Caching enabled, Shoutbox disabled

I was playing around with some caching options on my blog, because the response time has been reportedly slow lately. I found a relatively decent configuration especially thanks to the W3 Turbo Cache plugin, but now my beloved shoutbox ‘Schreikasten’ (formerly displayed on the right side as a widget) did not work properly anymore. Although I will look into what exactly the problem was again, until I find a solution, I will have to disable the shoutbox for now. I am not sure what to do with all the stuff that I would have posted there. Usually that stuff was not worth to open a whole entry for. And visitors where able to drop a line without the context of a blog post in it. However, I prefer a faster website. Maybe I will collect my findings in a regular post once enough has been accumulated, like stromkopf does. Any other ideas besides going twitter?

How to merge multiple RSS feeds into one

If you have a wordpress blog (or any other kind of website), you might come across this problem some day: you want to fetch multiple RSS feeds and merge their entries in chronological order into one feed. Don’t panic, I might have found the solution for you. On my WordPress blog you can see I have RSS feeds for the blog posts, the user comments and now also the shoutbox entries. Most visitors were not aware of the different RSS feeds on my page (and who could blame them?), so I decided to combine them all into one big feed. Here is what you need to do…

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Orbital Uplift (Float and Fall)

I have a new ‘mixtape‘ for you guys! This time it contains my favorite tracks of the past few months. I had them in a kind of heavy rotation while working, and now i put them together in a sequence.

I like to imagine it is going up like a rocket into the orbit in the beginning where suddenly (at around half of the mix) you stop moving and just kind of float around in zero gravity until you drop back down to earth (in the last 12mins). So it is kind of chillout with some energy boost here and there.

Hope you enjoy!! Don’t forget to provide some feedback in the comment section…

Listen now…

Atomkraft? GTFO!

(Bild-Quelle: Uni Frankfurt)

Fukushima ist alles andere als ein erledigtes Thema, auch wenn es in den Medien ein wenig untergeht. Es ist immernoch nicht klar, in welchem Umfang das Innere der Kraftwerke und insbesondere die Brennstaebe in den vier Abklingbecken zerstoert wurden. Unglaublich! Eine wahre Hilfslosigkeit macht sich breit: Derzeit ist das Japanische Militaer dazu gezwungen Schulhoefe umzugraben, damit der nukleare Dreck unter der obersten Erdschicht verschwindet. Erinnert ein wenig an “unter den Teppich kehren”. Was aber wenn eins der Kids anfaengt eine Burg zu bauen? Continue reading

Bottled Water

I never buy bottled water. Except the occasional beer, wine or whisky that comes in recyclable glass, I am barely buying any plastic bottles at all (and I am practically never buying cans of any kind neither). I might have a slight advantage though: I don’t like Cola, Fanta, Sprite very much, but… I probably can NOT live without sparkling water. The bubbles are soo refreshing and soothing for my stomach, its almost a relieve to drink it.

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Athene’s Theory of Everything

Are you in the mood to think about how we see ourselves, why we believe in the things we believe and how we act upon those believes? Then you should consider watching this clip of ‘Athene’s Theory of Everything’, which is trying to explain and to unify all of our current philosophical questions with up-to-date scientific facts.

Don’t watch it, if you are stressed or not open minded for philosophical thoughts! You will be advised in the beginning of the clip, that the matter is complicated and multiple viewings might be required. But it is worth your attention and turns out to be very interesting, even when watching it for the the first time and when you might not be able to follow many of the details. Just play it again another day.

Among physics and biology, it even mentions the Mirror Neurons – a topic of the talk i have been putting up here in my previous post. I can’t stress enough that you should be advised to take some time to let all the ideas sink in, since it is quite condensed – especially if you are new to thinking about the ideas on how the world and we as human beings operate. However, it is presented in a very clear and calm way. In my opinion it is definitely something to take into consideration when discussing how ‘everything’ works…

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The Empathic Civilization

Like I promised in my previous post, here comes another clip from RSA Animate, presenting a speed paint to a talk by Jeremy Rifkin called ‘The Empathic Civilization’. It is about the question of how we (and apparently also other mammals) feel empathy for something that can be observed happening to others. Like when we watch a movie, the same neurons fire in our brain processing what we see as if we would experience it ourselves. Scientists call this function in our brains the mirror neurons.

It is a remarkable discovery and he is talking about how it might have evolved from the bond that our ancestors in the cave had with their tribe (viewing other tribes as aliens), to religious groups believing to belong to each other up to the bond we feel towards the people of our same nation (and in many cases being hostile towards people of other countries). He then poses the very interesting question, if this evolution could extend over the whole planet to make us feel connected to one another as a whole ecosystem.

This is especially interesting to those who are working on ways how to convince people that we are not so different from one another. We should really stop treating people from other countries, religions and families as aliens. This is a very outdated concept in many parts of the world. The idea that, with our technology advances, it could be some day possible to overcome the differences between all of us and create what he calls the empathic civilization – where we act as a family of beings and not individuals. Think of the possibilities in sustainability and social equality that arise if we could just trigger these mirror neurons in each and every one of those who still live by the imaginary boundaries of nations, blood ties and religions.

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Smile or Die

If you are fed up with all the people who do not seem to realize, that some things are going wrong, maybe those might just not feel they would be allowed to say what they think. We live in a society where realism is not always appreciated. Even so far as to distort reality into a point of view where we are not making any changes, even when they might be absolutely necessary. The constant “everything is ok” and willful ignorance that is going on especially in the corporate world and politics does not contribute to our progress as a society at all. It is harmful in just the same way as the constant fear and depression that we perceive most of the time through the media. In fact, people might start to feel powerless with the constant good mood in the same way as they would with the constant negativity they are confronted with – especially if they don’t believe it. The solution? Just acknowledge the facts that you have at hand and act accordingly! Smile or complain whenever you think it’s appropriate but never stop acting upon what you think is right or wrong!

RSA Animate published a fantastic talk on this topic by Barbara Ehrenreich on positive thinking accompanied by a kind of speed paint to what the talker is saying. I really love all of their videos (and I will post some more here later). This clip unfortunately has some pretty bad audio, but the message is clear…

And while you are at it, you might also want to check out my previous post ‘Everything is OK‘.

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EA Origin EULA Privacy Scandal & Solution

First off: I love Battlefield since the first release and I have been playing all of them since Battlefield 2 weekly for hours. I love DICE for making awesome games with such attention to details and with the guts to put something new into each and every one of them. I also loved Mirror’s Edge and Pinball Dreams/Pinball Fantasies – both DICE products (those where the days guys!). What I hate is when some producer (read: EA) takes over and drives a perfectly good franchise and an awesome games studio against the wall by doing things like manipulating game review scores or not releasing it on steam. But the latest is really the kicker… they want you to install a spyware, they call ‘Origin’ if you want to play Battlefield 3 on PC.

I am really happy to see the reaction of the German gamers population, that led to EA’s latest scandal now even making it into the mainstream media.

In case you missed out on the details: The reason is that in the EULA (you know, the colossal text that you scroll down and accept when installing something) they get the agreement from you that, if you want to play Battlefield 3, you allow them to scan your entire harddisk and send everything they find to undisclosed third parties, which technically even includes private documents, photos, videos and the like. Not enough that you actually paid for the game (as far as i read the rumors, EA wants to increase their prices from now on from average 50 to 60 euro per game), you also have to install a trojan/spying virus with it to be able to play.

It took quite a while since the first complaints started to emerge online in August, but now that Battlefield 3 has been released, it is finally all over the german speaking media: Die Zeit, SpiegelOnline, NZZ, n-tv. Only Bild is missing out on that one so far. However, I am wondering why the Media outside of Germany does not seem to report on any complaints at all. Are you people satisfied with what EA is doing? Are you not informed? Or is the mainstream media just not covering what’s going on?!

What can we do about it? I for one will not even install the game until EA has modified their EULA dramatically (unfortunately I pre-ordered in April without knowing at that point, that it will run with Origin only). I will give Amazon a bad review on Battlefield 3. I will write a complaint email to EA’s Privacy Department and if nothing has changed until 11.11.11 I will send back my copy for a refund and start playing Skyrim as planned and only Skyrim instead. *drool*

Workaround: If you want to play Battlefield 3 anyway but of course would like to prevent Origin from scanning your system, there is supposed to be a solution called sandboxing. I haven’t tried it myself, but go ahead and report back if it worked… I would still suggest you to at least write a complaint to EA about it though, otherwise there will not be anything happening ever and you would at some point sandbox each and every game you buy.

Sequence on Steam feat. Ronald Jenkees

Yay! I just accidently found a game called ‘Sequence’ on Steam! Wait. Steam has what now?! Ok, from the start: I love the indie game releases this year, so i regularly check what’s on Steam. And there it was featured today: Sequence is one of those rhythm games that are flooding the market lately (most prominent example would probably be Guitar Hero). I am actually not so very impressed by this gameplay idea in general and the fact that it combines RPG elements with the timing of direction punching on the keyboard or gamepad is not the reason why i mention it here. No, the real reason is that it is featuring music by Ronald Jenkees and this guy is just genius! I have been watching his performances with the synthesizers quite some time ago on youtube and was always thinking about ordering one of his CDs. You can see that he just loves what he is doing when improvising along his sequencers. And now that I just found out that he obviously contributed some tracks to this game, i have basically no choice but to support him finally – with the tiny price of 3.59EUR (its 10% off right now) there is absolutely no reason to hesitate! If you would like to know who Ronald is and what’s his music like, here is my favorite track:

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