microXchg 2019

At the beginning of last week I was able to attend a conference on micro services in Berlin, microXchg 2019.

The conference took place in Kalkscheune, an events venue in a former industrial building near Friedrichstadtpalast.

The talks were a mix of in-depth workshop, regular sessions and lightning talks, spread over three parallel tracks.

Of the many talks I want to mention one, “Introduce kids to STEAM and reduce the gender gap” by Laura Luiz, discussing the progress being made by Hackdays4Girls.

Many thanks to the organizers at innoQ Deutschland GmbH – I learned a lot and will definitely come back!

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(Kalkscheune, break area)

Barack Obama

On Thursday I had the great privilege to witness Barack Obama in an one-hour interview; the interview took place as part of the World Leadership Summit in Cologne’s biggest indoor arena, the LanXess Arena.

He spoke in great detail about our duty to protect our planet and save the environment for future generations, and outlined his vision for a sustainable future.

In my point of view, he’s still the best leader the free world ever had, and I really miss him! It was such an honor to hear him talk in person.

I do understand that he cannot become US president again, but, if we had such a thing, maybe he could become EU president, or UN president? Please? Pretty please?

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Company Car

As of today, in addition to our Twizy, we now also have a (company) car – a Fiat 500 with the 85hp Twin Air engine.

Unfortunately it’s not electric, but it’s quite small and we’ve selected a model with really low CO2 emissions.

Hopefully next time the e.GO Life will be available for ordering (and leasing)!

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Axel Voss in Fischenich

Thursday last week we had the opportunity to meet with Axel Voss, MEP at a public hearing of his party, the CDU, in Fischenich, a small hamlet near Cologne, Germany.

In many words, Axel Voss shared his view that the new EU Copyright Directive, and mainly Articles 11 thru 13, would not bring any changes and would be nowhere near as harmful as we fear. Axel is a master of speaking for a long time without saying anything – there’s a great video from that session on Jakob’s channel.

On the next day though, his own party through their legal expert, Heribert Hirte, issued a statement that the directive will indeed require filters, which was later confirmed by the EU Commission itself; most notably, the French government immediately started to work on such filters.

The new filters would also very nicely help with the new “terror legislation“, further reducing freedom of speech in social media.

In summary – it’s not as bad as we thought, it’s much worse!

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(Breitenbacher Hof, Fischenich)

Open letter to Thomas Schmid and Die Welt

One of the low blows during the recent debate around the lost (for now) vote on the EU Copyright Directive – commonly known as Article 13 – came from Thomas Schmid, and published by Die Welt, a German center-right publication.

I’m referring to this post on his work blog “Sonst unterwerfen sie uns. Warum die EU Facebook, Google, YouTube und anderen Grenzen setzen muss” and this article in Die Welt “Sklaven der Freiheit”; as far as I can tell they seem to be identical. Unfortunately, Thomas Schmid does not have a Twitter, or any other modern way of exchanging thoughts, so I had to resort to a public reply.

Thomas Schmid puts forward a couple of very disturbing thoughts:

  • He calls all of us, who do not share his world view, masochistic and our rallies akin to patriotic war enthusiasts
  • He thinks that we’re slaves of the of the big tech companies, incapable of independent thought
  • He calls for a strong state to curb the tech companies influence and bring us back to order

Let me reply to that:

  • Indeed, we are fighting monopolies – the old-school publishers and media agencies (Springer, Gema, VG Wort, VG Bild-Kunst, …) that have put in enormous lobby efforts to convince the MEPs that they’re protecting artists and creators, while in fact they’re only protecting their bottom lines and fighting obsolescence
  • We’re neither paid, nor instructed by Alphabet or Facebook; we’re not dependents either
  • Most importantly, the very last thing this world needs is more power for the nation states

Dear Thomas – whatever vision you have of a future society, I definitely do not share it!

You claim in your bio that you have lived through the student protests in the late ’60s, but you seem to have learnt nothing; all the law and order fantasies you might have, please keep them for yourself – don’t destroy the colorful society and culture that we have now

Chris

Further reading: Why we should trust Apple and Google more than our governments

Even worse: Sold out for Russian gas?

Nothing gets old as fast as news – just as we were looking at Helga Truepel hosting yet another lobby dinner, the FAZ published an article, outlining the background behind the surprise Trilog agreements that made the Copyright Directive so much worse.

According to this article by Hendrik Wieduwilt, the agreement reached between France and Germany was based on Russian gas; if the allegations hold true, the German government agreed to a much stricter copyright law in return for the French government agreeing to North Stream 2.

This is so bad, on so many counts – my feeling is that not even Franz-Josef Strauss would have done something so shady.

Not to mention that the CDU thus broke the coalition contract they had with the SPD, which explicitly stated that Germany would veto upload filters.

Personally, I am not happy with Germany buying so much gas from the Czar – but I would have never thought that our government would kill Social Media for it.

Definitely a new low in CDU/CSU politics

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(Image Twitter)

Lobbyism at its worst

An evening before the vote on the misguided EU Copyright Directive, lobby groups are holding a dinner for MEPs.

Impala are still touting the narrative that they are heroically fighting the evil US tech giants. Their tagline is Europe for Creators – Creators that have signed up with a media agency and hand over a substantial part of their income, that is.

They completely fail to understand that it is them, the old-school publishers and media agencies that forgot to adapt to the digital age, who are the evil lobby groups in this case – killing social media because they don’t want to adapt their business model and wouldn’t survive otherwise.

It’s indeed a struggle between David and Goliath – but with us creators being David, and them media agencies being Goliath.

I’m done commenting on the  shameful role of the Greens in this, with MEP Helga Truepel actively supporting the directive and fighting against everything the Greens ever stood for, without any opposition from her peers or her party.

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(Image by Markus Reuter, 3/25/19)

Blackout 21

Yesterday, on Thursday, March 21st, Wikipedia and a number of other sites went offline to support the fight against article 13 of the EU Copyright Directive.

So did I with this blog.

See you tomorrow at the EU-wide rallies against article 13!

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