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In November, I went to German immigration authorities with a question.
- Hi, how can I do X?
- You should collect a pile of documents (here is the list, it could take couple of months), then once your documents are all OK you schedule an appointment with us.
- Can I schedule an appointment now and then make my documents?
- No, you should have all documents ready.
4 months later, I got all documents ready.
- May I schedule an appointment, I got all my documents ready.
- Sure, the next available date is December 2017.
- But some of my documents will expire till then! These appointments used to take 2 weeks to schedule two years ago!
- Right, you'll need to get these documents again. Now we have so much work with refugees, so the appointment lead time is now at least 8 months..

Some fish

Mar. 22nd, 2017 11:32 am
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Most of the corals are dead, but there is still some life.

Mooray eels, turtles, snorkelers, big groupers:
Read more... )
Full album link.
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Of course, I could not make it without a computer. But I did not want to use a laptop or smartphone, so I took this device.

It is an Intel compute stick, and first I thought it is pretty useless, so I did not buy it when it came out. But then I won it in a draw, and found a good use: every hotel room I stay in has a big screen digital TV that I never switched on until now. The device is powerful enough to run heavy photo processing software, so I edited my pics in the evenings.

How it helped internet detox? During one week, I did not read LJ friend feed, only checked facebook once, only checked work email twice, read only 5 articles on habrahabr, and read only about 10 pages of junk books. That is less than 5% of traffic I typically consume, so I feel almost sober now :)
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Until March 22nd, I will be staying in a rehab for internet junkies. Obviously, there is no internet there (maybe I'll find a way to read my work email every couple of days :)

If there is anything I should know, write me now or please remind me in two weeks.
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Jacob is 2 years 8 months old.
- Папа, давай купим игрушечную пожарную машину!
- Давай.
- Папа, давай купим игрушечную жабу!
- Давай.
- Папа, давай купим игрушечную мурену!
- Их не продают в магазине, придется самим напечатать на 3д принтере.
- Папа, давай купим игрушечный комбайн!
- Их не продают, придется самим напечатать на 3д принтере.
- Папа, а если мурену и комбайн не продают, давай мы будем их печатать и продавать!
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For many many years, I keep seeing this job ad in linkedin emails.

It comes out every couple of months, and it goes on for more than 5 years I think. Sometimes it disappears for a while, and then it is back after ~6 months (probation period? ;)

So please someone qualified, do apply!
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Maybe I should not call myself "s/w developer" anymore. Recently when I introduce myself, the first question is whether I am in backend or frontend development.

If I tell that I am in neither, they tell: "cool, bro, so you are fullstack dev?"

Only advanced folks recognize other areas, like in embedded or gamedev, but lamost nobody knows about likes of telco, fintech, HPC.

Did I miss a paradigm shift - I guess now 90% of programmers are web developers, right?
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Going to Portland from Munich in winter, I think Denver airport is a very nice hub.

It is my second time there, and this time I even was the only person in a passport control queue :), so everything was quick and smooth. No customs control either this time. And no risk of airport closure due to snow like in midwest or northeast.

Another nice connect option is now Reykjavik - Iceland air flies to Portland, and they have nice price tag recently. Perfect place for a "free" long layover, I guess. Will explore this option next time, better in summer.
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I am back, that was a very busy week. The only issue was that Oregon trail was closed because of a land slide, and we could only make it about 2 kilometers

until we had to turn back because debris became too hard to traverse.
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Just met a colleague, who came up with a great idea about a new product. The idea is absolutely fabulous: it is a true technical innovation that makes a perfect business sense, and is an extremely elegant solution.

Now, how to implement it in a big organization? My colleague comes to a development group, and advocates for allocating resources to build the project. Everyone sees the idea is great, so the only question is: is there a market demand, let's get a pilot customer first. So he comes to a prospective customer and customer tells: it is great, is there a product available soon?

As it is just 2 parties, it is not a catch-22 deadlock, but a nice project start. Good luck, !
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Яша, 2 года и 7 месяцев, кормит маму воображаемой конфетой: "Мама, скушай конфетку! Она противная, горькая. Только в России такие конфетки есть. Но поноса от нее не будет." (откуда взял? Мы о России вообще не говорим, кроме того, что прилетают бабушки и привозят подарки)
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I just broke my personal record for frugal business travel (the previous record was set when I spent 240 euros for accommodation while I worked at Mobile World Congress in 2011 for a whole week, and normal hotel rate was at least 250 euros per night.).

I just submitted an expense report for 269 euros, and it includes airfare to Stockholm and back, hotel, transportation to Arlanda and MUC and back, lunches, dinner, etc.
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After reading a great Russian translation of "Houston 2015", I found out that it is a prequel for "Houston 2030" by the same author. I read it too, but unlike "Houston 2015", I cannot recommend it to everyone. (Russian translation is still great btw, and both books are free in Russian)

In "Houston 2015", I found the most plausible description of Russia (some ~30% of the plot happens in Russia) from an american author. Both novels are hard sci-fi and scientifically accurate, but "Houston 2015" is I think 100% technically correct, and in "Houston 2030" I don't find plausible how author extrapolated a tech tree.

All characters in "Houston 2015" are perfect, and in "Houston 2030" some characters are there just to support the story, and some are to support the world. So if you like post-ap and hard sci-fi, you may still like "Houston 2030".

In "Houston 2015" the author described management and expat types very well, showing ageing generation of managers who understood the field being replaced by MBA-types who manage by metrics and politics. I also liked it that even when the author shows regret about this matter, he still shows those new manager with sympathy they deserve, as most of them are still good men and women (nothing personal).

The verdict: "Houston 2015": almost must read, in Russian or English. "Houston 2030" - almost on par with "The road" and "Postman", read if you liked those.
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Echo just started shipping in Germany, and I am among the first customers. My main reason to buy echo dot was to try out SDK, but here are teh bugz:

1. "Sorry you can't join housholds with Julia, because Germany and Germany are different countries, and you have to be in the same country with your spouse to join housholds." (reported, waiting for resolution)
2. To use intents (and thus SDK) you have to change your language to "German" Intents are not supported with English! (What?? To develop for Amazon Alexa, I have to speak German?? Can I just show her my B1 results and then switch to English, please?)
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I had to learn German songs from Jacob:
Backe, backe Kuchen,Der Bäcker hat gerufen
"Igelchen, Igelchen, schau mal in's Spiegelchen"
"Grün, grün, grün sind alle meine Kleider"
I suppose more are coming soon. The only russian song he liked is "маленькой елочке холодно зимой".

Also I learned from him verbs: Kitzeln, stampfen, klatchen, huepfen. Now I know what they do in a kindergarden.
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I am saving my work travel budget like it is my own money ;) At Lufthansa, ticket Shannon->LHR->Munich was much more expensive than Shannon->LHR+LHR->Munich. But in the later case connection failure is my risk.

So I bought Shannon->LHR from another airline, and LHR->Munich from Lufthansa (the later costed ~100 euros), with connection time 8+ hours. The risk did not manifest, should I wait for 8 hours in the airport, or go to London for a short stroll? No, I asked a lady at Lufthansa transfer counter to get me on a next flight (whiсh I did not book because of the risk to miss it) for free, and just got a new boarding pass.
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Got an exam result: me 31/33, Yulia 33/33. I was making fun that she does not know all Bundeskanzler of 20th century and capitals of every Bundesland, but she scored better than me in the end.

The weird part was a history of east Germany. According to the test questions, here is what happened:
DDR was formed in 1949, then there was an uprising in 1953, Berlin wall was built in 1961, then it was destroyed in 1989, then in 1990 East Germany was dismissed. Yeah, also there was STASI there, and a national emblem had a hammer, rye and a compass on it.
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My experiences with German healthcare were positive, but there is one minor thing that still bothers me. (Nothing is perfect.)

Say we have a benign disease X that lasts 7 days (I didn't mean flue, but math could be similar there too), and in 10% of the cases it results in a complication Y that lasts 14 days. Not treating X costs 0, treating X case costs N, and treating Y case costs 3*N. Bingo, thinks an insurance company: 10%*3*N < N, and makes not treating X a default. That is all statistics, in reality it is much more complex but you get the idea.

For an individual, math is different: treating X means you recover in 5 days, not 7, and risk of Y goes down from 10% to 0.1%. So you gain ~3.4 days of productive life if you treat X.

What are the options in Germany? You can get private insurance, in that case they treat X. You can try treating X yourself, but you'll need to somehow get a prescription drug (thanks Aeroflot :). Also, there is another option, a strange one but it certainly works: you go to a doctor that does not know you, pretend that you are a tourist ready to pay cash, pay ~100 euros and get a treatment. This works if you have a non-German passport. I wonder how/if a German can use this loophole?
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Jacob (2.5 y.o) got a pack of playing cards:
"Это король, это королева[дама], это принц[валет], а это - ученый младенец [джокер]".
Откуда он взял это сочетание - "ученый младенец?"
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On Friday I was given an urgent task: I'll have to find a solution or at least a root cause of a performance problem reported by a customer, by the end of 2016.

The issue to investigate sounded extremely familiar: a micro-benchmark runs for 100us on micro-arch A and B, and for 100-200us on micro-arch C, everything else being equal. We want a design on C, performance between A, B and C are similar, what brings the difference?

In my Christmas/New Year case I was lucky and it was merely an SMI.

The very first thing to check is always to read MSR 0x34 that counts SMIs before and after u-benchmark. It is not the most common source of such issues, but easiest to check, and not difficult to fix, if you have 100% control over the platform.
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