circle.ch weblog by Urs Gehrig

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A weblog about libre software, law, technology, politics and the like.
Academic, Android, Apache, Apple, Art, Best Of, Biotech, Civil Society, Content Management, Cooking, Copyright, Creative Commons, Crosspost, Culture, Database, Deutsch, DRM, Economy, Education, Event, Gadget, General, Geodata, Government, Health, Howto, Humor, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Java, Language, LaTeX, Law, Linux, Media, Moblog, Mozilla, Music, Office, Open Content, Open Source, P2P, PHP, Podcast, Politics, Privacy, Projects, Random Thought, Rant, Science, Search, Social Network, Software, Sport, Talks, Technology, Technology Transfer, Travelling, Weblog, Wiki, Wireless and Mobile, XML

18. December 2008

Öffnungszeiten von diesem und jenem Geschäft
@ 08:36:14

Wahora [1] stellt einen ganz nützlichen Dienst zur Verfügung, wobei die Öffnungszeiten ortsspezifischer Dienstleister abgefragt werden können. Hoffen wir mal, dass die Zeiten auch stimmen.

[1] http://www.wahora.ch/query.php?cmd=s&search=pickpost+basel

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20. June 2007

Public transport map offering realtime data
@ 10:16:08

Helsinki City Transport offers service, where the current position of every bus is being displayed online. Each bus has a GPS delivering position specific data. The information is shown in real time on Google maps. There are official maps owned by the government that are fare more detailled [2]. In such cases it would make sense to (re)use resources that have been payed via taxes already by the citizens.

[1] http://transport.wspgroup.fi/hklkartta/
[2] http://kartta.hel.fi/opas/main/?lang=en

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01. June 2007

Liip is hiring - again, again, more and more
@ 14:55:21

Watch out Liip AG on www.liip.ch - they are hiring Flash/Java Multimedia Developers, JavaScript Developers, PHP/XSLT Web Developers and offer Interns in Web Development and Publishing [1]. They are going to become real big. And they have really interesting projects.

As a small sidenote - if you get hired by Liip, just mention to them to send that iPod to Basel ;)

[1] http://blog.liip.ch/archive/2007/05/23/liip-is-hiring-yet-again.html

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02. March 2007

adfinis is hiring
@ 21:37:33

adfinis GmbH in Bern is looking for a web developer
Zur Unterstützung unseres jungen Teams bei Neuprojekten und Wartung/Erweiterung von bestehenden Lösungen suchen wir per sofort eine/n PHP Entwickler/in mit Pensum nach Vereinbarung, ca. 80-100%.
More details can be found on their blog [1].

[1] http://www.adfinis.com/node/177

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01. March 2007

Bitflux und Mediagonal
@ 15:30:49

Gratulation an die Involvierten [1,2] u.a.m. ;)

[1] http://blog.bitflux.ch/p3900.html
[2] http://gassert.ch

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31. August 2006

Spiralfrog und Universal am Werbetrommeln
@ 09:55:46

Es war nicht zu überhören - Universal bringt mit Spiralfrog Musik zum Gratisdownload; werbefinanziert. Gemäss Techcrunch [1] sieht das dann so aus:
Spiral Frog will offer a desktop downloader for Windows Media Files (no iPods!) that can be listened to on one PC and two portable devices. Here’s the kicker - you must log in to the Spiral Frog service at least once per month, and see their ads, or your files will stop playing!
Sowohl Usability als auch Interoperabilität werden dadurch käumlich gesteigert werden, wenn man sich erst durch eine werbefinanzierte Plattform durchwühlen muss, um dann DRM geschützte Dateien herunterladen zu können.

[1] http://tinyurl.com/pz9up

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28. June 2006

Google Book Library - Auswirkungen in Deutschland
@ 21:21:14

Gemäss Spiegel und Google Blog hat Google in einem Prozess in Hamburg gegen die Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft einen Erfolg erzielt. Das Gericht erkannte keine Verletzung des Urheberrechts, nur weil Google Bücher des Verlags einscannt. Das Urteil ist soweit ersichtlich noch nicht online verfügbar.

[1] http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/0,1518,druck-424113,00.html
[2] http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/06/germany-and-google-books-library.html
[3] http://fhh.hamburg.de/stadt/Aktuell/justiz/urteilsdatenbank/start.html

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15. November 2005

Post-Grokster world with a closed P2P eDonkey
@ 22:12:37

Sam Yagan, President of MetaMachine, Inc., explains his companies "capitulation" to the RIAA and the conversion of eDonkey to a "closed" P2P system [1,2]. Regarding the creation of software, that can be used for legal and illegal purposes Sam Yagan says:
Because the Grokster standard requires divining a company's "intent," the decision was essentially a call to litigate. This is critical because most startup companies just don't have very much money. Whereas I could have managed to pay for a summary judgment hearing under Betamax, I simply couldn't afford the protracted litigation needed to prove my case in court under Grokster. Without that financial ability, exiting the business was our only option despite my confidence that we never induced infringement and that we would have prevailed under the Grokster standard.
Later in the testimonial he states:
Imagine if for the last ten years we had been able to convert just 1% of the estimated tens of billions of shared files into paid downloads. There is a market solution to be found - it may well be one that fits in to the business model of the incumbent entertainment industry, but it also may not.
If all those P2P software companies die, there will be not less file-shareing but less control by the record industry. As experianced earlier, users will simply turn to other services with similar offerings. What might help is to turn this P2P software to be used for something "good". Therefore some random thoughts:
  • What about a P2P network that only accepts open content licensed files?
  • And what about heading towards that 1% conversion, if the price per song - if we take music as an example - is considerably lower than e.g. in the iTunes Music Store?
  • What if the price is not fixed but depending on supply and demand?
  • What if some start an Open Music Stock Exchange to produce appropriate revenue?
I appreciate your response!

[1] http://drn.okfn.org/node/78
[2] http://judiciary.senate.gov/testimony.cfm?id=1624&wit_id=4689

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13. November 2005

iTunes als Business Modell für CC Musik?
@ 22:36:09

Sie mögen sich vielleicht erinnern; das Magazin Wired [1] lieferte in der Ausgabe vom November 2004 eine CD mit Songs, welche jeweils unter einer Creative Commons Lizenz lizenziert worden sind. Auf die Songs kann online über die Website von Creative Commons [2] und über die Seite legaltorrents.com [3] noch immer zugegriffen werden. Dennoch, bei der Suche nach Now Get Busy von Beastie Boys im iTunes Music Store wird man fündig. Der Song kann für CHF 1.50 gekauft werden.

Wie ist das möglich? Auf der Wired CD wurde Now Get Busy unter der "Noncommercial Sampling Plus" Lizenz veröffentlicht.
Songs under this license allow noncommerical sharing and noncommercial sampling.
Mit dem Lizenzelement "Nicht-kommerziell" behält es sich der Künstler eben gerade vor, sein Werk später auf eine ihm genehme Weise zu vermarkten. Als eine dieser Vermarktungsmöglichkeiten scheint sich iTunes zu anerbieten.

Wie aber kommt man als Musiker dazu, sein unter einer Creative Commons Lizenz lizenziertes Album im iTunes Music Store zum Verkauf anbieten zu können? Der Store kennt kein "Please upload your songs here..." oder ähnlichen Mechanismus. Die Dokumentation [4] und Recherche im Netz gibt eigentlich wenig her. Der Zugang scheint nur über eines der Major Labels möglich zu sein.

Dem ist nicht zwingend so. Nach einigen weiteren Recherchen bin ich auf ein Formular gestossen, wo sich kleine Labels bei Apple bewerben können [5].
Thanks for your interest in the iTunes Music Store.
Please use this form to tell us more about the types of music you have to offer. We are evaluating hundreds of applications, so it may take longer than we'd like to get back to you. But don't worry - we will review your application and contact you if we are interested in including your music in the iTunes Music Store. We will also keep your application on file for future reference, so there's no need to submit it more than once.

This inquiry is intended solely for use by persons who either own or control a catalog of sound recordings for digital distribution, or are an authorized representative of someone who does.
Gemäss Formular kann ein Label auch eine Privatperson, sprich ein Künstler sein, bspw. als "Independent Music Label". Eine wichtiger Punkt in Schritt 2 von 2 des Formulars lautet:
Please tell us more about the size of your catalog and the type of music you have to offer for which you have both digital track and digital album rights.
Digital album rights; die Rechte müssen beim Musiker oder Label liegen. Grundsätzlich steht der Zugang zum iTunes Music Store also auch jenen offen, die ihre "Freie Musik" mittels iTunes (eigen-)vermarkten wollen.

Rückmeldungen betreffend allfälliger Erfolgsbeispiele sind herzlich willkommen.

[1] http://wired-vig.wired.com/wired/archive/12.11/sample_pr.html
[2] http://creativecommons.org/wired
[3] http://www.legaltorrents.com
[4] http://www.apple.com/chde/support/itunes/
[5] https://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZLabel.woa/wa/apply

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11. November 2005

Open Content Business Models
@ 11:54:35

Gestern hatte ich die Gelegenheit, am Tweakfest teilzunehmen. Im Gespräch mit Zuhörern und Rednern waren Freie Software und Open Content, insbesondere Creative Commons, oft die massgebenden Themen. Nebst der Revision des Urheberrechtsgesetzes, DRM und den neuesten Rootkits wurde ich einmal mehr auf die Frage aufmerksam gemacht, wie man mit Open Content Geld verdienen kann.

Das ist ein Thema, zu welchem es keine eindeutige Antwort geben kann; ausser vielleicht der, dass man im konkreten Einzelfall nach dem geeigneten Geschäftsmodell suchen muss. Dass einem massgeschneiderte Modelle nicht auf dem roten Teppich dargeboten wird, dürfte einleuchten. Um hingegen selbst aus den Erfahrungen und Ideen von bestehenden Modellen zu lernen und eigene Geschäftsmodelle zu präsentieren, wurde die Plattform openbusiness.cc gegründet:
The openBusiness project will collect the best entepreneurial ideas to write the OpenBusiness Guide and everyone is free to participate. So join us now and help create the authorative source on open business models. [1]
Die Plattform wurde erst vor wenigen Wochen ins Leben gerufen, bietet aber einen guten Ausgangspunkt für eine anregende Diskussion. Ihr Beitrag ist gefragt.

[1] http://www.openbusiness.cc

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18. October 2005

Optimizing the business - ask for feedback
@ 20:39:53

Ark Clothing [1] produces picture bags. For their next collection they offer a form where the public is asked to vote for the most favourite designs. The top scored bag designs will go for production.
Then vote for your top ten favorite designs below and help us decide what the next lineup of ark bags will look like.

Best of all, the draw. Winning retail customer and friend will receive a free bag of their choice, sent anywhere in this damn world. Winning wholesale customer receive 10% off first orders from the new collection.
As looking forward to 2006 I would say that bags with football designs might be a good choice.

[1] http://www.arkclothing.net/new_pb_05/voting.htm

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12. September 2005

4.1 Billion
@ 16:52:47

That is a lot for a company, its technology and fame(?). eBay bought Skype [1]. It is said that there are over 50 Million registered users [2]. It looks as if the internet business is back again.

[1] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4237338.stm
[2] http://www.skypejournal.com/blog/archives/2005/08/50_million_skyp.php

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19. April 2005

Acting with local messengers
@ 16:51:57

Just got a surprise-visit of habi [1] at our office ;)

[1] http://habi.gna.ch/blog/

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12. April 2005

Linux Konferenca Slovenia 2005 - Call for Papers
@ 17:24:34

Brian King fame asked me to spread those news and of course I will no hesitate to do so. Brian is part of the organizing team of the 4th annual International Business Linux Conference in Slovenia [1,2] and was speaker at the LOTS 2005.

[1] http://brian.kingsonline.net/talk/index.php/archives/41
[2] http://www.linux-konferenca.org

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10. April 2005

Links zu map.search.ch
@ 19:42:14

Ein Kommentar des search.ch Teams zur Frage der Verlinkung von map.search.ch Links:
[Redaktion:] Links ohne kommerziellen Zweck sind sehr willkommen! Die URLs sind absichtlich einfach gehalten um verlinken (und auch das versenden per mail!) zu erleichtern. Links auf die Homepage sind auch praktisch nie problematisch. Bei direkten Address-Links mit kommerziellem Charakter bitten wir Sie aber vorher mit uns Kontakt aufzunehmen. Diese Einschränkung ist eine zwingende Auflage einer unserer Datenprovider. (Das gilt leider für alle Links, ob in neuem Fenster oder nicht)
[1] http://about.search.ch/archives/2005/04/08/mapsearchch-mit-mehr-informationen/#comment-722

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06. April 2005

Chainless (Kardan) Bicyle
@ 23:37:38

It was love at first sight, when I discovered a Biomega Copenhagen [1] chainless bicycle at the Velokurier-Laden [2] about two years ago. But one cannot always buy what he likes ;) Anyway, the other day I started to look around what the chainless bicycle market currently looks like [3].

There are some Shops that provide one or more models suited with the kardan-transmission. The transmission is mostly produced by Taiwan Sussex chainless transmission bicycle manufacturer, although I could not figure out a price for the transmission.

What really astonished me is the fact, that there is a Chinese company called Shanghai Zhimei Rolleu-Chainless Bicycle Co.,Ltd which has a full set of bicycles with chainless transmission but not even one European dealer listed on their website [4]. So, if I was a bicycle dealer in Switzerland, I would at least try some of their models. Let me know if You start importing them ;)

[1] http://www.biomega.dk
[2] http://www.velokurierladen.ch
[3] http://del.icio.us/urs/bicycle
[4] http://www.zmchainless-bicycle.com

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22. March 2005

Swiss bleibt Swiss
@ 20:52:24

Das jedenfalls sagt Wolfgang Mayrhuber. Ein Österreicher, ein Deutscher und ein Holländer unterzeichnen die Übernahme der Swiss International Air Lines AG durch die Lufthansa. Sinnbildlich, dass kein einziger Schweizer in dem Moment am Tisch gesessen hat. Es kann nur noch aufwärts gehen.

Zur Erinnerung [1] für Kinder und Enkelkinder:
Aktionariat

Zuletzt aktualisiert am: 11. März 2005

Das Aktienkapital von Swiss International Air Lines AG beträgt CHF 948.07 Millionen und ist in 52 670 405 Namenaktien mit einem Nennwert von CHF 18 eingeteilt. Jede Aktie berechtigt zu einer Stimme.

Insgesamt zählt Swiss International Air Lines AG rund 15 000 Aktionäre. Am 31. August 2004 verlängerte eine Gruppe von 29 Aktionären, welche 86.1% der Gesamtzahl ausstehender Aktien vertreten, die Verkaufssperre für die anlässlich der Kapitalerhöhung zur Gründung der SWISS gezeichneten Aktien bis Ende August 2005.
[1] http://www.swiss.com/web/DE/NS6/about-swiss/sw-oc-ir-aktionariat.htm/

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01. February 2005

Migros offers Music Download
@ 18:21:14

Migros has launched a Music download service on i-m.ch [1]. Unforutanely Firefox users are not welcome yet:
The site you have tried to enter requires Internet Explorer 6 (or better) with Windows Media Player 7 (or better) on Windows XP, 2000, Me or 98. Click Here to use our Doctor Download application to help you check your configuration alternatively Email Dr Download.

Please try again.
The service seems to be provided by On Demand Distribution [2].

[1] http://www.i-m.ch
[2] http://www.od2.com

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06. January 2005

Six Apart bought LiveJournal
@ 18:15:08

Too many blog ASPs around, as it seems [1] ;) The page may load slowly as there are more that 2674 comments on this entry.

[1] http://www.livejournal.com/users/news/82926.html

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10. December 2004

The WEF antipode on posters
@ 12:28:37

[via andreas, 1] The WEF antipode on posters [2].

[1] http://blog.andreashalter.ch/archives/37-WOW-WEF-again.html
[2] http://plakate.netzwirt.ch

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08. December 2004

Google news for Switzerland
@ 09:35:23

Google is collecting Swiss News [1].

[1] http://news.google.ch/nwshp?hl=de&gl=ch

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02. December 2004

German Firefox Campaign
@ 23:15:59

German Firefox fans have fundraised a campaign for the Version 1.0 of Firefox to appear in major German newspapers [1].

Firefox kommt!


[1] http://www.firefox-kommt.de/?q=node/40

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26. November 2004

Habis 0.5%-chance to win a million
@ 10:37:38

Habi, I just wish You luck and smartness [1]. ;)

Update: Habi (the lucky one) on the stage with Mona Vetsch [2].

[1] http://habi.gna.ch/blog/archives/000477.html
[2] http://ch.tilllate.com/DE/picpage.php?fid=1667547

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25. November 2004

RFID enabled cell phones
@ 13:29:31

The RFID journal [1] has an article about RFID-enabled cell phones [1]. Besides WLAN, Bluetooth and the like I tend to predict that this technology-mix might have a chance in various markets if:
  • an accepted standard of the RFID communication protocol is used;
  • or otherwise, the RFID reader is flexible enough, to read/write multiple RFID formats;
  • enough products have those tags (eq. RFID chips) implemented.
Let's consider an example: On a Sunday, where - at least here in Bern - the local stores are closed, I am walking alongside the shopping windows in the city. Oh, Kitchener [2] has some new fancy toys! Unfortunately the price tags are not visible on that certain Uglydoll. I'll grab my RFID-enabled mobile phone and simply scan all the products within the reading range. They get displayed by categories in my phone... shoes, t-shirts, toys etc. Among them there is that Uglydoll Ox [3]. Until here, there has no WLAN, no GPRS, not UMTS been used.

What is left to do? Select the product and send the order to the shop. Or maybe I just would like to compare it with an ebay-offer? ;) Bye, bye privacy.

[1] http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleprint/1020/-1/1/
[2] http://www.kitchener.ch/html/de/shop/index.php?mg=11&ug=16&br=4803
[3] http://uglydolls.com

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18. November 2004

Big Finance meets Microfinance
@ 16:48:14

The UN year of Microfinance started today [1]. About a year ago I read the autobiography of Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank and actually initiator of the principles of Microfinance [2].
In 1974, Professor Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist from Chittagong University, led his students on a field trip to a poor village. They interviewed a woman who made bamboo stools, and learnt that she had to borrow the equivalent of 15p to buy raw bamboo for each stool made. After repaying the middleman, sometimes at rates as high as 10% a week, she was left with a penny profit margin. Had she been able to borrow at more advantageous rates, she would have been able to amass an economic cushion and raise herself above subsistence level.
Worth a read, I would say.

[1] http://www.admin.ch/cp/d/419cb2bd_1@fwsrvg.html
[2] http://www.grameen-info.org/book/index.htm

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07. November 2004

DeLaRue is hiring
@ 21:12:19

De La Rue [2] Cash Systems Schweiz is hiring four specialized engineers for their CSD Detector Group at their location just outside Bern.

[1] via andi, http://newsli.andudi.ch
[2] http://circle.ch/blog/media/delarue_ausschreibung.pdf

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05. November 2004

Bitflux is hiring
@ 10:09:49

chregu [1] of Bitflux GmbH is looking for a developer with strong skills in XSLT and PHP. Bitflux has strong competences in realizing custom client projects while mostly using their own Bitflux CMS (BxCMS). An other interesting product is their Bitflux Editor, a Wysiwyg XML Editor. Most if not all of their tools are Open Source.

[1] http://blog.bitflux.ch/archive/work-at-bitflux.html

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08. October 2004

Google in Zürich is hiring
@ 07:45:29

Google [1] is hiring
[..] talented software engineers, top programmers and visionary computer scientists.
Feel free to follow that request! ;)

Update: Just found the outlined legal positions [2] ;)

[1] http://www.google.ch/jobs/index.html
[2] http://www.google.com/jobs/legal.html

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18. September 2004

Blogs controlling the mass media?
@ 00:36:29

Take it as checks and balances of the mass media, what currently happens to CBS. Bloggers around the world have strong arguments that the National Guard documents presented by the CBS are likely to be fake [among others 1,2].

[1] http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1211285/posts
[2] http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1210662/posts

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25. August 2004

Bluewin is testing TV over ADSL
@ 07:16:37

Bluewin [1] is going to provide 25 TV and five Pay-TV channels in Switzerland; based on Microsoft TV IPTV. The product will be tested in about 600 households.

[1] http://www.bluewinag.com/cont/pm/040824_d.html

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24. August 2004

Back online
@ 20:29:29

Thanks to a cablecom service technician I am back on the Net. Just four days ago some other technician installed a filter in the house of the neighbours, which cut down the signal. Strange story.

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23. August 2004

Off the net
@ 14:04:15

Mein Modem ist wieder mal vom Netz gegangen. Bereits vier Tage. Am Telefon bestätigt die Cablecom zwar eine Störung und offenbar habe sich "das Modem nicht wieder einklinken können", doch wird man als Endkunde wieder mal im Ungewissen gelassen. Im Rapport der Störungen, das bezeichnenderweise in der Navigation "Unser Netz" statt "Störungen" heisst, ist nichts davon zu lesen [1]. Statt mir umgehend ein Modem zu schicken, das sich von selbst "einklinkt", muss wieder mal ein Techniker her. "Das kann ein, zwei Tage dauern, bis er sich meldet"; super. "Dabei wird er mit Ihnen einen Termin vereinbaren"; noch besser.

Ach ja, beim Einwählen auf die Supportnummer, wird man schon fast standardmässig vier Minuten warten gelassen, um dann ab der 10 Minute mit CHF 2.-/min beraten zu werden. Wie heisst es doch gleich: "Ich liebe es"... ah sorry, das ist ja ein anderes Unternehmen.

[1] http://cablecom.ch/internet/hispeed/hispeed_products_support/hispeed_support_net/

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12. August 2004

Get Atom feed statistics via FeedBurner
@ 21:25:18

FeedBurner is currently running as a "pre-alpha" platform providing variuos tweaks on your feeds. FeedBurner e.g. turns your Atom feed into RSS, reports statistics or provides services such as the "Mobile Filter":
Mobile Filter

Strips feed to essential items for browsing on mobile feed readers

Purpose
Optimize your feed for mobile devices. Mobile Filter puts your content on a crash diet.

Feed Effect
Creates a summary version of your feed and removes extra information that is only useful to desktop feed readers, shortening feed download size/time/cost over wireless networks.
Thanks to Matt Shobe [2] for giving me good reasons to move from Atom 0.2 to 0.3 ;-)

[1] http://www.feedburner.com
[2] http://www.burningdoor.com/matt/archives/000666.html

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19. July 2004

Corporate Blogs at Sun
@ 23:19:17

It seems that Sun has their own platform for corporate blogs including a blog by Jonathan Schwartz, President and Chief Operating Officer of Sun Microsystems, Inc. [2].

[1] http://blogs.sun.com/roller/
[2] http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan

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03. July 2004

Eurotax - vehicle valuation
@ 00:12:58

I talked to a friend this evening who is going to sell his car to get anotherone. He mentioned Eurotax, which is usually something, that the reseller calculates for you. Eurotax is also online [1] and estimates the value of your car for about CHF 9.00.

[1] http://ch.eurotax.com

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29. June 2004

Easypay by Swisscom for micro content
@ 22:04:09

Swisscom has a cool product called Easypay [1]. You buy a prepayed card with denominations of CHF 25.00, 50.00 and 75.00 at local stores, Kiosks, Post Offices etc. If you like to buy a product via an online store or like to use an online service you simply enter the Easypay number in the window on the provider’s website and press "buy". The Easypay service is also available in combination with mobile phones.

This is very very practical for providers of microcontent such as blogging services with MMS or mp3 music shops. I have no idea how simple it is to implement that service on the provider's side; but it is worth a try.

[1] http://www.swisscom-fixnet.ch/fx/content/products/easypay/index_EN.html

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24. June 2004

To buy or not to buy
@ 22:40:52

Just occasionally I walked into a mobile phone shop today and asked for the new Nokia 7610 [1] with the megapixel camera and lifeblog feature. Well, they have it on stock since two days. But it is just a bit too expensive for me, so I went into a flower shop and invested a percentage of this amount in roses for my girlfriend ;-)

[1] http://www.nokia.com/nokia/0,,54665,00.html

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22. June 2004

Weblaw is looking for a Webpublisher
@ 11:19:39

Weblaw [1] is looking for a webpublisher. Weblaw is located in Bern, Switzerland and does a lot of Internet related consulting for Lawyers.

[1] http://www.jobpilot.ch/misc/adframe/chde_weblaw/7d4/16/1074037.htm

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07. June 2004

Flatrate GPRS with Swisscom
@ 18:18:48

[via mosi, 1] It seems like Swisscom decided to move a step forward and introduced «Portal Pack» [2]. From the beginning of July 2004 the GPRS prices for data transmission in Switzerland will be only CHF 00.10 per 10 KB (previously 00.19). If you are a moblogger [3] you can enter the «Portal Pack» at a monthly all-in price of CHF 5.-- which allows unlimited data transfer via GPRS. I am sure this will boost a lot of mobile applications that way.

[1] http://blog.li/mosi
[2] http://www.swisscom-mobile.ch/prv_asp/prv_home.asp?nid=1662
[3] http://www.circle.ch/wiki/?page=Moblog

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05. June 2004

search.ch has a blog now
@ 11:48:51

Bernhard Seefeld reports that search.ch uses a blog-style engine [1] to report about news, fetures and the like. Some weeks ago I found an informational article about RIM written in German [2] ;-) I posted some of my thoughts about the merger [3] earlier already.

[1] http://about.search.ch/archives/2004/06/04/post-kauft-search-ch
[2] http://rim.bild.li/1723/view.html
[3] http://circle.ch/blog/p1443.html

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29. May 2004

Swiss Post buys search portal search.ch
@ 01:53:17

My favourite search engine for domestic searches, search.ch, has been bought by the Swiss Post [1,2]. This is an interesting deal of a company dealing with letters and packets mainly. The Swiss Post itself has its own online portals providing services like e-banking, ticketing, mail and sms, e-payment etc. etc. To integrate a search portal seems like logical if you look at it now, but who would have guessed that ;-)

I am quite interested in how the Swiss Post intends to enhance the services provided by search.ch. You might argue, that a typical Post company should not burn its hands with e-business, then you should keep the following in mind; even if the citizens tend to travel or move around more than they did ten or twenty years ago, they mostly are at residents somewhere. Traditional services as delivering snail-mail can be combined with online services. The Post company has probably the most actual data regarding addresses. To give an example; the first thing one does after having moved to a new location, is letting the snail-mail get forwarded to the new address. This can be done by signing a contract at the Postoffice. So, the Swiss Post does know beforehand of that change; probably earlier than the Bank, the assurance company or the telecom company. Where does a search engine or search technology come in? Well, you better ask Swiss Post ;-)

But search.ch already combined search technologies with the lookup of telephone numbers resp. addresses. One of their latest feature is the "related websites" ("Websites zum Eintrag"):

http://tel.search.ch/result.html?name=B%E4rengraben&kanton=BE

Since I am not an economist, I can not say exactly, how valuable "early bird" false-free address-information in combination with online services is. But I would guess, the earlier you get them, the better. Froogle "only" does allow smart shopping - in other words - seeking products on demand. But if the Swiss Post creates a site, where one can set up his or her own profile, the Swiss Post should be able to create a "portfolio" of possibly interesting products based on some search magic matching to that profile. Finally, Postfinance offers a comfortable way to pay the bill. Just a random thought...

Oh, and congratulations to Berhard.

[1] http://www.bernhardseefeld.ch/archives/000096.html
[2] http://www.post.ch/SiteOnLine/DE/Accueil/1,1727,17704,00.html

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28. April 2004

WEF has a weblog
@ 13:56:44

The World Economic Forum [1] - with its annual meeting usually taking place in January in Davos - has now a weblog hosted by Typepad [2]. Typepad Europe, pushed by Loic seems doing well ;-)

[1] http://www.weforum.org
[2] http://wef.typepad.com

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19. April 2004

Meister Proper for two days
@ 10:14:45

I spent the whole weekend with slipping into the role of Meister Proper. Together with my ex-roommate Frank we started cleaning our previous three room apartment. In Switzerland one is used to pass over a totally cleaned apartment to the owner when you leave it. You are free to clean it up by your own or arrange a service to handle it for you. They charge at about half the rental fee (just my personal experiance). So Frank and I decided to use that money as "investment" for the new apartment and spend our spare time instead to get windows, walls, floors, refrigerator, oven etc. etc. as glistening as necessary ;-)

PS: hispeed modem is still not online (day 19)

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14. April 2004

hispeed im Schneckentempo
@ 16:04:24

Am 2. April hatte ich mich erstmals bei Cablecom gemeldet und die Störung dem technischen Dienst sowie die Adressänderung der Administration bekanntgemacht. Heute erfahre ich - natürlich erst anlässlich einer telefonischen Anfrage, dass offenbar ein Techniker vor Ort sich "in den nächsten Tagen" mit der Liegenschaftsverwaltung in Verbindung setzten werde. Erneut werde ich von der überaus freundlichen Sachbearbeiterin auf die AGBs hingewiesen, dass ich doch bitte die Änderungen schon 30 Tage vor Umzug hätte bekanntgeben müssen. Tja, und nun heisst es immer noch; warten auf Godo...

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06. April 2004

Off the Internet
@ 09:54:04

Bin vergangene Woche umgezogen. Seit mehreren Jahren nutze ich Cablecom Hispeed und bin mit dem Produkt im Allgemeinen sehr zufrieden. Der Umzug jedoch hat mich einmal mehr über die Serviceleistungen in Staunen versetzt. Ein Telefonat an den Techniksupport wurde mit dem Ergebnis beendet, dass das Modem zwar vom Support erkannt, aber nicht auf seine Funktionstüchtigkeit hin geprüft werden konnte. Ich müsse den Wohnungswechsel noch melden, falls dies nicht schon geschehen sei. Ok, also ein weiterer Anruf. Ein anderer Mitarbeiter weist mich freundlich darauf hin, dass Cablecom die AGBs geändert hätte:
Der Kunde hat einen Wohnungswechsel drei (3) Monate vor dem Umzug der cablecom mitzuteilen. Unterlässt der Kunde dies und entstehen durch diese Unterlassung der cablecom Kosten, so hat cablecom das Recht, diese Kosten dem Kunden in Rechnung zu stellen.
Wer gegenwärtig gerade eine Wohnung sucht, weiss wie kurzfristig solche Umzüge von statten gehen können. Jedenfalls dürfte eine Frist von drei Monaten von den wenigsten eingehalten werden können. Im Resultat; ich muss damit rechnen, noch zwei-einhalb Monate Miete für ein Produkt zu zahlen, das mir während dieser Zeit gar nicht zur Verfügung steht. Noch besser gefällt der zweite Satz; führt eine Unterlassung der Meldung zu Folgekosten, werden diese auf den Kunden abgewälzt; Da erstaunt es niemanden mehr, wenn ADSL einen solchen Auftrieb erfährt...

Sollte also jemand von mir nicht umgehend eine E-Mail-Antwort erhalten, so dürfte sich das mit obiger Darlegung erklären... ;-)

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17. March 2004

How to find a new flat in Bern
@ 14:18:29

For as long as about three month we were looking for a new flat with at least three rooms. It was quite an exhausting undertaking; we advertized at local stores, in the local newspaper, gave our best while applying for this or that flat and finally got one. So, here I would like to mention some of the online repositories we read on a daily base:

- http://www.alle-immobilien.ch
- http://subwww.unibe.ch/wohnen/
- http://www.immobern.ch
- http://www.homegate.ch
- http://www.immoscout24.ch
- http://comparis.ch/immobilien/marktplatz/intro.aspx

There are other too but don't forget, there are still people who do not at all advertize their flats in the internet. The best resource for us still was the newspaper called "Anzeiger Region Bern" [1].

[1] http://www.stadtanzeiger.ch

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06. February 2004

LOTS - Let's Open The Source Overview
@ 11:28:05

The Organizing Team is pleased to present the first edition of LOTS; an attractive event dedicated to Open Source. There are about 12 FLOSS related companies, 29 speeches, 17 projects, six workshops and a lot more to see and hear. Most of the presentations will be held in German, some in English. Would be nice to see you there [1].

LOTS Map


[1] http://lots.ch/Programm.html

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01. February 2004

Adds disturbing the Blog frontpage
@ 15:52:50

The ad banner, which was below the latest post, was kind of disturbing the whole frontpage of my Blog so I decided to remove it. Even though it would have helped to support this site I changed my mind. When I started blogging some years ago - at that time I called it "posting news" - I did not expect that anyone would ever read those snippets at all. Serious. It was more a digital post-it [1] notes like style of jotting down some of my ideas and enabling a resource for myself as well. Quite often I use the search feature of that blog to look up for something which I nearly forgot, that I ever wrote about it; by the way... I need to extend the search feature on both, the blog and the wiki. Thanx for reading and commenting...

[1] http://www.3m.com/office/postit/

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31. January 2004

Davos Blogging Panel Videos
@ 10:32:08

Loïc Le Meur [1] added movies from the Davos Blogging Panel to his own blog. Haven't had the chance to look at all of them. Quite a piece of Blogging History ;-)

[1] http://www.u-blog.com/loic/note/57190

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30. January 2004

Apache Cocoon and Lenya Workshops
@ 19:40:22

As Gregor [1] and Bertrand [1] already mentioned: The LOTS Open Source event in Bern, Switzerland on February 18th is approaching. Have a look at the registration form for the workshops which is open until Febrary 16th [3].

[1] http://greg.abstrakt.ch/archives/001586.html
[2] http://codeconsult.ch/bertrand/archives/000217.html
[3] http://www.lots.ch/Workshops.html

PS: Urs Hölzle will not be at the LOTS event; but the Google fellow is going to talk next Monday in Zürich [4].

[4] http://talks.it.ethz.ch/event_en/02.02-0.html

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29. January 2004

Apple is offering iBook repair
@ 10:02:53

According to CNET [1] Apple launched a worldwide repair program for faulty iBook hardware as the the serial numbers is in the range of UV220XXXXXX to UV318XXXXXX.

[1] http://news.com.com/2100-1041_3-5149813.html?tag=st_lh

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07. January 2004

Rössler Geschirr
@ 19:28:19

Heute lese ich, dass die Rössler Porzellan AG [1] eines ihrer Werke per Ende Februar schliesst [2]. Ja, das gelbe Geschirr, mit dem kleinen Pferdli auf dem Aufkleber; genau das. Es soll jetzt im Ausland irgendwo hergestellt werden. Irgendwie bedauerlich - einmal mehr.

Nun, da werden sich die Brokenhäuser freuen [3]. Vielleicht wird sogar da noch der Markt spielen und die Occasionspreise in die Höhe schnellen lassen. Deshalb gilt es jetzt, soviel wie möglich von dem gelbem, oder grünen noch zu kaufen. Oder alternativ vielleicht mal einen Besuch bei den Grosseltern in Betracht ziehen; natürlich nicht ohne Blumenstrauss und einer guten Flasche Wein unter dem Arm. Gesagtes gilt nicht für mich; meine Grosseltern haben das Rössler längst abgeschafft ;-)

[1] http://www.fontina.ch
[2] http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/dyn/news/wirtschaft/337790.html
[3] http://www.broki.ch/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=r%F6ssler

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16. November 2003

Vodafone live! as a carrier-change motivator
@ 11:42:05

Swisscom started supporting Vodafone live! phones [1] (Vodafone owns a 25% stake of Swisscom Mobile AG). I played around with the three available phones the other day, as there is the Sharp GX20, the SonyEricsson Z600 and the Motorola V525. Vodafone live! can be seen as a common menu or navigation for mobile phones making it easy to call up photos, games, sounds, pictures and messages and share them with others.

Vodafone UK offers setups for a range of other phones than only the ones mentioned above [2]. One reason to provide phones with a common menu may ground in the delivering of phone-independent services at a later stage. The fun aspect is good argument to introduce such a common desktop but further more also a possibility to motivate customers to change their carrier, as they usually do not change them before their next upgrade of their handsets [3].

As most, if not all of the new phones come with java support I am wondering if the Java Desktop could not be rewritten to run on those phones [4]. This would enable access to a wide variety of applications. Just a thought.

[1] http://www.swisscom-mobile.ch/live
[2] http://mmsota.vizzavi.co.uk
[3] http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/09/26/1064083179063.html
[4] http://wwws.sun.com/software/javadesktopsystem

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04. November 2003

Zusammenarbeit zwischen der Espace Media Groupe und der Bund Verlag AG genehmigt
@ 12:20:24

Die Wettbewerbskommission hat sich für eine Übernahme des Bund Verlags durch die Espace Media Groupe [3] ausgesprochen. Weiterhin unklar ist aber, wie und ob sich die Espace Media Groupe an "20 Minuten" beteiligen kann:
Der Entscheid betreffend der 17-Prozent-Beteilung der Espace Media Groupe an der Gratiszeitung "20 Minuten" wird gegen Ende Januar fallen. "Auf dem Platz Bern können die Beteiligungen der Espace Media Groupe am Bund und '20 Minuten' nicht ganz unabhängig voneinander betrachtet werden", sagte Patrik Ducrey von der Weko [3].
[1] mobile.swissinfo.org
[2] http://www.espacemedia.ch
[3] http://www.espace.ch/newsticker/newsml/20031104115152252172019048030.html

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06. September 2003

The correct price of a new product
@ 17:51:50

[via inluminent.com, 1]
Companies habitually charge less than they could for new offerings. It's a terrible habit.
According to the authors - Michael V. Marn, Eric V. Roegner, and Craig C. Zawada - prices of new products are only in 1 or 2 cases out of 10 calculated correctly [2]. In all other cases the run for the big money is said to be more important that the appropriate price. Product prices are often tied to the prices of their strongest competitor etc.

Finding the highest, lowest possible price and other guidelines pointed out in this article should help companies to approach the real value of new products.

[1] http://www.inluminent.com/weblog/archives/2003/08/20/on_pricing_a_new_product/
[2] http://www.inc.com/articles/2003/07/pricing.html

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29. August 2003

Economizing holidays
@ 20:02:33

I have never asked myself that question this way round, but today I read my mailboxes while being twelve days behind. The antivirus program finally catched 39 examples of W32.Sobig.F@mm [1] and a bunch of messages marked with "undeliverable" from some "postmaster" of people I eventually luckily never had the chance to meet. If even the virus is marked to be medium destructive there is still some point of being behind reading emails.

It took me about an hour to read through the mails and get rid of the warning messages. Having had the chance to read The Times [2] last week and being alerted to Sobig, those holidays might have had some economizing effect regarding the gained time; it was probably nerve-saving as well.

[1] http://www3.ca.com/solutions/collateral.asp?CT=27081&CID=49259
[2] http://www.timesonline.co.uk

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02. April 2003

SBB with clickrail service
@ 14:15:00

The Swiss Federal Railways SBB offer now a special service for tickets to be bought online in a short-term (today, tomorrow, after tomorrow) at heavily reduced prices [1].

[1] http://sbb.ch/pv/clickrail/

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18. February 2003

Concentration of Private Banking
@ 13:25:42

The UBS her Private Banks, Armand von Ernst, Banco di Lugano, Bank Ehinger, Cantrade und Ferrier Lullin and GAM (Portfolio and Assetmanagement), to a - not yet named - Holding [1].

[1] http://www.nzz.ch/2003/02/18/wi/page-newzzDCBOFBIT-12.html

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TAN adds more security
@ 09:11:42

The online-broker Swissquote [1] adds more security to its portal with giving individual TAN-lists to its users.

[1] http://www.swissquote.com
[2] http://circle.ch/tr/?u=http://nzz.ch/2003/02/18/bm/page-article8M3FL.html

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11. February 2003

Roche buys Disetronic
@ 13:17:13

Disetronic has been bought by Roche [1][2][3] . Disetronic is the world's leading supplier of infusion systems for the treatment of Type I diabetes.

[1] http://nzz.ch/2003/02/11/wi/page-article8O98F.html
[2] disetronic.com
[3] roche.com

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03. February 2003

Let me explainify the war
@ 09:37:44

"Let me explainify the war against Iraq a little bit in Texas terminologragry." [1]

[1] http://democracymeansyou.com/satire/explainified.htm

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24. January 2003

Giovanni Agnelli 81-jährig gestorben
@ 10:27:15

Fiat Ehrenpräsident Giovanni Agnelli [1] ist im Alter von 81 Jahren gestorben. Er war der bis zuletzt der starke Mann an der Spitze des Unternehmens [2]. Sein Grossvater hatte 1899 die "Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino" (FIAT) gegründet .

[1] http://www.rasscass.de/templ/te_bio.php?PID=25&RID=1
[2] http://fiat.com

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