Lean Startup Still Needs a Questioning Mind (General)
I have seen this so often during startup pitches and discussions with fellow startup founders:

(Source: CrankyPM blog)

Questioning your objectives is necessary. Lean startup is a good basis but needs critical questioning of the results.
Posted by Thomas King at 08:22 2014-01-20 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

The Amazon AWS Trap (Cloud Computing)
Today, at the CloudOps conference in Frankfurt I talked to many users of cloud services. The discussion started around my presentation with the title (translated into English) "German and European Competitors of Amazon AWS". In the presentation I gave an overview over the competitor landscape that Amazon AWS is facing in Germany and Europe. The take-away message is: There exist great German and European cloud services that compete with Amazon AWS. However, none provides the extreme depth of the cloud stack as Amazon is doing with its huge number of cloud services. Additionally, for a given cloud service most competitors lack the feature richness Amazon is offering.

During the discussion after my talk I realized that all of users of Amazon AWS do not use only one service (such as EC2 (IaaS) or Beanstalk (PaaS)) instead most of them use five to ten or even more services (e.g., CloudWatch, CloudFront, and S3). The reason for this is that is it so easy to use another Amazon AWS service that developers or DevOps are not thinking twice before using it. The cloud services Amazon is offering are often so logically combined and interact so perfectly smooth with each other that you use automatically an additional service even that you intentionally wanted to use another one. Cloudwatch and EC2 are a good example: If you start using EC2 Cloudwatch is automatically enabled (in its basic version). If EC2 is used in a professional environment you need a decent monitoring solution to see how your instances behave (e.g., CPU utilization, and network throughput). For this CloudWatch is already active so you stick with it and built on it.

This service creep makes sure that you integrate Amazon AWS service deeper and deeper into your product and processes. This in return makes it difficult to replace Amazon AWS if you are unhappy with their service (for whatever reason). And because their is no competitor that provides the same depth of the cloud stack as Amazon AWS it is even more difficult to replace AWS. You have to go to three or four or even more cloud services providers to get the set of cloud services you need to replace AWS. This is what I call the "Amazon AWS Trap".

If I would be the VP Product Management at Amazon AWS I would be really happy about this well integrated and logically combined services that interact so smoothly. I assume this was hard work and not easy to accomplish.

From a customer point of view you have to be careful about how deep you integrate Amazon AWS into your products because replacing them can be tough. However, if you do not plan to replace Amazon AWS is makes a lot of sense to deeply integrate these services.

This text represents my personal opinion and has nothing to do with any company I associated with.
Posted by Thomas King at 23:32 2013-10-01 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

German and European Cloud Services Competing with Amazon AWS (Cloud Computing)
With the growing insights into the PRISM program the reluctance against US-based cloud services is raising on a rapid speed in Germany. Especially, from companies and individuals located in Germany my perception is that they try to avoid US-based cloud services wherever possible. For instance, the very popular German business contact networking plattform Xing just started a data privacy campaign stating that all servers are located in Germany. As sign that this is of high interest for Xing customers is that this campaign is shown on the top of the first page which you see when you log in to their service. This is just one example that services using US-based data storage or computing power are considered harmful.

Based on these developments described above I started evaluating different cloud-computing offerings based in Germany or European. I included the Europe as the data privacy laws in Europe are (mostly) similar to the German ones. As Amazon AWS is considered as one of the leading cloud service providers with a comprehensive set of cloud services I use them as a reference. In the following I summarize my experience with competitors for selected cloud services. I selected the cloud services based on my use cases.

One important finding is already that no competitor in Germany or Europe provides a similar set of services that is able to compete with Amazaon AWS. In fact, all competitors focus on one or two cloud services and leave other cloud services to other companies.
  • EC2/IaaS: Many companies provide IaaS services which means (virtualized) cloud servers that can be controlled by an API. For instance JiffyBox by domainFACTORY is a service I use for a few of my projects. It runs smoothly but the size of the cloud servers is limited to 6 CPUs and 32GB of RAM. This makes JiffyBox not suitable for projects that require large cloud servers (e.g., database servers). Profitbricks is more flexible when it comes to the size of cloud servers and they provide an addional computing center in Las Vegas, USA. However, they had some stability problems during their launch in 2011/2012 so I never used them for any of my projects. My experience with Profitbricks is just based on their test accounts they provide for free. With CloudSigma my level of experience is similar to Profitbricks. However, they are located in Zürich, Switzerland so I never considered them as a proper fit. A couple of days ago I read about GreenQloud, an IaaS provider based in Iceland. The difference between them and any other IaaS provider in the list is that their cloud server product ComputeCloud is API-compatible with Amazon AWS. I just started my evaluation of these service so if you have any experience with them I would be happy to hear about it.
  • The PaaS/Beanstalk area is nearly as crowded as the IaaS/EC2 area. For instance, there is fortrabbit.com from Berlin, Germany that provides PHP as a service combined with mysql-databases and memcache. Their service runs on top of Amazon AWS which actually disqualifies them from this comparison. The same is true for cloudcontrol.com which provides a Java, Python, PHP, and Ruby support but runs also on top of Amazon AWS. In contrast, Jelastic (provided by dogado and Host Europe) runs in the data center of Host Europe which is located in Cologne, Germany. Jelastic provides a huge set of programming languages (e.g., Java, Ruby, PHP), databases (e.g., MariaDB, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and CouchDB) and premium services such as high availability and load balancing. I use Jelastic for some of my projects and I am very happy with their service even that an API to manage their PaaS infrastructure is not existing. However, this will be changed in the future as I was told by a Jelastic guy.
  • Object store/S3: Object stores are provided by many hosters nowadays. For instance Host Europe is offering an object store that comes with an S3-compatible API. Also, Greenqloud offers something similar which they call StorageQloud. There also exist companies offering storage solutions based on Openstack Swift such as Internet4You. All these solutions provide the basic features I expect from a object store so I am fine with them.
  • Anycast DNS-Hosting/Route53: I searched for a while but I could only find one cloud service located in Germany or Europe: ECS-Webhosting. This service looks a little bit old fashioned and it does not provide an API to control it. Additionally, it is quite expensive so I did not check it out.
  • CDN/CloudFront: In the CDN area there are a few German- and Europe-based companies. For instance wavecdn.com is located in Fürth, Germany. They provide an CDN which is based on more than 10 points of presence on five continents. The CDN can be easily controlled by an API. For one of my relatively small projects this CDN worked fine. Besides wavecdn there are tv1 and cdn77 which I never used so far.
I am still searching for an German- or Europe-based transaction email service (a.k.a Amazon AWS SES). So far I could not find anything related. Do you know one?

The good news is that as you can see there are German- or Europe-based competitors to Amazon AWS that provide a similar set of features. A really huge drawback is that if you go with these competitors you have to handle a group of cloud service providers. Especially, if you think about setting up contracts, managing partners, integrating services (e.g., API integration, interoperability of services), and running services (e.g., status monitoring, troubleshooting, services windows, service down-times) is by far more complex if you handle four or five providers instead one. However, if the data privacy is on risk it often makes a lot of sense to add these additional management overhead.

If you want to contact me please drop me an email at king@t-king.de.

This text represents my personal opinion and has nothing to do with any company I associated with.
Posted by Thomas King at 14:05 2013-09-07 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

DevOps: This is What Start-ups Practice (Cloud Computing)
The DevOps movement is currently getting stronger and stronger. I think this is good!

Let me quickly summarize what DevOps means for those of you who have never heard of it: DevOps is about developers not only building software but they are also responsible of running it in production. This is new in a sense that (small and big) cooperates usually divide between developers responsible for building a software and operation engineers who are in charge to run the software. These two groups have typically different priorities which are often conflictive. The operation engineers do not want to make (big) changes to software that runs without any problem while software developers have a high interest in adding new features and using new technologies to fulfill their tasks. If software breaks finger pointing typically starts because software developers say operation engineers do not support their new features and technologies. In contrast, operation engineers state developers add feature after feature and new technology without thinking about how to run these in production. They also blame software developers for not providing tools that support typically operation tasks such as monitoring or logging. To overcome this situation the DevOps movement state “you built it, you run it” meaning software developers are responsible for running their code.

Another facet of the DevOps movement is that tasks that have to be repeatedly executed are automated. This means technologies like file versioning, scripting, testing and monitoring are deployed and heavily used. This leads to easier and faster common task execution and this is typically an enabler for deploying software more often (e.g. a few times a day).

I really like the idea because from my point of view a developer is not only responsible for adding a feature but he is also responsible to think about the impact of his changes when the software runs in production. If the software developer is the guy who is responsible to run the software he makes sure his changes do not make his live troublesome. The developer makes also sure new features can be easily tested and monitored to detect if something goes wrong before the production system comes to a halt. And if something goes wrong the software developer will be in a position to update the production system quickly by using automated software deployment.

At all small companies and start-ups I was responsible for software development we lived the DevOps ideas even without knowing this movement existed. At the beginning if the team is small it is natural that no dedicated operation engineer is available. This means the task of running software is the task of the guy who developed it. If the team grows and software gets more complex the responsibility of running the software sticks with the team that developed it. So the software developer team is responsible that (1) the software which is ready for production is intensively tested and monitored and (2) the software deployment process is easy and automated. If still something goes wrong (and this will be case on a regular basis) the software development team is responsible to identify the root case of the problem and fix it. As soon as the fix is tested the new software version is deployed to production.

If I compare the ease of running software in start-ups with big cooperates I understand why big cooperates bush the DevOps movement so hard. :-)

This text represents my personal opinion and has nothing to do with any company I associated with.
Posted by Thomas King at 10:55 2013-09-04 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

What We Often Miss About the Cloud (Cloud Computing)
What we miss quite often in our (technical) discussions about the cloud is that the cloud is a means to support us to do our actual work faster and cheaper. Quite often I get the impression that technicians love the cloud because of the technical complexity and novelty of its technical solutions. So these guys try to add cloud services to any feature requirement and challenge at hand. However, this way of using cloud services is not a sustainable way because it is quite often not the best solution. For me the cloud is just a means to help me do my work faster and cheaper. Period. (And by the way it is quite often a really cool way of doing my work. :-))
Posted by Thomas King at 09:34 2013-08-26 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Should an IT Startup Use Cloud Services? (Cloud Computing)
Recently, I had a discussion about what kind of cloud services an IT startup should use at the famous startup barbeque meeting (called Gründergrillen) in Karlsruhe. The starting point of the discussion was that a friend of mine - also a CTO of a successful startup - told me that they started to use elastic search in their product. As they are already using many Amazon AWS services I asked him if he did try out Cloudsearch. He told me that they didn't try Cloudsearch because it is too expensive. They started to run elastic search on EC2 instances they manage by themselfes. Also other search service providers (like qbox.io or found.no) did not fit his budget. I did not know anything about his use case for a search service I asked him how much money he would have to spend with Cloudsearch or another search cloud service. He told me that the smallest Cloudsearch configuration would fit his needs. Such an Cloudsearch instance costs about 80€ a month. He further told me that he installed elastic search on a set of EC2 instances that already provided mysql database services.

I was completely surprised: For $80 a month you cannot even do regular software updates, log files checks, configuring backups and all the other steps you have to do if you run your own elastic search infrastructure. And why did he run his own mysql cluster? What is the point of using IaaS cloud instances to configure and run services such as mysql and search services by yourself if you can get these services also in a managed cloud-fashion? For me as a CTO of an IT startup this is very clear: If a (professionally managed) cloud service is available for a service I have a need for I use it.

My rules of thumb to decide if I should use a (professionally managed) cloud service instead of setting up a similar service by myself are:
  1. Is the service a critical core service of my business that I need to adjust, enhance or expand in a way my potential cloud service provider cannot deliver it?
  2. Is the price of the cloud service in questions smaller or similar to the price I have to pay if my colleagues or I are spending the time to run the service in question in a similar quality (e.g., uptime, high availability, backup routines)?
If I answer the first question with no and the second question with yes I go with the cloud service. Indeed, the second question is for me most often an easy question to answer. I can easily spend $500 a month for a cloud service (e.g., mysql database service) that is important to my business compared to hiring a well-experienced (database) administrator that costs me a few thousands dollars of wages. A cloud service also reduces the complexity of the business I run. If the cloud service is professionally managed all the cumbersome and error-prone tasks such as backup/restore and monitoring are not my problem as they are part of the service. So, I use cloud services if they are available and I have a need for.

This text represents my personal opinion and has nothing to do with any company I associated with.
Posted by Thomas King at 19:12 2013-08-09 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

The Difference Between a Virutal Server and a Cloud Server: API (Cloud Computing)
In the classical web hosting business we are currently seeing a trend of what many are calling cloud washing: Every product gets a “Cloud” label attached. A good example is: It is not a virtual server anymore, it is now a cloud server.

If you follow the widely accepted definition of what cloud is (for instance see the wikipedia article about cloud computing) you realize that a so-called cloud server (or formerly known as a virtual server) is only by some means a cloud product. However, at least one important property of a real cloud server is missing from many so-called cloud servers: an API to program them. If you as a user can setup, start, stop, restart, terminate or clone a virtual server by using an API it might qualify as a real cloud server.

For me as a technical guy and CTO of a startup it is very important that I can program virtual - ähm - cloud servers. This allows me to use virtual machines just like any other software library and run different workloads on them. This is also the enabler for many vertical scalability solutions I am working on.

If the hoster of a cloud server product or should I better call it a provider is offering libraries for all the major programming languages (e.g., Java, Python) out there that wrap the cloud server API this is a big plus. A plain JSON, SOAP or whatsoever API is fine however wrapping these technologies in code is cumbersome and error-prone. If the hoster or provider does not offer libraries for his API some open-source projects exist that might fill this gap (e.g., JClouds).

So, for me a cloud server needs an API and a library wrapping this API for major programming languages besides many other important cloud computing properties to be a real cloud server.

This text represents my personal opinion and has nothing to do with any company I associated with.
Posted by Thomas King at 09:38 2013-07-26 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Does a Minimal Viable Product Need Any Security Considerations? YES! (Cloud Computing)
I really like the lean startup movement. It is result and data driven, and leads quickly to products customers want. One big building block of the lean startup movement is a so-called minimal viable product. The concept of a minimal viable product means that you build a product with a minimal set of features that might not be completely finished and you show this product to your potential customers so that they can give you feedback about it. You use this feedback to improve your product and add the features customers ask for.

If you just started working on your startup and you just finished your minimal viable product please think twice: Did you add security to all the parts of your minimal viable product that work with sensitive customer data?

I consider security a critical component of a minimal viable product that handles sensitive customer data because if you do not have security in mind while building your minimal viable product it might happen that your customers will sue you before you get of the ground. For instance, if you are storing loginnames or passwords of other cloud services or bank account information and this data is lost because you got hacked your customers will turn on you and make sure there is no version one of your product.

I am not saying that you need a multi-layered, very complex security concept already implemented in your minimal viable product. However, I am saying provide basic security measures for the sensitive data of your customers. These first steps already made during the work of the minimal viable product will help you adding more relevant security features while your product grows. And the basic security measures let you manage the security risks you are facing during the early versions of your product.

I am not telling you this story out of the blue. At a startup a friend of mine works it happened that they got hacked a couple of weeks ago. However, because they had added a certain layer of security to their minimal viable product the hacker could not retrieve any sensitive data of customers. So, be aware and think twice of security!

This text represents my personal opinion and has nothing to do with any company I associated with.
Posted by Thomas King at 22:38 2013-07-25 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Other Blogs Talking about MobileKnox (MobileKnox / Safe)
Today, I roamed around the Internet and I found a few blog posts about MobileKnox. Each of these posts reviews MobileKnox. They all come to the conclusion that MobileKnox is a great password manager. Some of them also suggest additional feature we will think about. Thanks for all the good ratings! Did you find another blog post about MobileKnox? Let me know. I will add the post here as well.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 13:04 2011-04-09 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

ServerSync Servers Updated to More Performance (MobileKnox / Safe)
MobileKnox and DesktopKnox can be synchronized by the easy-to-use and secure ServerSync synchronization method. ServerSync is the default synchronization method and recommended by us. MobileKnox and DesktopKnox connect to the ServerSync servers in order to overcome connectivity problems if MobileKnox and DesktopKnox are not directly connected to the Internet as it usually happens with routers, firewalls, and NATs.

Today, we updated the software running the ServerSync servers. We spend that last two weeks improving the efficiency of the software. Our efforts paid off and now the synchronization process handled by the ServerSync servers is up to 100 times faster than before. Give it a try you will feel it!

Enjoy using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 00:21 2011-03-21 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox for Android 2.0.0 and DesktopKnox 3.1 (MobileKnox / Safe)
Dear customer,
I am happy to announce that I just released MobileKnox for Android 2.0.0 and DesktopKnox 3.1. This release of MobileKnox comes with two additional features:

Firstly, DesktopKnox provides keywords which can be used to easily enter data that is needed repeatetly. For instance, mail addresses are often used as user names so entering a mail address with two clicks is much faster than typing a mail adress with a keyboard. DesktopKnox offers a slick and easy-to-use interface to manage keywords in the settings. This keywords are now synchronized with MobileKnox so that you have your keywords with you. Especially, if you create an entry with your smart-phone or tablet it is handy if you can enter keywords with two clicks.

Secondly, if you change an entry on DesktopKnox and MobileKnox before you synchronize a conflict happens. The screen that asks you about how to resolve the conflict now shows the category of both entries in addition to the title and content. This makes conflict resolution even easier.

Additionally, a few bugfixes have been applied to make MobileKnox and DesktopKnox even better.

Have fun using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 23:16 2011-03-14 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

How Happy Are You With the User Interface of MobileKnox? (MobileKnox / Safe)
From time to time I receive mails from customers stating what they love and hate about MobileKnox and DesktopKnox. I really like these mails as they give me feedback on what is good and also bad about MobileKnox and DesktopKnox. The good thing is that most customers are more than happy with my software. However, nearly all of these mails contain suggestions how MobileKnox could be improved in one way or the other. A few days ago I received a mail from a customer who did not only suggest how MobileKnox should be improved. Instead, he also scribbled a sketch how such an improvement could look like. After discussing the matter for some time with this customer I realized that he might be right.

The statement of the customer is that the user interface of MobileKnox needs a more visually appealing and usable user interface theme. By usable the customer means that it can be quite difficult to read the text presented by MobileKnox if you are in a dark environment. He also mentioned that crisp and clear structuring of some screens would be helpful. As I really like some of the sketches the customer created I added two here:

Before I start changing the colors and font sizes I would like to get more user feedback on this. What do you think about the current theme? What do you think should be changed? Which colors do you prefer? Does the structuring of the screens need an overhaul?

Your feedback is highly appreciated. Please feel free to comment about anything you think of!

Have fun using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox!

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 23:59 2011-03-03 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox for Android 1.9.1 (MobileKnox / Safe)
Today I released MobileKnox 1.9.1 just days after MobileKnox 1.9.0. The changes between 1.9.0 and 1.9.1 are exclusively user interface improvements. What do you think about the small but impressive changes? Is it now easier to enter the master password and hit the “ok” button? Does the lock screen look better? Let us know!

As usual you will find the latest version of MobileKnox in the app store of you choice!

Have fun using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox!

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 22:43 2011-03-03 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox 1.8.0 for Android Released (MobileKnox / Safe)
Dear Customers,

I am happy to announce that I just released MobileKnox 1.8.0. This version of MobileKnox comes with one major new feature: Export. If you are not using synchronization to backup your data the new export feature might be very helpful for you. It allows you to export all your data that is stored in MobileKnox to a file. The file format of such a file is encrypted xml. Encrypted xml files can be imported by MobileKnox and DesktopKnox.

Additionally, we fixed some minor user interface hiccups. So, MobileKnox will now look even better.

Have fun using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 00:37 2011-02-03 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox for Android - Status (MobileKnox / Safe)
Today, I am happy to announce that the 100th user of MobileKnox decided to buy the "MobileKnox Premium Key" in the Android Market:

As you probably know the "MobileKnox Premium Key" permanently enables synchronization and used nearby. Additionally, advertisements are disabled.

I want to use this event to give you an update of MobileKnox and where we are going with it:
  • Currently, we see more than 6000 downloads and more than 2000 active installations of MobileKnox.
  • "MobileKnox Premium Key" is sold more than 100 times (100 times alone in the Android Market).
  • On a usual day we see more than 30 synchronizations by MobileKnox and DesktopKnox using our ServerSync servers.
  • MobileKnox is available in eleven Android application stores.
Currently we are working on more features to come:
  • Export
  • Manage entries
  • Data vault features such as upload, download, and encryption of files.
Do you miss a feature? Please let me know! Your feedback is highly appreciated!

Posted by Thomas King at 18:55 2011-01-23 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (1)

Which are the Relevant Application Stores for Android? (Android)
The number of application stores for Android is steadily growing. For instance, a few days ago Amazon opened its application store for developers. Another example is appoke. Appoke just went into a public beta offering a social application store. These application stores are available in addition to the already existing ones. Appstores.info already lists about 20 application stores for Android and the new ones are not counted yet.

For an application publisher (e.g., developer or marketing agency) the question arises which are the relevant application stores for Android that should be supported. With support I mean upload of the application, upload of updates of the application, manage the payment procedure, collect and analyze download and active installation numbers, and react to user reviews and feedback. The time needed to provide such support is linear with number of application stores. As time is money application publishers want to focus on the relevant application stores that offer the most benefit.

I asked myself which are the relevant application stores. Given the list of application stores from appstores.info and the application stores I added by myself (e.g., appoke and andspot) I tried to upload MobileKnox to each of these application stores. Unfortunately, I was not able to upload MobileKnox to all of these application stores as some of them require weird information. For instance, the M1 Appstore requires a copy of my passport and a copy of my company registration valid in Singapore. As I do not want to send around copies of my passport to strangers I skipped this application store. In the end eleven application stores remained:
The dominate metric for success of an application is the number of downloads. Only if a user downloads the app there is a chance that she will use the application in the future. Compared to the number of active installations - which in fact is the better metric to measure the success of an application - the number of downloads is always publicly displayed in application stores. Hence, I will stick with this measure to compute the list of relevant application stores. For the last two weeks I counted the number of downloads for MobileKnox for each the above mentioned application stores. The list is structured by the number of downloads:

More than 100 downloads:
  • Android Market
  • AndroidPit
  • Handster
  • AndAppStore
  • SlideME
Less than 100 downloads but more than 10 downloads:
  • GetJar
Less than 10 downloads but more than 1 download:
  • AppsLib
  • Camangi
  • Appoke
  • AndSpot
  • Amazon AppStore

From the list you see that only five out of the eleven application stores are of relevance. As expected the Android Market shows the highest download numbers. Following is the AndroidPit application store and with a gap the application stores from Handster, AndAppStore, and SlideME. The last mentioned three application stores show nearly the same download numbers. Interesting to see is that GetJar, AppsLib and Camangi show only between 100 and 1 downloads. The group with no downloads consists mainly of application stores that are not open to users or which just opened.

So, in the future I will focus on Android Market, AndroidPit, Handster, AndAppStore, and SlideME application stores. However, as the newly available application stores might gain power I will do such a relevance check every few month.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 15:17 2011-01-23 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Really Cool Christmas Presents (General)
The best Christmas presents you can get are the ones that are well conceived and hand-crafted. This year I was happy to receive two of these great and very cool presents: A bedside locker and a coffee table.

I have to admit that I am not a big fan of having many furniture in my apartment. Hence I did not buy a bedside locker. This repeatedly resulted in a chaotic stack of books and magazines beside my bed. To resolve this matter my girlfriend conceived a bedside locker that is not an extra furniture but an add-on to my bed:

Isn’t it cool? With this bedside locker I can organize my books and magazines without having an additional furniture. Well done! Thanks for the present!

Coffee tables are quite expensive especially if they are fancy and in vogue. So, my girlfriend and I found such a coffee table but as you can expect it was too expensive for us. However, we just liked this kind of coffee table so much that we decided we have to get one without paying a fortune. The solution was easy: just do it yourself. As we already know what we wanted I started looking for a few old oak beams. Lucky as I am I found a few very old ones that I bought for a few bucks. I handed over these oak beams to my girlfriend’s father who did some magic to transform these old oak beams into a shiny looking coffee table. So, this was really a great Christmas present. Thank you very much!

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 17:32 2011-01-09 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

How to Manage Paid Applications in the Various Application Stores (Android)
As many paid apps MobileKnox contains two pieces of apps: Firstly, the freely available app which provides all features (e.g., create and securely save entries) including the premium ones (e.g, synchronization) which are only available for free during a seven days trial period. This app is called “MobileKnox” in the application stores. Secondly, an app that can only be downloaded from the application stores if you pay 1.99€ plus taxes. This app is called “MobileKnox Premium Key” and activates the premium features of MobileKnox forever. The “MobileKnox” app is available in many different application stores:
Unfortunately, the “MobileKnox Premium Key” app cannot be downloaded from most of these application stores. The reason is that only a few of these application stores offer a licencing service that allows “MobileKnox Premium Key” to verify if a particular user already paid for the app. Without such a service it is easy for crackers to download the “MobileKnox Premium Key” and crack the app so that it can be made available to everybody for free. This would negatively affect my revenue streams which means I do not have the resources to spend more time on improving MobileKnox. So far, the following application stores offer a licencing service:
  • AndAppStore
  • Android Market
  • AndroidPit
  • SlideME
  • Camangi

AndSpot and Appoke are working on licensing services but it is unclear when it will be available. The AndroidPit licensing service is build on top of the Android Market. However, the licensing services from the other application stores are different to the Android Market licensing service meaning that application developers have to spend a lot of time to integrate the different services.

Given the different licensing services from the various application stores I already started developing a library that contains all these services. The goal of this endeavor is to provide a single and easy-to-use library that communicates with all the different licensing services.
The rule which licensing service should be selected for querying about a license is derived from the application store client that is installed on the smart-phone. It can be assumed that an app is not licensed from a particular application store if the according application store client is not installed.

Do you want to participate in this development? If so just drop me a mail and I will provide you a SVN account to the source code repository.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 14:16 2011-01-09 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox for Android 1.7.0 (MobileKnox / Safe)
I just released MobileKnox for Android 1.7.0. The new feature in this release is that a sound is played as soon as the synchronization process is finished. This notifies a customer right after synchronization is done. This helps if a customer has a big chunk of data to synchronize or if the network connection of the smart-phone is slow. Additionally, we improved the user interface. For instance, the link color is now set to black.

Have fun using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox!

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 18:41 2010-12-31 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

2010 in Review from a Mobile Perspective (General)
This is a very interesting video about 2010 from a mobile point of view. Enjoy the great numbers and results:

I am looking forward to do mobile in 2011. It sounds like it will be very promising! :-)

Posted by Thomas King at 22:20 2010-12-18 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

How Do You Handle Various Android Application Stores? (Android)
As you probably know I am a developer of a few applications for Android. As a developer I am interested in spreading my applications a far as possible. Some of my applications display advertisements so spreading them means increasing my revenue. So, I checked all the different application stores that are available for Android. I counted more than 18. For many of them I created an account and submitted my applications. Of course, the Android Market is mandatory. Further, I selected SlideMe, AndroidPit, AndAppStore, AppLibs, and Handster, just to name a few application stores.

I see significant downloads from all these application stores. This is great as it proves that the economics around the different application stores are working. Such a healthy application store infrastructure is important for Android as it makes it open to many extra hardware devices and frees it from content restrictions inflicted by the Android Market.

From a developer point of view the various application stores add to the complexity of handling applications. First, I have to collect the download and sales numbers manually from the various application stores. Additional information such as download region and devices used by customers are not available from all application stores. This makes it cumbersome and tedious for me to track relevant information I usually process to manage advertisement about my applications. Secondly, the update procedure is far more time-consuming. Handling eight application stores means that I have to submit an update eight times. To make it even worse, the different application store have different procedures to submit updates.

So, my question is do you know any tool that handles this complexity by cooperating with the various application stores? It should be fairly easy to develop such a tool that is able to collect download and sales numbers and manages the procedures to submit an application update to the different application stores. What do you think?

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 00:23 2010-12-14 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox for Android 1.6.0 (MobileKnox / Safe)
MobileKnox 1.5.0 provided a new feature called “quick insertion”. This feature allows to easily insert commonly used strings such as “login” or “password” by just clicking a menu button. In MobileKnox 1.6.0 this feature is extended to collect names of your accounts as configured by your phone (see Settings - “Accounts & sync” on your Android phone). The idea behind this is that often the names of your accounts are used by other accounts as well. For instance, your mail address is often shared as login name by many accounts. So, adding this feature makes the usage of MobileKnox even more convenient.

Have fun using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox.

Posted by Thomas King at 20:40 2010-11-24 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox 1.5.0 and 1.5.1 (MobileKnox / Safe)
Two days ago I released MobileKnox 1.5.0 and today I set free an improvements and bugfix release called MobileKnox 1.5.1. Besides the already mentioned improvements MobileKnox provides now the so-called “quick insertion” of predefined strings. If you add or modify an existing entry you usually type in “Login:” and “Password:” which is often a pain. Entering these strings repeatably is something MobileKnox should make easy. For this, “Quick Insertion” is developed. Just make a long click on the content text field and select the string you want to enter. You can select from a wide varity of strings. Just to name few: Login, Username, Password, and PIN.

Have a look on these screenshots showing how "Quick Insertion" works:

Currently, the predefined strings cannot be changed. Do you want to be able to change the string? Let me know and I will think about providing such a feature!

Have fun using MobileKnox and DekstopKnox.

Best regards,
Thomas King
Posted by Thomas King at 16:50 2010-11-07 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox 1.4.2 (MobileKnox / Safe)
Today, I released MobileKnox 1.4.2 which contains minor bugfixes: Some typos in the German localization are fixed. Additionally, some minor glitches while changing the orientation are squashed out. Finally, in some circumstances the premium key was not correctly detected. This is also fixed.

The next version of MobileKnox will contain some interesting features. So, stay tuned.

Have fun using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox.

Best regards,
Thomas King
Posted by Thomas King at 23:36 2010-10-31 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox 1.4.0 (MobileKnox / Safe)
Today, I released MobileKnox 1.4.0. This release contains one big new feature: “Used nearby”. “Used nearby” lists the entries that have been opened in the past close to your current location. For instance, if you are using entries (e.g., accounts for servers) mainly while being in the office these entries are listed. If you are using other accounts while being at home (e.g., accounts for flickr, amazon, and paypal) the entries representing these accounts are shown first in the list of all entries. So, this makes accessing entries of MobileKnox really easy.
The following screenshot shows a list of entries that is sorted by the distance between where I opened the entries the last time and where I am standing while holding the smart-phone. As you can see this really helps finding entries.

Have fun using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox.

Best regards,
Thomas Thomas
Posted by Thomas King at 00:22 2010-10-26 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox for Android 1.3.1 (MobileKnox / Safe)
We released a bugfix version of Mobileknox after customers told us that synchronization does not properly work with Android 2.1.

Have fun using MobileKnox and Desktopknox!

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 19:57 2010-10-12 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox for Android 1.3.0 (MobileKnox / Safe)
Tonight we released MobileKnox for Android 1.3.0. We added one main feature: Copy text from entries while showing them. It works like this: Select the entry you want to see (in this case the entry with title MobileKnox containing the credentials for the developer website). After clicking on the content field for some time the context menu opens and contains all the data that can be copied (in our case this is the login name, the password, and the URL). By clicking on one of these items the text is copied to the clipboard so that it can be used to be entered into another application (e.g., web browser to login).
The following screenshots depict the example described above:

Please feel free to suggest additional features you think might be useful.

Have fun using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 23:36 2010-10-05 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Why password reuse is bad and MobileKnox is the solution for this (MobileKnox / Safe)
A friend of mine just mailed me this comcic. It just tells the truth. Most people today use only a single password for all of their accounts. It is easy for an attacker to exploit this.
To avoid all this: Use MobileKnox and DesktopKnox. All your different passwords can be easily managed by these tools. Just start using them and your accounts will never be hijacked just because an attacker learned only one password from you.

Posted by Thomas King at 01:10 2010-10-05 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox for Android 1.2.0 (MobileKnox / Safe)
MobileKnox is available with German texts and icons in the Android Market. Have fun using it.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 00:30 2010-10-05 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox for Android 1.1.5 (MobileKnox / Safe)
I am proud to announce the release of MobileKnox for Android version 1.1.5. This release contains two major new features: Firstly, searching entries by title and content. Secondly, the default installation location of MobileKnox is set to be the SD card (if available). This saves storage on the internal memory of the phone which is typically scarce.

The following two screenshots show the new search features including the search dialog and the search result screen:

More features will come soon. Stay tuned.

Have fun using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox.
Posted by Thomas King at 17:33 2010-10-03 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

PingPong Pings IPv6 Addresses (Android)
I just upgraded my DSL-router firmware and now it provides a 6-to-4 tunnel. This allows my Nexus One to connect to the Internet by using IPv6. As you can see from the screenshot, PingPing is also capable of pinging IPv6 addresses. :-)

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 00:49 2010-09-28 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox for Android (MobileKnox / Safe)
I am happy to announce that we will issue MobileKnox for Android within the next couple of hours. MobileKnox for Android offers an easy-to-use and simple password management tool that helps organizing passwords, PINs, bank accounts, creditcards, and other sensitive information. MobileKnox for Android will continue the success we had with MobileKnox for J2ME-enabled devices. So far, MobileKnox for J2ME is installed on mobile devices more than 100.000 times. Based on the tremendous proliferation of devices that run Android, we want to bring MobileKnox to these devices as well. This will allow our customers to secure their sensitive information using Android devices.

MobileKnox for Android will come in two version: A free but feature limited version and a premium version with all features enabled. The free version will show advertisements and will not provide synchronization. With more features to come to MobileKnox for Android additional premium features will not be part of the free version of MobileKnox. The premium version of MobileKnox for Android will contain all features you already know from MobileKnox for J2ME. Additional features are already planned and will be available soon. To give you an appetizer on how we are going to use the rich possibilities Android provides we integrated a secure random password generator: Long click on the content field in the “Add entry” screen and press the “Shake Password” menu entry in MobileKnox. After that just shake the phone to generate random characters that are combined to a random password. More features of this nature will come soon. The price tag for the premium version of MobileKnox for Android (search for MobileKnox Premium Key in the Android Market) will be €2.99.

As already mentioned above, MobileKnox for Android will be capable of synchronizing with DesktopKnox. For this, DesktopKnox version 3.0 is required. DesktopKnox 3.0 will be released together with MobileKnox for Android.

Have fun using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox.

Best regards, Thomas
Posted by Thomas King at 21:29 2010-09-27 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Screenshots of MobileKnox for Android 0.9.0 Beta (MobileKnox / Safe)
In the following you will find four screenshots of MobileKnox for Android version 0.9.0 beta. Enjoy viewing the screenhots.

Posted by Thomas King at 22:03 2010-09-02 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox for Android Version 0.9.0 Beta (MobileKnox / Safe)
After months of development I am proud to announce the release of the first public beta version of MobileKnox for Android. This version contains already the following features:
  • Super safe encryption using the encryption standard AES and the hashing standard SHA
  • Categories
  • Automatic lock after a certain idle period of time
  • Import of data generated by MobileKnox or DesktopKnox
  • A random password generator that generates passwords while the user shakes the phone
  • Change of the master password
  • Completely wipe out the data stored within MobileKnox
In the next following days we are squashing out bugs and as soon as we perceive MobileKnox ready for the masses we will upload it to the Google Android Market.

After version 1.0.0 of MobileKnox the subsequently issued version will offer these features:
  • Synchronization with DesktopKnox
  • Support for addiational languages
  • Export of the data stored within MobileKnox
  • Google Backup Service
MobileKnox for Android will come in two flavours: Firstly, a feature-complete and fully-polished paid version. Secondly, a feature-limited trial version that displays advertisements.

As promised here the link to version 0.9.0 Beta of MobileKnox for Android: MobileKnox (Please note that you have to enable your phone to accept applications from this website by clicking Settings->Applications->Unknown sources. Android 2.1+ is required to run MobileKnox for Android).

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any bug reports, questions or comments about MobileKnox or DesktopKnox.

Have fun using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox!

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 21:28 2010-09-02 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

PingPong 1.5.0 (Android)
Today I released PingPong 1.5.0. This release contains some power saving improvements. For instance, if PingPong is no longer visible because another is covering it it stops pinging. As soon as it gets visible again it restarts pinging automatically. This saves battery power while providing great services.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 20:48 2010-09-02 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Update on PingPong (Android)
Today, I released version 1.4.0 of PingPong. This is major about release as it contains some minor bug fixes and some improvements. The improvements are as follows: Firstly, a new progress bar is added that is shown during hostname resolution. This means that the user is informed about ongoing work if a hostname is entered and the DNS systems is queried to resolve the hostname to an IP address. Especially, if the smart-phone is connected by UMTS or EDGE to the Internet it can take some time to get a response from the DNS system. Secondly, Admob mobile marketing is added to give me the opportunity to learn more about the Admob ecosystem. I am eager to learn more how mobile marketing works and how well Admob is integrated into Android. So far, I am really impressed about what Admob is doing. The subsequently shown picture shows how Admob is integrated into PingPong. I tried to minimize the impact of the space requirements of Admob on the user experience of PingPong. For that I optimized the layouts and I think I did a good job! :-)

Finally, I would like to reference an article over at SearchNetworking. In this article they are talking about PingPong and how it can be used. Thanks guys!

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 01:07 2010-08-04 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

What about RFC 5389? (JSTUN)
I am looking for a way to enhance the current "JSTUN" implementation to support the new Session Traversal Utilities for NAT (STUN) protocol as described in RFC 5389. If you are interested in supporting this effort with code or money please drop me a mail (king[at]t-king.de).

Posted by Thomas King at 21:48 2010-07-05 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox for Android: Second Preview (Android)
The automatic lock for MobileKnox is finished. If MobileKnox is unused for a certain amount of time access to sensitive data stored in it is restricted by an automatic locking mechanism. To regain access to MobileKnox the master password must be entered. The following picture shows the screen that asks for the master password in order to unlock MobileKnox.

The automatic locking mechanism can be configured as shown in the subsequently listed picture. Besides enabling and disabling the automatic lock the amount of time that must elapse before the lock is activated can be configured.

We are getting closer to a first release of MobileKnox for Android. Stay tuned! ;-)

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 00:31 2010-06-23 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox for Android - Preview (Android)
We are currently working hard to get MobileKnox running on Android. As we have already spend some time most of MobileKnox's core features are implemented and tested:
  • Bullet-proof encryption:
    • AES 256 encryption
    • SHA256 and SHA512 hash functions
  • Categories and entries
  • Import of encrypted XML data generated by MobileKnox or DesktopKnox
The next tasks are to implement and test:
  • Synchronization
  • Auto-Logout
A brief preview will show you the current state of the work. Screen 1 shows you the login screen. The list of the categories and the menu are shown in Screen 2. In Screen 3, an entry is displayed. The highlighting of urls is shown in combination with the menu.

Screen 1:

Screen 2:

Screen 3:

We are looking for skilled beta-testers. So, please feel free to drop me an email at support@mobileknox.com if you like to participate in our beta program.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 01:00 2010-06-15 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Being the Groomsman (General)
Last Saturday my good old and closely connected friend Matthias got married. He married his long time girlfriend Conny. The weeding started with a photo session lead by a professional photographer. The photo session was much fun as the weather was lovely, the photographer had great ideas about scenarios, and we were all in a great mood. After the photo session, the church wedding started. The priest did a great job and the band played thrilling music. The whole ceremony was just touching! After the church a reception was hold before the wedding party left for the final destination of this day. The dinner and the party took place in the lovely hotel Hohenkarpfen. About 85 people attended the delicious dinner and celebrated with the bridal couple before a massive firework started the unofficial part of the night. A DJ which changed the music genre from time to time played great party music until early Sunday morning.

For me the wedding was just a great event and lots of hard work. Being the groomsman is a challenge. However, I think it was worth the effort as all planning played out. Conny and Matthias really enjoyed the weeding and that was the goal of the day! ;-)

The pictures below show Conny and Matthias as they are in the church hugging each other and as they leaving the church in a rain of red hearts, respectively.

Posted by Thomas King at 22:45 2010-05-26 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

DE-CIX is ISO 27001 and BSI IT Grundschutz Certificated (DE-CIX)
During an event of the regional security initiative called KA-IT-SI I gave a presentation about why and how DE-CIX started the ISO 27001 on basis of BSI IT Grundschutz certification process. As project leader and a former security officer of DE-CIX I gave insights into the lessons the project team learned during the nearly two years I drove this project. After I finished my talk a security consultant who was also part of the project team talked about how he as a third-party perceived the endeavor. His talk was followed by a presentation given by the leader of the auditor team that conducted the audit which lead to the certificate. Finally, the ISO 27001 on basis of IT Grundschutz certificate was handed over from a representative of the BSI (Federal Office for Information Security) to Arnold Nipper (COO, CTO DE-CIX Management GmbH).

The event took place in the beautiful panorama room in the building of the camber of commerce in Karlsruhe. After the certificate was handed over the less formal part of the event started with champaign and delicious food. I left nearly two hours later after I have talked to many of the 50 people who attended this event.

This is probably my last posting in this area of my blog as I left DE-CIX a couple of month ago. The past two years with the DE-CIX crew were just wonderful! I learned a lot! I am sure my team and I, we made DE-CIX a safer place. I really enjoyed working with so skilled and professional people as the DE-CIX crew. All the best for DE-CIX and its employees.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 16:51 2010-05-13 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

PingPong Topped 1000 Downloads (Android)
After I released PingPong into the free applications world the download rates just sky-rocketed. Two days ago the download meter showed 1000 downloads are crossed. Currently, more than 50 downloads can be counted a day. Based on this huge user base I am highly motivated to support and expand the features of PingPong. What are the features you are missing? What are the features you are looking for? Stay tuned to get the latest news about PingPong. ;-)

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 16:49 2010-05-13 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

PingPong for Free (Android)
Unfortunately, PingPong was not a real success so far. I just sold 85 units. Hence I decided to give it away for free and see how the download numbers develop. If it does well I will think about adding some advertisements. However, so far, PingPong comes just for free without any advertisements.

Enjoy using PingPong.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 01:14 2010-03-30 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

New Versions of NATnIP and PingPong (Android)
I just released improved versions of NATnIP and PingPong. These versions contain only minor changes. The biggest change is that I fixed a bug in PingPong that caused some problems on Motorola Droid / Milestone phones. Additionally, I added up-to-date screenshots of PingPong to the Android Market. These screenhots are also shown in the following two pictures:

Have fun using NATnIP and PingPong.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 17:48 2010-02-07 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox for Blackberry (MobileKnox / Safe)
Hi all,
I am currently working on a release of MobileKnox for RIM Blackberry. Nearly all changes are implemented and I am currently in the process of testing. Furthermore, I am waiting to get my account for the Blackberry App World activated so that I can upload MobileKnox.
Unfortunately, MobileKnox for Blackberry will not be able to support ServerSync as mode of synchronization. Only DirectSync will be available. The reason for this is that Blackberry devices close the TCP connection after a web service request is transmitted. I am working on a fix, however, the fix will take some time.
More updates will come soon.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 13:23 2010-01-03 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

NATnIP 1.2.9 released (Android)
After a few month of no development I spend a few hours to further improve NATnIP. The biggest new feature is that NATnIP now supports different STUN servers which can be selected from the settings menu. The screenshots show the new features and changes:

Have fun using NATnIP.

Posted by Thomas King at 23:26 2009-12-22 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Class about the "Economics of the Internet" (General)
Prof. Rothlauf from the University of Mainz (also known as the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz) invited me to give a talk about the "Economics of the Internet". I was happy to accept this invitation and so we scheduled a meeting for this talk. We both agreed on the 10th of December which means I gave the talk yesterday. I started the talk with an introduction of the hierarchy of the Internet. With this model I explained the tier 1-3 concept as well as how peering and transit work. During the second part of the talk I gave an outlook on the current developments such as the raise of so-called Hyper Giants (=very large content-, access-, and hosting providers) and the massive increase of mobile Internet usage.
For me it was great fun to talk to motivated students and I really enjoyed the fruitful discussions around the content I presented during my talk! It is always good to be back to the universities! ;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 15:56 2009-12-11 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Ubivent - A Really Cool Startup (General)
A good friend of mine founded together with two other friends of mine a company called Ubivent. This company develops and sells software to setup virtual events. A virtual event is like an old-fashioned event (e.g., conference or fair) but the people meet virtual (in the Internet) instead of in person. To support such virtual events, software is needed that allows the participants to interact with each other as during old-fashioned events. So, the software created by Ubivent allows users to walk through the meeting venue, inspect different booth, attend to different talks, and talk to different persons (via chat, VoIP, or video). The software developed by Ubivent created a lot of news coverage and already won a few prices: Entrepreneur Price of Mannheim, and Interview with Sun.

I really like what Ubivent is doing and I believe they are on the right track! I hope they will be a market leader in the near future and the big company within the next years!

Check them out, they are really cool!

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 15:55 2009-12-11 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (1)

Lots of Events: Nanog 47, GPF 4.5, CNX3, 15th Euro-IX Forum, 1st Symposium on Ditigal Infrastructure (DE-CIX)
In the last couple of weeks I was attending lots of events. It started with the Nanog 47 meeting in Dearborn, Mi, USA. It was quite enlightening to talk to so many excellent network engineers and network managers. The most interesting session for me was the peering session. The guys from Hurrican Electric bought a cake for Cogent to convince Cogent to peer with them. Quite funny! :-)

DE-CIX is one of the hosts of the Global Peering Forum (GPF) 4.5. As this was my first GPF at all, it was very interesting to meet so many customers of DE-CIX at one place. To make sure I had the opportunity to talk to as many customers as possible I decided to manage the booth that gave away the free GPF 4.5 T-shirts. It was great fun to give away shirts while talking to customers.

After the GPF I attended the Third Carrier Exchange Network (CNX3) event. During the CNX3 I gave a power-talk about "Security Needs of the DE-CIX Covered by ISO 27001 and BSI IT Grundschutz ". The discussion after the talk was very enlightening as many attendees were thinking of getting a security certificate. The questions and comments showed that it is quite difficult to select an appropriate process to get a particular security certificate. I think, security consultancy firms should come up with additional aids to solve this problems.

The 15th Euro-IX forum was held in Rome, Italy. For me, it was the first time in Rome. I was really impressed about this lovely city with all the vintage sculptures and ruins. As nice as the city the program of the Euro-IX forum was. I am a member of the program committee and hence I was really interested in the talks of the route server session. The progress the different route server implementations made during the last six months was quite impressive. The talks of the security sessions were also very enlightening however as I chaired this session I already knew the slides, so the content was not really new to me. :-)

Yesterday, I attended the first symposium on digital infrastructure in Frankfurt. Prof. Beck talked about a survey investigating the co-location industries. For me it was interesting to learn that co-location prices dropped about eight percent during the last twelve month.

These were lots of events all over the world for the last couple of weeks. However, it looks like it will be a bit more quiet until Christmas. :-)

Posted by Thomas King at 17:33 2009-11-27 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Bachelor Thesis about "Zertifizierte IT-Sicherheit in KMU" (DE-CIX)
Lucius Eder, a bachelor student from the university of applied sciences Darmstadt, submitted his bachelor thesis about "Zertifizierte IT-Sicherheit in KMU" last week. The thesis is in German and hence the title is also in German. Lucius worked for the last four month on the thesis at DE-CIX and I supervised his work. In this thesis he investigated if and how IT-security standards such as ISO 27001 and BSI IT-Grundschutz fit the requirements and processes of small and medium businesses. He deeply investigated this questions with respect to the DE-CIX Management GmbH. His findings are very interesting and helpful for the further decision processes at DE-CIX.
Posted by Thomas King at 17:26 2009-11-27 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Which Programming Languages to Use at an Internet Exchange Point (DE-CIX)
At DE-CIX and on the Euro-IX mailing lists some discussion is going on which programming languages are currently used at Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). I am assuming that the sets of programming languages used at the different IXPs should show to be quite congruent. So far, I cannot provide information about how diverse the sets of programming languages used at the different IXPs are because the discussing is still going on.
At DE-CIX it was common to use a few programming and scripting languages (e.g., C, Perl, bash), however, since I have joined DE-CIX many software projects have been done using Java. I personally believe Java is a good language for an IXP because it provides the following advantageous:
  • Java is fast and reliable
  • Java is object-oriented
  • Java is platform independent (meaning it runs on Linux, Windows and so on)
  • Java comes with many modern quality assurance tools (e.g., junit)
  • Java can be used for scripting (by using Groovy)
  • Java can easily be used for network programming
  • Java provides a reasonable good regex interface for string processing
  • Java can be used to create bindings to C and C++ libraries (by using the Java Native Interface)
One another reason why I prefer Java does not fit in the above list, however it is quite important: Nealy all computer science graduates and students nowadays come with a decent Java experience which means they can be productive right away without learning another programming language.

To back up my statement that Java is a well suited programming language in the area of IXPs the following list shows which libraries and tools are used at DE-CIX for Java projects: What do you think about Java and IXPs? Let me know.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 23:34 2009-10-19 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

My Ph.D. Celebration Party (General)
Last Saturday I hosted my Ph.D. celebration party in the beautiful party rooms at my friend's house (Have a look if you are looking for really great and stylish party rooms in Schramberg, Germany). More than 25 friends attended my party. Most of these people I know from my time in Mannheim (e.g., fellow (Ph.D.) students) and from my childhood in Schramberg. It was a great party and we had a lot of fun. It was nice talking to all my good old friends and having a beer with them. However, it was also interesting to realize that we have been maturing in the last few years. The party finished around 3am while there was still some beer available. A few years ago this would never had happened. :-)

I selected two pictures that were taken during the party. The first picture shows my girlfriend (the gorgeous girl that is partly covered by me), my father, me and a few friends. The other picture depicts a delicious cake a friend of mine prepared for me. It was made by healthy organic ingredients and hence it tasted so good it was just unbelievable. Thanks to Daniel for this great cake.

My friends gave me many really cool gifts. I really appreciate any of them. However, I have to talk about one especially here in this blog. My friend Hans-Jörg Happel recorded all my blog postings that I have created since August 2005. In total he recorded more than 2:25 hours of readings. He also designed a really cool CD cover for the CD including all the readings (see the subsequently shown pictures). The best thing is that he also mixed the readings with some really fancy music as bonus tracks for the CDs. It sounds really cool!!! Unfortunately, I cannot provide this bonus tracks as the music he used for his composition is licensed by others. However, Hans-Jörg is a very creative and great musician. Thank you very much!!!

It was great to meet all of you! See you at the next party! :-)

Posted by Thomas King at 23:35 2009-09-14 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Bachelor Thesis about "Monitoring the DE-CIX Hardware - From a Concept to an Implementation" (DE-CIX)
Last week, Jan Stumpf - a student from the University of Applied Science Furtwangen - submitted his bachelor thesis about "Monitoring the DE-CIX Hardware - From a Concept to an Implementation". I adviced Jan's work during his stay at DE-CIX. In this thesis, Jan first summarized and structured the theory about monitoring hard- and software infrastructures. Secondly, Jan talked to the engineers to understand the requirements they have about monitoring the DE-CIX hard- and software. Thirdly, Jan implemented a monitoring system based on the results of the two previous mentioned parts. The results are very impressive. DE-CIX is considering to apply most of his findings and newly developed software tools! It was great fun to advise Jan and I am looking forward to work with him on other projects.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 21:32 2009-09-06 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Irobot Roomba 560 - My Maid is a Robot :-) (General)
Last week I bought an Irobot Roomba 560. The Irobot Roomba 560 is a robot that is able to vacuum an apartment. After my Roomba 560 has been delivered - I gave it the name R2D2 (in my world R2D2 is male :-)) - I unwrapped it and charged the batteries. After a couple of hours the batteries were fully charged and I pressed the button to let R2D2 do his job. I have to admit, I am really impressed how well he cleans. Even after I have vacuumed my apartment by myself a couple of days ago R2D2 was able to collect half a box of dust during his 25 minutes ride through my apartment. He covered the complete floor space and even moved into corners. The video attached to this blog message shows R2D2 vacuuming my living room.

So, now thanks to R2D2 I have approximately 30 minutes more time a week to do more interesting stuff than vacuuming. :-)

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 21:17 2009-09-06 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox arrived at Ovi Store (MobileKnox / Safe)
Today, MobileKnox got listed in the Ovi Store. The Ovi Store is run by Nokia and it is expected that it will succeed in the same way the Apple App Store has success. The following screenshots are taken from the Ovi Store application running on a Nokia E71.

MobileKnox is found in the Ovi Store after searching for MobileKnox.

The detailed information about MobileKnox.

For the first four weeks of the listing of MobileKnox in the Ovi Store, MobileKnox is offered for only 9.95Eur. So, go and get your price-reduced full-featured version of MobileKnox.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 14:03 2009-06-28 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

PingPong 1.1.0 released (Android)
PingPong 1.1.0 fixed a minor hiccup with the representation of the logs.

Have fun with PingPong 1.1.0. :-)
Posted by Thomas King at 20:37 2009-06-27 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

DE-CIX and Friends @ JPMorgan Corporate Challenge (DE-CIX)
Last Wednesday, around 70,000 people met in Frankfurt to run 5,6km as part of the world-wide JPMorgan Corporate Challenge. The DE-CIX Management GmbH registered a team of 14 runners. It was great fun to run with my colleagues and friends the 5,6km. One runner only needed 31 minutes while the biggest part of the team (= 9 runners) needed around 35 minutes to finish the run. The finish shooting shown below shows the group of nine crossing the finish line. Can you spot me? ;-)

It was great fun and I am looking forward to being part of JPMorgan Corporate Challenge 2010. :-)

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 15:45 2009-06-21 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

NATnIP 1.2.7 released (Android)
NATnIP 1.2.7 contains a few user interface tweaks to make the look and feel similar to what you have seen from PingPong. Additionally, NATnIP 1.2.7 is localized to German. This means, NATnIP is now available in two languages: German and English.
The following screenshot shows the improved user interface in German.

Have fun using NATnIP.

Posted by Thomas King at 14:59 2009-06-21 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (1)

PingPing 1.0.1 (Android)
PingPong 1.0.1 is ready for prime time. PingPong 1.0.1 comes with an improved user interface.
Have a look!

Posted by Thomas King at 00:52 2009-06-20 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

PingPong 1.0.0 released (Android)
I just finished the development of PingPong 1.0.0. PingPong tests whether a particular host is reachable. For this, it first tries to use ICMP. If this fails, it utilizes a TCP connection on port 7 (echo) to the host. PingPong also measures the round trip time and packet loss.
The subsequently shown picture is a screenshot of the application running in the emulator.

Have fun using PingPong.

Posted by Thomas King at 00:48 2009-06-19 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox and DesktopKnox 2.5 (MobileKnox / Safe)
I am happy to announce the release of MobileKnox and DesktopKnox 2.5. These releases contain a lot of new features and improvements. First of all, MobileKnox and DesktopKnox are now delivered as signed applications which will make the installation process a bit easier. Additionally, this helps to verify that they users are using a tamber-free version of MobileKnox and DesktopKnox. The speed of MobileKnox is improved which will run up to 100 per cent faster than previous versions. Additionally, the user interface is improved so that during computing times a progress bar is shown. DesktopKnox comes now with an import filter for Keepass databases. Furthermore, DesktopKnox is now portable software, which means it can be installed on an USB stick and by plugging in the USB stick into different computers, DesktopKnox is wherever your USB stick is.

Have fun using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox.

Best regards,
Thomas King
Posted by Thomas King at 16:41 2009-06-11 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

NATnIP 1.2.6 released (Android)
I improved the user interface a bit. Any comments about feature requests or further improvements?

Posted by Thomas King at 14:18 2009-06-11 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

NATnIP 1.2.4 released (Android)
I squashed out a few more bugs and improved the user interface. Have fun using NATnIP 1.2.4.

Posted by Thomas King at 22:44 2009-06-09 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

NATnIP 1.2.3 released (Android)
The latest release of NATnIP improves some rare conditions such as no active network interface is available or the STUN server is not reachable. In these cases an error message is shown.

Posted by Thomas King at 13:24 2009-06-06 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

NATnIP 1.1.0 released (Android)
I just released NATnIP 1.1.0. This release shows not only the IP addresses that are assigned to a network interface but also the hostnames. The following picture shows the screen after the detection process is finished.

Additionally, a bug is fixed that caused a never disappearing "Please wait while detecting ..." message if the screen orientation was changed during the detection process.

Have fun using NATnIP.

Posted by Thomas King at 00:32 2009-06-05 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

NATnIP in Development (Android)
I am working on an Android application that uses the JSTUN library to detect the public IP address and typ of NAT that is associated to a network interface of a device. This is a great finger exercise while learning more about the Android software.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 19:40 2009-05-31 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Defense of my Ph.D. Dissertation (Ph.D. studies)
On May 15th, 2009, I defended my dissertation. The title of the dissertation is "Positioning and Communicating with 802.11". The defense started with a 30 minutes presentation. I talked about my work and the research results I obtained during my 3,5 years of research. After this, the examining professors (Prof. Freiling, Prof. Effelsberg, Prof. Wehrle, and Prof. Moerkotte) asked me questions about my work for about 40 minutes. Afterwards, the professors discussed my work and graded my defense. After more than 75 minutes the defense was over I received my Ph.D. I am pretty happy about this! :-)

After the defense, I hosted a small party where a lot of friends, family, and colleagues attended. The following two pictures were taken during the party.
This picture shows me explaining the elements of my Ph.D. head. The Ph.D. head was created by my colleagues and they gave to me as present. The head is super cool and it contains many elements characterizing me and my (research) work. Special thanks to my colleagues for this lovely head.

Prof. Effelsberg, my father and me in discussion.

Special thanks also to my friends who helped me preparing the party and cleaning up afterwards.

This will probably be the last posting in the Ph.D. category of my blog. If I decide to do another Ph.D. I will let you know here. ;-)

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 15:13 2009-05-24 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (2)

JSTUN 0.7.3 released (JSTUN)
Today, I released (JSTUN 0.7.3. The major change is that the Simple Logging Facade (SLF4J) has been added. This allows application developers to integrate the logging output of JSTUN to the logging framework of their choice. This work has been initiated and mainly crafted out by Jeff Williams. So, special thanks go to Jeff. Besides the SLF4J changes, only minor improvements (e.g., typos) have been added.

Have fun using JSTUN.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 19:12 2009-05-22 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

14th Euro-IX in Prague (DE-CIX)
I attended the 14th Euro-IX forum in Prague where I gave a presentation about "Peakflow + jsFlow: A Working Solution for Large IXs" and I chaired the security workshop. Both my presentation and the workshop went pretty well. You can see both recorded here.

This Euro-IX forum was the second Euro-IX forum I was attending. As last time, it was of a great pleasure for me to meet all these people who run Internet exchanges all over the world. I had a lot of fruitful discussion with many of them. For me as a bloody beginner in the field of Internet exchanges it is great to learn from so many experienced and well-educated people. The next Euro-IX forum will be held in Rom and the chances are good that I am going to attend this one as well. I am really looking forward to it.

Posted by Thomas King at 23:35 2009-05-10 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

jsFlow 0.1 Released (DE-CIX)
jsFlow is a Java library for sFlow v5. Currently, it supports all headers that are supported by Force10 E-1200 switches. Force10 E-1200 switches support only a sub-set of the headers that are specified in the sFlow specification. So, if you want use the jsFlow library with any other device than a Force10 E-1200 switch it might be the case that jsFlow does not support all headers coming from your device. However, as jsFlow is designed to be extensible it should be easy to add missing headers.

jSflow is released under the GPLv2 and can be downloaded here. As I have been implementing jsFlow for a internal project at DE-CIX I am happy that the management of DE-CIX supported my wish to open-source jsFlow. The current version of jsFlow is 0.1 indicating that a lot of work has to be done in order to get a full-fledged sFlow library. So, please feel to contribute to jsFlow. I will be happily accept patches that fix a bug or add new features!

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 23:28 2009-05-10 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

JSTUN 0.7.3 is Near (JSTUN)
Just to let you know: the release of JSTUN 0.7.3 is near. It will be a maintenance release which means only minor improvements will be added.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 22:47 2009-04-04 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox goes Android (MobileKnox / Safe)
In the last couple of weeks the development of MobileKnox and DesktopKnox slowed down a bit. From my point of view all relevant features are implemented and bugs are squashed out. As I just wanted to lean back my co-partner bought an Android Developer Phone 1 (also know as the T-Mobile G1) to tease me. And I have to admit: it worked. Actually, I have been playing around with the Android SDK since it has been released, however, I was too lazy to really start implementing anything useful. This reason for this was mainly that I did not believe in a cell-phone operating system that was only available in an emulator. Don't get me wrong, I saw and still see the strong potential the Android operating system has, however, I want to see the operating system running on real hardware. So, since I have a Android Developer Phone 1 laying on my desk I am more than enthusiastic about Android. It is so cool. Android brings a cool-looking user interface with lots of support of funny sensors, multimedia and the Internet. The best thing, it runs quite fast on the hardware housed in the Developer Phone 1. I am really impressed. This let me start porting MobileKnox to Android. The basic functionality is already working. Unfortunately, the synchronisation stuff is quite difficult to implement, however, I am quite confident that I will be able to get it to work. So, be ready for MobileKnox on Android! ;-)

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 22:42 2009-04-04 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Using the Google Chart API (General)
For my previous posting in this blog I used the Google Chart API to generate the figure showing the number of unique IP addresses accessing my JSTUN-based STUN server over time. I was really impressed by how easy it is to use the Google Chart API. It is well designed and the results look pretty. Well done!

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 15:16 2009-02-22 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

STUN Server Usage Statistics (JSTUN)
On my server machine, I run a JSTUN-based STUN server since November 2007. I was doing so because I am the lead developer of JSTUN and hence I needed a test server every now and then. Also, other developers and testers should have the possibility to test JSTUN easily. My third motivation to run a JSTUN-based STUN server was that I wanted to test the compatibility of the JSTUN library against as many STUN implementations as possible. One way to do this was to provide an open accessible STUN server and let the world know that it can be used for testing or productive service.

As I told you, my JSTUN-based STUN server is up and running since November 2007. The up-time of this service is more than 99.9 percent. The service has been restarted only twice. The first restart was due a bug in my STUN server implementation that could crash the server. The second restart was required because the operating system underneath the STUN server required a reboot.

In the beginning, the STUN server was not used a lot. From November 2007 till September 2008 less than ten unique IP addresses connected to the STUN server daily. In October and November 2008, I realized a steady increase of unique IP addresses that connected to the STUN server. Until then, the highest number of unique IP addresses that connected to the STUN server at a single day was 36. In December, the number of unique IP addresses that accessed the STUN server nearly doubled. In January, the number of unique IP addresses just exploded. On Junary 30th, 217 unique IP addresses used the STUN server service. Since that day, the number of unique IP addresses that connected to the STUN server was always larger than 180. The highest point was reached on February 5th by 225 unique IP addresses. The following figure depicts the number of unique IP addresses that accessed the STUN server for every single day in the range of August 1st, 2008 until February 1st, 2009.

I am pretty happy that my STUN server is used so often. It is nice to see that the server is able to handle the workload easily.

What baffles me is what caused the increase of the number of people using the STUN server? Is it because JSTUN is used by LimeWire and other P2P applications? Is some other software using JSTUN I am not aware of? Did some software use the STUN server running on my machine as default STUN server? A lots of open questions. Do you have any comment on this?

Best regards,
Thomas King
Posted by Thomas King at 15:06 2009-02-22 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox and DesktopKnox Version 2 released (MobileKnox / Safe)
A couple of days a ago I released MobileKnox and DesktopKnox Version 2. Have a look at the project websites to learn about all the new feature that have been added: http://www.mobileknox.com.

Enjoy using MobileKnox and DesktopKnox!

Posted by Thomas King at 23:42 2008-10-17 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Questionnaire with Google Web Toolkit (General)
For a friend of mine who is currently a Ph.D. student at the business administration department of the University of Mannheim, I quickly implemented a questionnaire with the Google Web Toolkit (GWT). GWT is a framework to write AJAX web applications. AJAX web applications are written usually in JavaScript and HTML which makes the development tedious and error-prone. To overcome this drawback the GWT framework allows developers to write AJAX web applications in Java like any other GUI-enabled application. The Java code is then compiled into JavaScript and HTML. This was my first GWT project but it was a lot of fun to learn this technology. I am highly impressed by how easy it is to create AJAX web applications by using GWT. Have a look by yourself: http://umfrage-kuester.bwl.uni-mannheim.de/umfrage-kuester/

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 23:38 2008-10-17 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Co-organizing the Hucubis Workshop (co-located to Mobiquitous) (Ph.D. studies)
Last Friday, the Hucubis workshop was held at the Trinity College in Dublin. The technical program committee selected five submissions to be presented during the workshop. Unfortunately, one of the presenters could not enter Ireland due to visa problems. So, four research papers were presented during the course of the workshop. It was quite interesting to see what other research groups are doing and what their results are. However, the best thing from my point of the view was the long and thorough discussion after the paper presentations. The discussion between the fourteen attendees was focusing on "user control in ubiquitous systems". During the discussion, we all realized that the term "user control in ubiquitous systems" is not well defined so far. We have to fix this to make sure that we all have in mind the same thing when we talk about user control in ubiquitous systems. Another interested fact was that user control in ubiquitous systems can be perceived from different point of views which has different implications on future research. One result I take home from this workshop is that this research area is quite interesting and shows big potential for future research. I believe we still stand at the beginning of research in this area. Let's see what happens in the next couple of month. ;-)

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 16:27 2008-08-02 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Smart-phone upgrade: Nokia E71 (General)
Two weeks ago I replaced my Nokia E70 with the recently released Nokia E71. On the paper, the differences between the E70 and the E71 look minor but in the daily life they have a huge impact on the usability. The E71 is by far smaller and thinner than the E70. This is a great relieve because the E70 was so bulky that it bulged my pockets each time I put it their. A great plus for the E71 is that it contains a built-in GPS receiver which means I do not have to carry an additional GPS mouse around anymore. On the software side the E71 comes with the latest version of Symbian OS which is a bit more polished compare to the E70. The coolest new feature is that it automatically connects to my SIP provider each time it detects that it is in communication range of a predefined access point. This is very nice because it safes me the annoying task of manually connecting to my SIP provider each time I want to make a Voice-over-IP call. The improved connection stability is also a great plus which makes Voice-over-IP an even more great experience. The last thing I want to mention is the improved battery run-time. While it was necessary to re-charge the E70's battery after a 3 hour Voice-over-IP call, it is now only a drop in the capacity of two bars. The summarize my experience with my new phone: Just great! Well-done Nokia! Let me finish this blog entry with a side-notice on all the IPhone hype: The Nokia E71 is the better IPhone! ;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 15:30 2008-08-02 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox and DesktopKnox Version 2 (MobileKnox / Safe)
Currently, I am working hard on MobileKnox and DesktopKnox version 2. The release of version 2 will be a major release which means many new features will be added. So far, a CSV import and an improved data management capability are working. A bit more complex is to handle categories. However, I hope I am going to finish version 2 of MobileKnox and DesktopKnox in the next couple of weeks.

Do you think any feature is missing? If yes, please drop me a mail or use the comment feature of this blog to leave your message.

Posted by Thomas King at 02:14 2008-07-22 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Visiting Prof. Wehrle (Ph.D. studies)
Two weeks ago, I was visiting Prof. Dr. Wehrle at the RWTH Aachen. Prof. Wehrle invited me to present my dissertation during course of the Graduiertenkolleg. My talk went smooth and after one hour I was done with my slides and all questions were answered. After the talk, Prof. Wehrle hosted a bbq and even that it started raining we had a lot of fun. Especially, the turn-table soccer games were just great! ;-) I am glad that Prof. Wehrle agreed to be my second supervisor for my dissertation. So, I will see him soon in Mannheim during my defence of my dissertation.
Posted by Thomas King at 02:08 2008-07-22 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

3 Weeks in the USA: 2 Conferences, 7 Flights and Visiting Skyhook Wireless (Ph.D. studies)
I travelled the USA from 06/16-07/04/08. My first stop was in Breckenridge, Colorado where I attended the ACM MobiSys. During the conference, my co-author Mikkel and I presented our paper entitled ComPoScan: Adaptive Scanning for Efficient Concurrent Communications and Positioning with 802.11. It was really an exciting time listing to the all the great work that has been presented during MobiSys. Attending one of the most high impact conferences in the area of mobile wireless networking is always fun. You see a lot of great research and talking to very smart and clever researchers inspires me every time. One of the outstanding moments during this time was my discussion about Monitor Sniffing with Prof. Jakob Eriksson (MIT). It was just great to hear that he liked the idea and that he wants to look into this research work. After MobiSys ended I spend a day hiking with four other Ph.D. students. We selected the McCullough Gulch Track for our trip and as the pictures show we had a lot of fun! ;-)

The second week of my stay I spend in Newport Beach, California. There, I attended the IEEE WoWMoM conference where I also presented another part of my research work. As you probably already guess, I really enjoyed my stay in California. The weather was lovely and the beach was close enough so that I was able to go there during the mornings and afternoons.

After the WoWMoM conference closed, two other German Ph.D. students and I drove a bit more north, closer to Los Angeles. We stayed there for three days. Our main amusement was to go to the beach and to do some sightseeing. Being in Hollywood is still nice, even that it was my third time! ;-)

Actually, my plan was to take the last week of my stay off, so that I could enjoy beautiful California even more. However, Skyhook Wireless Inc. called in so I flew over to Boston to meet these guys. They are really nice and smart. As you probably do not know, Skyhook Wireless is the company that licensed their 802.11-based positioning technology to Apple. All the positioning stuff you see in the current Apple iPhone and iPod Touch is based on Skyhook Wireless’ technology. After we had a nice discussion about the current problems with 802.11-based positioning systems, we talked about the bright future that lies in front of 802.11-based positioning systems. It was really great to talk to these guys. Thanks for hosting me!

Cheers, Thomas
Posted by Thomas King at 02:01 2008-07-22 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Back to normal (Ph.D. studies)
The email servers of the University of Mannheim are back to normal. I received emails for the last couple of days without any hiccups. Hopefully, this email server outage was something that will not happen anymore in the future. Unfortunately, I am still missing emails for the time period of 06/04 till 06/12. So, if I have not answered your email the chances are high that thus email got lost in space. ;-) Please resend your email.

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 22:52 2008-06-19 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Dissertation Submitted for Review and Other News ;-) (Ph.D. studies)
I know, I have been quite unresponsive the last couple of weeks. I feel very sorry for this, but I have a great excuse: I finished my dissertation. ;-) Actually, I already finished it Monday last week. After I handed it over to my supervisor I felt so exhausted that I asked for a for a few days off. During my holidays I basically did nothing. ;-) It felt so good to just do nothing but lazing around the whole day! *g* The email system at my university broke down Tuesday last week which meant I was not able to read my emails until today (more than six days *arg*). Today, it was my first day at the office after my vacations and around noon I got access to my emails, again. However, it looks like the queues of the email servers are still full because the new emails are trickling. I devoted this additional rest period to prepare my slides for the conferences I am going to attend in the following weeks.;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 00:01 2008-06-10 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Dagstuhl - It is always a nice place to be (Ph.D. studies)
I spent the last week in Dagstuhl to attend a research seminar. The goal of the seminar was to work on a planed book about "Simulation and Modelling of Computer Networks". Actually, I am not going to write a whole book by myself, instead I am going to write one chapter or tow. I already arrived on Monday to sit together with my colleagues to work hard on a chapter. It looks like it was worth the efforts. We did a major step in the right direction: The content of the chapter is finalized. Additionally, we found a few more highly interesting papers that will be referenced in the book. The next step is to write the whole thing. Let's see how long it will take to finish my part of the work! I hope I can make it in a few weeks. ;-) However, before I am able to start writing my part I have to finish my ph.d. dissertation. Keep the fingers crossed! ;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 16:59 2008-04-22 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Organizing the HUCUBIS Workshop (Ph.D. studies)
Together with my colleagues Gregor Schiele and Stephan Kopf I am co-organizing the HUCUBIS workshop. HUCUBIS is an abbreviation for "HUman Control of UBIquitous Systems"; this is also the written title of the workshop. HUCUBIS is co-located to MobiQuitous and will be held in Dublin, Ireland during Juli 25. Besides my job as technical program member I am also the website chair. This means I have spend some time together with one of my students to prepare a website advertising the workshop. A detailed description of the workshop together with additional information about the organization of the workshop is available from the workshop's website. Feel free to submit a paper! ;-)

Actually, it is the first time that I am involved in the organization of such an event. Of course, I have been supporting the MDM 2007 conference but being a technical program member is something completely different than just helping out as local organizer. So far it makes a lot of fun!!!

See you all in Dublin! ;-)

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 16:47 2008-04-22 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Digg it: MobileKnox (MobileKnox / Safe)
Mickeytwist from timtech added MobileKnox to digg.com. So please do him (and especially me) a favor and digg for it. Thanks in advance! ;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 00:52 2008-04-04 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox in Press II (MobileKnox / Safe)
A few other great bloggers catch up and reported about MobileKnox: Dailymobile.se and Mobile01.de. Thanks guys!

Posted by Thomas King at 18:50 2008-04-03 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

MobileKnox in Press (MobileKnox / Safe)
During the past few days MobileKnox has been covered by two bloggers: Symbian60.mobi and S60.at. Check out their reviews. These articles are very interesting to read and provide some great insights into MobileKnox and DesktopKnox. Thanks for the great work!

Posted by Thomas King at 21:32 2008-03-27 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Net Neutrality (General)
Do you know what Net Neutrality is? If not or if do not support Net Neutrality please watch this movie:


P.S.: As you might have guessed: I am a big supporter of Net Neutrality!!!
Posted by Thomas King at 23:44 2008-03-05 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Perfect day: MobiSys Paper accepted (Ph.D. studies)
One day late but still good to hear: Our MobiSys paper got accepted. The paper acceptance notifications have been scheduled to be send out until 4th March but I received our notification just a few hours ago. I have been so excited about whether the reviewers like it or not I checked the conference management website every few hours during the past 1,5 days. Today, I switched from checking the website every now and then to checking my mails on a regular basis by using my smart-phone. The mail checking interval was set to the minimum and the sound level increased to the maximum so that I could be sure that I was not missing any mail! ;-)

After I got the first sign that our paper got accepted I wrote Mikkel (my co-author) a mail telling him the good news. In the mail I complimented his great work and told him how cool it was to work with him on this great project.

Tomorrow, I will start incorporating the great reviewer comments to further improve the paper. The camera ready version of the paper is scheduled for 5th April. I will work hard to make it to this date! ;-) The paper will be available after the conference in the ACM digital library (and on the project website).

I know I already thanked my co-author. But his part on this success cannot be underestimated. So, please let thank again Mikkel. Mikkel, you did an incredible job while I stayed at your university during October and November last year. We perfectly worked together and I think it is a bit unfair to you that I am the first author named on the paper. In fact, we should both be named as first authors; however, this is impossible without braking the schema how authors are named on papers. ;-) Next time, you will be first!!!

So, see you on MobiSys! ;-)

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 23:22 2008-03-05 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (2)

German Computer Magazine "c't" Covers 802.11-based Positioning (Ph.D. studies)
The issue 5/2008 of the German computer magazine "c't" contains an article discussing 802.11-based positioning (see page 194). The article gives a brief overview of the existing technologies ranging from fingerprinting to proximity-based approaches. Besides the currently hot topic positioning with Apple's iphone the authors discuss two projects that got recently a lot of news coverage: Intel Research's PlaceLab and the 25 square-kilometer large testbed in downtown Nuernberg, Germany operated by Frauenhofer IIS. I think this article is worth reading especially for everybody who is not so familiar with 802.11-based positioning.

For me it is nice to see that at the near end of my Ph.D. studies my research area increases pace and moves into products. I predict that really cool applications will come out of nowhere just because Apple boldly moved forward by adding 802.11-based positioning into their iphones and ipods. The release of SDK for the iphone in the near future will give 802.11-based positioning for end-users another kick. Additionally, the hype we currently see about 802.11-based positioning will also increase the pace in this research area because a lot of Ph.D. students will now eagerly digg into this topic! For the 802.11-based positioning research community this is a great prospect! I am happy to be part of it! ;-)


P.S.: Unfortunately, the authors of the article did not mention my research project. So, give me the chance to do it here! ;-) My research project as well as my papers are available here.
Posted by Thomas King at 21:47 2008-02-25 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

ISWPC and WoWMoM papers accepted (Ph.D. studies)
A few days ago my paper with the title "A Measurement Study on 802.11 concurrently used for Positioning and Communications" got accepted at the ISWPC. Yesterday, I received an email from the WoWMoM technical paper chair stating that my paper entiteled "On-Demand Fingerprint Selection for 802.11-based Positioning Systems" got accepted as well. These are pretty good news! I am very happy to hear this! ;-) The next deadline is scheduled for March, 4th. Hopefully, my paper submitted to the MobiSys conference gets also accepted!!! Keep the fingers crossed! ;-)

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 17:13 2008-02-23 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Confirmed: XML parser in Symbian 9.2 is buggy (MobileKnox / Safe)
Nokia confirmed that the XML parser in Symbian 9.2 contains a bug (see the complete discussion). Nokia is going to fix the problem but it is unclear when revised releases will be available.

Posted by Thomas King at 14:18 2008-01-21 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Is the XML Parser in Symbian 9.2 Flawed? (MobileKnox / Safe)
I am the main developer of MobileKnox (formerly known as Safe). One of our customers informed me that MobileKnox's synchronization feature is not working on his Nokia 6120 Classic cell-phone. This was surprising because it worked pretty well for Nokia devices in the past. However, I remembered another incident with a Nokia E90. In this case, a user with basic knowledge about computers was also unable to get synchronization to work. Given this two cases I decided to investigate what went wrong, especially, the two devices are Symbian 9.2-based and I haven't tested MobileKnox on this platform so far. So, the question is: Is it just a configuration problem or even worse is MobileKnox flawed?

Before I start with the analysis of the problem let me quickly explain how MobileKnox works. MobileKnox is a J2ME midlet supposed to run on cell-phones. For synchronization it requires Web Services as defined in JSR 172 to invoke methods on a remote host. Web Services are basically a remote invocation method that define which method to call with which parameters by using XML documents. For this, XML documents are send back and forth between the machine that invokes a remote method and the host that performs the action associated to this method. So, every cell-phone that supports JSR 172 requires a XML parser to interpret the content of such XML documents. MobileKnox uses Web Services to synchronize its data with data stored on a PC. The counterpart of MobileKnox that runs on the PC is called DesktopKnox. The parameters for the remote method invocation that are send back and forth between MobileKnox and DesktopKnox are also XML documents.

The first thing I was looking into was the network traffic transferred between a Nokia 6120 Classic running MobileKnox and a PC running DesktopKox. One of our customers was so kind to provide me with such a traffic file. The analysis of the network traffic hasn't revealed any problems with the data transmitted. The only thing that looked suspicious was that the communication stopped right after a XML document was send as a parameter from DesktopKnox to MobileKnox. My first guess was that the source code that handles this document is buggy. However, this code was completely written in Java which means it should be platform independent. This code worked fine for many cell-phones. So, I looked deeper into the problem but I couldn't learn more from the traffic file. Instead, I needed to get my hands on one of the recently released Symbian 9.2-based cell-phone to debug the application while running. By chance, one of my friends told me that he bought a Nokia E90. This was perfect because he told me that I could borough the phone for some time. As soon as I got the phone I started debugging MobileKnox. The first thing I was looking at was the result the remote method invocation returned. Form a network traffic analysis I run while debugging MobileKnox I know that the return value was valid. Actually, the return value is also a XML document which was well-formed and valid. It looked like this: <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no"?><SafeCatalog version="2"/>. However, the return value I received from the Web Service started with <xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no"> followed by <SafeCatalog version="2"/>. The starter or XML declaration, how it is named in the XML recommendation document, is not valid. It looks like the XML parser that handles the Web Service document is erroneously modifying the payload of the message. The bad thing about this is that this XML parser is part of the operating system which means to solve the problem the cell-phone must be patched. In the meantime, until a patch for the operating system is available and applied on a wide range, applications that are built on top of JSR 172 must be modified to get them work with Symbian 9.2-based devices. This means a workaround must be added to all these applications to handle this bug. For MobileKnox such an workaround could easily be added and since a few days a new version of MobileKnox is available that runs without problems on Symbian 9.2-based devices.

As a next step I will contact Nokia get the bug confirmed. I let you know what they say about this problem.

Best regards,

P.S: Symbian 9.2-based devices are for instance Nokia N95, Nokia N82, Nokia E90, Nokia E51, Nokia 6290, and Nokia 6120.
Posted by Thomas King at 11:03 2008-01-15 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (General)
Dear Readers, I wish you all a merry christmas and a happy new year. Enjoy the holidays and hopefully the year 2008 will be at least as cool as 2007 has been! ;-)

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 21:31 2007-12-25 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Safe goes MobileKnox and SafeDesktop goes DesktopKnox (MobileKnox / Safe)
Safe is around for more than 6 years now. Back in 2001 I started working on Safe during my summer semester break. My intention was to play around with Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) and to solve the problem of remembering so many different passwords and logins. It started pretty basic but over the years Safe improved much and a few month ago a desktop application called SafeDesktop joined Safe. These two applications are a mature solution to organize and store sensitive data (such as passwords and logins) in an encrypted way. To keep the data between the desktop and the mobile device up-to-date a easy to use synchronization mechanism is provided.

In 2007, Safe is downloaded from the project website more than 17900 times. Since its appearance in May 2007, the download counter for SafeDesktop shows currently a value around 2500. On average, I get at least one email every week regarding Safe or SafeDesktop. The forum is also used quite frequently by users to discuss different topics around Safe and SafeDesktop. Additionally, there is a small community of people which write about Safe and SafeDesktop in their blogs and forums. As far as I know at least four comprehensive user reviews have been published and an unknown number of posts mentioned Safe or SafeDesktop.

Although, the source code is freely available under GPL, I only received a patch once. And by that time the problem has already been solved by myself. Frankly, I am a bit disappointed that it is so hard to find developers that are willing to contribute to the project. This means, all the development work has been carried out by myself. This is one of the main reasons why I decided to fork Safe and SafeDesktop into pay software.

During the last weeks two friends of mine and I worked pretty hard to get Safe and SafeDesktop ready for sale. First, we renamed Safe to MobileKnox and SafeDesktop to DesktopKnox. Second, I added a bunch of new features. The security algorithms used by MobileKnox and DesktopKnox were overhauled. Now, both applications use the well-known AES encryption standard with a key length of 256 Bit for encryption. SHA256 and SHA512 are used for one-way hashes. Furthermore, the import and export functionality of both applications are improved. An IP address finder tool is added to DesktopKnox. For this, I used JSTUN, another project I am working on. MobileKnox contains now a version checker to make it easy for users to stick with the latest version. Third, we set up a fancy website to promote the applications and to support users.

For the near future, we plan features like categories and synchronization over Bluetooth. However, the appearance of new features depends on the number of buyers we will have in the next few weeks.

We provide a trail version of MobileKnox that is able to store three entries. To store unlimited numbers of entries a personalized serial key must be purchased. The price tag for such a key is 9.50Eur. It can be obtained from the website: http://www.mobileknox.com.

So, I really want to thank everybody who contributed to Safe and SafeDesktop. Thanks for all the nice emails and the delighting discussions! I hope all Safe and SafeDesktop users will switch to MobileKnox and DesktopKnox. ;-)

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 14:54 2007-12-19 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

It is done: MobiSys 2008 Paper submitted (Ph.D. studies)
After many weeks of hard work and an incredible workload during the past few days we finally submitted our paper to MobiSys. Actually, 1.5 hours before the submission deadline was reached we were ready to submit it. By "we" I mean Mikkel Baun Kjægaard and myself. The research work we present in our paper entitled "ComPoScan: Adaptive Scanning for Efficient Communications and Positioning with 802.11" is about a system that allows a 802.11 network card to be used for communications and positioning at the same time. Until now, if you want to use a 802.11-based positioning system your network card is busy measuring signal strength of access points. This means the card cannot be used for communications anymore. Our ComPoScan system alleviates the impact of these measurements by utilizing a movement detection system and monitor sniffing. How it exactly works will be undisclosed until the paper is hopefully accepted. The notification is schedules for March, 4th, 2008.

Thanks again to Mikkel for his fabulous job! Without him this paper would have never been written! I really enjoyed working with this super-cool and clever guy!


P.S.: I know, this posting is a little bit late but I am currently recovering from a cold I caught right after we have submitted the paper! ;-)
Posted by Thomas King at 10:26 2007-12-06 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Yes, we did it: Last night we submitted our paper abstract to MobiSys 2008 (Ph.D. studies)
Mikkel and I worked like crazy the last couple of weeks. Our cooperation began many weeks before I moved to Aarhus but while I stayed in Aarhus my working hours per week sky rocketed. Working all day regardless of the week day was quite fun. But now I am a bit exhausted. However, we submitted the abstract for our paper last night. The full paper deadline is 4. Dec. So, no time to rest! ;-)

So far, half of the paper is written and the results for the other half are already in place. Filling the remaining seven pages with text and shinny graphs shouldn't be so difficult! ;-) Hopefully, we will meet the deadline! Another weekend working is ahead of me. But I am eager to get my research work published at MobiSys 2008 which means no mercy! ;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 15:39 2007-11-27 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

PerCom 2008 (Ph.D. studies)
Today, I received the PerCom notification email. It states that my paper is rejected. Bad news, however, after the PerCom is before the PerCom. ;-) Let's see what happens next year!

I am going to overhaul the paper and I will re-submit it to another conference.

Posted by Thomas King at 11:41 2007-11-06 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Safe 2.4.0 User Review and Application of the Day (MobileKnox / Safe)
Safe 2.4.0 got another great user review. Just have a look: Review

The guys from Softonic informated me that they selected Safe 2.4.0 as application of the day. I am pretty proud that this happens the second time within a few weeks. I looks like the Softonic guys really like Safe!

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 22:10 2007-11-03 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

JSTUN used in Education (JSTUN)
I recently checked the webserver statistics about JSTUN and I realized that a lot of visitors came from the University of Washington. After digging a little bit deeper I found that JSTUN is used for a homework assignment for one of the their computer communication networks courses. It is nice to see that a lot of people are using JSTUN. :-)

Posted by Thomas King at 22:08 2007-11-03 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Safe 2.4.0, SafeDesktop 0.9.6, and JSTUN 0.7.0 (General)
In the last couple of days I released a lot of new versions of software I am currently maintaining. It started with updates for Safe and SafeDesktop. The most important feature here is that Safe offers now a go-to button. Let's assume you store a long list of entries in your Safe then in the past it was quite cumbersome to get to the entry that is in the middle of your list. You had to press the go-down button of your phone quite often. My Safe stores currently 123 entries and it annoyed me very often to wait for around 10 seconds to get to the desired position. So, I came up with the idea of a go-to button. You press this button and enter the first character of the entry you want to see. Magically, the list jumps to the first entry that start with the character you entered a few seconds ago. It is just a small feature but it saves me some time and makes the use of Safe even more easy. :-)

It is more than a year ago that I released the last version of JSTUN. During this time I worked on a STUN-server and on an ICE-integration. Most of this was requested by Jive Software. Unfortunately, I was too busy to implement all this in a short period of time. Additionally, I lost contact to the Jive guys. So, after releasing the latest version of JSTUN it it a great moment to get in contact with the great guys from Jive again!

Posted by Thomas King at 15:30 2007-11-03 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Pictures (General)
I just uploaded a bunch of pictures. One set of the pictures are taken in Montreal during MobiCom, the other one during LoCA in Oberpfaffenhofen. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

And for those of you who are to busy to click through the pictures, I selected the most impressive one for each set: Olympic park at night and a Bavarian folk dancer.

Posted by Thomas King at 21:39 2007-10-21 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Being at the University of Aarhus, Denmark (Ph.D. studies)
I haven't told you, but I managed to set up a visit at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, a few weeks ago. At Aarhus, I am visiting and working together with Mikkel Baun Kjaergaard. Mikkel is a researcher who works in the same research area as I do. He published many high-impact papers in this area. After Pervasive this year, we talked about doing a joint project. After finalizing the research questions we wanted to answer I applied for an European Science Foundation (ESF) scholarship. Doing all the paperwork is a lot work but this time it was worth the efforts. The ESF granted my scholarship which means all my extra costs due to the stay will be covered.

Mikkel and I started working on our project directly after the ESF showed us green lights. In a first step, we structured the project so that we both could work on it. To organize ourselves we set up telephone conferences every two weeks. Additionally, we met during the LoCA conference for a "working meeting". The second step of the project is my stay at Aarhus. The goal of this stay is to finalize the results we have already produced. Additionally, we are going start writing the results up. The plan is to submit a paper to MobiSys 2008.

Oh, so far I haven't talked about the research questions we want to answer. I really would love to talk about this but I cannot until we submitted the paper. ;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 23:57 2007-10-20 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Symposium on Location- and Context-Wareness (LoCA) (Ph.D. studies)
Last week, I attended to the 3rd International Symposium on Location- and Context-Awareness to present my paper entitled "Deployment, Calibration, and Measurement Factors for Position Errors in 802.11-based Indoor Positioning Systems". I have to admit that this symposium was one of the most interesting conferences I have ever been. The reason for this is actually twofold: First, the focus of the symposium is quite narrow, and, second, a lot of well-known researchers in the area of 802.11-based positioning systems attended the meeting. Regarding the former, the focus of the symposium perfectly fits my research area which means that nearly every presentation was of interest for me. This is in contrast to a lot of other conferences (e.g., MobiCom) where only a small portion of the talks cover my research interests. The latter means that a lot of cool research work has been presented and we talked a lot about future directions. This was especially interesting for me because we sometimes shared a common view and sometimes we had confronting opinions. :-)
The talk that I liked most is entitled: Towards a Taxonomy for Location Fingerprinting (Mikkel Kjærgaard, Univerisity of Aarhus). This judgement is not influenced by the fact that I will be at Aarhus in the near future. I really liked the cool work Mikkel did because he reviewed and grouped an impressive number of 802.11-based positioning systems. In fact, nearly two years ago I also started categorizing existing research results and I gave up because I wanted to do more practical things. However, I think this work is a great contribution to the community because it summaries and groups the different systems and shows room for future research areas.
And finally, Thomas Strang from DLR did a great job organizing the conference. It was a great pleasure to attend to the conference. See you next time at LoCA 2009. :-)
Posted by Thomas King at 11:01 2007-09-28 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Safe and SafeDesktop Branching into Pay-Software (MobileKnox / Safe)
During the development of SafeDesktop I played with the idea of selling the latest versions of Safe and SafeDesktop. While I was too busy to set up a business by my own, a friend of mine caught on the idea. He already pushed forward by doing all the administrative work: Setting up a website, coming up with cute icons and logos, talking to a bank about credit card payments. As a next step, I am going to dual-license Safe and SafeDesktop so that we can sell it. This step will be pretty easy because I am the only single developer who owns a copyright on Safe and SafeDesktop. However, to add a competitive-advantage to the pay-version of Safe and SafeDesktop I am going to implement a few new features. At the moment, I am thinking about the following features:
  • Automatic latest version checker
  • Automatic update
  • AES encryption
In case you are a possible user of the pay-version of Safe and SafeDesktop, do you have any feature requests? Please let me know. I will give away a pay-version of Safe and SafeDesktop for free to each person that requests a feature that will make it into the final version.
So far, we have not decided what the price-tag for Safe and SafeDesktop will be. Currently, we think about a price range of 5-10 Euros. This includes all minor updates (lets say you pay for version 2.1 of Safedesktop, this means all versions until 3.0 are covered by your license) and email support in case of questions. The official release date of the pay-version of Safe and SafeDesktop will be soon but has not been set yet.

Cheers, Thomas
Posted by Thomas King at 00:19 2007-09-26 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Most interesting work presented at MobiCom (Ph.D. studies)
From my point of view, the following two papers are the most interesting ones so far presented at MobiCom:
  • 802.11 User Fingerprinting (Jeffrey Pang et al.)
  • Robust Location Distinction using Temporal Link Signatures (Neal Patwari et al.)
The former one describes a way of tracking users by passively listing on traffic patterns observable at access points (e.g., SSIDs contained in probes or broadcast packets generated by various applications). The idea is not completely new but this paper is the first that comprehensively investigates the ways of how users can be tracked. The latter presents a method of how a transmitter is able to realize that it had been moved. This is exactly on what I am currently working. I am trying to integrate such a method into our 802.11-based positioning system so that a mobile device can be aware of movement without position itself. This alleviates a few problems that are currently present. I cannot go into more detail because I first have to do my job and finish the research work. As soon as this is done, I let you now! ;-)

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 21:45 2007-09-12 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Being at WiNTECH and MobiCom (Ph.D. studies)
Since Friday afternoon I am in Montreal to attend to ACM WiNTECH and MobiCom. As Mobicom starts today, I used the last two days for sight-seeing. Because of the sunny wetter it was quite fun to wander around in Montreal and visit all the tourist places. Soon, I am going to upload all the picture I took and then I will post a message about the place where I have been.
Today, MobiCom started with the WiNTECH workshop. After lunch, I presented my talk entitled "Loc{lib,trace,eva,ana}: Research tools for 802.11-based Positioning Systems". As the question and answer session is an indicator, my walk went quite smooth. I hope I could convince the positioning community to utilize our tools for their research. Lets see what happens in the future.
So, as the coffee break is over and the next speaker is ready to present his work, I should listen to his talk. I will be back soon.

Posted by Thomas King at 22:39 2007-09-10 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

PerCom Cont. (Ph.D. studies)
It is done: I submitted my paper entitled "On-Demand Fingerprint Selection for 802.11-based Positioning Systems"! Thanks for all the help I received in the last few days. Special thanks to my girlfriend for providing me with gourmet meals while being in the office late at night! Furthermore, I highly appreciate the help and guidance I received from my colleague Thomas Butter and my supervisor Prof. Wolfgang Effelsberg!
Now, the only thing I can do is waiting until the PerCom chairs notify me about acceptance or rejection. Let's see what happens ... ;-)

Stay tuned!
Posted by Thomas King at 18:07 2007-09-04 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

PerCom cont. (Ph.D. studies)
Only one day left until the submission system for PerCom 2008 is closed. I am going over and over my paper to make it easier for readers to get the message. Still, tomorrow will be a stressful day because lots of comments from colleagues have to be incorporated into the paper.

But I am happy that most of the work is done. Hopefully my paper will be accepted by the reviewers. Let's see what happens. :-)

Posted by Thomas King at 00:14 2007-09-04 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

PerCom cont. (Ph.D. studies)
I am working like hell and I am nearly finished with writing the paper. My supervisor prof-read a beta-version of the paper and gave me valuable comments. So, I am going to add them by today. He told me further that he really likes the idea of the paper and that it is already well written.

Currently, the paper is 9.5 pages long and the maximum length is 10 pages. The abstract and the conclusions are still missing. However, I am going to finish the content first and then I am adding the missing parts.

The submission deadline is set to September 4th. The TPC already announced that no deadline extension will be granted. So, it looks like it will be a long night and a lot of work for the remaining days but I hope it is worth the effort.

Still working ...
Posted by Thomas King at 14:16 2007-09-02 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

User Review of Safe and SafeDesktop (MobileKnox / Safe)
Today, Safe and SafeDesktop got reviewed on Motorolafans.com. Kiwiguy, this is the nickname of the author, first described how to install Safe and SafeDesktop. Second, he discusses two methods to synchronize the data stored inside Safe and SafeDesktop. The first approach he describes is the one I have envisioned: Using the Internet to easily connect your mobile device to your desktop machine. Unfortunately, this did not work out for Kiwiguy. I am going to get in contact with him to solve this problem because for many users (including me) synchronization over the Internet works pretty well. The second method Kiwiguy is describing is pretty clever: Manually copy the data from the mobile device to the desktop machine. This allows at least a one way synchronization and is better than nothing. I never thought about this way of doing synchronization but I like it. This also allows users with no Internet access at their mobile device to easily synchronize their data. To further facilitate this approach, I am going to enhance SafeDesktop so that it can import encrypted data.

Further, Kiwiguy posted a message to the Safe and SafeDesktop forum. In this posting he is complaining about getting confused with the "ok" button and the "change password" button directly after Safe is started. I already thought about moving the "change password" button to another place and this comment is the impulse to really do it. So, the next version of Safe will only show a "ok" button after you entered your root password.

Thanks Kiwiguy for your review and your comments about Safe and SafeDesktop! I really appreciate any comments about the tools and I just love to hear if someone is using the tools for his or her daily life!

Best regards,
Posted by Thomas King at 10:24 2007-08-30 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

PerCom (Ph.D. studies)
It is 1:35am in the morning and we (=a research assistant student and I) are still collecting data for our experiments that I want to present at PerCom 2008. At the moment, I cannot talk about details but as you might guess I am still doing research in the area of 802.11-based positioning systems. During the last 10 weeks I spend every minute of my work time and most of my spare time on this research project. I have the strong feeling that our research results are another major step for the 802.11-based positioning system community in getting these systems ready for the average Joe to use. Because of this feeling I am working like crazy and at the moment I am quite confident that I will be ready with the research paper until we reach the submission deadline. The submission deadline is scheduled for Sept. 4. After this day, my research work is in god's hands and hopefully the reviewers like the idea of the paper in the same why I like it. Keep the fingers crossed! ;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 01:31 2007-08-24 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Safe is Application-of-the-Day (MobileKnox / Safe)
Softonic (www.softonic.de) informed me by email that they selected Safe as application-of-the-day. Softonic is a register website such as Download.com and others. They mainly focus on desktop applications and tools that run on mobile devices. Safe is listed on Softonic since many months and according to their statistics it has been downloaded more than 3300 times from their site. Just have a look: http://dewww2.softonic.de/handys

I am very proud and hopefully this helps spreading Safe and SafeDesktop. ;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 23:36 2007-08-14 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

WiNTECH and LoCA (Ph.D. studies)
My papers entitled "Loc{lib,trace,eva,ana}: Research Tools for 802.11-based Positioning Systems" and "Deployment, Calibration, and Measurement Factors for Position Errors in 802.11-based Indoor Positioning Systems" have been accepted at ACM WiNTECH and LoCA, respectively. While ACM WiNTECH accepted nearly 50 percent of all submissions, LoCA accepted only 30 percent. So, I am pretty proud that my paper has been accepted at LoCA. Accepted papers mean a lot of traveling. ;-) This is why I will be out of office for nearly half of September.
I am looking forward to present my research work at these conferences and workshops. And even more interesting are the discussions after the presentations. Hopefully, I will get in touch with some well-known and very clever researchers so that I can discuss my further ideas with them and get feedback from them! It sound like it will be a very exciting time! ;-)

Just a side-note: I am currently working on a paper for PerCom. Hopefully it will be ready before we reach the submission deadline. *g* I plan to release a few details about the paper in the near future. Stay tuned! ;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 11:05 2007-08-08 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Safe and SafeDesktop (MobileKnox / Safe)
Just a brief update: I released Safe 2.2.6 and SafeDesktop 0.9.2 a few days ago. Everybody using earlier versions of these tools should visit www.javawi.de and get an update.

Posted by Thomas King at 10:45 2007-08-08 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

List of Fancy J2ME Applications (General)
I am a J2ME developer for many years now. In 2001 I started developing Safe (http://www.javawi.de) and since then I updated this application once in while. So, I kept pace with the evolvement of J2ME. MIDP 2.0, CLDC 1.1 and the advent of various JSR projects improved the plain J2ME framework a lot. Now, it is possible to access files stored on a mobile device and to communicate with back-end servers by using Web-Services. The 3D-graphic API allows fancy game scenarios and the well-known Location-API is an enabler for the location-based service market.
Not only has the Java side improved, also mobile devices advanced. Back in 2001 my Palm Pilot m505 was busy for a few hundreds milliseconds decrypting a short text message that has been encrypted using AES. Nowadays, I cannot recognize any delay in decrypting the same text message. Also, many mobile devices offer a lot of free memory, so that J2ME applications can be executed at high speed without many time-consuming garbage-collection runs.
Back in 2001 and 2002 we have seen an explosion of J2ME applications even that the J2ME-platform was not as feature-rich as it is today and the hardware was much slower. Register-websites such as www.midlet.org list nearly 500 different applications ranging from a Doom port to ICQ instant messenger client. However, my impression is that many software projects and register-websites have been shut down during the last few years. For instance, www.midlet.org's front website lists the last addition of a software project back in 2004. And if you click through the list of applications many project websites do not even exist anymore.
On the other side, companies likes Yahoo! and Google have joined the J2ME software market by releasing tools such as Google Maps, Google Mail and Yahoo! Go. These tools are on the cutting-edge of what is possible with J2ME and show how cool applications on mobile devices can be. From my point of view, we are lacking a website that keeps track of all the cool J2ME applications that have been unleashed recently. To change this I am going to post a list of cool applications I use in my daily life. I ask everybody who is using other cool J2ME applications to complete the list of applications by posting the name and a link to the project website by adding a comment to this blog entry.

Very cool J2ME applications (in random order): This is my list of fancy J2ME applications for shiny mobile devices. Now it is your turn to enhance this list. :-)

Posted by Thomas King at 00:00 2007-08-08 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (3)

Since my last post ... (Ph.D. studies)
First of all, I have to apologize for not posting messages during the last three months. The past few weeks have been so amazing and exciting that I couldn't find the time to post updates. I am really sorry for this and I promise to be more responsive in the future. The subsequent list will give you an update what kept me busy the last 90 days:
  • I attended to the Percom in White Plains, New York during 19-23 March and held a presentation regarding my research work. The presentation was entitled "Overhearing the Wireless Interface for 802.11-based Positioning Systems" and as the questions-and-answers sections is an indicator for success, I would say I did pretty well. Not only my presentation was quite good, also the whole conference was a great experience. It was great to attend to all the other presentations and learn what other researchers in the area of pervasive computing and communications are doing. Have a look at the pictures I tool during the conference to get an impression how it was.
  • After the conference closed I stayed another week in New York and I took the whole week off. It has been my first time in New York, so I used the change to do all the sight-seeing. It was really great. The picture I took during the stay are available from my website.
  • Being back home in Germany, I started working on an LoCA paper called "Deployment, Calibration, and Measurement Factors for Position Errors in 802.11-based Indoor Positioning Systems". I submitted it a few hours before the paper submission system closed its doors and I am still waiting for the acceptance/rejection notification. The notification is scheduled for the 3rd July. So, lets keep the fingers crossed! ;-)
  • This year, a tele-seminar between the Lancaster University, UK and the University of Mannheim has been setup for the first time. The idea of this tele-seminar is to teach computer science students how software is developed in international, inter-cultural, and wide-spread teams. For this, students from Mannheim and Lancaster grouped together to implement selected video cut detection algorithms. At the beginning and the end of the tele-seminar the students meet in Lancaster and Mannheim, respectively, to build groups and present their work. As Professor Effelsberg, my supervisor is one of the organizers of this seminar and because I once studied in Lancaster, I was my duty to arrange all the travel planning and set up the used software tools. I was a lot of work, however, it was also a lot of fun and I learned a lot about group travelling and CodeBeamer (the integrated software development environment we used). :-)
  • This year, the University of Mannheim hosted the "Mobile Data Management (MDM)" conference. Professor Effelsberg, my supervisor, is one of the local organizers which means I have been quite busy organizing the conference. However, the conference went smoothly and we had a great time listening to amazing presentations and meeting interesting researchers.
  • Additionally, to all the work I have already described, I wrote a paper for the ACM WiNTECH workshop. The workshop is co-located to the ACM MobiCom and covers testbed-based evaluation of experimental wireless networking. This is exactly what I am doing during my research. The paper I wrote describes the research tools I and my research team developed over the last two years. We want to give our tools to the community and hope it may help other researchers to easily compare results and speed-up research by having standardized tools at hand. A technical report describing the tools in even more detail is available from a website at the University of Mannheim.
  • During all my research and organizing work I spend a few hours to implement SafeDesktop and an improved version of Safe. Have a look at overhauled website.

I am really sorry for all the people who wrote me emails that are still unanswered. I will work on the large list of unread emails in the next few days. Especially, I am really sorry for the guys from Jive Software. Sorry Matt!

So, see you next time.
Posted by Thomas King at 14:08 2007-06-03 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Make Presentations Easier: Jodviewer (General)
We all have to attend to a lot of meetings and once in a while we are forced to present our work or ideas by ourselves. In most cases, every presenter brings his own laptop to the desk to make sure his presentation works fine. This is actually very annoying because each time the laptops are exchanged and connected, there is a small and unproductive break. It would actually be better if everyone would use the same presentation software or if the presentation software could be downloaded from the web on demand.

A friend of mine is a true believer of this idea. He already implemented a viewer for the OpenOffice presentation file format. The viewer is called Jodviewer. It is written in pure Java and it supports the OpenOffice file format. So every presentation created with OpenOffice will work with this viewer. The viewer can be used as a standalone application as well as an applet. It is still in its early stages but already provides the basic features. Give it a try and hopefully we will see a revolution in the way presentations are performed.
Posted by Thomas King at 10:46 2007-02-22 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Safe 1.1.0 (MobileKnox / Safe)
By the end of last year I bought a Nokia E70. Until then, I used a Siemens mobile phone to make my calls and a Palm Tungsten to organize my life. The E70 is a so-called smart-phone, what means that it combines the features offered by a Palm pilot and a common cell phone. So, the E70 is supposed to replace my old Siemens mobile phone and my Palm Tungsten.

As most of you already know, I developed a J2ME midlet to organize my accounts and other sensitive data a few years ago. This midlet is called "Safe" and it stores all data encrypted. A master password is required to get access to the data. This allows me to chose another password for each account and never forget this information. Especially, the growing number of websites that require an account make this tool very handy. However, when I started developing "Safe" back in 2001, J2ME was not supporting any file system access. This recently changed and so I started implementing an import and export for "Safe". After a few hours of development, I accomplished the job. I utilized this new feature to copy all my data from the Palm to the E70.

Special thanks to the Kxml guys for their great J2ME xml parser and generator.
Posted by Thomas King at 10:44 2007-02-22 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Digg and Freshmeat (General)
Matthias Brantner, a friend of mine, is getting a painter. He really adores Mac OS X and hence he painted a few of the dock icons in acrylic. After he arranged the paintings in the right order he took a picture of them. The show looks really cool!!! So far, the paintings cannot be bought, they can only be received as a gift. However, I think until now nobody named the right amount of money! ;-)
To raise prices (;-)) and the popularity of the painter, another friend of mine created a digg entry. So, please digg it.

Another friend (actually the same friend as in last line) and great hacker, namely Thomas Butter, implemented a flickr to ipod synchronization tool. It is really cool and works pretty well, even that it is in its early stages. So, give it a try and download the tool from the google code repository. Additionally, Thomas created a freshmeat project to make it easier for users to keep track of the development. Let me know, what you think about the tool. I hope you will love it!!!
Posted by Thomas King at 23:36 2007-01-09 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Happy new year (General)
I wish you and your family a happy new year. Enjoy the party and lets have a lot of fun in 2007. See you next year! ;-)
Posted by Thomas King at 15:57 2006-12-31 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

A JSTUN-based stun server is available (JSTUN)
I already talked about the sponsorship provided by Jive Software. One of the first achievements is a working JSTUN-based stun server. I am still working with the source and on other parts so that the code is not ready to be released. However, I invokded a stun server (based on JSTUN) on my server. The server is reachable by jstun.javawi.de:3478. DNS source records will be added soon. If you would like to participate and/or contribute to JSTUN please let me know. I can provide CVS accounts on request. Special thanks to Jive Software!
Posted by Thomas King at 00:57 2006-12-29 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (1)

Last post for today (General)
Today, I posted all the messages I queued so far. I promise, no more messages in the near future (at least the next few hours while I am sleeping :-)).
Posted by Thomas King at 22:42 2006-11-30 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

writtenonthecity.com (General)
After I arrived back home in Germany I stumbled over a very cool website that is a lot of fun: http://www.writtenonthecity.com. (Unfortunately, I was too busy to report about this website.) This website collects pictures from writings left on curious places by strangers. It looks like the web-site's owners came from the San Francisco area, because the web-site contains more than 140 picture from San Francisco but only a few picture from other places in the world. After I realized that I also took two pictures from slogans written on the pavement in San Francisco I uploaded these pictures to the website. Just have a look: Picture1 and Picture2. Isn't it a lot of fun??? Really cool web-site. *g*
Posted by Thomas King at 22:41 2006-11-30 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Jive Software and JSTUN (JSTUN)
Matt Tucker, the CTO of Jive Software contacted me, because one of their Google Summer of Code students was looking for a STUN library written in Java. The student was working on Jive's open source smack library, however, smack is licensed under the Apache License 2.0 and my JSTUN library under GPL. Unfortunately, these two licenses are incompatible which means that JSTUN cannot be integrated into smack without violating the GPL. So, Matt asked me if I would double-license JSTUN to make its license compatible with smack. After a quick thought, I decided to license JSTUN under the Apache License 2.0 as well to support the Summer of Code student. Matt and I had a great email conversation and it looks like we will work together in the future ... Oh, I forgot to mention that I am a proud owner of a Jive Software t-shirt. Jive Software send me one after I boldly asked for one. :-)
Posted by Thomas King at 22:36 2006-11-30 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Bow before of the King (Ph.D. studies)
Today, Linus released the latest Linux Kernel: 2.6.19. And now it is official. You can call me a Linux Kernel Hacker! :-) The patch I created for the ipw2200 network driver a few month ago has been eventually copied into the main Linux source tree. Have a look at the change log message: change log

The title of this blog entry is borrowed from my friend Thomas Butter. *g* Have a look at his website: http://www.butter.eu
Posted by Thomas King at 22:34 2006-11-30 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

PerCom (Ph.D. studies)
Fortunately, I will be in the States again in the near future. I had been submitting a paper for the PerCom (IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications) a few weeks ago and lucky as I am the paper has been accepted. So, I will be in New York at the end of March. After the conference week (19-23) I will take a few days off and make a sightseeing trip to see New York. I am really looking forward to be a tourist again. ;-)
Posted by Thomas King at 22:33 2006-11-30 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Crawdad, MobiCom, and WiNTECH (Ph.D. studies)
A lot of things happened since I have posted my last blog message. First of all, I have been in the States for over 2 weeks. At September 24th I flew from Frankfurt to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, I stayed until Friday and during the week I attended to the Crawdad workshop, MobiCom conference, and the WiNTECH workshop. I really enjoyed the time in Los Angeles. The conference and workshops were very interesting and I met my old friends from Daimler Chrysler Research and Technology North America Inc. during the Vanets workshop. The Vanets workshop took place at the same time as the WiNTECH workshop and the conference rooms of both workshops were close by. Additional to the nice guys from Daimler Chrysler Research I met highly interesting people and made new friends. I was really an exciting time. An ironic incident that happend during the whole MobiCom conference was that while we attended to the world most famous mobile networking conference, the stuff members were not able to setup a stable and working wireless network. We see, a lot of open questions are remaining to be answered by researchers. ;-)
Posted by Thomas King at 22:32 2006-11-30 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Comments (General)
I realized that everybody stopped commenting my blog messages. What happenend? Could you please comment why you stopped commenting? Is it too boring? Do you want to be unrecognized while enjoying my blog?

I am highly interested in your opinion.
Posted by Thomas King at 23:27 2006-08-22 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (4)

Updates (General)
Hi all,
today, I am going to provide only a few updates to recent posts:
  • I tried to install the monitor-mode enabled Lucent Orinoco driver for Linux. Unfortunately, I was not as easy as thought. The driver did not compile in the first run so I was forced to fix it. Frankly, it was pretty easy and after a brief discussion with the project maintainer, we figured out that this problem only occurs with SuSE kernels. After this, he released a bugfixed version for all SuSE users. ;-) (Okay, this is not really an update, however, I was too lazy to start an extra post for this little message).
  • Yesterday, Mr. Zhu Yi from Intel released the latest version of the ipw2200 driver. Kindly as he is, he noticed my patch in the release notes.
  • KPMG has hired a camera team to record the charity run and eventually the DVD with the movie arrived a few days ago. I transcoded the movie to shrink it in size. The movie is available from my website (only 73MB :-)). I hope KPMG will not sue me for sharing this movie with you ...
Posted by Thomas King at 23:16 2006-08-22 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Linux Kernel Hacker (Ph.D. studies)
At the moment I am transforming to a Linux kernel hacker. Frankly, this is probably a little bit overstated. ;-) What really happened: For my research work I needed passive scanning support for the Intel Pro/Wireless 2200 network interface. After trying to understand how all the network related components of the Linux kernel work, I figured out that the wireless tools already support passive scanning. Furthermore, I found out that the driver for the Pro/Wireless 2200 network interface did not support passive scanning. After studying the source code for a while I concluded that I would be able to enhance the driver with this feature easily. So, I started implementing passive scanning and I created a patch that I send to the developer mailing list. After making a few changes requested by the maintainer the patch got accepted. That is really cool, isn't it?. ;-) See all the communication as well as the patch in the mailing list's archive.
Posted by Thomas King at 16:30 2006-08-06 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

WINTECH (Ph.D. studies)
Last Tuesday, 4:30 in the morning my mailserver received an email from the WINTECH technical program chair saying that my paper has been accepted. WINTECH is an abbreviation for Wireless Network Testbeds, Experimental evaluation and Characterization, and WINTECH is the name of an ACM workshop co-located with the well-known ACM Mobicom. WINTECH and Mobicom will be hold in Los Angeles this year. Unfortunately, I read the email a few hours later because I was slepping at the time my mailserver received the email. I was so happy that my paper has been accepted and I was even happier after reading the reviews. The reviewers did a great job; their comments were very valuable and I already incorporated most of the them into the paper. If you are interested in the research work I published with this paper, please have a look at the technical report available from the website of my university. I will make a camera-ready version of this paper available here in a few days.
Posted by Thomas King at 16:13 2006-08-06 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

New Release of Poster (General)
A couple of days ago, KiyuKo released a new version of Poster. (For those of you who don't know what Poster is: Poster is the software I use to run my blog.) The latest version of Poster contains two plugins to handle damn and stupid spammers: a blacklisting tool and a captcha plugin. As most of you already know, I developed the captcha plugin (frankly, I hacked it). Due to the unlimited efforts of KiyuKo it now fits smoothly into Poster. Thanks for all the support and soft but rigid pressure. ;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 22:05 2006-07-30 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Jetta Backseat Driver's Manual (General)
The last issue of Wired contains a very nice and funny advertisement called the "Jetta Backset Driver's Manual". I really like this ad, because I have never seen such a creative advertisement from a car manufacturer like this one. It is really cool! The guys from brentter.com scanned the manual, so please have a look and try the exam. I achieved 7 correct answers and hence I am an "Official Backseat Driver". ;-)
Posted by Thomas King at 21:34 2006-07-30 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

KPMG Charity Run 2006 in Berlin (General)
I have been invited by KPMG to attend to the KMPG Charity Run in Berlin last weekend. It was a lot of fun. See the gallery or a few selected pictures: walk, group picture, start (I know I look bored), me in action 1, me in action 2, finish, and cheque.

Posted by Thomas King at 21:48 2006-07-16 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Gtalk2VoIP.com rocks (General)
Hi all,
today, I upgraded my Nokia 770 with the 2006 software edition recently released by Nokia. This update contains a Google Talk client (so, there is hope that Google will sooner or later release a Linux version of Google Talk) and I played a little bit with it. Fortunately, my alpha geek hero pointed me to a website called Gtalk2VoIP.com. Gtalk2VoIP.com offers to call every phone in the plain old wired telephone system. So far, Google is not offering such a service so it is really cool that a third party came up with such a gateway. I played a little bit with Gtalk2VoIP. com and I really liked it. This is really cool stuff! Great job! I would like to promote this service here: everybody who is using Google Talk should try it! You get 5 cents for free to make trail calls. I called my answering machine at work and it really worked. Unfortunately, I cannot say anything about the voice quality because I used three wireless lan access points in row to get Internet access. I will try at the university soon and then I let you know.

Posted by Thomas King at 00:31 2006-07-13 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

JSTUN and the Free Network Project (JSTUN)
For Summer of Code (sponsored by Google) I suggested to enrich the Free Network Project client with STUN and UPnP capabilities. Unfortunately, my proposal has been dismissed. However, a few days ago, one of the main developers contacted me because he now likes my ideas. I was really pissed because a few weeks ago this particular developer argued against the usefulness of these techniques. Despite these discrepancies I am going to lend this project a helping hand. The Free Network Project offers so many cool features that it is worth adding a few features.

Posted by Thomas King at 00:43 2006-06-28 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Moving (General)
I have decided to move out of my current apartment because I feel too old to live in a shared apartment any longer. I enjoyed the accompany of my roommates in the past, however, now I am not a student anymore (hence I am rich enough to pay the rent for a complete apartment ;-)). So, I was looking for a 2-room apartment in downtown of Mannheim. After reviewing a few apartments I found a very nice one. Lucky as I am I was selected by the landlord to be the next tenant. So, next Saturday I will move all my stuff to the new home. This is why I took a few days off to pack my stuff and get prepared for the relocation.

Posted by Thomas King at 00:32 2006-06-28 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Travelling around the world ;-) (Ph.D. studies)
In the past week I have been travelling to Uppsala, Schweden and Nizza, France. The first journey started on Sunday 18th June and finished on Thursday 22th June. The reason for being in Uppsala was to present a paper at the RealWSN workshop (ACM Workshop on Real-World Wireless Sensor Networks). Actually, I have not presented my own paper, in fact, I presented a paper of a colleague of mine who was busy attending to another conference. The title of the paper is "The Impact of Forward Error Correction on Wireless Sensor Network Performance" and you can find it here. The talk and the question and answer section went pretty smooth. I learned a lot and it was great fun to present work I haven't actually done. ;-) After the workshop finished on Monday I attended to the well-known Mobisys (The International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications and Services). Although a lot of really cool work has been presented I was surprised that two shitty papers passed the review process. However, I met a lot of really cool researchers and the talks and discussions were very instructive. In fact, I picked up a few very promising ideas for my own research interests. After arriving in Mannheim on Thursday, I re-packed my stuff to be ready to fly over to Nizza on Friday.

On Friday afternoon another colleague of mine and I moved to Nizza to visit another colleague. The trip was supposed to be vacations so we did a lot of touristic activities: visiting Monaco, hiking, lying at the beach and going out.

Of course, I took many pictures from all the things we did. You find my pictures as usual on my website.


P.S.: I am really sorry, KiyuKo - I know, I forgot to review the latest developer version of poster. I promise, I will do it tomorrow.
Posted by Thomas King at 00:17 2006-06-28 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

JSTUN and Freecast (JSTUN)
Yesterday, it happened again: I released the latest version of JSTUN. The latest release enables JSTUN to handle multi-homed machines. Furthermore, I refactored the demo classes a little bit.

In case nobody else will provide source code for JSTUN this release will be one of the last releases of JSTUN. Of course, I will provide bugfix releases in case a bug will be found. At the moment, the STUN client related parts are up and running, however, a STUN server implemenation is completely missing. For my personal needs (and I assume this is also true for most STUN-enabled software projects) I do not need a STUN server and hence I will not implement one in the near future. If you feel the need of a STUN server based on JSTUN please feel free to contribute code!

I am proud to announce that the latest Freecast release utilizes JSTUN. It is really cool to see that other GPL projects use JSTUN. ;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 19:52 2006-05-27 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (1)

Weitblick 2006: McKinsey BTO Recruiting in Kitzbuehl (General)
McKinsey invited me to a recruiting event in Kitzbuehl, Austria from 2nd February to 5th February. I and a few other Ph.D. students gathered at the Alpine University (a facility owned by McKinsey) for 4 days. The main goal for this event was to bring potential employees together with McKinsey consultants so that the Ph.D. students can learn more about the work McKinsey is doing. McKinsey is hiring best-of-class students of nearly all fields of study. Although McKinsey is paying a very high salary and is offering a very interesting job it is actually very difficult for them to find enough highly qualified consultants. The reason for this is that a job of a McKinsey consultant is quite tough. Usually, a consultant is working at the client's facility which means that the consultant is leaving his flat at latest at monday mornings and comes back home at earliest at Thursdays nights or more often at Friday nights. For many people, this long period of time without being home is very annoying. However, this is not a McKinsey specific problem. Almost all consultants of other consultancies work out-of-town during the week.

McKinsey organised a well-balance schedule for us. Besides a few presentations about McKinsey, McKinsey's work and completed projects we spend a lot of time doing spare time activities (e.g. skiing, open-bar, wine-tasting). And of course, we were asked to do a Case-Study. The Case-Study was a lot of fun. Pretending to be a McKinsey consultant and working on a real case was quite interesting and instructive. It is actually pretty hard to do all the math and asking the right questions, however, we worked in teams of four what extremely helped solving the case.

The reason for this late posting is that McKinsey started shipping the pictures last week. However, I uploaded the pictures that the McKinsey stuff took while we stayed in Kitzbuehl. As you can see from the pictures, we all had a great time.
Posted by Thomas King at 20:50 2006-05-21 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Captcha Support for Poster (General)
In the last few days I have been exchanging a lot of emails with KiyuKo, the maintainer and founder of Poster. Poster is the software that runs this blog. Poster is available under GPL and unfortunately only used by small group of nearly 20 people. However, Poster supports any basic features required to run a blog. I like this software because of its intuitive handling and serenity. As you might know, I hacked a captcha extension for Poster. It will be added to the next version of Poster in such a way that it can be switched off and on by the administrator. The reason for this is that KiyoKo wants to support console-based browsers (e.g. lynx) as well as "graphical user interface"-based browsers (e.g. Firefox). I think this is a good decision. What do you think?

Honor to whom honor is due: My captcha extension is inspired by the captcha program available under http://freshmeat.net/projects/captcha/. Thanks for the great work.

Cheers, Thomas
Posted by Thomas King at 00:31 2006-04-10 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

JSTUN used for education (JSTUN)
By accident I figured out that the university of applied sciences in Dresden, Germany runs a website containing an overview and some deeper information in selected areas of STUN. The good thing is that the websites contains a discussion of my JSTUN implementation, on the other side the website is unfortunately in German. The author does not only describe how my implementation works in general, he also discusses selected parts of my source code. That is really cool! I like that. Hopefully, I will see more websites of this kind. ;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 22:11 2006-03-29 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Captcha Support for Poster (General)
As you may have noticed, last night, I upgraded the blogging software I use (called Poster) to the latest release. During the upgrade, I was really pissed about the spammers polluting my nice blog with unwanted advertisements and nonsense. First of all, I deleted all the spam and secondly I decided to add captcha support to Poster so that all the spam bots will hopefully not be able to annotate my beautiful blog entries anymore. ;-) After 2 hours everything was implemented and tested. Okay, for the captcha image support I was inspired by another captcha project (I will release further details later) and the captcha integration is more a dirty hack than a smooth add-on. However, I already contacted the Poster maintainer to see if he wants the captcha support in the main source tree. So far, I have no answer. Hopefully he will add it (after I streamlined the code a little bit). It would be cool! I keep you updated ... stay tuned.

Cheers, Thomas
Posted by Thomas King at 09:42 2006-03-29 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (1)

Could not sleep ... (General)
Tonight, I could not sleep. After a while liing awake in my bed I decided to get up and to add a PayPal donation button to the homepages of the GPL projects I am maintaining (namely "JSTUN" and "Safe"). It is pretty easy to add such a button. So, lets see how much money the projects will earn through these buttons. I will keep you informed.

I will give it another try: hopefully, I am now tired enough to fall asleep ...

Good night,
Posted by Thomas King at 02:08 2006-03-27 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (1)

FOSDEM (General)
I forgot to tell you: I have been attending the FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Developers' European Meeting) held in Bruessel from 25th to 26th February 2006. It was very informative and great fun. I assume, I saw nearly 99,9% of Bruessel during our attempt to find the way to the hotel. We (Thomas Butter and I) had no adequate maps and even worse, a wrong address of the hotel. However, eventually, we reached the hotel with a delay of 3 hours. *grr*
Here you will find the photos we took in an unsorted way.

Posted by Thomas King at 00:49 2006-03-21 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Improved website at work ... (General)
... two days ago, I improved my website at work. A short CV has been added as well as links to my personal publications and my advised publications. I think it is worth a click ... click here ... enjoy ...

Posted by Thomas King at 00:24 2006-03-17 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

New JSTUN version released (JSTUN)
Today, Thomas Butter, a friend and colleague of mine, decided to use my STUN implementation (called JSTUN) on our common project at work. JSTUN is implemented in Java and uses a lot of Java 5 dependent features. One of the reasons, why I implemented JSTUN, has been to learn the new Java 5 features. The demo client for our common project, however, is implemented in a Java sub-dialect called J2ME CDC. J2ME CDC has been developed to run on cell phones and personal digital agents, hence it does not support all features of Java 5. Unfortunately, I have not told Thomas that JSTUN relies on many Java 5 features. So, as soon as he tried to add JSTUN to our demo client he faced over 200 compiler errors. Thomas spent a few hours to get rid of the Java 5 dependent features and since tonight the code compiles. During his downgrading work, Thomas found a serious bug in the error-code handling and two minor exception handling flaws. I fixed the bugs and improved the code and after the junit tests have been passed without any errors I uploaded the files to my JSTUN website. Feel free to test the latest version of JSTUN ... ;-)

Cheers, Thomas
Posted by Thomas King at 00:09 2006-03-17 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

New "Safe" version released (MobileKnox / Safe)
Last Friday, I released a new version of "Safe". As you might know, "Safe" is a password management midlet. It uses only one root password to provide access to the data stored inside the program. The idea is, that the data inside "Safe" contains login-names, passwords and other sensible information that is protected by one difficult to guess password. Before I used "Safe", I reused the same password for many accounts and even worse, I selected easy to remember (and hence often easy to guess) passwords. With "Safe" I can select difficult to remember passwords because I do not have to remember them anymore! ;-)

The first public release was available in 2001. However, since then I added a few features and once in a while I published a new version. So, the latest release is 1.0.3. Go and check it out. ;-)

Cheers, Thomas
Posted by Thomas King at 15:44 2006-03-05 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

All-Day-Events (General)
I figured out that GPE actually supports all-day-events: just do not enter any start and end time. Voila.
However, the import of all-day-events is still not working.
Posted by Thomas King at 01:25 2006-02-18 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Joining the GPE-Calendar development (General)
I decided to participate in the GPE-Calendar development because I think it is only a little bit of work to make it usable for daily life. So, I started with a debug session to fix a bug in the import of iCalendar events (see bug report 1464). The problem is that the start and end time of appointments is shifted by one hour. I experienced the same problem, however, as I debugged the gpevtype library I figured out that the problem is not the library. In fact, the appointments in the iCalendar file already contained the "wrong times". So, I investigated the application that created the iCalendar data: I use KOrganizer (a KDE application) to manage my appointments. After a few clicks I realized KOrganizer is not buggy, instead I forgot to set the time zone in the application setup. ;-) As soon as I fixed this, GPE imported the appointments correctly. However, I am not sure if this is also the solution for the bug reported by Martin.
Additionally, I started to debug recurring events. It looks like GPE imports events that last for a few days. Events that recur yearly are not imported. However, this needs a deeper investigation.
During my debug session I realized that GPE-Calendar does not support all-day-events. This is really bad, because I use this feature very often. One of the next steps will be to check if it is possible to add all-day-events to GPE. Furthermore, I am going to disable the alarm tab in new event window.
Finally, I stumbled of a multisync plugin for GPE. Does anyone have experience with this plugin?

Posted by Thomas King at 01:05 2006-02-18 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Nokia 770: DejaPim vs. GPE (General)
Today, I read a blog entry posted on 770fan.com that compares GPE and DejaPim. DejaPim interestingly wins the comparison. I do not agree with the author and hence I decided to use the following lines to tell you my story. In my comparison I mainly focus on the calendar application because it is undisputed the most used PIM application.

Installation: I installed DejaPim version 1.0 build 215, GPE-Calendar version 0.69-1, GPE-Todo version 0.55-1, and GPE-Contacts version 0.43-1 by downloading the files directly on my 770. The installation process works pretty well. The only thing you have to do is to click on the links on the DejaDesktop respectively Kernelconcepts web site to start the download of the binary files. After a file is downloaded the 770 starts the "application installer" which asks you if you want to install the program. DejaPim requires to install only one file. In contrast, GPE requires over a dozen files. As stated by the author of the 770fan.com blog entry it is crucial to install the GPE files in correct order. Otherwise, GPE will not work properly. However, the Kernlconcepts web site tells you the correct order and for me it was no problem to get GPE functional.

PIM Features: Both applications provide a calendar application that let you add, alter and remove appointments. Actually, they look pretty similar. Both show appointments in a sorted list. However, GPE provides different views so that you can get a more coarse-grained view of your appointments. For me, it is often very useful the see the appointments of the week or of the month. In both applications it is pretty easy to add an appointment: just press the new event button. A new windows pops up that requests a subject, start time, start date, and end time respectively duration of the event. Additional information such as location and description of the event are supported by both applications. In DejaPim I missed one important feature: recurring events. It is not possible to schedule recurring events or appointments such a birthday or a periodical meeting by just entering one event. For me, this feature is a must for a matured PIM application.
On the other side, GPE shows an alarm button but as described in the blog entry it doesn't work at all. I propose to delete the alarm support in the maemo port of GPE due to the missing atd support of the 770 (Hopefully, one of the maemo GPE developers reads this blog. ;-)).

Import / Export: Unfortunately, both applications do not provide an export of the PIM data. DejaPim offers an synchronization tool based on MS Outlook that costs you $9.95 per month. So, for me it is useless because I only use Gnu/Linux on my computers. On the other side, GPE provides an import of data in the iCalendar respectively vCalendar format. I tested the import and it worked half-decent. The vCalendar format did not work for me whereas the iCalendar format produced reasonable results: common appointments worked well though all day and recurring events were not correctly handled.

Final remarks: DejaPim and GPE provide basic PIM features although extended features are still missing or do not work properly. Hopefully, GPE as well as DejaPim will substantially improve in the future so that they can be used in our daily life. At least, recurring events and a functional import and export of PIM data or even better a synchronization tool for Gnu/Linux are required to be comparative with other PIM applications on dedicated devices (e.g., a Palm). However, the starting point is already there and hopefully it will only be a matter of time until we will see a full-featured PIM application for the Nokia 770. ;-)
Posted by Thomas King at 01:13 2006-02-13 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Buying a Used Car (General)
My father's car broke down a few month ago. The car was more than 15 years old and hence it was economically senseless to repair it again. So, we checked the online databases to find a new car for my father. First, we thought about to buy a Smart ForTwo, but essentially, it was too expensive. Then we thought about to buy a Golf V, however, we decided to buy a used car, because a used car is quite cheaper than a new car. Finally, we decided to buy a Golf IV. My brother and I own a Golf IV as well. So, we knew what we could expect from a Golf IV. ;-) After we have checked a few used cars we selected one. And today, my father and I visited the owner and we bought the car. As I told you, it is a Golf IV. The car was produced in 2003 and it contains 75 horsepower engine. We got it for a reasonable price. Hopefully, we will not regret that we bought a used car. ;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 01:11 2006-01-31 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Workshop on Intelligent Transportation (Ph.D. studies)
Since a few days, I am busy working on a paper for the "Workshop on Intelligent Transportation (WIT)". The extended abstract was accepted a few weeks ago, however, I hadn't managed to write the full paper before the submission deadline for the extended abstracts has expired. As usual, you can find the announcement of the paper here.

I am going to take a few days off after I submitted the paper. Hopefully, I will find enough sparetime to start the Nokia 770 development of Safe 2.0 again.

Posted by Thomas King at 01:19 2006-01-23 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Ebay is f**king expensive (General)
Today, I received the bill for my activities on Ebay of the last few weeks. Okay, this fact alone is nothing special. The point is that Ebay is asking for 8.89 Euros for a single auction. In this auction I sold a cellphone for 200 Euros, so Ebay is requesting 4.5 percent of my revenue. This is f**king expensive. Think about the benefit Ebay is drawing every year. Why is there only one online auction marketplace? As we have seen in the past, a monopolized market is neither benefitable for the consumers nor is it improving the technology progress.

I call for at least another online auction platform! There should be enough terrain for another online action company in this market, because there are so many people worldwide, who want to sell their stuff. ;-)

Lets see what will happen in the future? Perhaps, I will start a project called Ebay2????

Posted by Thomas King at 01:11 2006-01-05 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Technical Report (Ph.D. studies)
Today, I published my first technical report: Positionierung mit Wireless-LAN und Bluetooth. You can read the report online (and soon here). If you do not understand the title of the report please stop trying to understand the whole text. The report is written in German, because it will soon be published in a German computer science journal called Praxis der Informationsverarbeitung und Kommunikation (PIK). More details will be released soon. Stay tuned ...

Posted by Thomas King at 23:20 2005-12-29 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Maemo Development Platform (General)
I managed to install the Maemo Development Platform and I read a lot of articles about maemo development. As soon as I get some sparetime I will start with the "Safe NG" implementation. The name is derived from the original "Safe", and the extension "NG" is chosen as an abbreviation for "next generation". Of course, I could have named it "Safe 2.0". ;-)
Posted by Thomas King at 12:50 2005-12-26 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (General)
Hi all,
I wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year! Wherever you are, enjoy your life and have fun!

At the moment, I am playing with the Maemo Development Platform, because I ordered a Nokia 770 two weeks ago. To get a better understanding of how Maemo works, I plan to port "Safe". Okay, it is not a port, it is more or less a reimplementation of "Safe". As soon as I get a beta version ready, I let you know. I hope my Nokia 770 will replace my Palm Tungsten E. Yeah, I know, at the moment I am still waiting for Nokia to deliver the 770 to me. ;-) So lets see, what happens ...

Posted by Thomas King at 02:00 2005-12-26 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

New version of JSTUN released (JSTUN)
During my stay in Toulouse I tested JSTUN, because at ENSICA the Internet infrastructure was different to what I usually have access to. A highly crowed conference room where many people used the wireless Internet connection simultaneously yield many packet losses and increased the end-to-end delay. Actually, a perfect environment to test network libraries. As maintainer of JSTUN I started with this library! ;-) JSTUN is a STUN implementation (RFC 3489) or in other words, a peace of software to probe the kind of network connection a machine is connected to the Internet. Unfortunately, I found an minor bug in the test1redo method. After a few minutes I tracked down the bug and fixed it. I have not released the new version during my stay in Toulouse, because I was to busy attending to the CoNEXT. The latest version of JSTUN was released yesterday afternoon, after a time-consuming test session (I have not found any other bug). I hope JSTUN is now rocket-stable! ;-)
A company from Austria contacted me a few days ago to ask me if I would release JSTUN under LGPL (instead the GPL). They offered me a little bit of money. Frankly, I am thinking about releasing JSTUN under the term of LGPL. So far, I am the only developer working on JSTUN, so it is easy to change the license. Stay tuned, I will inform you about my decision! ;-)
Posted by Thomas King at 01:02 2005-11-01 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (4)

CoNext II (Ph.D. studies)
Today is the third day of the CoNext conference. So far, I attended to a lot of interesting talks and during the social events I had a lot of interesting and instructive discussions.
One of my responsibilities is to organize cultural events. So, I called the visitor office of Airbus today to arrange an guided tour for me and my colleagues. Unfortunately, the office is only opened at Mondays and Saturdays. Even worse, we will leave Toulouse on Friday afternoon so we have no chance to be part of tour at Airbus. This is really a pity, because I am highly interested in the new A380 air plane.
One of my frequent blog readers told me that my last article contained a few spelling mistakes. After his notification, I fixed the bugs! ;-) I am sorry, I wrote the article while attending to a boring talk.
Posted by Thomas King at 14:25 2005-10-26 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

CoNext (Ph.D. studies)
Since Sunday afternoon I stay in Toulouse, France. Unfortunately, I am not on holidays - I am here because I already presented my shortpaper/poster on the CoNext 2005. Please do not understand me wrong, the conference is well organized and it is very interesting to meet a lot of highly skilled and highly intelligent people. However, the weather is so lovely here, it would be nicer to sit on the grassland with a cool drink in my hands! ;-)
Yesterday afternoon I presented my shortpaper to the masses! *g* An interesting discussion occured and I was lucky to speak to the famous Christian Huitema (from Microsoft Research). The photos of the discussion will be published soon (Matthias acted like a professional photographer).
As soon as I find a high bandwidth internet connection I will upload the pictures from the hotel where we reside. We pay something around 80Eur a night but the hotel is not worth the money. In my bathroom I do not have light (because the light is broken). Even worse, I can hear every event that is going on in the effluent system. ;-( Belief me, the hotel is really crap - I will never book it again.
So, now, I will attend to an interesting talk about "MRS Cross-Layer routing heuristic".

Posted by Thomas King at 12:09 2005-10-25 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

"Safe" buggy (MobileKnox / Safe)
I do not know if you aware of "Safe"; "Safe" is a small tool to safely store accounts and other sensible data. You have to remember only one single password. This password is called the root password and it is used to decrypt your encrypted data so that you can lookup up your sensible data. Any stranger who cannot guess your password will not grant access to your data. And if the stranger tries to circumvent the password lock he or she will only see useless encrypted bits and bytes. "Safe" runs on any java-enabled mobile phone, smartphone, pda or desktop pc. I developed it a few years ago during a summer break at the university. It is not a large programm, it contains only a few hundred line of code. However, everything needed (as defined by my needs ;-)) is implemented: encryption, decryption, capability to change the root password, a neat graphical user interface, ... Try it out: http://www.javawi.de.
I didn't start this blog entry because I want to do some advertisements for my "Safe" application. Actually, yesterday, a guy cried for help on a forum hosted on the "Safe" homepage. He told me that his data was corrupted by multiple entering a wrong root password. I couldn't believe his words, because I know that this is impossible in the way "Safe" is implemented. However, I helped him as much as possible. And today, the guy told me that the fault is caused by his mobile phone. It was running out of memory and starts overwriting data. Fortunately, he managed to recover his data and now is one of the happiest "Safe" users. ;-)
Thus, I want to encourage everyone using a electronic device such as a mobile phone or a computer to regularily backup sensible data!!! Otherwise the best (password aggregation) tool/application is useless!

Cheers, Thomas
Posted by Thomas King at 00:16 2005-10-05 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

TBM (General)
In past few days, I read TBM during my rides with the tram (mostly from home to work and back). Honestly, I am disappointed about the book. 33 of the most remarkable marketing guys gathered to author this book. This sounds impressive. However, the result is not as good as it could be.
The book contains a lot of short stories. Some are very interesting and amusing (e.g. How To Make Money With Garlic). Others are boring and stupid (e.g. Great Ideas In Bed).
My fazit: I probably expected too much; on the other side the book is a great amusement while commuting. If you have an hour sparetime the book is worth a read.
Posted by Thomas King at 23:51 2005-09-22 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (1)

Extreme Programming Explained (Second Edition) (General)
I bought EXE a few days ago and today I started reading. So far, I only finished the first 20 pages, however, I love Kent's writing style. Everything is so obvious and clear when I read his lines. Hopefully, I say the same in a few days when I finished the book.
In the meantime, I hope I learn a lot new stuff about efficient programming and healthy software development.
Posted by Thomas King at 22:53 2005-09-14 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

SoC and Internetnews.com Interview (General)
Google started a hacking project this summer called "Summer of Code" (Soc), The official goal of this project was to support open source projects with great programmers. Inofficially, (I and others assume) Google is looking for high potentials.
One of my best friends participated in SoC and Internetnews.com now interviewed him about his work (What I Did at Google's Summer of Code.) He is a great gaim developer (also called high potential ;-)). So, lets play a little game: read the article and tell me his name. The first person that adds a comment to this blog message containing his name wins a price. ;-)

So far, I have no clue what the price will be ... surprise, surprise! ;-)
Posted by Thomas King at 12:21 2005-09-11 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (4)

TechCrunch.com & The Big Moo (General)
As promised Michael from TechCrunch.com contacted me on Monday to collect my address. He stated that the books will be shipped in the next few days. Hopefully, I get my copy in the next few weeks. ;-) Standard Mail usually needs between 7 to 14 days to deliver a package from the U.S. to Germany. We will see ... I let you know as soon as I get my hands on my copy! ;-)

Again, special thanks to TechCrunch.com!!!
Posted by Thomas King at 00:11 2005-09-08 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

It is a shame ... (General)
Just read this: Spiegel Online article

I am sorry! Sometimes we (the Europeans) are doing stupid things!
Do you know a serious aid organisation? It would be nice if I can donate a little bit of my money!

Posted by Thomas King at 01:13 2005-09-01 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (3)

TechCrunch.com rocks!!! (General)
A few minutes ago I checked my initial posting and yes, Michael Arrington from TechCruch.com annotated my posting. Read it on your own!
Thanks Michael!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by Thomas King at 00:18 2005-08-28 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Comments are working now ... (General)
It took me 30 minutes to fix the bug ... Unfortunately, the shape of the source code is really bad! ;-( I will think about switching to another blogging software ... However, first of all I will write a bugreport.
Posted by Thomas King at 23:52 2005-08-27 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

Poster isn't properly working ... (General)
Unfortunately, I have to switch off the comment feature of poster (this is the name of the blogging software I use), because it is not working. Even worse, I was not able to fix the bug by myself ... I will talk to the maintainer of poster ... Stay tuned!
Posted by Thomas King at 23:20 2005-08-27 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)

TechCrunch.com (General)
I frequently read TechCrunch.com and yesterday the TechCrunch.com guys started an advertisement activity containing 20 "The Big Moo" authored by Seth Godin. To get one of the free copies you have to write a comment to the article published on TechCrunch.com. A trackback in your own blog works as well. First come, first serve: only the first 10 comment and trackback writers get a free copy.
Unfortunately, I was too late. I posted my comment as number 14 or something. Anyway, there are still a few free copies for trackback writers. So, I decided to start my own blog. A brief check at freshmeat.net recommended Poster. And here we go: my first blog message in my own blog is online!!!

Now, I hope I get one of the free copies for trackback writers!

Let's see how things are going ... probably I will continue this blog and talk about ... me! ;-)

Posted by Thomas King at 23:01 2005-08-27 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (4)