• OpenRheinRuhr 2016 – A report of iron and freedom

    orr2016_iron

    Our Dutch iron fighters

    Last weekend, I visited Oberhausen to participate in OpenRheinRuhr, a well-known Free Software event in north-western Germany. Over two days I was part of FSFE’s booth team, gave a talk, and enjoyed talking to tons of like-minded people about politics, technology and other stuff. In the next few minutes you will learn what coat hangers have to do with flat irons and which hotel you shouldn’t book if you plan to visit Oberhausen.

    On Friday, Matthias, Erik, and I arrived at the event location which normally is a museum collecting memories of heavy industries in the Ruhr area: old machines, the history and background of industry workers, and pictures of people fighting for their rights. Because we arrived a bit too early we helped the (fantastic!) orga team with some remaining work in the exhibition hall before setting up FSFE’s booth. While doing so, we already sold the first tshirt and baby romper (is this a new record?) and had nice talks. Afterwards we enjoyed a free evening and prepared for the next busy day.

    But Matthias and I faced a bad suprised: our hotel rooms were build for midgets and lacked a few basic features. For example, Matthias‘ room had no heating, and in my bathroom someone has stolen the shelf. At least I’ve been given a bedside lamp – except the little fact that the architect forgot to install a socket nearby. Another (semi-)funny bug were the emergency exits in front of our doors: by escaping from dangers inside the hotel, taking these exits won’t rescue you but instead increase the probability of dying from severe bone fractures. So if you ever need a hotel in Oberhausen, try to avoid City Lounge Hotel by any means. Pictures at the end of this article. [ » Read More…]

  • I love Taskwarrior, therefore I love Free Software

    ilovefs-heart-pxIt’s Valentine’s day and you’re writing a blog post? Are you nuts?“ you might ask. Well, but it’s not only Valentine’s day but also I love Free Software day. This day is proclaimed every year on February 14 by the Free Software Foundation Europe to thank all developers and contributors of Free Software (software you can use for any purpose, which source code you or others can analyze, which can be modified and distributed).

    As last year with ZNC, I want to say thank you to a specific project which easies my daily life. As you might know by other blog posts here, organisation of tasks, mails and almost everything else is a very important issue for me. So this year I want to write some lines about Taskwarrior, taskd and Mirakel which enable me to take some free time without thinking of task which I could possibly forget to accomplish later on.

    My head is full of ideas and mental To-Do lists and so I’m in need of a handy tool which allows me to write down and organise items at any place and time: At my desk, in bus or train, when I’m offline or abroad. And its important that I don’t have (analog and digital) bits of paper everywhere, so I need a system that syncs all task inputs and outputs. I tried a lot of tools but Taskwarrior was the best so far. It used the well-known „Getting Things Done“ concept with different priorities. Taskwarrior also supports tagging tasks, organising them in projects, due dates, postponing, making tasks dependend on others and much more. And Taskwarrior has a (modifyable) algorhythm that sorts your tasks by urgency levels, so that the most important tasks always are on the top of the list. Even now I just took a glance at what Taskwarrior is able to do!

    Picture of a woman with a chalk board which expresses her apreciation for Taskwarrior

    Someone who loves Taskwarrior as much as I do

    Services and programs that organise tasks aren’t very special!“ one might think. But if you prefer sorting tasks digitally, you cannot simply chose a random todo-organising service provider. Most of the tools and services on the market aren’t free and transparent. All input may no longer belong to you, all the gathered information (which is a lot if you think of it!) could be used for targeted ads or worse. You cannot modify the algorhythm to suit your needs. And what happens if the service provider goes bankrupt? All data, all project history and all pending tasks would be lost at once. So using a free (as in freedom), decentralised, maybe self-hosted service is the best idea to organise your tasks decentrally. [ » Read More…]

  • Wirklich sichere WhatsApp Alternativen

    Gravestone with WhatsApp logoNachdem diese Woche bekannt wurde, dass Facebook es endlich geschafft hat, WhatsApp-Gründer Jan Koum und Brian Acton mit einer stolzen Summe von rund 16 Milliarden US-Dollar zum Verkauf ihrer Firma zu bewegen, fragen sich viele, was sich nun in Sachen Privatsphäre ändern wird – und wie man dem entgegenwirken kann. In diesme Artikel werde ich erläutern, was man bei der Wahl des richtigen Messengers beachten sollte, warum Threema nicht die Lösung ist und was wirklich sichere Alternativen sind.

    Grundlegendes

    Prinzipiell geht es hier um zwei Aspekte von Datenschutz: Erstens der Schutz vor (halb)staatlicher Überwachung und zweitens der Schutz seiner persönlichen Daten vor privaten Konzernen, meist Werbetreibende.
    Beides sollte jedem von uns sehr wichtig sein, denn WhatsApp befördert noch kritischere Daten als Facebook heutzutage. Wissen wir mittlerweile, dass wir vielleicht nicht unbedingt unseren 300 „Freunden“ auf Facebook unsere peinlichsten Momente per Video mitteilen sollten und dass dort vielleicht auch der künstige Arbeitgeber mitlesen kann, so chatten wir auf WhatsApp viel privater mit einer zweiten Person oder einer sich kennenden Gruppe. Die Hemmschwelle, mal eben lustig-peinliche Bilder zu schicken ist niedriger, genauso wie es einfacher ist, sich anzügliche Nachrichten und Medien hin- und herzuschicken. Bisher haben nur die wenigsten damit ein Problem gehabt, denn es blieb ja privat. [ » Read More…]