Eisbären can still be Kings

Crosscontinental sister cities Berlin and LA share the same owner with regard to their pro hockey teams.

I was lucky to have spent two semesters at USC, where I practiced with the Trojan’s hockey team and met a pivotal friend who now lives in Berlin; the City of Angels is part of my life experience’s DNA.

So it was harder for me to accept the Kings sweeping loss to the Golden Knights, who are already writing history, on and off the ice, with the world’s most entertaining pre-game show and rows of local fans who are embracing the first major sports team in Sin City.

Tonight, record champion Eisbären Berlin, who are down 2-1 in the finals against Munich’s caffeine water branded team, need a win to keep the series balanced. I can’t help to see David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest corporate subsidies analogy when I see the jersey.

The Ice Bears are big in Berlin, tickets for both final home games sold out in a few hours, fans showed up in yesterday’s local night show and even the LA King’s Bailey is game. It won’t be easy against Munich though, they have a strong defense and plenty of offensive depth.

Social media is dead, long live blogging

Urblogger Jason Kottke asked his readers to send him inspirational blogs and newsletters; he was impressed with the breadth of curated content.

As opposed to centralized social media plattforms with data vacuum cleaners attached, decentralized blogs will always be independent cultural tools with their own style and tech.

It takes patience and persistence to build a blog. So called social media might be a convienient click away, yet if it’s too easy people get lazy and turn into disposable consumers.

I also keep it out of spite, because I refuse to let social media take everything. Those shapeless, formless platforms haven’t earned it and don’t deserve it. I’ve blogged about this many times, but I still believe it: When I log into Facebook, I see Facebook. When I visit your blog, I see you.

via kottke.org

Something to say or saying something?

Pioneers of the world wide web envisioned an all inclusive Internet where everyone can become their own media as unified senders and receivers with a historical wink to Brecht’s radio theory.

Our beloved, indie powered, decentralized, civil web emerged after military orders to invent a communication system that could circumvent a nuclear attack; it’s core has a much deeper element of control and surveillance than we’d like to admit.

At the same time, it’s never been eaiser to waste time on shiny looking interfaces. Whether it’s contact list grabbing apps or centralized plattforms with data sucking vacuum cleaners, convienient distractions that grab us by the ego can be our biggest enemy.

When everyone becomes their own media and can potentially reach the entire world, whether it’s firearm sales propaganda from the NRA or private banalities from Joe Shmo, everyone adds their own account of the truth rather than a closer account towards a common truth.

At the dawn of broadcast audio in 1927, Brecht argued in his radio theory that now anyone could say anything to everyone, which is a fundamental democratic empowerment, yet some producers and recipients might get lost in their own matrix. He noted further that a producer who has something to say without listeners is in a tight spot, whereas recipients who can’t find producers who have something to say might even be worse off.

Brecht thought that radio as a medium didn’t produce anything new, but rather imitates and amplifies what already exists. He might still have a point in our amplified attention economy of 2018. Rather than giving a voice to the voiceless as an idealistic view of recipient producer harmony, digital content, still or moving, is mostly market conform coupled with eye catching banalities, neatly packaged as shopping advice.

What gets amplified, repackaged and potentially monetized is in constant negotiation, whether it means having something to say or simply saying something is pretty much up to producer recipient plattforms and those who support and finance them.

via The Guardian

Don’t sit around

Because the only thing
That punk-rock should never really mean
Is not sitting round
And waiting for the lights to turn green
And not thinking that you’re better
‚cause you’re stood up on a stage
If you’re oh, so fucking different
Then who cares what you have to say?

German miracle on ice, to be continued

After beating Canada as olympic pioneers, the front pages of German newspapers actually took notice for the first time in history

I first hit the ice as a five year old kid in Highland Park, Illinois, where I learned how to skate and shoot. I made my rounds in the rink and was immediatly hooked to the world’s fastest team sport.

Back in Germany as an eight year old, I picked up the nuances of the game’s team spirit, as well as the ability to quickly read scoring opportunities. I played in one of Germany’s best youth programs for three years, and still is, in Mannheim.

One of the most influential ideas on how to play the game was my experience at a hockey camp, Huron Hockey School, in Canada. It was the read and react concept that stayed, to get a grip on it’s speed, grace and grit in the motherland of hockey.

Being a hockey player or fan in Germany is akin to rugby’s visibility in the United States. Finding a public place to watch international tournaments, forget about it, let alone find someone to watch with besides your hockey buddies; the media pretty much ignores it.

 A small black, red and gold flag sits in balcony plants of an unrenovated apartment building in Berlin, on the day of the olympic final between OAR and Germany

Despite that, the national league, DEL, fills more seats than any other sport in Germany, only second to soccer, aka football. For some reason that never transferred into any other sphere of media, higher number of active players or boosted local fan fare, yet the times are changing.

Thanks to Germany’s record NHL player and head coach, Marco Sturm, who has a major stake in decision making from the bottom up, he’s planted the strongest seeds we’ve ever seen grow. This miracle run to the finals is not a fly by night, Sturm, which means forward by the way, it’s the beginning of a new era in German hockey.

Now it’s time to work harder at Powerplay 26, a program from the national hockey federation, to improve competitiveness on multiple levels. From building new rinks to improved cooperation between all leagues and sound investments in better youth programs.

Most importantly, it’ll be hockey moms and dads who are the baseline of Powerplay 26 and can carry the legacy of Pyeongchang, they’ll bring the kids to the rinks, cheer in the bleechers and influence other parents to follow suit. Hopefully by then, we’ll see more cover stories in German media about how to score with style and efficiency, our world class goalies and the strongest team spirit on ice.

Lost lines of code

A preserved myspace profile page from 2004 found laying around at archive.org

Firefox has 2.5 million lines of code, Windows XP has 44 million of it, without data or software a computer is empty. Once new versions of browsers and operating systems greet the world, more code gets layered into new lines of output.

And that output can get lost in cyberspace, since it’s mostly privately owned companies who cover large chunks of code who then either go bankrupt or it’s owners care less about concepts of preservation.

Dragan Epenscheid, media artist and Digital Conservator at Rhizome, talked about „The Preservation of Net Art as Resistance to Digital Industrialism“ at this years transmediale, as another media form where achives have the potential to produce amateur, private and new, new media.

As a way to shed light into our data being remixed and decontexualized without our knowledge, net art can play with the idea of what actual code is being contributed. Dragan pointed to forms of decontexualized data at tumblr; when you post new content, you’re asked to make the choice whether you’re posting a chat or text, yet is there a difference?

The question of what actual code is being contributed reminds me of business models that contribute money for money in return. What is actually being contributed to the human race? Or what happens when the storing value for rights to future payments keeps getting postponed? It’s refreshing to be at transmediale with curious minds looking for solutions far beyond busy bees flying circles.

Corporate Spiritual Spies

True freedom starts in the mind, yet large corporations want to infest mindfulness with money in hopes that employees will become more productive for profits.

But practising mindfulness to deal with work-related stress is not turning us into rebels, it’s making all docile.

Despite it’s amiable goal, we should own and invest our limited time in personal and social spiritual development and not in corporate spiritual spies who own a passive aggressive agenda of growth nirvana.

via William Little

U.S. loses Internet mojo

Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, explains this sad day in American history

It’s a very somber day for Internet freedom in the United States, the FCC bent over to Republican lobbyist control and catered to the interests of AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.

The big three can now throttle it’s speed and censor unwanted content in their pipelines. And in the irony of names, thanks to a Republican majority of 3-2 votes, the act dubbed itself „Restore Internet Freedom“ (pdf).

ISPs will be “gatekeepers” with the ability to promote their own content first and silence anything else (and the largest ones own their own networks, channels, tv shows, and products), so you can see how this arrangement is not at all in the best interest of the general public. This will be the biggest change to the Internet since it was created. Smaller independent sites and platforms will become less accessible and many will eventually disappear completely.

This is why the Indieweb movement is more important than ever. We need to support our decentralized networks, build better human relations and work out for future political battles. Not sure if the States will play an important role in that space in the future, most definitely not se control freaks in China.


Planes, trains, automobiles and Hotel Orania

Steve Martin and John Candy didn’t take the train either

Trying to capitalize on Berlin-Kreuzberg’s Kottikiez vibe for tourists, with hotel prices of up to 700 Euros per night, the owner of the newly opened Hotel Orania, Dietmar Mueller-Elmau, thinks that not everyone can pay the price for a train ticket to Germany’s capital, the same goes for Hotel Orania, but Dietmar says it’s not Berlin’s fault.

Luckily enough, Berlin’s new airport is still not finished, if it were it might bring ever more gentrifiers to the city that’ll always become. And for those who can’t pay for the train ticket, you’ll have to either walk or stay at home. If that’s not an option, you can always try carpooling. In case you’re in total doubt and stacked with zero cash, you can lock yourself in the toilet on the train of your choice en route to big B.

Dietmar is highly familiar with overpriced hotel rooms in his castle in Bavaria. And he’s always liked contradictions, even as a kid, he once turned off the power during a classical concert in the castle where he grew up. It sounds like a task only a Zapatista is capable of!

I hope that Tricky’s observation of this small town big conglomeration and it’s free spirit stays longer than hotels no one has been waiting for:

„Berlin is the last big city in the world with a vibe“ – Tricky

via taz