On the return trip from my Austrian hiking adventure I stopped over in Munich to partake in some authentic experiences: drink eine Maß Bier in a Biergarten, practice speaking German, and grab the German edition of WIRED. Ok, the last one might not be on everybody’s list, but it was third on mine.
The second edition of WIRED.de is available in German kiosks and it has all the great features of the U.S. WIRED magazine: creative typography, cross-discipline technological articles, and a touch of cyberpunk, but with German seasoning and some unique additions. The zweite edition weighs in at 138 pages, slightly longer than the latest U.S. edition with a Steve Jobs cover article at 122 pages. The first edition was released back in September 2011.
WIRED.de has the same great infographics as its U.S. partner. In a hilarious and informative two-page spread (see picture), WIRED compares over 40 religions positions on various sinful activities, like gambling and sex. Jainism appears the most restrictive and New Age the most liberal… if you’re into that kind of stuff…
A welcome addition was a comic of the fall of Kim Dotcom. Six pages of sharp illustrations made for an enjoyable mix-up from normal articles, one that I would be happy to see in the U.S. version. They also had great articles on a bionic eyeball webcam, advertisements for a McLaren and a great feature on the struggle of the open web.
My only complaint is that it appears difficult to obtain in the U.S.! Kiosk distribution in German-speaking countries seems to be the primary mechanism, but they also have an iPad app (you might have to use the VPN trick to get on the German app store). I guess I’ll just have to go back to pick up the third issue, although that habit may become expensive over time…
Here’s the deal, I liked the premise of Hunger Games. I liked the setting, I liked the back-story, and I especially liked the science-fiction aspects like the Tracker Jackers and Muttations. I really just wish it wasn’t written for young adults. For those that have read 1Q84 you will appreciate this thought: I really just want to give this book to another author and have it re-written. It’s not that the writing was bad, it’s just that I feel characterization and setting development were exchanged for action and teen-angst. I had a hard time dealing with the classic teenager “does he/she like me” tone of the book. I can appreciate the appeal and success and like I said, it’s not a bad book. I’m just not ready to be a teenager again 🙂
Moving on, I’ve started my quarter of Networks with my Computer Networks and Network Security class, so expect appropriately themed posts. For those that just groaned, this isn’t a threat! But I do tend to write what’s on my mind… I’m hoping to
analyze the Bitcoin protocol a bit more specifically in my networks class and hopefully get more into depth into SSL/TLS and software exploits in my security class. It should be fun!
To complement these classes, I’m reading Liars and Outliers by Bruce Schneier which should not only be relevant my security class, but will round off my personal Game Theory investigations. Each book by Schneier seems to take a step back from the technical security problem and focus on a grander scale. Here he takes on societal trust issues and among other things, he shows why society needs defectors (those who don’t play by the rules).
Lastly, after attempts of finding a private German tutor where I’m currently living haven’t worked out, I broke down and bought a one-year subscription to Rosetta Stone online. I was very reluctant until I saw and tried one feature: online studio sessions with a fluent speaker. I sat through my first 50 minute session 1-on-1 yesterday and it was great. The tutor was very friendly and helpful and we spoke entirely in German. Amazingly, these are included in the price and one can perform the sessions over and over. For those studying less popular languages, with limited access to speakers, this is a great find! I wish I would have found it earlier.