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31st May 2019

10:08am: This blog
I'm writing the blog in English because I type twice as fast this way than in Russian (yes I am improving...), and 90% of my friends and friends read English any way. I answer comments in the same language they are posted.

I am trying not to post anything related to my employer, but if I do so, this expresses only my own views and does not represent an official position of my employer.

When I post about some technical topic which seems non trivial and is related to my employer's product, don't expect it to be inside information. If I post about it, it means that this info is already public. Usually I do not post any personal information or anything that is related to my family.

All photos are mine, and I allow anyone to copy, change, do anything you please with them. I don't post "friends only".

Useful tags are: software , idea , Deutschland, freediving and trip report

11th July 2014

9:35pm: Moving
There is more than one reason why I am quiet in livejournal. Besides, the project I was working on for last 8 months is over and I am finishing the last bits.

And we have just moved to a new flat. Here is the view from our balcony:

As you may see, the house is built as a square, 6 floors high. In the center, there is another small house. Here is a map: Read more...Collapse )

When heading our balcony, nearly every window and balcony is green because of the flowers. It is visible on the pic that left and right sides are also relatively green - there are flowers on ~70% of the windows. Not so at the house facing us - there is no single plant. Any guess why? (The answer is very apparent for locals)

9th July 2014

10:41am: Backwards compatibility
Just noticed - even in Windows 8.1, my hard drive is C:, that implies there may be floppy A: and B: somewhere. It is fine as long as there are no references to floppy drive...

But wait, when I try installing a new device driver, select "I have a disk" option, the default path is A:!
Cool, Windows 8.1 is looking for a floppy disk...

4th July 2014

9:51pm: Happy 4th of July.
It is really a very important holiday for me. No emails from US, I finally caught up with all the work stuff that I was flunking with recently. Committed all my fresh code to git, and won't do anything work related this weekend :) Except may be testing this device (registration required)

26th June 2014

5:29pm: Two worlds
We have outstayed four neighbors in a hospital room. One of them was a very interesting character.

A Turkish girl, 21. Just delivered a third child. It seemed strange for her to meet my wife, 30+ y.o, delivering a first child...

She smokes 2 packs of cigarettes per day. Lives in a not-too-good Munich suburb. She has many relatives who visited her every day, and each relative has an expensive iphone. They do not hesitate to use phones as jukeboxes with oriental music. Though she does not have any phone, and had to lend one from us to tell her mother that she had just delivered a baby.

When she was discharged from the hospital, she mentioned that she cannot take an U-bahn because she is not able to read a map and signs. She is not religious, does not wear a hijab, does not pray (though IMHO one is not allowed to pray for some time after delivering a baby).

Very nice and friendly young girl. Usually there is simply no place where we could meet people of this background and talk with them, but hospital is exactly the place where one can make any type of connection.

16th June 2014

4:48am: New delivery
I am Out Of Livejournal because of a personal project milestone.

Hope will get back soon.

4th June 2014

5:38pm: Hare beware!
When I was looking at the ppl who check tickets in S-bahn, my only reaction was always: "ну чесне слово, як діти" (c) анекдот. A passenger without a ticket can always easily avoid the check, if he/she is not deaf and blind. However they always get 2-3 fines per train carriage. Why? Because there are usually that many ppl (on average) who genuinely think they have a valid ticket, but they don't. (Just lost it recently/have a wrong ticket type.)

But now it looks like the happy days for free-S-bahn-riders are over.

Yesterday I saw a real change in the tactics of ticket checking. A group of ppl in civilian clothes (not in S-bahn uniform as usual) entered an eastward S2 train on Ostbahnhof. Then they spread along the train and stood still until Berg Am Laim. Right after the doors were closed, they acted all together: each urged a passenger standing nearby to show a ticket, and then quickly proceeded to a next one.

Hare beware!

3rd June 2014

1:38pm: Pelevin is a genius
The text I cut&pasted below was written 4 years ago...

On languages:
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On guerrilla wars.
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On media:
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On tolerance.
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1st June 2014

6:38pm: The best EU elections poster
I have already posted several pics with EU parliament party ads.
The best poster I have seen promotes Die Linke, the most popular left wing party in Germany.

I like everything about these left guys, except that they always want to raise taxes for "the rich". I was always thinking, yeah, let's tax the rich, and rich are the folks who earn 2x more than myself. Time passed, my earnings went up and I joined "the rich", as it was defined in the previous sentence. But I did not feel like, still spending 90% of my income on essential stuff, and thought - ah, may be "the rich" are still those who earn 2x more than myself, now.

After several cycles like that I understood that something may be wrong in that equation...

Btw, I know a rich german gentleman, who told me: "I am willing to pay whatever raised taxes they invent, if the money really goes to support those who do not want/are not able to work. The main thing is to maintain social peace."

29th May 2014

6:21pm: Norwig's latencies list, revised
There is a well known source of latencies numbers published by Peter Norwig, that keeps being reposted in lj and elsewhere.

Of course the numbers were correct at a time of posting but now are a bit dated, I guess it was first published in ~2003. By a PC ppl usually mean a PC with an Intel CPU, and since 2008 when Nehalem CPU was released, cache timings and frequencies did not change much. Let's assume CPU frequency is 3Ghz.

The first number in Peter's data is "execute typical instruction - 1ns". Average CPI could be 0.9. So the execution time will be 0.27ns. (And of course I can assure you that individual instruction execution latency is an utterly useless metric. Curiously enough, there are areas in embedded where they publish this metric for new platforms :)). CPU frequency does not grow, but CPI improves by several % points every year.

L1 hit is 0.5ns according to Norwig. More than 10 years ago L1 hits were fast, but since 2008 they take at least 4 cycles, so 1.2ns.

L2 hit is listed as 7ns, however cache hierarchy architecture was very stable in recent years, and L2 hit is 11 cycles, so 3.3ns.

Branch mispredict is a pipeline flush, and it still costs ~5ns.

Memory latency improved 2x, being closer to 50ns than to 100ns as in the article.

I think many readers, practicing programmers will think "who cares", and some even describe in comments that programming is no longer about counting nanoseconds, and the only performance that matters is programming speed.

28th May 2014

12:57pm: "изобретение нарушает ... ряд законов .. Пифагора. Но ..работает"
Wow!!! The article is published in RG! The newspaper is used to publish state laws... Now they publish bogus laws of physics.
Originally posted by norian at post
российская газета - Чеченец избавит страну от энергозависимости

текст просто перл на перле

на всякий случай стащу подкат, а то вдруг они начнут что-то подозревать ..

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25th May 2014

1:26pm: Two jobs in my team [looking for peers], posted this week
You may find at
Just search by number.

This one is in Munich: 735157. It lists exactly my job description:
Support and influence SW developers during all phases of SW development cycle incl. feature definition, project setup, project execution, tech support for go-to-market - 50% of time.

Providing technical training, consultation, and hands-on assistance to SW developers in areas of architecture, technologies, code development, testing and tuning of SW apps - 20% of time.

Provide training, consultation, and hands-on assistance to SW developers using the Intel SW Tools; evangelise Intel SW Tools and technologies to SW developer community - 10% of time.

As SW and Intel technology expert, author technical papers and training courses; provide expertise to customers and peer Intel orgs - 10% of time.

Contribute to Intel SW and HW product development by providing tech feedback to Intel product teams - 10% of time.

And this one can be in located in London, Paris, Munich or Helsinki: 735361.
9:31am: S/w engineer hiring ad
The market is still hot for programmers. I keep receiving plenty of emails from recruiters with some weird job ads. Even my brother, who often shoots wedding videos was commissioned to create a video ad for a russian software company.

Here it is: / 2013 / by GRIMvideo feat ProSG from Boris Komarov on Vimeo.

If 4:50 is too long, you may watch from 4:00 :)

If you'd live in a small Russian town, would you like to work in such a company or rather freelance?

23rd May 2014

4:08pm: Web of mind
These two pictures of web I've just taken near the office.

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The post however is not exactly about web. It is about "if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

I just sent a spec to a young developer, asking him to implement a simple subsystem in a multi-tier architecture. I wrote: "... so I send you these 3 types of messages, and you [usually asynchronously] send me these 2 types of messages depending on my data and the results of a user input processing".

His reply was: "OK, let's agree on HTTP interface, please install HTTP server on your side."

Me: sorry, we will do it in a simpler way: we have a TCP socket, and exchange [asynchronously] messages formatted in JSON.

Lesson learned: young developers now are web developers.

20th May 2014

11:57am: Eurozone inflation
I thought that the inflation may be a big higher than the official number of ~1.5%. I'll take just one number - swimming pool entrance ticket. The price difference should include mostly energy price growth and employees compensation rise.

When we came here in 2009 we paid 4.20E, and now it is 4.90E. (4.90/4.20)^(1/5) = 3% inflation annually. Still not too much.

19th May 2014

11:47am: Time management - conference calls
I was never concerned about how much time I spend on the phone, it seemed not too much. But this week I've noticed that I was slightly behind the schedule for some of my deliverables. Just checked my calendar and found out that each week I spend 8-14 hours on conference calls, 10 on average. That means that my work week lasts less than 4 days, and I plan for 5. I am doomed!!!

15th May 2014

9:47pm: Galileo is robust
Intel Galileo is powered by a 5V DC. One of the Galileo boards on my work desk is sitting next to NUC, which is powered by 19V DC. Unfortunately the power plug is the same, so once I mixed them up and tested if Galileo works when plugged to 19V.

It does! It booted OK so I noticed something wrong only after it hanged after 5 minutes of operation. I wanted to press a reset button, but when I tried the device was really hot! Now it works almost OK, but there is a lasting damage. RS232 output sometimes stops working on this board, I guess voltage conversion to 8V was damaged.

14th May 2014

10:18am: test, pls ignore
please don't open the lj-cut, nothing interesting there. Also could be dangerous for the readers health!
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just needed to put a simple animated gif online quickly. I am sure nobody will guess how I use this thing at work.

12th May 2014

10:18pm: Diving in early morning.
The best time to see stuff in a busy is early morning. Water is usually very calm, and animals are not scared away by hordes of intro-divers.

Unfortunately, the light just after a sunrise is not good for making photos under the water.
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11th May 2014

12:03pm: We dont need no education
Reading a recent story at reminded me of a conversation I had with a colleague several days ago. The colleague is also a Russian speaking young professional who lives in Germany. He is a decent expert in his field (other ways he would not be able to get a German blue card), but is half generation younger than me.

We were discussing popular holiday destinations, and I mentioned that I like going to Israel. We engaged in the following dialogue:
other guy> Is it safe for a non-local? I mean are there anybody but Jews going there for holidays?
me> It is mostly safe, in the airport and in the country I saw a lot of non-Jewish visitors. E.g. I saw many Europeans, ppl from US and South America, who were probably not Jewish, because they looked and behaved like devoted christian.
other guy> What kind of Christian?
me> Mostly catholic, and I have seen many Russian orthodox.
other guy> Catholic? Why they would want to come to Israel?
me> Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth - rings any bell?
other guy> Yes, Jerusalem is sacred for Jews and Orthodox, but why Catholic?
Seems that a bachelor's degree degree from a Russian university does not guarantee even basic knowledge of things unrelated to a profession.

9th May 2014

2:26pm: V-day

I made this photo last May in Nuremberg city hall.

6th May 2014

9:23pm: Patent search
When I came home today my wife had shown me a sketch of an invention she made today. I did a quick patent search, and found that the thing was already patented in US more than 20 years before we were born.

She does not like wearing high heels, but sometimes does, and she thought it would be handy if there was a way to adjust. Looks like the idea was not implemented, or just market did not react positively.

5th May 2014

4:02pm: "Selbstverteidigungsnazgûl"
When I read this I felt like I should finally test this + "share this" LJ button.
Originally posted by akuklev at "Selbstverteidigungsnazgûl"
“Minas Tirith (dpo) - Vor dem Hintergrund der Unruhen in Osgiliath hat der gondorische Truchsess Denethor am Mittwoch in Minas Tirith weitere Sanktionen gegen Mordor erlassen. Sie zielten zunächst auf den Handel mit Lava und Schwefelgestein, könnten aber auch auf in Mordor beliebte Beauty-Gesichtsmasken aus Torf ausgeweitet werden. Sanktionen gegen Saurons Machtzirkel selbst seien leider unmöglich, da Mordors Herrscher keine Freunde habe.”
Сатирический журнал Постилльон как всегда безумно прекрасен.

4th May 2014

9:54pm: Elections, again
Yet new elections are just around the corner, so new billboards have appeared in the neighborhood.

Green's credo again - atoms are evil (I hope they do not include Atom CPU brand and carbon atoms in their bodies (they could, after all their leader had publicly denounced mathematics as not a part of the God's creation (I knew it must be the devil who invented math!)))
Looking at this picture, the only thought I have is "OK, so greens want to replace nuclear power stations with coal. They want to import more coal from Russia". They usually argue that nuclear should be replaced with solar and wind, but they always forget about the difference between peak and base generation.

Then there is a Bavarian party.
Another interesting posterCollapse )
Ok, Bavaria is a donkey. It suffers from constipation (type one BSS), money is shit, and Germany and EU gets some from Bavaria. According to the picture, some fecesmoney is missing in transit.

Greens also try to exploit the surveillance theme.
Another interesting posterCollapse )
Stealing the agenda from pirates...

And here are the pirates:
Another interesting posterCollapse )
They write some of their posters in various european languages. Is this Czech?

The left party is campaigning against military export and interventions.
Another interesting posterCollapse )
They also would like to allow more refugees to Germany and treat them better.

But they are not the leftmost party out there. There are communists too! And do they really want a revolution?
Another interesting posterCollapse )
Alas they only mention Marx, without other two parts of the trinity - Engels and Lenin.

27th April 2014

12:23pm: User feedback
Having a meaningful feedback from a smart end user is one of the best resources a product development team can utilize when defining a new revision of a product. Recently one of the end users of a product I am working on wrote two posts on an official support forum. The first post was full of very good technical advises on the product, and our team will definitely take it into account for the next release. My colleague had replied with a sincere words of gratitude.

The second post was more metaphorical and contains some points that I would like to argue with. As the support forum is not a right medium for flames, I'll post it here.

"[Decision making about the product] is dominated by Genius Engineering Geeks*, who usually talk to other GEGs at their customers."
Yes very well spotted! Why is it bad?

"don't assign strategic guidance of this project to someone who has a PhD in kernel performance analysis..."
Wow! It was very difficult to guess but job well done! Indeed a lot of work I did in recent ~10 years involved kernel performance analysis for several RTOSes and Linux. The good thing is now there are new ppl in the core team who "can appreciate the beauty of artichokes (see below)

"Hand it to one of your (few, if any?) employees who can barely parse an array, schedule a couple of blinking LEDs and say "Hello World!" on a serial port,"
I disagree. Actually I wish everyone who call themselves "s/w engineer" is able to parse an array, but unfortunately there are still ~10% who could not. Seriously, I am not quite getting how being a mediocre engineer would help in developing a product.

"but is passionate about wasting his childhood on a ZX81 (Timex Sinclair 1000 in the US) or a VIC20."
Very good example. I would not say I was wasting my childhood when I was programming i8080 (actually KR580xx) and then Z80 when I was 8. In fact that was a very good experienced that helped me to become a decent s/w engineer who does not have problems in "parsing arrays and sending hello_world to serial".

"Also, think philosophically. When writing software, be inspired by the beauty of calligraphy, novels and art books. Hardware-wise, relate to charming or yummy natural wonders like roses and artichokes."
Sorry I am not getting that. How/and what you measure? Reminder: if you can't measure, you can't build.

"If in doubt when designing electronic wizardry, let yourself be guided by these three "G"s: be technologically graceful, gentle and generous."
Sorry I am not getting that. How/and what you measure? Reminder: if you can't measure, you can't build. That would be especially funny for a big multicultural team where everyone has own measures of gracefulness, gentleness and generosity.
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