Soiree, Soiree, courir at travail

Yes, pretty long time since my last post :). That does not mean that nothing happened, it means that I did not have time to write anything down. So I’ll just wrap it up.

The last two weekends have been great, I discovered several great places in Paris. The Glaz’art is a rather spooky, but nice techno place, the LaFleche d’Or is really nice. I enqueued 30 minutes in front of it, but it was worth it! The night was tres bien. Last weekend was Erasmus-party weekend. I went to the La Loco on Friday, this was amazing. It’s unfortunately directly next to the Moulin Rouge, so that I searches 40 Minutes for a parking lot *argh*. After enqueuing another 40 minutes (where I met many people and learned about the secret trick to get in free – just bring a printout of the flyer with you – the belgium guy had one spare for me which saved me 10 EUR!), I was inside. And it was amazing, the place is rather huge and not too packed (I don’t understand why we had to wait so long?). But the music was awesome, the best DJ I heard since a long long time. Saturday was another Erasmus party at another place in Paris. So Paris is a great place to club, if you know where. I found the following two sites very helpful: cityvox and tribudenuit ah, and not to forget google.

Besides that I’ve been working at the CEA, which is a clearly amazing place to work -  (randomly ordered) great people, great food, great technology, great boss, great sports.  Yes, great sports. The facility offers different sports for their employees. As I wrote earlier, I went running every second day, for slightly more than an hour with nice company. They did not speak English or German and it was much fun :).

Yes, that’s it mostly. I’ll depart to Belgium on Sunday – I will miss France and the CEA.

Some photos from Paris

I’ve been in Paris last weekend and I’ve even managed to make photos (even if I don’t like to too much, but I had several requests). Anyway, look at  the photos and enjoy!

And I have proof – the gas is freaking expensive in Europe! It’s about $6.30 per gallon … (with 1.289 EUR/l even slightly more expensive than in Germany – but I have to add that I made a pretty good deal at the gas station near Bruyeres-le-chatel this morning – only 1.169 EUR/l)

Je cours

Yeah! I’ve been able to run today. It was pretty much impossible to run in the last days because the house where I live is only connected to a highway (no lights and too dangerous). But I’ve found the CEA running group! This is great, the institute has its own running group that meets every day at noon. We (approx. 15 frenchmen and me) ran for 1:10 hours ;). It’s also really nice to have a shower directly next to the office! That made my day.

Arrivée en France

Bonjour :). Yes, I arrived in France – it took me about 9 hours to drive from Chemnitz to Bruyeres-le-chatel. The weather is really bad. Anyway, I’m living with a french family (B&B). I think this was a good idea, I was invited to dinner with them yesterday. My first day in the CEA was pretty interesting. The facility is like a fortress :). I was lucky and the director of the computing services gave me a tour of their supercomputer “Tera 10”, currently number  7 in the Top500 computers world-wide :o). I suppose I should not write more to the public. We’ll see what happens in the next days!


The odyssey of packets between the US and Germany

A company tried to send a packet via TNT (originating near Los Angeles). The first shock for us was that TNT was not able to verify the address of our university! I guess that we’re, with more than 10000 students and 5000 employees, the biggest institution in Chemnitz :). But ok, they’ve been able to resolve this issues (probably), and sent the packet at Dec 4th. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that this is an Express packet.

The tracking log showed that the packet arrived at Dec 7th at Cologne Airport. It stayed there (in the customs) until Dec 21st when it was forwarded to Dresden (it nearly made it). Reviewing the tracking log today unvieled that the packet was sent back to the originator *argh*. We complained via the web formular and TNT called us immediately. It turned out that the customs office did not know what the contents of the package are :-(. And the packet is on it’s way back to the US.
Why don’t they send it to us and require us to open it in front of a customs officer? That’s the usual procedure if the content is unclear. Ohohoh …

We’ll see – I sent a parcel to the US today via DHL. I’m wondering when/if it reaches its destination :-).

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 :).