#weeklyreview 31/23

Sunday – Festung Königstein

On Sunday we had to pick up the kid from its vacation camp in Saxony. Since the place wasn’t too far away from castle “Festung Königstein“, we took a little detour and had a visit.

Been there several times as a kid with my parents on vacation. Now my wife wanted to pay a visit as while we were close by anyway.

I wasn’t sure that it would be doable with the wheelchair of my wife. But we gave it a try.

Turned out it was doable. The hardest part was pushing her the approximately 600m from the parking area to the base of the castle. From there we took the elevator to the top.

On the actual castle it was comparatively easy to push her around. We almost made the whole round and took many pictures. Even had a snack at one of the many eating places.

Overall a really great trip. And again we had been very lucky with the weather. It had apparently rained heavily earlier the day. But when we were atop it was just dramatic clouds but with occasional sunshine. After we left another round of heavy rain set in.


Got rid of a whole bunch of old scraps at the local recycling yard. That’s quite a good service that’s included in our yearly waste treatment fee: one can drop off most of household garbage like old furniture, reasonable amounts of construction material leftovers, electronics etc. for free.

Today I’m feeling the pushing of the wheelchair up the hill on Sunday. Shins and arms are hurting a bit.

Also gave the final signature today to officially decommission our old “Verein”. That closes an era.

Wednesday – Finally Internet

Today the final connection of our new DSL landline in the countryside was activated. A Telekom technician showed up at 8am and mumbled something about wrong house number. In his documents it said just the number. While our house has a number and an additional letter.

Fortunately he was able to connect it nevertheless and measures about 100 Mbit/a DSL line capacity. So far so good.

But our Router didn’t want to connect and he thought that’s a problem with the router or actual internet provider.

Turned out the FritzBox just needed a round of calibration and then everything worked. Yay – finally our own internet connection.

Our neighbors where so kind to share their WiFi with us for the last couple of years. I had quite and adventurous setup to pickup their signal near the fence with a WiFi repeater and feed it into a LAN cable. The cable ends in the shed in an old switch from where it runs further to my trusty container office. And also into a power line adapter to get the signal inside the house. In the house a Powerline WiFi bridge provides us with wireless network.

Several trucks almost ran over the bucket that covered the WiFi Pickup near the fence. The lawnmower had close encounters with the power cable for the WiFi pickup. Also summer, winter and all sorts of insect battle tested that poor WiFi repeater. But it did its job for several years. It will get some rest now.

Took the time before lunch to rearrange and reconfigure the network devices. Almost done.

Now that I’m in control of my own router and firewall I might start hosting stuff from here as well 😉

In the afternoon I built a new bed upstairs. The old sleep sofa had its days and was a torture to get down and out. Now we went with something more simplistic and just build a raised bed from construction wood.

Thursday – rainy day

Today was again a very rainy day for this area and season. I finally cleaned up my rain gauge after I saw a toot from David de Groot


After the cleaning the sensor recorded about 6,5l/sqm for the day. It was surely more than that as it rained earlier in the day before the cleaning.


Got rid of even more old furniture and scraps at the local scrap yard. Of course forgot some bits as well.

The village church hosts some summer concerts. Mostly organ music. While I’m totally not a (traditional) religious person (but ask me about Unix text editors), but when there is an event in the village, you show up. Just to show your appreciation of the effort.

This time an old acquaintance of mine played the organ. He is meanwhile the priest of the church my parents go to. Of course he played some classic from Bach and Händel. But he also played “Über sieben Brücken musst du gehen” from Karat. Which is one of the most famous rock songs of the former GDR.

Saturday – too much driving

In the afternoon I planned to pick up the kid in Berlin for we are driving to the Baltic Sea vacation on Sunday.

My wife felt good enough to join me and pay a visit to our flat in Berlin for the first time in over a year. It went well and nobody was harmed 🤣

On the way back to the countryside, about 2/3 of the way we realized she had forgotten her purse with all her cash and cards. Essential items. So we did a U-turn and drove back again to Berlin 🤷‍♂️

No really looking forward for some vacation at the sea. The weather might be not the best for just laying on the beach. But I can also perfectly lay on the couch and be reading 😉 Just hope the kids will also find something to keep themselves quietly busy and occupied.

#weeklyreview 30/23

road trip

On Sunday we took a road trip to the north around the “Feldberger Seenlandschaft” and northern .

Unbelievably beautiful landscape. A lot of forests and lakes. Some vast fields in rolling hills.

Quite a few cyclists on the roads, but far from crowded. Of course there are tourist hot spots like Carwitz which are almost bursting of tourists.


Had to write a parser for some config files which don’t seem to adhere to any common standard. That involved fiddling with a lot of regular expressions. Still amazed how powerful they are and bow towards the setting sun to worship the work of Stephen C. Kleene, the inventor of regular expressions and of course Noam Chomsky who formalized the concept of regular languages a little later.

A tool thats very handy for dealing with RegExs is https://regexr.com

The code I’m writing is to automate some tasks on a production system for which we don’t have a test system. It’s a little bit “open heart surgery” and thus requires extra careful handling to not fuck things up for thousands of users. 🙈

Friday – Surprise

On Friday my wife organized a surprise birthday party for me. I usually don’t party at my birthday as in summer most friends are usually on vacation anyway and other reasons.

But this year my wife took the effort to secretly organize a party with our friends from the village. That was really nice and the last guests left at 4am 🙈

We were really lucky with the weather as it was rainy all week and also the forecast for Friday wasn’t that good. But the rain perfectly stopped Friday morning and it was sunny with just a few clouds the whole day and even Saturday until after lunch.

Saturday we took a little slower as we didn’t had much sleep. Cleaned up and consumed left overs and chilled the afternoon when the rain set in.

Got a very cool pouch made by @cole@wandzeitung.xyz filled for colorful nail polish from my besties @stulli@wandzeitung.xyz and @b30@wandzeitung.xyz 🫶

#weeklyreview 29/23

Monday – long drive

Delivered kiddo to his WWF summer camp to the south of Saxony. Saw a burning truck trailer on our way down. Pretty spectacular. Fortunately the firefighters got it under control before it took over to the nearby forest. On my way back that whole side of the autobahn was blocked for cleanup.

A burning truck trailer on the autobahn

Tuesday – we have a signal

Finally the construction company was there to connect our house to the telephone network. Eventually we’ll get our own DSL line in the . Just a few more weeks until it’s finally working I hope …

technician seals the connected cables to bury them under the road again

Wednesday – car maintenance

The bloody car demands oil check. Next contractual garage is about 50km away. That means loosing half a day with driving and waiting. At least I was able to work during the waiting time. Still annoying.

My password Manager 1Password lost a password. I’m 100% sure it was there last week as I used this item a lot in the last few weeks. Today it’s nowhere to be found. Very mysterious. Opened a support case.

Our painted ceramics arrived from “Paint your style” shop. I like my new shiny cup a lot

Thursday – Forest

maybe we bought a piece of forest

A slice of forest with an almost dried out pond

Saturday – meeting of the locals society

Living in the countryside also means there are more activities with the local community. To say that everyone knows each other would be an exaggeration. But it’s close to that. You know your neighbors and usually have regular chats over the fence. And our local village also has at least two organized communities (Verein) where we’re member of.

Every once in a while there are meeting to discuss the upcoming community projects. Everyone bring some food or beverages to these gatherings and it’s usually a lot of fun. Despite occasional heated discussions

#weeklyreview 28/23

Sunday – run day and a birthday party

A friend messaged me whether I wanted to run again with him on Sunday. Sure I want. So we gave it a shot and ended up doing 12km before it was unbearable hot.

We took a few breaks as the dog of my friend had to take short baths in the lakes to cool off.

It was good to run a longer distance again. Need to do this more often during the summer vacation. And of course do more regularly swimming again.

In the evening we attended the birthday and anniversary of them being in Berlin for 10 years of some friend of ours. Despite the hot day it was a lovely evening meeting wonderful new people. I’m always amazed when meeting people from all over the world and people which have spent quite some time living and working in other countries.

To me this is always humbling to see that we’re just a tiny little spot on this large planet and that there is much more than Germany or Europe even.

Monday – Hertz Gymnasium Part 1

On Monday K2 had an appointment at the potential new school for his last 2 years. We applied at the Heinrich-Hertz-Gymnasium, as this is one of the very few schools in Berlin offering computer science as a major course during the Abitur.

While theoretically more schools offer this, in fact only a handful in the whole of Berlin practically do. Because usually there either not enough pupil choosing this topic and/or the school doesn’t have enough staff to actually deliver it.

The head teacher for mathematics and computer science took full 90 mins to have thorough conversion and little exercises with the kid. Now let’s hope he sees enough potential in the kid to accept him for his final years.

Tuesday – hit the gym

After the “long run” on Sunday I went to the office gym with a friend on Tuesday. It was super hot and we only managed to do a few minutes on the cycles and rowing machines.

Did a few strength exercises on the machines with up to 110kg. Gonna field my tits tomorrow..

Later that day I tried out a cool project I saw on Mastodon: BirdnetPi. An software for newer RaspberryPis that analyses audio recordings for birds voices and classifies them. So you can have a record of which birds were heard at what time.

I’ve got it running on an RaspberryPi 3b although the recommended hardware is a RapsberryPi 4. it worked quite ok although the Web Interface was a little slow. It recognizes all the birds that we hear from our balcony and keeps sound samples. So you can listen to the voice and check whether that’s what you would expect in your area.

Unfortunately the little Pi was too weak to process all the sound bites in due time. So the recordings accumulated and the recognized birds were several hours behind. Eventually the SD card filled up and the Pi stopped.

I’m now trying to get this running on an old laptop to install it on the countryside. Over here it should be even more interesting to get a log of those birds.

Wednesday – schools out for summer

This was the last day of the 2022/2023 school year. All kids finished successfully and are now officially in vacation mode.

A box of donuts to celebrate the end of the school year

Friday – Hertz Gymnasium Part 2

On Thursday we received the long awaited email that the kid was accepted at the Heinrich-Hertz-Gymnasium. On Friday we went there and picked up the paperwork for the new school year starting in August.

This hopefully marks the last leg of quite a school odyssey for him. Hope he’ll enjoy the school as much as it sounds like and he’ll get the input and inspiration he needs.

It will be definitely a tough switch moving in the 11th class. This school has an extended curriculum for the science subjects and he several years behind. But very eager to learn.

Saturday – Horde

The Horde is a local band which plays a wide variety of party music at local festivities live. Their repertoire ranges from heavy metal over punk rock to German Schlager evergreens.

This year is the second time I saw them perform in the nearby village and it was a fun evening again. Good conversations, ok food and drinks. The people (guests and band alike) had a lot of fun despite the hot temperatures.

#weeklyreview 27/23

Kids had their last full week of their school year. K2 on a class trip to Hamburg and K3 had “project week” with various activities.

On Monday the infamous Beer & Burger crew met. We gave “Five Guys” burger a try. Good burger, but less than stellar ambience. We were so focused on the burgers and complaining about the surroundings that we forgot to take pictures 😉

The drinks afterwards in “Schalander” were good. Nice venue with a beach like sand pit and deck chairs.

night view of Warschauer Straße Berlin

Also in Monday we had the first attempt to get our phone landline connected in our house in the countryside. When we originally built the house we installed a cable for phone and DSL but didn’t connect it to the grid actually. Back the house was meant as a mere vacation home and not having a phone or internet was a feature.

But that we spent more time here our own internet connection seems to be appropriate. Our neighbors were nice enough to let us use their WiFi for many years now. But at some point we wanted to have something ourselves that we also have a little more control over.

Thought it should be pretty easy to install. The cable on the outside comes out of ground near the garden gate fence post. Inside the house it’s hanging out the wall in a small storage room.

But the Telekom technicians eventually said that those two loose ends do not belong to the same cable.

I was slightly puzzled as that was the only cable I knew since a decade laying there. But it turns out that we actually had two cables installed. One for the DSL line and one for the doorbell. The latter hanging off the garden gate pole but not visible inside the house. The phone cable hanging off the wall inside the house but must be buried somewhere near the street at the gardens gate.

So the Telekom technicians had to leave the site unfinished and I had to find that other end and make a new appointment.

Fortunately I took me not too long to find the buried spool of cable we were looking for. Now hoping to get a new appointment with those technicians again soon.

Tuesday in the office I tried another coffee fanciness : Espresso+Tonic Water

Looked weird, tasted weird (as expected) but not enough of the good weird to have it again.

A small Glas of Espresso + Tonic Water

Wednesday I took a trip to the other side of the city to pick up a new recipe from a doctor. Always a bit of a trip. At least gives some nice views over parts of Berlin from the Ringbahn.

View towards Berlin Mitte from Ringbahn crossing a bridge in Treptow

Slowly but surely getting rid of old stuff in the flat. Thursday I gave away an old VHS video tape recorder to a guy apparently still using those.

Kiddo created a funny Simson poster during her project week

Simpson gender swap

#weeklyreview 26/23

On Monday we had a proper thunderstorm here in Berlin. Of course at a time when kiddo and me had to get somewhere outside. We hoped we started early enough with our bikes to be at the destination without getting too wet … but that was futile. It started to downpour about when we were about 100m from our destination. But it was raining so heavily that these few meters were enough to soak us completely. But it’s just water and it was anyway too hot that day. Fortunately our area didn’t had too much damage. Across the street a branch of a tree came down and touched some parked cars. That wasn’t too bad from what I’ve seen.

On Tuesday however there was again thunderstorm and took out a whole tree. That tree decided to lay down on a power distribution box on the curbs. Our whole apartment block was without power for a few hours. Still not really a tragedy in my eyes. Nobody was hurt from what I could see and just a few parked cars slightly damaged.


On Thursday I met with a friend I hadn’t seen in more than 24 years. He was my flatmate during my apprenticeship at SIEMENS back in the late 1990s. He’s occasionally working Berlin and now we took the chance to meet over burgers and drinks while he was in Berlin for a few days.

Crazy to meet someone you haven’t seen for such a long time. But it felt a bit like not much time has passed since then. Still the same funny guy.

Charity concert for est Templin

On Saturday my wife got us tickets for a charity concert in Templin. A special orchestra played baroque and classic songs from the archives of the “Joachimthalsche Gymnsasium”. While admittedly that kind of music isn’t my favorite music, I did enjoy the concert very much. The ambience in the old auditorium of that old school was appropriate for the occasion and the musicians performed with a lot of passion, enthusiasm and a very high level of professionallism.

There was a narrator who explained each song and provided historical context. This was really well prepared and delivered and enriched the whole experience.

I didn’t know that this school was more than 350 years old. While originally founded in 1607 in Joachimsthal near Templin, it moved to various locations in Berlin before this ensemble of buildings in Templin were built in 1912 for the school.

There are plans to turn it into a public school again and this concert was raising funds to renovate the clock tower of the school. The area is really beautiful and the buildings will make a wonderful place to learn.

The full concert will be aired in Deutschlandfunk radio station on 27. August 2023 at 21:05 CEST. I can wholeheartedly recommend the session.

#weeklyreview 25/23

Had a few conversations with ex-colleagues about company culture and challenges we face in our special domain of knowledge work. Also Kris posted a collection of thoughts he had shared on Mastodon on his blog about the current wave in resignations we see in management of tech companies.

Project Finalization

This week we made the final cut-over on the migration project I’m working on for the last 6 month. Feels good to finally finishing this thing off.

But of course the work isn’t over yet. There is quite a bit of aftermath that we’ll have to take care of. And there are side projects that have been neglected which will need attention now. There is definitely no shortage of work.

I enjoy working directly with people and solving their problems again in this project. They also seem to appreciate talking to a real person who knows about the stuff and not just conversing with a ticket system.

Of course we’re using tickets to track the work as well. But also engage with the people directly via Chat and Meetings to talk about their problem and how we can solve this. This in person communication leads to results much faster for both parties. Because often times its really just a matter of getting on the same page and understanding the problem. The classical tale of: once you explain your problem to the admin it solves itself 😉

Another observation I made is, that people don’t take the time to think about their problem. Something doesn’t work and they jump to a support channel and blur out: “X is not working, can you help?”

How am I supposed to help here? There is no useful information provided on what the person was trying to do in the first place, nor what error message they might have gotten etc.

It takes a few rounds of questions to figure out the person is using either the wrong system or the right system in a wrong way.

But then you also have to experienced engineer which will prepare their question in the most helpful way. They did their homework by double checking they are using the correct system (providing information about this), provide detailed log messages of their problem, naming exact times including timezones and sometimes even provide further information in a machine readable format for further processing.

My point is: it’s a pleasure to work with professionals. And user support is rather time consuming because the average user can’t be bothered to read even the most simple documentation..

No Hello

The page nohello.net summarise a common digital communication problem. I’m really just ghosting people which start conversations like that. Get to the point!

It really boils down to be mindful about people’s time. If you want something from someone else, help them to help you by providing the information they need to fulfil your request. Don’t waste their time with chatter. Do you homework by checking whatever your can upfront and provide the information in an easily consumable format.

Put yourself in their shoes: would you be able and willing to work with the request you just received?

Long table public Dinner

On Saturday we had our 2nd long table public dinner. This is where the people from the village meet at the central place in front of the church and have dinner together. Everyone brings some food to share and their own tablecloth, plates and drinks. This is low effort to organize but really delicious and fun.

We had really good food and plenty thereof. I love the variety and the ideas people come up with. Of course we had interesting conversations and fun as well. Really looking forward for this event next year.

Random Pics from the week