Archive for February, 2008

Best Boss

This morning I stumbled into the refurbished offices at Microsoft Research Cambridge heading for a week full of code work: Obviously it seems as our boss over here really takes care of us.

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Yeah, and of course you get all the unhealthy things real coders do need to stay night after night awake. 

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Happy coding!

(Crosspost from blog.aheil.de)

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On my way to Cambridge…

Since two of my colleagues wrote about their work at Microsoft Research I wanted to write at least something about it…just like Andreas said:

“One reason I recently don’t blog too much is the fact that I am a bit restricted in what I can tell. Being involved in some exciting projects, the confidentiality of these projects does not allow much publicity.”

So really the only thing I can write about is that I am honored to work with these great people and being part of the process of creating great software.

So – for now I am on my way back to Cambridge – the next article will be written from there…

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Of course I will write about all the things when I am allowed to do so…

Source 1: Martin Calsyn
Source 2: Andreas Heil
Source 3: http://research.microsoft.com/ero/

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"Ich bin für mehr Sex – mehr Schweinereien, keine Tabus." Charlotte Roche

Und wieder ein deutscher Artikel über Charlotte Roche. Schon vor ein paar Tagen war sie auf Spiegel Online – nun auf ein zweites: Es geht um ihr erstes und aktuelles Buch: “Feuchtgebiete”:

Amazon schreibt über das Buch:

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“Nach einer missglückten Intimrasur liegt die 18-jährige Helen auf der Inneren Abteilung von Maria Hilf. Sie wartet auf den Besuch ihrer geschiedenen Eltern, in der irren Hoffnung, die beiden könnten sich am Krankenbett der Tochter endlich versöhnen. Unterdessen nimmt sie jene Bereiche ihres Körpers unter die Lupe, die gewöhnlich als unmädchenhaft gelten, und lässt Krankenpfleger Robin die Stellen fotografieren, die sich ihrem neugierigen Blick entziehen. Nebenher pflegt sie ihre Sammlung von Avocadokernen, die ihr auch in sexueller Hinsicht wertvolle Dienste leisten. Selbst wenn Helens Besessenheit eine Notoperation nötig werden lässt – ihr ungestümer Witz und ihre Wahrhaftigkeit machen sie zu einer Sensation nicht nur auf der Station des Krankenhauses. Sie spricht aus, was andere nicht einmal zu denken wagen. »Feuchtgebiete« ist eine Exkursion zu den letzten Tabus der Gegenwart. Mutig, radikal und provokant rebelliert Charlotte Roches Roman gegen Hygienehysterie und die sterile Ästhetik der Frauenzeitschriften, gegen den standardisierten Umgang mit dem weiblichen Körper und seiner Sexualität – und erzählt dabei die wunderbar wilde Geschichte einer ebenso genusssüchtigen wie verletzlichen Heldin.”

Source 1: http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/0,1518,537317,00.html
Source 2: Amazon

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Fischessende Vegetarier

Vegetarier die Fisch essen sind mir suspekt. Womit entschuldigen die den Ausrutscher hin zum Tiermord?

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Count the bodies

The most (in)famous action-flick of movie history now has its third sequel, but nowhere a company producing a proper first-person shooter? It’s kind of strange that nobody seems to be interested in picking up a worldwide-known character.

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Is it too much guilty pleasure? Too much far-right, political incorrect or just old-fashioned? Maybe it’s the lack of box-office in the US. Or simply no licence is available.

Anyway, back in the Reagan-era these concerns didn’t exist.

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The 1985-game with a well-known score by Martin Galway was a huge bestseller.

Jens Heymann

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Oscars ’08

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It’s time again for voting: Load down a ballot, make your choices and see tonight (or tomorrow) if you’re an expert.

Home Oscar ballot

Jens Heymann

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have serious fun with…free 2D physics sandbox tools

The standard nerd knows: physics is fun. Even better: When you play with gravity and friction and water an what-not in a sandbox. Now there are several tools available that allow you to do just that: Play with physics.

The first tool is called “phun” and is Windows and Linux only. It’s a small tool that allows you to draw circles, boxes, springs,… and when you finished: press the “play” button to start the simulation. You can interact all the time with the objects and the simulation by draging and manipulating everything.

phun 

There’s even a video available of phun in action:

It’s serious fun…that phun tool… yeah I had to write that, you know?!

The second tool I want to write about is called “Chipmunk” and is available for OS X only. To be fair: this is not a real drawing tool like phun – it’s more or less a game physics engine that cames with several samples in sourcecode that you can play with if you can… You need XCode and some Objective C knowledge.

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So now go and play!

Source 1: http://www.acc.umu.se/~emilk/index.html
Source 2: http://wiki.slembcke.net/main/published/Chipmunk

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ready.for.takeoff – the Microsoft Launch 2008

Unfortunately I only had the time to get into the last day of the ready.for.takeoff Launch Conference for Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008. It took place in Frankfurt/Main in Germany from the 19th to 21st February 2008 and it surely was a great event.

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Besides the real great tracks there’s this little thing every participant got:

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Source: http://www.microsoft.com/germany/aktionen/ready-for-take-off/default.aspx

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real great and smooth Today Screen replacement for Windows Mobile

Just minutes ago I was pointed to an application that replaces the Windows Mobile today screen (and many other features) and comes along with all sorts of next-gen Touch Controls:

pointui

“After grinding our teeth with enterprise mobile systems, we came to the conclusion that end users need applications that focus on usability, performance and consistency.

Pointui (pronounced point-you-i) has been built from the ground up and sets the benchmark in pioneering the delivery of total user experience, never before achieved on a Windows Mobile device.

Our main focus is structured around simplicity and usability while extracting the most out of your current Windows Mobile device. All products we develop forge stability and dependability while maximising performance.”

 

The thing is – these guys deliver on their promise:

 

 

If you’re a Windows Mobile user, go and try this piece of software – it’s free and small.

Source: http://www.pointui.com

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One of the best Notepad replacements…

“Notepad++ is a free (free as in “free speech”, but also as in “free beer”) source code editor and Notepad replacement, which supports several programming languages, running under the MS Windows environment.

This project, based on the Scintilla edit component (a very powerful editor component), written in C++ with pure win32 api and STL (that ensures the higher execution speed and smaller size of the program), is under the GPL Licence.

This project is mature. However, as you can see it’s a one-man-project, there are still some bugs and missing features. If you have any question or suggestion about this project, please post them on the forums. As well, if you have any feature requests, you can always make the demand, but there’s no guarantee that I’ll implement it.”

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Source: http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/de/site.htm

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when you think you’re invulnerable by using Amazon services

Oh last year I worked with many different companies that thought that the best thing they could do to increase their availability is to outsource their complete webserver and storage infrastructure to Amazon.

Now last week there was this 2 hour black out of parts of the Amazon S3 infrastructure which should have this “wake up call” effect for most of those hype-believers.

S3 is great for all sorts of applications but you – like in everything IT – really shouldn’t depend on just one service provider.

Source: http://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?node=3435361

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another try to bring news and services to Windows Mobile phones

There is AvantGo and several other news and widget services for Windows Mobile but now there’s another try by Zumobi. This one the user interface is kind of cool but …

zumobi

“Zumobi is new and free mobile widget application that lets you enjoy entertainment and information content delivered to your phone in an innovative and fun way.”

Take a look at this short demo/review:

I installed and tested it. But since it really does need an unlimited data plan (which I don’t have on my phone right now) I uninstalled it shortly afterwards. Actually I suggest using EDGE or better UMTS because it’ll speed up things significantly.

Source: http://www.zumobi.com/

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the end of planet earth is near…or something

Oh well, there’s this “Current Map of The Solar System” by the Armagh Observatory:

“The image below is an up to date map of the solar system displaying the orbits of the terrestrial planets and the estimated position of thousands of known asteroids. This diagram is missing comets, space probes and, of course, the undiscovered asteroids. Even conservative estimates would suggest that for every asteroid on a dangerous Earth-Approaching orbit there are hundreds more which have yet to be discovered. There are over 300 known objects on Earth-crossing orbits, the majority of which are potentially capable of causing death and destruction on a scale unheard of in human history.”

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To make this clear: red and yellow = (possibly) EVIL! ZOMG!

“Small green points mark the location of asteroids which do not approach close to the Earth right now. This does not exclude the possibility that they will do so in the future but generally we can consider the Earth to be safe from these for the near future. Yellow objects (with the exception of the one in the middle which we astronomers call the Sun 😉 are Earth approaching asteroids which are called Amors after the first one discovered. Amors have orbits which come close to the Earth but they don’t cross the Earth’s orbit. However, their orbits are close enough to the Earth that they could potentially be perturbed by the influence of the planets and begin to cross the Earth’s orbit in a short time. There are over 300 known objects on such orbits.

Finally the red boxes mark the location of the Apollo and Aten asteroids. These cross the Earth’s orbit and are the most directly identifiable astronomical threat for the near future.”

Source: http://szyzyg.arm.ac.uk/~spm/neo_map.html

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play this weeks Xbox Live Arcade game N+ now on your PC/Mac

Major Nelson announced this weeks Xbox Live Arcade game: N+. Because this game evolved from a former Flash game you can also get the “original version”:

“play as a ninja trapped in a world of well-meaning, inadvertantly homicidal robots. version 1.4 includes tons of levels (500), organized neatly into 100 unlockable episodes, and features 50 levels made by fans of N!”

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Source 1: http://www.harveycartel.org/metanet/downloads.html
Source 2: http://majornelson.com/archive/2008/02/18/this-week-on-arcade-n.aspx

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encrypting your world

One of the great good news in the last few days was the release of the brand new TrueCrypt 5 crypto-software.

I am using TrueCrypt for years now getting little and not so little container files mounted as drives and having the data warm and cosy encrypted on disk.

The long awaited features that were added in the brand new version are complete system – pre-boot authentification – drive encryption and OS X support.

Especially the system drive encryption is of particular interest for me. It’s a straight forward and completely painless solution to encrypt your complete machine and use it as if nothing was done at all.

The workflow is like this:

  1. Install TrueCrypt 5
  2. Fire up the TrueCrypt Volume Creation Wizard
  3. Select “Encrypt system drive” option
  4. It will do a test-run to make sure your machine can boot with the TrueCrypt Pre-Boot Authentification
  5. if everything worked out, TrueCrypt starts to encrypt your drive…
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After that you’re set. On my brand-new machine the speed does not decrease noticeable – Even on my 4 year old machine I wouldn’t say that there is a slow-down at all.

Source: http://www.truecrypt.org

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24h trip to England…

While writing this I am still in Cambridge, England and packing my stuff to take the next plane back home…

Sadly I will only see the night-sky for this trip because I started at 0600 AM GMT+1 this morning in Nürnberg and I will start again in London Stansted at 1945 GMT…

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ein paar Neuigkeiten von Charlotte?

Kollege boonkers machte mich eben per ICQ auf einen netten aber viel zu kurzen Artikel auf SPoN aufmerksam:

charlotteverteidigt

Danke boonkers und Danke Charlotte für die klaren und wahren Worte 🙂

Source 1: http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/leute/0,1518,535158,00.html
Source 2: http://www.thomas-peterson.de/

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You did notice that Xbox Media Center has a new homepage?

If you are – just like me – still using the very good and always updated Xbox Media Center for your slightly hacked XBOX 1 console you should take a look at the new XBMC.org website:

xbmcorg

Not only that these guys a making a great job creating the best Media Center that I’ve ever was allowed to use, they are even porting it to different platforms:

“It’s currently being ported to both Linux (x86 Ubuntu 32bit) and Mac OS X. Team XBMC is looking for talented developers to help with this effort.

Official XBMC software application names:

  • XBMC for Mac OS X
  • XBMC for Linux
  • XBMC for Xbox “

That means: If you have a OS X or Linux box, you should visit the site too and take a look at the (early) snapshots of XBMC for your platform.

 

Source: http://www.xbmc.org

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when a little mac grows up …

…it starts to show off:

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I really don’t know why it would display that much used memory…but it does and it even displays it in different positions… sometimes it’s physical memory, sometimes virtual… weird.

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we got us a Canon SX100 IS

Since the old PowerShot died we bought a brand spanking new Canon SX100 IS in black…:

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  • 10x optical zoom with optical Image Stabilizer
  • 8.0 Megapixels
  • DIGIC III and iSAPS
  • Face Detection Technology with Face Selector button
  • 2.5″ wide-view LCD screen
  • 18 shooting modes and My Colors
  • User-friendly control dial
  • ISO 1600 and optional high-power flash
  • Smooth VGA movies

Hmm… quite a leap forward compared to the old PowerShot A400 – not only the 10x optical zoom but also all the other little things you can play with … great digital camera!

Source: Canon UK

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the strawberry season started…

Here we go again. It’s a bit late this year since we started January 15th last year but late than never!

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Pay it twice

When today the movie “Earth” aka “Unsere Erde” starts in cinemas around the country you may have the chance to experience something very special: a real cinematic déjà-vu.

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Let me explain how:

What many people don’t know for sure: This movie is a best-of of the same-named TV-series previously aired on ARD some time ago and after that on other public stations. So if you are an avid documentation-watcher you are going to pay for something already seen (and maybe even stored at home, not to mention the monthly TV-fees…).

The original series contains eleven episodes of 45 mins (Uncut 48 mins, BBC-airing). It’s not difficult to sum up and recognize what’s missing (of course) in the movie-version.

You still may say: But I wanna enjoy it on a big screen with a crowd and once in my life it’s ok paying for old stuff.

Then I better say nothing about “Deep Blue”…

Jens Heymann

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the brand new Morcheeba album is available…

Hurray! The wait is over and the brand new Morcheeba album is spinning in my players…thank you cd dealer for breaking the street date … hrhr!

It’s called “Dive Deep” and is the first album presenting different vocal artists each song. I am missing Skye Edwards voice but with all the variation on this album it’s back to the roots as if Skye was there.

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Source: http://www.morcheeba.net

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Oh sweet cherry…

By speaking of unhealthy food in Great Britain: Freshly imported from the Netherlands…

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But I have to practice some more before being ready for the Forest-Gump-17-in-a-row-in-one-evening-because-it’s-for-free-challenge.

Jens Heymann

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