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finally i found the time to put the photos from this year’s trip to burkina faso online. not quite as many as the pics from 2003 – and in my opinion not quite as good, as i simply didn’t feel so much like taking photos this time. also, as we spent less days in the countryside and most days were very hazy with dust there weren’t quite as many perfect situations. however, there they are.

UPDATE: see also bodi’s photos from that trip.

boy at AMPO

just reading in the austrian magazine profil: 8,800 austrians are in jail currently, representing 0.1% of the population. compare that with 2.1 million US-american prisoners, roughly 2% of the population, and numbers are growing rapidly.

the strange thing: as far as i know the current juridical practice in austria, im my opinion even here far too many people are being put in jail instead on probation or to do community work. so something has to be going fundamentally wrong in the US, the land of the free.

after having developed the A1 blog, a gizmo-blog for mobilkom austria, knallgrau, the makers of, have now won an international pitch to host the BMW oracle racing blog. congrats folks! (via sierra)

o2 germany just announced that it will launch a new prepaid tariff called “loop alltime” in july. that’s good news as i authored the initial business plan for that tariff quite some time ago. meanwhile a couple of new low-price competitors (simyo, schwarzfunk) have popped up, so it will be a tough match.

just have read a blog post by ross mayfield about the the LA times experiment to expose their editorials to public editing in a wiki, called “wikitorials“, and jimmy wales, founder of wikipedia, creating a counterpoint page on the same wiki.

while i absolutely agree with jimmy that collaborative editing leads to a neutral point of view, which “would be fine for wikipedia, but would not be an editorial”, i experienced the downside of grassroots media when clicking the link to said counterpoint page: all i saw was two photos of naked girls age maybe ten.

the photos will probably have gone by the time you read this and probably were online for just a few minutes, as collaborative editing deals quite well with those things but hey, let’s face it: such things are inevitable. while i hope similar things will be spared me at my latest wiki project i think collaborative editing is worth the downsides.

UPDATE 2h later: the affair seems to have had a strong effect: “The Los Angeles Times Wiki is currently closed.”

UPDATE2, 9h later: sadly enough the vandalism seems to have had effect: “Unfortunately, we have had to remove this feature, at least temporarily, because a few readers were flooding the site with inappropriate material.”

eine gruppe von deutschen rechtsanwälten (auch ein österreicher ist an bord) betreibt das RSV-blog rund um rechtsschutzversicherungen und ersucht die concordia-versicherung um stellungnahme. diese antwortet:

Bereits aus zeitlichen Gründen bitten wir Sie, uns mit den von Ihnen im Internet veranstalteten Albernheiten zu verschonen.

meine gratulation zur zielsicheren analyse der situation. das handelsblatt fand’s auch amüsant. (via

make sure you read peter merholz‘ article “designing for the sandbox” about control vs. openness in software design and product development. couldn’t agree more.

fred wilson, venture capitalist in new york and an old hand at internet business, puts the current race for dominance in information management of the “world live web”, as technorati likes to call it, or “the changing web”, as john battelle labels it more accurately – being mainly search, bookmarking and feed consumption, into the historical perspective of early but unsuccessul push technologies such as pointcast. he concludes that this time the attempt is likely to succeed:

Interestingly, none of “The Changing Web” businesses that I have mentioned in my little history lesson have become a meaningful part of the web services landscape. I think that’s about to change for several reasons.

RSS, search, tagging, web 2.0, and peer economies are all coming together to make “The Changing Web” more important, more accessible, and more monetizable. (..) Peer economies, or the architecture of participation, or whatever else you want to call the user part of the equation is going to play a big role in harnessing The Changing Web for commercial applications.

social search, web 2.0, tagging, peer economies, RSS, social networks, folksonomy, citizen journalism, collective intelligence – there are dozens of buzzwords flying around in the moment. silently these concepts – all of them driven by substantial numbers of pioneer users – have begun to transform everything from digital life to traditional media. so in case you are setting up a business even remotely linked to digital media make sure you take into account what’s going on, it’s probably the biggest revolution since google has gained its current dominance seven years ago. and like with google it’s not going to be a big bang this time either. just my 0.02. (13k image)nachdem ich schon länger darüber nachgedacht habe, habe ich mir jetzt ein wochenende zeit genommen, um zu launchen:

ein wiki, das alle österreichischen* vereine und privatinitiativen, die in burkina faso projekte machen (deren gibt es dutzende!), an einen virtuellen tisch bringen und als “knowledge management”-portal deren erfahrungen sammeln soll. dabei sind – wie bei einem wiki üblich – alle aufgefordert, am portal weiterzuarbeiten und es zu gestalten. bin schon gespannt, ob das experiment bei so einer kleinen (und wenig internet-affinen) zielgruppe funktioniert.

ein interessent hat sich schon gemeldet, der die plattform möglicherweise dafür nützen möchte, gebrauchte werkzeuge aus industrie und gewerbe zu sammeln und in entwicklungsländer zu verschiffen (ganz im sinne meiner idee eines kooperativen sachspendenmarktes).

* natürlich steht das wiki auch nicht-österreichischen gruppen und/oder solchen, die sich in anderen ländern als burkina faso engagieren, offen.

today’s dilbert:

i couldn’t buy the software i need to do my job because of your freeze on expenses.
and our IS-policy says i can’t use the freeware version that is readily available.
so i used the week to develop some new coffee sipping noises.

reminds me on a situation i had with a big IT company i worked for as a consultant:

they wouldn’t allow me to use my own notebook (well, i could have paid 105 a month for WiFi-access in their office building..!). they were using office 97, netscape 4.7 (while firefox was forbidden due to security reasons) and other archaic wonders. many websites were blocked (like the city’s main event guide), their proxy servers even decrypted HTTPS-sessions and neither my webmail (being on a different port) nor POP-access worked.

they had needed an interim manager urgently so i handed over the project i was doing before to someone else and moved to the far away city, all within a few days. i simply had to get access to my emails to be available for questions for the project i had handed over so i decided to install a tool that bypassed their proxy servers. i informed my boss (he was suffering as well, everyone was) who just commented with something like “you little hacker..”.

two months later an IT security guy popped up and sharpely demanded a meeting. it turned out that a couple of programmers had installed the same tool and used it for something noticeably affecting the available bandwidth, supposedly downloading music or films. they were sacked immediately (couldn’t even say goodbye to their collegues, they were escorted to the exit by security staff). for me, he sad, they could content themselves with resetting my PC and an apology as they had checked my internet activity and hadn’t found any harmful or illegal use. the funny thing: it didn’t seem to be a security risk to take all data (quite sensitive data) home on my USB-stick while they set up the computer – they even asked me to.

three weeks later my cosulting contract abruptly ended, as someone had complained to management about “double standards”, with those guys having been sacked and not me. finally the use of the tool had done harm, as the project i had been on quite suffered by my leaving. (sidenote: i then found it quite funny that they hired me again for another project.)

i must admit that it indeed was an error and a potental security threat to use that tool, and i wouldn’t do it again. yet i believe that the bigger threat for the security of a company is such a rigid IT policy, reducing productivity (have you tried editing large docs in word 97 or surfing the web in netscape 4.7..?), creating an atmosphere of distrust and duty instead of creativity and committment.

Common misspellings: Farnberger, Fahrenberger, Farenberger, Fahnberger, Fahrnleitner, Fahrngruber, Fahrnberg.