Archive for the 'procrastination' Category

how to sew the vmeter sleeve

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Tim’s midi-osc article has now an explanation on How to sew the vmeter sleeve and a video which shows the wireless vmeter in action:

critter under the couch

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

A sort of brief follow-up to the last two posts about simulations. Here a link to Tim’s simulation of a critter under the couch.

sim sin correctional possibilities

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

artwork: “Berlin citysimbim” by glocki

This post is a kind of follow-up post to the last one, which dealt amongst others with simulations of political/economic scenarios in multiplayer online games. In a couple of days a new SimCity game will come out and as Wikipedia puts it:

This version of SimCity will be the first to feature full online play since Maxis’s SimCity 2000 Network Edition,[1] allowing for regions to house multiple cities from different players. Regions can alternatively be set to private for solo play.[31] SimCity will require players to be logged into EA’s Origin service to play the game, including when playing single player.

or as puts it:

SimCity has truly connected cities within larger regions for the first time. Cities do not exist in a bubble – they are living, breathing systems that make up a region – and now you can trade and share resources among cities and regions in real time.

Unfortunately the above mentioned Origin seems to have sofar stirred up a lot of controversy about privacy issues. In Europe there are currently new data protection regulations underway, which by the way seem to be heavily “informed” by lobbyists. (The website Lobbyplag (unfortunately sofar only in german) gives an overview, which law drafts have been directly pasted in from which lobbyists brochures.) In view of this ungoing process it is thus however sofar not clear wether any of the discussed privacy issues of Origin will have any or what juridicial consequences.
SimCity2013 seems to allow for no modding at least right after launch. That is in an interview with gameinformer SimCity lead producer Kip Katsarelis replied to the question:
Is there an element of user-created content and sharing in city customization?

We’re not committing to any of that at this time, but we know that is part of Maxis. In SimCity 4, a lot of those tools were released pretty much a year after launch. So, definitely on our minds, but I can’t promise that we’re delivering on any of that right now.

If modding would have been possible then -apart from eventual privacy/data protection problems- the people from the project of the last post could have eventually thought about wether it would make sense to use SimCity2013Mods for their purpose. However it should also pointed out, that even if modding would be possible then too political game mods could pose problems.

One should also think about the economic consequences of computer simulations/games etc. (you may eventually also want to read my comment on the blog Backreaction in this context.)

German TAX reloaded

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Der deutsche Text in diesem Post ist nach dem Link:

Read the rest of this entry »

As described in the last german TAX post I was trying to get information about german income taxes, in particular I wanted to get the concrete formulas. I asked via at the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung: BPB) for that information, since they have a webpage about income taxes. This page however cited only a little phrase, with the names of the different income zones before I wrote the letter, but luckily it got meanwhile at least a little revamped. However the page still doesn’t show the formulas, moreover it is not very up-to-date. In addition the BPB was not only not able to help me with my request, but I was told that:

” In Bezug auf weitere steuerrechtliche Auskünfte bitte ich Sie, von Anfragen bei der bpb Abstand zu nehmen, weil wir definitiv nicht dafür zuständig sind.”

(translation without guarantee: with regard to further tax law requests I ask you to precind from sending further requests to BPB, because we are definitly not in charge for this.)

I should maybe also mention that I asked a representative of the ministry of economics for the formulas, who said I should ask a tax consultant.
As already said in the comment at I had then finally found formulas for the taxes 2010-2012 (after a long search). The formulas are on the site of the ministry for finance with the taxcalculator and you can get the formulas if you type in any income, and then hit the button “BERECHNEN”. I couldnt however find the formulas for the original draft for the taxes for 2013 from February last year, neither the formulas for the new draft as of december 12 last year for the taxes for 2013. Mr. Liebig, who runs the website had however found them and had included the numbers on his site, so I wrote him an email and asked him for the links.
I have meanwhile got an answer from Mr. Liebig who had kindly send me the links via email.

A document which describes the taxes for the upcoming year, as of 121212 is at the website of the Bundesrat.

A document which was the old draft for the 2013 taxes and which was intended to mitigate the impact of higher taxes due to BRACKET CREEP is at

I meanwhile included the new numbers into the formulas. Details (in german) and the mathics code can be found after the click.

The result in short: If I didn’t miscalculate then there are tax reductions of 8-24 Euros/year for the incomes above 13500 Euros per year. For incomes of 8100 Euro to 13500 Euros there is a tax increase of about 15 Euros/per year. The procentual bracket creep (not sure wether this is called this way, please look at formulas) is for 6% income increase maximaly about 2.5%, for 2% income increase it is about 0.8%.


au courant au courant

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

the post au courant got a little addition in order to make it more au courant.

german taxlaws

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

I am currently spending too much time with trying to get informations about
german tax laws. If you speak german you can read the discussions at, which sofar ended up with me writing an Income-tax calculator for 2012 (see image), which you can use at without any guarantee of wether the calculations are correct.

About a european collecting cooperative called C3S

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

This is a follow-up post to the german randform post “comment to gema-vs-youtube on Spreeblick” (and its partial translation) and the post “A digital agenda” which are amongst others concerned with the german collecting society GEMA.
In the german post the wish for a

“…“Musikanbietgenossenschaft” :) (oder ähnlichem)”…

i.e. for a “music collecting cooperative” was voiced. Such a cooperative seems now underway. According to the german Heise Online article: “Geplante GEMA Alternative sieht sich auf gutem Weg” a cooperative called Cultural Commons Collecting Society (C3S) is going to be established.

Especially important is here that the C3S initiative is thought to be europe-wide thus the digital agenda plays a role here. The Cultural Commons Collecting Society (C3S) is sofar only a gathering but – according to Heise – there are plans to form a european cooperative in the first half of 2013 and to be functionable in about 2 years. If you are musically active you can officially display your interest via signing a declaration of intent which is important for the representation in front of legal bodies like the german patent office. Tim (who is still a GEMA member) has already signed the declaration.

Schöne Feiertage

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Schöne Feiertage – have great holidays ! from Berlin-Marzahn*

(*a district of Berlin which was recently even mentioned in the New York Times!)

copyright parties

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

The last blog post received quite some comments which I would like to answer. So reader Jared Khithim asked about the use of my proposals for a pre-preprint achive:

..this seems to be a quite clear violation of your copyrights! Are you going to sue Holtzbrinck?

Reader M. Boulangel saw this similarily and wondered wether I wouldn’t like to set up my own preprint archive and last but not least reader Mandy asked about the CC-10 birthday party:

…is boring talks the new berlin party scoop?

So regarding the copyright issue: No – I don’t want to sue Holtzbrinck. In fact it’s not only that I find my suggestions not overly original and rather intuitive but also that I think that it’s good that at least some people care about the issue. Moreover I don’t want to set up a preprint archive – I actually had already set up** and maintained a preprint archive for almost ten years at the former sfb288 which starts with lecture notes* by Ludvig Faddeev from autumn 1991.

I could also imagine that eventually some kind of pre-preprint archive may exist already at some institution, as there are meanwhile many institutional repositories. Or there may be related projects. Like for the Mimirix project we used trac for (amongst others) reading the students works and who knows wether there aren’t universities who already set up their own online dissertation pre-print archive. I still think it would be good to have something like this with a long term support offered by a global public institution like the A company like Holtzbrinck has to keep its own business interest in focus and this may unfortunately turn out to be eventually at some point against the original idea of science.

Concluding – I eventually would use my “copyrights” passively, that is in case someone would e.g. try to forbid the to set up such a thing, because of copyright issues (there are still software patents in the US) then I could eventually try to help the arxiv with my timestamped proposals, which are distributed over the internet. But I don’t think that this is going to happen.

*the preprints have no licence, since back then a kind of creative commons share-a-like licence was sort of self-understood for preprints, I actually don’t know how the arxiv handles these new laws.
**with technical help from colleagues

Regarding the party… the party of course started after the talks, images after the click.

CC-by at Holtzbrinck’s figshare

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Leonard Dobusch and John Weitzmann at the CC-10-birthday party

randform hasn’t yet reported on a rather new online tool in scientific publishing which is called figshare. The german reader may have already read about it in an article by Aleks Scholz at the blog Riesenmaschine, the scientific minded reader may have used it already.