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MECC - Munich Electronic & Computer Consultants

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http://www.berklix.org/mecc/

Purpose

To discuss matters of common interest: fiscal, technical, professional, job opportunities etc, among Computer & Electronic Engineers/Developers/Technical Freelance Consultants etc.

MECC Is For

Munich Computer & Electronics Contractors/Consultant Developers etc, but we also welcome employee engineers whose interest in the industry &/or business continues to remain strong after five o'clock smiley face

MECC Is Not For

Engineers whose interest in technology turns off at five o'clock, end users, random girl friends, boyfriends, husbands, wives, relatives, drinking/sports friends etc. Diluting MECC with non MECC-qualified people would damage the purpose of MECC. There are plenty of better groups for general socialising, EG Beer Gardeners.)

Language / Sprache

No German translation of this page exists. The language of the computer & electronics industries is English. If you can't talk mostly in English, you will have problems conversing at the Stammtisch. Most of us can speak German too though, if you get stuck. We are computer technologists, not linguists, so we are far more interested in technical & financial ideas, not obsessing about grammar. good technical (& financial) ideas are of more interest, than good grammar :-)

Intro

  • Advance reminder of monthly meetings is sent by email.
  • We have no membership fees, assets, formal procedures etc.
  • We are not an "Eingetragene Verein"
  • We do not campaign for anything
  • Started by Julian Stacey & Martin Collins . First meeting Thursday 26th November 1998, Kapuziner Platz 5
  • Got lots of of questions before you come to Germany ? Don't mail us, we have no time! Contractor in germany questions & answers here

When We Meet

Months When We Meet

Our Email List keeps you updated; but the table below gives an indication of months when we are more & less likely to meet.
MONTH PROBABILITY COMMENT
January No. Skiing
Too soon after Xmas break
February Maybe Skiing
March Maybe Last Skiing
April Unlikely  
May Probably  
June Unlikely  
July Yes Last chance before
Aug & Sept holidays.
August No. Many away on holiday
September No. Still some away first half of month.
October Maybe Some recovering from
Oktoberfest (private & company trips).
November Likely If not October
December No Short month (parties, Xmas, tax returns)
Maximise working hours other days.

Date In Month When We Meet

  • By default: Second Tuesday in some months, 19:30
    (Moved from last Wednesday (in 6.2007 ), as contractors get busier towards the end of each month.).
  • An automatic reminder to add to Unix computers:
    man calendar
    vi $HOME/calendar ~/.calendar/calendar
    * Tues+1 Advance Warning: MECC next Tuesday.
      If you want us to meet, write to list.
    * Tues+2 MECC, Second Tuesday in month.
    Ensure calendars are mailed:
    crontab -e
    # /var/cron/tabs/my_name managed via crontab -e
    # Min Hour DayInMth Mth DayInWk Command (1=Mon,7=Sun)
    0 0 * * * calendar

Will We Meet This Month ? - Only If You Help Us Decide To !

  • The date you should remind us of on the Email List, the best part of a week before.
  • If you don't, others probably won't either, so you can assume No Stammtisch this month.
  • Contractors tend to be either working hard & short of time, or between jobs, short of money, not spending. Thus we tend to have less people turn up than our list size might lead one to suppose.
  • There's not enough of us to meet every month, so me meet Only if enough people announce they will come, by posting to list mecc@ (not via private mail to Julian).
  • No single person decides: if, where, & when we meet, None of us so somewhere to sit alone, in case you might want to turn up without commitment.
  • What do You need to do, to ensure we meet ?
    • Post to mecc@ about 5 days before 2nd Tuesday, & proposes MECC meets.
    • We will discuss on mecc@ list (not by private mail) for 2 days,
    • We will decide on Email List, if we have enough people to make it worth meeting.
    • One of us (any of us, does Not need to be Julian or Martin) then makes a definitive statement, "We have enough, we will meet".
    • We each then have 2 days to phone other people & invite them.
    • Ditherers can decide
    • One of us books a table.
    • Date Clashes:
      • If any important dates collide with the default, please send a warning to the Email List, where alternate dates can be discussed (subject to: fair notice: some may be away travelling incommunicado, on business).
      • Football: Increasingly venues have TV screens, we try to avoid them. Note: Julian is totally un-interested & unaware of football matches, Do not rely on him to avoiding date clashes, warn us.
      • Sometimes we attend a tech. lecture, before going on to eat/ drink.
    • If you expect to be there, Please post that to to our Email List:
      • We need at least 4 definite recently confirmed people by 20:00 day before the Stammtisch, to our MECC Email List , else Stammtisch is cancelled.
      • If last minute changes happen, happens, we won't try to tell you via list etc, unless you have committed yourself to join us.
      • Mail the Email List (not Julian). The group needs to know if we have enough people & who they are, Julian may be out/ busy/ ill & does not want to be a single focus of email; Use the Email List .
    • Enhance your & our evening, phone a MECC oriented friend & ask them too.
    • Occasionally someone phones round reminding/recruiting people to latest Stammtisch, anyone is very welcome to do this, don't wait to be asked, just do it.

Scheduling - Why we do not use an online calender service

http://doodle.com or similar might be attractive for scheduling a business meeting for a fixed limited number of known participants who all want to meet at a common free time.

But they're not appropriate for us, we have a Email List of 46 (as at 2011.06) contractors, we have a fixed monthly date to focus on (& if we were to choose other dates, we would collide with other well known stammtisch dates).

Those free that day may meet, if enough have interest to bother to mail they will come. Who is interested depends on work commitments, which being freelancers, varies a lot.

Historically MECC members weren't often motivated enough to send a single mail (to publicly commit to coming. to increase head count), so getting them to either repeatedly access an on line service, or type in all their blocked or free days isn't realistic.

Some, likely many MECC members inc this author, will not type their dates into a proprietary commercial database.

An interactive remote web system would require on line net access & http protocol. Some contractors can be travelling &/or in customers' offices with less net access than permis, (email may be passed, & http blocked etc). ( Even email { by wireless / UMTS / net stick } & sms by GPRS may be blocked, some companies use shielding on windows . )

MECC is focused by a simple predictable date, that people's calendars can predict (each individually & personally, by whatever software or service they personally choose), That they will then see on Email List (if we're not all too lazy/ busy/ uninterested, not to propose a meet).

People then add their names to the fixed date, if willing to attend, people pick up those names by email a few days before (in case travelling or out late at nights) so they know if the meeting is on (or not).

Our goal is not just to increase the probability to meet more often, but also:.

  • Minimum effort for attenders to decide if they are free & will commit to coming.
  • Minimal regular effort for convener to decide if we have sufficient people to meet, & to focus people by definitively announcing "We will [or not] meet this month."
  • To ensure a decent turnout if we meet, as too regular meetings with low numbers would be more work arranging for less reward, & would fizzle out. (Thus the idea of quarterly meetings, to encourage people to [reschedule other commitments if necessary] & make the effort to travel to MECC, else they will miss out for 3 months).
Summary: More technology might give a short term boost to MECC, but would kill it long term. We don't need a higher frequency of meetings with minimal numbers, we need it that when we travel to attend, it's numerous, lively & interesting & we enthusiasticaly tell others they missed out & should come too next time.
  • MECC people who want to meet, Recruiting more work friends & colleagues to join Email List & attend the the meetings.
  • Make a note in your diary , about a week before scheduled date, to propose we meet that month.

Stammtisch

We meet monthly for a beer & /or meal in Gaststatten & beer gardens.
Kapuziner 2001.02.28 taken by Adam   people at weisses_brauhaus

Location(s)

  • Best phone Julian or Gary J to check who is coming, the venue's still on etc !
  • We tend to use Restaurant with a No Smoking area (The author is tobacco allergic, & other regular MECC attenders also dislike smoke.
  • SUMMER

    Our fine weather &/or summer default (unless otherwise announced on Email List) is Paulaner Beergarden @ Kapuziner Plz Kapuzinerplatz 5, 80337 Munich. Tel 544611.0
    In suddenly bad weather - look for us inside the Paulaner Bräus building, in summer / warm weather - look for us in the self service part of the beer garden adjacent, run by the same management.
    Kapuziner Directions etc : Paulaner Brauhaus, Kapuzinerplatz 5, 80337. Line map http://www.berklix.com/~jhs/gifs/kapuziner.gif U Bahn 3 & 6, Goethe Platz. 1 block South East on Kapuziner Str, or South on Haberl Str, merging at Kapuziner Str, Then half a block South East on Kapuziner Str, & left into beer garden.
    If bad weather, then inside, (one can take stuff in, if weather degrades). In middle room which is non smoking, towards back, further from smoking areas..
  • WINTER

    Our winter cold weather default in months when beergardens are impossible : http://www.weisses-brauhaus.de/
    Before 2008.010.01: Upstairs the whole place is non smoking. Hopefully somewhere away from stairs as smoke drifts up.
    After 2008.01.01 new Bavarian non smoking law: Still upstairs, as downstairs, the chloroform & nicotine etc will still be in walls & soft furnishings, returning to the air, & may be crowded, noisier, more tourists etc.
  • Yes we're still meeting on & off in 2009 (though this page doesn't get updated that often to indicate it).

Email List

Subscription & De-Subscription & Mail List
Info, Intro, Subscribe, Help all via majordomo@berklix.org
Help via http://berklix.org/help/

Other Resources

  • `Dead Beat Customers' ie Suspect you customer may not be Zahlungsfaehig ? (& remember that doesn't necessarily mean they wont pay anything, they may just muck around & pay late, after 3rd reminder or court summons, or they may make spurious accusations the work wasn't good enough, any excuse to try to wangle a discount or delay payment, or justify delaying the already overdue payment longer, etc. Some customers are golden, & pay properly on time for work done, a few other customers are occasionally best summarised in harsh 4 letter angle Saxon. Stay in business long enough & you'll meet both ends of the spectrum.
    Translators have the same worries too. Here's URLs from a publication aimed for them, not us:
  • News groups of possible interest include:
    • muc.markt.arbeit Munich
    • misc.jobs.contract Loads of mainly USA
    • de.etc.beruf.selbstaendig Much general discussion in German about local laws, taxes, promoting business, etc
  • Berufsverband Selbstaendiger in der Informatik e.V. Elbestr 51, 48145 Muenster.
  • http://www.expatengineer.net
  • VSI verband der Softwareindustrie Deutschlands e.V. Seitzstr 17 80538 Muenchen
  • DMMV Deutscher Multimedia Verband e.V. Osterwaldstr, 80805 Muenchen. I find no working URLs - jhs 4.2005
  • Gesellschaft fuer Systems Engineering Die GfSE ist der deutsche Zweig des International Council on Systems Engineering ( INCOSE , dem Internationalen Fachverband fuer Systems Engineering mit ueber 4000 Mitgliedern weltweit.
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt
  • http://www.cray-cyber.org - Access to historical supercomputers - Munich base.

Magazine

There's a magazine called Freiberufler info we're not associated in any way, but it may be of interest to people looking for jobs. Martin plans to ask them for a free entry in their list of Stammtisch Venues (& if they don't have a list, to start one).

Resumes/ CVs/ Lebenslaufs.

Newcomers often ask me questions, common ones include Resumes:

Job Agents & Magazines.

Random Job Agents.

Alle Angaben Ohne Gewaehr ie Don't Blame Me! These agents may be good, bad, or indifferent.
Do come to our Stammtisch & tell us if you have particularly good or bad experience with any, & then send me a follow up email to confirm name of company for praise or deletion. Some of these are just companies who asked to be mentioned. At a single complaint from MECC members, I'll remove bad agents, being listed does not mean they're necessarily good, just unknown.
Alphabetic by web ref.

Worst Agents & Customers.

Non/ Late/ Under/ Arguing etc bad Agents &/or customers.

Of course there are rogue agents, also rogue contractors, & rogue customers, If you've been in the business long enough, you'll have seen all types, though not all readily discuss or admit all categories exist.

We don't publish the latest rotten scenarios in public forums, (may be contentious, possibility of litigation, etc). This author does not have time to answer mail about it, Don't ask, Come to our Stammtisch to discuss such & other stuff there.)

Worst Agents - Criteria

Some agents are worse than others, Criteria can include eg: to (Worst rates, Biggest commissions (one big one alleged to take 35%, another claims 20%), Slow payment, Non payment if customer fails to pay, Too intrusive, Evil contract clauses, eg `screw you 25K Euro without independent review by court, etc ).

I could set up a password locked web page,

For members only, moving to there, the above list of "Random Job Agents" converting to a table, & adding 2 columns: each with links: "Reccomended by" & "Not Reccomended By". Text to document/ justify Reccomended/Not reccomended would be on your web, not mine.

Low Rates

  • Agents brain wash with frequent false glib assertions. Here's some possible counter mantras to think:
    • "Never Trust An Agent!"
    • "Would I buy a used car from this Agent ?"
    • "I'm just part of the daily quota this Agent has to sell"
    (feel lucky if you've only dealt with fully trust worthy open & honest agents).
  • If you want to know a low rate from a good rate, don't trust many agents who will say "This is a good rate", some few will be truthful, & many not, often enough it'll be a poor rate. Ask your fellow contractors at the Stammtisch for their opinion. (Don't ask this author by mail though, he does not have time for personal mail)
  • Some agents work in tandem: eg a UK agent recruits for a Munich agent for a Munich job. Both are reluctant to accept a halved normal commission, so raise the total commission prior to splitting, by further reducing contractor's hourly rate from what customer is prepared to pay; it can sometimes still be worth it though.
  • Some contractors like working regularly for agents, but at lower rates, & some prefer finding their own work, with more effort, for better rates, eg inc. (eg this author.
  • Some agents can get a noticeably higher rate from a customer than a contractor could, negotiating direct, but few agents can achieve a willingness from a customer to pay an hourly rate for a contractor, that more than exceeds the lost commission, negotiating direct, so again, the agent forces down rates.
  • The agencies & customers offering the lowest rates, create rods for their own backs:
    • They will recruit a combination of the worst & most desperate contractors.
    • The new recruited will be first to go, with least compunction, when, realising how severely underpaid they are, they abandon ship for the first of many better paid jobs available.
    • Same recruiting costs per head for agents, per less month's commission earned.
    • More frequent induction/ lost time costs for employer while new contractors settle in, before moving on to better paid work.

Agents' False Assertions

False assertions can be numerous. The more cycnical, the more you can spot. Here's some samples:
  • Agents' False Assertion

    "The Rate We Charge Our Customer Is Not Your Business - [You Must Work For Us In Ignorance!]"

    Not True !
    • Knowledge of the rate the customer is paying is part of the job spec. It tells the consultant what the customer expects in performance quality flexibility etc, relative to market rate.
    • Some agents achieves fattest margin by screwing both customer up & contractor down.
    • Customers paying over the odds expect mega performance / knowledge / to impose whatever conditions.
    • Contractors on low rates expect not to be worked too hard/ to have time to read necessary manuals etc/ not to put up with weird pressures/ whatever.
    • A fat agency profit margin is more than money wasted, it increases risk of possible friction between customers & contractors with different expectations.
    • If one insists on knowing how much customer is paying &/or being [over] charged/ by some agents, one less likely walks into traps.
    • The more aggressively an agency refuses to discuss its profit margin, the greedier they nearly always are.
  • Agents False Assertion

    Not True! Reject & reword to achieve a neutral contract.

    • German Agents can not define what German law is, & can not preclude your legal rights - unless you foolishly sign your rights away.
    • Read the contract & ensure it is balanced with equal protection for you. If there's more protection for them than you: Insist on rewording it to balance, or require a raise in rate as compensation.
    • German agents are more aggressive on contracts; some do not even realise it, & consider it `normal' & will continue while they get away with it.
    • German agency aggressive contract clauses are not necessary & not law (unless you sign them unchanged)
      • The international industry project language is English, not German;
      • A lot of customers are multi-nationals / trans-continental & pan European etc;
      • We are in Europe, of which Germany is just one part;
      • Contractors move about, inc. eg Germans who work in London etc & see how others work & then come back.
      • Some contractors here are a variety of Europeans, USA & other etc.
      • There's nothing _attractive_ or necessary about some clauses some German Agencies attempt to force on suckers.
      • You have as much right to cross out or write a contract clause, or a complete contract, as they do - until you sign.
    • Do not discard your right to independent German courts in event of breach of contract.
    • Let an independent German court be the judge of provable amounts an agent might assert.
    • Do not accept contract clauses appointing Agent your judge jury & executioner.
    • Cross out aggressive one sided stuff. Allow just simple neutral phrases eg "The contractor will not work direct for X months." Give entrapping agencies Nothing more.
  • Agents False Assertion

    "As we work on a fixed percentage of the rate it is not in our interest to artificially drive the rate down."

    Not True! Agents push contractor prices down.

    • Turnover is the motivator. Even if a few agents might work on fixed commission, most are believed not to. Apart from fat commissions, there's a 2nd reason to drive down rates contractors receive: increased sales volume for individual agents.
      (Same as in selling houses: Consider if an owner sells a house worth eg 200K in UK: If there are 3 agents, the first agent to persuade owner to sell under market rate at 170K gains 3% of 170K. The seller loses 97% of 30K. The agent who sought fair market price of 200K for seller loses 100% of 3% of 200K. Agent who pushed market price down wins repeatedly in short to medium term; albeit they depress the market, but with the high turnover rate of agencies, & people within agencies, long term maintenance of market rates is not of concern. )

If A Customer Doesn't Pay

This author's first agent got to be an agent after his agent dissapeared with his money.
If you work direct, there's still risk some customers may try to evade payment in full or part, sooner or later. One does not have to accept being ripped off, eg this author has used German law to enforce payment. Others at Stammtisch can probably tell similar tales.

Insolvency

To check if a customer &/or agent has filed for insolvency:
Auf dieser Internetseite veröffentlichen die Insolvenzgerichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland die Bekanntmachungen, die vorzunehmen sind, wenn ein Insolvenzverfahren bei Gericht beantragt worden ist.

European Justice Portal en.justiz.de/ europaeisches_justizportal/ index.php

Questions In German When Phone Searching For (Employee) Jobs

  • Wer sonst in Ihrem Unternehmen koennte jemandem mit meinem Qualifikationen gebrauchen ?
  • Hat Ihr Unternehmen anderer Abteilungen oder Tochtergesellschaften, die vielleicht jemandem mit meinen Faehigkeiten gebrauchen koennen ?
  • Kennen sie jemandem, der mir einen Tip geben koennte ?
  • Welche Firmen in dieser Gegend wachsen am schnellsten ?
  • An wen sollte ich mich dort wenden ?
  • Kennen Sie jemanden in Unternehmen X ?
  • Wann erwarten Sie, dass in Ihrem Unternehmen eine Stelle frei wird ?
  • Kennen Sie eine Unternehmenserweiterung oder neue Projekte, die eine freie Stelle schaffen Koennten ?
  • Ist eine Veraenderung Ihres Mitarbeiterbedarfs abzusehen ?

A Few Big Local Companies

Some companies with a presence local to Munich are marked here

Some German Lists Of German Companies

From John A Not looked at yet, I'll look later.

English Ltd or German Gmbh ?

New Bill Requirement In Germany As Of 2004.07.01

Right To Sell 2nd Hand Software Licences 2012

Copy of an email posting.
http:// lists.freebsd.org/ mailman/ listinfo/ freebsd-ports
http://lists.guug.de/ pipermail/ sage/ 2012-July/ 001369.html
to: ports@freebsd.org
From: "Julian H. Stacey" <jhs@@@berklix.com>
Date: Tue, 03 Jul 2012 15:05:49 +0200
Cc: sage@@@guug.de
Subject: European court allows software licence resale, & blocks PD capture ?

German below - Deutsch Unten.

Just for interest: Here is a European court judgment:

REFERENCE for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU from the Bundesgerichtshof (Germany), made by decision of 3 February 2011, received at the Court on 14 March 2011, in the proceedings

UsedSoft GmbH v Oracle International Corp.,

German
http://curia.europa.eu/ juris/ document/ document.jsf? text= &docid= 124564&pageIndex= 0&doclang= de&mode= req&dir= &occ= first∂= 1&cid= 5204011
English
http://curia.europa.eu/ juris/ document/ document.jsf? text= &docid= 124564&pageIndex= 0&doclang= en&mode= req&dir= &occ= first∂= 1&cid= 5204011

My Summary ( IANAL = I Am Not A Lawyer ):

Sofware licenses _Can_ be legaly resold.

Judgement also seem to block a few ex- public domain authors who occasionaly try to claw back public domain software (inc. old versions!) to become their closed source. ( Some ports occasionaly removed from http://www.Freebsd.org/ports/ inc. one recently)

- -----Original Message----- From: Informationskanal zu aktuellen Entwicklungen im Informations- und Medienrecht [mailto:INFOLAW-L@LISTSERV.DFN.DE] On Behalf Of Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoeren
Sent: Dienstag, 3. Juli 2012 13:06
To: INFOLAW-L@LISTSERV.DFN.DE
Subject: [INFOLAW-L] EuGH: Online-Erschöpfung

Jaaaa - nach 30 Jahren Streit endlich das richtige Urteil in Sachen Online-Erschöpfung!

EuGH, Urteil vom 3. Juli 2012 - Rechtssache C-128/11

EuGH erlaubt Weiterverkauf von gebrauchten Software-Lizenzen auch im Falle eines Onlinerewerbs.

Das Recht auf ausschließliche Verbreitung der Programmkopien erschöpfe sich mit dem Erstverkauf. Stelle ein Konzern seinem Kunden eine Kopie zur Verfügung und erlaube ihm über einen Lizenzvertrag das unbefristete Nutzungsrecht dieser Kopie, so erlische sein Recht auf ausschließliche Verbreitung. Durch ein solches Geschäft werde nämlich das Eigentum an dieser Kopie übertragen Dem Weiterverkauf der Kopie könne er sich dann nicht mehr widersetzen. Das gelte auch für verbesserte und aktualisierte Fassungen - weil sie Bestandteil der Kopie seien. .

http://curia.europa.eu/ juris/ document/ document.jsf? text= &docid= 124564&pageIndex= 0&doclang= de&mode= req&dir= &occ= first∂= 1&cid= 5204011

- - -- Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoeren
Institut für Informations-, Telekommunikations- und Medienrecht
Leonardo-Campus 9
D-48149 Münster
Tel.: +49/251/8338600
Fax: +49/251/8338601
http://www.uni-muenster.de/Jura.itm/Hoeren

************************************************************************** INFOLAW-L Informationskanal zu aktuellen Entwicklungen im Informations- und Medienrecht

Abmelden durch Mail an INFOLAW-L-SIGNOFF-REQUEST@LISTSERV.DFN.DE
Administrative Fragen oder Probleme an INFOLAW-L-request@LISTSERV.DFN.DE
Archiv unter http://www.listserv.dfn.de/archives/infolaw-l.html
Ergaenzende Materialien unter http://www.uni-muenster.de/Jura.itm/hoeren/ **************************************************************************


Professional &/or Industry groups we know of in the Munich area

  • Faraday Group (local arm of UK IEE (Institution of Electrical Engineers))
  • Maybe the BCS, British Computer Society might have local representation ? Anyone know ?
  • The RAS, Royal [Astronautical ?] Society has a branch here
  • BIM: Berkeley In Munich: A BSD-Unix group is being created in Munich.
  • Are there perhaps also German speaking groups with similarly informal aims ? If so please let Julian know, so he can update this page.

Here's a simple line drawing (click on map for larger).

(sure a `real' map would be nicer, but all maps I've seen are copyright. There's various web map services available, Here's a list.

Paulaner. Kapuziner-str


A couple of jokes, about Consultants, Engineers & Managers, English & German.
Please do not email the Author questions.
Do not ask him for job agency phone numbers etc, he is far too busy, doesn't normally use agents, & needs his time left un-consumed, to find his own customers, working direct. Instead look above.

If you are a contractor & want to discuss or change this page,

Berklix.Net Computer Associates Domains Apache: Web Server FreeBSD: Operating System