Saturday, October 16, 2010

digikam-1.5.0 and koffice-2.2.2

Here's the kde news of today: we now have digikam-1.5.0 and koffice-2.2.2 available! Compile and enjoy... and remember, all digikam versions above 1.2 require kde-4.5. kipi-plugins-1.5.0 will hopefully follow sometime during the next days.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ancient but vibrant athmosphere

I'm living at the moment in Regensburg, Germany. The longer I'm here, the more I'm convinced that this is a great place to be... let me tell you why. :) First of all, Regensburg is an old place. For the Americans out there, with old I mean REALLY old. There are still remains of a Roman fortification built around 200AD. It's golden age however started when in 1146AD the first stone bridge across the Danube was finished. Here. Regensburg became a massive trade center, free city, ... Much later it also was for some 150 years the permanent seat of the Reichstag, the parliament (or, more correctly, diet) of the Holy Roman Empire. I don't really want to summarize the Wikipedia article though. The point is, the city was a rich and important center for ages, and it had a lot of luck: its buildings survived one war after the other, and even the concrete-crazy 1960's. Today, it's a UNESCO world heritage site.
That's one side of the story. The other side is that in 1962 the University of Regensburg was newly founded. Today, it has about 17000 students, with a campus in walking distance from the city centre. With the influx of students, the city center is thriving. The old architecture is no good for cars, so most of the center is ~pedestrian area. Many student dorms and rental flats are there, even in historical buildings dating back hundreds of years. The density of cafes, bars, beer gardens, pubs is amazing. I live straight in the middle, and when I get back from the office or lab in the evening I am again and again astonished at the athmosphere around me... Just a few steps away there's a medieval basement turned into a popular restaurant/bar place with the nice name "The Mended Drum"... When there's a slowdown in work, I'll for sure some day again take my camera and tripod and try to capture the spirit of the city - as long as I'm not in some bar sipping drinks with friends. Anyway, enough for today. :o) Cheers!

University news update

Finally... the bachelor exam is graded, and most of the results are already entered into the university database. Now that means- time to focus on research again! Just in time, letters from the administration have arrived, confirming the booking of the project money on the internal accounts. Yeah! Besides, Daniel, the first nanomechanics diploma student, has handed in his thesis and is employed as PhD student now, and a new diploma student will start on monday. The new research group is growing... On the spintronics side, we've been discussing the measurement data of the last months again and again, and slowly get a picture of some things. Meanwhile, the office renovation actually advances nicely, with lamps and cable ducts being installed at the moment. And I've started preparing the call for tenders for our next biggish lab equipment, and caught up with skimming across the ~400 papers published in the meantime. :) New term, new luck!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's out - congratulations!!!

At least once every year, some physics researches have an uneasy sleep. That night has just passed, and the Nobel Prize 2010 in Physics was awarded to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov of Manchester University "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene". Congratulations!!! For the last few years I have been listening to a lot of talks on graphene physics, mostly in Alberto Morpurgo's group in Delft, but also at conferences by the leads of the field, including the two stars of the day. While I have not always shared the unlimited enthusiasm for this material, it's physical properties are fascinating indeed. And since Samsung has recently demonstrated the roll-to-roll production of 30-inch graphene films for transparent electrodes (free preprint version) and a touch screen panel with a graphene electrode worked on the very first attempt, the technical usability has been proven. For mesoscopic physics, now only the question of clean edges and boundary conditions remains to be solved. Maybe we should just roll these graphene sheets up and form tubes? :o)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Collectd - The system statistics collection daemon

Collectd is a really nice piece of software that I found in the Sunrise overlay some time ago (when I was practising there to become a Gentoo dev :o). It's a lightweight, modular background process for collecting statistics on the running system. Data sources and sinks are wildly configurable, and you can even write your own plugins in Perl, Python, or Java. Now we also have it in Gentoo as app-admin/collectd, and if you need a quick way to visualize the resulting bit flood, there is kde-misc/kcollectd as real-time data plotter. Enjoy!

Feeling manganese

The workshop is over and I'm now definitively feeling manganese. After so many talks about spin effects in and material properties of GaMnAs magnetic semiconductor compounds, I was glad to be back to nanotubes and superconductors for a while. Anyway, the stay in Niederalteich was nice and fairly quiet, even though we had stunning 19 talks on wednesday!
Afterwards, well, normal work started again. I finally have been able to more or less finish the proofreading of one BSc and one Diploma thesis. Friday a first oral exam marked the beginning of a new series during the upcoming weeks (the student did OK), and then it was finally weekend. :)