Posts Tagged Change|Veränderung

What a year!|Was für ein Jahr!

First things first: Merry Christmas to everyone!

It's been quite a year – yeah, this might sound a little weird as there's still another week to go, but I want to get this blog post done now as it's highly unlikely that I'll find the time next week. The most obvious new development (looking at things from the perspective of the webmaster of this page) is that I got my own homepage. Yay! It's been a project I wanted to start quite a while ago and I'm glad I eventually did in April. While I haven't really taken (I want to avoid the term “found”) the time to keep this blog as up to date as I wanted it to be, I hope it was still able to entertain you from time to time and give you some updates about what's happening in my life.

Speaking of which… back in April, when this whole thing went online, I was still employed by Upper Deck. After more than 4 years, this relationship came to an end in June and I had to look for a new job. It's been the first time I had to look for a job and I want to thank all the great people who helped me writing applications, making connections, etc. Without all your help, this would not only have been infinitely harder, I think I would have also been a lot less successful.

Eventually, I was hired by Station54, a Berlin based company doing Community Management; mainly for Electronic Arts. At first, this had been an amazing job, but it eventually came to a close at the end of October (I blogged about this: 4 Months with BattleForge). Well, I learned a lot regardless and my CV looked a little better as I could then claim I had been working as an Event Manager, Community Manager, Translator, Author, Customer Service Rep and some more stuff. Seems like life turned into a hunt for fancy job titles…

In the past 2 months, I was looking for a job again and I'm glad that I can now tell you that I've found an awesome new opportunity! Starting January the 4th, I'll be doing Online Marketing for smava. It's the market leader in a pretty new field; it allows you to get a credit financed by other people rather than by a bank (in case you're interested, you should check out the homepage: smava.de). As this is quite new for me as well, the employment is only of limited duration. However, if I do good, I can turn this into something permanent, so wish me luck (any tips are welcome!). I have to say this is quite an amazing Christmas present.

Fortunately, life's not all about work. I'm more than happy that I spent the whole year with the same girl and I couldn't be asking for more. In case you weren't lucky enough to meet Wincy so far, stop by whenever you're in Berlin and I'll be glad to introduce her to you.

What else? Well, I not only kept up my work for the Card Master and the Kartefakt, I'm recently writing for an English magazine, the Yu-Gi-Oh! World, too! On top of that, I'm still writing weekly columns. While my Yu-Gi-Oh! column Unter den Hut geschaut ended (thanks to Upper Deck's loss of the Yu-Gi-Oh! licence), I started a new World of Warcraft TCG column on Warcraft-TCG.de: Suppe für den soul. I also stepped in for another author and continued the column for players new to the WoW TCG: Der Versammlungsstein. So even when I was without a “real” job, I was rather busy.

All in all, it has been quite a year. I'm glad I was able to make new friends, spend so much time with my existing friends, have a blast playing the WoW TCG and that things turned out the way they did. I'm more than certain that 2010 will be even more exciting!

I'll celebrate the turn of the years in Leipzig with my best friends and I hope you'll also have a blast partying into the new year!

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No lifer? Not necessarily!|No Lifer? Nicht unbedingt

Today, I stumbled across a great article written by Clay Shirky. Or, to be more precise, a great transcript of a speech he gave at a Web 2.0 conference. In case you took a little deeper look at my homepage, you already know that I'm quickly drawn into books that teach us new ways of looking at society or explain why people behave the way they do. Clay takes a look at the way how we're spending our freetime and he's explaining why someone who is playing World of Warcraft for 3 hours a day is not actually a no lifer, but rather doing something at least partially useful – especially compared to watching TV.

I have to admit I haven't been the biggest supporter of people “wasting” lots of time in the World of Warcraft (then again, who am I to judge these guys – after all, I'm into playing cards and in the eyes of some people, this must look just as weird…), but I changed my thinking a little after reading over this article.

Further, thanks to my good friend Matthias, I have been introduced to the remarkable novel “The Diamond Age” by Neal Stephenson. This is easily one of the 5 most entertaining novels I've ever read. The novel tells the story of Nell, a little girl who got in touch with an interactive book (the “Primer”) and shows how she grows up in a world that is ever changing and always presenting itself with new challenges for her which she solves thanks to the help of her Primer. Clay pretty much shows that the idea that has been spelled out in the novel (interactive learning is the future) has almost become reality.

For me, that already makes two good reasons to order Clay's book. Maybe you want to do the same after reading his article which can be found here.

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Old vs. New|Alt vs. Neu

Wherever I look, I can't help but get the impression that people are obsessed with making everything “new”. I talked about change before, but the topic still uses its nasty tentacles to hold me tight and occupy my mind. Usually, I'm all for change. I love making things better, but I always thought there's a difference between “better” and “newer”.

Take music for example – for years, literally no one cared for Michael Jackson. Ironically, he managed to be the topic of the month by leaving earth (for better or worse). Still, despite the fact that he's much more present than he's been in the last 5 years (combined), new artists are getting hyped all over the place. Lady Gaga has frequently been called the “most successful female pop star of our days”. Well, 6 months earlier pretty much no one knew about her. Or let's say 9.

A year ago, Katy Perry was called “the new Madonna”. I didn't really hear much from Katy Perry since then to be honest (to be fair, I haven't really heard much more from Madonna…). Maybe new artists are getting hyped over the top only so their fall is so much more ugly (see Amy Winehouse) and will in turn allow for more “top stories” that can be printed in shitty magazines.

15 years ago, the standards were pretty different. I assume you've heard of the band Nirvana. Some went as far as saying that ‘Music history will from now on always be divided into the “Pre Nirvana era” and the “After Nirvana era”‘. While I agree that Nirvana has certainly had a big influence and could be described as the band that was able to catch the zeitgeist of a whole generation, the same can be said about Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Madonna and Michael Jackson. But I'm digressing, sorry, my actual point is that I'm surprised that there are more Foo Fighters fans on Facebook than there are Nirvana fans. I like both bands, but I think Nirvana has been a lot more influential than the Foo Fighters and I doubt that the Foo Fighters will ever release an album that can create a buzz as big as Nevermind or even come close.

Did people forget about Nirvana just because they're no longer existing? The answer seems to be quite obvious, but still I'm fascinated about it. Further, even the most played song of the 90s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hasn't been number 1 in the US, the UK, Germany or any other country that's somehow important in the music world. Nowadays, a young artist needs to come up with “Pokerface”, a single that tops the charts in 3 countries and they're already the “most successful female pop star of our days”.

Don't get me wrong, I too listen to Lady Gaga's songs. However, why did the perspective change so dramatically? There were times when it was more important to top the charts and still you were seen as more influential, more successful or in a word: more important than any other artist. Nowadays, people only care for numbers.

This trend is not only present in the music industry (although it's quite easy to come up with a million examples when looking at this field), you can see people getting crazy over change in every other field too. One of the more interesting stories of the week was the name change of Chicago's Sears Tower. The “iconic building” will change its name as part of a deal with a British investor and officially be called the “Willis Tower”. Americans are getting crazy over it as they state the Sears Tower belongs to Chicago and there's “a long history” involved. “A long history” according to American standards are 30 years (read a little more here). Good to know.

It's nice to see that not everyone thinks “newer = better” (and that there are certain people who have ridiculous standards when it comes to the meaning of the word “historic”.

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Never change a running system!

“Never change a running system” – to be honest, I have never been much of a fan of this slogan. It's not that easy to please me and even if I am quite satisfied, I always look for improvements. Sometimes, this can result in lots of problems. I tend to forget that, which is (ironically) the reason why I'm writing this blog post – it's much harder to forget about stuff you wrote about (at least that's true for me).

So WordPress is this ever-changing content management system that makes it quite easy to come up with a cool blog (as you can see). However, it seems to be an even bigger fan of upgrades than me, so whenever there's a new version out, the admin control panel (this is where I write posts like this one and spend my free time) annoys me to death by showing the “WordPress X.X is out – upgrade now!” message on top of EVERY container in which I can do things like writing posts, edit pages, changing the look and feel of the page and so on. You can guess what happened, I downloaded the latest WordPress version. And while I was at it, I thought I could also download the new version of my theme (that would be the Fusion theme – powered by digitalnature).

As it turned out, that was one of the worse ideas I had today… First of all, my Search button (that would be the cool thing on the right with the picture of a magnifying-glass) disappeared. Even worse, my categories seemed to be gone for good. While the Search button might not be that important (although I think it's a cool feature and I LOVE cool features, I'm just a big geek), I couldn't really get over the loss of my categories. A few minutes later, I realized my various Widgets weren't collapsible anymore (try it out, if you click on “Twitter”, it will hide the Twitter messages! I bet you never tried that before. Isn't that freaking awesome?!). Or, to sum this paragraph up in a sentence: My site looked like shit.

As I'm one of the laziest people around when it comes to backups, I naturally did NOT save my old files. Be warned! Don't do that yourself! Use infinite backups for whatever you're doing with your PC… Well anyways, there was no real turning back, so I had to invest some more time and try to figure out what went wrong. I want to spare you the story of my search for a “known issues” part on the homepage of digitalnature (as there is no such part and therefore it would be quite redundant to mention that in the first place) or my epic quest for a dowloadable version of an earlier version of the Fusion theme. So well, in the end I figured I should just remove some of my Widgets (- ahh… Widgets… I tend to use that term all the time without ever explaining it. Well, a Widget is a little container in the sidebar. So I use a “Search Widget”, a “Category Widget”, a “Twitter Widget” and so on – now you know what that is) and see if that would help. And then I realized that the new Fusion theme considers the Search and the Categories as OPTIONAL Widgets. Meaning: They are not implemented if you use the standard settings.

“Are you fucking kidding me?!” was my initial response… but well, dragging these two Widgets in my sidebar again worked great and my site looked almost as cool as it used to be. Figuring out that the Widgets are now using the class tag “title” instead of “widgettitle” put my “Hackadelic Widget Voodoo” (yes, that's actually the name of this Plug-In) Plug-In back in place and now the Widgets are also collapsible again (come on! Click them again! You know you want to!)!

Why I'm writing all this? Well, first of all, if you're a WordPress user and you stumble over similar problems, this might be helpful! Secondly, I couldn't stand the idea of having lost 60 minutes of my life without getting anything back from them. So I figured I could as well write about the loss so I got some more content on my page. Last but not least, I could show everyone that “embrace change” is NOT always the way to go (which reminds me of this great comic story “Secret Invasion” that I read the day before yesterday – go check it out, it's awesome!)!

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All it takes is one decision|Eine Entscheidung kann den Unterschied machen

Lots of people don't believe in change. Or at least they think that making change happen is a very complicated process. At the same time, people are fascinated by change. They willingly follow individuals promising to bring the change. Barack Obama's message hasn't just taken America by storm, it has turned into a worldwide phenomenon. People WANT change to happen. It is a welcome thought that you need to rely on someone (or something) else to bring the change. It is easy to relate to this way of thought, as otherwise, it would ultimately mean that it's entirely a person's own fault for not living his / her life in the way he / she wants.

By believing that it takes something else for change to happen, you put the responsibility away, so it's not your own fault when something goes wrong, but there's still a (more or less good) chance that change will happen.

I believe people are ill-informed. Optimistic people often say that ‘all it takes is one idea'. I don't believe that this is all that's necessary, but rather that all it takes is one decision. You might be struck by the greatest thought ever, but if you don't consciously decide to follow this idea, change will never happen. If it is that easy to make change happen, why do only few people live their lifes in the best way possible? I think they are afraid of taking responsibility for their actions. Whenever I talk about making good decisions for your life and considering all options, others look at me puzzled, like I'm from a different planet. Just like they never considered putting that much effort in their decision-making.

Why are so many people afraid of growing up and taking responsibility? I honestly don't know, as there is no disadvantage involved. You might have to admit that you've been wrong from time to time, but that's pretty much it – it's a price I'm more than willing to pay if it means that I take responsibility for my actions and am in full control of my life.

My personal bottom line is: All it takes is the one conscious decision.

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