Sunday, December 4, 2011

An Inspiring Quote from Steve Jobs [video]

There is no shortage of thought-provoking, inspiring, and just generally thoughtful comments made by Steve Jobs. However this one, which has been making the rounds on many social networks lately, really might just be one of his most inspiring ones.

"When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you're life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Photos from Dresden and Paris

Travel-wise these past few months have been very dull around here. Since my return from Madrid at the beginning of July I spent the entire so-called summer in Upper Austria and Vienna. Now in the first half of September I finally had a chance to travel a bit as I attended the DeLFI 2011 conference in Dresden, Germany where I presented a paper about OLPC before heading to Paris, France to attend Sugar Camp #2, a 3-day gathering of OLPC and Sugar volunteers.

In Dresden I really only had one evening and half an afternoon to wander around the city so there weren’t many opportunities to take photos. As a result the corresponding Flickr album is really quite thin.

dresden Frauenkirche in the dusk

In Paris I had more time to snap photos (album), first of all to document and share what was going on at Sugar Camp #2 and secondly because I stayed an extra day to be able to visit some places where I hadn’t been on my three prior trips to the city. One place which was very high on my agenda was Père Lachaise cemetery where famous people such as Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, and many others are buried.

paris Jim Morrison's grave at Père Lachaise cemetery

This was also the first time that I exclusively relied on my Nexus S Android smartphone to take photos. Even though I actually had the small Canon IXUS 100IS in my back bag the convenience of quickly being able to share the photos was a major advantage of the Nexus S. I have to say I was also pleasantly surprised by the quality of the images. The IXUS 100IS would have certainly been able to take better shots under difficult conditions but overall the quality of the phone camera photos are really good enough.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Photos from Spain

My five months here in Madrid are quickly coming to an end – I will fly back to Vienna on Thursday evening – so I thought this is a good time to briefly mention the photos I took on my various trips here in Spain. As always I’ve uploaded them to my Flickr account and the individual albums available there are:

IMG_3080 My favorite view of Sevilla’s Plaza de España

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Talking and Writing about OLPC / ICT4E

I haven't had much time to keep this blog updated but I thought I'd take a minute to briefly mention two places where I've (more or less) recently spoken and written about OLPC and ICT4E.

The first one is a video interview that I did with when I attended Conectar Igualdad's workshop about monitoring and evaluation in Buenos Aires back in December 2010. I'd also strongly recommend you to watch the interviews with some of the other workshop participants available here


The Association for Learning Technology is one of the (if not the) largest body in Europe which works on the intersection of technology and education. I am therefore very happy that I had the opportunity to write up my thoughts about the OLPC projects in Uruguay, Paraguay, and Peru for the latest edition of their quarterly newsletter. It's of course hard to get into too many details within the constraints of 2500 words but I do hope for my contribution to have four effects:

  1. Remind people that even though it  has in many cases dropped off their radar screens OLPC is still alive.
  2. Point out the fact that Latin America is really the place to be right now when it comes to studying large-scale 1-to-1 computing in education projects.
  3. Emphasize that Europe can learn a lot and has a lot to learn from the many projects taking place in Latin America these days.
  4. Interest people in reading the extensive 5-part article series about OLPC in South America which I published on EduTechDebate last autumn;-)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fascinating Aida - Cheap Flights [video]

Someone played this video at a friend's place yesterday evening and it's absolutely hilarious, particularly if you've had the pleasure of taking one of these cheap flights yourself;-)

Oh, and note that the actual song ends at around 4min 10sec, the rest seems to be advertising.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Podcasts I listen to

I don’t know which podcast I first started listening to regularly but it might have been Leo Larporte’s famous This Week in Tech while I lived in Washington, D.C. back in early 2008. Since then the list of podcasts I listen to has steadily increased with the possible exception of the sad day when Cranky Geeks ended. These days my list in iTunes contains about a dozen podcasts and plenty of unlistened episodes to keep me busy for quite a while.

So here’s a quick rundown of what keeps me entertained and informed on my commutes (and while I’m doing the dishes):

37 signals: 37signals is a Web services company based in the United States and while I haven’t really used them myself their online products such as Basecamp (project management), Campfire (real-time collaboration), and Highrise (contact management) seem to be very popular with many folks. Their podcast is released about once a month and some of my favorite episodes have focused on things such as 37 signals’ hiring process, a programming roundtable, and dealing with criticism of the company. What I like beyond learning about the individual topics is hearing bits and pieces about the company’s philosophy which (I think) can be summed up as having a lean, no-bullshit approach.

Chaosradio Express: If you’re seriously into computers in Austria, Germany or Switzerland chances are high that you’re listening to Chaosradio Express. The host Tim Pritlove (@timpritlove) is without a doubt the best German podcaster there is which is probably also the reason why he is one of the very few people who can actually make a living of it and do this fulltime. His shows are basically extensive interviews (many of them >2 hours) with people knowledgeable about things such as Android, ARM, board games, Hackerspaces, JavaScript, malware, privacy, etc. Well worth a listen if you understand German and are slightly geeky;-)

IBM developerWorks: While I’ve used the excellent resources provided by IBM on its developerWorks Web site on many occasions it wasn’t until a tweet by fellow Vienna University of Technology colleague @barfooz that I discovered the developerWorks podcast. So far I’ve listened to 3 or 4 episodes of the Andy Glover Java series and I’m definitely hooked.

LabCAST: LabCAST is the official video-podcast of the MIT Media Lab and presents about half a dozen of its projects per year. The episodes are short (often <5 minutes) but always offer an interesting glimpse into what’s going at what is undoubtedly one of the most interesting research facilities in the world.

Meet Mobility: Meet:Mobility is a joint project by three of the leading bloggers in the mobile computing space: Steve Paine (@chippy) from and, @jkkmobile (don’t really know his real name;-) from, and Sascha Pallenberg (@sascha_p) from This is really the only mobile computing podcast that I listen to and given the broad coverage of the field, including analyses of news and conference reports, provided by these three guys I feel well informed.

NPR Science Friday: Ira Flatow’s Science Friday is an absolutely excellent radio show about all things science and technology. Yes, it sometimes is very U.S. centric but the people he interviews on the show always add interesting perspectives and insights to the table. As I write this I’ve got several dozen Science Friday episodes stored on my iPod touch, covering everything from climate change, the Microsoft Kinect, multi-tasking, to oil spills.

PRI’s The World – Global Economy: Unfortunately it looks like the Global Economy podcast won’t be continued, the last episode was published in mid-September 2010, however I’m still keeping it in my list in the hope of hearing more of these stories which always looked at economic developments from interesting angles.

PRI’s The World – Technology: If I only have time to listen to one podcast in a week then it’s always The World’s Technology podcast. Clark Boyd (@worldstechpod) is doing an exceptional job of covering “tech that matters” and regularly beats the mainstream press when it comes to discovering new developments, organizations, and services which use or apply technology in novel ways. Definitely a must-listen!

Raumzeit: After Lukas Lang (@lukaslang) raved about Tim Pritlove’s latest podcast venture Raumzeit for many weeks I finally gave it a listen and have to say his praise was definitely spot-on. Raumzeit is a German podcast sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and focuses on all thing related to space travel. The two episodes I listened to so far focused on mission planning and space waste and were both very interesting.

Software Engineering Radio: I only very recently stumbled across Software Engineering Radio thanks to a tweet by aforementioned @barfooz. I’ve listened to 3 or 4 episodes from the archive so far and really enjoyed all of them. Definitely well worth a listen for anyone interested in software engineering.

Spectrum: Deutsche Welle’s Spectrum, edited by the Cyrus Farivar (@cfarivar), focuses on European science and technology news and thereby fills a gap in my often very U.S.-centric look at this topic. If I have time for  a second podcast in a week beyond The World’s Tech podcast then I always listen to this one.

I have a number of other podcasts listed in iTunes - e.g. 24 horas, Alternativlos, BackStory with the American History Guys, FLOSS Weekly, GeekNights with Rym + Scott, Green Tech Today, etc. – however I don’t listen to them regularly (anymore) these days or simply haven’t had time to listen to them at all yet.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Keynote on "One Laptop per Child in Latin America and what we can learn from it" [video]

I spent the past four days in Switzerland as the University of Teacher Education Central Switzerland in Goldau had invited me to give a keynote at their "One to One Computing in School" conference. The title of my talk was “One Laptop per Child in Latin America and what we can learn from it” and a recording of it is now available here, plus you can find the accompanying slides here. (Please do note that the keynote was given in German.)

Update (16.02.2011): I just got a copy of an article in the Neue Schwyzer Zeitung which talks about the conference as well as mentions my keynote. I’ve made it available for download here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Parking App

One of the classes I took this semester was a seminar on Human Computer Interaction. It turned out to be a great and thoroughly enjoyable and interesting class. The goal for all the 3-person teams in the class was to develop a horizontal prototype of a mobile application which uses open data.

CNM Studios, the team consisting of Michael Smolle, Nemanja Dubravac and yours truly, developed the prototype of Parking App which (supposedly) provides information related to parking regulations, tariffs, garages, etc. for Austrian cities. At the end of the class we had to create a video presenting the project and I think ours turned out quite well:

I’d highly recommend you to check out this blog post which includes a longer description of our project as well as information and videos about the work by our fellow colleagues.