MSN Shutdown in 2003

During CA640 I was made to write an ethical review which I was supposed to hand in using a dodgy webservice. Since it got 90% people mugged me to make it available ;-) Of course, I don’t have a problem with that, so people now have a reference or know what to expect when they enter the course.

You can find the PDF here and its abstract reads:

At the end 2003 Microsoft closed the public chat-rooms of its Internet service called MSN.
MSN was pushed by Children’s Charities because they feared an abuse of these chat-rooms.
In some countries, however, the service was still available but subject to a charge.
This review raises ethical questions about Microsoft’s and the Children’s Charities’ behaviour because making the people pay with the excuse of protecting children is considered ethically questionable.
Also the Children’s Charities pushed for closure of a heavily used service although there is absolutely no evidence that children would be safer after closing down a chat-room.

If you are not interested in the non-technical details you might be interested to know that I use a Mercurial Hook on the server side to automatically compile the LaTeX sources one I push changes to the server:

$ cat .hg/hgrc
[hooks]
changegroup.compile = export FILE=paper && hg up -C && pdflatex --interaction=batchmode $FILE && bibtex $FILE && pdflatex --interaction=batchmode $FILE && pdflatex --interaction=batchmode $FILE

And then I just symlink that resulting PDF file to my public_html directory.

Digital Divide

Als Student kommt es hin und wieder vor, dass ich eine Hausarbeit schreiben muss. Da ich fest davon ueberzeugt, dass Uni, Wissenschaft und Wissen so frei wie moeglich sein sollten, und jedermensch auch noch durch Zahlung von Steuern potentiell das Studieren finanziert, denke ich, hat jedermensch das Recht mindestens zu sehen was ich so eigentlich den lieben langen Tag so mache.

Internet sei dank ist es heutzutage eher einfach, Dinge zu publizieren und Wissen fortzutragen. Deswegen gibt es hier nun eine Hausarbeit, die ich im letzten Semester in Gender Studies geschrieben habe.

Alien Toilet Sign
Alien Toilet Sign

Das Paper traegt den Namen “Weiblicher Zugang zu Technik und feministische Politiken” und das Abstract liesst sich wiefolgt:

Die Gründe, die zum Digital Divide, der digitalen Kluft, führen, sind vielfältig und Geschlecht ist einer davon.
Auch weibliche Gruppierungen haben das Ziel, den Anteil weiblicher Teilnehmer im Digitalen zu erhöhen.
Die Arbeit analysiert, wie dieses Ziel erreicht werden soll, warum das nicht gelingt und wie es eventuell doch erreicht werden kann.

Das PDF gibt es hier und ist als “Namensnennung-Keine kommerzielle Nutzung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Deutschland” fuer jedermensch lizensiert. Das heisst aber nicht, dass ich es auf Anfrage anders lizensieren kann.

Die Arbeit liesst sich an einigen Stellen etwas ruckelig, was der Entstehungsgeschichte geschuldet ist. Im Prinzip sind aus 2.5 Arbeiten eine geworden. Ich hoffe, es ist dennoch nicht so schlimm.

Sollte das PDF inhaltlich nicht so spannend sein, lohnt es sich doch auf die technischen Details zu achten. So weiss das PDF, wie dessen Inhalt lizensiert ist. Dazu benutzt es XMP streams, die in das PDF eingebetted wurden. Die sind mit dem Paket hyperxmp ueber LaTeX in das PDF gekommen. Offiziell wird noch xmpincl empfohlen, aber das ist wirklich fies zu benutzen, weil mensch den XMP stream selbst erstellen muss.

\usepackage{hyperxmp}         % To be have an XMP Data Stream f.e. to include the license
[...]
\hypersetup{
        pdftitle={Weiblicher Zugang zu Technik und feministische Politiken},
        pdfauthor={Tobias Mueller},
        [...]
        pdfcopyright={This work is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License.},
        pdflicenseurl={http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/de/}
}

Mein Evince 2.29.1 (mit JHBuild gebaut) zeigt die Lizenzinformation froehlich an, Okular 0.9.2 nicht. Wie es sonst moeglich ist, in PDF eingebettete XMP Daten anzusehen, weiss ich nicht. Es waere fuer eine automatisierte Verarbeitung sicherlich interessant.

Vielen Dank and Chillum und Sourci, die mir beratend und patchend zur Seite standen und denen der Text wahrscheinlich zu den Ohren wieder herauskommt ;-)

Fuer eine inhaltliche Diskussion ist die Kommentarfunktion wohl eher schlecht geeignet aber in Ermangelung an Alternativen steht sie dazu zur Verfuegung. Ich mag die Loesung, die das Djangobook benutzt. Am Rand von jedem Absatz gibt es eine Kommentarfunktion die sehr gut funktioniert.

Adding Linux Syscall

In a course (CA644) we were asked to add a new syscall to the Linux kernel.Linux Oxi Power!

As I believe that knowledge should be as free and as accessible as possible, I thought I have to at least publish our results. Another (though minor) reason is that the society -to some extend- pays for me doing science so I believe that the society deserves to at least see the results.

The need to actually publish that is not very big since a lot of information on how to do that exists already. However, that is mostly outdated. A good article is from macboy but it misses to mention a minor fact: The syscall() function is variadic so that it takes as many arguments as you give it.

So the abstract of the paper, that I’ve written together with Nosmo, reads:

This paper shows how to build a recent Linux kernel from scratch, how to add a new system call to it and how to implement new functionality easily.
The chosen functionality is to retrieve the stack protecting canary so that mitigation of buffer overflow attacks can be circumvented.

And you can download the PDF here.

If it’s not interesting for you content wise, it might be interesting from a technical point of view: The PDF has files attached, so that you don’t need to do the boring stuff yourself but rather save working files and modify them. That is achieved using the embedfile package.

\usepackage{embedfile}        % Provides \embedfile[filename=foo, desc={bar}]{file}
[...]
\embedfile[filespec=writetest.c, mimetype=text/x-c,desc={Program which uses the new systemcall}]{../code/userland/writetest.c}%

If your PDF client doesn’t allow you save the files (Evince does :) ), you might want to use pdftk $PDF unpack_files in some empty directory.

Why I cannot use turnitin.com

turnitin logoWe are were supposed to use a proprietary webservice to hand in a paper:

You should also upload the essay to turnitin.com using the password key:

5vu0h5fw and id: 2998602

Late entries will suffer a penalty.

I cannot use this service. The simplest reason being that I cannot agree to their ToS.

Let me clarify just by picking some of their points off their ToS:

By clicking the “I agree — create profile” button below You: (1) represent that You have read and understand

As I am not a native speaker of neither English nor law-speak, I cannot  agree that I fully understand those ToS.

With the exception of the limited license granted below, nothing contained herein shall be construed as granting You any right, […]

Whatever that means, it sounds scary to me.

You further represent that You are not barred from receiving the Services or using the Site under the laws of the United States or other applicable jurisdiction.

I am sorry but I do not know whether this holds for me.

You may not modify, copy, distribute, transmit, display, perform, reproduce, publish, license, create derivative works from, transfer, or sell any information, Licensed Programs or Services from the Site without the prior written consent of iParadigms,

Lucky me, that I did not agree to their ToS yet so that I can copy them and bring them up here…

You further agree not to cause or permit the disassembly, decompilation, recompilation, or reverse engineering of any Licensed Program or technology underlying the Site. In jurisdictions where a right to reverse engineer is provided by law unless information is available about products in order to achieve interoperability, functional compatibility, or similar objectives, You agree to submit a detailed written proposal to iParadigms concerning any information You need for such purposes before engaging in reverse engineering.

I seriously do not want to write a proposal to this company for every new website I will build just because they use a <form> or some AJAX.

You are entirely responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of Your password

I cannot do that because I do not even know how they store my password (we are talking about an ASP program after all…).

You agree to use reasonable efforts to retain the confidentiality of class identification numbers and passwords. In no circumstance shall You transmit or make Your password or class identification number or any other passwords for the Site or class identification numbers available in any public forum, including, but not limited to any web page, blog, advertisement or other posting on the Internet, any public bulletin board, and any file that is accessible in a peer-to-peer network.

Yeah, sure. Nobody will find it on the page itself anyway.

This User Agreement is governed by the laws of the State of California, U.S.A. You hereby consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of state and federal courts in Alameda County, California, U.S.A., in all disputes arising out of or relating to the use of the Site or the Services.

Might sound weird, but I do not want to be arraigned in the USA.

You agree not to use the Site in any jurisdiction that does not give effect to all provisions of these terms and conditions, including without limitation this paragraph.

Of course, I do not know enough about this jurisdiction to agree to those ToS.

Needless to say, that I do not want my data to fall under the American 9-11 Patriot Act.

Besides the above mentioned legal issues, I also have ethical concerns to contribute to the profit of a dodgy company by providing them my written essay so that they can use that to check other works against mine. If I believed in copyright, I could probably claim infringement as well.

Other topics, such as the violation of the presumption of innocence, are covered by resources on the web. And there is plenty of it. The most interesting ones include this and this.

Admittedly, I could care not as much as I do, but being an academic also means to think critically.

I more or less sent this email to the lecturer and it turned out that it’s not compulsory to use this dodgy service! *yay*

The future, however, is not safe yet, so more action is needed…

Wikify Pages

In one of our modules, “System Software”, we were asked to write a bash script which wikifies a page. That means to identify all nouns and replace them with a link to the Wikipedia.

I managed to write that up in two hours or so and I think I have a not so ugly solution (*cough* it’s still bash… *cough*). It has (major) drawbacks though. Valid X(HT)ML, i.e.

<![CDATA[ <body>

before the actual body will be recognized as the beginning. But parsing XML with plain bash is not that easy.

Also, my script somehow does not parse the payload correctly, that is it tails all the way down to the end of the file instead of stopping when </body> is reached.

Anyway, here’s the script:

#!/bin/bash
### A script which tries to Wikipediafy a given HTML page
### That means that every proper noun is linked against the Wikipedia
### but only if it's not already linked against something.
### Assumptions are, that the HTML file has a "<body>" Tag on a seperate
### line and that "<a>" Tags don't span multiple lines.
### Also, Capitalised words in XML Tags are treated as payload words, just
### because parsing XML properly is a matter of 100k Shellscript (consider
### parsing <[DATA[!). Also, this assumption is not too far off, because
### Captd words in XML happen seldomly anyway.
### As this is written in Bash, it is horribly slow. You'd rather want to do
### this in a language that actually understand {X,HT}ML like Python
 
# You might want to change this
BASEURL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/"
 
set -e
 
### Better not change anything below, it might kill kittens
# To break only on newlines, set the IFS to that
OLD_IFS=$IFS
IFS='
'
HTML=$(cat $1) # Read the file for performance reasons
# Find the beginning and end of Document and try to be permissive with HTML
# Errors by only stopping after hitting one <body> Tag
START_BODY=$(grep --max-count=1 -ni '<body>'<<<"$HTML" | cut -d: -f1)
END_BODY=$(grep --max-count=1 -ni '</body>'<<<"$HTML" | cut -d: -f1)
 
HEAD=$(head -n $START_BODY<<<"$HTML") # Extract the Head for later use
# $(()) is most probably a non-portable bashism, so one wants to get rid of that
RANGE_BODY=$(($END_BODY-$START_BODY))
 
# And the extract the body
PAYLOAD=$(tail -n +${START_BODY} <<<"$HTML" | tail -n ${RANGE_BODY})
 
### This is the main part
### Basically search for all words beginning with a capital letter
### and match that. We can use that later with \1.
 
### Try to find already linked words, replace them by their MD5 hash,
### Run generic Word finding mechanism and replace back later
 
# We simply assume that a link doesn't span multiple lines
LINKMATCHES=$(grep -i -E --only-matching '<a .*>.*</a>' $1 || true)
 
LINKMATCH_ARRAY=()
MD5_ARRAY=()
CLEANEDPAYLOAD=$PAYLOAD
if [[ -n $LINKMATCHES ]]; then
    # We have found already linked words, put them into an array
    LINKMATCH_ARRAY=( $LINKMATCHES )
    index=0 # iterate over array
    for MATCH in $LINKMATCHES; do
        # Uniquely hash the found link and replace it, saving it's origin
        MATCHMD5=$(md5sum <<<$MATCH | awk '{print $1}')
        MD5_ARRAY[$index]=$MATCHMD5
        # We simply assume that there's no "," in the match
        # Use Bash internals string replacement facilities
        CLEANEDPAYLOAD=${CLEANEDPAYLOAD//${MATCH}/${MATCHMD5}}
        let "index = $index + 1"
    done
fi
 
 
# Find the matches
WORDMATCHES=$(grep --only-matching '[A-Z][a-z][a-z]*'<<<$CLEANEDPAYLOAD | sort | uniq)
WORDMATCHES_ARRAY=( $WORDMATCHES )
index=0
WIKIFIED=$CLEANEDPAYLOAD
while [[ "$index" -lt ${#WORDMATCHES_ARRAY[@]} ]]; do
    # Yeah, iterating over an array with 300+ entries is fun *sigh*
    # You could now ask Wikipedia and only continue if the page exist
    # if wget -q "${BASEURL}${SEARCH}"; then ...; else ...; fi
    SEARCH="${WORDMATCHES_ARRAY[$index]}"
    REPLACE="<a href=\"${BASEURL}${SEARCH}\">\2</a>"
    # Note, that we replace the first occurence only
    #WIKIFIED=${WIKIFIED/$SEARCH/$REPLACE} ## That's horribly slow, so use sed
    # Watch out for a problem: "<p>King" shall match as well as "King</p>"
    # or "King." but not eBook.
    # We thus match the needle plus the previous/following char,
    # iff it's not [A-Za-z]
    WIKIFIED=$(sed -e "s,\([^A-Za-z]\)\($SEARCH\)\([^A-Za-z]\),\1$REPLACE\3,"<<<$WIKIFIED) # so use sed
    let "index += 1"
done
 
# Replace hashed links with their original, same as above, only reverse.
# One could apply this technique to other tags besides <a>, but you really
# want to write that in a proper language :P
index=0
NOLINKWIKIPEDIAFIED=$WIKIFIED
while [[ "$index" -lt ${#MD5_ARRAY[@]} ]]; do
    SEARCH=${MD5_ARRAY[$index]}
    REPLACE=${LINKMATCH_ARRAY[$index]}
    NOLINKWIKIPEDIAFIED=${NOLINKWIKIPEDIAFIED//$SEARCH/$REPLACE}
    let "index += 1"
done
 
### Since we have the head and the payload separate, echo both
echo $HEAD
echo $NOLINKWIKIPEDIAFIED
 
# Reset the IFS, e.g. for following scripts
IFS=$OLD_IFS

Taking the IELTS

As I said some time ago, I had to do an IELTS test in order to apply at the DCU. I do already have kind of a language test which I made for the DAAD, but it’s not good enough for the DCU… So I bit the bullet and paid the Euros to take the IELTS.

I decided to go for IELTS, instead for the TOEFL, because I was told that it’s friendlier and even more comfortable to do. The TOEFL seems to be a computer based test which can be very annoying.

The IELTS was held in a friendly but formal atmosphere. Everything, and I mean everything, had a rule you and the supervisors had to stick to. I wasn’t even allowed to take my keys inside the examination room.  Not to mention my wallet.

The test itself went pretty well, especially the listening and reading part. I didn’t manage to perform equally well on the writing part. These tests took a couple of hours and I was pretty happy to get some fresh air afterwards. I had three hours sparetime before the speaking test should begin. Actually, I was really nervous. I don’t know why, because there was nothing I should be afraid of. I mean, even if I failed pretty hard, I always could redo the test. At least, I managed to speak and the results are not that bad.

So I a better result than I actually needed :) One step closer to my application at the DCU.

LaTeX Transcript of Records

As I want to go to Dublin this year and I have to apply at the DCU. I have to list everything I did so far in my university and I asked our secretary whether we have english transcripts, because having them officially  translated is really expensive. She sent me a Word document which I was supposed to fill out. Of course, I was not satisfied at all, because the document looked terrible.

So I decided to write an equivalent in LaTeX (compiled PDF). I learned a lot about multipage tables and multirow cells ;-)  Because I want to share my knowledge and don’t want you to spend two days on that as I did, you may feel free to use it for whatever you like :)

page-001

page-002

page-003

Update: New link to Transcript (with embedded TeX Source).

Bericht zur KIF

Ein kurzer Nachtrag zur Pressemitteilung, die ich ungern so im Raum stehen lassen moechte. Zum einen gibt es genug Kritik am Grundgesetz selber und zum anderen sind ein paar Worte zur Dortmunder KIF nötig.

KIF37.0 Logo

Ein zusammenfassender Bericht zur KIF befindet sich im FSR Blog. Ich habe nicht das Gefuehl, dass dem noch mehr hinzuzufuegen ist. Der ist zwar nicht so schoen zu lesen, wie der vom letzten Mal, aber fuer Erst-KIFfels gut geeignet um einen Eindruck zu bekommen.

Zum organisiatorischen vor Ort: Die Dortmunder Orga war ziemlich unentspannt. Ueberhaupt scheint es in Dortmund einen Regel-Fanatismus zu geben: Beim Betreten eines Busses muss mensch zu jeder Zeit sein Ticket vorzeigen, der Busfahrer haelt auch mitten in der Nacht nicht ausnahmsweise mal an einer Zwischenhaltestelle an und im Schwimmbad muss mensch nicht nur beim Betreten, sondern auch beim Verlassen seine Zugangsberechtigungskarte vorzeigen. Das hat uns in unserer Demo-Vorbereitungs-Phase ziemlich behindert: Weil wir die Rechner nicht mal eben auf dem Tisch verschieben konnten, die Tackernadeln wohl ein extrem wertvolles Gut waren und es insgesamt irgendwie schlechtes Karma gab, haben wir viel von unserer Vorbereitungs-Zeit mit dem Finden von Alternativplaenen verbrannt. Besonders geaergert hat mich, dass die Orgas eine schriftliche (sic!) Bestaetigung der (muendlich angemeldeten) Demo haben wollten. Nur um sicherzugehen, dass das alles rechtens sei. Weil ich mit den Polizisten vor Ort, also in der Innenstadt, verabredet war, bot ich an, dass ja ein Orga mitkommen koenne, weil so ein Gespraech von Polzist zu Anmelder beweist ja wohl ziemlich gut, dass alles mit rechten Dingen zugeht. Aber darauf wollte man sich aus unbekannten Gruenden nicht einlassen.

Demo in der Stadt

Ob die Grundrechtsdemo ueberhaupt so schlau war, ist eine interessante Frage. Zwar wird unser Grundgesetz viel gelobt und gepriesen, aber es gibt durchauch kritische Stimmen, die unser Grundgesetz aus verschiedenen Gruenden schlecht finden. Zur Geschichte unseres GGs gibt es bei Telepolis einen informativen Artikel. Zur spannenden Kritik schreibt das Magazin auch und ich finde, es gibt wirklich einige interessante Punkte. Ich koennte diese jetzt aufzaehlen und windige Akademiker machen das wohl auch so, aber ich glaube, dass die original Zitate die beste Quelle des Wissens sind :P

Trotz der Kritik finde ich, dass die Bewusstseinsschaffung gut und wichtig war. Unser Grundgesetz mag zwar nicht das Beste sein, aber ohne verbriefte Grundrechte moechte ich lieber nicht leben.

KIF 37.0 Demostriert für den Erhalt der Grundrechte

Informatikstudierende demonstrieren

Am Samstag, dem 23.05.2009, wurde das Grundgesetz 60 Jahre alt. Aus diesem Anlass fand sich auch in Dortmund vor der Reinoldikirche eine Gruppe kritischer Studentenvertreter zusammen und demonstrierte für den Erhalt der Grundrechte. Insbesondere die aktuellen Vorstöße zur Zensur des Internets bereiten den Teilnehmern der 37,0. Konferenz der Informatikfachschaften (KIF) große Sorge.

Handeln statt Wegsehen, Loeschen statt Sperren
Handeln statt Wegsehen, Loeschen statt Sperren

Abbau der Grundrechte

Der Vorstoß zum Aufbau einer umfassenden Kontrollinfrastruktur zur Beschränkung des Zugangs zu Webseiten sei aufgrund der Verbesserung des Kinderschutzes gerechtfertigt, so das Familienministerium. Dies würde erstmalig eine Sperrung von unliebsamen Internetinhalten in sämtlichen Bereichen des öffentlichen Lebens ermöglichen. Ebenso werden Grundrechte unter Anderem durch die Vorratsdatenspeicherung und das BKA-Gesetz eingeschränkt. Betrachtet man diese Entwicklungen in ihrer Gesamtheit, so ist ein fortschreitender Abbau der verfassungsrechtlich garantierten Grundrechte festzustellen.

Grundgesetzlesung

Aufgrund dieser Entwicklungen und anlässlich des 60. Geburtstags des Grundgesetzes fühlte sich eine Gruppe engagierter studentischer Bürgerrechtler dazu verpflichtet, auf diese Probleme hinzuweisen. Dazu versammelten sie sich vor der Reinoldikirche, um mit Grundgesetzlesungen und Transparenten auf die gefährdeten Artikel der Verfassung aufmerksam zu machen. Besondere Beachtung fand hierbei Artikel 5 des Grundgesetzes, welcher durch die aktuellen Pläne zur Blockierung des Internets gefährdet sei.

Dialog mit den Bürgern

“Wichtig war uns, im Dialog mit den Bürgern herauszuarbeiten, dass die Bekämpfung von Kinderpornografie auch schon jetzt ohne die Einschränkung der Grundrechte möglich wäre”, so Tobias Müller, Informatikstudent und Anmelder der Versammlung.

Zensur droht

Hinzufügend merkt eine weitere kritische Studentin an: “Von der Leyens Idee einer durch das BKA  aufgestellten Sperrliste könnte auch Webseitenbetreffen, die keine Kinderpornografie beinhalten. Es gibt  eine Möglichkeit einer öffentlichen Kontrolle. Wir sehen daher die Gefahr einer nach Artikel 5 ‘nicht stattfindenden’ Zensur.”

Demonstranten in der Innenstadt

Über die Konferenz der Informatikfachschaften (KIF): Die Konferenz der Informatikfachschaften (KIF) ist die halbjährlich stattfindende Bundesfachschaftentagung Informatik. Die 37,0. KIF findet vom 20.-24.
Mai 2009 an der TU Dortmund statt.

DAAD Recall

Journey

I applied for a stipend from the DAAD, the “German Academic Exchange Service”, in November. They must have liked my application because they invited my to the “next round” in the former capital Bonn.

Bonn Hauptbahnhof
Bonn Hauptbahnhof

I got some LIDL train tickets on eBay for 70 Euros (thanks Mezzo), which were 55 as they were sold by LIDL. Flying wasn’t an option due to the airports, both Hamburg and Koeln-Bonn, being located outside the cities and would have brought travel overhead which takes time as well. I enjoyed my non-stop train trip and arrived in Bonn after almost 5 hours.

Altes Rathaus in Bonn
Altes Rathaus in Bonn

Hostel

Akademisches Kunstmuseum
Akademisches Kunstmuseum

After a short stroll through the city, I went to my Hostel: Max Hostel in the old town. They seem to be rather new since they were obviously surprised that I arrived. The guy at the reception left a clueless but happy impression. That Hostel offers a kitchen with Pasta and coffee for free! Especially the latter is pretty important ;-) Though, I was not amused by the fact, that the showers were on the outer floor, where everybody is on his street shoes.
But the beds were pretty good and I slept nearly 11 hours.
Maybe that’s due to my long walking trip through Bonn. I got lost several times on my way to the museums but that wasn’t too bad as I could see Bonns living district with beautiful old houses.

Altbau in Bonn
Altbau in Bonn

If you are ever going to Bonn, don’t miss the “Haus der Geschichte”! An excellent Museum covering different aspects of German history.

Boennsch Koelsch
Boennsch Koelsch

Before I went to bed, I had a few big Schnitzel together with Beer^W “Koelsch”. Last time I had a Koelsch it reminded me of water rather than beer but this brand, “Boennsch” was quite good.

Boennsch Pub
Boennsch Pub
Kommunisten-Nazi
Kommunisten-Nazi

Questions

Uni Club
Uni Club

So I went to the Uni Club Bonn to have a talk to the selection committee. Other students were already waiting in front of the talking room. The amount of administrative overhead to select the ones who will receive the stiped is impressing. They do that selection talk thing the whole day, from 10:00 to 18:00, in 4 rooms in parallel.
But let’s get to the guts of that talking. I tried to prepare for that discussion with googling facts about it. I didn’t find much so I’m going to list the questions and the atmosphere. If you have questions left, feel free to drop me a line.

MozarthausI was called to come into the room and I was pretty nervous. I haven’t been so nervous even right before exams. I was invited to have a seat in front of a table with ready-to-drink water. The committee sat in front of a separate table and they counted 7 people. The committee was introduced to my by one of them. She introduced each member: Four of them were professors from different places in Germany, one student who got the stipend a year ago and two DAAD executives. And then it already begun. The professor asked four or five questions at once:

Main university building
Main university building
  • Why I was studying computer science
  • Why I am interested in computer security
  • Why I want to go to Dublin
  • Why the DAAD should give the stipend to me and not to anybody else

I began saying that I hope to not forget any of these questions. The prof immediately said that he asked so many question at once so that I can talk for a long time…
So I told my story: I am interested in computer science since I was a child, I got in touch with security very early, blablabla. Of course I forgot a few points, e.g. why I wanted to go to Dublin and why *I* should be sponsored.
But my talking drifted into a nice dialogue. I told them about the situation on my home university, especially that our security staff has gone and they asked a couple of questions like whether the professorship is going to be replace or whether I was able to do a diploma thesis at my home university.

Rheinland dreht zu Fasching durch
Rheinland dreht zu Fasching durch

Other questions include

  • Where do I see myself in 5 years
  • Where do I see the best university for computer security
  • What kind of experience I had in computer science and what my (university) projects were about
  • What would I have studied if I wouldn’t have taken computer science
  • Which news of the last week moved me

While the whole talking was in German, the student suddenly asked in English me why I needed so much time for my studies. We discussed like one minute or two after we switched to German again.

While I was pretty happy coming out of that room after 15 minutes, I think I didn’t perform very well. The more I think about it, the less I like my answers.I didn’t set any particular weights and gave unnecessary answers which are not of any interest.

The atmosphere, however, was okay. Everybody seemed interested and had a pile of paper in front. Nobody picked on a particular shortcoming and were high level in general.

Weirde Abkuerzung
Weirde Abkuerzung

So I missed to make a few points and while I think about my answers afterwards, I think I could have given smarter ones. But we’ll know more in about three weeks, because the DAAD executive said, that they’ll send a mail then.

I was about to go to the Arithmeum and the Haus der Geschichte but unfortunately they were closed on Mondays :( So I went to have lunch and a beer before I went to the railway station to get home.

Das Bier danach
Das Bier danach