The Big Meh.

Street musicians. Internet Artists. City Events. All of that only evokes a “meh” from me. 

We spent Friday and Saturday in Hamburg and today, on Sunday, Doro and I went to the Mauerpark after our voting duty. It was there when I realized that I am tired of so many things.

Don’t read comments.

I recently stopped reading comments on the internet.

There were days when I thought of them as a great idea, enabling instant feedback and adding more sides to any story. News stories got enhanced by opinions and by putting them in relation to other people’s views. I wrote comments myself, especially on tagesspiegel.de, some were actually ok, others are in hindsight easy to attack and prove wrong. But hey, I was taking part in the discussion and felt like adding something interesting to the interwebs.

Why I don’t use SEO. And never will.

Today my comments spam filter showed me this comment:

Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword….wait there’s even more Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. (link removed for spammy shittiness)

Yadda yadda.

such good seo
SEO SEO SEO such good

The Taste (of german television shit)

Ich habe einen Fehler gemacht. Ich bin sehenden Auges in mein Verderben gerannt. Ich hätte es wissen können, ja wissen müssen. Ich habe das ungute Gefühl im Bauch ignoriert, habe nicht auf die schmerzenden Augen von Beginn an gehört. Ich habe mir das Finale von “The Taste” angesehen. So halb. Am Stück und komplett habe ich es nicht ausgehalten. “The Taste” ist eine Wir-suchen-den-besten-normalo-der-aber-was-kann show. Drölf Kandidaten mussten sich durch elfunddreißig Runden kochen, der schwächste wurde entfernt und die anderen Glücklichen blieben solange, bis sie die schwächsten waren und entfernt wurden. So weit, so unspannend.

Some cheap EU bashing

Today I stumbled across this link, explaining the new plans for the Italian tax regulations. If a company wants to market stuff in Italy and uses ads and commercials for it, the company has to have a dependence in Italy where it pays taxes.

The idea is simple: you want to sell stuff here, you have to pay taxes here. They aimed especially for the big players, google, starbucks, facebook who have their European representation in the Republic of Ireland for tax reasons. This summer the story made the rounds, that Starbucks pays taxes for the first time in 5 years in the UK. Starbucks just changed their accounting numbers legally so that all profit was taken from the UK and it looked like Starbucks had five consecutive years of losses in the UK while paying (cheaper) taxes in the Republic of Ireland for the money.

Now Italy is like “F**k you, international corporations, give us our share if you already milk our citizens.” The new law uses the sneaky way of not touching directly the income made in a year. By forcing the companies to be actually present legally in Italy and pay taxes there it is harder for the company to just claim “Sorry, we tried everything but no one wants to buy our Latte Grande Shittocino, no income this year, sorry, also no taxes. A shame, really.”

And who fights for the citizens rights, who makes sure that not only the citizens pay the taxes, but also the global players? Right, not the European Union. They are now all like: “Nah, Italy, don’t do that. This is unfair, because companies can now only sell their products on your market when they actually are in your country. What if a small farmer from Brandenburg wants to sell his pickled cucumbers to your citizens? And wants to advertise it? Poor Horst can’t participate on your market.” And so the European Union announces trouble should the law pass the legislation process.

That’s the good thing about the European Union. They make sure that we could trans-atlantic treaties with the U.S., that international companies don’t run into too much trouble when shifting money around the world and that all the useless politicians of the individual countries have a good outcome in Brussels and Strasbourg. Their idea of equal opportunities and rights results in companies pushing their goods into the neighbor’s markets, making it difficult for local producers. The whole European Union concept enables big players to do what they want with the small companies on the markets. Germany’s export surplus every year makes sure that there is no need for other companies to emerge and develop in the market areas. U.S. internet giants generate profits in every country but only pay taxes in a few. Protected by the European Union. Every try by local governments to act is stopped in Brussels (and Strasbourg every so often, another stupid thing in the EU concept) in the name of equality.

I once went to Brussels during school times and got introduced into the whole thing, I saw the monuments of glass and steel they built in the city centre, and I saw the vast complexes of translation offices, that take every single document, translate it into the 2 dozen languages of the EU and then print it out and put it on shelves to throw away after a month of no one picking it up. Back in the day I was convinced that the whole idea was a good one, that the people have the bigger profit and that the companies have a hard time to fulfil the EU regulations on toxic compounds, organic produce and production quality.

Today I see the regulations on cucumber bending angles that are tolerated, the strict ban of conventional light bulbs in favour of toxic energy saving bulbs (a good idea that is poorly executed, as the manufacturers are not obligated to produce better bulbs. Most energy savers live not as long as conventional bulbs, but take more time to be produced and are dangerous when thrown in the regular garbage.) and now the interference with the attempts to stop large companies from drawing local money out of countries into the company’s pockets.

This is a long rant. I don’t want to give the impression that all EU legislation is completely useless, but the whole concept of it has so many flaws that I wonder sometimes where the benefits for the people actually are. This whole thing wastes shitloads of money for travelling between two cities, for printing and translating every tiny document, for all the gigantic infrastructure. And in the end it’s not the sovereign who benefits but those who sell things to the sovereign. The governments blame all bad things on the EU while they use it to pass laws that are impossible to pass in the country itself. There is a lot of change needed before I can be happy about the EU again as I was somewhere in 2005.

That was absurd

Today I had one these bizarre meta-moments were you look on what is happening closely around you and you realize how absurd all that is. I am still shaking my head in disbelief.

I was called by a company doing market research and consumer studies. They had my number because I took part several years ago in a study about McDonald’s. I got some pocket money for it, so I was fine with being in their database in contrast to all those telemarketers who steal 1 hour of your time to ask you about the benefits of thermostats. No joke. I worked in a call center and annoyed people after 9 pm and asked them if they wanted a thermostat that was regulated when they talked to it.

So this company from back then called me again. They did this already twice before but I never fitted in their profile of a young man using a specific brand of shaving mousse.

This time it was about sweets and I eat sweets and apparently I named the right brands, which I fortunately remembered from having them seen in shelves. I usually don’t care about brands. They offered my 50 EUR for 2 hours of my time and I said yes.

So I went there, I watched a TV commercial mock up, answered dozens of questions with a digital thingy that wirelessly transmitted my choices to some people behind a one way mirror and was already a bit puzzled about the effort they put in this. But I was in a room with 20 others, we all looked at three big screens and so I thought they get quite good value for money through large scaling.

Then we were finished and a few chosen, including me, were asked to stay for the group discussion. We got some sandwiches, some drinks and then talked about the famous world of this one variety of branded candies. We talked and talked, we rewatched the mock-up commercial, twice, and speculated on brand identity, interpreted the spot, discussed the poor choice of context and generally dissected every bit of the awful commercial. Then we discussed the design of three new boxes, that have half the number of sweets and a new design, that looked like mid-fourties targeted mid-twenties with the design language of the late 90s. We did not cease to discuss the shape and color and general appearance of the box and its price and its target audience and whether or not you would give this box as a present (we really discussed this for long and several times and with different premises and perspectives and ….) and at this precise moment I had an out of body experience.

Well kind of.

I looked down on the room. 8 people sitting around a table, one guy in front leading the discussion. One in the back typing the protocol. A camera facing the table. Two microphones dangling from the ceiling. A one way mirror hiding who-knows-how-many people watching our discussion.

10+ people spending 3 hours in total discussing a stupid ugly box of candy and an awful commercial that is so generic and boring and stupid that people won’t remember it for a second. All that for a company that thinks optimizing their crappy product will give them half a percent more in sales, probably not even outside the error bars. Countless hours and resources and money invested into this project to tickle out another position behind the comma.

All this is happening every day in so many places at the same time. What a waste of human life time. What good could be done with all this energy.

The longer I thought about it, the worse it got. Most commercials try to increase the market share of a specific brand. And they take this share from another brand of the same company. And then the executive of brand two gets angry and spends even more money to get his share back from the other brand from the same company.

If one day all commercials would cease to exist people would still buy products. Maybe they would rather buy the stuff they need but that is not a bad thing. All those people involved in TV and print ads are a waste of time and resources and energy. Science is struggling to get funded and companies pay companies to pay people to discuss whether they give a box of chocolates to neighbors or colleagues. I got 50 EUR for analyzing a stupid box of candies. This is madness.

Douglas Adams proposed to put this useless middle part of modern society, the part that is neither “thinker” nor “doer”, in a big space ship and let them discover a new home planet. While they believe in being the pioneers of society, the rest stays behind and enjoys a life without telephone sanitizers and advertisement agencies. Unfortunately in his version the world is eradicated from a disease transmitted by infected telephones. This idea was too good to work.

Rezension/Rant: Katzen würden Mäuse kaufen von Hans-Ulrich Grimm

Seit fast einer Woche ist unser 2-Personen-Haushalt um 2 junge Katzen angewachsen. Weil das Thema Katzenfutter durchaus komplex ist, habe ich mal bei meinen Kollegen rumgefragt, was die so ihren Katzen geben. Einer war so nett und hat mir gleich am nächsten Tag einen Stapel Rezepte und HIntergrundinformationen gebracht und das Buch “Katzen würden Mäuse kaufen – Schwarzbuch Tierfutter” von Hans-Ulrich Grimm. Der Rückentext verspricht “Ein brilliant recherchiertes Buch über die Tierfutterindustrie.” Was Grimm uns sagen möchte, bleibt offen, was ich sagen möchte, folgt nach dem Klick.