cat food made from protesters?

To everyone who wants to know a little bit more about Russia, its political disposition, and the daily life there, I strongly recommend Ben Bidders Russenblog. He tries to work as a journalist, for sure one of the most exciting and often enough uneasy occupations to find there at the moment. How the press, independent press in particular, and all kinds of critical citzienship is handled by official representatives is a pure scandal.

A link in one of his posts led me to the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, which published some photos (with frightening content). It was not on purpose, most probably, but at the time of my visit (07-05-26) the fotos got accompanied by a large ad, almost the size of the pictures themselves. While this is questionable enough, the picture’s caption establishes another link, describing the scenes as raw violence (“rohe Gewalt”). At least for me, raw is somehow associated with meat (> cat food).

screenshot from Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger

That really made me think.


best replica attractor

This is just a small and simple experiment to see if i can attract a huge amount of spam for my newly installed gmail-account. The more I succeed in doing so, the better I will perform i a newly created game from the Digital Playground Class at FH Potsdam. Very intersting class, but for the bots only this link does count: my attractive replica site!


Social Wearable Displays

After some days of intense writing mostly done by Larissa, our first paper in our lives ever has been submitted! Yeah, yeah, yeah!

We are exploring the use of small displays as an instrument to enhance social communication. Our focus is on encouraging communication between strangers by revealing the existence of common friends. In the following we present the concept of the SocialButton, a wearable mobile device which displays aspects of friend-of-a-friend networks. A group study has provided us with an initial understanding regarding the potential of the SocialButton to influence our social environment.

More backgrounds on the paper can be found in the archive and on Larissa’s blog, of course.

. .

faster, better, smarter

Are Computer Games evolving as their own medium, a new form of art and even as tool? Strong arguments for the autonomy of games were deliverd by a class at FU Berlin, Computer Games and Media Theory, that introduced the emerging field of Game Studies to me.

Economically, the production of computer games generates a much larger impact than the production of film for several years already. But gaming itself was still regarded as a waste of time. This does change a lot nowadays, as games get a tool in business processes i.e. you can earn money with it i.e. it suddenly turns out to be something very sensible to do. (best example: SecondLife). Plus, serious gaming tries to make use of our desire to play.

Beside these purely economic interests there is more and more evidence that gaming makes you think and gives your brain a good training for your everyday life as well as for some specialised tasks: fine motor skills for surgeons, faster reactions for sports and military, knowledge of economic correlations, just to mention some ideas. While trying to master a game, looking for workarounds – yes, cheating – even amplyfies our creative efforts and must be regarded as an approach of its own to games. As Reto Wettach (one of my professors at FH Potsdam) and Ralf Grauel mention in their talk at Typo Berlin 2006, a game offers a unique combination of joy and mental activity, offering ideal possibilities for the growth of neurons in our brain. They even come to the conclusion that we are on the way from the achievment- towards a play-oriented society: Being not only faster and better in a playful competition, but finally winning by being smarter!

Moreover, it seems to me to be a small proof for my opinion that our society is judging about life-styles, activities and projects way to fast and with little regard for other than fast-paying economic factors. The importance of games was evident to Schiller already (in his Aesthetical Education of Man) and we are, however, still far form his ideas today

[Man] is only fully man where he plays


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.


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?


from interesting to completely useless

Das Problem vieler Blogs besteht in meinen Augen darin, dass sie – einmal geschaffen – nach Inhalt verlangen. Nach mehr und mehr Inhalt, denn ein Blog auf dem nichts passiert, den mag auch niemand lesen.


Neu! Navi-Design

Dank des Neuzugangs Prof. Wöhlbier gibt es jetzt einen Kurs Navigationsdesign, der sich gleich ziemlich spannend anhört. Vielleicht wird aus dem Institut für Interaktive Medien jetzt ein Experimentierlabor? Spannend wär’s.

Unser erstes Thema soll – ganz basal – der Cursor in allen möglichen Facetten sein. Oft wird er ganz intuitiv mit der Maus in einen Topf geworfen, weil diese beiden Dinge im Alltag als Einheit wahrgenommen werden. Jetzt soll die Maus also aus dem Spiel gelassen werden.