to Magneto or not to Magneto that is the question

Lately Microsoft started an internal dogfood test for Magneto – the next generation Operation System for Mobile Devices (aka Windows Mobile 2005). Iam thinking about taking part in this dogfood test…but:


As Iam very very excited about this new version I also have my doubts playing with it on the only MDA2 I have. There are some rumours about an earlier version of Magneto on the net (sadly one Release Candidate leaked to the net) which does not sync correctly and does not run certain applications. Even more important: There are reportings about the fact that you will have problems returning back to Windows Mobile 2003 or upgrading/downgrading to any other Windows Mobile version.


And that is the last thing I need at the moment…a non working phone.


Any suggestions?

Radiation Gadget-o-rama

I found this very interesting website today: Smart Elements. You can order almost every element of the periodic table and even some isotops of elements. And there are some very interesting elements to play with… for instance those Tritium Trasers. Actually this is a gadget I probably really need because I can’t count the times I searched for the keys in the darkness…



“Traser is the generic name for glass tubes with a phosphor layer in them and Tritium gas inside the tube. They are most often seen as a type of glowing novelty keychain and in self illuminated exit signs. They are also favored by the military for critical applications where there must be illumination regardless of circumstances. They were invented in the 1960s as a reliable self powered light source for NATO. A traser consists of a section of tubular borosilicate glass, coated on the inside with a colored layor of phosphor. Borosilicate is preferred because it is a type of glass noted for its strength and resistance to breakage. In theory one could use any beta emitting gas. In practice Tritium is preferred because it is the least hazardous.”


The second cool “toy” that I found (with the help of cosrahn) on the site is Gallium. A metal whos melting point is 30 degree celsius…so indeed it will melt in my hand… I really have to get this just to play with…



Christian mentioned that they also sell Neodym NdFeB-magnets. I personally did not know what they are, but the site enlightened me and created some respect for them ;-)


Source 1: http://www.smart-elements.com
Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traser
Source 3: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallium
Source 4: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium
Source 5: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neodymium_magnet

night hike

We (cosrahn,namenlos,me) took a night hike to the local food supplier. Beside the fact that I discovered places I never would imagine to be near the Campus we had some fun with namenlos’ always-handy-“EOS 300D”…



this is me…laughing and glowing


Actually I had a LED torch…and because it was to bright I used my thumb to dim the brightness…so it’s red because of my thumb




a train passing by…


Actually it was pitch black… only some lights from the … I call it town … and from the train.

retouching the planet

What do you think Colorization would be? – Well take a picture, a greyscale one for instance and dye it. When you do this manually it’s a pain-in-the-ass. As far as i know there’s no working automatic solution for this problem. But there is this research project:


“Colorization is a computer-assisted process of adding color to a monochrome image or movie. The process typically involves segmenting images into regions and tracking these regions across image sequences. Neither of these tasks can be performed reliably in practice; consequently, colorization requires considerable user intervention and remains a tedious, time-consuming, and expensive task.

In this paper we present a simple colorization method that requires neither precise image segmentation, nor accurate region tracking. Our method is based on a simple premise: neighboring pixels in space-time that have similar intensities should have similar colors. We formalize this premise using a quadratic cost function and obtain an optimization problem that can be solved efficiently using standard techniques. In our approach an artist only needs to annotate the image with a few color scribbles, and the indicated colors are automatically propagated in both space and time to produce a fully colorized image or sequence. We demonstrate that high quality colorizations of stills and movie clips may be obtained from a relatively modest amount of user input. “


What does that mean? – Well this algorithm automatically creates from this:



that:



Isn’t this awesome? The biggest problem is that it’s just a research project – it’s implemented in Matlab and not available as stand-alone software…too bad. Because it even works with movies.


For more information take a look at their website.


Source 1: Dinge, Zeugs und Sachen
Source 2: Paper: Colorization Using Optimization

European Installation Bus (EIB) Research

Deka and ThamThon started to play with the brand new EIB Installation in our Office. And they really seemed to have fun B-). Well the light was switched on and off several times – if they intended that… I don’t know – but the EIB configuration looked kinda complicated.


Oh, a few words what EIB is:


“Here’s how the “intelligent” home works: The EIB system serves as the automatic controller of devices and systems in homes and apartment houses, and functional and commercial buildings. Sensors, such as motion detectors and thermostats, send impulses over a transmission medium to so-called actuators, for example. Sensors and actuators communicate with each other via four alternate transmission media.”


This is the main controller and the serial interface of the EIB. You can see the serial cable (btw: 13 Euro for 3m serial cable is dailight robbery!) and the Battery.




The switch-modules…


This is the other side of the wall:



There are numerous actuators and switches connected to our bus. But when I left nothing worked so far ;) The problem seems to be that the Software is not that logical – or we just don’t get it ;)




And THIS is a switch… okay… 4 switches… but damn isn’t that a nerds dream! ;)



A complete review and description of the offices’ EIB installation will be available shortly.


Source: EIB Wikipedia Article

IMAP Act 1 Final Scene

After some very disappointing experiences with Mercury, Lotus Domino and Exchange I was almost ready to even use OpenSource Software B-) – Just kidding! But the experiences were very very disappointing. Mercury does not have the needed features, Domino is to complicated and not what I would expect from an IMAP Server and Exchange, wuh… I wasn’t able to test it because: In order to install Exchange you have to have an ActiveDirectory (DC). I do not have that. I tried on a testing machine and the direct effect was: After promoting the Windows 2003 to a DomainController I could not access any file-share on that particular machine with MacOS X. That’s sad because the Exchange would run on one of my fileservers: You see the problem?!


Then I looked at the website “The IMAP Connection” and I found several other commercial IMAP servers. So I took the first one whos website and feature-list looked promising and gave it a shot: MDaemon from Alt-N.



It’s a relativly small Application and MDaemon does not require any 3rd Party Software like a SQL Server or ActiveDirectory or something.


After a quick Installation you get this:



The Feature-List of MDaemon appears like a listing of everything a great Mail-Server needs – even groupware features like calendar and contacts. And as if this wasn’t enough it’s completely configurable via the Webbrowser and the WebMail Feature is well… do i have to mention it? ITS GREAT! ;)


Because I don’t use all the features I cannot give a complete overview of MDaemon… but I’ll do my best with the features I’m useing…



First the most important feature: Encryption and Security. With MDaemon you can encrypt almost any connection. I didn’t had the time to get an official certificate so I used the CA that comes built within MDaemon.



And everything works just as easy as possible: One click and a connection is encrypted.


Of course all the IMAP Features I was looking for are available with MDaemon: Subfolders, Encryption, Server-side Filtering, Spam-Filtering, Antivirus, Archiving…. to just name a few important ones.


And as if this wasn’t perfect enough: MDaemon stores all Messages in an easy convertable and backupable format: Textfiles.


One feature I tried out because I was curious: The WebMail Server called “WorldClient”. And this is how WorldClient looks like:



That does me remember of the Outlook Web Access Feature ;)


and this is how you compose messages:



Actually this WebMail Feature replaces a complete client: Remember that the two pictures above are screenshots of the Internet Explorer. Unfortunatly my server is short on memory – so I’m going to disable that particular feature.


The conclusion: I’ve found the “perfect IMAP” Server for Windows. But there’s always a contra. And the contra is that it’s about $330 for the smallest version (6 users). I only need 1 user… so whats the point ;-(. Until I find an alternative Iam on the trial version of MDaemon…in the worst case I have to swallow the pill and put the 330 bucks on the table.


Source: http://www.altn.com

Moby and the rediscovery of melody

After some really great style mixture albums Moby is back to enlighten our lifes with even better music. Since some weeks Mobys new album “Hotel” is available in stores – time enough for me to grab it and take a hear.



I called this article “rediscovery of melody” – and it’s a fact: It’s been ages since Moby gave us such canorous songs. As usual each one is great and greater ;) I personally fell instantly in love with “Raining Again”, “Lift Me Up” and “Very”. Awesome tracks!


Just one thing: PLEASE USE LESS FILTERS. The vocals and some samples on the album are constantly hissing, swooshing. This is annoying because in the first place I thought my stereo broke.


Source: http://www.moby.com

IMAP Act 1 Scene 1

After evaluating what IMAP Server software is available I started with the least expensive one: Mercury Mail Transport System.



It’s free so nothing to lose on that point. The plan was the following:



  • install and setup a plain Mercury
  • use Outlook Express and Drag’n’Drop to recreate the folder structure I’ve created in years of using PMMail
  • check if all went fine
  • create server-side message rulesets to get the mails in the right folders

And I started: Installation and Setup was no problem. I created a user for me and configured the POP3 Client-Module that retrieves the mail from my providers’ POP3 Servers and sorts it into the Mercury-Inbox. So far so good.


Now the next step: How to get the old mail onto the new IMAP? – Easy:


I already said that PMMail stores each eMail into a single MSG File which is simply the complete mail that PMMail received from the server. So I fired up Outlook Express, created an account with my user-informations. So far so good: I created some top-level folders on the IMAP Server via Outlook Express. It worked…drag’n’dropping the MSG files from PMMails directories into the Outlook Express window worked also fine. BUT: I was unable to create subfolders. That really sucks, because my folder structure is somewhat convoluted.



Entourage came up with this weird “error”-message…
“This folder cannot contain any subfolders. According to the server this folder
can contain either Messages or only subfolders.”


The next big feature-miss that disqualified Mercury completly was the fact that it is impossible to move messages via a server-based rule into specific folders of an IMAP account. You can just copy/move a message to another account’s inbox…. DAMN!



At the moment the Mercury Server is running but only as long as I need to setup a better solution: Today I’ll give Microsoft Exchange 2003 a shot.




Source: http://www.pmail.com/

migrating my PMMail 2000 eMails to IMAP

Back for more: After the successful Migration of my localhost-only Lotus Notes Setup to a more sophisticated Domino server-based Setup I am going to take on the next challenge:


Since December 1997 I am exclusively using POP3 together with my favourite eMail Application “PMMail”. I started with the OS/2 Version of PMMail and finally arrived at Windows XP with the Windows Version of PMMail – using the same eMail Data Structures and Formats as in 1997.


PMMail maintains only my private eMails – around 100.000 so far. And that’s going to change:


I want to migrate my local-only eMail Storage to a Server based Solution. As far as I can see, there are different ways to do that:



  1. upgrade the Lotus Domino Server with the IMAP Option and get an IMAP Server from Domino.

  2. install Microsoft Exchange and let it take the lead

  3. install a free Server Software like Pegasus Mercury Mail Transport

After I decided which one I’ll take I have to figure out how I get my eMail into the newly configured IMAP Server. Ideally I will get a 1:1 copy of everything – even of the folder structure. This is not impossible. Because PMMail 2000 stores every mail in a single file which then contains 1:1 the response the POP3 Server gave PMMail 2000 when it received the mail.


So everything I have to do: Write a program that imports my mail in the right order… that should not be that difficult I hope ;-)


Stay tuned! ;)


Source 1: http://www.pmmail2000.com
Source 2: http://www.lotus.com
Source 3: http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/default.mspx
Source 4: http://www.pmail.com/

Nico got his Samsung 701T

Today Nico got his brand new Samsung SyncMaster 701T…and well this one is cute…



VGA, DVI, Power and a display stand


The stand is smaller than i expected – infact the display itself is much lighter than I expected. The one Nico got was made in Slovakia which makes it probable that the display does not have any pixel-errors. It’s reported that for 701Ts that are made in China the chance is much bigger that it got pixel-errors…


We did not check it on pixel-errors yet – that will be done later (remind: we have 14 days send back guarantee in Germany)…



it’s not only lighter it’s even not as deep as expected…


Source: http://de.thespoke.net/MyBlog/GhosTa/MyBlog.aspx

Mercedes-Benz Music Compilation – mixed tape 06

Every eight weeks Mercedes-Benz donates us great music. Go for it!



“Alle 8 Wochen präsentiert Mercedes an dieser Stelle musikalische Vielfalt im MP3-Format. Wie immer kostenlos, präsentiert auch Mixed Tape 06 eine exklusive Auswahl internationaler Newcomer:mit 15 aktuellen Stücken zwischen Boston, Tobago und Ibiza! Ein bewegendes Hörerlebnis – nicht nur in Ihrem Mercedes-Benz. Zur Darstellung der Seite müssen Sie den Pop-Up Blocker in Ihrem Browser deaktivieren.”


Source: Mercedes-Benz Mixed Tape

ElGono: Planless waste of time or how I installed Plan9

ElGono had some spare time and he installed Plan9 on one of his machines:


After i heard a lecture about Plan9 2 weeks ago at “Chemnitzer Linuxtage” i decided to have a personal look at plan9 to make up my own mind. The lecture wasn’t that good, btk wrote about that: read article at schrankmonster.de


So i put together some remaining parts to a little test-station. found a celi300, 160MB RAM and a TNT2 graphics wich should be supported by plan9.



Booting from CD was easy as i thought:



Next: setting up the basic things like mouse & screen size



From now a GUI takes you further to install plan9. Next steps are partitioning & mounting harddisks. in lower left corner some bars display cpu, disc and network usage. nice feature for an installer.



The weird partitioning is not required by plan9 … p2 is just a partition around some bad sectors … rest of disk works fine since years



After formatting & mounting the disc there is a choice to copy the distribution to hd from network or local source. I choose local and needed to mount the cdrom:



Time for having some tea, with a 4x RW-CD… that takes time.



Finally the install progress finishes. Time for the [bootsetup]
There are 9 choices: Win9x, WinNT or plan9. Because the disk is plan9 only, i choosed plan9. that maybe was a mistake…




Now i was really tensed while rebooting to start Plan9 for the first time: But guess what what was coming up? Lilo! Somehow there is no lilo or grub [bootsetup] now. Found something like “rtfm for editing lilo/grub, but till now i didn’t found a README wich contains something about that.



Maybe booting with windows-cd and running “fixmbr” might help to get a clean bootsector and Plan9 maybe set up his winNT [bootsetup] right. But i won’t figure out this tonight! later on guyz….


Impression: the installer worked quite well, usb mouse & keyboard were detected, unfortunately i didn’t got a NIC inside. I really liked that i could skip steps or redoing steps with other configurations. That’s what i’m used to from unix systems …. so what Rob Pike said back in 1991: “Not only UNIX is dead, it’s starting to smell really bad”


btw, sorry for the bad quality of pix … needed to take hard screenshots with digicam wich looks a bit crappy.


Source 1: http://matrix.fem.tu-ilmenau.de/~elgono/skureal/?id=skureal
Source 2: http://matrix.fem.tu-ilmenau.de/~elgono/skureal/?id=Plan9install
Source 3: http://www.schrankmonster.de/PermaLink,guid,5bc7f28f-ffc4-4cb9-adce-b5e8f098e7ec.aspx

MusicBrainz: a music metadatabase that helps to get your MP3 Tags managed

I used to have very crazy ID3-Tags in my MP3 Collections… sometimes this and sometimes that way tagged…but not generally consistently tagged and named. There was no automated way to re-Tag them… until now… my mate Christian brought this cool tool to my attention:


MusicBrainz is a community music metadatabase that attempts to create a comprehensive music information site. You can use the MusicBrainz data either by browsing this web site, or you can access the data from a client program — for example, a CD player program can use MusicBrainz to identify CDs and provide information about the CD, about the artist or about related information. You can also use the MusicBrainz Tagger to automatically identify and clean up the metadata tags in your MP3 collections”



my first Impression: nifty!


Source: http://www.musicbrainz.org

new project space…

Well – I registered some domains a couple of weeks ago and I am still thinking about what to do with them B-)

Actually this are the domains:



  • urbandictionary.de
  • criticalsection.de
  • dotnetcommunity.de
  • silicant.de
  • ip4content.de

Beside thinking about what to do with the domains Iam looking for a reliable ASP.NET hosting provider. As my mate Andreas has some major problem with the german provider “Domainbox” – it seems to be difficult to find a reliable provider that offers ASP.NET hosting to a reasonable price…


One thing that i expect to really “hit the market” is the “HostNix” Campaign from Microsoft.



As far as I know there is really something going on with this campaign that will cut the prices of ASP.NET Hosting and will give bigger Hosters like 1&1 the ability to host ASP.NET Sites like one would expect.


Source 1: Microsoft HostNix Campaign
Source 2: http://www.1und1.info/HostNix

Force Dynamics Racing Simulator

Oh this is soooo crazy… for just $20.000 you get a force-feedback Seat and Wheel that deserves the name:



“The Force Dynamics 301 is a high performance, commercial quality motion system. It is one of a tiny handful of motion simulators designed from the ground up for racing simulation, and its performance far exceeds that of systems costing many times more.”



click to watch the video


Source: http://www.force-dynamics.com/index.shtml

not perfect but they try it anyway: Logitech’s Harmony 880


That’s a remote control. A huge big-ass one of a remote control. But it’s the right way anyhow: It’s unsustainable that you have 3-4 maybe even 5 remote controls in the high-tech-palace some call their living room.


Look, it even has a full customisable color display:



“The Harmony 880 Advanced Universal Remote puts you in control of your entire audio-video system with just one button. It´s home entertainment the way it should be—simple.


Optimized for complicated HDTV and PVR systems, the Harmony 880 helps you tame tough configurations like switching your television between video aspect ratios depending on the program source. The interactive color display lets you quickly choose a 16:9 ratio for movies and HDTV, or a standard 4:3 ratio for basic television programming.”


Source: Logitech

I want my own Plasma Saber


“When activated it creates a low rumbling hum out of the rear of the handle. A special g-force sensor similar to those used in automobiles to deploy the airbags is used inside our Plasma Saber handle. The sensor measures the amount of force on the handle as its swung and the microprocesser creates a wooshing sound as the saber is being swung! The result is that every time the saber is swung a different wooshing sound is heard which changes depending on how hard you swing it. When its swung agressively the sound it produces is amazingly cool!”



click to view the movie


Source 1: http://www.futurehorizons.net/saber.mpg
Source 2: http://www.futurehorizons.net/saber.htm

Scrapland


Today I had some 20 minutes to take a quick look at “American McGee’s Scrapland” – a game that I got for PC (thanks Marc) and Xbox.



Generally it’s a 3D Adventure that incorporates running and talking and flying around in spaceships’n’stuff B-) The graphic is quite impressive…just like the “WOW”-Effect when you first see Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay on the Xbox. I cannot say really much to the gameplay until I played it more… but the first impression was, that it’s slightly different than any other 3rd Person Jump-n-Run-Adventure-Racing Game (like GTA…)… It seems that the directions on the controller are depending on the angle of the camera… if that’s cool or if that sucks, I don’t know at the moment… it was just different.



One cool feature that I saw: You can build your own Custom-Ship. There’s some sort of editor in the game where you can select the parts your ship will be built of.



Source: http://scrapland.gamesweb.com/

Emma’s Mini: Beat Generation Mad Trick

On my proceeding mission to evangelise the world with great music I have something for you. It’s even more than just music: it’s a seminal way of buying music. But from the beginning: First the music.



Emma’s Mini: Beat Generation Mad Trick


It’s actually the first album of Emma’s Mini. And it’s not brand new because it came out in 2003. But it’s exactly what I had in mind that very moment I found it. I only heard one song and I bought the ablum straigt away. And I did not regret it. It’s cool. It’s innovative. Fits perfectly in my collection and will fit even more perfect in yours.


Because maybe the fewest will know Emma’s Mini already, here’s a short info on them:


“emma’s mini is a duo based in Seattle, WA. They first started making music together in March of 2002 and in April of 2003 they self-released their first album, beat generation mad trick.


Taking their cue from bands such as lamb, Massive Attack and Moloko, emma’s mini is creating a new and exciting sound, seamlessly blending Suzanne McClean’s rich, lush vocals with Demian Shoemaker’s innovative beats and soundscapes.”


And indeed: Suzannes voice is great… and “soundscapes” is the word I also would have chosen when I should describe the music itself… Infact: Go and hear the complete album. And more important: If you like it, buy it! It’s really worth the money. (what a great transition…)


Emma’s Mini is not under contract at a major label. Infact they are – as far as i know – not under any contract. But they sell their music through Magnatune.


And Magnatune describes itself that way:


“We call it “try before you buy.” It’s the shareware model applied to music. Listen to 356 complete MP3 albums we’ve picked (not 30 second snippets). We let the music sell itself, because we think that’s the best way to get you excited by it. Our selection is intentionally small: we never waste your time with mediocre music. If you like what you hear, download an album for as little as $5 (you pick the price), or buy a real CD, or license our music for commercial use. Artists keep half of every purchase. And unlike most record labels, our artists keep all the rights to their music. No major label connections and no venture capital. We are not evil.”


And they mean it. You can choose how much you would like to pay for the music…from 5 bucks upward…that’s great because you get the music without DRM or any other limitation… You even buy the exploitation right on the tunes… How cool is that!?



Magnatunes recommends a price…but you can change it easily, preferably upward.. ;-)


Source: http://magnatune.com/artists/emmas_mini

enhancing the Orbs

I brought these nifty glowing orbs from CeBIT – and now i’ve found a minute to disassemble one of them:



you have to unscrew only three little screws to open the battery
compartment



the bottom side of the battery compartment
can be pulled out of the white plastic orb easily


Okay that was easy. Now the next step would be to solder an external power supply to the battery compartment so I get rid of the batteries.


Source: The Orbs