Archive for December, 2006

Seriously now, what do you know about Bulgaria or Romania?

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Not a whole lot, if you’re like me (heck, I’m still trying to catch up on Africa).

But as of today (tomorrow, if you’re in the US), both countries are the newest two members of the European Union, bringing the total to 27 member states.

Btw, is this a golden age for translators and interpreters, or what.

Anyway, Romania, Bulgaria — welcome! Happy New Year! Hope all your wishes come true. And I look forward to your contributions. Just one request, though: please help move Europe forward! It’s gotten awfully hard lately to get things done with all those additions.

Via Das E-Business Weblog: Willkommen!

Akismet

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

In the short few minutes between activating the plugin and writing this blog post, Akismet has already caught 14 spam comments.  I wonder how many spam comments that is over a year?  You do the math.

Wordpress 2.0.5

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Looks like it’s been a smooth upgrade to Wordpress 2.0.5 (from 1.5.2, mind you).

Anyone get hurt?

Execution 2.0

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Man, these cameraphones are everywhere nowadays. Michelle Malkin’s Hot Air brings you Video: Saddam’s execution uncut.

The Telegraph has a few interesting bits of information about Saddam’s final hours: Saddam’s end: tormented as his death loomed

Saddam rejected an offer of dinner, a cooked chicken, and asked only for a copy of the Koran. By 1am, all he wanted to do was sleep.

But his guards, all members of the dominant Shia Sciri party, had other ideas. One in particular, nicknamed Ali the Butcher, intended to make a hell of Saddam’s last night on earth. “They were making jokes about Saddam,” another guard who spoke to those on duty told The Sunday Telegraph. “Ali the Butcher had the rope they would hang him with, and he was telling Saddam ‘It’s waiting for you, it’s waiting for you’.

“The guards were dancing in front of him. When Saddam tried to sleep, they were going in, every 30 minutes. They said, ‘We didn’t let him sleep. We destroyed his personality’.”

Due process, Iraqy style? Growing pains of a young democracy? Or maybe it’s just the fact that we’re dealing with a foreign culture here with foreign customs?

ABC News’ Terry McCarthy has this commentary: Saddam’s Hanging — Uncut

However, the impact of this video could be quite significant. First, it may reinforce Sunni suspicions that the execution of Saddam was merely an act of Shiite revenge for decades of repression under Saddam. The building where the execution took place was expressly chosen because it was once used as a detention center by a division of Saddam’s secret police that was focused on the Shiite Dawa party. Some of the witnesses whom the government invited to the execution had themselves once been tortured in that same building. Indeed, Prime Minister Maliki, who signed the execution order the day before the hanging, is a long-term member of the Dawa party and had himself been sentenced to death by Saddam back in 1980 before fleeing the country.

Worse, it may also reinforce the fears of Sunnis that Maliki’s government is beholden to the Mahdi army, Moqtada’s militia. Executions are generally expected to be solemn affairs –- certainly not opportunities for thugs to score some final sectarian points before the “enemy” is disposed of. The video itself seems quite distasteful –- but it is informative to the extent that it reveals the political baggage that the current government carries on its shoulders. It does not add up to a pretty picture.

Somehow I’m not so sure the way this affair has been handled will set the right tone in Iraq, let alone help build “a democracy that can govern, sustain, and defend itself, and be an ally in the War on Terror.”

Construction work ahead

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

I got an email from my web hosting company a couple of weeks ago urging me to upgrade my various blogs to a more recent version of Wordpress.

That, and the fact that I still haven’t installed Akismet (and am paying dearly for that in the form of spam, spam and yet more spam) means I need to take some time to get things back in order again. And that time is now.

Oh, and while I’m at it I will also retire my Startupgermany blog. But more on that later.

It's official: Ze Germans dig ze barcamp

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Remember earlier this year? Thanks to Google, we learned that Germans — for all we know — tend to take their work very seriously. They are best known for their brutal sense of order, their punctuality, their keen sense of logic, for being better dictators than listeners, for their formality, their stubbornness, and their imposing personalities. Not the best conditions for the unconference movement to flourish, you might think.

Wrong!

First of all, the aforementioned stereotypes are just that — bad, bad stereotypes, and so unfair (ok, they are partially accurate, I give you that).

Second, there seems to be a growing desire among people from the German web and startup scene to get together in informal settings to share, learn and collaborate.

After Barcamp Berlin in September and Barcamp Cologne in November, Barcamp Nuremberg took place the weekend before Christmas, December 16-17 — completing the round of three German barcamps in 2006.

For all three, feedback has been very positive. In fact, quite a few out of the 300 or so attendees seem eager to keep it up in 2007. A number of cities are being mentioned that may host future camps: Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin and Cologne.

My hope is that once people discover they can organize an entire conference, they may soon consider starting their own companies as well.

A big thank you to Sebastian, Raju, Franz, and Joerg, the main instigators and organizers, and the many who helped them. Very nicely done.

Pockets of resistance, indeed.

Mission accomplished

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Another day, another milestone: former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has been executed.

Though things may have seemed a tad bit rushed towards the end (at least to the untrained European eye), this proves Iraq now has a justice system that can, well, execute people. No better way to kick-start the process of national healing!

It’s all good, though. I’m convinced this was what’s been needed all along to really turn things around, and the rest will simply fall into place now. It just gotta. I’m sure the warring factions would agree.

President Bush seems to think along the same lines:

Today, Saddam Hussein was executed after receiving a fair trial — the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime.

Fair trials were unimaginable under Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical rule. It is a testament to the Iraqi people’s resolve to move forward after decades of oppression that, despite his terrible crimes against his own people, Saddam Hussein received a fair trial. This would not have been possible without the Iraqi people’s determination to create a society governed by the rule of law.

Saddam Hussein’s execution comes at the end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops. Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq, but it is an important milestone on Iraq’s course to becoming a democracy that can govern, sustain, and defend itself, and be an ally in the War on Terror.

Like I say, mission accomplished!

Oswald Bates: “The crux of my venereal infection…”

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

With Holiday Season around the corner, it’s that time of year again to brush up on US pop culture classics. Enjoy!

Got bookmarks?

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

No shortage of services these days: Everything 2.0 brings you Bookmark 2.0 - Consolidated

This is one of the most crowded categories, but it’s not onedimensional at all. Many bookmarking concepts cross over to or have symptoms of e.g. link bank concepts, notepad concepts and NEWS 2.0 concepts:

Naturally, I’ve tagged this post.

Interwoven Teamsite and Bob Marley

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

There’s this one sound effect in Interwoven Teamsite (when a popup window fails to pop up) that reminds me of that funky Reggae guitar sound in Could you be loved by Bob Marley.