2006 Foot-in-Mouth Awards

THAT remembers me of my biggest laugh this year – Sen. Ted Stevens (chair of the committee — which oversees regulation of the internet):

They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes. And if you don’t understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it’s going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material.”

His speech on youtube ;) is so much fun too.

Pregaming with original GDR (DDR) firewater

We found this bottle of “Hohnsteiner Trinkbranntwein” in an old cupboard behind tons of old computer stuff at our chair. The findings at this university are really interesting. This stuff was produced in the former GDR and is therewith at least 15 years old. But we think that it’s much much older – at least 20 years. It was obviously presented to one of our predecessing assistants (the price had been removed); I’m wondering who passed an exam “eventually” ;-) . Anyway, we used it (aehem tried to) to prepare ourselfes for a clubbing night :) . This stuff tastes like a mixture between gasoline and medicine – awful. We mixed it with cola (yes, this unhealthy fructose poison) and it worked fine. Our good old GDR stuff is still working – kind of.

PS: the stuff is gone now – I killed the remainder and another bottle of Vodka with some russian friends yesterday, and we realized that it tastes so much better when it’s cooled :-)

Why don’t we all feel safe …

Especially in Germany! I just realized that some nice little laws have been passed without much involvement of the public. I had to read it in a swiss blog where the author was worried about his “Germanic neighbors”. Let’s see – a central shared database (shared between police, toll, military police, BND (our secret service) and many more agencies) has been ratified by CDU/SPD at December 1st. It’s interesting, that this file seems to ignore the separation between all those agencies that is stated in our constitution. Who said to respect the constitution – just ignore it and see what happens.

The contents of this file are also pretty interesting. It’s actually called “anti-terror-file” (of course) and contains all necessary information about all citizens to prevent terrorism (of course), as e.g., (see wikipedia for details):

  1. membership in terroristic organizations
  2. ownership of weapons
  3. telecommunication and internet data
  4. bank account information and bank locks
  5. education, job information, place of work
  6. family situation, religion
  7. lost ids or passports
  8. travel information

Pretty interesting – huh? It scares me that somebody tries to collect all this data about me – and it is even more scary that they do this officially (and force e.g., travel agencies to provide this information)!

A second interesting, and pretty much Orwell-like news, is that our nice minister of the interior plans to introduce “virtual home raids“. This means that the police should be allowed to break into home PCs and steal data. Interesting enough, this is only an addition to another law that has been passed which actually allows a federal agency (Bundesverfassungsschutz) to access data in harddrives on virtually every PC (including home systems) without notifying the owner. Somebody sued against this law, we’ll see how it goes.

I’m actually currently more worried about the databases then about terrorism in Germany (do you remember the last “terrorist activity” here?).

Remembering SC’06 or other tech conferences

Somebody had a similar experience with tech-conference giveaway t-shirts. Most of the shirts I got were simply twice as big as I am. But there seems hope (I got a pretty nice Intel shirt). See Kathy’s post.
And Kathy has some more interesting thoughts in her blog. Especially the “mirror neurons” post is really nice! Now you know why I lough even if I talk about very verysad things – it’s just my way of life :) .

Weak Car Security

When I first saw one of those key-less entry pads, I wondered how secure they are :) . Now I know – no security at all. It’s like the really stupid IR-controlled keylock I had at my Renault Clio that could be opened by every “universal remote control”. But I’ve only seen those key-less pads in the US yet.

HPL MPI/NBC Patch

Yes, it is as cryptic as it sounds :) . I finally (after a couple of months) finished to merge Christian’s MPI_Bcast() patch with my LibNBC patch to enable the usage of non-blocking collectives in HPL. The performance has to be investigated in more detail, LibNBC will probably provide benefits if lookahead is used. But this needs clearly more investigation. I posted it on the webpage because some people asked me to publish it … so feel free to play around with the patches. I’d also be happy to receive any feedback (yes, even bugs :) ).

http://www.unixer.de/research/nbcoll/hpl/

The MPI_Bcast patch seems to break several MPI libraries (e.g. Open MPI (not the trunk :) and MPICH2) because it uses really huge datatypes. It works with MVAPICH and newer Open MPI trunk versions.

3rd Advent Cooking

I decided spontaneously to cook something nice today to celebrate the third Advent. This time, I tried another one of a very good friend’s recipies. It was splendid – thanks! The results are banned to my blog:

First stage The first stage – the chicken simmering in its own liquid ;)

Stage 2 Stage 2 – after adding all ingredients *hmmm*

Stage 3

The very last stage – serving. It was gone shortly after that!