#weeklyreview 35/23


Finally back in the office after 6 weeks of vacation and working from the countryside. Not too bad actually. Good to see the colleagues in person again.

Tuesday – long drive

K1 is spending a semester in Leuven, Belgium. So we drove there to pick up the “apartment” keys and bring some stuff over. Total of 1500km trip and two times 8 hrs drive.

Leuven is a nice city with a beautiful old town. The old city center is largely blocked from car traffic and only pedestrians and bikes are allowed.

We were lucky on our way there and passed Magdeburg much earlier than a devastating truck accident happened there. Had to take a large detour in the middle of the night on our way back.


We came back only at around 2:30am from our long trip to Leuven. That was obviously a rather short night as I had to make sure the younger kids get out to school.


Eventually got a proper haircut again. The last one I got in the countryside and apparently the hairdresser wasn’t up to his game that day. Went again the “Schicke Friese” in the hood and am very satisfied with the results.

Found an issue in my Pixelfed instance. I tried to use a private Account as a replacement for WhatsApp stories. Was wondering whether there was almost no interaction on the photos and started to debug a bit. Turns out that replies from other Fediverse accounts which have their reply privacy settings set to “followers only” (which should be the correct reply type for followers only posts) will just be ignored by Pixelfed.

Filed this as bug on Github.


Picked up running with a friend from our house again. Still a bit rusty, but getting back into it again.

Saturday – Dorffest

Our village turned 275 years old this year. So it was our duty to organise and host the yearly “Dorffest” of the municipality. The whole village got involved and helped preparing the event. I did a Photo Booth were people could have a picture taken in front of a decorative banner. Either dressed up with fancy costumes or plain.

We had quite some fun and good conversations with neighbours and acquaintances from around the village. Adding colour to already known stories and getting to know new stories. Always rather entertaining.

There was also a flea market where I’ve got a special device from my youth. An original GDR “Allesschneider” (cutter for everything) including the original packaging.

We had this thing when I was a kid. It was donated to the flea market by the oldest inhabitant of the village. A 91 year old lady who is still rather fit and lovely.

#weeklyreview 34/23

The last week in the countryside before school begins again and the kids and me move back to Berlin.


Final step of dismantling the old Verein. It was good while it lasted. But it’s also good to finally be done with all these formalities.


Despite me usually grumbling about ChatGTP generated code I gave it another try and actually got some working python code out of it that didn’t needed much correction.

Trying to use my Pixelfed instance like I’d use the Story feature in WhatsApp and Signal. I’m sharing there only with selected people. So I’ve created a new account @falko@pxl.mxhdr.net which is followers only and every follower needs to be “approved” first. Feel free to apply, but don’t feel offended if I don’t accept your request. This account is for people I know in person to a good extent. Not necessarily have met in person yet but you know. Not just your random internet acquaintance.

My Pixelfed instance still seems to have some issues with federation. Comments or likes don’t seem to make it to my instance at the moment. I’m debugging that. But the main functionality of just seeing my personal photo stream is working.

Friday – China Restaurant

As we had enjoyed the visit to the China restaurant in Prenzlau a week ago so much but were a bit in a hurry, we chose to go there again for the all-you-can-eat buffet 😀
Boy was I stuffed after that …

And for a serendipity moment … just a few moments after we sat down and pondered over the buffet, my parents showed up. They were just stopping by for lunch on their way back from vacation on the Baltic Sea.

Saturday – Gundermann

On Saturday our yearly village summer cinema evening took place again behind the church. This year we saw “Gundermann” – a film by filmmaker Andreas Dresen. I’ve heard about the movie quite a bit already, but never could be bother to actually watch it. I thought it’s about that singer songwriter from the GDR and his band “Die Seilschaft“. But it turned out it was more about him being an informant for the GDR internal intelligence service (Stasi). The movie was really good. Really well casted and played by all the actors. I like especially that movie looked like it was filmed in the GDR with GDR equipment and that there was so much attention on GDR details. As a former GDR inhabitant I recognised so many details as typical and genuine GDR. Really appreciate that effort and level of detail.

There have been quite a few movies about or taking place in the former GDR. But you can tell pretty easy if the producers knew anything about the GDR or not. Just having a few Trabant and Wartburg drive around is absolutely not sufficient to portray the country. I’ll watch the documentary “Gundermanns Revier” by Grit Lemke about Gundermann as well. Found that in the Wikipedia and apparently is very good.

#weeklyreview 33/23


Last day at the Baltic Sea. This time we really stayed until the last day. Sometimes we skip the last night just to drive back home during the night when the roads are empty. Occasionally I like that better than getting up earlier on the last day, pack and leave in time. That days is anyway lost as a vacation day then. Rather be home earlier and have a full day to recover from the drive.

But not this time. Weather was good and we hit the road around 09:30am back to our house in the .



Only on Monday I realised that I actually still had vacation. Was almost prepared to start into the work week again after two weeks of vacation. But this Monday we took the chance to do a little road trip in the and meet some friends.

First stop was the “Naturseifen Manufaktur Uckermark” of Anke Thoma. The owner is a long time friend of my wife and they both were rather excited to meet again after a long time of not seeing each other. The shop but first and foremost her products are really beautiful.

After meeting another friend just around the corner from the soap shop we went on to Prenzlau for a special lunch. Special for us, as we used to go to that asian restaurant decades ago. They have an all-you-can-eat buffet for lunch and it is as dodgy as you imagine. But still we like it every once in a while. Also, because this was the first time in more than 5 years that my wife attended a restaurant visit and had a dish actually.

She even felt strong enough to give the St. Marien church in Prenzlau a visit. That church is special as it’s still being refurbished. It was almost completely demolished during the WW2 and not rebuild really during GDR time. The two massive towers are already accessible for a climb and beautiful view over Prenzlau.

Of course there was a dude atop complaining about the sight of wind turbines on the horizon.

Tuesday – new MacBook

After 6 years of using my trusty MacBook Pro I thought its about time to get a new one. The old one got slow to a point it was annoying. On Tuesday the new device could finally be picked up from local IT in the office. Took a short trip there and picked up the device. Apparently two weeks of vacation were long enough for me to forget my account password. I locked my account by repeatedly typing in the wrong password. I guess that means the vacation were effective.

The new device is a MacBook Pro 14 inch with the M2 Max CPU and 64GB RAM. I already fanboyed hard on Mastodon about this device. It’s so incredibly fast …. this must be alien technology.

I witnessed the jump in performance of adding more RAM to a machine and then the switch from HDDs to SSD. But this new CPU architecture seems to be another level. Everything is so snappy, you don’t even see the app icon jump in the Dock. The apps just open.

I immediately created two virtual machines using UTM to test performance of virtualisation. Both VMs were using the ARM CPU and got 4 CPU cores and 12GB RAM.

Each of these VMs (one macOS, one Debian Linux) were faster than my old laptop. And they bother ran in parallel while the main OS was still snappy.

And now the best part. I get over a whole work day with one battery charge. Even when running these VMs in parallel and have my 2 browser with many tabs open. This is just crazy magic.

Am I drooling again?

The keyboard got a physical ESC key eventually and feels rather solid.


spend the whole day playing with the new macBook. Still in total awe about the performance. Had to switch the Linux VM to an x86_64 arch though as some essential proprietary packages were not available for ARM.


We tried to bring the sailboat of my in-laws into the water. Turns out the wooden planks have dried out too much over winter and the boat would just have sunk if we had just pushed it off the trailer. Lessons learned…

there shouldn’t be that much water leaking out of the hull


We had a nice party in the evening with some friends from around the villages. Just a small gathering this time, but all the more intense and interesting conversations.

Saturday – AnnenMayKantereit

Saturday evening our two boys and I attended the #AnnenMayKantereit concert in Berlin. It took place in the Parkbühne Wuhlheide and was just wonderful. They’re easily the best band in Germany right now. Everything was well prepared and although we had to wait for quite some time for the band to appear, there was enough catering in the Parkbühne with lots of drinks and food etc.

The concert itself of course was awesome. They just take their thing very serious and give their best and enjoy themselves and the audience. So much that even early on in the concert you could feel something like “standing ovations” to the band. I mean we were standing from the moment they entered the stage anyway because the dudes in front of us stood up… But they really engaged and amazed the crowed. Have rarely seen this with a German audience.

#weeklyreview 32/23

Sunday – Driving to the Baltic Sea

Our yearly family vacation time has arrived. Since about 20 years we‘re spending a week during the summer at the Baltic Sea on Rügen island. That’s the largest German island and a popular place for vacation just laying on the beach.

Looks this year it will be slightly different. The weather is somewhat off this year. It‘s raining heavily and is also quite stormy. Temperature seems to be as low as a 14,5° C during the day.

Usually we‘d be just baking in the sun or slowly cooking in the shade of our beach tent. Apparently not so this year. Weather forecast looks like rain and storm the whole week. Maybe a bit better towards the next weekend.

As a frequent reader you might have already figured that weather doesn’t bother me 🙂 The more weather, the better.

As a first call to action after arrival I got my trusty bright yellow rain jacket out a took a walk on the beach. Lovely weather!

Me being really excited about the weather

Monday – too many people

It’s still raining quite heavily and still stormy. That didn’t stop us from going jogging and swimming this morning. My little tough cookie K3 and I had a nice run on the beach and hopped into the too warm Baltic Sea after that. As the wind had changed direction during the night the beach was now in lee and thus the water was much quieter and save to swim in.

We entertained the idea of finally giving the Ozeaneum in Stralsund a visit. That’s quite a drive from were our apartment is, but due to the weather there wasn’t really anything better we could possibly due over here anyway.

Bad idea as it turned out. Looks like too many people had the same idea. That’s bad enough to get off the peninsula we’re at with many people trying to do the same. But apparently most of them also had the idea to go to Stralsund. I can’t explain otherwise why the city was so crowded. We circled around the Ozeaneum place a few times. But there wasn’t any parking spot closer than at least 2km away. That distance usually wouldn’t stop us. But at heavy rain we considered this too much.

Instead we drove back an payed a visit to Binz to get us some famous “Franzbrötchen” and visited the Seebrücke.

Defective by design

In the recent weeks more and more people wrote about the very bad idea that is Googles “Web Environment Integrity“ (WEI). It’s an attempt by Google to convince websites to query a special API (of course provided by Google) whether the requesting browsing client is OK (according to googles idea of “OK”) to serve.

Greg Farough wrote an in depth article why this is destroying the very idea of an open internet:

Compared to its staggering potential effects, the technical means through which WEI will accomplish its ends is relatively simple. Before serving a web page, a server can ask a third-party “verification” service to make sure that the user’s browsing environment has not been “tampered” with. A translation of the policy’s terminology will help us here: this Google-owned server will be asked to make sure that the browser does not deviate in any way from Google’s accepted browser configuration, precluding any meaningful use of the four freedoms. It is not far-fetched to imagine a future in which sites simply refuse to serve pages to users running free browsers or free operating systems. If WEI isn’t stopped now, that future will come sooner than we think.

Greg Farough – https://www.defectivebydesign.org/blog/web_environment_integrity_is_an_all_out_attack_on_free_internet

402 – Payment required

ChatGPT bot blocked from scraping my websites as training material. Thanks for the hint and code to Franz.

Wednesday – long walks

First thing in the morning was 6 km jogging barefoot on the beach. As usual, I overdid this slightly as I got some blisters under my feet from running. That wouldn’t be too much of a problem if we hadn’t planned to walk in the beach to the next village for lunch. That was also two times a roughly 5 km walk and didn’t make those blisters smaller.

I guess no more jogging this vacation then.

Thursday- Karls Erdbeerhof

Also a Tradition when we’re here: going to Karl’s Erdbeerhof. That’s a barn/farm style kids amusement park themed around strawberries. They have a large barn building turned into a restaurant, indoor playground and shopping area. They build their own sweets and manufacture them right in front of your eyes. In the outside area are a whole bunch of kids attractions like slides, climbing thingies, petting zoo etc.

I like that as it’s a local brand that has built it’s credibility over several years now. They managed to expand the concept and opened up more of these facilities in the north of Germany and even one close to Berlin. Kids love it their and their stuff is very friendly ( something unheard of in Germany).

Friday – Beach Day

Finally the weather was good enough to spent the day on the beach just chillin as we usually do during this summer vacation.

The Baltic Sea was very calm and I took a little swim straight out from the beach. Just about 200m out and then turned around to get back to the beach. The kind guys from the DLRG (German lifeguards) payed me a visit with their shiny read boat to check whether everything is OK. Apparently I was a little too far out of the formal swimming zone for their taste.

I thanked them for checking and confirmed I’m just happily paddling along back to the beach.

Earlier the day we hiked up the little hill and on top of the pilot tower to take the obligatory pictures from atop over the peninsula.

Saturday – Choo choo

Weather was good enough before lunch for beach. Wind direction has turned a bit so that we had a light breeze from the sea. Took a swim, this time properly with my buoy and parallel to the beach. No visit from the lifeguards 😉

In the afternoon kiddo and me too the traditional steam engine train from Göhren to Binz and back. Always a bit of an adventure for the steam engine nerd. The air was rather smokey and reminded me of the winters in GDR time.