Monday, November 8, 2010

brain deciphering

Gero Miesenboeck reengineers a brain | Video on

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The American weekend

A weekend under the motto: "You can get a lot farther with a kind word and a gun than a kind word alone" (Al Capone)
My colleague from CMU Mike decided to show us what is the feeling of being American. So he introduced his close friend Lee (x-US Marine) to us and we ended up equipped with some dangerous stuff in the shooting range. After the initial fear, we saw that it is not so easy to shoot yourself in the leg by mistake and then the fun began. :)

And of course, just for the sake of completeness, we finished with a biiig niceeee American lunch.

The guys (Mike, Manuel, Johannes and Peter), actually continued the American experience by watching football (not soccer), but I had some work, so I went home, took my books'n'papers and completed the day in the laundry :) Actually, that was also kinda American.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


After I lost a lot of time, trying to compile the NIST signal to noise ratio (SNR) tool,
I've decided to write about the solution and probably that will save some time to those, who have the problem with compiling it. Not that a lot of people use it, but anyway...

The NIST Speech Quality Assurance (SPQA) package is special for calculating the SNR for speech and the biggest advantage of this piece of sw is that it is something like standard and it can also calculate the SNR of an audio file without a reference audio file (noise or noise free).
It can be downloaded from here:

NIST spqa

It's compiled on a 64bit machine running SuSe. But after the compilation I copied the executables on another 32bit machine, running Ubuntu and they were usable. Here the solution that worked for me:

Unpack spqa_2.3+sphere_2.5.tar.Z with the command:
> zcat spqa_2.3+sphere_2.5.tar.Z | tar xvf -

That will create a nist directory. Go to the dir
> cd nist

Before you start, you have to know your system architecture. To find that out, type in the bash.
> uname -a
Example architecture is i686, i585, SUN, Darwin etc..

Before you run the install, open the exit.c file (located in dir nist/src/lib/sp) in a text editor. Make the following changes:
1. Replace the line:
extern int errno;
with the following line:
#include <errno.h>
2. Comment out the line:
extern char *sys_errlist[];
and also the line:
strcat(exitmessage, sys_errlist[errno]);
3. Save the file

Now, start with the install. Run:
> sh src/scripts/
If you use gcc as a compiler, choose the "Custom" option when asked. Then write gcc, when you're asked about the compiler. Then you can accept the proposed options by pressing enter. They should be fine, except for the last one, when you should enter your system architecture (i686, i585, SUN, Darwin etc).

The installation begins then. When finished, checked if errors occurred. If you find executables in the nist/bin directory (for example the stnr, segsnr, atismd, etc.), then the compilation was successful, otherwise, go to nist/lib directory and rename the libutil.a library with the following command:
> mv libutil.a libsputil.a

Then change directory to nist/src/bin and open the Makefile. In the Makefile, find the following line:
LLIBS = -lsnr -lsp -lutil -lm
and change it to
LLIBS = -lsnr -lsp -lsputil -lm
so that it reflect the change you've just made.

Now, from the nist/ directory run:
> make clean
and then repeat the make with the command:
> make

If after that you still get errors, see where the error comes from and change some code if necessary. The problematic library is usually the sphere (nist/src/lib/sp), because it is pretty old (1992) and some functions are deprecated (that's why the high amount of warnings you'll get while compiling). Good luck.

Btw, I also tried another tool, which is much easier to compile and seems to be reliable. Here it is: CTU snr tool . I suspect, that it will spit the same result as the NIST tool, when the appropriate options chosen, but didn't tried to compare them. More about the algorithms behind the CTU snr tool here: Calculating the SNR for speech - paper.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Types of computer viruses

Adam and Eve virus: Takes a couple of bytes out of your Apple.

Airline virus:
You're in Dallas, but your data is in Singapore.

Arnold Schwarzenegger virus: Terminates and stays resident. It'll be back.

AT&T virus: Every three minutes it tells you what great service you are getting.

The MCI virus:
Every three minutes it reminds you that you're paying too much for the AT&T virus.

Bill Clinton virus: This virus mutates from region to region and we're not exactly sure what it does.

Federal bureaucrat virus: Divides your hard disk into hundreds of little units, each of which do practically nothing, but all of which claim to be the most important part of the computer.

Freudian virus:
Your computer becomes obsessed with marrying its own motherboard.

Gallup virus:
Sixty percent of the PCs infected will lose 38 percent of their data 14 percent of the time (plus or minus a 3.5 percent margin of error).

George Bush virus: Doesn't do anything, but you can't get rid of it until November.

Government economist virus:
Nothing works, but all your diagnostic software says everything is fine.

Politically correct virus:
Never calls itself a "virus", but instead refers to itself as an "electronic microorganism".

Texas virus: Makes sure that it's bigger than any other file.

UK Parliament virus:
Splits the screen into two with a message in each half blaming other side for the state of the system.

Friday, September 24, 2010

punk evolves

Looking an year back in my playlists, here they are - some of the tracks I've killed from listening:

Slagsmålsklubben – Malmö Beach Night Party

Toy - Rabbit Pushing Mower

btw, just for the record... Most of them are something similar to punk evolved for synthesizers. And most of them are part of the Scandinavian pop culture.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Welcome to Europe

Friday, September 3, 2010

about Aronofsky and good old Europe

The new movie of Darren Aronofsky will open the Venice Film Festival this year. And it will be beautiful movie about ballet and Natalie Portman. This time no math, no science, just pure art, art about art. By "beautiful" I mean.. "beautiful" in the Aronofsky kind of way.

I like the first Aronofsky movie - "Pi". Numbers, Kabalah, the simple well known message, that the more you know, the better you know how sad the story of life is. When I was a teenager, once a friend of mine (Christophor) said to me: "How can you be so happy? There are only 2 ways - either you are very stupid, or you know something we all don't." (I suppose, it was the first one :) )

However, I love art.. and I love science. But I'm agree, that artists should stay artists and they better be no scientists. Otherwise we miss a lot of beautiful stuff.. Like.. Imagine that the frontman of Pearl Jam was thinking about logic, when he wrote the song "I am mine". Then he would stumble upon the sentence "North is to south what clock is to time". And he would probably throw his manuscript in the bin, because anyone who has a basic knowledge of logical expressions would notice how it does not make any sense. But fortunately, Eddie Vedder' s last priority when writing the song, was logic.

And for the fans of Queen, the good news is, Freddy also hasn't put his statements under deep consideration. Otherwise he would notice, that you can't fall in love for the first time knowing that this time it's for real (because you don't have a basis to compare and because "this time" implies the fact you already was in love at least once before).


In 2 weeks I'm changing my home temporary. I got my J1 visa 2 weeks ago and now I'm preparing my stay in Pittsburgh. The good news is, I have the unique chance to learn plenty of new things at one of the best computer science universities in the world - Carnegie Mellon University and I have the support of 2 very important professors, moreover very kind persons. The bad news is, that I had so much stress and disappointments last few months, that I'll be too tired to enjoy completely my stay in Pittsburgh. And I'll miss the good old Europe as well. I hope it's worth...

Monday, August 16, 2010

ascii pictures

Yesterday, I wanted to experiment a little bit with ascii art and was searching for a nice simple piece of software that converts image in ascii art console output. After a while I decided to write some simple java class that do the job (not because there were no such nice programs, but I was tired of searching). It works simple, outputs the image in the console and in a txt file, takes as input argument an image file, but it is not (still) suitable for large images (> 50px each side). Works good with pictograms. And it is not quite ascii, just sign art :) If I find some free hours in the next week, I'm gonna improve it to do more and better job, but for now that's not the case. And here it is:

import java.awt.image.BufferedImage;

import javax.imageio.ImageIO;

public class Visualizer {

public Visualizer(File file)
// the line that reads the image file
BufferedImage image =;

int height = image.getHeight();
int width = image.getWidth();

System.out.println("Picture width: "+width);
System.out.println("Picture height: "+height);

int i, j;
String output = "";
for (i=0; i < height; i++)
for (j=0; j < width; j++)
int pixel = image.getRGB(j, i);
int grayscale = convertToGrayscale(pixel);
//writes the string for the txt file
output = output+" "+getASCIIforGrayscale(grayscale);
//prints the image in the console
System.out.print(" "+getASCIIforGrayscale(grayscale));

output = output+"\n";

catch (IOException e)
// log the exception
// re-throw if desired

public int convertToGrayscale(int pixel)
//int alpha = (pixel >> 24) & 0xff;
int red = (pixel >> 16) & 0xff;
int green = (pixel >> 8) & 0xff;
int blue = (pixel) & 0xff;
int grayValue = (red + green + blue) / 3;

return grayValue;

public String getASCIIforGrayscale(int grayValue){
String ascii = ".";
ascii = lookupTableGray(grayValue);
return ascii;

public void printPixelARGB(int pixel) {
int alpha = (pixel >> 24) & 0xff;
int red = (pixel >> 16) & 0xff;
int green = (pixel >> 8) & 0xff;
int blue = (pixel) & 0xff;
System.out.println("argb: " + alpha + ", " + red + ", " + green + ", " + blue);

public String lookupTableGray(int gray){

if (-1 < gray && gray < 40)
return "@";
else if (40 < gray && gray < 60)
return "#";
else if (60 < gray && gray < 80)
return "%";
else if (80 < gray && gray < 100)
return "0";
else if (100 < gray && gray < 160)
return "*";
else if (160 < gray && gray < 210)
return "o";
else if (210 < gray && gray < 256)
return ".";
return ".";


public String lookupTableBinary(int gray){

if (-1 < gray && gray < 170)
return "@";
else if (170 < gray && gray < 256)
return ".";
return "_";

public void writeToFile(String output) throws IOException
BufferedWriter out = new BufferedWriter(new FileWriter("asciitest.txt"));

public static void main(String[] args) {

File file = new File(args[0]);
new Visualizer(file);


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

ConQuest 2010

Back from ConQuest... That was my first LARP, but definitely not the last one.
Here's the story, in pictures and words, although these two are far more insufficient to describe what happened:

Day 1:
After 9 hour train trip, we finally got there and my first impression was: Oh, God! No internet, no electricity and cow shits everywhere. I have to survive somehow until Sunday..

Der Sieger baut ab :)

The town

Day 2:
As in all stories, the world is inhabited with good and evil. At the beginning, there was only good - the pure elements: earth (avatar: Terra), water (avatar: Aqua), air (avatar: Aeris), fire (avatar: Ignis) and magic (avatar: Magica).

But then, of course, in order to preserve the balance, the evil was created. And that's us - the banished, the evil children of the second creation: Schwarzes Eis, Untotes Fleisch, Leere, Pestilenz and Technische Ratio.

Schwarzes Eis

Untotes Fleisch


The Technische Ratio is part of the story, but there are no players indeed, because it is too powerful and therefore buried.

Doerchgardt is the fortress of the Untotes Fleisch and our mission is to defend it from the attacks of the elements.

Fortress Doerchgardt

An'nai Herr von Doerchgardt

The throne of the Knochen-Königin

2 years ago, we buried the avatar of Terra under a pyramid in Doerchgardt and now, the elements want to set her free. To do that, they first have to conquer our fortress.

In this first day of the play, our swarm (Schwarm 7) of Schwarzes Eis had duty from 21 p.m to 4 a.m. We had to defend the fortress, but there wasn't much to defend at all, because the players had party and didn't care much of attacking at this time. They also didn't have the necessary equipment to damage the walls of our fortress. Therefore we succeeded in stealing a big army gun from the Neutral camp.

Day 3

Day 3 was really hard, since we had duty till 4 a.m. previous night. After long hours of defending, at the end the players invaded Doerchgardt. Which was actually good, because otherwise we had to stay till 4 a.m. again. I was very sad, but our Sharun - Andy told me that it is not a big deal and we will get our fortress right on next day. So it was…

Day 4

Early in the morning we organized a little invasion in the Air Camp, just to wake up the players and prepare them for the fight. After lunch, we all marched in Doerchgardt and in approximately 20 min the fortress was ours again. However, it wasn't for a long, because in the late afternoon the players got together and Doerchgardt fell gain. And again, it was good, because they freed us of duty during the night.
Although the fortress was theirs, they couldn't set Terra free, because the players didn't succeeded in fulfilling their plots. Moreover, the group responsible for the instructions how to free Terra was dead.

Day 5

The players seem to learn very slow, since they left not more than 20 people to defend Doerchgradt again. And again, early on Saturday, 2 swarms marched in the fortress and in 10 min it was ours. At this point, the story was black for the elements, but the rest of the day everything changed.

We attacked the Magic and Fire Camps, because we received the mission instructions to bring back 7 prisoners. A hard fight under the midday sun, but we succeeded. Moreover, we captured another Avatar (but I'm not sure which one). We were already very very tired and it was pretty clear, that we cannot keep the fortress till the end of the day… And the end of the day was also the end of the play.

On the right side - me, dead

We lost the final fight, indeed. 3 holes in the fortress wall and a burning tower. Aching muscles everywhere, sun burn and unconquerable sleep drive.. We've lost the fortress.. They freed Terra.. it's part of the game.. but in practice, when you give 100% of you, nobody can call you a loser :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

On average..

"Announcing that on average, people have an average intelligence is kind of boring. What's interesting about intelligence and what is interesting about things like personality is the variation around the mean and the explanation about that variation. And that's what we need to start talking about now.

Oh, btw. well, it is, of course, by definition the case, that on average, people have average intelligence, they don't believe it. If you ask people "Do you think that you are more intelligent, less intelligent or about of average intelligence compared to the rest of the population, you'll get some distribution around that, too. But you'll find that the average perception of intelligence is that we're all above average.

This goes for a variety of other questions like "How good looking are you? Above average, below average or average?". Well, we're all little above average there, too. It turns out, that there is one group that gets the answer correct. And if you ask this group of people on average "Are you brighter or dumber than average, they'll come out in the middle. Asked "Are you cuter or uglier than average?", they'll come out, you know, average. Anybody knows who that group is? ….. Yes, it's the depressed. Depressed people have an accurate assessment of their own intelligence and good looks. In fact, it has been seriously argued, that part of what keeps us undepressed is an unrealistic assessment of the world. Right? We're smart, we're good looking … if we knew the truth, we all will be depressed. But that's a topic for another date. …."

Extracted from the Jeremy Wolfe's lecture "Intelligence: How do we know you are smart?"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

from A to B losing time T

Traveling from point A to point B means losing time t. Say, knowing the distance and your speed, you can proudly calculate the time you gonna lose. :) This, however doesn't solve your problem.

Happily, we live in a wonderful world (what have our poor parents done without the magic devices we own?!? ) and now we are able to graduate MIT without leaving our dens. :) Check what I found here. Amazing, wonderful, funny, especially this lecture dedicated to the subject of "behavioral psychology" is the perfect stuff to entertain you on your way to work or university or in the train/plane/car/whatever. Why we stop inserting a coin in the cola vending machine when it stops giving us cola but we don't if we gamble? How can you implant and modify false memories in somebody's mind. Or how every cell of our brain is mapped to a small areas of our bodies.. Really interesting stuff. :)

Oh, and last week we won the "KIT Company of the year award", part of the simulation we did during the previous semester in the "Business Leadership" course. The prize itself is not important, but the fact, that we almost believed ourselves in having the future in our hands and knowing what we want and wanting all that so much… :) (btw, we stands for 3D Innovations: Diana, Christian, me and Martin)

What else… what else.. Tomorrow I have to get the chips from the custom office. I also have to fight again with the bureaucracy in Deutsche Bank to get my bank statement letter translated in English. Firefox has a new version 4. The rechargeable battery of my macbook was almost up to explode. "But the wind still blows over Savannah and in the Spring the turkey buzzard struts and flounces before his hens." ;)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

bugz and patches

Tiny, Blacky and Rotko - the new fauna in my room. Rotko ran last week out of batteries. And they are not very clever yet. The problem is, if you want to buy a programmable robot, the prices jump over 200 Euros. These hexbugs are, unfortunately, not made to be reprogrammed. But they are very cheap and with more enthusiasm and skills in electrical engineering, these creatures can be far more interesting. Let's see what will happen :) We formed a group of 3 people (me, Ray and Jonas) and now we are waiting for the delivery of the new components. Here's our guide.
To be honest, the el. schemes seem to me like Egyptian hieroglyphs. But that's why we have Jonas, who happens to be an e-Ing. Ray said, he hasn't programmed in Assembler, but he graduated the "Hochschule" (something like university in which you learn practical things like programming rather than just the naked theory). Therefore I believe in his skills. I have almost no experience in Assembler (except the fuzzy programming of these step motors in the TI: technische Informatik, 5 years ago). But the good news is, that at the beginning you don't have to be so creative. Just follow the steps, there are enough resources on the Internet. However, if we want to make our bugs really smart, then we should prepare for sweating.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

grunge, energy drinks and old ninja movies

Since I've already described in the title how it is going in the past few weeks, I'm gonna use the remaining few minutes of your spare time to invite you to one event. :)

Yes, that's right. With the bless of my kind bosses from CIE and the help of the friendly fresh entrepreneurs from PionierGarage I'm about to organize a nice open air evening with TED presentations (the best ones), beer and BBQ. :) See you there.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

Questions and answers

Recently, I was busy dreaming strange dreams about robots (it is side effect from the preparation for my last university exam). For example, yesterday I met a robot, who said " Aa, oh, hi Zlatka..". I was, of course, shocked (how could it know my name?) and soon after that I asked its owner and understood, that the robot connects via wifi with Internet and has an access to the Google face-recognition database. Someone has tagged me somewhere and the robot just used the fancy face recognition service that google offers.. :) (I'm not even sure, that google offers such thing).. However… Suddenly, I realized that google must know everything, therefore I rushed asking the old questions about the meaning of life, love and anything which is supposed to have no answer. Here's what came on the surface (or at least the stuff I consider closer to the truths):

What is the question to the answer "42"?
Answer: What is President Bush's IQ?
Alternative answer: What do you call a six-pack of 7-Up?
Here's one more "spiritual" interpretation of this question: What's 6 (number of man) times 7 (number of God)? (.. but hell! How did he/she calculate these numbers???!!!)
Some other nice answers:
What is the atomic number of molybdenum?
How many teeth do wolves and dogs have?
At what age did Elvis Presley die?

Second question:
What is the rare quality that would make you set a woman apart from the rest?
Answer: The rare quality of possessing many rare qualities.

Next question:
If you set grizzly bear, crocodile and tiger fighting pairwise, who will win?
grizzly bear vs. crocodile - 0:1
grizzly bear vs tiger - 0:1
The final round: tiger vs crocodile: 1:0
and the winner is: the tiger
Just for fun, two more interesting results from another league:
puppy vs robot: 2:1
elephants vs tourists: 6:0

Another question, I already regret asking:
What future looks like?
Here's the long answer, but be bewared : the long answer
The visual answer: the visual answer
And here's the short answer: the short answer

And the last fundamental question:
Is there an afterlife?
Since it was extremely difficult to find out a convincing answer, I've decided to make a fight between the people who believe there is a life after death and who don't. And …. the majority doesn't believe… or.. to be more precise - the majority human beings who use Internet and shared their opinion about this topic online do NOT believe in life after death. However, the big problem here is, that no matter of what we believe, after life may or may not exist. Which reminds me to ask google:
Does a universe exist if nobody knows about its existence?
And… the answer given by the Descartes and approved by the Solipsism is:
because: "Only things that can be known to exist for sure should be considered to exist."

now we know...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

swarm robots

And the news-braking line:
"so ... no risk that the robots may take over" ;)
we can now sleep well...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Can you make a phone call from a black hole?

In the past few weeks I discovered an important statistical rule: If the half of the questions get their reasonable answers, the proportion between answers/question gets even smaller. I have no theoretical proof of this rule, but empirically everyone is sure about the correctness.

So, back to the answer.. No, you can't make a phone call from a black hole. But you can theoretically send an sms to somebody you definitely appreciate, just in parts of the second before you vanish forever. (although the concept of "forever" needs also discussion) :)
Here's the proof: NakedScientists Podcast

And just to fill the hole between two points in time, 1 more brain teaser:

Why does a mirror reverse right and left instead of up and down? (lol)

have fun,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My fave movie recently :) amazingly weird

Ode to the Internet

After the last year's Nobel Prize for Peace mistake Obama, I expect this year a lot more freaky things to happen. But try to understand me right, I have nothing against Obama, just find it funny winning Nobel prize for peace, because you haven't made war. (although the definition of "peace" allows it). The eskimos also have no offensive ideas to fire some "rotten" part of the world, but they usually don't get anything..
This year, We, the People of the World have our favorite candidate - the Internet . Internet reflects us, our intentions and for the first time, we don't seem to be the "bad guys". We ran to search justice for the middle east (although it wasn't quite our job), we helped Haiti and we done many many good things.. And despite of the fact that this doesn't have direct relationship with the peace, it's quite fair to give the Nobel Prize for Peace to all of us, who try to bring back the harmony. It sounds idealistic, but it is not. It's just fair. Therefore VOTE FOR INTERNET. :)

p.s. Another interesting story about the Internet: Internet access is 'a fundamental right'

Recommendation: see the "findings in detail". There I found the lines:
"Germans are also the least frequent users of social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace, with only 18 per cent saying they enjoy spending time on these sites." :) …. which is the pure truth…

Friday, February 26, 2010


running@11p.m&rain. some of those everyday-miracles, which happen once in a month. sometimes once in a lifetime. such activity you won't write in your CV (although this is far more unique than programming in Java). if unlucky enough to have boyfriend/girlfriend, he/she won't ask you why, because it is not an argue-starter or a coolness-measurement. your cat will still think you're boring and your imaginary friends will open the next beers while you pass them by in sneakers. there's nothing special about running@11p.m. except.. the streets, the rain and the pedometer detecting movement.

Friday, January 22, 2010



yesterday night I finished playing "World of Goo" :) Amazing play. I particularly like the graphics, how the physics machine behind worx and the challenges, of course. Here some screenshots:

Near a month late, the BBC pearls for December 2009:

And as we mentioned the afterlife... Since we all know that it is a cubicle, hopefully this cubicle is equipped with a Mac and fast Internet connection.. Pray..

Sincerely mines,

Sunday, January 3, 2010

the black list

The movies you better never watch (in order to preserve your sanity)*:

A Hole In My Heart (2004, Lukas Moodysson)
Gummo (1997, Harmony Korine)
Hotel (2001, Mike Figgis)
Inland Empire (2006, David Lynch)
Racconti di Canterbury, I (1972, Pier Paolo Pasolini)
Taxidermia (2006, Gyorgy Palfi)
Tetsuo - the Iron Man (1989, Shinya Tsukamoto)
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989, Peter Greenaway)
Requiem For A Dream (2000, Darren Aronofsky)
4 (2005, Ilya Khrjanovsky)
Edipo re (1967, Pier Paolo Pasolini)**

* not ordered by the degree of damages
** as well as every other movie from Pasolini, I suppose..