Hi there!

gc_logoAfter years of mostly indoor activities, I’m glad to now know new peole, who prefer the opposite: outdoor activities. There’s this very special woman who reminds me of what life’s really about. And she does it very patiently. After she told me a lot about it, we planned to go geocaching today.

Geocaching is some kind of modern paper chase. On http://www.geocaching.com/, you will find tons of caches (so-called for treasure) in your area. In every case, you’ll get GPS coordinates which will lead you to the cache or (in case of multi-caches or puzzles) to the starting point. Normally, you need to have an appropriate GPS device to get to those coordinates, but you may also enter latitude and longitude into some map-service and simply get a map of the destination.

Now, you have to go to this certain destination and search for the cache. It may be a small capsule, a tiny box or a larger container – depends on the type of cache. Usually, the cache is hidden, so you’ll have to look carefully. It may be in a tree, under a bridge, behind a fence, and so on. If you don’t find it, there’re hints for every cache on the website.

There always is a logbook in the box and sometimes a “treasure”. You may log into the logbook to verify, you’ve really been there – so take a pen with you. But please, but the cache back to exactly the place where you found it.

Since I have an iPhone 3G (with GPS), I downloaded the Groundspeak’s Geocaching iPhons Application for 7.99 € – totally great stuff and worth the money! See some screenshots below:

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You may search for caches near you or at a certain place. The map or a compass will guide you to the designated coordinates. And it’s absolutely accurate! This is how we hunted and found 2 caches today.

Geocaching totally is fun and I can truely recommend it! :-)

I will totally do it again.

T.

  • Hi there!

stopp-pageFor several weeks now, there’s an incredible story going all over German web pages and blogs. I’ve read a lot about this and I gotta state my 2 cent today.

In Germany, we have the “Basic Constitutional Law” (“Grundgesetz”) which says (translated on my own): “Everyone has the right to express and publish his opinion in the word of mouth, in writing and in any illustrating way and to teach himself in an unresisted way from every generally accessible source. The freedom of press and the freedom of reporting by radio and television are guaranteed. A censorship does not take place.

(Original, German text goes like this: “Jeder hat das Recht, seine Meinung in Wort, Schrift und Bild frei zu äußern und zu verbreiten und sich aus allgemein zugänglichen Quellen ungehindert zu unterrichten. Die Pressefreiheit und die Freiheit der Berichterstattung durch Rundfunk und Film werden gewährleistet. Eine Zensur findet nicht statt.)

The most important part is: A censorship does not take place!

Most recently, this is a lie! Why?

Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen (Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth) fought a long and (in my opinion) unrespectful fight to fulfill someones dream: control and censor internet usage in Germany. The main reason was and is to prevent child pornography, which is a great and heroic goal. But the technical ways, this is supposed to be done, it quite ridiculous.

  • A list of website, which are likely to host child pornography, is provided by German authorities.
  • German internet providers must filter internet traffic (most likely: DNS requests)
  • Requests for an address on the list will be redirected to a “stop page”
  • German authorities will be informed about this request (including client IP address) automatically
  • Things may happen

You may now think: “okay, no more child pronography – what’s the problem?”.

The main problems (in my opinion) are:

  1. Since the list does contain confidential information, it cannot be published and so cannot be controlled
  2. There surely will be ways to avoid the usage of filtering DNS server
  3. If you tried to display a web page, whichs address is on the list, German authorities will be informed and it’s not unlikely, they will knock at your door hours later

Imagine you click a link like http://sho.rt/URL which takes you to an address being on the list. Well, there might be a knock at your door the next morning – good luck!

Interesting links concerning this topic:

Since Germany states in its constitution that there won’t be a censorship in any way, this development is totally shocking. Mrs. von der Leyen, if you wanna stop child pornography, this is totally okay. But you doing it the wrong way.

At least (open question): are you sure, there is a way?

T.

Hi there!

This totally makes me sick. About a week ago, I renewed my contract with t-mobile and got an upgrade from my old iPhone to a new 3G iPhone with 16GB memory. Well, nice, nice.

I was told, the “old” contract would be cancelled within the next few days and the new contract would begin right after the other one stopped. But the new phone would work instantly with the old card. Well, and it did. Everything worked quite fine.

Just until last Sunday, 2009-04-12. On Sunday, my iPhone told me for the very first time: Could not active cellular data network. Well, at first I thought there might be just a coverage problem. Then I remembered, the contract needed to be switched and maybe there would be a short service outage.

Then I forgot about the problem for a while. Until today. I tried data networking and it didn’t work. So I called the service this evening.

There’s one number burned in the very back of my brain. It’s the T-Com service hotline:

+49 800 33 0 1000

I called this number and all the fun began. This hotline is voice-guided, which always makes me very, very happy. You can shout from the deepest point of your lungs to this conversation partner and she will never ever be mad about it.

She asked me, what my call was about. I said: “INCIDENT!”

She did not understand.

I shouted: “OPERATOR!”.

Well, she agreed to connect me with an operator but she first needed my phone number. After I told her my number, she said: “This is a cell phone number. I need a land line number.”

Just as I was about to destroy everything I could reach with my free arm, she said: “If you don’t have any number, just say ‘next’.”

“Hell, next. Neeeext! N – E – X – T !!!”

“Please be patient, the next operator is reserved for you”, she said and I smiled. Nice, nice. BUT: after 16 (sixteen!) minutes, a male voice said: “All operators are busy. Please call again later.” *Click*

What the hell?! Okay, okay. I remained totally calm (will clean up the broken dishes later… [just kiddin']) and called the same number again. “Incident. *ARGH* OPERATOR! NEXT!” And I got connected to a women within less than one minute.

I told her about my problem and after she listened about 2 minutes to my hole story, she said: “You have to call T-Mobile, there’s the number 01805 …”

“Stop!” I said. “I definitely WILL NOT call a service number which is NOT toll-free.”

I could see her shocking face on my iPhone as she searched on her computer and finally found another number, which I immediately called:

+49 800 88 55 400

Funny thing: the man who answered was responsible for DSL and leased lines and had absolutely no idea about cellular networking. But he agreed to pass me on… to his manager or whatever. And this funny person told me to call the toll-free cell phone service number:

2202

Well, I called this number. Three times in 5 minutes!

The first guy told me to active the Airplane Mode. As I told him “but this will interrupt our call”, he said: “no, no, we will stay connected, I know this for sure!” Oh my God, what a freak. As I tapped the “Airplane Mode” button, my iPhone said — guess what — “this will interrupt your current call”. Well, ehm… eh?

He then told me to quit the call and to this Airplane-Mode thing. Cellular data networking should work after that. I tried and — surprise! — it dit NOT work!

I called the same number again, told the hole story to another guy and just as I was about to ask what to do now, the connection was terminated. What the hell?!

So, I called the same number again a third time and told the story again. It was someone with a foreign accent, but he was totally okay. He asked me to stay connected, he would talk to an iPhone expert. After about 5 minutes, he came back and asked if I ever tried to turn the device off and on again. OMG! Sure I tried it several times. He again talked to the iPhone expert. As he came back to me, he had no further idea.

His suggestion was to call back tomorrow at 8am to get directly connected to an iPhone technician. I agreed to that.

But I could not believe, this problem to be that unique. So, I googled for “could not activate cellular data network” and the very first link was. http://unfake.it/c4l

One guy posted, he simply reset his networking settings (Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset Network Settings). So, I tried this. And — TADA! — it works perfectly again.

My conclusion: T-Mobile should use Google as knowledge-base.

Hi there!

Yesterday, I posted on my Twitter account:

Have you ever won the jackpot without even playing the lottery?

Some of you asked me, what this posting was about or what I wanted to tell you. Well, let me try to explain it. But be careful, this is some kind of metaphor!

For years and years, I used to play the lottery. Regularly, I invested and assumed to receive my return of invest very soon. I paid (let’s say…) X and once in a while, I received X-1 (minus one) in return. But, well, if you get at least something (even less than you invested) back, you usually keep on playing. You keep on playing and investing and assuming and somehow hoping. You swear (to yourself): “the pay-off-moment will come”. But it does not!

Over the years, playing the lottery becomes some kind of habit. You just do it, even though you don’t know anymore, what exactly you are doing. And especially you don’t know the reason anymore. You try to quit playing but you start over again, because over the time, you invested that much and it shouldn’t be worthless. You promise to yourself: “one more time, only one more time”.

And this is the point: you expect the unexpected (e. g. winning the jackpot). If you act like this, maybe some little nice things may occur, but usually, the unexpected won’t happen (at least not to you). After I quit playing the lottery, I still expected to get my return of invest, because I somehow deserved it. The point (and problem) was: I still expected! This is a no-go!

And quite immediately after I stopped expecting anything, I won the jackpot without even playing the lottery.

Of course, there’s no guarantee to win without playing, but it’s more likely. And so, this is my conclusion:

  • You play – you lose
  • You expect the unexpected – you lose
  • You don’t play and don’t expect – you might win

And for those of you, who still believe, this is about money and gambling: it is not!

T.

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