Doktor Gero

No English version (yet?), sorry.

Wow, über ein Jahr ist es nun her, seit ich hier was gepostet habe. Wenn ich das so bedenke könnte man meinen, dass die Sache mit dem Doktor schief gegangen wäre und ich aus lauter Depression nie wieder was hier schreiben wollte.

Naja, das würden wohl Leute denken, die das hier lesen, aber davon gibt es nicht wirklich viele… wenn überhaupt. 😅

Also vorweg: Ich bin seit April 2016 “Dr. rer. nat. Gero Herkenrath”!

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Handed in my dissertation

English version below

Nach einer geologischen Zeitspanne ist es endlich passiert: Ich habe meine Dissertation fertig geschrieben.


Jetzt wo der Stress damit endlich vorbei ist, habe ich mir mein Blog mal wieder angeschaut (und den Entwurf eines “rambling” Posts gefunden, den ich noch eben veröffentlicht habe… die Reihenfolge dieses Posts ist jetzt also etwas seltsam) und da habe ich mir gedacht, dass ich das wohl mal hier reinschreiben sollte.

Natürlich heisst das nicht, dass ich mit meinem Doktor nun durch bin. Ich muss noch meine Verteidigung halten (hoffentlich wird die im März nächsten Jahres sein können). Wenn ich die bestehe muss ich die Arbeit noch veröffentlichen (Name ist übrigens “Designing Location-Based Games”) und dann kann ich den “Titel” registrieren (fühlt sich immer noch etwas unwirklich an das so zu sagen). Nebenbei suche ich natürlich einen neuen Job. Ich plane, wieder in meine Heimatstadt zu ziehen, also suche ich im Moment nach etwas in der Nähe.

English version:

After a geological timeframe, it has finally happened: I finished writing my dissertation.


Now that this stress is over, I revisited my blog (and just found a draft of a rambling post that I quickly finished… so the order of this post is a bit weird) and felt I should probably note that down here.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I am done with my PhD already. I still have to hold my defense (hopefully that will work out to be in March next year). If I pass that I have to publish the thesis (named “Designing Location-Based Games”, btw) and then I can register the “title” (still feels unreal to word it like that). Besides, I want to find a job, obviously. I also plan to move back into my hometown, so I’m currently looking for something in the vicinity.

Finding targets to rob

Update: Yes, even six years later. Sophie from Comparitech let me know that seems now defunct and that in fact the site has some malicious looking links on it. See my new coding blog for more info or check Comparitech’s article on how to stay anonymous on the web.

Yes, you got that right. Of course the whole thing is a bit satirical, but it actually shows a big issue with location-aware applications. I’m talking about It’s basically a service that let’s you check where people are at the moment and where they live.

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What is Aachen Horror?

Well, first, it’s a pun on the popular tabletop game Arkham Horror.

The first idea about a locative game was born out of frustration. I am a pen & paper roleplayer (also called tabletop role-player). A couple of years ago, I would have had to say “I was”, though, because once I graduated from university and started a job (at university, being a doctorate student in Germany is actually a job with contract, work hours and all) time to play got sparse.

I realized that at least in my case leaving the hobby be was not because I had grown out of it, but rather because organizing a group of players, preparing the game, sticking with a given setting over a potentially long time, and so on is a lot harder to do when you have less time on your hands.

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Aachen Horror Category created

I guess it’s finally time to blog a bit about the research project that’s supposed to be giving me enough stuff to write my dissertation about, (see also here).

Quote my boss (on our chair’s wiki):

Aachen Horror is a research project to explore the possibilities of locative (location-based) gaming on modern mobile devices. As part of the Aixplorer research project, we will develop a proof-of-concept locative game to run on the Aixplorer device, our iPhone-based mobile city guide platform. For more details, contact Gero Herkenrath. First ideas can be found on Gero’s blog.

For this purpose I created a new category here. Of course I won’t be working alone on this project, a bunch of people already joined me. Here’s the place, however, where I’ll post my ideas (at least the ones I can present to the public, we don’t want anybody stealing our ideas after all :))

The Dark Side of the Moon

So what does Pink Floyd have to do with HCI? Why that post title?

Well, to be honest, I’m not even a big fan of Pink Floyd, just for the simple fact that I don’t know much of their music, at least not the early stuff. But I’ve read somewhere that the album’s title actually comes from a quote by Mark Twain: “Every one is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” This, however, was just a bit too long as a title (and less catchy, I guess).

So, the HCI relation is clear now? Probably not, so let me elaborate.

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Some random thoughts on my dissertation topic

The first, and hopefully not last, blog post is already just some rambling mess. I wrote it very, very spontaneously and basically just let out what I had on my mind. I make unfounded claims, sure, but the whole thing is just an idea. Jan was so kind to provide me with some feedback already (I marked it in red).

Some parts might be a little weird (some might even say embarrassing, but I usually am not embarrassed when giving away details of my geeky childhood. 🙂 ), so be prepared for a laugh or two.

I’d appreciate feedback, just leave it in a comment.

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