Hi, I am Martin Ueding, a physicist (M.Sc.), programmer and PhD student in Lattice QCD.

Although I am German, most of the content on this website is in English as both science and programming is communicated mostly in English.

Since 2011, I study Physics at Bonn university. I have finished my Bachelor degree in 2014 and my Master thesis in 2017. See the studies section for the study related material.

At the age of 13 I started programming with C. Then I looked into HTML and CSS, started to use PHP and then MySQL. Looking for something to write software with a nice user interface with, I came to Java. Then I looked into more languages like Bash, Python, JavaScript, GNU Octave, VimScript, Fish. From then on, I tried to do most things in either Python 3 or C++11, so that I only have two languages, which I know well. For my work I now use R and also picked up the Wolfram Language. See my portfolio.

My most popular project are the thinkpad-scripts which I wrote to get all the screen and digitizer features working effortlessly on my ThinkPad. It is a collection of Python modules that take care of docking and screen rotation.

For several years now, I have been almost paperless. The main challenges are papers I get from other people and hand written notes. The former can be faced with a scanner, the latter was more interesting. I own a Wacom Tablet since long before I started to become paperless, but I never had a good software for note taking. Since I did not find one at first, I wrote jscribbe. After I was almost done with that, I discovered Xournal which I now use most of the time.

You can also find me on other platforms:

Physics in Star Trek: Enterprise

I've always enjoyed the science fiction genre, and there are many books shows available. Especially I like works where the physics are credible. The Enceladus series by Brandon Q. Morris is such a work. Also The Expanse show seems pretty great in that regard.

Recently I have watched Star Trek: Enterprise and loved the plots, the characters and their development, the recurring arch enemies and the general uplifting spirit. But from the physics side I needed to chuckle quite often. Some people just take the science to be fictitious and don't bother; but I prefer credible science fiction and complain a lot.

First off: Why does always something explode on the bridge when they get hit? On a navy warship the bridge is exposed, that could happen as well. But they have a CIC which is a bunker inside the ship. Enterprise does not have a window on the bridge, so why is it located at the edge of the hull? In The Expanse, the MCRN Donnager seems to have a combined bridge and CIC well protected in the ship. In the fight nothing explodes in the CIC. And even the railgun hit is unspectacular, as it should.

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Sphinx to Nikola

As you can likely tell, my website looks different now. For a very long time I have been using Sphinx with a custom theme for my personal website. It has served me rather well, but over the time I have been pushing it into ways that are not really how it is designed. Foremost it is a documentation generator. As such it has a hierarchical structure and does not support blog posts or RSS feeds. Some of my content is “timeless” like the study material, but other things slowly outdate and would rather fit into a blog structure. There are extensions to Sphinx that try to add these features, but I rather decided to move it to Nikola instead.

In this post I will describe how I have made the transition and what was needed to get the content moved over.

There is a nice overview of static website generators that lists many static site generators. There are many to choose, but I want to stick with one that is fairly popular and won't have it's support dropped soon. Also it should be mature, I want to keep going with it for a while into the future. In the past I already looked at Pelican and Tinkerer but found them rather cumbersome. And I have looked at Nikola in the past already. What put me off was that it only had two levels of hierarchy for the pages. This seemed to be very limiting at the time, but now I see it much more relaxed and just moved.

I am looking forward to now have it easier to write blog posts and have a better suited tool for that task such that I can concentrate solely on writing the content.

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Catch-All E-mail Addresses

Most people have an e-mail address like firstname.lastname@provider.example where provider.example is an e-mail provider. They have only this one e-mail address and give it to every service where they sign up.

I use my domain martin-ueding.de, and I can have virtually unlimited e-mail addresses on it. For a while now I had been using the concept of service e-mail addresses. So when I created an account for buying from the renowned widget store store.example, I would give them store.example@martin-ueding.de as my e-mail address.

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A State of Trance in Utrecht, Netherlands (2020)

I've been to a few Trance events, like the Armin Only concerts. In early 2020 there has been a large festival with A State of Trance (ASOT) Episode 950 in Utrecht. Together with a friend I bought tickets and went there.

My sleep cycle usually has me spending the hours from like 23:00 to 06:00 in bed. Going to a concert which goes from 22:00 to 06:00 was going to be quite exhausting for somebody who is not nocturnal. I tried to sleep in but could only get to 10:00, so it was going to be around a 24 hour shift.

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Verkauf eines Laptops über eBay

Beim Aufräumen ist ein altes Laptop aufgetaucht, das wohl zwei Jahre zuvor wegen einem Festplattenschaden ausgemustert wurde. Das dazugehörige Netzteil war nicht mehr aufzufinden. Es könnte also reichen ein neues Netzteil für 20 EUR zu kaufen und eine Festplatte zu verbauen, oder es ist totaler Schrott.

Mit dieser Offenheit habe ich das Laptop dann bei eBay reingestellt, »unbekannter Zustand« im Titel und »Ersatzteil/defekt« als Kategorie. Startpreis 1 EUR. Außerdem habe ich nochmal darauf hingewiesen, dass ich als Privatverkäufer keine Rücknahme anbiete. Es sollten also keine falschen Hoffnungen geweckt worden sein.

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Logistics of Computer and Board Games

There is a vast array of computer games available. There are single player games without a campaign (Tetris, Mine Sweeper) that you can just play without preparation. Then there are games with a story (The Witcher, Mass Effect, Bioshock). These solitary games are not the scope of the articles. Rather I am concerned with multiplayer games. And there are the kind of cooperative games (Saint's Row, Borderlands, Diablo) and the competitive games (MechWarrior Online, World of Warships).

The multiplayer games can be played on the same computer either via split screen (Need for Speed 3), shared screen (Little Fighter 2) or taking turns with a hot seat (Worms). Other games require a computer for each person and can then be played over the internet or local network (Splinter Cell Blacklist, Borderlands). With these types every player needs to have a license for the game.

The time of split screen games was when laptops were super expensive, only few people had desktop computers and internet access was not available everywhere. Playing with multiple people on the same computer was quite normal. And consoles had the same user experience with up to four players in a lot of games. Even people without computer game experience could just join for a session at no extra onboarding cost.

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How should I buy my books?

These days one can get a lot of books electronically. I am still not sure whether I prefer books in paper or electronic form. It seems that in principle I prefer electronic books, but the way that one can actually buy them is against my preferences. This is is the crucial distinction that will lead to a conclusion.

Electronic vs. paper

Let us first discuss how electronic books relate to paper books. I will go through the various things that came to my mind.

First of all, electronic books do not require physical space. That means that I can have all of them on my laptop or reader. Additionally I could also have them on my phone if I wanted to. This is great, and I can also go through as many books as I want without them cluttering up my flat.

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Attaching a Display

Personally and professionally I have seen my fair share of display connectors. At this point it has a Kafkaesque complexity. At the theory department we have computers ranging from around 2006 to current ones. This means that we also have all kinds of display connectors on the workstations and tablets:

  • DisplayPort, VGA
  • VGA
  • DVI-I
  • DMS-59
  • DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA
  • DisplayPort, HDMI
  • Mini-DisplayPort
  • Mini-DisplayPort, VGA
  • DisplayPort, VGA
  • Mini-HDMI
  • Micro-USB

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Conferences in Wǔhàn (武汉市) & Běijīng (北京市), China

In the summer of 2019 I was able to spend four weeks in China. One week during The 37th Annual International Symposium on Lattice Field Theory (just "Lattice 2019" by the people in the field) in Wǔhàn (武汉市) and three weeks during a summer school "Frontiers in Lattice QCD" in Běijīng (北京市).

You can find all pictures in the Google Photos album. I have a bunch of images in this articles, but I took too many to show them all here. This article contains 19,029 words and 111 images. Have fun!

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Emoji Keyboards

These days I include a lot of emojis in my chat messages. Back in the day one would write stuff like :-D or include some little pixel graphic, but now we just have unicode symbols for this: 😃. Since these symbols are not on a regular keyboard (except perhaps for laptops with touchscreen bars above the keyboard), one needs to enter them somehow different. And this is where it starts to become really inconsistent.

When editing text with different word processors and text editors, you will find that they all have their own spell check dictionary. You start adding words in Vim and when you copy parts of it into an email with Thunderbird, the spell check will not know about your new added words. This makes spell check less useful. On Android your user dictionary is system wide, but that does not help me on the laptop.

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On my PC and my phone there are ample opportunities for notifications. Some of them are system notification like charge levels, but most of them come via applications. One could get a notification for every email, every instant message. Browsers can now relay notifications from websites to the user. On the phone you have messages, calls, reminders.

There are the maker and manager schedules. In short a manager works on a rather short time scale and does a lot of little decisions. The maker in contrast goes into the zone and works on a problem with deep concentration. Ripping the maker out of that concentration will result in a loss of a lot of time because they have to get back into the zone again. Notifications are interruptions that are easily turned off.

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During my time in school I was often given worksheets that were photocopies from other books. Sometimes it was the type of worksheet where one had to fill in things, this is somewhat fine. The majority of these photocopies have been just regular book pages.

I see that the teacher might be using a book different from the one that all the students use. In order to supplement the official book one can use photocopies. A lot of the content taught via worksheets could also be found in the official book. And I sometimes see students in tutoring who seem to work with worksheets almost exclusively in class. This means that they have a bunch of unorganized worksheets without coherence in their folders.

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Horse Carrier Cruises

There are cruises on regular cruise ships that one can go do. But what if you want to take your horse with you on a cruise? Well, good that you are here, because you can become part of the great new era of horse cruises.

The basic idea is simple: We take an old aircraft carrier, toss all the planes over the rail, plant some grass on the top and have a floating horse ranch! Horses can then grass on the flight deck while the people either spend time with their horses or enjoy a relaxing spa treatment in one of the lower decks.

The horse carrier will also feature riding places on the lower decks. The plane elevator (retrofitted with a sand floor) will allow guests to take their horses up and down. Some horse owners prefer stables over plain grass, these are located in the hangar deck. The enormous size of the carrier will ensure plenty of space for all people, horses and supplies.

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City Trip to Groningen, Netherlands

This trip to Groningen is the sequel to my last bike trip to Utrecht & Holland. My brother was finishing up his studies in Groningen, so I took the opportunity to visit him there and take a look at the city.

The booking process via the telephone was quite cumbersome last year, so this time I just searched the connections for one that was suitable and booked it in the Reisezentrum at the main station in Bonn. The process was really smooth as the agent just entered my details, I payed with debit card and got printout of all the tickets. Again there was a slew of documents for both ways of the trip:

  1. Travel itinerary
  2. Train ticket for me
  3. Bike ticket
  4. Reservation for bike rack

The connection that I got had a bunch of transfers:

Bonn → Düsseldorf → Arnhem → Zwolle → Groningen

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Härteausgleich bei Nebeneinkünften

Für Nebeneinkünfte ist ein Härteausgleich vorgesehen. Durch diesen sind Nebeneinkünfte unter 410 EUR in einem Jahr steuerfrei. Wenn man jedoch mehr verdient, so sinkt der Abzugsbetrag. Dies ist wahrscheinlich damit Selbstständige keinen zusätzlichen Freibetrag gegenüber Angestellten genießen. Das ganze ist nicht als lineare Funktion gegeben sondern als Tabelle:

Nebeneinkünfte Abzugsbetrag
410 410
500 320
600 220
700 120
800 20
820 0

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