On reading

Several weeks ago a coworker found me reading a book during my lunch at the office. With quite some surprise in his voice, he said, “You read? I didn’t think about you being a book person.” — Well, I reckon I am a book person.

Now that Alvaro just published a great blog post “Of books read and to be read” I also feel like expressing a few words on reading.

If you know my personally you may know that my daily life has very little routine (except the occasional evening tea). I act on plans but still fail at going to bed early and waking up early, but I believe that’s okay to a certain point. So it does not come to a surprise that I also don’t have a routine which other people adopted like “I read quite a few pages of a novel every evening before going to bed”

The Goal for 2016: “Read more…”

I remember the last few days of 2015 I laid out some goals for 2016. One of this was “read more” as this is a very vague goal and not really measure I then wrote down “Read 20 Books”. Which feels like an insane number for someone who barely finishes two books in a year.

přečíst (read trough) and číst (read)

So what do two Czech words have to do with tackling my goal to read more? Hang in there, we’re getting there. Languages are a marvelous thing and some languages have a way to describe if you finished something or not. In the Czech language, you can actually distinguish between having something read through completely and just read it — which does not imply to have it completely. Before 2016 reading always came with the demand of reading a book completely. I cited Austin Kleon earlier already when I started to keep a list of all the books I like (I switched to Goodreads in the meantime because it helps me keep track of my reading list much better).
Once I realized that it’s okay to not finish a book or to drop a book after some chapters and say “OK, I tried to read this book but it has not been written for me” I became much more relaxed on this topic on not finishing something.


The 20 Books reading challenge started out of nowhere and I didn’t really have more than 5 books on my list I that really really wanted to read. So after discussing that with A. we came up with the idea that maybe a visit to the local libraries would be a good idea. And well, she was more than right. I visited the local libraries a lot this year. And not buying the books has a lot of positive things to it:

  • You don’t own the books
    I try to declutter my live and belongings all the time so it’s a good thing not to buy 20+ books a year.
  • You must return the book within 4-6 weeks
    Literally limiting the time you can ‘spend’ with the books helps on getting stuff done and reading them (or decide to drop reading them). If you limit the time you find yourself reading the last 30 pages of a book right next to the counter you will return the book 40 minutes later.
  • Experiment and broaden your horizon
    As I didn’t have a plan on what to read I started trying things out and reading topics which are different to what I do on my day to day base. I  occasionally found myself reading some books on human behavior, architecture, finance and much more. Things that would never have crossed my mind otherwise.
  • Reading and researching
    Once you wander off your home turf you start to research new topics and might end up with new lessons learned from other métiers

And how many books did you read in 2016?

In the end, I got through around 25 books (it might have been more because some books weren’t in the database or simply forgot to keep track of it) and I’m currently finishing one. That makes it 26 out of a goal of 20. Pretty solid in my opinion. You might ask for the goal of 2017? I’m leaning towards 25 books. It’s not a performance sport and the enjoyment of reading needs to persist so stressing on this part would be a bad idea in my opinion.

So go and find a book to read or as Alvaro put it simply:

If like I do, you also love books, then don’t be ashamed of starting reading a book, stopping mid way, and jumping into the next book you are curious about. Some people keep dozens of open tabs in their browsers, and that’s fine. In my case I keep dozen of half read books spread across my house, and that’s fine as well.

Angelesen #35

Da wären wir mal wieder mit ein paar Links. Die ruhigeren Dezembertage habe ich bisher genutzt um ein bisschen mit IOT Sensoren zu experimentieren, mal den Blog zu entstauben und einen meiner alten Server abzuschalten. Ziemlich produktiv oder?

And here we go!

Why Is My NTP Server Costing $500/Year? Part 1 (blog.pivotal.io)

We investigated and discovered our public NTP server was heavily loaded. Over a typical 45-minute period, our instance provided time service to 248,777 unique clients (possibly more, given that a firewall may “mask” several clients), with an aggregate outbound data of 247,581,892 bytes (247 MB). Over the course of a month this traffic ballooned to 332GB outbound traffic, which cost ~$40.

Wenn der NTP Server zum Problem wird.

«Der Kolonialismus hat nie aufgehört» (derbund.ch)

Man kommt nicht von einem Ort, das ist ein mentales Konstrukt. Komme ich aus Bern, weil ich zurzeit hier wohne? Oder aus Berlin, weil ich 24 Jahre da gelebt habe? Das Einzige, was klar ist: Ich komme aus dem Bauch meiner Mutter.

Lesenswertes Interview mit Wilfried N’Sondé

Small Transparent Speaker (kickstarter.com)

The best wireless speaker we can make for you and for the environment.

Den grossen Transparent Speaker von People People habe ich schon länger auf meiner Wunschliste. Jetzt gibt es auch den Small Transparent Speaker :D

Mapping the Shadows of New York City: Every Building, Every Block (nytimes.com)

You’re looking at a map of all of the shadows produced by thousands of buildings in New York City over the course of one day. This inverted view tells the story of the city’s skyline at the ground level.

Für alle GIS-Freunde und Städtebau interessierten.

Furiosa’s Cat Feeder (quinndunki.com)

You might say I’ve won this battle. However I just spent 20 hours armor-plating a cat feeder. I think we know who’s really in control here, don’t we?

How to secure a Cat Feeder. Hillarious!

SSH Config Includes (io.adafruit.com)

OpenSSH version 7.3 introduced a very handy Include feature, which is great for people who have to manage connection info for multiple servers


WEMO SD1 mini pro (wemos.cc)

Das D1 mini pro ist der Nachfolger des D1 mini. Sehr unter dem Radar wurde auch noch der SHT30 Sensor veröffentlicht (welcher scheinbar die bisherigen Temperatur und Feuchtigkeitssensoren ziemlich in den Schatten stellen soll)

Ein Bargespräch in vier Akten. (webspecial.bernerzeitung.ch)

Was Berner wirklich wollen. Was Rechte in der Reitschule machen. Wie träge Menschen Mainstream schaffen.

Das Nachtleben treffend hinterfragt und Diskutiert.

Create an Environmental Monitoring Dashboard (blog.alexellis.io)

Ein Blogpost, welchen ich gefunden habe, während ich mit den Wemos Sensoren rumgespielt habe. Jetzt müsst ich nur noch zuhause irgendwas haben das einen Docker Container 24/7 laufen lässt.

Mit dem Navi im Kofferraum gegen Uber (batz.ch)

  • Fahrer freundlich: Wissen wo ist?
  • Ich habe Ihnen doch die Adresse gegeben!?
  • Fahrer etwas weniger freundlich: Ich meine, wo fahren?
  • Das weiss ich nicht. Deshalb nehme ich ja ein Taxi.
  • Fahrer verwirft die Hände.
  • Haben Sie kein Navi?

Changing lanes (theworldin.com)

Early one Sunday morning, half a century ago, Sweden’s motorists pulled off a deft manoeuvre. September 3rd 1967 was H Day, for Högertrafik (“right traffic”) day. The country, like Britain, had driven mostly on the left since the mid-18th century. But that looked untenable by the 1950s. All its Nordic neighbours were righties, making border crossings tricky.

Voters hated the idea of switching: 83% said nej to it in a referendum in 1955. But politicians don’t always feel bound by plebiscites. In 1963 parliament told a commission to prepare for lane-changing. By 1967 catchy pop songs, stickers, slogans and even special underpants reminded Swedes to turn right.

Mr. Robot Killed the Hollywood Hacker (technologyreview.com)

When hackers hack in Mr. Robot, they talk about it in ways that actual hackers talk about hacking. This kind of dialogue should never have been hard to produce: hacker presentations from Black Hat and Def Con are a click away on YouTube. But Mr. Robot marks the first time a major media company has bothered to make verisimilitude in hacker-speak a priority.


Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It. (nytimes.com)

Most social media is best described as a collection of somewhat trivial entertainment services that are currently having a good run. These networks are fun, but you’re deluding yourself if you think that Twitter messages, posts and likes are a productive use of your time.

Regt zum Nachdenken an.

drduh/macOS-Security-and-Privacy-Guide: A practical guide to securing macOS. (github.com)

This is a collection of thoughts on securing a modern Apple Mac computer using macOS (formerly OS X) 10.12 “Sierra”, as well as steps to improving online privacy.

Spannender Guide um OSx mehr abzusichern und die Privacy zu verbessern.

Drupal Camp Cape Town 2016 – Fast websites for all of us


I was invited to Drupal Camp Cape Town to present on a topic which is very dear to me: “Fast websites for everyone” I was covering  principles or issues which need to be addressed in order to get sites as quickly as possible to the user.

My personal thanks go to the Team behind Drupal Camp Cape Town. It was amazing to be part of it and I loved the relaxed location and the many discussions with the people I met throughout the day.





Stepping back from Organizing

Frontend Conf 2016

This was an extraordinary year for conferences.

I was able to fit three conferences and two involvements for the programme team for DrupalCon Dublin next to work into my schedule (thanks to a very generous team who made it possible – thank you amazee.io).

  • Wunsch Schloss
  • FrontendConf 2016
  • TEDxBern 2016
  • DrupalCon Dublin – DevOps Summit
  • DrupalCon Dublin – Performance and Scaling Track

This all would not have been possible without a great team and effort, late shifts or just picking up work which has been left unasigned.

All in all, every conference I took part was a success.

Sitting here and contemplating about the time spent, the great moments we had, I had experienced something I didn’t encounter for months. It was a time to reflect. I gave myself time and space to think about how i want to contribute to those events and where I personally wanted to go. I felt depleted and loss of ideas. During a long and very good conversation with Dominik, we had come to the conclusion that there must be more to this than the ‘normal’ conference. I’m in search of something new, however, first I’ll shift my focus and take on new things, perhaps also enjoy free time, and get back to my reading challenge.

It humbles me when Speakers like Simon Weidman or Gwendolyn Masin tell me that the moment when they went on stage they felt that they are in the right hands or Laura Kalbag writes following:

It’s rewarding and feels great to see people enjoying the stage you set.

On Failure

Did everything go perfectly? No way! We failed to make the DevOps Summit at the DrupalCon Dublin to make a success. But the Drupal Association very wisely pulled the plug at the right moment. We were sitting there and said, It’s not worth it. Work has been done, but we did not get enough traction. We had this discussion also for another conference this year at an earlier stage. And the team agreed we’re still on a GO so we did it. Not this time for the Summit. I would have loved to see it be a success but it’s also wise to call it a day and cancel an event when there is time and you’re not over the point of no return. I don’t see it as a failure, I treat it as a learning.

Heading for new Shores

The Wunschschloss in Thun is a lovely venue with interesting talks how Switzerland can evolve and what it can learn from other countries. Young and old people take their ideas to the stage to get heard. I like the format and the venue. After being responsible twice for the whole Event Tech I’m letting go and passing it on to the team we’ve built up. Next time I’ll maybe sit in a back row where I can overlook the stage and the tech crew doing their work.

As we run TEDxBern every other year we have some time to sit back and decide how we tackle the next edition. I won’t let go of this as Markus and I started it years ago and it’s something we run with a lot of passion (even tough we argue sometimes a lot – but that’s part of a creative process)

I’ll let go of FrontendConf as my work-focus shifted quite a bit it’s not the centre of attention for me anymore. After 4 years being active for the conference, i’ll take a step back, letting others take on the Journey such an event brings.

On Energy

I had to pull out of several activities this year, some of them I could handle well while some were treated less well. After a strenuous time, the most valuable lesson I learned is that I can still do a lot, but I also need to take care in the long run. In a book I read recently, a wise man said “Your year has 12 months but you only have 6 shots. You need to prioritise to get things right”.

It was a pleasure meeting with all of you. See you near a Stage soon. I’m sure I’ll keep myself busy with something new.