Saturday, May 15, 2010

an iphone app (by me:)

So I got an iTouch, then I started drawing on it. Then I found out it wasn't too impossible to program Apps on it (my own drawing app perhaps?). But a drawing app is pretty difficult for me. Something simple - fix a problem at work! Two things came to me immediately: a convertor to quickly find a volumetric flowrate from a linear flowrate (I just spent a couple of days explaining the calculation to my colleague at work). Since I love those picker wheels you see in for instance the alarm clock app, I made the linear to volumetric flowrate convertor use these wheels.

Well that program didn't turn out to be so difficult to write, so what about something else: a calculator to find Molarity with given gm, MW, and volume, AND to input any three of these variables and get the fourth, AND to enter any unit gm/mg, L/ml/ul, M/mM/uM/nM. Inspiration for this was frustration in incorrectly calculating an additive at work twice!!! It's actually a simple calculation but switching the units constantly (gm or mg, ml or L, M or mM/uM/nM) can cause costly mistakes. The mistake I made at work doing this calculation 'back of the napkin' so to speak was 1000-fold off. Ouch. Alright, so now I have this little calculator on my iTouch and I'll never make a mistake again. Correction: I'll make a mistake again for sure just not this particular one ;)

Aggstein Castle

Last weekend we took a trip up the Donau to the Castle Aggstein. It's way up on top of a rocky mountain overlooking the Donau river. You can see everything from the castle. If an army was attempting an attack on the castle you could spot them hours before they got anywhere close. It was also a gorgeous day, with a sunny blue sky. Anika got the picture of the day pretending she was scared of the attacking bear! The room with Anika and the bear was in the castle and can be rented out for events. It was so cool! Big wooden tables, a huge fireplace, big elk heads mounted on the walls, a knight's armor standing in a corner. You could really pretend you were one of King Arthur's knights attending a fest in that room. It was so real you could taste it.

Below the castle was a fantastic diorama depicting the stories from the 'Nibelung'. You know the story Wagner turned into an opera. Apparently the Nibelung is an age old Southern German tale from the minstrel days (i.e. before a real tradition of written literature). It concerns a hero 'Siegfried' who is exceptionally smart and strong. But he meets a tragic fate. Each story of the Nibelung was represented by little barbie-doll sized figures. In the room were probably twenty depicted stories. We actually read almost all of them to Ani and Pascal. The coolest story was how Siegfried killed a dragon with his magically strong sword. As the dragon dies it lights the forest on fire. The fat of the dragon drips on the forest floor and Siegfried smears the fat over his body, giving Siegfried an invisible armor as tough as a dragon's skin. Unfortunately little leaves mixed in the fat essentially cover small areas of Siegfried's skin so that these spots are not covered by the dragon's fat. At one of these spots Siegfried is later killed (because he is betrayed by a close confederate who knows about the location of the spots). Cool story! Cool castle!