Random notes

der tunnelblick

Cos my bike was in for repairs, I took the tram today. Leaving the Basel SBB tram station, there’s a taped announcement welcoming passengers to Basel in English and in German. This evening, it was different: The announcement was spoken live, in a jovial mood, and in 6 languages, including Spanish and Turkish. And the tram driver adapted the text calling Basel: the golden city. So funny. Everybody on the tram was laughing.

On Sunday I cycled all 60 km of the Slowup route. In the morning, the weather was rainy and cold. Which meant most people stayed home and drank hot cocoa. Not me.

Es gibt kein schlechtes Wetter, nur schlechte Kleidung

I put on several layers of bike clothes and rain gear. And was rewarded with a dry afternoon and empty roads.

slowup dreiland - basel region


I am trying to select a few of my best photos to print as posters. Not finding it easy at all. The idea is to decorate my home with my own artwork. A la Etsy. Any tips where I can get high quality posters printed in the Basel area? I haven’t decided on the format sizes yet. I need to edit more. And upload less. But then again, my Flickr stream is a documentation project. I love everyday scenes.

I am working on a small Drupal 7 website project in my spare time. I learnt a lot. Drupal is fun. And it is good to set yourself a project to learn more about a software package.

Changes I’ve noticed in my online behaviour

Over the past months, I have started watching more TV via computer then via TV. Many German TV stations offer a so-called “Mediathek”. I enjoy viewing TV reports according to my own schedule. Video-on-demand. At last. 13 years later than when I first heard about the term at the micro-electronics company that I worked for.

In general, we’re using the technologies invented 10 years ago.

Between you and me, the brand new Facebook Subscribe function reminds me of RSS. But as described in this article, this is one of Facebook’s strengths. It doesn’t re-invent, it re-uses functions.

I haven’t been using Google+ much (yet). What is your experience? Tips?
I am suffering from social media network fatigue. My favorite sites are – by far – Flickr and Twitter. Flickr for the photos (browsing Flickr is an activity I can do half-asleep) and Twitter for the unfiltered, global news. I check Facebook regularly for work reasons.

But Dave Winer’s warning about the closed data silos is ringing in my ears. Some Twitter third party apps are unusable due to API restrictions. And many app developers are discouraged by Twitter’s recent feature additions and app acquisitions.

And at Yahoo, the new CEO may decide to sell good old Flickr.

Although, for Delicious this has been a turn for the better.

New web app I stumbled across: – to compare and book airplane tickets.

5 mins ago:

In this blog post via @Bufferapp, they’re saying you shouldn’t go into blogging “If you can’t create quality, original content”. While I agree with most of the points made, this is what the traditional journalists said 8 years ago when blogging emerged. Only journalists have the skills to write quality content. The problem isn’t quality. It’s the fact that many people just scrape content. Copy and paste. Without adding value. Including journalists. Obviously a good writing style helps. Grammar. Punctuation. Style.

The web isn’t just for the elite.

If you want to write a blog: Just start writing at regular intervals and ignore all the checklists full of advice. Most of it is SEO and advertising bait. Writing is a great way to reflect. Write about a topic that you are really interested in.

spiral up

Alles wird gut.


8000 entries on Flickr

Landmark of 8000 items on Flickr = reached.

Tonnes of snapshots on Flickr document my journey thru everyday life.

I started taking photos for this blog. Yeah… blame it on blogging.

Snapshots of

  • Daily, mundane things
  • Bicycles
  • Urban details / photo walks
  • Travel / landscape

Global websites

Useful link on internationalization.


Twitter question: I have a protected account. How do I approve my follower requests?

Yesterday someone asked me how to approve follower requests from an iPhone. It turns out that you can’t approve follower requests from the iPhone app. You need to approve followers via the web or email:

If you have protected your Tweets, you can approve followers from your account home page or profile page (see screenshots below).
You can also approve followers by clicking the link in the follower request email notification.


Bicycle power in Malawi

Recommended reading: France 24 on cycling as a major form of transport.

“The bicycle is very popular in Malawi, because people can’t afford a motorbike and because Malawi has a high density of population,” said Dutchman Peter Meijer who set up a bike business, Sakaramenta, in 2009.

Here is a link to Peter Meijer’s company website.

Most of the bikes in Malawi are imported from India:

Countrywide dealer Farmers World, meanwhile, sells 8,000 to 10,000 bikes a year imported from India for between 12,000 and 15,000 kwacha. A basic single gear, standard 22-inch (55-centimetre) wheel model is the most popular.

Photos of bicycle taxis in the Malawi Flickr group


Photos from the Netherlands

I went to the Netherlands for a long weekend. An inspiring place for a passionate cyclist like me…. I flew to Amsterdam and then rented bike and cycled north in direction Hoorn, along the Ijsselmeer. Very beautiful and lots of fun.

The weather was sunny on my way up, but very rainy and windy on my way back. My conclusion: Switzerland has mountains, the Netherlands has wind to slow you down.

I collected lots of photos of Dutch bike brands. And visited museums (the Anne Frank house, FOAM, the Rijksmuseum, the Kunsthal, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen). And took pictures of Hagelslag and other Nutella alternatives.

I think it is amazing that the Ijsselmeer has fresh, non-salty water even though it is separated only by a dam from the North Sea. A huge dam.