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"A weblog is a frequently updated web site where the content is often in reverse chronological order." (Mena Trott)
It contains a perfectly random assortment of thoughts, ideas, references and complaints, and they are all mine! (CD)

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Name: Christian Dreyer
Location: Switzerland

March 07, 2010

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March 06, 2010

Bossing Monteverdi

Just back from an experiment that failed in an interesting way. Nox illuminata had a concert programme at Sudhaus with pieces of Monteverdi's Orfeo and Bossa Nova, which they called Orfeu Negro after a famous movie by Vinicius de Moraes. Now the musical styles are obviously very different - 3 centuries a difference make. And yet, the themes are the same, so you would think that the music can be made to match. To make it short, it didn't work out, unfortunately.

I think it may have to do with the musicians being firmly (too firmly?) grounded in Bossa Nova, and trying to perform Monteverdi in the same way. This might really only work if you have musicians who are equally well versed in the free flowing, small form Bossa Nova as in Monteverdi's formal, complex court music of centuries past. The artistic director probably realised that herself, as the programme had a lot more Bossa Nova than Monteverdi. That way, I got a very fine Bossa Nova concert out of a musical experiment.

Also, J asked the other day what was happening to my blog, as there obviously wasn't really happening that much at all. I promise to work on getting my motivation back!

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January 19, 2010

Beyond text

Do you know Robin Sloan? Probably not. He's a Californian writer and media-inventor whose story Mr. Penumbra and the Twenty-Four-Hour Book Store I stumbled across a while ago, and I was hooked. His stories are smart, fast and full of surprises in a way that I've never seen before. The latest story (The Truth about the East Wind) is based on classical Greek mythology whereas the sci-fi crime novel Annabel Scheme is set in the future San Francisco dominated by quantum computers and Grail, the second best name for a search engine that I can think of. Very smart indeed, and just a little nerdy.

The creative way in which Sloan plays with formats gave me pause to think about how un-creatively today's media work with their formats on the web. For incumbent producers of print, the acme of production is text, while TV people produce video. To the man with the hammer, everything looks like a nail, I guess.

But in this day and age of cross-media, things have to change. Content needs to be optimised for effect and for convenience. Convenience means that content should always be available in all possible formats so that I can hear a text when I'm on the move, for instance. Effect is the best possible way in which content can be presented. A picture may say more than a thousand words, but often times, complexity is not open to imagery, but only to text. But - text is difficult to digest and demands a concentrated effort. So there's a number of dimensions across which to choose the most effective mode of communicating something.

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December 02, 2009

The iPhone after next?

I'm breaking my silence here for a technology forecast about the next generation in personal portable (wearable?) devices. I have a feeling that it might be a QD Laser projector enabled thing that enables a Sixth Sense User Interface, thus making screens, keyboards and other such gadgets redundant. I'm looking forward to it!

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September 13, 2009

Witzig, witzig

On rare occasions, there's a German post on this blog. This is one of those rare occasions, because the post's object is a German language talk that I attended. Sorry about that.

Vor ein paar Tagen habe ich im Rahmen einer Flying Science Reihe einen ausgezeichneten Vortrag von Jochen H�risch mit dem Titel Witzig, witzig - was ist lustig? geh�rt. Meine Aufnahme des Vortrags ist - mit Placet des Referenten - hier verf�gbar. Die Kernthese des Vortrags hat mich schockiert: Das einzige, wor�ber man heute nicht lachen d�rfe, sei die Religion. Begr�ndet wurde diese Feststellung mit den m�glichen Folgen solcher Witze - d�nische Karikaturen usw lassen gr�ssen.

Meiner Meinung nach ist diese These falsch auf so vielen Ebenen, dass ich ohne umfangreiche Abhandlung nicht darauf eingehen kann. Nur soviel: allein die Fixierung auf die Religion ist viel zu allgemein, da sich nur monotheistische Religionen so ernst nehmen, dass sie Humor nicht zulassen. Den G�ttern sei Dank kann ich mir eine detaillierte Kritik aber ersparen, weil der Referent selbst seine These in derart vielf�ltiger Weise k�stlich gebrochen hat, dass er sie offensichtlich selbst nicht Ernst nimmt. Ein wahres Lehrst�ck der Selbstironie und echtes Vergn�gen also - nur schade, dass nach dem (kurzen) Referat keine Diskussion zugelassen worden ist.

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August 31, 2009

Gone Navigon

Well, I've taken the jump at last and bought Navigon from the App Store. My trusty old TomTom GO 700 will be gone by tomorrow, and so will the special price for Navigon (hurry if you're planning to do the same). But that's not the only reason: I've been waiting for the TomTom app to come out because it is the market leader, but reading comparative reviews, the two competitors seem to be running side by side, with a slight advantage for Navigon. For me, the main reason for choosing Navigon over TomTom is that their coverage is substantially better (more countries in Eastern Europe). The substantially better price (for now) is rather convincing, too.

I've already tested Navigon a little bit, and it works well. The only issue is its massive drain on the battery, especially when listening to music on the iPod while driving. But this will be addressed by a phone stand charger. I've seen two interesting models so far from Belkin and Griffin. So, even the announced, but as yet unavailable TomTom stand is no argument.


August 27, 2009

Mad hatters!

Since I'm beginning to approach the advanced old age and degree of baldness where wearing a hat seems increasingly commendable, if not medicinally required in hot weather, I've been beginning to shop around. Obviously, the common cap hardly suits my sense of style, but conventional hattery somehow does not cut it either.

That's how I came across LeTom in a podcast programme. Have a look at their collection - it's about as smart and unconventional as their advertisement lets on. There's an interesting story behind that, too ... anyway, I'm looking forward to wearing my LeTom soon!

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August 20, 2009

Digital persona

This is my digital persona - nice, isn't it. It's particularly interesting to watch its creation, so go ahead and have your own!

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July 14, 2009

A musical black swan

Reading this fun conversation on literature ("I no longer understand what arrogant means") between Nassim Taleb and Rolf Dobelli gave rise to the discovery of a musical black swan when Taleb mentions that musicians don't do music about music. As you now know, Glenn Gould did, and he certainly was a musician, even though one of black swan quality.


July 11, 2009

A favourite of mine

This is a piece I can never get enough of - clever, smart, complex ... you can just see the composer having fun in writing it! Glenn Gould rules.

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June 07, 2009

Oratio brevissima

Originally uploaded by chdreyer
Salvete amicae, salvete amici,
sed primo ordine, Salve uxor nova, maritus novus!
Mea maxima delectatio et honor est orationem in honorem maritorum novorum facere!
Non timete - oratio mea simplex et parvula erit. Pariter parvula ac Romana nova vel Romanus novus in utero uxoris. Tandem hodie causa ceremoniae nostrae est, et non lucra tributorum, quod mariti dicunt aride et sine passione. Malum simulacrum et excusatio redunda est, quoniam excusatio opus non est pro festum celebrare.
Ita desidero ut mariti nostri habent maximum felicitatis et valetudinis, et multos liberos - non modo pro FCB futuro aut Oranjes futuros!
Sed quomodo dixit Asterix? Nunc est bibendum!
Itaque vitra surgite!
Thomas - vale! Wenda - vale! Coniuges - valete!

May 29, 2009

Romani ite domum!

My nephew Tomi's other hobby horse on Swiss TV for your viewing pleasure ... enjoy!

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May 07, 2009

Never eat alone

Perhaps you've heard of the self-development book by the same title? I haven't read it, and I'm pretty sure that my dog hasn't, either. And yet, she seems to be much more business-minded than her master, because she actually refuses to eat without company, even though the food bowl is right next to her bed. Very odd.


April 22, 2009

Remote birthday

I'm not trying to escape from a party - far from it - but I'll be spending my birthday this year in Florida at a CFA conference. Leaving tomorrow, back on 1 May. See you then ... and don't forget to drop all these presents!

April 21, 2009

Watch before breakfast

... and your day starts in a good mood!