Monthly Archives: October 2012

Spotlight: Panzerballett

“Wellness-Death-Jazz” is printed in large letters across the T-shirts of some loyal fans who are head-banging right next to me. It is also what the guys on stage say their musical style is. Let me introduce to you: Panzerballett.

Oddly enough the head-bangers are not the only distinct group that the audience is composed of. There are also those of us who are apparently enjoying the musical fireworks in a more introverted way and who start clapping after each solo, as etiquette dictates. Even without hearing the music, just by looking at the audience, you can tell that Wikipedia is absolutely right by calling their music Jazz-Metal. But then of course you should hear their music!

Seemingly effortless they pump monstrous, rhythmically complex metal and jazz inspired themes, riffs and solos into the auditorium. What can I say: THEY ROCK! They’ve almost made me a heavy metal convert. And the best thing: they ask you to try this at home. From the shop on their website you can get transcriptions (thanks Waschtl for pointing this out to me ;) ), T-Shirts and also their new album CD Tank Goodness.

I am glad they played at the Kulturzentrum Hof in Linz and that I had a chance to be at their concert. And of course I got myself a copy of their brand new album.

Maintenance and Repairs

Today was all about maintenance and repair. It started with me mounting the winter tires. Austrian laws require your car to be equipped with winter tires from November 1st in case of ice or snow, which starting with November is to be expected any time.

And lo and behold, we saw our first snow just hours after I had mounted the winter tires! – The perfect weather to go swimming and do some body maintenance.

That’s just one of the good things about visiting my parents on weekends: They have this great but underrated resort nearby: The Welldorado. Well it’s not as big or luxurious as the huge ones, but on Saturdays there is always enough space in the sports pool for doing some lanes. An hour later or so, I was heading back to Linz. At first I wanted to practice piano, but then I decided to stick to the day’s main theme.

My electric piano is a Yamaha S90 ES, which I really like for it’s great piano voices and all the other things that you can do with it. However it is 7 years old now and some keys started to get sticky and the key response began to become uneven. So I decided to open it up and do some cleaning.

You can actually take out every single key to clean or replace it. What is interesting is that the keys did not get sticky because of me or anybody else pouring something over the keyboard (although not aware of me doing so, I had thought that this was the reason). The real source was exuberant grease that Yamaha had used and that had started to creep between the keys. Anyway now the piano plays as smooth as on the very first day!

All in all not much revolutionary happened today. I mainly spent with maintaining and repairing some of my tools. – But this is important, because they are the things that might help me do more exciting stuff someday!


The very first 48 hours of this week. Congratulations to all of us who’ve made it that far.

Just a quick update from my side (all times are CET military time)

Monday 10/22/2012

7:00 – 9:00: Preparation of the presentation for our lab meeting

9:00 – 12:00: Lab meeting. Due to the NDA we are all bound to, just a quick, innocent photo of the new EM simulation setup that we think of buying

12:00 – 12:30 Lunch

12:30 – 18:00 CST simulations

18:00 – 19:00 Quick run + shower. You can see my track here

19:00 – 20:00 Driving to Wels

20:00 – 22:00 Musikverein Thalheim Big Band Rehearsal: People have often asked me why they don’t read about negative things in my blog. So here’s one: I simply hate this Musikverein Thalheim Big Band Project. If you want my honest opinion about it: there’s no musical value in it and for me it is just a pure waste of time. Why do I not just quit it: Because it is also a social obligation. Here a photo shot from my perspective behind the piano

22:20 – 23:00 Driving back to Linz

Tuesday 10/23/2012

8:00 – 17:00 Work as usual (CST, reading papers, discussing problems, lunch … )

17:00 – 18:00 Going home, showering, commuting.

18:00 – 19:30 Dancing lessons. Please don’t tell her, but I am really grateful that Andrea insisted on taking this dancing class that we go to once a week! – It is really precious quality time that we spend together!

20:00 – 20:30 Reviewing some IEEE public relations articles + sending some e-mails.

20:30 – 22:30 Mechatroniker Stammtisch @ KHG Kellerbar. This is where you meet all the Mechatronics undergrads and a great place for recruiting new members for our research group as well as for the IEEE Student Branch. It is really good to see that there are so many motivated engineering students at JKU! Thank you guys, you’ve made my day.

23:00 – ? Blogging

I’ll log off now, time to go to bed, let’s build a new radar system tomorrow!

Update on the 30 Escapes Project

I recently blogged about me wanting to escape the office for one hour every day. So here’s an update of my progress.

Tuesday, 10/9/2012: That’s when I wrote the original blog article about my 30-day-escape project, in some strange but nice niche at the university library.

Wednesday, 10/10/2012: Coffee with my sister! She’s also a university assistant and PhD student here at JKU. Her office is within walking distance

Thursday, 10/11/2012: I spent with with preparations for the beer tasting experiment.

Friday, 10/12/2012: Lunch with Manuela, a friend from Leoben who is also a Pro Scientia scholarship holder. – By the way Pro Scientia applications for 2012/2013 are still open!

Monday, 10/15/2012: IEEE Student Branch Presentation with Andreas, Ernst and Robert for all first-year mechatronics and information electronics students. As always we showed John Cohn’s great engineering paradise video and our own “I am IEEE” video.

Tuesday, 10/16/2012: IEEE Student Branch Presentation again, now for all second-year mechatronics and information electronics students.

Wednesday, 10/17/2012: Today I went for a run (Click to see my track on Sports Trakcer). I run regularly, but I don’t even remember the last time when I ran before sunset. – Also the first time I’ve used the Science park showers that we are not supposed to use officially. Here’s a nice autumn photo that I shot during my run.

Beer Tasting, A Scientific Approach

It all started with a simple question “Is des Zipfa wirklich so a Foazgeschwoabat?” – “Is Zipfer beer really so bad after all”. Having a scientific background there was just no way around setting up an experiment: 8 experts, 12 different kinds of Austrian beer and a blind taste test. Here are some photos before and after I had removed the beer bottle labels

And here’s the panel of internationally acclaimed beer and microwave engineering experts ;)

I had prepared booklets where they could rate the different kinds of beers (#1-#12) by using points and words. It blew me away how many suitable adjectives they found for describing the smell, looks and taste of beer.


The results were similarly astonishing. I don’t want to bore you with statistics (that’s what we had LibreOffice Calc for), so here just some major findings:

  1. Zipfer scored the highest number of points from 2/8 testers -> “Zipfer is do koa so a Foazgschwoabat” – Zipfer beer is not so bad after all.
  2. Only one tester (out of 8!!) successfully identified the non-alcoholic beer Schlossgold
  3. The logical conclusion: Marketing really seems to have a huge influence on our favorite beer choices – more than the obvious parameters looks, smell and taste.

I don’t know when, but it was so much fun, I am sure I will do something like this again!!!

Escape for 30 Days

You know how they say that if you do something for too long, you will get yourself gridlocked? The way you should re-orientate your professional career at least every 7 years because staying in the same position for too long will make you become useless leading to a situation that is unwholesome for you, your profession and the company? So here’s the only logical conclusion: Try to escape everyday routines – at least in some ways. So that’s one part of the idea.

The other part comes from my lack to resist the temptation of trying this new idea, which I got from a TED talk that a friend of mine recommended. Feel free to watch it, it’s really short!

So here’s my resolution plan: Whenever possible I am going to try to escape the office for an hour every day for the next 30 days. Me and my laptop are going to explore the campus and I am going to use this time

  • to work on my thesis,
  • to write for my blog,
  • to just relax,
  • to do whatever comes my way.

What will your next 30-day-project look like?

Urfahraner Jahrmarkt with Friends

Way to much to do and too little time for blogging during the last week. So here’s just a quick update on Thursday night, which I spent at the Urfahraner Jahrmarkt with some college mates. For those of you who don’t know the Urfahraner Jahrmarkt, think of it as a small Oktoberfest, a fair with lots of amusement rides, foods, drinks …

After some rides, including the obligatory ghost train

we ended up in one of the beer halls.

It was great to see my college mates again and to hear their stories about what they have done since graduation. Hannes for instance told me about the 8000 Liter/Minute water pump that he just finished designing, which is going to be used by fire fighters. After a final location switch to the Herza’l Alm, which if you translate it literally means “alp of hearts”,

I went home, partly using the same way that I had to use on a daily basis to get from the dorm to the university during my time as an undergraduate student. Good to see that all the graffiti on the way are still subject to change!

Back to School

Hordes of students swamping the campus. Loooong lines in the cafeteria. The anxiety and excitement of freshmen. People asking me where they would find the building which we are standing right in front of. Yep – school has started again and it’s the very first day.

As a PhD student doing research with no teaching obligations this should not affect me in any other way than the ones already mentioned, but with everybody else feeling it I just can not deny the sensation a fresh start. Or more like a caesura for those of us who have been here before. Similar to the new years eve it makes you reflect on what there is to come. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve given up on the concept of resolutions long ago. I rather make plans and my plan is to finish my PhD during the next year.

And here’s an almost nightly shot of the Science Park, the building where this is going to happen!