We all know, getting into your university of choice can be quite hard. But, who knew getting out of one (properly) is almost equally as complicated?

Universit├Ąt KarlsruheI am telling you, the university wants to see how much I can suffer, one last time. By sending me across campus multiple times to acquire signatures and pick up forms. And stand in line (first to pick up the form, then to fill it out, then to hand it in, then to pick up the signature). And by telling me that they decided to close their office on Mondays. And Fridays. And to open it between 10 and 12 only, the rest of the week. By-appointment-only, naturally.

Oh, and by closing my favorite on-campus coffee place, of course.

Now, it's not all that bad, really. There are also interesting new discoveries to be made. Like, that the computing center (Rechenzentrum) apparently has a women-only computer pool. In an imaginary press release, they might say: "The new, three-desk facility was established to give all women studying computer science in Karlsruhe room to work at once." Of course, I am exaggerating. The actual student statistics for 2008 reveal a whopping 10 % of students in computer science are women here. And at any rate, the computing services are used by students in other departments as well. But, more seriously, what's wrong with the other computers? Guess I'll never know.

(The picture shows the department of business/economics at the university of Karlsruhe in 1967. The buildings still look quite the same today. In the background, the Karlsruhe residence castle. CC by-sa licensed by the Germany Federal Archives on Wikipedia Commons.)

Read more…

This week, I handed in my master's thesis (German: Diplomarbeit) with the title "Transaction Management Challenges For Federated, Workflow-Based SOA Applications":

Meine Diplomarbeit

Need I say more? :)

Read more…

Searching for "Karlsruhe" on Amazon.com, I found a few sellers that reprint old photochrom (sic) photographs from the collection of the Library of Congress. Among them, these three beautiful old photos of my university city Karlsruhe (Baden), dated somewhere around the turn of the last century:

Karlsruhe: General View First, the "General View of Karlsruhe" as seen from the residence castle, facing south.

Karlsruhe: Stadtgartensee This one, "Lake in Public Garden" shows the Stadtgartensee, which is now inside the Karlsruhe Zoo.

Karlsruhe: Vierordtbad At last, the Vierordtbad -- a public, in-door pool, that's been built in the 1870s. Completely renovated in the early aughts, it has now as "young" a look as ever. (Side note: The picture title is, incorrectly, "Vierortsbad" = "four city bath", but it was actually called after a gentleman named "Vierordt" who donated some 40 % of the original building costs back in the day).

Very nice photos! But, while this makes the city look "old", Karlsruhe is actually quite the kid, compared to other German cities. It was not founded until 1715, when the Margrave of Baden-Durlach decided to build a new residence -- and a nice little city to go with it.

Read more…

Carnegie Mellon's wireless network makes me sad: I get about 20 KB/s of constant noise (all day, every day) from, mostly, Windows computers announcing their presence to the outside world via broadcast packets.

In the "network" window, this looks like that:

If this is a secret ploy with the intention to empty everybody's laptop batteries as fast as possible, it's working! :) Then again, unlike University of Karlsruhe, CMU puts power outlets into every seat when they drop a bucket of money to renovate a lecture hall. At my home university--with the exception of the new library--laptops have to be mostly powered with their owners' love and respect: Places with appropriate power connections are rare.

Read more…

So there is this guy, who says he has eaten 23.000 big macs over the course of 36 years and obviously, kept all the receipts.

If these were the presidential elections, I would demand a recount, but in dubio pro reo and all, let's assume he is right. Of course I wanted to know how many big macs that totals per day, so I entered into Google:

23 000 / (36 years)

and what did I get back? Obviously, big macs per second:

By the way: Using more conventional units, this totals between 1 and 2 big macs a day.

PS: Random fact I am sure none of you wanted to know, Heinrich Hertz, the guy whose name became the unit of frequency "hertz", was a professor at University of Karlsruhe (my home uni), where he discovered the electromagnetic waves.

Read more…

Just to give you a piece of unwanted knowledge, I just passed my last exam ever! It was about parallel programming, by the way.

Now it's really only my masters thesis that stands between me and graduation. Yay!

Read more…

Something tells me, this sign I came across in a German store has one "e" too much:

Or maybe I just missed the latest trend and in fact, slime is the new black.

Read more…

Unbelievable: This coming week is my last week of classes, ever. It will be followed by an 8-week period of exams (with 1-2 weeks in between every two exams).

Then, provided I pass them all (which I like to hope), I will have done all requirements but my master's thesis in order to graduate from college with a degree in Information Engineering and Management.

I can't believe I am almost done studying -- it still feels like I've only started attending university just recently. Time flies, I guess.

Read more…

Today I sent a support request to the computer pool admins at my university's CS school, so they upgrade Firefox to version 2 any time soon. The Fedora Core instances on these boxes are still on Fx 1.5.12.

I mean, it's only been out for a year and Firefox 1.5's lifetime has ended for half a year now, so that sounds like it's about time for an update.

Interestingly though, the Fedora Project seems to keep version 1.5 until they can switch to 3.0 (therefore completely skipping Firefox 2). And unless I am mistaken, the pool computers still run FC 6. So my request may not be successful after all. But unless Fedora backports security patches to the 1.5 branch (which may arguably be more work than just switching to Firefox 2?) I strongly oppose keeping unsupported software versions for any significant time. Especially in a university setting with hundreds of users happily surfing the web on a daily basis. And especially for a web browser, which by definition constantly gets its hands dirty with possibly harmful code.

Let's see what they say -- I sure hope it'll be more useful than your average "just boot into Windows, then"...

Update: Just about half a second after I blogged this, the pool people answered that Fedora still backports patches into Firefox 1.5, and soon (that is, once Fedora drops support for version 6), the pool computers will get an upgrade to FC 8, which will also contain Firefox 2 then.


Read more…

Part of a conversation I overheard in the dining hall today, apparently between two maybe third-semester computer scientists:

These information engineers are the worst! I have met them in my CS 2 class! They ask the weirdest questions and they don't even know basic mathematics!

Despite the insult, this amused me. Silly boy, believing anyone here hasn't been tortured with "basic mathematics" for a significant amount of time ;)

Read more…