Turning 50 – Now What?

I turned 50 this year. So what was up this half century of life?

Half of my life I was educated in school and university.

I traveled through a couple of western European countries, like Spain, Portugal, Austria, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, either privately or sent by my employer. I traveled to USA, Israel, and Mexico.

I witnessed when the Soviet Union collapsed, when Mikhail Gorbachev was celebrated as a superstar in Germany, most notably in West-Germany. When he traveled through West-Germany newspapers printed their headlines in russian, people where cheering at him like a prophet.

I witnessed when Berlin wall went down.

I am married and have three children. All three children show interest in society and technology, and will likely find their way through life. Being a husband and father of three is a story on its own, meriting a separate blog post.

I witnessed when Germany’s own money, the Deutsche Mark, was substituted with the Euro. My children only know the Euro, and term the Deutsche Mark as “old money”.

I own a house and a car.

I owned a couple of PCs, laptops, workstations, smartphones, and tablets, as can be guessed from the title of this blog.

So, pretty ordinary mid-class life.

Google Chrome Became a Performance Hog

I own a single-core laptop with 1 GB of memory. Google Chrome version 34 for Linux 64 bit (ArchLinux) is completely unusable on this machine. I own another single-core laptop with 512 MB of memory. Google Chrome version 12 for 32 bit (Ubuntu 10.04) works just fine on this machine. Both machines are considered somewhat old and underpowered according todays standard. Nevertheless they should be able to browse the web at least as fast as any smartphone or tablet.

As has already been said in other posts (here and here): Newer is not better.

I checked my old downloads: I have copies of Google Chrome 64 bit Debian packages which have size 13 MB in 2010. At end of 2011 it climbed to 24 MB, in 2012 to 36 MB, in 2013 to 43 MB. Now Chrome 64 bit Debian packages are 49 MB. This tremendous increase cannot be explained by security fixes.

On that occasion I searched for alternatives which can replace Google Chrome and its memory obesity. Two possible contenders might be QupZilla and Midori. QupZilla just worked out of the box, while Midori crashed repeatedly on Ubuntu 14.04. Unfortunately I did not get Flash to work with QupZilla. i.e., no YouTube with QupZilla.

Day 2, Workshop Programming of Heterogeneous Systems in Physics

Day 2 of the conference had below talks. Prof. Dr. Bernd Brügmann gave a short introduction. He pointed out that Jena is number 10 in Physics in Germany, has ca. 100.000 inhabitants, and 20.000 students.

  1. Dr. Karl Rupp, Vienna, Lessons Learned in Developing the Linear Algebra Library ViennaCL. Notes: C++ operator overloading normally uses temporary, special trickery necessary to circumvent this, ViennaCL not callable from Fortran due to C++/operator overloading, eigen.tuxfamily.org, Karl Rupp’s slides, with CUDA 5+6 OpenCL and CUDA are more or less on par,
  2. Prof. Dr. Rainer Heintzmann, Jena, CudaMat – a toolbox for Cuda computations. Continue reading

Day 1, Workshop Programming of Heterogeneous Systems in Physics

As announced in Workshop Programming of Heterogeneous Systems in Physics, July 2014, I attended this two-day conference. Below are speakers and pictures with my personal notes.

  1. Dipl.-Ing. Hans Pabst from Intel, Programming for the future: scaling forward with cores and vectors. Hans Pabst Continue reading

No Perl and PHP on Mainframe from IBM

IBM no longer provides Perl for its mainframe machines, see Software withdrawal: Selected IBM System z platform products. It looks like they have not heard that Perl is the duct tape that holds the internet together. Similarly IBM withdraw PHP from their mainframe platform. So Wikipedia and Facebook will not run on big iron. Not that Wikipedia or Facebook ever wanted to, but now IBM pulled the plug.

In the same vein all IBM has to offer their customers is 32-bit COBOL on their mainframe, so customers can only use less than 2 GB, see Memory Limitations with IBM Enterprise COBOL Compiler.

In earlier times IBM tried to sell their VisualAge products, which where notoriously slow, and never really took off. Now they aggressively sell WebSphere.

Who makes these decisions? And who approves this?

In defense of IBM, there is a company called Rocket Software which provides Perl and PHP. So it’s like going to McDonald’s ordering a hamburger, but the clerk tells you that you should buy the bread separately from the nearby bakery.