blogger blogging tech

Success theater is boring

I recommended reading this article:

Twitter : nchenga: "It's boring."

Success theater is boring. Directly related to the increasing lack of privacy. All the world’s a stage.

Social media featuritis is part of a never-ending cycle. Ironically the author mentions new tools (Snapchat, VidBurn and Facebook Poke) to replace the broadcast tools.

Keep calm.

Don’t join the rat race.

Use social media in good measure and in a personable way.

Create rather than consume.

Consider your true motive. Cost and benefit.

BTW, I’ve read some predictions about a blogging comeback in 2013. Experts predict that the author tag will get a higher Google rank.

2013: The Year of the Online Writer

Due to Google Panda and Penguin, everybody is talking about the need for high-quality content.

The reality is it will be extremely difficult for middle-of-the-road online writers to gain any kind of traffic. Compared to 2003 and 2004, the ocean of data has increased exponentially. Gone are the days where a private blog entry google-bombed its way into the top SERPs. I am not saying it isn’t possible. But it takes strategy, resources, commitment, personal drive, writing skills and some SEO expertise. And most of us with a day job, hobbies, and a long to-do list will no longer be part of the top Google rankings. At least with the current setup.

Here is an interesting slide deck on how social media will develop in 2013:

I wonder where “social everything” and “mobile everything” will take us.


Directed by Ken Loach

I watched Angels’ Share yesterday. Very enjoyable. Funny.

Yesterday evening I was racking my brain trying to remember the other Ken Loach movie I’ve seen. Heh, I just remembered. Worth a blog post! The film was called Looking for Eric.

basel flickr Photos

A snapshot from Basel

photo walk in basel-stadt


Literary detail

Interesting link:

Dickens’s 66-page novella is credited with popularising many aspects of the holiday (including the very phrase “Merry Christmas!”).


Season’s greetings

season's greetings

My sister sent me this card. Happy holidays!

blogging General Photos


I am thankful for lots of big and little things.

A job
The possibility to learn and study new things
Political and religious freedom
Fresh air
Enough water to take a shower when i want or wash my clothes
Reliable public transport when i need it
Challenges and adventures
My bicycle
A place to stay and store stuff (aka home)
Ways to express myself
The power to keep going
To know i can be happy and at peace despite the circumstances
I am thankful that my mood is independent of the weather or the situation
Being bilingual
Enough clothes to wear
Learning that wearing the right clothes makes cold weather more bearable
A digital camera to catch a moment
Clouds in the sky
Deep,refreshing sleep
Economic stability
Cooking and baking
Not living in a warzone
Nutella and chocolate

premium dog content

flickr Photos

A snapshot for every month

Sipping coffee, planning tasks, listening to the radio.

Here’s a quick review of my year on Flickr:

My most productive month on Flickr in 2012 was… September. I managed to upload 171 photos in one month. Least productive was May 2012 with 52 uploads.

January 2012

my frangipani phase

February 2012

multiple choice

March 2012

colorful and calories

April 2012

warnung vor dem hunde

May 2012

fruit salad

June 2012

beautiful day

July 2012

velo postkarte

August 2012

soooo boring

September 2012

flower pots

October 2012

leafy details

November 2012


December 2012



Less connected than in 2007

On Globalisation

people consistently assume that the world is much more interconnected than it really is

Measurement: DHL Global Connectedness Index


Upgraded to WordPress 3.5


Heh, i’ve upgraded to WordPress 3.5. All is well. WordPress is getting old. So far without any major hassles.

Unlike Twitter. I learnt this week that I can no longer follow new people cos i crossed the magic threshold of 2000 on my work account.

I read somewhere that 2013 will be the year of the blog. Heard that one before?

Some of us old-skool-folks are seeing quite a few déjà-vues. For example, the changes to the Instagram Terms of Service are no surprise. I remember the uproar when Facebook introduced similar TOS changes.

I like this article by Anil Dash: Rebuilding the web we lost.

Links i still need to read in more detail:

I found this article intriguing:

Any comments or reading recommendations you’d like to share with me?

basel blogger blogging culture tech

Ten twenty seven

Sipping coffee. Reading tweets. Faving Flickr photos. And listening to “Klassik-Pop-et cetera” on

Some music references to remember:

Paul Gerhard “Ich steh an deiner Krippe hier”

Mahalia Jackson “Go tell it on the mountain”

Pete Seeger

Johann Sebastian Bach “Ich lasse dich nicht denn du segnest mich denn”




Some ancient poetry that crossed my internetz path:

whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable””if anything is excellent or praiseworthy””think about such things


You know the year is nearly over when the first posts on “future trends” appear. I thought this slide deck quite intriguing:

Digital Trends 2013 – DMF from Bart De Waele

Heading out to take care of errands. And to take photos of bicycles. Yours truly, nchenga.

Charly Gaul



On my home from work, I cycled home past 3 large groups of joggers. I saw another group further up and thought to myself: “OK, this will be a group of nordic walkers”. I was wrong. I passed another group of joggers.

Stalemate of the Spambots reminds me of this Lift 11 talk by Kevin Slavin.

(…) the bots have poisoned the stock-trading waters so much that even the bots themselves fear to go in

This Forbes article on doxxing and Reddit caught my attention. Lots of salient points about Internet culture.

Snippets like:

“anything that’s written by (including code) and run by humans is biased, often unintentionally”


“there is no such thing as an agnostic, neutral service”

“Social services are moving trains, organisms that we’ve created and infused with our own humanity.”

Wow. Maybe we should just pull the plug. This is larger and more powerful than any sci-fi. Amakhala scared.

On a lighter note, I started a Vespa photo set on Flickr:


Chicken soup

I tried making chicken curry soup with sedano (= sellerie), chicken filet cut into small chunks, onions, ginger, garlic, curry powder and coconut milk. Tastes very good.


eleven forty eight

Happy Saturday.

I am installing a Joomla 2.5 template. Finishing off my tax declaration. Listening to the radio. Currently on air: a feature on tea. Random fact: Germany consumes more tea per person than China or India cos there are many people so poor they can’t afford even tea. Africa exports the majority of its tea. Just discovered: publishes a playlist of the music it plays.


Somebody forgot to tell the bots

A couple of weeks ago i stumbled across this story:

“Unfortunately, the digital restriction management (DRM) robots on UStream had not been programmed with these basic contours of copyright law.”

Scary future.


Scrum and Design

At the day job, I am part of a Scrum development project. Within this context, I was searching for practical experience / best practices on how to manage the web design part of a web application.

Before the project started, I asked some people for their advice and googled around. Just like the discussion at Stackoverflow on “How do you apply Scrum to the design part of web development?”, there seemed to be 2 streams of thought:

  1. Design screens as part of a sprint
  2. Design screens early on, ideally in the sprint before a function is developed

After a couple of sprints (still in the newbie category), I recommend following the advice given in option 2: Start as early as possible working on your web app design and UI vision. Things like what kind of grid, what basic layout do you want to follow, and what the header and footer, as well as the basic navigation should look like. Design some of the main screens. At the same time, expect that interaction and design changes will occur.

@persillie sent me this useful article. IMHO this is a very good quote on this topic:

Resist the temptation to create the entire design upfront. The design should evolve based on the feedback you receive, and the details are created incrementally as part of the canvas grooming work.

CMS drupal tech

Multi-headed Drupal

For future reference:

Some background links on setting up large Drupal sites:

basel flickr Photos

Unplanned photo tour

Walked thru parts of Riehen and Chrischona today. The weather was better than expected. Took lots of flower snapshots for the boring flower snapshot set. So boring they easily qualify.

I found this sign on my way back to my bicycle:

der schönste ort der welt

Made me smile.


I continued exploring Jekyll (see yesterday’s post). Bin gespannt.


Further snapshots:

soooo boring
sooo boring
for the boring flower snapsot collection
blogger blogging tech wordpress

Building websites with Jekyll, Github Pages

This post has made me very curious. They use a different stack:

Jekyll for page templates and static file generation
HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files
GitHub Pages static HTTP server
Supplemented with external APIs where necessary

I guess, you can convert WordPress to static HTML. I found this description.

Looking a little further, there’s this setup using Really Static.

Why static HTML? HTML is secure and faster.

Speed: Any web server, will serve html files a lot faster than PHP generated files.
Security: If you are serving just static files, there is no way to hack your site.

Here’s a thread on the same at Quora

And using the WordPress static output plugin

Nice to know I could offer a flat static HTML version of this site.

I will have a longer look at Jekyll.

BTW, one year ago I tweeted about something similar:

Any experience? Opinions? Further resources to look at?


Kamikaze wasp

While cycling this morning – on my way to church – a wasp flew directly into my face and stung me on my lower lip. Somehow I managed to remove the stinger. Luckily I am not allergic. I used my bottle of ice water to cool the sting.

Natural remedies:

  • place a slice of onion on the sting
  • make a paste of baking soda and water to reduce the itch

Wi-fi fridge

Do we need this?

Looks like more and more machines are built to auto-transmit signals back to the manufacturer.


Shooting like a pro

Took part in a photo shooting at the day job. I learnt a lot by watching a pro.

Lighting – using indirect flash and white boards to bounce the light.

Tethered shooting – to position the photo and to check the lighting and sharpness on a larger screen.

Quantity – the photographer took 28 GB for 10 photos. We tried 40 to 50 photos per theme.

blogger blogging Malawi-related

Nchenga as seen from space

nchenga as seen from space



timeless tea for health and quality life

Slow start to a beautiful day. Listening to and sipping Chicco d’oro coffee and reading my way thru awesome Twitter people and browsing thru Flickr. 2 laptops, 1 iPod Touch, 1 Blackberry, and 1 Canon digicam all within close distance.

Generation screen.

It’s caturday.

Planning to head to the swimming pool later. Loading my iPod with podcasts. Lack of time will always be an outcome in a capitalist environment. Days like this are pure luxury.

Links to read:
Link 1: Yesterday I stumbled across this HBR blog post on the disciplined pursuit of less. Some interesting questions to think about…

  • “What am I deeply passionate about?”
  • “What taps my talent?”
  • “What meets a significant need in the world?”
  • “If I did not have this opportunity, how much would I be willing to sacrifice in order to obtain it?”

Link 2: A trend I have been following for years – the emerging new opportunities in Africa as a result of mobile and web technology – is now being recognized.

Even in small markets like Malawi, software companies are emerging. Developers such as:

Link 3: Strong passwords are not enough. We need to invest more time in securing our online passwords. See this how-to at Lifehacker and this post by Matt Cutts. More hassle. More work.

And Facebook only allows me to enter one cell phone, automatically removing the cell phone on my other Facebook account; apparently one person = one Facebook account = one cell phone number. I currently have 4 Facebook accounts. But on the upside, I may never need to spend energy on resolving this, cos Facebook may become irrelevant… n’est-ce pas? How one botched IPO can change the outlook of a company, is quite mind-boggling.

Music: My favourite band this summer is Boy. Love their sound.

Buon weekend. And please feel free to leave a comment.


The thing to do

Try this. Try smiling. And before you know it. People smile back. And greet you.


Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should

settings google calendar

Hidden in this screenshot are 22 thousand reasons not to base your entire marketing on G+ or FB or Twitter or anybody else.

I thought Google had learnt the lesson when they botched the Buzz launch. Well, here they are pushing events via soc med contacts to something as personal as a calendar.