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Showing posts from March, 2003

Loevestein

After visiting the Muiderslot recently, I got a few questions about castles in the Netherlands in general. A friend of mine told me about another great, very well preserved and beautiful castle near Gorinchem: Slot Loevestein. It is more than 600 years old and was around for all the important events of Dutch history. The 80 years of war with Spain (1568-1648), Napoleon and others. Very worth a visit and I plan on going there myself this Spring...

First Certified DivX/DVD Player Released

Another cool article (on Slashdot) writes that "According to this piece of Designtechnica News, a company named KiSS Technology announced at CeBit that they are releasing the first fully certified DivX DVD players, the DP-450 and DP-500! They are supposed to be able to playback ALL versions of DivX content and digital rights management. And yes, it plays Ogg Vorbis, too!

That is awesome! DivX is simple and cheap MPEG4 encoding of movies. A DVD movie of 1.5 hrs, that normally takes up 4GB of space, can comfortably fit on one CD! This is still great for viewing on a TV, although if the screen is big (>32"), you might see the well-known digital artifacts that result from the compression algorithm. And Ogg Vorbis is a (relatively) new MP3 audio compression format. It is kinda revolutionary because it needs only half the space of current compression techniques at the same quality setting. One minute of audio generally requires roughly 1 MB of disk space. So now it's only h…

The weekend: Pannonica, Buddah, ENIAC, Impulz and the beach

Last weekend, I had tons of things to do... I'm still beat, bushed and tired, especially since we clock went ahead one hour due to Daylight Saving time. :(
On Friday, I had dinner at & with my friends Marc and Karin, was supposed to go to Pannonica for Cuban Salsa, but instead went to the Buddah Bar with colleagues until 2am. On Saturday, I had to get up on-time to be at the Annual Members Meeting of my Computer Science Alumni Organisation from the University of Enschede, ENIAC. I'm member of the board as the secretary, so I had to... :) I also co-maintain their website. Later that night, I went to Impulz with Martin, Marjon, Sjoerd, Petra, Carolien, Sander, Liedewij and Jeroen. A big dance event in the Brabanthallen in Den Bosch, together with 20000 of my closest friends! ;) I got home at 9am... :Z
Then on Sunday, I wanted to sleep in. But I got up at 2pm and went to Leiden to visit Petra for a brunch and go to the beach to take pictures. Unfortunately, the weather was gr…

Calling Mister Mr Vanes

My good buddy Martin has his own site finally up and running. He's been wanting to do this for ages now. Recently, we pulled together with a group, Martin built a 1U and got a co-lo server up and running. Now we (and a few others) have our own sites on his server: MrVanes.com

Harvard makes open-source courseware available

It seems that the Berkman Center for Internet and Society releases the H20 courseware software as open source. Appearantly it uses a new paradigm for discussions to try and actually get content out of a group dicussion. The project leader, mr Hal Roberts, says:
"More importantly, the Rotisserie is far, far from a glorified message board. It is, in fact, one of the very few true, recent innovations in online discussions. It implements a radically different approach to online discussion that solves many of the problems that people generally make about online discussions -- that the quality of the posts is often very poor, that boards are more often than not balkanized into narrow interest groups that merely agree with one another, and that many more people lurk than participate in discussions.
The tool uses a combination of techniques to combat these issues, which are especially important for facilitating meaningful academic discouse but are also vital for conducting any thoughtfu…

Andalusian Regional Goverment truly involves with Free Software

Saw a post on Slashdot that the local government of Andalucia (Spain) has decided that all their new systems must be open-source certified and its systems must be pre-installed with open-source software. Read the article.

Missed the movie

Because of sheer stupidity and bad luck, I missed the movie "Bowling for Columbine". Duuh! I came back from volleyball and wondered around the house, thinking if there was anything to do. I came in at 9pm, which is when I was supposed to be at the Filmhuis... but I couldn't think of anything I had to do, so I just sat down at my computer and had some nerd-quality time. :)
Then, the next morning I realized I had forgotten the movie. In my office, I found out the movie didn't play in Monday, but Tuesdays... So I hadn't missed anything except a nice drink with friends. Unfortunately, I couldn't go yesterday as that is the night where I go indoor climbing in the Globe. Oh well, another time I guess.

Message to Saddam and Bush

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Saw this on a Dutch news for Nerds site: It says to Bush and Saddam "Boyz, go play a game of Risk, it's much cheaper!" :D LOL Brilliant!

Froogle: Search for Canon EOS-D30

This is what I meant, when I said that using Froogle when you're looking for a particular product and you're interested to see what they cost... I searched or a Canon EOS-D30 after my wonderful experience on Saturday, when Petra let me try a D30 that she'd borrowed from a friend.

Being/becoming a Patent Eexaminer

As you may know, I am currently working at the EPO in Rijswijk (near The Hague) as Patent Examiner. You might be wondering what that is and what exactly I do. :)
Well, first, take a look at the requirements to get a job like this. Don't worry, it is not as hard or rigid as it sounds. But a university degree is definitely needed. However, even if you studied Chemistry, EE or so, but have been more active in management these last few years so you feel not quiet fluent anymore with intricate electrical designs... you should still apply. Because you should have an understanding of what you read. You don't have to be able to come up with anything similar or improve on it or even build it! If you understand it, you can search for similar material and therefore you can judge whether a request for a patent is justified or not. :) Should you want to know more, read the information on what we do or ask me!

Google Services & Tools

You know Google, of course. But do you know all the other services that Google offers? Other techniques they are testing out? Take a look at Google Services & Tools and maybe you'll find a useful tool for yourself. I myself really like Google News, Google Groups and Froogle.

The Google News service indexes only news sites (4000+) on a continuous basis. So stories really pop up here quickly after a newspaper or similar agency publishes them.
Groups is an index of all the important usenet newsgroups and related mailing lists. Many users of programs, systems or groups and languages post their tips or questions on-line in what is called usenet. It's the predecessor of the Internet. If you have troubles with a VCR, a computer program, need a special breed of dogs for puppies, etc, search in Groups. Chances are, another person has already asked the same or similar question!
Finally, Froogle is a new services that searches the web only for products. You can sort by price or s…

Global Warming Revisited

Thought you knew everything on global warming, did you? Didn't believe all the cr*p stories about ozone depletion, CFK gases, NO2 emissions and so on? Well you may be right!
It seems that teh un has been getting warmer over the last decades. If you add all this up, it may actually also make the Earth warmer as we receive more radiation from the sun. Normally, clouds reflect most of it back into space but I guess not enough.
The article also links to some SunCams. Neat!!!

Las Palmas in Rotterdam

You guys missed a great party in Rotterdam at Las Palmas last Saturday! :D :9 Excellent club! Definitely worth another visit! See a few pics of the club in my gallery.

April 4th (Friday in 2 weeks) seems to be a good night to go again, because Luke Slater and Paul Hazendonk are coming. You may not know them, I don't either, but I know both names! And April 6th is Rotterdam very own Ronald Molendijk!!! HE IS FANTASTIC! Resident DJ of Nighttown, also in Rotterdam. One of my favorites, see partyflock, if you don't believe me.

Bowling for Columbine

Tonight, I am going to see the great movie Bowling for
Columbine
in the Filmhuis in Den Haag. I heard a lot about it, read up on it on Internet Movie Database and saw there it got a 8.9 rating. That, coming from imdb readers really is a LOT! So now I'm definitely curious. I'll let you know tomorrow what I thought of it.

To read about the movie and see if you want to come, check

Spend a day at the Muiderslot

It was a gorgeous day today in Holland!!! So I went with Petra and Mirella to the Muiderslot. Petra was able to borrow a Canon D30 for the day as well as two 128MB flashII cards :P *drool*, so we were set. the pictures you can see my gallery, as usual.

Turks now involved...

Remember that I said that no matter who started the war, more and more countries would get involved and possibly use it as a means to settle age old feuds? Well Turkish troops crossed Iraqi border. And appearantly, I wasn't the only who forsaw this because "Washington is opposed to Turkish forces moving into the area for fear there will be clashes between Turkish and Kurdish troops.", CNN says. :( *sigh* Sometimes I really wonder why we're here, what the hell I'm doing here and especially what for...

CNN.com Specials - maps

CNN.com Specials has a nice section about the war where they present some maps of the area, linked to satellite images when possible. Interesting because it makes the whole thing a bit more real. Now they're talking of real places, real cities, real houses, real bombes. If it's on TV, it could be anywhere. It could even not be real, because it looks the same any action movie... scary isn't it? And sad... somehow.

OOPS!

[shame]I think I just removed all the members from my maillist... Doh! [/shame]
I accidently hit the wrong button and pressed enter. :-) I can't believe I just did that.

To the people who'd already signed up for my maillist, please do it again, if you like. I screwed up here... Lessons learnt: never do at 1am what you can do after a good night sleep! ;-)

BDS - Blimp Delivery System

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OK, you are not gonna believe this!!! This is too weird. And if I say, it's weird, it's WEIRD! LOL :D
There's a guy in the US (where else?) and he found his office space too big to go run around in and deliver small notes, files, documents and so on. He wanted someone to do it for him. Of course, man power is expensive so he thought of machines. Robots are cumbersome and also expensive and they need to learn a map of the environment each time that changes. Sooo...
He built, in his spare time, a blimp (aka zeppelin, see picture) that can carry small notes around the office! :-D Cooool! Read all the details at Helio-Courier

Comparison of desktops for computers

You may think everyone in the world uses Windows. And all desktops look the same. Well, think again. Of course, many people use Windows, but which version? Should you perhaps upgrade or change? What's the difference between the Apple environment? Or even Linux? What about exotic operating systems, such as BeOS of NeXT (remember that)?
Slashdot sent me a notice that someone's offered an in-depth glimpse into each majordesktop out there and compares them side-by-side.

"OSNews posted a very long and interesting comparison
between the most popular desktop environments today: Windows XP Luna, MacOS X Aqua, BeOS/Zeta and Unix's KDE and Gnome. Some of the points in the article can be thought to be 'subjective', but overall many good points are made and it seems that there is room for improvement for all environments."

New mailing list for this site

I just sent out invitations to the new maillist for this site. I am now using a Yahoo group for this as well. I used to use Bravenet's services, but they are harder to use and require additional channels to send out mails.
Blogger Pro can automatically send anything I post to an Email address. I added the address of a Yahoo group, so it will send anything I publish to that group. I then configured the group to be a mailing list, as opposed to a discussion or collaboration group... Very handy! I will also configure the list to send Daily Digests, instead of individual mails. That way, people get a digest at the end of the day of what I added during that day. A group also has many other features, but I don't think I'll use them.
BTW, this personal group is the 10th (!) I created on Yahoo. I can definitely recommend them to anyone. Yahoo made a good move when they decided to by Egroups some years ago! :)

And I welcome my Aunt Linda over in Rochester as the first member of th…

Petra's photo gallery @smugmug

LOL A good friend of mine, who's also a much better photographer than I am, Petra, has gotten her own gallery at Smugmug as well.
[shameless plug]Oh BTW, if you also want to sign up... you can get a $5 dollar discount, if you mention my personal coupon when you sign up.[/shameless plug]

Earth from Space - Baghdad

NASA has vast archives of photos from space of many countries and cities. During one search I found this photo from Baghdad, taken in June 1996. Be interesting to compare it to photos that may be taken during these coming weeks...
Or see the city where I was born... :)

Cool

:o Mail2Blog works... neeeat! 8)

Life On The Internet:: Could Blogging Assist KM?

Here's another one from Gerrit...
"KM lets organizations preserve expertise inside a knowledge management system and share that resource to train additional professionals as well as to permit workers to access and apply information that is normally outside of their field of competence. This can be invaluable in saving time, avoiding reinventing solutions to already solved problems, and, helping to start the next generation of experts".
Source: Knowledge Board

I really like the idea. If people could make blogs at work, jot down their ideas, thougts or even well-formulated plans and inventions, the total value of the Intranet would increase. A proper search engine could easily take advantange of the information and even if you don't get a straight answer to a question you might have, the blog would lead you to a person who'd probably be able to give it to you. So you still win...
This is one of the reasons why I really like the open-source web portals like PHP-nuke

Three approaches to Intranet Strategy

My friend Gerrit Visser runs a co-working website and community. He has a Yahoo group (called coworking, duh) where all interested reads about his findings and interesting snibblets of the day. This one caught my attention:
Three approaches to Intranet Strategy

"There are a number of different methods to how an Intranet can be used to benefit a company. However, the three most popular and most valuable are: Knowledge Management, Collaboration and Communication, Task Completion".

"Collaboration and communication encompasses features that allow employees and groups to connect with others within the company (collaboration), as well as features that assist in creating
essential one-way information flows (communication)".

Read more : in Anything Goes, by Jeff Lash at Digital Web

Quote of the week

I just got this in my mailbox from a friend... ROFL
"YOU KNOW THE WORLD HAS GONE CRAZY WHEN THE BEST RAPPER IS A WHITE GUY, THE BEST GOLFER IS A BLACK GUY, THE SWISS HOLD THE AMERICA'S CUP, FRANCE IS ACCUSING THE U.S. OF ARROGANCE, AND GERMANY DOESN'T WANT TO GO TO WAR"

Mail2Blog

It seems that you can blog directly
from Email
... You set up a secret Email alias and any mail you send
to that address gets added to your blog and optionally even published!
You may not always want to publish immediately, but jot down ideas as
quickly as possible. Then, when you have time, you log in, edit the
blogs in the comfort of your home and publish them. The dates will still
be those of the date&time you mailed! Neat huh?

Well... this is a test of the Mail2Blog app

Difference between war and terrorism

Loesje: "War... it's terrorism with a bigger budget"
In that light, read the article about the US war budget
Just think what anyone could do with 10 billion if you had it to spend and wanted to do good things... just imagine... 10 billion! Would you fund cancer research, or perhaps give out free AIDS medicine in all of Africa. Buy a piece of rainforest the size of South America and declare it a park! :) Fund all the zoos in the world so they can have free entrance and invite all the school children to come and visit. Spend it on cleaning up pollution in Russia (vast oil spils) or subsidise massive air cleansing installations for Eastern Europe's industry. Perhaps help rebuild Prague and Dresden after the disastrous floods of last year?
Now image you have 400 billion and no one is asking questions why you are spending it on weapons of mass destruction... *sigh*

Help rebuild Iraq... Is it over already?

Focus at U.N. Turns To Iraq's Recovery (washingtonpost.com)
You gotta love mankind... There is no other species on Earth that is so completely non-deterministic as the human race. :D LOL
While proponents are still figuring out how and where to strike Iraq, opponents are already busy thinking of plans to help Iraq and get it rebuilt. Of course, one does not exclude the other. But it's funny by its extremes. Germany and France are heading this movement, as the biggest opponents of the war. Makes sense.
"Diplomatic maneuvering has begun over a U.N. resolution needed for the world body to spend billions in Iraqi oil proceeds collected under U.N. sanctions, and speed delivery of more than $2.5 billion in food and equipment."

Told ya

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Well... what I was afraid of happening, is now happening...
The US, with fearsome head chimp Bush, has opened the attack. I guess they want to search for the chemical weapons themselves, since they themselves gave them to Iraq 20 years ago. :) (Why didn't they just say so... by gones... :) ) But now China has said the US should leave Iraq immediately. They are worried about the world peace situation in light of this wat. Countries that have old issues with one another, can use the fact that their adversaries are either pro or con the war, and escalate it to have a reason to settle things. Thereby, this action of the US forms a threat to the world. And that could be reason for all of us to attack the US!!! :D At least, according to the UN mandates... LOL Bet they never saw that one coming...

Where to buy frisbees

Oh almost forgot... It may be hard to buy frisbees, I mean REAL frisbees, in a store near you... So I recommend these two. They are very cheap, compared to the 15-20 euro I would have to pay at my local Intersport or Perry sport.
Internet Disc Shoppe sells a 10-pack for frisbees for $60, excl S&H.
The Frisbee Shop in Germany sells them for about $9 a piece. Also very good, and (for me) cheaper S&H. :)

Ultimate Frisbee Club

I've been busy today (amongst others) creating a flyer for a new Ultimate Frisbee club at work, the EPO. Last evening, I put together some stuff and got some pics from the web to illustrate the flyer. Then, today, I asked my co-founders for their comments and searched for some more info on the net.
I found some great frisbee sites out there! :) Check 'm out:

The Toronto Ultimate Club, great pictures too
Ultimate Player Association
Ultimate Handbook, all about rules, equipment, getting started, etc.
List of hundreds of Ultimate Frisbee site at Princeton

Windie's Watersport

LOL!
A friend asked me today about the people I went scuba diving with, during my trip to Aruba last year October and I had to search the Net to find it. I hadn't actually visited their site before, because I was already there when a friend of mine introduced me to them. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice website! :-) And it's always nice to see the site of friends of yours, see their faces again, what they're up to, and so on.

Windie's Watersport is a very nice and friendly group of people who run an intimate diving, snorkling, sailing, canoeing organisation. :) They only travel with small groups, making it a personal experience with excellent guidance and control, if needed. They've lived on the island for 20+ years, so the places they take you to are the off-the-beaten-path type of locations where you rarely see other tourists. The attitude of Windie and Rene is very calm and relaxed. They are no-fuss people, if you know what I mean. :-) So if you ar…
On the lighter side of life... just read this on Slashdot:

"[1]Philips Electronics is undergoing the [2]beta test for the latest model in the Streamium line called the [3]MC-i250. You have to trudge through a cheesy Flash presentation to get all the details, but it looks pretty good: WiFi [aka WLAN], CDDB support, online playlist management and more. It looks like they might actually get it right."
Reader [4]UVWarning's review of the current generation of Streamium indicates plenty of ways the next generation could improve on the current one.


Links:
1. http://audio.philips.com/
2. http://www.audio.philips.com/betatest.asp
3. http://www.audio.philips.com/streamium/mci250_product.asp
4. http://features.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/01/08/0337254&tid=137

BBC: Iraq crisis hour-by-hour

BBC Iraq crisis hour-by-hour.
History in the making... Makes me sad. I was in the Britisch War Museum, last August, reading over WW1 and WW2 and the whole escalation of things back then is just too ridiculous for words. And 90 resp. 60 years later, here we are again. I'm really beginning to believe that History 101-110 should become required courses on every high-school and university. Non negotiable. You just sit, listen, learn, discuss. Especially some of the more stubborn Americans who think the universe revolves around Texas! Hellloooho, McFly, anybody home?!

US war signal divides world

As I suspected, it is happening. Whether we fight Iraq or not, whether we all join or just the US, we are busy discussing, yelling, cursing, amongst each other. BBC says:BBC US war signal divides world. The age old motto "divide and conquer" still holds, even now. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it e v e r was! (Talking Heads, 1988 or so)

Hunt and Denham also quit over Iraq

Denham quits over Iraq
Appearantly, Mr. Cook really shook the tree last night. He really rocked the boat. That's three down already. I am curious to see how Tony Blair aka TonyBaby will cope with this very clear signal that it is not at all going according to plan. :)

Full text: Robin Cook speech

Here's the full text of Robin Cook's speech. He resigned from British government, because he can no longer agree with the views of the parlement. It was quite a speech and it sums up nicely the ridiculous state politics are currently in.
CNN.com - Full text: Robin Cook speech - Mar. 18, 2003

Dreams Unlimited - Christian

Ronald Reagan, that's the name I couldn't think of last night. :) Well it was late, I 'd had a drink and was too pissed off at Bush to focus. Sorry... but there you go.

Armageddon

I also saw a movie on TV, with an appropriate title "Armageddon". :) Life has it's small moments of irony and no one can't say God doesnt' have a sense of humor when you look it that way. LOL
But the movie is totally stupid yet unbelievabley funny! The off-shore crew is hilarious and their lines are so funny. (Check out the quotes on IMDB.)Steve Buscemi is histerical! :D The scene when they have to go thru NASA testing to make sure they are fit for the job and won't flip out! ROFL Or the scene when they have all gone away after Bruce was dragged to NASA to hear of the danger ahead, and they chase them all around the country with choppers and police cars and FBI guys showing up everywhere, draggin these people to NASA one by one? ROFLMAO :D Brilliant. It really made my day.
I know it's a stupid movie with a bad plot and too much US patriotism and all, but Liv Tyler just takes my breath away everytime I see her and the crew is sooo funny that it all makes …

My new hero

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Well... I must say I have a new hero! It's amazing. I've never heard a politician with thoughts so well put, thought through and to the point. Robin Cook, who just resigned from UK's government, held a flaming speech to the chamber, explaining his decision. WOW I'm stunned. I really feel for the man, especially coz he's right. The mother fuckers in the US... excuse my French... I don't understand Bush, most people don't. But bottom line is he's still in power. It may be time to focus our attention on somebody else... Stupid Red Neck, pisses me off. The moron's in New York who pour the French wines down the drains because France is against the war... *sigh* It is at times like this that I am really scared for humanity. Screw Anthrax, fuck nuclear bombs... it's people like that who we should fear. And ourselves for letting us getting carried away with things.
I'm not saying Saddam is not a potential hazard. He's a loose cannon. But so is K…

First post

Funny to see that when I'm generally ok and at ease, that I update these things. It seems only then can I find the time and sit down to fix all the details and stuff.
Anyway, here is my new diary... the old one is still here too, in case you want to read up. Note that there is a gap of about a year or so. That's correct, that is not an error. I simply had too much shit going on in my life the last 2 years to update it regularly. Every time I thought things were finally changing for the better, the shit hit the fan! THANKS GUYS, but no thanks. Screw you too!
But I'm here now and I have finally got this all sorted out. :) Woohoo! I'm feeling good and I have the picture to prove it. Check out the new online web gallery aka photo gallery.

Layout testing

final tests........
testing layout in Mozilla and IE. More than 60% of my visitors use IE, the bastards, so I have to make sure the diary kinda looks ok in the dozer ehh browser. Blah!
another test, this time without a title.
Have to try and find nice style for headers/titles...

just testing...

some more tests to try out the new settings of my blog
test

Melanie writes an article

Mel wrote an article for the SFOR Informer about Joint Resolve: a multinational exercise.