is it about pr0n and other adult entertainment: Second Life

I joined second life some days ago to see what all the fuzz is about. And the first impressions I got is: there’s a shitload of pr0n and adult entertainment.

Being in Second Life for 10 minutes I met “Lucas Pow” on an island …

By the way: My avatars name is “Inspector Columbo”…just in case you want to contact me.


You can never have enough… Backups

Actually, you can never have enough backups, but the original reason for getting Acronis’ TrueImage was to copy an image of my 60GB laptop HDD to a new 100GB HDD. This worked surprisingly well, connecting the new disk, using an external USB case, the tool reboots the system and copies a bootable image of the disk.

Beside this, the tool can perform backups while you work on your system. Very cool and helpfully if you backup to a server, which could take some time. In addition the tool provides a very great feature, which makes accessing files within your backup very comfortable. You can just plug an backup image as a virtual disk to your system and this way you can access the complete backup and access specific files you are looking for.

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the gumball 3000 ’06

Every year again the “race” begins. Well it’s not a race per se – but a rally. This year the gumballers will start at sunday morning in London and arrive 8 days later in LA.

The difference this year: All of them are guided by a Windows Mobile powered device with ALKs CoPilot software. (ALK is one of the sponsors)



Yet another proxy server… how to turn multicast into unicast…

We are using multicast to deliver more than 20 MPEG-2 encoded video+audio streams in our network. The advantages of using multicasting in a network of more than 2000 machines are well known. But there are several scenarios when multicasting is not the right choice.

For example: in wireless environments you have to use some sort of multicast group management which is not always as flexible as a more simple solution. You would end up multicasting all 20 streams into the wireless network – which would just explode or something. (our multicasting traffic volume is around 125 Mbit/s…which is… quite much)

I started writing such a solution two days ago and now I want to make the first lines of code available for everybody to try out.

To speak simple: it’s just another proxy server. It’s a HTTP Server that can be triggered to join a multicast group (hardcoded in this version) and forward the traffic from that multicast group directly to the client that asked for it. It’s as simple as it can get and to be more technical: the proxy receives udp multicast packets and sends them as tcp unicast packets.

When you tell MPlayer to trigger the proxy by asking for /hr.ts you would get something like this (if you have a multicast group on that IP/Port):

As you can see: MPEG2-Transport Stream inside. So it works as designed. There are some glitches I am afraid to say: one known bug is that there are 12 bytes to much in the outgoing data stream which corrupts the picture. If anyone here can fix it: Do it please ;) I tried one day and I could not find a solution for the problem.

Anyways: It’s doing what it’s supposed to do. And that’s why I am making it available for everyone:

Sourcecode: (11,18 KB)

It compiles with Microsoft.NET 1.1/2.0 and Mono. There’s a Visual Studio 2005 solution file inside to help you compile it. (Should work with Visual C# Express Edition). Oh… and I am releasing it under the BSD license which is included with the package.

Feel free to comment and contribute.

System.Net.Sockets.SocketException: Protocol not supported

While coding the multi-platform way – with Microsoft .NET framework on Windows and Mono on everything else we discovered an annoying bug. In some source-code examples that deal with networking you often see something like this:

Socket listener = new Socket(0, SocketType.Stream, ProtocolType.Tcp);

This short code-snippet instantiates a new socket object. Mono compiles this code without any error or warning. But when you run it… this shows up:

Unhandled Exception: System.Net.Sockets.SocketException: Protocol not supported
in <0x00100> System.Net.Sockets.Socket:.ctor 
(AddressFamily family, SocketType type, ProtocolType proto)
in <0x00068> HTTPServer.HttpServer:listen ()
in (wrapper delegate-invoke) System.MulticastDelegate:invoke_void ()

Note: this doesn’t happen with .NET 1.1 and .NET 2.0 on Windows.

You can solve this exception just by telling mono which AdressFamily should be used:

Socket listener = new Socket(AddressFamily.InterNetwork, SocketType.Stream, ProtocolType.Tcp);

Thanks to Ello for his help.


Chicken Force Feedback

If you travel a lot, and if you have a chicken as pet – this solution presented at CHI could be exactly what you where looking for:

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  1. Put a special, fluffy jacket with built-in vibrators and wireless communication on your chicken.

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  2. Touch the physical avatar of your chicken, wherever you are.

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  3. And your chicken will definitely like it!

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Actually they have done a “user study” with two chicken. Using a red and a blue door, one with food and water, one with food, water, and 10 minutes of the jacket, the chickens prefer the door with the additional 10 minutes Force Feedback jacket. And no, this is not a joke, it is serious research. For those not believing, a video was also shown with a real chicken remotely touched by a user…

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Let the good times roll

Wer kennt das nicht: Nostalgisch kramt man durch die alten DOS-Games, die man mal vor Ewigkeiten gezockt hat. Damals, als man noch selber Hand an die Betriebssystemkonfiguration anlegen musste, um die Software zum laufen zu bekommen.

Mit dem Aufkommen von Windows ist das Geschichte, allerdings auch die Kompabilität der alten Spiele.

Was also tun, um sie doch spielen zu können (z.B. unter XP)?

Die Antwort: Man lädt sich einen kostenlosen Emulator aus dem Internet herunter, in diesem Fall DOSBox in der Version 0.65.

Bedienoberfläche DOSBox

Die Bedienung ist recht einfach:


mount :\ -t cdrom

lädt man das CD-Laufwerk, falls man das entsprechende Spiel auf CD besitzt.

mount :\

steht für das Verzeichnis, wohin das Programm installiert werden soll, wobei man immer ein Verzeichnis angeben sollte. Die Software erkennt dieses dann als das normale C:\-Laufwerk.

Anschließend das jeweilige Installationsprogramm starten, das Programm installieren und schon kann es losgehen (Die Bedienung ist eben wie in DOS), wie in diesem Fall mit dem Klassiker “Beneath a steel sky” von 1994.

Ein Adventure der alten Art, wie es sie heute nicht mehr gibt.

Übrigens: Dieses Spiel ist Public Domain und kann demnach frei heruntergeladen werden.

Download (DOSBox 0.65):

Download (Beneath a steel sky):

Einige Anmerkungen:

Falls einige Spiele sehr langsam laufen, kann man mit Strg-F8 Frames überspringen (rückgängig mit Strg-F7) und mit Strg-F12 DOSBox mitteilen, dass man einen sehr viel schnelleren Prozessor besitzt (rückgängig mit Strg-F11).

Jens Heymann

the knowledge of our time: Berkeley courses available for free download (audio)

Berkeley University of California just made a great number of their audio courses available for free download on iTunes. Just tune in and get a taste of cal.

I actually got a taste of the incomparability of two universities… The courses are great!

ACCESS & DOWNLOAD COURSES on your computer or MP3 player
LISTEN TO EVENTS about the Arts, Education, Politics, Science and Technology
BE CONNECTED with what’s happening at UC Berkeley

But Berkeley is not the only university which has some sort of online-courses. FeM e.V. offers you a growing number of complete courses of the TU-Ilmenau with video+audio.

Source 1: Berkeley on iTunes

Source 2: FeM e.V. Streaming TU-Ilmenau

Microsoft Time Zone Utility

The Microsoft Time Zone Utility [1] is a small tool [2], available for free, which indicates the time on different places on earth by a mouse click. It also provides a convenient way to change your current time zone.


Windows Security…a great (german) podcast episode…

If you are interested in software / security / windows, I recommend listening to this episode of Chaosradio. It’s a german language podcast, sorry for the others…

“Microsoft Windows hat in der Öffentlichkeit was Sicherheit betrifft einen schlechten Stand. Windows gilt als System mit offenen Scheunentoren und wird von der Elite gemieden. Doch in den letzten Jahren hat sich eine Menge getan und die letzten Releases von Windows XP wie auch das bevorstehende Windows Vista kommen mit signifikanten und grundlegenden Änderungen daher, die das Bild bald ändern könnten.

Im Gespräch bietet FX Einblicke in die Vorgehensweise von Microsoft in den letzten Jahren und erklärt, welche konkreten Ergebnisse Microsoft in seinen aktuellen und kommenden Betriebssystem-Releases erreicht hat und anstrebt. Am Ende gibt es auch einen Blick auf die Ist-Situation bei Linux.”


the first coup: the Venzero ONE … share the love!

99 grams is enough. They certainly are right on that point and on many others. 8 GB, 320×240 display (2″), sleek black look, MP3, WM*, FM-Radio, RSS Feeds, audio and video podcasts (though: no video in germany (why?!))

And there is more.. You get this port on one side of the gadget:

Venzero calls it “SharePort” and extends the USB-on-the-Go! considerably says Venzero… One feature only the Venzero ONE comes with is the so calles “MusicMarker”. You can record short audio clips while you’re on the road/in the bus/train whatever. Back at home you can sync it with your PC and with venzeros’ servers et voilá: you get the artist and title of the song which was playing in your short audio recording. A great feature and I cannot wait to test it.

Venzero says it’ll be available in mid-June 2006 for about 289,90 Euro. (remember: an iPod comes with 4 GB at 249 Euro…)


parts coming together…

The last two days I configured an Activedirectory+Exchange+Sharepoint combination for the first time… and well it was worth the work. When you see all the parts coming together, forming a fully working and flexible overall picture.

welcome to the domain…

Outlook Web Access

the Sharepoint… nearly empty… but it’ll get crowded once
the user accounts are created

Silver Bells and Golden Spurs

“Silver Bells and Golden Spurs is an exploration of the movie making capabilities of Second Life. It serves as a proof of concept for doing such, as well as the need for certain technical improvements.

With all the available Second Life tools, customized avatars and animations, and with the help of Bedazzle Studios, I knew we could create a high quality, compelling movie.

I first read the anonymous poem in a collection of cowboy poems I picked up several years ago, and immediately knew I had to make this story into a movie. I made notes in the margins of the book describing camera angles, dolly moves and crane shots. When I ran out of room, I decided to adapt the poem for the screen. In the screen play I could accurately describe the action in each scene, and use it as my guide through the production process (just like a real movie is made).

Pulling information from the script, I created lists for props and set pieces, avatar animations, audio, and costumes. These helped streamline the production and assured that no details were overlooked.

The set and all of the props were created on a single simulator, maximizing visual quality while minimizing overhead. I met regularly with the set modeler, character animator and costume designer to review and discuss the progress of their work. Although I had a very specific mental picture of what everything should look like, I needed to allow each of these artists the latitude to explore and use their creativity.”


the illegal side of mathematics

I always knew that there is the bad taste of crime and the smell of illegality involved when it comes to mathematics…

“The first illegal prime to be announced, when interpreted a particular way, describes a computer program which bypasses copyright protection schemes on some DVDs. Because that program has been found illegal by courts in the United States of America, this has produced debate about whether the number itself could be considered illegal.”


speed: play games as fast as you can.

There are gamers who don’t enjoy the games the same way the average gamer does. They are called runners. And they are doing Speed-Runs through games.

For example: the complete HalfLife 2 in 1 hour 36 minutes and 57 seconds…

And there is an archive to give you an insight on what is going on in the speed-run-scene:

“SDA is the home of speed runs done on many computer and console games. A speed run is a video of a player striving to complete a video game in as fast a time as they can manage. Sound easy? It’s not! A large number of tricks are usually used, possibly skipping whole areas of a game in the process, and there will always be mistakes.”


hands-off! unattended windows

Since Nico wrote some articles about the Windows unattendet installation procedure I decided to take a closer look. And you can too:

“Have you ever wanted a Windows CD that would install Windows by automatically putting in your name, product key, timezone and regional settings? And have it merged with the latest Service Pack to save time? Followed by silently installing all your favourite applications along with DirectX 9.0c, .Net Framework 1.1 and then all the required hotfixes, updated drivers, registry tweaks, and a readily patched UXTheme.dll without any user interaction whatsoever? Then this guide will show you how you can do just that! “


Why DRM sucks

Actually, I do not have any problem paying for music. Sometimes I just want to listen to a piece of music, I checkout e.g. Musicload. I copied the music files, made a backup of the licenses and reinstalled my machine. So I decided to listen to a particular song:

Because I have freshly installed my box these days, I needed to restore my licenses but I do encounter this message while trying to restoring them:

Let’s see what “Web Help” says:

This is not helpfully at all. OK, let’s check the radio button to tell this to the people over there. An additional text box appears, asking for my experience; I was spending a lot of money on music, 2 o’clock a.m., I want to listen to my music, I am so somewhat angry… But I do not give up so easily. So I tried to restore another backup. Of course I did backup by licenses on a regular basis. And all I get is this:

Also this message does not satisfy me a lot. So I decide to try it a third time:

The very interesting thing: Depending on which backup I try to restore, I get always the very same message but I do never get my licenses back. Let’s go back where I bought the music, downloading the license again, because it looks like this is my very last chance:

But the song is not available anymore… they do only keep it for six months.. That sucks. Only the last three songs are left. And of course they write I should make backups of my licenses… Remark to myself: Do not purchase any music anymore.


Actually the DRM policy allows you to restore your licences on four different systems. Lucky day, because I just backed up my licences on another system and tried to restore them. This was th so-called plan. But DRM does not give up so easily and fires this message:

At least some of my licences which I bought and payed for, I own , i.e. they belong to me and I do have the right to hear the song whenever I want (at least I thought so), do work again. But some others still suck…

some information about highspeed memory cards…

A widely known electronic store (in germany) did an advertisement for the fun and information of everyone:

The text:

“If you want to take a picture of fast moving objects: Speed counts! Every delay of the memory card can distort the picture, or even worse: the motive is not visible. There’s an end of it! The new HighSpeed-Memory cards transfer the picture data at up to 20 MBit per second. Even a formula 1 world champion could not escape.

The data transfer to your PC only takes 5 seconds, instead of the 20 seconds with a normal memory card.”

Hmkay… understood?

Source: DSLR-Forum

Wireless Worlds

It started like a fairy tale

Son to father: “Hey Dad! What about these strange slots on the side of my notebook?”

Father to son: “Son! These things are made for PCMCIA-Cards. What a coincidence that you are asking about it. I just have one of these cards in my pocket.”

So today with fewer fairy and more reality I had the opportunity to test a Vodafone Mobile Connect Card UMTS Broadband manufactured by Novatel.

After an easy installation it worked immediately. Unfortunately due to the lack of available UMTS (a mere 500 meters to far away for it…) I had to go with GPRS.

The profile automatically switches between it – if you have chosen it during installation.

the menu


With a flatrate the whole package costs about 30€ a month with no additional costs for the PCMCIA-card.

Jens Heymann

Apple Crumble

I just did it: I ordered one of those nifty Apple Mac minis with the new Intel inside. Actually I plan to put a Windows on it. Fortunately, when I bought the Office for Mac last year, the package also included on Windows XP license… btw: I ordered the English Mac OS X. A few weeks ago I spend some time together with some colleagues in a Apple store in Seattle. And yes, the hardware does look great.

22c3 recordings – release this week?

So here are some news about the 22c3 recordings:

According to the last information I got, 130 of 146 recordings are ready to go. I don’t know why the team decided to release them all at once only but unfortunately you’ll have to be patient.

The release is planned for THIS WEEK. So stay tuned and check back for more information.