The Cup Warmer Investigation (Part #1)

I already explained the problem with my USB cup warmer in one of my last entries, but recently I’ve made some further investigations. I completely disassembled the whole thing as you can see on these photos:

Cup Warmer (1)Cup Warmer (2)PICT0792.JPG

I thought the inner life of such a warmer would be more complex, but in fact it’s rather simple, as there are just two resistors mounted on a cork plate as you can see on the second photo.
The heating plate itself is mounted on top of these resistors and has some heat-conductive paste on it (see photo #3). In my opinion, the problem is that the resistors are too central and there is too little paste on the plate to transport the heat to the margins of the heating plate.

So it looks like I’m gonna drink cold coffee until I trash the warmer and buy a better one or find a self-made solution for it. Hmm, so what about greasing more paste on to the heating plate…

Oh yeah, I’m not religious or something, but Happy Easter to all of you ;)

Conspiracy Thoughts

I’m currently reading The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide by Douglas Adams and found the following fact interesting: It is mentioned that dolphins are very intelligent creatures and that they are superior to human beings. This is also mentioned in Illuminatus! by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, which I’ve read a few weeks ago. Now to the conspiracy part of the story: Is it pure coincidence or synchronicity that you can find it in chapter 23 of the Hitchhiker’s Guide and that this chapter consists of 23 lines?

A virus goes cross-platform…

I just got a link to an article (in German) which states that a virus appeared that is capable of harming both Windows and Linux machines. As far as I remember, this is the first appearance of such a virus and also the first time I’m not supporting the idea of making software cross-platform compatible.

Obviously, writing a virus demands for at least some intelligence, but isn’t there a better way to allow free play to one’s creativity? Develop a game, instead. Err no, wait. Don’t. Already too much competition here ;) While talking with a friend of mine, we both agreed upon the statement that in the case of a virus programmer, the intelligence is overriden by the bad intention. However, I fully understand that the search for security issues is exciting, but it’d be better to help increasing systems’ stability and security.


One thing I’ve been asking myself for a long, long time is if there is a provable coherence between code and caffeine. Given a programmer who is in the best of health, does caffeine enable her or him to produce more efficient code? I know this sounds some kind of paradox unless there is a coder who does not suffer from some sort of illness, be it psychical or physical. What is more, the aforementioned statement definitely excludes the author from being the guinea pig for the test.

About one and a half year ago, some of my friends spread the rumor that I’ve had a severe heart attack, but as far as I can evaluate the circumstances, this was my body warning me of a critical level of stress, because I was working on too many things at the same time. Mainly, it was my internship where I developed a video conferencing solution and a game we were working on at Rarebyte, but additionally there were so many little jobs to do such as repair some guys’ computers or help someone code something and so on…

Thinking of stress, this leads us to the next question. Do programmers consume caffeine because of stress and tiredness and if yes, isn’t that exactly the worst mixture? I’ve limited myself to two coffees a day, because I feel some kind of weird if I drink more, but I’ve also experienced that when I’m very stressed out, the coffees sometimes don’t agree with me…

I thought about replacing the word coffee with java, as the programming language Java is derived from it and I’m currently working on some Java stuff, but wait…we’re getting off topic here ;) Anyway, I like coffee and I would drink a lot more of it if I could bear it physically. As I often like to enjoy my coffee by drinking very slowly or forgetting to drink because I have to concentrate on my code, I’m always confronted with the problem that it gets way too cold. In order to solve it, I bought a USB cup warmer, for geek’s sake. I thought this little gadget could keep my coffee on a temperature level that is enjoyable. I was wrong. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really matter if I switch it on or off. The damn coffee cools down anyway.

Problems are always hidden in the details. By no means it is a bad idea to produce such a gadget, because at least there seems to be a functional feature the thing provides. The actual problem is that the heating plate of it only heats up in the middle and the margins remain cold. Almost every cup, however, has some kind of seam and the bottom of the cup doesn’t touch the plate of the warmer. Therefore, the cup and the coffee remain cold. So, nice idea with the cup warmer, bad implementation ;)

Work on FengGUI

I’ve been working with FengGUI for a few weeks now, so I decided to write a few lines about it here. Basically, FengGUI is a GUI system written in Java that uses OpenGL for rendering. It does not require any middleware, but is said to work with a bunch of game libraries such as LWJGL. Components (these are called “widgets”) such as buttons, combo boxes, labels etc. are provided, but also a wide variety of more complex ones, such as tables, split and scroll containers. Loading and rendering fonts is also supported and is, in my opinion, one of the critical features for building some kind of GUI system or HUD in a game.

Recently, I joined the development team to improve a few things and fix some bugs. On the FengGUI website you can find a Java WebStart demo with some nice examples ;)