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Carpenter said our kitchen tabletops (non-90° angles etc.) would cost 1300 €. Eat this, Mr carpenter.

Instead we went and bought a Festool circular saw, and did it ourselves.

Kitchen with IKEA parts and selfmade tabletop
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Dusche Marke Eigenbau
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Elektroschrank in Holzbauweise

Und hier präsentiert Hager sein neuestes Topmodell für die Elektroinstallation in Wohngebäuden: Hager Univers Eco.
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so viele Kabel

Laying cables throughout the house was 10 days of extremely hard work. But so worth it - this way we could use our entire budget for the materials.

We've got 48 CAT7 cables going into all the rooms alone!

Thanks to all our friends who came to help.
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Invitation to our roofing ceremony, drawn by Tabalon.

Einladung Richtfest
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Windows is installing...
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Today I've seen it one too many times. People using gaussian blur on screenshots to "protect privacy".

But, you say, it's heat flow simulation. It's proven to be nonreversible.

That is true in principle if your starting point is just any image. But it is completely false if your image is known to consist of, say, black text on a white background:


Let's gauss this with 20 px radius.


If you enlarge the result, you can see how easy it is to notice the bounding box of the gaussian blur. Simply find the first pixel that differs from pure white.


How does this help recover the plaintext? Above is the left part of the first letter "T". If the first letter is "A" instead, the part in question would look like this.


It is fairly easy to compare all the pixels in the image with the blurred letters of the alphabet, and with standard techniques from mathematical optimization ("minimize the total brightness distance for all the pixels"), you can calculate that the shape in question is the letter "T" with 99.96% confidence.

Then subtract the blurred letter T from the image, and move to the next letter. With a bit of experimentation on step width and exact start of the original bounding box, you get this:


Now just repeat.

Tip: a similar technique exists for pixelization, although depending on pixel block size and relative layout it can be more complex to execute. It still works almost all the time unless your pixel blocks are significantly larger than your letters.

To summarize, if you really want to protect privacy in a screenshot, please, black out the entire bounding box of the text fragment in question.
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The kitty and I found a place to hibernate. It looks like this ...

Too close? Okay, from a little further away it looks like this ...

We're all excited. Soon we'll start digging. First thing, the ancient ruins of human dwellings have to go.
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I turned 40 yesterday.

It was a great day.

My kittycat stayed home from work to be with me, and bake a chocolate-with-nuts-and-more-chocolate cake of doom. In the evening, Riffuchs visited us, and we had a wonderfully relaxing evening with tasty food and fun.

We had some small really weird mishaps, for example a freshly bought can of tomatoes that chose to explode upon opening. Or the realization that you should not put 3 TB hard drives in older USB encasings, because they will have 32 bit controllers and thus corrupt your data when Windows decides to write past the 2 TB mark. I blame Windows for happily mounting a disk that reports a total size of 748 GB with a 2.7 TB partition on it. Linux correctly refuses to do anything with such a disk, thus protecting your data. Thankfully, nothing important was lost or damaged in either incident.

For my birthday, Tabalon gave me a copy of Ubisoft's RockSmith. Think guitar hero, except you play on a real guitar and a real bass. The game comes with a USB audio interface that plugs into your instrument and it simulates the amp and settings originally used by each band. The game adapts the difficulty of the song to your playing skill, mostly by leaving out notes. It's fun, even if you are completely new to playing string instruments. My only complaint is the rather high latency of the USB interface which is slightly annoying, even with the lowest latency setting I cannot get it to below 20 ms. They should really just support ASIO and let me use my own audio equipment.

And then, late into the night, a whole country granted another one of my wishes by making the right choice. Thank you all. That was the best birthday present.

Now I am looking forward to two weekends of celebration with friends and family in the near future. I'm not done partying yet.
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I've been tinkering around with the Skyrim Creation Kit over the last few days, expanding on three wonderful mods other people have posted with a bit of dialog and custom logic.

As far as I am concerned, this fixes all the most important, completely game breaking bugs in Skyrim.

It all started when someone posted a mod that finally lets you marry a Khajiit, ceremony at the temple of Mara and all. It seems some Khajiit have been living in the Nords' land long enough to pick up more of their traditions, which is perfectly reasonable within the world of the game.

Then someone else made a mod that added two Khajiit children, names taken from Morrowind, but they only stood around in Honorhall orphanage, they were wearing the most awful choice of clothes, and they were not included in the adoption mod that yet another modder made.

So I decided to bring it all together. The outcome is that I now have a family of cats walking around in Breezehome. It probably only works in my game, but I am still happy with the outcome.

The other Khajiit walking around in the screenshot is called S'Baad. We have adopted him and his sister Kiseena. The two bring us no end of joy but also keep us quite busy. It seems like they always want to run around and play.

With a lot of tinkering, I made them all find their beds at night, and eat breakfast and dinner at the right time. I'm still struggling with Do'Zah's day job of running a store (which I don't really want in my living room), and with letting the kids run around in Whiterun during the day.

Kiseena likes to keep a diary. Getting the player's name into the text took me several hours, longer than ghostwriting the diary in the first place. It turns out you need to add the book to a quest as a pre-defined reference to be able to use the "<Alias=Player>" tag. So now Kiseena keeps losing her diary and I get to find it and bring it back to her. Too bad it can always be found in the same spot, because I do not know yet how to place it at a random spot.

Now what I wouldn't give to have the original voice actors from the game. I wouldn't need more than a day with each, and this would be so cool.
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While I am quite happy with the sound of Reason (the software synthesizer), I have serious issues with their custom protocol for wiring the synth into your sequencer, called ReWire.

Frankly, it has never worked properly on any of my systems, and why they cannot make a version of Reason that omits the sequencer features and acts just like any DirectX or VST plugin, is completely beyond my understanding - every other vendor seems capable of that.

Does anyone really work with the fiddly sequencer built into Reason? Everyone I know uses it as a software synth. But I digress.

On my current PC, when the ReWire link goes down it messes my sound subsystem up in a way that needs a reboot for sound to come back. This is a major annoyance if you are trying to write music. Not only do I need to wait for the system to reboot, after that I need to wait for it to open my project files again and load several GB of samples. A forced pause of about 10 minutes about once every hour...

Since my first attempt to fix this was a reinstall of some of my audio software, and I was fiddling around with things anyway, I decided to try another change that I had been planning for a long time: 64 bit. It has been a while that a 64 bit version of Sonar has been available, and I have run into memory limitations one too many times.

The upgrade worked great, uninstall the old 32 bit version, install the new 64 bit version, copy the DLLs for my software synths and plugins over, and voila, all my synths were back. The Vienna Symphonic Library even comes with a 64 bit version of the plugin, so now I can load as many instruments as will fit into my 16 GB memory!

All my other plugins still run as well. Thank you, Sonar, for that built in 32 bit bridge.

Umm ... except Reason, because ReWire doesn't do 64 bit.

A bit of searching on the net revealed that you can download a free-for-personal-use MIDI loopback driver at That solved my problem, because now I can just run Reason standalone, send MIDI from Sonar (64 bit) to this port, and use it as an input to Reason (32 bit).

No more ReWire!!! Ever again!!!

And a stable system.

The only disadvantage is that now I have to use external equipment for effects like reverb while I'm composing. Because, you guessed it, Reason doesn't support regular plugins so it will not allow me to use my standard reverb plugin either...
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I have been reading Spiegel Online for a long time now. But I am growing increasingly exasperated with them, because lately it feels as if I've been reading a tabloid, judging by the lack of quality of their articles, and by their screaming headlines that can at best be described as misleading.

Take this article about a proposed change in the rules for temporary revocation of your driver's license. In Germany, this works by a point system. The proposed change is to reduce the number of points you earn for speeding and running a red light, and in turn reduce the number of points it takes for temporary revocation. The change actually reduces the chances to have your license taken away.

SPON's headline: License to be taken away for eight points (instead of the usual 18), even the teaser text does not mention that you also earn only half to a third of the points you used to get for any given infraction.

So now I'll be looking to find another news site. One that isn't quite so fond of misleading me. One that does not seem quite so desperate for clicks.

I'm not exactly confident I'll find any good alternatives.
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we went to the Serengetipark in Hodenhagen this weekend. Although I was a bit beside myself this weekend, it was fun, and good to see my nephew and his parents again.

They have lots of free rides. The weather was perfect. And the car safari is neat, we had a lioness walk over and sniff at our car.

If you go there, try renting one of their lodges. Because then you get to go into the park when it's normally closed. Which is awesome in so many ways.

Ringtails are the cutest things ever. I had one sitting on my shoulder, and I petted one of their little ones.
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We've just returned home from the cinema. We went to see "Red Riding Hood".

It's been a while that I've enjoyed a movie this much. It is shot like a classic fairy tale, but with a modern soundtrack that works surprisingly well. Forget Disney fairy tales and go back to even before the Brothers Grimm. All the way to the original version, intended to teach children to not stray off the paths in the woods.

The story has all kinds of twists and surprises you. Several times I reevaluated my guess who the werewolf was. And in the end I was still proven wrong yet again.

This is, however, not a horror movie, more a thriller, and staged like a theater play in places. I enjoyed it a lot. I liked how the werewolf hunters were actually worse than the werewolves.

The werewolf is pure eye candy. Not a furless bear-like doberman, no, an actual beautiful large black wolf. You get a good look later on in the movie.

And in the end, most of the werewolf hunters are quite deservedly dead and the werewolf gets the girl. Such a happy ending.
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