Friday, October 30, 2009

I finally found the tools I wanted since a long time. Small precision tools to fix mac books, computers, glasses and just in general tiny things.
I think for 13$ it was a bargain.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

just discovered a new artist. Katie Melua and I actually really like her album 'Pierce by Pierce' to bad that it's only in 256kpbs and not 321 or higher.

But she has a wonderful voice, it just sounds great and relaxing. More or less perfect after a day of work.

Help I found a new addiction, buying CD's on iTunes...

the last weekend we decided to take a small trip to vegas which turned into an absolutely fun trip.

First of all we had a 2009 Toyota Avalon with close to 300HP as a rental car, which got an average of 30+mpg. Short plenty of power, plenty of space and affordable.

after driving for 8 hours or so we arrived in Vegas shortly before sunset and rented a room at the Excalibur for 99$ a night. Divided by 3 person = 33$ for staying in Vegas. Can't get much better.

After a couple of hours sightseeing and taking a lot of pictures.

we decided to grab some food. Well I decided since I really wanted to try some 'professional' brisket sandwich to compare it to mine.
For this we went to the supposedly best bbq place in town.

well, if this was the best place. I do not want to go to the worst place. Cause the food was over spiced and rather bad. That the waiter gave himself a 17.** % tip for lousy service didn't really help either.

At least I managed to take lot's of pictures of pretty motorcycles and some waitress posed on one of the harleys rather badly. Actually it was that bad that I did not even bother to keep the picture.

after this we tried to watch the water show at the bellagio, but sadly were to late and only got a quick shot of it

and decided to gamble instead a bit at the bellagio.

While we were there some random lady asked nico if he'd like to have a couple of show tickets and after a bit forth and back we figured out the tickets are for free and so we took them. It were 3 tickets, we were 3 people. Short perfect timing and combinaton.

The tickets turned out to be for Cirque du Solei - O and it was an amazing show. I actually ordered the CD afterward on my iphone.

 as you can see in the picture we were very close (4th row) and in the middle of the row. Short perfect tickets, which resale for 140-160 a piece normally.

After we spend the night in our fantastic hotel, we left and drove to the grand canyon.

We made a short stop at the Hoover Dam, fairly unimpressive.

and discovered some way more impressive chipmunks

yes our priorities were clear.But after all It was actually to see how low the water reserves are in Nevada/California.

normally the water covers the white area of the stone.

Anyway we continued to drive over the over Hoover Dam into Arizona. Another state done of my US map btwand arrived a couple of hours later at the Grand Canyon.

There we camped under an amazing sky full of stars

And like always we didn't plan very well and it turned out my sleeping bag was way to cold for these temperatures. Because originally we planned to camp at the Mohave Reserve, but it looked to boring that we decided todo something else instead. Short I was freezing all night and some animal kept pocking me non stop. I'm really shure it was a grizzly bear or mountain lion masked as this little fellow

he was actually so upset, that I didn't leave him into my tent, that he attempted to jump down the Grand Canyon the next day. For example his view was something like this....

No it's noy at an eagle, it's a raven in the picture...

Back to the topic. In the morning we made some breakfast on my sturdy little camp stove. Or in other words some tea and a tomato soup with pita bread. And continued to drive the last 5 miles to the grand canyon.
On our way there we discovered a bock (deer) who showed us that bathroom are optional...

I sadly did not manage to shoot him from the front, since a big bus came and kept honking at me to move my car off the road. I was also worried that he attacks us. Anne mentioned she can outrun him, but I was not to sure about this...

Once we finally arrived at the grand Canyon we took the opportunity to shoot hundreds of pictures. Since you never know when you are there again...

Afterward we drove back to Las Vegas, which was surprisingly quick. We only need like 4 hours or so. Afterall it was just one long straight road more or less...

One our way we discovered an old Airplane museum

And some strange looking houses....

When we finally arrived in vegas we managed find an even cheaper hotel. Called Hooters, which was not great. But 49$ for 3 People was a good price for this room and it looked ok. We even manged to watch the water show at the Bellagio this time

And loose even more money....

Also a tradition is, if you visit vegas you need to take a picture of fancy cars like...

a ferrari

a viper

and this was our weekend. 

As a final treat was that we had a nice Dinner at Buckhorns were an elderly gentleman gave us a 1994 Beringer Cabernet Reserve for free. It's a 140$ bottle of wine I could totally NOT appreciate...

The only sad part was that my wonderful Ashley was not with us on the Trip. Well maybe she makes it to the next trip. After all I'm going to San Diego in a week, afterward New Jersey and than Germany.

live is more fun with the right motivation and a couple of sweet deals:

a) 80$ instead of 400$, 2 weeks old - (Denon 1940ci) - nevermind seller backed out of it and can't even give him a bad review so I ended up paying 120$. Still a nice deal.
Second order got canceled too,  now I found one for 150$. I'm getting slightly frustrated...

b) 220$ instead of 699$, 200h used - (Denon AH-D5000)

c) 100$ no deal (Little Dot 1+, want to test a simple version before I go overboard again with the model I want)

d) Little Dot - Dac_I digital analog converter a bit to much money, but was recommended...

e) Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon (SACD) - 10$ (I know I'm predictable), when will they release a SACD of 'The Wall' and 'Wish you were here' I wounder. Well I would be happy with the normal CD sometime.

and the best part is, If I don't like the headphones or the player and decide to sell them I can sell them without a loss and most likely make money out of it. Otherwise I would never had bought them.

Other SACD's order;

Norah Jones
Dire Straits - Brother In Arms
Elton John
Pink Floyed - Pulse

Now time to order tickets! for christmas :)

but the really annoying part is that the stuff need 1 - 3 weeks to get delivered :(

Monday, October 26, 2009

live is frustrating,

since I'm back from my wonderful vegas/grand canyon roadtrip, more about this in another upcomming post. I have nothing but issues with my software.

  • I have to increase the performance of the export by factor 8 - 10, ok a nice challenge
  • switch over the eclipse 3.5.* and nothing compiles anymore
  • a deadline is coming up till everything has to work
  • I have to perfect some features

and the stuff I actually really want to work on, just keeps piling up, like the quality and quantification module :(

Saturday, October 17, 2009

just bought my TomTom Navigation System app for my iphone. Let's see if it works better than my trusted 4 year old hiking GPS...

I just picked up my rental car, a 2008 Toyota Avalon and while it's a nice and fun car to drive. I would rather have a passat. The Toyota is just so whisper quite and doesn't purr at all. But well it does has close to 300hp and accelerates quite nicely and I'm happy that I have cruise control set to limit my self at 80mph.

But otherwise, all plastic inside :(

And I wanted the promised nissan maxima....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

last night was a slightly different night of going out dancing
 a friend of mine called me earlier that she is hosting a vip event
at the dream ultra lounge in sacramento and obviously I wanted togo

I did not expsect that this meant free alcohol of any kind and as much as you want
the vip party turned out to be only 8 people, including the head of security
and owner of the club and a couple of models.

short it was a fun night

this morning I started to research what this actually cost to host such a party. The smallest package is one bottle of alcohol, a couple of mixers and admission for 8 people. This fun cost 350$

now what did we have was:

2 different kinds of vodka
1 bottle of spiced rum
1 bottle of martini
couple of mixers

and we were between 8 and 15 people. Just coming and going. Which translates into  a custom package of 1100$ and 4 hours spend.
Way to rich for my blood...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

it was the year 2001 and I was highly into HIFI and spend countless amount of money on this hobby. Now 8 years later I'm still missing one thing of my audio equiqument and thinking about buying it again over and over again. At least once a month.

My beautiful Sennheiser HD600 headphones which I used to own and had to sell in 2003 because I was short on cash.

Sure it was nut's to spend 600$ on a pair of headphones no question about it. But I'm still considering doing it again and buying a nice amplifier for them. The big question is just, are mp3 files good enough?

The funny thing is, I do not miss my Dolby surround system or my speakers, which are now glorious plant support...

well if I see the statistic of my saving account right I could assume that I can ditch my car in 4 month and buy a replacement.
Right now If somebody would offer me 2k for it, he can have it and I wouldn't loose sleep about it. It's just amazing what I spend on it in the last 6 month...

  • blown ecu
  • keeps killing crankshaft position sensors => see ecu
  • flat tire
  • still possible blown catalytic converter
I guess  I never ever buy a used german car again. The next car is an old jeep or mustang. At least they have no electronics which can die...

This one looks good..

Monday, October 05, 2009

Well I'm back from Cambridge.

And I can only say if you ever have the chance to visit it. Definately do it. Sadly I had not much spare time between meetings, preparing my talk, practicing and catching up on sleep.

But at least I spend 4 hours on Friday running around and making a personal tour on the Kings College Chapel Roof, which gave you an amazing view over the city.

Short I want to go there again sometime and see more off it.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

in the last 62 month I've been on more airplanes than I ever though possible or wanted to be. Which included me staying at a lot of different airports and so I write down which ones are great, good or to be avoided at all costs.

The scale:

awesome - I was completely blown away
good - nothing really to complain about
indefferent - I don't really care
acceptable - minor issues, but ok
awful - never ever again

let's see

sacramento = acceptable
  • diners/bars close to early
  • check in is extremely slow
  • free wifi
san francisco = good
  • best airport food
  • if you don't fly united, than great and quick check ins
  • some more signs would be great
  • lot's of bars to choose from
  • slow customs/immigrations
chicago = indifferent
  • great architecture
  • slow customs/immigrations
  • food is ok
portland = awesome
  • extremely quick customs and immigrations, all done under 5 minutes
  • good bars
  • enough signs
los angeles = awful, avoid at all cost
  • directions are awful
  • extremely long in immigrations
  • friendly personal
  • impossible layout
  • bars close before 9pm
  • good clothing stores
ontario = indifferent
  • it's been so long since I've been there, can't even recal good or bad things
charles de gaule, paris = indifferent
  • slightly chaotic
  • frustrating layout
frankfurt am main = indifferent
  • frustrating layout
  • fast customs
  • quickish immigration
helsinki = acceptable
  • slightly chaotic
kopenhagen = good
  • great food
  • pricey
  • lot's of light
  • decent layout
berlin, tegel = acceptable
  • long checkin times
  • confusing layout
washington, dc = indifferent
amsterdam = indifferent
london heathrow = good
  • very good directions
  • lots of walking
  • nice shops and food
  • friendly personal

Friday, October 02, 2009

so the last 2 days I ended up spending in cambridge at the 10/2009 metacancer meeting.

Review sofar:

The meetings had some interresting talks, specially the impact of food and cancer. Like the risk to get some kinds of cancer is 75% if you eat 100g or more meat a day. Now the risk is reduced by 75% if you eat 100g or more fish a day.
But most of the meetings were a bit to abstract for me, since they are really not my field and I had the only talk about computer science.

Cambridge it self is a little wonderful town and it would be great to live here. The flair of the city is just amaizing and I really love the old architecture. That the local rugby team helped me at a pub to order food an drinks was just amazing.
Short the people are very friendly here and helped me countless times when I got lost...

I was only nearly run over twice. Thanks to people driving on the wrong side of the road. Well you could call it other side. But I did not exspect the way people turn into streets...

Picture wise, well I try to take some pictures today after the meeting is over. Because my flight is already at 4pm on saturday, which translates in me leaving Cambridge by 9am latest.