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The Road from and around Berlin (Part 2)

Ramble tamble

On the plane from Philly to Frankfurt, my first long distance Airbus trip, and there’s an Entertainment console stuck on the back of the seat in front of me, on the side of my chair, and worst of all, in two-thirds of the place where my feet and day pack would go. Not to mention that the system froze before very long, requiring an announcement that the entire plane (!) would be rebooted, and everyone’s console would be down for 15 minutes. Within the hour, this process was repeated, but the downtime was another 30 minutes. Again, when the TV, movie and whatever else came back up for a third time, it needed a reboot.  The splash panel said Rockwell Collins (the folks that got the U.S. to the moon and back 6 times, or so).

6:00 PM: Screen says “Announcement: Inflight entertainment will end within 5 minutes.” 30 more minutes of down time.

According to my Windows Explorer, the moon shot displayed below was:

Created: Friday, October 10, 2008, 9:41:48 AM
Modified: Thursday, October 09, 2008, 3:38:42 PM

Whoa, created after being modified.  That’s strange.

I got my first inflight German lesson, being told “Guten Appetit” over my airplane food meal by my neighbor (who probably hasn’t read Accidental Tourist).  “Back at ya.”

There’s no record of my visit to a back alley in Bühl where I listened to jazz (without paying) standing around with the smokers. Late night, a little cool.  Some things don’t need photos.

Fast forward to the trains in Berlin.

Berlin’s erfolgreichste show – “show suitable for foreign tourists”, and, Bluemax Theater on Potsdamer Platz. Advertisements that caught my eye, not because I wanted to see these shows, but because I didn’t understand what was up.

Hervé Couturier and Sal Visca meeting. The most memorable quote that I wrote down was “need masively parallel ABAP”. See Dennis’s blog for much more insight.  With the increase in threaded CPU architectures over clock speeds, any code designs that scale up for parallel processing are total wins.

Code Jam / Steve Winwood jams

  • Firebug
  • Webkit

Louenas Hamdi, co-winner of the Berlin TechEd Demo Jam, gave me 2 key phrases as we hung out backstage before the Steve Winwood concert.  With my omnipresent notepad, I jotted these down for later.  Louenas said, “these are revolutionary web” trends, Firebug debugs the web, where previously one might just say “the web is broken, and it’s better than Adobe.”  Webkit is the “browser engine that powers Safari, Chrome,” and more.

Those are a few links I found on a quick internet search for Firebug.  My advice to you internet coders out there? “Get fire bug”  And tell them Louenas sent you.

  “Firebug is free and open source (BSD)” – sweet.

  As for webkit, it’s here:

People who write documentation, write code, or even “just” write email should look at this page for an example of clear writing:

If I Were King of the Forest

In a side conversation in the Community Clubhouse in Berlin, Michael Schwandt posed a question to me, “What would you change if you were in charge of SCN?” Similarly, Brian Bernard asked what I would do to clean up static areas of SCN. In the meantime, SDN has gotten a facelift.

Michael: Here are 3 things I’d do to improve user experience of SCN:

  1. Blog comment editor and blog editor improvements.  I’m sure these are in the works for a future “support pack,” but they’re more important to me than what colors are in the toolbar. I have seen folks embed links into blog comments, and a year later finally was told “oh, just write raw HTML”.  Which sort of works, and often doesn’t, like
    fails.  I’m not experienced with many blog editors, but pop-up windows that lose my work, non-existent spell checkers, and an arcance process to just drop a darn image in the text are all no-brainers.
  2. Point system charity leverage.  I think SCN has done tremendous good by connecting technical and other contributions to worthy causes.  I’d say this can be taken a couple steps farther, using models like Paypal and Facebook to allow an easier way to designate recipients, track where the donations go, and even see success stories.  My suggestion would be: (1) food, (2) books, and (3) laptops as specific material projects.
  3. Modified ratings where we track not just individual contributions but a type of social capital.  Oliver Kohl shared a lot of great ideas around this on the Clue Train ride, so you have heard it, and Oliver can explainit better than I can, but the theory would be to show not just who has a lot of friends, but who has influence due to the number of people listening to them.  I’ve done similar study of whose blogs are read, but that’s just one element.  The SCN business card is probably the locus for this. And the SAP investment in linkedin might be a clue for the future.

Brian: This one is even harder to answer than the question Michael posed. But after a few weeks, here’s what I have:

  1. Improve contributor detail so that at least the deadwood can be visible.  If I log on and see that my last contribution was a week ago, I know I’m sharing.  It’s a little harder to see how others are sharing.  The “widget” that showed ratios of answered to unanswered question was a step in the right direction.
  2. Run contests with specific prizes to fill out the sparse areas and remove stale content.  I’d concentrate on the wiki areas first, since I already know that I’ve built pages that need tuning.
  3. Set up archiving with retention periods, compression and delete-by-dates.  It’s not going to be easy, but hopefully newer frontends like docupedia and collaboration workspace can be engineered with pruning in mind rather than afterthoughts.


In a Phone Booth in Baltimore

I watched Community Day Bangalore from afar, with images via twitpic, video and audio via Community Day Bangalore 2008 – Replay, and a series of tweets both inhouse and remote. I commented on the quality of the content, as well as the quality of the transmissions.  See below for example photos/screen shots (I’m supposed to link the twitpic capture back to the original source, per the terms of use).

The xchrono screen shot is from my home workstation.  I hacked some source code to get a clock view so I’d know what time it is in India.  It turns out my Windows Mobile smart phone has a “world clock” that is limited to whole hour settings, and India is 5.5 hours offset from Greenwich Mean Time. So, I can’t see what time it is properly on the latest OS?  I’ll post my diffs to the code snippet repository on SDN later, but the key was to use a timezone (TZ variable) of “Asia/Calcutta”.  The rest is just code.

The link above goes to lyrics and music from Primitive Radio Gods.


@MarilynPratt showing Community Day schedule board. on TwitPic



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