Berlin Apps: TrainTimer for iOS

Kevin, one of my basketball teammates has designed an app, which he finished together with a developer, a couple months ago: TrainTimer is a small showcase app – no, they are not a startup 😉 – which wakes you up before your destination, on the train. For now, it only works in the VBB area (Berlin and Brandenburg) and the app is only available in German. If you’re regularly commuting in a train in or around Berlin (or are just curious), you should check it out!

If you also want to get something developed – mobile or otherwise – contact me at johann(at)!

Recommended Reading: Triple Unicorn / Historical Perspective / #500Stable / Bonus

Before I forget, here another edition of Recommended Reading… that I was meaning to get out for a couple days now!


  • Press Release: 37Signals Valuation tops $100 Billion after bold VC Investment, by Jason Fried on Signal v. Noise: An oldie, but a goldie. And pure coincicence that I link to it right after the news on Delivery Hero, certainly.
  • #500stable, by Dave McClure of 500 Startups: Technically not at all a “post” that you need to “read”. However, it’s important anyway. First of all, so you realize that this blog has a Facebook page. Which you can like, if you want to. Sometimes this page got content that this blog does not have. Secondly, this piece in particular, gives us additional funny industry lingo, for the startups that are still a bit more modest than Delivery Hero. Hello to all Centaurs and My Little Ponys out there!

Bonus – Recommended Watching

See you next time!

Don’t .gitignore this friendly reminder! / Daigaku at #RUGB

I learned something the hard way this week:

Setting up your .gitignore in the beginning of a project can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary work! I ran into the problem with my video upload & player project (one aspect of which I wrote about here before). In my case, it was not quite as bad as for this guy, who accidently commited a DVD iso to his repository, but… even 60 (unnecessary) mb in an old commit can be really annoying! I still haven’t quite fixed the problem, I think.

Anyways, so much about that (for now, at least).

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Berlin Events: Hispanic Startups Day on June 13

This should be cool. I think so, because I know one of the organizers, David Grajal, and some of the speakers, from the associated meetup group. I been there a couple times, to practice my Spanish (as additional benefit to the usual “getting to know other people in tech” of other events), and it’s quite a fun crowd! There will be the (usual?!) presentation by Startup Chile – they are supporting the event – but also some “more original” content. For example, this one at 14:30 sounds like fun: “Startups en Berlin, Hipsters Hispanos y otras elucubraciones”. 😉 Right after, there will be a potentially quite useful presentation on funding by Oliver Schmidt, so that might be a good time to be around the conference, even if you cannot come the whole day.

Sign up on!

Recommended Reading: 6Wunderkinder Special Edition

This time, a special edition of Recommended Reading, about the acquisition of Berlin startup 6Wunderkinder by Microsoft:

  • Microsoft Buys To-Do List App Maker, by Amir Mizroch in the Wall Street Journal: The first article most people read about this acquisition, it seemed, with the not exactly precise range of “100 to 200 Million Dollars” mentioned as the price.
  • We are all 6Wunderkinder, (in German), by Alexander Hüsing, Deutsche Startups: And the award for the most ridiculous headline and idea for an article goes to… Well, someone has to defend these freshly minted multi-millionairs and a billion dollar from criticism, right? 😉

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Using MediaelementJS in Rails

Based on the information on the site, the integration of this mediaplayer seems to be simple enough: You just need to copy over a JavaScript file to Rails’ JS folder and a stylesheet to the corresponding folder in assets. If you are not using jQuery in your app yet, you also either need to put jQuery in the JS folder – or integrate a CDN version in your application.html.erb layout (see “Using jQuery with a CDN”), for example. In this case, I used a locally installed version of jQuery, while on previous projects I usually used the CDN version – both generally work fine. What was unclear (at least for a Rails beginner like me) is where to put the image files that make up the controls of MediaelementJS.

Nevertheless, I got MediaelementJS to work “50% of the time, all the time”, with just these basic steps, right out of the box – albeit with missing images of the controls. The 50% of the time where a problem though, and having a visible play button etc. also would be “good”, so some “fixing” was necessary.

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