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News 13 years Ago
Published by packi on in Others

Last week I’ve received a call from a headhunter asking me if I was interested in an new working environment.

Later in the call she explained to me that she was looking for Java developers. There seems to be an ravenous hunger for Java programmers in Switzerland since there is no place in the internet that describes me as a Java developer.
Its not that I don’t know Java well enough to finish my exams early, its just not documented anywhere on the web (well, at least it was not).


Published by packi on in Technology

What’s the value of a “ten-pack” beer? The following lines:

  switchByteLow = IN_PORTB(ButtonPort);
  switchByteLow = switchByteLow;
  curStat = (switchByteLow & Dreh_Mask) >> 4;
  if( curStat == lastStat ) {
  } else {
    stableFor = 0;

  if( stableFor == 50 ) {
    if( (lastStable == 15) && (curStat == 0 ) ) {
    } else if( (lastStable == 0) && (curStat == 15 ) ) {
    lastStable = curStat;
  lastStat = curStat;

  OUT_PORTB(LedPortLow, ~lastStable);
  OUT_PORTB(LedPortHigh, ~numRevolutions );

The assignement was to read the value of a rotary switch and output the number of revolutions. That and to find out why the code you just wrote gives incorrect results.
Being a pain in the ass I’ve asked what could go wrong, partly knowing the answer. The teacher replied, ommiting the answer: “If somebody gets it right the first time he earns himself a beer crate”

Since rotary switches are prone to have bouncing outputs you better make sure to debounce them before accepting the values as stable.
Betting on somebody not knowing something is never good advice.

Published by packi on in might be a probable sucessor to after the domain gets sold. This post makes sure I can claim ownership over my blog over at

Published by packi on in Others

This “Most Secret, Eyes Only” classified message from General Harold Alexander to Sir Winston Churchill on August 30th 1942 marked the beginning of Rommels defeat. General Alexander agreed to notify Churchill with this monosyllabic word the minute he got attacked by Rommel. The German General tried to capture Cairo and drive the British back to the sea. Fortunately he was met by the heavily fortified British Eighth Army under its newly appointed commander General Bernard Montgomery

Not as historic as this past event, but as relevant to me: The new semester has just started. With this new semester I’ve go half the study time under my belt. Yay! To make sure I’m completely distracted from learning I’ve ordered me some books from Amazon.

News 14 years Ago
Published by packi on in Others

Just got word from Claudio that our movie has been selected to be played and judged at the “Talent Screen Offscreen Selection”. Ten to fifteen movies which didn’t make it to the final selection are going to be on screen there. This places our movie at a ranking of 30 − 15 which is not bad for a bunch of geeks competing against semi-pros (*must resist to put smileys into the text*).

Anyway the “Offscreen Selection” will take place at Thursday 13.10.2005 at the Kulturmarkt in Zurich.

Published by packi on in Others

As our movie hasn’t made it to the top 10 our team went to the celebration / election of the best movie to support the people who “invided” us to this contest.

At 1725 I was already late for my bus and I had to iron my shirt. Got my bus and some cash and at 1745 I was at the train station fetching a beer and reading a 20min-weekend. For five more minutes I didn’t notice that I have to get a ticket to Zurich but furtunately I remembered that part early enough. So much for focusing on the task at hand.

Around 1830 we got to the meeting point at the train station in Zurich where we were supposed to meet the people who needed (and as later discovered deserved) our support in the upcoming election. They didn’t show for another five minutes. A call discovered that they’ve changed their minds and went straight to the club (thanks for telling us!).

Its about two kilometers from the Zurich mainstation to the Mascotte. Misjudging the distance and keen on saving SFr. 2.40 my collegues decided to walk. I could have saved to shower as I was dribbled with sweat as we arrived twenty minutes later (including a stop at a liquor-shop, ran out of beer).

Standing in the crowd for some 15 minutes (club policy forbids to let people in in a steady flow, even if they have tickets *sigh*) we entered the club an fetched us some SFr. 7.00 beers (Carlsberg). First they showed all top 10 movies (with some really bad comments from a hired “clown” in between them), after that it was election time.

To decide which one of the films is worthy to take the “Talentscreen Trophy” they had a “noise indicator” which showed the mean value of last ten seconds (in decibel). After the first run we had two winners: Bobby and another one I can’t quite remember (I think it was the one with the shoes). Both achived a value of 107 dB. After the second one Bobby had 108 dB (remember it’s logarithmic) and the shoe-film stayed at 107, very close call!

Bobby is a stop-motion movie done by the team we went supporting this evening, they made the crowd laugh and cheer while running, that really something. After they have been interviewd and we all congratulated them we had to get something in our stomachs, expecting the evening only getting longer than not by knowing the winning team.

After a not too bad meal at the “Spaghetti Factory” we wen’t back to the club for a couple of beers. Some of our compagnions had to leave since the live in the highlands of Switzerland and don’t have train/busconnections through friday night/saturday moring. We took of at 1150 to the “Kontiki Bar” for another couple of beers. At 0130 my last two collegues had to get their train to St. Gallen and I was “left alone” with the remainder of the winning team. We went back to the Mascotte and arrived there at app. 0150 including a short stop at McDonalds.

Back at the club some semi-drunk dancing and a couple gin tonics later they closed down at 0400 leaving us no where to go but the train station. Our multicultural clique started the dangerous and tiring journey to the train station. A guy from Canada, one from Austria, a girl from Germany, one from Switzerland and me formed a multinational convoy (nah no horses or APCs) to the trainstations where we arrived at 0530 (you have to take things slow this early in the morning y’know?). Their train to Lucerne was due to leave at 0540 and I had mine on 0548 so it was time to say good bye.

At 0610 I got out of a train half asleep and tired and boarded my bus. Got home at 0615 brushed my teeth and immediatly dozed off.

The next day I felt strangly well given the amount of money I’ve converted to beverages. It was, not counting the mid-night snacks and dinner, about SFr. 130… Till next time…

Published by packi on in Others

I thought I’d start this article with a movie quote which will fit the content (The quote is from “Gone in 60 seconds” btw.).

As mentioned in my previous post we were participating in a moviemarathon with a team consisting of freaks and techies with almost no experience in the field.

It started on Thursday at 1100. Getting Urs an Joel from the train station nearby and leading them to my house.

At 1200 we received a call from our other participants who were Finding a story for the film which had to be five minutes long proved harder than we thought.

At 1700 we all agreed on the baseline of the story and began some preparations work for the shooting during the night.

Hmm… time is running out, gotta go to celebrate our movie actually finishing but not entering the top 10 (party will take place at the Mascotte Club in Zurich).

Get the movie here while I’m drinking myself sensless. Will update this post later on. Bye!

Published by packi on in Technology

Since I’m a part of a team consisting of some techies trying to compete with art-students on a short-film-marathon (title: budget 0, time 48h) I had to boot my Windows installation on my amd64 box. The cutting will take place in Adobe Premiere and Sony Vegas.

The Install of Adobe Premiere went smooth as silk, just double-clicking the installer (well almost, the installer tried to install an old version of DirectX), but the Sony Vegas installer was asking for the “.NET Framework v1.1”. I had to manually download the version 1 and after that the SP1.
Ever heard of bundling or an intelligent installer who gets the packages of the internet. Maybe I’m a little spoiled because every linux package-manager would have known the dependency on another package. As a positive point for Microsoft, installing the .NET Framework went smooth.

Now even the installer starts “Yay!”. But on the second or third page of the install wizard it asks for the DirectX 9.0c Runtime. So I went to to get me my updates, thats an easy one (thats what I thought first, click here, click there, click accept, done).

I was greeted by a “We have to validate your Windows™ bla blubb”. Since I’ve legally purchased my WinXP Pro Edition I shouldn’t have to worry about this, should I (Even if I had a pirated version of Windows there are ways (no linke there) around it).
Yes, I know you shouldn’t spend too much money on Microsoft products, but as a software developer I fell an obligation to actually buy software to support my fellow software developers even if they have sold their souls to the Microsoft Goons.
Installing the “Genuine Advantage Validation Tool” was as easy as clicking “yes” three times but validating was everything but.

 Clicking (this is my first article describing a Windows installation, count the clicks in this text) “Validate me or send me to hell” button tried to go to some validation website. The website was supposed to load (this is all my imagination) the validation plugin but failed to do so. Instead I was seeing an empty page with a weird location string in it. I actually had to reload it only to to download yet another tool (see picture on the left). After the tool was sure my Windows copy was in fact legally purchased (whatever happened to “in dubio pro reo”) I had to choose “Windows Update” from the “Start Menu” (involving at least two clicks) to finally get my updates.

This is to all the “but window is sooo much better on the usability ladder and every user can use it” people. In your face!

Oh, breaking news: I’m on Update 9 of 15. This doesn’t mean a thing since DirectX 9.0c is not one of the selected updates…. *ahrg*

Published by packi on in Others

I’d never thought that I’ll have two jobs at the same time, but since last tuesday I do.

Since the company I worked with since 1999 has not enough work to be done, I have to stay at my 20% part-time contract (the .plan was to extend the contract to 100% during the summer break).

But now I was able to pick up work at Encodo Systems AG a small start up consisting of former emloyees of the company I still work for. I stared on tuesday and have been setting up an Asterisk server (which finally works, more on that later) and picked up a fight with their backup software (piece of sh*t won’t backup).
I won’t get a fixed rate contract but a hourly rate, so I’m another mercenary on the battlefield of the IT industry (one of my employers mentioned the word “whore” but I prefer “mercenary”).

Published by packi on in

As of 0300 this morning, I’m able to serve an RSS feed for the page. The feed includes an unfiltered view on all topics published in the last 30 days. I’ll have to do some tweaking on the code before I submit them to Marco (like selecting a subtree, limiting the number of articles by a timeframe or count).

Get the feed NOW!

Published by packi on in Others

Just received a letter from school that I’ve passed my exams. So its the third semester for me after this summer break (Not that I’ve ever doubted it ;).

Published by packi on in Others

Preparations for todays campain against the Newtons and his companions are going well. We are beefed up using our secret potion (as in beer and chips) and watching “Glimmerman” on our video projector.

The Newtons, Teslas, Watts and the Carnots will be tactically and physically challenging but nothing will stop us from slaying their heathenish theories and stick their heads high up on poles, in order to show “them” that nothing can stop us!

*Men in white suits are pulling me away from the keyboard*


Published by packi on in Others

…three to go. Since we’ve been given the last years exams to exercise (yeah, right) we knew what would be facing us today. Tomorrow is another issue since our physics “teacher” has his own understanding on how to solve physical problems. A year is simply not enough to develop a mindset like that, especially if you’ve had three years of physics lessons under your belt before joining his class.
The first axiom of the “universal beer theory” tells us that “Every problem can be solved by technology or by a large amount of beer”. So beer it shall be.

Published by packi on in Others

Those were the words General Dwight D. Eisenhower used to wish his troops farewell to the challenge to refresh the tree of liberty in Europe once more, back in 1944.

I’m on a little “crusade” myself since the pre-degree exams will be starting tomorrow. Preparations included lots of beer and chips so I guess I will be fine.
What I’m worried about, are the individuals who will not rejoin our class after the spring-break; it will be about half of the people in our class. I think I will be spared from this punishement because of my heavy background in the IT business. But for career changers who had to pick up three programing languages, learn the basics of TCP/IP, get to know and engaged a love-hate relationship with VHDL and understand the what beer can offer you, it was a very hard year. At least the don’t have to repeat the subjects the succeeded in (ECTS mark >C).

So, wish me luck and a sober and clear mind in the morning to gather unprepared on the battlefield of “Object Oriented Programming”. It’s followed by a physics exam on Wednesday, a math exam on Monday and a digital technics oral exam on the late Tuesday afternoon in one weeks time.

Published by packi on in Others

5 Moderator Points! Use ‘em or lose ‘em!

Nice, lets see: The moderation guidelines states that we should “Concentrate more on promoting than on demoting.”. Well if a comment is crap, I’ll have it moderated as crap, especially those dozend “Funny” rated comments who’re really all the same in every /. story.

So here’s my moderation-run for today:

  • -1 (Redundant) Just hope…. (159551-13360843, 4 points left)
  • -1 (Overrated) Re:Obscure reference? (159551-13360849, 3 points left)
  • +1 (Insightful) Re:As a pilot (159551-13360865, 2 points left)
  • -1 (Overrated) I dunno… (159551-13360883, 1 point left)
  • +1 (Funny) Other bands to test… (159551-13360830, 0 points left)

Two up and three down, hey, I’m in good mood okay? ;-)

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