Same Procedure as Every Autumn: New Data for the Heat Pump System

October - time for updating documentation of the heat pump system again! Consolidated data are available in this PDF document. In the last season there were no special experiments - like last year's Ice Storage Challenge or using the wood stove. Winter was rather mild, so we needed only ~16.700kWh for space heating plus hot … Continue reading Same Procedure as Every Autumn: New Data for the Heat Pump System

Self-Sufficiency Poetry

Our self-sufficiency quota for electrical energy is 30%, but what about the garden? Since I haven't smart metered every edible wildflower consumed, I resort to Search Term Poetry and random images. This is a summer blog post, lacking the usual number crunching and investigative tech journalism. Search terms are from WordPress statistics and Google Tools. … Continue reading Self-Sufficiency Poetry

Everything as a Service

Three years ago I found a research paper that proposed a combination of distributed computing and heating as a service: A cloud provider company like Google or Amazon would install computers in users' homes - as black-boxes providing heat to the users and computing power to their cloud. In the meantime I have encountered announcements … Continue reading Everything as a Service

Anniversary 4 (4 Me): “Life Ends Despite Increasing Energy”

I published my first post on this blog on March 24, 2012. Back then its title and tagline were: Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything Physics versus engineering off-the-wall geek humor versus existential questions IT versus the real thing corporate world’s strangeness versus small business entrepreneur’s microcosmos knowledge worker’s connectedness versus striving … Continue reading Anniversary 4 (4 Me): “Life Ends Despite Increasing Energy”

Random Things I Have Learned from My Web Development Project

It's nearly done (previous episode here). I have copied all the content from my personal websites, painstakingly disentangling snippets of different 'posts' that were physically contained in the same 'web page', re-assigning existing images to them, adding tags, consolidating information that was stored in different places. Raking the Virtual Zen Garden - again. (Voice from … Continue reading Random Things I Have Learned from My Web Development Project

Travelling Like Spam Poetry

We have an anniversary. In the summer of 2005, the Chief Engineer and I set out to visit every Austrian village whose names started with the letter Z. It was a straight-forward idea given that we lived in a z-village. Our universe of websites contains the virtual equivalent - z-village.net, a German website chronicling the … Continue reading Travelling Like Spam Poetry

Update on Edible ‘Weed’

After two physics articles with too much links I owe you an image-only link-free post. This is an update to my catalogue of edible wildflowers in our lawn meadow. I amended the original list with one amazing wild vegetable: Meadow Goatsbeard. In past years I tried to eradicate it, now I don't scythe certain patches … Continue reading Update on Edible ‘Weed’

Social Debt (Tech Professional’s Anecdotes)

I have enjoyed Ben Horowitz' book The Hard Thing About Hard Things. Farnamstreet's review is perfect so I will not attempt at writing one. I will focus on one idea I found most intriguing. I read Horowitz' book as an account of dealing with hard decisions in general, about having to decide alone, about personal accountability, … Continue reading Social Debt (Tech Professional’s Anecdotes)

Anatomy of a Decision (1)

Four years ago I tried something new - I took a decision and started communicating it (some half-baked version of it) without having worked out a detailed plan. One year later I started this blog, reflecting on the journey and this decision. So I celebrate the 4 years anniversary with shameless, self-indulgent nostalgia - reblogging … Continue reading Anatomy of a Decision (1)

On Resisting the Bait

I don't mean click-bait. I mean write-bait. That article that wants you to launch your 2.000 words rhetoric missile, and click the red button: Publish. I am pondering about one of the most successful genres clicked and shared on social media: a blend of popular psychology, life hacking, and business wisdom, perhaps enriched by trusted … Continue reading On Resisting the Bait

Being Creative with What Is Available

This is a quote from Simon Dale's website who has built several eco-friendly 'Hobbit' houses. It reminded me of the cave house built into lava bubbles by Lanzarote's most famous artist César Manrique: Being creative with what is available has an appeal beyond economical necessities. As a teenage hobby astronomer I built a mounting for … Continue reading Being Creative with What Is Available

We Should Get Lost Sometimes – Nicholas Carr on Automation and Us

The Glass Cage is about automation’s human consequences. It is not intended to be your typical book about robots taking our jobs for better or for worse. Carr gives an intriguing account of the history of automation and robotics nonetheless - from Luddites to Google's self-driving cars. What we have known intuitively is backed up … Continue reading We Should Get Lost Sometimes – Nicholas Carr on Automation and Us

Looking Foward to ‘The Glass Cage’ – Random Ambiguous Thoughts

On September 29, Nicholas Carr's book The Glass Cage - Automation and Us will be released. I have quoted Carr's writings often on this blog, and his essay All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines might anticipate some of the ideas he is going to explore in … Continue reading Looking Foward to ‘The Glass Cage’ – Random Ambiguous Thoughts

On Learning

Some years ago I was busy with projects that required a lot of travelling but I also needed to stay up-to-date with latest product features and technologies. When a new operating system was released a colleague asked how I could do that - without having time for attending trainings. Without giving that too much thought, and having my … Continue reading On Learning

I Picked the Right Blogging Platform! (Book Review: The Year without Pants)

Before starting this blog I compared blogging tools in 2011. These two facts about WordPress and Automattic did win me over: Every new employee has to do three weeks of end-user support, regardless of position. They have a developer who calls himself the Quantum Bug Creator and has a PhD in Quantum Cryptography. Now I … Continue reading I Picked the Right Blogging Platform! (Book Review: The Year without Pants)

Career Advice – Borrowing Wise Words from a Sailing Hacker

On researching SSL-related hacks, I have stumbled upon the website of notable security researcher Moxie Marlinspike. Marlinspike is also a sailor and working on diverse projects, such as Audio Anarchy - a project for transcribing anarchist books into audio format. On his About page he says: I like computer security and software development, particularly in the … Continue reading Career Advice – Borrowing Wise Words from a Sailing Hacker

Gödel, Escher, Bach, and Strange Loops: Nostalgia and Random Thoughts

I am curious - who read the book, too? Did you like it? I read it nearly 30 years ago and I would also tag it one of the most influential books I read as a teenager. [This might grow into a meandering and lengthy post with different (meta-)levels - given the subject of the post I … Continue reading Gödel, Escher, Bach, and Strange Loops: Nostalgia and Random Thoughts

Hacking the Biological Clock

I need to rant before I will borrow one hour of my life to some technocrats tomorrow - that will give it back to me in October. So the subtitle is: I hate Daylight Savings Time! Daylight Savings Time was inspired by a whimsical essay by Benjamin Franklin (probably not the first time that politics fell for something … Continue reading Hacking the Biological Clock

Generation X. (I Resist Adding a More Zeitgeisty Header.)

Yes, this is really about Douglas Coupland's landmark book. Generation X comprises people born between early 1960s and early 1980s. Thus I am perfectly average Gen X, and I re-read this book once in a while. As for the content I cannot do better than the blurb: Andy, Dag and Claire have been handed a … Continue reading Generation X. (I Resist Adding a More Zeitgeisty Header.)

In Praise of Textbooks with Tons of Formulas (or: The Joy of Firefighting)

I know. I am repeating myself. Maurice Barry has not only recommended Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow to me, but he also runs an interesting series of posts on his eLearning blog. These got mixed and entangled in my mind, and I cannot help but returning to that pet topic of mine. First, some statistically … Continue reading In Praise of Textbooks with Tons of Formulas (or: The Joy of Firefighting)

This Year in Books: Biographies, Science, Essays.

I hardly review books on this blog, but I mull upon specific questions - to which books may have answers. This is my pick of books I enjoyed reading in 2013 - and the related questions! Biographies I have a penchant for physicists' lives in the first half of the 20th century. How did scientists … Continue reading This Year in Books: Biographies, Science, Essays.

What Entrepreneurs Need to Have

Chances are that many readers had to do one of those things as corporate employees or as members of any large organization that asks management consultants for help: brainstorm on a vision, formulate a mission statement, create a business plan. As an aspiring start-up business owner you cannot escape trainers who tell you need a … Continue reading What Entrepreneurs Need to Have

Fragile Technology? (Confessions of a Luddite Disguised as Tech Enthusiast)

I warn you - I am in the mood for random long-winded philosophical ramblings. I have graduated recently again, denying cap-and-gown costume as I detest artificial Astroturf traditions such as re-importing academic rituals from the USA to Europe. A Subversive El(k)ement fond of uniforms would not be worth the name. However, other than that I … Continue reading Fragile Technology? (Confessions of a Luddite Disguised as Tech Enthusiast)

On Science Communication

In a parallel universe I might work as a science communicator. Having completed my PhD in applied physics I wrote a bunch of job applications, one of them being a bit eccentric: I applied at the Austrian national public service broadcaster. (According to Wikipedia Austria was the last country in continental Europe after Albania to … Continue reading On Science Communication

Stargate: Succumb to the Power of the Ritual

Thanks for your prayers, voodoo magic, encouraging tweets or other tweaking the fabric of our multiverse: Yesterday I have passed my final exams and defence - I did very well, and I am a Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Systems now. As the sensationalist title indicates I tried to play it cool but finally … Continue reading Stargate: Succumb to the Power of the Ritual

Welcome to the Real World!

Warning: This is a disturbing post - despite the allusion to The Matrix in the title it is - really - about the real world only. Hardly any geekiness included. In order to compensate for that I will craft a short search term poem - this time exclusively from yesterday's search terms: the universe is … Continue reading Welcome to the Real World!

Unplug Myself: First Update

It has been three and a half weeks since I have unplugged myself from social media and suspended blogging temporarily. I was rather active on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter before since I had Connected Myself to the Collective last November. Now my Klout score is dwindling again. This is my first update from the void, … Continue reading Unplug Myself: First Update

What Is Normal? (My Way of Announcing Blogging Time-Out)

I remember the best Out-of-Office note I have ever received - musing on not being able to get back to me as quick as normally, and culminating in the philosophical question: But - what is normal? Probably this is one of the hidden, leading questions that have driven this blog ever since I started it … Continue reading What Is Normal? (My Way of Announcing Blogging Time-Out)