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Unexpected experimentalism.

March 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Reconstructed rack full of stuff.

Reconstructed rack full of stuff.

As on most days, I was carefully considering yesterday morning which particular part of the computer software or maths I’d be spending the day working on. This plan was quickly scuppered when another Oliver (Olli, in this case) turned up. He has been working in the Netherlands with a system similar to the one I’m going to be building. The system belongs to IPP (where I work) and now that he is finished and is leaving, it had been shipped back here and I have now kind-of inherited it. Unfortunately, he was only here for the day to give a talk, so the morning was instead spent very rapidly putting it all back together. Considering my optics hardware experience is quite limited, it was a bit of a learning curve but fortunately, the only major problem was that the virus scanner on the PC decided it would be helpful to delete a central part of the software that controls the equipment.

Camera and assorted optical stuff.

Camera and assorted optical stuff.

Software problems are easier for me, so today I spent a couple of hours with it and managed to solve that one, get the PC networked, tidy up all the cabling, fix the trolley wheels and align and play with camera a little. Next week some time, I’ll try to get the some of the other bits working.
 
I won’t try to explain what any of this is or does yet but might do a little later on. In the meantime, you can look at some of the photos I took for documentation purposes.

 

Las0r

Las0r

Seethrough hand device.

Seethrough hand device.

Also yesterday, back in Devon in the UK, my mother was moving house so in the middle of this hasty building and rapid discussions with my namesake, I had a call from her estate agents asking if I was at our cottage. The answer ‘not quite. I’m in Germany’, surprised them a bit.

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Categories: work

Sign hunting, and two much pi.

March 15, 2011 3 comments

It rained.

It rained.

This morning it rained, so I arrived at work with that wonderful drowned rat feeling, and hairstyle. After running through some german vocab on this revision thingy I have on the laptop, I had planned to spend the day coding the last piece of the model that I’ve been working on. Unfortunately I actually spent the entire day rederiving the maths, hunting for a single sign difference between mine and the original.

 
 
 
 

+/-, -/+ ..... it's in there somewhere.

+/-, -/+ ..... it's in there somewhere.

I found it in the end, amidst the es, is, and myriad of 2πs. It had something to do with accidentally putting 45° in as π/2, rather than π/4 and shortly after this I found a new post by someone called Vi hart, on Facebook, about this very subject (http://vihart.com/blog/pi-is-still-wrong/). If you have not seen the others and have any interest at all in maths, watch all of her videos. Otherwise, watch just this one, which I thought was brilliant: http://vihart.com/blog/mobius-story/

Categories: work

Trig, Tea, Talk and the Town.

February 19, 2011 Leave a comment
Maths and tea

Maths and tea

With most of the admin done, I’m starting to get to grips with the theory of the system I’m eventually going to be designing and building. So far this has just involved a lot trigonometry but at least my life has now returned to some kind of normality and once again consists of a lot of maths and a lot of tea.

I was also invited along to a cafe in Greifswald on Thursday night with a lot of the students (and possibly just younger people) at IPP. There were about twenty of us in the end and apparently they don’t manage to congregate on this scale very often. A lot of us were the internationals from the IBZ building where I live, but there were a few from Spain, a girl from Chille, an American, a few from others places and of course a few of the natives.

Cafe Humboldt

Cafe Humboldt

Everyone was chatting in, and about, a few different languages and towards the end I was talking to a some people seriously into LARP. As much as I’d rather spend my free time flying, it does sounds like they have a lot of fun. ¬†Also, the food was good, which is reassuring since I was beginning to worry about the food here. The canteen at work leaves a lot to be desired. It makes the Culham canteen in Oxford look like an up-market restaurant.

Today (Saturday), I’ve had a wander around the town center. There are plenty of different shops, a few of which are the same as the shops in England. I bought a nice little coffee maker so can take ‘achieve decent coffee’ off my list of milestones.

Greifswald town centre.

Greifswald town centre.

Categories: food, language, work