By MATHIAS EICHLER   Issue #35: September/October 2014   'We're Falling Forward'


Renewable Energy in Germany

NYT reports on the challenges of switching an entire country to renewable energy.

“Indeed, the German people are paying significant money,” said Markus Steigenberger, an analyst at Agora, the think tank. “But in Germany, we can afford this — we are a rich country. It’s a gift to the world.”

That’s an investment into the future. Photo apps are nice too.

Tiiny, Another Photo-sharing App

Just what the world needs.

It’s fun, it’s gimmicky, it’s another app in my ‘social app’ folder that will be downloaded, used for 2 days and never touched again. Sorry, Kevin Rose, I love the creative hunger but I wish that energy would be invested into stuff that can change lives.

I know, tall order. Not ti(i)ny at all.

West Coast Public Transportation

Danny Westneat for the Seattle Times:

I had to end my bus life eventually (I have kids to ferry around). I knew I’d had enough after that time two buses in a row passed me by. I found myself growing bitter, cursing if the addled driver tried to cram more riders on (after cramming me on, of course). This isn’t me, I thought. The bus life in boomtown was turning me into that get-off-my-lawn guy!

So I got a car and life got easier. For me. I see my old bus buddies still lined up at the stops, sometimes three-dozen deep. Will it come? Will they get on? Will government leaders get their acts together and figure out how to provide services with all this growth?

It’s a crapshoot in the world-class city.

Just spend a couple of days in Munich and was reminded again of what good public transportation looks and feels like. West Coast cities, probably most American cities for that matter, ignored the need for public transportation for so long that by now it feels the answer lies somewhere in the UBER future. But we most likely gotten that excuse for the past several decades of political ignorance already. It’s just getting more and more expensive to consider a good subway system build from scratch for a major metropolitan area. And yet, Stuttgart 21 is being built and although extremely expensive it is, it promises the future of travel in Europe. Our family took the ICE from Stuttgart to Munich, a 3+hr drive with the car turned into a comfortable and enjoyable 2+hr train ride.

Whistler Gondola

Links to Facebook, not sure it’ll work!

Whistler Blackcomb is in the process of replacing one of their gondolas. We actually saw the new ones being installed earlier in the Summer when we were up there. And, the old ones, they are now selling… damn, I want one. For what? Not sure, but I’m sure a few searches on Pinterest would come up with some cool ideas.


Amazon sells it in the US, for 24 1liter bottles for $200. Yeah, that seems about right.

Delicious when hiking in the Alps: #thoughtsfromEurope.

US is for Weekdays – Europe is for Weekends.

First entry in my collection of #thoughtsfromEurope. There will be a few. Some longer, some shorter.

I love my work here. Love the focus on technology. Love getting up and stepping on to the computer and work on great and interesting projects utilizing my skills I obtained working for years on the Mac. I love modern communication and the feeling of being fully connected and plugged in.

But only during the week, only 8-5.

On Weekends when things slow down, and they should, I feel lost. I have nothing to do here and the weekends calls with awesome stuff to do, I’m just on the wrong continent for it.

I miss the cakes, the hikes and walks and friends and the beer and the millions of easy, free, cheap, simple, close by things one can do by just stepping out the front door and meeting with friends. Already, less than a week back and I miss it.

iOS Battery Drain

Scotty Loveless:

I worked on the Genius Bar for almost two years, and the most difficult issue to solve was short battery life. It was extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why someone’s battery was draining.

Linking to it so I can remember it now, and find it later.

Goodbye iPod Classic

The iPod had such a profound impact on the way many of us listen to music that it seems to have been around forever.

RIP to this incredible product. I remember when Steve Jobs introduced the product and there was this sense in the air that computers would finally become so much more than just desktop work machines. What a ride it has been.

Songs of Innocence

No other rock band does rebirth like U2.

A business like that

Some days I dream of running a business like that. Some days.

Please, President Obama, be yourself

Chris Sacca on his blog he barely ever blogs, but if he does it is important:

 We elected President Obama because he was bold and willing to speak up. We knew we needed change. We rejected the status quo. So when we all stop our work midday to watch him take to the podium, we are hopeful. We want him to be genuine and unfiltered. We don’t want sanitized, approved, safe language. Then as he speaks, we see Tweets of disappointment and resignation trickle out from our friends. We begin to doubt ourselves for believing in him and thinking he can help.

So, I say to our President, enough. It’s time. I have seen you behind closed doors. You are better than this. You are savvy, thoughtful, strategic, empathic, and you inspire confidence. You are also decisive, no-bullshit, very demanding, have strong instincts, know how to cut to the chase, and tend to be a good judge of people.

Please eschew the filters, the patience, and the compromise. Please tip the scales. Please go boldly on the record and tell us straight from the heart. Please step back up to the podium and lead. Please be brave.

Please just be yourself.

Who Killed the Food Network

It used to be full of chefs serenely baking in sunlit kitchens. But now I despise the network I used to love.

Yes, I fee the same way. And although We can all point the finger at Guy Fiery and his ever-present over-excited face on every show at every hour on this channel, who’s the person who gave him such a large platform? Or is it just the audience again? The ratings? Guy Fiery is click bait television. And I never turn the channel on again.

Winnetou My Hero

Great NYT video telling the crazy story of how Germans became fascinated with the “Wild West” of old. Karl May, Germany’s best selling author created a story and characters every German grows up with and loves.

Germany’s biggest folk hero is an Apache who fights for justice three hours north of Berlin and has inspired spiritual seekers. But some parts of Native American culture get lost in translation.

Now, the scalp remains are a different story. If there’s a honest claim to them, by all means, give them back.

This story needs to stay a positive and simple story.

Too long Wikipedia

This Tumblr I read, and it’s hilarious.

Vaynerchuk judging Miss America

If I may judge this for a sec, I think this is a dumb move. There might be money in this, but this feels, old-school, old-media, un-disruptive, and sends a sad message. Too bad.

Perhaps it’ll get him closer to buying the NYJets, perhaps.

Layer Tennis is Back

Yes! So excited.

LEGO Fusion

Interplay between real bricks and an iPad app?

Christmas is coming!

Is it worth it hosting the Olympics?


Philip Porter, an economist at the University of South Florida who has studied the impact of sporting events, told me that the evidence was unequivocal. “The bottom line is, every time we’ve looked — dozens of scholars, dozens of times — we find no real change in economic activity,” he said. Still, even for established cities like Boston or San Francisco, there is one clear reason to chase the Olympics or the World Cup: People like hosting major sporting events. Economists tend to pay more attention to money than to happiness, because money is easier to count. But it’s no small matter that surveys routinely find high levels of public support in the host nation before, during and after the Olympics and the World Cup. “It’s like a wedding,” Matheson told me. “It won’t make you rich, but it may make you happy.” The trick is deciding how much that’s worth.

It’s been quiet here

The World Cup interrupted everything. Everything.

Then Germany won it all. And I’ve been in a delirium ever since.

Also I went hiking, and to Whistler, and enjoyed the sun.

My trip to Germany is up next.

Man, Summer is great. Just not for blogging.

Kickstarter’s Potato Salad

A potato salad is taking the media by storm.

And as much as this is all funny and in good sport, by Kickstarter allowing this campaign they are essentially making fun of themselves and somewhat tarnishing their brand. Kickstarter used to hold themselves to a standard of trying to inspire and help create beautiful things. This Potato Salad campaign is tarnishing all this and showing everyone that more often than not Kickstarter campaigns are overly opportunistic and sometimes not more than a hunt for a quick buck.