Virtual Re-Walk of the Bernese Alps up to Blüemlisalphütte
Wednesday August 19th 2009, 20:58h
Filed under: Education, Private

This weekend Emanuel and I did our annual outdoor adventure, this time hiking in the Bernese Alps. We walked from Oeschinensee up to the Blüemlisalphütte and down the Kiental valley. Here you can see the first part of our trip on Google Maps while Mänus Android phone was recording the GPS signals (later its batteries were empty). Best viewed is this trail of course on Google Earth:

Google Earth path up to the Blüemlisalp

I didn’t just got to know the nice view from Blüemlisalphütte, but also got introduced to the great open source CMS Drupal ;)

Drupal on the edge

Download Google Books as PDF
Friday February 06th 2009, 14:12h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, Education, FLOSS, Research

Have you ever found an interesting book on Google Books and missed the “Download as PDF” button?? Google Book Downloader is a new little open source program which does exactly this (only for educational purposes of course ;) So now I finally can read the book chapter of Tim O’Reilly “The Open Source Paradigm Shift” also offline as PDF (sidenote: I don’t think that Tim O’Reilly thought how far the paradigm shift would go and that today - thanks to open source software - one can download this book for free whereby challenging his business model at the core…).

Google Books Downloader runs almost on my Ubuntu

Drawbacks: Google Book Downloader needs Windows, you have to install some ugly .NET framework in order to run it and on my Windows VirtualBox installation on Ubuntu it always crashes before being able to download the pages. Therefore, a Linux version of the application or debugging of this issue would be much appreciated.

My first Corporate Strategy lecture
Sunday October 05th 2008, 15:00h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, Education

Poor Sebastian broke his leg a week ago and had to do surgery nailing him to bed the recent days. This gives me to great opportunity to spend my weekend preparing tomorrow’s Corporate Strategy lecture on performance measures. Well, why not learning about P/E ratios, ROI measures, Balanced Scorecard etc. in three days? It’s important stuff and applied on figures from Google’s annual report 2007 it even is fun getting to know some methods e.g. on liquidity others obviously didn’t know.

Torturing data until it speaks
Saturday August 30th 2008, 8:08h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, Education, Politics, Research

Three weeks ago I arrived in the US. You might wonder what I’m doing all the time, just lying around or really getting some stuff done?? Let’s report backwards two days:

I just came home from a dinner organized by nice people of Vineyard Seattle, the church right in front of my apartment. Before I was working at the university crunching numbers and running statistics with my freshly acquainted R-skills for a new research project on Eclipse. For lunch I was invited by Suresh Kotha inspiring me on how to ‘torture my data until it speaks’. After finding out that there is no reciprocity in the Eclipse community, I have now a new idea how to intersect the figures. In the morning I reciprocated by showing David Gomulya how he could parse the entire Wikipedia site by using cURL - quite ambitious ;)

Yesterday night I watched of course Obama’s big speech at the Democratic Nomination Convention. While the conservative media concluded with its usual cynical review, I really admired how he talked and what he said, e.g. “Let’s not make a big election about small things.” (which of course media doesn’t like) Before I was invited for a little beer in the apartment just next to my door by David von Oheimb, Jorge Cuellar and his family. In the afternoon I went with friends to visit Boeing’s huge main manufacturing facility in Everett, close to Seattle. For me it was fascinating: I always thought airplanes just exist and fly around, but now the blackbox opened up and I saw how these fat birds are constructed by thousands of (wo)men! Especially the big 747 and the new 787 were impressive to watch being glued together. For lunch I went out to a nice Indian restaurant with Stephan Siegel. He’s from Germany but lives in the U.S. for several years already doing tenure track at UW in finance.

That’s about it what my brain can store in detail. Unfortunately I’m not able to attend the West Coast Research Seminar therefore returning to Switzerland already next Friday, September 5th - which I don’t mind because despite all the nice people here I miss Anita and the boys a lot!

Ah, and last but not least a pic of lunch with Sonali Shah, my great host here at UW who inspired me for my research and helped me a lot with current and future papers!!

Promising times for Ubuntu
Friday April 04th 2008, 11:43h
Filed under: Education, FLOSS, Ubuntu

This week the Geneva government announced 9000 Ubuntu installations on its school computers. That’s definitively a case we have to bring at the next teacher’s conference on open source software! But also in the Swiss German part of Switzerland we’re not inactive in terms of Ubuntu adoption: By the beginning of May our association /ch/open will release the new Ubuntu Swiss Remix Hardy Heron on DVD thanks to the sponsoring of And while Dell Switzerland is still not offering pre-installed Ubuntu (probably because of the lack of local Canonical support) I ordered a new XPS M1530 this week hoping its hardware is well-supported by Hardy Heron.

The world is flat!
Friday November 02nd 2007, 18:23h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, Education, FLOSS, Linux, Ubuntu

I love this slogan of Lunatic, “…unsere Welt ist eine Scheibe”, although in English the point is little bit lost ;) Lunatic’s world indeed consists of discs - CDs and DVDs - and next week it’s 2000 copies more. With the financial support of /ch/open, the great technical skills of Debian developer Daniel Baumann, the creative design of Stefan Sicher and my last-minute acrobatics we produced this week the Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon Swiss Remix.

It’s a German/French adaptation of the current Ubuntu release in order to boot all the programs of the respective language from the disc. As Daniel encountered some problems with the language packages while removing the GIMP manual in order to save space (about 20MB), you have to reinstall the manual after hard disk installation if you want to learn all about this great graphical editor:

sudo apt-get install --reinstall gimp-help-de gimp-help-common #German
sudo apt-get install --reinstall gimp-help-fr gimp-help-common #French

The Swiss Remix is available as ISO image from Daniel’s server including the shell script (under GPL) for building the distribution. When the discs arrive next Friday we ship packages with at least 50 copies at a production price of CHF 2.00 per piece. So email me if you’re interested in a package. Otherwise come to the Ubuntu release party next Saturday at the Puzzle offices in Bern or become member of /ch/open and you’ll receive free copies of the first Swiss remix!

Update 2007-12-05: I’ve written a press release last week, Ursula published the new /ch/open website with the order form and inside-it printed a short note about the Swiss Remix.

Freedom Pays - Save CHF 125 if You Don’t Buy Vista
Monday September 24th 2007, 11:49h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, Education, Linux

Today the ETH laptop selling program called Neptun opened its sales of Lenovo, HP and Apple computers. Next to really cool configurations they offer the option of not buying Windows Vista and thus saving CHF 125 of licensing costs. Thanks to advocacy efforts from The Alternative aca Marcus Dapp the Neptun team decided to request ‘naked’ machines from Pathworks, the equipments reseller (a move supported by the EU commission). Since Neptun has grown enormously since its start in 2001 and sells about 11′000 laptops per year, the impact of the ‘Windows Tax’ renouncement might be huge. Let’s get the figures from Immo as soon they close the orders.

Get Windows-free laptops!

Wikipedia Day in Bern
Wednesday September 05th 2007, 8:15h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, Education, FLOSS

It’s really a pity I’m going to miss this great event in Bern, co-organized by my friend Daniel Boos from ETHZ MTEC resp. Digitalen Allmend:

Wikipedia Day in Bern
Samstag, 29. September 2007, Aula, Gertrud Wokerstr. 5, Bern (Eintritt kostenlos)

10:00 Eröffnung
10:15 Irmgard Wiesner: Arbeit in umstrittenen Wikipedia-Artikeln
11:00 Delphine Ménard: The promotion of free knowledge: the cultural challenge
11:45 Mittagspause
13:15 Dr. Peter Haber und Jan Hodel: Erfahrungen der Geschichtswissenschaft mit der Wikipedia
14:00 Dr. Emanuel Meyer: Wikipedia und Urheberrecht - Was ist erlaubt? Was muss beachtet werden?
14:45 Michail Jungierek: Potential von Wikisource für Wissensarbeitende
15:30 Pause
16:00 Dr. Marco Jorio: Das Historische Lexikon der Schweiz - zwischen Printmedium und freier elektronischer Publikation
16:45 Dr. Donat Agosti: - Freier Zugang als Grundlage für die Wissenschaft
17:30 Podiumsdiskussion “Freier Zugang zu …” moderiert von Wolf Ludwig. Teilnehmer: Dr. Donat Agosti, Dr. Marco Jorio, Michail Jungierek, Delphine Ménard
18:30 Veranstaltungsende

Workshops (PC-Poolraum U101, Muesmattstr. 29, Bern)
Parallel zum Hauptprogramm finden Workshops zur Wikipedia und zu Wikisource statt:

10:15 Michail Jungierek: Alte Schriften - neu erschlossen
11:00 Christian Seidl: Wie funktioniert die Wikipedia?
13:15 Michail Jungierek: Alte Schriften - neu erschlossen
14:00 Christian Seidl: Wie funktioniert die Wikipedia?

informatica08: Call for Open Concepts
Tuesday August 28th 2007, 18:41h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, Education, FLOSS, Linux, Ubuntu

2008 will be a quite busy year here in litte Switzerland: We do not only host the European World Cup next year, but will also conduct the Year of Computer Science 2008, informatica08. Our association /ch/open is part of the initiating organzations since we believe freedom and openness in ICT is an important issue and needs more awareness in the Swiss public. Therefore we launch the Call for Open Concepts which invites creative individuals as well as innovative firms, educational entities and other organizations to invent ideas, draft projects and develop concepts on how to support open source software, open content and open standards in Switzerland. We try to coordinate the different initiatives, consolidate and improve the ideas as well as support the particularly promising ones with sponsoring money. Have a look at the complete call in the PDF (German only) and submit your concepts until October 1st, 2007.


Talking about an Evolution
Thursday June 28th 2007, 7:08h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, Education, Linux, Research, Ubuntu

This June was quite full of talks about open source related issues. The day after LinuxTag Jacqueline Peter of SVIA and I organized a conference for teachers and invited 6 speakers (including one Ubuntu enthusiast ;) to talk about open source tools related to education. We took the chance and started again another platform for open source software at schools called OSS an Schulen. It includes a support mailing list for teachers with questions e.g. related to experiments with open source in their classes. A next presentation on the advantages of open source for schools will take place in September in Bern for ICT coordinators organized by the PH Bern. The next second full-day conference will probably be in May next year regarding the feedback of the participants.
My second presentation was quite spontanious the week after. I was invited by Grégoire Hernan to talk about community building for the open source task force of the Swiss computer science committee of the Cantons (Schweizerische Informatikkonferenz SIK). He told me the federal administration is interested in creating an own voluntary action-based community of the IT departments of the 26 Cantons - which makes absolutely sense for a country like Switzerland with highly dispersed regional governments. So I redesigned some slides of my master thesis topic and explained the main issues relevant to create a productive open source community. By chance Kurt Bader, the head of IT of the canton Solothurn, attended the meeting as well so I could invite him as speaker of the next OpenExpo.
Finally, DIGICOMP organized a so-called OpenDay which gave me the chance present the Nokia case of open source community building. Well, this talk teached me to really address the interests of an conference’s audience: While our scientific research project is of quite high relevance in academia, with only 4 participants in my presentation it showed the low interest of Swiss practitioners in this topic. Nevertheless we had interesting conversations in our little workshop ;)