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Tuesday I started playing Fallout 4. I tried my best to escape spoilers, opinions, complaints and especially gameplay or let's-play videos in the last few days to prevent any bias. What I expected was a game as fascinating as Fallout 3 with next-generation graphics, an enthralling story and an environment that begs to be discovered up to the last drawer. After the first few hours of gameplay I can say that the time waiting for the next big Fallout game was worth it. :}

The Pip-Boy companion app works surprisingly well with the game (on PC you have to confirm the Windows firewall pop-up that opens in the background - that took me some time :D ). I found it really useful to put the iPad below my computer monitor in order to see the live-updated world map – what an amazing feature!

Fallout 4 on PC with Pip-Boy companion iPad app

Fallout 4 on PC with Pip-Boy companion iPad app

Based on the mixed reviews on the internet I'm under the impression that some people expected something different or completely new, whereas Fallout 4 was built upon the successful elements of Fallout 3 (and Fallout New Vegas if you ask me), improved its mechanics and thoughtfully added new features that blend in seamlessly. This understanding is nicely reflected in a review headlined "War never changes, and that's just fine":

Fallout 4 builds upon the familiar to create something new and strange [...] But all of that — the world, the characters, even the bugs — are table setting at this point. What Fallout 4 adds to the series is heart. For the first time I really cared about what happened in the story, and found myself struggling with its moral dilemmas. I still spent dozens of hours tweaking my guns and killing feral ghouls, but this time, it felt like I was doing it for a reason. [...] But it's still very much Fallout — a game that doesn't really need to change all that much to trigger that familiar mix of dread and joy. A new location and a much better story were enough to pull me into this world, and 60 hours later I'm not done with it. There are settlements I still want to finish building, and crimes I still need to get to the bottom of. At some point I plan to ignore everything altogether, and just wander into the wilderness to see what I can find. Even if I'm alone, at least I'll have Billie Holiday's voice to keep me company.

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This week I read this interesting article about Joy Rose, who runs Bloombox:

"A relatively new business, Bloombox has been providing the inhabitants of Edinburgh with wholesome, organically grown salad, ethically sourced, designed and assembled by Joy herself and biked across the city’s undulating terrain in the wicker basket of her bike. In a little under a year, Joy has established a dedicated following of loyal customers and supporters clamoring for the next delicious bite of a much maligned meal."

The idea is pretty cool and gives you the opportunity to taste a great variety of organically grown salads and ingredients even if you don't have your own garden.

While looking for edible plants and different herbs Joy found The Secret Herb Garden, which is another interesting project. Take a look at their gallery and you'll be fascinated by the beautiful view their estate and its surroundings offer. In general it seems to be a café and shop that is run by a family who offer selfmade products such as coffee and especially tea from their own herbs. In addition to that there are also several events located at their greenhouse.

It's always fascinating for me to see such interesting projects created by people who care about nature, organically grown food and to take a look into their lifestyle. Gardening is also a hobby of mine. My girlfriend and I are used to take care of our own garden in our spare time. It's just a magical experience to see the plants that you seeded coming to life. Especially self sufficiency gardening is a cool aspect that we enjoy and have a lot of fun with. In the last few years we successfully grew tomatoes, potatoes, salad, kohlrabies, carrots, blueberries, strawberries and lemon balm. :)

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After starting this kind of post in 2013, it may develop into a habit. :}

I was definitely right with my optimism in the old post that 2014 is going to be exciting. One of the most exciting things in 2014 was the presentation of my first research paper [1] at the PESOS workshop that took place at ICSE 2014 in Hyderabad, India. It was a great experience and I'm still very thankful for this opportunity! Together with an accepted paper at the EnCASE workshop [2] and one at the CNSM conference [3] I had the chance to contribute to three fascinating publications in 2014.

To gain visibility in the research community it is usually a good start to provide a central place presenting your activities. Following this idea I released my personal website FlorianWessling.de to give an overview of my research activities as well as personal projects.

Talking about personal projects brings me to the next topic: My word wrap plugin and line number ruler patch is making it slowly into the official Eclipse code base. Currently Holger Voormann and Lars Vogel are pushing the code review forward by contributing and triggering the right people to take a closer look at the code. ;) Thank you very much for your effort!

What is left to say? I'm looking forward to a great year 2015 with even more interesting projects, publications, ideas and experiences! The next big milestone I strive for is to finish my master thesis in the next few months and try to publish some of the insights as research paper. :eek3:

[1] C. C. Marquezan, F. Wessling, A. Metzger, K. Pohl, C. Woods, and K. Wallbom, “Towards Exploiting the Full Adaptation Potential of Cloud Applications,” Proceedings of the 6th ICSE 2014 Workshop on Principles of Engineering Service-Oriented and Cloud Systems (PESOS), Hyderabad, India, 2014, pp. 48–57.

[2] S. Gómez Sáez, V. Andrikopoulos, F. Wessling, and C. Cassales Marquezan, “Cloud Adaptation & Application (Re-)Distribution: Bridging the two Perspectives.”, Proceedings of the 1st EDOC 2014 Workshop on Engineering Cloud Applications & Services (EnCASE), 18th International IEEE Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference Workshops and Demonstrations (EDOCW), Ulm, Germany, 2014, pp. 163-172.

[3] C. Cassales Marquezan, D. Bruneo, F. Longo, F. Wessling, A. Metzger and A. Puliafito, “3-D Cloud Monitoring: Enabling Effective Cloud Infrastructure and Application Management.”, Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Network and Service Management (CNSM 2014), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2014

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ICSE 2014 Banner

Visiting ICSE 2014 and presenting our paper at the PESOS workshop was a great experience! I heard a lot of interesting talks, which will be useful as input for my upcoming master thesis and my research in general. The presentation worked out very well and I got some nice feedback for further research and improvements on our work.

I met so many nice people there who made the whole trip even more entertaining and fun. It was a pleasure to be part of such a big conference, to join interesting discussions and to attend such diversified workshops. :)

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While working at the CloudWave research project I had the opportunity to write a scientific paper together with a few colleagues. I'm glad to tell you that our paper [1] was accepted at the "International Workshop on Principles of Engineering Service-Oriented and Cloud Systems" (PESOS) which takes place in conjunction with the "International Conference on Software Engineering" (ICSE 2014). On top of the joy of having my first scientific publication, my advisor told me that I have the pleasure to present the results of our work at the workshop in India! :eek3:

I'm very happy to get the opportunity of giving a presentation to an international audience and get feedback on our work.

My flight departured on Thursday (2014-05-29) at 11:50 and I arrived at Hyderabad on Friday (2014-05-30) at about 04:00 local time (which is +3,5h compared to Germany). Together with a transfer in Abu Dhabi and driving 1h to the hotel the whole journey took about 14h. The temperature is very high (about 40°C today) and weather.com rates Hyderabad on a scale from 0-10 for the UV-Index with a "11+ Extreme". Sunblock is mandatory! :rolleyes:

Now I'm sitting in my room of the beautiful Avasa Hotel and put the finishing touches to my presentation for tomorrow. :)

[1] Clarissa Cassales Marquezan, Florian Wessling, Andreas Metzger, Klaus Pohl, Chris Woods, and Karl Wallbom. 2014. Towards exploiting the full adaptation potential of cloud applications. In Proceedings of the 6th International Workshop on Principles of Engineering Service-Oriented and Cloud Systems (PESOS 2014). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 48-57. DOI=10.1145/2593793.2593799

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I planned to post more often about the little side projects I created in the past. This is one of them. ;)

My girlfriend is a future elementary school teacher and was preparing teaching material for her math lesson a few months ago. She had a template of a handout for a geometry lesson with several angles for the children to measure. The problem was that the lines were too thick and looked almost like tiny rectangles sticked together. The kids won't be able to accurately measure the angle because it was not obvious where to put the center of the set square.

Imprecise display of an angle

Imprecise display of an angle

This is where my idea for the CreateAngles class came from. I wrote a simple Java program to generate SVG files providing sharp and crisp angles for her handout. I chose SVG because it's based on a simple XML structure which can be created easily. The crucial part is the configuration of the line style. By adding the stroke-linejoin and stroke-miterlimit properties I was able to create sharp and pointed intersections (take a look at the line in the source code). I also added an arc indicating the angle to be measured.

Sharp and pointed angle

Sharp and pointed angles

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When a new year is going to begin it's time to think about what happened in the old one. ;)

Regarding my studies and work-life quite a lot has happened. I finished my bachelor thesis on the 6th September 2013 and received my Bachelor's degree in "Applied Computer Science – Systems Engineering" a few months later (Bachelor of Science, B.Sc.).  :}

Currently I'm doing the consecutive Master's degree in "Applied Computer Science – Systems Engineering" which I plan to finish this year. In case you are wondering why this happens so quickly: I had the possibility to finish some courses of the Master while I was still doing the Bachelor's degree in 2013. The examination regulations of the Bachelor's programme make this possible and thus enable a smooth transition between both degrees.

After my Master's degree I plan to stay at the university and work as a research associate at paluno to gain a doctoral degree. I already achieved one of the steps for this plan because immediately after receiving my Bachelor's degree I successfully applied for a job as research assistant (or research associate? I'm not sure about the equivalent for the German term "wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter"). So I'm currently working on the CloudWave research project and try to find an interesting topic for my Master seminar paper and Master thesis.

I'm sure 2014 is going to be an exciting year!  :smile:

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Many months ago Markus found an interesting tutorial on how to give letters a vintage and worn-out look. His first project was this awesome Letter from Vault-Tec he made for me because I'm a huge fan of Fallout. Thank you very much! ;)

Look, some news from Vault-Tec:

Letter from Vault-Tec envelope

Uh oh, that doesn't sound good:

Letter from Vault-Tec full

But hey, there is a waiting list!

Letter from Vault-Tec close-up

Confidentiality of correspondence seems to be no issue.

Letter from Vault-Tec envelope close-up

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I found a great article about the differences and commonalities between the science-fiction, fantasy, steampunk and post-apocalyptic genre: Postapocalyptia and Genre Bending in Nerd Fiction

"Post apocalyptic worlds give you an environment where it feels totally organic that elements of both sci fi and fantasy would exist coherently side by side." – Greg Simon

I guess this is one of the reasons why I love the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout. I never got to like the fantasy genre of videogames because I always look for an immersive gaming experience where I can dive into the story and put myself into the shoes of the protagonist. I found it very difficult to get this experience from fantasy or sci-fi games whereas the remains of a destroyed Washington D.C. always seemed more pleasant and appealing to me. ;)

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I did not know that there is a WordPress LaTeX plugin. Neat! :eek3:

Try to achieve perfection in your work, the mathematical way:

:D

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