24. December 2023

I’d like to wish all family, friends, regular readers, commenters and all other visitors Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, A Happy New Year or any other Holiday Greetings you prefer! As usual, I prefer Happy Newtonmas because Isaac Newton was born on December 25th, but I’m very democratic in that respect and let everyone celebrate the the holiday they like.

2023 will be remembered in our family as a terrible year because in early September, we lost my Aunt Mary Elizabeth after a brief illness. To say we are all still in shock and recovering from this unexpected turn of events is probably an understatement, but overall we are doing okay considering the circumstances – but we still miss her a lot. I actually made a “secret” week-long trip to Berlin in October for a goodbye party and the funeral which I haven’t mentioned online at all yet – but I made the best out of it, meeting some extended family members for the first time and doing some photography. The rest of the year still felt surreal even before August and September, with Corona still looming – but thankfully staying away from me – and the whole world situation making everything uncertain. Just having a roof over your head and not being broke or hungry is maybe something we all can be thankful for.

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Category: Blog
12. January 2023

Last night, the final episode of The Weekly Space Hangout went live on Youtube – after eleven years and hundreds of shows Fraser Cain and Producer Nancy Graziano have decided to call it a day. It came as a surprise, but it was not entirely unexpected – the show was born eleven years ago in a completely different time and in the last few years it became more and more difficult to get the journalists and guests together each week. The final show had Fraser, his fellow partner-in-science Dr. Pamela Gay and long-time WSH journalists Dr. Kimberly Cartier and Dr. Morgan Rehnberg talking about the news and reminiscing about the past decade of Weekly Space Hangouts.

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Category: Bibra-Online
24. December 2022

I’d like to wish all family, friends, regular readers, commenters and all other visitors Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, A Happy New Year or any other Holiday Greetings you prefer! As usual, I prefer Happy Newtonmas because Isaac Newton was born on December 25th, but I’m very democratic in that respect and let everyone celebrate the the holiday they like.

2022 ? I’m not sure I can even describe this year anymore. Corona year three would have been manageable, but then the world literally caught on fire with a war right on Europe’s doorsteps. Since February, everything feels slightly surreal because nobody really thought it could get that bad. But with Russia invading Ukraine a massive uncertainty arrived for everyone not only in Germany but all over the world – the resulting energy crisis has been on everyone’s mind and has quite a few real life consequences even for those not directly affected by the war.

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Category: Blog
Social Media
20. December 2022

TL;DR: I haven’t abandoned Twitter (yet), but I’m now also on Mastodon!

I remember a time when many people thought that Elon Musk was basically a good guy who is just a bit peculiar… but those times are long gone. The Tesla and SpaceX owner, now the richest human being on Earth, has mutated from benevolent billionaire to grotesque supervillain in just a few years – and with the recent purchase of Twitter this spiral has only intensified.

I don’t really have a stake in Twitter, I mostly follow, read and only post my photos there, but seeing an at least relatively well-functioning social network collapse in just a short time beacuse of the new billionaire owner’s very “special” management style is spectacular to watch to say the least. If Twitter goes under, I will not be particularly sad about it because this isn’t my first rodeo – a couple of years ago I witnessed Google+ being eliminated from the face of the Earth first hand!

While I think that Twitter is still going to limp along as a former shadow of itself, I’ve never put all my eggs in one basket. That saved me when Google+ was killed off, because most of everything I write and post comes from my own websites where I have full control over (almost) everything. I’ve tried out several Google+ replacements in the last couple of years, but I didn’t really got along with anything and instead ended up posting my photos on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter… until now.

I had already created a Mastodon account earlier this Summer when the whole Twitter debacle was not even on the horizon, but I only recently decided to really post over there. Right now I’m mainly crossposting my daily photos from the Photography Blog that also appear on the other social networks, but I’ve also started to repost some other retrocomputing and games content that I had originally created for Google+ and never got around to put on a proper website over here. There’s also a new Mastodon icon on the top right sidebar!

I’ve also written a short introduction post too a Month ago:

Time for an introduction? Hi, I’m Guido and I live in a small-ish city in northwest Germany. I usually post photos, but I’m not a professional photographer even though I work in a camera store. I also like to dabble in music, playing piano and guitar and I love old computers and (vintage) games. I also love all things science and astronomy! I’ve had a presence on the web since the late 90s and I’ve been on social media for over ten years. I’m also a Google+ and probably soon Twitter refugee.

Mastodon just feels right, like the early Google+ way back ten years ago when people discovered each other through circle sharing and not through algorithms. Mastodon basically relies on word of mouth and the decentralized server structure is almost like the Fidonet and Usenet of the 1980s and 1990s, just with slightly more modern technology. There are so many interesting people of all kinds all over the Fediverse and many are just setting up shop after abandoning Twitter. I really like the friendly atmosphere and I’m already following people from all over the world and chatting with them, mostly in the science and astronomy fields but also in the vintage computer and gaming communities.

Myself, I ended up on the original main mastodon.social server because I didn’t know any better in the beginnig – with hindsight, I probably should have chosen another server but for now it will have to do. The beauty of the Mastodon technology is the decentralized nature of it since you can always follow users from other instances and you can basically make your own federated universe, the Fediverse. My posts on Mastodon might be temporary and not be archived for all eternity, but that’s why I will always be maintaining my own websites. I’ve also archived the few Mastodon-exclusive shorter posts I’ve created lately to make some new content for this website too.

I haven’t made any decisions whether I should actually stop posting to Twitter or just continue as usual, but most of my posts will go out as usual to Facebook and Instagram too because quite a few people still follow me there. Nothing will disappear as long as I can pay for my own webspace.

I have no ides where this is all going to lead, but for now Mastodon feels like a good idea. Just come over to the Fediverse, everyone – it’s a new beginning!

Category: Social Media
16. October 2022

Originally, this post was going to be a lament that I have Return to Monkey Island in my Steam library but couldn’t play it yet because my graphics card isn’t good enough. Which was actually true until last weekend because the AMD Radeon 6850 I’ve had for a while was just a tiny little bit too old. DirectX 12 turned out to be the culprit as expected, but I wasn’t really in a hurry to get something better. But now I did something about it and managed to snag an AMD Radeon R9 270X on eBay. It took a while to arrive because of the long weekend but now it’s here and yesterday I operated on the computer again… and now I’m back on Melée Island!

Return to Monkey Island has turned out to be an absolute marvel. I have already completet the first act, exploring a familiar, but also slightly different Melée Island once again. It feels like 1990 again, only on a huge cinematic screen in high definition instead of slighly blurry pixels on a flickering 14″ tube monitor. The heart and spirit of Monkey Island is very much present and you can feel that this game is a labour of love much like Thimbleweed Park was. Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossmann and their team have hit the right spot perfectly. I will probably write a full review sometime, but now I’m just enjoying the game a lot and will play through it without any hurry.

It wasn’t altogether simple because I also had to put in a second harddrive and install a separate new Windows 10 system on it, but it worked. My concerns about the old Athlon X4 II 640 CPU were thankfully wrong and the new graphics card did the trick! This computer with its more than 10 year old components in a 20 year old case is now not a gaming potato anymore! Many other games now run much better and some that didn’t even start before are now working.

But for now it’s back to the Caribbean and see what shenanigans Guybrush Threepwood is up to!

Category: Games, Lucasarts
27. August 2022

I totally forgot that Gamescom is happening down in Cologne… and that means this week we found out the release day of Return to Monkey Island! Everyone expected it to be sometime in November or even for Christmas, but Ron Gilbert and his team are having a laugh again and chose (of course) Talk Like A Pirate Day on September 19. That is less than a Month away!

Unfortunately that means that this will be the last thing I’ll be writing about the new Monkey Island adventure for a while. I’ve had a look at the system requirements and as expected it doesn’t look good for me – I need at least a new graphics card, but hopefully the old AMD CPU will still work. This computer can run Astroneer and Planet Zoo for example, so it can’t be that difficult.

I’m still going to preorder the game, of course – it’s only €23 and that is a really reasonable price. Maybe it still runs, but I suspect DirectX 12 will be my nemesis – but I have patience and I’m still only into Part 2 of 5 of my Tales of Monkey Island replay!

[UPDATE: As expected… my computers are not up to it, even though the system requirements are really really low – but the minimum required graphics card is a Radeon HD 7750 while I only have a 6850 at the moment. Missed it by that much! Next month I’m going graphics card hunting on eBay…]

Same island, different age.

Category: Games, Lucasarts
20. August 2022

A new trailer for Return to Monkey Island dropped in late June and it’s wonderful. And the game website has been updated too with more exciting information that looks very promising! Stan trying to sell the game! Guybrush narrating his story in the trailer! The return of Dominique Armato, who became the voice of Guybrush Threepwood 25 years ago! A hint of a new story! A first look at the characters in motion! A full-blown orchestral music score! It’s all very fun and nostalgic and refreshingly new.

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Category: Games, Lucasarts
30. April 2022

It was April 1st a couple of weeks ago and given the current state of affairs nobody was really in the mood to make April Fools Jokes anymore. Even when games designer Ron Gilbert, who surprised everyone with Thimbleweed Park a few years ago, made a seemingly lame joke about a new Monkey Island adventure on April 1, nobody thought much of it.

Except it wasn’t a joke! Three days later the adventure gaming world was upside down after an official announcement confirmed with a short trailer that RETURN TO MONKEY ISLAND is in fact real. Apparently Ron Gilbert has been working together with Dave Grossmann, his old friend from the Lucasfilm Games days, for two years on the project in complete secrecy!

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Category: Games, Lucasarts
24. December 2021

I’d like to wish all family, friends, regular readers, commenters and all other visitors Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, A Happy New Year or any other Holiday Greetings you prefer! As usual, I prefer Happy Newtonmas because Isaac Newton was born on December 25th, but I’m very democratic in that respect and let everyone celebrate the the holiday they like.

Soooo. 2021. It started on a sour note, muddled along during Spring, got a little better during the Summer and then went completely to hell in the Autumn and Winter thanks to Corona. Even our extended family got hit by the virus in time for the holidays thanks to the still not closed down schools. Still, we’re all double, if not triple vaccinated except the kids and we’re all as careful as possible. We’re not even in a proper lockdown like last year, just a muddle of 2G and 3G restrictions with vague promises of further ones along after the Christmas holidays, which could be too late to prevent it getting much worse. What will happen in 2022 with Omicron gearing up is anyone’s guess, but it will be neither fun nor pretty. The only thing we can do is be careful, get vaccinated and not take any risks.

There were still a few good things happening for me in 2021, but they mostly all can be filed under self-care to stay as happy and healthy as possible in a bad situation. I actually acquired two new guitars this year which I always wanted to get but was never able to afford before – I’ve actually got a blog post about my various guitar adventures in my drafts which I will probably complete soon. And I already wrote about the fun I’ve had with the Lego Space Shuttle this summer, the building I even documented in a series of Youtube videos. There were also the surprisingly successful CosmoQuest Con and Hangoutathon, with me even appearing on screen in the second one! Of course I still had a lot of fun with my photography  and even though I haven’t taken as many photos this year as before, I still have enough to post my usual couple of shots over on the Photography Blog – and the Camera Store I work for part-time is also still very much alive.

Fortunately, I was once again able to make it safely to my family in Berlin thanks to an inexpensive first-class train ticket. But as mentioned above, due to one of my cousin’s kids catching Covid in school, visiting the extended family has been made almost impossible, but keeping us all safe from Corona is more important.  The weather is cold, partly grey with some occasional sun and a threat of snow – not good for taking photos, but I already took a quick round of photos I’ve already started to post. And there will also be an attempt of analog photography too if I really get around to it – at least I brought my late mom’s trusty Praktica.

While it’s going to be quiet here on this blog now for at least mid-January, of course I’m always posting my usual round of daily photos over on my Photography Blog and you can also follow me on TwitterFacebook and of course Instagram – although I have abandoned MeWe because there was just nothing going on there.

Have a nice end-of-year holiday, everyone – and thank you especially to everyone who helped me to get through this difficult year! You know who you are and it would have been much more difficult without all of you!


Category: Blog
CosmoQuestScience & Astronomy
23. October 2021

After the Con is before the Hangout-A-Thon!

It feels like we only did the CosmoQuest-A-Con in July yesterday, but it’s been three months – and that means we’re ready for this year’s Hangout-A-Thon starting today! This weekend our team of scientists, science communicators and artists will science for their supper and we invite you to come along for 36 hours of space discussion and edutainment! The schedule is is still in flux, but all information will be provided later today on the Hangout-A-Thon page!

We will have lots of guests, giveaways and surprises – our theme this yeare is COUNTDOWN TO FLIGHT featuring the history of rocketry and spaceflight from the first ancient fireworks to modern spaceflight today. We will even build a rocket park in Minecraft for which you can already sign up!

Our goal is to raise $40.000 in 36 hours, but you can already go to the donation page right now to help us fund our running costs and feed our small team.

Tune in TODAY on Twitch at 16:00 UTC for the opening ceremonies!

You are not obligated to donate if you are not able to, we know times are difficult at the moment but we still appreciate any form of support even if you are just spreading the word!

UPDATE: Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we were able to match our funding goal and the future of CosmoQuest has been saved once more! It has also been an amazing show, the CosmoQuest Crew worked so hard over the weekend.

And a short disclaimer because I’ve been asked this before: I’m an unpaid volunteer for CosmoQuest and I will not receive any money or other compensation from the fundraiser. I will be participating in the stream on Sunday around Noon to help out with the overnight shift and helping out moderating the chat, but that is the limit of my involvement.