Category Archives: Random

Who’s a blogger?

Note: I wrote this post almost a year ago, saved it to add links to some blogs, and didn’t manage to publish it.

I can not count how many times I decided to blog in a serious and sustained way the last two years. I tried to start over again and again, I gave the blog different new templates, I…

But it did not work for long time, do you know why?
Because blogging is HARD! There are a few bloggers I consider as idols, or examples to follow: Nadia, Zizou, Tarek, Pink Lemon, and recently the superengineer Jean Claude. I read (almost) every single post they publish, and although they blog in completely different “facons”, with completely different paces, and write about totally different things, I consider them all as bloggers. REAL BLOGGERs! So I decided to dig deeper into my thoughts and find out what makes them all such good bloggers, although they are so different.
It takes motivation, inspiration, time and a minimum of serious work to produce a good quality post. Each and every one of their posts bring some “added value”. These people sit down in front of their screens and they PRODUCE content, it could be a comment, or an opinion, or a new concept, or a meeting minute, or a review but it is always some new and exclusive content.
I have been there before, I asked myself why do I have a blog, is it to exist on the web? is it to share my life?….
So I think now I discovered who is a blogger: it is not someone who creates a blog, it is not someone who blogs three times a day, it is definitely not someone who copies and pastes some content from somewhere else.
A blogger produces genuine content. Period.

Construction works finished :)

I’m glad to announce that I finished fixing the CSS for the new theme, and most of the widgets on the side. Even thought I’m not entirely satisfied with the look and feel of the theme, I think it’ll do for the moment. All links on the blog should work without a problem now, if you discover a broken link, please report it via the contact me page. Apropos new pages, you may have noticed now that I created the following pages: “About me”, “Projects” and “Contact me”. The names say it all :)

I’ve always wanted to take some time and blog on a regular basis, tried many times, but never had enough will to blog regularly. I hope I can do it now that I finished my studies, maybe with shorter posts and less personal stuff. I’d like to write more about the electronics projects I’m currently working on, and what interests me in this period of my life (believe me it’s much more different than 5 years ago, when I started this blog :)).

Have fun reading and commenting ;)

Conference Vs Barcamp

I started this blog post to talk about my participation in the elektro-camp in Offenburg last weekend, bu after my attendance of the “Conference for energy reform” at the Heinrich Boell foundation today made me decide to write about both and compare them.

The elektro-camp was quite spontaneously organized in a barcamp fashion, the number of participants was less than 30, there was no official schedule, we grossly defined the “program” together in the first day, and we didn’t really stick to it so strictly. The participants were really awesome, very clever geeks, all friendly, nice and modest. We all came from different backgrounds (but mainly technical). There were purely technical talks, and others more organizational, social,etc but each and every one was very interesting to me. They were all centered around the theme energy monitoring, automation and energy efficiency.

The Conference at the Boell foundation was totally different: more than a hundred participants: students, politicians, university professors, scientists, economists, lobbyists, journalists, farmers, activists, philanthropists, and there was even a dog! There were panel discussions where middle-aged men and women were talk and debating with each others and the audience just listening. Actually that’s not correct, we had a few minutes to ask 5 or 6 questions. Then what they call “workshops”, in which three persons sit on a platform in the front and talk with each others, and a moderator kind of coordinates the talk. Again at the end there were a few minutes for the participants to say a few words.

I hated the second conference. I felt like I was wasting my time, the flow of information was unidirectional and it was most of the time not interesting for me. I think such events where a few people debate about something and an audience listens to them are just obsolete. We live in an era where almost skills, information and experiences are shared in a more horizontal and peer-to-peer way.

I loved how the elektro-camp was spontaneously “planned” and “organized” and I don’t think I it’s worth the time and hassle to travel somewhere to be a passive information receiver. Fortunately, I hijacked the system and could place a short description of who I am and what I do, which resulted in very interesting and exciting discussions later, and will hopefully generate great things in the future, but today I realized more than ever that it’s the p2p events that are the best: barcamps, hackathons, real workshops…etc.

(Lack of) 3D printers in Berlin

I usually avoid blogging when I am frustrated or angry, but I can’t help it this time. I designed an enclosure in Sketchup and thought that getting it fabbed would be trivial. Many online services offer it for “reasonable” prices. But the shipping costs and times make it less practical and “affordable”.

I uploaded my design to both ponoko and shapeways and couldn’t get a price lower than 35 $, plus shipping, plus waiting for 10 to 21 days. Forget it!

Then I was left  the “local” option. I thought that since 3D printing is democratized as we read every day all over the web, it shouldn’t be a problem to go to my local hackerspace or a friend and get it made while having a nice chat. I am a member of c-base where there is a good old reprap, there is also the Raumfahrtagentur another hackerspace that has a 3D printer and I know another two people who operate makerbots. Piece of cake!

It turns out the one in the first hackerspace doesn’t work, the second can not process my file, and the two other 3D printers operators are very busy.

Maybe it’s that time when the lasercutter was accessible to everyone in Open City Design, but It’s very disappointing to me that 3D printing is not that accessible in the so called “Tech Capital” Berlin. With makerbots costing less than 2000 EUR now and many other printers in  the sub 1000 EUR you’d expect to find one in every cafe.

I should be able to walk in the betahaus cafe, or the so famous Sankt Oberholz, or in any other hip cafe where couches cost thousands, upload a file, order a coffee, then drink my coffee while watching the object being printed, and leave with it in my pocket.

Berlin is maybe very good for making software, but when it comes to hardware, it’s still far behind.