Archive for December, 2010

How to select an auto?

Recently, I bought a second hand auto in Germany. As a foreigner, there were some non-trivial steps. In this post, I will share my experience about how I had selected my auto.  Here, I discuss the criteria. In the next post, I show the procedure in a step-by-step way.

If you want to find an auto, you have to check following information for each candidate. The first set “Essentials” are very important.
For instance, if you are goring to buy an auto which has only a few month till next technical inspection, you may find yourself in a trouble of changing a katalysator (about 1000 Euro).

The fuel consumption is also very important consider the current price of  one litter Benzin (about 1.5 Euro). So I tried to avoid old autos and big engines. And the last critical parameter for me was the mileage.

Erstzulassung (EZ)   or age
Vorbesitzer     or number of previous owners
Kraftstoffverbrauch  or fuel consumption
Kilometerstand  or mileage
HU-Prüfung (TÜV)  or date of next inspection

Hubraum (cc)   or motor capacity
Motorleistung (kW/PS)   or power
Schadstoffklasse   or class of pollution
Feinstaubplakette or emissions sticker
Unfallfrei? or any accident?
Klimaanlage und / oder Sitzheizung?  or Air conditioning system/ seat heating?

So I narrowed down the search to small autos, not too old, and with as little  mileagespossible AND without accident. Such autos are usually cheap as new, so if you find a good second hand one, it is like an ideal choice. In addition, they are not old, so use new technologies, e.g., for better performance of engine. Done with Essential parameters, I the concentrated on other information:

Schaltgetriebe oder Automatik?
Zustand Mechanik?
Zustand Elektronik?
metalic color?

And finally, you have to see which equipments are on the auto. That can balance the price significantly. Since many years, ABS is mandatory in Germany. Hence all autos do have it. Also almost all autos do have a central locking system. In contrast, things like ESP or board computer only appears in modern and not too cheap autos (e.g., Toyota Yaris). You can in principle run an auto without any of the following except for central locking (Zentralverriegelung). And remember, having such a central locking is also mandatory.

ESP (electronic stabilization system)
Elektr. Fensterheber  (electric  windows)
Lenkradhoeherverstellbar (adjustable steering wheel)
navigation system,
leather cover for seats

You can add other things to this list but they are not really important for autos in cheap range. Hope this was useful for you, it was helpful for me.

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Text color in Beamer presentations

Beamer is a LaTeX class for creating slides for presentations. It supports both pdfLaTeX and LaTeX + dvips. The name is taken from the German word Beamer, a pseudo-anglicism for video projector.

One can make beautiful and structured presentation using all power of LaTex. You can install it in Linux distributions from your package manager.

There are a few text color available by default like green, blue, and red.

To have a variety of text colors in your beamer presentation, simply include


in the heading of your Tex file and define your own colors.
I suggest the following:

\definecolor{olive}{rgb}{0.3, 0.4, .1}

You can find many more on the web. A sample output is like this:

The above colors was created using this simple frame:

\textcolor{violet}{violet} \newline

\textcolor{Magenta}{magenta} \newline

good luck !

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Squeeze: KDE was broken after update

A few days ago, I think Nov 27, 2010, I have updated my Debian Squeeze box (currently frozen, will be the next stable soon). It installed a new kernel and updated my Nvidia graphics driver. I rebooted and tried to go into KDE 4.4, my default desktop. It refused !

I tried Gnome and it was fine. Sound, network, … all fine. so what was the problem? A few times restart did not help. I went to Gnome and started the KDE setting in terminal:


In appearance, there was an error message, complaining about the graphics driver (libGL.so.1). I checked if my graphics module works properly:

$glxinfo |grep rendering

if it returns like
direct rendering: Yes

then, it is fine. Otherwise, I have to fix the problem. Note that if this command does not work for you, run the following:

# apt-get install mesa-utils

It turned out that that is the problem. I fixed that in two steps:

1) remove all other Nvidia libs than the standard one (/usr/lib/libGLcore.so.180.29 in my case).

2) re-install Nvidia driver using

#apt-get install –reinstall libgl1-nvidia-glx nvidia-glx nvidia-kernel-dkms

KDE works fine now.

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magnetic field (II)

Magnetic fields are to astrophysics as sex is to psychology. H. C. van de Hulst, 1989

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