Lurr in a Cottage Cheese Kiddie Pool

So. I’ve just read this book, and it was utterly awesome. As a geeky guy, I was both very entertained and intrigued by his story of how his journalism let him to win the American Memory championship within a year.
Joshua Foer manages to give great insight in both memory, learning and humanity, with this twisted story.

And the crazy thing is the techniques work. I was bored at my spin class, because I ended up on a bike with no calorie counter (yes, I need numbers to be entertained, sue me! ). So I spent the time making up persons for the two suits, spades and diamonds.
When I showed up at my GFs house I was eager to try the memory palace technique and
followed the spades ( Game of Thrones characters ) and the diamonds ( The Futurama Crew ) along a route in the place I grew up.
Except for one card ( three of spades, Daenarys Targaryen going up some stairs with her dragons it worked out.

Both me and my GF were a bit impressed with that result. So I tried coming up with sets for the hearts ( the citizens of Duckburg ) and the clubs ( The Big Bang Theory Cast ), and again with only minor incidents it worked out. It took me about twenty minutes to get this right, so I have a long way down to the needed sub two minute times for an entire set of cards.

A few days later I got drunk and tried to impress people, I did it again in about 22 minutes, but again missed a single card.

I think I need to work a bit more with dull people and make them do more crazy stuff, to better be able to remember them.
Also Futurama and Big Bang Chars might be a bit too similar and I have problems discerning them.

Now to learn more silly tricks :)


Getting started with Hearthstone Tournaments

Summer is passing, and for many people this has meant going to the
beach, basking in the sun and being outdoors. For me it has been a time
where I’ve worn my geektan with pride and enjoyed the amount of time
available for gaming. I spent a lot of time on Hearthstone and
participated in a few open tournaments.

Playing for the coveted stars on the ladder is fine, but the rush from
playing in a tournament, is imcomparable. I hope this article will
give you a good start in your first tournaments.

Know the rules: This seems obvious, but I’ve several times played against players who were unaware of the rules, and thusly where

making suboptimal choices. This can be seen in deck choices in
particular. You need to be aware of when you can change deck and
how. Do you for instance have to keep playing the same deck if you win
or can you change? Make sure that you know things of this sort, so you
can take advantage

Know your decks: Many tournaments run with a Best of three
format. This means that first player to get to two win, wins the round.
Some tournaments like Tt eSports does not impose any limits on decks,
while others require that the winner keeps the same deck while the loser
has to change. In order to abuse this, make sure that you know how to
switch decks and what counters what.
If you lose first round you might think something along the line of:
If I lost to Zoo I go Taunt Druid, if it was handlock I’ll go with facehunter.

Be aware though that your opponent then has the option to counter your
win, and thus it might make more sense to not hard-counter a deck but
pick a deck with more consistent matchups.

Also which deck to open with is a little science in itself. If you play
highly ranked on the ladder the metagame is going to be somewhat
consistent with that of a tournament, but you might see tweaked decks.

Right now in the middle of the Naxxaramas release the metagame will be
quite unstable.

Technicalities: PLaying Hearthstone for an extended amount of
time, can be a huge toll on your mental capabilities. As such making
sure that nothing technical comes in your way, can give you the last
edge in the final hours. Make sure that you know how to report a match
result. Is it on the webpage or is there an irc channel connected to
the event. How long do you need to wait before you can report your
opponent a no show? Always be aware of this.

If the event has an irc channel attached I recommend that you are
present there. This often gives you fast response to small questions, as
well as a nice sense of community!

A good place to find tournaments is on ,
just be aware that the tournament is on the correct region for your
account. I hope that you’ll plunge into the tournament scene and I wish
you the best of luck!

I’m trawling the EU ladder for the desirable stars as RandomSort. I
managed to get to rank 2 (The Black Knight) last season, and have
participated in several open tournaments, winning a Gamer Connect Weekly Swiss. I’m playing for the great team Vega Squadron.

Follow me on twitter: @VegaRandomSort and watch me stream at

Does “A Song of Ice And Fire” fit on a floppy disk?

So I recently heard Scott Johnson of frogpants fame talk about George R. R. Martin writing his novels on a DOS computer running DOS with Wordstar 4.

Now the question of backup was brought up. The guess was that there was no cloud backup due to the fact DOS. So we’re left with floppy disks, either 3.5″ or 5.25″.

Referring to this table of floppy disks throughout the ages, it seems reasonable to choose 1.44 MB as the size for 3.5″ and 1.2 MB as the size for 5.25″. It confuses me a bit that 5.25″ had so much size, I remember them as being “alot” smaller than the 3.5″ diskettes.

If we look at this page of information about the Wordstar file format, we can conclude that the files are basically plaintext ASCII files. For our purposes we’re going to ignore the extended character set.

The word length of the first five books is 1.77M words according to loopingworld. Wolfram Alpha tells us that the average word length in English is 5.1. We might expect a deviation from this, but it is likely a good enough measure.

We can save a character in a single byte on a disk, so a word on average takes up 5.1 bytes. This means that the first five books is of size 1.77M * 5.1 bytes or 9.558 megabytes. which can be on 7(6,6375) 3.5″ diskettes or 8 (7,965) 5.25″ diskettes.

Of course this means that we could use about two diskettes per book and be happy. This is uncompressed though, and plain text is quite suitable for compression (The entropy of the english language is high), so let’s try that.

This awesome resource compares a lot of different compression algorithms. But we’ll stick with gzip and zip to get the most commonly used formats.

gzip reduces the input to 28.38% of its original size, while zip reduces to zip reduces to 32.43%.

So we end up with the following table:

Method: Size: 3.5″ disks 5.25″ disks
Plain text 9.558 MB 7(6.64) 8(7.87)
zip 3.0997 MB 3(2.15) 3(2.58)
gzip 2.713 MB 2(1.884) 3(2.26)

So the conclusion must be that the book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” fits on 2-3 floppy disks. Our dear friend George R. R. Martin could of course also use 0.059737% of a 16GB USB stick :)

Fall Semester 2013

So this semester I’m taking an apparently ambitious, math heavy and dry approach to computer science, which should be the perfect way to get started on the masters degree.

I’m taking the courses Algebra, Cryptography and IO-algorithms.

This means my school week looks like this:

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
09:15 Cryptography Algebra (Exercises) Cryptograhy  
10:15 Cryptography Algebra (Exercises) Cryptography  
11:15   Algebra (Exercises) IO-algorithms  
12:15 Algebra Algebra (Lecture) IO-algorithms  
13:15 Algebra Algebra (Lecture) IO-algorithms  

I naively hope that I’ll be able to pull myself together and get some actual studying done in between classes, and in general when I don’t have anything scheduled.

Welcome to the world of tomorrow

Or just my personal blog.

I’ll try to keep up a, if not consistent, then at least not too thinly stretched posting schedule.

You’ll very likely find posts here about teaching, programming, computers in general, gaming, music and random subjects that pop into my mind.

Hopefully somewhat useful, interesting or entertaining posts will show up here.

Until next time,