It’s the end of the world…

… as we know it… more or less. You know, it’s hard to keep track with all the world ending scenarios out there. And we get so many new one’s all the time. Anyone remember the Y2k crisis? I still wonder how we survived that. Well, for anyone who can’t get enough of the end of the world, check out The 5 Most Kick-Ass Apocalyptic Prophecies. I’d prefer a mix of lava, sun-eating wolves and sting-the-crap-out-of-everybody scorpions. Though, I’m amazed by the accuracy of the Hopi.

Of course, if that is a bit far-fetched for you, you might prefer 5 Kick-Ass Sci-Fi Apocalypses (That Could Actually Happen). How ‚bout we discover a giant asteroid that could put humankind on the list of endangered non-space-traveling species, send a fleet of robots to take care of if, which happen to be/become sentinent (and hate us) and make sure the asteroid hits us good. Of course we are prepared for something like that as well, but the asteroid carries an unknown virus, which causes deathly mutations. While scientists search for a cure, they unleash a terrible monster/whatsoever.

There you have it. One or the other way, we’re doomed. Better get the old family suicide knife ready, to escape the horror.

Repository of the human kind

While playing around with my subversion repository it occured to me. If „female“ is a branch (codename: Eva) of the „male“ trunk (codename: Adam)… but was never merged back… „male“ must be the latest stable version of the project human.

This unstable version status of the female branch sure explains a lot. Oh sure, it is somewhat more advanced. The GUI for example. Looks way better than the stable male version, I’d never touch some parts of that. But this is also the first problem. For some uses, it’s more difficult to handle, hard to find all the buttons and sometimes they work better or worse than other times or even trigger a totally different event. Then there are better sensors. Being able to tell the difference between 20 different kinds of yellow is surely an advanced feature. And they are able to fork child processes. Okay, this feature is a bit buggy, since the forks don’t share a common memory with the other processes. Inheritance doesn’t work very well, too. You you still have to pass on some arguments during runtime to make it a working process. Heck, they can’t even handle buffer overflow at start. But that’s another topic, back to the „Eva“ branch. And speaking of arguments… don’t try. This feature has a messed up configuration. ‚Nuff said ‚bout that. Like most developer versions, it’s output is set to verbose mode. If you don’t watch it, the data might cause your disc or memory to overflow/crash. Unfortunally this is hard to filter. Most times you try this, it gets even worse. But the females own logs are quite detailed. The branch version can recall error events which are years back. Obviously all these features need a lot more resources. Especially a large set of themes to customize. The boot part alone can fill many racks. So be sure you are able to support upgrades for your female.

Overall you have to be careful with the unstable female version. While it has some great features and is really fun to handle… it might blow up in your face now and then…

Atlas zur deutschen Alltagssprache

Lauch oder Porree? Schornstein oder Kamin? Reicht’s oder langt’s jetzt? Wo ist der zu gewinnende Blumentopf geläufig? Und wie nennt man eigentlich das Stofftuch zum Naseputzen in anderen Teilen unseres Sprachraums?

Diese und weitere Fragen klären die Erhebungen im Atlas zur deutschen Alltagssprache (AdA) von den Germanistikern der Uni Augsburg. Hochinteressant.

Love is in the air

Well, it’s that time of the year again. Where you and your beloved think of each other, while getting whipped. Happy Lupercalia festival everyone. Grab your dog and goats and get ready for some bloody sacrif……. pardon me? Oh wait, you’re not expecting ancient (pre-)roman festivals regarding wolves and fertility?

Okay, so you’re more for that other stuff that’s more commonly celebrated these days. Fine with me. So, today we are celebrating the 1739th anniversary of the beheading of the patron saint of the beekeepers, Valentinus of Interamna, by giving our lovers flowers, candies and things that are not quite G-rated. Yay for us. (The most common theory of V-Day. And somewhat fitting… I mean if Christians can revere the „tool“ that was used to execute their prophet, lovers can celebrate their love on the day when one of their advocates got inhumed.)

Saudi Arabia preferred to ban the pagan V-Day. No signs of love allowed, not even red flowers, let alone roses. The police is even searching the flower shops for „suspicious“ wares. Brits on the other hand prefer to bet on whether Prince William will propose or not.

Isn’t it a funny world?

How many URLs are there?

I’ve been wondering… how many URLs are out there in the internet? Not just domain names, but real URLs, including files and parameters. Different protocols as well. I think those are quite a few.

The thought occured to me while working on the concept of lonks. For the community edition I want to save URLs into a seperate table and just refer to them through IDs, so that they are not directly connected to the bookmark entries. That also reflects the idea of a somewhat normalized database and makes anonymizing referers more easy.

But the (random) IDs have to be in the right size from the start to last for eternity (or at least close to that). Otherwise some URLs could be identified to be created after a certain timestamp. On the other side they should be short enough to waste no unnecessary dataspace and don’t make the the referer URLs too long.

Just using numbers looks lame. But I can’t use all characters as well or there’ll be an ID that makes sense as a word. Maybe even a swear word. You don’t want http://lonks/nr1idiot to direct to your site, do you? Going hex is a bit restricted as well, but is the best common system.

In addition I thought of a system that splits the alphabet into chunks, which will makes it virtually impossible to create a word. I still have to figure out if that system is any good and how many IDs I can squeeze out of it with a decent amount of digits. If that won’t work out, I guess I’l stick to 4-16 digit hex (64 bit).

Okay, lets do the math with 4-16 digits (always including numbers) just for fun.

  • hex
  • 3 no-vowel chunks
  • No vowels
  • All characters

Maybe a case-sensitive character system will help to reduce the digits and/or increase the possible number of IDs. But maybe hex is enough… considering there won’t be the need to save every url of the internet anyway.

Am I thinking too much? Or am I just megalomaniac? Still the question remains… how many URLs are there?

Update: Just did the number crunching on a case-sensitive version of the 3 no-vowel chunks: 36,349,704,372,835,319,666,931 Somewhat a nice intermediate number. Looks mysterious and leet as well, so I might go for that. So many possibilities, that most of the time there won’t be the need to generate another random id, in case it is already in use. The speed of the queries and searches will be an interesting factor in the end, but I guess that problem will be solved when it arises.

They served a spear

Today they served mammoth skewer (Mammutspieß) at the cafeteria. They came from jurassic meat and the hunting spear was still in it. To make it clear, the skewer was almost double the size of the plate, nearly as big as the tray, and full of meat. Truely a man’s dish.

But makes you think. Two years ago, they started to reveal several cases and scandals of exipred food, that has been relabeled and put out for sale again. (Called „Gammelfleisch“ in Germany.)

Now, if they even promote the food with a name like that… ain’t that somewhat suspicious? How old was that meat? The Pliocene epoch was a long time ago… at least when using a human scale to measure… especially when using best before dates…

Still, I had fun. Only thing that didn’t fit was the side dish… rice… don’t get me wrong, I love rice… but this skewer called for a more manly side dish… like home fries (Bratkartoffeln) or any other variant of potatoes. I wonder if they will keep up with the size… or if they go along their usual nouvelle cuisine sized dishes.

How to type?

What’s the best way to type? I’m personally switching from four to ten fingers, depending on the situation and my needs. At school I attended a course to learn the touch system („10 Finger System“ or „Maschinenschreiben“ as we call it in German), but you could say I failed. In the years to come, though, when I started to write more, I somewhat developed my own system. The way you type can say a lot about you. As well as your input device does.

Most people are using keyboards. But what kind of keyboard? How does it feel to type? Is it dirty? Is it cheap? Is it elegant? Is it wireless? Maybe even backlit? Do the WASD keys look more used than the others? All those things tell a lot about someone.

But why stick to a regular keyboard? How about a keyboard that can be used with one hand? I think I would like that and am thinking about getting a frogpad. With two of that I could code on two systems at once. And since they come with bluetooth now, I could even use it with my PDA or cell phone.

This leads me to the reason I started writing this. Recently I stumbled on cre8txt, a hand-held keyboard which can be used as if one was texting a SMS on a mobile. I must admit that’s somewhat clever. Many (young) people these days are comfortable with this way of text input. For some it’s even the first way of digital input they learn. So why not give them an input device they’re familiar with. Could be even some great tool for disabled people who are unable to handle keyboards and one handed keyboards.

Still, one thing bugs me. The translation software that puts SMS slang into regular language. Oh come on, this supports the trend of raping languages. When I hear someone say ‚lol‘, it’s kinda funny. But when I see and hear how some youngsters are taking and writing these days, I begin to feel like an oldtimer who would give them more books to read.

Still, I’m fond of the general idea and find it somewhat innovative. But if we continue and bring more modern devices and controls some people are used to use to the regular life, what will be next? A gamepad in cars? Keyboard and mouse for airplanes, so the pilot can circle-strafe the airport? We’ll see.


I’m an artsy person. So, the hack I am, I try new arty things all the time. Last week, for example, I had a spontaneous gig. I did something which could be called automobile dancing or car tumbling. It was some kind of performance art. I jumped down 3 meters (10 ft.) onto an acre, did a few somersaults and pirouettes and landed on my wheels. People came rushing from all over the vicinage to cheer for me. The result of this performance is now being exhibited at the local junkyard. But I have to admit, that it was a bit clumsy and rough for the first time. I’ll try doing it better the next time.

Epilogue: Yes, I’m fine, no worries, just a few scratches (my guardian angel excelled her-/himself). As for the car… totally f*cked up. Luckily no one else was involved and I’ve been driving alone. I don’t want to imagine what would’ve happened, if my usual co-driver would’ve been in the car as well. The police let me take off lightly as well. But this now takes a few things of my mind, like scheduling the next vehicle inspection, switching my car insurance, what to do with all the money I’ve been saving up or whether I should get new glasses. And no, I don’t really plan on doing that again.

Everything used to be better

While listening to the Sunscreen Song (Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)) it came to me: The bible must be right in at least one point.

If every generation fantasizes about how everything used to be better and how good it was back in the days and if we follow this path back into the past long enough… we once were living in paradise.

Open Source Beverage

I really like Open Source. No, I love it. Most of the applications I use on a daily basis are Open Source. Not that I’m a very active member or developer of the community, but the spirit behind Open Source is just great.

Free software… free as in free speech, not as in free beer. Well, that is the GNU definition of free software. But Open Source can even bend that rule somewhat, with the free beer projects by and [project 21]. You can buy the booze or brew it yourself. Now that’s the Open Source spirit at it’s best. So now, we still won’t have free beer, but free beer instead.

Too bad I don’t drink… but luckily there’s the good old OpenCola as well.