emotisys revived

Opening view of emotisys. everything looks so clean – until you use it…

In the last couple of days, I dusted emotisys [de] off and it is mostly working again.
I still need to work on some issues (such as remembering your name it is asking for in the very beginning) but it made me quite happy already.

Feel free to give it a try if you speak some German – unfortunately, it’s probably hard to understand otherwise.

This is quite remarkable since it was basically under wraps and in maintenance for lots of years. Luckily, I now found the time to take care of it. With AI on the rise, I feel it is still a relevant experiment. Also see Jan Korsanke’s talk on trust and AI recently as an IXDS PreWorkTalk in Munich!

I was a little anxious looking at the code I wrote years ago. It is quite tedious (//documentation, anyone?) and often embarras

sing (I had hardly an idea of object orientation). Also have in mind that jQuery was not released when I started, and XMLHttpRequests were not widely known as ajax.
Some parts are also quite complex and that they started working again feels like a small surprise – as if a rusty machine gets going again. Yeah!


Mapping OER with Wikimedia

Final conference – photo by Ben Bernhard – Mapping OER – Bildungsmaterialien gemeinsam gestalten, CC BY 4.0, Link

What are  opportunities of Open Educational Ressources and how can we map the various efforts, projects, groups, together with the vivid and diverse community so that the community can coordinate their efforts and funding gets funneled effectively?


Learning has always been a dynamic process as knowledge & methods evolve but also as the motivations and needs of learners vary. For centralized solutions with tight copyright, producing such a high diversity of material is just too expensive. Open Educational Ressources, in contrast, offer material editable by teachers and pupils, material that can be expanded and re-mixed (5r of open material).

But they also come with new questions: How can I evaluate quality? Can I rely on proper licensing? What training is helpful to work with open ressources? And, of course, how can appropriate business models allow for sustainable and professional services?

OER are today driven by a diverse community of practioners, researchers, and activists, including some positions in official administration. Knowledge, questions, and positions are equally diverse.


Working as a close team with Wikimedia, we developed a series of expert workshops around these four focus questions, and a final conference for about 200 people. While Wikimedia provided domain knowledge and was in touch with the community, we brought in our knowledge of methods for engaging multi-stakeholder workshops.

Each workshop collected existing experiences, moved on to needs and gaps the participants sensed. Dedicated input on technology or legal issues made everyone aware of constraints. All of this served as input for ideation sessions in small teams. The group as review body provided immediate feedback for  further refinement of the proposals. Plenary discussions, brainstormings, individual focused work, and guided analysis sessions in small groups supported a high level of activity and fostered exchange among the the participants.


Initially, we planned the workshops meticulously in activity and timing. We soon found out that all participants were highly self-motivated and that the groups were very good in self-organizing and following their own pace to be most productive. “Lateral guidance” was a true difference to strong structure and motivation that we often need to provide in corporate workshops.

Looking at OER themselves, I realized that it isn’t about ressources alone but about a different approach to learning (and teaching and schools in consequence). More self-driven and peer-based, more exploratory, more open ended. “Don’t call it education” as André Knörig of Fritzing put it: At Fritzing, people find inspiration. They gather knowledge as a means to build cool stuff.


Why Privacy Matters – TED talk

Alessandro Acquisti on social media usage experiments at Carnegie Mellon:

Technical proof

Facial recognition (on a cloud based cluster with database of public facebook profile pictures) to find facebook profile from a passerby snapshot (from that name a social security number can be deferred with additional databases). More info on original experiment page.

Social media post judgement bias

People who upload (also embarassing) pictures to social media judge others harsher for such images than those who don’t (think about recruiting situations)

Nothing to hide myth

Women with baby (on picture or in text) is less likely to receive invitations to job offers. More info on original experiment page.

Informed decision in marketing myth

we react positively to photos “merged together” from close friends’ faces – but we don’t recognize them anymore (i.e. we don’t know what is actually happening and thus can’t make an informed decision)

Transparency myth

If “how we use your data” (with usage forms that usually indicate reluctance to share) is only 15 secs earlier than a sensitive question (e.g. in a questionaire or sign up-wizard), people will answer as if no warning was given (i.e. share more than if the warning and the question were close together)

“people don’t care about privacy.”

Often, a service doesn’t really leave a choice. It doesn’t mean they don’t care they just might judge their benefits higher than their damage.

Analogy with Garden Eden: In the garden, Adam & Eve had no material desires left open, yet they could not recognize & reflect on themselves. With recognizing their true nature, they had to leave the garden. In a similar sense, we need to take care of our privacy to recognize our freedom – while marketeers suggest that they fulfill all of our material needs (a.k.a. free online services). Trade automoy and freedom for comfort.

Big data can be a force for freedom and a force for (hidden) manipulation.




Firefox OS privacy controls

5 key privacy features of FirefoxOS in an overview

Mozilla teamed up with Telekom Innovation Labs and IXDS to develop an introduction tour and control interface for the remarkable privacy features of their novel Firefox OS. This operating system is meant for entry level phones in emerging markets, where Mozilla sees the chance and the necessity to empower users for a safe journey into the mobile web.


For any user, but especially for these potential “newbies”, privacy and security need good explanation and motivation: security risks can be distant and vague and technical backgrounds can feel intimidating. At the same time, users are usually up for something else than privacy, such as setting up their phone to make the first call. “Respect my task & time”, how Larissa Co brings it to the point in her excellent talk. (yes, we need to face it: taking care of privacy and security is on no ones todo list and is usually not “productive” per se.)


We approached this UX challenge by strictly limiting topcis and features, using short and fresh explanations, and carefully drawn illustrations. To arrive there, we initiated co-creative workshops with users, Mozilla, and Telekom Group Privacy. We also worked very closely with the respective tech teams to make sure our ideas would make it into reality. We could build on IXDS user research knowledge on privacy and identity from previous projects and from Mozilla’s research team.
Mozilla does not rely on the exploitation of private data (e.g., for targeted marketing) and therefore is a trustworthy broker for the user. They can offer features like granualar permissions (in Android only very briefly in 4.3 / 2013 in the Cyanogen Custom ROM) or blurred location tracking.

The results were also presented at the W3C workshop on usable privacy controls (Berlin, 2014).

  • Early sketches from a workshop to find the best approach for the privacy tour.


During the highly playful workshops, the participants produced some really entertaining and insightful explanations on privacy topcis, e.g. a role playing video in the style of a Kids TV series to explain email encryption. This shows how important it is to move privacy questions out of their dry and defensive atmosphere and give more personal, active, and playful answers.

It also helps to be very clear about your target groups. Only few activists will accept harsh security and privacy settings to really protect them, even against more targeted attacks. Regular users see their benefit in more peace of mind and a sense of control over their data but it must be balanced with the general comfort and user experience.

Note: The Privacy Dashboard and the included Guided Tour are also scientifically evaluated in Piekarska et al (2015): Because We Care. Privacy Dashboard on Firefox OS.


uber economy?

Also an official taxi isn't necessarily a safe place (although Robert de Niro killed outside of it only)

Also an official taxi isn’t necessarily a safe place (although Robert de Niro only killed outside of it)

The news are full of stories about start ups in the “sharing economy”.  Depending on the source, they are praising or devastating. These services are fascinating (to me) because they build heavily on a digital and often even mobile infrastructure – while not invented today, this infrastructure is still quite new and thus makes concepts and business ideas possible that no one had thought about before. And they promise to tap into unused potentials of underused cars, un(der)employed people, or temporarily free flats.

cheaper by cheating? case uber

For many customers (users?) the main reason is: they are cheaper than comparable existing services. I wonder how they can do it.

If we think of an ideal market, excessive profits won’t last long because a competitor quickly offers the same service cheaper. If such a market is mature, prices have leveled in. Competitiors therefore try to offer something different, more valuable, in order to be able to ask higher prices (differentiation) or we see new, so called disruptive ideas that do the same thing better, more efficient, etc.
(note: the taxi market is not such an ideal market because you also need a taxi concession, which is limited and regulated. Whether this is useful is a different story, I think it isn’t important for my argument).

When we look at uber(Pop), they are often cheaper. So differentiation doesn’t seem to be their main point: The service they offer from the client perspective is pretty much the same: they bring people from A to B. They use dynamic pricing which can be good and bad for the passenger, depending on demand.

Is their business model disruptive then? They broker rides between passengers and drivers – but that’s common praxis with taxis already. The drivers are self-employed with all the benefits and risks – true for both. They have a nice app but that is available for taxis, too (2008 already!). They tap into a different pool of drivers: anyone! and cars: anyone’s car.

But is that a disruptive advantage? You need enough drivers so that you can serve your customers quickly. Driving for uber must be so profitable that drivers do it professionally and prefer it over driving a taxi. Or that they spend the remaining time besides aonther job transporting other people – not giving s.o. a lift on a way you have to go anyways, but making the tour just for the transport. uber also has a brokerage fee that the company itself lives on. This leaves little room for a cheaper price. Maybe they have a tremendously more efficient system to broker and schedule rides.

My suspicion is that they often circumvent regulations. A usual taxi has to go to inspection once a year. uber cars being private cars only once every two years (in Germany). A usual taxi driver needs a licence that allows transportation of people, they need to renew it every 5 years, they need a special insurance – uber drivers don’t need any of that (uber says it has an insurance in place but doesn’t release any proof of it). All of these regulations seem to be pretty reasonable considering that traffic is dangerous and you are in the driver’s hands as a passenger.

As far as I can see, uber is a little disruptive but also heavily cheating.
(if you have some more business knowledge, I welcome your comments to get this clearer for me!)


Tapping into unused resources: case airbnb

The uber considerations should be true for other services as well, such as Helpling: cheating on regulations, on customer expectations helps lower the price.

The case of airbnb is a little different: it’s a flat you have anyways, like the lift you give someone when ride sharing to a destination you go to yourself. To me, this model seems much more enabled by communication technology. Without it, tourists would just not be able to find that room that is empty over the weekend, at least it would be far too much effort. It also scales to a certain extent: everyone can do it for mutual profit (and some profit for airbnb) and it’s not competing for your time with a job.

The idea loses some of its shine because of its success: when people start renting regular apartments only to sublet them via airbnb, we are back in normal holiday apartment business (and even aggravate the problem of raising rents in crowded places).


Sharing vs helping

“Sharing economy” sounds a little too altruistic for all of these services, at least if we consider the connotation of “giving” in “sharing”. Most of these services are based on profit not just refunding expenses (which a classic ride share ideally does). The main point cultural critics mention is that these services commercialize social interactions, exchanging helpfulness through rational calculus. You can still offer things for free (such as a classic lift, couchsurfing, …). But these services seem to question helpfulness on a societal level.



. . .

“Computer bedienen”

“Wir bedienen Computer” – “Computer bedienen uns”

There is a strange double meaning in the German word “bedienen”: It means
“to serve” (with a slightly respectful connotation, more like a waiter, less than a servant) but also
“to operate” (a machine).

From the initial sentence alone, you can’t say who is master and who is slave (to use some computer related terms). This struck me recently when I read a chapter in Frank Schirrmacher’s Payback, Chaos im Kurzzeitgedächtnis (p. 64).

One of his points is that services like Google Now are usually seen as digital butlers but at the same time they select information for us which inevitably controls what we do and think.


Privacy needs a culture of anonymity (more than technical solutions)

Our understanding of privacy is currently in permanent discussion and re-definition. Social networks encourage sharing of private details but this also means sharing these details with a large corporation (and most likely with its advertising clients). Intelligence agencies skim through our conversations in their quest to identify potential future maybe terrorists. Quite some people are scared because of this.

We see different reactions: the technology savy now roll out heavy encryption and other technology.  It quickly becomes an arms race to get something “really” secure and anonymous. For the majority, this technology looks – and in large parts sadly is – highly complicated and as if it will take all the fun from digital interaction. It looks as it even reassures them in their fatalistic perception that they are lost anyway. Then they stop caring altogether. And there are still enough that didn’t really notice and are not inclined to take part in the discussion.

Technology, in consequence, should not be the first thing to look at here. What we need is a cultural shift towards anonymity and privacy. That means insight into the value of privacy (e.g., as a precondition for liberty) when we actively think about it, e.g. in discussions. But it should eventually go deeper and become an almost subconscious value that we consider intuitively, like fairness. Anonymity should weave into our everyday decisions, not as an “always on” but an always available option.

La Bauta (in the back) was the everyday mask in Venice - picture by richspalding

La Bauta (in the back) was the everyday mask in Venice – picture by richspalding

In an article for the magazine <kes>, Johannes Wiele puts up three theses:

  • Social conflicts can’t be solved, just temporarily settled/negotiated (in pluralistic societies)
  • Almost all actors in politics pursue (what they think is) the good cause
  • (Despotism provokes resistance. This point is less relevant here but can explain one of the motivations for such a cultural shift)

The first two points combined mean: we need to arrive at a common understanding on society level of the benefits and risks of digital technology. We need to compare our “traditional” values and the preconditions they build on to the conditions of the digital world. Some values might be difficult to keep, some might need to be redefined, and we will need new, different social rules. These discussions must reach society level (involving “all actors in politics”) to achieve a broad understanding and constitute new social norms (this also resonates with Sascha Lobo’s call at re:publica this year). Technological implementations, such as email encryption, might be a consequence of this new culture but they are not at the heart of it.

Wiele references the mask culture in 18th century Venice to illustrate how vivid and detailed such a culture can be: various masks for various events, rituals around masking and un-masking, obligations like the prohibition to carry arms while being masked (see his blog for details). Wiele also mentions that masks became popular because of the excessive surveillance prevailing in Venice at that time. Wearing a mask was part of a strict social codex and its appearance was very regulated. This gave others, such as non-Venetian traders, the security that the bearer of the mask had certain priviledges and could be trusted, while still hiding his identity. This is like a 3rd party confirming, e.g. certain access rights when you want to use an online service but without giving away your full identity (and, ideally, without getting to know itself for which service and when you use this confirmation). Digital certificates represent parts of this concept but they don’t have a working “mask mode” yet.

Because it was a cultural or social standard, noone had to justify why s/he wanted to stay anonymous under normal circumstances. The mask culture might even look playful to us nowadays which I find a good aspect.

A culture of (choice of) anonymity could be an interesting development and consequence of the current situation. It is certainly the only way for a  profound and sustainable, or trustworthy and applicable, concept of privacy.

. .

emotisys on asteroids!


Recently, I moved my entire online household to a new infrastructure and a new provider. I felt I was reaching the limits of my old one, e.g. in terms of mailbox size, and–what was more important to me– functionality like server side mail filtering and security features like ssh/sftp access. During my most recent research project (part of SASER) I learnt quite a bit about server security and -attacks, which gave me decent motivation. Then again, I didn’t want to maintain nor pay for a full blown server. And I wanted to keep “my stuff”, such as emails, under German privacy law and with a trustworthy provider. Quite a shopping list. I’m very confident that I’ve found the perfect match for me: uberspace.de


Here are some reasons:


When I visited their website for the first time, I was immediately struck by the colloquial but informative language they used. You never feel like being in a tech shop although you get every technical detail explained if you want. They managed to find an informal tone, the right length of explanations, the right examples where you need it, and to sprinkle subtle humor on top. I read half of their instructions even before I signed up, just because it was an easy read! This is a very rare thing if you look into most of your manuals. And you can just write them and get help very quickly in the same supportive tone. Since it’s the “technical staff” writing the texts, you get a feeling for their attitude. Being accessible and personal contributes to trust.


If you want to manage private data online, it’s not enough for the service provider to have good intentions: their competencies must allow them to run state-of-the-art technology in a way that keeps your data safe. As the thorough documentation shows and also the team portraits tell you, the people behind uberspace know what they are doing. They also tell you (better: everyone)  about the limits of their service and that they are not without fail–s.th. that I find an important part of “expertise”. Of course, no service is without fail (due to humans and software) but most of them will give you a false sense of security and hide the details in fine print. Credible expertise is a basis for trust.


When you look at the most popular/best marketed webhosters, their offers are full of superlatives but also *-links to the fine print. What looked like a great offer will become actually quite pricy 6 months later. uberspace make it very clear what you get and what you can’t. They tell you about their technology, their services, and their calculation (!). Actually, you can decide yourself how much you want to pay but with their transparent calculation they give you a good understanding of what will be fair. And since they obviously treat you fair, you are inclined to do so in exchange.

They will explain how they made all of these choices. Along the way, you’ll learn quite a bit about webhosting, including how secure your data can be. They also have terms of service, although they are called house rules. Again, they are not in dry and “exact” judicial language but lay out situations that require, e.g. interventions by uberspace staff and explain what will happen.

You get the impression that they have a reason for everything they do–if they don’t, they won’t do it. Best example is the personal data required to start an uberspace: zero. There is no reason for them to record it, they don’t need to contact you, they don’t need your bank account (if you don’t pay by yourself, they’ll simply close your webspace. Fair deal). Not recording not essential data is obviously very simple, noone needs to tick any privacy statements, and it’s just good practice of privacy. Data they don’t store can’t be misused, get stolen, or required to be handed over by law. Clear business models, clear dos and don’ts, clear data policy: transparancy builds trust as little else.

Challenging and Encouraging

In short, uberspace is for autonomous users. People who already know or want to learn about web hosting technology, want to take a look behind the scenes, so that they are in control of their scripts and data. uberspace do a great deal to help you with that, including a more or less subtle push towards the command line interface. This again is a sign that uberspace take their users serious: web technology isn’t Lego but you can learn it, too. The more you understand, the more you are in control.



PixelCarpet paper accepted!

A while ago, I got the opportunity to take part in a large, EU-wide research project on computer network security and data visualization. The goal of SASER is to lay the foundation for more reliable, efficient, and secure communication networks (I guess the recent revelations about the NSA infiltration might have played a role in the decision to work with substantial effort inside the EU on advanced networks).

Our part as a team of researchers at the Interaction Design Lab at FH Potsdam was to investigate data visualization, visual analysis tools, and dashboards as a support for computer security engineers. While watching traffic and server activity, they often have to sift through loads of data to filter out the suspicious traces of attacks and other malicious activity. Data visualization would certainly help them exploring data, especially bringing patterns to the light that they would have not expected (and therefore wouldn’t have looked for with their data mining tools).

We wrote a paper about our work and one of the resulting demonstrators (which we call Pixel Carpet) – it now got accepted to the IEEE VAST conference in Paris! (yeah!)

The following brief overview is taken from our team’s website, complexdatavisualized.

It builds on the observation that security engineers know their data and the requirements of their work very well. However, they might not be acquainted with advanced visualization techniques. Visualization researchers, on the other hand, know methods to visualize and analyze data but usually lack insight into the specific requirements of computer network security. The paper revolves around two main contributions:

  • results and learnings from a co-creative approach of jointly developing visualizations
  • a pixel oriented visualization technique that graphically represents multi-dimensional data sets (such as computer log files), reflecting ideas from the collaboration

You can get and read the full paper here:

Landstorfer, Herrmann, Stange, Dörk, Wettach (2014): Weaving a Carpet from Log Entries: a Network Security Visualization Built with Co-Creation. in Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST), 2014 IEEE Conference on, 2014 (to appear)
at 27MB or a smaller file (4 MB) without embedded video.


Co-creative Approach

User centered approaches are well known in the visualization community (although not always implemented) [D’Amico et al. 2005, Munzner et al. 2009]. Jointly developing the visualizations themselves, however, is rather rare. As we have very good experience with co-creative techniques in design and innovation, we wanted to apply them to the domain of data visualization as well. For example, we tried to experiment with data sets during a day-long workshop with a larger group of stakeholders (a session we called the “data picnic” because everyone brought his/her data and tools).


For this paper, we focused on a pixel oriented technique [Keim 2000] to fullfill requirements such as visualization of raw data or a chronological view of data to preserve the course of events. We stack graphical representations for various parameters of a log line (such as IP, user name, request or message) so that we get small columns for each log line. Lining up these stacks produces a dense visual representation with distinct patterns. This is why we call it the Pixel Carpet. Other subgroups of our research group took different approaches that can be found at other places in this blog.


Snapshot of the Pixel Carpet interface. Each “multi pixel” represents one log line, as it a appears at the bottom of the screen.

Data and Code

Our data sources included an ssh log (~13.000 lines, unpublished for privacy reasons) and an Apache (web server) access log (~145.000 lines, unpublished), and ~4.500 lines (raw data available, including countries from ip2geo .csv | .json ).

We implemented our ideas in a demonstrator in plain HTML/JavaScript (demo online – caution, will heavily stress your CPU). It helped us iterate quickly and evaluate the idea at various stages, also with new stakeholders. While the code achieves what we need, we are also aware that computing performance is rather bad. If you want to take a look or even improve it, you can find it on github.

To bring it closer to a productive tool, we would turn the Pixel Carpet into a plugin for state-of-the-art data processing engines such as ElasticSearch/Kibana or splunk (scriptable with d3.js since version 6).


Design at Linux Tag 2014

Going to a Linux conference as a designer might sound like an exotic idea on first sight. While this should receive a second thought (see later), I have to admit that I had a special approach, too, when I went to this year’s Linuxtag at Station, Berlin: I went there as part of the SaSER research team at IDL which is (on the top most level) concerned with defining new more efficient, reliable, and secure communications on the internet. So we were in the sys admin domain already (although Linux is far more than for admins but that might be what you think of).IMG_9091

Visual Analytics for Security Admins

We gave a talk on our interim results, which are visual analytics tools to investigate huge log files (i.e. text files): Opening Treasure Boxes. Exploring log files with visual data analysis to detect security breaches (slides). As part of the “Tracing and Logging” track, we talked to system administrators and security analysts and everyone else interested. It was a great opportunity for us to extend our contact with users, get feedback, acquire new use cases. We assumed that we would also “evangelize” a little in favor of visual analytics and visualizations beyond bar and line charts. We were quite right with that: our ideas were partially seen as strange and  unusual but we also received quite some thankful feedback by analysts who said our ideas opened new opportunities for them.Screen-Shot-2013-10-31-at-3.45.06-PM___elasticsearch-org

A view of the Kibana interface (image from Elastic Search)

A view of the Kibana interface (image from Elastic Search)

But I also want to point out that a couple of tools in the same track provided a very decent user interface and good visualization support. This is especially remarkable as log files are abstract things and enormously large, which makes providing a grip on them a real design challenge. Lennart Koopmann of Torch presented greylog2, with an interface to query large logfiles, get an overview over values in the file, and also get visual support for results in the form of time lines. Even more dedicated to a graphical user interface was Kibana (which builds on logstash and ElasticSearch), presented by Bernd Erk of Netways. I was impressed by the visual support for building and modifying queries, the ease of building graphs, and the clean overall interface. In many regards it reminded me of Splunk, which is also a great but not an open source software. As we found during the preparation of our talk, also the event monitoring system Icinga2 starts including interesting visualizations – Markus Frosch (of Icinga) just didn’t put a huge focus on the new interface.

Design for Open Source Software (needed!)

Coming back to the (suspected) design – Linux repulsion or even design – open source repulsion: open source software gained a bad reputation for having ugly or “just enough” user interfaces, with little help for users to find a workflow or just please the eye (things like Firefox or Fritzing are an exception, of course, but they are also rather recent offsprings). It seems as if open source is much more appealing to developers than to designers. I have no instant explanation for that – if you do, please let me know! I have to admit that a lot of the software I saw during Linuxtag unfortunately confirmed this prejudice. The more delighted I was when I saw how well crafted things like Kibana were.

It might be worth noting that Edna Kropp and Nicole Charlier of akquinet gave a basic introduction into user centered design and how they work as “on-site UX consultants“. While it was pretty basic for a designer, it was probably new and remarkable for many of the developers (hopefully) listening. I think much more talks like this are necessary to get to a common understanding between developers and designers in the open source scene.

Further notes

The bare crypto stick (it has a modest but nice casing in the final version)

The bare crypto stick (it has a modest but nice casing in the final version)

For the real paranoid cautious people, there is a Crypto Stick: looks like a thumb drive but actually hosts a micro-processor, a smartcard, and an SD card. You can use it to establish secure connections from untrusted systems (like internet cafés), store your passwords, and other things. You can even transport documents “plausibly hidden”, e.g., in case you get searched at an airport – and you don’t have to think of Snowden to understand how relevant that can be. I liked the idea to have a “security thing” that is really strong but also makes it easier for people to stay safe online/digitally.
Btw: it’s open software and open hardware, so you can build it at home (although the small form factor makes it complicated)

UDOO: Standard PC interfaces for the "Linux part" seen at the front here, with pin headers in Arduino due format at the back

UDOO: Standard PC interfaces for the “Linux part” seen at the front here, with pin headers in Arduino due format at the back

Even physical computing was a topic and the only other presentation given by an interaction designer: Michelangelo Guarise presented UDOO, which combines an Arduino Due-derived board with a Linux system running on a powerful quad-core ARM chip. This “natural” combination pops out in various flavors at the moment, combining the sensor-friendly, real-time interaction capable Arduino architecture with high-performance computing. I hope they will soon add their platform as a part to the Fritzing library and I’m curious about the projects building on that single board computer!

And I got a trusted certificate from CAcert to (soon) sign my email and ssl server connections – yeeha! I was impressed by how serious they take the process, with several people checking my ID cards separately. Trust on the internet is a delicate thing and digital signatures can help a lot here.