It's been a long road...

Saturday night, I once again stayed up far later than I should have. For some reason, I’d started to read through some of the older entries on my German blog, which by the way will be celebrating its tenth anniversary later this year. That’s right, I’ve been a blogger longer than I’ve been active on Facebook, and that got me thinking just how much my life had changed since then, both on a personal, career, and on a technological level. I decided against writing a blog post then and there, I mean, I have to sleep some time. However now, sitting on my balcony and enjoying the balmy air after that storm we had on Friday, it does feel like the right time to put my thoughts onto paper.
Back in 2009, my world was still a lot smaller for a change, limited to the area around Frankfurt. I had landed a job at DHL less than two years earlier and had only barely managed to land a permanent contract for the first time in my life. I had a small, but cosy apartment in Frankfurt’s commuter belt, and…

A Changed Company? - Thoughts on Microsoft

Microsoft – Now there’s a name that’ll get the blood of any IT interested person boiling! The guys from Redmond have had to fight an uphill battle in public perception for some time, and to be fair, a significant part of the bad PR they’ve been getting is their own making, a combination of poor product design and spectacularly bad market assessment and communication. Windows 8 was “special”, as in “Oh, he likes to cut the heads of dolls” special, Windows Phone was, unfortunately, an unmitigated disaster, while the company’s attitude towards open-source has traditionally been hostile, to put it diplomatically. Add to this the fact that the company has a de-facto stranglehold on the desktop OS market, on workplace productivity applications (hell, we even used Microsoft Office at Apple!), and a dominating position in the server market, and you get a company that is not particularly popular. At the same time, you would think that a company has such a stranglehold on all major fields of t…

Getting to grips with the mess! - Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part series about finally getting to grips with the chaos & messiness in my life. The first part, which focussed on the actual steps, can be found here.
Now, in the first part of this series, I already mentioned above that I’ve been using stuff like Todoist, OneNote or OneDrive to get at least the digital aspects of my life in order. In this section, I’ll talk just a little about how and why I’m using these tools. There’s often numerous different alternatives out there, and tools that work for me might not work for you, so once again this is just my personal take. However, a few things are crucial as far as I'm concerned.

We live in a world where people are mobile and usually have multiple devices, often across different platforms. One might have a Windows laptop, and Android smartphone and then an iPad for good measure. Add in smartwatches like my beloved Apple Watch and things get really complex. Therefore, it is vital that any tools you use …

Getting to grips with the mess! - Part 1

This post was originally designed to be one single post. However, due to the excessive length, I've decided to split it up into two different articles. The second one, which outlines the tools I used in a bit more detail, will be published next Wednesday.
I have a confession to make. I’m an absolutely messy and chaotic person. If you’ve ever seen my apartment when it wasn’t tidied up, you’d have seen containers & stacks of unsorted papers, unopened envelopes, etc.. Any letter that came in the door would usually be thrown on that pile. The whole situation isn’t helped by the fact that I’m an expert procrastinator. So while I’d say to myself that I’d get it done, I would usually end up finding some excuse NOT to do it, and pushing it to “later”. This “later” could mean anything between next weekend and the heat death of the universe (or the “big rip”, if the latest quasar data is to be believed). To top it off, I’m also easily sidetrack… wait, was that a squirrel?
Anyway, back t…

Lee 2 Sea - An ambitious plan!

A dedicated greenway from Inniscarra Dam all the way to Crosshaven, with grade separated bi-directional infrastructure all the way? Cork Cycling Campaign, you are a bold one!
Dated Star Wars references aside, the plan brought forward by the intrepid guys & girls over at Cork Cycling Campaign looks seriously impressive. The Lee 2 Sea Greenway (L2S) will start at Inniscarra Dam, and follow the bank of the River Lee through Ballincollig into the City Centre, and then along the old railway line from Marina Park to Mahon and Rochestown, before hugging the shore to Ringaskiddy, before cutting across to Carrigaline and finally to Crosshaven. The plan aims to integrate existing infrastructure, such as the pathways in Ballincollig Regional Park, or along the Mardyke, as much as possible, while at the same time tying all of these landmarks together. It reads very well, and shows the type of ambition and optimism that is all too often missing in this city, where people still seem to be stuc…

The man who kicked the hornet's nest

Okay okay, I admit it. The title is a bit dramatic and clickbaity. However, it’s also kind of fitting for the topic of this particular article, because there’s recently been a major upset of the status quo for some people in Cork. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s take this step by step. As some of you may know, I have neither a car nor a driver’s license, and as such, I’m more or less dependent on public transport for much of my transport needs. That means that I’m effectively dependent on Bus Éireann, and those of my readers who live here in Cork know what that means.
I guess a polite way of describing the type of service that Bus Éireann provide would be “special”. The same way that a young kid who always decapitates animals would be called special, just before he or she shoots up the local middle school. Yes, the metaphors in this article are going to be pretty extreme, get ready for that. Anyway, services on all routes are fundamentally unreliable, and have been for some t…

Coca Cola Zero Bikes Cork - A Chance for Expansion at last?

Looks like bikes are becoming a regular topic on this blog. Following the whole Twitter debacle, which was thankfully resolved quickly and fully, I’m back with another post on that topic. This time, it’s about an old favourite of mine: Coca Cola Zero Bikes in Cork. I’ve written a lot about it, sang its praises when it came online, and did not hold back about its shortcomings and the issues the system is facing, which are legion. One topic I only barely mentioned was the possibility of an extension of the system. It seemed too unlikely, not least because the body behind the system, the National Transport Authority (NTA), stonewalled any suggestions for extension ever since they were first brought up back in 2015. However, things appear to be starting to move. Before I go into detail on that, I’ll just spend the next three paragraphs outlining the state of the system at the moment.
Coca Cola Zero Bikes began trial operations in Cork in December of 2014, before officially opening in ear…