Some interesting decisions…

Don’t know if you have read / heard about this. Or this. Both links are in German, I know, but what they say still is clear: both the South Korean government and the Russian army are about to change from Windows to Linux, contrary to what some German lobbyist pushing did in Munich or in Hannover…

… and the question of course must be about the reasons. Well as a long-term Linux user myself, I know about the advantages of course – but could this also be related to politics? To the recently forced boycott of the biggest Chinese telco through Google?

Lots of comments here in Germany were of the kind: time to get rid of anything American – because some lunatic could decide to take it away, or try to blackmail us with the idea. Imagine if the motto of the day would have been: take away Microsoft from those Germans, just because we don’t agree to a war on Iran for instance…

I’d rather run instead of walk towards free software like Linux… (I did so anyway years ago, but not because of fear or political reasons)

Beating a giant

Look at this:

YAMAHA SR 250 – Scrambler – episode 6

If you have been to Asia, you probably know that a 2 wheeler with around 100cc is all you need, so this 250cc would be awesome for some urban mobility. And I have looked up the German pages of Yamaha Motor, but no, you can’t buy anything like this around here. So a one-man show with his 3D printer and some bike shed beats a multi billion $$$ corporation.

And yes, I’d take this any day over a 200+hp 4 wheeler. In the cities, this would beat the crap out of your 2 ton cars.

Thanks for reading, watching, and thinking.

Girl power

After posting Chelsea’s story about her build of a Rickman motorcycle lately, I thought that I had seen more videos of girls and women doing great things lately, so here are a few more. First, it’s about motorcycles again, and about two friends from Australia having a good time with their Yamahas:

Stories of Bike | Sister (A ’94 Yamaha SRV250 Story)

But back to music. Also from down under I found a great guitar player lately, Stephanie Jones. And this is about as perfect as it can be:

Latin Fingerstyle On A Classical Guitar

And here’s a singer from UK, performing a classic here in Germany ca. 2 years ago. And yes I know – Joss Stone has the same song also with Jeff Beck and others, but I prefer this one – which simply took my breath away. This lady really got the Blues:

Joss Stone – I Put A Spell On You (Jazzwoche, 2017)

In Wikiloops we also have great singers of course, and I was surprised to find one of us doing a cover in the ‘tubes from some 4 or more years ago – but what a lovely one it is. So listen to our Ms Shi in this one:

CLASSIC POP COVER SONGS- “Walk On By” (Alan Curtis Cover)

Oh, and before I forget it: 3 days ago it was Audrey Hepburn’s birthday, she would have turned 90 by now. So let’s celebrate and remember her a bit as well:

Happy Birthday Audrey Hepburn!!! (Culture Code – Make Me Move ft. Karra)

As always, thanks for reading, listening, and watching.

Proposition 65 Warnings

California seems to have a law which requires businesses to inform potential customers about potential risks when using and/or consuming any of the company’s products, for a far better and deeper explanation see their government website about those proposition 65 warnings.

Why does this affect me? Or you?

Well I for instance was looking for ‘Ebonol‘ yesterday, which according to Wikipedia “is a synthetic material whose name derives from its similarity in appearance, hardness, and stability to ebony wood”. Wikipedia also say that “The material is particularly well suited for the fingerboards of fretless bass.”, and that it’s also used for clarinets. Some people claim it’s much harder than ebony, and also environment-friendly since you don’t have to use rare woods.

All fine and well. But when looking at the page of my fretless bass (which isn’t produced anymore, they’re now selling the last ones available), I came upon a warning:

WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm – www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.

Hmmm. First I thought: “Damn!”, and thought that it must be this Ebonol material. But as it turns out, Fender has this (almost) everywhere now:

Classic Vibe ’60s Jazz Bass® Fretless: – has it
Vintage Modified Jazz Bass® Fretless: – has it
American Professional Jazz Bass® Fretless (with definitely no Ebonol fingerboard, had this in my hands at Thomann lately, a really nice instrument): – has it
Player Jazz Bass® Fretless (Mexican): – does not have it
Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass®: – has it
Tony Franklin Fretless Precision Bass®: – has it

I stopped there because I was only looking for fretless instruments, and I also haven’t checked other makers yet. That the Mexican Jazz Bass is the only one *without* that warning could also be an error of the page, it does not mean the product is better than American and/or Indonesian ones. But this should be further investigated, and I should probably also remove the “Play me!” sticker which I put onto my instrument last August during the Wikiloops members’ meeting.

I’ll write more as soon as I know more about this. Thanks for reading.

Edit, from short before work: for EU guidelines, see the German or English Wikipedia pages about RoHS. And the most prominent example from the Californian Proposition 65 list is the Bayer/Monsanto money maker Glyphosate, which is indeed highly toxic (and maybe Bayer’s biggest management error so far, or, like one of the shareholders put it: “I want to see a man who’s so dumb as to buy a poison-cooking company!”).

What a nice story from Myla Goldberg

I loved to read her short essay “On being photographed by Richard Avedon” in the New Yorker (which is an awesome magazine anyway).

Having seen other high profile photographers doing their jobs via Youtube (like for instance David Bailey photographing beautiful models (in a BBC documentary about him), or Bettina Rheims taking some of her famous nude photos of other females in her studio in Paris), just reading about the experience from the side of the person being photographed is something different, but I think every portrait photographer should read it. Ok, you and me, we’re not Richard Avedon, but it’s still nice to have these stories of and about real artists doing their work, and how their subjects may have felt about it. Or that Audrey Hepburn might have had similar thoughts and feelings like Myla.

For a photographer, the most difficult part is to crack them up, figuratively speaking of course, to look behind the vain and the fear and the masks, and to find a real person. And the only way to achieve something like this is to be professional, aloof but not unfriendly, and to have enough patience and empathy and – of most importance – interest in the person you’re photographing. And it’s real hard to not let it be just a vanity fair, and at the same time, having your subject accept or even like the photograph – as you can also learn from Myla’s article.

So very interesting that I just had to link to it from here – and thanks to Myla for sharing her story with “Dick”.

And as always, thanks also for reading my thoughts.

Years in hex

I’m using hexadecimal numbers at Flickr, as prefix for the year in which I took my photos. And I just thought:

Hi, I’m Wolfgang. I was born in 7a5. Now we have 7e3, so that makes me 3e years old. See, I’m still young – in 2 years from now I’ll be 40…

Sounds fun, hm? 🙂

Planned outage of de.wikipedia.org

As announced, the German Wikipedia is off today:

I had followed and supported the change.org call and petition already:

But like suggested from Wikipedia, I also wrote to some (German) politicians who hopefully will represent us all against this planned censorship.

And if you’re a democrat, you should probably think about this as well. Thanks for your consideration.

P.S.: got a first answer from one of the parliamentarians already. Which shows that democracy actually works, it’s only up to ourselves to become active, and do the first (baby-) steps…

The state of the internet, according to YT/Google

Are you logged into Youtube, like me? Do you get personalized recommendations, and does your browser filter out ads and other unwanted stuff? Wondering what might be hiding behind all of that? Read on…

My browser (ESR versions of Firefox, mostly – the only more or less “free” one of the big browsers) doesn’t have many plugins installed, but one I couldn’t live without is ublock origin. It gets most of the unwanted crap out of my view, and sites which even try to circumvent this won’t be on my daily list of sites to visit.

But one thing it did as I just found out is to also reduce the opening (self-) ads from Youtube – you saw a short flickering, then the usual list of new videos comes up. Wondering what might be behind that blocked content, I decided to dig out another browser which I rarely use, and which isn’t personalized (means me not being logged into anything), and which also doesn’t have any plugins installed. At work this morning that was Epiphany.

So let’s see what was flashing away from my eyes this morning:

Youtube opening screen, unfiltered

Aha. “Youtube Originals”, yeah I remember, had seen some of these announcements before – looks like they’re trying to become more of a real content provider (to monetize that of course). Ok. Not for me, thanks.

Under it, “Trending”, which I also never see normally. The state of mankind is a poor one if these are the topics of interest, frankly. Don’t want to be reminded of that each day, thanks. So let’s scroll down a bit more…

… where it becomes even worse:

The infamous Googe / Youtube “Topics”

“Topics” – yeah, these I see as well, and these are frankly a pain in your lower end. Ok, I get it – Google / Youtube knows nothing about me at this point, because I’m not logged in, so they show me the topics of most clicks or views or whatever their algorithm might be – and oh man, is this really the world we’re living in? What a strange species we must be…

I closed that browser after this, sorry, but cannot stand it. Google / Youtube is mostly wrong about getting my interest, but at least I don’t see crap like that when I’m being logged in. Instead of that, I see the umpteenth recommendation of old Miles Davis stuff, or Ella Fitzgerald just because I listened to *one* of her songs lately – but that is still worlds apart from… THIS (there was no other word coming to my mind, sorry).

It’s not only Youtube and Google – Vimeo or DailyMotion or all of the daily news aggregators aren’t much better, no one really has any kind of “artificial intelligence” which might be even worth that description of its own. Computers are thick (“Computer sind doof”), as a German pop song of the eighties used to state. Mostly of course, it’s *us* who are programming them. And we want self-driving cars, really? Robots in medicine? Thanks but no thanks.

Ok – enough of brutal truths of reality for one morning – now hand me that blue pill again, thanksverymuch…

Other news, for my/our German readers: in case you didn’t notice it yet, the German Wikipedia will be switched off tomorrow for 24 hours. Their form of protest:

Protest…

So read all about it today while you can – tomorrow you’ll have to do with English or other languages.

And as always, thanks for reading.

A song, older than me. And a new one.

I recently discovered “Cry me a river”, a song composed and first published in 1953 by Arthur Hamilton (see the song’s Wikipedia and JazzStandards pages).

And since Mr. Hamilton originally wrote this for Ella (yes, *the* Ella Fitzgerald!), here is her version of it:

In 1955, it was recorded by Julie London – and even if you’re younger, you might know her version from a movie (“V for Vendetta”):

Some friends of mine from Wikiloops, French guitarist OliVBee and also French singer marmotte also recorded a very beautiful version of it and uploaded it to Youtube:

Chord progressions cannot be copyrighted (for a bit of background in formation (in German) on copyright, cover versions, and so on, see an article in Sound & Recording for instance), so a bit later OliVBee uploaded a slightly changed version of it as “Tears Made Of Silver” onto the loops for people to get creative with these chords.

And then came Shi (from England), and she developed a story not about herself being sad like in the original, but about a missing girl called “Emily”. And then Wade (from New Zealand) played a beautiful sax onto it, finally making it irresistible for me (to not jump in).

I’ve shown it before on these pages, but here it’s again for comparison: “Looking for Emily”:

This track is embedded with the friendly permission by the creatives on wikiloops.com.

And the list of musicians on this is:

As always, thanks for reading, viewing, and listening.