#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

#weeklyreview 24/23

What a week … my work project is in its final phase of hopefully successful completion. But it’s taking a few over hours to push it over the finish line. Not because I’m forced to, but because I like the technical challenges and also working with people and solve their problems.

I also get to write some Python code again. Not that I’m good at it. But I love automating tedious tasks with code. Thats what computers were made for – take over jobs that can be automated, so you’re free to do stuff that the computer can’t do.

Lunch break

spontaneous in-person lunch with @moellus on Wednesday. Forgot to take picture as the distracted me with conversation (I know, quite unusual for him)

K2 odyssee

K2 got an invite to the university of Saarbrücken and the Max-Planck-Institute for Computer Science to attend the “Forschungstage Informatik”. This was his first (almost) solo trip by train across the country. The journey to Saarbrücken went, apart from a hour delay on the last leg, OK. The event itself was apparently quite interesting for him. Finally meeting a bunch of likeminded nerds to converse about math and computer science problems….

The journey back but gave him the full dose of german railway incompetence. The first train had to stop at a rather rural train station as the way ahead was blocked by some accident. So they (fortunately there was another kid from Berlin that attended the same event and was traveling together with K2) had to find and alternative route. Since trains were not operating anymore on this station, they had to take a bus to the next bigger city. There they tried to catch the next train to Mainz and Frankfurt/Main. But of course these trains were overloaded and delayed as well. Getting much too late into Frankfurt that evening, there was no fast train going to Berlin anymore. Instead they were parked with an overcrowded train a bit outside Frankfurt for half the night. Just to get back into Frankfurt very early morning and then try to head east towards Berlin. But of course that route didn’t go smooth either. Train had issues and got cancelled to continue to Berlin in Leipzig. Another change. Eventually after almost 24hrs he safely arrive at home.


On Thursday evening two ex-colleagues had organised a reunion of our teams at Nokia/HERE in a beer garden. It was quite a large turn up and heartfelt meeting with all the good friends we made over the last almost 20 years.

It was really nice to see all those folks again and chat about the good old times. I’m tempted to say this was one of the most competent and powerful teams I’ve met in my professional career. And the other folks seem to agree as well, now that they have moved on to other companies. Many realise that despite the complaints we had back in days together as a team, we were rather advanced and at the forefront of technology and witchcraft. In their new companies they stepped back several years and have to start all over again to convince people about certain technology and ways of working advantages.

Roofing ceremony

On Saturday our neighbours invited us to the roofing ceremony of their barn building. That was lovely and funny. Their property is like a fairytale garden with so much stuff laying around and being collected and arranged. Chicken pens and gardens, wood carvings, playgrounds, herbs and flowers etc.

One native guy got drunk and excited about a new drink he “invented”. Eventually he had too much of it and we had to carry him home. As he’s in his 70s already, we wanted to make sure he makes it back safely to his bad although it was just across the street.

Random Pictures

#weeklyreview 23/23

Oh, magic week number 23/23

Last weekend I attempted my normal swimming distance on the local lake. The lake is small, about 250 m – 300 m in diameter, and got 3 beaches. My usual track is to start at one beach and swim a triangle across the other two beaches. The total distance is usually around 800 m due to some drift etc.

During the winter swimming the distance is too much for me to cover in freestyle. And since I didn’t manage to go to indoor pools for longer distance training over the winter, I lost my condition to some extend and have to build it again.

But on the weekend I managed to cover the full distance two days in a row at around 22 minutes. Getting back into it feels great.

I’m swimming longer distances with these swim pads on the hands. They keep my hands relaxed as I otherwise tend to get cramps in the hands on longer distances.

The work week was rather busy. Monday we had a „surprise“ doctors visit with the kid. Surprise only in that way that we messed up our calendar almost forgot about this appointment which we had waited for for almost half a year.

Did quite some overhours this week as the migration project I‘m working on is in its final phase. Unraveling technical challenges and dealing with users finally waking up to do the needed changes on their side despite several weeks of notifications and announcement about the upcoming changes. As our company has office around the world, there is always someone awake and pinging me with question.

Also experiencing they „joy“ of outsourcing and different levels of competence. Some services affected by the migration are outsourced to a large service provider with their main workforce in India. They are supposed to operate those services on our behalf. Many of them really have no clue what they are doing there. They neither know the service, nor the basics of operations or network. They just follow instructions and some short notes someone provided. There is absolutely no sense of ownership or understanding for the systems. If just a single character in their notes deviates from what they find on the systems, they throw their hands up and can’t figure out how to continue.

I‘m not blaming the individuals. They are all friendly and try to work with the conditions they find and they hired for. This is some dudes renting bodies for cheap to other companies that don‘t want to have people on their payroll. It is super inefficient and I can‘t imagine that it is cheaper then doing this yourself with competent people.

But the situation reminds me a little to what Reed Hastings wrote in his book about Netflix hiring and operations strategy. In knowledge work (and I consider the majority of IT work as knowledge work) the difference between an average person and a good person is orders of magnitudes larger than in other professions. A really good engineer will do the work of not just 2 or 3 average engineers, no they might be able to replace 10 or 20 average engineers. But companies usually have a hard time admitting that.

And you also need to make sure that those high potential engineers are working on the proper problems. Of course you can keep them busy with mundane tasks like creating PowerPoints and filling out reports. But maybe thats not the best use of their powers.


On Tuesday I tried what my friend Assbach does on a more regular basis and captured what I did the whole day as a blog post. Apparently there is a whole community.

But of course I did it slightly wrong as there are apparently rules for (of course there are rules, this is Germany. There are rules for everything). Somehow the day for is the 5th of every month.

Well ….

Pizza steel

This week i finally got myself a pizza steel. That’s an 8mm think slate of steel to put in the oven for making pizzas and other dough things like bread and rolls.

The tip came from my friend Ali who doesn‘t mess around with stuff but always takes serious science based approach. He of course had lot of evidence that steel just has the better heat capacity and transmission features to produce the proper crust etc.

Steel also has the advantage that you can heat it up really high and it’s almost indestructible with your normal kitchen equipment. You don‘t need to worry about it when using a knife or other sharp tools. But it’s rather heavy, you wanna watch to not drop that somewhere. It will for sure damage your floor and limbs.

Will take it to a test drive on the Weber grill on the weekend.

Random Pictures

#WMDEDGT – 06.06.2023

OK, let’s try this because my friend @assbach seems to be really excited about it 😉

The hashtag stands for the german phrase “Was machst Du eigentlich den ganzen Tag?”. Read for yourself …

06:00 Uhr wake up

06:10 shower, toothbrush, towel, hair

06:25 tidying kitchen from day before

06:30 making coffee, bake rolls for kids breakfast

06:40 writing, printing, signing excuse letters for kids school 

06:50 tidying up kitchen and other rooms in preparation for cleaning person

07:00 drinking coffee, chatting with kiddo about the day ahead

07:10 ironing shirt for office 

07:20 discuss new medication with second kid

07:30 more tidying up

07:40 writing, printing, signing another letter for school for other kiddo

07:50 commuting to the office by bike

08:10 arrive at office, get keyboard and mouse out of the locker

08:15 first ping from a colleague, meeting via WebEx to go over some tickets and code I wrote

09:00 putting some code into GitLab to share with colleagues, tidying up the files, updating/adding documentation, writing .gitignore to exclude logs and config

10:00 having a short tea break with a colleague, chatting about getting old and feeling broken joints everywhere. Went for Jasmin green tea and forgot the bag in the cup. Now it’s tasting a little strong

10:10 further code cleanup and push to GitLab

10:20 debugging Splunk logging issues with colleagues from India

10:30 Putting first batch of entries on the blog

10:40 Screenshare session with a colleague to explain a Jupyter Notebook to him
11:30 Reworking some code, trying to ignore all the contact attempts from colleagues
14:00 call from boss, escalation about some technical issue I need to get involved in

14:10 updating an internal wiki page with some vendor information
14:15 getting pizza from a shop around the corner
14:25 devouring the pizza in the office kitchen
14:40 reading up on support tickets for an upcoming call

15:00 VideoConf with a vendor
15:30 discussing with team about call
15:40 call with colleague
16:00 colleague disappointed about our call ;), start working on the code again I tried to write earlier
17:50 oh fuck that late already, need to get back home and take care of the kids I guess.

18:23 oh fuck… still in the office. Really need to head off now

18:30 finally on the bike on my way home
18:50 grocery shopping for dinner. Kiddo demanded pasta with champignon cream sauce
19:20 cooking dinner
19:45 dinner with the kids
20:10 half hour TV with the kid and a phone call with mum, printing some papers for the kid, of course does the printer run out of ink and need replacement
20:50 grocery shopping again as I need some fresh yeast for the pizza dough I need to prepare for tomorrow
21:20 making pizza dough and tidying up the kitchen
21:45 some more emails with tax office stuff

22:45 debugging some issues with some enterprise software

23:19 I should really go to bed now … maybe just one more look at the open issues …

23:35 really considering turning off the computer now

will probably exchange a few more messages with my wife and then call it a day …

#weeklyreview 22/23

This was a rather short workweek. Somehow. Monday was an official holiday in Germany. So we could stay one day longer in the countryside. And since the kids in Berlin also had Tuesday off, we could prolong our stay until Tuesday. Although I had to work in Tuesday, its still nicer than working in Berlin 😉

Due to the prolonged Weekend we had two swimming sessions with the ice swimming crew. Of course it’s nowhere near to ice swimming anymore. But we enjoy the company and there is some sort of “competition” going on. Who’s got the best gear (swim pads, buoy etc.) and who brings the best cake and tea. Water temperature is well over 15ºC now the beach almost gets crowded with people taking a bath.

On Sunday my wife had some old friends from school over. People she hadn’t seen in person for almost 30 years. It was wonderful to see them immediately get back into their old vibes and enjoy their company. One person brought a dog which apparently felt comfy rather quick and slumbered under the table.

Back in Berlin I finally got my car tires changed to the summer tires. While its rather sunny since about 2 weeks. The nights were still rather cold. Sunday morning started with 3.6ºC at end of May. I guess some days before we might even had frost over night. So, good I stuck with my winter tires until now 😉


The second Peter Fox solo album got released this Friday. I like it. Doesn’t sound much at first maybe, but it gets better and catchier with every play. He definitely still got it and is a league of his own in my eyes.

Favorites so far:

  • Celebration
  • Toskana Fanboy
  • Zukunft Pink

but really the whole album is good.


Finished watching all 4 seasons of “Killing Eve” and I liked it very much. Go watch it on ZDF Mediathek while its still available.

#weeklyreview 21/23

phew week 21 is already almost 2 weeks ago. So I’m definitely late with this post. Again. And admittedly its hard to remember what happened. Because I’m old and because so much stuff is happening all the time.

I refreshed my nail polish

Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to make it proper. Since I’m working a lot with my hands, the normal nail polish wears off rather quickly.


A very nice vegetarian dish I recently discovered: Zucchini/Aubergine lasagna. Dunno wether its actually called like that. But its relatively simply and very delicious:

Cut Zucchini and Aubergine into 3-4mm think slices along the long side. Put in a bowl and season with salt and let them rest for about 10 minutes. That will get some water out. Then fry them in a pan with oil until they show signs of brown frying marks.

In a bowl mix some canned tomatoes squash with salt, pepper and garlic (shredded, squeezed etc.). Now alternating layers of tomato sauce and fried veggie stripes in a cooking pan (must be good for oven use) like a lasagna.

Grate some cheese on top and put into the over at 200ºC for about 25min.

#weeklyreview 20/23


On Saturday we attended a short live concert of a queer-lesbian country-punk band in the next village. The venue was an old GDR restaurant that has been lovingly conserved by a artist Frank Suplie. He’s inviting every once in a while for an evening of dance music and drinks. Its just lovely and cool to meet so many diverse people from the village and beyond.


On Saturday we finally had good old friends over for lunch. Due to the illness of my wife we weren’t able to invite friends over to us for about 5 years now. But since her conditions are slightly improving we finally able to have people over and enjoyed a wonderful reunion with a couple from France/Turkey and her lovely kids. This was long needed 🙂


This week we had to take some blood samples for a lab test. Living on the rural countryside it’s quite a trip to the next town for a doctor. Also… you’d have to wait in a crowded room for a while. Not really something a patient with severe ME/CFS condition can do. While we have support from a care-taking company, their staff doesn’t have the proper training to take blood samples.

So eventually I do this kind of stuff on my own. Its not rocket surgery and just takes proper instructions (learned it from several ER nurses) and a bit practice.

Oak Blossoms

Ever wondered what oak blossoms look like? I did. As I couldn’t remember to have knowingly seen oaks blossom. This year I was lucky to see this period of the oak vegetation period and took a picture (slightly out of focus though). The blossoms are rather unspectacular brown feathered strings hanging down under the edge leaves.


After finishing “Doppelhaushälfte” I moved on to finally watching “Killing Eve“. It’s brilliant. A few years old already, but still gold. Many episodes are produced by the brilliant Phoebe Waller-Bridge. I love the play between Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer in there.


Some assorted bookmarks I collected over the last week:

go-meteologix – Go packages for accessing Meteologix/Kachelmann Wetter/WeatherUS data from Lord Neessen

Solar-Akku für Alle – Wie du einen 15 kWh Solar-Akku selber baust!

ARTE Doku über die Geschichte Chinas

#weeklyreview 19/23


On Saturday we celebrated the reunion with the Ukrainian families we helped to find accommodation in our village last year when Putin started a war on Ukraine. They have all found new places across Europe meanwhile, some went back to the Ukraine even. It was great to see them again and have good conversations over dinner and drinks.

We’re still amazed that the help for those four families basically sparked a whole bunch of new relationships in the villages. Beside meeting new friends in those people from Ukraine we also made new friends locally that we hadn’t met before. Despite living their alongside each other for several years already.

Helping those families helped bonding as a common cause and we enjoy the new company very much. Of course its sad that it took a war to start this.


a few weeks back I cut, split and stacked my wood. Was rather proud of my round stacks and how well they stood stable. Of course I was too lazy or busy to set up some stabilization around the stacks. And then the sunday before last sunday we heard a rumbling noise. One of the stacks collapsed as I had put a metal firepit on top to protect the stack from rain.

So I had to remove all the loose layers (almost to the ground) and restack the whole thing again. Took about 3 hrs. This time it put some fence around the stack right away to not touch that wood again this years …

Appliance failure

looks like this week was the week of appliance failure. Our fridge/freezer combination in Berlin doesn’t work anymore. So I had to order a new one. This is, beside the oven, probably the most important device in the kitchen as we need it store food and freeze the meals I’m preparing for my wife during the week for the next week.

Finally tuesday the new device was delivered and installed. So good to have chilled drinks again 😉

In our house in the the water heater broke finally after the 14 years. The magic smoke escaped and it has to be replaced now.

I hope this was the last bit of equipment that suddenly stops working…


few weeks ago I lost my beloved sunglasses in the Baumarkt. Fortunately I found the same model on Kleinanzeigen and picked it up on Sunday evening. They ware dirty but fortunately in very good condition otherwise. A thorough cleaning and the look like new. No scratches anywhere.

And as the weather finally feels like spring or even summer, I could have lunch on the balkony and put them to good use right away 😉


Started watching “Doppelhaushälfte” in the ZDF Mediathek upon recommendation from @klappstulli. This is brilliant TV once again. The stories are super funny and intelligent and the cast is really outstanding. We love it.