Today, I had to spend many hours driving, so I wanted to listen to some music in the car. Sadly, my iPod's battery was empty because I forgot to recharge it soon enough.

In order not to be without music altogether even though I was running out of time, so I decided to do what every mildly geeky engineer would do: I quickly grabbed a bunch of never-before-combined parts out of my drawer, thinking "this may work", and built my own improvised iPod car kit in a minute...


  • 1 generic cellphone car charger with Mini-USB connector (such as one for Motorola phones)
  • 1 USB hub featuring a Mini-USB connector (supposed to go to the computer) and a bunch of regular ones (for the peripherals)
  • 1 regular iPod USB data cable
  • 1 audio tape adapter

Connect all pieces seemingly at random, stir thoroughly. Connect to your car and iPod. Notice the "charging" symbol show up on your iPod.

Listen to music and be happy ;)

Improvised iPod car kit

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Guess I am getting closer to running a well-usable version of Leopard, but I am not quite there yet: Since yesterday, my Trash turns out to be always shown as "full":

Leopard Trash Full (Yes, Papierkorb is the German word for "paper bin").

So far, I haven't been able to figure out why this happens -- there's nothing in there, really. I even "sudo rm -rf"-deleted the .Trash folder out of my home folder, but it didn't help. OSX did automatically recreate it (empty!) but the dock icon won't change.

For now, I guess I'll have to live with an "overflowing" trash can -- if you have any hints though what else I could do, a comment would be very much appreciated :)

Update: It's fixed! It was a filesystem corruption in the fat32 filesystem. I ran a chkdsk which converted the "undeletable" file into one that I was able to remove. Thanks for pointing me into the right direction, Jean Pierre and Greg!

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Find your downloads quickly in one dedicated stack. Downloads from Safari, iChat, and Mail are automatically saved to the Downloads stack. Say goodbye to desktop clutter.

... says Apple's "new feature" description for Mac OS X Leopard. What it doesn't mention is that you can make (almost) any software you like use the "Download Stack".

Fact is, the "Download Stack" just displays the contents of a folder named "Download" in your home directory (which Leopard automatically creates). So, making Firefox use it is fairly simple -- here is how:

Go to the preferences window, into the "Main" tab: Download Preferences for Firefox

Under "save files to", go to your user folder, then choose the folder named "Downloads".

Save the settings -- and next time you download something off the net, you'll see that it is easily (and instantly) accessible through the neat little "Download Stack" in your dock (in this case my local bus schedule. What a meaningful file name.).

OSX Leopard Firefox Download Stack "Goodbye, desktop clutter", indeed!

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Inspired by a post Justin Scott made a while ago, let's summarize how much more it'll take me to graduate from college: To my surprise, I realized a few months ago that I am actually pretty close -- I only have a handful more classes left, but see for yourself:

  • Operating Systems Design (4h)
  • Multicore and Cluster Computing (2h)
  • Data Warehousing and Data Mining (3h)
  • Human-Computer Interaction (3h)
  • Organizational Theory (3h)
  • Seminar: Economic Anomalies and Paradoxes

(The hours mean hours per week, all through the semester, and do not include recitations or tutorials).

After that, I will have to write a 6-months masters thesis, and after that, I will graduate with a masters degree in Information Engineering and Management.

All this adds up to about a year which -- if you ask me -- is pretty awesome.

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GMailOh, how long have I waited for this! Almost three years ago, I blogged about the then newly-introduced POP access for GMail (German) and, to summarize it for you, my conclusion was that POP does not sufficiently support GMail's specialities, in particular the big storage capacity (downloading tons of mail is no fun) and tagging (which could easily be replicated in IMAP folders).

Now, three years later, GMail implements IMAP and with that, in my opinion, GMail has become a global player in email that now actually deserves the name.

IMAP features are mapped to GMail features reasonably, for example tags to folders as I suggested, or IMAP flags to GMail "stars".

To test, I connected to my account with Thunderbird, and as far as I can tell now, it works nice and quickly. Good job, Google!

According to Jean Pierre, IMAP is not enabled for all users yet, but I assume everybody will get the feature soon. Once you do, make sure to check it out!

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Liebe Leser,

vor einiger Zeit hatte ich euch gefragt, ob etwas dagegen spricht, mein englisches und deutsches Blog zu kombinieren. Die Antworten waren positiv, und so beschloss ich das auch zu machen. Leider kam ich nur bis jetzt noch nicht dazu, aber gut Ding will ja bekanntlich Weile haben ;)

Die Aufmerksamen unter euch werden schon den vorherigen, englischen Artikel gelesen haben -- für alle, die kein Englisch können, oder es nicht lesen möchten, hier das Wichtigste:

  1. wird nun (automatisch) auf umgeleitet.
  2. Bitte ändert eure Feed-Reader, sodass sie auf die neuen Feeds zeigen -- obwohl die Umleitung das im Moment erledigt, könnte es eines Tages sein, dass nicht mehr nur eine Weiterleitung ist.
  3. Wenn ihr kein Englisch lesen könnt oder wollt, klickt einfach rechts auf die Kategorie namens "deutsch" und die englischen Artikel werden verschwinden. Wenn ihr einen Feed Reader verwendet, könnt ihr auch einfach nur den Feed der deutschen Kategorie abonnieren, dann bekommt Ihr auch nichts Englisches.

In jedem Fall sorry für alle Arbeit die ich Euch damit möglicherweise mache! -- Wenn Euch irgendetwas Seltsames auffällt oder Ihr sonstige Vorschläge, Kritik oder was auch immer habt, seid Ihr wie immer herzlich dazu eingeladen, einen Kommentar zu hinterlassen.

Danke! :)

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A while ago, I asked my German readership if they would mind me merging my German and English blog together. For time reasons, my blog output wasn't as high as would be reasonable to fill two blogs with, and furthermore, I often had trouble deciding if I wanted to blog something in my English or rather my German blog.

Merge SignFact is, most of my German readers can read English (and don't mind doing so either), while the opposite does not apply.

The German readers (and the English-speaking ones who also understand German) said they wouldn't mind, and encouraged me to do so.

Yet, until now, I didn't find the time to actually do it. Today, I finally merged my two blogs into one, (of course not entirely without problems, I'll blog that in a little while too), and to cut a long story short: Here are the changes that count for you, dear readers:

  1. is now part of -- all requests to .de get automatically redirected to the appropriate .com site.
  2. If you have subscribed to the German feed, please update your feed reader (even if the redirect works fine for now, I can't guarantee that will always stay a straight redirect to the .com site).
  3. If you have subscribed to a specific category only, please adjust your feed URL also.
  4. If you cannot or do not want to read one of the two languages, I suggest you filter by the German or English category on the right hand side, respectively (especially when using a feed reader!). Then you should not see the stories anymore in the language you don't want.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any comments, or if you notice any unexpected behavior, or whatever else you may have for me, please do not hesitate to leave a comment. Thanks!

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Let me tell you a little story I learned about from a tour guide when I went to Munich on vacation in August.

This is the Sternecker Brewery (or brew pub, rather) in downtown Munich the way it looked like in 1919: Sternecker Brewery

Every week, a tiny little political party of the Weimar Republic met here to complain about life in general and in particular, and as a rule of thumb ended up every time blaming it on "the jews". Now a young corporal in the German army was sent there to spy on the group and find out if they are any danger. Instead, he liked their ideas and ended up joining the party. <!--more--> The corporal's name was Adolf Hitler and the small party was the German Workers' Party (DAP) which eventually became the Nazi party NSDAP. (They faked Hitler's member number as 555 while in fact he was only the 55th member.)

In the house where the DAP met when Hitler joined it, the Nazis created a museum to remember the "founding fathers" of the Nazi movement (faking Hitler's member number yet again: This time as 7, to give the illusion of him being one of the party founders). The NSDAP museum in the Sternecker brewery

Long story short: When the allies threw bombs on Munich, the building was destroyed, and after the war the inner city of Munich was rebuilt so it looked almost the same it did before (you know, us Germans have kept detailed plans of buildings since... forever ;) ).

You may wonder, what's located in this buildling nowadays? Another brewery? No (though that's always a good guess for Munich, I give you that). But see for yourself: Gravis Apple Store, Munich

Yup, it's the local Apple store. If they know what historic site they are located at? I am not sure.

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Yesterday, I registered with LinkedIn and sent out a few invitations to people I know who also have an account.

Sadly enough, LinkedIn didn't like my name, Frédéric, quite as much as I do, so the invitation emails ended up being signed like this:

I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. -Fr&#xe9;d&#xe9;ric

I reported the bug and hope they fix it soon. For now, I replaced my "é"s by regular "e"s but of course they are only half as nice :)

Sorry for the inconvenience to everyone who though "who the heck is that?" when receiving my email.

(Thanks to Brandon and morgamic who told me about the problem.)

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Wie es aussieht, gehören Chemie und Physik in diesen Tagen zu den "deutschen Tugenden", während man das Dichten mehr den Briten überlassen sollte.

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