Brew Tea instead of Beer

If you’re not into beer – or you are, but you love tea a teaspoon more, like I do – you can change the emoji Homebrew uses when brewing by setting the HOMEBREW_INSTALL_BADGE environment variable:

 
[Because I’m not able to post the exact line here, copy it from this gist.]

And there you go: homebrew_with_tea

P.S.: Of course you can also use coffee. Or any other emoji, for that matter.

My favorite Swedish word is Blåbär

To put my newly found love for festivals to test, I spent over 3 days on a beautiful uninhabited island somewhere in Scandinavia.

I got sunburn on my knees, had my feet tickled by shrimps, climbed rocks, took down a tent in the rain Monday morning before 6am, and found out that I don’t miss taking a shower as much as I imagined I would. Actually I didn’t miss much at all, and it’s almost a little disturbing that I am not that glad to be home.

Might this mean you’ll see more posts about travel here? It might.


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Some hints for your first live coding talk

At this year’s eurucamp I gave a talk about how to create a game with Ruby. I wanted to prove that it’s easy to do so with Gosu, so I did a daring thing: I proposed a live coding talk. My first live coding talk ever(!).

It went smoothly, so now I feel almost qualified to give some advice to other people preparing theirs:
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Make your own Dildo – with 3D printing

Recently I did my first 3d print: a custom designed dildo mold. Because, seriously, who needs a third industrial revolution if it doesn’t contain sex.

So, how do you design your own custom dildo? The answer is dildogenerator.com. Powered by WebGL and three.js, this web application (suggested tagline: “the tinkercad of dildo design“) lets you easily create a 3d dildo model by editing Bézier curves.

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Three Minutes for Arte Tracks: Rin on Cyborgism

In a recent episode, arte’s Tracks (a magazine about pop culture and music) featured cyborgs and transhumanism.

For the bonus material on their website they did a little portrait of me. Among other things I demo one of the RFID tags by using it to logon to my computer. – Shooting this was fun, but also a little exhausting. Still figuring out how to say non-stupid thing in front of a camera …

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Yay for RFID implants!

I am able to login to my computer by pressing my hand against a USB dongle. You can get my mobile number by touching my hand with your phone. I can make LEDs light up and doors open.

Magic?

Nope: RFID implants.

As I might have mentioned before, I want to be a cyborg. So as of last week, I got RFID tags implanted in both my hands. They do not make me a cyborg according to my definition: They neither augment my senses nor do they give me extra abilities. But they _are_ available, inexpensive, pretty safe and easy to implant. Also, building stuff with them is pretty simple: There are a lot of affordable readers to play around with, from Arduino modules and USB dongle type readers  to NFC-enabled smartphones.

The implantation procedure is straightforward: Let your body mod artist of choice shove a big needle into your hand (typically the part between your thumb and your index finger). ‘Big’ means the needle has to be large enough that the 2mm diameter RFID tag can be pushed through. Insert tag, remove needle, put a band-aid on it. Congratulations, you’ve been chipped.  And nah, it doesn’t really hurt. Not like stubbing your toe, anyway.

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A Bed for Nomads and Minimalists: Tojo System

Now that I’m going to be 30 soon, I decided to do a very strange thing: I decided to get a bed.

Around the age of 16, I used to have back pain sometimes. (I’d say “growing hurts”, but of course it actually was because I spent my days sitting in front of the computer, playing Age of Empires and Command & Conquer.)

So I did, what my grandpa does when he has back pain: I lay down on the floor. On one particularly bad day, I decided to just sleep on the floor instead of using my bed. I slept well. It was awesome. So I kept doing it.

After a while, I figured I didn’t really need my bed anymore and got rid of it.
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Brighton Tattoo Convention 2014

Last weekend my sister and I set out on a journey to the UK to visit the Brighton Tattoo Convention.

I have to admit, I never really got why anybody would travel to a country whose weather is even worse than German weather, but Brighton changed that. The houses are cute, the supermarkets are awesome, the people are friendly (it’s almost scary!) and speak adorable British English. You are able to get a decent tea almost everywhere. There’s Doctor Who on TV. True, if you like warm running water you might argue that the design of British sinks needs some optimization. But honestly … who cares about the fucking sinks?

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We took home three tattoos, twenty Arcade tickets, a package of shortbread and the realization that maybe there are even more awesome places to live in than Berlin. See you next year, Brighton!

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Discovering Berlin on Foot

When I visited Berlin the first few times, I got to know it by U-Bahn. Kotti, Eberswalder Straße, Rosenthaler Platz, Warschauer were my stations. I knew how to get there and how to find the places I wanted to go to, but I had no idea where they actually were located in the city. The U-Bahn was like a black box system of portals that let me emerge at specific points of an uncharted map.

When I finally moved to Berlin in April, I learnt to navigate this system of portals. I memorized the colors of its stations. I found out why changing from the U2 to the U8 at Alex takes more than the usual two minutes. I learnt to never trust a display that claims “Kurzzug hält hinten”. But in a way, the trains were still magical yellow creatures that swallowed you at point A, from where they travelled the Nether to point B, where they spit you out, back into the real world.

After some months I discovered buses. Their lines served as an alternative layer of routes, and some of their portals were hard to find. But if you found the right ones, you were suddenly able to get to the main station in mere 17 minutes, instead of the 32 it would take by U-Bahn.

Only recently I found another, almost archaic way of transportation: My feet.
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When I grow up, I wanna be a Cyborg

Recently I gave a little talk about prosthetics at Labortage. My introductory slide featured a handwritten note saying “When I grow up, I want to be a cyborg”.

In Berlin I found some fellow cyborg enthusiasts. We meet every second Monday, discussing ideas, planning workshops and talks. We had Grindhouse Wetware‘s Tim Cannon over for a talk (watch it here). Eventually we decided to do a very German thing: We founded a Verein, our own cyborg society, the Cyborgs e.V..

Why do you want to become a cyborg?
Because it’s cool, duh.
(If you want an explanation with fancier words and more elaborate ideas, you might want to ask Kevin Warwick, Ray Kurzweil or Enno.)

What inspired you to want to become a cyborg?
I’m mainly inspired by William Gibson and other cyberpunk stuff. I like Gibson’s concept of the street samurai, although, since I studied Japanese for some years, I think the name’s pretty stupid.

Molly Millions definitely is one of my role models, although she is too female for my taste. One reason for me wanting to be a cyborg simple is that I want to be badass.

I also like human-like machines like androids and replicants. According to my sister, I had a thing for TNG’s Data when I was little (“Naturally”, she added and rolled her eyes). And of course I am fascinated by the Borg, but I wouldn’t trade in my own brain for their collective consciousness. Also, their style is also a little too flashy for my taste; I’d like something more unobtrusive. (I really don’t like screaming children, and I don’t need them screaming because of me.)

Nowadays, some cyborg ideas are not sci-fi anymore; my favorite existing gadget is not Google Glass but rather Hugh Herr’s prosthetic legs. So I also want to mention him as an inspiration. He rocks.
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Partying with Rockstars: Amanda Palmer Houseparty

So, this Friday I set out to a tiny village in the middle of nowhere (and pretty much in the middle of Germany), armed with golden glitter and a hat, to get drunk with Amanda Palmer and around fifty other amazing people. There were fairy lights, there was vegan food, there was music (harp and, of course, ukulele), there was lots of alcohol, crowdsurfing, and a rat joining the party. And it was awesome.

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How To Make Things Suck: Open Online Courses

As the gentle reader might have noticed, I’m into online courses. Actually, I’ve just started participating in another one, and originally I planned to blog about how AWESOME it will be and how I will learn ALL the stuff. Yeah, right.

Online courses can be awesome. But, just like almost all other awesome things, you can use them to make you feel bad. If you’re not familiar with the process, here’s how:

1. Browse the catalogue of available topics. Promising previews, interesting information, exciting experiments, terrific trailers, awesome alliterations! All the stuff you’ve been itching to learn FOREVER. Choose one. You just have to click. And it’s FREE!

2. Day 1: You’re going to learn ALL the stuff! This is SO exciting! Let’s watch the first lectures right away. … WOW.

3. Week 3: Busy week. Went to bed early. It’s okay, you’ll catch up on the weekend.

4. Week 4: So you didn’t feel like doing anything last weekend. And this week. But you got excuses. You got A LOT of excuses.

5. Week 5: Homework preying on you. You’re feeling stressed. How did this even happen? Look at you. You’ve finished school a long time ago, and now you’re stuck with homework AGAIN?! Fuck this shit.

6. Quit. Don’t forget to feel like a failure. Try to remember every other unfinished thing in your life.

P.S.: Of course this is not limited to online courses. But since these are easy to join – and even easier to quit – it happens a lot. And it’s happened to you, right?

Labortage 2013 – Resistance is mandatory

Last weekend I went home to the Ruhr area to join this year’s Labortage. There was plenty of food & drink and general nerdiness; I learnt about oscilloscopes and talked a little about prosthetics as the preliminary stage of cyborgism. (Watch this if you’re interested.)

See you again next year!

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socially constructed ideas of beauty

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Let’s get an RFID implant

Since I am unable to grow a moustache due to stupid genetic reasons, I found myself a another cool project for November: an RFID implant.

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I got myself an implantable Mifare tag with 1KB of memory. You can buy these over at Amal’s ‘Dangerous Things’. Basically, it’s a 2x12mm borosilicate glass shell with a Mifare Classic S50 tag inside. It’s writeable and readable by many Android devices, e.g. the Samsung S3, S4, and the Google Nexus 4 (UPDATE: I’ve been told Nexus 4 won’t read the chip).

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17 things that will help me through winter

I’m not exactly fond of Germany’s dark, cold and wet winter, but it’s gotten better over the last years. With my first Berlin winter coming on, I compiled a list of stuff (in no particular order) that’ll help me stay sane until spring.
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How to create a command line utility with Elixir and mix

elixirMy Kindle informs me that I’m still only at 61% of the Elixir book. I forgot that reading a book about a new language involves some work – and you can’t do all of it lying at the beach, if you know what I mean. Anyway, as an appetizer here’s a tiny bit of Elixir for you.

Disclaimer: If you haven’t seen any Elixir up to now at all, this is _not_ the place to start. If you know the basics of the syntax and want to use Elixir for some scripting, read on. Also, all the credit goes to Dave Thomas.

Scripting is especially easy with Elixir because of the Elixorians’ favorite operator: |>, the Elixir pipe. It works just like the pipe in your shell – it takes the output of the function to its left and feeds it as the first argument to the function to its right.

That comes in handy, because that simple command-line utility you want to write will probably look something like this:

parse_options |> process |> do_magic_things |> print_results

Prerequisites

You just need Erlang and Elixir installed. You Homebrew users can happily type

$ brew install erlang-r16 elixir

Everybody else, go here.

Creating a scaffold application with mix

mix is basically Elixir’s rake and bundler. You use it to bootstrap and build your projects, create tasks, install dependencies,  and run your tests.

Let’s create a new project: $ mix new example

This will create a project scaffold in ./example/, complete with a README, a lib/  and a test/ directory and a configuration file named mix.exs . Didn’t hurt a bit, did it?

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