Archive for February, 2007

Shopping in Turkey …

… is like ordering books in Sweden. That’s of course not always or in general true, but today I had to think about both and saw a strong correlation between them. Every time I visit Turkey, I have to go shopping in Istanbul (That is Stockholm for Sweden, even though Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey), especially in the Grand Bazaar . And normally I have a rough idea of thinks I wanna buy, so I go in stores ask for them and if they don’t have it I go to the next one. That would be the “Soll Zustand” (target state ?), but the “Ist Zustand” (actual state ?) is mostly quite different. If you go in a store and ask for a certain shaped shirt in a desired colour, you will never hear “Sorry, but we don’t have them!”, but rather you will get black tea and if you look very interested also something to eat, e.g. a D├Âner Kebab. While you are drinking and eating the staff tries to bring you everything they have except that particular thing you are looking for. After having finished the snack one (or better: I) feel so indebted to them that I buy something else.

Today, I send an email to a Swedish book store and ask for a particular book (this one) and what I got was

We have no copies in stock, […]. Maybe you know we stock another title “Turbulent Flows” Pope […]

I mean for a layman there is nothing wrong with it, but for a nerd that is soooo Turkish ­čÖé I am not saying that it is bad, but where is the tea and the D├Âner or at least juice from concentrate and something typically Swedish to eat.

I love LaTex in combination with JabRef

People hate and love, due to their emotions, at least most of the time we express our feelings based on our emotions and not on our thoughts. The latter should be a characteristic of human beings, but most of the time we tend to act in a different way. Anyway, who hates also loves and here is what I love: LaTex in conjunction with Jabref. Especially for those who have a large database of references Jabref is a time saver and it helps to organise the mess one normally deals with. But it wasn’t until yesterday that I realised my love to both of them. It happend around 5 p.m. when I stumbled (how often do I stumble nowadays?) over these export filters for JabRef. An example of the result of these different export filters looks like this.

For those who still use WORD or WORKS and still think they use the best software on the market: raise your head and salute LaTex, which by the way is freeware. You will never return to them again!

I hate Lexmark

I have a cheap Lexmark printer at home, which I use for scanning and printing. Unfortunately I was never happy with it and had always problems when trying to print out a single page. Stupid as I am I was too lazy to carry the garbage back to the store where I bought it. I don’t have time for such things. I rather suffer and hope that it might work one day. So more than one year later, today, while trying to print out some forms for the German embassy I got pissed off and my wife had a hard time to calm me down. At least I had to inform the company about my feelings about their rubbish, which I did. After submitting it I feel much better. The letter is below, but in German, because if I am angry I still write in German:

ich melde mich nicht bei Ihnen weil ich denke, dass mir geholfen werden kann, sondern eher um meinen Frust abzulassen. Vor ca. einem Jahr habe ich einen Lexmark X5250 gekauft, weil ich etwas G├╝nstiges zum Scannen und Drucken brauchte. Da fiel mir ihr Produkt ins Auge. Leider wusste ich bis dahin nicht, dass billig auch billig sein muss. Einige Tage lief alles bestens, danach weigerte sich der Drucker mehr als ein Blatt Papier einzuziehen, und seit kurzem weigert er sich ├╝berhaupt Papier einzunehmen. Man muss immer sch├Ân das Papier hineindr├╝cken damit er es ├╝berhaupt einzieht. Ich weiss nicht, ob dass der Sinn des Druckers ist, oder ob sie ihn darauf programmiert haben, dass er nur Geldscheine schluckt, wie ich das ja beim Erwerb von teurer Lexmark Tinte gew├Âhnt bin. Bieten Sie eigentlich auch ein Treffen f├╝r Lexmark Gesch├Ądigte an? Denn so etwas w├Ąre f├╝r mich genau das Richtige. Ich bin immer kurz davor den Drucker zu zerschlagen oder aus dem Fenster zu schmeissen, aber noch druckt er hin und wieder eine halbe Seite aus und zum Scannen l├Ąsst er sich ja auch noch benutzen. Nat├╝rlich k├Ânnen Sie nichts daf├╝r, und ich mache Ihnen auch keinen Vorwurf dass Sie den M├╝ll seelenruhig verkaufen k├Ânnen. Aber w├Ąre es nicht besser, zumindest f├╝r das Seelenheil der Endnutzer den Vermerk: “Vorsicht M├╝ll” an die Verpackung anzubringen, so w├╝sste man sofort, was man sich antut, wenn man sich Lexmark antut.
Sie fragen sich bestimmt, was diese Email soll? Genau, dass frage ich mich auch. Aber irgendwie hatte ich den Drang Ihnen mitzuteilen, wie fertig mich ihr Produkt macht. Ich w├╝rde Ihnen diese Zeilen ja gerne per Post zukommen lassen, damit sie sich jene einrahmen k├Ânnen, aber – damit w├Ąren wir wieder beim Thema – der billige Drucker ist dazu leider nicht in der Lage, denn alles was er ausspuckt ist schief oder zerschnitten (ich wusste nicht, dass er auch als Aktenvernichter dienlich ist?).
Ich m├Âchte keinerlei Antwort von Ihnen, sondern investieren Sie die Zeit darin, dass keiner Ihrer Endnutzer eines Tages Amok l├Ąuft, nur weil Sie M├╝ll nicht als solches gekennzeichnet haben.

Ihr am Ende seiner Nerven stehender Endnutzer,
wAnNaBe NeRd

How to grade exams?

Just found few minutes to check my emails and surf while our little sunny boy is trying to sleep. And – as usual – I stumbled about something funny, which – and again as usual – I had to post here. Grading exams is always troubling for teachers, because no matter how much time they spend to make it fair some students will never be satisfied. There are of course also methods to grade exams much faster and without headaches.

The following method seems promising, but again there are always problems, which will become clear when reading the whole story:


It is snowing in Stockholm, since few days. It it is really getting cold outside. Seems winter is approaching its peak. For a German, who is used to warm temperatures, be it indoor or outdoor, living in Sweden during cold winter days was and is quite tough. The heaters do not get warmer then normal temperatures, i.e. slightly above 22┬░C. And that was the case for all of our 3 accommodations. I thought that something might be wrong with our heater so I asked the caretaker of our building, but he told us that that is normal and we should wear thick things during winter. I thought he was joking, but he was serious. Since one year we have an additional electrical heater, to just heat one room so that at least in one room we could survive without wearing winter cloths at home. Since the baby is here, we used the electrical heater to heat “his” room. Today, while being half day on pappaledig (parental leave), I used the heater for my TV-Computer-work room, because I didn’t want to disturb him with the bright light in the room. It seems that the cold room is much better for him, at least he sleeps much better there, even though I check every hour if his heart beats. When my wife came home she got angry: She saw me with sweets sitting in front of the PC, TV is on, heater in my room and the little baby is alone in a big cold room. It took me some time to convince her that my decision was not selfish, but rather caring and thoughtful. But now I am the Rabenvater (“raven daddy”; German for bad father).

I mean I am not as mean as Brian in the following clip.

I tried it out (not as mean and loud as he) and it seems to work ­čÖé


Just found few minutes to add a Youtube video to my blog which is hilarious. Since I came home, I cooked, did the dishes and I almost finished laundry. Now I just have few minutes for a Verschnaufpause (sit-down?). We all know the funny pics from stupid or clever answers to exams (whether it is clever or stupid lies in the eyes of the viewer (is that proper English?)- “Im Auge des Betrachters”), e. g.

, but since Youtube we have also access to their counterparts in video format, as the following clip illustrates:

From peeing to puking

I lost my patience with the “Peeing on daddy” contest (part 1, 2 and 3), because our son doesn’t pee so often on people anymore. Hence, hereby I close the sampling of “peeing on people” incidents and go over to something else. Around the same time our son lost his affection towards peeing on people he started to puke on them. During the usual B├Ąuerchens (burp? I am not sure how to translate it correctly. Are there some Germans out there, who could shed light on the subject?) he pukes quite often. We were told that he should aufsto├čen (belch?) before we fill him up completely with breast milk, but he pumps quite a lot out every time I perform the B├Ąuerchen on him. I am not sure how he functions, but I am not completely wrong, if I shake him a little bit in order to extort a R├╝lpser (also belch?) from him? At least that’s what I remember from the lectures at the hospital. I mean its all about fluids, isn’t it? Milk in, urine and excrement out, that’s the black box I was told of a baby has to be the first weeks. But now he is almost puking against time. Today, I am on pappaledig (that’s when daddy stays at home to look after the baby, how would one translate that into English or German?) for 50%, just for the time my wife is following her courses at university, and within 1 hour he puked 3 times on me. I even shook him several times after each puking in order to be sure that I can change my shirt. But he managed somehow to find some milk in his body to puke it again on me. There are so many bugs and since how many years have there been babies now and still there is no list with common bugs I could print out and follow whenever he does something unexpected. Mommy is coming home soon, baby is finally sleeping and I had some time to check my emails. I am wondering how many hours he will let us sleep this night? But how much he pees or pukes on me, every time he smiles everything what happened is immediately forgotten.

February 2007
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