Monthly Archives: September 2012

Hello from CERN

We’ve made it and it is actually our second day at CERN. I am sitting at a table in the CERN cafeteria, a sunny spot right next to one of their magnets they have on display. More than 1000 of these are somewhere below me, in a 27 km long ring. That’s where they accelerate junks of protons to have them finally collide.

As I am sitting here sipping my coffee I enjoy the spirit and the excitement of all of the researchers and “science tourists” around me who have come from all over the world to participate in and witness R&D at the forefront of science and technology!

Yesterday we had the chance to talk to one of the scientists from the core team of the Neutrino experiment, where in short they send Muon Neutrinos from CERN to some place in Italy (roughly 730 km from here) to see if some of the Muon Neutrinos change into Tau Neutrinos, as predicted by some theory that is not confirmed yet. I am sure you’ve heard about that experiment, which was in the media excessively because of some measurement setup error which lead to the suggestion that neutrinos may be faster than light. It’s just so much more exciting to really talk to the people who actually do the experiments as opposed to just following some copy-and-paste flawed media coverage by some journalist who might not even care. I’m getting goose bumps again as I think about those interesting discussion!

ATLAS experiment control room

LHC computing grid

CERN, here we come!

We’re on our way! As I am writing this we are on the bus already!

The IEEE student branch JKU Linz is going to CERN. There are 14 more hours of bus driving ahead of us. But I have a feeling that this is absolutely doable given the amount of beer that people brought on the bus ;) — Not to forget everybody’s excitement that is even more energizing and rewarding. I am really looking forward to this once-in-a-lifetime trip!

Spotlight: Keepass

F*** you IEEE admins!

I really don’t get it how something like this can happen in an organization that prides itself on being the scientific home to some of the most respected researchers in the field of computer and data security.

Anyway, this incident triggers me to start this new thing that I am going to call “Spotlight”, where I’d like to present nice tools, must-haves, must-does and other stuff. In the shadow of recent events I’d like to point out a little program to you called Keepass.

The problem for many people with a password leak like the one IEEE committed is, that they use just one password for all the services they use. Just one password for twitter, facebook, mail, skype, maybe even credit cards, bank accounts, you-name-it. When one institution leaks your password you are really screwed! On the other hand users often use trivial passwords such as password, 12345, … , just because they would have to remember so many passwords otherwise. But there is just no way around: You have to use a strong, unique password ( for every service you use – and you may NOT write it down or store it in plain text!

This is where Keepass comes into play. It’s a password safe, where you can store all your unique and strong passwords in an encrypted file. Trust me the encryption that they use is really good, waaaay more unlikely to be broken than IEEE, your local cable company or any other entity leaking your password. Of course if someone gets your master password, which you use to unlock this file, you are screwed again. But if its a good password and if you don’t write it down or give it to anyone, you should be good.

My password safe has 70 passwords stored in it. The IEEE leaking my password means that whoever has my password may now log on to my IEEE account. This is still horrible enough, they could eaves drop in on all my IEEE emails, order IEEE goodies and membership subscriptions, but that’s nothing compared to the damage that could have been done if I had used the same password for all of the 70 services I use.

Give it a try, it’s one of the most powerful tools that I use!

What’s Your Favorite Font?

Yay! New fonts for my blog. Here’s a photo of the before and after effect (click to enlarge)

Do you notice the fonts that are used now? For quite some time I’ve actually been using mainly the three typefaces that are now also used on my blog, which are:

  • Futura – it’s one of the greatest San Serif fonts I know. I love it for its simplistic geometrical shapes, as well as for its elegent lower case ascenders.
  • Palatino Linotype Regular – actually I am using URW Palladio Regular, which is an Open Source Version of Palatino Linotype. I love it for its beauty and more importantly for its high legibility. By the way I am also going to use this one as main font for my thesis, which is going to be based on André Miede classicthesis LaTeX package.
  • Palatino Linotype Italic – This is probably the most beautiful typeface – ever. It’s bad that it is not as legible as its regular version, but hey its soooo beautiful! Just zoom in on this ampersand and you’ll know what I am talking about:




Of course fonts meeting web involves some technical stuff too, actually quite a lot of it. Just for the sake of completeness I’d like to refer you to Wikipedia and the site that helped me with the font conversion:

If you want to learn more about about fonts I’d like to recommend  “Just my type” by Simon Garfield, which has paid my bedside table a visit just recently. By the way: What’s your most favorite font and why?

Last Call to Passenger Sinnesrausch

The last three days were marked by the visit of my good friend Christoph Bauer. I know him trough “Pro Scientia” ( and we’ve stayed in contact since we first met at the Pro Scientia summer convention about a year ago.

I really enjoyed his visit. Even tough I can not come up with any reasonable explanation, of how anybody his age can have such a broad and mature cultural, political, scientific, you name-it, knowledge, I can say that having conversations with him is one of the greatest delights one can get!

Apart from talking, listening to Bach, Mozart, Wagner, tasting great spirits we also explored some of the cultural highlights Linz has to offer. We managed to get hold of some of the last tickets to the exhibition “Sinnesrausch”, which hosts a couple of installations centered around the common theme “Sensory Sensation” and leads over the rooftops of Linz. Most of the installations are interactive, here’s a photo of Christoph trying the “super-lense-chair”.

If you think that exploring Linz and its wonders is for you too, just drop me a line. I am always happy to welcome my friends to Linz!