20th Anniversary of beeger.net

| Tags: blogging

Some days ago this blog turned 20 years old. In the first 10 years I changed it frequently. The theme changed, the blogging engine changed and the code changed quite a bit during that time as I gained more experience with HTML and CSS. You can read all about that in the 10th anniversary post.

In the last 10 years the theme hasn’t changed as much and as often as in the first 10 years. The colors only got adjusted a bit and it got dark mode support and the buttons at the top were replaced by simple icons.

Shortly after the post about the 10th anniversary, I changed back again to static publishing. At first with Octopress and finally after updating to Octopress 3 and moving on to using Jekyll directly I ended up with Hugo. With the change to Octopress, Jekyll and Hugo, I have no longer a blogging web application on my server. The website is generated on my computer at home and then uploaded to the server. There is no blogging web application any more needing frequent updates to prevent security issues. As I’m not into live blogging and my blogging frequency is rather low, this setup is perfect for me.

GDPR was a challenge when it was introduced. I already had a somewhat wordy privacy policy and with GDPR it would need to become even longer. This is mainly a private blog. Sometimes I write about the apps I create. That is the only commercial usage. I decided that I wanted to have a simple privacy policy and changed it to

This website does not collect any personal data.

I think it’s fun when you compare it to the long texts you usually see on websites. And it’s true. There is no tracking here. There are no external resources and no social network buttons that notify their networks each time someone visits a page here. I dislike trackers and decided that I really don’t need the insights they generate.

Another bigger change was the restructuring which resulted in the creations section. Before I have been using subdomains or separate domains for my apps and other things I created. Now I can use this section as a kind of portfolio of the things I created.

In some years I write a blog post nearly every month and then there are years like this one when a blog post in June is the first one of the year. I highly recommend using the atom feed or json feed if you don’t want to miss my infrequent posts.

I’m looking forward to the next 10 years. Will it still be HTML and CSS then? We’ll see.


| Tags: dev, app, widget, ios

Chronodget Binary Clock

iOS 14 brought us widgets. I started playing around with widgets just after iOS 14 was released last year, but I soon decided that I really don’t need any of those widgets the apps I used offered. It might be useful to have a calendar widget, a todo widget and a weather widget if you have a tight schedule and much on your todo list, but gladly that is almost never the case for me.

But one day I was in a grumpy mood and thought that a widget showing me a progress bar to the end of that pandemic year 2020 would be useful.

As I wanted to learn SwiftUI, a new way to build UIs for iOS apps, and generally to again do more iOS development than I had the chance to do in my job at that time, I decided to write an app for that.

Clocks aren’t that much different from yearly progress bars. They also change over some period of time. The idea for the app expanded to be a widget builder for widgets that somehow periodically or in a fixed time frame change. Progress bars would get filled and clock hands would move.

With that the name for the app — “Chronodget” — didn’t take long to manifest itself. It derives from “chronos” as the greek word for time and “dget” which is the suffix of “widget”.

At first development was rather slow. I only tinkered with the app on weekends. But after quitting my job in April, I began a sabbatical phase and started really working on the app.

And now it’s here. It’s free and available for iPhones and iPads running iOS/iPadOS 15 and you can get it from the App Store.

As with all things I create, there’s a new creations page with some more screenshots.

The Midnight Library

| Tags: book, fiction

In “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig a 35 year old woman decides to end her life. In her opinion that life has been a series of bad decisions. And nobody needs her anyways. So there is no reason to keep going on.

But instead of just dying after taking some tablets, she awakes in the Midnight Library where she can try out all those lives she might have had, had she made some other decisions.

It’s a deeply philosophical book ending with a predictable conclusion. But the way to that conclusion is a nice story worth reading.

Alif the Unseen

| Tags: book, fiction, fantasy, sci-fi

“Alif the Unseen” by G. Willow Wilson is a nice mix of fantasy, science fiction and something I’ll call islamic mythology.

Alif is a hacker living in an unnamed emirate. He and his fellow hackers are fighting for their freedom against a hacker working for state security known as “the Hand”. The Hand tries to enforce total control over the citizens of the emirate.

Alif writes code. That code seems to be some form of machine learning software. Later a book named “The Tousand And One Days”, which is somehow a counterpart to “The Tousand And One Nights”, appears and seems to contain some hidden instructions that enable Alif to code an artificial intelligence.

It’s quite a ride with djinns, references to Star Wars and other nerdy stuff. Some compared it to the Harry Potter books, but it’s actually a different kind of story. There is something that resembles the “Diagon Alley” in the Potter books, but that’s about it. And that’s Ok. It does not need to be some new Harry Potter thing. It’s good as it is — on its own.

The Raven Tower

| Tags: book, fiction, fantasy

“The Raven Tower” by Ann Leckie is a strange book. The strangeness starts with the usage of the second person singular. I actually don’t remember to ever having read a book where the narrator tells the protagonist his story.

The narrator is a god who lives in a stone. The chapters alternate between those where the god tells its own story and those where it tells the story of the protagonist.

As a god living in a stone or being a stone, it is a very patient god who takes its time to think things through. The world in this book has no real magic. But there are many gods and gods can make things true. If a god says that something is some way or another, then it becomes that way. But each such statement costs the god some energy. And some statements may continually drain energy from a god or may require more energy than the god has. If that is the case the god dies. So gods are normally very cautious what statements they make. Gods get their power from prayers and offerings.

It’s a quite interesting system. People pray for things and make offerings to their gods. The gods gain energy. But now they need to consider whether to fulfil the wishes the people pray for or not. Making the wishes come true costs energy, but not doing anything will eventually diminish the number of worshipers.

After the first bewilderment about that usage of the second person singular, I got really fascinated by the stories. This is not another Tolkien-like story where a group of companions fight against some dark power.

I recommend it to anyone looking for fantasy that breaks out of the box.

The Queen's Gambit

| Tags: book, fiction

I saw that there is a new series on Netflix called “The Queen’s Gambit” but ignored it. It’s something about chess players. I’m not overly interested in chess although I know the basic rules. Then the book appeared in Amazon’s English Kindle deal of the month for just 0.28 € and I bought and started reading it on a whim.

The author — Walter Tevis — tells the story of the orphan girl Beth Harmon, who discovers her talent and passion for chess while living at an orphanage.

It’s a coming-of-age story with an emphasis on dealing with the pressure to strive for ever greater successes and the fear of failure. There are phases of drug and alcohol abuse, of desperation and of again finding the power to keep going.

Even though the book is full of chess technicalities — a great part of the book is about people playing chess and trying to predict the next moves of the opponent — it turned out to be very engaging and fun.

The Book Thief

| Tags: book, fiction

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is a bit strange. It is narrated by Death and Death jumps around a bit and sometimes spoils parts of the later story. The story takes place during the second world war — at a time when Death had much work to do — in a small German town not far away from Munich. The story evolves around Liesel, a girl who lives with her foster parents. Liesel steals books. When she steals her first book, she cannot read, but she is very determined and learns it gradually.

Many novels about that time are about the victims of the war, how they hide, try to escape and are murdered in concentration camps. This is a story about the people who just try to survive. It’s about children who learn to “Heil Hitler” correctly and who go to the Hitler Jugend because that’s what they are supposed to do.

It’s not a justification or an excuse for anything. It just shows another aspect of that war and that somehow the common people are often losers of wars — even if they belong to the side of the aggressor.

It liked it for for its interesting style of storytelling, the memorable characters and the insight on the life of common people during that time.

A Little Life

| Tags: book, fiction

“A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara is an unusual book — at least for me. The books I usually read have some conflict that needs resolving or at least there is some kind of climax they strive to.

This book tells the story of four friends and their acquaintances. It starts when they all are in their early twenties and ends 40 years later. The book is narrated from changing perspectives. Most often one of the four friends is the narrator and sometimes others do it. Sometimes the time jumps forward a few years and sometimes only a few days.

That sounds totally confusing, but it is quite suspenseful. The characters have all diverse and interesting personalities. Although there is no big excitement there, it’s always interesting to read how the lives of those friends flows and changes.

One of the four friends had a difficult childhood that is gradually revealed and one could say that the final revelation of the last bit of it is the climax. But it doesn’t feel like it, because by then you already know that something has gone really bad here.

The book demonstrates in its own very specific way how childhood experiences may have lasting and insurmountable effects on the later life.

It’s a sad book about friendship and suffering. I recommend it as the most meaningful book I’ve read this year.


| Tags: book, fiction, sci-fi

Peter F. Hamilton is a British science-fiction writer and he mainly writes space operas. There are always the same types of people in his books. It’s probably similar to when you read the 20th crime book by a crime book author. The people feel familiar, their interactions also, but there’s always something new and when you like the author’s style of writing and storytelling, it’s satisfying to come back and read something new by them.

After having been somewhat disappointed by the Chronicle of the Fallers more than three years ago, I returned and read “Salvation” which is the first book of a trilogy.

“Salvation” is definitively better than the Chronicles but not as good as the Void trilogy or my favorite Night’s Dawn.

It’s a bit of “Ender’s Game”. There are kids training in a zero G environment for a battle against alien enemies. Another part reminded me of classical crime stories the likes of Miss Marple. People sit together in a room, drink and eat and by and by each one tells a story from their earlier life while one of them tries to find out which one is the alien. This is a science fiction story where looking for an alien is more natural than looking for a murderer after all. And it’s all packed in a typical Hamiltonian space opera setting. There are the portals we already know from the Commonwealth saga, but while back then trains passed through them, here people just walk through them and it makes no difference if you want to go from London to New York or some city on another planet. It’s all just a step away.

“Salvation” is a fun and satisfying read for Hamilton fans. If you haven’t already read anything by him, his earlier works are a better and more exciting entry point.

Dark Mode

| Tags: dev, web

Most software developers seem to prefer dark themes. Their IDEs, text editors and terminals use dark background colors. My preferences are exactly the opposite. I use dark text on bright backgrounds. When dark mode was introduced in macOS and iOS and later got supported in web browsers I ignored it and kept on using the default modes which are dark text on bright backgrounds.

While redoing and modernizing the CSS on another web related project I also added dark mode support there and realized that it’s quite easy to do. Just add a media query and add style rules with adapted colors

@media (prefers-color-scheme: dark) {
  body {
    background-color: #2B2510;
    color: #D5D5D5;

My website uses only a handful of colors and I got the idea that I really didn’t want to change the palette to something totally new. The light mode and dark mode palettes should be related. So I darkened the background color and brightened the foreground colors and got from

Light Mode


Dark Mode

I’m happy with how it turned out. Now dark mode users can visit my website and won’t be shocked by the sudden appearance of a bright web page.

In hindsight I could and should have added dark mode support much earlier, but better late than never as they say.