Six Months In A Post

Sun, Fun, Party
Work, Life, Music
Friends, Trips, Experience
New, Wild, Fresh

Can’t think of more at the moment, nevertheless going abroad for internship was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Thanks for reading and being with me. See you all soon somewhere around the world πŸ™‚

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Reality related education in Hagenberg

In the fourth semester at the University of Applied Sciences in Hagenberg, my project group started creating a mobile flirt application, FastFlirt. The aim of that application was to

  • be very easy to handle,
  • bring people with similar interests together
  • and show good results very quickly.

During our research, we discovered a similar application already available on the market, which had the major flaw to rely on text messaging. A user first has to send the current location and afterwards got information abount people currently at the same place. This might work for static situations, but on train it would fail.

FastFlirt automatically sends Geo information (current GPS data) to a central server and delivers results instantly. One thought we had, was that the great diversity of mobiles and mobile operating systems could be a problem. Not anymore with the new iPhone 3G. And some guys really think that this is the next big thing on a global view:

Basically they consider an iPhone 3G with integrated mobile community support would reshape how we interact with each other. An they are right, why didn’t Apple implement something like that? A google search with relevant keywords doesn’t bring up any good results at all.

Building relationships through electronic devices (facebook, flirt sites,…) has the drawback of beeing very superficial. Most people hardly fill out profiles, and who really maintains profiles on social networking sites on a regular basis? It’s usable to get to know people very quickly, on a basis of a few significant facts as matching music favourites, age, … But how could we push this very basic matching?

The next step of flirt sites (or mobile flirt application) after there was a matching, reading through the suggested profile and maybe sending E-Mails to each other for a certain amount of time, will be to meet in reality and check how reality compares to the virtual impression. At this stage, a lot of time has already been invested in finding out more about each other. And the decision to find out more about a particular person was based on very basic matching facts. Wouldn’t it be better to start from another direction, and match people based on their very personal thoughts, ideas, dreams,…?

A personal web diary application could serve as a framework for this idea. Can you remember what you did four weeks ago? Or two months ago? Or can you see certain topics in your life emerge, as others probably decline in interest? This additional functionality could motivate more people to use that service. In the background, the systems matches people based on their entries.

The difference to ordinary blogs is not obvious: Blogs usually don’t contain the very private thoughts of a person, thoughts you’d maybe not even share with a single other person. In the new system you’d be encouraged to trust it and write down everything you got on your mind though. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said: “Writing stories is one way to get rid of past things”. The service could also be advertised as a tool for your psyche, your mental healthiness.

People can only read other peoples entries if they match on certain topics. And also then, only parts of the entries are accessible. A special feature for premium users could include to be able to read more that just an extract.

Some people might find it useful to not automatically get matched with others, but to decide when they’d like to get matched. “Press the button and find out who’s like you!”.

If you have any ideas, suggetions, interest… in those ideas please let me know.

Be there or be square

‘Be there or be square’ was the headline of a housparty of a friend of mine a few months ago. Well, yes, my last post was quite a time ago. I don’t really liked writing for the past few weeks, what is probably because of your’re getting more and more involved in every day live of where you are: in work-life of my university, private-life with friends, and my life, I’m still kind of on my own. Well, that wont change, I know that there will come the time when it’s time to go.

More and more people are leaving now. Especially the exchange students, who were here for one semester for about 3 months, are leaving for holidays an Australia vacation now. I met some really nice guys, and we probably will catch up in Sydney for New Years Eve. The firework should be great there πŸ™‚ And if I’m staying in Sydney at this time, I’ll still have a good time. I really love speaking English all day long, it’s getting better and better. Especially when I talk to Germans it’s great to speak a language, where nobody of us is professional. Some of them are trying to speak German, but I don’t really care about German. I love English, and it’s one of the reasons why I’m here, to learn some English. So why speak German? I’m not like those Asian guys grouping together and talking their language all the time. That’s kind of boring. Not just for us, must be boring for them too. As soon as I’m kind of interested in Australians, I have to talk their language, otherwise I’ll fail. And nobodys’s perfect, especially not oversees students πŸ™‚

Today we celebrated Kim’s farewell, she’s going to leave for Germany on Tuesday, We’re going to catch up somewhere in Europe probably. Would be quite cool. Some of the guys I met are going to be in Europe for the next semester. So there’s a good chance to meet some of them. Especially the Austrian guys from around Upper Austria. But Germany and Greece is not that far away either. It’s just exciting seeing all those people doing the same thing as so many other people, who already took this step.

By the way, this weekend was about halftime for my internship here. A bit of a summary for the last few weeks:

  • We got some search engine log data from a VERY famous computer company.
  • For the last few weeks, we’re trying to analyze this data
  • To get the data, we proposed a speacial thing to do with the data
  • Now we’re kind of running out of time: Just about next week to go, then we have to deliver results
  • We, this is are two Lab members, Gavin, Tim, and me.
  • So, tomorrow and over the weekend our nice little two Java programs are going to analyze the data
  • And at the beginning of next week we hopefully got a nice breakthrough πŸ™‚

I’m helping here and there, trying to make things easier for the guys. I feel like an intern, and would never say to be something else. I read papers, but don’t do any serious research, I think about how to solve problems and suggest my ideas, but never really have all the responability to get results. So just how it’s meant to be, it’s great!

This week I got a parcel from Teneriffe. My parents went for vacation, and sent me a book and lollys from there. They also sent some nuts, but Australian Post decided to take out those nuts because of Quarantine reasons. I could send those nuts back to Austria, but it’s about 45 bucks to do this. Well, it’s about half a kilo of nuts, maybe I should do it…

So people, I hope you liked reading another post from Down Under. If you have any ideas, how to make this nice life a bit nicer, let me know. My grandmo is gonna send me some cookies for Christmas, hope those Post guys don’t eat them. And I also expect some Austrian guys on their around the world journey around Christmas, maybe we’re going to a nice island close to Adelaide before. The best thing for them: They probably can stay in my house in a room which is going to be empty for a few weeks. They just stay for a few days, so it should be no problem.

What I just thought of: There are a lot of blogs like this out there, especially about KWM internships around the world (see the link bar to the right). Most of people started to write, when their internship started. But it seems like the longer they do their internship, the less they write. Why’s that? I’d love to read a lot more about your daily life and work. What you’re doing in Vienna, what you’re thinking in Munich. What are you exploring in Stuttgart? And what about Berlin? What’s up in Wisconsin? Some people seem to write quite constantly and provide some insight to their lifes: I know whats up in Canada, and I know what’s going on in Stockholm. But there’s so much more outside. So, guys, please start writing again. I love reading your impressions from home and around the world πŸ˜‰

Just another little thingy here: FH Hagenberg started again. That means, I have to do some stuff beside my internship over the Internet. That was quite tough in the first days for me. It just sucked. Reading all those posts and then trying to formulate my own opinion to a topic where everything has been said already. But now I’m getting more and more used to it.

To conclude with a questions: When there’s a person outside you are feeling very close to, how do you know what your relationship to this person is or could be? I thought about asking, which I might do. But sometimes words are just boring… πŸ˜‰

Love Story…

…, noooot πŸ˜‰ Anyway, three weeks ago, it was a Saturday night, I met Anna. We had some beer and talked about this and that. She’s very interested in Austria and sports. I was very interested in Australia and Aussie slang. And indeed I learned a few new Aussie slang words in the upcoming weeks.

Back to track. I told Anna about my dream to become a diver and this special offer in Glenelg beach. 800 bucks, and bring a friend for free. She was excited as, and instantly decided to do this course with me. Well, that was quick, I thought. Course started on Friday, we met on Monday, Labour Day, for a walk in the mountains. Afer a nice drive, we visited the ‘Whispering Wall’ (you can whisper to each other over hundreds of meters using a huge wall), walked for a few hours in the forest and finally saw two Kangaroos. Neat!

Next day I organized everything for the course. The day after we picked up our learning material (DVD and 200+ pages diver manual). On Thursday before the course we started to learn everything. And on Sunday we passed the exam. Inbetween we had our first pool dives and some class lessons. First part well done.

Second part was this weekend in Edithburgh, a 300 km drive from Adelaide. The group and two instructors met there Friday night. On Saturday we’re all amazed after our first open water dive. After an hour we did the second one, which was even better, we stayed at the bottom for almost 60 min in about 7 m. The main purpose of these and the two following dives on Sunday was to practise skills like: buddy check (steps: BCD, Weight, Air, Releases, Fins) descending(steps: Signal, Orientation, Replace, Time, Equalize, Descend), ascending (steps: Signal, Time, Ascend, Rotate, Swim), buoyancy (which is a bitch! we had dry-suits, which are as opposed to wet-suits completely closed and fillable with air), emergency ascend and methods, hand signals (pretty easy to learn), BCD and weightbelt removal on the surface, mask clearing and much more…

In short, a great experience. Each Scuba Diver takes a certain risk of decompression illness (bubbles of nitrogen in your bloodstream, which expand when you go to the surface and can keep the blood from streaming), which occurs in case of ascending too quickly after beeing too deep for too long. Responsible planning minimizes that risk. Scuba Diving can be learned by everyone, as long as you are physically (the cylinders and weightbelts are heavy on land!) and mentally (know how to plan dives, and don’t exceed your planned limits) alright.

Beside diving I couldn’t keep away from houseparties πŸ˜€

Weekend

Had a nice party weekend. Yesterday the AFL (Australian Football League) Finals took place, and people went crazy in the city afterwards. They know how to party.

At first, it seemed like me buying some books in the city and returning afterwards to my place for a nice read. Well, Mike (from Germany) texted me if I’d like to join going to Glenelg for some Frisbee beach session. Why not? So we went there, but it was too windy to play. The guys had some beer cans with them, so we had them near the beach. But generally, beaches are “dry zones”, means alcohol drinking is not allowed there. Right when we opened the cans, a police car stopped by. Officers told us to ex the beers, and they won’t fine us. So we did, and saved 200 bucks each, a total of 800. Thank you guys! Nice one, we thought, and went for a walk, direction city. After half an hour walking and chatting, somebody suggested to go into a pub, so we did, had some drinks and moved on back to the city. There we split, I met with Gavin and Mark (from French speaking Switzerland) in Duke of Yorks, where everybody was dancing like crazy. So I just went crazy too and enjoyed myself and people around me throughout the night πŸ™‚

More pics on facebook.

Intern News

At the end of the fourth week in Adelaide a short recall of topics:

Linux

Debian:

  • server setup, port configuration, JAVA application deployment
  • services: apache2, SSH, webmin, firestarter
  • configuration of sudoers, proxy configuration;
  • issues with blocking site partially solved with increasing time between requests (other options: running several instances of the application, randomize requests);
  • moved to server room, up and running.

Ubuntu:

  • desktop GUI setup;
  • Oracle setup following an excellent tutorial on http://www.pythian.com/blogs/968/installing-oracle-11g-on-ubuntu-804-lts-hardy-heron A tricky part was the creation of a database using dbca. All wizard steps where pretty smooth. There were no errors at all. But the last screen of the wizard just showed a Grey window without any buttons, so the process couldn’t be completed. Problem solved with disabling all visual effects in Ubuntu (System->Preferences->Appearance->Visual Effects->’None’);
  • without a startup script, the $ORACLE_SID has to be set to the database name before connecting with SQL Plus: export ORACLE_SID=dbname
  • connect to database using command history recall (‘Up’-Key): rlwrap sqlplus username

Commands: sed, cp, mv, nc, ssh, dhclient, ifconfig,…

Databases

Oracle

  • played with several SQL statements and PL/SQL procedures to determine relationship between queries and documents, starting with (query, doc1, doc2) triples. Each triple represents a graph; the graphs connected result in a ‘forest’ which can then be explored (emergent semantics);
  • wrote documentation

PostGres

As we’re running Macs in our Lab, we’d like to keep the TimeMachine funcionality on the Mac Pro where the database is going to run. Therefore, no Linux. In fact, there’s no Oracle 11g server distribution for MacOS. As we won’t need Oracle’s Spatial functionality like we thought before, we might port to PostGres.

Oracle – PostGres differences

Oracle PostGres
VARCHAR2(n) no VARCHAR2(n), use VARCHAR(n) instead
no autoincremention, use triggers instead auto incrementation data type SERIAL4
sequence.NEXTVAL, sequence.CURRVAL
  • nextval(‘sequence’)
  • currval(‘sequence’)
  • lastval (returns value most recently obtained)
  • setval(‘sequence’, bigintvalue)
PL/SQL unique constraint exception DUP_VAL_ON_INDEX UNIQUE_VIOLATION
RETURN RETURNS
DROP FUNCTION fname; DROP FUNCTION fname(TYPE, TYPE,…);
EXEC fname(arg1, arg2,…); SELECT fname(arg1, arg2,…);
Before creating a function: CREATE LANGUAGE plpgsql; define to use this language in function header: … RETURNS void AS $$ DECLARE …; after function creation: $$ LANGUAGE ‘plpgsql’;
DESC tablename; \d tablename;
START script.sql; \i script.sql;
Start client from command line: rlwrap sqlplus username sudo -u user psql database
Exit command line: exit \q
Show user tables: select table_name from user_tables; \dt

Morning Hour Has Gold In It’s Mouth

Maybe I should stop translating German phrases into English… Today I got up at 6 am, and that’s very early compared to what I’m used to on weekends. (Not going out yesterday paid off obviously.) So I had the exciting idea to grab my picture cam and go for a run. There’s also another pic, which is more related to my last post.