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posts about electronic.

nowadays, there are quite some fair trade products customers can choose when buying stuff. there’s fair chocolate, fair bananas, fair t-shirts, etc. one common denominator of these products is that they consist of not too many things, that they are not too complex. essentially for all kind of products which are too complex – think of electronics – virtually no fair products exist. and in fact, producing a 100% fair electronic device is essentially impossible without a huge amount of ressources available. there are just too many different tasks to ensure.
but fortunately, there are some projects which at least try. most notably, there are two projects i want to write about today. first, there’s the german faire maus, a (somewhat) fair mouse. the precise list of pieces need to assemble one can be found here, together with information what problems can arise in their production, which problems are (essentially) solved for the fair mouse, and which are still unsolved. so, while not 100% fair, at least the process is very transparent and it is possible to identity points where the process is still not exactly fair.
another project is the fairphone, a project from the netherlands trying to produce a fairer smartphone. compared to a simple mouse, a smartphone is way more complex, and depends on a much larger range of different parts. well, as a consequence, it is also much harder to make it fair. the fairphone project still tries hard. besides fair, they also try to be very transparent about where everything is from and under which conditions it was obtained/created. for example, there’s conflict-free tin from a congolese mine involved.
the fairphone project is currently trying to get enough advance orders to produce the first batch of fairphones. they need 5000 orders, and so far, they just got around 1640. the number is increasing now and then, but i’m wondering if it will reach the required 5000 early enough. in september, the fairphone team wants to inform about a possible delivery date, which will hopefully be in october. so if you’re planning to get a (new) smartphone somewhen in the near future, you should think about supporting that project. the price of 325 euros is quite in range, and you’re supporting a good cause. (and if it doesn’t work out, you’ll get your money back somewhen in fall.)
actually, i just ordered one fairphone last week. (well, and also two fair mouses.) not that i suddenly like the idea of having a smartphone (i still don’t), but then, i can still install linux on it – after all, i will be allowed to do that, as opposed to most other smartphones which you don’t really own when buying them. (isn’t that another reason?)

monday evening i was in pratteln, attending a concert of blackfield (art rock) and north atlantic oscillation (post-prog, electronic). it was a very nice concert. i haven’t seen north atlantic oscillation before, but i was positively surprised, and afterwards bought their latest album. blackfield was good as always. they played quite long, and played all my favorite songs from the old albums, as well as songs from their new albums. i think they played every song i presented at musikwiese, with cloudy now being the last song played.
i was really happy that i stayed until the end, even though that meant arriving only at 1 am in zürich and having to walk up a hill to eventually find my way into my bed past 1:30… i wonder if it is just me, or if the night connections between pratteln and zürich really got worse over the last years?

here’s my project 52 shot for the eighth week. the topic was

technik, freund oder feind?

i know, this photo comes a bit late, but i had to wait for a new gadget to do this photo. the idea is already a few weeks old :-) harddisks are a piece of computer equipment which can be friend or foe: they store your data, your photos, your videos, your music, for a long time, fast to access. but sometimes, they suffer from head crashes or other fatal injuries, and your data, your photos, your whatever is gone. sometimes it can be recovered, sometimes not. essentially everyone who has been working with computers had a harddisk failure somewhen, i’m sure. i had several. some of them really kicked me in the ass, since i didn’t had a current backup. (this is also the reason why i don’t have any photos from a longer period many years ago…) nowadays, i have a pretty redundant system of backups, so this shouldn’t happen anymore. but who knows… there is no absolute error tolerance. the disk in the photo is pretty much dead, not only since it is open, but already covered by lots of dust, in just a short period of time. dust on the platter is an absolute killer…
please click the photo to get a larger version:

technical details: 15s, f/45, 105mm, iso 200.

the sixteenth video is autobahn by kraftwerk. a famous, great piece of electronic music centered around a certain highway in germany. the lyrics can be found here.

this is electronic. you can definitely listen to it.

[[for legal reasons, i do not want to include youtube videos here anymore. please click on this link to watch the video at youtube.]]

i like it because… it is just a really awesome electronic tune, from the godfathers of synthie music, kraftwerk. it depicts a drive on a highway; if you listen, close your eyes, start dreaming, it feels like really driving on it. this song was the first one i heard from kraftwerk, and still my favorite one. once i want to listen to this song while driving on a highway… (preferably an empty one… maybe i’ll visit oldenburg once again by car, the a29 is a really peaceful highway, especially after leaving the a1.)