50 for 1

Its official. I’m becoming a vegetarian. Since three or so weeks I have lowered my meat consumption to almost zero now. It was easier than I first anticipated. Being a “carnivore” for more than two decades makes you know every possible taste of meat and sausage, so I actually don’t miss anything. My family is – of course – not with me. Especially not my wife, but hey, we have different opinions on almost everything anyways. (Sometimes I think this is the reason why “it works”, we have both quite strong egos.)

Why I’m suddenly becoming a vegetarian, you ask? Three important points to note here:

1. *Money:* Meat will get way more expensive in the mid- to long-term, since the demand from Asia will raise rapidly in the next years as people gather more welfare. On the opposite, we – the “developed world” – will have to reduce our excessive meat consumption sooner or later, simply because we can no longer afford it. I’m just starting a little earlier.
2. *Ecology:* To produce one kilogram meat you need about 50 kilogram of corn. Think about this number for a second. Again, the demand for corn raises rapidly especially in Asia and so do the prices, additionally fired by speculants. At the same time the places where crop can be cultivated shrink, more and more forests have to be cleared. I will simply get sufficiently harder to feed eight billion people by the year 2025, especially if more and more of them become carnivores.
3. *Health:* I’m simply too fat, I cost myself, my family and my environment too much money, now and even more in the future. By reducing the animal fat, I hope to do something good for myself as well (though I know I won’t loose much without changing other parts in my life as well).

There might be more for other people, for example animal rights, hunger in the third world, but the above ones are the most honest for me. (How much have you spent to organizations like “Bread for the World” recently?)

I strongly believe that everbody can change something, in his own life, his direct surrounding and even beyond. You _just_ have to start it. And you know what? It feels right and good.

Holidays (Update)

I’ve finally managed to upload some pictures of our holidays in Sweden from September 2009. We’ve rented a small appartment nearby Malmköping, about 100km away from Stockholm – which we’ve (of course) visited as well.

Sweden impressed us all pretty much, I’ve never seen such a beautiful landscape in my life before. My little son has fallen in love with the equally young daughter of our host, named “Heather”, which he only met once, but constantly talked about later on. And finally my wife already starts to think about emigration while she’s looking for Swedish language courses…

In the end we all agreed that eight days Sweden is not much, probably way too less, and that we definitely want to come back again, even if it will not yet be forever. We’ve then spent the second part of our holidays in Hamburg and I’ll probably upload some pictures from there as well. I’m still speechless when I think of our visit in the “Miniaturwunderland”

Update: Here are the missing photos from our Hamburg visit.


Michelle is dead. They found their dead body murdered only a few kilometers from where I live in a pond. Today at 12:30pm. She became only eight years old. (German source, Translation from Google.)

Michelle was missed since Monday after she did not return to home from hoard and was last seen with a man in the upper Lene-Voigt park, a place I go through almost every day with my son when I bring him to the kindergarden.

This strikes me very much. Its always bad news when young children get kidnapped and killed afterwards, but if this happens directly in your neighborhood and you’re having a small child yourself, this touches you even more. All the love and time you’ve invested – gone forever. And everything will remind you at home – the nursery of course, the toys which may lay around in some other room, the paintings you’ve got as a present, the kid’s food in the refrigerator, everything.

What would be my reaction if I was told that my little son was found dead, murdered? What would I do? I don’t know. I’d go mad, I’d scream. I’d try to find the guy who murdered him and kill him, for sure. But what if he’d never be found? Could I live with that? I don’t know. I really don’t know.

Let me tell you that I feel very much for Michelle’s parents, and I probably cannot even imagine the pain they feel just right now and in the upcoming weeks, month and over the next years. I very much hope that I never have to go through this. I’ll try my best and promise to prepare my son for this cruel world as much as I can…

No longer a Carpet Crawler

Since August 1st, when my son Vincent (13½ months old) decided to take his first own steps without holding the hand of mommy or daddy, the times have been very exciting. Its very cute to see how his skills evolve from day to day, and while he usually felt more safe in the past by crawling around, today was the first day on which he actually walked more than he crawled! He even managed to stand up all alone several times – man, I’m just a happy dad! Here are some obligatory “evidence” pictures:

My son Vincent (2007-08-11)

My son Vincent (2007-08-11)

For all the relatives and other interested people we’ve set up a webpage solely dedicated to Vincent’s pictures – though the titles and comments are in German, the photos should speak for themselves ;).

Life and everything

So this was one of those mediocre days, you wake up far too early in the morning because your little son thinks its a good time to be awake. You do the usual things, like get awake yourself somehow in the bathroom, put on some clothes (while picking those ones which don’t smell that bad from the staple), take care about your son and your wife, eat something, later give each a hug, “love you, bye!” and go to work.

Well, work, this is probably what struggles me the most at the moment. Of course you can’t always do or like what you personally find good or bad, you’re bound to projects, internal processes and stuff. Work used to be fun because I had and have great colleques, but sometimes, like recently, this just doesn’t compare or outweight the actual project work which just annoys me.

Usually, there are several kinds of projects, and I’m solely speaking of software projects here. Two of these “types” are the reason for my current struggeling:

The “I knew that this would happen and break our neck”-project. Usually these projects are plainly brain dead, include immense code hacks to get something work or are just build upon the wrong /dysfunctional components. Of course its not an option to just cancel the project – they have to be kept alive most of the time for political and / or reputational reasons.

The “We have to use this whether or not it is sufficient”-project. This is something even more brain dead and normally applies to a component or software you need to build your own software upon. To make things even worse, the component or software is mostly closed source, meaning you or your customer had to pay a huge amount of money for it and by doing this you are solely dependent on this particular vendor. The whitepapers of those things always look great, but when it comes to the actual implementation details you may find out “woops, it doesn’t do what we want, now what?” – yeah, one could bug the vendor and beg him to implement the feature, and maybe he even does that (based on the amount of money you’ve spent before on licensing), but this doesn’t always work out and if it worked out for one missing feature, it might not work out for another one you may find later. So you sit there and try to hack it yourself, and obviously your “system” has something they’d call an “api”, this is badly documented, and of course any support call to the vendor costs either alot struggle or even worse $$$.

For me personally an even worse problem is recently, that even if some project finished successfully, I didn’t get much satisfaction from it. Maybe this was because I couldn’t use the tools or environment I’d like to have used (Windoze anyone?), maybe this was because the resulting code quality didn’t match my own expectations (if you do project work you almost never have much time to get your tools right, think about a proper and extensible architecture, aso.), and maybe this was because I couldn’t tell anyone of the project because of NDAs or other political issues. How should I be proud of something I cannot show and explain in detail to anybody?

So all this made me think a lot in the past. At first I decided to get my joy of work back by doing personal Open Source projects in my spare time. This worked for quite some time and still kind of works, but the obvious problem is time. If you work 8+ hours, have a family with a little child and then should find some time to get some serious hacking done, then this usually fucks up your sleeping rythmn because you start to shift your “personal” workload into evening and night sessions.

Shouldn’t it be somehow possible to get both, satisfaction and money, for something you create? I came to the conclusion that it should be possible, after all these people seemed to have a lot of fun with their day job. Is that, because they produce an Open Source software, which is not only licensed by many companies, but also free to use for anyone else? Is that, because their employer, Trolltech, not only allows, but encourage them to research personal interests and get in contact with the community?

I could be wrong, but I think the answers to the above questions are “yes”. Thats why I think my perfect job would be in a company which not only uses, but respects and lives Open Source. And thats why I recently applied for a job offer from the Trolls, now lets see how this one goes…