27. May, 2007

Is honey from South America a good thing for Europe?

Filed under: Life — frightanic @ 22:26

Yesterday I found myself seriously debating with myself over what honey to buy at the supermarket. Right next to each other on the shelve sat two 500g jars of finest Swiss honey and Max Havelaar fair trade honey from South America. The Swiss at 12 CHF the other at half the price.

While I fully support any serious fair trade movement I think it’s ridiculous to fly products around the globe that we produce just as well over here. Sure, I want the honey farmers in South America to earn a decent price for their products, but doesn’t the shipment from their place to Europe make up for the greatest part of the final retail price? Helping the poor farmer by polluting the environment?

Max Havelaar also imports bananas and coffee beans for example. While the ecological conflict is still there I’ve got better reasons to put it off as we simply can’t grow bananas here in Switzerland. Of course, we could simply stop eating bananas all together, BUT if we buy them we can at least give fair trade products preference over “some other” products.

But honey, for God’s sake, seems as Swiss as it could be! Beemasters have a long history here. After all, I earn my living here and that’s where I want as much of my spending to go as possible.

My eyes wandered back and forth from one jar to the other as the above thoughts tortured my mind.

In the end I decided to buy the Swiss honey, but I bought the Max Havelaar honey nonetheless. Why? Because I wanted to try something new for once. Next time I’ll buy Swiss honey again for sure. Would you, too?

P.S. In case you wondered how the South American honey tastes compared to the Swiss: it’s a wonderful honey with a unique character, smooth, but discrete.


26. May, 2007

Help desks are nothing new

Filed under: General — frightanic @ 23:36

The idea of help desks is very old. Ohh, you knew that? Do you also know what sort of support they offered? It was already about opening, closing, and storing files…but with different media. See for yourself!

The same video with German subtitles.

19. May, 2007

Though men go north

Filed under: General — frightanic @ 02:24

A bunch of Finnish – from the Airborne Ranger Club of Finland to be precise – skied to the Geographic North Pole during the spring of 2006. The seven-member team set out from Ward Hunt in Northern Canada at the beginning of March 2006. The Expedition was unsupported, i.e. no materials or supplies was delivered to the skiers; everything needed during the 2-month trek was with the skiers from the beginning. Amazing!

Their English log book entries don’t seem to be available as RSS or any other way in a “combined” form, though. So I assembled them into a nice ToC/content site.

17. May, 2007

Compete, dude!

Filed under: Java,Software Development — frightanic @ 16:06

By coincidence I stumbled upon JavaBlackBelt last night – and was sucked in right away. Although I’m interested in competitions by nature, it isn’t that factor that fascinates me.
It’s the “forced self-fueling” of that platform that I find so convincing. In order to compete i.e. take exams you have to earn credits. And you only get credits if you participate activly by commenting on existing exam questions (0.5 points), proposing changes/corrections to existing questions (1 point), and writting new questions (2 points). No such thing as free lunch… However, the participation barriers are fairly low. It is fairly easy to collect credits. So, if you’ve only got the slightest interest in all those exams you stay and contribute your share. Since you’re encouraged to rate the questions you’re answering, the pool of available questions does not only grow (see credits above), but the quality of those questions are assessed by the “community” and not by some anonymous admin. Close to perpetum mobile. Well done!

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