Good News Everyone!

After thorough investigations I believe to have solved the last mechanical challenges to make full control of the typewriter feasible. (in the least invasive / visual way)

  • cartridge return can be done by rolling up a string around the corner and released after it is done OR a motor with gears right behind it and raising the bar for the tabs to connect with the gears there (less hidden)
  •  New Line: stepping motor, gear and belt to be able to sit on the cartridge that slides left and right.
  •  key hammers get stuck: not enough power in the spring that was used to pull them back, can be easily achieved through extra weight on the hook of the spring.

Typewriter to Printer Conversion

Earlier this year I got myself a typewriter. I was on my way home and spotted this beauty at the local second hand / old / random things store. The owner told me he wants just 50$ for it since it was broken.

Challenge accepted.

50$ later I found myself schlepping this very heavy piece of solid steel home (almost 100 years old and purely mechanical).

Took me about 15 min to fix it. Just the spring that pulls back the cartridge was disconnected.

It is a 12 – 12 Remington in case you are interested.

Since it was working I had fun typing some letters on it. Learned fast why word processing / printers won over typewriters. Anyway, …

Since it is such a beauty and working well, I was day dreaming about combining two things, the ease of word processing on your computer and the character of those “hand” typed letters. (crazy maybe?) . Imagine you hit print on your computer and the typewriter over there starts typing it for you.

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Functional Teeth via Implants

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to get a tooth replaced, by an implant.

My sister and me have this genetic issue, where deciduous teeth (baby teeth) are not replaced by real teeth (I think it is called Hypodontia). Anyway, I just had one and dentists in Austria, during my childhood, told me it will be fine (since it was covered in Amalgam), until I grow up. So two years ago, at 23, I decided, I grew up and should figure this out.

I got the tooth out and started shopping for a good implant that would last (kind of like shopping for a car, asking for warranty and maintenance costs). However, my dentist in Austria told me, he won’t do it, since I am moving to Canada soon and they have “more experience there”.

After looking around a little here and talking to people, I found the dental practice of my choice and just did it.  15 minutes after my appointment started, I was out of there already, with a nice socket in my mouth. If you want to see my mouth right after the surgery, click here.

To cut a long story short, this socket in my mouth got me thinking about a functional tooth:

  • Sensors – Can I put some sensors in the crown that analyze calorie intake or report whatever can be analyzed by breath?
  • Energy –  My Smart Tooth could generate enough energy to run itself and sync with my computer via Bluetooth (funny, eh?) by just chewing, since there is a lot of energy anyway.
Way more research needs to be done on this. Imagine, having a tooth implant anyway, what it could be useful for.

English Idioms learned the hard way.

Photo by Jeffrey Beall

Do you know what “being half in the bag” means? I thought I did, until this happened …

First, if you know what it means, read on. If you don’t know, or just maybe know, read this! English is not my first language, so while living in an English speaking place, I do sometimes reuse phrases and idioms without double-checking them, since, to be honest, it is just not feasible, and works great most of the times.

Well this is how it worked out with “being half in the bag”.

During my first visit in Toronto (years ago) we were invited to a New Years Eve party at a friends place. When we arrived, the host opened the door in his bathrobe and said: “Thanks for coming over, I am already half in the bag so make yourself at home, I will be with you in five“.

Continue reading “English Idioms learned the hard way.”

How a park made a fool out of me, 3 times. True story.

Considering a downtown park, in a mega city like Toronto, I assumed the following things are impossible, can’t exist or just won’t work. Oh boy, was I wrong:

1. Did you know white squirrels exist? No? Me neither, until I saw one at the park!


2. Checking out the neighbourhood of an apartment we where going to see, I discovered this huge park where Google Maps revealed 8 tennis courts in there. Looking forward getting some use out of my racket, I considered worth shipping over from Vienna, I started searching for the Tennis Club operating it, trying to find out membership fees, etc. I did not find anything! Okay, maybe they just don’t have a website. After moving there I walked up the the tennis courts and just asked someone about where to get a membership and how much it is.

Continue reading “How a park made a fool out of me, 3 times. True story.”

How to trade in a bad habit for a good one!

Why aren’t you using the triggers that make you fall into a bad habit, to start a good habit, instead? Have fruit instead of coffee. An apple instead of a smoke.

Your brain is a super automator. Decisions you often make, become automatic. Let’s call them habits.

Some times when you believe you are still in power of making a decision, your brain is already in auto-mode though. Sneaky, eh? A trigger got you to perform a habit. You don’t have to think about it – that’s what makes it a habit, right? Buckling your seatbelt when you get in the car, etc. So I guess we can all agree on:

We are what we repeatedly to and therefore creatures of habit!

If you dont believe me, you should read The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg and Willpower, by Roy F. Baumeister & John TierneyThese books helped me understand habits and their creation better.

Experimenting with my own habits with has been fun so far. Great lessons learned with the first users and now we are tweaking it to produce higher habit changing success rates with our findings. If you have some habits you want to trade in too, feel free to sign on to our early invite list at!

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How to live without cable TV

Image representing Boxee as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

After years without a TV in Vienna, we ended up receiving one as a gift after moving to Toronto. Since we did not really miss a TV, it stayed in its box for a while. What made us not miss a TV at all? Our entertainment / information consumption habits had completely changed!

  • It started at University in England: Besides high TV licence fees, we did not even think about getting a shared TV for our flat, as there was just so much else to do on campus for entertainment. The news we collected online anyway already. For movies and shows there was already the itunes store.
  • Back in Austria, moving in with Jane, I brought my old TV to our apartment (just because I considered it part of my furniture) and removed it again after a week.
  • We still watched TV shows and movies on itunes every now and then. But owning a physical TV device with a cable / satellite connection did no add any value for us, as the “live” factor did not matter to us (we dont watch sports).
  • It made us go outside and meet people, read books, etc, as there wasn’t the convenience of just pressing a button and sit on the couch any longer.
Boxee Box and Remote
Boxee Box and Remote (Photo credit: William Hook)

So here we are, having a huge TV, we got as a gift. We needed to work something out. Looking into streaming solutions, as we hate the TV cable companies here, brought us to about a year ago. And we are happy with it, we hardly see any ads, watch tv shows and movies whenever we want and got access to lots of alternative / independent libraries. First we were scared that his convenience will get us to watch more TV again, but we were wrong. We still can’t just go to a channel and let it flow. And I think that is what makes us watch less TV. What are your thoughts?

If you are planning to get a, make sure you have a real unlimited internet plan. Also they have a stick now that will give you live TV in case you want it (just a few channels). I like about the boxee that they are improving it constantly, the user interface improved very much in the last year and I am sure that buying a boxee was a good investment. Let me know if you have questions about available content in Toronto.

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How following my grandfathers advice brought me to Canada

Just before I went to study in the UK for a year, my grandfather got serious: “Don’t fall in love with an Englishwomen, it would be such a pain for the family to travel back and forth, on top of the language barrier“.

When I got back, I told him I followed his advice: “Her name is Jane, she is from Canada.”

And here we are! After spending two years in Vienna together, while I was finishing my Masters degree, we moved to Jane’s hometown, Toronto, in January 2011. However, travelling back and forth for family events hasn’t been that bad, thanks to direct flights. And languages, can be learned.

Since St. Patricks is coming up, I have a story about an Irish guy to share as well: He has been living here since many years and asked me why I moved over. I told him I did because of the best reason ever, because of a woman. He started laughing, told me I might haven’t been living here long enough to understand, as my reason to move over is just the second best reason. Wondering what the best reason is then, he said: “Because it’s the f$%&#ing best country in the world!”.

Stay tuned for more stories about how it feels to live in Toronto, that I will publish in the next weeks. In case you wonder, how I got myself back into blogging, checkout out, where I challenged myself to make daily blogging, a habit.

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Get your ideas to flow into execution

Ideas just happen to me, that’s pretty easy going. Making them actually happen, by executing them, is the difficult part. That’s why we are working on Ideas seem to be liquid, they have a “flow” and are constantly iterating while working on the execution. To help with that process, we designed the “Ideaflow”:

  • After entering your initial idea, we automatically enrich it through semantics. Imagine your just posting one paragraph and we add related ideas, articles, images, tags and link from the web – basically helping you understand the environment your idea is in.
  • Your Idea is online and you can start inviting people to join the team.
  • Together you enter stage 2 of the Ideaflow, where mind-mapping /  brainstorming is happening to structure all the aspects of the idea.
  • When you see the big picture of your idea you can turn the mindmap into a wiki, where you start filling the gaps in your concept and can easily, via drag’n’drop, assign tasks to team members or yourself.
  • As tasks are getting completed and therefore your idea is executed, what was a concept first, turns into a project documentation.

Does that sound interesting to you? Feel free to get in touch and I can set you up with a free test account for your organization.

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