Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Don't forget the holidays anymore

A typical German doesn't have to look for to find out the official holidays in Germany. For someone who is not used to Germany yet, it would be good to have them on your calender and automatically updated every year.

If you are using an iCalender based email client like iCal, Thunderbird etc. simply create a new calender subscribing to the calender from Apple at webcal://ical.mac.com/ical/German32Holidays.ics. Now all German holidays would be available on your calender with English names and the German equivalent for them. 

It is not necessary that these are really holidays in your state. To create a customised holiday list (Gesetzliche nach Bundesländern) visit erweiterungen.deProject24.info or Feiertage.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Love films? Then you would love this

There are many video libraries in Germany where you could rent movies and games. I have to say, they are soon going to be things of the past. First and foremost, they are expensive. You would have a shell out at least 2-3€ for a DVD movie, to see it overnight and return it the next day. Secondly, they have limited collection. And lastly, to rent a DVD, you would have to drive to the store twice  -once to fetch and again to return.

A promising alternative is LOVEFiLM.de. It is not an online service like MaxDome where you 
rent a movie online and watch it online (either on your computer or using a special receiver on your television). LOVEFiLM.de lets you rent DVDs online and have it delivered at your home via normal post. There are no time restrictions. You could watch it at your convenience and post it back using the prepaid postage cover sent to you along with the DVD. You primarily pay only for the DVD and not for postage - both ways. For as low as 11.99€ per month you could watch unlimited DVDs. 

Services like MaxDome might appeal to many people as they don't force you to go to a postbox often. The killer arguments for me against them are that, these services are available only on Microsoft Windows platform (if you are watching it on a computer and don't have the special receiver for the service). Even if it is available on other platforms like Mac OS X, it is not fun to watch the movie on a "small" screen. Also these services have movies only with German audio. DVDs from LOVEFiLM.de have of course the English audio available for selection.

I checked out a free trial with LOVEFiLM.de  and was pretty satisfied with the service. 
If I don't appear to be exceedingly marketing the service, go and give it a try.