Category Archives: Story

This category contains stories, written by me. While I will write most stories from my experience, I might also write some fictional works.
However I don’t have any clear goals in mind for this section. While I like to write in general, I’m not planning on writing anything big soon. Therefor I will write each story  self-contained.

And also don’t shy away from sharing you stories and opinions in the comments. If you want, I might also be open to feature a story written by you in this category. So just contact me, if you’re interested in that.
Otherwise have fun in this category!

My Humble Beginnings As A Programmer

Often when I tell people I haven’t really started programming till my time at the university, they won’t believe me. And while I performed well at programming tasks from the beginning of my life as a Bioinformatics student, this is mostly true. But I’m not here today to talk about that, I’m here to talk about the other half of the truth. The programming I did before I was a student or in other words my humble beginnings as a programmer

The Schooldays

Well. As I’m a little bit older, there hasn’t been much programming during my schooldays. Actually, the only time we programmed sometime was in ninth grade in our math class. We had an old teacher, who was an early computer enthusiast. And so when we were done with the subject matter for the year, we did some programming in Turbo Pascal. If you don’t know, Turbo Pascal is an out of fashion programming language, that as far as I know was developed for teaching purposes.

Although we didn’t do great things in it, we at least learnt some concepts. As far as I remember we just had to implement a program, that printed out all the primes from one to one hundred. Because I was done with it pretty quickly, I brought some programming books from my dad to class. Those books contained code for computer games written in Turbo Pascal. Yep… That was actually a thing in the 80’s to 90’s! But I didn’t get far. Do you know how bothersome it is to copy paste pages of code the old school way?
So yep… That wasn’t really my beginnings as a programmer. I mean, I learnt something, but it didn’t really get me motivated to continue learning on my own. And a little bit of time passed till my next attempt.

Beginnings As A Programmer On My Own

When I was about eighteen, the story continued. I was just about finishing middle school, having my first girlfriend and so on. Besides that I played the MMORPG World of Warcraft. But while I started playing on the official servers, at some point of time I started playing on a private shard called Lordearon. For the Warcraft fans amongst you: NO that was not a writing error at my cost. That was actually the name of the server. Playing there it didn’t take long for me to become a gamemaster (GM). For your information, Lordearon was run as a project of some students. So they didn’t have much time and resources and therefore needed help in managing the server.

During this time I learnt a little bit of PHP, which was used in conjunction with SQL to run the server. And to fix bugs it was useful to able to write small scripts. I didn’t really do this for long, but still I learnt some stuff mostly on my own. And that some computer science students trusted me enough to give me GM and even some admin rights, gave me self confidence.

Self developed picture of me, when I was nineteen.

Just Playing Around

After some time had passed I got the idea, that I had to learn C. Well, it was shortly after I broke up with my then-girlfriend. So I had a lot of newly gained free time and this wasn’t my only project I started during this time. I found a nice online tutorial for learning C back then, which I followed a bit. And then I programmed some easy programs for doing some calculations for the laboratory… Nothing special, just simple arithmetic.

Unfortunately I didn’t follow those beginnings as a programmer furthermore. But even if I did only the basics and no algorithms and stuff, I think I laid down a valuable foundation. Then came my second-chance education, where I did my high school degree. During this time I was used to capacity with school. However I improved my math capabilities a lot along the way, which is important for programming.

Before My Student Life

After I finished my high school degree (Abitur) I had some months of free time until my time at the university began. And luckily I choose to spend some of it on online courses. While some of them were about statistics and maths in general, others were about programming basics. And I noticed that I should’ve started with something like that much earlier, because I liked it. Again, I didn’t learn any hard concepts, but those basics helped me to focus on the hard problems later at the university.

So this is also, what I would advise you, if you’re planning on studying a computer science related program. You don’t need to know the hard concepts, but most lectures won’t give you the time to understand the basics of programming like loops and conditional statements. Additionally, it is also of advantage to know how to read and write data. That’s something I didn’t learn before uni. While those are rather easy concepts, if you compare them to other ones you learn as a computer scientist, if you have never done such a thing, you could struggle a bit at first.

Nowadays there’s really this big advantage, that there are so many for free resources out there, that can help you to learn programming on your own. So there’s really no reason not to do so. And even if you just play around a bit, like I did, it will help you to face future challenges. Just always keep in mind, that it’s important to be comfortable with the basics in programming to solve harder problems. Everybody has to start small and if you do it for yourself, you don’t need to be perfect. Also nobody is perfect! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this little story about my beginnings as a programmer. If you need some advise on this topic of starting to learn programming, you can just write me. So that I can make posts about topics, that might help you.
Until then, have a good one!

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The Importance of Failure

And To Admit Those Failures

If it’s in the subtitle, let’s start with admitting something right away: I didn’t
pass the exam for IPCV, being the lecture this semester, which I really liked and wrote multiple blog posts about.

Therefore I’ve been kind of down for a few days, which is, I think, understandable. And at first it was kind of hard for me to think about the importance of this failure.

But I coped with those feelings instead of running away from them, i.e. just distracting myself from them. And I have to admit that I usually distracted
myself, when I had a failure in the past. But you know… Dealing with
uncomfortable emotions is important. I bet some of you might be further than I am doing this. But it’s never to late to evolve your personality.

What’s The Importance Of Failure?

To come back to the title on might ask, what the importance of failure is.
And I think that right answer would be something along the lines, that you can learn from them. So what did I learn from my recent failure? Well… That my way of learning wasn’t suited for the exam. Instead of practicing the problems, we did during the semester, which I should have done, I tried to understand everything.
And I implemented a lot of the stuff, we did in this lecture in doing so 1.
I mean I learnt a lot… But I actually avoided practicing for what would be asked in exam, because it felt uncomfortable and boring to me.

Admitting that I didn’t do, what I should have done, isn’t easy. It would be
much easier to invent some kind of narrative, where I was unjustly rated or where just everything is stupid.
I mean… I would like tests to be different to be honest! But in this case, I failed. That’s the plain truth.

Anything Else?

On a further note I also think that failures and not successes are, what shape your personality the most. We all fail sometimes. That’s just in our nature as limited human beings. Of course there are humans, that are truly brilliant, but even they have to sleep and only have a limited amount of time.

So what you at lest can do is to claim your failure, instead of denying it and sort of make the best out of it.

And that’s actually pretty important, because if you just suppress your failures and the memories thereof, they will just come back and haunt you. And in the worst case you will do the same mistake over and over again, preventing you from evolving your personality in a new direction.

Trial And Error

Failures also always make me think of my vocational training, which I did many years before. I was trained as a biological technical assistant at the Chemistry school Dr. Erwin Elhardt… I had a really good time there and besides learning Molecular Biology I also learnt there how to organize myself… amongst many other things.
And I remember my favorite teacher there always telling is, that “trial and error” is what you’re doing in the laboratory. And in fact I think, that trial and error is something we’re doing all our lives. It’s one of the two big principles of learning… The other one being imitation. And it’s the way to go, when you’re faced with a new situation, where conventional wisdom fails.

That’s a picture of a young, long-haired me looking through a microscope. Credits for this picture go to my then teacher DrMartin Elhardt, who was one of the people that inspired me in becoming a hobby-photographer myself.

And that’s also actually the reason why I sometimes, in some posts in this blog first show a few mistakes I made or things I tried before I reached my final conclusion. So that you don’t have to do the same mistakes!
And also to show you, that I often don’t immediately get to the right conclusion.

Conclusion On Failures

So what’s left to say? Claim you failures for yourself and own them. Otherwise they will own you 2.

And for me personally I gotta learn for the re-exam for the IPCV lecture. 🙂
I have now about two months time and I already made kind of a fight plan.
If I have the time I’ll also make some blog posts about what I’m learning.
Not necessarily code, but maybe some howtos on typical problems from the lecture.
And I’ll definitely make blog posts about what I’ve already implemented. So overall I’m optimistic I’ll make it in the re-exam!

Have a nice evening!

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Living Without Smartphone

What I Learnt Losing My Smartphone

Well… Some of you might know, some won’t. I lost my smartphone a few weeks ago during a weekend trip to Bonn. Stuff like that can happen. I must have forgotten it on a bench, where I sat with my friends for a while. My panic was big, when I realized I didn’t have my phone anymore. We returned to the aforesaid bench to no avail. It wasn’t there anymore… Maybe I lost it somewhere else. I even thought, that somebody stole it.
“You look sad, David”, said one of my friends to me. And I really was at that moment. It’s funny, how the loss of such a little, lifeless thing can make you sad. I don’t know, if it was its value, the suspicion someone took it or the stress it would mean to me, that made me sad. But I definitely was.

A picture of the river Rhine with some skyscrapers in the background.
A picture of the Rhine river taken at the place where I probably lost my smartphone.

About Two Weeks Without Smartphone

The next two weeks I was without smartphone. And to make a long story short, mostly it wasn’t so bad. On the other hand I would say, it was mostly a positive experience. I found out, that I actually didn’t need Google Maps for navigating reality. Something I always suspected, but mostly I haven’t been brave enough to try it out. Furthermore it felt liberating not to be instantly reachable all the time. Not having to worry about WhatsApp or Telegram messages for once was really relaxing. And I nevertheless accomplished meeting other people.
Really only the big bummer was everything where I needed a PIN via SMS for. But that made me think, that it could anyway good to have an extra smartphone for those PINs. Don’t know yet, but it might be a more robust system.

Getting My Phone Back

Well, it appears that I really lost my smartphone. I almost lost faith, but I kept looking on the homepage of the lost and found in Bonn. And one miraculous day there was my phone!!! 🙂
So nobody stole it, but most likely someone found it. Namely before we came back to the bench. And this person must’ve brought to the lost and found. I’m really thankful to this anonymous stranger. Everything’s back to normal for now. But I’m planning on changing my smartphone habits. I don’t know how yet. But I will probably keep you updated.

So have a nice evening!

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