Category: Text

  • How to convert video to MPEG 422 HD format for import in Lightworks Free

    The best freely available video editing software for Windows is Lightworks (version 11.0.1). While it is free (as in beer), it has very restricted selection of import video formats at the moment. My camera (Canon EOS D550) delivers H.264 encoded MOV files, which—without other software—would require a 50 €/year codec license if you want to […]

  • DESERTEC studies: AQUA-CSP

    DESERTEC studies: AQUA-CSP

    AQUA-CSP is one of three conceptual studies which explored different parts of the DESERTEC project, a concept which relies on solar power from the world’s desserts as a major energy source for Europe. In previous posts I already talked about the two other studies MED-CSP andTRANS-CSP, the first focused on generation, the second on transportation […]

  • Optimise nonlinear functions using Matlab or Octave

    Optimise nonlinear functions using Matlab or Octave

    For my diploma thesis I needed an easy-to-use optimisation algorithm which could minimise a given function. I had access to Matlab, but surprisingly, none of the supplied optimisation functions seemed to satisfy my needs: I wanted to globally minimise a non-linear function within boundaries without using gradients. So I did a little research and found […]

  • Mathematical Formulas in Microsoft Word

    Formula typesetting can be a tedious work in most typewriter software. Word (here: Version 2003) is no excuse. When you are — like me — forced to use this software for writing technical reports containing formulas, then this tip might be useful for you. The “typical” way of writing formulas is creating formula objects which […]



    In a previous post I wrote about MED-CSP, a study being part of the DESERTEC project which outlines a scenario for generating huge amounts of electricity by means of Concentrating Solar Power applied in the Mediterranean region. CSP stands for solar thermal power plants which do not operate with the photovoltaic effect used in solar […]

  • DESERTEC studies: MED-CSP

    DESERTEC studies: MED-CSP

    This article originates from a presentation given by Hani El Nokraschy, one of the leading persons of the DESERTEC foundation. He presented the foundation’s vision towards a sustainable generation of electrical energy and drinking water around the Mediterranean Sea for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. His presentation covered the three main studies called MED-CSP, […]

  • How to use custom-made Themes under Windows XP/Vista/7

    How to use custom-made Themes under Windows XP/Vista/7

    Deskmodding is the art or the act of customizing the appearance of the graphical user interface. Usually this is done on the level of the operating system, but there are also single applications that allow to modify their appearance by so-called skins. For the operating system Windows it is not possible to easily change the […]

  • Using Funambol to sync Thunderbird(s) and Windows Mobile phone

    Using Funambol to sync Thunderbird(s) and Windows Mobile phone

    This is an article explaining how to synchronise one calendar (+tasks) and one address book of two PCs with Thunderbird (Lightning plugin for calendar) and a Windows Mobile phone. It is based on the open source synchronisation server Funambol and needs one of the computers to act as a server. The advantage to other solutions […]

  • The appeal of scepticism

    The appeal of scepticism

    The philosopher Bertrand Russell states in an article written (but not published) for a magazine in 1952: If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add […]

  • XKCD – Tech Support Cheat Sheet

    XKCD – Tech Support Cheat Sheet

    I usually don’t post plain links to stuff I found on the internet. But this is an exception. This web comic on the right is just so true. The author of this (and 626 other) comic strip(s) is Randall Munroe. On his homepage xkcd he publishes new comics three times a week. Other episodes I […]

  • From finite to renewable energy

    From finite to renewable energy

    Fossil resources, i.e. coal, oil and gas, are finite. This fact is not surprising, but is worth to be mentioned. Its direct consequence is that in near future we will have to be able to generate (more precisely: convert) all energy we consume from renewable sources. This need is independent from any consequences that arise […]

  • Home (film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, 2009)

    Home (film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, 2009)

    Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” (2006) was the first big documentary film that received international attention. It covered the current scientific knowledge global warming caused by the artificial greenhouse effect. Now the film “Home” by the French director Yann Arthus-Bertrand is published. It tries not only to focus on the climate issue but to […]

  • Self-replication


    Self-replication is the ability of a machine to reproduce all parts it consists of. In a more strict sense it stands for the capability to create a fully functional copy of itself, explicitly including the final assembly. The interest of this concept on the one hand lies in the possibility of conducting long-term space missions, […]

  • Antikythera Mechanism

    Antikythera Mechanism

    The Antikythera Mechanism is an old artefact, dated back to about 100 BC. It was originally rediscovered 1902 on board an ancient Greek ship wreck. Its purpose probably was the calculation of planets’ positions. It is far more complex than any object found before from that period.

  • Technological Singularity

    Technological Singularity

    In my English course I had to prepare a presentation on a topic regarding new technologies. Having recently read the novel “Accelerando” by Charles Stross (available online for free) I had a suitable subject ready: a technological singularity. You maybe have heard of other types of singularities in mathematics or cosmology, but this one is […]