Archive for the ‘GeekLife’ Category

What does a neural network dream of?

“Was immer du hier siehst, verändere das Bild so, dass es stärker wird!” lautete die Anweisung der Google-Forscher an das neuronale Netzwerk. Und so fing das Netzwerk an, die Formen der Wolken auf dem Bild zu interpretieren: Was etwa ein bisschen nach Vogel aussah, wurde noch vogelähnlicher gemacht. So “malte” das künstliche Gehirn allerlei Fantasiewesen und Gebäude, die es zu erkennen glaubte. | Zeit.de – © Google Research

Google made multiple layers of neural networks analyze images and emphasize what they “think” they found in the pictures. The result is really impressive even though some of the pictures they were fed contained nothing but white noise to begin with. One could argue if that’s how AI dreams are made… well, and maybe even our own?

http://www.zeit.de/digital/2015-06/google-neuronale-netzwerke-fs

Bring games to Linux

penguincomputingI buy and maintain a Windows PC just to be able to play games. I would be a lot happier, if I could stick to Linux on all my machines and spend the money on games instead of a second set of hardware. Steam for Linux is slowly growing but AAA titles are still not being ported by EA, bethesda and the likes. While an emulated version is generally performing quite poorly (if at all), the request for making a full port of your favorite games like Skyrim or Battlefield 3 is still being ignored. Make yourself heard now loud and clear by signing the petitions:

Let’s not doubt the potential impact those might have. It’s better to set a signal instead of giving up without even trying. At least I just signed…

Links first seen on steamforlinux.com

The Longest Journey – Dreamfall Chapters now on Kickstarter

Dreamfall

Gone but not forgotten: When I finished playing Dreamfall I was stunned by the epic open ending that left me hanging with millions of questions and I was really looking forward to the sequel of this very fine adventure game. But it never came. So over the years (it must have been 6 by now) I forgot the game even existed. Until I came across the Kickstarter: The core team of The Longest Journey is back together and planning to pick up the story where they left of. And swoosh: my anxiety is back as well.

During the first games, the dialogues are a bit exhausting at times, but it’s very much worth to chill out and play the first two episodes (or at least the second one, as the technology of the first one got quite ancient by now). Not a big fan of spoilers so I’ll just give you this: The technology driven world as we see it is just one half of what is out there. There is a parallel world of magic and both have been kept in balance for centuries. In the first part the balance starts to crumble and you play a girl who might be important to prevent that from happening. I won’t spoil anything from the second episode, except that you play yet another even sweeter girl.

You move through an epic and very atmospheric adventure with breathtaking scenery and a fantastic conspiracy story holding all of that together. At the end of part two you just want to know how it all plays together. So hurry up to finish the first parts if you haven’t done so already and get onto the kickstarter

Watch the clip in which director Ragnar Tørnquist and his crew explain what the sequel will be about:

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P.S.: They are building it in Unity3D – which by coincidence I just started to look into myself (more on that in one of my later posts maybe). Would love to pledge and in return have a look at their source!

Edit: I just pledged $50.

Game Impressions: Proteus

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Just stumbled over a game called Proteus while checking out some news on Steam – a fantastic looking and sounding exploration experience from the indie game scene. Can’t seem to find the “buy” option although it’s supposed to be released today. But I found some interesting “Let’s Play” on Youtube giving a little bit of a feel what it is (spoiler alert). Must say, I am curious and will definitely check it out. If you are into games also because you feel they are a piece of art and more than just objectives to solve or competitions to beat, you might want to do the same… If you constantly feel the need to blow shit up, please move along!

Privacy Off: You are now a data point in the Facebook Graph…

Surveillance-Equipment-Detect-Ear

… not just a statistic! The new search graph function in Facebook is more than just a convenient way to find more people of specific interest to become friends with. Maybe Facebook wants you to believe it is for your own benefit but besides the obvious real goal of advertisers to target very specific people, it can serve as a tool to find individuals with opinions that might be ‘conflicting’ in some countries or societies. This should alarm you and make you even more careful what you share on Facebook, because now you are not just one entry in the cloud that nobody finds if they don’t specifically look up your name – you are a real data point in the statistic that will be found! And this information can be used against you…

Here are some example search phrase (taken from the tumblr below) that just by reading them should make you aware of the problem:

  • Mothers of Catholics who live in Italy who like Durex
  • Islamic men who like men who live in Teheran, Iran (and places where they worked)
  • Current employers of people who like Racism

You get the picture. I for one can very well imagine that there are people out there who would be very interested to know who belongs to these types of groups… I don’t want to imagine for what they would like to get their hands on them…

  • http://actualfacebookgraphsearches.tumblr.com

 

 

Howto: JBoss Seam Performance Problems and Optimizations

Are you a java web application developer and you are working with JBoss Seam? Ok, then you might be interested in the following JBoss Seam performance problems (and their solutions). If not you should seriously consider leaving this post! It is rather long and dry and might make you never consider programing with Seam EVER (which can also be a good thing, but I will leave this discussion for another post). In any case: You have been warned.

Soo… I have recently gained some experience developing a medium/large web application with Seam and I also discovered a couple of pitfalls you run into when using this framework, especially in terms of performance optimization. At some point, I had pages of just average complexity, loading in more than 17 seconds! In this post, I will go over each of the steps that i did to speed up those pages to 3 – 6 seconds. During my code analysis, I searched through a couple of Seam performance tuning pages out there, but for some reason they did not really provide me the tweaks or straight solutions I was hoping to find. Many of the tips I found sounded very reasonable, but when I applied them to my project, there was barely any change in Seam’s performance! That’s why I publish my own list of performance optimizations, which definitely had a visible impact at least on my code and hope I can help those among you, who find themselves in a similar position like me. And even if my performance tuning tips are not able to help in your particular case, at least you will learn how to identify performance problems in your Seam project with this post.

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What’s your password?

Over the years of internet usage, most of us grew accustomed to the fact, that we should choose passwords, that are not plain text. No, they should be as cryptic to our eyes as possible: containing numbers in random positions, special characters like ‘@’ instead of ‘a’ and some of the letters have to be capitalized. What sounds so plausible is only based on the fact, that we are not good at remembering them, so we *think* those passwords are secure. But are they really?

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Stephen Colbert interviewing Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson makes astrophysics accessible to the average people by his enthusiastic and entertaining way of telling stuff and Stephen Colbert’s fun way of leading the interview is a quality bonus to this video. If you are only slightly interested in the questions why we should raise our scientific literacy and what makes astrophysics valuable to everyone, you should really watch this entertaining talk:

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How to merge multiple RSS feeds into one

If you have a wordpress blog (or any other kind of website), you might come across this problem some day: you want to fetch multiple RSS feeds and merge their entries in chronological order into one feed. Don’t panic, I might have found the solution for you. On my WordPress blog you can see I have RSS feeds for the blog posts, the user comments and now also the shoutbox entries. Most visitors were not aware of the different RSS feeds on my page (and who could blame them?), so I decided to combine them all into one big feed. Here is what you need to do…

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Athene’s Theory of Everything

Are you in the mood to think about how we see ourselves, why we believe in the things we believe and how we act upon those believes? Then you should consider watching this clip of ‘Athene’s Theory of Everything’, which is trying to explain and to unify all of our current philosophical questions with up-to-date scientific facts.

Don’t watch it, if you are stressed or not open minded for philosophical thoughts! You will be advised in the beginning of the clip, that the matter is complicated and multiple viewings might be required. But it is worth your attention and turns out to be very interesting, even when watching it for the the first time and when you might not be able to follow many of the details. Just play it again another day.

Among physics and biology, it even mentions the Mirror Neurons – a topic of the talk i have been putting up here in my previous post. I can’t stress enough that you should be advised to take some time to let all the ideas sink in, since it is quite condensed – especially if you are new to thinking about the ideas on how the world and we as human beings operate. However, it is presented in a very clear and calm way. In my opinion it is definitely something to take into consideration when discussing how ‘everything’ works…

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