Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dutch government sanctions ODF!

Last week I went to a seminar by OSOSS about the implementation of ODF within the Dutch government. It was a very interesting day and there was a lot of talk about the usage of open source software and open standards. And whaddayaknow: the Dutch parliament have already sanctioned ODF for obligatory use within the government starting April '08. We might actually be making some progress here! :-) Several Dutch government agencies have already started implementation of ODF, which means that whether OOXML becomes a standard in February or not, I will not matter. ODF has already scored a sounding victory.

Here Comes Another Bubble!

Brilliant video about the New And Improved internet bubble! I must the the kazillionth persion to blog this, but the hell cares: it really is pretty cool :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Amsterdam goes open source!

Finally, steps are made in the quite IT-conservative Dutch government to move to open source software! The city of Amsterdam has successfully tested a Linux desktop environment (presumably SUSE Linux) and will be doing deployment and more testing the coming months! More over at

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

GoDaddy? Go Daddy!

I'll be posting on a new site @ GoDaddy. Had some trouble with the previous hosting package. I wonder whether this one will suffice. Doubt it though. I already *hate* the fucking ads at the top of the page. Interferes madly with the rest of the code of the page...

Anyway, I'm supposed to post a link to my Technorati Profile here to prove this is really my page. So, there it is...

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Governator leads the way

We Europeans like to have a good laugh about Americans every now and then. And boy, did we laugh when the state of California elected Arnold Schwarzenegger governor.

However, if you have been following the news you might have noticed this proves to be less disastrous than one would have expected...

Recently, the state of California filed suit against the federal US government because - pay attention now - the federal government is hampering Californian attempts to enforce strict environmental laws. Of course, the Schwarzenegger administration has made it's share of mistakes, but on environmental issues it seems to be way ahead of the other US states. Actually, on some issues they seem to be way ahead of us. The laws California seeks to enforce are not to be dismissed easily. We are talking about serious CO2 reductions of up to 25%. I'm not sure the EU can match these figures.

If California gets what it wants, other states will likely follow by implementing their own strict environmental laws, amongst which the influential states New York, Washington and Massachusetts.

In other news: American auto-makers are suing the Californian government. The new Californian laws might damage the US auto-industry, or so they say, which is of course much more important that the health of the planet...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Google Fight!

This is absolutely hilarious!

Check Google Fight: just enter two contestants and see them have a popularity fight, just like this one!

Friday, October 12, 2007

And thus it begins...

Recently, Steve Ballmer (Microsoft CEO), announced he expected companies that sue Microsoft for patent infringement might come after open source companies in the future as well. Initially, we all though 'FUD!'. After all, the SCO case is essentially over and 'we' won.

However sinister things are happening as we speak. A company called IP Innovation LLC has filed patent infringement claims against Red Hat and Novell, two of the world's leading Linux companies. Even though we are probably talking about a bogus patent claim, there are some things to aware of here.

First of all, two of the executives of IP Innovation's parent company only just joined the company. The two execs have less than half a year between them in time as employee at IP Innovation's mother: Acacia Technologies. One of those execs used to be an Intelectual Property Licensing buff in his previous job. Guess where.

Now count this up:

  1. The SCO case is almost over
  2. Ballmer starts mumbling about patent claims against Linux, by Microsoft itself and by third parties

  3. As if ordered to do so, some company files patent suits against Red Hat and Novell
  4. Two of the executives of the company owning the plaintiff only recently transfered in from Microsoft
  5. At least one of them used to be concered with intelectual property licensing with his previous (?) master
I ask you, I this a coincidence or ellaborate scheming? Steve, don't you have the balls to do this yourself?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Aerial Escort

Just a few minutes ago, an airliner flew over near where I work. It was escorted by a couple of F16 fighter-bombers. As far as I know, that only happens when something evil is happening. I feel bad for the people in the plane. Must scare them like hell... I hope nothing bad happens.

Update: rumor has it, that the escort had to do with the visit of the president of the German Republic to the Netherlands today and that the plane was his.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bye bye ABN AMRO

Yesterday, the 'consortium' received permission from Brussels to buy ABN AMRO, one of the largest banks in the world. It remains a mystery to the layman why on earth ABN AMRO had to be sold off. One of the reasons is - without a doubt - the letter written by the mischieviously inaptly named Children's Investments Fund. One other reason is - also without a doubt to me and a lot of other people - the vast amount of money ABN AMRO's CEO Rijkman Groenink will receive as a 'reward' for selling off his company.

Isn't that the wrong way around? Reward the man for keeping the company I understand, rewarding him for acquiring another company I understand too. Rewarding him for selling it seems insane.

This is even more true in the case of Numico, which was sold off to Danone by, generating a hughe prize for Numico's CEO, allegedly reaching into the tens of millions of euros. Again: reward the man for keeping Numico a strong, healthy, independent company, not for selling it to a foreign rival. Notice, by the way, Numico's CEO was a Danone employee until recently. The man just sold off his current company to his old one.

Explain it to me - and don't start babbling about investor capital or all that rubish, explain it to me from the viewpoint of the employee of those companies and the viewpoint of their customers - explain why on earth these people get rewarded instead of crucified?

It seems to me CEO's get rewarded for finding their chair and coffeecup in the morning. Did you ever hear of a CEO who failed to receive his bonus? Do they get contracts that state 'you receive a bonus unless Armageddon' instead of the 'you might receive a bonus, maybe, perhaps and in the eventuality etc.' that I always get??

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Aah! My ears!

I used to like Melanie. I liked the 'Brand new key' song, I thought it was a nice, happy song and I thought Melanie was a fairly acceptable singer. Granted, I only knew a couple of songs she did, but hey they were all pretty much okay. I knew Beautiful People, Brand new key and basically, that was it. Actually, I thought she quit a long while ago: her last hit dates from 1983.

They other day, my girlfriend bought a Melanie CD. It sounds like a live CD. On the CD Melanie does covers of popular songs. (I'm desperately trying to remain calm now.) She has the fucking nerve to no less than rape Ruby Tuesday and Every Breath you Take. Apparently, she hasn't quit: Every Breath You Take dates from 1983, so the CD must date from after that.

So, Melanie, if you read this: please, for the love of God, stick to your own stuff, leave other peoples repertoire alone and STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM EVERYTHING THE STONES DID! DO NOT PLEASE NOT DO RUBY TUESDAY EVER AGAIN!

Gah! Sorry about that.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sweet Google feature

I found a new feature in Google that I wasn't aware of today. If you type something like

  • 22GB / 615 seconds
in the search field, it returns MB per second as bandwith calculation! Very nice and very useful for the likes of us geeks :)

Thursday, September 27, 2007


When I got up last Tuesday, I hurt my back and my neck real bad. I probably teared one of the muscles in my upper back. Pain! Pretty fucked up. Walking around like Robocop now, with a thick scarf around my neck trying not to look around too much. No fun at all...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Back from holiday

Wow, that was great. I just returned last week from a trip to the western USA. What a great holiday that was!

We saw some amazing things there. If you ever get there, be sure to visit the great National Parks in California, Arizona and Utah. Especially Zion NP is beautiful. And do not skip Death Valley either: amazing and mindbogglingly pretty, despite the heat.

Now, San Fransisco is one of the most fantastic cities I have ever been to. I would love to spend some more time there. Las Vegas is fun, but just for a few days. Unless you need to get rid of a lot of cash, of course. I put up some pictures on my Flickr website. Most of the pictures there are public.

A very recommended holiday destination!

Edit: if you take a look at the Flick page, be sure to look beyond the pictures from Universal Studios. That was a fun day, but the pictures do not really show a lot of the holiday!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

mod_ruby on CentOS-5

I was trying to install mod_ruby on my CentOS-5 today and that seemed to be a bit tricky. First of all, as far as I know, CentOS does not have a prebuilt mod_ruby package. That leaves little other options than compiling the package from source. I found this page, containing a howto for CentOS-3, but it didn't quite work on CentOS-5.

I found that after having installed the httpd-devel, ruby-devel, ruby and httpd packages on CentOS-5, simply running ./configure does not do the trick. One needs to run ./configure.rb --with-apxs=/usr/sbin/apxs --with-apr-includes=/usr/include/apr-1 in order to have the install script find the proper header files. Running the make command after that gives a succesfull build againt both /usr/include/httpd and /usr/include/apr-1 for some reason.

Then, put the following in /etc/httpd/conf.d/ruby.conf:

RubySafeLevel 0

# If you use RubyGems

RubyRequire rubygems

RubyRequire apache/rails-dispatcher

RubyTransHandler Apache::RailsDispatcher.instance

SetHandler ruby-object

RubyHandler Apache::RailsDispatcher.instance

RubyOption railsuriroot /ruby-application-name

RubyOption rails_root /path/to/rails/root

RubyOption rails_env production

(Thanks to carl at the above mentioned page for this!)

Carl's howto puts all this text in httpd.conf. This works, but better stay consistent with the way CentOS handles things. Also, the howto on carl's page has the require line for rubygems commented out. Take special care to require rubygems though! CentOS has no packages for rails, so it's safe to assume you have installed rails from gems. If you do not require rubygems, the setup will silently fail (unless you go through /var/log/httpd/error_log).

I have yet to test this, but it should work nicely.

Update: Well, I cheered too soon. What seems to be the problem is some incompatibility between the (quite old) version of modruby available for download and my (quite recent) version of rails. Probably solvable, but I don't really feel like it. Besides, I decided that it will be much more convenient to use modproxy on Apache and place several of my home-brew rails applications behind it. I'll post a nice how-to for that some day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Months, no, years ago, I thought about setting up a coffee-rating blog. Every time I had coffee somewhere, I would rate it by certain criteria. That way, I was going to create an overview of where to get nice coffee. Because, as you all know, coffee is important. Of course, I never did this. Coffee isn't that important, after all.

Recently though, I noticed that almost every company or site I visit in the Netherlands has a Douwe Egberts coffee machine. If I'm correct, those come in several price categories. My own employer has the 'good' ones. The ones that ground the beans as you press the 'coffee' button. Most other companies have the cheap ones, the cones with pre-ground coffee, the ones that create jet-engine noises while brewing a cup. The ones that, in the end, prduce crap coffee.

What they usually have is something from the a DE Fresh Brew Gallery series or similar. They advertise these things with (in Dutch) 'every cup is fresh'. And 'every cup of coffee or espresso with a nice foam on top'. Foam?? WTF?

Coffee shouldn't have foam! If I want a frothy liquid, I buy a Coke! Espresso has a little foam on top because of the way it is made. In espresso, water is forced through coffee at high pressure. This pressure forces the oil from the coffee down into your cup, creating a slight foam.

The cups I get from these machines look like someone emptied their shampoo bottle in them. Unbelievable. But then again, people drink Senseo too...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

We’re on TV!

I just saw this Red Hat commercial on Youtube. It's fucking brilliant. I can't believe 'we' are actually so successful that we are doing commercials now!

Take a look at this baby and while you're at it, check out the other Red Hat and Novell commercials there. The Novell ones are funny too :)


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You know Casema, the Dutch ISP?

Avoid 'em if you can. Granted they are not as bad as Planet Internet (a company I'll blog about later), but hell, they are pretty close.

A few days ago, I wrote them a letter. A paper one, not even an easy-to-overlook email, but a proper letter. The letter said, that since I am moving to a new home next month, I thought I'd inform them I wanted to stop using their ISP service and wanted to keep their cable TV service in my new house.

Now, this all coincided with the end of my agreement with them anyway so this all would be relatively convenient you'd guess? I expressly told them I did not want the ISP agreement to be prolonged, I expressly told them I did want the cable TV agreement to be prolonged (this part was by phone, since I did not want to confuse them) and I told them my new address.

A few days later, they sent me a letter. Most of it was okay (the cable was prolonged, the internet agreement wasn't). Only, all of a sudden they thought I was living at an address I moved a way from almost 2 years ago. So I called them and corrected this.

A few days later, they sent me a letter again. Now I didn't only live at the old address, I received my cable signal there too. Called them slightly irritated, corrected it.

A few days later, they sent me yet another a letter. Now the signal address was okay again, the address where I was going to receive their invoices was still wrong and my internet agreement was suddenly prolonged. Thanks. Called them, fairly pissed off and tried to correct this. The dude on the other end told me I had to choose another phone menu option while calling them, wait another 10 minutes, listening to Celine Dion and talk to someone else. Even though *he* was at the menu option 'problems with invoices'. After all: since the invoice address was wrong, I figured it to be an invoice problem. I had to call .subscription terminations. instead.

Funny thing was that though I waited longer when I called 'invoice problems' the 'terminations' phone menu option directly said 'you'll have to wait more than 5 minutes, please call again at some other time'. Isn't it weird how they tell you that when you want to terminate you subscription, but not when you are trying to set your address straight?

So I finally I got the 'subscription terminations' woman at the other end of the line. I think she was actually not annoying and they really tried to be helpful. There's a first. Still, I daren't hope: when I receive yet another letter from Casema, this time with the correct address and subscription details, then it'll be soon enough to be happy about all this. Not a second earlier.

When our cable company was still owned by the city, this stuff really never happened. I have or have heard of similar experiences with Planet Internet, Nuon and a whole bunch of other previously state-owned companies. Really, globalization, multinationals, privatization all that didn't bring anything good for the man in the street, only for wealthy shareholders.

My €0.02.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Phew, hard times

It's hard being a geek. Here we are inside, stuck behind our desks and keyboards, while outside the sun is melting the tarmac. Even your humblest, menial server sits in an air-conditioned room, where temperatures are a lot more pleasant then behind my desk. In the sun.

But let's cut the crap. Of course I was raging with anger (well, disappointment really) when I head today Tom Hanrahan is joining Microsoft. Hanrahan is a former employee of OSDL and the Linux Foundation. I haven't lost all hope, since precedents exists where prominent members of the FLOSS community join Microsoft, only to leave after a really short stay there. I'll just briefly mention the name of Daniel Robbins here in that context.

I am very anxious to here Hanrahan explain what he hopes to achieve in Redmond and what goals he is setting for himself during his employment. I wish him well and I hope he will be able to create a more understanding MS instead of strengthening the Moloch a lot of us have all come to despise. I really hope he'll bring insight to the people at Microsoft, but I really, really, really doubt he'll be able to.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Another blog change

I'm not a very good blogger, it seems. I've changed this page about 6 times in the past year, I've swapped blogging engines in about the same rate, but the amount of posts here is well below that par.

I'm trying to up the ante a bit the next few months. I'm moving to a new house (again) and moving to a new job (again, though this time it's at the same company). Besides that, I'm going to the US on holiday this year. I should have enough to write about for a while, but then again, you never quite know...

On a sidenote, I hope I bump into an old mysql backup somewhere, because I used to have at least a couple of dozen posts here. I fscked them up when I migrated to a beta version of Typo, I think. My own fault though. I'm happy Typo4 is finally done. Typo is such a bliss to work with, compared to a lot of the other engines.

I'm going to set up a svn for my new Rails project now (it's still a rewrite of my old php project bbps called Lapis, but now it's a rewrite of the rewrite ;-) ). I think it's safe to say bbps is dead. Personally, I think the competition of and such websites killed it. That and the fact that it needed an Apache install, mod_php install and a mysql install. Too much of a hassle for a relatively small program. Lapis will do that differently. Lapis will be able to run with an Apache server, mod_ruby and mysql, but because it's rails, you can also run it locally with mongrel or webbrick and sqlite. Fast enough, low memory footprint and not as much of a hassle to install.