Stellenanzeige: Frontend-Entwickler/in (HTML/CSS, JavaScript)

Das hier von meinem Arbeitgeber, nicht von mir persönlich:

Wir suchen zur Verstärkung unseres Entwicklungs-Teams jemanden mit soliden Designkenntnissen für das moderne Web. Unsere Hauptanforderungen sind:

  • Sicherer Umgang mit HTML 4 und 5 und CSS2 und 3.
  • Gute Kenntnis von JavaScript (CoffeeScript empfehlenswert).
  • Kenntnisse mindestens einer JavaScript-Library, am liebsten jQuery.
  • Ein Flair für den aktuellen Web-Stil.
  • Wille, ständig dazuzulernen.

Zusätzlich freuen wir uns über:

  • Kenntnis einer weiteren Programmiersprache, z.B. Ruby oder PHP.
  • Erfahrung mit Typo3 oder Ruby on Rails.
  • Erfahrung mit dem agilen Arbeiten nach Scrum oder Kanban sowie Behavior-Driven Development (BDD)
  • Erfahrung mit automatisierten Software-Tests (z.B. Cucumber, Jasmine)
  • Erste Kenntnisse im Umgang mit git.
  • Ein abgeschlossenes Studium auf passendem Gebiet: Interaction Design, visuelle Gestaltung mit Schwerpunkt Screendesign oder etwas Vergleichbares.

In unserem Team pflegen Sie Interaktionen und Erscheinungsbild sowohl von Rails- wie auch von PHP/Typo3-Applikationen. Im Dialog mit unseren Kunden lassen Sie sich für knifflige Interaktions- und Designfragen solide, skalierbare Lösungen einfallen. Danach implementieren Sie diese selbständig in JavaScript und HTML/CSS. Natürlich stehen Ihnen für den Backendteil Teamkollegen zur Seite.

Einen ersten Eindruck von unseren Applikationen können Sie hier gewinnen: (Typo3-Website) (Quellcode) (Quellcode)

 Nun freuen wir uns auf Ihre Bewerbung. Schicken Sie Ihr Portfolio an:

Zürcher Hochschule der Künste
z.H. Ramón Cahenzli
Ausstellungsstr. 60
8005 Zürich

No or slow blogging until September 2010

On the off chance that anyone reads this, I need to find a little more time for real-life things and I’ll be very busy until about the end of 2010. So I thought I’d cut down on the blogging a little. That means this blog and the one at FSFE won’t get much love anymore.

If you’re really interested, I will have time to write short things on Twitter and is more for the geeky topics (Free Software etc.), Twitter more for my gaming habits. All dents (from get tweeted as well.

Don’t you love this newfangled net vocabulary? Radical!

See you in 2011 or so!

Apple will destroy anyone who dares to innovate

As the world has learned this week, Apple asked Google not to include multitouch functionality in their Android operating system (the OS that runs the Google/T-Mobile G1 mobile phone). And Google complied.

The problem is of course: Apple did not invent multitouch. People like Jeff Han have been working with multitouch long before, but the brain damaged US patent office granted Apple a patent on this technology.

Now Apple is threatening to kill, maim and destroy anyone who dares implement a technology that Apple hasn’t even developed in the first place. And multitouch is not the only thing Apple falsely claims ownership of.

This is no isolated incident. We are seeing such acts of patent aggression from IT companies everywhere in the world, but Apple and Microsoft are probably some of the worst offenders.

The software patent problem needs to be solved. It is developing into a serious hurdle for innovators. Instead of encouraging inventions and innovations, it makes sure that only those with a large array of IP lawyers can bring anything to market without being destroyed by companies claiming IP ownership. The real purpose of patents, to protect the rights of small inventors to an idea, to protect them from exploitation by aggressive companies, was completely lost.

One of the reasons for this is the brainless way that IT and technology patents are granted in the USA — many patents are simply allowed because the patent office employees lack the time to thoroughly research prior art. It’s well-known that the US Patent and Trademark Office is broken in terms of IT patents, now someone fix it. Oh, and let’s see a large enough company challenge Apple on multitouch and all the other ideas they’ve stolen, then patented, when implementing the iPhone.

It’s time someone spanked them around a bit.

Google might want to learn how to make a web site

I realize it’s a tough world for a company coming from a place with a binary understanding of languages (“English” and “Foreign”), but this has nothing to do with cultural differences. It’s about understanding web technology. Or your users, for that matter.

When you visit most of Google’s services, their interface will change its language based on Google’s guess of where you are. If you’re a businessguy travelling in Korea and want to access your e-mail via the web, even from your own computer in the hotel, you’re in for a fantastic learning experience. Puzzle for hours over the interface, wondering whether that button says “Delete” or “Squid sandwich”. Marvel at the new Arabic positioning of interface elements. Get ready to learn German even though it appears nowhere in your browser’s accept-languages list. Millions of people already speak German, might as well catch up to see what all the hype is about. And when you’re subscribed to a Swedish company’s ADSL service (like I was), Google cheerfully serves results in Swedish. Men det är inte so god för de som talar inte svensk.

Google seems to geotarget languages. They try to guess your IP’s location, then serve you some language that they pick from a conveniently located black top hat like the struggling little bunny it is. Living in a country with four official languages, Google’s behavior becomes especially rude. Can they tell whether my IP is from Chur or from Domat/Ems, two towns only a few kilometers apart but with different languages? What about bilingual places such as Biel/Bienne? Oh, that’s right, languages are binary, so that situation would never come up.

Google, here’s an idea. What if the user told you what language they want to accept? There could be, say, a field in the GET request header that tells your servers what languages the user wants to see. This would be a miraculous innovation if it hadn’t been in the HTTP spec since 1999. If you implemented that, perhaps your news groups wouldn’t be filling up with eight pages of user requests to turn off the darn geotargeting since at least September 2007. It would also help if Google services didn’t completely ignore the language settings in users’ accounts, as they do right now. I get German sometimes, then English, perhaps this is a quantum situation and every time I am not googling for anything, my results turn Swahili.

If you’ve reached this page wondering how you do change your language settings for Google’s services, here’s a quote directly from the horse. Err, I mean Graham:

That preference page actually just sets a cookie — language
preference isn’t stored permanently in a database or anything. If
there’s no cookie set, we’ll go by your browser’s language
preferences, which is probably what’s happening for you.

So if you want to get around this, you can do one of the following:

  • Set Firefox to not automatically delete cookies on shut down.
  • Change your browser’s language preference to English.
  • Bookmark and use that link
    for accessing Reader. (The “hl=en” forces it into English, regardless
    of any other settings.)


Jumping through hoops? It’s the new web experience. Trouble with this approach is, there still seems to be some geotargeting involved, so if you forget accessing the services via hl=en, you might still end up googling in Sanskrit from time to time.

New Category and New Language: Planet HGKZ and German

We’re about to start a blogging experiment at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Zurich (abbreviated HGKZ in German) where those of us who blog about work-related things add a matching category to their blogs. From there, posts in that category are aggregated into a planet, the address of which I’ll spit onto these pages as soon as it’s known.

The goal is, mostly, to let each other and the public know what we waste our time with at the office. Sometimes we do interesting and groundbreaking things that might be useful for other people to replicate, but no one ever knows — this has to change. A side effect is that the taxpayer can observe first hand what they pay us for. At least from my perspective, this kind of transparency is extremely important.

One problem for me is that I’ve only blogged in English so far, but most readers of Planet HGKZ will probably like German better. Since WordPress seems to only have suboptimal solutions for multilingual blogging, that will make my blog a bit messy in the future. If you don’t know German, just ignore the Planet HGKZ category and you should be fine.

Personally, I plan to use that category to blog about the issues I encounter day by day. Mostly things about Free Software, software licensing, cultural licensing (CC and the like), GNU/Linux system administration, heterogeneous networks and interoperability and the odd bit about cultural events in Zürich and around it. A solid, tight-packed bundle of boredom for you to enjoy!

Schering's Document Holders are not Schering's

The Schering medical group was recently purchased by Bayer and is now called Bayer Schering Pharma. But even before that, Schering was making millions. 690 millions in the first three quarters of 2006? Not so bad.

But with all that money they don’t seem to be able to afford their own fake leather document holders to give away at seminars. Instead, they just relabel some that the city of Aarau (?) already used previously, five years ago 🙂

Here’s proof:


Yes, okay, don’t poke my eyes out yet! I know this might be the fault of whichever marketing company was charged with providing the document holders. And I actually find this rather charming. Instead of sentencing these wonderful plastic leather document holders to a burning death, someone seems to have purchased a whole pile of them and is using them in their intended purpose.

I just hope they didn’t rip anyone off by charging the same price a new one would cost.

New theme

Here we go, a new theme. I’m not an expert at CSS, but I think it more or less works. Due to a severe lack of imagination, I’ve called it “Technophile Monkey”. If you want to use the theme too (or tweak it), you can get it at svn://

The theme is quite liquid, uses em units instead of pixels for almost all elements and should scale very well for small and large screens as well as any font adjustments you might have made in your browser.

Let me know what you think, even if you think it’s horrid 🙂

Recipe: Pot au Fou (lactose-free)

My girlfriend went off on a work-related BBQ event, but not without leaving me two pieces of her bacon-wrapped chicken. Excavations in the fridge revealed an eggplant and vestiges of cheesy maccaroni. Interesting, but it doesn’t quite fit together. To rescue: the Pot au Fou!

– Take an **eggplant** and slice it up, equal thickness if possible:


– Put some **olive oil** into a pot (with lid) that you can use in the oven. You don’t need much oil if you also use bacon, like me! Then add some **meat** that you’ve seasoned. Use more meat, less meat, it’s your choice.


– Layer your **eggplant slices** on top of the meat and season them to taste. Don’t use too much salt as it would pull the liquid out of the poor eggplant. I recommend a bit of salt, pepper and paprika powder, plus some garlic. Sprinkle olive oil on every layer of eggplant, but not too much! If there are any holes consisting of non-eggplant, stick some **pasta leftovers** in there. If you don’t have leftovers, you can cook pasta fresh for this dish, but that’d use an additional pot. The horror!


– Cover and stick in the oven for **20 – 30 minutes at 180 – 200 C**. The exact temperatures depend a bit on the thickness of your meat. You want the meat to be well done, especially if it’s chicken. If uncertainty overcomes you in the middle of cooking but the eggplant looks finished already, set your oven to only heat from below for a few minutes so the meat gets most of the heat. That rhymes!

– The result might look like this:


– Not very yummy? Wrong! Look at it on its own little plate:


Okay, it looks like brains, chimp fists and noodles. But don’t let that keep you from making this wonderful dish. The eggplant tastes almost like grilled, and the layers further down suck up delicious olive oil which further amplifies their flavors.