August 30, 2009

A new companion

Almost forgot. Two days ago I met a small friend and he decided to stay with me. I think he likes my mobile computer bag, what do you think? :)

One of the first things this evening he wanted to do is watching a
sundown on my balcony. I think, he'll stay :) Maybe he'll also pay a visit to this blog from
time to time...

Vacation roundup

As today is my last day of my current vacation block, here is a quick overview of it.

Most of the time I spent on the term papers which so far needed much more time as I'd initially expected. It's not that I'm unable to understand it but rather that I'm unable to formulate the knowledge in my head in proper sentences which I could write down.

Nevertheless I found some time to also do some different activities altough not as much as I would have appreciated. I've been to the cinema a few times, I dug out my bicycle from the depths of our storerooms, I've paid the city of Linz a visit and also the Ars Electronica Center there which runs science and art exhibitions.

A bit of minor work here and there and that's been the roundup of my vacation. Nothing too exciting this time as the university stuff takes up a lot of time even in the holidays...

August 17, 2009

Fixing Cisco VPN Client BSOD on Windows XP

Recently, after working some time without any problems, my Cisco VPN Client started again to cause bluescreens when connecting to a VPN server. This hiccup was already present when my mobile computer was brand new and I tried a lot of stuff but in the end the problem went away when I had to re-setup my computer for another reason.

But now it had reappeared. The only thing I could think of which could have caused this was that I had installed a lot of updates for my HP mobile workstation and a lot of Windows updates.

I then started again into the world wide web to find a solution while hoping that someone found a solution to my problem in the meantime. And indeed, this posting solved my problem. It works by disabling the (hidden) vsdatant device in the device manager.

  1. open the device manager
  2. select devices by connection from the view menu
  3. select show hidden devices, again from the view menu
  4. now in the devices list scroll down to the bottom until you find the vsdatant entry
  5. right-click and disable the device
  6. you'll be presented with a reboot-request, which you should accept before trying to connect to a VPN now

I do not know exactly what this vsdatant device is for but from hints in the internet it seems to be connected to the TrueVector (or stateful) firewall, which is included in the Cisco VPN Client. As I do not need this (or know someone who does) and furthermore found no articles in the net indicating further problems with a deactivated vsdatant I consider the case solved for me now.

August 15, 2009

Next vacation block ahead

The upcoming two weeks I'll be on vacation again. Originally I planned to perform some sports but by damaged ankle voided my intentions. Nevertheless, I've had a talk with the doctor of my employer and he suggested to start easy not with running but with cycling in about two weeks. So I'll be preparing my old and dusty bike next week, maybe purchase a helmet, and start off easy in my second week of the vacation.

Furthermore I was told that in about 2-3 weeks I could also carefully(!) begin with badminton again. Carefully means, that I should only be going for throwing the shuttlecock back, making targetting exercises and so on, but not chasing every hit or jumping around to reach hard to catch hits.

In these two weeks I'll also have to work some more on two term papers to finish off this term.

August 8, 2009

Ankle stabilized

Well, yesterday I had the second appointment in the hospital to check the current shape of my ankle. As I had expected, I could hand back the crutches I got for the past week. Instead of this I got a stiff fixture on my ankle which allows me to move almost normal again but prevents tilting my foot and causing additional ruptures to my damaged tendon.

Of course I've got the expected additional constraints. I have to wear this fixture for six weeks and after that I should stay away some time from indoor sports, which usually are fast sports with high forces on the feet. Instead I should train the muscles to support my foot stability and lower the risk of future weaknesses.

But I was also told that after some additional resting time from now I can also start with easy sports, like running, to shorten the recovery time a bit. Or at least to make the reentry into sports not that sudden with the end of my ankle-stabilisation phase.

August 4, 2009

Is cursive writing dying?

After reading this Time-article about cursive handwriting I thought a bit about my own handwriting style. And I think I can confirm that. When I learned cursive almost all of the handwritten stuff which was written on notes, papers, signs and elsewhere was a clean cursive style. Nowadays my own handwriting style has changed to a strange mixture of cursive and typed letters. I personally even have problems controlling the casing when I write by hand. I have no problem with casing when I'm typing with a keyboard but when I hold a pen in my hand I begin to mix up uppercase and lowercase from time to time. I don't know why, but I cannot get rid of this. Furthermore my handwriting is comparable to the handwriting of a doctor. It merely reminds me of what I wanted to write when I wrote it down. But it's not only me, I also recognized this degraded handwriting on many people, even some younger ones who have not such a long time from their learning phase.

I already thought of improving my handwriting by practicing from time to time but other from readability for others I found no practical reason to do so and that's why I didn't come around to do so until today. But maybe I'll find some time...

(via Lifehacker)

August 3, 2009

How to treat your rechargeable batteries

Recently I've purchased a new battery for my mobile phone. To get the most out of it I wanted to refresh my knowledge, how to treat this new energy pack correctly to keep it alive for as long as possible.

When looking on the internet I was first presented with lots of technical information, how they work et cetera, but nowhere I found immediately how to handle them for maximum lifetime, at least not in easily understandable terms.

So I decided to create a small list of handling tips for the different technologies of accumulators.

NiCd (Nickel-Cadmium), NiMh (Nickel-Metal-Hydrite)

Nickel-based batteries should be "primed" by applying a ~16h charge after purchasing. If not done, it won't cause harm but the full capacity will not be available initially (but increase with usage).

It is not necessary to use up the whole charge before recharging every time, but this should be done every 1 - 3 months to prevent memory effect. For NiMh batteries it is even advisable to not use up all the charge as a depletion wears down the battery faster. It is still necessary to counter the memory effect from time to time. Recharging should happen without interruptions and overcharging (by leaving the the pack in the charger after being fully charged) causes harm to the battery.

When the battery is not used for some time manufacturers suggest a 40% charge for storage altough it is possible to store them full or completely discharged. But more important is to store them in a cool place.

LiIon (Lithium-Ion)

LiIon batteries do not need to be prepared for usage and can be used instantly out-of-the-box.

These type of batteries is quite forgiveable to common usage. Altough it should be avoided to deplete it completely, it may be necessary to perform a full charge-discharge-cycle if charge-indicators get inaccurate readings. When charging, it is under normal conditions not possible to overcharge, so leaving them in the charger is possible. Best performance can be expected, if the charge is kept in the range of 40%-80%.

LiIon should be stored at 40% and under cool conditions. If storing for a long time, recharge to 40% from time to time. If left until uncharged, internal protection circuits may fail and render the battery unusable (or even unsafe).

August 2, 2009

Team switch results and sick leave

On Friday I got feedback from the team where I've been assisting for some time. It seems, that I did quite well, the feedback was 100 percent positive and also accompanied by the statement that they would welcome it if I decided to permanently switch to them.

I have to admit that I already played with that thought a bit, but for now I think I'm not switching (yet). After checking back with my superiors there would be no problem at all, so it's really completely my own decision. After these results I think it will get more comon to exchange team members for a limited time cross-department. And I think that such exchanges will largely be positive as all concerned parties can learn from the experience.

In other news, I'm in bed. Yesterday in the very last minutes of playing Badminton I somehow tripped and hurt my ankle. It was quite painful but after about 10 minutes it went away and I could walk normally. Over the course of the afternoon and evening the ankle began to hurt just a bit and became swollen. This morning my ankle had the shape of a tennis ball and hurt much more than yesterday so I decided to give the hospital a visit. The physicals resulted in pulled ligaments and now I'm on sick leave for at least this week. And I guess, the revisit on Friday will result in that I should stay away from such fast-running sports for some time. Damn...