Author: Christoph Amthor

A Self-Contained Offline-Wiki That Syncs Across Your Devices

A long time I was searching for a way how to take notes on my desktop and make them available on multiple devices. I wanted to be able to edit the same file on all of my laptops and automatically synchronize them with the click of a save button. I also wanted to access that file on my smartphone. And, lastly, I needed a structured, searchable and easily editable format like a wiki, which is organized in pages or articles. So far, I used private installations of wikis 1 on public web servers, but didn’t feel really satisfied to take the way through the Internet. Syncing files is straightforward with cloud-based file hosting solutions such as Dropbox, Spideroak, Tresorit or Owncloud, but then again – wikis are usually pieces of code that require additional software to run it. The preferred choice would be a simple word processor or just a web browser that would be able to open the wiki on all devices. The solution Part one of the solution is TiddlyWiki, a wiki that …

My Lesson On Self-Defense

  The best self-defense for foreigners: Learn the local language.   This came to my mind while thinking about some unpleasant experiences when I was new in the Czech Republic and often ended up with the short end of the stick. If you don’t know the local language well, you cannot defend your rights efficiently, you miss essential information, it is difficult to find helpful people, and defending yourself consumes much more time and energy. And, even worse, you cannot respond adequately if people yell at you. Featured image by Jirka Matousek

Xenophobia, or Violence on the Path of Least Resistance?

In discussions about migration you frequently hear the word “xenophobia”.  I suspect that this word is often used as an euphemism for “racism” – possibly in order to avoid the R word and not to snub the majority population. “Phobia” means fear, and xenophobia is the fear of the unknown, or people with an unknown background, or strangers. Often this is accurate, but in many cases the word xenophobia risks to turn perpetrators into victims. If you suffer from claustrophobia, you deserve professional care and to be safeguarded from situations that trigger your fear. I don’t think, however, that every person expressing their hatred against foreigners is suffering from a regrettable fear of the unknown. The symptoms may be the same, but the causes don’t need to. Pedophobia, for example, may result in violence against children. You cannot, however, conclude now that violence against children is always (or mostly) caused by pedophobia. This would naturally excuse any kind of child abuse. An obvious reason for child abuse is simply that children are weak, and therefore …

About being a (privileged) migrant

At the recent protest against the high level of racism in the country where I live, R. had the great idea to make an improvised banner. We first considered to write that expats are also migrants, but the use of “expats” was a bit problematic, not fitting into the context of refugees, and not everyone was comfortable with that name. We then ended up with the message: “We’re migrants. Migration is not illegal.” Actually not a very controversial statement. The Czech Republic is certainly not the forefront of grassroots democracy. This is a stereotype that many foreigners from the Western hemisphere use to fall for, persuaded by images of peaceful masses resisting the Soviet occupation or demanding the Communists to step back, and by figureheads of civil society such as the late Václav Havel. Neither is it the place where to find particular empathy with the disenfranchised or solidarity among the “men in the street” – if I may indulge in this ironic understatement. Public protests seem to draw masses only if they are based …

Some Kind of Anniversary

It has been roughly 20 years since I first put my foot on a Tatami. I am thinking about that number, if it actually has any relevance to me. I feel the need to commemorate that key moment where something has started that has accompanied and, undoubtedly, changed most of my life since then, and I choose to do it in English since the beginnings have happened in Reading, UK. To be honest about the maths: I cannot actually claim to be doing Aikido for the entire 20 years. After Reading, I continued in two clubs in Regensburg, a broken shoulder joint and moving to other places then forced me to suspend training. I gave several tries to clubs in other towns and was sometimes discouraged by the immature mentality of people there. Having the right atmosphere among the members was always most important to me. I wouldn’t be able to learn from a teacher who I could not respect because he or she had not developed their personality together with their technical skills. Often I …