Schools wasting money is not as big of a deal as it is made out to be here. Not every investment can be a good one and you have to deal with that and just keep investing. My business partner used to say that innovation in the education field is like driving a van full of money to a school building and setting it on fire. Soit.

The main issue here is that a purchase like this (hardware firewalls!) fits in the rampant fear based culture around digital technology here where schools have their own IT (which they can’t deploy or manage) and everything needs to be absolutely secure. The net result of that way of thinking is of course that nothing is even slightly secure.

Come to Berlin, they said. There’s lots of space here, they said.

In the mean time in Berlin everything is full and anything related to children is wildly under-provisioned (because Germany out of principle does not invest in anything). That creates waiting lists and insane competition for everything.

I haven’t tried it out yet but seeing the collaboration features in Zed described here, that sounds pretty much like my ideal workflow.

Chat channels including voice and screen sharing integrated directly into a lightning fast editor enabling seamless collaboration and visibility on who are doing something together. Unscheduled calls instead of endless calendar invites that don’t fit the shape of the work anyway.

I found a new German podcast crush in Hart Unfair which is my favorite format: three people (Anna Dushime, Yelda Türkmen and Ari Christmann) rambling through one another but in a way that’s funny, intelligent and diverse. It’s a shame that they publish so irregularly that I can’t tell if the podcast is dead or not.

One of the hosts dropped a casual Hasan Piker reference (in a conversation about pop culture and leftist politics) and… I didn’t even know there were Germans who know who that is.

I had previously posted about a deep dive of the connections of the anthroposophical movement with fascism.

What’s also quite poignant are the fascist foundations of the ecological movement in Germany. It’s not just fascist but in the weird post-war political space here every type of idiocy is pretty much represented.

Petra Kelly is essential to understand why the Greens are so so opposed to nuclear energy. She got together with an officer of the German army who was used by the Stasi (as part of the Generals for Peace) to argue for disarmament. He eventually shot her and himself to death.

It’s a good example of how anything peace movement related here was a ploy by the Russians not to get their ass kicked (and still is).

And here’s a historical treatment of all the ecofascist tendencies that tried to be part of the ecological movement in post-nazi Germany. Some of them got disillusioned and rebuked by the party’s tendency towards eco-socialism, but others managed to latch on.

The absurd cast of characters in both of these stories are a clear testament for how pretty much everybody in German society after the war was damaged goods.

The comments online around the Apple Vision Pro have been pretty deranged in a stupid kind of way. Lots of people jumped to the foregone conclusion that Apple released a failure or that it “wasn’t going to be a success”. Most of that seemed to have been motivated by clout chasing.

I don’t think that really matters that much other than serving to have the person making the comment show their ass for the entire world to see.

I feel that Apple Vision Pro is a deeply interesting and conflicted technology which is also the conclusion that Cortex reaches here. You’ll notice that Grey and Myke actually used the device and they are fairly knowledgeable about apps and ways of working/playing.

I got to take one home for a weekend and I can testify similarly except for missing out on a bunch of features. Because it’s only out in the US, I could not access a paid App Store or get an Apple Arcade subscription. That means I could only get the free vision apps out there which are incredibly lacklustre.

What everybody seems to have done is to take whatever IP they had lying around, wrap it into a VisionOS starter project and throw it onto the App Store. That will probably be the modus operandi for a while going forward. If you look at the absolute dregs on the App Store and now realise that making a good VisionOS app is probably at least 10x as difficult as making a good iOS app, then things are not looking good.

The only really compelling experience was the Encounter Dinosaurs app which is genuinely disconcerting and scary. But because of its very high production values, it’s also only a couple of minutes long.

Most compelling is using the Vision Pro to consume media. Watching movies in Disney+ is a fantastic experience if the device wasn’t so uncomfortable to use. Being able to watch sporting events on a massive screen with sidecar screens and 3D views of the course/track seems like it would also be excellent. It would be even more interesting if we would see a proliferation of 360 cameras to be able to place yourself in a Formula1 car or on a sports pitch. The amount of embodiment it yields, seems like it could go a long way to make remote meetings feel more real.

I agree with this review that this device is a devkit. I’ll wait for the real deal.

Berlin has a not very well-known facility that allows you to request a Meldebescheinigung online, pay for it online and receive it by mail. I attended Arian to it and it saved his bacon.

Many people here will deny that government digitalisation here is possible or desirable both of which are statements that are untrue and deranged. It is possible to create better services for people. Germans just choose to live in abject squalor for no reason.

Listened to the latest episode of the German eGovernment podcast with the Minister for Digital for Bavaria. That is the state here that’s seemingly the farthest along when it comes to digitalisation and it now has the following ambitious plans:

  • to have internet reception everywhere
  • to remove fax traffic inside the state government by 2026

And then I switched it off because I don’t think anything good could come after that.

Learned in this podcast episode about class justice in Germany something rather remarkable.

Germany has a system of income dependent fines called Tagessätze. These are meant to make punishments more equitable by making people who make more money pay more.

It turns out (and I’m sure very few people are aware of this) that courts do not get access to tax records to determine the fine base. They take a guess at the income and most of the time, they guess too low.

Death Stranding

Last night I sat down to finish Death Stranding and after beating the final boss it took an additional two hours of story, dream sequences, credit sequences and false endings before it was over. Or not quite over but finished and into the open ended chapter: “Tomorrow is in your Hands.”

I was so pissed off with Kojima for this because I had wanted to go to bed early but he pulled me through it and the entire thing was totally worth the 60+ hours of gameplay I sunk into it. The duration is the thing that creates the gravitas but also I don’t want to invest that much time in a game again any time soon.

It started with me seeing the trailer for the sequel which is incredibly over the top, absurd and wildly promising. It’s a movie—a Gesamtkunstwerk I called it—that I can watch over and over again, especially now that I’ve played the first part.

That got me interested and then I found out that the original game had been ported both to macOS and to iOS (!!). A hefty download later I was off to play my first AAA game in years.

There’s so much to love about Death Stranding and so much that is weird but works: the names of the characters (Heartman, Die Hardman, Deadman etc.), the endless walks across beautiful mountain landscapes, the boredom, the resource management, the likes, the weird cameos, the breaks of the fourth wall, the BB unit, the weird mishmash of lore and mythology. I could go on and on.

I didn’t think all too deeply on what the game is about but the thought that stuck with me while playing is that Bridges and its delivery operation are a pastiche on Amazon, with its expansionism, militarism and overly saccharine insistence on the ‘benefits’ of “connecting everybody.”

Now, I’ll be taking a break and going back to studying in the evenings but if I decide to go play a big game again, I’m thinking it’ll either be Disco Elysium or Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown.