The Technik Museum Speyer was the biggest surprise of my trip. As stated in my previous post I had not heard about the town of Speyer until the previous evening and I went there on a whim. Visiting the museum was then a last minute decision as I had a few hours spare.
The museum is very large and has an amazing collection of planes, trains and automobiles from all areas of the globe. Seeing the Buran Space Shuttle alone would have satisfied me but also walking through a Boeing 747, Antonov 22 and German U-Boat made this museum the best I’ve ever been to – better than Kennedy Space Center.
Earlier today I upgraded my installation of Virtualbox on Windows 10 from 5.0.20 to 5.0.22. This also came up with an update to the guest additions which I installed into my Ubuntu 16.04 guest machine.
After a reboot Ubuntu would no longer boot and instead would flicker as it tried to change the screen resolution inside the virtual machine. This is a known problem in VirtualBox (see: https://www.virtualbox.org/ticket/15526).
I’ve managed to revert VirtualBox and the guest additions back to 5.0.20 using the following steps:
Until the previous evening I hadn’t even heard of Speyer and discovering it turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip. After spending the morning exploring Worms I jumped on a train for the 35 minute journey to Speyer.
Arriving at Speyer I walked from the Hauptbahnhof along to the Altpörtel and Maximilianstraße, Speyer’s main street. Here the pastel coloured buildings of Speyer felt a lot more like “stereotypical” Germany than Worms or Mainz did. This may be due to it receiving much less damage during WWII than the other two cities.
Finding my way from Worms station to my hotel for the night should have been pretty simple. All I had to do was walk down one road and then turn once and walk down a second but somehow I still managed to get lost. It turned out that my hotel was above a restaurant that was closed over the winter. Once I had figured out how to get into the hotel I put my bags into my room and headed out again to find food for dinner.
Worms was a lot smaller than what I was expecting. Trying to find dinner turned out to be quite a challenge as many of the restaurants and pubs contained people openly smoking inside. In the end I just settled for a hot chocolate at a cafe, planned ideas for things to see the following day and then had an early night.
My next destination after Aachen was Worms around three hours away. Getting to Worms required me to catch three different trains. So rather that trying to get there as fast as possible I gave myself the whole day to do some sightseeing along the way.
It was fortunate that I wasn’t in a hurry as my first train of the day from Aachen to Cologne was delayed by 25 minutes. Once I got to Cologne I changed trains for a slower IC train but one that would wind itself down the side of the Rhine Valley.
I have previously been down the Rhine Valley on my first visit to Germany but it is so spectacular that it is worth doing multiple times – next time I do it I hope to be on a boat, photos taken through a train window just don’t do it justice. For tourism reasons it is called the “Romantic Rhine” and with huge cliffs, many castles and beautiful villages it more than lives up to its name.
Like any good computer scientist I use git for many research and personal projects. My primary use of git is for code backups rather than collaborating with others. However, in some of my recent work I’ve been sharing repositories with colleagues and students which has caused me to improve my git skills.
The following is some of the functionality I’ve only recently discovered that has been extremely helpful:
git cherry-pick commit-id-number
Departing Osnabrück in the rain I had to catch two trains to get to Aachen. I had hoped to stop for a few hours in Dusseldorf but given the wet weather I stayed on the train to Cologne and then switched for the local train to Aachen. The second train I caught was completely full of football fans and I had to stand for close to half the journey.
Once I arrived in Aachen I walked down the road to my hotel, the Ibis Hauptbahnhof, which ironically is further from the main station than the Ibis Marschiertor. After I had checked in I met up with a friend who was so excited to see me she literally knock me to the ground when running up to give me a hug. We then joined a larger group of students and had Flammkuchen for dinner (it’s rather similar to Pizza) and rounded off the night drinking a bottle of wine in the student dorms at the university.
Over the past two months I’ve spent a few weekends checking out the 20th Biennale of Sydney. I haven’t been to all the locations where the Biennale is held this year, but I have seen the exhibits at Cockatoo Island, the MCA and the NSW Art Gallery.
Many of this year’s exhibits are audio/visual in nature but the few photos below capture at least some of the amazing art that’s there to be experienced.
After four nights in Berlin I caught the train across to Osnabrück where I have a good friend. Osnabrück is only three hours from Berlin but it felt like a very long way. About halfway through the journey I realised I had given my friend the wrong arrival time and he ended up waiting in the cold and damp of the station for an hour. Once we had dropped my bags at his place we headed out to a cafe for cake and a hot drink.
I had an interesting discussion this afternoon which highlighted how important it is to understand conditional probability and how code structure can produce unexpected results.
The code contained three lists and a random number generator. The random number generator was meant to randomly chose which list to take something from with equal probability (that is 1/3 chance of selecting from each of the lists). However, somehow one of their lists was being selected far more than the others.