Fog and morning sun

Looks like this:

Whenever it looks like the weather or light will be nice, I carry my camera with me and one morning I managed to take that picture. Very nice morning light.

HTC Desire

Couple of months ago my phone – a Nokia N85 at the time – had an unfortunate accident and the display got damaged really bad. I guess liquid crystals, water and electricity do not combine well. It kinda still worked for a short while but then it died completely, even though the phone itself appeared to be working.

So I needed a new phone and after many, many years I came to the conclusion it’s time to say bye bye to Nokia and get myself a phone which runs Android, the mobile operating system developed by Google. I ended up getting a HTC Desire classic and I have to say that there is a huge difference between the Desire and my old phone:

True, the N85 was already somewhat old but it’s really refreshing to be able to run an open operating system, totally opposite to the closed Symbian Nokia used. I kept the official HTC Android version which came with the phone only couple of days and then unlocked the phone and installed one of the many custom Android versions developed by the community of open-source enthusiasts. The advantage of such customized versions is that updates are released much quicker, they contain many new features which are not present in the official releases – such as encryption support, lots of optimizations and speed increases, energy efficiency, new audio types support and many more.

The hardware is quite capable, basically it’s almost a full blown computer in small form. Speaking of computers, this is again one of those times when you realize how amazing are all those technology advances.

I remember some 20 years ago or so – which is not so much in the big scheme of things – my father brought home my first “real” computer, an Amstrad PC1640. I guess that’s when I got hooked to computers.

I know that comparing the two of them does not mean much but it’s fun remembering the old days when there was no such thing as Internet. Let’s see, a few interesting statistics:

  • Processor – The Amstrad had an Intel 8086 running at 8Mhz. The Desire has a Snapdragon mobile CPU running at 1Ghz. Increase: 12400% ! Crazy, eh ?
  • Graphics – The Amstrad  had a nice EGA graphic card which was capable of 16 glorious colors and a maximum of 640×350 resolution. The Desire has a 800×480 resolution which can do 16 million colors. There is no comparison of course but back in the day I was in awe at the nice colorful games and I didn’t care at all that you could actually see the pixels on the screen. That was enough to play games such as The Secret of Money Island, Prince of Persia and the Sierra On-line games: King’s Quest, Space Quest and so on.
  • Memory – The Amstrad had 640k, the Desire has 576MB
  • Storage – The Amstrad had 2 5.25″ floppy drives. Yes, the huge ones. In addition to that it had a 20MB hard card, which was basically a huge full slot EISA card  (the grandfather of PCI) which made some disturbing noise when reading and writing data. The Desire has a 16GB micro SD card which has no moving parts, it’s infinitely faster, makes no noise and it’s smaller than my fingernails. You could probably swallow it and not notice.
  • Connectivity – The Amstrad had none, there was no Internet back then, not for the home users anyway. The Desire has a myriad of connectivity options, most of them can provide speeds which  were only a pipe dream during the Amstrad’s time.
  • Weight – The Amstrad weighted around 7 kilos, it was not exactly portable. And then you had to add about 10 kilos for the monitor. The Desire has 157 grams :)

The future should be exciting technology-wise, if we manage not to blow ourselves up that is.

Stuttgart by night

Königstrasse, one of the main shopping streets in Stuttgart.

Far east

Lately the job and the project I am working on kept me busy and didn’t have much time for the blog. Don’t want to let it die though so here is a small update.

Work kept me on the go as usual and this time I ended up for 10 days in South Korea, the farthest east I’ve been so far. I’ve been to the Samsung shipyard in the southern part of South Korea and I must say that is one impressive place. It was an interesting but kind of tiring experience, the flight time alone is some 15-16 hours, plus waiting time.

The shipyard specializes in building ultra-large ships like container vessels, oil tankers, floating platforms and the like. Those ships are just enormous, everything on the shipyard is on a scale that I have never experienced so far.  Everything is built in huge pieces and then put together, not unlike a lego game. Couple of pictures so you can get an idea:

Otherwise the country is not so much different from Germany, you find pretty much the same products, the same stores. Prices are slightly lower on some things and quite a bit lower in others, for example a pack of cigarettes is about 1.5 Euros, unlike 4.9 Euros here.

In the first couple of days I have not seen one single european car on the roads. I initially thought that car manufacturers like BMW, Mercedes, Renault and the like are banned in South Korea. By the time I left I actually saw 3 european cars, one BMW and 2 Audis. Otherwise you only see Asian cars, and nice, expensive-looking too.

Some other oddities include really dark windows on almost every single car I saw, which would be quite illegal in Germany. And almost all drivers have a really big display on the dashboard where they watch TV while driving. Another thing which would be maybe slightly illegal in Germany :)

Coffee is a total disaster in that country, so is bread. But otherwise you can find good food and while I am not a beer drinker, the little I had was ok too. I had some big slight difficulties with them damn sticks but after some practice period my skills vastly improved and I could eat my food without looking like a retard. I am pretty sure it was still not the proper way but it somehow worked :)

That’s it for now, Merry Christmas to everyone :)

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