60 Seconds

The dirty little man was nervously hopping from one leg to the other:

"If you touch me, I will kill you."

I tried to look right through him and smiled coldly.

  • "It is not ... a matter ... of violence. It ... never is."

It was the 1st of January, the day right after New Years' Eve. Sylvester itself, and the days before that were marked by constant explosions of fire crackers. Annoying and nerve-wrecking, especially when at 3:00 in the night.

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My Trophy Wife

It is now about a year that my wife has taken over the small trophy family business Barta Pokale.

It has been a steep learning curve for us as the long-established business suffered from several legacies. Now that we removed most of it and turned the business around, we have started to modernize the portfolio.

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Recipe: Mac Mini DVD Region Encoding Nightmares

For a while now we own a Mac Mini in our living room, mostly for watching DVDs.

When we first bought it, the thing I noticed was that that little brat enforced the DVD region encoding. Which is pretty annoying to us, as we have acquired DVDs from Australia, the U.S., Europe, and even some in Japan. And it is not quite clear to me why moving from one continent (region) to another renders all my already paid DVDs useless.

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Dorner Ball 2009

03/21/2009 - 00:14
03/22/2009 - 00:14

Palais Ferstel


Ferstel Layout

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Robert on Rails

I had just boarded the train and was unpacking my MacBook to continue work on the geo-semantics Perl package, as the clock on the platform changed to 9:05.

During this past year, every morning was a race against time. First I had to take that short walk through the nearby park to the next tram station, taking line 18 towards the southern rail terminus.

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Real, Compared To What?

Here in Vienna there are many theatres. Most of them are pretty large, but there are also tiny ones, specifically featuring less known artists. The Theater am Spittelberg is one of them and last Saturday they produced Sergio Cattaneo & Orchesta Chamuyo de Tango.

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The Business of Appreciation

One of the awards in life which await you when you (a) have a family and (b) have earned a Ph.D. in computer science is that you are promoted to 1st, 2nd and 3rd level IT support. And if you are immensely lucky you become the CTO of the family business en passe.

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Larger Than Life

Yesterday evening Solomon Burke played in the Arkadenhof inside the Viennese Rathaus. Or should I say held court.

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Strawberry Fields Forever

The research center I work in is in the south of Vienna, closer to the traditional strawberry fields. So it is quite natural that the farmers directly drive by at noon and offer strawberries, fresh only a few hours after having been harvested.

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Winter, On its Way Out

There is one thing many Europeans do not understand about seasons (the climatic ones, yes):

  • You would miss them, if you didn't have 'em.

And there is one thing many Australians do not understand about seasons:

  • You cannot miss them, because you never had 'em.

Mostly for our Australian friends, those who have been so overly supportive over the last years, those we had to leave behind, those we sorely miss (no, I don't mean you, Warren) ... here a recent view from our window for your education:

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Gender Stereotypes: Come Again

My commuter train was just about to reach its terminal. I stood up to get the pole position at the door, but two girls already blocked the exit. Both around 17 years, and if things couldn't get worse, they were chatting.

I embraced myself for another 60-second glimpse of hell, surely a circle Dante has forgotten to write about. In an anticipatory-defensive move, my mind was racing: girlfriend stuff ("she always calls me"), boyfriend stuff ("he never called me"), school stuff ("they always call me").

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At least I'm wearing my own underwear...

Fashion in Australia, so-called "Australian Fashion", sometimes also coined "Australian style" is an interesting anthropological concept. At least for an European. Or for a linguist. Or for an european linguist.

You cannot have too many eyebrows which you will want to raise when being confronted with attempts of being fashionable. Worse, Australians do not miss any opportunity to show off their interpretation of the concept fashion [1]:

This pair won the "Fashions on the Field" competition for

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Great White Sharks, uhm Lies

On Australian news you will regularily hear about encounters between sharks and surfers, more on the West than on the East coast. These encounters usually do not end well for the shark: it manages to bite off only small bits and pieces of the surfer himself, usually arms, shoulders or legs. The rest involves chewing of glass fibre.

Sort-of an encounter of the feed-th kind.

With that background, close encounter stories are quite credible among the surfer community and so are also pictures a professional photographer published onto a

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Euphemism Kung-Fu

I secretly aspire to become a master of euphemism-fu. You name me one defect on this planet, I will phrase it into a neutral, if not positive wording. Protein-challenged infantile population for starving babies, Java software engineer for I-rewrite-software-because-I-can or informed Bond University administrator are just some of the more medium entertaining examples for euphemism.

I am also rather competitive in this sector and take it almost as personal defeat if someone comes up with new

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Cold Hearts and Cold Feet

They are everywhere. Whatever you buy nowadays which needs electrical power, it has a power adapter. And that comes from China. Fullstop.

And to allow simpler outsourcing and packaging the majority of devices come with an external adapter. And some of these are bigger and heavier than the device itself.

Which means for you that you loose real-estate on or under your desk:

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