Jun 02

Britain Won the War, Germany Won the East!

ID-100183883As we move through the 100 year anniversary of World War I, I found myself watching an entertaining BBC documentary about how to become more German and what is it like to be German. It seems the British somewhat envy Germany’s industrial strength and want to understand what it is that makes Germany so successful and what they can learn from them.

For those lucky enough to be in or able to visit Berlin, there is also a fascinating and interesting World War I anniversary exhibition at the Deutsche Historische Museum (German History Museum) with tickets at €8 for adults.

One of the concepts the video below explores is that of German ‘Mittelstand’, which is equal to small to medium sized traditional or family owned companies. One thing the video misses, and which is an important feature I have observed during difficult economic periods, is the ability of German companies to keep workers EMPLOYED. Many workers will accept 30-50% less work for a short period of time ‘Zeitarbeit’ or until economic conditions improve. US companies normally fire people first to protect profits and then rehire as the economy improves. The difference is that German workers and companies remain highly skilled and are able to produce superior quality products and services as their experience levels deepens and strengthens over time. Competitors often play catch up by retraining new staff constantly and focusing on quality improvement programs. For Germans, quality is almost a given.

May 29

Useful Deutsche Welle Resources for German and English Learners

Hi all,

Here are a couple of my favourite Deutsche Welle resources for English speakers and German learners.

1. DW’s YouTube channel is a great source of clips for English trainers that can be used on a tablet in training sessions or to send as links to English learners. See: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCknLrEdhRCp1aegoMqRaCZg

2. Online German courses suitable for English speakers wanting to improve or brush up on their German. See: http://www.dw.de/learn-german/german-courses/s-2547

3. DW’s Business site is also favourite to follow what’s new in Germany in the world of business and is equally suitable for English speakers and German learners alike. See: http://www.dw.de/top-stories/business/s-1431


Apr 21

Google under fire from German media tycoon (Advanced)

It seems that everywhere we look these days our freedom to use the internet and the protection of our data security and privacy is under constant attack. These attacks come not just from hackers trying to exploit the latest security bug, but are increasingly the result of strategies implemented by government institutions like the National Security Administration and various technology platforms.

People are slowly but surely waking up to the dangers of the Google virus, or monopolies like them that endanger our sense of freedom, control, privacy, security and choice. The CEO of Axel Springer also recently compared these platforms to viruses.

“With the exception of biological viruses, there is nothing with such speed, efficiency and aggressiveness that spreads like these technology platforms, and this also lends its creators, owners and users with new power.”

Source: BBC Article

Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft are just a few of the companies engaged in this complete data control vision. He went on further in the BBC article to explain how he had been at a conference when somebody asked Mark Zuckerberg how Facebook stored data and protected users’ privacy.

“And Zuckerberg said: ‘I do not understand your question. Those who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear.’ ”

I guess if you are happy trading away your security for comfort, then everything is fine but user beware – you are increasingly amongst a declining group – that is increasingly targeted by hackers, technology platforms and governments alike.

 http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=Facebook%2C%20Google&cmpt=qUntitledJust check out this lovely video by an Italian Hacking company that sells it software to various government agencies.

At the end of the day, if it isn’t open source and proven to be secure, don’t use it!