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10 Year Anniversary

Oh men, how fast time passes! Now since then years our website is online.

There were times when we almost wanted to give up, were we had troubles with hardware or the constant need for updating. So many nights went into this project. It is an ongoing challenge, but it also means that since more then ten years we have fun with Linux and all the Open Source tools around it. And this tools gives us possibilities which we otherwise didn't had. At the end of the day, we can say it is never a lost time when one can learn something.

Slowly gontarczyk.org is becoming kind of a dinosaurs. Personal websites like this are extinct, nowadays there are easily clickable blogs and photo-sharing sites all over the net, not to talk about those endless twitter-like noise-streams. They plop up quickly and run dry even quicker. And all those social networks? Absolutely overrated, it reduces the social interaction down to a like-it button.

But probably what is even worse, they have a very short lifetime of a few years, then those services disappear, are taken over or get otherwise commercially garbled. And with this all your work goes down the drain.

Ten years and we are still under construction - the only constant we had over this period.



Our trip to Buenos Aires and Patagonia made us appetite to see more of South America. So we went for Peru.

And indeed, it was a perfect choice, we enjoyed different landscapes, from coast lines, desert, the Andes and the Cloud Forest.


New Image Gallery

When we bought our iPhone 4 last year we pretty soon discovered the fun of up-loading pictures just from everywhere in the world (like Mumbai, Buenos Aires and Patagonia). We used the MobileMe-service from Apple which worked very well. Also it allowed the arrangement of the pictures into albums.

Then Apple went into the clouds and this part of MobileMe will not be available any more. So we looked for an alternative, specially one where we kept the copyright on our work. That's why we don't trust services like Flickr and other free photo sharing sites: you never know who owns your work. tumblr seemed to be a viable alternative and so we went for testing it we good results at home.

But already on the airport, waiting for the departure to Peru, the App crashed. After reinstalling it there was no way to log-in into our account. The only remain way to publish our pictures was the use of e-mail. Back home, we discovered the horrible quality of the picture and very frustrated we deleted more then hundred pictures. Anyway, we don't want a blog, we want a gallery.

As ever, if you want quality, do it yourself. So we have installed a clever image gallery minishowcase, bought an App Image Upload Pro for the iPhone (since you can't upload files form the Browser in iOS - how cool is that?) and wrote a script on our server to receive the images. That was an easy way to get our own tumblr.

Update: Unfortunately Image Upload Pro does not resize the images correctly and the author never made an update for this App, so the whole thing turned out to be pretty useless.



While we had in Switzerland one of the coldest week of this winter (and lost all of our balcony plants), we luckily spent a lazy week in Lanzarote.



Since 2001 we are using our own Wiki to store all kind of information on our server so that we have it available from everywhere (nowadays we say it is in the clouds).

But database maintenance, specially if you do it only sporadic, is a uncomfortable task. Also most of the popular Wikis have over the time involved into full featured CMS systems, we functions we never need, but which slow down our own little server. So it was time to look for a poor Wiki, without a database. Et voilà, we found PmWiki. It is lightweight, elegant and fast.


flickr & iPhone

Since a while Apple is proudly announcing that already half of the photos on flickr are taken with an iPhone - which should implicate how good the camera in the iPhone is. But this number does not tell anything about the quality of the iPhone itself, it rather tells something about the quality of the flickr user.

Oh yes, we still love our iPhone which is the best electronic toy we ever got. And no, we do not post our work in flickr either because we value what we do.


Again a new Camera

Just in time before our next trip we got the new Canon G1X. In some places size matters and the image sensor in a digital camera is definitely such a place.


Kashmir and Ladakh

opens the gallery in a new windowWe are just back from an epic journey through Kashmir and Ladakh. With this trip we fulfilled us a years old dream: once to see the Himalayas. 

As usual for India, we came back with tons of pictures.


Dictum - fine tools

On our way to Prague we visited Dictum - a shop for fine tools in Germany. And indeed, they keep what they promise: a paradise of real tools for different crafts like woodwork, leather-work, carving. We have spent hours examining all those tools and definitely felt in love with Japanese saws.

This visited absolutely changed our way we are looking into woodwork, and how we see all those trash tools from those do-it-yourself magazines which clutter the suburbs of every city. Do it slow and do it by hand. With the best tools available.


A new Workshop

Finaly we could finish the installation our new workshop. Which now gives us a whole new range of building fancy objects. Like making miniature sculptures in concrete or whatever woodwork.


iPhoneygraphy in Prague

We had a day to stroll around in Prague. Here a few pictures  from the AMoYA exhibition. 



Fractals are fascinating, 3D computer graphics is fascinating, but fractals in 3D is just mind blowing. Thanks of the Mandelbulber program from Krzysztof Marczak there is a fantastic and free tool available for exploring infinite worlds.

Also we got some inspiration from Chaotic.Atmospheres. Specially we like the Photoshop post-work which adds some extra mood to the images.

Our results can be found here.


The Anarchist Tool Chest

How beautiful, we got the book The Anarchist's Tool Chest from Christopher Schwarz (ISBN: 978-0-578-08413-8).

The book title might be a little misleading, it is a book about the love for wood and good hand-tools: "The mere act of owning real tools and having the power to use them is a radical and rare idea that can help change the world around us and - if we are persistent - preserve the craft."

Schwarz about anarchism: "Anarchism is the realization that all large institutions - governments, corporations, churches -  have divided up the tasks we do in our jobs to the point where these institutions to wasteful, dehumanizing and stupid things."

And last we can not resist for this citation: "'tool-shaped objects' - things that look for all the world like tools but don't really do the job required for them."


Drawing Course

We went for a three day course in sketching witch Eckard Funk. While we not always agreed with his style, we certainly enjoyed his professional teaching capabilities.

The course took place at boesner Münchwilen. The atelier there is very spacious and the people friendly. Not to forget that one can always stroll through the shop in case of missing materials.



We got the chance to spent a last few warm days in Portugal, traveling from Lisbon down to the Algarve. This time our means of transportation was a mobile home. It is very relaxing to travel if you carry your own house with you. It's certainly not the last time we rented such a vehicle.

The Algarve itself is just buried under endless concrete, but once we escaped from the abused coast line, the landscape became beautiful and silent.


Trienale Grenchen

For the third time we went to the Trienale in Grenchen, but unfortunately we have to say that it got each time less interesting. Now it is dominated by galleries instead of artists.


Buch- und Handpresse-Messe

It is always a very inspiring event. And as each time we accidently buy a few prints.


Rigid Heddle Loom

We got a new tool, a foldable knitters loom from Ashford Handicrafts.


New Microscope and Camera

It is a more then ten years old dream to discover the small world.

Now, we are back into the microscopy thanks to a new OptixCam OCS-5.0X microscope camera. Having now a 5 megapixel sensor, we are finally getting a usable image quality to play with.


Koubachi Plant Care

Got our first three Koubachi sensors. But after almost six weeks, we must say that they loose quite often the internet connection.


This has nothing to do with us. Almost nothing.


Again a new Camera

Again, in the last moment before departure, we got the brand new Panasonic Lumix GH3. Making the step from the GH1, we just can say: WOW! It was worth to wait for it. Since a full frame DSLR is just to big and to heavy for us to carry around, this is a optimum between size, image quality and DOF.

Being so excited with this new camera, we added a Macro lens and a fisheye lens as well.