bookmark_borderRejsekortet og den fremtidige afskaffelse af klippekortene

Da jeg var i København først på ugen, lagde jeg på stationerne mærke til nogle blå cirkler på stolper. Det viste sig at være til brug for Rejsekortet, et elektronisk billetsystem, der ligner Londons Oyster-kort.

Umiddelbart lød det da som en helt god idé, men da jeg så læste efter, hvad planen er, så jeg til min bestyrtelse, at det “med tiden [vil] erstatte klippe- og månedskort”.

At afskaffe månedskort er fint nok, men hvis de afskaffer klippekortene, er det jo problematisk for folk med bopæl i udlandet, der ofte rejser til Danmark, da man skal have bopæl i landet for at købe et Rejsekort (bortset fra det anonyme, der koster meget mere i brug). Det er heller ikke godt for folk, der kun bruger offentlig transport i begrænset omfang (fx ti busture pr. år), da det koster 50 kr. i anskaffelse. Begge grupper bliver dermed nemt skubbet over i enkeltbilletter, der er meget dyrere.

Jeg håber derfor, de snarest finder en billig og simpel løsning for folk, der som mig i den forgangne uge tager et fly til København, tager S-tog og Metro rundt i byen i fem dage, og så flyver hjem igen. Ellers bliver Danmark i praksis endnu dyrere for turister, end det allerede er tilfældet.

bookmark_borderMy most popular blog postings ever

I’ve had a look at my most popular blog postings:

Blog posting Views Comment
How to make business cards in LaTeX 5,004 A very useful posting for people wanting to make their own business cards using LaTeX.
Bjørnebanden er hunde! 2,476 Just pointing out that the Beagle Boys in Danish are called the “Bear Gang”, which is a bit odd given that they clearly aren’t depicted as bears.
Hvilke partier er tættest på hinanden? 2,385 A Danish political analysis.
More about pizza ovens 1,350 Discussing what kind of pizza oven I’d build in our garden if money was no object.
Stem blankt! 1,223 Telling people not to vote yes or no in the referendum on abolishing male primogeniture in Denmark.
Which voting system should you use for choosing a voting system? 1,161 A link to a blog posting on BBC’s site.
Periodic table of mixology 834 Criticising a photo of a poster.
Langtidsstegning af and 800 A recipe for Danish Christmas duck.
Where can I buy food-grade caustic soda? 754 Trying to find a crucial German ingredient.

I’m not sure what to conclude from this. I clearly should write more on culinary topics and less about linguistics if these numbers are to be believed, but I can’t help thinking that many of these are simply popular because people stumble upon them in Google searches, not because they’re really that interesting and well-written.

Isn’t my article about changing England’s borders more provocative, the one about Lünmòn funnier, and this one about how to play Danish Monopoly (Matador) more informative than either of the more popular ones?

bookmark_borderDennis Ritchie’s process has terminated

It was announced today that Dennis M. Ritchie – the ‘R’ in ‘K&R’ – has died. Although it has been mentioned in some mainstream news sources, it hasn’t exactly generated the same amount of reactions as the death of Steve Jobs.

However, I believe dmr was probably more important in the development of modern computers.

I’m sure many people read in the obituaries that he was the co-inventor of C and Unix and then just shrugged their shoulders. However, the importance of those inventions can hardly be overstated.

C is one of the most successful programming languages of all time, and it lives on as a subset of its successor languages, C++, C# and Objective-C (apart from the number of languages that have been inspired by C, such as Java, Perl and PHP). Most users might not realise it, but the vast majority of iPhone apps are written in Objective-C, just to take one example.

Unix is probably the most important and influential operating system ever. Lots of modern operating systems, such as Linux and Mac OS X, are practically speaking modern varieties of Unix, and iPhones, iPads and Android phones are basically portable Unix computers.

Of course both C and Unix were team efforts, but there’s no doubt that dmr played a crucial role in the development of both. His memory will live on for a very long time.

bookmark_borderSteve Jobs and Apple

I bought my first Mac in 1990, an SE 4/40. At that time, Steve Jobs had already been away from Apple for five years, and the company was alternating between successes and disasters.

By the time this computer needed replacing, Linux 1.0 had just been replaced, and I enthusiastically embraced the Linux world and put Apple behind me.

A few years later, Steve Jobs returned to Apple and eventually managed to turn the Macintosh into a useful computer again (the operating system had been getting slower and less stable starting with System 7 in 1991), but for a long time, the Mac seemed to appeal mainly to die-hard Apple fanboys – I was certainly never tempted to return to the fold, and my impression was that Apple was largely ignored by most people.

That changed with the introduction of the iPod and later the iPhone, both of which got huge followings. I’m convinced many modern Macintosh users only ditched their Windows computers because the iPod and iPhone had decontaminated the Apple brand.

However, I never really become a fan of Apple again – although I have an iPod Touch and a Mac Mini, I feel more attached to my Android phone and my Linux box.

I wonder what Steve Jobs will be remembered for in the longer term. My guess is that he won’t be seen as a great innovator, but rather as somebody who could spot the technologies that had the potential to appeal to non-techies. The Macintosh demonstrated that end-users liked graphical user interfaces, and Microsoft then created Windows; the iPod showed that people were ready for MP3 players; and the iPhone led the way in making people switch from ordinary mobile phones to smartphones.

bookmark_borderHappy New Kiloday!

If metric time had been introduced as I suggested, today would be the beginning of kiloday 80.

So Happy New Year (or should that be Happy New Kiloday?)!

It’s a very special day, of course. The beginning of kiloday 70 took place on the 19th of May 1984, so quite a lot has happened in the past myriaday (metric decade), and I guess the celebrations last night would have rivalled the millennium parties if only this calendar had been adopted already.

I actually wonder whether myriadays would be a better way of remembering history than either decades or centuries – have a look at this:

First day Old calendar
70,000 19 May 1984 Collapse of communism, rise of Islamist terrorism and globalisation
60,000 1 January 1957 The Cold War, building the welfare state, oil crisis
50,000 16 August 1929 The Depression and WWII
40,000 31 March 1902 The build-up to WWI, the war itself, and the boom afterwards
30,000 12 November 1874 The second industrial revolution
20,000 27 June 1847 Revolutions and civil war

It’ll be interesting to find out what will happen in this metric decade, which will end on the 19th of February 2039 (by which time I’ll be 67 years, or rather 24 kilodays old).

bookmark_borderDobbelt statsborgerskab!

Ready to conquer the mountain
Originally uploaded by ebygomm

Jeg har før skrevet om dobbelt statsborgerskab, men i lang tid så det desværre ikke ud til, at Danmark nogensinde ville tillade det.

Nu ser jeg i det nye regeringsgrundlag (PDF) på side 55 flg.: “Danmark er et moderne samfund i en international verden. Derfor skal det være muligt at have dobbelt statsborgerskab.”

Det er jo helt vidunderligt, hvis det rent faktisk bliver gennemført! Det eneste, der bekymrer mig lidt, er, at det står i en afsnit om udlændinge, så man kan godt blive nervøs for, de især vil afskaffe, at udlændinge skal frasige sig deres statsborgerskab for at blive danskere (som da jeg udskiftede mit tyske pas med et dansk omkring 1980), og ikke helt har fokus på, om danskere i udlandet skal kunne opnå statsborgerskab dér uden at skulle frasige sig deres danske indfødsret.

Jeg håber dog det bedste. Hvem véd, måske kan jeg ligefrem opnå tredobblet statsborgerskab (dansk, tysk og britisk) inden for de næste fem år? 🙂

Følg med her og på!

bookmark_borderDenmark’s fat tax

Originally uploaded by tellumo

Today Denmark introduced a tax on fat. Technically speaking, this is a levy of 16 Danish crowns (£1.87) per kilo of saturated fat.

Gauging from the Guardian’s article, reactions abroad are not uniformly negative. However, I think it’s a horrible idea.

First of all, not everybody is trying to avoid fat – lots of people are underweight, and some of us swear to Atkins when we want to lose weight – and why exactly should thin people and people on diets be punished by the tax system? Also, young kids are generally advised to avoid low-fat products (at least in the UK).

Secondly, the fat tax is too hard to apply, so to a large extent it will just make all products more expensive. For instance, here is part of a Danish article in my translation:

[…] A number of bakers in the North of Jutland have decided to distribute the fat tax on all products, including the low-fat ones. This means that the price of for instance a cream cake does not increase as much as the fat tax would otherwise have intended that they should.

“If we only raise the price of cream cakes, sales of them will grind to a halt. Therefore, we’ve chosen to spread the tax on all products,” says Preben Ramskov from Hjellerup Bakery.

The fact that the baker and the butcher can decide that the price of fatty foods should not rise as much as intended by the fat tax is confirmed by Tor Christensen from the Danish HMRC.

“They’re allowed to do that. They pay the fat tax on the goods they buy, but we do not interfere in how they distribute the price increase on the goods in the store,” says Tor Christensen. […]

I totally understand that it would be too hard to require a baker or a butcher to calculate the exact fat contents of every single product in store, but if a tax is impossible to apply justly, it should be abolished. Alas, the new Danish government appears to be in favour of this stupid tax, so I guess it’s unlikely it’ll be abolished any time soon. I just hope it won’t spread to Scotland!