The first device in my household recently has updated itself to the newest Windows 10 1903 build.
On the very first moment of the login screen appearing and logging in I could tell that I hate one specific change that has made it into this latest update.
And it’s the default mouse cursor.
Back in the Pre-Windows Vista days, when I used to work for Microsoft, I was using the latest internal build of Windows and just around the first RTM (release-to-manufacture) build they touched up on the final designs.
I remember vividly when the mouse cursor had changed from the one we new and used since Windows 3 to a shorter tailed more “high-def” looking one.
Since then there were a couple of changes on the cursor but the general design was kept.
Now apparently with the latest Windows 10 update from 1803 to 1903 I got a new – old default mouse cursor.
By reflex I changed it back to the one I love and stored safely in a backup. I cannot stand the long tail and the weird pixel-ness of the cursor. It just looks kinda weird to my eyes.
Suica (スイカ Suika) is a rechargeable contactless smart card, electronic money used as a fare card on train lines in Japan, launched on November 18, 2001. The card can be used interchangeably with JR West’s ICOCA in the Kansai region and San’yō region in Okayama, Hiroshima, and Yamaguchi Prefectures, and also with JR Central’s TOICA starting from spring of 2008, JR Kyushu’s SUGOCA, Nishitetsu’s Nimoca, and Fukuoka City Subway’s Hayakaken area in Fukuoka City and its suburb areas, starting from spring of 2010. The card is also increasingly being accepted as a form of electronic money for purchases at stores and kiosks, especially within train stations. As of October 2009, 30.01 million Suica are in circulation.
This time around we really made use of electronic payment and got around using cash whenever possible.
There where only a few occasions when we needed the physical credit card. Of course on a number of tourist spots further away from Tokyo centre cash was still king.
From my first trip to Japan to today a lot has changed and electronic payment was adopted very quickly. Compared to Germany: Lightning fast adoption in Japan!
The single best thing that has happened recently in this regard was that Apple Pay got available in Germany earlier this year. With the iPhone and Watch supporting SUICA already (you can get a card on the phone/watch) the availability of Apple Pay bridged the gap to add money to the SUICA card on the go. As a visitor to Japan you would mostly top up the SUICA card in convenience stores and train stations and mostly by cash. With the Apple Pay method you simply transfer money in the app from your credit card to the SUICA in an instant.
This whole electronic money concept is working end-2-end in Japan. Almost every shop takes it. You wipe your SUICA and be done. And not only for small amounts. Everything up to 20.000 JPY will work (about 150 Euro).
And when you run through a train station gate to pay for your trip it you hold your phone/watch up to the gate while walking past and this is it in realtime screen recorded:
I wish Germany would adopt this faster.
Oh, important fact: This whole SUICA thing is 100% anonymous. You get a card without giving out any information. You can top it up with cash without any link to you.
This is how my bedroom sounds at 5 am. There’s barely light here in Germany but spring can’t hold it back. There are so many birds right around the house and in the garden around the house that it’s really really really impressive to hear.
Yes. I am not living in a city. And still you can barely hear the hum of cars/trucks in the background. Sadly.
I made this recording by holding my iPhone up in the air and with the Voice Recorder app included in the OS.
Nevertheless this is quite a contrast to the last 2+ weeks in Tokyo.
We are currently visiting Tokyo and car traffic seems not to be the most pressing issue. When you encounter bike parking lots like this one you know why. It also can be done in your city. The streets in the city are owned by pedestrians not cars.
It had been mentioned before: regarding my own health until 2015 I did not have any structure and understanding when it came to food, sports, weight and all that is connected.
I used to be around 147kg (324lbs) when I made the decision to change that. Less than 8 months later I reached the weight that is considered “normal weight” for my body height.
Maybe more important than losing weight and going from class III obesity to normal is to keep in the range offering the biggest health benefits.
Apart from sport and being more active the key to managing weight in general for me was to understand and keep learning about food from many different perspectives.
Like in good science to learn more and make progress you got to listen and take well notes. Some things only can be understood when there’s enough historical data available. Not only the amount of time logged but also what is being logged is quite important.
In a normal week I am used to one-meal-a-day which I am preparing myself together with my wife. We eat in the evening – this makes things so much easier as there’s one time and space where everything regarding food comes together during routine days.
Also this routine works well in the long run. If we only got 10 minutes to prepare we will be able to hit the nutrition targets with either much or not-so-much quantities of food. In the last 4 years we practiced and played and created recipes for all situations you can think of. In a way we have made our simple-and-healthy-recipes the fall-back position we are using when we otherwise would have eaten something unhealthy.
Where do we track? There are so many options but since 2015 we stick to MyFitnessPal.
We are still happy using this as the base for tracking as the app is bearable even on Android and the food database that it uses is offering a good-enough data detail level.
So after more than 4 years of doing this a lot of data as come together. As I am doing it in sync with my wife a lot of things happened…
We have not become vegans. We eat meat still and we still like it. It’s just that the quality of meat we eat has gotten much better and with this the number of times we eat meat have reduced to maybe once a week at most.
We have started to eat things and experiment cooking with ingredients we did not know a year ago. While we keep adding ingredients all the time we find that you can optimize and gain so much joy from just jumping in head first into new tastes and recipes.
We’ve developed a “body-feel”. Apart from the taste buds changing completely over time I could not have thought of how much food influences how you feel. Different nutritious values lead to very different feels afterwards. I would go as far to say that most of the headaches I very frequently had while being overweight could have been traced back to what I’ve eaten just before.
So what now? We will keep tracking. Maybe not on a cloud service but on our self-hosted service. Maybe you got a good hint towards such self-hosted solutions to enter and track nutrition over time.
Since 2011 we’ve got this Boogie Board in the household. It’s simply a passive LCD panel on which you can write with a plastic pen. When you do you’re interacting with the liquid crytals and you switch their state. So what was black becomes white.
So we got this tablet and it’s magnetically pinned to our fridge. And whenever we’ve booked the next trip we’re crossing off days by coloring them in a grid.
My usual twitter use looks like this: I am scrolling through the timeline reading up things and I see an ad. I click block and never again will I see anything from this advertiser. As I’ve written here earlier.
As Twitter is also a place of very disturbing content there are numerous services built around the official block list functionality. One of those services is “Block Together“.
Block Together is designed to reduce the burden of blocking when many accounts are attacking you, or when a few accounts are attacking many people in your community. It uses the Twitter API. If you choose to share your list of blocks, your friends can subscribe to your list so that when you block an account, they block that account automatically. You can also use Block Together without sharing your blocks with anyone.
As of early 2019 I’ve started to bring back my content output stream to this website/weblog.
So far I am feeling quite confident publishing content here and even with changing legislation I am doing my best to provide an as good as possible experience to each visitor.
As of End-of-February 2018 this blog is being provided securly encrypted with SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt.
So security is one thing. Data privacy and safety another.
Apart from the commenting and searching there’s no functionality provided to enter/store data.
When you enter a comment the assumption is that this is your call for consent. Your comment will be stored. With the information you’ve entered and can see on-screen as well as the IP address you’ve used. Akismet then is used to provide Anti-comment-SPAM functionality – so part of this data is transferred over to Akismet for processing. After moderation the comment is visible for everyone under the article you’ve created it.
cookies and browser local storage
No cookies are used or required by the website.
There are no logfiles. No access and no error logs. There is no tracking or analysis. There is no advertisting or monitoring. All I can see is an nginx and php process delivering websites. Your IP address is know to the server for as long as it takes to do his job of delivering the asset you asked for. Nothing gets stored on server side for your read requests.
No content is loaded from other domains or websites. Everything is hosted on my server. No data is exchanged with externals to bring you this website.
Funny enough I did not take part. And sure enough I am getting all these nudges by services like Twitter… So. Ten years ago this blog existed and I started using Twitter. Apparently I will still use this website but changes a bit my general approach to services like Twitter.
And the next time I’ll explain why I am always awake quite early :-)
A bit of feedback is in on the plan to revitalize this blog. Thanks for that!
I have spent some more time this weekend on getting everything a bit tidied up.
There is the archive of >3.000 posts that I plan to review and re-categorize.
There is the big number of comments that had been made in the past and that I need to come up with a plan on how to allow/disallow/deal with comments and discussions in general on this website.
There is also the design and template aspects of this website. I switched to a different template and started to adjust it so that it shall make access to the stream of posts as easy as possible. Until then you need to wait or contact me through other means. But contacting is another post for another time.
I am currently in the process of reducing my presence on the usual social networks. Here is my reasoning and how I will do it.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and alike are seemingly at the peak of their popularity and more and more users get more and more concerned about how their data and privacy is handled by those social networks. So am I.
Now my main concern is not so much on the privacy side. I never published anything on a social network – private or public – that I would not be published or freely distributed/leak. But:
I have published content with the intention that it would be accessible to everyone now and in the future. The increasing risk is that those publishing platforms are going to fade away and thus will render the content I had published there inaccessible.
My preferred way of publishing content and making sure that it stays accessible is this website – my personal blog.
I am doing this since 2004. The exact year that Facebook was founded. And apparently this website and it’s content has a good chance of being available longer than the biggest social network at the present time.
So what does this mean? 3 basic implications:
I will become a “lurker” on the social networks. Now and in the future.
All comments and reactions I will make will be either directly in private or through my personal website publicly available and linkable.
As you can see: This is not about a cut or abstinence. I get information out of social networks, tweet message flows. But I do not put any trust in the longevity of both the platforms and the content published there.
The next steps for me will be a complete overaul of this website. Get everything up to current standards to streamline my publishing process.
Expect a lot of content and change – and: welcome to my blog!
I am managing my appointments using Outlook on windows and iCal on OS X. Since I am not using any Exchange service right now I was happy to find out that Outlook offers a functionality to export a local calendar automatically to an iCalendar compatible ICS file. Great feature but it lacks some things I desperately need.
Since I am managing my private and my business appointments in the same calendar, differentiating just by categories, I had a hard time configuring outlook to export a) an ics file containing all business appointments and b) an ics file containing all private appointments. It’s not possible to make the story short.
So I fired up Visual Studio as usual and wrote my own filter tool. I shall call it “iCalFilter”. It’s name is as simple as it’s functionality and code. I am releasing it under BSD license including the sources so everyone can use and modify it.
It’s a command line tool which should compile on Microsoft .NET and Mono. It takes several command line parameters like:
“include” or “exclude” –> this determines if the following categories are included or excluded in the output file
a list of categories separated by spaces
an optional parameter “-remove-description” which, if entered, removes all descriptions from events and alarms
Grab the Source and Binary here: https://github.com/bietiekay/iCalFilter
UPDATE: You can now access the source code on github! You can even add your changes!
Wir sind dieses Jahr nicht direkt auf dem Kürbisfest, das ja heute stattfindet, sondern bei der Kürbisnacht gewesen. Da kann man entspannter Kürbisse kaufen und kommt mit den “Kürbisbauern” auch leichter ins Gespräch um nach Rezepten oder dem Verwendungszweck der einzelnen Kürbisse zu fragen.
Es gab wieder unzählige Kürbisse in zahlreichen Farben und Formen:
Das ist doch mal eine Idee für den nächsten Weihnachtsbaum