Month: November 2015

The Translating Life

So, I’ve gone incognito for a while. And, while I have invested what feels like an entire weekend trying to set up a Virtual Machine for my python programming. (I’ll write about that when I’m finished being frustrated by it.)

The reason I’ve been out of touch is part of the reality of translating. Last week I had the opportunity to earn in a week translating what I normally earn in a month teaching. (Of course, I’ll still get paid for my teaching, so I just doubled this month’s income.)

So, I spent the last week basically hunkered over my computer translating a contract. It was interesting, and I got compliments on it when I was finished, but I’m still in recovery from the week spent hunkered down.

You know, one of the first things I saw when I first came to Germany was a forum conversation where someone was looking to house sit in different european capitals. The forum poster said she made her money translating and wasn’t attached to any one particular location. From that moment, I wanted to translate.

It turns out that translating, now that I’ve fallen into it as a second line of income, I appreciate the extra money. But, yeah, I miss my life whenever I get a contract. Now I’ve got to pick up a bunch of projects that have been dormant for a week.

That’s translating for you.

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The Public Dataset Business Idea

Here’s a funny fact about me: I like to come up with business ideas. Some of them I play around with for a while, others I know are outside of my own league. Until now, I’ve never actually started a business, though I’ve started (and abandoned) a number of themed websites.

Recently, I had a couple of good business ideas. One I might play with on my own, the other I’m happy to share with anyone who is looking for a project to play with.

The idea is to create a freely available dataset made up of a huge collection of survey data. Without looking into the feasibility of this, the idea is that people could take surveys on a website or via an app (and either get email invites or notifications via the app to try some more questions). Ideally, people would be motivated to take part in the project because it’s easy to do and it’s nice to think that you’re somehow ‘furthering knowledge.’ Additionally, there could be prizes or rewards provided (perhaps you’re entered to win something, or, if you’re in an important target demographic, you’re bribed outright.)

The business would make money by selling people and organization the possibility of including questions.

Do you want to know if people who own an xbox also play games on android phones? Pay x amount to have the survey include at least ten thousand participants with xboxes and their responses to the android phone question.

Are you a psychology student who wants to know if people who have watched a violent movie in the last 24 hours are more or less likely to brainstorm ‘empathetic’ keywords when they’re presented with an image? There will be an equation to figure that out, and the survey platform will ask enough people whether or not they’ve seen a violent movie in the last 24 hours to get enough responses to the second question.

I like the idea, because I’m a fan of public datasets. And because I think that people would be motivated to take part in a project knowing that the dataset would eventually be public.

I’m not going to pursue the project because the mathematics end of it is far beyond my own abilities and so I’m setting the idea free into the world. It’s yours if you want it.

Update: A Wasted Trip to the City

Closed today, due to software update
Closed today, due to software update

I don’t know if anyone has been wondering what that status on my amateur radio license is. The last I wrote, I was waiting for a call sign.

Then, last week, I got a letter from the Federal Network Agency saying and I admit that I was a little nervous opening it. In my mind, I was already photographing it to send to my wife. I was already ending my emails to my dad with ’73 de DO…something!’ I was going to be a ham!

You can guess that there was not a callsign for me in the letter.

There was, instead, a letter saying that I would have to send a recent proof of registration (fun fact: you have to register in Germany, not unlike a dog), presumably to verify that I am a German resident and a copy of my residence permit, presumably to prove that I live here legally. (Did they think I would be able to register if I didn’t have a residence permit?)

It doesn’t matter, I have a residency permit. I just needed to run into town and, for five Euros, get a current proof of registration. No fun, but dooable.

Then, today, I made time to run into the city. Hopped on the bike, took off.

The office where I could get the registration, it turns out, is closed. Today and tomorrow, it’s closed due to a software update. Fun. I get to try again on Thursday.