30/10/2008

Open Source

by Rob on

Another Open Source application made it to my laptop. This time it is the Gimp. As far as I know and can remember the Gimp used to be a Mac application for image-processing. A lot changed since then. Now it is a application that can be fully compared with software as Photoshop.

I thought I needed Photoshop or Capture NX (both enclosed source) to process the RAW photographs I made with my DSLR. Until a colleague told me about UFRaw. The combination of The Gimp and UFRaw gives my all I need to process my pictures.

The Open Source I use on my laptop grows everyday it seems… TrueCrypt, Password Safe, Thunderbird, Firefox, aMSN, Linux (in a VMWare box), The Gimp, UFRaw and more…

Hurray for Open Source!!!!


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At Mulligans and “Het Fornuis”

by Rob on

Last Sunday I traveled early back to Amsterdam. That afternoon some colleagues and I had planned to get together in Amsterdam and have a good time, all meant as an team event.

My travelling back to Amsterdam was not without problems. Somewhere half way I noticed that the train was riding slowly. Not very long after that I heard that for some technical reason the train couldn’t make speed and so we traveled a big part of the journey on half speed.

Because it was already clear that I would arrive much later as planned in Amsterdam, I decided not first to bring my luggage along with, instead of dropping everything at the room where I sleep normally.

A bit for 14:00 I arrived at Mulligans. Mulligans is Irish pub directly located at the Amstel. A very nice pub I must say, that I liked right away. A very good atmosphere… nicely decorated… nice people… and a very nice collection of beers available to us.
Here we played a nice game of Jenga (the game with the tower built of wooden blocks).

Next a game of Monopoly was on. Nice aspect that we played the Irish version of the game. Although I owned on a certain moment a great part of streets, I lost it all in the end…

Dinner we had a very good restaurant called “Het Fornuis”. Food was good, service was good… so also a very nice place to be. Maybe a place I will take someone along to one time :P.

After dinner we returned for a last beer back to Mulligans…

I must admit that I was tired, but it was a very nice evening again that I would not wanted to miss. So tired and with all my luggage, but with a very good mood I went for the metro that would bring me for the biggest part back to the room where I sleep in Amsterdam.

And yes… Mulligans is a place I most certainly will return to… bet on it :). (Patrick? Dave? This is one place for us to visit)


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Haaksbergen

by Rob on

Yesterday I was making a walk through Haaksbergen. The town is beuatiful in all its autumns colors. Yes, I really like this town. So many years I have lived here. I grew up there, moved to Borne and returned after the relation I had over then ended.

Sure, I won’t deny that there many other towns that are awesome, but for me a town as Haaksbergen has a special spot.. always will have.

And now? No idea what the future will bring. I love my new job in Hoofddorp. Somewhere in the future I may want to move closer to there. Although I have nothing to complain about how this is going at the moment. Specially with the Fridays working at home.

And Marion? Things as they go are good. As we promised each other we are moving in our relation very slowly. We are not in a hurry. On the contrary, we have all the time of the world. Both of us have for our own reasons a strong need for independence and freedom. And as long we allow each other independence and freedom, we are on the good way.
But in the future… maybe moving together somewhere close to the places we work? Who knows… as I always say, the future is open.

I know that many people don’t understand the relation Marion and I have. Too often we are asked when we will move together… if we will marry… blah blah blah. I think just a few of the people close to us really understand… of course Sanne does. I think my friends Patrick and Dave do.
But do I really care about others? Mostly not. But some times it is sad that people you like don’t understamd this what is so important for us. But ah well….

So yes, there is a rather big change that the future will lead me away from Haaksbergen. But where ever my ways will lead, I am pretty sure that these roads will lead me often through Haaksbergen… I love that town!!!


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Encryption, part II

by Rob on

Encrypting again…

Like I use to say, when you do something do it good. And when you find something to improve, do it.

For mail I can use GnuPG to sign and/or encrypt my mail. And this is working very well. Marion and I use it all the time. We talk often per mail about things that are not meant for everyone eyes. After all, mail has concerning privacy only the value of a postcard.
It is amazing to see what kind of confident information people sent through mail without even over thinking it.

Anyway, yesterday I suddenly realized that I also store confident information on my laptop outside my mail. Things as documents and pictures. Some work related files. These files were fully accessible by anyone who could put their hand on my laptop. Which could happen if in the worse case my laptop gets stolen, but even when my laptop stands on my desk and I am away from my desk.

So I looked for a program for file encryption. I found one that serves my purpose completely. This program is called TrueCrypt. TrueCrypt is Open Source and that way I can be assured that there are no backdoors (because the source is available to anyone).
With TrueCrypt you can create volumes, when not mounted these volumes are encrypted and so not accesible by anyone. And so their contents are safe for stranger eyes. And this is how it should be…


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And another weekend is done…

by Rob on

Another weekend has gone by… and as most weekends it has been a good weekend again. And even when there was bad news where I have to find a solution for (and no, this bad news is luckily not relation or work related), I am able to handle… and I know, someone offered help. But this time I have to do it alone. And I will handle it…

Back to Amsterdam again… another week of working waits. But with the people of the department where I work, it will be Thursday evening again before I know it… and then I go home again.


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Thursday going home….

by Rob on

Today I had a small talk with my team leader at the company.

Last week I had to stay at the room I am renting (just lets say I needed a toilet close :P), so I worked from that room (I can log anywhere I have Internet access and the proper software installed into the company network on a secure way). Apart from the fact that I didn’t feel very well, I moved a great deal of work.

So I asked if it would be okay to work one day per week from home. One day to do undisturbed a lot of work. But there is more for me.
When starting to work on Friday at home early, it means that my weekend start early… even when I do more hours then I need to. Without the time I need to travel home the weekend is there early. And to that without be tired from the traveling.
So traveling Thursday evening home, push on Friday a lot of work and have my weekend (with Marion) early is a great option.
Sure, when needed for a company meeting or some kind of event, I will stay in Amsterdam on Fridays.

During my job interviews there was spoken about 2 or even 3 days working from home. Now I know the company I don’t want that anymore. Sure one day to do a lot of work and roll nicely into weekend is great. But for the rest I want to work 4 days per week in Hoofddorp. I want to stay in contact with my colleagues, this has become very important for me…. so 4 days at the company, 1 day at home… An awesome deal :)


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Walk through Amsterdam

by Rob on

Yesterday afternoon I made a walk through the center of Amsterdam. I had planned a very long walk, but it ended in a shorter walk, which was still very enjoyable.

I started at the Central Railroad Station of Amsterdam, because of it location it is ideal to start,

Amsterdam knows many street artists, but sadly mostly are not that talented and just try to grab some money that way. But every now and then you will see an artist who talented and knows what music is… as trumpet player (and his band) that I saw very close to the railroad station.

Then I started to wander through small roads as they can be found a lot around that area of the city. And yes… always when I visit the center of Amsterdam I somehow end up at “De Wallen”. Don’t ask me why or how, it just happens (and Mar.. no comments from your side. The two times you leaded the road we ended up there as well :P). Wisely I kept my camera there in my bag. I think it will not be clever to make pictures there.

After that I reached “De Schreierstoren”. For some reason I like the very old building very much. Maybe it is because the wonderful poem that Bertus Aafjes wrote about this building.
Local stories tell that this tower is named after the sailor-wifes who said crying far well here to there husband when those left for long journeys (“Schreierstower” could easily be translated to “Crying Tower”). This is not correct. A “Schreier” is a corner tower in the defending wall of a city.

When wandering further around I noticed that street names where mentioned in Dutch and Chinese (at least I assume it is Chinese). I never have seen this before in The Netherlands. I considered it fun to see this, but of course this will have its use in this area of Amsterdam.

On the Dam I noticed a dog. It was interesting to watch the behaviour of this dog. His complete body expressed how unsure he was, which was completely understandable with this huge mob of people around him.

At a certain moment I started to get hungry and when I looked for a place to eat I noticed The Kentucky Fried Chicken… and I was lost. I just love KFC. I am fully aware that it is a matter of personal taste, but compared to McDonalds and Burger King I think KFC is the best by far.

After my dinner at KFC (I know… I know…), I wandered a round a bit more. But as I was tired (I wandered also yesterday all day in the zoo) I made my way back to my room. But it has been a good day, a day that will be continued some time soon.


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Artis

by Rob on

As already mentioned before I have been yesterday with a number of my colleagues to the zoo Artis (in the city of Amsterdam).  They meaning was to give Ajay, who is temporary from India with us, a nice day with us.

We came together at the Centrale Railroad station and went by boat to the zoo. I have been as a little boy to this zoo, but that was on such a young age I have no memories of that. So basically it was a new for me.

I think it is nice to meet colleagues every now and then also outside the company. People are more relaxed and it is easier to get to know them.

Artis is a very old zoo, but it is already for a big part modernized to current standards and that is still something that is still in progress.

Some pictures…

Here are some more pictures

It was bad of us that we managed somehow to loose Jose. Where and how that happened, I have no idea.
The other thing is that one Jan’s eye was hurting, even so much that they decided to have it checked out after the visit at the zoo.

Apart from those two things, it was a very nice day that enjoyed a lot.

Oh one more thing: Yesterday I ate for the first time at The Dönner Company and that was right away the last time. The person who helped me had more attention for his friends who where at the shop then for the costumers. The place was a mess. When I ask for a little sambal on my dönner then it doesn’t mean it have to drip off it. The bread was hard. The meat was tasteless.
After some bites of it, I threw it away… and that is not something I do fast. So bad it was. Better was the hot dog I bought instead of it.


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The bet

by Rob on

This weekend I will not be going home. I will stay in Amsterdam and tomorrow a number of colleagues and I will visit the Artis, the zoo of Amsterdam. It will be nice. A great opportunity to make pictures and it will be of course nice to spend time with my colleagues.

At the same time this will give Marion the opportunity to go with Sanne on a shopping spree and have a good time together.

I made a bet with Marion that Sanne and she will spend more then a certain amount of money per person (I promised not to mention what amount :P). She denied that. We will see…. allthough I am pretty sure I am on the right side :P

The bet in on!!!!


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I know I have written about this before… but this afternoon in the train from work back to Amsterdam it was bad again.

I was just sitting and was reading a bit. And it struck me again. People and their mobile phones, the horror!

I suspect some people of the fact that want to be noticed with their mobile phones, but for me it is a source of irretation…
No, I have no need to know why that teacher is jerk… And no, I have no need to know what someone will have for dinner that evening… And no, I have need to know who is dating who and why someone it considers as cheating…

It seems that (bluetooth) headsets only make people speak louder…

And no, I have no need to hear ringtones of crying babies or farting people. Some people may consider those funny, I dislike things like that. There are only a few ringtones I consider funny and even those I have no need for to hear them all the time.

I almost never use my mobile phone public and when someone calls me I lower my voice when talking. No ringtones for me, my phone is always on “tremble” alarm only. Sure, I may miss every now and then a call because of that…. but it is worth it.

Enough rambling for one night…. Goodnight and sleep well :)


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