Thoughts from the desk of MATHIAS EICHLER

The Outdoor Society


December 5th 2001

Not feeling nostalgic per se, but inspired by Daniel Burka’s tweet from earlier today, I dove into the Wayback machine and went hunting for some of my earliest website designs and writing. Embarrassing in a way, but still fun to read.

Here is my post celebrating one year in America on December 5th 2001:

Almost A Year [ Living In America ]

A few more days and I will be here in seattle, WA, USA for a whole year.
It definitely evokes emotions. Not just because the holiday season is in full swing and I miss the Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt.
The longer I’m here, the more I realize that I have no chance of escape.
Memories of Germany fading away.
Well, not for you, you will always be able to tell, hey that funny guy with that accent, yeah and I still do things different.

But slowly I my chameleon skin is turning from black-red-gold to red-white and blue.

You get tired of always be different, be that guy who does things different. Hey I want a TV, wanna watch some american national broadcast. Let me go shopping in supremely and eat junk food all days.
You see, the stereotypes are still there, I’m still German.
An alien, living in a foreign country, speaking a different language.
But let me look back:
A year ago arrived in this country, got a job, started a life.
I love it! I do. Never would I have thought that I would enjoy my work so much, would have so many opportunities to grow and expand at my work.

Seattle is a beautiful city, I still wanna cry when I look at the high-risers and remember my child hood dreams.
I find time to explore the city and the neighborhoods around seattle. I’m close to getting a car. The people are the same, here, in germany, in africa. You find friends, companions, people you wanna share a time of your life and you meet people you wish you would’ve never met.
Family shines in a different light here. I enjoy getting to know Trixy’s family and getting comfortable with the differences.

It was an awesome year, and now I’m waiting for the first snow that shut down the city, cause nobody has winter tires on their cars nor knows how to drive in a weather like this with all those hills and bridges…
mathias – looking back at the year [] [live life loud] []

Two thousand and One I wrote this. This December will mark my fifteenth anniversary in the country. Too early to think about, but this needs to be commemorated, celebrated, marked with a special occasion of sort.

And yes, I am blogging at LiveLifeLoud since 2000. Thank you for noticing. Back then I owned the dot net domain which I since dropped in favor of the dot com.


Become an Adventurer

Alastair Humphrey:

1. Do good stuff. (Without this, you have nothing)

2. Repeat Step 1

3. …

Some really good thoughts in this article. and this applies to anyone wanting to call him/herself a ‘creative professional’.


Google made the Bloggers, Mobile killed Them

Marco Arment brings it to a point:

Nobody’s really talking about it, but I suspect this is a wider trend: blogs aren’t dying, but they are significantly declining. 2015 might be a rough year.

The popularity of the personal blog reached a fever pitch when the Google search engine introduced a new way of ranking search results. This allowed the little guy to compete with any big organizations on the ‘front page of the internet’, the first results page on any search term on Google and to a lesser extend on other search engines.

One marketers figured this out, Google had to do something about the increase in ‘gaming the system’. In order to kill the ‘black hat’ and ‘white hat’ SEO guys it in turn killed the native search result.

Google seemingly decided that it was easier to take over the first 10 results of a search term by ads and internal promoted links than to try to constantly fight the ‘marketing experts’ that ran amok over the last few years by constantly tweaking their search algorithm.

Then  social media came along and  changed the game entirely on how people find content. Google.com is not the front page of the internet anymore. Alternate ways of searching through Siri and other input tools increasingly are eating away at the prominence of the monopolistic, yet still loved approach of ‘doing the internet thing’ from a few years ago.

Buzzfeed’s ‘listicles’ are a response to people consuming content on social media sites. Have you ever found a Buzzfeed article ranked on the first page in a search result? This approach ccompletely ignore their ranking in search engines.  Listicles are the new SEO-type gaming. They are just gaming social media sites. So it should be called Social Media Optimization SMO, I suppose?

It’s weird to think of this new phase of the internet where we approach a more television-like scenarios where channels rule and one person’s interaction and consumption with content is entirely different to the next.

This is the law of the land, Marco concludes:

If we want it to get better, we need to start pushing back against the trend, modernizing blogs, and building what we want to come next.

I agree, and I haven’t even talked about mobile devices yet and their impact on our lives and how differently we consume content today.

Personal blogs flourished 15 years ago Back then the ‘blogger’ was the rockstar. A person who had access to a computer with internet. He/she was able to curate the best content for it’s readers. We envied the Kottke’s and Gruber’s of the world for having the time to dissect and find articles, and gems all over the world and present them to us in an engaging manner. Bloggers like them were the tour guides of the vast and unchartered territories of the world wide web.

Blogging was the most productive way of interacting with the flood of content a person encountered on the web. A blogger actually created something. A response, an article commenting on whatever happened today.

But as we are consuming content on the go, we are in a complete different spot to respond. On mobile the copy/paste/link to an article is cumbersome, still. Typing a 500 word article in response to something is not an option on mobile devices. (I’m writing this article on my Mac, but ready Marco’s initial article on my iPad.) We might read the article in the bathroom, on the bus, while walking the dog. We’re not in a place to respond. And if we can’t respond succinctly aside from ‘liking or having’ then the moment has past and the immediate stirring is gone.

In ‘Is blogging dying in the age of Mobile‘ I argue:

None of the star writers, the role models for the blogging community have cracked mobile. The indie magazine startups all have failed. Some of the must-read websites have added ‘responsive designed’ code to their blogs to make them more user friendly to read, but none have figured out a sustainable model for their business. No great apps have surfaced. No app engines like WordPress or TypePad for mobile app development, publishing and distribution. The indie heroes of the app generation all have created a game. TinyWings, Letterpress, Monument Valley lit up the internet for a few month and are soon after ‘played out’ and people move on. There’s no staying power for indies in the app market place.

This at the core is what’s challenging creators from keeping up their blogs.

So, what will be next? What’t the next creation and consumption tool/app/platform that will allow indie makers to engage directly with their audience again and create a living for themselves?


Into Thin Air – the movie

If you read the book by John Krakauer and if you have seen the movie Everest in IMAX, you know the story of the devastating snow storm who took the lives of some of the most prolific guides on Mount Everest in 1996. There’s also a 1997 version of the story titled Into Thin Air, which streams on Netflix, but I don’t think anyone ever watched it.

Now Krakauer’s movie is being adapted and updated into a adventure drama and will hit the theaters some time the Fall of 2015.

What’s double awesome is that the film was shot in parts in Schnalstal, South Tyrol.


Mammut’s #Project360

Discover what it feels like speed climbing the Eiger North Face and the Matterhorn via the Hörnligrat on an app on your iPad from the comfort of your home. This is all thanks to GoPro. They are completely changing the game as to what’s possible in documenting and creating stories and thus allowing people a first row seat to the what it feels like climbing mountains like this.

Blows me away every time one of those apps/products/promotional pieces is released.

I remember watching Everest at my local IMAX in the early 2000s and feeling disappointed at the few good shots we got from the upper part of the mountain. Until it dawned on me that this is not a place where it was back then even possible to shoot proper multi-angle footage. Now everyone can carry a GoPro with them and capture HD content from anywhere in the world.

Where would you take a GoPro?


Basecamp Hotels

Something like this would be perfect for the Olympic Peninsula. In Hoodsport, WA perhaps?


Warfare in a National Park

This is insanity:

In western Washington, threats include view-obstructing towers emitting electromagnetic radiation in the midst of pristine nature; horrific noise pollution; and staggeringly complex potential problems for every aspect of delicate ecosystems on land, in the sea and in the air. The Navy also wants to fly “Growler” fighter jets, probably the loudest on earth, along migratory bird flyways.

A bit more detail on Exotic Hikes:

In 2015, the United States plans to test and refine our ability to use and maintain electromagnetic weapons in National Forest lands.

Why did anyone think that is a good idea? Is it necessary? Just convenient?

Meanwhile:

The lack of snow in the Olympic Mountains because of spring-like warmth has led to an early outbreak of hiking, biking, surfing and kayaking on the North Olympic Peninsula.


Ball’s Pyramid

There’s a massive remnant of a volcano sticking out in the middle of the ocean off of the coast of Australia and it looks spectacular. Yes, it has been climbed before (50 years ago this year to be exact), and yes it’s very hard/impossible to get a permit to climb it again, but dream with me for a moment, if you will.


The Huts of the Alpine Club of Canada

Many of those huts look like they are in incredible locations. Definitely worth keeping in mind when planning the next trip.

Sidenote: Their tagline is:

The ACC operates the largest network of backcountry huts in North America.

There are only two countries in North America, and the fact that the US and it’s Alpine Club, the AAC doesn’t have a large network of huts is really sad and I am researching on why that is and what can be done to change that. Researching, at this point only!


Trail Races 2015

Man, amazing races all over Europe. Honey, we need to spend the Summer in the Alps.

Cortina SkyRace – June 25.

Zugspitz Ultratrail – June 19/20.

Eiger Ultra Trail – July 18/19.


Ukraine Crisis

Where is Great Britain in this conversation and crisis management in Europe? Is that a smart move by England and their friends from the Island to have excused themselves from the leadership of the European Union or is it a sign of their continued irrelevance? No more British ’empire’?


Little Luther

Nearly 500 years after his death, the German monk who symbolizes the Protestant Reformation movement, has his own Playmobil figurine.

And sold out already – of course.


Less than a Month away

I will be doing my first trail race:

We encourage you to treat this race like an ultra. The shorter distances are more than made up for in difficulty.

I’m ready!

This race is likely the hardest half and full marathon in Washington State. The course takes you on beautiful trails through Capitol Forest outside of Olympia. Steep climbs, technical trails, lots of mud, beautiful views… you’ll have to work hard for this finish.


Charles Smith in Seattle

He’s opening a winery complex in Georgetown in Seattle.

Charles on his beginning:

I never thought after my teens that I would have to go back to Top Ramen, and at 40 years old, there I was with my wok and my bag of carrots and an onion and my Top Ramen making stir-fries.

Gotta put it all on the line to live your dream.


The Great Train Robbery (2013)

Playing on Netflix right now and comes highly recommended by me.

The Great Train Robbery is a British television film in two parts, that was first broadcast on BBC One on 18 and 19 December 2013. Written by Chris Chibnall, it tells the story of the Great Train Robbery on 8 August 1963, first from the perspective of the robbers, and then from the perspective of the police.

The format of the two parts is what’s fascinating about the series and I am surprised Hollywood hasn’t tried that yet. In an age where almost every story on the big screen is turning into a several part series with multiple sequels it would be an absolute no brainer to tell a story like “Usual Suspects” over two movies from two different angles.

Come on, Hollywood, this would be cool, right?


“People don’t buy things, people are sold things”

 

Something I’ve been working on.

The graphic is not my original idea and I want to credit Peter Thiel for the idea and Charlie Kindel for the tweet.


Bavaria, or Not

Not to be an ass here:

Seattle’s Capitol Hill has had a German style beer hall now for a few years: The Rhein Haus. The place is trying to evoke the fabled Bavarian beer halls and I love that, but I haven’t been there and so I can’t judge them on that. It all hangs on the pretzels, man!

But, here is the funny part: The ‘Bavarian’ beer hall was originally named after an ‘Austrian’ family who were made famous in the movie Sound of Music. The owners ran into some naming dispute with the original Van Trapp family (not surprising, really, the family wasn’t just a figment of Hollywood imagination). They decided to rename the new place Rhein Haus, after Germany’s longest river… which doesn’t run through Bavaria, sadly.

So, let me put this in perspective:

I open a restaurant, celebrating classic Californian cuisine, in Germany named after a famous Canadian family and then decide to rename it Mississippi, serving scrimp tacos and Californian Sushi rolls with Zinfandel.

Yeah, that would be weird. But who’s counting. At least we got the continent right and didn’t accidentally name it after a Australian family, right?


Niagara Falls, The Red Bull Way

And here is the official Red Bull video of the Niagara Falls ice climbing project I mentioned last week.

Fantastic images, you can almost feel the force of the raging water falling.


eero – Blanket your home in fast, reliable WiFi

This looks cool.

In general I am happy with my Apple Airport. But I also have a small apartment, so the reach doesn’t matter to me. What’s interesting is the ‘guest invite feature’ and the log of interference and activity on the network. I wonder if it can truly fix the endless Comcast modem resets. I doubt it.