littleBits – modular electronics that sticks together

It’s like lego for electronic circuits:

“littleBits is an opensource library of discrete electronic components pre-assembled in tiny circuit boards. Just as Legos allow you to create complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are simple, intuitive, space-sensitive blocks that make prototyping with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together. With a growing number of available modules, littleBits aims to move electronics from late stages of the design process to its earliest ones, and from the hands of experts, to those of artists, makers and designers.”

Source: http://www.ayahbdeir.com/littleBits/

Augmented Reality Project “Levelhead” – Sourcecode is available

I wrote about Levelhead and it’s stunning concept not long ago. Now you can play with it’s code and try it for youself:

floorplan_lg2

“First thing’s first, this is a developer release and needs to be compiled. It has many third-party dependencies from the renderer to the video capture context. As yet there is no lovely statically linked binary of levelHead or automagical build script for a folder of dependencies. Nonetheless, I’ve installed levelHead on many (Ubuntu) systems now and what’s listed below should work fine for you.
levelHead is known to build on Ubuntu 7.10/7.04 and Debian Etch systems against the following external dependencies. It’s adviseable you adhere to these versions if you want to avoid going spontaneously mad”

The site goes on:

Code and assets are provided under two differing licenses: the code is governed by the GPLv3 and the art is covered by the GPLv3 compatible CC-BY_SA 3.0. Make sure you understand what that implied before downloading this project. For the rationale as to why I chose this configuration, please read the comments in the top of the levelHead.cpp file itself. Both art and code are available in a subversion repository, aquired with the following command:

svn co http://www.inclusiva-net.es/svn/levelhead "

Since I will try it myself (installing Ubuntu now) – I will give a detailed tutorial about it in the future…at least I hope so.

Source: http://julianoliver.com/levelhead

Formula Student 2008

Since last year FeM is recording and live streaming the annual Formula Student Event in Germany:

“Screeching tires, smouldering heads and impressive technical innovations – welcome to the Formula Student Germany 2008!
Join the Brunel Race at our stand. As a virtual race driver you’ll be able to win the Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring. The fastest driver gets the chance to win 2 tickets for the Formula 1 Event at Nürburgring 2009.”

If you don’t know what Formula Student is…you may want to read this:

“Students build a single seat formula racecar with which they can compete against teams from all over the world. The competition is not won solely by the team with the fastest car, but rather by the team with the best overall package of construction, performance, and financial and sales planning.

Formula Student challenges the team members to go the extra step in their education by incorporating into it intensive experience in building and manufacturing as well as considering the economic aspects of the automotive industry. Teams take on the assumption that they are a manufacturer developing a prototype to be evaluated for production. The target audience is the non-professional Weekend-Racer, for which the racecar must show very good driving characteristics such as acceleration, braking and handling. It should be offered at a very reasonable cost and be reliable and dependable. Additionally, the car’’s market value increases through other factors such as aesthetics, comfort and the use of readily available, standard purchase components.

The challenge the teams face is to compose a complete package consisting of a well constructed racecar and a sales plan that best matches these given criteria. The decision is made by a jury of experts from the motorsport, automotive and supplier industries. The jury will judge every team’s car and sales plan based on construction, cost planning and sales presentation. The rest of the judging will be done out on the track, where the students demonstrate in a number of performance tests how well their self-built racecars fare in their true environment.”

fstudent

Starting this friday there will be a livestream available (Flash and Windows Media). Great stuff!

Source 1: Livestream
Source 2: http://formulastudent.tv/
Source 3: http://www.formulastudent.de

NASA opens it’s picture library

It’s just great to see more and more big archives are getting available online. This time the National Space Agency of America opened it’s picture library:

“NASA Images is a service of Internet Archive ( www.archive.org ), a non-profit library, to offer public access to NASA’s images, videos and audio collections. NASA Images is constantly growing with the addition of current media from NASA as well as newly digitized media from the archives of the NASA Centers.
The goal of NASA Images is to increase our understanding of the earth, our solar system and the universe beyond in order to benefit humanity. “

nasa

Source: http://www.nasaimages.org/

Graph theory: How to visualize a network

Since I am a bit familiar with graph theory and building technologies around graphs I came across this neat little library originally developed by Marc Smiths Team at Microsoft Research. It’s now up on Codeplex for your own study and research:

“.NetMap is a pair of applications for viewing network graphs, along with a set of .NET Framework 2.0 class libraries that can be used to add network graphs to custom applications.

A network graph is a series of vertices (sometimes called nodes) connected by edges. See this Wikipedia article for an overview of network graphs.”

Graph6 Graph1

Graph12

It even integrates into Excel…well if you need that… more interesting is:

“The Windows Forms control is one of several graph “visualizers” that are packaged in a Microsoft.NetMap.Visualization assembly. There is also a Microsoft.NetMap.Adapters assembly for reading and writing graph data in various formats, a Microsoft.SocialNetworkLib assembly for analyzing social networks, and a Microsoft.NetMap.Core assembly that implements the low-level vertex, edge, and graph classes. The framework for a Microsoft.NetMap.Algorithms assembly is also provided, although most of the graph algorithms are still work items as of May 2008.”

Source 1: http://research.microsoft.com/~masmith/
Source 2: http://www.codeplex.com/NetMap

What about the user interface? UI guidelines all together now!

You may have heard about things like “guidelines for user interfaces” – Sometimes I tend to think that there is no such thing as a design guideline for a better user interface because some applications are just plain unusable for a normal human being.

But there are guidelines for almost everything and I wanted to give an overview:

Microsoft:

Apple:

Linux:

  • KDE Standards User Interface Guidelines
  • GNOME Human Interface Guidelines
  • Motif Style Guide

interesting ones:

self replicating machines

When I thought of self replicating machines I thought of end-of-time scenarios and a robot armies conquering the world and enslaving the human race… it’s not that bad right now but we’re getting to it… sort of :-)

pc-va

“Adrian Bowyer (left) and Vik Olliver (right) with a parent RepRap machine, made on a conventional rapid prototyper, and the first complete working child RepRap machine, made by the RepRap on the left. The child machine made its first successful grandchild part at 14:00 hours UTC on 29 May 2008 at Bath University in the UK, a few minutes after it was assembled.”

“RepRap is short for Replicating Rapid-prototyper. It is the practical self-copying 3D printer shown on the right – a self-replicating machine. This 3D printer builds the parts up in layers of plastic. This technology already exists, but the cheapest commercial machine would cost you about €30,000. And it isn’t even designed so that it can make itself. So what the RepRap team are doing is to develop and to give away the designs for a much cheaper machine with the novel capability of being able to self-copy (material costs are about €500). That way it’s accessible to small communities in the developing world as well as individuals in the developed world. Following the principles of the Free Software Movement we are distributing the RepRap machine at no cost to everyone under the GNU General Public Licence. So, if you have a RepRap machine, you can make another and give it to a friend… “

Source: http://reprap.org/bin/view/Main/WebHome

speaking of Augmented Reality

It seems that I missed that Augmented Reality Toolkit all the way until now. It’s ARToolKit and it’s completely OpenSource.

As a matter of fact there are a ton of demos available… HOW could I possibly miss that for so long?

“ARToolKit is a software library for building Augmented Reality (AR) applications. These are applications that involve the overlay of virtual imagery on the real world. For example, in the image to the right a three-dimensional virtual character appears standing on a real card. It can be seen by the user in the head set display they are wearing. When the user moves the card, the virtual character moves with it and appears attached to the real object.

One of the key difficulties in developing Augmented Reality applications is the problem of tracking the users viewpoint. In order to know from what viewpoint to draw the virtual imagery, the application needs to know where the user is looking in the real world.”

Here is a short video demonstration of what you could start with:

…not talking about the things that would be possible if someone had a great idea :-)

Source: http://www.hitl.washington.edu/artoolkit/

Augmented Reality Game soon available (full source!)

You may have heard about Levelhead – an augmented reality game made by Julian Oliver – if you did not hear about it? No problem:

Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data. At present, most AR research is concerned with the use of live video imagery which is digitally processed and “augmented” by the addition of computer-generated graphics. Advanced research includes the use of motion-tracking data, fiducial marker recognition using machine vision, and the construction of controlled environments containing any number of sensors and actuators.”

So – Augmented reality mixes the reality and the computer graphics and creates a new reality for you. That’s a lot of theoretical…so let’s talk about Levelhead:

It’s a game where you have to move plastic cubes with printed-on patterns in front of a camera – the computer now renders a new world inside of the plastic cubes – when you move the cube, the world inside the cube moves too… it looks like this:

lh_4_med

“levelHead uses a hand-held solid-plastic cube as its only interface. On-screen it appears each face of the cube contains a little room, each of which are logically connected by doors.
In one of these rooms is a character. By tilting the cube the player directs this character from room to room in an effort to find the exit.

Some doors lead nowhere and will send the character back to the room they started in, a trick designed to challenge the player’s spatial memory. Which doors belong to which rooms?

There are three cubes (levels) in total, each of which are connected by a single door. Players have the goal of moving the character from room to room, cube to cube in an attempt to find the final exit door of all three cubes. If this door is found the character will appear to leave the cube, walk across the table surface and vanish.. The game then begins again.
Someone once said levelHead may have something to do with a story from Borges.. For a description of the conceptual basis of this project, see below. “

If you are not amazed now? You should watch this:

The thing is – this cool game and technology will be available at the end of this month as full open-source. I suggest to check Julians site back at the end of the month at last.

Source 1: Augmented Reality @ Wikipedia
Source 2: Levelhead homepage

How to play a shooter in 16 pixel by 16 pixels space

It’s really a piece of art with only 256 pixels space – it’s the remake of the Defender game you won’t be able to play in Full HD:

DEFENDER of the favicon is a JavaScript remake of Eugene Jarvis‘ brilliant arcade game Defender written by Mathieu ‘p01’ Henri and inspired by Scott Schiller‘s experiment with generated favicons VU meter. The idea was to push the concept of generated favicons further and pack a thrilling retro shooter in 16×16 pixels using JavaScript, canvas and data: URIs.”

“Each frame of the game is generated on the fly in JavaScript into a 16×16 canvas element, then converted to a 32bits PNG image and used in place of the favicon.”

To be clear: This is not a joke – it’s an actual game… the size of:

16x16defender

Source: http://www.p01.org/releases/DHTML_contests/files/DEFENDER_of_the_favicon/

Radioheads “House of Cards” music video + raw data released under CC license

I seriously don’t know why they are doing that – it’s not as if any material released previously came to any notice so far – but what the heck – Radiohead decided to put their current music video (which isn’t bad) and the raw data that was used to create it to the public using the Creative Commons license:

“The animation data used to make the video are licensed to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license at Google Code. This means you are free to use the data to make your own video projects, as long as you abide by the CC license’s conditions. (To be clear, the song and its accompanying video are not under CC license; the data used to make the video are.)”

houseofcards_radiohead

Source: http://code.google.com/creative/radiohead/

FIWAK 2008 Trailer

I am once again pleased to present the official Trailer for this years FIWAK. FIWAK is the annual outdoor-conference presented by FeM e.V.. This year these lectures are planned (german only):

  • Openstreetmap-Workshop von Markus Brückner und Dominik Tritscher
  • Technische Grundlagen DVB-T von Sebastian Schwarz
  • Opensource Videobearbeitung von Florian Raschke
  • FeM-Geschichte von Mario Holbe
  • Vereinsinterne Kommunikation von Michael Bock
  • Tanzworkshop mit Udo Pescheck
  • Bewerbungstraining mit MLP
  • Whiteboard-Technologien von Smart Systems

FIWAK takes place from 20. to 22. June 2008 in the forest around Elgersburg – a small town near Ilmenau. But now watch the trailer:


Video: FeM FIWAK 2008 Trailer

Source 1: FIWAK Homepage

When you’re in need of a good whiteboard… use Wii controllers + homebrew

Oh yeah. I talked about these kinds of electronic whiteboards for years – and now it seems that there is a cheap and really useful DIY solution created by Johnny Chung Lee(beside several other really useful and astounding DIY jobs)

“Since the Wiimote can track sources of infrared (IR) light, you can track pens that have an IR led in the tip. By pointing a wiimote at a projection screen or LCD display, you can create very low-cost interactive whiteboards or tablet displays. Since the Wiimote can track upto 4 points, up to 4 pens can be used. It also works great with rear-projected displays.”

So you need:

  • a Wiimote
  • a selfmade Infrared-LED Pen that marks the trackable point

So namenlos (his blog) did his version of the Wii whiteboard and made a video of it:


Video: Wii Whiteboard

(due to music the license of this video is CC-BY-NC-SA)

Really impressive isn’t it? And you can do so much more with this Wiimote stuff. – Actually I am planning to get such a Wiimote and a Pen and try it myself.

Source 1: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/wii/
Source 2: http://blog.slash-me.net/archives/268-Wii-Whiteboard.html

watch NASA TV live streams at higher bitrates (quality)

They landed on the mars again…and they will launch a space shuttle within the next 22 hours if everything works out as planned. So maybe you, just like me, are interested in getting some live-information about that.

There’s NASA TV but on the NASA website you only get low (150kbit) bitrate streams. If you want better quality, just try these links:

Of course you can always go with the standard website livestream…

TechFest 2008: Turning Ideas Into Reality

I told you, I would write about the things I am working on for the past months. And last week TechFest 2008 took place in Redmond/WA at Microsoft. Almost the whole team I am working with was there – I haven’t spoken to anybody yet personally but it seems to have gone well:

Rick Rashid, Microsoft Research senior vice president shows a prototype device with a Web-service interface developed by Microsoft researchers that runs an energy-management application that saves energy by actively monitoring the weather and energy variations. This is one of 40 exciting emerging technologies on display at Microsoft TechFest 2008 which brings researchers, customers, academics, dignitaries and employees. Redmond, Wash., March 4, 2008. Robert Sorbo/Microsoft/Handout

“Microsoft Research’s TechFest is an annual event that brings researchers from Microsoft’s labs around the world to Redmond to share their latest work with the product teams. Attendees will experience some of the freshest, most innovative technologies emerging from Microsoft’s research efforts. The event provides a forum in which product teams and researchers can discuss the incredible work occurring in the labs, thereby encouraging effective technology transfer into Microsoft products.”

research 
fast forward to minute 24…one of the interesting bits starts right there!

Source 1: http://wm.microsoft.com/ms/research/events/TechFest2008/TF08Keynote.wmv
Source 2: http://research.microsoft.com/techfest/
Source 3: http://www.schrankmonster.de/PermaLink,guid,cf5f2c46-60d2-4bb6-b58b-c50f5f3ce4d8.aspx

Singularity Sourcecode finally available…

The last time I wrote about Singularity was in 2005 when the first news came up… and now:

For all those source code kids – the sourcecode of Singularity – the research operating system written by people at Microsoft Research completely in .NET is now available.

singularity

from the Microsoft Research Overview page:

“Singularity is a research project focused on the construction of dependable systems through innovation in the areas of systems, languages, and tools. We are building a research operating system prototype (called Singularity), extending programming languages, and developing new techniques and tools for specifying and verifying program behavior.

Advances in languages, compilers, and tools open the possibility of significantly improving software. For example, Singularity uses type-safe languages and an abstract instruction set to enable what we call Software Isolated Processes (SIPs). SIPs provide the strong isolation guarantees of OS processes (isolated object space, separate GCs, separate runtimes) without the overhead of hardware-enforced protection domains. In the current Singularity prototype SIPs are extremely cheap; they run in ring 0 in the kernel’s address space.

Singularity uses these advances to build more reliable systems and applications. For example, because SIPs are so cheap to create and enforce, Singularity runs each program, device driver, or system extension in its own SIP. SIPs are not allowed to share memory or modify their own code. As a result, we can make strong reliability guarantees about the code running in a SIP. We can verify much broader properties about a SIP at compile or install time than can be done for code running in traditional OS processes. Broader application of static verification is critical to predicting system behavior and providing users with strong guarantees about reliability.”

You can even watch a small movie about Singularity here:

c9singularity

Source 1: http://research.microsoft.com/os/singularity/
Source 2: http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=68302
Source 3: http://www.codeplex.com/singularity

how about 16.8 Terabytes of Mars? (the planet!)

You do realise that, despite that fact no mass media is talking about it, there are still robots around and on Mars doing research for the last years? Yeah you’re right: Spirit and Opportunity are still well and alive on Mars. There were several other missions and this newly released 9.9 Tbytes of data (adds up to 16.8 Tbytes) is just fantastic stuff.

See an avalanche on Mars:

PSP_007338_2640

“How much data was released? 2422 observations, making up 9.9 terabytes “in over 225,599 standard PDS and extras products” according to our database specialist. This was for data between orbit ranges 4400 and 6999, or between July 05, 2007 and January 23, 2008 (which is a lot of loops around the Red Planet!)

We have now released a total of 16.8 TB worth of data, or nearly 500,000 image products. Please check out the latest images on the HiRISE website on the “March 2008: New HiRISE Images Released to the Planetary Data System” page.”

Source 1: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/HiBlog/?p=147
Source 2: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/PSP_007338_2640
Source 3: http://pds-imaging.jpl.nasa.gov/
Source 4: http://hirise-pds.lpl.arizona.edu/PDS/
Source 5: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html

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.”

neostorm

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

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…
    truecrypt_drive

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

Windows Eventlog Client/Server Application to monitor your servers…

When I first saw a review of “Microsoft Windows Home Server” I was impressed by several features. One that I never thought about is that little icon on each Home Server client that shows you the overall status of your home network:

128073458_b451f2821f

This little icon can look like this, depending on the status:

128073457_f5531306fb

As you can see – it’ll give you a clean and fast status by telling you that everything is okay on your network or that anything needs your, maybe immediate, attention.

I am administrating round about 12 Windows servers and I always looked for a clean and easy to use tool to monitor them. So I came up with a plan: Build my own tool.

Since I am extensivly using Windows Communication Foundation in the last weeks I was intrigued to try it on that matter. So I built a WCF selfhosting service that makes the eventlog of the machine it is running on available. Then I built a small client that fits nicely in your tray. I am not quite done yet but it’s a good start.

vs_overview_eventlog

As you can see. There is the Host, running on the server and making all Eventlogs of this machine available. Then there is “SmallClient” – being exactly this: a small client for testing purposes only. And thirdly there’s the EventLogClient – giving you the full blown user interface…

This is how it looks when you add a server to the client:

eventlog_sources

And this is how it looks when you configure a filter:

eventlog_filters

I thought it would be nice to have this workflow:

  1. configure/add the server and select the eventlog that you want to monitor
  2. create and configure a filter that is matched upon the particular eventlog source

For the icons (see above) I used one of the icons from the Tango Icon Gallery as a starting point and added some color and stuff.

So why do I even talk about all this? I want YOU to take the code and use it…add more functionality…I am releasing the code(except the icons) under the BSD license. So you can do almost whatever you want with it – but I would love to hear about the things you’re doing with my code and idea.

You can download the sourcecode of my little project here. (200 Kbytes)

Source 1: Home Server Homepage
Source 2: http://tango.freedesktop.org/Tango_Icon_Gallery
Source 3: Sourcecode.

FeM at the Formula Student FSG07 Event at the Hockenheimring

Everybody needs more than one job these days and so does FeM. One team at the Chaos Communication Camp 07 and one at the Hockenheimring, recording and live streaming the events.

You may ask what “Formula Student” is…:

formula_student

“Students build a single seat formula racecar with which they can compete against teams from all over the world. The competition is not won solely by the team with the fastest car, but rather by the team with the best overall package of construction, performance, and financial and sales planning.

Formula Student challenges the team members to go the extra step in their education by incorporating into it intensive experience in building and manufacturing as well as considering the economic aspects of the automotive industry. Teams take on the assumption that they are a manufacturer developing a prototype to be evaluated for production. The target audience is the non-professional Weekend-Racer, for which the racecar must show very good driving characteristics such as acceleration, braking and handling. It should be offered at a very reasonable cost and be reliable and dependable. Additionally, the car’’s market value increases through other factors such as aesthetics, comfort and the use of readily available, standard purchase components.

The challenge the teams face is to compose a complete package consisting of a well constructed racecar and a sales plan that best matches these given criteria. The decision is made by a jury of experts from the motorsport, automotive and supplier industries. The jury will judge every team’s car and sales plan based on construction, cost planning and sales presentation. The rest of the judging will be done out on the track, where the students demonstrate in a number of performance tests how well their self-built racecars fare in their true environment.”

9ac8e20f0e
Overview map of the event

As soon as the Live-Streams are available I will keep you updated…

Source 1: http://www.formulastudent.de

Chaos Communication Camp 2007 – watch the livestreams FeM is broadcasting

Once again FeM is recording and live streaming a Chaos Computer Club event. The Chaos Communication Camp starts today and you can watch everything live:

“The Chaos Communication Camp is an international, five-day open-air event for hackers and associated life-forms. The Camp features two conference tracks with interesting lectures, a workshop-track and over 30 villages providing workshops and gettogethers covering a specific topic.”

Chaos Communication Camp 2007
The International Hacker Open Air Gathering
8|9|10|11|12th August 2007
Finowfurt near Berlin, Germany (Old Europe)

“You can participate! Bring your tent and join our villages. The Camp has everything you need: power, internet, food and fun. The 100.000 square meter areal features enough space to camp, cozy places to hang out and a nice pool and lake to swim and do nautic experiments.”

vlcsnap-2146979

There are two lecture halls called “foo” and “bar”:

Live Stream (WMV) “foo”
Live Stream (WMV) “bar”

Of course like at every CCC event you can grab an up-to-date schedule called “Fahrplan” here. The only thing I did not mention yet is the FeM-Village Wiki page…oh well..done :-)

Source 1: http://www.fem.tu-ilmenau.de
Source 2: http://events.ccc.de/camp/2007/Streams
Source 3: http://events.ccc.de/camp/2007/Fahrplan/
Source 4: http://events.ccc.de/camp/2007/FeM_Village

Software Transactional Memory

I am currently involved in a very interesting project which utilizes a massive load of threads and in-memory data structures. The downside if this is of course: how on earth do I make that thread-safe?

Along the journey I stumbled upon Ralf Westphals thoughts and code on that matter. Ralf comprehensively writes about a technology called “Software Transactional Memory“. “What’s that?” you may ask. And here’s the answer provided by the wikipedia:

“In computer science, software transactional memory (STM) is a concurrency control mechanism analogous to database transactions for controlling access to shared memory in concurrent computing. It functions as an alternative to lock-based synchronization, and is typically implemented in a lock-free way. A transaction in this context is a piece of code that executes a series of reads and writes to shared memory. These reads and writes logically occur at a single instant in time; intermediate states are not visible to other (successful) transactions. The idea of providing hardware support for transactions originated in a 1986 paper and patent by Tom Knight. The idea was popularized by Maurice Herlihy and J. Eliot B. Moss. In 1995 Nir Shavit and Dan Touitou extended this idea to software-only transactional memory (STM). STM has recently been the focus of intense research and support for practical implementations is growing.”

It seems that this different approach to in-memory data management could a solution for most of the difficulties I and maybe you might have with thread safe programming. Even better: it make the code easier to read and is completely written in C#.

Since I am still in the evaluation phase if or if not to use the NSTM implementation, I will keep you posted on that matter in future updates.

Source 1: http://weblogs.asp.net/ralfw/archive/tags/Software+Transactional+Memory/default.aspx
Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_transactional_memory
Source 3: http://www.codeplex.com/NetSTM

what would you do with a brand new CISCO 6509 ? Right. Have a tea break on it.

Oh well. Just after the 43 thousand Euro pile-of-metal arrived some of our office-technicians just thought: It’s tea time, we got a new toy, would that blend?

So they got the tea set and the digital camera out:

We don’t just think of our new hardware as the core equipment of a enormous network. We think of it… well… in a different way.

Source: http://www.fem.tu-ilmenau.de

Echochrome… just for the PC and right now.

“OLE Coordinate System is trompe-l’oeil interactive software that enables characters to wander along blocks and staircases in impossible ways. While M.C. Escher is famous for his “trick of the eye” works, this piece enables users to create and experience their own Escher-esque worlds. Examples of such animation expressions are: character movements based on a 2D interpretation of attached blocks which are not contiguous in three-dimensional space; falling motions on a single plane, etc. You don’t have to do anything special to create “trick of the eye” images like these. The user just clicks to position the block, staircase or character and change the angle.”

For a better understanding, look at the pictures and the video:

Source: OLE Coordinate System

Ze Germans are on the road….

…on their journey to Mongolia…

“Ze Germans …are coming! We’re taking on the Mongol Rally 2007. 13.000 kilometers, 5 mountain ranges, 2 deserts, some of the worst roads in the world and all this in car most people wouldn’t trust to get them to the local shops.”

And as of today they are on the road doing the rally:

“If you read this after about 8am, then we are on the road and on our way to London. Thanks to Mirko, all our SMS Updates will also be posted here, so stay tuned! And for God’s sake, wish us luck!”

Source 1: http://www.mongolrally.de/
Source 2: http://mongolrally.theadventurists.com/

my talk: IP-TV at FeM-Net (german)

Today I had a talk about IP-TV in our local research network – a project I am involved in the past year. And since I did some of the legal and coding work (YAPS) I was the one who wanted to talk about it the most…

First here’s the slidedeck:

The talk was recorded and you can watch it as soon as the post-production team has finished working on it – I’ll keep you posted.

Source: Slidedeck as PDF

how (almost) everything works at ISWIsion

Namenlos wrote about how almost everything is held together at this years ISWI technically. Well he even draw something neat to look at and say “Look, that we did!”

“Die Audiostrecke wird mittels 6 Behringer Ultragain Pro-8 Digital ADA8000 aufgebaut. Diese Geräte nehmen 8 Kanäle Audio via XLR entgegen und setzen die auf eine ADAT-Verbindung über ein TOS-Link-Kabel um. Da die TOS-Links nur 10m weit gehen hängt an jedem Behringer ein ADAT-Extender, der das ganze gleich auf Glasfaser umsetzt. So kommt der Ton vom Studio zur Regie und zurück. Zusätzlich liegen noch 5 Strecken Video (so ein Fernsehsender ganz ohne Bild is ja auch nix.). Zum Abschluss verteilt in der Fischerhütte nochmal ein HP Procurve 2524 ein bischen Netz an die Surfterminals und die Leute vom ebenfalls dort beheimateten L.i.g.h.t. Projekt.”

And then deka came and created another drawing of the Live Streaming infrastructure:

Source: http://blog.slash-me.net/archives/225-ISWISION-2007-hat-begonnen.html