real floggings for virtual network

punchingball as found on

For recent and recurring reasons I started to think about a “VPN bashing module” for our Master-Room in the fhp.

The vpn-client that became our only and obligatory access to the internet seems to have its own intelligence that acts according to plans beyond human understanding (maybe extraterrestrial). Every now and then he chooses a deliberate candidate to kick out of the network, sometimes followed by periods of denials to all attempts of reconnecting.

This is not only undermining the belief in the predictabilty and determination of technology but is also really making us mad and breaking up the holy work-flow. As the resulting aggression has to find a way out and is better deflected from the other inhabitants, a punching ball might serve that purpose. With some sensors built in and a computer with AutoHotkey running, a procedure to initate a reconnect should be easily available.

Plus: If vpn doesn’t reconnect at once one can keep punching the ball (really hard). Some other applications for that interaction principle might come to your mind as well.


predict the tomorrow

Everyone uses Google (or search engines in general) to find something from the past: What are the soccer results from last week end, who wrote an article about surveillance, where is that “critical update” for my webbrowser? Google finds out the questions and needs of a lot of people (e.g. 50% of all US-search) and with a little extrapolation one could say: of the world. The (monthly) statistics on the psyche of the world can be inspected at the Google Zeitgeist.
The future is nothing random but created by ourselves everyday through actions that are driven exactly by these questions and needs that condense at the search interface of Google. Wouldn’t Google be able to predict the things to come?

While this is one of the stunning (at least to me) results of the Google and Borges class at Humboldt University, I developed a game concept that takes one step back and leaves prophecy to the players.


google gets news wrong?

google news of 2007-01-08

A subway accident described as “naturally funny” (“Von Natur aus witzig”)? In a usual newspaper one would think of a macabre mistake by the editor, but Google News usually aggregates its contents from other sources without editing them.

This sentence of offence was not to be found on Rheinische Post in the original post but somewhere completely different:

rp news of 07-01-08

Assuming Google and Google News are operating on algorithms, how could that happen?


the button code

Just for the record: This code will drive our arduino boards (two of them and yes! they are connected AND talking!).

It took Larissa and me quite some time and a lot more nerves. And Tomek, too! He spent hours with us on ICQ altruisticly, even got his two Arduinos out of the box and gave us the right hints finally – by remote!
So we learnt a lot. Most important: With two communicating Boards, never forget to connect the grounds. Always remember.

The code for the geeks:


simulation and truth

For getting a grip on my master thesis I made up a collection of fields of interest. There are a couple of buzz-words that I want to unfold in order to make them fructous for further investigations. This is one of the first steps and I hope to be able to add some details soon.

simulation depends and constructs reality (WoWarcraft, Second Life)
machines simulate an interface in order to get usable for humans

thoughts and theses?
opposite (according to Baudrillard): Illusion

is simulation linked to virtuality?
is operationalization the basis for simulation?

unique, personal experience reproductive society, sampling

what role plays the “I” and how do we define it? >emotions

democracy (many) experts (peers)
poetry and truth (>Goethe)

human control system, adding salience(“weight”) to information

Links to authenticity and maybe truth?

a way to liberty/freedom (>Schiller)?
some things can not be described directly but rather circumscribed
storytelling, truth in poetry

which truth(s) might be created, available or perceived by being immersed into some medium, computer games in particular?

can truth come from (super)complex systems? What do emergent structures show?
are evolutionary systems useful?

massive systems can no longer be calculated but must be estimated statistically and are often simulated in advance > simulation


Social Button Device: Sputnik?

Some days ago I had the pleasure to celebrate my friend Remmelt’s birthday with him. I met some interesting people there and I also got to know the Sputnik that Sascha brought from this(last) year’s 23C3:

sputnik as seen on

It’s an RFID transponder, i.e. it will work both as a sender and receiver, has a touch sensor already implemented and a tiny but programmable microcontroler onboard. So it looks like the perfect solution – unfortunately programming it is not within my range, at least for this moment (RS232 serial protocol and unfamiliar MicroChip PIC16F684 microcontroller) . Let’s see what ideas we will develop to build our prototypes…


Larissa found a very nice site that explains everything about the PIC and about RF communication as well. It’s the web page of Tom Igoe (surprise, surprise)


Google Games

The sheer abundance of data that Google continues to collect makes the corporation and its activities subjects to intense investigations in several disciplines, including arts and aesthetics. With the subtitle “games without limits” the HU Berlin launched a class in its Asthetics Department led by Gerald Wildgruber. It turned out to be very exciting, offering not only deep insights into a society with a search engine in its center but also unconventional cross-references to Aristotle, Averroes, and Borges.

I want to develop playful approaches to the topic that might shed light on some backgrounds or even show some subversive character. My first concept is now online as a flash-presentation.

. .