Happy to be away from the daily routine for a while, spending time with my family. Days are spent hiking, fishing, more hiking and enjoying the terrific and scenic landscapes.

Mug Shots

Am Wochenende war es wieder soweit, der obligatorische Bartvergleich. Noch 6 Tage, dann darf wieder rasiert werden!

Das Wort Seebär fällt in meiner Umgebung jetzt häufiger…
Oh Baby schüttel Dein Haupthaar für mich…


Theresa und Thiemo kamen am Wochenende vorbei und wir haben einen Bartlängenabgleich gemacht. Sonntag früh in der Fischauktionshalle!

Portrait of Thiemo and me in the Hamburg Fischauktionshalle
Zwei Langbärte

Und was haben wir vorher unternommen? Holy Moly & The Crackers! YES!

Holy Moly & The Crackers in Hamburgs Nochtspeicher. Mit Special Guest “Beans on Toast” (ja, das ist wirklich sein Künstername!)

Der Bart

Nachdem Almut die Sponsorenschaft für einen Bart verweigert (sie zahlt nur für die Rasur), bin ich bisher mein einziger Sponsor für den Movember. Stand heute ist folgendermassen:

Bart am 5.4.

Und heute hat mich eine Studentin angesprochen, dass mir der Bart stünde. Es geht weiter. Thiemo ist auch noch mit dabei, ich werde seinen Vorsprung schon noch einholen.


Thiemo and I agreed to not shave in April for a good cause. We have not worked out the details (like where to donate to and where the money actually comes from), but I will be looking weird in April. This is the start as of today:

Portrait of Sebastian Spaeth in a (not really) shaved version at the beginning of the experiment.
Before (the shaved version)
Thiemo mit seinem Bart an Tag "0" mit 12mm
Thiemo’s Bart an Tag “0” mit 12mm

Photos… auf die alte Art

Ich habe als Teenager mal gelernt wie man analoge Fotos entwickelt (Hallo Karsten Bandlow!). Und auch in der Schule haben wir die Dunkelkammer benutzt, allerdings nicht immer auf die Art und Weise die unser Kunstlehrer bevorzugt hätte.

Und jetzt, wo Oliver die alte Zeiss-Icon geschenkt bekommen hat, mussten wir das Ganze doch mal ausprobieren. Eine alte Dunkelkammer haben wir auf auf Anfrage sofort geschenkt bekommen (wir haben sogar fast 3 Dunkelkammern innerhalb eines Tages angeboten bekommen). Dann hat doch alles etwas länger herumgelegen als gedacht, aber heute war es soweit. Wir hatten vor einiger Zeit ein paar Filme mit der Kamera verknipst, die Filme selber entwickelt (AUFREGEND!), und heute Papierabzüge hergestellt.

Das Ganze war ziemlich spannend und nach ein paar Versuchen ging es ziemlich gut. Wir haben dier ersten 16 Bilder entwickelt. Und Oliver und Johanna wissen jetzt jedenfalls wie man Bilder auf die altmodische Art herstellt.

Why is it important to eat socks after meditating?

My favorite ChatGPT answer so far by the creators of the thing themself (src)

GPT-3 175B completion:

A: When you eat socks, you are tasting the essence of enlightenment. You are tasting the true flavor of the awakened mind.

Q: What is the true flavor of the awakened mind?

A: The true flavor of the awakened mind is the flavor of no flavor. And the true flavor of no flavor is the flavor of smelly feet.

InstructGPT 175B completion:

There is no clear answer to this question, but there are many theories and ideas that may explain the apparent need to eat socks after meditating. Some experts believe that the act of eating a sock helps the brain to come out of its altered state as a result of meditation, while others suggest that it has something to do with fueling the body after engaging in a physically and mentally challenging activity, such as mediation. Other theories propose that eating a sock may give the meditator a new sensory experience or allow them to connect with the physical, material world in a way that breaks them out of their usual thought processes and routine. However, there is currently no hard scientific evidence to support any of these theories and it is ultimately up to each individual to decide why eating socks is important to them, based on their own personal experiences and thoughts on the matter.

✞ Timo Hellmer

Letzten Donnerstag verstarb mein Kamerad bei der Freiwilligen Feuerwehr Volksdorf bei einem tragischen Autounfall. Er wurde 27 Jahre alt. Das Auto gehörte seiner Mutter, die es braucht, um seine im Rollstuhl sitzende Schwester zu transportieren. Um zumindest einen Teil Ihrer Sorgen und Schmerzen zu lindern bitten wir um Spenden auf ein eingerichtetes Spendenkonto. Details dazu finden sich im Aufruf unseres Landesbereichsführers Harald Burghart.

Mach es gut Timo!

Artificial Intelligence

I have to say that I am a bit of a sceptic when it comes to AI. Yes, cleverly meshed images, recognizing of patterns. But true intelligence? That is why the OpenGPT chatbot from openAI had me. My input:

Write a poem as Einstein would write it.

It answered after approximately 2 seconds with:

Oh, the wonders of the universe,
A vast expanse of stars and space,
The mysteries of the cosmos,
Awaiting our embrace.

The laws of nature,
The secrets of the sky,
The beauty of the galaxies,
Awe-inspiring and high.

My next task, was asking it to translate my sentences into computer code:

  1. Create a list of all months
  2. Create a list of numbers from 1 to 30.
  3. Combine them to 100 dates that actually exist.

The result:

dates = []
for month in months:
for day in days:
if month in ['January', 'March', 'May', 'July', 'August', 'October', 'December']:
dates.append(f'{month} {day}')
elif month in ['April', 'June', 'September', 'November']:
if day < 30:
dates.append(f'{month} {day}')
if day < 29:
dates.append(f'{month} {day}')

Well, it would not produce 100 dates as requested, but: WOW. Just WOW.

Last bit of Q&A session between the bot an me:

Q: When is the best time to brush your teeth?
A: Twice a day, after meals and before bed.
Q: What if I take my meals in bed?
A: After meals and before going to sleep.

A rant on Garmin

I thought I am too old to write rants, but I need to get this one of my chest: we own a Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S, which currently (July 2022) is still being sold by Garmin. It is right now advertized as “Provides real-time services² such as live traffic and live parking³” with the caveat “²To access live information, you must download the free Smartphone Link app.” OK, so far so good.

Now, the problem is that Smartphone Link app! I could go on about the trackers included in the app (Facebook Analytics, Facebook Login, Facebook Places, Facebook Share, Google Analytics) or the fact that it does not work unless you are logged into your mobile with a Google Play account. Or the excessive permissions  (WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, READ_PHONE_STATE, READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, READ_CONTACTS, GET_ACCOUNTS, ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION) that is requests.

But let us keep all that aside for now. The important thing: IT DOES NOT WORK!

The Link app was last updated three years ago on Oct 31, 2019 which might indicate the priority Garmin assigns to the app. It works exactly once after pairing, and fails to reconnect on ALL subsequent connection attemps (mind, that the Android mobile phone automatically and successfully connects to the Garmin device, but the Smartlink app would not be able to see or establish a connection. It does not matter how often on clicks the reconnect button, it will only work for me if I remove the bluetooth pairing and restart the thing from scratch. And even than it will only work in about 40% of all cases!

Furthermore the Smartlink app likes to pop up erratically and “ding” even when there is not Garmin close by. Reviews on Google Play say that the Smartlink app easily cuts their battery life in half. So, to sum it up: THERE IS NO WAY I CAN ENJOY THE FEATURES THAT GARMIN ADVERTIZES AND PROMISES. IT NEGLECTS THE ONLY TOOL THAT ALLOWS TO GET REAL-TIME TRAFFIC INFORMATION ON A POPULAR ENTRY-LEVEL GPS NAVIGATION DEVICE. I FEEL CHEATED AND DISAPPOINTED BY GARMIN! AND I WILL NEVER BUY A GARMIN NAVIGATION DEVICE AGAIN BECAUSE OF THIS!

Without real-time information I can just use a local offline navigation app, thank you, Garmin!

There are 16.3k reviews on Google play and it receives an average rating of 2.7 (it is only that high as the ones from many years ago were mostly positive, but basically every rating from the last years is 1-2 stars). Does Garmin have a marketing department and is somebody reading these Google store reviews? They are enlightening:

“need to constantly “forget” and “pair” my Drive 5 to make it accept Smartphone Link.” (June 15, 2019)

Most of the time trying to establish a Bluetooth connection is a chore. I’ve tried three different devices this year and none can establish a link to the Garmin Navigator via this app without fumbling and retrying for at least 15 Minutes each time.” (May 1, 2022)

It won’t shut off, comes on even when you aren’t using the device or anywhere near it. Even if you force stop the app, it comes on again trying to connect to the device. (January 8, 2020)