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| 2021 | one thought at a time |

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01 | January

27 | "From among 230 000 children deported to KL Auschwitz only 700 were liberated."

26 | "As far as impressing your potential new boss goes, discovering a planet on day three of your internship at NASA is up there."

25 | QAnon’s adherents in the US believe(d) that a "cabal" would eventually be exposed and arrested in an event known as "The Storm," orchestrated by President Trump. Now they are confused because absolutely nothing happened. But, according to many (who have quickly adapted their totally inane theory to changed circumstances), things are indeed happening ... we just can't see them (unbeatable logic, that). The following is what a Twitter user had to say about all this endless gobbledegook:

"It's just a never-ending search for evidence to support an expanding set of conspiracy theories. It's not going to stop until they realize they have spent the best part of their lives chasing non-existent pots of gold at the end of vanishing rainbows."

24 | "Geologist Finds Rare Formation Inside Rock That Looks Exactly Like Cookie Monster on Sesame Street".

23 | Now that I've had it for a while, the most annoying thing about Samsung's Tab S6 lite is its constant power drain while it is just lying around somewhere. Unless you limit / turn off all the functionality (and what's the point of such a device then?), it won't last long. That's been a problem with all of my Samsung devices and now that I've tried the odd Chinese device here and there, which are tons better in that regard, Samsung will be off my list for now. BTW: Their new phone line has been heavily criticised for feature overkill and, again, battery drain.

22 | I have a lot of Max Richter's (meditative piano) music at home. Check out his NPR "Tiny Desk" home concert.

21 | When I studied at the University of Saabrücken (for all too long), the best thing were the many spectacular concerts they put on regularly. I just went through some old folders and found tickets for Depeche Mode (1982), Level42 (1982 and 1983), Pat Metheny Group (1983), Shakatak (1985), Billy Bragg (1986), plus German favorites BAP (1982 and 1983), Rio Reiser (1986) as well as Grobschnitt (1986 and 1987).

20 | Given the disproportionate influence Twitter has on print and online media, the average person unaware of this impact is probably constantly wondering where all this bullshit emanates from.

19 | I just gave the HEVC / H.256 video compression codec a spin and it is absolutely amazing to see how well high-quality films, which used to easily take up 10 to 20 GB, can now be compressed down to considerably less than half ... in better quality and double the resolution. The wonders of modern technology.

18 | Just like everywhere else, the pandemic is being politicized here. Science goes out the window and, in light of elections this upcoming September, political skirmishes have taken over. The best thing to do is just to keep news sites closed.

17 | As I am working on a new page - "2020 | in photos", I can't help notice how incredibly bad Microsoft's photo app is. I have thousands of photos and the app cannot handle them without lagging on a high-spec system, crashing or being a general nuisance. The problem is that every single alternative that is recommended has an UI that looks like it was designed for Windows 95. Fast, yes, but they all look like crap.

16 | I started rewatching "The Queen's Gambit" on Netflix, this time together with my better half. It really is an exceptionally good series, despite small flaws here or there. Again, highly recommended.

15 | It looks like 2020 tied with 2016 as the warmest year on record. No suprise there, really.

14 | Although the impeachment of Donald Trump is justified, I think it is a bad idea. It will completely overshadow Biden's first 100 days.

13 | Burger King has a new logo, but I would rather have gone to this snack bar.

12 | "I don't do satnavs.". Michael Caine, here on Michael Parkinson's show a couple of years ago, simply must be one of the nicest, most pleasant, smartest and down-to-earth people around.

11 | I spent some time trying to get a large number of reliable FFP-2 masks. Especially on Amazon (as usual), that has become almost impossible. Their product list has been flooded with cheap and sometimes even dangerous forgeries. Not surprisingly, many products in this category display (required) certification labels which they do not have and Amazon does f*ck all about it.

10 | Looking at the collection of photos I took last year, 90% are photos of (spectacularly good) food. I'm moving up in the world.

09 | Logitech is a prime example of the large number of globalized manufacturers giving consumers and the environment the finger. They simply don't care. For profit's sake, they not only removed the replaceable battery from many of their top-of the line computer keyboards, they also reduced the charging capability of the now inbuilt ones. And, because consumers are a passive and also complacent bunch, they are getting away with it. One day soon, we will simply drown in "e-waste".

08 | We haven't seen much snow these past many years around here, but we're getting some of it now. Whenever that happens, it reminds me of my hometown in which the local fire department used to pour a massive amount of water down a long, steep and remote paved road so mostly children, but also some pretty reckless grown-ups, could race down on their sleds. If it hadn't been for the hay bales propped up on the sides, I would have died many times over along it's one kilometer long stretch.

07 | December 6th is traditionally the day people pack away or throw out their Christmas trees and decorations, but I decided to keep my tree around for another couple of weeks. It's been mostly cold, grey, often foggy and generally unpleasant outside and the tree just adds a comfortable glow to the living room.

06 | I'm watching events unfolding in the United States as I write this and they are the logical conclusion to what I wrote two days ago.

05 | In 2020, I ordered more from Amazon than ever before. Yes, it certainly has something to do with the ongoing pandemic, but it also has to do with many of Germany's businesses lagging behind when it comes to any viable online infrastructure. Although I would like to, I cannot support smaller and mid-sized manufacurers who can't even get a half-decent onlince presence going. As if they simply - still - don't care.

04 | I can't find the link anymore, but today I read an interesting take on developments in the western world, which I found quite accurate. We should not really be talking about a shift to the right of the political spectrum, but rather about wide-spread political apathy mixed with democratic fatigue. I believe that mix is even more dangerous than it sounds.

03 | Yes, we do have enough protest against the current lockdown (which really isn't one) and any - probably stricter - future rules, but the media have blown dissenting opinions out of proportion. We are talking a small but (very) vocal minority here.

02 | According to our schedule here, school was supposed to start on Monday, but the pandemic made us keep schools closed until the middle of the month. I'm quite sure we'll need to extend that at least until the end of the month ... if not longer.

01 | Happy New Year, everyone! Let's see if this year will be better than the last one. And, by the way, I archived last year's micro blog.


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