Defence Forces Open Day 2018

Soldiers and armoured vehicles in the streets of Cork! Combat aircraft in the sky above the city! While this might sound like the result of the Rebel City trying, and failing, once again to declare its independence, this event, which took place just this last weekend, had a much less problematic reason. The annual Defence Forces Open Day had come to Cork for 201, with all three branches of the armed forces showcasing their skill and equipment in Cork’s Fitzgerald Park. This Open Day is in a different city in Ireland every year, and this time, it was Cork’s turn. Well, it was a Sunday, and I had nothing else planned, so I figured why not? The weather was great, after all.
Getting there was easy as usual, thanks to Coke Zero Bikes, and upon arriving at the park, it turned out to be a smart move as well, as there was no parking anywhere near the entrance. Except for the Coke Zero Bikes station, that is.
The park was a hive of activity, with the Armed Forces band playing some really swee…

Play it again, SAM!

Germany in the early 1980s. The cold war has reached a new climax. Along a line stretching from the Baltic to the Alps, armies of NATO and the Warsaw pact are staring each other each waiting for the other to make a mistake, the inhibition to strike lower than at any other time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. One of the potential battlegrounds are the vast plains and gently rolling hills of Northern Germany, with the city of Hamburg with its vast deepwater port beckoning as the main prize. Both sides know this, consequently, in the decades since the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany, NATO and the Bundeswehr, the Western German Federal Armed Forces, have ringed the city with scores of army barracks, depots, and air bases. On the other side of the Iron Curtain, the National Peoples‘ Army of Eastern Germany, together with the Soviet Forces in Germany, had amassed an entire army corps each to push down the Elbe Valley and into the Northern German plains. Both sides were training…

Take the ARRT - A potential transport solution for Cork?

For a keen supporter of public transport like me, the last month or two haven’t been the easiest, with a coalition of fossils and egomaniacs here in Cork bringing down the partial closure of Patrick Street and its use as a public transit corridor. At the same time, BusConnects Cork, 200 million € worth of new vehicles, lines, ticketing principles and other much needed improvements promised in the governments Ireland 2040 plan seem to have taken an express bus to nowhere as they’ve completely disappeared from view. Anyway, I had a day off from work on Thursday, due to it being a bank holiday in the main market that I cover, Germany, and as luck would have it, I’ve been dealing with a bloody migraine all day. 

As I’m sitting here on the couch, nursing my head and cursing everyone and no one indiscriminately (Hey, I’m an equal opportunity hater when I’m in a bad mood ;) ), a video on the Facebook Page of RTÉ News catches my eye. Apparently, the city of Zhuzhou in China has begun field t…

Broadcasting yourself - On starting a YouTube channel

So, YouTube. Love it or hate it there’s pretty much no way around it these days. It is the world’s second largest search engine, right behind Google. And no matter what your thing is, there’s likely going to be at least one channel that caters to your interests. I myself have been a passive consumer for a few years now, ever since a good friend and colleague of mine introduced me to the German YouTube comedy duo Space Frogs. It was only fairly recently though that I actually became interested in producing content on the platform. I had originally thought about getting started back in 2016, after leaving Apple, and actually filmed and edited a „pilot“ if you will, but never uploaded it. Why? Quite simply, it was horrible, and I had no idea what the channel was supposed to be about. Fast forward to April 2018, and I’ve been producing content on a somewhat regular basis for about a month, even though the subject is actually rather limited. So, I believe the time is right to start writing…

Feel at home in the office - But for god's sake don't act like it!

The Office. It's been my natural habitat for most of my working life, apart from a brief period as a private gunslinger for the US Army in Germany back in 2005. In those fifteen years, I've gathered quite a bit of insight into this rather peculiar ecosystem, and it is really rather fascinating, though a bit disturbing sometimes. If you're a desk jockey like me, you'll most likely spend eight hours per day inside the office, most of them at your desk or in the common areas of your workspace. If you add the daily commute, you'll likely spend more time in the office than at home. So it makes sense that you want to make yourself at home at your office. A picture of a loved one, a few souvenirs from the trips you've taken, the ones without recourse to hallucinogenic chemicals naturally, and maybe a banner of your favourite sports club, all those items just make sense, and any sane employer or manager will tolerate or encourage these things, as long as they remain wi…

State Broadcasting Companies - Relic or Asset?

RTÉ – It’s one of those things the Irish love to hate. To say that the state broadcaster has a questionable reputation here in Ireland would be an understatement. Many people just simply hate it, revile it. And it’s not just RTÉ either. Whether it’s BBC in the UK, ORF in Austria, or ARD, ZDF, and the regional public broadcasters in Germany, the amount of vitriol directed against them is almost unbelievable, and has grown immensely over the last few years. The fact that all these broadcasters finance themselves through a TV license fee of some sort while also taking in millions with advertising deals may be one explanation, but it certainly does not explain the sheer volume. Where does that come from, and why did the state get involved in broadcasting in the first place?
To explain that, we’ll have to go all the way back to the dawn of the 20th century. When the first reliable wireless voice transmission came around, it was nothing short of a miracle, especially since nothing of that so…