Walking through Berlin

2012-03-06 18:27
Ever made the mistake of booking a flight to a city and trying to decide on what to do only after you arrived? That type of planning does work for Berlin - though you may end up with quite a different schedule than originally intended.

The only thing that needs a bit of planning ahead (about a month) is visiting the Bundestag - fast way to discover it is to just go up to it's dome. You can book a table at the restaurant up there if you want to have breakfast above Berlin. In addition the visitor service offers various presentations for free that can be booked from their web page.

Some hints in addition to visiting a tourist information after your arrival:

When I have guests I usually recommend to either buy a day (or week) BVG ticket - you can use public transport as often as you like with these tickets. That includes S-Bahn, tram, busses, tube and ferries (but not the tourist roundtrip boats with moderation). If you know you'll be going to several museums, a Welcome ticket might be worth it's prize. Alternatively just get a bike - unless you want to reach destinations outside the s-bahn-ring or want to visit in winter (don't) all distances should be easy to do by bike. To plan your trips use bbbike.de - they know road conditions to e.g. let you exclude larger streets or prefer green routes.

Your best bet to see most of the attractions for less than five Euro is to take the regular bus line 100 from the Bhf. Zoo train station down to Alexanderplatz and line 200 back. Though no audio guide is known to me there should be guides available for sale in local tourist information offices.

For guide books: Lonely Planet is a good start. If you speak German the city box might serve you well. It contains 30 cards with proposed walking tours including brief explanations. Also the book "Die schönsten Berliner Stadtspaziergänge" has been great to discover areas that are less known.

The city has two bi-weekly magazines that feature lists of concerts (both modern and classical), exhibitions, markets and more: For one there is Zitty, the other one Tip Berlin. Both are quite good, which one to prefer depends on personal taste. In addition both publish restaurant guides, books on where to go shopping, special issues on where to go and what to do. In addition their online restaurant reviews are quite decent.

Two final hints: If you happen to know locals (or anyone who moved their a while ago) - make sure to ask them for recommendations. Also, try to stay at one of the many B&B locations - in general you host will know several local recommendations.

Berlin Hadoop Get Together - videos are up

2012-03-02 20:08

Reasons for you to visit Berlin Buzzwords

2012-01-15 19:59
I've heard of several people who are not quite sure yet whether they should visit Berlin Buzzwords or not - in particular when having to travel far and cross 9 time zones to attend. My general recommendation is to plan to spend some more days in Europe. The conference is conveniently scheduled on Monday and Tuesday which gives you one weekend before to explore the city and the whole week afterwards to go and see more either in the city or around.

In case you are wondering whether the city is a worthy destination when travelling with children - below is a list of things to do and places to go I sent to someone recently. Hope it helps with your decision as well. In general the city is pretty green, there are several locations specially amenable to a visit with kids - so treat the list below as what it is: An incomplete listing of some of the most obvious locations that might be of interest collected by someone who knows a few parents and their children. Also in case you speak German make sure to check out one of the many guide books for Berlin with children available in local book stores - Dussmann and Hugendubel generally have the largest selection though Chatwins is my preferred one for anything about travelling.

In the city

In case of good weather:

For bad weather:

  • If your kids like tech go to Technik Museum (it features one of the first computer (the one built by Zuse that is))
  • If you kids like nature go to Naturkunde Museum
  • If you are interested in science - make sure to be here for the long night of science (web page may need google translate unless you speak German.)
  • For a city tour check out the following scribbles - they also include some interesting parts of the bus line 100 and 200

Close to the city:

If you have some more time to spend make sure you also explore the closer surroundings:

  • 80km north: rent a canoo and explore Mecklenburg
  • 200km north: visit Rügen, spend some time swimming, some time to see the amazing chalk cliffs, some time to see the isle by bike
  • 250km south: go hiking or rafting in Elbsandsteingebirge
  • 80km south: rent a canoo and explore the canals in Spreewald

Recommendations from friends

  • Dawid Weiss: Badeschiff - a pool-on-the-river thing. It's not something you get in any ordinary city :)
  • Steve Loughran: My son's favourite part of a trip to berlin (age 9) was actually the Bauspielplatz: Smaller kids get a play area where they can use the sand + water to build streams, dam them and generally make a mess, while the 8+ get a playground where they actually help build it under adult supervision. They also run a good open air waffle/pancake/coffee shop. They're open in the afternoons.

Hope to see you in Berlin in June. If you need more information or recommendations don't hesitate to ask.

Berlin Tech Meetups

2011-12-09 22:32
Berlin currently is of growing interest for software engineers, has a very active startup scene and as a result several community organised meetups. Listed below is a short, "highly objective" selection of local user groups - showing just the breadth of topics discussed.

If you want to discover new meetups: It helps attending one that is closest to your interest as usually people follow several user groups. In addition watching the scheduled event at co-working and hacker spaces like co-up Berlin, betahaus, c-base can help.

December Apache Hadoop Get Together Berlin

2011-11-24 20:14
First of all please note that meetup organisation is being transitioned over to our xing meetup group. So in order to be notified of future meetings, make sure to join that group. Please make also sure to register for the December event as in contrast to past meetups this time space will be limited, so make sure to grab a ticket. If you cannot make it, please let the organiser know so he can issue additional tickets.

For those of you currently following this blog only for announcements:

When: December 7th 2011, 7 p.m.

Where: Smarthouse GmbH, Erich-Weinert-Str. 145, 10409 Berlin

Speaker: Martin Scholl
Title: On Firehoses and Storms: Event Thinking, Event Processing

Speaker: Douwe Osinga
Title: Overview of the Data Processing Pipeline at Triposo

Looking forward to seeing you at the next Apache Hadoop Get Together Berlin in December.

Apache Hadoop Get Together - Hand over

2011-11-02 16:20
Apache Hadoop receives lots of attention from large US corporations who are using the project to scale their data processing pipelines:

“Facebook uses Hadoop and Hive extensively to process large data sets. [...]” (Ashish Thusoo, Engineering Manager at Facebook), "Hadoop is a key ingredient in allowing LinkedIn to build many of our most computationally difficult features [...]" (Jay Kreps, Principal Engineer, LinkedIn), "Hadoop enables [Twitter] to store, process, and derive insights from our data in ways that wouldn't otherwise be possible. [...]" (Kevin Weil, Analytics Lead, Twitter). Found on Yahoo developer blog.

However the system's use is not limited to large corporations only: With 101tec, Zanox, nugg.ad, nurago also local German players are using the project to enable new applications. Add components like Lucene, Redis, CouchDB, HBase and UIMA to the mix and you end up with a set of majour open source components that allow developers to rapidly develop systems that until a few years ago were possible only either in Google-like companies or in research.

The Berlin Apache Hadoop Get Together started in 2008 allowed to learn more on how the average local company leveraged this software. It is a platform to get in touch informally, exchange knowledge and best practices across corporate boundaries.

After three years of organising that event it is time to hand it over to new caring hands: David Obermann from Idealo kindly volunteered to take over organisation. He is a long-term attendee of the event and will continue it in the roughly the same spirit as before: Technical talks on success stories by users, new features by developers - not solely restricted to Hadoop only but also taking into account related projects.

A huge Thank You for taking up the work of co-ordinating, finding a venue and a sponsor for the videos goes to David! If any of you attending the event think that you have an interesting story to share, would like to support the event financially or just help out please get in touch with David.

Looking forward to the next Apache Hadoop Get Together Berlin. Watch this space for updates on when and where it will take place.

Apache Dinner Berlin

2011-02-28 06:06
Title: Apache Dinner Berlin
Location: Good Morning Vietnam X-Berg
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2011-02-28

Please contact Simon Willnauer if you would like to attend for further information.

Video is up - Simon Willnauer on Lucene 4 Performance improvements

2011-02-22 21:21

Video is up - Josh Devins on Apache Hadoop at Nokia

2011-02-21 21:19

CFP - Berlin Buzzwords 2011 - search, score, scale

2011-01-26 08:00
This is to announce the Berlin Buzzwords 2011. The second edition of the successful conference on scalable and open search, data processing and data storage in Germany,
taking place in Berlin.

Call for Presentations Berlin Buzzwords


Berlin Buzzwords 2011 - Search, Store, Scale

6/7 June 2011

The event will comprise presentations on scalable data processing. We invite you to submit talks on the topics:

  • IR / Search - Lucene, Solr, katta or comparable solutions
  • NoSQL - like CouchDB, MongoDB, Jackrabbit, HBase and others
  • Hadoop - Hadoop itself, MapReduce, Cascading or Pig and relatives

Closely related topics not explicitly listed above are welcome. We are looking for presentations on the implementation of the systems themselves, real world applications and case studies.

Important Dates (all dates in GMT +2)

  • Submission deadline: March 1st 2011, 23:59 MEZ
  • Notification of accepted speakers: March 22th, 2011, MEZ.
  • Publication of final schedule: April 5th, 2011.
  • Conference: June 6/7. 2011

High quality, technical submissions are called for, ranging from principles to practice. We are looking for real world use cases, background on the architecture of specific projects and a deep dive into architectures built on top of e.g. Hadoop clusters.

Proposals should be submitted at http://berlinbuzzwords.de/content/cfp-0 no later than March 1st, 2011. Acceptance notifications will be sent out soon after the submission deadline. Please include your name, bio and email, the title of the talk, a brief abstract in English language. Please indicate whether you want to give a lightning (10min), short (20min) or long (40min) presentation and indicate the level of experience with the topic your audience should have (e.g. whether your talk will be suitable for newbies or is targeted for experienced users.) If you'd like to pitch your brand new product in your talk, please let us know as well - there will be extra space for presenting new ideas, awesome products and great new projects.

The presentation format is short. We will be enforcing the schedule rigorously.

If you are interested in sponsoring the event (e.g. we would be happy to provide videos after the event, free drinks for attendees as well as an after-show party), please contact us.

Follow @berlinbuzzwords on Twitter for updates. News on the conference will be published on our website at http://berlinbuzzwords.de.

Program Chairs: Isabel Drost, Jan Lehnardt, and Simon Willnauer.

Schedule and further updates on the event will be published on http://berlinbuzzwords.de Please re-distribute this CfP to people who might be interested.

Contact us at:

newthinking communications GmbH
Schönhauser Allee 6/7
10119 Berlin, Germany
Julia Gemählich
Isabel Drost
+49(0)30-9210 596