuntu 8.04 on an Acer Aspire 5920. I tried upgrading to Intrepid Ibex, but I couldn’t get my LAN connection to work. Something to do with the MTU count. And I encountered 2 bugs during the install:

  • package update-manager 1:0.93.32 failed to install/upgrade: ErrorMessage: SystemError in cache.commit(): E:Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1), E:Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)
  • package ubuntustudio-menu 0.9 failed to install/upgrade: there is no script in the new version

So I went back to Hardy Heron. Cost: most of my Saturday. Learning effect: priceless.

I’ve been scanning the Internet for Linux photo processing software, besides Gimp, Picasa and F-Spot. ‘Cos so far Canon’s DPP has not been ported to Linux. I guess I could use it via Wine. But between you and me, I’m just looking for a good excuse to get a new MacBook. Beyond that DPP (still) lacks a good straightening tool.

I tried BlueMarine ‘cos it sounded promising, but I quickly gave up. Not usable.

There are a couple of commercial tools to consider:

  • LightZone Linux
  • Bibble

In the end I tried Raw Therapee and downloaded Qtpfsgui for HDRs. Both of which are free and look promising at this stage.


BTW, this blog post is good example how I can trick myself into writing a longer text. Initially, I just wanted to write a few Tweet-like text snippets, a summary of various small items circling around in my head. Pêle-mêle off the top of my head.

Please feel free to comment. I would be very grateful for any Ubuntu tips and tricks, etc.

blogging General

The Fabric of the ‘Net

Kevin Marks picks up the recent meme on blogging being dead/old-fashioned/out-dated. He says:


has become part of the fabric of the net

See these blog posts and articles:
Nick Carr: Who killed the blogosphere?
The Economist: Oh, grow up!

Some things don’t change, though. Old and dying media still feel the need to criticize blogs and the authors for not being critical or original enough. Or whatever. Articles like this show a lack of understanding. A recurring theme in old media vs. new media. I write about Google, iPhones, new MacBooks and the US election ‘cos these topics have become part of my life. I’m reflecting. Collecting. Writing. Sharing. Remembering. Learning. Trying out new technology instead of sitting on the sidelines and waiting until it gets mainstream. I’m not a news site. I don’t have a budget. I don’t earn any revenue.



Post-US-election note to myself: Hope is a powerful force.

My mind is jumping here, but…

I’m reminded of this text snippet in a widespread and recognized book of poetry:

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Getting up at 4 o’ clock in the morning to study for school may lead to great things.