Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Visualizing recipes – a novel approach by Sascha Wahlbrink

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

(this post is about _cooking_ recipes; not design patterns or stuff like that :)

I recently came across a cook book by Sascha Wahlbrink that caught my attention due to the amazing new approach to recipes. It uses a diagram type that somewhat resembles UML activity diagrams instead of the traditional textual approach with a simple list of steps to follow. This new approach has a number of advantages:

  • You can see at a glance what utensils you will need during the preparation.
  • The complexity or simplicity of the receipe becomes obvious due to the diagram structure.
  • Stuff that is meant to happen in parallel in differnent places (or different pots and pans) is easily visible.
  • And finally, time gaps become obvious (e.g. you don’t want to see an instruction like “Now freeze for 4 hours in your freezer” just 10 minutes before your guests arrive).


I have given the approach a try by encoding a mildly complex pasta recipe found on the German “Chefkoch” community. The tool I used was “Dia“, an open-source alternative to M$ Visio. Here are the results (available under creative commons license CC-BY-SA):


I have also tried creating a small library of the symbols in Dia, but this didn’t work, because Dia’s extension mechanism didn’t allow for dynamic text in custom shapes. Too bad. But you can easily copy and paste from the Source file provided above to replicate this approach and create your own recipes.


How to fix a cracked iPhone screen

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

I recently dropped my iPhone in the street – really bad, really hard. The screen was cracked and looked somewhat like this:

The phone was still working, but with the cracked screen, it wasn’t a satisfactory state. So, rather than buying a new iPhone (which would be a waste of money and resources, besides being very un-ecological), I looked around a bit and found some great instructinos on how to replace the screen:
On Vimeo.
And on Ifixit.

On ebay you can easily find repair sets, either with tools or just the required glass.

Here are some lessons learnt:
- When buying the repair set, make sure to get the right one for your iPhone model. There are some cable plugs that are different, for instance, from 3G to 3GS.
- You don’t necessarily need to buy a set with tools, if you have a very small Philips screwdriver at home.
- If you do buy the glass only, make sure it contains the required double-sided sticker tape, too. It was missing in my case and I used a double sided carpet tape instead. It works, but doesn’t hold the glass as tightly and the surface isn’t fully flush with the frame.

All in all, the repair didn’t take too long and it will take a lot less time the next time around. The cost was around 9 Euros for the glass – a lot less than a new iPhone. Plus you have the satisfaction of having fixed the iPhone yourself!

Open-Source-Schnitzeljagd für München Schwabing

Friday, July 20th, 2012


im Rahmen einer privaten Feier haben wir eine Schnitzeljagd in München Schwabing organisiert. Start- und Endpunkt waren der Kaiserplatz. Für den Fall, dass jemand etwas Ähnliches arrangieren will, veröffentliche ich hiermit die Materialien als Open-Source unter der Lizenz “Creative Commons CC BY-SA” (siehe

In der Zip-Datei sind enthalten:

- Spielfeld (Stadtplan)

- Fragen auf Deutsch und Englisch in OpenOffice-Format (odt)

- Bildstrecke (modelliert nach dem SZ-Sommerrätsel, siehe

- Translation Memories der Übersetzung in TMX-Format (erstellt mit OmegaT)

- Antworten zu den Fragen

Alle persönlichen Daten wurden aus Gründen des Datenschutzes entfernt. Bei der Erstellung des Rätsel war vor allem folgendes Buch sehr hilfreich:

Bauer, Reinhard und Knuth Weidlich, Schwabing, Unverhau Verlag, 2. Aufl. 1997

Das Material kannst du hier herunterladen: Open-Source-Schnitzeljagd für München Schwabing

Feedback und Fragen bitte an martin DOT wunderlich REMOVETHISWORD ÄT gmx DOT net.

(die Kommentarfunktion des Blogs habe ich aufgrund der Spam-Flut deaktiviert)

Viel Spaß!

Countries I’ve visited – nice visualisation based on Google maps

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

visited 42 states (18.6%)
Create your own visited map of The World or website vertaling duits?

iPhone and IMAP – a little trick

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Minor annoyances, when consciously observed and acted on, can lead to great positive change.

Checking various email addresses in a number of environments (iPhone, private Macbook, work Macbook, webmail), I found myself annoyed by the following: emails that I had read on one device would still be marked as unread on other devices. I had heard of the IMAP standard (as opposed to POP/SMTP), whereby the clients are kept in synch with the server instead of downloading emails. Re-configuring the email providers and email clients was quick enough.

However, I ran into a problem with the iPhone: For some reason, when entering the account details, the iPhone will auto-select the account to be a POP account. Now here is the trick: This auto-selection only works, if you enter the _correct_ account details. So, in order to self-select IMAP over POP, I misspelled the password and – tada – the iPhone presented me with the full config details of the account and I was able to select IMAP.
Just in case, anyone else runs into the same problem…



Alain de Botton on Pessimism

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Alain de Botton is a Swiss-born philosopher and writer, residing in the UK, who has the great gift of putting new or forgotten thoughts into simple words – words that are as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Nowadays, where we have many professors of philosophy and few philosophers, de Botton has stepped up to the task of analysing, commenting on and evaluating daily life, be it by writing in an airport or by re-reading Proust. His writing often takes the form of a mock-self-help book, but avoiding the usual banalities and superficialities of that genre and instead presenting a critical view on Western life-styles and on their inherent lack of life and style.

This here is a great speech on why pessimism (or at least stoicism) is an appropriate attitude and will prevent unhappiness:

A fantastic speech to listen to when things don’t go as you believe they should, be it in love life or at work.


Review of keychain mini amp

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

I thought this was a cool product to boost my iPhone speaker:
Keychain amp

This speaker has the same volume as the built-in iphone speaker. Thinkgeek write: “great volume and sound” – maybe compared to no speaker at all. Also, there is no decent place to store the cables. Very bad design. If you want to use this product for your iPhone, don’t bother. It is a waste of 10 bucks.