Monthly Archives: February 2007

How to play the piano

Ralf discovered Chuan C. Chang’s Fundamentals of Piano Practice. The book is also available at To quote the author:

“This web site provides free piano lessons, piano teaching material, and piano tuning instructions. You can learn piano up to 1000 times faster (!) compared to other methods (see Chapter One, IV.5). This is the first book ever written on how to practice at the piano. For hundreds of years, many teachers and other books taught you what techniques to acquire, but that is of little use unless you know how to acquire them quickly, as Mozart, Liszt, etc., did. You can download the entire book free using the links below.”

My last piano lesson was about 13 years ago… I’d really like to start playing again, but for now it’s not feasible to move my piano from my parents’ house to our current home. However, having a piano (or a similar instrument) at home is necessary in order to practise enough. I should really look into buying a used electric piano or something like that.

Travelling with little luggage

This site is probably going to be useful before my next trip: One Bag is Doug Dyment‘s advice on how to travel with just a carry-on bag (or just a small bag, in case you’re not going by plane) and what and how to pack. His site contains an annotated packing list. Dyment’s tips are useful even if one doesn’t want to pack quite so radically minimalistic as he does.

And for the even more minimalistic travelers Dyment links to Anders Ansar who challenges himself by taking zero bags on his trips, though he cheats somewhat by having big pockets sewn into his trousers.

Great photos

Two great photo links on MetaFilter today:

Georg Gerster aerial photography.
From his website:

“Georg Gerster was born in Winterthur, Switzerland, on April 30th, 1928 […]. Since 1956 he has been a freelance journalist specializing in science reporting and aerial photography. He has undertaken extensive visits to every part of the world, including Antarctica.”

Click on “Picture Gallery” in the left margin on his website to browse a gallery of his photos (direct linking does not seem to be working).

Seb-Przds mindbending photos.
Flickr user Seb Przd specialises in spherical panoramas and conformal mappings. Be sure to take a look at his Equirectangular and Stereographic Projections galleries as well. He explains his technique here.

(News) Flash

You should really keep paying attention to the speed limit while pondering why the heck someone flashes their brights at you even though your headlights can’t possibly be broken because you just had the car checked at the garage the previous day.

It turns out that you remember the other reason why some drivers flash their brights at you in Germany a few seconds later when a blinding red flash indicates that you have just been photographed by the police: The driver was trying to tell you that there’s a speed trap around the corner.

This is what happens if you’re taking the scenic route through the Rhine valley instead of using the autobahn for your way home from work as usual. At least I was only going a little bit over the speed limit; we shall see if I get a ticket or not.

(Related: Why did you flash your brights at me tonight?, Headlight Vocabulary.)