Sunday, December 17, 2006

Firmware Updating Adventures

However lovely the Mindstorms NXT is, there is one truly annoying detail about firmware updates. They're erratic. The NXT software is also naggingly slow on some hardware.

I tried to upgrade the firmware to 1.04 today, using my Powerbook. It didn't work at all. The NXT would just quietly click along all the time. Nothing helped, not even booting the notebook, removing and re-inserting the NXT batteries, performing hard resets... nothing.

Guess what. When I took the NXT to the office with me (yup, sometimes I'm working on Sundays) and performed the firmware upgrade from a Windows box, it worked first time I tried. While I'm relieved that the NXT now runs the most recent firmware, I'm still a little upset that upgrading it from a Mac seems to be impossible (at least in my case).

Next, I had run the NXT software on a Windows box for the first time today, and I must say, I was pleased with its performance. Compiling and downloading an NXT program to the brick was done in just some very few seconds, whereas compiling and downloading the same program from a Mac takes significantly longer (definitely more than 10 seconds in case of a simple "play a sound" demo program).

I wonder what implementation approach was chosen to get the software running on the Mac. Do they run it in an emulator? ;-) Honestly, why does the compiler have to be so slow, even for trivial programs? I simply cannot understand this.

Well, these are two things for Lego to think about. They sure don't make me like the NXT any less. ;-)

N(e)xt Mindstorms Steps...

I finally found some time to play with that gorgeous Mindstorms NXT set of mine. O what fun! I basically built all the neat little robots from the manual that are extended step by step to feature a touch sensor, grasper, microphone, light sensor, and ultrasonic sensor.

While this looks as if I didn't do anything noticeable, I still fiddled around with some of the parameters to make the robot behave "well". For example, in the standard program suggested in the manual, the robot would simply run over the ball when hitting it, shoving it about the place a bit before stopping to move. This could be solved by letting the robot move slower. Other problems addressed were the speed of opening and closing the grasper (the ball would sometimes just jump away instead of being grabbed because of a too quick grip).

The image above shows the final robot. In this configuration (and with the program installed), it waits until a ball is placed in front of it, which is sensed via the ultrasonic sensor. The robot then moves until it hits the ball, waits for a loud sound (hand clap, for example), grabs the ball, turns around and moves back to the starting position. It finds this position by moving until the light sensor "sees" the black starting line.

Thanks, Lego! This is fun!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mindstorms NXT Firmware Released

Hooray, Lego has finally released the NXT firmware today, as also several blogs report.

The license looks LGPLish to me, but I am not an expert. In any case, it states that all modified versions of the firmware must be published under the same license, and that it is possible to use the (modified) firmware in new software products, provided that the (modified) firmware itself is still covered by the license.

Apparently, the firmware is meant to be built using IAR tools, more precisely, the IAR Embedded Workbench, which is freely available only as a 30-day trial version or as a "kickstart" edition, which is limited in code size. I don't know whether the limited size is enough for building the NXT firmware. Would be nice, though. ;-)

Some patches are available that allow for compiling the firmware using the GCC tool chain.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Spannung im Weltall

Irgendwelche Objekte umschwirren die Raumfähre Atlantis. Ob wohl eines davon ein Stück verdorbenes Rinderfilet ist?

Herr Lem, geben Sie's zu, Sie waren das, Sie Spaßvogel! Auf einer Wolke zu sitzen und zu singen, ist wohl zu langweilig? ;-)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My First Robot

Actually, I didn't want to get this before Christmas. Being careful, I ordered it these days and expected several weeks', if not months', delay - but no! The guys at the Lego store had pre-ordered what must be tons of Mindstorms boxes, and so I was catapulted to a state of grace in no time. A long-time wish has come true: I gotta Mindstorms box! :-)

And here it is.



It turned out to be smaller than I had expected, but then, it's all in there: the NXT brick, a box with cables, sensors (touch, light, sound, ultrasonic!) and motors (three of them, servodrives with 1-degree precision that can also act as rotation sensors). Plus the usual bunch of items for the valued customer's building pleasure.

It's strange to see that there are no actual bricks in there (well, apart from the NXT one). None of the elements has studs, which every Lego engineer deeply adores; they rather resemble studless Lego Technics elements. But what the heck, if it works, it's fine.



Have you noticed the grey box in the back? It contains a collection of elements and instructions to quickly build an initial simple robot on wheels, which can later be extended. I think that's a very smart idea to give people a quick start.

Tonight I gave it a first try. First, I connected all the sensors and motors to the NXT, switched it on, and started the "Try Me" application, which allows for exploring all of the gear. There are some nice effects; for example, the sound sensor makes the motors rotate slower or faster, depending on the volume it's given. That was fun already. :-)

Here's the quick start box, its contents, and the sensors and motors, just before I started to assemble the "first robot". In fact, it felt much like working with Lego Technics; the missing studs weren't a problem.



And here's the robot! Cute, innit? Note how each of the wheels is connected to a separate motor, so that the robot can turn around on the spot. The third motor is also mounted, but not connected to anything. It will be used in extensions of the robot.



The NXT brick comes with a pre-installed demo program suited for this simple robot. Once the program is started, the robot starts scurrying around the place (be careful not to start the program while the robot is sitting on a table, no, don't!), beeping, turning around, scurrying and beeping even more... until it stops after some three iterations.

This little demo program already helped me find the first bug in my construction: it had a twist, which I could correct just by exchanging the two wheels.

I also installed the Mindstorms software on a Macbook Pro. It says on the box that the software only runs on Power Macs, but apparently the Rosetta technology is robust enough. Fine. I didn't really challenge the software yet, though, but I shall report on it soon.

New Job

So I've started to work in a new (post-doc) position in August. It's with Robert Hirschfeld at HPI in Potsdam. An image of HPI's idyllic exterior can be seen here...



It's really a nice office building. Below, you can see the office space: it's a little empty right now, but we'll design it to look and feel more cosy. My office door is the open one, left hand. The spiral staircase in the back is under a glass roof, which makes the interior appear very bright.





My office. It's facing south and hence nice and warm in summer. :-)



Behold two Michaels hacking away, trying to port the Strongtalk VM to Mac OS X / Intel. It's a hard job, but that's an entirely different story.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Urlaub am Bodensee

Das ist schon eine Weile her, aber was solls? Es gibt noch das eine oder andere aufzuholen, also fange ich mal chronologisch korrekt im Juli an.

Genauer: Ende Juli. Da waren meine liebe Frau Natascha und ich bei unserem guten Freund Thomas in Konstanz zu Besuch - vor dem anstrengenden berufsbedingten Umzug nach Potsdam war noch ein Urlaub fällig. Der gute Thomas hat sich rührend um uns gekümmert und uns so manches Erlebnis ermöglicht. Danke, Thomas!

An einem der Tage (ich weiß gar nicht mehr, an welchem) waren wir in der Nähe von Neustadt/Titisee im so genannten "Action Forest", einer Art Kletterparcours im Wald. Das Ganze ist wirklich spannend und macht bestimmt auch viel Freude. Wenn nur meine gut ausgeprägte Höhenangst nicht wäre... Fazit: ich bin unten auf dem Boden geblieben. Natascha und Thomas haben sich raufgetraut: Respekt!

Die beiden folgenden Bilder mögen versuchen, einen Eindruck davon zu vermitteln, warum ich lieber unten geblieben bin. Das sind wirklich etliche Meter über dem Boden.





Man muss sich das so vorstellen: es sind Plattformen an den Bäumen befestigt, und zwischen den Bäumen gibt es die verschiedensten Kletteraufgaben. Man trägt natürlich eine Sicherheitsausrüstung mit allerlei Karabinerhaken und Helm. Mein Problem mit alledem waren (a) die Höhe und (b) die Wackligkeit der Kletterkonstruktionen. Beides zusammen war mir einfach zu viel. Wenn ich die Kletterei mal einen halben Meter über dem Boden üben könnte und dann erst in drei bis elf Meter Höhe wiederholen müsste, wäre das vielleicht was Anderes, aber beides auf einmal war schlicht zu viel.

Und so sieht es aus, wenn jemand (Thomas) nach bewältigter Kletterei eine Leiter runtersteigt. Die Veröffentlichung des Fotos ist autorisiert. ;-)



Einen Tag später waren wir dann - Pflichtbesuch? - am Rheinfall in Schaffhausen. Nur ein Wort: Donnerwetter. Die Bilder sollen mal für sich selbst sprechen.





Das folgende Bild ist von "oben" gemacht worden. Man achte auf die Wolken.



Etwas später ging urplötzlich ein Wolkenbruch hernieder, dass es sich (bzw. uns) gewaschen hatte. Das Ergebnis lässt sich auch im Bild bewundern... einige freundliche und trocken gebliebene Touristen waren so nett, die glücklicherweise auch trocken gebliebene Kamera an uns Pudelnassen auszuprobieren.



Also ab nach Hause und die Kleidung gewechselt. :-)

Noch einen Tag später stand dann der Besuch im Pfahldorf auf dem Programm. Es ist schon wirklich sehr beeindruckend, was die Menschen vor einigen tausend Jahren schon an Architektur und sozialer Kultur bewerkstelligt haben. Es ist nicht einfach zusammenzufassen. Am besten fährt man selbst hin und schaut sich das Museum mal an.



Alles in allem war das ein ganz phantastischer Urlaub - nochmal herzlichen Dank an Thomas, der ein sehr aufmerksamer und freundlicher Gastgeber ist. Wir kommen gern wieder!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Fertig mit der Ausbildung und ab ins Ausland!

Bei all den Nachrichten über die angeblich mediokre Qualität von Azubis geht das zwar vielleicht gern unter, aber es gibt da auch noch das andere Extrem. ;-)

Unser lieber Azubi Shadi hat, nachdem er seine Ausbildung zum Fachinformatiker (Fachrichtung: Anwendungsentwicklung) glorios abgeschlossen hat, gleich ein Auslandspraktikum an Land gezogen. Und was für eins: Indonesien! Vulkane! Tsunamis! Unruhen! Der reine Wahnsinn!

Der Gute schildert das ihm mit schöner Gesetz- und Regelmäßigkeit Zustoßende herzerfrischend in seinem Blog. Ich beneide ihn nicht um jede Mahlzeit, nein.

Shadi! Alles Gute da drunten!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Was ist nur mit diesen Menschen los?

Eben gelesen...

Da fragt man sich doch mal wieder, was eigentlich für ein Film da drüben läuft, auf der anderen Seite vom Teich, in den Vereinigten Staaten von (Nord-, jawohl) Amerika. Eine Elternzeitschrift bildet auf dem Titelblatt ein Baby ab, das an der Brust seiner Mutter saugt, und meine Güte, die Brust ist auch noch zu sehen!

Es tun sich moralische Abgründe auf!

Wohlgemerkt, man sieht keinerlei Brustwarzen oder sowas, und sexuelle Handlungen sind auch nicht im entferntesten impliziert oder erahnbar.

Und dann gibt es Leute, die sowas von sich geben (aus dem Spiegel-Online-Artikel): "Ungeheuerlich! Mir wird schlecht, wenn ich ein Baby an einer Brust hängen sehe." Die das sagte, wohlgemerkt, ist weiblichen Geschlechts. Man kann ihren Kindern, so sie denn bei derlei Hemmschwellen überhaupt moralisch in die Lage sich versetzen kann, welche zu zeugen (das ist ja, igitt, mit gewissen Handlungen verbunden, die u. U. nackte Menschen einbeziehen), nur wünschen, dass sie nicht gestillt wurden. Beim Essen vollgekotzt zu werden ist echt eklig.

Was ist bloß los da drüben? Alle Arten von Perversionen - und weiß Gott nicht nur sexueller Natur - kann man antreffen, wohin man sieht, im Fernsehen, Internet, Zeitungen, wo auch immer, und diese Menschen regen sich darüber auf, dass ein absolut und vollkommen grundsätzlich natürlicher Vorgang in nun wirklich unbestreitbar nicht perverser Art und Weise abgebildet wird? Ja, bitte, was denn noch? Was kommt als Nächstes? Aufregung über die Abbildung von Ohrläppchen, weil man ja zärtlich dran knabbern wollen könnte?

Wenn diese Menschen sich mit ähnlicher Verve dafür einsetzten, dass ihre eigene Regierung sich an die selbst gesteckten und immer wieder auch von anderen eingeforderten moralischen Maßstäbe hielte, das wäre doch mal was!

Echt jetzt.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ach du liebe Güte...

Furchtbar!

Man könnte e's für einen April'scherz halten, aber herrje, e's i'st doch er'st der zweite Augu'st...

Die vor einigen dutzend 'Stunden in Kraft getretene Recht'schreibreform legali'siert da's 'so genannte "Deppenapo'stroph" al's gültige Alternative bei der 'Schreibung von Genitiv-Endungen, um Eigennamen hervorzuheben. I'st da's nun ein Zuge'ständni's an da's eklatante Unvermögen mancher Zeitgeno's'sen, einfach'ste Regeln korrekt zu befolgen, oder ein 'schlechter Witz?

Mir fehlen die Worte. Ehrlich.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Daddy Dan Indeed!

Remember this? Well, congratulations, family!

Deshil Holles Eamus. Deshil Holles Eamus. Deshil Holles Eamus.

Send us, bright one, light one, Horhorn, quickening and wombfruit. Send us, bright one, light one, Horhorn, quickening and wombfruit. Send us, bright one, light one, Horhorn, quickening and wombfruit.

Hoopsa, boyaboy, hoopsa! Hoopsa, boyaboy, hoopsa! Hoopsa, boyaboy, hoopsa!

The above text is by James Joyce, of course.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Sonette find' ich sowas von beschissen...

Robert Gernhardt ist tot.

Irgendwann in den Neunzigern bin ich durch einen Zeitungsartikel im Provinzblatt "Westfalenpost" auf ihn aufmerksam geworden. Dort wurde aus dem Gedicht "Natur-Blues" zitiert. Die wenigen Zeilen, hintersinnig, im besten Wortsinn witzig, sagten mir zu, und ich kaufte mir den Gedichtband "Lichte Gedichte" spontan.

Wenige Stunden später hatte ich das Buch komplett gelesen - der ruhige Ferienjob als stellvertretender Hausmeister und Portier im städtischen Museum machte es möglich - und wusste: da ist einer, der mich anspricht. Der genau den Ton trifft, den ich so gern höre.

Mit meinem Hang zum Integralen legte ich also los und mir alles zu, was ich von diesem mir bis dahin unbekannten Großen in die Finger bekommen konnte. Das Allermeiste sagte mir unmittelbar zu, vieles davon ließ mich herzlich lachen.

Hintersinnig sind Gernhardts Gedichte. Witzig. Intelligent. Poetisch. In seinen Liebesgedichten erklingt eine sanfte Musik. In seinen Satiren ist er humorvoll bissig. Seine Karikaturen treffen ins Schwarze.

Wie sehr haben mich seine Gedichte begleitet. So profan es klingt, eine Zeit lang hing bei mir zu Hause auf der Toilette ein Ausdruck von "Als er sich auf einem stillen Örtchen befand", und zwar so, dass man es bei länger anhaltenden Sitzungen nicht übersehen konnte; natürlich war das verwendete Toilettenpapier von der entsprechenden Marke. Seine "Kritik einer bekannten Gedichtform italienischen Ursprungs" kann ich heute noch auswendig. Die "Animalerotica" oder "Weils so schön war" ("Paulus schrieb an die Apatschen...") sind echte Dauerbrenner. Der Kragenbär sowieso. Sein eindringliches "Ein Glück", ein Gedicht über das Wegschauen angesichts Anderer in Not (und seien es nur Spatzen), ist mir stets gewärtig. Der Zyklus "Herz in Not", beklemmendes Tagebuch einer Bypass-Operation, auch - wegen seiner Unmittelbarkeit.

Und nun ist Robert Gernhardt tot.

Gut ist das nicht.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Lux Aeterna

György Ligeti has made the step to eternal light today. The one good thing about this is that his music stays with us.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The EU Just Doesn't Get It

An EU study has revealed that many European SMEs don't apply for EU research funding because their financial staff recommend so. One of the reasons for financial staff is that EU reporting guidelines are so complicated. Another reason is that financial staff are often unaware of the financial benefits of EU funding.

Both reasons are valid. It's a communication issue, on the one hand, that people aren't aware of the benefits that such EU projects have. Once you have the money, you can do some serious and productive work. On the other hand, financial reporting for EU projects is indeed not too simple.

The sad part of the story is that the study comes to the conclusion that "better education of the financial community on the financial benefits of participation in EU research programmes, and improved dissemination of information in order to clear up misunderstandings over issues such as co-financing" will do the trick.

I don't believe it. The study clearly reveals that complicated EU reporting rules are a reason for SMEs not applying for funding, and yet the only solution proposed is to communicate things better? What about simplifying things instead, for once? What the hell is wrong in Brussels?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

My First Star Destroyer

Finally, I managed to build that lovely huge Lego Star Destroyer. Finally, I managed to upload all those photographs to my blog. Finally, I managed to actually write an according blog entry. Well, building this thing took some 16 hours (I didn't actually try to be quick and literally enjoyed placing every single brick), so it's maybe fine if preparing all this is also not done at the speed of light.

Here's my story. The big box just had to be photographed before starting. By the way, the table turned out to be far too small; I helped myself by stuffing all those tiny bricks and pieces into plastic boxes that are normally used for storing food. Heh.

Normally, when you open a Lego box, you find several plastic bags containing all the bricks, and a manual with building instructions. This box is different. It contains, indeed, a manual (happily), and four more boxes. The manual is really impressive, by the way. It's huge.

As written above, the four white boxes contain quite a pile of plastic bags which looks impressive enough even though the model is still very very far from completion. This is the moment where I first realised how much time this might take. That insight didn't manage to make the pleasant anticipation go away, though. It rather increased.

By the way, the bottle of wine you can see in the background was my only companion that night. Great wine. Not much left afterwards. But great.

Some hours later that night, the frame to which the hull was to be attached was completed. It consists of two identical frames that are connected to each other. Even though I mentioned above that I didn't make many attempts to be quick about this, I wanted to avoid dull repetitions, so I built both frames simultaneously.

Yet some more hours later, the first two parts of the hull (the lower hull, in fact) were finished and attached to the frame. The hull pieces are built identically, but are mirror-inverted, of course. They were also built simultaneously.

I recall being puzzled about the little magnets in the box when I first opened it. While reading the manual, I realised they were supposed to connect the hull to the frame. I think that's an ingenious little piece of Lego engineering. It's very simple and you don't have to care about the angles, because the magnets are pivoted and automatically adjust.

This is a shot from the rear of the Star Destroyer towards the front, showing another magnet junction. And this is also the last picture I took before going to sleep late that night. Early that morning, that is.

The next day, I completed the upper hull and mounted it, and there it was! The topping-out ceremony was rather brief because there was yet more to come.

Another engineering detail I like very much is that the conning bridge is not actually attached to the basis using the normal Lego studs. It is placed on top of the black spike you can see in the image below. That's actually handy when transporting the Star Destroyer; you simply take off the conning bridge and grab the entire basis by the frame running through its insides.

Part one of the conning bridge is finished. The construction will flap down if you hold it up in the air, but as soon as it's placed on the spike, it will adjust to the basis and lie there like it was intended to be that way. Another great idea.

The second part of the conning bridge is also just placed on top of the rest; this time, the blue-grey tower-like construction is used.

In this detail image, you can see how the two flaps of the conning bridge are constructed and connected to the bridge's inner frame.

And... completed! Well, not entirely; there still were the little rebel spaceship (15 minutes) and the plate (5 minutes). Laughably quick indeed. Next time I build this thing, they'll be first. It's just too depressing otherwise.

Here's an image of the larger building blocks.

This is how it is supposed to look, I believe. Just imagine there's a black background with stars all over, maybe a galaxy, whatever.

The little ones shall have their go.

With the box containing over 3,000 pieces, it's amazing how not a single one was missing. Still, there were some leftovers. You can't build anything much sensible using them, but I sure won't throw them away!

Thanks, Lego!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It's Official: MindStorms Does Go Open Source

As Lego announced yesterday, the firmware for the NXT bricks will indeed be available under an open source licence. The licence itself has not yet been announced, but hopefully it will be a "bearable" one.

Moreover, three developer kits – for hardware, software and Bluetooth – will be made freely available as well. The hardware developer kit will contain detailed information on the wire connectors, allowing for home-made sensors, for example.

Hooray once more!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Sad Day

Stanisław Lem died yesterday.

As a colleague put it, we shouldn't lament those having had a "fulfilled life". It's the world I'm sad for. It just got a whole lot sillier.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Amongst Brits

I'm in Lancaster, UK, right now (well, for some two weeks already, and one more is yet to come), teaching virtual machines to undergraduates at Lancaster University.

It's a nice place, this campus. The computer science department resides in a building at the south end - and they have some nice views out to the English countryside.

This is where I live. In fact, I go to my on-campus accommodation, which is at the opposite end of campus, only for sleeping and having a shower in the morning. It's indeed a nice building to work in!



This is the view; unfortunately, not from my office. I envy those who have an office at the opposite side of the building.



One of these days, we've had quite a lot of snow. I've been told snow is rare around Lancaster; but still, it was funny to watch everybody gazing at the snow in awe.



The view was still nice, in spite of the snow.

Even More AOP Myths

Remember Ramnivas Laddad's excellent article on AOP Myths and Realities? Well, the next movement in the symphony has just started...

In his blog, Graham Hamilton from Sun has published a rather provocative article called AOP: Madness and Sanity. While agreeing that AOP is acceptable in principle, his opinion is strongly set against the fact fiction that AOP can introduce arbitrary side effects.

A number of very interesting comments has been posted in Hamilton's blog, and Ramnivas Laddad and Adrian Colyer have each written detailed responses to his posting.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Lego MindStorms Goes Open Source

While my application for the MindStorms early access programme was, alas, not accepted (over 9,000 applied, 100 were selected...), there is still good news about Lego's next big interesting thing.

Apparently, the operating system of the NXT bricks will be available under an open-source license. Moreover, the technical specification will be completely available. The effect of this is that developers won't have to dig for details in order to develop programming language support for the NXT, or new sensors for the robots.

I really appreciate this openness. Go, Lego!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Warnung vor dem Hunde

Heute ereilte mich ein Werbeanruf der Telefonfirma Tele2. Das verwunderte mich etwas, denn ich hatte bereits vor zwei Wochen einen erhalten und schon damals meinem Wunsch, nicht mehr mit Werbeanrufen behelligt zu werden, deutlich Ausdruck verliehen.

Das heutige Gespräch verlief in etwa so:

Dame von Tele2: "Guten Tag, hier ist sowieso sowieso von Tele2, spreche ich mit Michael Haupt?"

Ich: "Ja, und ich möchte Ihnen sagen, dass ich bereits vor zwei Wochen von Ihnen angerufen wurde und schon damals deutlich gemacht habe, dass ich keine weiteren Werbeanrufe wünsche. Das ist irgendwie nicht angekommen, scheint mir."

Dame von Tele2: "Ach, halt die Fresse." (legt auf)

Ob Tele2 wirklich ernsthaft Kunden sucht?

Friday, February 17, 2006

AOP Myths and Realities

IBM DeveloperWorks has published a nice article by Ramnivas Laddad that deals with some typical arguments against aspect-oriented programming that are raised over and over again. Some of them have already become a matter of common knowledge urban legends that just cannot be discussed away, however convincing the counter-arguments may be.

In detail, the myths are as follows:
  1. AOP is good only for tracing and logging,
  2. AOP doesn't solve any new problems,
  3. Well-designed interfaces obviate AOP,
  4. Design patterns obviate AOP,
  5. Dynamic proxies obviate AOP,
  6. Application frameworks obviate AOP,
  7. Annotations obviate AOP,
  8. Aspects obscure program flow,
  9. Debugging with aspects is hard,
  10. Aspects can break as classes evolve
  11. Aspects can't be unit tested,
  12. AOP implementations don't require a new language,
  13. AOP is just too complex,
  14. AOP promotes sloppy design,
  15. AOP adoption is all or nothing.
That is a pretty impressive list, and it comprises all the themes that occur in variations in most of the discussions on AOP. Laddad deals with each of the topics cautiously, without being polemic, and generally delivers a very objective discussion. Some of the fifteen points are actually correct, albeit not in the way people that use them as arguments against AOP understand them.

Everybody dealing with AOP should read this article, regardless of being in favour or a critic of AOP.

I doubt that mantric repetitions of unreflected prejudice will ever cease, though.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Die Antwort

...und nun fühlt man sich auch auf der gekränkten Seite bemüßigt, mit quasi-intellektuellen Mitteln zu antworten. Auf der Seite der Arab-European League soll nun täglich eine Karikatur veröffentlicht werden, und zwar beleidigenden Inhalts, auf die Europäer gemünzt.

Es geht doch, möchte man meinen! Warum nicht gleich so?

Das bisher dort Veröffentlichte ist natürlich eher doof und reicht zu nicht mehr als einem müden Lächeln, aber vielleicht findet man ja noch seine Form.

Und? Brennen Botschaften arabischer Länder in Kopenhagen, Oslo, Paris, Berlin? Wird zum Mord am Karikaturisten aufgerufen? Nein? Huch... da müssen die Europäer wohl noch dazulernen. Oder vergessen, wie mans nimmt.

Aktuelle Kurzmeldung aus Mannheim

Bevor wieder jemand die aktuellen Wildwuchstendenzen falsch versteht und es in der nächsten Auflage des Duden landet: "Karikatur" schreibt man mit 2 "r".

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Aus gegebenem Anlass...

...einmal ein Eintrag auf Deutsch.

Es wird derzeit viel Aufhebens gemacht um Presse- und Meinungsfreiheit, und das im Zusammenhang mit einigen Karikaturen, die bei bestimmten religiösen Menschen, gelinde gesagt, Widerspruch hervorrufen. Im allgemeinen Rauschen geht so manch wertvoller Diskussionsbeitrag unter.

Die deutsche Zeitung Die Welt hat einen solchen Beitrag aus dem libanesischen Daily Star Beirut auszugsweise ins Deutsche übersetzt und veröffentlicht.

Ich wünsche mir ein neues Zeitalter der Aufklärung. Diesmal allerdings nicht in der christlichen Hemisphäre.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Daddy Dan

To Kerstin and Daniel, I send my best wishes for the upcoming good news... :-)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Technical Specification Details of MindStorms NXT

It looks as if Lego had finally decided to uncover some details. There is a MindStorms NXT FAQ on the Lego pages. From the FAQ, it can be seen that the brick will feature a 32bit ARM7 processor, and that it will have 256 kB flash memory along with 64 kB RAM. The display is a 60x100 dot matrix. So there will be some kind of NXT tetris soon, I presume...

Friday, January 06, 2006

More on MindStorms NXT

There is a preview article from Wired Magazine that tells the story of how Lego MindStorms NXT was invented. It doesn't reveal any new tech-related information, though. What processor do they use, I wonder!?

The nxtbot.com blog maybe is an interesting source of information in the future...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Sorabji's 2nd Organ Symphony in Darmstadt

Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji is, that must be said, a very controversial composer. By all means, he sure does not like the small form. His "Opus Clavicembalisticum", for solo piano, lasts some five hours.

Today I was pointed to a rare event: one of his major works, the 2nd Organ Symphony, will be performed by Kevin Bowyer in the Pauluskirche in Darmstadt on October 14th this year. The concert is intended to last from 1 p.m. to about 9 p.m. - so that's another large-scale thing to discover.

Given that I don't know the 2nd Organ Symphony at all and have only ever listened to excerpts of the first, and given that Kevin Bowyer is perhaps the ideal interpreter of Sorabji's works for organ (as I've been told), I'll surely grab me a ticket as soon as possible.

Lego MindStorms, Second Round

Lego has announced MindStorms NXT, the next generation of the famous MindStorms robotics system. The features of the new "smart brick" make me cry. Not only is it - finally! - programmable from a Mac, but it also has USB 2.0, Bluetooth, a 32-bit processor, and many more very very interesting assets.

First the Star Destroyer, and now this...

MindStorms is, of course, a trademark of Lego.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

No Ticket!

In September, I had applied for tickets for the Bayreuth festival to see the new staging of the "Ring". Today I have received the notification that my application was turned down.

I'll try again next year.