Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sharpness


Sharpness
Originally uploaded by perreira.
I am close to turning vegetarian as it is so much fun to cut vegetables with this...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Incompetnce

I had to to an exercise sheet for the first year students. As most of the exercises I found in books were either shite or wrong (or both), I tried to do some of my own. I dug out the paper of Henry Cavendish, were he determined the density of the earth with his famous torsion balance. I calculated everything with his measurements. It took about two days until I had understood what he did and ended up at a Gravitational Constant which made sense.

I made an exercise out of it. I had to simplify it a bit, because the students did not yet know the torsion pendulum. While simplifying it, I introduced a couple of errors, which went unnoticed but made the complete calculation bollocks.

I had another exercise on an hammer bouncing off the floor where I mixed up elastic and in-elastic bounces.

When doing the example solution to the problems, the one which all other tutors would read and use to correct the exercises, I made about every possible error and mis-calculated about every quantity at least twice. So it took me about 8 or 9 iterations (all sent around to all tutors) to have a solution sheet, which was nearly right (I didn't find the errors myself, btw.). I think I should quit doing my PhD, hand back my diploma and do a ritual suicide. That would be the correct outcome of this. As I have met people who are even more incompetent and got away with it, I will wait a bit, maybe I can get away with it too...

The Helsinki Complaints Choir.



They are right!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Being a mediocre physicist sucks. You're nerdy enough that girls won't talk to you but still not nerdy enough to not bother...

Gone Beta

So, I am Beta now as well. Which means I can do colourful texts. Yehaa. Web 2.0. Much more enterprisy!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pickert per Inhabitants



The highest density of Pickerts per inhabitants is found in the Ohrekreis. The lowest in Dresden. Interesting statistics you can get on the intarweb...

Question

Can I kill cyclists who go around in dark clothes without any lights in the dark just so or does it need to look like an accident?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Typography

Lisbon seen by Typographers

In related news: I have been doing a web-page on Typography, LaTeX, Presentations and related stuff. If you miss something which should go on this page, please drop me a mail.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Blogging



Finally, after only about a year, I managed to put some updates to Cogumelos Aporcalhados

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Usefull presents.

Today, when I went to lunch at the university canteen, a good looking girl gave me a condom.

Unfortunately she didn't give me her phone number. So now I have to find another use for it. Maybe I'll build an underwater microphone. Always handy, those underwater mics.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Another day...

Things positive today:

  • sent the abstract for a conference to the referees one day before the deadline.

Things negative today:

  • pissed off a nice girl I would like to meet more often.
  • bored a lot of students to death.
  • showed my incompetence at a meeting.
  • didn't write anything for my thesis.
  • lost badly at cards.
  • wrote an email to above mentioned girl which will turn out a completely bad idea and show that I am a complete idiot.
  • didn't even get drunk.

Yeeha for successful living.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Homebanking

For some reasons Ubuntu cannot ship gnucash with HBCI (a german homebanking standard) enabled, due to some licensing problems which seem to be no problems for other packages. You need to compile it yourself, after editing the rules file. Strangely enough, all dependencies (including those who have that bad licence) are in the repositories, so no need to get other stuff...

Did it, went well, had the option to get HBCI running in gnucash. Then I discovered that my chip-card-reader was not recognized... Googling, trying a lot of stuff, hours pass. Then I found out that I need to download a driver from the manufacturers page (they have packages for ubuntu) and then do some symbolic linking. All this hidden in a non-google-able web presentation...

Now my chipcard reader is recognised, but unfortunately the automagic updater, which I asked to update everything, re-installed the official gnucash package without HBCI. So I am now recompiling it again and waiting for the outcome...

Paper and pen is by far the most easy and safest way of keeping track of your money...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

168 hours of a Rotating Fork


168 hours of a Rotating Fork
Originally uploaded by perreira.
A post for Phil: yes, the tapes are still there, except tape number 3. Somebody might have taken this home. It's a nice movie if you cannot sleep.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Manuals

On shift, we have various manuals which should explain the responsible persons what to do on shift. They should be easily readable, should be logical and should enable somebody new to the business to do the necessary tasks. Unfortunately they don't. They are very good examples on how not to write manuals. (With some notable exceptions, but unfortunately the hardware they describe isn't in use any more.)

These manuals have no clear typography. There is random usage of list, enumerated lists, bold and cursive printing. Stuff is not described in chronological order: quite often you find "do A after you have done B". This is bad. Better written would be "Do B. Then do A."

Tables and images are referred, but not shown, or in different sections than noted. No images of the hardware or the user-interface of the software. Everything is randomly ordered, no clear sections where to find stuff (software or hardware), no explanation what it does and what it does not, no differentiation between trouble-shoot sections and normal operation. To get from step one to step two you have to fight through a lot of words, which you don't need to read as long as it is working as it should.

Most of them were written by people who don't speak English as a first language. They want to sound professional, so they chose huge words. They used thesauruses to find elaborate words. The manuals are full of filling-words; if you would strip those, the manuals would be half as long and much more readable.

As a contrast, I read the manual for my DKW some time ago. It had very clear and precise steps, images, clear wording. Everything was ordered chronological, one step after the other. It stated at the beginning of each task the tools you need. After reading this manual I feel confident that I can do a complete overhaul of the engine. After reading the manuals on shift, I can't even tell what the thing the manual is about is doing or if it is working correctly.

A day at the Zoo


Löwen
Originally uploaded by perreira.
I am on my last shift ever right now. From 16:00 to 24:00 I sit seven floors underground, stare at computer-screens and wait that something beeps. Most of the time it doesn't. It is not very entertaining...

This morning I went to the Zoo with two friends. So at least some fresh air and some stuff not related to computers or physics. Pictures here and soon here.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Social Science?

I have to give a short talk to educational science students about the usage of PowerPoint. So I am reading up a lot about PP and presentations, but also tried to get informed what exactly educational science students do...

I tried Wikipedia, the german version has some definition of Pädagogik, mainly saying, paedagogues don't know for sure themselves what it is all about. It has something to do with education and teaching, but most of it seems to be discussing about what exactly this branch of science is all about. From the main page I went to some special branches, which consisted of bulleted lists saying author A thinks that this branch does a, author B thinks it does b etc.

It seems it is a well defined science...

I prefer the natural sciences: if it runs away, it's biology; if it blows up, it's chemistry; if it doesn't work, it's physics. No need to argue what is the actual field of each science. Physics is whatever a physicist does...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Nuts

European buerocrats have decided (well, wanted to decide, they are not yet completely in power) that it is dangerous to drink alcohol and we need warning labels on the bottles. Because that stopped everybody smoking. And if you forbid everything which may cause harm, then nobody will get harmed. Yep. Ban DHMO! It's the chemical with one of the highest dead tolls...

My new scanner didn't come with a scanning software. It didn't have a driver. It had a Solution Center, which updates itself continously to give me solutions. Yehaa, I never wanted my scanner to scan images, I always wanted it to provide me with solutions. (And by the way, the black and white solutions it provides are crap. I tried a program found on the net which still does the scanning instead of solving problems and this actually delivered brilliant images). In ages when all scanners are cheap and deliver a gazillion of dpi, well, that in these times the important thing would be supporting even esoteric OSes like Linux and having good software would improve sales, nobody would ever think of that.

Sony made it illegal for anybody else to sell their stuff. After infesting harmless people's computers with spyware. After making a lot of other decisions that made me never to buy a Sony product again.

This list of random rants could go on and on. The essence: all those important decision makers have completely lost their contact to reality. Why should they still be in contact with it? They get millions of dollars each year, they don't need to interface with the lifes of ordinary people. They don't get alcohol with warning labels, they sniff other stuff. They don't scan images, they let their underlings do it. And if those underlings complain, well, get new underlings which don't. They don't buy Sony stuff. They own Sony.

Can somebody remind me why the left doesn't address this but still discusses if Lenin or Marx was the better dialectic materialist (or whatever)? Why aren't people rioting in the streets? Why don't managers get shot? Why do we still vote for those idiots which support this?

We do not have to live in misery. Even if HP would make scanners that scans images instead of providing solutions they would get rich. Even if somebody else than Sony would sell PSPs, Sony would survive. Making people happy is the better option for all sides. This is what nobody seems to have understood (well, there are some, but usually these people are either highly drugged or got nailed to a cross and become the symbol of studid fundamentalist who also didn't get it).

I am angry.

Monday, October 23, 2006

As a small boy I had two dreams, and I was torn between them. At times I wanted to become scientist, and at other times I wanted ro run away and join the circus. But thanks to God and a career in the Departement of Energy's laboratories, I've been able to fulfill both dreams

C. Paul Robinson - Director of Sandia National Labs

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Recommendations



Today e-bay recommended as an ideal birthday present: a PhD...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Heinrich Heine


Mit dummen Mädchen, hab ich gedacht,
Nichts ist mit dummen anzufangen;
Doch als ich mich an die klugen gemacht,
Da ist es mir noch schlimmer ergangen.

Die klugen waren mir viel zu klug,
Ihr Fragen machte mich ungeduldig,
Und wenn ich selber das Wichtigste frug,
Da blieben sie lachend die Antwort schuldig.


Listening to Heinrich Heine Lyrik und Jazz

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Computers are teh suck

Why doesn't it just work? (And don't tell me to get a Mac or Windows or whatever, because they also suck...)

Apparently during the update from dapper to edgy, for some reason one of the essential system packages got lost, so I didn't have any consoles. After about 2 hours I fixed this.

Then I tried to get the external monitor thingy working. I sometimes got output in weird colours, sometimes nothing, sometimes X wouldn't start. Very annoying. Now I have this section in my xorg.conf and it works, cloning my screen to the external output:


Section "Device"
Identifier "Intel Corporation 82852/855GM Integrated Graphics Device"
Driver "i810"
BusID "PCI:0:2:0"
Option "backingstore" "true"
Option "XVideo" "true"
Option "VideoRam" "65536"
Option "XvMCSurfaces" "6"
Option "DynamicClocks" "true"
Option "MonitorLayout" "CRT,LFP"
Option "Clone" "true"
Option "DevicePresence" "yes"
EndSection

Monday, October 02, 2006

Dear unknown Physicist...

... staying in the ground floor of my hostel: If you watch porn movies on your laptop, please close your window. It's not enough to close the curtain, you can still hear the sound. And yes, also ordinary people with a healthy sex live watch porn movies occasionally, not everybody who watches porn movies on a laptop is a socially disturbed jerk. But taking into account at where I am staying right now, this second type is much more probable...

I want to go back to real world.

Friday, September 29, 2006

On shift



So, I am on shift again. This time even shift leader, responsible for the experiment, taking care that everybody gets good data to analyse, leading spin physics to better understanding of the proton, advancing human knowledge, working for a better humanity...

Basically I am sitting around, until something beeps. Most of the times the beeping goes away if you ignore it for a while. If it doesn't go away, I'll call somebody. And I have to do some paperwork, filling out forms with data which is also automatically written to disk, just to keep me busy and make me look at screens. (This is the difference to Target Shift, where you just sit around, without any paperwork)

And you can't really work here, as there is a constant hissing of pumps, computers and air condition, the air is dryed, the light is bad and you sit seven floors underground...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Optics

I have been to an optician, because I get headaches after a couple of hours working in front of a computer. Saturday I went to one of those big chain opticians, it turned out that they don't measure your eyes on a saturday. I had to wait some 10 minutes to get attended (although being nearly the only customer there) and then they didn't seem to be very competent. They did arrange the frame of my old glasses though.

Today I went to a local optician, only in Erlangen, and this since a long time. The shop was full of customers but I was attended as soon as I entered it. The senior boss took the measurements, then four people helped my chosing the frame. I was impressed by the friendliness and competence...

And finally the arranged my old frame again, seeing that it wasn't done properly, and suddenly the world got three dimensional again and the headaches got better... So far for the big chains.

In a week I will have my new glasses and hopefully see much better (and look better ;-) )

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thank god it's friday

It's weekend! This week I actually did something for my thesis, I did some physics stuff...

It seems that I need a new bed or at least a new cushion, I didn't sleep very well the last weeks, waking up everything hurts and I am as stiff as a ironing board. My feet are bad again, so no sports, maybe some cycling on sunday, depending how drunk I get tomorrow and how bad my feet are on sunday.

Anyway, nothing changed, everything is as good or bad as usual.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Avast!

Maybe a good alternative: now there is a german PIRATE party. HARRR! And hope you all enjoyed the international talke like a pirate day, ye landlubbing beauties and jimlads.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wer ko' der ko'

I just did race a highly pimped Mercedes convertible, tuned by AMG or something, blasting RAP music out of it's speakers, roaring exhaust and everything. I won. The driver got seriously pissed when I overtook him three times at a traffic light. On my bike :-) Wer ko' der ko'

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Motivation

Everytime I manage to get a faint bit of motivation, just so slight that I would actually start doing something useful, I get a call, a mail or an IM which makes it go away instantly. Today I was asked if the rumors that I will be in HH for the next three weeks are true. I have not heard about it. I hate it when I am being managed and nobody even bothers to tell me...

Somebody should tell some people that it is all nice if they make plans for others. But they shouldn't be surprised if they hear a fuck off as an answer if they don't ask, don't tell...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Workflow

This is the bash script I use to convert my photos from RAW. It works most of the time well, only a few pictures need hand-treatment...

#!/bin/bash
set -e
ext=.CRW

for i in *$ext; do
# Get basename of file for easier treatment
bn=`basename $i $ext` ;
#
# Convert from RAW
#

# The following line converts directly to jpg without any treatment
# dcraw -a -c $i | ppmtojpeg > ${bn}.jpg;

# This should do some basic image treatment:
# dcraw -a -4 $i ;
# convert -normalize -gamma 1.8 ${bn}.ppm ${bn}_dcraw4_normalized.jpg ;
# rm $bn.ppm;

# Including an ICC profile, this gives the best results for my screen
dcraw -4 -c -w -m $bn.CRW | pnmnorm -bpercent 0 -wpercent 0.1 -brightmax | pnmtotiff -truecolor >temp.tif;
tifficc -w -i /PATH/TO/eos10d-linear-8apr2004.icc temp.tif ${bn}.tif;
convert $bn.tif ${bn}.jpg ;
rm $bn.tif ;
rm temp.tif;
#
# Copy and set EXIF stuff
#
exiftool -TagsFromFile $i $bn.jpg;
exiftool -Author="My Name" -OwnerName="My Name" -UserComment="(c) My Name" $bn.jpg;
rm $bn.jpg_original;
#
# rotate according to EXIF (only needed if dcraw only is used)
#
# exiftran -i -a ${bn}_dcraw_only.jpg;
done

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Home Again

So, I returned safely from 4 weeks of dives, hiking attempts, helping the revolution and tanning on the beach of luxury hotels (without actually staying at them, but at better places instead...). Now I face the threat of converting about 1000 Photos from RAW to something readable, of selecting a couple of them for the web, some more of them to show to friends and to actually get some friends to see them... (I might use bribery for the last task, some food and wine always helps to get people interested in slide shows ;-))

[Starting Computer and Photo babble now, non-geeks please skip the following]
To convert the RAW files to JPGs, I am experimenting with various methods, all involving dcraw. I am still a bit undecided which gives the best results, but the third method looks nice on my screen most of the time, although sometimes a bit on the blue side... I have put some sample images below, all taken at Lusco Fusco in Erlangen at 2nd of Septembre.

Method 1
dcraw -a -c foo.CRW | ppmtojpeg > foo.jpg

Method 2
Inspired by this webpage:
dcraw -a -4 foo.CRW ;
convert -normalize -gamma 1.8 foo.ppm foo.jpg ;



Method 3
Using an ICC color profile for an EOS 10D camera, which uses a similar sensor as my EOS 300D and as found here:
dcraw -4 -c -w -m foo.CRW | pnmnorm -bpercent 0 -wpercent 0.1 -brightmax | pnmtotiff -truecolor >temp.tif;
tifficc -w -i eos10d-linear-8apr2004.icc temp.tif foo.tif;
convert foo.tif foo.jpg ;


Examples
dcraw only.
dcraw to 16bit pnm, normalizing, converting to JPG
dcraw to 16bit tif, applying ICC profile and converting to JPG

dcraw only
dcraw and normalize
dcraw and ICC profile

dcraw only
dcraw and normalize
dcraw and ICC profile

Friday, August 18, 2006

It never rains in southern california



It might not rain in southern california, but it always rains a lot when I go the the Peneda-Geres National Park... Which on one hand was bad, because I could not go hinking, on the other hand th ehiking path I wanted to do the first day would have led me directly into a forest fire, so although I did get wet to the bones, at least I did not get burned.

I went for a car trip instead, which was really nice, although I will never go again to a megalithic site close to the road again. Close is relative and might be long enought to get you really wet in the rain and if you have seen one megalithic thing, you have seen all. It's just at the name suggests some big stones...

Shown on the picture above are espigueiros, little stables to dry corn in them despite the usual quite wet weather there.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Changes



Some things never change, some do. I still get handshakes from the waiters at the cafe I spent half o my stay in portugal. On the other hand, having a coffee and a cognac there now costs a fortune compared to the good ol' days. But for compensating it was full of nice girls (unfortunately half of them french). One of them looked like the twin sister of a girl I know from Erlangen...

Tomorrow I will go up north, to the Serra do Geres, trying to find a camping site in the part which is not burning. If you don't hear anything from me in the next five weeks, I got a stroke while trying to do some walkabouts in open sun with something like 32°C...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

El umbelico del Mondo



Today I drove from Lisbon to Coimbra via Almourol (a very interesting castle of the Knights of the Temple), Abrantes (a village in Ribatejo which looks like any other village), Vila de Rei and Lousã. I stopped at the geodesical centre of Portugal, which you can see above. The big pilar is the first geodesic mark, marking the first starting point of mapping portugal. It was discovered heroically in 18something. Thank god it was on a hill, else the triangulation would have been tiresome....

The little pilar in front is the geodesic mark TF4, which marks todays starting point of triangulation. At this place next to Vila de Rei there is the most wimpy museum I ever visited (it's for free, else I would be annoyed...). The only things on exhibition are a theodolite, a leveler and a computer with a GPS from Leica. Together with 4 posters on Geodesy, this is the whole museum... If it wouldn't be for the cafeteria, this would loose any reason for existence.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I'm Leaving on a Jet plane


Plane
Originally uploaded by perreira.
Don't know when I will be back again...

Actually I do, 4th of september. But I'll be gone nonetheless for the next four weeks. I won't respond to mails, if not considered important (important in this case means either from good looking girls or telling that the detector has blown up (in the second case the answer will be "Yooohoooo"...))

I may post some stuff here and put photos on flickr... But I am on holiday, so I will keep my contact to the internet to a minimum.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Photo stuff


Schloss
Originally uploaded by perreira.
I just bought a new lense: the Sigma 10-20 DC EX. Finally a decent wide angle... Although it looks like it is not very sharp at the edges, but this might also be an effect of wrong focussing...

And I started to geotag my pictures on flickr, so you can see where I have been when I took them. (You might want to check out flyr or Yuan.cc to look for geotagged photos and the flickr geotagging group for what's this all about)

Monday, July 31, 2006

A Fun day out


Cockpit
Originally uploaded by perreira.
You never cease to be a six year old. Today I flew a plane (actually I did a left and a right turn in a motor glider, but I did do it all my own...), I drove a fire brigade van (Ford Taunus from 1964) and I drove a Mercedes from 1963. The dreams of a six year old come true...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Fuck the establishment

I just gave up watching a discussion on TV between the heads of some of the bavarian universities, which are now organised in Universität Bayern e.V. (Warning: extremely ugly homepage). On the board also is his Magnifizenz, the rektor of my universtity. What a huge amount of bullshit they talked. Some stuff made sense, but most was just buzzwords (in english, which is a traditional indicator: if somebody talking german uses english words instead of available german words, it's generally because he is talking bullshit).

So, it's all about synergy, we have checks and balances, extensive and intensive research universities... These guys didn't even get it that they were talking nonsense.

This is why I want to leave university as soon as possible. The universities are now in the hands of the establishment. Nobody is creative anymore, it's all preserving the status quo, no innovation, nobody has the guts to think a bit aside of the mainstream. There is no Avantgarde. (Unfortunately the Avantgarde is dead, you won't find it in university, but also not outside university...) Even the students turned into the establishment. All of them just want to finish their studies fast and then become succesful consultants and managers. None of them is any creative...

We are now in a process of restructuring the faculties. Instead of lots of small faculties we want five big ones. All the people planning this are only trying to keep the already existing structures, but get more power to their own positions. We will have a faculty, beneath that departments, then institutes then chairs, then groups and subgroups. It's very vertical, if you want to put it into buisiness speek. None of the people involved shows any balls to do something radical. Why have so much organisation? We don't need a vertical structure that big... University should be fast, creative, research and teaching oriented. It just turns into a playground for would-be politicians...

I siwtched the channel after 30mins and am now watching the Montreux Jazz Festival... At least some creative people on TV.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It's all a big hoax

The hole intarweb thing is a complete hoax. It just does not work, but you won't notice, because we have flashy animations and it's THE INTARWEB and it's hip.

I tried to book a plane ticket via one of the big portals. Searching for flights I found a nice connection, it said e-ticket available, mark it and proceed. Enter a lot of info, click around a lot, sorry, your flight is not available anymore, try a new search. Did that. Repeat ad infinitum. After trying four times I just gave up...

So I went to a travel agency, had a nice chat with the guy there and 15 minutes later I got a ticket for exactly the same flight, but this time 50 Euros cheaper than if I would have bought it via intarweb.

Unrelated I got a mail, saying basically, payment details enclosed (subject line: "VB: Attached Image"). It had a PDF attached with an account number and all the international bank crap you need to send money around in europe (a scanned letter (of course printed out by computer first), so it's a big huge image (340kB!!!!!). Normally I would have thought, well, spam, delete it. The PDF made me worried. So I answered the mail, and, yes, it was payment details for a parking ticket I got nearly half a year back in sweden, where I send a complaint letter, that even if I would like to pay, I just can't, because there is nothing on the ticket stating how. (The story: I parked on something I thought being the vistors parking lot of a students residence. It actually was, but you needed a small paper sticking in your car, which you could get somewhere. The people I vistited in the residence did not know that, nobody told them and the sign was written in swedish, which I don't speak and which was also not understood by the people I vistited, although they speak sewdish quite well... So I got a ticket for 40 Euros, without any information how to pay it if you don't live in sweden.)

So, this mail had two dumbnesses canceling each other out: first make a huge attachment for a line of text, which you could have just put into the mail body and second write a mail which looks 120% like spam.

Maybe I just get disconnected and rely on usable technology like pen and paper, talking to people in person or maybe postal service. All the intarweb just does not work and only frustrates me...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Thank god...

... I am not responsible for the christian education of my godson. Thank god he is educated only by civilised people... (although he has a lot of contact to physicists, which makes the statement civilised somewhat vague)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The place to go


The place to go
Originally uploaded by perreira.
If you find out what's interesting about this place, please leave a note on the flickr page... (Micha, Markus, Phil: you are not allowed to guess in this competition ;-) )

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Spam Spam lovely Spam

This has some surrealistic poetic note... (found in a v1agra spam)

Jan Zoscha wer beaufsichtigen William Aluminiumverbundfolie das, an Aluminiumverbundfolie Dickschnabelnonne duften wer Daumenlutschen William zum Fernstudium das gefangen fritten Aluminiumverbundfolie gut Daumenlutschen. wer, alles fritten befriedigt nicht wann auf entgleiste William wo bedingt entlassend rein Büroservice er/sie ist/war geschlichen aufgeklappt was Anwendungstechniker.
Charles Vetter ihm Er traut sich was William er/sie ist/war geschlichen wer, rein Blumenkohl Ami was raus die William wann Agrarwissenschaft er Frühsport die Erzielen alles erleben. wer, er eins Aufdrängen wer ich Anisotropie William wo Einspruch erheben gegen gleich Aufzug auf dem letzten Loch pfeifen Co.Compagnie wer geschnuppert.

At least they pretend to be sorry

I used to get terrorised by calls from SKL, a public lottery. About twice a week they tried to sell me stuff, although I already complained that I don't want to be called, although phone advertisment is illegal in germany and although I had put my name and number in their not-to-call-list. I complained again and today I got the following reply:

wie in unserem o.g. Email angekündigt, haben wir bei der Staatlichen Lotterieeinnahme Gregor eine Stellungnahme zu Ihren Ausführungen angefordert. Diese hat daraufhin bei den angegliederten CallCenter eine Stellungnahme aufgefordert. Daraus geht folgender Sachverhalt hervor:

Sie wurden vom CallCenter GCS Leipzig angerufen. Dabei unterlief dem CallCenter-Agenten ein Zahlendreher, so dass er statt der Nummernendung 662 die Ziffern 226 wählte. Das Gespräch dauerte ca. 40 Sek. und endete mit dem Hinweis, dass der gesuchte Teilnehmer verstorben sei.

Sowohl das CallCenter GCS als auch die Staatliche Lotterieeinnahme Gregor bedauern diesen Irrtum sehr und möchten sich sich auf diesem Weg bei Ihnen entschuldigen.

Wir hoffen, wir konnten Ihr Anliegen zu Ihrer Zufriedenheit klären und stehen Ihnen selbstverständlich auch weiterhin gerne zur Verfügung.


OK, so a stupid call center guy mistyped my number while dialing. I imagine the poor chaps in Leipzig, sitting at old bakelite phones with dialing-wheels, or even a plug-board... I also don't really recall to being dead or talking about dead people while I had them on the line, they also did adress me by my name (and I don't think there is somebody in Erlangen with my last name, having a 662 instead of 226 at the end of his number).

Either I accept that they think I am stupid, or I just complain uselessly. I think I'll do the latter...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The hard way...

In case you see me the next days and wonder why my right arm is looking strange: there is a reason why they teach you not to put burnable liquids on a barbecue... I tried and my right lower arm got serious burns (first degree, so cooling and desinfecting it with vodka should be sufficient, at least I hope...)

Ah, and by the way, we won the golden pineapple, the city is blocked with football fans celebrating the 3:1 against portugal.

I'll stop typing now because it hurts like hell...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

So, we lost...



...what's the problem? We went further than anyone would have thought, the world cup has been and still is one big party where people from all over the world are in germany and have fun. For a couple of weeks we were a nice and cheerful nation, showing hospitality and being generally nice and cool. Now we lost. In the last minute of a good and equal game. People started frowning again. People shouted at us "How can you have fun now?". We will turn german again...

I think we lost because Xavier Naidoo was singing before the game. He can kill any heroes with his depressive whining about pseudo religious stuff. But it was a nice game anyway, if you understand german, read more here.

And, by the way, the one who tried to cheer most at the beergarden where we watched the game was an englishman.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Philosophical Aspects of Football

"Se pensamos no título? O nosso principal objectivo é ganhar o próximo jogo, pois não podemos pensar em ser campeões se não conseguirmos bater a Inglaterra", afirmou Luís Figo...

Found in Publico Online. Yes, you can't win the final if you loose the quarter final. What a strange coincidence that is...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Shutdown

So, back in HH again for the last try to install our detector. The broken modules have been replaced or repaired, additional shielding has been put everywhere and some stuff, which was put together wrongly will be put together correctly. Today was especially boring, coming in around noon, waiting for a task to do, watching a bit of football, some more waiting, then going home. Tomorrow will be either the same or complete stress.

I think I could have stayed in Erlangen, but from the political point of view I need to be here. I just feel a bit misplaced, got some confuse ideas about how many hours people in physics should work, do work and just wait... This stay here will get me more confused than I want to be. I need a holiday, no, I need to finish and leave as soon as possible.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Best Photo Evva!


English Fan
Originally uploaded by perreira.
This photo just broke the 5000 views barrier...

Most of my pictures have 20 views at most. Even the swedish girl in stockings did not get above 800. I have no clue what makes this one special... Is it somebody famous and I am not aware of it? Victoria Beckham, maybe?

5 days HH again

So, I have to go to HH next week again. As you all now from my various rantings, I work on a detector which is more or less broken, together with colleagues, some of which I don't think that they are, let's say, competent...

We will install the detector next week after some repairs and after some changes (which won't help, because they did not remove the origin of the failures but only will weaken the symptoms, if at all). As it seems, I am one of the very few who actually know how to do things I have to go there.

Just right now I got the schedule. A 6 page PDF, generated by MS Project. And a textfile with a list of manpower associated with the tasks. I got it twice. The sender sent it again, because in the first version he forgot the subject. Opening the PDF, you get a fancy Gantt-Chart, which shows which tasks follows which and how long it does take. Unfortunately nobody in management has any idea what these charts normally are used for and complain that Project does stupid things when they have a person with 500% workload working 24 hours on 5 different tasks in parallel. So they leave out the association of tasks with people and do an extra list in their favourite text-editor, there nothing turns red or changes the timeline...

My tasks (which not only I will do, but also two to three others...) will be: after 6 hours of driving to HH, be at some meetings around lunchtime probably, remove very sensitive equipment around midnight. Then on the next day at 1500 start a 24h shift installing the very sensitive detector again. Third day: around midnight cable everything up on the sensitive inside, cable up the outside, test everything, remove cables again. Fourth day, around 8 am, cable up the outside.

Just to get me right here: I don't complain about working at odd hours (although I will stay at a friend's house, who will be very delighted about this schedule...), I don't complain about working a lot of hours once in a while. What I just want to say is: nobody seems to have taken any care about organising this. It's just the naive way of this follows that. No thinking about if it makes sense to have people doing stuff under pressure, no way of possible error. If something goes wrong, this schedule is gone. There are no buffers, no checkpoints, nothing. I would expect that people who reach management start buying a book about project management and at least get some ideas... But we are physicist. We can do everthing, we don't need to learn...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Endlich mal was los...

Oranges



Today I went to a concert to collect money for restauration of the Erlangen Orangerie. The Orangerie was built sometime in the 18th century, when it got fashionable to grow citrus fruits in places where they don't usually grow... Already in the 19th century it was required for the Erlangen citizens to save the Orangerie, as it should be destroyed to make way for a hospital wing. Today the Orangerie is in a very bad state, especially the roof needs to be replaced urgently. The university, to whom it belongs, has not enough money, so they did some concerts and expositions to collect money. If you want to participate, you'll finde more information (in german) on http://www.rettet-die-orangerie.de/

Friday, June 16, 2006

Morgan Super Sport


Morgan Super Sport
Originally uploaded by stormbear.
I want one of these :-)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Cricket


Batsman
Originally uploaded by perreira.
Yesterday I went with Martin to a Cricket Match between England and Trinidad and Tobago Fans in Nünberg. Unfortunatly Phil could not join us, so we missed most of the score. But it was fun anyway. Pictures are in the usual places...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Cycling



Did some cycling after work: 17km, average speed 19.8 km/h. The drawn path looks much more oriented than I have been when I was going around, just having a vague idea where I was... (I had the map with me, but I was never sure). I also ordered a step counter today, so be prepared to much more boring stuff like "I walked 10.000 steps today..."

Monday, June 12, 2006

Politics...

University elections are coming. You can tell by the liberals spamming my blog and conservatives having ugly posters with spelling errors plastered all around university. Sometimes I am quite happy to be no student anymore.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

GMT and a bit...


Found this on the World-Cup page of RTP, the portuguese public broadcast service. Seems that Portugal is in different times than the rest of europe would have thought...

A short look at the Wikipedia:
The portuguese Wikipedia is amazingly short on GMT, only saying that it was substituted in 1972 by UTC. The german wikipedia is more extense, but does not include summer times. The most concise entry is in the english one, from where we learn that Portugal is indeed in the UTC timezone (formerly GMT), but when in Summertime has UTC+1. Germany has one hour later than Portugal, so it is in UTC+1 (and UTC+2 in summer).

And for those who find that too much to read, there is also pretty pictures on Wikipedia:

Monday, June 05, 2006

Berch


Drinking
Originally uploaded by perreira.
As usual: fun.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Whose fault is it...?

Contrary to Kryptikmo's theories it's all feminism's fault.

Berch Bernd


Berch Bernd
Originally uploaded by perreira.
Memories of the times passed.

Berch


Berch
Originally uploaded by perreira.
Just went to a short visit to the Bergkirchweih. After three beers I went home. They were closing anyway...

As this was a nice quiet evening, the weekend will be hard...

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sharpness

One of the signs I have not spent sufficient time in my Erlangen Flat the last couple of months: the kitchen knives are blunt. They still are sharper than the knives found in most kitchens, but not sharp enough to be of real use. The idal sharpness is reached when a silk cloth falling on the blade gets cut in half by it's own weight. I have not yet reached this, but usually my knives are sharp enough that you only notice that you have cut yourself when you count your fingers or are standing knee deep in blood. The advantages of sharp knives are not only that cutting is much easier, it is also that wounds don't hurt and heal much faster.

So, off from the keyboard and hands on the sharpening steel. (Another word were the german is nicer: Wetzstahl)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

At Home

So, I am more or less finally back in Erlangen. Again. And I will never ever go to work at the experiment again. Again. At least I don't have a flat anymore in HH. If you wonder why I prefer the small province town to the big rambling city full of oportunities and interesting and good stuff:

Today I started with breakfast at a friend's place, together with a couple of other friends, having white sausages and beer. Then I went with a really nice and good looking girl to a beer garden with a beautiful view, where I spent the afternoon (we went there with my DKW). The evening I spent with another friend in another beer garden. I did not get anything done today of the stuff I wanted to do (taxes are due, I should clean up my flat, I should prepare something for the tutorials tomorrow...)

In HH, I might have gone to a Cafe and sat there for some hours reading a book or so, but probably would have spent the day watching bad TV series. (Just for the files: I do have a few friends in HH, but I most probably would not be able to get my ass up and do something with them. I usually vegetated through the weekends, not being able to speak or move.)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Tschüss, HH

Since yesterday I don't have a flat in Hamburg anymore. So, from now on, I will have to stay in the guest house or at some friends to be in HH. It feels actually quite relieving, now that I am 100% back to Erlangen and only will go to the north in case of an emergency.

The detector seems to be quite dead now, we set up a test-stand, where we will try to heal some of the radiation damage (as if this would help...). Some modules will be repaired, it will then be installed again in about 4 weeks and then we will discover it did not change anything. So, time to start writing up and leave the sinking ship. Women and children first.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Critics

It seem's that there is intelligent movie critique sometimes:

There has been much debate over Dan Brown’s novel ever since it was published, in 2003, but no question has been more contentious than this: if a person of sound mind begins reading the book at ten o’clock in the morning, at what time will he or she come to the realization that it is unmitigated junk? The answer, in my case, was 10:00.03, shortly after I read the opening sentence: “Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum’s Grand Gallery.” With that one word, “renowned,” Brown proves that he hails from the school of elbow-joggers—nervy, worrisome authors who can’t stop shoving us along with jabs of information and opinion that we don’t yet require.


Found in The NewYorker

Hell?


Hell?
Originally uploaded by perreira.
Yes. I did enjoy it :-)

Most searched tags...?


Most searched tags...
Originally uploaded by perreira.
Uploaded not even an hour ago and already 33 views :-) Quite simple to get your pictures popular on Flickr.


EDIT: at 148 views 24 hours later... :-)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Photos


Portrait
Originally uploaded by perreira.
The Scotland Photos are on flickr now... Have fun

The international JetSet Life of PhD Students



Just arrived back from a weekend trip to Glasgow and Edinburgh, will leave tomorrow for Hamburg, then Thursday off to Lund. After that, I might need a holiday and stay a couple of days home...

Pictures of Scotland available soon...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The stillness, always the stillness

unless there's a dog. SHUT IT! WILL YOU SHUT IT! You must listen to this, before they put up next weeks show... (via Cosmic Variance)

I for one...

welcome our new ten-hour-working-at-most-overlords. Either it was an abduction by aliens or our spokesperson was replaced by a japanese fembot, while she was on conference. It just is weird when you receive a mail from a person working at least 14 hours a day, 7 days a week that working too much can lead to accidents and is generally not a good idea... Something must have happened while nobody was watching.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Detail


Been to an oldtimer "ralley" (the german is "Sternfahrt", no idea what the english word is...) Got the 4th place out of 12. Not bad for the first try :-) Pictures available soon...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

JAWOLL!



Jawoll!! Rettet das deutsche Obst! Nieder mit dem Fallobst!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

32 years ago...



Maybe we should try something like that again. At least give the people the same drugs our politicians seem to use...

(For those not following german politics: our minister of the interior is hallucinating about blond and arian people, oh, sorry, german people being also attacked by foreigners, it's not only those niggers in Potsdam, it's also the good people who get bashed. Our minister for building and construction works is going to fight neonazis and giving people work by building nice little houses instead of socially wrecked ghettoes, hurra, garden dwarfs against Neonazis. And some other minister remembers the countless killed Wehrmacht-People on a meeting of Holocaust-Survivors. So much for touch and connection to reality...)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

My left ear seems to be gone... I have a cold and can't hear anything on the left side. This really sucks. On the other hand, when I was in Hamburg on Monday, traffic noises were less annoying than usual. And I think I would have even survived a meeting if I would have gone to one, the choices of meetings get multiple each days. Now it's not only the onsite meeting, the technical recoil meeting and all the other regular stuff, it seems that now a silicon noise meeting is emerging, which covers all the silicon discussions done in the onsite meeting and again at the technical recoil meeting. So stuff will be discussed in a small group with most expertise in this noise meeting, in a larger group with less expertise in the technical recoil meeting and in a huge group with no expertise in the onsite. Each time the same questions but in each iteration additional dumb questions. Actually I am happy to have left...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Consistency



Now that I've got a classic car I need to work on the classic look. So I went out to buy two stetsons today... There's nothing like the traditional old shops which despite big mega-multi-plex- super-shopping-centres survive in their small niche, in this case Hut Brömmer in Erlangen.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Fast Reality



Found on the frontpage of Sueddeutsche.de (now sometimes with annoying audio ad). The text says: DAX rose. The graphs definitely shows it...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Du bist Deutschland

Im vergangenen Herbst kam man sich in diesem ansonsten ja so gemütlich wie zuverlässig vor sich hin entropierenden Land so vor, als hätten sich über Nacht das nordkoreanische Propagandaministerium und ein paar amerikanische Spindoktoren zusammengetan und Deutschland in emotionale Geiselhaft genommen.

Monatelang konnte man weder den Briefkasten öffnen noch den Fernseher einschalten, ohne dass einem eingehämmert wurde, man sei Deutschland, Goethe und ein Baum in einer Person.


Gefunden auf Sueddeutsche.de

And in other news: Welcome Phil.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Style



Ah, those glorious days when girls' hats did not only looked stylish but also provided nourishment.

(Picture of Carmen Miranda, shamelessly ripped off a page I can't remember...)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Been there, done that


Is your life empty and unfulfilling? Looking for a way to tamp down those ever-present feelings of existential despair? You might try emptying out your toolbox, and spending the afternoon cleaning and rearranging the contents. If you can follow that up with a Sunday afternoon spent fiddling with the workings of an old car, followed by shoving around heavy things in a friend's garage, why you're getting darn close to nirvana, my friend. That's exactly how I spent my weekend, and lemme tell you, it was a profoundly satisfying, dare I say, even a spiritual experience.


found here via BoingBoing

Meetings

Seems to have been the right time to have left. Now the mandatory meetings take at least 10 hours per week for students in HH. On average on these meetings there are about 20 people, all payed according to BAT2a, which gives you roughly 15.000 Euros as a sheer working cost for these meetings. I might have miscalculated, but still the monitary cost is impressive but much lower than the emotional costs...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Local Blogs

Thanks to the feedmap thingy I found 20 blogs from Erlangen and surroundings. All of them are from dotnet-fetishists or knowledge-management-people. Seems my blog is the less geekiest of these 20... OMG, I need more techno-babble.

Back Home...

I'm back in Erlangen.

And found an interesting article on liberal communism. (via 3QD)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Just one more day...

These people here don't have a life. They have meetings instead; even if everybody goes out to get hopelessly drunk, it's called the offsite-meeting. They don't have the time to send around a mail (which would take something like 5 minutes and inform about 50 people when sent to one of our many mailing lists), they have a meeting with three people for about an hour, to which agglomerate some other five who don't have any idea what the meeting is about nor any clue about the things discussed, but are happy to utter their completely nonsensical statements nonetheless.

If you show stuff on a meeting about which you do not had the time to reflect or which you don't understand, you get shouted at for doing so. If you want to discuss it with the two other people who have any idea at all what the stuff is about, at least ten other people completely unrelated, uninformed and dumb show up and you get shouted at for having a secret meeting and not let all have a share of the enjoyment of a meeting. Not mentioning that now you can forget the result of the meeting.

And while I am ranting about: today I cleared my desk and tried to leave everything in a reasonable state. I talked to my would-like-to-be-boss about who takes care of my on-call-expert-phone, as I will leave within days. He started to whine that I can't leave, it's all against his wishes and he could call my boss and "do all kind of cheesy things". This is the second time he threatend me in a week, showing his complete inability to be in any kind of position where he has to deal with people... The only good five minutes today were when a colleague basically told him "You have no life at all, and that little you have is really miserable, ain't that funny...". Naughty bastard, hope he does that again :-)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Religious Concerts...

I am just coming home from a concert of the First Second And Third Reformed United Baptist Church of Hamburg Choir and Brass Band, listening to chorals and sprituals the honorable Reverend and Godfather of Soul would be proud of. For some reason only at the time of leaving the fun part comes to light and you meet the interesting guys and beautiful girls...

And, 1 hour and around 40 minutes too late, my part to the world day of poetry, Joachim Ringelnatz:


Abschiedsworte an Pellka

Jetzt schlägt deine schlimmste Stunde,
Du Ungleichrunde
Du Ausgekochte, du Zeitgeschälte,
Du Vielgequälte,
Du Gipfel meines Entzückens.
Jetzt kommt der Moment des Zerdrückens
Mit der Gabel! -- Sei stark!
Ich will auch Butter und Salz und Quark
Oder Kümmel, auch Leberwurst in dich stampfen
Mußt nicht gleich so ängstlich dampfen.
Ich möchte dich doch noch einmal erfreun.
Soll ich Schnittlauch über dich streun?

Oder ist die nach Hering zumut?
Du bist ein so rührend junges Blut. -
Deshalb schmeckst du besonders gut.
Wenn das auch egoistisch klingt,
So tröste dich damit, du wundervolle
Pellka, daß du eine Edelknolle
Warst, und daß dich ein Kenner verschlingt.


and another one:


Logik

Die Nacht war kalt und sternenklar,
Da trieb im Meer bei Norderney
Ein Suahelischnurrbarthaar. -
Die nächste Schiffsuhr wies auf drei.

Mir scheint da mancherlei nicht klar,
Man fragt doch, wenn man Logik hat,
Was sucht ein Suahelihaar
Denn nachts um drei am Kattegatt?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Only Monday and already completely pissed off

Today I mentioned again that this will be my last week in Hamburg (yes, I did say that already quite often, but this time I'm serious). Which made my local would-like-to-be-boss say something that I can't, as the detector is not yet in a stable state. Well, it never will be... And he said something in the line of if I leave I never will get my PhD. (Yes, he said that, not for the first time! I have until now ignored it. Next time I will answer to it...) I am pissed off. Luckily he has not anything to do with my PhD.

I am not really sure how to react. I would like to tell him to go and f*ck himself (and I am quite sure, that if he wants to fight, it's him going to loose).

I was supposed to stay in Hamburg till August 2004. I am still here, one and a half year after that date. I have worked quite often up to 80 hours a week. I have my desk in a smelly dark container. I work with people I can't stand. (Some of my collegues I actually like, but unfortunately that's only a few). I get phonecalls in the middle of the night by incompetent shift crews. I have been in a state of being utterly pissed off for the last two years, I had not much of a private life. What do these fucking idiots want more?

This is my last week here. I want to keep at least a little self respect. I should have left two years ago...

Questions

I just had a look at the proposed questionary people have to fill out if they want to get german citizenship. Besides being completely ridiculous, western-german centric, too hard for 90% of the germans, there was one question I found really hard to answer, and most probably I would fail on that question:

Name three reasons why you want to become a german citizen.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Weekend


Playtime
Originally uploaded by perreira.
Time to play...

Health

Although I am a non-smoker: there is an interesting article on Süddeutsche on the stupidness of outlawing smoking. Nice to read, it not only applies to smoking but to other things considered not healthy as well...

Snippet, badly translated by myself:

Einen Schritt weiter kommt man beim Nachdenken über die Formel der Gesundheit, die von der Weltgesundheitsorganisation (WHO), vage genug, aufgestellt worden ist. Da wird dekretiert, Gesundheit sei der „Zustand vollständigen körperlichen, geistigen und sozialen Wohlbefindens“. Diese Definition umfasst mehr als die Gesundheitsvorstellung jedes Hausarztes. Wie könnte er auch, neben dem körperlichen, das geistige und soziale Wohlbefinden bestimmen? Das tut jeder für sich selbst. Und in dieser allgemeinen Bestimmung steckt ein Restchen anarchischer (und das heißt, genau übersetzt, herrschaftsfreier) Selbstbestimmung ohne soziale Kontrolle. Über den Zustand seines geistigen und sozialen Wohlbefindens entscheidet – wie lange noch? – jeder Mensch selbst.



You will get a step further when you think about the formula describing heath which has been formulated vaguely enough by the world health organisation. It decretes health as being the "state of complete well being, physical, spritual[1] and social." This definition implies much more as the definition of health your doctor has. How could your doctor aside of your physical wellbeing say something about your spritual or social well being? That everybody has to do for himself. And in this general designation of health there is a little remain of an anarchist (and that literally means without authority) self definition without social control. On the state of his spritual and social wellbeing decides - who knows for how long - every person himself.


[1] geistig can mean spritual, mental, intellectual. Not really sure which too choose, as all apply...

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Herr Paulsen


Tuna marinated
Originally uploaded by I&eye.
Herr Paulsen hat nicht nur ein lustiges Blog sondern auch nette Fotos...