Two days ago, I published my article about “Nomads on the Cyclades”. It was about a book I had found in Milos. Its title was:
DOCTOR HANS LÖBER

Letters from Milos, 1943-1944

During the war years, he had also founded a hospital for the local population of Milos in Plaka. His letters made a huge impression on me.

And as early as the day before yesterday, I became a “victim” and had to stay at the Plaka hospital. You see how fast it can happen – and here is how it came about:

If you are in Milos, a trip to Kleftiko will always be something you want on your agenda..

In the morning after my post, we took a small ship to Kleftiko. According to our own impression in Greece, the weather was not too good – and a strong wind was blowing. Consequently, the journey on board the ship was a rather wild affair – perhaps the worst I ever experienced in my life. On the way out to Kleftiko, all went well. After a beautiful and longish stay at the quiet harbour, we went back to Adamas, the central harbour of Milos in the afternoon.

On the way back, the ocean seemed to have quieted down a little. To make up for it, the small ship now had to ride against a strong wind that came from the side. Since, we had been drinking at noon, I risked the way to the toilet at the bow of the boat. I totally miscalculated the movement of the ship – and thus what I had coming happened: due to the intense movement of the ship, I fell down rather heavily in the boat. As they say: “carelessness goes before a fall”.

I took injuries to my left hand, the joint capsule of the ring finger was apparently rather severely affected and suffered intense swelling. Basically, this should not be a problem – it happened to me in the past and mostly it healed without much lasting damage.

However, this is the finger where I wear – or wore – my wedding ring. And as the years went by, said wedding ring sat more closely on the finger, which means even when there was no damage to the finger, I could not get it off. Later in the evening, the swelling on the finger got more and more and, regardless of a delicious dinner, I started to get a little worried, because the ring really cut deep.

Not far from our restaurant, a goldsmith had his shop. So I asked for help there. The female boss really took pains to help me towards dividing the ring in two with pliers, but there was no chance that she could succeed. It did not take long before more Greeks came and wanted to help. Since the finger did not look very appetizing, most of the ladies had to look in the opposite direction in horror.

Since the entire round was no success, I was severely advised to go to the hospital! I was sceptical, because the clock already read after 10 p.m. But the caring Greeks calmed me down. If I took a taxi, I would be in Plaka in five minutes and the doctor there is a really nice person and would quickly solve my problem.

Since I did not see any other way out, I did what they had recommended and almost ordered me to do. The taxi driver took me to the hospital amongst much expressed sympathy and waited for me. I was welcomed by a friendly nurse and two minutes later, the doctor came.

I very much liked him even at first sight. His professional advice was that the ring had to be opened by all means. He started work and two minutes later the problem was solved. Then the finger was examined and taped and I was released.

As always in Greece, the medical treatment was free. Since I had just read the book “The Doctor Hans Löber“, which incidentally had been written in Plaka, I wanted to make a contribution. I told my doctor about the book and he was so delighted that he wanted to give me a second book. It took me quite some effort to make my donation.

I received the book with a personal dedication written by the doctor who had treated me.

This experience is in total accordance with what I often witnessed in Greece. The people are always exceptionally friendly and willing to help. There are hospitals that, at least for the basic functions, offer free treatment. They explicitly do not want to be paid, because helping others is basically an honour. This is how it was twenty years ago and, thank God, this is how it still is.

After my return from the Plaka hospital, I expressed my gratitude towards all the people who had tried to help me in Adamas. And they all shared my joy about the incident having ended so well. I very much enjoyed that Greece is a special country. Unfortunately, many people in the EU and in the German Administration have not yet understood that.

The day after my accident: back in Milos in a good mood at the beach of Paliochori; in the evening, we continued our journey by ship and went to Paros.

Just imagine something similar had happened to me in Munich. For instance, in the Neuperlach hospital, it would have meant: a less than friendly welcome, a long wait, an extensive diagnosis (probably including x-rays and similar gadgets) and a treatment nobody needs. And, of course, a considerable invoice to be paid from our health system.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday May 29th, 2017

Nomads on the Cyclades – MILOS

This time around, we started our island hopping 2017 on May, 22nd in Serifos, coming from Piräus.We continued via Sifnos to Milos. Tomorrow, we will leave Sifnos and go to Paros and Antiparos. And on May, 29th, we will return to Piräus and spend our last Greek night before the return flight from Athens to Munich there.

I managed to read the book (almost) in one go – sitting on my balcony in the hotel Beach Lagada.

When we arrived in Milos, I found a book in the Adamas coal mining museum. I found it so exciting that I read it in one go. The title is
THE DOCTOR HANS LÖBER
Letters from Milos, 1943-1944
Edited and with a comment by Dr. Hanns-Georg Löber and Gregory Belivanakis.

This book made such a huge impression on me that I absolutely recommend it. So, dear Cyclades hiker: if you ever come to Milos and if you wish to know more about the island, you want to buy it.

Here are a few ideas: 
During WW2, many Greek islands were occupied by the Deutsche Wehrmacht and the army of the Italian allies. Consequently, they were military strongholds. Dr. Hans Löber was a marine medical officer who, after having been sent to various battlefields also had had the order to build up a medical “district” in Milos on the “North-Ocean” in 1943. This district was supposed to make sure the German soldiers injured during the intended military operations in the Mediterranean Sea had sufficient medical attention. Thanks to his special organizational talent, he was very successful, regardless of extremely difficult conditions.

Quasi as a side effect, he also built a military hospital for the locals of Milos who were not at all well cared for medically. Among the natives, this brought him a lot of respect, appreciation and gratitude.

It happened quite frequently that I found testimony of the German occupation of Greece during WW2 when visiting the Peloponnesus and the Cyclades. Especially in Kavralyta (see my  pre-view of the Peloponnesus hiking trip early in May 2017), I was deeply moved when I heard about the Deutsche Wehrmacht massacre, which had been a reaction to partisan skirmishes and where some villages were destroyed and around 100 people were murdered.

In this book, the letters Dr. Hans Löber sent home during his time on Milos are published, probably unabridged. They are supplemented by a few commentaries by the editors and a selection of historical photos.

What makes the book special is the high amount of humanity that the letters convey. These are the reports and confessions of a highly religious and “true and upright” German. And I mean true and upright in the best sense of the words.

However, they are also impressive contemporary documents. For instance, the writer of the letters constantly relates events of the war and political events he heard on the island. The letters convey both his unbroken joy of life and his big personal misery caused by the death in action of two of his brothers.

But the documents also show how perfect and perfidious the Wehrmacht was organized and how humans were used in the war as resources in order to reach a questionable goal. And also how WW2 was minutely planned and realized by the German Administration. That was also true for fringe topics such as field post or air field post or the German Military Radio Station in Athens, from where a program from Milos was broadcast on Christmas Day.

Above all, this book is – even if that is not said expressly anywhere – an impressive appeal for PEACE. That is why I recommend that every upright person should read it.

Milos, May, 29th, 2017

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
You can also order it online – the proceeds will support a hospital in Milos.

AGILE and yet LEAN on the MS EUROPA – a while back.

It is not quite so easy, because there are no patent recipes for founding a company. But there are criteria that can provide orientation. Let me write a few of my ideas, especially on business plans as they are expected by banks and investors, as well as by the competition. Here is what you should keep in mind when writing one.

The text is based on my own experiences, but also on what I learned as a juror at business plan competitions and from the more or less intense dialogue with all kinds of start-ups.

I recommend you proceed in three steps. Many founders use the wrong sequence by, for instance, first wondering what the best legal status of an enterprise might be. However, this will initially play only a minor role. It is more important to get all the necessary invoices written in time.


Necessary requirements for establishing a company are:

  • The team – 
I believe you should be at least two persons and three is probably the best number.
  • The idea – 
well, if you do not have an idea (or even better: several ideas), you can forget about it 
and
  • A great story – 
that supports the entire concept and is allowed to live.
    Part of the story is a (working) title and an (initial) logo of the enterprise that is to be established or the project you want to start. The team and the idea are also parts of the story.

The description of your special expertise and the competence of the partners is also part of the story. The founders need to relate where they are really unbeatable and whom they know around their field of expertise. You definitely should be able to name a few good friends (or acquaintances) that you can name as customers, partners or supporters of some sort or other. If the founders already have a small network that helps them towards reaching their goals, then that is even better.

Thus, the story should shed light on the “yesterday, today, tomorrow” and on the “what, how, why, to what end” in a narrative form.

Basically, you have to use the story to make clear why the entire affair is going to be a success. Only after you can present a nice story does it make sense to start writing the Business Plan. In fact, the business plan will draw from the story. There is no other way to do it successfully.

Here is a list of the usual criteria for a good business plan., along with advice on when which steps should be taken. And why the sequence actually matters.

According to what I recommend, a business plan should be developed in (three) steps. The following points can help founders to better structure their activities. They also help the juror and/or the investor when it comes to understanding the content of the plan and its quality. Which means to better judge the chances of success.

However, these criteria will also help the founder to examine his idea and his plan, looking for weak points quasi as a “self-control mechanism”. It also helps him to realize what special strength his idea or his plan has. More often than not, the founder will only intuitively be aware of them. However, he will have to be able to formulate them!

The procedure I describe is rather advanced and will help you to gain clarity about the business model you describe – and thus to increase the probability that your project will be a success.

However, this does not give a founder free reign such that he can ignore the implementation of his business model in a very “agile”, “slim” and “pragmatic” way and to seek rapid success.

In other words:

Regardless of very intense thinking, the process must be lean for every founding project and trying things out must have a high priority.
So here comes the “business plan” with its three stages:

In its first step, the business plan should contain:

A precise conclusion that clearly states why the business idea is attractive and that outlines its relevant aspects.

A comprehensible description of the expected gain for the customer and how the product/service differs from what the competition offers.

The evaluation of the market and of the competition has to be absolutely consistent in the business plan.

The measures absolutely necessary for successful marketing and sales have to be described in detail. Principles such as

aida = attention, interest, desire, action (marketing) 
or
4 ps = product, price, place, promotion (product offer/service offer)
are helpful.

The expected business structure and the future organisation (structure and processes) must be described in fair detail and must be realistic.
There will always be chances and risks. There must be a thorough judgement and evaluation of both.

Even the first step of such a business plan should look presentable – but it should also transport the competence and enthusiasm of the founders. This document must not be a theoretical work – it should not talk about certainties and not use too many numbers. It should also create room for testing ideas.

If all this has been done successfully, a lot has been achieved.

No earlier than in the second step, you will need the following:

The economical planning and the description of the “operative agenda”. Both will not make sense before the first step has been successfully managed. The same is true for the actual organization, e.g. the structure of the planned enterprise and your idea about how processes in the enterprise should run.

No earlier than in the third step, the following things will be relevant:

After the results of stages one and two are clear, the founders should start thinking about the legal status and the statutes of the enterprise to be founded. Mostly, this is quite trivial and not really all that important from the perspective of a true entrepreneur. However, what becomes rather important now are the actual financial plans, both with respect the question of initial capital and for the actual financing. Basically, they are more like a simulation that answers the question under what conditions/assumptions a successful start will be possible, rather than a “business plan paper”.

Incidentally, the famous “pitch“ will then be nothing other than an extract of “story” and “business plan”. And it should be as short as possible.


I would advise all the founders who already wrote a business plan to look and see if it meets all the above criteria. As I see it, there are many cases where there is huge potential for improvement. And I would recommend that would-be founders either do without a business plan or else use their “common sense”. Or else, if circumstances make it necessary, they might wish to stick to my steps and criteria when writing their document.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Hans Bonfigt
Monday May 22nd, 2017

Wut essen Seele auf…

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Thursday May 18th, 2017

Armies in General and The Bundeswehr in Particular.

About War and PEACE.

It is a great achievement to be able to be peaceful and drink your beer.

Currently, you can again read a lot about the German Armed Forces. Suddenly, many issues re-surface, things that were well known are newly discovered and Frau van der Leyen wants to repair it all. With things such as a “new tradition awareness regulation” and the like. They even start talking about reviving the general military draft. That gives me pause!

However, none of these things will help. Because every army will collapse sooner or later, certainly when matters get serious. Because armies can only function if you have people who can actually see beyond humaneness.

War will always thrive on hatred and enmity. It brings murder and death, useless destruction and annihilation. The soldiers are the instruments that actually realize war.

Consequently, I will now give voice to three theses that show that the German Armed Forces cannot work as they say it works. All three theses are relevant, and not only because of the current developments and discussions. Yet I never hear them in public discussions. Because they would show us how irrational war is. And that is something politics world-wide do not want – among other reasons because the weapons industry does not want it.


First Thesis

An army is not and can never be a “normal” enterprise.

Politics often claim that the German Armed Forces are a normal enterprise that produces security. But that is not what it is. Because: an enterprise is defined as a social system with an economic goal. Said goal is realized through producing things or offering services that the market (the people) need or think they need.

Naturally, the German Armed Forces are also a social system. However, it does not have an economic goal. Its goal is simply to destroy and kill. Its legitimation is fear and its lie of a camouflage is the service “security”. It is considered a matter of course that it exists – based on indisputable “forces”. That is why nobody spends a lot of time thinking about it and, unfortunately, only few persons in Germany sincerely question it.

After WW-II, there was the dream of a peaceful Germany without an army. This dream was quickly destroyed through the re-armament in the 1950s.

The reasons given in favour of armed forces changed again and again during the last sixty years. Let me relate to you how I experienced it as a witness of the time. When it was re-started, the Bundeswehr was sold to us as a

  • DEFENSE ARMY
    Thus, the re-armament was a necessary contribution towards defending the “free west”. It was realized against the wishes of the majority of the “stupid” citizens. 
At the time, almost the entire world was – totally irrationally – divided into two blocks through external IMAGES OF THE ENEMY. At school (I grew up in the FRG and was indoctrinated accordingly), I learned that the “East”, which was downtrodden and enslaved by Stalin & Co, wanted to conquer us – the free and rich “West” – and then force communism on us.
    Two blocks confronted each other in maniac distrust, each of them overflowing with weapons and with armies that consisted of millions of people. Ideologically and systemically, they were total opponents. You could only have either COMMUNISM or CAPITALISM. The former was extremely evil, the latter was paradise. The other side said the exact opposite. 
In these blocks, there were two not quite “totally independent states” that had no army. In the West, it was the FDG, in the East, it was the GDR. Due to the image of the enemy – caused by FEAR – and probably also because of pressure put on them by the “allies”, the FRG was the first of the two to decide that re-armament was necessary. They established the Bundeswehr. A few years later, the East reacted, the Peoples’ Army was established in the GDR. This is how the “German” GDR became the most unrelenting enemy of the “German” FRG. The extension was the Warshaw Pact (UdSSR and the rest), i.e., the world of the communists. 
Since everybody understood more or less clearly that the “defense case” would mean the new total destruction of Europe, there came a time when this model was no longer so famous. Consequently, the military strategists came up with something new, the
  • ADVANCE DEFENSE
    They gave people the illusion that war could be kept from your own country and that the enemy can be destroyed (beaten) before you suffer detrimental consequences yourself. Since this assumption did not ring very true, it was based on things like “total deterrence through overkill” and “first-hit doctrine”. . 
The concept reminds me a little of how, today, they think you can win wars by sitting at your desk and sending fighting robots and drones. You will find others to do your dirty work for you. 
The doctrine of advance defence, too, became doubtful. The people no longer believed it, the Cold War disappeared, Russia capitalized itself (late). Corruption increased. Despotism started to grow. Consequently, they looked for “new tasks” for our army – and they found them. The German Armed Forces became part of the
  • World Police
    After all, Germany was glamorous again. Being an economic world-power – so they said – we had the duty to take more “responsibility” for the (new) world order. Along the way, we also noticed that, due to our throw-away-society, we are rather dependent on raw materials and that said raw materials often come from far remote countries. And we assumed that some evil-minded guys of this world wanted to steal them from us. That was another reason to become part of the American World Police. 
Totally as a logical conclusion, the Green and Social-Democratic Parties (!) as the ones in power decided that our Armed Forces were now also necessary abroad. Because if it is not in Germany, waging war is not so bad and no taboo. You can kill people and destroy houses.
    (This alone should be reason enough to never again vote for either of the two parties.)
    This is how we became part of the export of weapons system. 
However, if you look at the wars of the last sixty years, you will soon realize that none of these wars ever improved a situation or solved a problem. All those wars were more or less a failure or totally useless. They always brought a lot of misery to people, many persons were killed or injured, crimes against humanity were committed on a daily basis and the destruction of infrastructure was always massive. Yet, the “political result” was always failure. 
The “small” NATO war on the Balkan is often cited as an example for a successful and just “campaign”. Well, I am not so sure about that. Apart from considerable destruction and the creation of victims, the consequence was that Yugoslavia was liquidated and replaced by a number of small countries. Following modern diction (the belief in huge units such as Europe), this is not considered advantageous, either. 
But it is actually possible that the Balkan war ended useless bloodshed through determined bloodshed. I might perhaps accept this instance as the one exception that proves the rule. 
As soon as we started war against (marched into) Afghanistan, it was clear to me that, basically, war can never solve problems. As a side effect, we learned that it is hard to gain raw materials by means of weapons. It is much easier to buy them with good products and hard cash. Thus, the motivation to play world police dwindled and they needed a new reason for waging war. Luckily for our military and politicians, there was a new enemy:
  • TERRORISM
    Thus, we started our war against terrorism. We even have units stationed in Turkey. Since, basically, terrorism may also come with the refugees, we protect our border on the Mediterranean with armed forces through Frontex. In order to fight terrorism, we are prepared to increase our budget for more armament by fifty per cent in relation to our gross national product. In doing so, we are true to a promise we gave many years ago totally unnecessarily – a promise that our favourite ally under Trump is now demanding we deliver .
I wonder what new enemy they will find when they find out that terrorism cannot be fought with war, either.

Second Thesis

The military principle will cause all armies to derail sooner or later.

The militia and armies are based on a cruel principle. Every soldier must be ready to kill and die if he is ordered to. In war, this is an absolute necessity, because otherwise war will not function. This is something every recruit should be made aware of when he decides to be a soldier. 
Following military concepts, it is impossible that a soldier judges whether or not an order is ethically just or if it can be boycotted. Especially in the real-world scenario, this is unthinkable. Just like it is unthinkable that a soldier may desert his post when he starts having doubts. Deserting your post is a no-go and cannot be compatible with war functioning. 
Since such a situation is about life or death (that is why some desert), there can only be one punishment for a deserter – the immediate execution. Everything else is wishful thinking. War will not work if a soldier is free to desert. Just remember the old proverb:

Imagine there is a war and nobody joins.

If, for instance, today the occasional deserter from the Third Reich’s Wehrmacht is “rehabilitated”, then this is total hypocrisy. Just like the fairy tale about the citizen in uniform is fraud and a lie. It will only work if the army is some kind of bluff weapon that is never supposed to actually be used. I do not believe that his has ever been the case for the German Armed Forces of the FRG – and even if it was so, then that is definitely no guarantee that it may not still be put to practice
So:
Soldiering is based on the perverse basic principle: “Kill or die on order”.

This principle has to be practiced daily. Basically, a social system with this underlying principle cannot develop in a socially reasonable way and it cannot be healthy either. Sooner or later, it must collapse, either totally or in parts. Armies will always feed from the “honour of the private” and his virtues and heroic deeds. In order to keep this stupid pretence up, you will always need a mystic tradition. And this is where the Third Reich Wehrmacht is an ideal concept for today’s German Armed Forces. After all, it was extremely successful for a few years and was consequently glorified in a unique way.
And thus, the perhaps sub-conscious admiration of “heroic deeds of the German Wehrmacht”, transported through several generations, is probably still found in the hearts of many young persons. 
(Cynical note: 
Formerly, I sometimes visited computer vintage markets. And I always met the most enthusiastic computer people. Good IT people basically love computer vintage, and good soldiers love weapon vintage).

Third Thesis

The weapons industry promotes war.

To me, this thesis sounds trivial. Consequently, it is quite clear that I will not make a huge effort to justify it. For the weapons industry, war means “making real money”. If you build weapons, you need war. And we all know that today the concerns generally have a huge influence on political decisions and also on legislation, etc. I am sure that the weapons industry is not in the habit of mincing words.

One of my friends, Jolly Kunjappu, can show you particularly well how weapons concerns “plan and make wars”. You can meet him on July, 8th in the Munich Literaturhaus.


I believe that the re-armament and consequently also the establishment of the weapons industry was the greatest sin of the German post-war politics. This decision was prepared by Adenauer in a conspiratorial way immediately after the FRG started to exist and then it was established against the wishes of the German majority. In my eyes, that was a criminal act and it deprived Germany and the world of a chance.

For us, there is perhaps no other way than to “dis-arm” step-by-step. We have to cut down on weapons budgets world-wide. We have to minimize the influence of the weapons industry – and at the same time, we must also become more peaceful, at least in small steps.

Consequently, here is what I ask of you: please be for PEACE. And you will make me happy if you read my category PEACE  and especially A PEACE manifesto .

Thank you so much!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica

Falling Down

I no longer remember who told me this story. Perhaps it was the tourist guide when we drove to the ’Manrique Museum’? Or that female professor of geology from Brandenburg? She has been coming to the ’Lanzarote Park Hotel’ in Playa Blanca in March for eight years now and also reads Spanish Daily Newspapers, not just this stupid island magazine Lanzarote 37°. Or was it maybe Pedro who told me this story a one of his inimitable ’language cocktail’ variations at the pool?

I simply cannot recall exactly …

But it was always about that toothless street musician!

He is a true disgrace on the never-ending boardwalk close to the ocean in the south-west of Lanzarote. With his dirty and unappetizing appearance, he should not be permitted to sit there. This is simply not tolerable! Not on this fantastic EU-financed boardwalk! After all, hundreds of people pilgrimage here until late into the night.

Besides, this ’music-playing pig’ does not restrict his appearance to his rusty folding chair in front of the last stretch of fallow land, where hardly anybody would notice him anyway. Instead, he can now be almost exclusively seen on the stone boardwalk balustrade.

What an exhibition: a ’music-playing rubbish heap’ in front of the eternally sparkling, sunny ocean! With a greasy hat lying on the floor and a cap on his sun-burned head! And two watery eyes that look like puddles …

Mostly, he dribbles into his melodica – which is some kind of key flute – from which the same melody is released at all times. But it is strangely alluring! You have to give him that. Perhaps it is even by Mozart? Even if it is perhaps a little too sad? Unfortunately, I was never able to really find out.

Seven years ago, when the concert building Lava-Bubble in Jameos del Agua was closed due to stones falling down from the ceiling, this disgrace had already been playing on the Playa Blanca boardwalk. In those days, he allegedly had a rather rich musical portfolio.

And while the volcano rocks were being glued together with special resin above the roof, he also sat there every day. Perhaps even the occasional cent out of all those six million euros this roof cost found its way into his shabby hat. Who could know? Definitely not the ’music-playing rubbish heap’.

And the inauguration concert given when the renovated concert hall in Jameos del Agua  was ceremoniously re-opened will definitely also have been something he was totally unaware of. As must have been the fact that the famous English conductor John Miguel Smith was going to be at the baton and that even representatives of the Spanish Crown had accepted the invitation.

However, he did notice that the rather pompous John Miguel Smith with his much too young female companion had had a stupid accident where he stumbled right in front of the ’music-playing heap of dirt’ on the day before the concert and fell fully on his nose; yes, that was something he had definitely noticed.

And the Spanish cursing of the noble Brit was probably also something he noticed!
Mind you, Betty had even cried out “attention John“, because apparently he had recognized a strangely alluring melody and consequently only had eyes for the shabbily dressed source of the melody. But at that moment, it was already too late! He fell full-length onto the dignified brown cobbles of the boardwalk here in Playa Blanca…

Ranting, he immediately jumped up, was appalled when he inspected his atrociously grazed hands and elbows, moved his badly ailing fingers like a maniac and kept shaking his head while he smoothed the damaged, bloody t-shirt over his stomach.
He only noticed that he had also torn his rough silver Greek Knot Cross from his neck during his fall when Betty tearfully offered it to him. He gripped it like a bird of prey and threw it into the greasy hat of the street musician, who was totally appalled.

He was quick to pull Betty after him in order to get away from this upheaval among the nosy masses of people as fast as possible. Probably his only remaining worry at this time was tomorrow’s inauguration concert at the “lava bubble”! In Jameos del Agua! And his wounded arms, his injured stomach, his bloody hands and his lacerated chin. And he certainly hoped that nobody had recognized him – the famous John Miguel Smith, when he kissed the boardwalk lying on his stomach like a fallen frog …

What mortification!

However, in at least one case, this hope seemed to have been in vain; because when the ’music-playing rubbish heap’ had overcome his shock paralysis and fished out the cross that lay between the few coins in his hat, there was suddenly a strange sparkle to his alcohol-marked face. A sparkle that even continued when he opened his toothless mouth out of which came a questioning “Miguel?”…

And then again “Miguel – Miguel, is it you?“

The street musician got more and more excited and even panicky. He dropped the soiled melodica and started using his left paw, too, for squeezing the silver cross – and again and again, he croaked: “Miguel !…Miguel !!…Miguel…!!

But John Miguel Smith was far beyond hearing and being seen. In fact, he hurried like a wounded animal along the boardwalk accompanied by his totally hysterical companion. All he wanted was crawl into his lair at the Hotel Vulcano as fast as possible!

Since, as everybody knows, the famous conductor Smith strictly forbids all attempts at finding out about his life and mercilessly deplores even the smallest public assumptions, the desperate calls of an old man, too, were lost in the rippling of the ocean that ran along the lava coast near the boardwalk balustrade.

But still, as I said, I heard somewhere that this incident is the reason and the only reason why the street musician, since that time, only plays this one ’endearing melody’ that, to this day, I could not identify. It is because he still hopes that his Miguel – whom he could not have cared less about when he was a child, in fact whom he even gave away for adoption – might one day pass by and invite him, his alleged father, to drink a brandy ’Carlos III’ with him…

Well, I am not sure if it is really the ’Carlos III’ this rubbish-like musician dreams about, but I would like to invite everyone who can tell me something new about John Miguel Smith to have a ’Carlos I’ with me in the pre-warmed glassed of the Café ’Gilbert’ on the Playa Blanca boardwalk. As I see it, the old ’music-playing piece of dirt’ should get some help, so why not through a good brandy?

PS:
Please note that all persons and activities in this story are fiction. But still, I will continue to look for this melody that caused the famous conductor to fall down. I have to find out more about it …
KH
(Translated by EG)

Hans Bonfigt
Monday May 15th, 2017

Kick it Out …

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Sunday May 14th, 2017

I

About Me

I am now writing a personal article. I see it as a Link in order to introduce myself to persons I meet for the first time. Consequently, I want to tell you what exactly I am doing and who I might be. That is, in addition to the trivial and nice facts that I have a huge family and many friends and that I try to live my life consciously and to enjoy it.


Yesterday:

I am an ex-programmer for whom the time came in life to hang his programming shoes to the proverbial nail. And then I became a more or less successful entrepreneur in the IT sector.

Today:

Today, I am financially independent. I try to serve nobody. And I try to make good use of my time, both in my own and other persons’ interest; that is: I try to live.

Thus, I try to share experiences and knowledge and at the same time to learn as much as possible. My most important commodities are my body and my time. Consequently, I try to spend time only with persons whom I particularly appreciate and like. Just like I also only start “projects” of which I believe I will enjoy them.

Today at noon, in the Großhesselohe Forest Restaurant. Wearing a Trump cap.

As a “learning mentor at eye-level”, I try – above all but not exclusively – to help young people towards becoming a little happier and more successful. I especially like doing this for entrepreneurs and enterprises (above all, I like to help start-ups). My method is to “listen and ask stupid questions”. In small groups, I sometimes organize “dialectic workshops” (something like Fahnenbildung etc.). Mostly, I work without charging anything for it. Special activities, for instance if I help someone to sell his company, cost money.
I gave myself some rules, for instance that no meeting will ever take more than 60 minutes (maximum exception 90 minutes in particularly hard cases). Whenever possible, my appointments are arranged at short notice and as the necessity arises.

On the whole, I try to live following the maxim: “agile, lean und open“. This is a little like the agile manifesto, the application of which should not be restricted to software development.
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Tomorrow:

I would like to spend the remaining years of my life as an activist for PEACE and SOFT MOBILITY.


Well, so much about me. With compliments!

RMD

Hans Bonfigt
Thursday May 11th, 2017

Entartete Kunst

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Sunday May 7th, 2017

Quo Vadis – Digital Transformation?

Personal Statement.
“Digitalization” is a topic I also often talk about in my presentations. Consequently, I will also again attend the Oberland IT Camp next Friday (May, 12th). This is both in order to enlighten some people and – above all – to learn many new things and make new experiences.

Here are some of my ideas from several presentations, discussions and debates around digitalization. I am sure it would be enough to fill an entire book, which is why some of my ideas are only in catchwords. However, it should suffice for those who know a little about the issue.


Digitalization – a great misunderstanding?
No tomorrow without today, no today without yesterday!

My presentation during the evening event BICCnight it at media in the foyer of the Funkhaus Bayern, München on 22/07/2011 (picture taken by: Stephan Goerlich) – For the video, see below.

Abstract:
If you want to understand the present, you need to know how the present came about. The history of digitalization is very old. During the last fifty years, the development speeded up tremendously, and in the last two decades, there was yet another boost. All indicators suggest that, at least in the next twenty years, the acceleration will continue.


Digitalization
“Digitalization” caused a massive change in our society. It did so in a different way than but to a similar extent as the “Industrial Revolution” in the last three centuries. As we all know, the second great “transformation through technological progress” still lies ahead. It will, again, totally change our individual and social way of life.
Consequently, it cannot do any harm to ask the following questions:

What exactly is the meaning of digitalization? How did it happen? What changed so far? Where are we today? What does digitalization mean for the “analogous” creature “homo sapiens”? What will come next? And is it possible that the new technology will transform us back to a “creature that communicates purely analogously”?

In my presentations, I discuss these and other questions both on a technical and sociological level. I try to make my presentations easily comprehensible and entertaining. I am also brave enough to give prognoses and suggest a few answers. But above all, I try to provoke people and make them thoughtful.

Thus, many questions arise. They can be answered in quite different ways.



From here: more in catchwords.
What is the purpose of digitalization?

After all, humans communicate analogously, don’t they?

In our brains, language and thinking are analogous processes. A relatively short time after language was first used, there came the wish to write down numbers, ideas, thoughts and stories. Initially, it was probably also because it was an application that was economically useful. Later, it was used for handing down and making available for a broad public through the times all “knowledge”.

This is how images, symbols, digits, numbers and a systemic stock of signs (alphabet) were created. The goal was always to “lay down in writing” language (ideas, stories). Because you wanted to transport them through time and space with more than just by word of mouth. And when reading them, the “brains” had to “de-cipher” them into analogous language.

All stock of signs can be bi-jectively represented by the minimal set of numbers {0,1}. Digitalization means basically that what is analogous can be represented by something digital and then transported and processed, but, above all, again “made analogous”. That is how it started. However, today the digital world has come such a long way that it serves us totally analogously.

The history of digitalization:
Written language as digitalization of language: 24 symbols.
Stone, clay, papyrus, paper as information carrier.
Formerly: one monk dictates, many write down.
Then: printing press, movable letters.
Sound is mechanically stored (wax disc, hurdy-gurdy, record disc, chiming cylinder).
Information was transported through physical transport of the storage elements.
Interesting exceptions were linked signals based on optical and acoustical means (mirrors on watch towers along the Italian coast, drum chains) – usually with a reduced information width (for a certain purpose).

Then electricity came…
Transfer through cables via electricity or wireless
Storage: still mechanically (punched tapes).
Later: first magnetic sound carriers (currently disappearing).

Protocols:

The history of transmission protocols alone would fill an entire book. Here are just a few catchwords:
MORSE-Code (3 values, short, long, pause=end; variable sign length, maximum of four).
For transfer and later publication of content (material and method).
TELEX (mechanical – electrical)
CCITT-Code (5 Bit-Code, 31 symbols with 24 letters plus special symbols)
Telephone/Telefax – both were analogous with cable transmission.
ISDN and packet switching (X25) came later.
Long distance data transfer was by modem through the telephone network.
(modulation of digital signals into analogous signals and back through de-modulation at the other end of the connection).
Then digitalization came for data transfer, too. Basically, it is all about sampling curves in same-distant intervals (grids) – this is also how sound = music = language is digitalized.

At the same time, the universal machine (computer) was invented. Basically, it could do more than just calculations. In fact, it could do everything.

Pandora’s box opened.

The CD came in 1982, ISDN in 1989 (Pilot as early as 1979).
CD is short for Compact Disk, initially it was called DD for Digital Disk.

When ISDN was first introduced, both the population and the parliament were very much afraid because now total supervision was possible! Today, ISDN has been replaced – as TELEX has been in the 1980s. And everything can be more or less supervised – and is being supervised as the necessity arises.

Data processing, too, became digital as a matter of principle and data display consoles were added to the mix.

I saw my first colour data display console on the Hannover Fair in 1980. It had been produced by Tectronix, looked like a big Oscillograph and cost as much as a small terraced house in Munich.

It was now possible to multiplex on one cable; then, at long last, data remote transfer based on packet switching comes (Datex-P X25). For the first time, networks become “clouds” – up to now, they had always consisted of numerous linked lines.

The future belonged to screen texts. The blanking interval of TV was made use of. After all, during the time the cathode ray needed for going from the bottom right to the left, no data were transferred. This was utilized for embedding data into the TV program. By using a simple back channel, they were even able to create an interactive communication through the TV with screen text computers. Even graphics was possible. Simple images were coded on the line and column screen through codes that were based on alpha and mosaic tables. To be sure, the result was a little plump and it took a long time to generate a page, but at least it worked. Nevertheless, BTX was soon overtaken. But it was certainly a good tool for watching soccer results and simple news for many years.

Another “service” – teletext with a more achievement-based point-to-point protocol (Datex-L) and standardized visual display units as stations was to become the predecessor of Telex (also known as: wire based with output on teletypewriter). But that was a product that failed before it was even operational


Note:
I experienced two “goose-bump moments” on the Berlin IFA (Internationale Funk Ausstellung): first with coloured TV (1960s) and then with the CD (in the 1970s). Both times, I experienced something that had seemed “unbelievable” for me. Again, reality pushed its way closer to our living rooms, the real world started getting mixed up with the virtual world.


Technological Advanced is Under Way:

Here my father’s original “Transistor-Radio”. We used it in IF-Blog as label for our Radiophilosophie.

I will never forget my father’s transistor radio. Because this was some progress that really made him happy. It was a small Grundig device with six transistors. It ran on UKW and MW, was small, had batteries. Now you could receive radio waves everywhere – even abroad. That was important in times of cold war.

Incidentally, coloured TV was first broadcast in 1967. And for us black-and-white watchers, it was something like a technological miracle (although we had been taught – and even understood – the technical principles in physics).

Citation:
When coloured TV started in 1967 Körting offered the cheapest colour TV, a device with 14 tubes plus image tube and with a two-transformation unit concept.

And then matters developed from there.
Digital music (the gramophone record was replaced by the CD, the CD was integrated into the iPod through MacIntosh and iTunes).
We got wireless telephones and then later digital telephones.
In addition to synchronous communication, there was now also asynchronous communication.


Note:
Here is a video recording of my presentation in the Foyer of the Funkhaus Bayern in Munich on July, 22nd, 2011 that fits quite well at this point. The wonderful title was::

What’s new, pussycat?”

 


Then came solutions that we still know today …

e-Mail
Internet
telephones with pictures
Social Media, FB, Google, Wikipedia …
Today, this is all really ancient stuff.
But there was also lots of rubbish:
The obligation to save emails, data collection and data security (almost ridiculous and a thing of the past, because today it is a matter of course)

Then came BIG DATA and with it another huge misunderstanding.
Just look at sentences like: “Data as crude oil of the future”, “big data engine will make dollars out of data”. All these sentences are bullshit at best.

Along with these developments, the calculator replaced having to do your sums by heart, on paper or with a slide rule.

And they say that, soon, the cars will all sit in the queue without anybody behind the wheel while the manager uses the underground train, which brings him to his meeting on time while the car arrives late. …

But what is the trend?

There was a time when I would have written: snapchat, wechat and the likes are what determine our future. But today, all of these, too, are a thing of the ancient past.

Tomorrow!

This is probably only about developed societies – the others will become poorer and poorer and will have totally different things to be concerned about. But here, much (all?) might change:
Chat kills E-Mail
Podcast kills Post
Audio kills reading & writing
Video kills Audio (telephone)
… ???

The classic form of mobility will change drastically.
3D will change everyday life.
Documents will probably soon disappear.
Money will become truly virtual.
Ownership, property and legality will become virtual – with all its consequences.
The golden rule will be: “Whatever is simple and useful will win“
The Messie culture will leave the real world (property will only be a burden) and become virtual.
We will leave physical values, a well-filled digital stock is more important than strange physical values that only cause stress.
Many hypes that today annoy people will become matters of course – or will totally disappear.
Even more than now, people will talk about things they do not know anything about.
Machines will determine what happens.
New tools will determine trends.

Learning and education will change drastically.

What will happen to schools and universities? Perhaps some of them will survive as nostalgic remainders from former times.
Smart Solutions will work for us and we will not even be aware of it.

Smart Solutions will make “shared economy” possible, perhaps thus saving the world? Or maybe they will at least postpone the apocalypse a little?

Through self-sufficient learning, systems of artificial intelligence will become faster and more intelligent – and will humans, to make up for it, become more and more stupid?
New technology will make the world go round even without humans, because it will directly communicate with the world.

In society, we will get “conspiracy theories” that have totally new dimensions. Humans will use more and more audio, video and three-dimensional experiences. The competence to read and write quasi automatically because it is a cultural competence as a matter of course will disappear. Rudimentary illiteracy will develop. Most people will forget how to read and write, just like they already forgot how to do sums by heart or on paper a long time ago. Because you simply will no longer need it.

But then, what technologies already play an important role today and will probably become really relevant in the future?

Or: What do we wish to focus on today?

Sensors!

Up until recently, the entire IT always communicated only with humans or, at best, with other “digital systems”. By using sensors, IT can now suddenly work directly with the world – it no longer needs humans as in-betweens.

Smart Solutions
In the context of solutions, Smart means the combination of “digital technology” and “social change”.

Short: smart = social + digital

More advanced solutions that, today, are named by buzzwords like augmented, merged or virtual reality.

All kinds of autonomous and integrative systems, probably totally different from those we even imagine today. Which probably means something other than the self-driving car. Let us just wait and see!

The problem will always be the user interface. For instance, if you look at the poor grades even much-used “German Apps” get, then you can easily conclude that the development of Apps has a very good future.

Let me conclude with a warning and a
theory:
The future – based on digital technology – will bring the “analogization” of everyday life and an enormous social change through smart solutions!

Warning

Digitalization is a very old thing! It was in the ancient past! Issues like data security are dead. Discussing it will only deflect us from actually following the current developments. And from giving the quasi automatical social change a humane orientation.

As I see it, we really should have discussions and debates about this. But, please, think first, then talk!

RMD
(Translated by EG)