15 minutes for everyone


If every person living on earth today wanted his/her 15 minutes of unrivaled fame, it would take ~193778 years from now. We should get started.

Every day 96 people can have their 15 minutes of fame. That means for an estimated 6.79 billion people living on earth today, we need about 70,729,167 days to get everyone famous. That’s just about 193778 years.


no ordinary building

Our faculty moved. This is no ordinary building. A user needs a manual to get in, be well inside and get out safely: computer scientists get what they deserve.

Language-aware publishing in Google+?

This is the thing that I actually wanted to write, but I first had to post my view on Google+. So, what always intrigued me on facebook is that I am having an international bunch of friends met in various places in the world. I’d say that half of my posts are in German and half of my posts are in English. I always wondered whether people are annoyed by me posting in a language they don’t understand, but as I didn’t get complaints, I never cared, mostly because it would have been too annoying to actually micro-manage my audience.

Things are somehow different in Google+, as my circles allow me very well to distinguish my audience. I somehow feel obliged to not flood my friends from the US with German jokes. But some of the German content might actually also be interesting to them, and vice versa. So, as Google is also running its steadily improving Google Translate service (though, the translation to Czech needs some serious work), I wonder whether Google+ could/would/is going to integrate Google Translate in a per-post-basis:

  • you post as ususal,
  • when you get a post in your stream written not in your native language, Google translate automatically translates the post for you based on your language preferences,
  • or you get a “translate to my language” button next to each post.

could be a Google+ “App”…

Content gets tuned to the audience: my first days in google plus

Alright, Google Plus is out and puzzles the world, in particular the people who could join already, what this new platform is going to be. As I am in, I am slowly seeing how people try to understand how the platform matches personal posting behavior and vice versa. This is particularly interesting as the first round of people to join are those with close ties to Google, people with a strong social media/web2.0 presence, or people close to those. So, it’s the very native netizens that have a new playground. Currently, people hesitate posting and writing, so do I. Partly, as we all have our facebook, twitter, and mail accounts already.

But I think also for another interesting reason that is currently massively influencing the way Google+ will be used. On one hand, as we are a small cozy family of beta users, people willingly add contacts to their different Google +Circles, much more than you would have in facebook. On the other hand, the publishing/posting concept in Google+ gives users a lot of control on to whom you publish; it is easy to set on every posting. So, people gather a large audience while they control what the audience gets to read and to see. I have the feeling, people currently try to understand what contents is best posted to their circles, how the circles are to be shaped, etc. This makes me come up with the following hypothesis:

The current Google+ users not only care about what they post but also to whom. While this is intended in the design of Google+ it changes how people think about their posts: Content gets tuned to  the audience.

I’ve seen lots of interesting approaches. People posting picture jokes you usually expect in anonymous forums, serious links to political blogs, meta-questions about Google+, and micro-blogging from events, in particular with a stream of photos, etc. Usually no trivia from people’s personal lives like that they just had an awesome evening with their best friend. But in particular the last observation may very much be due to the fact that I am not in the ‘friend’ circle of that poster…

I’m quite intrigued to see whether my hypothesis holds in general for Google+ or whether it just applies to the current, very selected user pool of Google+.

eindhoven hat seine …wait for it… jägerklause

Da war ich also. In Eindhoven. Circa sechseinhalb Stunden von Berlin entfernt und das Freizeitleben schien ansprechend zu sein. Gleichwohl musste ich einige Abstriche in Kauf nehmen oder wie mein griechischer Begleiter meinte: auf dem Stratumseind, der großen Bar-Straße in Eindhoven, haben sich alle Betreiber auf das selbe Mainstream-Publikum eingestellt. Wie dem auch sei, es war viel los und über Langeweile kann man sich erst beschweren, wenn man schon eine lange Weile unzufrieden mit dem Angebot ist. Das traf auch mich nicht zu: ich war ja noch keine zwei Wochen hier. Kurzum, wir begaben uns in das Treiben und ließen die Dinge geschehen.

Und so geschah es, dass wir gegen Ende der Nacht uns nochmal nach einer anderen Lokalität umsehen musste und plötzlich im Café The Jack standen. Der Laden gefiel mir gleich auf den ersten Blick. Er sah anders aus als die anderen Läden und das Publikum auch. Es lief auch andere Musik. Und an der Bar wurden einem andere – richtige – Fragen gestellt. Es dauerte ein wenig, bis ich verstand, wo ich mich befand: in der Eindhovener Jägerklause.

Ambiente: “gelebte Bar”, die Hirschgeweihe fehlen
Musik: Rock, Metal und alles dazwischen und drumherum, Bühne
Kicker: direkt hinter’m Eingang, mit gefliestem Rasen, den beobachteten Spielbewegungen zufolge sauschnell und geübte Spieler
Billiardtisch: da wo er auch in der Jägerklause steht
Zapfhahn: Bavaria – was in gewisser Weise auch geschmacklich in der Nachbarschaft vom Löwenbräu angesiedelt ist
hinter dem Tresen: zügig, tätowiert, der Chef hat einen Arne-Bart und ist ihm auch sonst ein bisschen ähnlich
vor dem Tresen: schwarz ist dominante Farbe, tätowiert, Metal T-Shirts und alles was thematisch noch dazu gehört

Weil in Holland kein Platz ist, gibt es im The Jack keine Couch und keine Kinosessel. Na schön, man kann ja nicht alles haben.


So… it’s only more than two years since my last blog post. Who would have guess I’d post this often? Well then, what has happened since then? I’ve finished my PhD thesis and obtained a Doctor’s degree with summa cum laude in Computer Science from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven in a quite memorable defense ceremony.

In essence, I’ve contributed a new approach to solving an old problem. How to derive a blue print of a (computer) system from sample descriptions of the intended system behavior. You can find the full thesis here.

dirk fahland - from scenarios to components (cover)

dirk fahland - from scenarios to components (cover)

And after all the excitement about completing four years of work and some wonderful holidays in Argentina, I’ve now moved to Eindhoven to work as a Post-Doc in the group of Wil van der Aalst as a Post-Doc. So, Eindhoven, here we go.

open source … movies!

Everyone knows open source. Software. Right? It’s not about being for free (that’s usually an extra), it’s about giving the user access to the sources of the software to change it, customize it, extend it, integrate it, repair it, understand it, learn from it, …

The success of open source software is based on the principle that if you are going to consume something that you have the right to understand how it was produced, and that you are allowed to go for something different or pick it up. And it is the only way that allows thousands of people to work together on projects that are much larger than what each one alone could accomplish. Like building a web-browser that is faster, safer, and more reliable than the one that used to be installed on 99% of all running systems.

But who said that open source is a software thing? Think of making music or movies. Most of us have seen the one or other movie end titles (you know, all the names that are shown after the hero has kissed the girl). They put these names there because the film could not be made without them. Including all the weird positions after the last wookie actor and before the “very special thanks goes to”. Because you need that many people, it’s usually a big money subject to make good evening filling movies. But making good software used to be a big money subject as well before open source.

This is where Valkaama and other open source movie projects pick up. Allow anyone who likes to participate in making the movie. Script, act, film, speak, sing, play, cut, edit, improve, … as with open source software, you need access to the source “code” of the movie. The script, all raw filmed material, original sound, music (with original tracks), film editing plan, dubbed scenes, etc. Only then you are able to pick up a specific aspect of the film and change it for improvement. The animated short-movie Elephants Dream was the first that was released under an open-source license.

Valkaama is one of the first full feature-length film projects in HD1080p standard that is close to going public. Two trailers including all trailer sources have been released under the Creative CommonsAttribution – Share Alike 3.0 license on the project website.

The movie tells the story of two unlike young men, each seeking for his personal future, that are thrown together by fate to travel to ‘Valkaama’ to find what each is looking for. As their paths cross, they do not realize how much of their journey has already been determined by their pasts.

I have seen an early cut of the movie. I like it a lot. But as with large scale, high-quality software, large scale, high-quality movies need many helping hands. If you are into movies, this might be your thing. Have a look on the project’s website: http://www.valkaama.com/

disclaimer: the author is personally acquainted with the project leader of Valkaama