Thursday, December 31, 2009

Video mania

Video Editing
3 weeks ago I bought a camcorder (JVC Everio HD300) and have used it to film family time around christmas. The supplied software is not too bad (and worked only after I installed a new H.264 codec) but has no provisions to edit a film. But this is badly necessary - nobody wants to watch a series of unedited video scenes.
Finding suitable software was harder than expected. Windows Live Movie Maker looks nice, but doesnt seem to support the AVCHD format which is used by this camera, at least not on Vista.
AVS Editor looked promising but I didnt like their pricing model. You either pay $39 for one year or $59 for unlimitedd usage. And it wasnt so easy to use either.
Trying Adobe Premiere Elements was a complete waste of time and bandwidth. I had been warned by several very negative Amazon reviews and found them to be so true: first crash after 60 seconds.
Corel Video Studio X2 Pro does whatever I wanted and most of the time in a pretty intuitive way. But even when I could not figure out how to do certain tasks, I quickly found the solution in the user guide. So I went for it and am pretty happy with it.
Be careful where and how to buy it. The download version at the Corel site doesnt seem to be the cheapest. And as a german customer you can save some money when you use a US address: 60 $ instead of 60 EUR.
Converting for iphone
Converting videos into an iphone-compatible format always was sort of painful. SUPER does a pretty good job, but videos often were distorted because SUPER had stretched the picture to fill the complete iphone screen.
Handbrake is just what I need. It comes from the Mac world, and it shows: Handbrake is extremely easy to use. Only the batch mode looks something like an afterthought: I needed to look up the help to find out how to use it. But otherwise Handbrake is just perfect: it produces great iphone videos with a minimum of effort. Highly recommended!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Samsung sucks!

No wonder Samsungs products are so popular: they offer good quality and innovative features for a really nice price.
But beware if you need Samsung to repair your defective device, at least in Germany. Be prepared not to see it back for months. As reported in the german computer magazine c't (in issue 18/2009, listen to it here), it can take 5 months - and maybe even longer, if you don't use some heavy pressure.

Compared to that I was lucky - it took only 7 weeks until I got my T220HD monitor / TV set back.

Worst thing is that Samsung is not able to correctly track the status of their repair orders. This can lead as far as in the c't case that the device is actually lost. And they have been struggling for months now, just listen to this c't report from March 2009 here (in german). And if that's not enough to convice you, some more stories here (in german).

So better keep away from Samsung if you are not willing to kiss your device good bye for a few months.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Martin Schumann's next concerts

My brother Martin Schumann will perform chamber music in the beautiful Wassermühle in Holm on August 29 and 30. Seat reservation is recommended as these concerts are always very popular!

Einladung 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Review: The Art of Letting Go

"Die Kunst, loszulassen" has very few highlights and some good articles but overall is a disappointment, as you can read (in german) here.
There also is an english version and a website.
One of the things which disappointed me was that there was is no appropriate web counterpart to the book. Only one article of the book is available online, and there is obviously no active community there.
But Willms Buhse, one of the editors of "The Art of Letting Go" is going for a radical change with his new book "Wenn Anzugträger auf Kapuzenpullis treffen". This is a complete collaborative approach, looks very promising. Check out his website!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A living legend

Many of my readers will not remember the great old days of BYTE magazine. It was that definitive ressource for the PC enthusiast, it had tons of reviews, deep insights, adverts which made us germans dream...and it had that column which I always read first: Computing at Chaos Manor, written by Jerry Pournelle.
Probably Jerry can claim having written the first blog, and it was this informal and interesting style, written not from a pedestal but from a peer-to-peer view, which made it so interesting.
And of course it was his "reviews": Jerry got all sorts of equipment into his house (which must have been stuffed with all these gadgets), and he used them and wrote about his experiences. A "recommended" by Jerry was more worth than any in-depth review, even if it came from BYTE.
All this seemed so long ago that I feared I would have the write this blog post as an obituary, but I was happy to find that Jerry Pournelle is still very active and writes his columns regularly.
Here are some links:

Monday, July 6, 2009


Chris Anderson wrote an excellent article how scarcity is replaced by abundance. And he lives what he preaches: his new book "Free: the future of a radical price" can be downloaded as an audiobook for free from here.
Even better: the full text and the audiobook in the full version (free) and an abridged version (not free!) are here.
If you are like me an iPhone/Touch/Pod addict, you will want to hear this as an audiobook and not just as a collection of MP3s. I Used "Mp3 to iPod Audio Book Converter" to convert the MP3s into an audiobook. It's free (of course) and does this job very easily. Recommended!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The way towards internal Enterprise 2.0

Just found an excellent presentation. Here's what I found most important:
  • Don't replace Knowledge Management by a Wiki - it wont work. People need the right audience to share their knowledge.
  • Integrate social network tools into the day-by-day work of the people, so that it makes their work easier.
  • Culture can't be changed, only influenced.
  • Think big, start small. Make you sure you know where you want to go, but don't expect you can plan your way. It will take experimentation and constant learning.
  • Crisis time is innovation time.
Have a look for yourself, it's worth the time!

First part:
Second part:

Third part:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Adding a signature in Thunderbird

After joining several communities I thought it would be cool if my Thunderbird signature would carry links to my identities in those communities.
This was a much bigger challenge than I anticipated but I will spare you the dead ends I ran into. Here is what finally worked for me:
  • Created a file "ThunderbirdSignature.html"
  • Put in this code:
    <span ></span>
    Contact me...
    <a href="">Xing</a>
    <a href=""></a>
    <a href="">Blogger</a>
    <a href="">Twitter</a>
    <a href="">Facebook</a>
  • Added this file to an account by selecting "Extras / Options" and clicking on the account where this signature applies.
In case you wondered how I got the HTML code into the post: I used a nifty little utility to convert native HTML into a version with escapes HTML characters characters. Unfortunately there is no way to quote or escape a complete block of text in HTML, so you need to escape everything which might look like HTML.

Finding the URL for your profile can be a daunting task, so here are a few hints which might spare you some time:
  • For Xing I found no other way than to select "Start / Mein Profil" and copy the URL.
  • For you can see and edit your profile URL in your profile.
  • For Facebook your URL is It can be set under
  • For Twitter just add your account name after
  • Blogger puts it before the URL:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My first Yahoo! pipe

Yahoo pipes is some real cool way to aggregate, filter and reformat data from all sorts of sources like RSS feeds. Very geekish.
Here is my first little simple but nethertheless useful pipe.
Dan Schawbel is a very active blogger / twitterer and following him on twitter is not easy. Fortunately he puts some keywords into his tweets so its easy to find whats interesting. I found some of his job hunting tips valuable, so I wanted to see only those.
My pipe uses the RSS feed of his tweets and selets those with "JOB" in it. Additionally it sets the "link" item in the RSS stream to the URL which is part of the description, so that I have a direct link to the site (and not to the tweet).
The pipe can be added to a iGoogle homepage; and as I published it, all my readers can use it too.
Looks like a promising technology - at least for some geekish fun!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Amazon beware!

As read here, Google plans to sell e-books. And they are doing it the Google way:
  • No lock-in to some overpriced reader (which is not even available outside US yet).
  • Letting publishers decide over their prices.
Both means: make a platform available but get out of the way and let the users decide how they use it. That' s what we like: no middlemen trying to take control. Imagine: even the Amazon iphone is not available for me!
Amazon sure knows how to move atoms (to the extent that I still don't understand why I should go premium: standard delivery is nearly always next day for me), but they should be careful not to risk being googlefied out of the market as soon as e-books take over.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Is Amazon googlish?

I just published my review of "What would Google do" an While I was writing it I came to think whether Amazon is following those principles Jarvis describes. This certainly deserves some deeper thinking, but I'm sure that Amazon's review system definitely is not googlish.
You may link from somewhere else to a review, but inside a review no links are allowed. That leaves me without a chance to link to other points of interest like a video and a slideshow which both can be found here. That is old school thinking trying to control the user. For the moment I still write reviews for Amazon, but it could well happen that I will switch to a more open platform.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tanzschritte (Dancing Steps) now has its own blog

I moved my dancing steps to a separate blog. It has a seperate audience and is in german anyway.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tanzschritte Update

Updated my Tanzschritte document (in german). New:
  • Submarine (Salsa)
  • Pflug (Langsamer Walzer)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

My brother's upcoming concerts

Now for some shameless family advertising. My brother, Martin Schumann, is a great pianist, you should try attending a concert. Here are some opportunities in Hamburg, Germany in the near future:
Publish at Scribd or explore others: Brochures & Catalogs

Thanks to Enviroman for the tip how to embed PDF into blogger.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Deutsche Bahn - will they ever learn?

Good for Deutsche Bahn and other rail companies that there is near to no competition.

What happened yesterday (just look at my tweets..) was a good example how far they still are from customer orientation.
It wasn't the delay of about 60 minutes - things can go wrong.
It was their attitude. They really didn't seem to care.
Worst was that they simply let the train end in Halle although it was supposed to go to Leipzig. Imagine what this would mean to someone who can't walk as well as me.
And I had to go for a voucher for myself - nobody cared to give it to us.

Not everything was bad though: the kept us well informed, although only in german. No chance for foreigners.
But still - they probably lost me as a customer. Going from Hamburg to Dresden takes too long even under normal circumstances.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Paper books - how long?

I still buy books on paper but i really wonder how long i will continue to do so. As soon as there is a viable alternative (i'm not a first mover and don't think Kindle & co. are ready yet) I will probably buy most books in electronic form.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ah, at last more than 140 characters to ramble around :-) Twitter is fine - like a blogger's version of haikus. It forces to focus. But sometimes I wished I could use a little more words, so I'm happy to have this opportunity here.

Expect post on a wild variety of topics - technology, software, music, social media, organ playing, dancing - whatever catches my interest will be shared with you!

Looking forward to writing and reading.