Friday, December 29, 2006

New love

I really love vmware. Expect more posting next week when I'll be on shift.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Long-term CDR storage

For testing a external USB DVD-burner I needed "something" to test it with. That brought me to 2 packs of CDR-blanks that have been laying around here for ages, I think they have been bought when my trusty old Yamaha CRW4416 x4-Burner I'm using until now was new. That makes them about 5 years old? Well... those CDR blanks were still in their original packaging, with the plastic foil intact. But they looked quite interesting, with a dull finishing and something that reminds me of frosted glass-windows.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Playing with old junk, episode 756412

I found a nice a old HP 82240 thermal printer in the cellar once. You can use it to print stuff from those pretty HP reverse-polish calculators like the HP48. Unfortunately they only speak the proprietary red-eye protocol over infrared so I had to resort to a little bit of hackery using a Atmel Tiny2313 and a IR-diode... And now, it prints! :-) Hooray.

Monday, November 06, 2006

New Toy

The scope is set to 0.2us/DIV x 10 on the horizontal axis. Power consumption is after about 10 minutes of warmup.

Ortsveränderliche Elektrische Betriebsmittel

Here are our tax-euros hard at work. I just had a visit from a guy of the german TÜV here checking the portable electrical equipment. Note the portable. So he put a sticker on every lamp or electrical socket, but NOT on the extension cord that is made non-portable by fastening it with cable-ties to my desk. And he did not even find the old shoddy and most-likely non-TÜV-safe halfway broken extension cord hidden under the other Desk!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Friday, November 03, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Entering numbers

We are ordering lot of things (clothes, books, kids' toys) online. Which leaves me with the task of paying the bills found in the parcels. That's not too bad because I can do it onine. The only thing that annoys the hell out of me is transcribing all those numbers (account, bank, customer, invoice) from the paper copy into my web browser.

I don't have anything against typing numbers in general, but why don't they group them e.g. by 4? With hyphens in between? Most likely because the wise programmers of the severly fucked up web-frontend to my bank decided that anything but numbers in most fields is a bad thing. Therefore don't even allow such a readability-increasing method in their various number-eating input-boxes. Oh, and please somebody explain to me why a invoice number has to be 15 digits? Especially when paying a bill from a relatively small german publisher who - for sure - has less than 1015 customers whom to bill. Suddenly typing in microsofts 8x4 character license keys does not look like a bad amusement at all.

Friday, October 20, 2006

T400

I inherited a interesting looking old ISA card. After closer inspection it appears, that it houses a INMOS T400, a Transputer CPU! Absolutely fascinating and unfortunately utterly outdated.

No gigabit for me :-(

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bell, No Bell, Bell

Three things found next to eachother in the hospital. Bell, No Bell, Bell.

Garbage in, garbage out, ...

10 m3 garbage container

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Election Computers

Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet have analysed the election computers that are used in the netherlands and found out that they have a huge number of security flaws. Their great publication is a very detailed description of all the shortcomings they found up to now, it shows some possible attacks they have implemented and describes few more that are now known to be feaseable.

Those machines are basically a overpriced version of the Amiga 500, with less RAM and without the nice sound and video capabilities -- in a huge box. There is not a single feature built in to try to counter vote forgery, it's really just a plain 68k computer without any cryptographic or trusted-computing capability.

Those voting-machines are very simmilar to the computers that are used in some regions of germany. Of course they have been thoroughly examined; in germany (where I live) by the PTB which is responsible to maintain precise clocks (a task it does very, very good) or to provide standard-weights so that scales at the grocery-store measure the correct amount of vegetables you buy. I'm sure our election computers are really precise in this regard.

It's noteworthy that the german BSI (the authority for security in information processing, who really are knowledgeable about computer and IT security) have not been ordered to evaluate those computers (who said bribery?)! And of course the report on the test done by the PTB is confidential not to compromise the valueable 1980's technology trade secrets of the supplier. What a joke.

In the Netherlands they have been checked by the authority responsible for the safety of cars or electrical installations in bildings. No one will ever get a electric shock or be injured by a hard edge on those machines -- correct counting oviously was of no concern to the testers.

The computer magazine c't recently had an article about that e-voting-mess in general (issue 16/06, page 54), and after reading few reports about how that works in the USA I honestly was not really surprised about what the dutch hackers had found out. Maybe that's also why I quicky got distracted from studying the NEDAP-hardware to find this little gem:

A javascript emulator of hd44780 LCD displays!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

More video surveillance

After the attempted train-bombings here in germany, our minister of the interior promptly declared that he had already spoken to the representatives of the german bundesbahn to have the number of cameras in trainstations increased. This is done, so that we can catch more of those TERRORISTS, of course. Now obviously this plan has been carried out already, because since the last time I visited hamburg the number of cameras on the S-Bahn in Altona and Sternschanze has doubled! If you look more closely at the camera housings (those photographs are so shoddy, you cannot even see the label :-( ) they are clearly marked as "camera 4" and "camera 4 (redundant)". I feel much safer already.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Panorama

Filthy Keyboard

Words cannot describe the amount of lint deposited in and onto the keyboards I am forced to use.

Monday, August 28, 2006

On shift

On shift again, this will be my cozy little home for the next week.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Composite Sync

So, I have this nice monitor, a SUN GDM20D10 which relates to a old Sun workstation that is dog-slow by todays standards and which I therefore no longer use for anything. I had built a adapter-cable for it's strange connector a long time ago, but never found a graphics card that outputs composite sync signals. Those sync signals tell your monitor when it has to start drawing a new line, or when it has to begin at the top of the screen after it has reached the bottom and todays PCs usually carry those signals on separate lines. And because SUN monitors are different, they want those signals merged together on a single input pin which my graphics cards is not able to provide. (Well, it is, but there is currently no simple way to tell it to do so). I always planned to build one of the circuits whose schematics you can find on the web for that purpose, but always forgot buying the necessary parts. Now while cleaning up the cellar, I stumbled upon that lonely 47LS00 you can see soldered to the white cables and held by the oscilloscope probes. Granted, my VGA connector now looks a little bit odd, but finally it sends something looking almost like a good composite sync signal onwards to the CRT. And it's good enough to persuade the monitor to display something (and not just turn off and going into power-save-mode). Finally, no more tiny icons and blurry text on that old and crappy 17"-tube. That makes me happy.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Bruce Schneier Facts

Ok, you have probably seen this already, but it's just too good to take the chance you'll miss it: Bruce Schneier Facts, which is a parody on Chuck Norris Facts, which itself is a parody on Chuck Norris. Update: The exhaustive list has been posted in Bruce Schneier's Blog

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Book!

Now I'm the proud owner of a hand-signed edition of bunnies "Hacking the X-Box" book :-).

Computer Ticket

During my commute from work I saw that guy with his computer sitting in the train whom I cowardly photographed from where he could not see me.

Desert Climate

Because of the hot weather here in germany, the HERA accelerator has problems dissipating all the heat the overdesigned and energy wasting machinery generates.
All provisions to reduce the cooling-water temperature have been exhausted. Feedback transmitters are off, circumfence-voltage is down to the bare minimum and the HF-power has been moved to the west . Mr. Hurdelbrink has (developed?) operation-modes for winter and summer, but not for desert climate.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Thursday, July 13, 2006

T-Mobile tries to pull a fast one.

So I get a phonecall from my friendly T-Mobile user-care-agent, a very friendly saxony-accent woman who is tremendously grateful that I'm a loyal customer since 5 years. And to thank me for my loyalty, they want to offer me a FREE extra SIM-card for my mobile phone which I can give to friends or family members. I ask her if that's the same offer another friendly, saxony-accent woman, who was very grateful for my loyalty, made me half a year ago, the FREE one with the minimum turnover of 8 EURO or so? But no, this time, it's completely different. That card is FREE and does NOT have any minimum takeover. Quite the contrary, for 7 EUR per month I get 20 minutes of FREE call-time! Unfortunately she was not able to explain the difference between the two offers in a way I could understand and I politely rejected her offer and wished her a nice day. She ended the call by assuring me that she noted the fact that I'm not interested. Just as the other friendly woman with the saxony accent had told me half a year ago.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Office Temperature 30°C

Its really great weather, currently. Unfortunately it's also quite warm in my office. As long as some wind blows its tolerable though.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Holes

I just want to use the opportunity to direct the valued readers of this blog to the Wikipedia entry regarding holes. There are always too many where you don't need any, and when you desperately need them they are not there. Be wise and keep some Portable Holes in stock.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

1st time on the berg

I was at the berg for the first time in my life... and I had a sausage roll with mustard, not with Ketshup.

Monday, June 05, 2006

IPSEC

Jun 5 21:12:55 entropy racoon: INFO: IPsec-SA established: ESP/Transport 192.168.1.36[0]->192.168.2.33[0] spi=254685122(0xf2e2fc2)
21:21:20.338991 IP 192.168.1.36 > 192.168.2.33: AH(spi=0x07252808,seq=0x6): ESP(spi=0x0f2e2fc2,seq=0x6), length 76
21:21:20.339403 IP 192.168.2.33 > 192.168.1.36: AH(spi=0x723baa29,seq=0x8): ESP(spi=0x29eed679,seq=0x8), length 76
< I played around with IPSEC today, it's quite some fun after you have found out all the rough edges :-). But now, hooray, ipsec between the windows-notebook and one linux-machine.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

golden cone

Where I live, some prehistoric golden-cone has been found few years ago which gave one of the trails it's name: „Goldkegelweg“ (golden-cone hike).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Very bad code.

Just had a look at legacy code that spans several pages in this style:

 DO 13 K = 1,N
    Z(6) = U(K,I)
    U(K,I) = Z(5) * Z(6) - Z(4) * U(K,J)
    U(K,J) = Z(4) * Z(6) + Z(5) * U(K,J)
    IF(K .EQ. I .OR. K .EQ. J) GOTO 13
    H(I,K) = Z(5) * H(K,I) - Z(4) * H(K,J)
    H(J,K) = Z(4) * H(K,I) + Z(5) * H(K,J)
    H(K,I) = H(I,K)
    H(K,J) = H(J,K)
13  CONTINUE

All variables have 1 or two characters and it is full of magic constants and meaningless array indices.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Rubber chicken.

Don't ask.

Rain...

On my last day in Hamburg it is too rainy to do something non-work related - like visiting the city. That's sad.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The queens cheese

Phil, one of the queen's folk dancers just joined the shiftcrew of the experiment. And not only is he coming to do my work, he even brought delicious cheese, bread, grapes and olives.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Nice guestroom...

I worried that I would not have a nice guestroom but would get one with shared showers and bathrooms. Insted I got one of the rooms for disabled persons with a huuuuuuge shower.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dumbfounded

I just read a email from one of the bosses that people would not be allowed to work more than 10 hours straight. That's the same person who, about half a year ago, told me that the minimum work expected from underlings would be 11 hours a day (9AM-8PM) including saturdays. Now someone probably pointed out that working 24 hours and having an accident would be considered grossly negligent, insurance would not pay or rather try to get the money back from those bosses. Wow, it took only one heart-attack, one almost fatal accident (that I know of) and the danger of having to pay for lifelong medical care to reach that conclusion. I'm amazed it went that fast.

Related: Going into physics was the biggest mistake of my life. I should've declared CS. I still wouldn't have any women, but at least I'd be rolling in cash

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sand (sequel)

It's good to have friends when you need them the most, which, sometimes, is for such mundane tasks as moving sand. So here goes a big thank you to Phil who helped me with this task and additionally beared listening to all my slander about work.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Too much sand.

Having fun with roughly 0.5 m3 of sand. Want to joing building sandcastles?

Sunday, April 30, 2006

welcome back, kryptikmo

Kryptikmo is back from the dead, blogging again. Nice to hear that!

advance in storage technology

Two harddisks and one compact-flash card: Miniscribe, Model 6032 23 MB (s/n 122544), Hitachi HTS548080, 80GB, SanDisk UltraII Compact Flash, 1 Gbyte Update: I just found out that the XT harddisk-driver is still included in recent linux kernels (just could not see it on a non ISA-enabled machine). I will try to make this message appear today: Ending clean XFS mount for filesystem: xda1