Sunday, 21 December 2014

Back home

Flew back to my home town and family yesterday, at least the rooftops and the ground are covered with frost. Experienced German Feuerzangenbowle on Friday, really nice. Swedish glögg is something special still, with one secret ingredient: nostalgia.

Paris was nice, I enjoyed the "obvious" places a lot, like the Louvre, musée d'Orsay, and the Eiffel tower. I walked for many, many Swedish mil during my 4 days of sight-seeing and slightly ruined my right knee. Getting old already, ugh. Should start running again. Southern Paris, where the conference was held, was quite nice too, seemed calmer than the north. Catacombs symbiosis? Anyway, I'm really not a city-slicker, half-way through the conference I couldn't wait to go back to the edge of civilization in Arheilgen. And why does every young person with an eye deficiency in Paris have exactly the same black thick plastic frame glasses?
Most of my bitterness probably comes from me getting sick for almost a full week after a meal around Montmartre. Yah, I had almost no food at all in my stomach during most of the conference and I still gave two talks. My family has always been very careful and strict when it comes to food, so this was the first time for me. After all food goes out into every part of your body and mind (no I'm not spiritual, but what goes in either goes out or stays, right?). The first few days in Paris were really nice still.

I visited a friend of mine while in Gothenburg, and somehow our discussion lead to lucid dreaming. We've tried to document and share our dreams, but I've been way too distracted with work and being sick...

Hum, what else? Playing guitar, watching lectures, doing origami for people, daydreaming, the usual. Will update during the holidays.

EDIT 2014-12-24: Another Christmas soon over. My little 2 year old nephew swept through like a gentle storm; he found all kinds of things to play with in cabinets all over the house, but handled everything delicately and even put some things back. I invited him to brush my teeth with a dish washing brush. And he did. He's still too young to understand the concept of Santa Claus (and Christmas presents in general), but I dressed up a bit like the big fat dude just to ease him into it. One year he'll understand, and with some practice he might not cry too much.
I usually send Christmas greetings every year, today I've been too busy and tired to and I received almost none. Oh well, I sent and received a lot of greetings before today, that should count :p

A few calm days ahead I hope, I did a lot for the NeuLAND -> RIKEN thing already, mainly need to start testing to see what's missing (not working). Will try to make Opera cake for New Year's Eve from my French baking bible. Until then!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Busy in a way

Missed a few posts...

Went to Chalmers to work on the light organ for two weeks. Making electronics and computers do what you want them to is not always a whole lot of fun. Was great to see some friends though, almost all having families and lives. At least I have no chains attached :p

Been preparing a trip to Paris, R3B collaboration meeting next week there. Will hold two talks, ugh. And in March or so I'll go to the DPG in Heidelberg with a similar talk. And in Jan-Feb I'll spend a few weeks at RIKEN integrating NeuLAND into the RIBF DAQ. Fun fun.

I'm thinking of physics very differently these days, I've learnt a whole lot of things recently that I should have figured before, but suddenly I enjoy "getting it". I've inhaled a lot of lecture videos and reading lately. Maybe something will come out of it one day...

Baked lussebullar this Sunday for the 1st advent, but baked way too many for myself. Dumped two bags at the TU Darmstadt, but I took some photos before that:
I'm gonna bake so much more after my trip to Paris, with my huge pink baking bible "Patisserie!". Oh, French pastries...

Ruined my old Canon compact camera with a leaking water bottle recently, so I bought a new one for the trip to Paris, which will come in handy for RIKEN as well. Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ60. Nice to hold a new piece of electronics every now and then, too bad the nice wifi feature is a no-no with Linux. Snappy buttons and interface, fun optics that's like a magic trick in that little camera, and seemingly good photos. Not exactly camera crazy, I don't know what I'm talking about, but it seems nice :)

Time to round off the day, and have a final wrap-up lecture...

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Let's end the summer with an experiment

Weather is shifting a lot, it can still get quite warm for my cold Swedish blood. I can finally think in my office without having to constantly wipe off the perspiration that builds up between the two little feet on my glasses and my nose. A little less than one month left and the last experiment for R3B at GSI/FAIR for a few years will kick off... Better do my best.

Still planning my radiosity project, there are quite a few tricky parts to it that need to be resolved. I'm getting closer to something that makes sense to implement. Been looking around at what has happened and is currently happening in high-level graphics. Cool stuff, but where's the good stuff? The 2001 Doom 3 and 2003 Half Life 2 reveals were freaking incredible, haven't seen anything like that since. I miss those moments when I was thinking " way..."

Been moving from the mathsy into the physicsy bits lately, refreshing the various flavors of relativity theory and all its peculiarities. I cannot fathom how I never reflected over the twin paradox before, or in fact that I never saw the real paradox. Not at all weird once you solve it, but some attempts at explaining it are weird, and dare I even say misleading. I wish I had taken this more seriously many years ago, but at least now I do.

Cannot stop listening to Meshuggah. Behind the Sun, Koloss, is amazing.

No pix this time, I guess nothing happened.

EDIT (2014-09-18): I was reading some news just now and some things in life I just don't understand.

For example, why are people still discussing sugar vs sweeteners? One more dangerous than the other, or not, etc. If you really need to know, you perform proper tests. If you don't care, you drink whatever, and don't ever complain. If you do care, but cannot perform the tests, you don't drink either. Sweeteners taste like ass anyway, completely negates the point of having some pleasant.

And how is Netropolitan about discussing the "finer things in life"? An exclusive club for rich people, fine, but a place to talk about fine things without the backlash? If you have money, it means you have money. If you're willing to spend it for an exclusive community, you don't like people (one of the finer things in life, no?). And having money does not imply a sense of finer things. The potential members are also referred to as accomplished people. What about the people who work really hard for the "finer things in life" which generates no money? I don't get it, and the worst part is people just don't care...

I needed to vent (this is a blog for myself anyway, I don't do this to become an online celebrity). The network went berserk at work, and I found "cable rot" when investigating. Stripped out every single cable and reconnected the most important devices, and now I've documented where all cables go, through switches and patch panels. I didn't come to R3B to do that, but someone has to do it, while everybody else plugs and unplugs whatever they feel like they need to without telling the people who need to make sure everything is rock solid so they don't get crap from the IT department. *sigh*

It's 21.44, time to go home. The experiment starts in 2 weeks and I'm already working evening shifts...

Monday, 4 August 2014

Back and forth

Sweden was just as hot as Germany, so my plan to escape excessive perspiration and agony didn't quite work out. Oh well, at least I got a glimpse of normal life for almost three weeks. And then it turned out the internet in my apt is busted. Typical.

Mulberry paper + methyl cellulose is one of those wonderful combinations that should go into a book titled "Things that actually, really do pair up well". Not the weird garbage they put into edgy cooking shows these days, but properly tasteful things. Oh right, I got this before I left, so I made these:

Little Bird and Phoenix 3.5. I'm starting to fill up my origami exhibition shelf in my office. And I now have quite a few meters of 1.5m wide kraft paper in my bookshelf in my apartment, I just need to find the courage to start working it...

I also ordered some Meshuggah albums at the same time as the powder, good stuff. I'm so glad I found my amazing Denon headphones at that ridiculous price, they are perfect for this kind of music (it is music, shut up).

Been reading up on old course literature, I miss maths. The "mathy" bits in my thesis were the most fun to work out and jot down. *whirr go the gears in my thick head*

I should really try to compose something for the guitar, seeing how much I spend on that crap. I have a plan. Don't hold anybody's breath (did I write that already in an earlier post? Nvm).

Anyway, headache, gonna leave work.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

I'm alive!

So life kept pounding on like normal, I've had very little interesting to report.

My parents came to visit and made me buy a bike.

And my interest for origami has seen a little surge recently, here are two little things:

Oh, the beauty of shoddy paper. I have some methylcellulose on the way from Amazon, and a big piece of mulberry paper. Might try to fold a Phoenix out of that, would be nice to have one not made out of kraft paper. And then it's time for the _big_ challenge... After I've been to Sweden to pick up some of my 1.5m wide kraft paper.

I might edit later to add something new. I'll try to bake a cake for my co-workers on my birthday.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Experiment done, celebrating

Experiment done, and people were happy with the way my co-DAQ:er and I set up our high-rate stable DAQ, so it's time to have fun.

I started a bit too early to be honest, I bought a Caparison Dellinger7 a little over a week ago. As black as my heart (not really true, I'm just compensating), with a 7 string whammy. Now how do I get hold of an Axe-fx...

I also started working on my XCB-based WM, I need to fix a few stupid bugs and get rid of the mouse even more...

That's all for now, time to hax!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

So I work quite a lot

Had nothing to do Friday evening, went to bed at ~22 and now I'm at work, trying to fix a code bug in some DAQ readout.

Discworld 2 is pretty shoddy compared to Discworld 1. Still a lot of fun, just... Ugh, a bit too thick somehow. Funny how already in the intro sequence Rincewind says 'Won't you miss these sorts of games?' Yes, we do... Bloody mainstream attention, it destroys everything :p Hipster alert? No, it's just that quirky passion is what makes things good, and mister Mainstream doesn't like that, and people with fat wallets are clever enough to know that.

I miss my guitar so much. That's one reason why I'm at work now I suppose. Still, I get to do a lot of programming here, so it's not so bad.

My life is either miserable or very busy if this is all I have to say. (It's busy, I'm doing quite alright, no worries.)

EDIT (2014-03-23): Caparison Angelus7 M3B White :p~~ I need an apartment and a spender's open wallet...

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A big day

I'm now a proud owner of a brand new HHKB Pro 2! Yep, I finally shelled out the money, including a trip to downtown Darmstadt to pay up at the customs office... Ugh. Anyway, I got to go to Darmstadt alone for once, but most importantly, I'm typing on one of the moth revered enthusiast keyboards on the market right now. It's a very different experience at first, but it grows on you. I was a bit scared of the Fn combos for certain keys, but it turned out not to be a big problem at all. And the size of the keyboard and placement of certain keys is wonderful. The main problem I had was that the space bar was cutting into my thumbs a bit, but I knew from my forum lurking about flipping the space bar and that made everything ok again. Now I just need to test-drive it in a working environment at GSI, ala:

Been making strides with the DAQ, the one guru from Chalmers made a trip down here and showed me the tricks of the trade. I've also managed to help out with various programming problems already with smiles abound and promises of "payback", and lots of people seem to be very happy of my new job. Feels nice.

So. after I had watched Sunder blow up, I landed on Democratus. Did what I had to do, which included being a bit of a hero, and left. And they wanted to pay back, by shrinking the entire bloody planet to the size of a human and they're now floating around me as a team member. An entire planet. I love Anachronox. And the mini-game for the tractor-beam with shutting up council members before they get to spout their bs... This the reason I play.

EDIT 2014-02-14: Another big day:
I played through all of Discworld 1! Finally, after probably decades of attempts and complete restarts because my save-games have disappeared, and frustration of just impossible puzzles, I have prevailed! All the way through. Is that an evil game or what, thank goodness for the occasional walkthrough. Fitting end with two dragons in love on Valentine's Day, injected a bit of life into me as I'm spending my evenings and weekends alone in a small temporary room... I'm alright, don't worry, the weissbier here in Germany is cheaper than water. Plus I need to gear up for Discworld 2.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Another world

Sitting in the Steinhaus, at the perfect walking distance from GSI. I hope I'll get an apartment soon, although I should probably look around myself again. Had a quick look before x-mas and there are options, but they're a bit costly.

Been at work for exactly one week now, and I've been cleaning up some code to setup a VME DAQ. Some issues with the readout of a brilliant new module that they manufacture here at GSI, probably an initialization thing. The big task of tomorrow!

Contemplating the purchase of a HHKB Pro 2, with blank white keycaps. I'm typing a lot at work, so that would be nice for my fingers. Normal keyboards give me a horrible sensation when I think about my hands, I need a proper keyboard. The Filco I can't use at work, way too loud. The blank and 60-key layout would stop others from typing on my computer though, but the Colemak layout kicks them out already so they can use their own computers ;)

So the Tim Schafer game was released today, too bad I can't dl very fast, I don't want to hog the wifi. Oh yes, I am a sucker for his older games and I jumped the bandwagon from the start, when it all went down. I imagine some people are having a blast with the beta. I also did a quick checkup on Ron Gilbert and had completely missed The Cave, I need to check that out. And figured that Monkey Island is now owned by Disney, which means we'll probably never have Monkey Island 3 :(

But I need to end on a good note, so, uh... Right, I have landed on Sunder, the planet which only allows scientists! In Anachronox, in case you wonder. I just landed and walked around the first place, haven't dared to step outside yet. I love adventure games.

Update 2014-01-18:
I installed Broken Age on my Lenovo E130 with Slackware 14.1, but it wouldn't start, only complaining about "missing OpenGL features". Had a look around, the support in the forum isn't very fleshed out yet. Steam officially supports Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and if you don't have that, you're on your own. There was a tip about adding "--log", but that did nothing for me. Fortunately, I'm nuts about Slackware, so I set out to fix it.
You need OpenGL 3.2 or similar, which you can get with new versions of xf86-video-intel and Mesa 10 (I grabbed 2.99.907 and 10.0.2, respectively). Don't forget to update libdrm as well (2.4.51 worked for me). Make sure you compile for 32-bits targets and make 32-bit packages. And why not make 64-bits packets and get OpenGL 3.3 support everywhere while you're at it. But when I executed "~/.local/share/Steam/SteamApps/common/Broken Age/", seg-fault. Grr. Just for fun I ran ./BrokenAge through gdb with the proper LD_LIBRARY_PATH and that worked. Haven't thought much about it, I just gamed on. We have new games on Linux, yay!

So, my verdict on the game... Very nice, graphics are smooth and the music fits well. I enjoy single player games like these. What's up with the dad-computer hiding outside? And a bunch of other things, but we'll see in Act 2 I suppose.
Now let's bust out the real grumpy little me: even I think it was a bit short at < 3h 40m, and I talked about pretty much everything and checked out every place I could. The graphics, while nice, are a bit modern-style "hazy", I don't really feel like being part of that world on the other side of my monitor. The 8-bits era was nice because it was crisp, not for the garbage resolutionz. I use bitmap fonts wherever I can on my computers though. And the puzzles were rather silly... Too much of a ride, so I never got the feeling that I had to do anything, I was just supposed to do things. Bit weird, very little suspense, and I even killed the Mog (boo-hoo, spoiler, imho anything that can be ruined with a few spoilers is rubbish anyway, and this game had a bit more to offer).

Do you remember "Hi! My name's Guybrush Threepwood and I want to be a pirate!"?

Or how Manny Calavera was screwed over with every new client?

Game intros with class. Still, Broken Age was definitely worth the money, I'm glad Tim Schafer did this. The only other options are German and Spanish adventure games...

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy birthday Earth!

We've heard them all, so I'll just say: right on!

So what are my New Year's resolutions? I can tell, because I have none: I have none. I have ideas, but I will not promise myself anything. I am a free human being! And probably a bit high on champagne, lobster and cheese.

So how do you pass a Mephad'in Doorlord on the planet Anachronox? You cannot. But you may learn that there is some "generic incriminating information" about a brother of that guard, with no details. Confronted with your vague black-mailing, the guard may reply (para-phrasing) "I see you have incriminating information that I wish to not be spread. I will let you know about an alternate entrance." And that is one of the most important reasons I play games. Not for tea-bagging, I do that with my morning tea and that is sufficiently boring. Not to climb a high score chart, I do that with every aspect of my life already (I use the Colemak keyboard layout and am a master at traversing flights of stairs, oh yeh). No, I play to be entertained, either by comedy, gore or taste. Anachronox delivers quality comedy. Old school shooters provide pure gore. Taste, uh, we don't have much of that in the gaming world. Doom 4, please provide gore for us!

Figured today that I had forgotten to remove the gamma curve on our source textures, no wonder everything looked incredibly washed out. What happened was the dynamic range of the texture data was compressed upwards the gamma curve and was therefore saturated, so everything looked very gray and lifeless. Some time ago I asked our artist to remove the gamma curve, but that in turn reduced the "perceptible" dynamic range. And doing the ka-pow in the shaders is cheap enough so I'll just keep doing that.

One New Year's eve, I'd love to carry a Marshall stack outside and blast the neighbourhood with my ax. In recent years they've pulled the cool big fireworks here in Sweden, so someone has to provide something heavy.

I've watched some of the Indiana Jones and Back to the Future marathons on Swedish TV in the last few weeks. My goodness are they great or what. I feel sorry for today's kids who won't get the "hype" which is then surpassed by the product. Doesn't happen anymore. Just like the ad for the coco-puffs Bailey cups introduced in an 8 out of 10 cats Christmas special one year, "they are f-cking amazing". Yep, getting old.

Edit 2014-01-01:
A few friends dragged me to the cinema a while back, first time in many many years: The Hobbit 2, the desolation of Smaug. People seem to like the depiction of Smaug in that movie, and tbh it's kind of what I wished Skyrim would've been (who wants to fight dragonS with a sword and shield from the ground? Bah.). But, am I the only one who thought Smaug lost all power and intimidation after about 3 seconds of talking? "Oh but he rants in the book" you say. I haven't read it. And according to numerous sources, the movie doesn't follow the book all too well _at all_. He should just have shut up, possibly said "this treasure is mine to behold" or whatever, contemplate the intruders and then just roast everything.
I saw the Wizard of Oz from 1939 for the first time today. I wouldn't mind defining "cinema gold" to be when Dorothy breaks out into one of the most wonderful songs ever made in the first part of the movie. *sigh* Slightly more touching than the scene with Luke dreaming about adventures in space, standing on the plains on Tatooine watching the binary stars setting at the horizon, but maybe not as empowering.