So what is this site all about and who has made it? Unfortunately it is impossible to summarize this website in a few words, because it is a collection of various topics which are mostly unrelated. The first parts originated in 1997 and stuff has been added and updated ever since. Everything has been subdivided in a few categories. The first is “Educative stuff”, which is general-purpose information mostly related to the internet, computers and digital media. “Hardware” is about everything that consists of physical parts, from electric guitars to electronics. “Software and Sound” is what the title says, downloadable stuff that can be either run on a computer or played on speakers. “Weird Stuff” is, well, weird stuff. Some people may want to avoid this section because it contains mostly absurd humour and is potentially offensive. Finally, there are some links to other sites.
A complete overview of this site's contents can be found in the site map.
There is also a blog that accompanies this site, but aside from some short remarks about random stuff you won't find much there that is not covered in more detail on this very website.
This site is almost entirely written in HTML 4.01 strict, and every page has been validated. If something does not look right in your browser, or if something like an embedded object is missing even though the plug-in is installed, it is because your browser or plug-in is not standards-compliant.
- Name: Alexander Thomas (Alexander = first name)
“Dr. Lex” is just a pseudonym. There is no connection between me and other persons with the name “Dr. Lex”!
- Sex: M
- Location: Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium, Europe, Earth
- Studies (all @ K.U. Leuven):
- Master in Electrotechnical Engineering, specialisation multimedia and signal processing (2002)
- Master in Artifical Intelligence (2003)
- PhD in Electrotechnical Engineering, subject: computer vision - object category recognition (2009)
The publications I made during the course of my PhD are available at my publications page.
After finishing my PhD, I continued to work as a researcher in the VISICS computer vision research group until May 2011.
I currently work as a research engineer at eSATURNUS, the first company to offer a complete solution for the digital operating room.
This site is entirely funded by revenues from ads. This is a hobby project and not intended to be a source of income. However, if you feel inclined to donate money e.g. as a thank-you for the software downloads, you can use this button. (Please do not donate below €0.5 or you'll only be sponsoring PayPal.)
This website is hosted by 34SP.com (if you sign up for hosting with them, enter “dr-lex.be” as a referral, both you and me will get one month of free hosting).
DNS is handled by Stone Internet Services. I can recommend both these companies for their great service.
Stuff I've Done
Yes, I know that is a bit of a silly title. Of course I won't be explaining here what I did today or what kind of crimes I committed as a child (if any). The idea of this section is to give a list of some of the more interesting things I have done and created in my life. Most of these items link to other parts of this site, where they are explained in detail.
This was the first noteworthy thing I ever created. More specifically, I was eight years old when I started my first comic. Unfortunately my interest for computers and electronics became too large a competitor for the comics and I gradually stopped drawing them. Ironically, that was just at the moment when my drawing skills started to mature. This page explains the history of the comics, and includes one full comic plus comments.
When I was a small kid, I think about the same time when I started working on the comics, I followed music lessons under the impulse of my parents. As far as I can remember I got as far as one year of piano lessons after some years of general music theory, and although I performed not poorly at all I decided to quit. My next attempt at something musical was much later, around 1995. I decided to have a try at electronic music. At that time, the ‘MOD’ format was quite popular and I got my hands on a program to make MOD songs with up to 32 channels. I ended up making a whole bunch of songs, all of them quite different, and some of them pretty awful. In the end however I did make some decent songs, but lack of time and problems with the software gradually made an end to this project in 1998. You can hear some samples and a few complete songs on the music page.
In parallel with highschool, I went to art academy at “De Lei” in Leuven. This was also under impulse of my parents, but it had a much better survival chance than the earlier music lessons (it was in the same building which had been renovated in the meantime). I was older to start with so I could muster up more motivation, and I had a larger affinity for messing around with pencils, paint and other stuff than for learning music theory. The lessons featured varying themes and practically all styles from simple pencil drawings to sculpting and etching. I had a good time there, but I did not pursue any career in arts afterwards.
I even had a shot at writing a story when I was 14 years old. You can find this story in the Random Archive (it is of course in Dutch only and no, I am not going to translate it). It is about a boy who moves to a huge mansion which appears to be haunted. Of course all kinds of strange things start happening, eventually leading to a spectacular climax. Any references to existing stories at that time had probably seeped through movies and computer games, because I had not read any similar stories at that time. Understandably for something written by a 14-year old, the story got a lukewarm reception at best, so I didn't bother trying to write another. Except maybe the infamous ‘G. Thirion’ slasher stories which can be found in the Weird Stuff section…
Building electric guitars
Some day when I was about 17 years old, I wanted to have an electric guitar. But, those proved to be quite expensive and I reckoned my parents wouldn't want to buy me one, after my not-so-successful journey into music. So I went for my own solution: I built my own! I first created an unsightly prototype which was basically a long thin piece of wood with strings, a fretboard (which initially had totally wrong distances) and some experimental pick-up designs. After collecting information about common dimensions of real guitar parts, I started working on the real thing. The sad truth is that I have little time to play the two guitars I have built.
Building speaker cabinets
My first experiment with speakers was when I was still a kid and it involved a shoe box and a tiny speaker from a tape recorder. I noticed that when placing the speaker over a hole in the box, the sound quality improved. When a friend gave me some car speakers I upgraded the shoe box idea by making ‘cabinets’ out of much thicker cardboard, which of course still was not quite it. The next iteration consisted of the same speakers in wooden boxes, which were modified multiple times until their limits were reached. After this, I started using MDF and proper design rules with ever improving results.
Aside from the few times I blew fuses in the house by mistreating some appliances, my first contact with electronics was an experimenting kit. It was the kind of large board with components that could be connected by sticking wires underneath springs. Later on, I learned to solder by buying some Velleman kits (hint if you want to try this yourself: do not start with the equaliser like I did). I was soon able to repair all the appliances I destroyed as a kid and other things. Eventually I started to design my own circuits, and created my own PCBs.
Building a custom PC case from scratch
If you didn't get the point by now, I like to build stuff myself. The same happened when some day I wanted a new PC. Most people just buy a ready-made PC, and some will go as far as buying the empty case and parts and assemble them. I went even further by also designing the case from scratch, giving it an unusual shape and lay-out. I also hacked a GPU cooler to fit on a graphics card for which it wasn't designed. For any future PCs I will most likely just go the ‘assemble from readymade components’ way, but this was certainly a fun experiment and the PC has worked perfectly during its entire lifetime.
Of course, I made the site you're now looking at — duh. This could be considered the fourth version of this site. I have made some other sites in the past, most of which have been taken down by now. Read more about this and other websites' histories in the “site dump”.
Programming various stuff in various languages
Ahem, just kidding. I will admit it, I am rather unsportive and that is an understatement. As a kid I was dragged along between various sports by my parents, in search of a sport that I would like, to no avail. Eventually they gave up. Swimming and biking are about the only things that I might do spontaneously for another reason than pure necessity. And you may have guessed it: I did not buy a ready-made bicycle either but hacked one together from various parts…
After my Master in Electrotechnical Engineering and an additional Master in Artificial Intelligence at the K.U. Leuven, I started a PhD in the VISICS Computer Vision lab under supervision of Luc Van Gool. The PhD is about recognizing object classes whose instances are visually similar, like cars, cows, wheelchairs… I got my PhD degree at the end of 2009, and continued to work on the same subject as a researcher until May 2011. You can find publications related to my PhD on the publications page.
Just as one is supposed to have a ‘blog’ at the time of this writing, oldskool websites from around 1997 were supposed to have a guestbook and so did mine. Although that guestbook had survived each previous update of the website's design, I considered dropping it during the upgrade to this fourth iteration in 2009. Most of the entries that had been posted the years before were spam messages and pranks from former school buddies. Yet, the occasional worthwhile entry made me keep the guestbook, although I disabled automatic updating. You can still send a message (go ahead, Debaene, Kooken & co.) but there is no guarantee that it will be added. Do not use this to send mail, use the mail page instead.
Copyright & Stuff
All webpages and graphics (except a few, like most of the Random archive) are made by me, so it is in theory illegal to include my images or movies in your own site without my permission. In practice I have no objections if you want to use parts of my site, except if it would seem as if you were the author of any content created by me. I will be eager to grant you permission to use a part of this site, just mail me and tell me what you want. If that's too much asked, you may copy an image or movie, at the condition that it is clearly accompanied by a note saying it was “made by Dr. Lex”, and includes a clearly visible link to this site. For instance, you can combine the note and link with the following HTML code:
Made by <A href="http://www.dr-lex.be/">Dr. Lex</A>
WARNING! Do not hotlink! Hotlinking means: directly using the URL of an image or movie on this site on your own site/blog/whatever. This site has limited bandwidth and nothing pisses me off more than discovering that I pay for someone else's traffic. Do not be so naive to think I won't see it: the more traffic you cause, the faster the hotlink will show up in my logs. I can replace a hotlinked image at any time with something really disgusting. So, please copy any images to your own webspace, but keep the above paragraph in mind.
If you want to link to a software download on my site: link to the download page, not the file itself. Many files (.sit, .tgz, .zip, …) will produce a ‘403 forbidden’ error if they are not linked from within this very site! If you use a browser that leaves the ‘HTTP referrer’ blank or replaces it by something fancy, you may also get 403 errors when downloading certain files. I had to enforce that the referrer is from this domain due to filthy crawlers that ignore robots.txt.
This entire site and all included graphics, movies and sounds (unless stated otherwise) are copyright ©1997-2012 by Alexander Thomas.
The author of this page is not responsible by any means for any possible damage done to your computer, your body, your brain, your family members, pets or whatsoever, caused by the viewing of this site or any of the embedded media.
The author is not responsible for the contents of any of the sites which can be reached by clicking links from within this site.
Some of the pages on this site feature ads, served by Google. These ads may use a tracking cookie to provide more relevant ads to you. If you wish, you can opt out of this tracking cookie, see the Google site for more info.
If you have a hard time finding the ads, it is because they are positioned in places that would make marketeers cringe. The only purpose of the ads is to cover the hosting costs for this website and they more than do that, therefore I have no need to shove the ads in your face.