Stuff that doesn't matter

Veni, Vidi, Lavi

Friday, 15 December 2006 | uncategorized | comments

We've been at the Thermal Spring in Baden yesterday. It was quite an adventure. After managing the rush-hour stop-and-go traffic around Zurich, Lisa (our loyal GPS navigator) found the place easily. I know, friendly dragons are popular at the moment, however this bath is guarded by one of the mean kind, sitting right at the entrance. She asked us if we *really* *really* wanted to go to the Sauna, as they would close it in 2 hours time. When she told me the price, I dared asking her if I could pay with card. She told me (in a grumpy voice) that, yes, I ...*could*... do that, she would just have to cancel all the typing she had done so far and redo everything from scratch. As I am not sure she would have started breathing fire upon my insistance, I surrendered and offered her cash. The water itself is nice, 36 degree celsius, and they have an in- and outdoor pool. They have a series of massage nozzles and some bubble areas. What I found really annoying, however, is that they have a signal reminding all people to move on to the next nozzle. Other Swiss pools also have something like this, using an orange flashlight (which I find a bit annoying as well). In Baden, they ingeniously came up with the ideea to install a regular door bell chime, sounding off every 30 seconds. So after a while you start thinking: "could somebody just open the door and let these annoying people in?" The pool is proud that already the old Romans build an impressive bathing centre there, called "Acquae Helveticae". I easily believe this, I also think they left the same interior design in place since then. Doors, and furniture are made of a time-worn dark wooden paneling, the Sauna area features a dark brown/orange interior. The cold water tub was empty and there is no apparent place to put your bathing suit, so I had to bring it into the sauna. Nobody complained though, as I were alone in there anyway. There was a fan in the sauna, and whatever it was trying to do, it suceeded only in being noisy as hell. Everything looks like it has been designed (and then left unchanged) in the 60s. The men's bath room has black and red cables looking out of the light switch, with a piece of isolation stripped off, and other cable just rolled up and stuffed behind the water piping, looking as if a hobby DIY person installed the electrics. Which is not the way I would want a 230 Volt system to be installed, in a humid room, where naked men pee into a basin, galvanically well connected to the ground. What is nice is that a warm large towel is included in the price. It feels nice to wrap up yourself in that after coming out of the water. Altogether, the architecture is pretty much unstimulating and ugly. This could be a really nice place, if it were redone thoroughly.

7 US-Universitäten und IBM betreiben offene Software-Forschung

Friday, 15 December 2006 | uncategorized | comments

heise online: Sieben US-Universitäten und IBM betreiben offene Software-Forschung
Sieben US-Universitäten nehmen an einem Programm des IT-Konzerns IBM teil, das eine Erweiterung der vor einem Jahr verkündeten Initiative "Open Collaboration" darstellt. Die Universitäten Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Purdue, Rutgers, von Kalifornien in Berkeley und in Davis sowie das Georgia Institute of Technology beteiligen sich laut Mitteilung an Forschungsprojekten zur Verbesserung von Software-Qualität, von Sicherheits- und Datenschutzvorkehrungen und von Diagnose-Software im Gesundheitswesen. Ein weiterer Schwerpunkt widmet sich "Mathematical Optimization Software". Das Besondere an diesen Projekten ist, dass sich die Beteiligten verpflichten, Patente oder Patentanträge kostenlos für die Implementierung der davon betroffenen Standards oder Software zur Verfügung zu stellen. Dafür soll ausreichen, die Code-Beiträge unter eine frei zu wählende Open-Source-Lizenz zu stellen. ... (anw/c't)
Interessant, Open Collaboration, ein neues Buzzword :-P.

Google Patent search

Thursday, 14 December 2006 | uncategorized | comments

Everexpanding almighty google has a new service: The Google patent search. Thanks to Greg KH I know now about some crucial patents, like the one on a Monkey shaped camera bag. I'm not saying I am against patents per se. (although the evolutionary nature of software development should make it *very* difficult to get one, if at all). However, seeing the level of invention that is actually patented, I am not so sure the current system isn't completely broken.