Posted on May 13th, 2015 by Alex. Filed under Experiences with Companies.
Recently I bought a book: “Introduction to Reconfigurable Computing” by Christophe Bobda. It is about computer architectures and regarding the content interesting and useful (at least for me). However Springer did not fail to surprise me regarding the quality of the book and I was astonished to see Springer dares to distribute a book like this. So far on almost every page I found misspellings and grammatical mistakes. I am surprised that in the 7 years after the book was introduced initially and for more than USD100 less in my pocket, Springer does not see the necessity to do a proof reading. This book is way below the mark that I expect from any publisher.
Just let me give you a few examples. First my absolute favorite so far:
- Page 63: “Figure 2.48. Pipeline Reconfiguration: Mapping of a 5 stage virtual pipeline auf eine 3 stage.” An interesting mix between English and German.
Those I just found by skimming through the pages a few minutes ago:
- same page: “With pipeline virtualization, an application is pipelined implemented on a given amount of virtual resources.”
- Page 62: “The NISC  processor consists of a Controller and Datapath on which any C program can be executed on it.”
- Page 73: “…in some extend…”
- Page 58: “The DNA Matrix 2.46…” this should be “The DNA Matrix (figure 2.46)”
- Page 57: “…the domain bit manipulation ( DBN) node provides…” Do I have to tell Springer where to put a space around brackets? And even in 2007 sentences ended with a full stop.
- Page 56: “The Pprogrammable…” Where is the second p coming from? A spell checker would have been useful here.
- Page 55: “…an external processor that can be used to configured”
- Page 54: “…the connection between PES…” “PES” does not exist, but “PEs” does. “PES” is a new abbreviation and misleading.
- Page 48: “Xililnx” the company is called “Xilinx“.
- Page 41: “connexion”: This word is rarely used in English (even in 2007).
- Page 41: “Local bus segments span four cells whereas an express bus segments span eight cells”. Either it is “an express bus spans” or “express bus segments span”, but not a mixture of both.
- Page 37: “…wasting too much LUT-resources”. Since LUT resources (without a hyphen) are countable it is “many” instead of “much”.
- Page 23: “Many systems in high-performance computing were built with farm of FPGAs on different boards.” What does the author want to say here? Something is probably missing. Apart from that “high-performance” is wider than the text width, which happens many times in this book and does not look as if someone took care in creating the book.
- Page 9: “‘Pragmatic problem studies predicts gains in computation speeds…”. This is a citation from a paper written by Gerald Estin in 1960 and it just needed to be copied from the original source, which does not contain the grammar mistake.
So I contacted the representative of Springer for northern India asking him, why for so much money and so much time passed this book was not edited properly, if at all. After a week and a reminder a reply came as follows:
We have forwarded this query to the editor and awaiting his response.
After waiting for a month and again reminders, the reply changed to:
Can we have a call to discuss this. Let me know when it is convenient.
During the call the representative said that Springer is sorry that the book “slipped” through the editing process. A refund can be offered. This reply is unsatisfactory. What I had preferred is a guarantee that this mistake does not happen again and what steps haven been undertaken to increase the quality and to prevent such mishaps. Apart from that, I would like to see a reprint of the book as soon as possible, which replaces my copy.
Concluding I just can say, that I have learned that Springer does not guarantee a satisfactory level of quality (anymore) and if a book slips through the quality assurance process, then Springer does not care much. The suspicion arises that Springer, once a trustworthy publisher, falls prey to the greedy business of quantity before quality like so many others earlier. For my part, I am very careful what I buy from Springer. Without extensively checking, I will save the money and trouble. Especially if Springer books are worth hundreds of dollars. And who wants to buy a car which, despite it works and brings you from A to B, is leaking, if it rains. From Springer’s point of view you are responsible to do the patch work or live with it after paying a nice pile of money. Nice business model…
Posted on January 4th, 2015 by Alex. Filed under India.
Although this statement is a generalization by itself, I would say that for most of us, it is true. How many times did we say “Politicians are corrupt”, if another case of money-in-offshore-accounts incident is driven through the media, indirectly accusing politicians who do their work honestly? Or lamenting about lazy students insulting all those, who are not. It easies the conversation, reduces the use of subjunctives and is accepted and widely understood that exceptions to these generalizations exist. However this is only true, if the conversational partners have knowledge about the generalized topic.
If the topic is unfamiliar, then the generalization might become a true statement. For instance: “While the female of the carnivorous species ‘Pagodroma nivea‘ is taking care of the young and does all the hunting, the males are lazy sitting all day near the cave.” So, is this statement even remotely true or completely false or true for most of the times and hence the generalization is justified/accepted?
While I am sure, that the males of pagodroma nivea do not care at all, what we say about them, a generalization might have an effect on a part of the human population. Recently I traveled for several hours in a plane from New Delhi (India) to Manama (Bahrain), Bahrain to Frankfurt (Germany), Frankfurt to Cancun (Mexico) and back.
The trip took 6 flights in total out of which 2 of them originated or landed in India. Those 2 flights were special due to the behavior that I observed during the flights:
- On both journeys as soon as the jolt went through the plane signaling a touch down back on Earth, many flipping sounds could be heard of people unfasten their seatbelts. That made me wonder, where do they want to go? Those people were too impatient to get down from the plane, even before it starts taxiing to its gate.
- A large number of passengers (especially on the journey Bahrain to India), had huge suitcases with them as their cabin luggage. It is known that the space in the overhead lockers is limited physically and that it is calculated by the size passengers are allowed to carry. Since luggage pieces must be placed in those lockers, there is a resource conflict. Hence the ground crew checked the luggage before the passengers entered the plane, fishing out those big suitcases and placing them on a trolley readily waiting next to the stair case. That trolley was full to the brim by the end of the boarding process.
- Quite some needed repeated reminders to turn of their electronic devices when required. In fact one guy had a loudly phone call during that time. When he was reminded, his reply was “later”.
- The polite and calm atmosphere usually emitted by flight attendants, was negligible. For instance the seat belt signes were turned on and the flight attendant went through the aisle shouting “seatbelts, seatbelts, seatbelts”. Never heard that before.
- The gate was packed and full of people. Many passengers consumed 3 or 4 seats to take their nap and other passengers had to stand.
- I was in the last group boarding the train (that’s why I know that the luggage trolley was full). The gate area looked like a garbage dump after all the passengers boarded. Many people from India simply do not care what they throw where.
While these observations could have caused by many factors, I am wondering that one of the factor was that the flight started or ended in India. Assuming that on these flights the majority were Indians, it becomes a very awkward situation. For an outsider who does not know Indians (and who can know everybody?), it is very easy and lazy to say: “Indian passengers are very impatient (seatbelts) and egoistic (not leaving locker room for others, disturbing others). Flying with them is very unpleasant.” Hence a whole population and even those who never lifted off the ground, are collectively judged for something they have no clue about.
My experience is, if an distinctive individual misbehaves, a larger group is condemmed. This opinion spreads and sticks. Primarily not because someone generalized and broadcast his/her opinion. Probably more because of self experience and the attitude to generalize. Not much can change this attitude. Hence people should be more considering, how their behavior affects the opinions of others about themselves. The world would be a better place, if more people live by the golden rule: “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.”
Disclaimer: All generalizations in this post are unintentional and I apologize for them.
Posted on September 19th, 2013 by Alex. Filed under Experiences with Companies.
Recently I wanted to book a flight at one of the webpages which are suppose to compare the travel fare of many different airlines and spit out a list with the cheapest, fastest (or whatever your preferences are) connection. The companies behind these webpages earn provisions and if the customer selects additional conveniences such as taxis, hotels, etc.
One of the companies seemed to have figured that it is best to scare customers and offers an insurance to be protected in case the airline goes into bankruptcy.
Well, I would like to suggest a few more “insurances”:
- Midair plane failure (i.e. plane falls down like a stone in mid flight)
- For US bound flights, I am pretty sure we can find something to be insured in case the plane is kidnapped and flown into a building.
- Insurance in case the life vest does not inflate.
- Insurance against garlic and/or onion like smelling co-passengers.
- Insurance against brain damage due to the constant offering and advertisement of expensive refreshers in low cost airlines.
- Insurance against meteor showers.
- And many more…
Ideally all these insurances are enabled by default and a customer has to go through the whole list removing the ticks manually.
Posted on July 22nd, 2013 by Alex. Filed under Experiences with Companies.
Recently I sold my cycle online and I put it on several online classifieds such as craigslist. Ronald Olsen contacted me, asking details about the cycle and seemed to be very interested in buying it. During the conversation his German went from bad to worse and at one point in time I wrote that he could write in English, if that is easier. His reply was:
Thank you for your reply,i dont know you did not really understand German.. lol
Surprisingly German is my mother tongue and I can understand it quite well. After some time, he continued telling me that he is working for a company called AWE New Zealand Pty Ltd and that he is currently offshore Taranaki Basin in New Zealand on Kapo project. He was ready to send me a cheque in the overnight express mail so that I can ship the cycle to his son who is currently studying business and law at the University of Bremen and is at the top of his class. As a suprise Mr. Olson wanted to gift the cycle to his son.
Everything made me suspicious and I searched the Internet for similar mails. Well, surprisingly there is a Ms. Sandra Crisell working for the same project and the same company who wanted to buy a car for her son studying at the Australia National University (ANU) obviously on top if his class. Unfortunately for Mr. Crisell her letter was published on the web site of the Department of Internal Affairs of New Zealand.
Apparently the scam would work like this:
- Interested in the car/cycle/etc.
- No additional work for the seller, since the buyer is taking care of shipment, customs, etc.
- Suddently problems with the shipping company is reported stating that the shipping will only come and pick up the item, if they are paid upfront. The company needs to be paid via Western Union. So the buyer asks, if it is alright, if the price for the shipping is added to the agreed selling price of the item.
- Buyer confirms that the amount has been transfered via PayPal.
- Buyer informs about the problem with PayPal stating that PayPal froze the money since the amount of transferred money differs from the agreed buying price.
- Buyer comes up with a solution that the money transfer for the shipping company needs to be completed, before the seller sees anything of that money.
- If the seller initiates the transfer to a so called agent in e.g. China, the money is gone and the seller has still the item.
I just can recommend to check out parts of the received mails in search engines and look for similarities. Also a good idea would be to check Scamdesk which tries to build an index for scammers and thieves.
Here is one of his last mails for your reference:
Thank you for your reply,i dont know you did not really understand German.. lol, am interested in buying the bike, .Please I am buying it for my son who is on top of his class in University of Bremen, and am so proud of him .I want it as a surprise package to appreciate him towards his achievement and to be delivered before my arrival. I anticipate that I’ll have a Certified Check issued out to you from my bank, I’m in no rush with you till funds are cleared in your bank which takes only a day. You do not need to bother yourself about the shipping costs. I’ll instruct a Shipping Co Agent for pick up at your door, when you must have gotten your cash at hand to come and pick the Bike for me. I worked with AWE New Zealand Pty Ltd and now we are currently offshore Taranaki Basin in New Zealand on Kapo project. Please text me back Your name as you want it written on the check, such as your physical address Address (not PO Box) City, State, Zip. I will send the payment via Overnight Express Mail Delivery, you can consider selling the item, Please delete the ad as soon as possible. I do not mind if you can send more pictures of him for the proper.
Thank you, GOD Bless.
Posted on July 22nd, 2013 by Alex. Filed under Experiences with Companies.
Recently I applied for a login to the web site of the Department of Education of Germany. More precisely of North Rhine-Westphalia, a state in Germany. Below the space in which a user is asked for the password, it says:
Due to security reasons the following characters are not allowed: < > ” \ % ; ( ) & +
Since when is security improved, if the set out of which a user is able to select characters, is reduced? Despite the fact that the set is still very large, it is obviously fabricated fact. In reality the administrators of the web site were too lazy or not paid enough to implement another way to protect the web site from SQL injections and other nasty web site attacking mechanisms. They should have thought about another excuse.
Posted on June 16th, 2013 by Alex. Filed under SpaceCoord 2.
Finally I managed to integrate an interactive tutorial into the game. I also added the option to choose a difficulty level for the professional combat pilots out there. Try it out!
What else is new in this version?
- added German translation
- improved controls
- several bug fixes
Posted on April 22nd, 2013 by Alex. Filed under SpaceCoord 2.
- New – Start a new game. If you played a game before, but have not finished yet. The new game will overwrite the state of the old game.
- Continue – Continue with a previous game. If you finished the previous one, this button is grayed out.
- Upgrade – Here you can upgrade your ship with new weapons and features. However it is not yet fully tested and will be added in a release later.
- Options – Change the volume of the music and sound effects
- Credits – The game would not have been the one that it is now without the help of numerous people willing to share their work under a license that allows the use. If you want to know, where the graphics, fonts, music and sound effects are coming from, click here.
- Exit – Save the current state of the game (if one is currently going on) and exit.
- FTL – Faster Than Light: In this scene, you can jump almost instantly to another sector in the galaxy. The farther away the sector from your current one, the more energy it costs. The energy display shows the energy that is left, after the jump was executed. Once the jump drive is engaged, it requires a huge amount of energy and cannot be interrupted. But you can leave the scene at any point in time.
- SUB – Sublight Scene (shown in the image above). Whenever you are roaming around in the sector, you use the sublight engines. They are not as efficient as the jump drive compared to the distance, but they allow a precise navigation. Weapons can only be fired while the ship is traveling below the speed of light. With the left control, you control the ship (“MOVE”). Be aware of obstacles and planets damaging or even destroying your ship.
With the right control you can fire your energy weapons and lasers. They require energy and as long as your reserves are filled, you can fire lasers. They are not as powerful as the torpedoes (see below). Hold the red marked button in the direction in which you want to fire. It takes a moment to charge the laser banks and to reload them.
- TOR – This is your torpedo room. Torpedoes are very powerful, but slow weapons. However your stock is limited, so take care in aiming by moving the red bar in the radar circle towards the direction of the enemy. The selection field allows you to select an appropriate torpedo which differ in its capabilities. However this will be implemented later.
- SHD – Your ship is equipped with the latest shielding technology preventing any other object or energy penetrating the hull and armor. Shields require energy and can be recharge by using the ship’s resources. A light blue circle around any object shows the state an strength of the shield. If it is depleted and inflicted damage is compensated by the armor. If the armor is lost, your ship explodes and the galaxy is taken over by the evil enemies.
On top of the screen are displayed the time that is left to clear the galaxy, the energy level (TIME, ENERGY on the right), the state of the shields and armor (SHD and AMR on the left). The game is won, if all hostile ships have been eliminated. Or it is lost, if your ship exploded or you ran out of time or energy.
Space is vast. Fortunately your ship is equipped with a short range scanner localizing objects that are within the sector, but are far to see. Watch out for the little round indicators which are conveniently integrated at the boundary of the Sublight Scene (“SUB”) by your ship’s computer.
Warning, the following text may contain spoilers. To reveal it, mark the black gap below with your mouse.
Beware of planets. A crash landing on a planet destroys your ship immediately.
There are several objects that will harm you and your crew. But help is still available, but hidden in the galaxy. At space stations you can refuel your energy reserves and do some maintenance to repair your armor. However you have to park your ship not so far away from it to use the services of the space stations.
Posted on April 22nd, 2013 by Alex. Filed under SpaceCoord 2.
The formerly peaceful galaxy has been taken over by evil enemies. Only one ship stands still in their path and fights back. But the time and resources are running short and every action needs to be planned ahead. Can you free the worlds and bring back the peace?
The Internet permission is for displaying Ads only. There are no ads shown during the game play.
I uploaded the initial release of SpaceCoord 2 to Google Play. It is a reimplementation of classic game that I used to play in my childhood. Please note that this version is an early alpha and maybe full of bugs. Hence I would appreciate, if you report any trouble or bugs. Also suggestions and feature requests are most welcome. Over the coming days/months/years, I am going to add features and squash the bugs, so stay tuned!
Credits and Licenses
The following sound files used in this game, are from Freesound.org and licensed under the CC-Attribution License:
- “PolysixSlowingLaser3” by JimPurbrick
- “1DistantCrack” by HerbertBoland
- “explosion4” by sarge4267
- “System Background” by gcmax
- “Rocket Launch” by primeval_polypod
- “Metal_Creek_Crash_Smash” by klangmanufaktur
- “Syyyymphonica” by digifishmusic
- “Nine Lies the Heart ed 4” by ERH
- “string 1 loop” by ERH
The following sound files are royalty free and downloaded from Teknoaxe:
- “Planet Hopper”
- “Radio Silence”
- “Chariots of the Sun”
- “The Ruins of Megalopolis”
- “Chilling in Space Colony 1 (The Dance Remix)”
- “To Hiigara”
- “Mars Incorporated”
The following font files used in this game, are from Fontspace.com and licensed under the CC-Attribution Share Alike License:
- “2BR_SANS” by Total FontGeek
- Experiences with Companies