Dream of the kind of world
you wanna live in.
Dream it out loud,
at high volume

Bono, U2

Latest Personal Blog Entries

20 Apr 2015 2014 – a year in review

I think it’s good practice to list up all the things you achieved in a year. It’s not really about telling others and brag about it. No, it’s more about telling yourself and calm down (impostor syndrome anyone?).

So let’s talk about 2014. We (my wife, our five boys and me) were living in Hamburg, Germany they whole year and I was working as a freelancing software developer most of the time. Besides that

  • While working for XING AG I helped building the new Communities product, a replacement for the old Groups. It finally took us one and a half years to get there. What sounds like a simple forum or blackboard application is actually much more, especially implementing access control and integration into the rest of the XING universe.
  • I took a look into programming with Elixir and Go, and both are very promising alternatives to my current favorite Ruby
  • I tried using the Atom editor. It’s a very good text editor, with lots of nifty feature for programmers and already with a big community. Nonetheless, I finally stayed with Sublime Text
  • We decided to return to New Zealand. It’s where currently our heart is. We didn’t finish this chapter of our life last time (in 2012/13), so we had to go back (I’m currently writing this post in Wellington, New Zealand)
  • I played around with Docker. It’s more than just a new kid on the block, it’s the near future. It’s already mature, ready to use even in production and comes with a very big community (I somehow got the feeling this is important).
  • I went to two conferences this year. The first one is Scottish Ruby Conf in Edinburgh and Crieff, Scotland, a typical Ruby conference with lots of enthusiastic and caring people and topics about, well, Ruby. The second one is Beyond Tellerrand, a conference about working with and living in the Internet, not only about development or design. It’s an amazing event, highly recommended!
  • I released version 4 of AASM, one of the open source projects I’m maintaining. It actually took more than a year to finish this up, so I’m glad it’s out of the door.
  • I gave a talk about AASM at the Hamburg Ruby User Group meetup. General topic was Open Source made in Hamburg.
  • I had to learn that communication is hard. It all started with me creating an issue for paranoia, asking for a new release, and ended with a dispute on twitter. I finally met this guy on the RubyConf Australia in Melbourne, Australia, and talked to him about that issue. Still, communication is hard.
  • I participated in the Rails Rumble, together with Jan Krutisch, Florian Munz and Denise Tham. We built Awesome Recipes, which you can use to visually create kitchen recipes and share them with others. We finally made it to the 9th place, and we are overall very happy with the result.
  • We travelled to Sweden for the fourth time, and I can only say that we enjoyed it pretty much, again, and we will definitely come back for a fifth time (once we return to Europe).
  • I migrated our previous Rails Rumble project, the Awesome Fontstacks, from Rails version 3 to 4.
  • I implemented JSON views, which are simple Ruby files evaluated as Rails views and delivering JSON strings.
  • We visited Stralsund and Rügen. If you find the time, go there and have a look yourself. Both are really beautiful.
  • I read a couple of fictional books, one of which of which I can highly recommend (sorry, German only): Blackout written by Marc Elsberg.
  • I finally read Candid written by Voltaire (again, sorry, German only).
  • Together with my eldest son I visited the Thalia theatre in Hamburg, Germany, where they played Moby Dick without any (!) stage setting. Very, very good acting!
  • I set up my wife as the beneficiary for all of my insurances.
  • I started to use #pants, a light-weight blogging engine coming with a fully decentralized social network built-in (I couldn’t have said that any better than Hendrik himself.
  • I switched from Quicksilver to Alfred, and I haven’t regretted it until today.
  • I was part of the Hacktable team organising a couple of Superkids events, allowing kids to take a look into programming and working with computers.
  • I merged two Instapaper accounts into one. Yes, I manually copied over links from one account to the other. If there’s a better way to do this, I don’t want to know.
  • Benny and I abandoned blanksand, our shared office space in the centre of Hamburg, Germany. It was finally too much effort to keep things up and we didn’t use it enough. Sad, but true.
  • We bought a SUP for Standup paddleboarding. Not cheap, but hell lot of fun. You should try it!
  • I reviewed a book about Redis Applied Design Patterns. Check it out if you are interested in working with Redis.

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25 Aug 2013 All along the watchtower

All I've got is a red guitar,
three chords, and the truth.
All I've got is a red guitar,
the rest is up to you.

taken from “All along the watchtower” by Bob Dylan

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08 Oct 2012 Painted a year ago

Instagram Photo of bird painted with chalk

Roughly a year ago a very good friend of mine, Benjamin Rabe, was organising an event for iPhone fingerpainters from all over the world. He invited them to come over to our shared office space and have a couple of drinks. I can't remember who came up with the idea, but we finally bought a bunch of paint tubes and asked the painters to try and somehow return to real painting, with real paint and a real canvas. And since all of them should do it together, the canvas simply had to be one of our office walls.

Instagram Photo of fingerpainting in progress

Over the next couple of hours, these guys really went into something, and so the painting on our wall grew and grew.

Instagram Photo of fingerpainting in progress

And it grew even further.

Instagram Photo of fingerpainting in progress

We really had good fun watching the work in progress. Everybody, even guests without prior painting experience, was giving it a try. Everybody was invited to fill the wall up and paint what they were feeling like.

Instagram Photo of fingerpainting in progress

Everybody was in a flow. Even when waiting outside, it was a nice and warm night, the people couldn't stop painting, this time using crayons, and they went on painting little pictures on the street.

Instagram Photo of fingerpainting on the streets using chalk

After having painted for almost 5 hours, everybody was happy with the result and proud of being part of this happening. The final picture is about 5 meters wide and almost 3 meters high, and it does not fit in full size on the following image.

Instagram Photo of finished fingerpainting

But feel invited to come over and take a look yourself! The painting is still there and will be around until we leave the office to the next residents. When coming back to the office the next morning, we were glad it haven't rained yet and the chalk paintings outside were still visible.

Instagram Photo of finished chalk fingerpainting

When taking a closer look at the big painting inside, I noticed a number of nifty details.

Instagram Photo of fingerpainting details

Instagram Photo of fingerpainting details

Instagram Photo of fingerpainting details

It was just a wonderful evening. Thanks to everyone who was taking part in this, and even more thanks to the guy who created this living and one-of-a-kind experience, Benjamin Rabe!

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25 Sep 2012 That's Wellington

Instagram Photo of a typical house and road in Wellington, New Zealand

This picture represents the Wellington style pretty much. Old and new in once place, with lots of very steep hills and roads.

Taken with Instagram

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27 Aug 2012 Castlepoint, New Zealand

Instagram Photo of the lighthouse in Castlepoint, New Zealand

Last weekend we stayed in Castlepoint on east coast of the north island of New Zealand. Words cannot describe how beautiful this spot is. If you haven't been there yet, do so as soon as possible! No excuses accepted!


Größere Kartenansicht

Taken with Instagram

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15 Aug 2012 The Karori tunnel

Instagram Photo of the Karori tunnel

This is the Karori tunnel which connects the suburb Karori with the Wellington city centre. Most people take their car to drive through it. But that day we decided to do the walk of about 4 kilometers.


Größere Kartenansicht

Taken with Instagram

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28 May 2012 Remembering wars

Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and shows of flags and well-oiled guns.

Kurt Vonnegut from “Cat's Cradle”, published in 1963

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17 Apr 2012 Five Factors to make your Life more creative

Space: “You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”

Time: “It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”

Time again: “Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to tolerate the discomfort of pondering time and indecision.

Confidence: “Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”

Humor: “The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”

John Cleese, A lecture on creativity, 1991

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16 Apr 2012 Vulcano

Instagram Photo of Mount Ruhapeha, Wellington, New Zealand

This is Mount Ngauruhoe in the Tongariro National Park, New Zealand, most likely known as Mount Doom of Mordor from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And yes, we did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, together with our little 5 year old kiddo Kester, who walked the whole distance of 19.4 km!

Taken with Instagram

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