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Home of the "19 inch talk" & other nerd stuff

Donate Your Dusty Device!

Hands on a variety of devices
Put your old internet connected device to new, good use

Start clutter-free into the new year – and help Open Device Labs (ODLs) around the globe with their initiative “Donate Your Dusty Device” (DYDD).

As you might know, Open Device Labs are shared community pools of internet connected devices such as smartphones, tablets, or consoles, and are open for developers to test their websites and apps. Which helps to make the web and app cosmos better – so why not support what supports the tools you are using (and potentially making a living off) on a daily basis?

Websites or apps unfortunately do not always work as expected, especially across mobile devices. There are around 20,000 different models, and about 15 new devices are released every week. Each variant of a device is unique and comes with its own technical quirks and hurdles. Having access to these varied devices, both modern and older, is critical for testing the user experience but often poses problems to developers creating new content.

If you just got yourself a new smartphone or tablet and are looking for a helpful new use for your old device, consider donating it to an Open Device Lab. Over 90 Labs have been established already at locations worldwide. Everyone benefits from access to a free device testing pool – including donators.

Can you support an Open Device Lab with a spare device? Go to OpenDeviceLab.com/DYDD now. Only three easy steps separate your functional old device from a meaningful new existence that is benefitial for the greater good.

OpenDeviceLab.com – a directory to a global movement

Logo OpenDeviceLab.com
OpenDeviceLab.com

Open Device Labs (ODL, ODLs) are a grass roots community movement that enables developers around the globe to easily access real devices to test their work and improve the user experience across the huge variety of internet connected devices.

When I began to compile what appeared to be the first global directory of ODLs on the web in July 2012, only half a year ago, we had 8 ODLs – all of them in Europe. Four months ago I had founded LabUp! together with a bunch of like-minded, to help establish Open Device Labs. And among others, I began to build lobby and raise awareness for the movement wherever possible.

Today, we have 37 ODLs across 18 countries with over 500 devices accessible. Another 15 ODLs are preparing to become established hopefully soon.

In the past two months my mates Christian Schaefer and Anselm Hannemann spent numerous hours of their free time together with me to move the ODL idea forward, up to what we’re proud to announce today: OpenDeviceLab.com, a service crafted to serve three major goals:

  • Help people across the world to locate the right Open Device Lab for the job
  • Explain and promote the Open Device Lab movement – and help ODLs to become more visible
  • Attract contributors and sponsors to help and donate to ODLs.

If you like the project, please help us to spread the word and raise awareness about the ODL idea and the importancy of real device testing. You can tweet or post on your favorite social network, blog about it, or simply comment and rate any Open Device Lab you have used with the respective functionality on OpenDeviceLab.com.

And if you should run into @derSchepp or @helloanselm, tell them they’re the awesomness in person and invite them on a beer, for dinner, and to your house. Without Schepp and Anselm OpenDeviceLab.com would not serve the ODL movement today (you guys rule, and I cannot thank you enough for all your help!).

This is the classic 1.0 release of OpenDeviceLab.com, and I am eager to see where it will take us. And how YOU like it, via your comments. But pick your words wisely, you might end up reading them at http://opendevicelab.com/#comments! ;)=

Hard-Bit-Rock at Computer Club: that is a *true* classic!

If you are around my age and live in germany, especially when you grew up here and watched TV as a kid, you might still remember VIDEODAT, KOMCOM or the legendary “Lallus”. But for sure you’d remember the two Wolfgangs and their thumbs-up together with the legendary bit, that they “always keep as a spare” to the end of every episode of a true cult TV show (in times of superexpensive and rare RAM a “spare bit” to the audience had (a true nerds) talisman character). OMG, these guys have been a part of my life for all my boyhood, and beyond! And I am pretty sure the TV show they do is somehow responsible for what I chose as my profession.

The “WDR Computer Club”…

…is the first german TV show that solely focuses on computer technology – since 1983. I have been only nine years in 1983, but I have lively memories on a whole bunch of epic episodes: KOMCOM, probably the first public mailbox ever. The Acoustic-Coupler-Episode from 1994 (the unit sat in a wooden box). The legendary first episode broadcasted from the CeBit (still the largest and most international IT expo of the world, back these days a huge thing to have that only 100km from my hometown). Boy that has been epic stuff!

Oh yeah, and the Hard-Bit-Rock: back these days Computer Club used a part of each episode to broadcast their deafening acoustic data transmission signal via the TVs audio channel. This way they transferred code in BASICODE format to the audience, who recorded the audio on Datassette and… yeah, you know. Much better than to manually typewrite the code from the Bildschirmtext (BTX) pages of the show. The two hosts simply continued the show by only showing stuff, without talking! Anyway: remember the lobby of computers back these days – now imagine the families faces and daddy and son playing this super distracting sound on high volumes on sunday afternoon in the living room to record it via microphone to a cassette deck… hilarious!

That has not only been a bit distracting for the 1.000.000 (!) audience of that TV show – also for the neighbors. ;oD= And that is why the two Wolfgangs finally took down that audio and invented VIDEODAT, to transfer their BASICODE over the full episode creating a flashing area near the top of the screen, which was captured and recorded to the computer using a simple self-soldered circuit with Photodiodes, taped in front of the TV-screen. Looked a bit like a Videotape-Recorder with a totally misadjusted tracking. Like animated QR-codes, but 15, 20 years ago… just genius stuff – back these days as well as today!

Computer Club 2 Studio
That is pure cult – Computer Club 2 recordings, a view on the good old mostly “analogue” production rig

Computer Club 2…

…is the sequel to this success story. Sequel, because some lobotomized idiot at the TV Station WDR decided even against 250.000 people signing petitions, to discontinue one of the oldest and most renowned shows on german television after 23 years and over 400 episodes. That is why the two Wolfgangs and their colleague Heinz Schmitz go ahead on their own. And produce – in their typical, not always 100% modern but even more charming way – via the Internet. Computer Club 2 is also available as a Podcast, as well as Audiodat – a format using Flash to play back visuals keyframed to the podcast, developed by the makers themselves. For sure there is also the classic Video, (whyever) as a download on the CCzwei-Homepage. And of course the TV broadcast via some small and mostly unknown channels, which fortunately also upload the episodes to YouTube. All broadcast channels added, Computer Club 2 is still at an audience of about 300.000 per episode. That’s quite huge for germany, even more when you realize this is all based on donations. Are you going to donate something as well? Thank you!

Long story, short baseline. I have been invited as a guest to Computer Club. No kidding! Actually I even had the honour to be in TWO episodes. I think I will buy a house by the lake and go fishing now – somehow it feels I achieved everything a nerds life has to offer, haha! ;oD=

Wanna take a peek into the show? Fire up your german, and there you go:

Computer Club 2, Episode 94

Featuring an impressive Octocopter with HD Videocam, Wolfgang Rudolph and Heinz Schmitz discussing the modern Web and the necessity of relaunching their (outdated) Homepage, and me allowed to show how Edge Inspect could speed up that process:


Computer Club 2, Episode 93

Featuring a drum computer with world wide training network, Wolfgang Rudolph playing Mandoline and Heinz Schmitz and me taking a look on developing Hybrid-Apps with PhoneGap and PhoneGap Build:


To have that said: recording these episodes has been true fun, and I hope you guys like it. What a privelege – I am really proud to have been part of that once in my life.

Computer Club 2: Wolfgang Rudolph, Andre Jay Meissner, Heinz Schmitz (on the screen in the background: Wolfgang Back)
Here is another pic from my Smartphone. On the screen in the background: Wolfgang Back, who has been at his residence in Switzerland that day (he’s really getting old now and just deserves to take some time off every now and then).

Again my deepest gratitude to Heinz Schmitz and Wolfgang Rudolph, has been a true pleasure to join you. Please go ahead with what you’re doing – let this success story exceed it’s 30st year, and beyond. I would love to be part of the show again!

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