SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

I have started to read a new book, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard. She takes quite a good approach and starts at 63 BC with Cicero accusing Catiline of conspiring against Rome (Second Catiline conspiracy), in one of the most popular political speeches. Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? How long, Catiline, will you abuse our patience? After this introduction, the next chapter goes back to the beginnings of Rome as a little village. Read more →

A Hologram for the King

One pleasurable cinematic experience was the movie A Hologram for the King by Tom Tykwer. Tom Hanks stars as an ageing sales agent, who is sent to Saudi Arabia for a pitch of a virtual reality conference system. He finds himself with his fellow colleages in a tent in the desert, the king far away and probably never coming. I really enjoyed watching it and can recommend it. Read more →

UX Munich – Conference Notes

The Conference The conference location was a beautiful building in walking distance of Munich main station, the Künstlerhaus. It is an old building and has style, and as such is a perfect meeting venue for UX enthusiasts. The UX Munich is intended for “designers and developers, who build great user experiences – together”. That sounded appealing to me, as I have experienced countless discussions about user experience and see this as an interdisciplinary topic. Read more →

Val Thorens

One week of skiing. We were in one of the largest ski resorts in Europe (Les 3 Vallées). Weather was determining our daily schedule, storms and bad sight impeded skiing, but we had sun shine on three days. For me, it was the first skiing adventure after a long break, but I could still do it, my red rental skis mostly did what I told them. Blue slopes, red slopes, I didn’t dare the black ones. Read more →

ETH Graduation Ceremony

The last chapter, the very last on my way to PhD – the ceremonial handover of the certificate. The Scherrer lecture hall was decorated festively, as were the new doctors. The ETH Big Band performed with a brassy ensemble, blaring jubilation. Every one of us then would walk there, receiving the certificate from the rector. A few words, smiling towards the photographer, again to the rector, “all the best on your way”. Read more →

Doctoral examination – passed!

After a little bit more than four years of research, this day saw my doctoral examination. It certainly wasn’t my best presentation, but I made it through and passed the exam. My presentation lasted about 40 minutes, the questions and answers another 20 minutes. After one hour we were all asked to leave the room and only the professors remained in there to discuss my fate. After an endless time of fifteen minutes, I was called in the room and notified of the successful outcome. Read more →

Cortona Speakers

In early September, I will again go to the Cortona week, which is offered by ETH Zurich. Now the list of lecture and workshop contributors seems complete and we – the participants – were asked to moderate sessions. So I went through the list of presenters to see, if any of these persons was particularly interesting for me. And I found interesting persons, but far too many of them. I will introduce four persons to give you an idea about the diversity of persons and topics in this one week in Cortona. Read more →

Barcelona revisited

As stated earlier, I spent three days in Barcelona last November. After a somewhat busy December, I now begin to rediscover the photos I took in these days. The main attraction for me were the buildings of Antonio Gaudi, the well-known Spanish architect. And amongst these buildings, the Sagrada Familia is probably most popular, despite of or due to being unfinished to this day. But even more impressive than the unfinished church are some stone works in front of the building. Read more →

Back to Zurich

After one month of traveling to various places I have returned safely to my home base Zurich. The basic difference between here and there was the weather, although this is difficult to judge if you are just at one place. What you can definitely expect are a lot of photos, although I changed my Flickr posting strategy slightly. I will not upload all of them at once but rather select one outstanding photo every day or so to upload and share with you. Read more →

Human Weaknesses

Although computers still seem far away from the magnificent abilities of human brain, there are yet some advantages of technical systems over humans. Steve Pavlina posted 10 weaknesses of human intelligence, a very fun article to read. Read more →