Advances in Automotive Technology

Since a couple of decades people drive cars, motorcycles and trucks which pretty much look and work the same as a couple of decades ago. I.e., cars are made of steel, use a fuel powered motor, have 4 seats, etc. Although there are clearly advances in the area, like fuel consumption, electronic assistance systems, design, streamlined shape, most of the technology is basically the same.

The car industry is now witnessing two major trends:

  1. combustion engine is replaced by electric engine
  2. self-driving cars

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The Cost of Installing wine

German tax laws requires you to issue a tax declaration if you earn more than a certain threshold or own a company. To create this tax declaration you needed the so called Elster-Software which only runs under Microsoft Windows. Luckily there now seems to be a web-form for doing the same thing.

The following packages need to be installed if one wants or needs wine:
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On Password Security and Cracking

Six months ago Bruce Schneier posted an article on “Choosing Secure Passwords”. Some of the key points are (mostly copied verbatim from mentioned post):

  1. The best way to explain how to choose a good password is to explain how they are broken.
  2. Password crackers do not brute force all 8 character combinations, but rather they brute force all 6 character passwords, then they check for common passwords.
  3. A typical password consists of a root plus an appendage. The root isn’t necessarily a dictionary word, but it’s usually something pronounceable. An appendage is either a suffix (90% of the time) or a prefix (10% of the time). One cracking program I saw started with a dictionary of about 1,000 common passwords. Continue reading

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.

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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