Little Update – Website and Roadmap

These days I don’t spend as much time on my blog as I should – I know, folks. Even though my time is rather short due to some duties at university, I could at least write an article every two days. However, I don’t. Why is that?

First, I remembered that this blog (http://blog.stephan-unter.de) is not my landing page. Actually, the entrance to my gigantic universe of brilliance shall be http://www.stephan-unter.de – however, I had never put any content on there! So I decided to change that. Finding the right type of page for me was not easy, but here and now, I am rather pleased with the current design. I hope you like it as well! There are still minor bugs and I need to figure out another version for mobile devices, but all step by step.

On the bottom of the page you may also notice that there is not just one single field to enter the weblog – but also two other fields, grey now. That’s for a good reason. I plan some more projects to come, not just a WordPress-site, but also some personal projects. My overall topics are clear, however, I am not quite sure how to distribute them. Some of them I will cover on this blog, that’s for sure – the current design will be changed and I will have much more structure. I’m already working on my very own theme, which takes some time, though. Besides, I want to have some other portals. One, for example, for my passionate hobby video games – I have more than 460 in my collection, and they deserve some place on my page as well. Not just to be listed. But also with some basic information and my personal stories about them. Another part of my website could be a portal for coding tutorials. I have made up some ideas, though I lack the spark of brilliance to make them come true. 😉 Oh, and I definitely need some place for my roleplay addictions! That’s a hobby which needs to be spread into the world! And languages, there is so much I’d love to say about languages!

As you can see, there is a lot to come – I’ll keep you posted about my progress. 😉 Stay tuned, folks! In case you have brilliant ideas, let me know – my comment section is always ready for you. 😉

2017 Resolutions [0]

New Year’s resolutions – a good old tradition. At the end of the year, we look back and realise: this year has been horrible. We’ve achieved NOTHING. We’ve gotten fatter, we’ve learned nothing, we’ve lost money, we haven’t moved on… and thus, we make plans. So much has to change, especially in the first 10 weeks!

Well, I’m not any better. I have some plans or ideas for the next year, because I want to improve my life drastically. I am almost 30 now and I feel like I need to do a major jump. Some of these resolutions are super private – so don’t expect me to write them down here. But all the others are just public. I will provide a little list, and every month I will review my resolutions and write about the current state. Please note that I am a busy man – I know that my time is limited, and thus I tend to make achievable resolutions. It might well be that over time I extend my resolutions. But I won’t reduce them.

So, my resolutions for the year 2017 – let’s go:

  • Read more scientific papers: In 2017, I want to read and understand at least 200 scientific papers. I usually do not read so many of them, as I’m busy reading other stuff. I don’t care about the subject, though. I guess most papers will be biological, chemical, or about dinosaurs.
    [Done so far: 0/200]
  • Reinstall twitch streams: I used to do some twitch streams in the past. However, due to a bachelor thesis and moving to another city, I stopped doing so. I miss it. So, I want to come back. Maybe I’ll be able to do it in English – though gaming PLUS talking in a foreign tongue might be a little bit too much. I don’t know. If you don’t want to miss it: ZwitscherPixel on TwitchTV.
    [Streams so far: 0]
  • Create a useful smartphone application: I’ve wanted to create a smartphone application for ages, but somehow I avoided doing so. I do not even know, why. Probably the lack of time, or the reluctance to start stuff I don’t know anything about. There always has to be a start, 2017 will be mine!
    [Current state of progression: not started yet]
  • Learn about financial stuff: Another huge gap in my knowledge – financial stuff. Even though I know some things, I would never call myself an expert to financial transactions, interest, banks etc. – oh no, I am far from it. By now! However, I want to learn about it.
    [Current state: nothing learned]
  • Increase knowledge in biological and chemical subjects: I miss those subjects. As an Egyptologist and computer scientist, I usually don’t have that much contact with living creatures anymore. I definitely have to do it on my own, I want to do it, and thus it is a goal for 2017.
    [Current state: nothing learned]
  • Start writing a book: Everybody is writing these days. I’ve started some books as well, but nothing ever close to a serious project. Recently, I had a fascinating idea, thus I want to write about it. New project for 2017!
    [Current state: 0 pages written]
  • Doing more multimedia stuff: I studied media informatics. Thus, using media should be my daily job. However, I feel that I am still too conservative. I had many impressions from design and art over the last days, so I want to use this valuable input and make something on my own. Be it conventional art, music, audio stuff, 3D artistic – I want to create and present some stuff. I need to express myself.
    [Opus done so far: 0 items]
  • Write at least weekly articles on my blog: Over the last year I have not really been regular in writing articles. Shame on me. Fortunately, some people have told me they actually read my blog – by that, thanks to you guys, you make my heart shine! I want to become a little bit more regular this year – at least one article every week should be achievable. Two articles a week does NOT mean one week free!
    [Weeks with articles: 0]
  • Blog redesign: This blog is old. I want a more creative, a more individual blog. And I want to write my own blog theme. I’ve already done that for work, but doing it for my very own, personal blog is much more difficult – somehow I want to represent myself, which is a very intimate, and very personal task. Will I be able to do that?
    [Current state: not yet started]
  • Make a difference: Okay, that’s a little bit striking. Over the last year, I’ve gained some strong foundation in myself, about myself. Yes, this is a very private topic, but still public. I’ve learned about young people who kill themselves because they don’t know how to stand the pressure on their shoulders. We all read about those daily tragedies in the Mediterranean. Young people come to our European countries, alone, looking for help, without orientation. And, we have a lot of hopeless people in our societies as well. Back in school, I helped founding an organisation called “Go Social”, where we wanted to do social events to help people – far away and close with us. I’ve stopped doing such social stuff thanks to my studies – and realised that getting money became an important task of my life. Which is absolutely okay, I have to live as well. However, I need to rethink. This society gave me the chance to study and learn amazing stuff, gather abilities. How can I make the difference? How can I – with my abilities, my ideas, my personal background – help people? This is something which has constantly driven my mind the last year, and I want to become more active this year.
    [Current status: not yet started]

This is my list of resolutions for 2017, starting on January 1 and ending on December 31. 365 days. Not much time to do so much stuff. But hey, I’ll stick to my very old credo: You need to reach for the stars to get to the sky.

What about you, guys? Do you have some resolutions for the next year? Something you might want to share with us? Maybe you lack some external motivation as well – in such a case, feel free to take my resolutions and my monthly review as a personal reminder. 2017 can be an incredible year. But it won’t be with doing nothing. Let’s get it done, guys!

Back to the living!

Hey folks!

Some of you may have recognised that my blog underwent some serious downtime during the last two months. I wouldn’t even have noticed it without some nice readers telling me on Twitter and via email – thanks again for taking action and trying to resolve the problem!

Unfortunately, I happened to be on vacation when the problem occured – a full week of London, magnificent city of my dreams, before the British people eventually shut down their country. Afterwards, my new studies began, because of which I was not able to spend much time into any investigations why my blog showed a rather nasty error 500.

To cut a long story short: My htaccess-file was broken. I had to comment out some lines – et voilĂ ! The blog is up and running again. The functionality of those lines is now taken over by some decent plugin.

Even though my free time is rather sparse these days I hope I will be able to write some new postings this week. I definitely have some words on the current political situation in Germany, Europe and the world. There are some video games I want to write about. I definitely do want to improve and increase my multimedia section on this website. Oh, and I plan to do a massive graphical overhaul. To be perfectly honest, I rather dislike the current blog layout. I managed to dig deeper into the mechanisms of WordPress thanks to my job – but it’ll need some time before I’ll have created something I can show to you guys. My aims: a responsive website, modern, cool, classy, supporting multimedia content, being more structured, offering more community features – and use less JavaScript. I won’t be able to reach all those goals (from the beginning), but we need high aims to achieve the minimum, right? 😉 Maybe I will even split the blog to provide mainly English content and have a special section preserved for German readers. So many ideas…

Okay guys, thanks for having me! I hope you stop by again every now and then. In case you don’t want to miss any blog post on my website: feel free to register on the left hand side. I won’t send advertisement or anything else – just automated messages that there is a new post on my site. If you stop by and leave me some comment under one of my articles – even better. Love you guys! See ya soon! 🙂

Blog-Change

Some time ago, I asked my beloved followers on Twitter about their opinion on multilingualism on my blog. Not many people have participated, though the result is quite clear:

2016-05-04 21_47_41-Stephan M. Unter on Twitter_ _Okay guys, now the poll. Will be open for three da

A quick explanation: I gave them four possible scenarios on how to deal with language in the future.

  1. Either GER or ENG: Would have been the status quo. Right now I just choose the language to write in before writing the actual article, but I don’t spend any time to translate the content.
  2. German AND English: Most ambitious approach. Meaning that I should write my articles not only in German OR English, but in both languages. As a result, I would have to find a proper way to present both languages on my blog. Either by creating two completely different blogs, or by finding or creating plugins allowing my users to switch during their visits.
  3. Only English: Stop writing that strange German content, stick with the international version.
  4. Only German: Stop writing English nobody will ever understand, stick to your roots and write German texts.

My main problem: Writing texts in English still costs me a lot more time than writing German ones. So the creation of new content would be much more time consuming: I cannot just go ahead and write down some simple lines about a topic coming to my mind. It needs some planning. And after writing the German text, I will have to write it a second time. Phew. Less output, more work, but all in all a good presentation of language skills and a big step towards international audience.

Anyway, I do not want to discuss this topic any further – Twitter decided, I will try to figure it out. Besides the language thingy, I thought about wanting to make this blog more interactive as well. I thought about polls, for example. Most people don’t like to write comments, because they need to think about the topic, they need to spend time to write down their opinions, they don’t want to show off in public. I really want to find out whether or not people would be more likely to answer a poll. Because: Writing is fun. But getting feedback is even more fun. And I love fun. 🙂

These are my current thoughts about this blog and its future. Of course I will have to rearrange the range of topics as well. I want to become a little bit more political, more critical, more scientific. We’ll see how that works. If you have any additional hints or thoughts on how this blog should go on, just let me know. Best way: a simple comment. Down there. Just here. Look! 😉

2016 – das Jahr der VerĂ€nderungen

Es ist Neujahr. Heute morgen hingen noch immer Nebel und Rauch der vergangenen Silvesternacht zwischen dem GeĂ€st der BĂ€ume, ĂŒber den Wiesen und Feldern, auf den Straßen der Stadt. Irgendwo in einem Nachbarsgarten haben junge Heranwachsende leere Flaschen einer fröhlichen Nacht zusammen gesammelt. Zwar liegt in diesem Jahr kein Schnee. Doch den Sprung in das neue Jahr haben wir dennoch geschafft.

Wie letztes Jahr schon habe ich diesen Jahreswechsel mit Freunden begangen. Ein heiterer, lockerer, ungezwungener Abend mit vielen lustigen und kuriosen Momenten, die einen gerne an den Start in das neue Jahr zurĂŒck denken lassen werden. Bisweilen habe ich den Eindruck, es ist kein Zufall, dass Weihnachten und Silvester so eng beisammen liegen. Wo Weihnachten nicht selten zur Zerreißprobe fĂŒr angeschlagene Nerven und Familienbunde wird, kittet der Jahreswechsel mit seiner ausgelassenen Feierstimmung viele scheinbar unheilbare BrĂŒche wieder. Fernab vom Trubel der bayerischen Landeshauptstadt war ich noch nicht einmal vom gestrigen Terroralarm betroffen – auch wenn mich solche Meldungen dennoch nicht kalt lassen. MĂŒnchen ist eine bemerkenswerte, offene und internationale Stadt, eine starke Stadt, die im letzten Jahr Beeindruckendes leisten musste und konnte und auch in diesem Jahr wieder Erstaunliches vollbringen wird.

2016 ist fĂŒr mich aber vor allem ein Jahr voller VerĂ€nderungen – privat, beruflich, aber auch digital. Wenigstens meinen treueren Lesern, die durch Social Media Netzwerke oder Emails von neuen Artikeln auf meinem Blog benachrichtigt werden, wird meine Schreibpause der letzten Monate kaum entgangen sein. An dieser Stelle möchte ich mich ausdrĂŒcklich dafĂŒr bei jedem entschuldigen, der sich auf regelmĂ€ĂŸige BeitrĂ€ge aus meinem Leben gefreut hat.

Doch es gibt dafĂŒr natĂŒrlich gute GrĂŒnde: Im Dezember habe ich endlich meine Bachelorarbeit und damit meine letzte notwendige Studienleistung einreichen mĂŒssen, so dass mir vor allem im November nur noch wenig Zeit fĂŒr private Freuden blieb. Das Schreiben von BeitrĂ€gen erfordert dummerweise immer etwas Zeit. Viel wichtiger ist aber der kreative Schaffensraum im Kopf. Ein Raum, der in den letzten Monaten vorwiegend mit Bugs und technischen Problemen meines Programms, Formulierungen meiner Hausarbeit und den ganzen FormalitĂ€ten belegt war.

Außerdem hat sich einiges getan – im Oktober habe ich unerwartet ein unfassbar spannendes Jobangebot bekommen. 2016 markiert fĂŒr mich folglich den Einstieg in die Welt der BerufstĂ€tigen – nach zahlreichen anstrengenden und erfĂŒllten Studienjahren ziehe ich endlich hinaus in die Welt und verdiene hartes Geld, mit dem ich mein Leben finanzieren kann. Das ist durchaus wörtlich zu nehmen – denn mit dem neuen Job geht auch ein kompletter Standortwechsel einher. Mehr dazu – sowohl zu meiner neuen beruflichen TĂ€tigkeit als auch meinem neuen Lebensmittelpunkt – wird es in KĂŒrze hier auf meinem Blog zu lesen geben. Denn natĂŒrlich möchte ich euch und andere Leser auf dem Laufenden halten und gleichzeitig meine Erfahrungen dokumentieren fĂŒr jeden, der diesen Schritt eines Tages auch einmal gehen möchte.

Digital gesehen muss sich vor allem mein Blog verĂ€ndern. Meine ursprĂŒngliche Idee, einen komplett englischsprachigen Blog zu gestalten, erweist sich in der Praxis als schwer durchfĂŒhrbar. Zwar habe ich keine Probleme damit, meine Themen auch auf Englisch auszudrĂŒcken, teilweise ja sogar zu vertonen. DiesbezĂŒglich habe ich 2015 einige spannende Experimente unternommen, die ich 2016 endlich auf eine etwas professionellere Basis stellen möchte. Aber die Formulierung englischer SĂ€tze kostet dennoch wesentlich mehr Zeit und lĂ€sst mir weniger Luft fĂŒr den Inhalt, der mir in vielen FĂ€llen jedoch deutlich wichtiger ist. Dazu kommt, dass ich gerne und viel ĂŒber Dinge aus meinem persönlichen Umfeld oder zur deutschen Politik schreibe und die sich daher oft vor allem an deutsche Leser richten. Die letztjĂ€hrige Erfahrung hat mir gezeigt, dass englische BeitrĂ€ge vielleicht ein breiteres internationales Publikum erreichen können. Aber Dialoge und Debatten habe ich hier dann doch nur mit deutschen Lesern gefĂŒhrt. Ich möchte den internationalen, englischsprachigen Aspekt meiner Seite nicht aufgeben. Dennoch muss ich mir eine Möglichkeit ĂŒberlegen, deutsche und englische Inhalte besser voneinander zu trennen. Möglicherweise auch in zwei getrennten Blogs.

Es wird außerdem zukĂŒnftig mindestens drei Artikel-Serien geben. Normalerweise schreibe ich immer wild drauf los zu irgendwelchen Themen, die mir spontan durch den Kopf kreisen. Nicht selten sind Artikel in News-Portalen oder Berichte in der Tagesschau Inspiration fĂŒr meinen Mitteilungsdrang. Es kann aber nicht schaden, daneben ein bisschen strukturierter vorzugehen. Was schwebt mir da so vor? Ich habe dazu ein paar Ideen, auch wenn Nachfolgendes maximal grobe Skizzen dazu sind:

  • eine Learn a New Life-Serie rund um meinen Umzug, meine neue Stadt, meine neue Heimat. Ich bin mir sicher, gerade am Anfang wird es viele Kleinigkeiten zu entdecken geben, die ich aus MĂŒnchen so nicht kenne. Je nach Möglichkeit werde ich mich freilich bemĂŒhen, meine EindrĂŒcke bildlich und vielleicht sogar auditiv zu untermalen.
  • eine What Do You Do For a Living?-Serie rund um meinen neuen Job. Kein tĂ€gliches Tagebuch meiner ArbeitstĂ€tigkeit, und natĂŒrlich kann ich auch keine Inhalte publizieren. Aber vielleicht ergibt sich an der einen oder anderen Stelle eine interessante Sache, von der ich gerne erzĂ€hlen wĂŒrde, ĂŒber die ich auch erzĂ€hlen kann. Und dann natĂŒrlich erzĂ€hlen werde!
  • eine Ask Me Questions!-Serie rund um meine Fachbereiche und Hobbies. Inspiriert wurde ich dazu von jemandem, der es schafft, mir in wenigen Minuten ganze BĂŒcher voll mit spannenden Fragen zum Alten Ägypten zu stellen, deren Beantwortung aber hĂ€ufig etwas Zeit zum Nachdenken und zur Formulierung benötigen wĂŒrde. Wieso also daraus kein Projekt machen? Es wird daher demnĂ€chst eine Möglichkeit geben, anonym Fragen beispielsweise zum Alten Ägypten einzureichen, die ich dann wiederum im Laufe der Zeit abarbeite und möglichst kreativ zu beantworten versuche.

Noch bin ich nicht ganz sicher, wie ich all diese Elemente sinnvoll in einem Blog unterbringen kann. Der bisherige allumfassende Artikelstream mit nebenstehender Kategoriefilterung ist keine schöne, vor allem keine praktische Lösung. FĂŒr kreative VorschlĂ€ge bin ich (beispielsweise auch hier in den Kommentaren oder per Mail) ebenfalls immer offen. Macht euch auf alle FĂ€lle darauf gefasst, dass sich hier einiges Ă€ndern könnte.

Das gilt außerdem fĂŒr das Design, an dem ich letztes Jahr lange hingearbeitet habe, das mir inzwischen aber nicht mehr ganz so gut gefĂ€llt. Noch nutzt dieser Blog viel zu wenige der Möglichkeiten, die das Internet und die digitale Welt zu bieten haben. Mein Blog ist meine Spielwiese, also wollen wir gemeinsam erkunden, was da alles möglich ist.

Ihr seht – ich lebe noch, ich kann noch immer lang und ausfĂŒhrlich schreiben, und ich habe viel vor. Den Abschluss will ich aber ganz klassisch dafĂŒr nutzen, euch allen ein frohes, gesundes und glĂŒckliches neues Jahr zu wĂŒnschen. Ganz besonders aber sind meine Gedanken und WĂŒnsche heute bei all denen, die fernab ihrer vom Krieg verwĂŒsteten Heimat das neue Jahr im Schutz anderer LĂ€nder, anderer Menschen begrĂŒĂŸen mussten. Möge 2016 ein Jahr werden, in dem euch Hoffnung, Sicherheit und Zukunft widerfĂ€hrt. Denn niemand hat es verdient, ein Leben in Sorge um seine Existenz und seine Lieben fĂŒhren zu mĂŒssen. Und wir Deutschen – wir können alle unseren Teil dazu beitragen. Denn, da bin ich ganz bei unserer Regierungschefin, das schaffen wir garantiert!

Weekly Pages #5

Weekly Page: The British Museum

Languages: English, Chinese, Arabic

Explanation: This is the website of the best museum in the world. Seriously. I have been there two times, one time with my fellow students of Egyptology, the other time alone during my holidays. Well, that’s not quite correct: I went there two times, but I spent a bunch of days in their exhibitions. As we are talking about one of the most famous museums in London, they do have enormous amounts of fantastic objects, and a lot of “must have seen”s. For example the famous Stone of Rosetta which helped Jean-François Champollion in 1822 to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphs.

I could spend much more time to praise this museum, but I wanted to talk about the website. This is how a modern museum should present its objects. The most convenient thing: You can browse their antiquities and read more information about it, look at high quality photographies and be ensured that this information is written by proper scientists. During my studies I sometimes had to visit this site to gain information about specific objects. I absolutely disagree with all those museum people who don’t want to put their display on the internet saying that people shall come in person to see their stuff. This is a great opportunity for potential visitors to inform themselves about what you got, what your objects are about, to read further information – things you cannot do while standing in the exhibition. Or maybe you just remember some object you saw during your visit and want to look it up – here you are!

There is a lot more content in this page than just ancient items. Give it a try and check it out!

By the way, quite important to me as a media computer scientist as well: The page is super fancy! I really love to browse it. Good job, British Museum, damn good job.

How I Got There: Well, that’s obvious, isn’t it? Before I had the chance to go to London for the first time, I had to prepare a little presentation about a specific group of Egyptian objects displayed in the British Museum. That’s the common way of preparing excursions, as there is so much to see that we cannot afford to use the little time in London to gather information. Even though the British Museum provides a lot of fantastic publications about their objects, sometimes looking them up in the internet is much more convenient. And most articles provide a publication hint for further research.

Sorry if I sound too much like a fanboy, but – hey, it’s the British Museum! BM forever! Now go and enjoy the website!