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New blog at http://dirkriehle.wordpress.com

After 10+ years of blogging by writing static HTML pages [...] it has become obvious that I'm a technological stalwart. Hardcore! And way behind the times. So [...] I finally got my act together and installed Wordpress (MU) on my server. The first blog to move there are my personal ramblings [...] Starting January 1st, 2008, you can find them at http://dirkriehle.wordpress.com ... «Read more» (December 30, 2007)

Harvard defines "being middle-class"

It is the end of the year and salary negotiations will be coming up soon. [...] you may want to consider Harvard's definition of what a middle-class salary is and what a salary is that warrants financial support. A few weeks ago, Harvard announced new levels of support ... «Read more» (December 29, 2007)

Elaborate eBay xmas scam

Wow, this is the most elaborate eBay scam I've ever seen, and they tried to pull it on me. [...] I thought it would be a good idea to sell an old Thinkpad (IBM notebook). When the bidding ended I couldn't believe my eyes. «Read more» (December 18, 2007)

America the beautiful, America the ugly

America the beautiful, America the ugly. In any case, I found these impressions worth sharing. Photos were taken using a simple Nokia cell phone, at the spur of a moment. «Read more» (July 4, 2007)

One leisurely walk at Shoreline

One Sunday afternoon, when taking a leisurely walk at Shoreline, Gesa and I ran into this snake. Apparently, it had not yet conceded defeat to humans. I don't think this is a rattle snake (it didn't rattle), but it sure didn't look like I wanted to step on it. «Read more» (April 29, 2007)

What is a "vorlagenhandwerker"?

I was reading a b-school case about SAP when I saw the interesting term "vorlagenhandwerker". Presumably, an SAP executive had called German software engineers by that name. Despite being a native speaker of German, I had never heard of it. «Read more» (March 13, 2007)

Obnoxious screen saver

This screen saver below is telling me that it prefers not to be woken up by me hitting CTRL+ALT+DEL. (But it doesn't tell me what to do instead.) More obnoxiously, though, it tells me that I already interrupted its precious sleep 25 times (gasp!) by hitting CTRL+ALT+DEL. Now, that's what I call being thorough! «Read more» (March 12, 2007)

More not-so-rural American pride

No additional words necessary. (Also see 2006-05-09.html) «Read more» (February 18, 2007)

Leaving the country? Microsoft logs you out...

I'm about to catch my first flight out of the U.S. since the OOPSLA PC meeting in May last year. They have a new procedure: Anyone with a foreign passport has to logout of the country at an exit terminal station ... «Read more» (January 17, 2007)

CostCo is a communist enterprise

CostCo is a communist enterprise, designed to weak the American spirit and rob this great nation of its hard-working go get'em attitude to life. At least by German standards ... «Read more» (January 7, 2007)

More on Arcor and DSL in Germany

You may remember my frustration with Arcor and Telecoms in Germany in general, stated some time ago. Now a reader of this blog who wants to stay anonymous told me his story, and it is getting more absurd by the minute ... «Read more» (December 21, 2006)

One fine day at the office

After a couple of hours of hard work, Microsoft gave me the perfect excuse for a coffee break. «Read more» (November 30, 2006)

Oh yeah!! Teuscher's in Stanford

Word had already reached me in the form of an email by Dick Gabriel, but I had to confirm it with my own eyes: There is now a Teuscher store in the Stanford Shopping Center. Oh yeah!! «Read more» (September 24, 2006)

A car, at last

After a long wait, a car at last. And I'm allowed to drive it around California. If that sounds surprising given that I have a California's driver's license, read on ... «Read more» (September 23, 2006)

Got potty training?

Saw this sign on September 4th, U.S. labor day, at the local IKEA. I don't remember seeing any such sign in Germany. And here I was thinking Germans are too direct ... «Read more» (September 4, 2006)

To business school or not to business school

One of the more popular pages on this site are my ramblings about business school. How I got in, what it meant to me, and why I'm glad its over. So at times I get emails asking me whether it was worth it. Would I provide career advice? ... «Read more» (August 30, 2006)

Row 21 MUC to SFO

Checking into an Airbus 340 is something of a gamble if you are flying economy class. Do you take a row 21 seat or not? If you do, you might be able to snatch the power outlet from a passenger in business class. You might also end up sitting next to an ill-behaved kid, as this is the row where they put parents with children ... «Read more» (August 29, 2006)

Five young turks

I was busy the last few days orchestrating my move back to the United States. I'm writing these lines on board my Lufthansa flight to SFO, so everything went alright in the end. This, however, is not the impression I got when the big moving day started ... «Read more» (August 28, 2006)

An Indian Wedding in New Delhi

In 2006, I got invited to attend a friend's wedding in New Delhi. So I decided to turn this into a month-long vacation. Life had it that I could take only ten days of that month, so I cut it short. Nevertheless, it remains an unforgettable experience ... «Read more» (July 4, 2006)

Oh the Weltschmerz of it all

I've always wanted to know how many German-origin words there are an English, but usually couldn't even come up with more than a handful of well-known examples. So, for my and your records, here is what looks like the ultimate example to me ... «Read more» (June 8, 2006)

Microwaveable sushi

I had caught a glimpse of this product a few weeks back, when someone had bought it in front of me at the local Aldi supermarket. Later, I had been agonizing over whether my brain was playing tricks on me or not. Could there ever be something like "microwaveable sushi"? «Read more» (May 29, 2006)

Flight AA 134: From hell, to hell

It's another one from the netherworld of international travel. Returning from the Silicon Valley to Berlin, I knew I had booked a cheap flight back in April. How cheap, I realized only when I stepped on board of AA 134, a Boeing 777, in Los Angeles ... «Read more» (May 24, 2006)

Rural American pride

Here's to rural American pride ... «Read more» (May 9, 2006)

Did you notice the fire alarm?

Last week I had to fly into Austin to attend the OOPSLA 2006 PC meeting [...] when I arrived at the hotel at 11:30pm, I had been awake for about 24 hours, most of them traveling. Which is to say, I wasn't exactly wide awake ... «Read more» (May 8, 2006)

In case you didn't notice...

In case you didn't notice, Easter is over. In Germany, you would probably say that Ostern ist auf den Hund gekommen. «Read more» (April 27, 2006)

Frohe Ostern 2006!

Mein heißgeliebter Rosenthal Osterhase hat einen Kollegen bekommen. Das ganze ist nicht ganz so farbenfroh wie vor 2 Jahren, aber trotzdem schön. Frohe Ostern 2006! «Read more» (April 13, 2006)

This is not MySpace

With all the recent hoopla around MySpace I signed up a week or two ago and then forgot about it. Today I read in the news that News Corp. has been cleaning up MySpace by removing 200,000 or so sketchy profiles. So I logged in to see what had happened and whether my account was still there ... «Read more» (April 4, 2006)

Full of Language

Taken from the NY Times, this photo shows an explanation of a woman's body types. Please note the use of the word fullness. What's your fullness today, your highness? Feeling a little doughnutty around the waist? It never ceases to amuse me how companies make little dances around common words, in particular when it comes to women's body fat. «Read more» (March 31, 2006)

Trader Joe's meets Aldi

Trader Joe's is a U.S. supermarket chain, mostly known for its varied but rarely comprehensive offerings. It is owned by Aldi, a German discount supermarket chain. So it was only a matter of time until you could buy Trader Joe's warez in Germany. As you can see below, the result is kind of funny ... «Read more» (March 13, 2006)

The birth hour of Prozac

A friend sent me this: A description of proper housewife behavior, from 1955. This must have been when Prozac and other antidepressants were born. «Read more» (March 7, 2006)

Religiously analysed sportswear

Hasema is a producer of religiously conforming sportswear for the islamic world. Its main products for women are full-body soccer and swimsuits that properly cover your hair [...] What caught my eye and made me file it in the funny language blooper department was the self-advertisement on their homepage ... «Read more» (March 4, 2006)

Neue Kinder braucht das Land

Eine amerikanische Bekannte vermeldete soeben die Geburt zweieiiger Zwillinge, eines Sohnes und einer Tochter. Herzlichen Glückwunsch! Und, wagt jemand zu wetten, bei welchem der beiden Babys es sich um den Sohnemann und bei welchem es sich um die Tochterfrau handelt? «Read more» (February 18, 2006)

First sighting of a Lenovo Thinkpad

It has finally happened: my first sighting of a Lenovo Thinkpad on the net. What oh what has this world come to? (Well, I'm sure Lenovo will do a fine job. It's just that as a multi-generation IBM Thinkpad user I'm somehow feeling kind of blue.) «Read more» (February 15, 2006)

That old jacket

On one of my first trips to the U.S. back in the early ninties, I bought a pull-over winter jacket at a local Abercrombie & Fitch store in Austin, Texas. It is comfortable to wear, practical, and ... «Read more» (February 4, 2006)

Late (but hilarious) christmas shopping photos

I just found these photos on my cell phone camera. They were taken while shopping at the KaDeWe in Berlin, Germany. It is a few nuggets of hilarious christmas fare. Enjoy! ... «Read more» (February 3, 2006)

Merry christmas and frohe Weihnachten!

The photo story of an artificial christmas tree which bloomed on christmas morning ... «Read more» (December 26, 2005)

Fränkli vs Weisswürstli

The Swiss are a proud nation. One thing a foreigner learns quickly is not to belittle their currency as "Fränkli" or "Räppli" like an innocent (and clueless) German might do. The more surprised I was when I saw that the Swiss themselves belittle one of the main staples of culinary Munich, the Weisswurst ... «Read more» (December 7, 2005)

New York or Zurich?

When I woke up this morning, I saw the following local newspaper clip at the breakfast table. It made me wonder whether I was in Zurich or in New York. How many cities are there where you can see a black man and an orthodox jew right next to each other, each peacefully ... «Read more» (December 7, 2005)

Security is where the big money is

Today's Dilbert is just hilarious; at least, I guess, if you are working at a Security company ... «Read more» (December 4, 2005)

Der Berlin-Besucher

Meine Tante machte sich mal wieder über mich lustig und schickte mir folgenden Zeitungsausschnitt (click to get full size) ... «Read more» (December 1, 2005)

Cookie Republic?

During the reelection campaign for Bill Clinton, his wife Hilary Clinton ended up in hot water when she quipped she "could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas" rather than work for a living. Today, Angela Merkel was elected chancelor of Germany by its new-formed parliament ... «Read more» (November 22, 2005)

Athlete's Foot in Copenhagen

From the department of funny language bloopers: This shoestore in downtown Copenhagen, DK, goes by the name of "Athlete's Foot", probably to attract American tourists that come by here and are in desperate need for a new pair of sports shoes ... «Read more» (November 14, 2005)

Wonderful autumn display

Can you spot something unusual in this autumn display at my parent's house? ... «Read more» (November 12, 2005)

Miniature shopping cart

Is it just me or is there something wrong with this picture? I mean, to me this hairy Samson and his midget shopping cart don't look like a good fit. Aren't real men supposed to be pushing oversized shopping carts at the local Walmart rather than sorting pea-size groceries into miniature shopping carts? ... «Read more» (November 8, 2005)

La Jolla, San Diego, CA

Here are some photos from a visit to San Diego's famous La Jolla town and coast. Unfortunately the wheather wasn't too good, but I guess you can still see some of the beauty of the coast line ... «Read more» (October 21, 2005)

A succession of circumstances

Due to a let's call it succession of circumstances I found myself riding to San Jose's DSW Shoe Warehouse, a large discount shoe store. What's remarkable is that I was in the company of three beautiful women, each looking for the perfect shoe ... «Read more» (October 8, 2005)

Civilians! The Chemical Brothers in Berlin

I run a final check: Dark clothing, hiking boots, sweat-proof wallet and cell phone cover, keys, earplugs. All set, I'm ready to roll. Tonight the Chemical Brothers will be spinning at the Velodrom. [...] At twenty hundred hours I meet for dinner ... «Read more» (September 24, 2005)

One German VCs emails

Some time ago, I attended an informational event held by a well-heeled German VC firm. On the registration form, I checked off a box saying that we [...] were about to found a technology company. This was the only interaction I've ever had with that firm. In July, I received the following email ... «Read more» (September 4, 2005)

An unsavory business model

I was sitting amid five computers, staring at my screen in shock. I had just realized that a few minutes ago I had deleted my last copy of personal photos on my harddisks. The last tape backup was at least a year old, so I had just lost one year of photos ... «Read more» (August 28, 2005)

Leave before it makes you soft

In the by now famous fake commencement speech "Wear Sunscreen," Mary Schmich states: "[...] Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft." There is some truth to this statement, but by and large, it is a misunderstanding ... «Read more» (August 10, 2005)

Reason for driving fast

In Germany, you generally don't need a reason to drive fast. Rather, it is considered unmanly not to cut corners, have your tires scream, and make people jump. (At least where I live.) In the U.S. it is different, primarily because all those formidable-size soccer moms with their formidable-size SUVs ... «Read more» (August 1, 2005)

Firmengründung in Deutschland

Zur allgemeinen Erheiterung, die sieben Schritte, welche in Deutschland zur formal korrekten Gründung einer GmbH ausgeführt werden müssen. Schritt 1: Gesellschaftsvertrag (beim Notar) - Gesellschaftsvertrag unterzeichnen - Erste Versammlung abhalten, abzeichnen; Schritt 2: Bankverbindung (bei Geschäftsbank) ... «Read more» (July 18, 2005)

Living in customer prevention land

Did you ever wonder where Germans get their keen sense of punctuality from? It is an educational system of sorts, with mutually supporting experiences. Subtle, but powerful. Or not so subtle, as I had to learn upon returning to Germany. In Germany, typical store opening hours are from 10am to 8pm ... «Read more» (July 5, 2005)

An event that shall go unnamed

I think it all started going downhill when they closed the bar to make us focus more on the speaker. Apparently, they needed to educate the audience about proper behavior. I was attending this networking event, which shall go unnamed, to meet a banker. However, before the meeting, the gods had put 2 hours of boredom ... «Read more» (June 23, 2005)

Start Up and Grow

Today, I attended the "Start Up and Grow" event at the Hasso-Plattner-Institut at the University of Potsdam. The event was the kick-off for the Hasso-Plattner-Ventures venture fund, a VC founded (and funded primarily) by Hasso Plattner. Watch the stream of fotos from my cell phone as we made it through the day ... «Read more» (June 13, 2005)

Rolled the wrong way

What's wrong with this picture? If you are an engineer, it is likely to be obvious to you. If you are not, you might roll your eyes in exasperation. (But make sure roll them in the right direction.) So, what is it? Well... It is the way the toilet paper has been put onto the toilet paper holder. Look at it, it is all wrong ... «Read more» (June 3, 2005)

Checks and balances

The U.S. banking system is one of the most entertaining in the world. In Germany, you simply ask your bank to wire some money to another bank. In the U.S. you send checks around using postal mail. Did you ever wonder about the saying of "the check is in the mail"? Here is a story of how big this absurdity can become ... «Read more» (May 6, 2005)

Another kind of Fräuleinwunder

If you lookup "Miss" in your favorite German/English dictionary, it will most likely tell you that in German, "Miss" translates to "Fräulein." Unfortunately, the dictionaries are hopelessly out of sync with reality. Look at the picture below. It depicts Ms. Friedman, CEO of HarperCollins, a seasoned executive hitting 60 these days ... «Read more» (March 3, 2005)

Hindu or muslim?

As you probably observed, this site still has no comment button, so most of the feedback I get for my pieces is through regular email. Sometimes, a reader's experiences are so hilarious that he agrees to have their comments posted. Here are the experiences of Vivek Sharma when trying to enter the United States ... «Read more» (March 3, 2005)

Obnoxiousness attacks!

Glorious web. Always a good indicator of what's to come. Below, you can see two most obnoxious attempts of getting my attention. One by the venerable New York Times, which by the virtue of their personalized advertisements portrays me as a banker jumping around in a bast skirt and a tie ... «Read more» (February 27, 2005)

Getting an Internet connection

After returning to Berlin, the first thing I did after I found an apartment was to order a phone and internet connection. It was seductively easy: You signed up on a website and two weeks later, so it was promised, you would have your phone and DSL connection. Little did I know ... «Read more» (February 17, 2005)

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