Posts categorized “Everything Else”.



Know As pointed out by XKCD, a great place to lose hours of time reading about SoBadIt’sHorrible, HighOctaneNightmareFuel and thousands of other tropes, all with examples from comics, films, tv-series etc.

DFKI colleague Malte Kiesel has done the right thing and just released his linked open data wrapper for tvtropes, natuerally names Now go read about DiabolusExMachina, it will of course do content-negotiation so try it with your favourite RDF browser.

I helped too — I made the stylesheet and the “logo” :)

Two Organik fools in front of a whiteboard

Recently we realised that not all partners in our Organik Project shared the same vision of what we were trying to do. When we tried to write this down to share it, we found that we didn't really know what was going one either, and a quick discussion with the white-board sorted it out. Then we realised that watching us fighting it out in front of a whiteboard is probably much more entertaining than reading some dry document, so we did re-enacted it in front of a camera, and here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Dopplr Travel Report

Kasei beat me to it, but Dopplr has released their yearly personalised travel reports. They are beautifully assembled PDFs with Flickr photos from selected locations and interesting facts.

It reminds me of the Feltron report, but saves me going through the hassle of collecting this information for myself.
I do like having personal data-sets available, and I often start collecting something, but quickly slack off and forget.

The Doomed Discipline

After introducing the attempts at making computers and software manageable Dijkstra says:

[…] A number of these phenomena have been bundled under the name "Software Engineering". As economics is known as "The Miserable Science", software engineering should be known as "The Doomed Discipline", doomed because it cannot even approach its goal since its goal is self-contradictory. Software engineering, of course, presents itself as another worthy cause, but that is eyewash: if you carefully read its literature and analyse what its devotees actually do, you will discover that software engineering has accepted as its charter "How to program if you cannot.".

From (E1036) On the cruelty of really teaching computer science

Exhilarating Acceleration

Now that the Nepomuk review is finished I've had some time to play with the OpenMoko FreeRunner. The state of the standard phone-software is abysmal, but the hard-ware is cool AND it runs python :) Since Kaiserslautern was covered in snow this weekend and it was not so tempting to go out I spent a few hours playing with the accelerometers. The actual idea for what to do started with seeing this screenshot:

of the game Zing on The game is nothing like I thought it was, I imagined the small things to be very abstract cars and not bugs trying to eat you. Oh well.

Anyway, within a few hours and some stealing Creative Commons content later I had a crappy car game:

controlled by the accelerometer of the FreeRunner, i.e. lie the FreeRunner flat, start the game, now when you tilt the FreeRunner in some direction the car drives that way! Trust me, the scrreenshot really does not do it justice, the feeling you get frome the immediate control and the amazing sound-effects is… well pretty much just like driving in real life!

Download tarball, untar on FreeRunner, make sure you have python-pygame and libpng3 installed and run python Press AUX to exit. The code is of course not pretty, but does at least show some basics of Accelerometer handling.

The Ultimate Acheivement

You offer the Amulet of Yendor to Susanowo…–More–
An invisible choir sings, and you are bathed in radiance…–More–
The voice of Susanowo rings out: "Congratulations, mortal!"–More–
"In return for thy service, I grant thee the gift of Immortality!"–More–
You ascend to the status of Demigoddess…–More–

Ha! You didn't expect that after the last post! Anyway, Nethack provided a much needed distraction from long hours working on the thesis, and I've now finally beat the bastard. NOW I can finish the PhD, but as colleague Benjamin said: "Why? Just tell your Prof that you finished Nethack. It's equivalent." :)

Anyway, the whole game summary is here.
Some highlights:

Grimnes the Kuge St:18/40 Dx:18 Co:18 In:16 Wi:18 Ch:15 Chaotic
Astral Plane $:1379 HP:211(211) Pw:145(145) AC:-24 Xp:26/60060315

Your inventory
d – an uncursed amulet of life saving (being worn)
i – an uncursed amulet of life saving
a – a rustproof +6 katana (wielded in other hand)
u – the rustproof +6 Excalibur (weapon in hand)
b – an uncursed greased +5 silver dragon scale mail (being worn)
k – a blessed rusty +2 dwarvish iron helm
p – a blessed fireproof +5 T-shirt (being worn)
w – a blessed +4 cloak of magic resistance (being worn)
A – a cursed -1 helm of opposite alignment (being worn)
P – a blessed fireproof +5 pair of speed boots (being worn)
V – a blessed +4 pair of levitation boots
Y – a blessed +3 pair of yugake (being worn)

Vanquished creatures
The Wizard of Yendor (6 times)
Famine (twice)

Genocided species: h, ;, L, Rust Monster, Disenchanter, E (although that didn't work as expected)

Voluntary challenges
You genocided 20 types of monsters
You polymorphed 150 items
You never changed form
You used 5 wishes
You did not wish for any artifacts

Sayonara grimnes the Demigoddess…
You went to your reward with 3855742 points,
and 1379 pieces of gold, after 54466 moves.
Killer: ascended
You were level 26 with a maximum of 211 hit points when you ascended.

Only thing that makes me feel like I cheated is that I was lawful the whole game and changed to chaotic at the last turn to save me a meeting with pestilence.

Next time I'll do it as a Wizard!

(Apologies if you have never seen or heard of nethack, then this will appear like completely random ramblings :)

Back from 10 days holiday

I'm amazed how easy it was to drift away from the online world while I was in Norway, I had no nervous twitched about letting my unread email climb, not letting facebook notifications slip by or not checking flickr comments continuously.

BUT: Now I'm back. I see that six people who are not me have signed up to Koble! Yet I have not received any of my automated stack-trace emails from when things go wrong – yay! (I have also not received any comments, but that's to be expected)

New HDR tool for Linux

Previosly I've been using a long toolchain consisting of UFRAW, a cinepaint beta-build, qpfstmo and finally Gimp to process my HDR shots. Now finally someone has made a single program for doing both HDR bracketing and tone-mapping in linux!

qtpfsgui is clearly standing on the shoulder of giants, and is building on qpfstmo, but apart from being completely inpronouncable it's an excellent tool. It supports 16 bit TIFFs and all the tone-mappings of qpfstmo (you have to set the exposure values for your TIFFs yourself though)

Weird Email

Yesterday I got an odd email to my gmail account:

From: Master Doofus <masterdoofus at the domian of>
Subject: Hey gromgull, consider getting a new e-mail address

Apparently, your email address happens to have a really high PageRank
value for a Google search for E-mail addresses, making you more
susceptible spam like this that use lame Perl scripts. Feel free to
reply to this mail. Thanks.

WTF? What do I make of this? Do I trust the anonymous person who identifies himself as Master Doofus? Do I break the holy rules of spam prevention and reply? And most importantly, where can I get my own lame perl script?

On bias in public Wikis.

Wikipedia is generally quite good at identifying and correcting bias and "non-encyclopaedic" behaviour in it's pages. In fact it goes so far that it's getting annoying at times when you are doing important research.

How much nicer isn't this from the wikitravel guide to hongkong:

A word of caution for Western men: Almost all Thai, Filipino and Indonesian women in Western bars and restaurants on Lockhart Road are prostitutes. They sometimes have a second job as 'waitresses'. Scams involving drugged drinks, inflated bills, and once more personal info is exchanged, blackmailing the men, a sick mother back home in the Philippines needing an urgent, expensive, life-saving surgery, etc. are very common. Don't fall in love with them, only to be ruined economically and personally by them.

Do I sense a slight note of personal bitterness?