Archive for the ‘5000_Tools’ Category

What Corporate Learning & Development can learn from Education Hackers and Employees?

October 6, 2015

My interview with the CEO Nicole Le Maire of NewtoHR on education hacking versus corporate learning?

If you would have asked me about Education Hacking a year ago, I would have probably called your HR Manager and informed the internal security department to have your user account locked. By that time I had seen headlines like: “Teen Used Smartphone, Hacked Department of Education And School To Change Grades” or “Obama to Call for Laws Covering Data Hacking and Student Privacy”.

My perspective totally changed when I attended the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) “Learning How to Learn” The course leader Dr. Barbara Oakley from the University of California introduced two so-called education hackers.

The first, Scott H. Young, was able to complete a 4 years degree program in Computer Sciences at MIT in just 12 months. Scott used the open education resources (OER) from MIT to achieve this amazing result while spending only 2000 USD overall.

The other, Benny Lewis, learned with the help of the internet to become fluent in a new language in just 3 months and was able to do this at a much lower  cost compared to the traditional language acquisition programs.

In this context the term Education Hacking stands for the self-directed search for a smarter and faster way to education, for personal but also for professional skills.

I was intrigued by these astonishing results and set out to use these freely available resources and tools myself. To my surprise after only 2 months and less than 32 hours of net learning time I was able to read my first book in Chinese. After 7 months I knew more than 2000 Chinese characters and was reading my first newspaper article in Chinese.

When I talked with colleagues and employees about my amazing findings I was quite surprised to hear that most of them were already using all these freely available high quality education resources for their own professional development.

As a large number of academic institutions around the globe, as well as large corporations and startups provide more and more of such educational resources the number of employees who turn into independent learners continuously increases.

What does this new trend in employee education mean for the corporate learning & development organization and for professionals working in this area?

Before I go deeper into this topic let`s start by looking at how it all began.

(Title Picture: Creative Commons License Mozilla in Europe Hack-a-Thon

1.    Open Education Resources (OER) – a global movement

One of the main initiators of this OER movement and also one of the forerunners in the academic area was the MIT in Boston with its OpenCourseware project started in 2002. Even though it got a lot of media attention and by 2006 more than 61% of non-US users were accessing it, there was no noticeable attraction for employees. Two things happening from 2004 onwards gave this whole movement a new push.

The first was Salman Khan who published short lessons on K12 mathematic topics on YouTube for his nephews to use in 2005. These short videos attracted more and more viewers over time because parents and children were looking for easy to understand learning resources. Soon the number of viewers surpassed the 100 Million mark. Khan then decided to establish the Khan Academy in 2012.

Khan also influenced Sebastian Thrun at Stanford University to open up the class on Artificial Intelligence to everyone with access to the web. In 2012 Thrun used a similar technology and offered the same instruction online as to his class students. Thrun was surprised and overwhelmed by an online audience of more than 160 000 students worldwide who had signed up. The new term MOOC* for Massive Open Online Course was coined.

This overwhelming success took all the leading universities by surprise and let to a change in mindset. They now fully embraced the idea of open free education resources and started to offer more and more MOOCs. By 2015 there were over 4000 courses available. Additionally this movement was supported by venture capital financing Udacity led by Sebastian Thrun, Coursera and others. These startups provide services for creating MOOCs to universities. In addition aggregators are now providing platforms for an efficient search and easy access to these OER.

Besides MOOCs a lot of investments were made in the area of foreign language acquisition in the recent years. There are several language exchange platforms for people free to use. All they need is internet access and Skype. Online spaced repetition tools help to memorize vocabularies more effectively. And other platforms allow people to correct each other’s written sentences in a foreign language. Last but not least there are now a number of mobile apps available. Almost all of these tools are free and support a specific area of language acquisition, either in the domain of speaking, listening, writing, reading or understanding. What makes them now so attractive to users is the application of the latest research in gamification, social learning and neurosciences.

Clearly this movement has staying power and it will rather increase than decrease over the next years to come.

* Additional Remark: Depending on the view the first MOOCs were actually created and offered by Stephen Downes and George Siemens in 2008 or by Alison in 2007.  

1.1.                   The Impact on Learners

The biggest impact on learners is the democratization of education and the free access to high quality resources. A large part of the offers in the beginning was oriented on personal skills, school topics or academic fields. But the variety of topics in the curricula of MOOC providers is growing. Innovative new content is available faster and large MOOC platforms and OER aggregators make the search and access quite easy. Further new courses target now education of people working in jobs. To give you an example the aggregator class central lists at least 6 MOOCs in the top 10 most popular MOOCs in 2014 that are also relevant for professional development:

1.2.                   The Impact on Corporate Learning & Development

After having a sound education base like a degree or a vocational training certificate employees turn to these new education resources for closing skill gaps or acquiring more knowledge and skills. Often they do it without consulting with their supervisors or HR departments. This can have many reasons. Maybe the internet use policy of the firm allows the use of the internet also for private matters, or because it is generally free and no approval is required or the employees just think that their supervisor or HR departments lack the understanding.

Will thus corporate learning & development departments have to face competition from the internet now?

The answer is yes, but it depends on the view of the corporate learning & development department. Do they see OER as another opportunity to embrace or do they see it as a threat in becoming less important to the development of their workforce?

Let’s look at the benefits first.


One clear benefit that I see is the effectiveness of these tools. People can learn faster and at a much lower cost. They have access to topics that corporate learning & development could not provide on demand and in such a variety. The topics range from soft skills to business acumen to language acquisition. Here lies an opportunity even during periods of economic downturn to engage the workforce by allowing them the freedom to use free available resources on the internet for their development.

Coursera and Udacity are targeting now continuous education for people already at work. They offer so-called Nanodegrees. While attending their online courses is still free, people have to pay for the degree. This is their business model. Facebook and Google honor these nanodegrees. You can say their corporate learning & development organizations have truly embraced this new opportunity.

As it is still early days there are issues to face. For some of them there is a resolution already emerging.


A basic issue is the required internet access. There is a substantial number of companies where users have no or very limited internet access at the workplace.

The misuse of working time for private development with no direct benefit to the company can also become a challenge.

Another key problem of OER is the assurance of their suitability and quality.

Here a resolution is emerging. Renowned providers, quality labels and acknowledged certificates that can be earned are providing a first rating. In addition the social component like openly available user feedbacks and ratings can help.

The recognition of the competencies acquired by people using OER is also something to resolve. Tracking and documentation of OER is not as easy as progress and completions are only tracked within a provider’s platform and no official standard for documentation exists. Public cross-provider LRS (Learning Record Stores) are an answer for this – the first solutions are emerging in the US and more will follow in the near future, also in Europe.

And last but not least the sustainability and ongoing availability of an OER can be a risk. A substantial number of OER come from academic or non-profit organization where funding is not always assured and is a critical topic.


As OER are often focusing on more generic topics in employee development the need to offer these topics by corporate learning & development will surely decrease in the near future. This is an opportunity for corporate training departments to increasingly focus their efforts on strategic, regulatory and other corporate specific topics.

If education becomes more self-driven the people working in corporate learning & development currently handling more generic topics can be freed up in the near future. I will see a shift in responsibilities of the corporate learning function. Their role will include aspects like coaching employees to find the right learning strategy for their employees and evaluating or curating content with users to identify and get access to suitable OER for their development.

Additionally people still need guidance on how to effectively learn and how to best use the internet for learning. Here the corporate learning & development department could offer guidance and workshops for their employees.

Further they could organize an online community on continuous learning on their intranets or if available in their internal social networking platforms for their employees.

Last but not least they should revisit their learning & development policies. What is the acceptable use for the company of these OER resources? Do people need approval from their line manager or their team? What is the freedom of choice? What will they officially support, which degrees will they honor and from whom they expect to use this new type of learning?

Some companies might go as far as giving employee’s unlimited time at work to learn under the condition that they still deliver on their tasks. This is similar to what some silicon companies like Netflix or Virgin offer their employees in the area of time off. They give unlimited paid vacation time to their employees under the condition that they still deliver on their tasks and have an agreement with their team members and supervisor for cover.

To enable the use of OER in the organization the corporate learning & development departments will of course have to familiarize themselves with the specifics of OER and their application. You will find a list of links at the bottom of this post. A good start e.g. is the MOOC on Learning How To Learn.

2.    Conclusion

There is a huge shift from in-house training to the internet and from guided learning to more self-directed learning by our employees. Something that will not go unnoticed by the corporate learning & development departments even though it is early days and even though there are still a number of issues to be tackled.

Education Hackers have shown to an highly interested mass audience that you can accelerate your learning and professional development with the help of OERs. More and more employees are turning to these resources in order to take the initiative of their own development in their own hands.

If people in corporate learning & development see OER as a threat and deny employees the use of these resources for their development, they will in the near future lose the trust of line management and employees.

At least it is now the time for people in corporate learning to familiarize themselves with these new available opportunities.

Have you recently used a YouTube video to learn a specific technique?

Have you searched for MOCCs or other open educational resources lately?

Have you enrolled in a MOOC with a topic relevant to your personal skills in the last weeks?

If you answer one or two of these questions with yes you are on the way to become an education hacker yourself and a trusted source for your employees.

2.1.                   Steps forward

For those not yet familiar with OER and / or MOOCs the best way forward is to try it yourself. There are OER on a variety of topics related to the jobs of learning professionals and HR or training departments.

Corporate Learning 2.0:

Flipped Classroom: :

Dynamic Educators:

Learning How to Learn:

If you are interested in gaining more insight or already convinced that OER is something you want to use please look at the following offers:

Whitepaper on Use of OER

A whitepaper with tips and tricks of the different resources and tools and how to use them within your company will be available shortly. Please connect with me on LinkedIn: or on Xing: or leave your email in this Google form:

“Education Hacking” Workshop

Additionally a two days pilot workshop on Education Hacking is planned. It will address how to be a more effective learner and how to best use OER and other tools in a corporate environment. With this knowledge you will be able to coach your employees or provide a similar workshop in-house or online to your employees. If you want to get more information or participate in it please click here

The final step could be to search for OER to recommend to learners in your organization or even to integrate in your internal offers. Please find some selected links below.

At this point I’d like to thank Leopold Kause from DidacDesign for his expertise provided on OER, his other valuable contributions and the review of the article.

About me: My vision is to build a truly integrated HR in the cloud and leverage the cloud for learning.

I will give a keynote  speech at on 17.09.2015 at the HR exhibition Zukunft Personal in Cologne on Education Hacking vs. Corporate Learning.

3.    Links and Resources

Generic links:


Beispiele (in Deutsch):

Non-profit examples:

Non-Profit Beispiele (in Deutsch):

Aggregator examples:

Aggregator-Beispiele (in Deutsch):

MOOCs über MOOCs oder OER (in Deutsch):

OER-Award in Deutsch:

All links have been accessed and verified on September 2, 2015.

The Fastest And Easiest Way To Learn Chinese Characters – How to Really Use Mnemonics For Learning Chinese

October 30, 2014
Chinese Radicals

100 Frequently Most Used Chinese Radicals related to Human Subcategory

For any novice learner of Chinese Characters the first time he or she will see a page of Chinese Characters this will be overwhelming. It looks nice but for the brain it is pure chaos. At this stage we do not know what patterns to look for in these characters. It is the same for a child who sees a page of text before they know any type of letter. What do children usually do in these cases ? They will look at the pictures instead if there are any.

Our brains are made to recognize pictures and our brains are geniuses when it comes to store images. Our visiual memory is the fastest and the biggest storage system we have. With the help of the mnemonic system below you will be able to tap into this powerful learning system.

This way you will accelerate your learning and also retain the memorized characters much longer.

The best way to start is with the most important patterns called radicals. These radicals will also help you to identify the characters in the chinese dictionary.
There are 214 radicals. Yet it would be best to first learn the 100 most frequently radicals first and not learn the more exotic radicals that will hardly come across you when you start to read your first chinese texts.  See Kickstart your character learning with the 100 most common radicals by Olle Line.

I have categorized these 100 radicals into subgroups. With the help of the subgroups you will be able to build the memory palace that will hold all these images that will remind you of the characters in the future.

There are the following sub categories that you can choose a sub locations for: (The full list of these characters and sub categories is here)
1. Related to human
2. Related to human activity
3. Related to human appearance and situations
4. Related to house or household
5. Related to space/area/nature etc
6. Plants
7. Related to animals
8. Related to numbers
9. Related to colours

The Method
I have chosen a three step approach:

First step is to find a vivid image for each of the characters connected to the meaning in English.
In the second step you will associate for each of the syllables a memorable person (celebrity or people that you remember well)
In the third step you remember the tone of the syllable by association of the connected memorable person performing a task which is related to the meaning of the word and the tone.

I give you an example for remembering the syllable and the tone:
The word sickness has the chinese syllable ni4. Ni I have associated with Nikita Chruschtschow.
To remember the fourth tone of ni I see Nickita Chruschtschow falling down on the floor because he suddenly became utterly sick.

The Art of Memory - Giordano Bruno Mnemonic

The Art of Memory – Giordano Bruno Mnemonic

First Step – Create Images and a Place in Your Memory Palace:
Let’s build our memory palace and images for all the 100 most used Chinese Radicals together.
We start with the subcategory 1. related to humans.
It includes the following characters:

or human
or heart (Radical 61)
orhand (Radical 64)
right hand
thumb or inch
human legs

In total these are 18 Characters. Just to put those in memory without mnemonics would take quite a number of repeats. Usually we can hold maximum 7 plus or minus two items in our short time memory at once. With mnemonics you will overcome this barrier.

I have created the following images and path to store these characters one by one.
My memory palace is a house in China, yet it is build in an European Style. I live under the roof in the second floor.

One day I was sleeping on my huge silk white bed with my legs open . (I see myself as a human.)
I wake up and stand straight up in my bed. Unfortunately it is just under the roof so I hit my head against the roof and this hurts a lot.
I see myself as a human with the roof above.
I need to sit down in my bed straigth with my legs stretched in front of me, when I realize that I have eaten a baby cradle and I now look
like a woman 女.
When I stand up from the bed I suddenly feel enourmous pressure in my stomach because the child feels squashed by the cradle I have swolled and it stretches out his arms while having to pull in his head because of the cradle. .

I am shocked and just before I fall I get hold of my bookshelf opposite of my bed. The pain is so big that I open my mouth to scream. My mouth has been replaced by a artifical square roboter like mouth piece. .
Terrified I jump a way into the middle of the room. This is when I realize that my heart starts to pump heaviliy out of all three venes and spill blood all over me. . Some of the blood springles into my mouth so I have that sweet tast of blood on my tongue.
I feel panic and I want to go downstairs to get dressed. When I reach out with my hand to hold on to the wall I see that it was turned in an artifical antenna with three lines. .
No I think, I cannot go downstairs with this type of hand, so I screw off my right hand and put it in a nice chest   that stands on this two nicely shaped feet just before the stairs.

I walk down to the toilet. When I enter the toilet I see my eye in the mirror was also turned into an articficial triangle with rectangular lids around  it. . When I want to take a leak into the toilet I suddenly realise that I can hardly sit down because I am totally wobbly on my feet. They are mounted on a large woman stilleto with a spring. .
It is a nice idea to be able to take very large steps like with the seven miles boots and thus be much faster than walking in normal shoes, but it is not a good idea for going to the toilet and trying to sit down.  Only after many fruitless tries and holding to the bathroom tub I finally manage to sit down.  But to my dismay my corpse falls over because it is more heavier above and very thin below. .
I had enough. I wash my left hand. While washing it I realize that my thumb was also turned into antenna which is one inch wide and when I do a finger print of it it will only leave a dot on the paper. .

Damm I think I need to have a bath to relax from all this stress. Once I come out of the bath tub my legs become strangely flexible. I had forgetten that they also very now artificial. So they look like this .
I walk over to the mirror and put my tongue out which I regret badly. The tongue that comes out of my square mouth also has an antenna on it with two lines  and it has a bitter taste.

I am very annoyed and hungry and go downstairs into the kitchen. Unfortunately when I entered the kitchen I fall and a needle sticks through my skin in my stomach and scratches the baby cradle. . This is so painful.
I leave the kitchen and go to the living room to make an emergency telephone call. When I put the phone to my ear I realize that it was also exchanged with a rectangular antenna objects with two inside stripes and two longer ones on the outside. .
What a strange day to start with.

The mnemonic stories work the best when you create your own images and memory palace. Instead of using a house it could be any place that you are very familiar with. It could be your way to work, or if you walk through your favourite zoo, museeum, etc. The key is to have one image that is very memorable and preferrably animated and it has a unique place for storage.

Second Step Associate Memorable People to the  Syllables:
I make the following associations. The number indicate the tones. In Brackets the intuitive English Pronounciation. For all Pinyin Syllables look here.
cun4 Carl Gustav Jung   (tswnn)
er2 Erdogan President of Turkey (urr)
er3 Erdogan President of Turkey (urr)
kou3 Cowboy John Wayne (koh)
mu4 Muhammed Ali (moo)
nv3 Oliver Neuville (former German Soccer Player) (nyoo)
pi2 Pia Zadorra (pee)
ren2 Rene Descartes (rnn)
she2  Sheela Indian Film Actress (sher)
shi1 Shia LaBoeuf (shrr)
shou3 Schubert the composer (shoh)
xin1 Xindi are peole from the planet Xindus in Start Treck (sshin)
you4 Neil Young (yoh)
zi3  Zig Ziglar (dzrr)
zu2 Peter Zumtobel Swiss Architect (dzoo)

Again the same as above choose the association of people for each of the syllables that work best for you.
Tone 1 means to have a steady straight pronounciation when you speak the syllable. In Tone 2 you go up with your voice when you say the syllable. For tone 3 you are up and go down and up again when you pronounce the syllable. And tone 4 means you start high and go down when you speak the syllable.

For the next step I have associated the tones with actions such as for tone 1 the action performed by the memorable person will be a straight line. Example would be laying me on the back on the floor. For tone 2 it has an action that puts me somehow up. Tone 3 is represented by any action that is somehow connected to up and down and up movments and for tone 4 it is something that will put me down. It will become clearer when you read the following story.

Third Step – bring it all together into one final story:
One day I was sleeping on my huge white silk bed when Rene Descardes came and lifted up my two legs and spread them across my bed because he wanted to examine how people sleep when their legs are laid out in a perfect triangle 人 ren2. I see myself as a human.
I wake up and I am pritty annoyed with Rene Descartes. Instead of leaving me alone  Rene Descartes put me straight up in my bed . Unfortunately my bed is just under the roof so I hit my head against the roof and this hurts a lot. I am now very angry with Rene Descartes.
I see myself as a human with the roof above 亻ren2.

Oliver Neuville comes to my rescue and takes me in his arms and shakes me like a baby to calm me then helps me to sit down in my bed straigth with my legs stretched in front of me, when I realize that I have eaten a baby cradle and I now look
like a woman 女 nv3.
I start to cry. Zig Ziglar hears it and tries to lift me up and down to get me overthrow in the hope that the cradle comes. I feel an enourmouse pressure in my stomach because the child feels squashed by the cradle I have swolled and it stretches out his arms while
having to pull in his head because of the cradle. . zi3.
I am shocked and just before I fall I get hold of my bookshelf opposite of my bed. Suddenly I hear Cowboy John Wayne approaching with his horse. He jumps right behind me and starts pushing my stomach in and out. The pain is so big that I open my mouth to scream. My mouth has been replaced by a artifical square roboter like mouth piece. kou3.

I let you finish the story by yourself.

Mnemonics works best if you find the associations that work best for you.
There is a great guideline on creating memorable images for mnemonics on the Hacking Chinese Blog: Memory aids and mnemonic to enhance learning by Olle Linge.

Once you are able to walk through the 16 Characters forward and backwards I would recommend you the first exercise. Read a Chinese Text printed out on paper and mark each of the learned radicals in the characters.
Here an example text based on the the first 100 most frequently used Chinese Characters and Words in Film Subtitles:


And this is the result of the above text analysis based on the 16 Radicals you have mastered by now:


Quite a number of characters that will include one of the radicals you have just learned.
You will notice there are already a few characters that are only made up of the radicals you know by now.
Example: 好, 如,从

And if you have mastered all the 100 Radicals this would be the result:

100 Most Frequently Used Words in Film Subtitles containing Elements of the 100 Most Used Radicals

100 Most Frequently Used Words in Film Subtitles containing Elements of the 100 Most Used Radicals

Planned updates:
I will add further exercises and examples
More on learning the most used words and characters in Chinese

Frequency List of Chinese Characters based on Film Subtitles


Learning How to Turn Twitter Tweets into RSS Feed

June 24, 2014

Update: 28.06.2015 Yahoo Pipes

Thanks to great people on the internet I was able to learn very quickly how to turn any twitter tweets into an RSS Feed. And this RSS Feed can be used anywhere! and it can be even displayed within a blog post!

With the new Twitter API v. 1.1 this became a more complex operation than it used to be.
Luckily there are fantastic teachers out there who share their great work-arounds for free.

My great learning journey started with Amit Agarwal and his blog post and video on
How to Create RSS Feeds for Twitter – Video Tutorial.
If you follow carefully his steps you will end up with an url that will be the first step towards the RSS Feed to be used anywhere. (If you want to turn your own twitter tweets into RSS see advice at the end of my blog post).

Once you created this url it will only work in Feedly or in Feedbin. Most other RSS Readers will not accept at this point. This was advised by the web-geek Mona Sorcelli.

It was through the help of Manuel Meurer and his great post on How to set up automatic retweeting using a Google Apps Script, Yahoo Pipes, and TwitterFeed.
From this post you will only need the second act – the Yahoo Pipes.

Update: 09.06.2015 Yahoo announced to shut down Yahoo pipes by September 30th 2015. You can only create new Yahoo Pipes until August 30th 2015. Here is the best article on Yahoo Pipes Alternative that I have found – the 13 best Yahoo Pipes Alternatives You Should Look at Today

On Quora there are alternatives to Yahoo Pipes discussed.

I will look into these alternatives over the next months.

Click on the link of his published pipe on Yahoo and enter the URL you created with the help of Amit Agarwal and you will get to an RSS Feed that can be used anywhere. (If you want to customize the feed your way – see further down in my blog post).

To get the final RSS feed to use in any RSS Reader or website click on the button “Get as RSS” that will appear once you run the Yahoo Pipe of Manuel Meurer. Copy the RSS Feed URL from the browser into any RSS Reader.

Display RSS in Blogpost or Website with Javascript
Or use the tool on the website Feed2Js (Alan Levine) to create a javascript code to place in your website or blog post. See my example: Gotthard Tunnel RSS News and Traffic News. Feed2Js will update the feed every 60 minutes.

Turn your own twitter feed into RSS feed
If you want to turn your own twitter feeds into RSS than you can use the following approach shown by Neil Ball – How To Create A Twitter RSS Feed – New Version Since API Switch Off.

Manipulate the Output of the RSS feed
If you want to customize the output of the RSS feed that you get out the Yahoo Pipe created by Manuel Meurer please visit my clone of his Yahoo Pipe. I had to add the user input element “URL input” at the beginning of the pipe to make the clone work.

Automatic Twitter Updates triggered by the RSS feed
And thanks to Manuel Meurer advice you can use Twitterfeed to create automatic retweets.
Twitterfeed will usually only update every 30 Minutes.

I use IFTTT (If This Than That) which is usually faster than Twitterfeed.
Choose Feed as your trigger channel and insert the url to your rss feed.

Realtime Updates with Pubsubhubbub

There is also a faster way if you reprogram the google script from Amit Agarwal  to include pubsubhubbub. Pubsubhubbub provides realtime notifications. It was developed by Brad Fitzpatrick and Brett Slatkin of Google and Martin Atkins of Six Apart.

The XML created with the google script from Amit Agarwal would need the following addition:

< atom:link rel=”hub” href=””/  >

More useful Information on pubsubhubbub is here.
Hope I was helpful.

you might als find helpful:

How to join a Google Hangout with Skype

The Raspberry Pi as Wlan Airprint Server

How to connect with Micrsoft Lync to Skype

List of Bitcoin ATM Machines

January 16, 2014

Updated: 21 March 2014

Below find the existing locations for Bitcoin ATM Machines.
Please note: there are lot’s of announcements on planned installation of Bitcoin ATM Machines around the Globe.
London is expected to recieve the shipment of the first ATM Machine by March, however in most countries there is no legal framework and therefore Bitcoin ATM Machines might not be allowed to be installed.
Example: In New York there are still discussing.

Albuquerque, New Mexico (since February,18,2014)
Location: Bar Imbibe, Nob Hill
More Info
USD notes to Bitcoin

Boston (since February,19,2014)
Location 1: Boston South Station
More Info

Location 2: Harvard Square, Clover Food Lab, Holyoke St
More Info

Austin, Texas (since February,20,2014)
Location: Handlebar, backroom, East Fifth Street
More Info

Austin, Texas (since March, 03, 2014)
Location: Central Texas Gun Works off Ben White Boulevard
More  Info

New York
Location: To be defined yet
Planned to open soon

Vancouver: World’s First Bitcoin Machine (since November,1,2013)
Location: Waves Coffee House
More Info

Vancouver: (since February,1,2014)
Location: QuadrigaCX, Downtown Vancouver, 332 Water Street, corner of West Cardover and Water Street
More Info

Ottawa (since January,16,2014)
Location: Byward Market Pub
More Info

Toronto (since Januray,16,2014)
Location: King Street West and Spadina Avenue at Bitcoin Decentral
More Info

Location: Bitcoin Embassy, 3485 Boul. St-Laurent
More Info

Winnipeg (since February,15,2014)
Location: Santa Lucia Pizza, St. Mary’s Road
More Info

Edmonton (since February,27,2014)
Location: Rose and Crown Pub
More Info

Location: 27th January to 2nd February
Campus Party 2014
More Info
Location in future : Financial District
Planned to open soon


Helsinki (since December, 16th,2013)
Location: Helsinki Railway Station, Levykauppa Äx Record Store
More Info

Bratislawa (since December,10th,2013)
Location: Entrance Restaurant The Pub
More Info includes map

Stockholm (since December, 9th, 2013)
Location: Hilton Slussen
More Info

Location: Im Viadukt Markthalle
More Info
Euro notes to Bitcoin only

Geneva (since February, 13, 2014)
Location: Crêperie des Pâquis
More Info

London (since February,05, 2014)
Location: Old Shoreditch Station, Kingsland Road
More Info

Berlin (since February,08, 2014)
Location: room77
More Info
Euro notes to Bitcoin only

Barcelona (since February,22,2014)
Location: Diagonal Mar Shopping Center
More Info

Dublin (since March,13,2014)
Location: GSM Solution, Upper Abbery Street
More Info


China – Hong Kong
Hong Kong (since March,14,2014)
Location: Stanley, Mr. Bing Cafe, 83 Wellington Street
More Info

Seoul (since March,07, 2104)
Location: COEX Mall southeastern Seoul
More Info

since February,28,2014
Location: City Link Mall
More Info

Bitcoins are frobidden in:
China (Mainland)

Mindfulness, Fullfillment, Completness – workbooks, questionairs, resources

January 3, 2014
running with the seaguls Ed Schipul 2006

Creative Commons: running with the seaguls Ed Schipul 2006

When I worked with just a few of these tools with one person the results were more than astonishing. In one year this person reached three of his major life goals while we had together estimated five. Why shouldn’t you achieve the same ?

After you have read through this article you will be twice as likely to reach your dreams, visons or goals. Given what we know today once you apply these tools I believe you will have a 95% chance to achieve your major goals in life.

It was a few years ago when the person came into my office. He was almost certain that he would quit his job because he had enough of sales. It was not his dream job. He felt tired and he had lost his passion. His intention was to join a business school fulltime, spend all his savings to major in marketing so that he could start a career in the marketing function. I listened intensively without judgement and asked questions when I needed to better understand the points he made. We sat together for 50 minutes and almost at the end of the meeting I said,” well, it seems that you have made up your mind, but is this the only option you have ? Is this the only way and what is the likelyhood of success ? Would you like to take the time to explore more options that will give you a much higher chance of success ?”. This was the moment he realized he came to have the meeting with me to just seek confirmation of his decision and not help. This was the moment when he suddenly started to listen. First I explained him the risk of his only option and then I asked him if working in marketing is his final dream in life or if it was an enabler for something bigger ?
I proposed him to find a better way to get him to the place where he really wanted to be in life if he would spend just a few hours over the next months together with me. We applied a few of the tools which helped him to become very clear what he wanted from life. It was not only a career in marketing, he also had the wish to work abroad, stay with the current employer and get married.
We met three times over the next month for only 60 minutes each.
One year later he got married, the current employer send him to Asia to work in marketing and paid for the tuition at a well known business school for his degree in marketing.
In essence good reflection takes only little time but gets you much further than we tend to believe.

I have seen these successes over and over again in my many years long career in talent management & people development and as a coach ( . Each time I am still astonished. It is magic. The method and tools are amazing. I let the person decide on the timing when to meet again and never will I judge or take the lead in the journey. It only works if the true person comes out and the true person goes through his own reflection. In my many years of experience I learned to become the sparring partner on the right level, that keeps the ball in the game. Seeing someone win, seeing someone reach his vision and goals is personally my biggest joy and fulfillment.

I didn’t have the book “Finding Your Element” by Sir Ken Robinson then. It is a great source and therefore I listed some of the resources below. I have also used additonal tools which I will go to introduce over the next couple of weeks in this blog post. My starting point is always the situation, the context the person is in and get a full understanding of it. Often this is the first time people talk to someone who is non-judgemental about it. Only then when everything is understood will I ask the person to take a helicopter view of his life. Afterwards there are a number of tools to become more specific who the person is and how he wants to go about the journey.

As we haven’t met personally I have made the following assumption about you as the reader:
– you feel like you are underutilizing your capacity and have not turned it fully to your advantage
– you are critical of yourself and you deserve to be admired more
– at certain times you have serious doubts if you have taken the right direction in life
– you feel insecure and you see your personal weaknessess which you like to hide
– you can become dissastified by restrictions and limitations
– you would like to change and add more variety to your life
– you are an independent thinker and you only accept statements with satisfactory proof
– you have great aspirations which you find pretty unrealistic and you need to provide security to yourself and others

If you agree or disagree with my assumptions you can reach out me at or leave a comment below.










Would you like to invest a few minutes of your precious life and turn it into something that you value much more ?

Being in your element, feeling engaged, having a purpose, …
In the following you find a number of tools:
You can use them on your own or with somebody you trust.
How many books have you read with exercises, but honestly how many of these exercises did you do on your own?
It seems most people like to do  exercises with someone else because they are more engaged, get more inspired and creative.

This is still my scrabble blog post, it will envolve over time:

Accept the situation you are in. Become mindful and understand your judgement.

Start with the end in mind

Question For You To Find Your Element:

Getting Started With the Element Workbook:

27 Questions to Find Your Passion Workbook:

Sim Card Top Advice

January 1, 2014
Unlocked Phones: How and Why to Do It (via InformationWeek)

InformationWeek An unlocked phone is one not tied down to a specific carrier network. If you want to use an unlocked phone, what are the practical implications? Who sells unlocked phones? What carriers let you unlock theirs and activate others? BYTE…


How to Buy a Prepaid Sim Card ( Pay-As-You Go Sim Card ) for Internet Access at London Heathrow Airport or London City Airport !

November 7, 2013
© Copyright Rod Allday and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

London Heathrow Airport © Copyright Rod Allday and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Once you are through the beggage claim and customs look for a WHSmith Bookstore.

I bought my sim card in the WHSmith Bookstore at London City Airport. The same bookstore you will find at London Heathrow Airport (see below for more details)  or other London or UK Airports.

This time I bought a Virgin media sim card, which uses the Orange Network in the UK. It will not have any money on the sim card so I also asked immediately for a top up for 10 Pounds. I did not have to show any ID-card. The Pay As You Go sim card itself costs 1.90 Pounds.

I use an inexpensive Huawei Vodafone 858 Android phone. This phone is my mobile wifi hot spot for my iphone. More details here and how to configure the android phone:

I had to go to Settings > Wireless & networks > Mobile networks > Network operators. This will initiate a search for available telephone networks. I selected the Orange PCS Ltd 3G network to get access.

Once you have access to the network you need to call 789111.
Here you will be guided through until you can enter the 16 digit number on your top up voucher (from WHSmith for 10 Pounds). Switch off your phone.

For your account to be activated might take a few hours. Once you switch on your phone again you will receive a message from Virgin media which will ask if you would like to have the internet access configured. Just click OK. No need to do any setup yourself. The internet access should work and look like this belwo:

APN – Settings for virgin media (Virgin Media uses the T-Mobile Orange Network in the UK):

Name:T-Mobile Internet

Proxy:Not set

Port:Not set



Server:Not set

MMSC: Not set

MMS  proxy:Not set

MMS port:Not set

MCC: 234

MNC: 30

Authentication type: PAP

APN type: default,supl

London Heathrow Airport

There is a WHSmith Bookstore for example at the departure floor before going into the security check.

I bought a Pay As You Go PAYG prepaid sim card from Vodafone at London Heathrow Airport at Terminal 5. The PAYG sim card costs 1.99 Pounds with zero balance on it. I also purchased a top up for 10 Pounds.

Once you started your mobile phone with the sim card you need to get the new telephone number by placing a call to *#100#
You need the telephone number as soon as you want to contact the help line of vodafone.

These are the APN Settings for the Vodafone PAYG sim card:
Name: Vodafone PAYG
Port: 8799
Username: wap
Password: wap
MMS Proxy:
MMS Port: 8799

Detailed Step by Step Guide on how to setup your Android Phone to access the internet:
How to avoid data roaming and roaming fees ? Mobile Wlan Hotspot devices (router/smartphones/…)

See also: List of settings for different countries to surf over data networks with your smartphone

How to buy a prepaid sim card for internet access at the Copenhagen Airport:

How to join with Skype in a Google Hangout Gtalk Video Chat ? How to invite people in a Google Hangout without a Google account ?

October 13, 2013

Not everyone is on Google and many use Skype. There is a way to combine Skype and Google hangout and even use other gtalk video chat tools to include people in a google hangout meeting. On top of it I am looking for ways to go beyond just the 10 maximum participant who can join a Google Hangout gtalk video meeting at the same time. I want to find ways for a DIY MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) or DIY Massive Open Online Meetings and Workshops with the lowest costs possible.

If you are a skype user without a google account you will need someone to setup a PC as below in order to dial in.

1. Download and Install Virtual Audio Cable Trial Version:

2. Download and Install manycam:

3. Download and Install Webcammax :

5. Open the Virtual Audio Cable Control Panel and create two cables in Driver Parameters upper left corner of the Panel. Then select Set. As this is the trial version and you do not have administrator rights you need to restart your computer. After the restart open Virtual Audio Cable Control Panel and it will show two lines.

6. Start Google Hangout:

7. Open Skype

8. Start Audio Repeater from Virtual Audio Cable Program Menu. Select vor Wave In your Microphone  and for Wave Out Line 1 in the drop down menu.

9. Click start in the Audio Repeater program.

10. Go to Skype, open Options under Task menu. Select Audio options and select Line 2 in the drop down menu for your speaker. Save.

11. Now Select Calls in Skype Options and select automatically accept incoming calls and also accept and save.

12. Go to Google Handout. Open Settings. Select LIne 2 for your Microphone and Select Webcammax for your webcam.

13. Open Manycam. Select in Sources Tab the item Desktop. Select on the right the icon for customize selected area. Then put this customize capture area over the location of google hangout, where the hangout video will be displayed.

14. Go to Skype and again go to Task and Options. Select Video options and enter as your video source Manycam.

15. Open Webcammax and select there the capture icon on right pane third icon from the top. Select there in the drop down menu selected area and put this area over your skype window where the video will appear.

The main principle is: Webcammax will show your Skype Video Area in the Google Hangout and Manycam will show your Google Hangout Video Area on Skype.
The consequence of this is that you as the host of the Google hangout finally will not be seen in the hangout via your webcam. You need to connect via another computer and webcam to your Google hangout or use Skype via another device such as an iPhone to call the Skype account on your PC in order to be visible in the Google Hangout.

Please note the link to which is mentioned in the youtube video remarks below is not working or will direct you to some strange Advertisements. Better don’t use it.

This is the best source – will explain in detail how to setup a Google Hangout with Skype: Combine Skype and Google Hangout

How to use manycam:

In order to include and connect several Google Hangouts you would need to setup several PCs the same way. Via Skype you would call the next Computer, etc. In this setup Skype will be the bridge between several hangouts. The intriguing part is that you could have a large group of people which receive all at the same time an opening message via Video in the different hangouts. Later they could use these different hangouts as Break-out Session by shutting down the Skype connection….

List of useful ressources:

Best Practice Google Hangouts:
Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson Hangout on Air

After Earth Google Hangout

Team Coco Hangout with Conan O’Brien

Master Chef Australia: Mindy – Google Hangout Cook-A-Long

Virtual Star Party

Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich: Champions League Final Hangout

Google Plus Week 9/27/2013 Dan McDermott

Best Practices recommeded by the Virtual Star Party Facilitator Fraser Cain:

Video Tutorials by The Google Hangout Helper Ronnie Bincer:

100 Best Google gtalk video hangout video tutorials Mega Guide:

Studio Setup for a professionally managed Google Hangout by Dan McDermott:

Using Google Hangout For Training:

Google Hangout Training:

Business Cases and Best Practices:

Here’s Help To Get Your Business Started With Google+ Hangouts On Air – Forbes

Forget Skype, Now it’s Time to “Hangout” with Google | Technology​

How Google Is Forever Changing The Webinar – Forbes

Google Hangouts on air a success for L.A.TV station

Advanced hangout statistics in Google+ – Social Networking – AdminSpot

Most Popular Web-Based Video Chat Service: Google Hangouts

Other Tools:

ooVoo (free video chat tool for 12 people):

AnyMeeting (free video webconfering):

Eventbrite Create an Event for free:

Free Autoresponder:


You might find also useful:

How to turn twitter feeds into RSS ( Twitter API 1.1)

The Raspberry Pi as Wlan Airprint Server

How to connect with Micrsoft Lync to Skype

How to Connect Microsoft Lync and Skype

August 19, 2013
Microsoft Lync to Skype

Connect and make calls between Microsoft Lync and Skpye

1. Get a free email adress at if you do not have one.

2. Go to Skype and start a new account with your new email address. Skype will ask you later in the registration process if you want to merge your old Skype account with the new one. This way you keep your contacts.

3. In Skype do a contact search with the email address that you use to sign into your Microsoft Lync Account and connect.

4. In Microsoft Lnyc accept the invitation from Skype.

Now you can call from Lync to Skype or from Skype to Lync.

Further Reading on how to avoid telephone and roaming fees:
How to avoid data roaming and roaming fees ? Mobile Wlan Hotspot devices (router/smartphones/…)

See also: List of settings for different countries to surf over data networks with your smartphone

You might also find useful:

Learning how to turn twitter tweets into RSS feeds

How to join with Skype a Google Hangout

The Raspberry Pi as Wlan Airprint Server

How to Buy a Prepaid Sim Card for Internet Access at the Copenhagen Airport !

August 8, 2013

Copenhagen airport
Picture by brewbooks

Once you are through the beggage claim and customs look for a WHSmith Bookstore.

I bought my sim card in the terminal 3 of the Copenhagen airport.
WHSmith Travel Ltd – Phone:+45 3248 3182

I did not have to show a passport or any other identification document.

The sim card is from and costs 25 DKK (Danish Crones) –
approximately 4.5 USD and is valid for 6 months.

I use an inexpensive Huawei Vodafone 858 Android phone. This phone is my mobile wifi hot spot for my iphone. More details here and how to configure the android phone:

Once I entered the lebara sim card in my huaweiphone a few minutes later I was able to make phone calls.

The end to end process to get access to the internet is more complex:

1. Call lebara Customer Service at 50 10 10 10
2.Then listen at least 30 seconds to Danish. If you here press 2 for English press 2 :-)
The voice will turn to English.
3. If it says setup internet press this number. I think it is Option 2.
If the minimum amount on your sim card is below 25 DKK ( Danish Crones) you need to do some steps (see below).
4. You will be told to go to internet page (which is an oxymoron at this stage (catch 22) .
These APN (AccessPointName) Settings have worked for me:
Name: Lebara internet
APN: internet
Proxy: <Not set>
Port: <Not set>
Username: <Not set>
Password:<Not set>
Server:<Not set>
MMSC:<Not set>
MMS proxy:<Not set>
MCC: 238
MNC: 02
Authentication type: none
APN type: default

5. Set up the Access Point Name as described in Step 4.
6. Swith off the android phone
7. Wait for 5 Minutes
8. Switch your android phone on.
9. Enter 0000

The Extra Steps which I found out after several calls to the customer service and wating at minimum 15 minutes to have a support agent on the phone. Once you reach one they are very helpful.

1. Go to WHSmith Bookshop and ask for lebara top up for 100 DKK (Danish Krona) if you want to telephone calls and internet or for a top up of 50 DKK if you only want to use internet (1GB Data). You also can get a top up of your lebara card at the 7-11 Stores (one is on the way from terminal 3 to terminal 2) at the copenhagen airport.

2. You will receive a pieces of paper with the heading Vaerdibevis and a logo of lebara mobile on it. In paragraph 2 or call it item 5 you will find a few English words. It says: For English: Call 50101234. Press 3. then 2.
It took several calls to lebara customer services until I worked this very brief guidance correctly.
3. Dial 50101234 and listen for a minimum of 35 to 55 seconds to the danish text. Do nothing while you listen. Then press 3 and listen again to some danish for 10 to 15 seconds and then press 2.
4. Hang up
5. Call again the number 50101234 and now the text will be in English. Follow the instruction:
6. I think to top up the amount of your card you need to press 2.
7. You need to enter an 8 digit code that you find under the logo of lebara mobile- look for the word KODE
Enter the 8 digit number and press hashtag #.
8. Enter a 6 digit number which is next to the 8 digit Code Number and press the hashtag #.
9. Now follow the instructions from the End to End process above from Step 1 Call the Customer Service Lebara line…..

Hope this guide was helpful.

Facetime iPhone:

I use the android phone as a mobile wifi hotspot for my iPhone. It was no problem to have a facetime call with my family at home  with iPhone connected to the android phone and the android phone send the data over a 3G connection.

Buy your lebara sim card at
If you want to have your sim card before arriving in Copenhagen you can order the lebara sim card at
Lebara SIM Card (Denmark)

Detailed Step by Step Guide on how to setup your Android Phone to access the internet:
How to avoid data roaming and roaming fees ? Mobile Wlan Hotspot devices (router/smartphones/…)

See also: List of settings for different countries to surf over data networks with your smartphone

How to buy a prepaid sim card a pay as you go PAYG sim card for internet access at London Heathrow airport or London City Airport^:


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