PapaScott All I do is keep the beat and the bad company 🥁


That German word is literally "experience of success", but a better translation would be "feeling of achievement". And I just had one!

For over 10 years the banking software (that we use for both home and business) on my Mac has used a card reader to authenticate. The reader is so old it has a serial cable with a USB adapter attached. Every time MacOS updates I've been afraid the device will no longer be recognized. More annoying, when we're on the road it's a bulky device to have to pack along, especially for only one purpose.

I should mention that Germany has its own protocol to communicate online with banks (FinTS, formerly known as HBCI). So I can only use German banking software, and my German might be pretty good, reading a 200 page handbook or protocol specification in my second language is a bit of a barrier.

This has bothered me for years, and in the meantime there other ways to authenticate (e.g. using a smartphone to read a generated TAN graphic, used by our bank) that don't involve extra and outdated devices. In fact German law now requires banks to use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA, I guess the card reader still qualifies). But I was afraid of trying to change the authentication method, I was afraid of losing 13 years of banking data that I had on my local machine!

Yesterday I decided to test changing the authentication. I set up a new account with the "photoTAN" authentication, and to my surprise the banking software applied the authentication to my existing account and it just worked! It took just 5 minutes, and now I'm free from my card reader!

So I guess sometimes when you come to a fork in the road you just have to take it!

Lonesome Day

I could say it feels like only yesterday, but no, that's not true anymore. It now feels longer ago than that, and that's good.

Thanks to blogging I can look up my notes from that day. "I just feel numb. I miss an eloquent President, who can express what I and the nation must feel, but cannot put into words."

We do business in Hamburg-Harburg, just blocks from Marienstrasse 54, where the plot was hatched. It is still creepy to me that this began so (geographically) close to us.

Almost immediately there were many expressions of grief and support from both German officials and ordinary citizens. This led directly to the German military involvement in Afghanistan that started a few weeks later.

Candles placed at the US Consulate in Hamburg, September 2001

Commemorative plaques placed at the US Consulate, September 10, 2021 (Source)


Our 40th Valentine

My wife Frauke and I were going to have big plans for this evening. It's Valentine's Day, of course, but not only that, it's the 40th anniversary of our first date!

The thing is, we're not really sure about the date. 😀 Let's face it, this was 40 years ago, and at this point even last week is a blur. At least for me, I have to turn to the calendar for February 1980.

Calendar image February 1980

We were in Minnesota, I was a senior in high school, and Frauke was an AFS exchange student in a neighboring town. I had been an AFS student as well, and in early February our local AFS club held an open house for neighboring AFS students. So she and a few other exchange students were at our house, and let's just say we both noticed one another.

This must have been the weekend of the 8th and 9th, since the 9th was my 18th birthday and I remember the open house being close to that.

After that, we were lucky enough that local high school basketball tournaments (both boys and girls) were starting up, and our schools tended to play at the same location, and both tended to advance. So at least 3 or 4 times Frauke and I were able to meet on the bleachers at basketball games.

But when was that exactly? If memory serves, tournament games tended to be on Thursdays and Saturdays, so the first one could have been on Thursday, the 14th. Or maybe not.

A week later on the 22nd was the Miracle on Ice, a big event in Minnesota in 1980. We must have "dated" before that, because I remember thinking of her at the time. Anyway, after 2 or 3 weeks both basketball tournaments were over, and we had to go on an actual date with just the two of us. That was a movie, Moonraker.

And that brings us to today. As I said, we were going to have big plans for the evening, but it turned out Frauke has a business trip with an indeterminate end. Even if she does get home early, we have no plans. Maybe we can find a basketball game.