Apr 17

Google’s Four Seasons

Category: Uncategorized

I googled “Spring” because I was looked for something on the Java framework. The result inspired me to google the other four seasons as well and take a look at the four image results.


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Aug 16

QR codes rock, strictly personal tablets don’t

Category: Hardware, Software

Although I am aware of (and use) wonderful services like Read It Later, Springpad, Evernote and the ability to send myself links through various means such as mail, Twitter, Facebook updates or the old “typing what I read”, I find that shooting a QR code beats all of the above for ease of use and speed. Here’s the situation: I like to read ezines (web magazines, whatever you like to call them) on a tablet. In my case, I read them using Pulse on the Xoom. Sometimes I find something worth sharing, but here’s the problem: my wife and I share the tablet, so it’s not configured to use either of our social network logins.
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Jul 22

Virtualbox running PostgreSQL

Category: Open Source, Software

If like to keep the PC I use for development as clean as possible, to reduce the odds of “other installed stuff” influencing whatever I’m writing. Whenever I need to install some kind of server-type software on it, I prefer to use small virtual machines to install them in. Like a sandbox running the server, which I can just start and access from the host machine whenever I need it. Another big advantage of this approach is that it allows me to just copy the entire virtual machine to another machine and run the server there, for example on a colleague’s machine. Below are some tips on getting the open source database server PostgreSQL running on a virtual machine, accessible from the host (or any other machine on your network).
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Jul 17

Rant: welcome to 2011, not unlike 2001

Category: Music, Software

Remember how mediaplayers were really primitive back in the day? How they always had trouble keeping your music properly sorted and display the right metadata for whatever format you preferred? I bet you do because nothing changed, really. (Yes, I know, “RAEG” right?)

When I drop my properly standardized ID3-ed MP3’s and FLACs into my player, I get all sorts of interesting effects. And before you start, we’re talking about my own CD’s here. Ripped to FLAC for playback on my media center and MP3-encoded for convenient use on my smartphone and other devices. Depending on where you live, that may be illegal or borderline illegal, but where I live, it’s legal - at least at the time of writing. At the worst, we could be having a discussion about the legality of mp3-encoding.
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May 14

Two admins and a security hole

Category: Software

If you’re like me and you trust your wife to be the other admin on your desktop PC running Windows, you may have a serious security hole. I didn’t realize until recently, but if you’re logged in to Windows 7, or Windows Vista for that matter, and you’re an administrator, you get to change all users passwords, including the passwords of other admins without exception.

Now, if you try to change the password for your own account, you have to enter the old password before you can change it into a new one. But here’s the thing: for other users, even admins, there’s no such requirement. Of course it makes sense that you don’t have to enter their old password, how would you even know? But it doesn’t require you to enter your own either.
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May 9

NRC quote - significant

Category: Opinion

“Quotation is a servicable substitute for wit” is a quote frequently attributed to both William Somerset Maugham and Oscar Wilde. And it’s true, it can be. But in the weekend edition of my newspaper the NRC Handelsblad this weekend, there was an article on statistics and results in medical scientific research. An interesting topic, on which XKCD wrote a very funny and to the point comic a while ago: http://xkcd.com/882/. I don’t think you even have to be able to read Dutch to notice the similarities with the illustration accompanying the article in the newspaper.

Right page of article in NRC of May 7 2011
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May 3

Nuclear vs. democracy

Category: Opinion

With the Fukushima situation in Japan still slowly growing further out of hand, discussions about the pro’s and cons of nuclear energy abound. Whereas some governments like the one of Angela Merkel in Germany take the opportunity to shut down the local nuclear industry, others like France can’t wait to assert the safety of their plants, even though he declared nuclear dead some time before.

What’s frustrating in all this, is that it’s really hard to get any good facts to base an opinion on. Am I pro or con? Not quite sure. But very recently, I read an interesting editorial (Dutch paper newspaper, NRC Handelsblad) with a viewpoint that changed my outlook.
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Nov 6

Too busy!

Category: Hardware, Uncategorized

You know how people always tell you they don’t have time, or they’re too busy to do something with/for you? This is what they’re really doing. Oh, and perfection matters, don’t try telling me otherwise ;)
simone jaap

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Oct 25

Fight flames with Unix and Firefox

Thanks to my colleague, who went tripping around Andalusia in the south of Spain and spotted several of these fire extinguishers. Finding the Firefox alone would have been awesome, but the Unix one takes the cake. Between these and the ubiquitous “Bimbo”-brand bread (which is originally Mexican), the Spanish seem to have a knack for branding that raises some eyebrows and lifts some corners of mouths in Anglophone countries.

Firefox fire extinguisher Unix fire extinguisher

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Oct 8

Pix in space!

Category: Uncategorized

The first photograph of earth, taken from space dates back to October 24th 1946. The actual image reminded me of frequent recent news stories featuring hobbyists sending camera’s into space (if you take the definition of space as starting at 100km above sea level not too strictly). In the past few years, a British IT Director, a family from New York, a group of Spanish teen students, a pair of MIT students and probably quite a few more all created low budget craft that went high enough to shoot images showing the black of space and the curvature of the Earth - though only Robert Harrison can actually claim getting to ’space’.

First photo of Earth from space

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