Volunteering in Denmark

[Friday, 13 July 2018]

I’m sitting in the red cross educational centre in Teterow, where I’ve been for some days now. Tomorrow will be the last day and on Saturday I will go home. The reason I came here was to learn about international voluntary services, as this is a preparation seminar for such services. In 30 days I will go to Denmark for 11 months and this seminar is mandatory for every volunteer. Well, not exactly this one. This seminar was designed for volunteers going to developmental volunteering services in countries such as Ghana or Vietnam, but this was the last seminar I could participate in since I decided I wanted to go to Denmark for a year on Thurday last week. So I came here as all other seminars already took place, but even though this one wasn’t exactly designed for Denmark, I’m still learning a lot and this can’t be a bad thing. I arrived on Sunday after travelling for around seven hours. We began on Monday with organisational matters and then we talked about our comprehension of being a volunteer and what we think we can achieve and what will be expected of us. The next day we learned a bit about self-defence, which is always a good thing to know about, just in case. After having lunch, we proceeded with talking about travel medicine and how to avoid getting malaria. On Wednesday, we talked a lot about racism and how to behave in a new culture. In the afternoon we went to a climbing park after sitting all day. Today we talked a bit about intercultural aspects and a lot organisational stuff.

[Monday, 23 July 2018]

In the last ten days, I have completed my to do list. That means I have signed the contract, applied for an extended certificate of good conduct (German: erweitertes Führungszeugnis), got a health insurance certificate as proof of insurance, registered with the German embassy and completed two e-learning courses which the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent made available. The first course was the “Red Cross and Red Crescent Induction Course”, which basically tells you the principles of the Red Cross communities and societies around the world. That was an interesting course, but not a lot of it was new to me as I already work with the German Red Cross. The other course was “Stay Safe – Volunteer Security”, which was interested, but I did not see the necessity for Denmark. That course will be useful when travelling to countries which are more dangerous, though. I also found a first aid course which I will take part in on the 30th July. I also just booked my train tickets, so I do not have to care about that a few days before. I still have 20 days, so that should be plenty of time. 🙂

[Wednesday, 15 August 2018]

I’m now here for half a week. Sunday has been the day of my arrival. After around 13 hours on the train I finally reached my destination. The last days I was doing nightwatch and talking to the students. School lessons will begin in around three weeks, right now we are just doing bicycle tours to get to know each other. In the evenings I go around and close windows and make sure that the doors are locked. By day I often take photos. I will need to learn about the structures of the school the next few days to be able to do more. Also, I need to get better at understanding spoken Danish. I can only read it without any problem.

 

 

Comment: A Renewable Energy Boom

This post is a comment to this NY Times article published in 2016: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/04/opinion/a-renewable-energy-boom.html I wrote this comment in school and got a mark equal to A in the UK for it.

We not only face the problem of acceptance and cost, while deploying more and more power plants for renewable energy, but also the problem that the wind isn’t blowing at a constant rate every day. It is not even blowing every day. A similar problem can be encountered when looking at solar power plants, though it would certainly seem nice to have sunny weather all the time. Many people want to solve this problem by using batteries to store energy for when it is needed. The problem with batteries is that they are not really efficient, as you only get around half energy (note: I know that this number isn’t correct, but the focus was more on grammar than on the number. I just had to use something and I know modern Li-ion batteries have an efficiency that is a lot higher. Our English teacher even said we should just use some numbers we like, but the rest had to make sense.) that had been used to charge them back. This might change as new types of batteries are being developed. A solution to the problem that not all types of renewable energy are always working would be the combination of different types of sources of renewable energy. Maybe the sun isn’t shining, but the wind is blowing. Therefore, I conclude that renewable energy solves more problems than it creates, as saving the world from climate change is a much greater problem than using the right energy source.

As stated in the text, there seems to be a boom in renewable energies. But is this boom big enough to save us from a devastating future? I’m not sure about that, as we can’t reach the goal many countries agreed upon in climate conferences. This is mainly because because some of the bigger countries like China and the USA don’t do all they can to stop global warming or to at least reduce its impact. China still has a lot of industry that pollutes the air in a way we in Europe struggle to imagine. In addition, US president Trump recently decided to leave the climate contract of Paris because he believes climate change isn’t real. If we finally navigate mankind around all these obstacles, we face the problem of angry people protesting against wind turbines that are to be built, because they don’t like to see them in front of their gardens. Even when being told that these wind turbines help save our planet, as less coal needs to be burned, these people often are still against it. That is why I think the slowly spreading use of renewable energies is more a social problem than a technological problem, as the technology advances fast enough. As an example, solar plants now have more than double the efficiency they had just some years ago. The problem of the sun not always shining or the wind not always blowing can be solved by combining a lot of power plants of a different type. This could be a combination of solar energy, wind energy, tidal power plants and turbines in rivers. Such a combination ensures that there is always energy when needed. In addition, unused energy could be sold into the river countries that are our direct neighbours, like the Netherlands. We could also import energy when needed.

I would like to conclude by telling you that there are no big technological obstacles, but social problems which keep us from making the decision to start using renewable energies.

Cambridge or There and back again

I have been in Cambridge around two weeks ago, 2nd to 7th April, and I have spent a great week there.

I arrived on Monday at Stanstead airport, where Martin (G3ZAY) picked me up. We drove to Dom (M0BLF) who has been my host for the week. We had dinner and then it became late. I had some strong tea, which proved not to be the best idea I ever had. With a little bit less sleep than needed, my first day in Cambridge was about to begin.

Tuesday

Tuesday morning began with Martin (G3ZAY) taking me into Cambridge. Dan (M0WUT) showed me all the sights and I made same great photos.

Then, after lunch with Martin (G3ZAY) he had taken me to the Secret Nuclear Bunker in Kelvedon Hatch, which isn’t secret anymore, but “a large underground bunker maintained during the cold war as a potential regional government headquarters. Since being decommissioned in 1992, the bunker has been open to the public as a tourist attraction, with a museum focusing on its cold war history.” (Wikipedia article). Unfortunately I do not have photos from there as it is forbidden to photograph in there. Some photos can be found on the internet, though.

 

In the evening I had the chance to make some contacts in the UKAC 144 MHz contest with the Camb-Hams. We drove on a small hill and had some fun there.

Wednesday

On Wednesday, I went to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford with Martin (G3ZAY) where I’ve seen a lot of planes.

Martin (G3ZAY) had then taken me to Ely where we looked at the Cathedral. Admission was too expensive, we decided.

After having looked at the cathedral, we walked back to the car park and then met Michael (G7VJR) at his company and had a chat accompanied by a cup of tea.

 

 

 

 

 

In the evening we then went to the Camb-Hams Pye & Pint. That’s basically around 30 radio amateurs meeting in a pub eating good food and chatting about their hobby. A great evening.

 

Thursday

On Thursday, I was taken to the RSGB’s HQ in Bedford by Richard (G4AWP) where Steve (M1ACB) gave us a cup of tea and a tour of the HQ. Then we drove to Bletchley Park, where I met John (2E0XLX) and we walked around and visited all the huts. Bletchley Park is where the codebreakers in WWII broke ciphers of the Nazis and helped to end the war much quicker. Today it is estimated that it could have shortened the war by some years. Maybe you have heard of Alan Turing, the man who built the Alan-Turing-Bombe which made decoding the ciphers of the Enigma, the cipher machine used by the Germans, possible in the first place. You can even see the Teddy Bear of him.

GB3RS: I made a few QSOs at the clubstation in the National Radio Center.

In the evening, I watched some Torchwood episodes (season 2, episode 6 “Reset” and episode 12 “Fragments”), as well as the Doctor Who special The Day Of The Doctor at Rob’s (M0VFC) with Dom (M0BLF) and Martin, (G3ZAY).

Friday

On Friday, Martin (G3ZAY) took me to the Ofcom listening station (PDF, link now dead), where Gavin (M1BXF) joined us. Jenny (G0VQH) gave us a tour of the antenna farm. Later that day, Martin (G3ZAY) took me to the Cambridge Centre for Computing History. It has been interesting to see all those old computers. But most of the exhibiton was about gaming over the last decades, which wasn’t really interesting to me. In the afternoon, I went to the Prana Indian Restaurant in Cambridge with Dom (M0BLF) and Lawrence (M0LCM). That was the first time I’ve been to an Indian restaurant. We then went to the Cambridge105 studio.

Saturday

So long, and thanks for all the fish. – Douglas Adams

I then had to leave on Saturday. My plane was on time and I left the UK around midday. 🙁

I hope to come back to the UK.

 

Thanks to Dom (M0BLF) for hosting me for that week.
Thanks to Martin (G3ZAY) for driving me to all the places.
Thanks to Dan (M0WUT) for showing me all the sights.
Thanks to Michael (G7VJR) for the cup of tea.
Thanks to Richard (G4AWP) for taking me to Bletchley Park.
Thanks to Steve (M1ACB) for the tour of the HQ and the tea.
Thanks to John (2E0XLX) for being my companion at Bletchley Park.
Thanks to Rob (M0VFC) for the great evening on Thursday.
Thanks to Gavin (M1BXF) for showing me the exposure compensation on my camera.
Thanks to Jenny (G0VQH) for the tour of Baldock.
Thanks to Lawrence (M0LCM) for letting me see how a waffle is made.
Thanks to the Camb-Hams for letting me play on their radios and making this week possible.

You are all amazing!

How I learn(ed) Swedish

As you may have noticed, I really enjoy learning and using Swedish. But how do I learn Swedish? For quite some time now, I have been able to have normal conversations and I’d consider myself to be at level B1 or B2.

Most of my learning happened using babbel.com, but as I’ve completed all the lessions a while ago, I’m just using babbel to refresh all the vocabulary. I can really recommend learning Swedish with babbel. You can try the first lesson for free. With babbel, it didn’t really feel like learning and therefore it didn’t feel like work. Which is why I really enjoy learning with babbel. Plus you also learn very quickly compared to a language learning course.

Since I’ve completed everything babbel could offer me for learning Swedish, I began to look for podcasts to train my listening comprehension. These are the podcasts I found especially helpful:

Radio Sweden på lätt svenska is a podcast targeted at people who have learned enough to understand normal spoken swedish. It’s spoken slowly and with a clear pronounciation.

Klartext is a bit more difficult, but still a bit easier than normal spoken swedish. Listen to it when the above mentioned podcast becomes to slow and boring.

Stockholmsnytt is a normal news podcast. Search it in your podcast app.

All of the above mentioned podcasts give you around 5 minutes of spoken swedish every day. And these five minutes make a big difference.

Språket (RSS-feed) is a podcast by the broadcaster P1, where you can learn about the Swedish language. A great way to keep learning as an advanced learner. They talk about different topics like grammar or sayings.

 

Sometimes, I also read newspaper articles published on dn.se or the articles on the website of radio sweden (sverigesradio.se)

 

A very important thing to do: Talking to people. So try to find someone to practice with. I do that via amateur radio or by talking to a friend in Stockholm once in a while. You can also train your reading skills by following Swedish folk on twitter.

 

I will keep adding material to the list on my wiki: https://wiki.dc7ia.org/doku.php?id=languages:swedish

Reise: Prag, Budapest, OE3A Wien

Prag, 25.10.2017

Straßenschild mit Geschwindigkeiten an der tschechischen Grenze
Geschwindigkeitshinweis a der Grenze zu Teschechien

Es ist Abend. Ich bin müde, denn heute morgen ging es früh los mit dem gemieteten Wohnmobil. Aber nach der Ankunft habe ich natürlich erst einmal den Transceiver aufgebaut und weil ich mich nicht mehr viel konzentrieren konnte, habe ich ein bisschen FT8 mitlaufen lassen. Auf dem Weg nach Prag bin ich an der tschechischen Grenze noch auf ein paar Schweden an der Tankstelle getroffen und habe mich kurz mit ihnen unterhalten. Eine Sprache will geübt werden und jede Gelegenheit muss genutzt werden.

Prag, 26.10.2017

Am heutigen Tag schaue ich mir endlich Prag an. Zuerst geht es mit der U-Bahn vom Stadtrand in die Innenstadt von Prag. Dabei ist das U-Bahn zuerst ein wenig schwer zu durchschauen, denn alles ist auf tschechisch und es gibt keine Beschilderung auf Englisch. Mit ein bisschen durchfragen

Rolltreppe zu den U-Bahngleisen
Die Rolltreppe führt zu den U-Bahngleisen

kommt man dennoch zu seinem Ziel.

Endlich in der Innenstadt, ging es zuerst in der Nähe der Moldau in ein kleines Café am Rande des Flusses. Dort mit Baguette und Milchshake gestärkt, ging es weiter am Ufer des Flusses entlang.

Prag, am Rande der Moldau
Prag, am Rande der Moldau. Blick über eine Brücke

Am Rand des Flusses verkaufen viele Künstler und Handwerker ihre kleinen Kunstwerke. Ich habe zwei sehr schöne Bilder gekauft. Erst wollte ich kein Bild kaufen, da ich befürchtete, dass das Bild anschließend im Rucksack zerknittern würde und anschließend nicht mehr schön wäre. Aber der Händler hatte eine kleine Papprolle, um das Bild zu schützen. Ein Bild sollte erst 600 Kč kosten, aber der Händler hatte gerade kein Wechselgeld und so verhandelte ich weiter und kaufte ihm zwei Bilder für 1000 Kč ab, was etwa 40 € entspricht. Der Händler, der schon befürchtet haben musste, kein Bild zu verkaufen, angesichts des Mangels an Wechselgeld, freute sich sichtlich das Bild noch verkaufen zu können.

Händler am Rande der Moldau
Ein Händler verkauft Bilder am Rande der Moldau.

Ein paar Straßen weiter entdeckte ich dann zwischen schönen alten Häusern die Figur eines Mannes, welche an einer durch eine Fensterscheibe geschobenen Stange hängt. Ganz schön kurios!

Figur an Stange
An einer durch ein Fenster ragenden Stange hängt die Figur eines Mannes

Beim weiteren erkunden der Stadt stieß ich auf das “Apple Museum”, welches allerdings nicht von Apple betrieben wird. Dort lassen sich viele alte Computer und anderes Zeugs bestaunen.

Ich bin zwar kein Fan von Apple, aber Apple ist eine große Firma, welche viele Entwicklungen bei Computern und anderen Geräten beeinflusst hat und so war es ganz interessant.

Blumenladen in Prag
Blumenladen in Prag

Nach diesem Museumsbesuch ging es weiter durch die Stadt und ich stieß in einer kleinen Seitengasse, unweit von der Moldau, auf einen schönen kleinen Blumenladen.

kongelig dansk ambassade
Die königlich dänische Botschaft in Prag

Etwas später lief ich zufällg durch eine Gegend, in der viele Botschaften sind. Hier sah ich die dänische, norwegische, finnische und japanische Botschaft im vorbeigehen.

 

 

 

Auf dem Weg Richtung Budapest, 27.10.2017

An diesem Tag war ich nur mit dem Reisen nach Budapest beschäftigt. Es ist nicht gerade viel passiert, aber mir viel auf, dass auf dem Weg die Slowakei das beste Handynetz hatte.

Budapest bei Nacht
Budapest bei Nacht

 

Budapest, 28.10.2017

An diesem Tag geht es endlich in die Innenstadt von Budapest zum gucken. 🙂

 

Unterwegs habe ich etwa 20 Wörter gelernt, die ich dann auch gleich bei jeder Gelegenheit angwandt habe. Ich hoffe bald mal wieder Ungarn besuchen zu können.

Wien, 29.10.2017

OE3A
Die Clubstation OE3A

Auf dem Rückweg von Budapest nach Deutschland habe ich noch kurz bei OE3A vorbeigeschaut. Die Clubstation der ÖVSV Headquarters liegt im Wiener Neudorf. Ich habe spontan am CQ WW SSB teilgenommen. Danke OE3FTA und OE3MZC, dass ich mal ein paar Verbindungen machen durfte. 🙂

Anschließend ging es endgültig nach Hause, mit einem kurzen Zwischenstopp in Bayern.

Ich muss OE3A mal wieder besuchen. 🙂

#YOTA2017

Whoa. What a week. More than 80 Youngsters from 26 countries gathered in Gilwell Park. All have the same hobby: Amateur Radio. So that’s what we did for a whole week. Amateur Radio stuff.

Saturday was the day it all begun. Ryanair had some delay, so I came a bit late compared to all the others. I watched the end of the opening of YOTA, where we received our YOTA T-Shirts and some other stuff. We were then divided into five streams: Turing, Morse, Hertz, Tesla, Marconi.

Every stream had the same programme, but on different days. We had a programme in the morning, lunch from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and then our afternoon programme.

We had different activities, this is what stream Turing did:

 

Sunday

In the morning we operated the special event station GB17YOTA, a really great station provided by the Camb-Hams ( www.camb-hams.com ). We used some Elecraft Transceivers with a lot of good antennas and we had quite often pile-ups. We were rotating at the stations for the different bands, so that everyone would use all of the sations during the timeframe for the activity. A cool thing is that you could hear a lot languages, because many operators answered to the distant station in their language, when they knew it.

In the afternoon we built a groundplane antenna for 17m. The wires in my team were all cut the same length, but the first wire was too short. So we ended up with an antenna for another band. We had some help from Lauren, M6HLR, who activated all 214 Wainwrights at an age of 12, and from her father (G0PEK). We antennas are leightweight antennas from SOTABEAMS that are made for SOTA.

Monday

We prepared for the Foundation licence exam. In the preparation have we learned how to tune a dipole, send and reiceive some Morse code (really slow), use the prefixes for British call signs in other parts of the UK and some other stuff. There hasn’t been a lot new for most of the participants, who already were licensed, except for the call signs.

After lunch have we begun to build a QRP transceiver for telegraphy on 17m, but the time was a bit short and I don’t think anyone finished in the short time. The transceiver kit was donated from QRP labs. It really has a lot of functions…

Tuesday

This is the day most happened. In the morning have we operated GB17YOTA again. See Sunday.

Our afternoon activity has been ARDF. This was completely new for me and has been a lot of fun. It really took me a long time to find all the hidden transmitters, but eventually I found them all.

After our afternoon programme happened something special, something unique. An experience you don’t have that often: We spoke to Paolo Nespoli, IZ0JPA onboard the ISS. But this contact was even more special than most ISS contacts, because it didn’t work at first. We could see Paolo using HamTV (2.4 GHz) and he heard us, but we couldn’t hear us. After some time we told him to raise the thumb. We then knew that the problem had to be aboard the ISS. Mission Control in Houston had been called and asked for a seond try. We had to wait some time. Then they called back. And we got a second try! Paolo has been floating to the Soyuz module. There he could use a working radio, 25 W instead of 5 W. But there we couldn’t see him, because the camera for HamTV is in the other module. That didn’t matter that much. We could ask out questions and then had some time to applaud, to let Nick, G3RWF, President of the Radio Society of Great Britain thank Paolo for the contact and to let Paolo say goodbye. It really was a moving experience. Thank you, Paolo.

Wednesday

RSGB call book from 1951 in the Science Museum in London
RSGB call book from 1951 in the Science Museum in London

We visited London on Wednesday, where we have seen the Big Ben in Westminster, 10 Downing Street, the Trafalgar Square and the Buckingham Palace, where we took the Underground to the Science Museum.

The group then went back to Gilwell Park, while I took the underground with DK3CW to 221b Baker Street, where I bought a Sherlock Holmes book.

Thursday

For thursday, we could choose from different activities. Some went to the OFCOM receiving

early QSL cards
Some early QSL cards in the Science Museum in London

station in Baldock, where I haven’t been because the number of participants was limited to 40. Some have been operating GB17YOTA, completed their transceivers or

An early coil
An early coil in the Science Museum in London

did other stuff.

Friday

In the morning, we visited Blechtley Park, where we learned about the Enigma and Alan Turing’s work on decrypting the messages encrypted with it. Experts now believe that Alan Turing’s work shortened the great war by two years. We also visited the National Radio Center in Blechtley Park, where we could operate GB3RS, but I

Early RF technology
Early RF technology in the Science Museum in London

decided to visit the shop of the museum, instead of waiting for the transceiver to be free for me, where I bought two books about Alan Turing.

From the museum, we drove around half an hour to a SOTA summit, where we made some contacts, before we drove back to Gilwell Park. This was the last day, so had a party and some goodbyes. We received the results of the foundation licence exam and every participant received a books about DXpeditions.

Conclusion: I’d visit YOTA again, but the number of participants is limited and participants who have not attended a YOTA camp before are preferred.

An early Telegraph station
This is how early Telegraph stations looked like

Thanks to the RSGB, the IARU and all the organisers of YOTA 2017!

A telegram
A telegram in the Science Museum in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

More about YOTA 2017 from the Radio Society of Great Britain: http://rsgb.org/main/about-us/yota-2017/
There you can also find the Daily Diaries, some great videos about YOTA.

Paddle from DK3CW / old Morse key
Jakob, DK3CW compares a modern morse code paddle to an old Morse key in the Science Museum in London

 

 

#hamradio2017: See you again next year in Friedrichshafen

Also this year it has been nice to meet so many great people from all around the world. This year I stayed in the HamCamp again, this year organized by Gerrit, DH8GHH (thank you!) where meeting great people started.

Mr. T-Rex has been at the information desk of the HamCamp most of the time.

Friday, 9 a.m. I went to the opening of the Ham Radio. The mayor of Friedrichshafen talked a bit

The mayor of Friedrichshafen at the opening of the Ham Radio.

about the impact the fair has to the city every year and IARU president Don Beattie, G3BJ, covered the spectrum challenges of today, and IARU’s role in working for the future of amateur radio A bit later DARC president Steffen Schöppe, DL7ATE hands over the Horkheimer award to Fritz Markert, DM2BLE. Fritz has done a lot do make calculations needed for german amateur radio stations a lot easier.

After the Ham Radio had officially opened I went to the stand of the federal network agency and asked them if they could use some help in the amateur radio examinition and then they told me to come. Before I helped at the examination, I went to the RSGB stand and drank some really good tea there. Steve, M1ACB, told me tea had to be drunken with milk so I decided to give it a try. Thanks for enlighten me, Steve!

IARU president Don Beattie, G3BJ talked about the importance of the work of the IARU.

Then I went to the examination and helped a bit there. I then asked the organizer of the american amateur radio examination if he he could use my help, but he told he he had 40 examiners, so I didn’t help there this year as a Volunteer Examiner.

The stand of the swedish amateur radio society SSA.

Most of the time I’ve been at the stand of the swedish amateur radio society, where I told people about the longwave transmitter SAQ and why this UNESCO world heritage is something special that should be kept in a the good state it is so future generations can learn things from it. Of course you could also find a moose at the stand. 🙂

It has been a really great experience to participate as an exhibitor and if my help is wanted in the future I’ll gladly join again. It has been very cool to have many conversations in Swedish and English. Especially in Swedish it has been cool to get some practice. Thank you Anders, SM6CNN och Hans-Christian, SM6ZEM that you have invited me. 🙂

DARC president hands over the Horkheimer award to Fritz Markert, DM2BLE

Where else do you have the possibility to talk to people from that many countries and learn new things?

At the stand of the swedish amateur radio society: A map with destinations in sweden

The stand of the SSA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See you next year in Friedrichshafen!

Bald ist es wieder soweit: Ham Radio 2017

– English version below –

Nicht mehr lange. Dann beginnt wieder das große Treffen von Funkamateuren aus aller Welt in Friedrichshafen. Funkamateure und Funkinteressierte treffen sich, um sich auszutauschen, neue Leute kennen zu lernen, Freundschaften zu vertiefen oder Freundschaften zu schließen. Nebenbei werden auch wieder Funkgeräte bestaunt und gekauft oder es wird über den Trödelmarkt geschlendert.

Ich freue mich persönlich wieder darauf, mit Leuten aus den unterschiedlichsten Ländern wieder mit mehreren Sprachen wieder sprechen zu können. Einige tolle Menschen treffe ich nur einmal im Jahr bei der Ham Radio. Ich freue mich euch dort wieder alle zu treffen und wundere mich, was euch jedes Jahr nach Süd-Deutschland zieht, denn es gibt viele Gründe, zur Messe zu fahren.

 

Bis demnächst, wenn es wieder heißt: Wir treffen uns am Bodensee

 

ENGLISH

Not for long. Then the great meeting of radio amateurs from all over the world begins again in Friedrichshafen. Radio amateurs and radio interested folk meet to exchange, meet new people, deepen friendships or make friends. In addition, radio equipment is also admired and bought, or it is strolled over the flea market.

I personally look forward to being able to speak with people from different countries again with several languages. Some great people I meet only once a year at the Ham Radio. I am looking forward to seeing you all again and I’m wondering what attracts you to South Germany every year, because there are many reasons to go to the fair.

Until soon, when: We meet at Lake Constance

 

Digitaliserung und ungeordnete Gedanken

Als Digital Native fällt es mir schwer zu verstehen, wie Menschen vor gar nicht allzu langer Zeit ohne digitale Technologien gelebt haben, obwohl ich mich an eine Zeit vor dem Handy erinnere — zumindest bevor es verbreitet war —, weiß wie es war keines zu haben, dennoch fällt es mir schwer zurück zu denken. Was war damals anders? Wie wurde der Alltag damals gemeistert, ohne den reflexhaften Griff zur elektronischen Lebenshilfe? Wie behielt jemand Kontaktdaten oder fand einen Ort? Wie unterhielten sich Menschen, ohne sich von Rechtschreibfehlern und Emojis triefende Belanglosigkeiten an den Kopf zu schmeißen? Und wie wurde die Freizeit verbracht, ohne mal eben schnell einen Film streamen zu können? Schnell. Alles ist schneller geworden, niemand möchte mehr geduldig auf etwas warten. In der Nachbarstadt wurde neulich die letzte Videothek geschloßen, hier gibt es schon lange keine mehr. Es ist 23:08. Ich sitze auf der Terasse. Trotz der sommerlichen Wärme fröstele ich leicht. Ich hole mir eine Decke und eine neue Kerze, denn die alte flackert nur noch schwach. Schnell die neue Kerze anzünden, bevor die alte ausgeht. Schnell, da ist es wieder, dieses Wort. Wenn wir jederzeit schnellen Zugriff auf Millionen Filme und Serien haben, steigt dann die Qualität der konsumierten Inhalte? Oder sinkt dann die Qualität, weil ich viel mehr konsumieren kann, ohne analoge Beschaffung viel weniger zu filtern brauche? Wenn vor dem Konsum der Weg zur Videothek ansteht, werde ich mir wohl viel stärker überlegen, welche Inhalte ich konsumiere, als wenn ich innerhalb von Sekunden eine Serie abspielen kann. Der Akt des Ausleihens lässt mich stärker darüber nachdenken, was ich sehen möchte, denn möchte ich später doch etwas anderes sehen, so muss ich wieder zur Videothek zurück. Wenn man nun mit dem Auto zur Videothek fuhr, kannte man den Weg. Andernfalls musste jemand nach der Adresse gefragt werden. Es wurde der Stadtplan aufgeschlagen, wenn ein solcher denn zur Hand war. Im Straßenverzeichnis fand sich das Quadrat, in welchem die Straße war. Hatte man den Weg gefunden, so konnte es los gehen. Würde ein Digital Native das noch können? Ich habe es noch nie versucht. Wie ist es, nicht ständig erreichbar zu sein? Oder jederzeit andere erreichen zu können? Ist mehr Planung notwendig? Fährt jemand auf Dienstreise, so kann derjenige nicht mehr vor Ankunft am Ziel informiert werden, sollte sich etwas ändern. Aber kann es auch Freiheit bedeuten, unterwegs nicht durch Anrufe gestört zu werden? Auch zu Hause mal Zeit für etwas zu haben, ohne ständig den Eindruck zu haben, man wäre Telephonist. Ich versuche seit einem Monat einfach mal ein Buch zu lesen, doch kaum habe ich einige Seiten gelesen, klingelt das Handy. Ob ich Zeit hätte. Jein. Ich habe Zeit, sonst würde ich nicht mein Buch lesen. Heute Abend habe ich mein Mobile Distraction Device abgeschaltet. Hatten die Menschen damals mehr Zeit, oder nur weniger Ablenkung? Ich habe den Eindruck, dass Menschen sich noch viel mehr gesagt hatten, als sie noch nicht in permanentem Kontakt standen. Jetzt sagt das Telephon irgendwelchen Konzernen mehr über mich, als ich meinen Kontakten erzähle. Unsere mobilen Allzweckbegleiter können nun vieles und wissen alles über uns. War Datenschutz vor der Digitalisierung schon so ein wichtiges und stets präsentes Thema? Sind schon früher viele Daten von und über uns angefallen, die auch damals schon über uns verarbeitet wurden, nur analog? Meine Generation ist schon zu weit davon entfernt, um das verstehen zu können. Mit vier Jahren verwendete ich zum ersten Mal einen Computer. Ein paar Jahre später bestaunte ich das Einwahlgeräusch eines 56k-Modems und die ersten Handys tauchten in meinem Umfeld auf. Ich habe nie eine Welt ohne Computer oder Handys erlebt. Als ich klein war, gab es noch keine brauchbaren Digitalkameras. Wenn im Urlaub oder zu besonderen Anlässen Photos gemacht wurden — grundlos wurden keine Bilder gemacht, das kostete schließlich — so ging es anschließend zur Drogerie. Der Film wurde in ein Papiertäschchen gepackt und nach einigen Tagen des geduldigen Wartens konnten die fertigen Bilder auf Papier abgeholt werden. (Das geht immer noch, ich habe es letztens erst gemacht.) Bevor die Bilder in Händen gehalten werden konnten, war natürlich die Neugier groß, denn weder wußte man, ob auf den Bildern zu sehen war, was gewünscht war, noch wußte man mehr, was überhaupt das Motiv war. Wer erinnert sich schon, was er vor knapp zwei Tagen photographiert hat? Wer erinnert sich an das letzte mit dem Handy aufgenommene Photo, ohne nachzugucken? Wo wir schon bei erinnern sind… Welche Telephonnummern sind noch im Kopf gespeichert? Bevor ich ein Handy hatte, wußte ich mehr Telephonnummern auswendig. Nun vergeße ich deutlich weniger Dinge, denn ich muss sie mir gar nicht mehr merken. Viele Menschen werden sicher meine Beobachtung teilen, sich nur noch schwer Dinge merken zu können. Zu viel sind wir mit medialem Konsum beschäftigt. Konsum, wie funktionierte der eigentlich damals? Wie lief es im Supermarkt ab, bevor von Produkten einfach der Barcode gescannt werden konnte? Wie ermittelte das Kassenpersonal den Preis? Wurde damals der Preis an der Ware schriftlich addiert? Taschenrechner gab es nicht. Und es gab auch eine Zeit vor Registrierkassen.

Würde mich jemand in eine Welt vor der Digitalisierung verschleppen, wie würde ich mit dieser fremden, aber dennoch bekannten, Welt klar kommen? Ich habe keine Idee. Deshalb möchte ich mal versuchen ein Wochenende vollständig analog zu verbringen und meine Erkenntnisse festzuhalten. Außerdem möchte ich mir von Leuten erzählen lassen, die diese Digitalisierung bewußt mit erlebt haben.

Using Android – but without Google or other proprietary Apps

I didn’t like the fact that Google and maybe some other companies could spy on the activities on my phone, so I decided to remove everything that comes from Google. After some time I also thought it was great to only use open source software where many people usually read the code, making it more secure. If just the company producing it has the code, how can I be sure the App does what is says it does?

I found some great alternatives for every App I use and I want to share what I found good. All apps have been installed via f-droid store.

Amaze – A great file manager. Nothing more to say. Just works.

AntennaPod – Podcatcher. Listen to your favourite podcasts. Supports different podcast directories: Popular iTunes directory, fyyd and gpodder.net. Lets you change the speed to listen faster, import/export subscriptions via OPML, automated downloads and a lot more.

DAVx⁵ – Lets you sync contacts and calender, formerly known as DAVdroid. “DAVdroid is a CalDAV/CardDAV synchronisation adapter for Android 4+ devices. Use it with your own server (like Nextcloud, Baïkal, DAViCal or radiCALe) or with a trusted hoster to keep your contacts and events under your control.”

Dimmer – Maybe you know Twilight? It dimms your screen at night and changes the colour of the screen, making it easier to read the screen in a dark environment or simply while in bed.

Easy xkcd – A simple, but also feature rich viewer for the xkcd online comic. Lets you save your favorites. Can also show you ‘what if?’.

Etar – A calender in material design, fork of the AOSP calender.

F-droid – App store for open source apps. Lets you add alternative app sources.

Firefox – A browser for the phone, features: tabs, sync, private mode, addons, …

FFUpdater – A simple app to download and update Firefox, which isn’t in the F-droid repos.

FoodRestrictions – ” When traveling abroad, are you having a hard time getting your food restrictions across? This app is here to help you ordering food when you are traveling to a country where language barriers can make it difficult to make yourself understood.”

Gallery – View your photos.

K-9 Mail – In my humble opinion the best mail client available. Also supports encrypted emails, multiple accounts and more.

LibreSignal – The great Signal messenger. Only that it is completely open source and doesn’t contain binary blobs as Signal  Update: Now longer developed, as you can now download Signal directly from the developers. https://signal.org/android/apk/

MemeTastic – Lets you create memes. Contains some popular pictures to which you can add text.

Mitzuli – Offline Translator. Great alternative to Google translate.

MuPDF – View PDFs.

Nextcloud Notes – Write notes and sync them to your nextcloud.

NewPipe – Youtube player app which lets you play the video in background.

Notepad – Just a simple notes app.

ObscuraCam – Helps you to obscure people from photos. (Just add the package source to f-droid, if you want it: https://guardianproject.info/fdroid/repo )

OCReader – A great alternative to feedly. Uses the nextcloud app ‘News’ to sync rss feeds and always have the same news list – including read and saved – across devices.

Offi Directions / Öffis – Navigation using public transport

OpenCamera – Lets you take photos.

OpenVPN for Android – Connect to OpenVPN servers.

OsmAnd+ – Map and navigation based on Open Street Map

Plumble – Connect to mumble servers. Speak with people via internet.

Calculator – Calculator which lets you also use pi, log, sin, cos, tan and ().

Slide – App for Reddit. Many features, easy to use.

Sound Recorder – Record audio.

StreetComplete – “Help to improve the OpenStreetMap with StreetComplete! This app finds incomplete and extendable data in your vicinity and displays it on a map as markers. Each of those is solvable by answering a simple question to complete the info on site. The info you enter is then directly added to the OpenStreetMap in your name, without the need to use another editor.”

Suntimes – Useful if you want to when the sun rises or sets. Also has the nautical times.

Survival Manual – Survival Manual based on the US Army Field Manual 21-76, works offline.

Transistor – Save URLs and listen to radio stations. Very simple, does not do more than that.

Telegram (f-droid version) – It is just like the Play store version, but competely open source. Does not include Google stuff.

Twidere – A client for twitter, Mastodon, Fanfou and StatusNet.

VLC – The well known video and audio player with many features. UPDATE: App hasn’t been updated in f-droid for some time. Maybe get it here: https://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-android.html

WiFiAnalyzer – “Optimize your WiFi network by examining surrounding WiFi networks, measuring their signal strength as well as identifying crowded channels.”

Yalp Store – Download apps from play store, but without any code from Google running on your phone. Be aware that many apps still connect to Google.

ZANavi – Navigation app. Mainly for cars.

 

Syncing data without Google:

For that task I use my own nextcloud server. Contacts and Calender are synced using DAVdroid. Notes are synced with nextcloud app ‘notes’ using android apps ‘Notes’.