Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Erfurtian Adventures

The first part of Erfurtian Adnventures: The Journey

Uff, I finally scraped all my remaining courage together, got off my lazy ass and wrote this post about last weekends trip.

I arrived in Heidelberg pretty late, and met three very old & ugly friends there. Starting with the guy on the left at the back, clockwise: Peter, Sexmachine (Yes, that's his name.) and Chruss.

They are all holding a Faxe, a beer mostly noted by its congenial-sized container, viz. one litre.

After feting our reunion, we packed our laptop screen, which seemed to get heavier by the minute, and boarded the train to Erfurt.

The other passengers didn't seem to appreciate our efforts to relieve their boredom. Suggestions that this could have something to do with the hour (a quarter to midnight here) were quickly discounted, because honestly, what are you going to do on a train in the middle of the night? Everything to chase away the ennui, right?

Feeling unappreciated, we retired to the restaurant, only to be chased away by the train personal with the excuse that they close at one o' clock. Outraged, we went back to entertain the rest of the passengers in our car, until sleep overwhelmed us despite our best efforts.

Really, it is only because of Sexmachines inhuman stamina that I am not typing this in Kaliningrad, because he was the only one who managed to awake in time for our stop, at 0530h.

Leaving the train station in Erfurt, we first suspected having fallen victims to aliens, holes in the space-time continuum or (shudder) government agents, since we saw the Erster Wiener Feinbäcker, or the first Viennese bakery - which for some reason seems to be situated in Erfurt.

Second part: Erfurtian Adventures coming tomorrow, or whenever I get around to it.

Friday, February 22, 2008


am v. pleased w/ usability of nukie. am blogging on my way to erfurt, east germany. v. pleased w/ availability of unsecured free hotspots.
see photo of gare de lausanne taken w/ crappy cam. will maybe blog more at intermediate stop: heidelberg.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

First post with Nukie

keeping text short - no keyboard. Instead scary picture taken with Nukies internal camera.

Noticed self has no hair. Curses, indescrete, soulless machine! Will punish n800 (has forsaken nice & cute nickname) by ripping out lavish 2GB memory and inserting 128 MB. Ha!

Also have noticed that blogger capable of understanding Her Majesties English, if prodded sufficiently. Can now type 'colour' without having to strangle next American. Will do wonders for court record.

Now off to buy new memory-card for Nukie. Toodles!

New Toy

I have got a new toy. To celebrate my birthday, I gave myself a Nokia n800 Internet Tablet, because the true joy is in giving.

Also, I wanted something like this since trying desperately to read novels on my old Handspring Visor, which had a 160x160 4bit monochrome display. That actually worked, but it is not the joy that makes life worth living.

Contrast that to Nukie (so I have a pet name for my toy, want to make something of it?), who sports a crisp 800x480 pixel display, with about a gazillion colours. Also, Wlan, which means I can finally read porn internet sites in my bed without raising the temperature of my belly by about 10 degrees .

Also, camera. And an FM radio, which is pretty cool - I have always wondered why laptops and the like don't have integrated radios - Philips makes a chip that is only 70 square millimeters big!

The only drawback is this seriously creepy experience I had when I got it:

Fresh out of the box, I enter the details of the EPFLs Wlan. Nukie asks me for authorisation, and I begin to type in my username, which is my family name. l - e - g... and suddenly the text-predictor thing suggests: legradic. Why does Nukie know my name? How does Nukie know my name? What else does she know about me?

I put on my aluminium beanie to screen out it's brain-reading waves, just to be on the safe side...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Circuit model

Right. Here you can see the fruit of my labours in February. I was trying to measure the Impedance of my reactor, to better modify my new automatic matchbox which refused to work as it was.

First week: Measure the Impedance with the Vector Impedance Meter. Try to come up with a model that fits the data. The model stubbornly refuses to yield anything but 100% reflected power.

Second week: Notice that I have spent part of last week proving that 1=1. Happy with my result, which nonetheless leaves a strange, empty feeling. Produce howls of despair. Notice that the settings on the 'scope used to read out the vector impedance meter were wrong and might have made the signal unnecessarily noisy. Repeat measurements and make a new model. Try to get down to 1% of reflected power - in vain.

Third week: A guy from electronics rocks up and tells me that the vector impedance meter was broken. Startled by my reaction, he kindly asks if I was measuring something important, or if gnawing on table-legs is normal behaviour on a Monday morning. Later: Break out in hysterical giggling while measuring the stupid reactor, again. Notice that it is no wonder the matchbox didn't work, since it is meant match an inductive load, and my reactor is capacitive. Sob quietly for a while, before hatching an insane plan to use inductive gerbils in series with PADEX. YES!

Yes, matching is a recurring problem. Also see here, and here. And here. Argh!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Driving Licence

After one year in Switzerland you have to get a swiss driving license, which I managed to do to day after a few false starts:

Attempt 1) "I am sorry Monsieur, but you need to get an eye exam to exchange your valid Austrian driving license for a Swiss one."

Attempt 2) "I am sorry Monsieur, but you need to get a proof of residence. Pardon me? Why yes, we do have your current address in our computer. That does, however, not change the fact that you need to go to the Controle des habitants and get the aforementioned proof. Have a nice day!"

Attempt 3) "I am sorry Mon... ackk! argll! Stop strangling... It was a joke! Here is your license! Honestly, no need to be rude."