A lottery ticket

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 at 0:20 | Posted in Blogosphere, hyperlink, internet | 2 Comments

Spamjunkies want their blog to be linked by other blogs. They want it so bad that they are putting up a lottery between blocks who ping them. The jackpot is up to 250 € and this is my ticket.

viaSchrottie and Peter

Linking in a foreign language

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 17:47 | Posted in Blogosphere, hyperlink, languages | 4 Comments

It turns out that I have unintentionally managed to cause some confusion by doing something as innocent as linking to a blog. The confusion was based on the fact that I was linking from a post written in Finnish to a post written in German. My Finnish post was in one of my blogs that is specialized on topics around work and the linked blog was in Udo Vetter’s law blog.

Mr. Vetter wrote a short post about somebody who was on a sick leave but was nevertheless summoned by his employer to appear in the office for a career prospect discussion. He had a clause in his contract that banned use of alcohol during working hours. When the man appeared for the discussion, two persons showed up and breathalized him. He was subsequently fired because the breath test showed 0,2 promille of alcohol in his blood.

The topic of alcohol and employment is interesting per se. In this case it appeared that the career discussion was used as an excuse to get rid of the employee which also made it interesting in context of a work related blog. So I wrote a summary (not a word for word translation) of the original post and linked to it.

Udo Vetter wrote yesterday that he had a funny trackback of which he understood just one word: alcohol. This prompted a number of comments both in his blog and mine. One of them, written by Jossi, even managed to reproduce a translation back to German that essentially matches with the original post.

An anonymous comment in my blog asks me this question:

Did it ever occur to you that setting trackbacks to foreign-language blogs might be considered impolite if you don’t provide a translation of your entry in the other blog’s language and/or English?

That is indeed an interesting question. In this particular case it would have practically meant that I had to copy and paste the original post to my blog which I did not think was a good idea as I was linking to it. How polite would that have been?

I do usually make a post in my English blog when linking to a blog in a language other than that of the blog. I do not remember why I failed to post this one in English. The time stamp of my post shows that it was written at 3.47 a.m. local time which would suggest that I might have gone to bed right after posting.

Baring in mind that I currently blog in four languages and could write up to 20 posts on a busy day, I sometimes do not even remember which topic I have covered in which blog. But the general rule is that I make a post in English of whatever I find in German blogs. By the way, those are a good source of interesting material.

But the question remains: is it impolite to link in a foreign language? I sometimes get linked to in a language that I do not even recognize, much less understand. I have mostly managed to somehow figure out what they post about but it is not such a big deal for me. If somebody thinks that I have written something that is worth refering to, I have nothing against that it is shared to people who do not understand the language I was blogging in.

I have also seen lots of posts in German blogs refering and linking to something that was written in another language, mostly English. But I have never seen a post reproduced in English. Which brings up the question if there are not two different standards of politeness.

English is of course the universal language of the Internet but it would be a shame if the web was all English. That would eventually mean that the smaller languages would die out. Of the European languages, German, French, Spanish and Italian are big enough to survive but langauges like Finnish and Estonian would be reduced to something only spoken on Sundays if there was no web content in those languages. But the smaller nations also need to interact with others which is why it is necessary to refer to web material in other languages.

Verleubnungsgebühr

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 at 16:19 | Posted in Blogosphere, Finland, Germany, hyperlink, internet, it, Media, Not serious, TV | 3 Comments

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the absurd plans in Denmark and Germany to impose a TV license fee to computers connected to the Internet. The justification behind the media tax is that it is technically possible to watch TV with such a computer.

The TV license is collected in most European countries to finance the public broadcasting services. The rules and regulations are a bit different in each of the countries but basically you have to pay the fee if you have a TV receiver regardless of what you watch. Just having a television in your home justifies the assumption that you watch public television because it is possible to do so with the TV set you have.

As from next year, Germany is going to introduce a compulsory TV fee for computers attatched to the web. The fee will be 17,83 € a month. I do not know the avergae price of a DSL connection in Germany but I pay 22,90 € a month for my max 1 Mb/s connection here in Finland. The current TV fee in Finland is around 17 € a month depending on whether you pay for three, six or 12 months at a time. This would mean that if a similar Internet tax were to be introduced here, my access to the web would cost me almost twice as much as it does today. I do not have a TV set.

Farlion has come to the brilliant idea of imposing a blogging fee for public broadcasting and other government organisations reading his blog. The fee is, of course, 17,83 € a month for each IP address that he will detect in his logs. And because it will be technically possible for the organisations to return to his blog, he is going to send out the bill on a monthly basis.

I just thought that I could join Farlion in this action to show my solidarity with the German Internet users. But I am going to call it the slander fee. The German term is going to be Verleubnungsgebühr whereby the intentional misspelling is identical to that of Callboy Torsten.

Basically, I am going to impose this slander fee on German visitors who detect anything in my blog that they judge to constitute a slander. Reading any of my blog content that the reader detects and recognizes as non slanderous will be free of charge. The list of organisations includes but is not limited to public broadcasters, members of Bundestag, public prosecutors, government agencies and ministries of all sorts except public libraries where members of public have access to the Internet.

In addition to the slander fee, the German Health Ministry will be imposed a slander linking fee, Verleubnungsverlinkungsgebühr because they no doubt have all technical possibilities to put up hyperlinks to anything in my blog that they may find slanderous. So it will be 17,83 € a month for everybody else conserned but 35,66 € for all IPs under the Health Ministry. My bank details will be sent together with the first invoices.

As many German bloggers are enthusiastic about Farlion’s idea, he has asked for assistance from various segments of the blogging community. Lawyers are asked to help him draft the rules of the blogging fee and web designers are expected to deliver propositions to a special blogging fee button to be included in participating blogs. The blogging fee is about to become a pointless demonstration against a pointless media tax which is exactly why this blog, while outside German jurisdiction, is supporting it.

Peeking behind the Fischerwerke scene

Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 13:57 | Posted in Blogosphere, ethics, Germany, hyperlink, internet, Legal, social | 5 Comments
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The 86 year old Artur Fischer is the founder of Fischerwerke. The corporation’s turnover last year was 457 million € and the family’s private assets are estimated to be around 250 million €. The corporation has been run since 1980 by the founder’s son, 55 year old Klaus Fischer.

The family’s daughter, the 58 year old Mrs. Margot Fischer-Weber used to work for her father and brother. She was born with a severe hearing disable and was unable to complete her school education. She joined the family enterprise as an employee at the age of 15 in 1963 and served the family for 36 years.

Mrs. Fischer-Weber abandoned her inheritance rights in favor of her brother in 1984. She describes the occasion when the act was signed and sealed by a notary in her web site. She says that she was not in position to understand the true meaning of the document she was presented to. Due to her disability, she was unable to properly hear what was being said and was provided with no legal advice. She says that she signed the document because she trusted her father.

Mrs. Fischer-Weber’s web site www.fischerfratze.de also includes a detailed and documented description of the circumstances, under which her employment came to an end. Without going into details I can tell you that it is not a flattering story about this stinking rich family in the hi-tech business. The site is entitled (in my free translation) “Sharks and other Fis(c)h(er)” and the domain name fischerfratze.de stands for fischer grimace.

The family’s lawyers sent a letter to Margot Fischer-Weber on Monday 12th June 2006 demanding the site be taken off line by Wednesday 14th June. In opposite case, the family threatens to sue their daughter for slander or libel. The site is on line as I type this on Thursday the 15th June.

The story has been covered by several German blogs: law blog, Mein Parteibuch, Basic Thinking, ElbeBlawg and others). Most of them do not link to Mrs. Fischer-Weber’s site because of the absurd German court practices. A hyperlink may make the linking site responsible of the contents in the disputed target site which means that bloggers under German jurisdiction would risk being sued by this family with much more wealth than social conscience.

German ministry unvoluntarily funny

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 at 1:35 | Posted in Germany, hyperlink, internet | 2 Comments

The German Health Ministry seems to be under the false understanding that they have a say on the conditions under which their web site is being linked. The ministry has published its its terms and conditions for accepting a hyperlink to their site. They suggest that I would by linking to them become a party of an agreement with them and they also suggest that they may cancel their agreement to be linked to unless I comply with their conditions.

One of the conditions in this so called agreement is that the ministry expects to be e-mailed within 24 hours after setting up the hyperlink or removing it. The e-mail notice should include the URL of the web page where the hyperlink has been placed.

The blogging German lawyer Udo Vetter has sent a letter to the Minister of Health, Ms Ulla Schmidt. After establishing that he is not a party in a non existing agreement with the ministry, Mr. Vetter asks the minister how come the ministry thinks they are in a position to control or regulate linking to their web site. He also points out that in case these linking rules were written by the same people who wrote the laws regulating the German health care, it is no longer a wonder that the health care system is going to hell in a handbasket.

Listen up, all you jokers in the German Health Ministry! Send your webmasters to a lesson where they have a chance to learn what the Internet is all about and how it works. While you are at it, tell them also to find out how to track referers to your site. And do not expect and e-mail notification from me.

Update:The German Green Party Youth Organisation makes the interesting point that you could just as well attach a sticker to your car saying that all parking tickets issued to your vehicle are void. The Green Youth Organisation is also expecting to get sued by the ministry for refusing to remove the ministry’s logo from two pages in their web site. The logo in question can be seen in the ministry’s web site.

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