Well, what can I say?
My name is Frank Dörnenburg. I was born at the beginning of the 1960's in a town called "Essen", which is the largest city of the "Ruhrgebiet". And I still live there.
But why? The Ruhrgebiet is, according to many documentaries, a sea of grey, soot covered ugly houses, with smoking chimneys and even more ugly industrial complexes in between. Populated by pale, unhealthy people and small asthmatic children, playing on grey, dust covered, dirty playgrounds under an always grey sky...
Well, I have heard that this was, in fact, true. Some aeons ago, so long ago that I have no memory of such conditions. Fact is, that from where I live the next farm is only 10 minutes away by foot, and that "Haarzopf", the part of Essen I live in, is surrounded by fields, meadows and woods. I surely wouldn't have hold out so long here otherwise :)
But back to me. I visited the Stadtwald-Gymnasium (German for high school!) and studied afterwards physics, majoring in extraterrestrial physics with the subsidiary subject astronomy. But parallel to that I founded in 1986 with two friends a computer company which still exists.
There we developed hard- and software for Atari 8-bit and later the ST computers, including microcontroller devices, signal processor applications and high-end sound samplers. Although the company still exists we do not sell products anymore at the moment.
My partner Frank Stachowiak and I are currently working as free lancing IT consultants, developing industrial applications in C++ (mainly MS Visual C++) with database connections (nainly for Oracle). At the moment we are expanding our knowledge to .NET, C# - but also Java. Because nobody can be sure what will survive the next few years.
Privately I am dabbling around with web design including CSS and PHP - you are guinea pigs here :)
Together we are still working on a "dream" - a massive-multiplayer-online-sci-fi-game, "Cosmic Empires". The first version was started in the 80's, but neither the old 8 bit Ataris nor the Atari ST or Amiga computers had the capacity to realize what we had in mind. But today there are no longer hardware reasons against it. We will start to compile informations on the page Cosmic Empires home page soon.
One of my problems is, that I have too many hobbies. Photography (in the past with an own colour lab, today with a good slide scanner and photo printer) and film (Super 8 in the past, digital video today, with Pinnacle DV 500+ and Premiere 6.5 as editing software today) are my oldest hobbies (beginning with a fatal photography project of our arts-teacher at school). I am also playing around with 3D-software like Bryce and Poser, and other graphics tools. Not to mention the "standard hobbies" like listening to music and reading (all my rooms are cramped with book shelves).
And during the last years my change from an absolute history phlegmatic to a hobby Egyptologist took place.
My special interest is the Old Kingdom, the time of the great pyramids, with all its facets. And the conflict between science and fringe science about that topic, to which I have dedicate a completely own site - Mysteries of the Past
Oh yeah, and I forgot diving (CMAS *), combined with photography, of course. And since 2001 I tried to film underwater, too. Which did not took place yet because of some strange reasons you can read on the associated pages...
I also have a "small" 600 litre salt water fish tank, in which several crabs, hermit crabs, star fish, shrimps, urchins, anemones, corals snails, clams and fish live more or less peaceful side by side.
The way to the fish tank was nearly as spontaneous than the way to Egyptology. At my school the janitor had a large marine fish tank in the lobby. But this, with 1970-technology, repelled me. It was a dead water zone, with sterile, bleached coral skeletons, UV sterilised water, enriched with ozone to kill every microbe which found its way into the water. In between 3 or 4 large fish, vegetating in this unnatural surrounding.
In the 1990s new technologies were developed. The most important was the new HQI light, a high pressure halogen burner which has about the same spectrum than sun light. Even better, it even has the spectrum as sun light in different depths, dependent on the light colour of the burner (normally between 10000 and 14000 K). And in contrast to the old technique it is not the goal to eliminate all microbial life in the tank, but to inject normal marine bacteria and small organisms into the water. This is done by putting "life rocks" into the tank, these are stones which have been in coral reefs for years to accumulate the natural life forms living there.
After I read about this method - and saw some examples - I decided that this is something I like. So I ordered spontaneously in 1998 a tank (special manufactured for me). Although there were some catastrophes (which did not endanger the life IN the tank, but only outside) I regret this decision not a minute.
And else? Astronomy is still one of my hobbies, and I have a small observatory, consisting of a self built Cutter reflector and a 15 cm Newton on a Vixen Super Polaris mounting. I play real time strategy games like C&C Red Alert (and now Generals), Empire Earth and Age of Empires, and would like to repeat my trekking tour to the Mt. Everest (which was never finished due to some strange events like luggage in Sidney instead of Kathmandu, a pilot strike in Nepal, a sand storm in Namche Bazaar and other things - we had to turn back in Periche, 2 days from the base camp, because the delays had eaten up all our reserve planning time).
And somehow the days are far too short...
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