| Travel | 0 Comments

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What are the odds of being able to capture this historical moment on film? That's the equivalent of having driven my car more than three and a half times around the world. Funny how after all that time I seem to keep ending up at the very same place.

| Golf | 0 Comments

My handicap has reached a new low of 4.1 despite a terrible score of 86 on Sunday after shooting an 81 and 77 on Saturday during the sixth Rijnmond Open.

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| Golf | 0 Comments

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On the first day I had to goo rounds: 81 and 77. I played with two enthusiastic young bucks combine age more than twenty years less than my age.

| Golf | 0 Comments

I chose my 52-degree wedge, took the usual practice swings, and then I hit the ball crisply right on the sweet spot. The ball flew straight as an arrow with a nice high arc falling down wind directly at the flag. Right down the smoke stack as we used to say. Not sure how it missed the hole. Looking at the direct line between the ball mark at the front of the green and the ending position of the ball right behind the flag, it doesn't seem possible. Oh well, better luck next time.

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The 14th hole at Liemeer

| Computers and stuff | 0 Comments

This is a very interesting video which gives you a taste of the things to come with the Phoenix web framework and the new web.

Web developers have typically been presented with a choice between performance or a productive development environment. With Phoenix, developers can have both while enjoying a wonderful set of abstractions for working with the new web, making streaming data to browsers, native mobile application or embedded clients a breeze. Finally, we will see how Phoenix leverages the Elixir language and the Erlang VM for writing maintainable and scalable code.

| Life in Holland | 0 Comments

Whatever you do be sure not to take the very last slice of cake. Even if it has been lying around on the plate the whole day.

The Dutch are very traditional in many ways, and being very polite when partaking in another person's birthday cake is one of them. Just like during lunch or dinner you are expected to have good manners, not talk with your mouth full, eating slowly and partaking in relaxed conversation, and not gulping down your food greedily. The cake is offered to you as a gesture of kindness, and you are expected to display a keen sense of thankfulness. You wait until offered and that's just the way it is.

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The last slice is sliced thinner and thinner.

One of the unwritten laws is never ever take the last piece of cake. This rule also applies to cookies or biscuits during coffee or cheese or a bowl of nuts or whatever. The last bonbon must remain like some artistic decoration. So at work it was a colleague's birthday and he treated everyone to cake. One slice after another was made to appease the eager cake lovers who stood ever so calmly in line, until there was just one slice left.

So what do you do if you really would like some cake but do not want to be cast from society for having grabbed the last piece? Well you take a very sharp knife and carefully slice this piece in two and take the half. Depending on the number of people and the size of the original cake, the last remaining piece of cake can be bisected several times until there is a paper thin slice left on the plate, mostly balancing ever so precariously on its side.

Since I am a boring and impolite American without proper manners, I waited until most people had gone home and the room was nearly empty, checking that no one was looking when I grabbed the thin slice and gobbled it down. It was so thin that it melted in my mouth, but it still tasted great.

| Golf | 0 Comments

Rumor has it that a golfing maniac has escaped and is wreaking havoc on random golf courses.

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Have you seen this person? If so then proceed with caution as he is armed with a sand wedge and dangerous.

| Programming | 0 Comments

The speed of feedback is very important in order for the product developers to do the right job.

Developers depend on feedback in order to make the right choices at the right time.

Feedback also allows developers to realize their mistakes and incorrect assumptions early on in order to recover before it is too late.

Proper and timely feedback allows one to operate the product development process effectively, especially in a very noisy and erratic environment.

By analyzing and reacting to feedback early, one adapts efficiently to unpredictability, and one is more flexible and dynamic to ever-changing business needs.

Unfortunately, current orthodox beliefs view feedback as the evil cause of undesirable rework loops, stubbornly insisting that rework is to be avoided by designing things right the first time (as if this is ever possible).

Of course we all know how foolish such an unfounded belief is, history has shown us too many failed projects which have fallen victim to this stubborn way of thinking.

Feedback gives one new and valuable information that can be used to freshen our viewpoints and make better economic choices.

| Golf | 0 Comments

Hurrah, I've qualified to play in the 3e NGF Maandbeker this Sunday at the Golfclub Cromstrijen. My lousy handicap has been slowly increasing so it's high time that I shoot another low score in order to bring my current handicap (4.6) down a couple of notches where it belongs.

Startlijst - 3e NGF Maandbeker op Cromstrijen
Aantal deelnemers - 55
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Complete list.

Sunday, July 19
As it turns out, I had a stellar round with three birdies and no double-bogies and finished with a 75 which was 10th place. Not bad against all those youthful whippersnappers who can hit the ball a mile. I was by far the oldest one there, at least twice as old as the average player, and one of the players in my flight was nineteen years old believe it or not. Still a golfer who is young at heart.

Uitslag voor Heren - 3e NGF Maandbeker
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Complete results.

| Programming | 0 Comments

There's an illusion going on out there, and it's best to avoid it with all your might. Just because you are in a hurry and think it's expedient to throw important requests over the wall into the development team as quickly as possible, does NOT mean that you are following the shortage route to getting it done. Done, done. Not done by development, not done by testing and not done as in "delivered" to the customer and curing his headache. That's really the moment of truth when the customer benefits from all that effort (money spent), when profits start rolling in. Repeat, does NOT. Too many people fail to understand this simple concept, because they are blinded by the glitter of money (so-called) and the individual bonus. In truth, injecting random tasks without proper preparation will in the end take much longer to actually get to the happy customer. Think about best practices. Follow the rules of thumb, and you will avoid being consumed later by the nightmare of endless after care and all night bug-fixing marathons (which will eat up any short term profits in no time). Here is what you should do with these request first. Analyse and localize, provide a structured and high-level description, prioritize, and then wait. Waiting is the hardest thing to do, especially in a commercial world where we the greedy ones are pressured to make a quick buck, or else. Or else the competitors will jump in front of you at your slightest hesitation. No, be wise and wait until the last possible moment, wait through that incubation period until the time is ripe. Decide when you are just still in control, just at furthest point within the window of opportunity, right before the moment that the decision will be forced upon you.

| Programming | 0 Comments

RESTful Rails Development by Silvia Puglisi

I couldn't resist the great book offer that the kind folks at O'Reilly emailed me, so I splurged and purchased the e-book called RESTful Rails Development by Silvia Puglisi.

Although I may fool myself into believing that I am some kind of expert and this is already all very familiar material, it's always good to refresh one's mind. Perhaps even discovering new information or coming across eye-opening code snippets. Rails, REST and Ruby, yeah sure I already know all that stuff. Or do I?

Coding years on end without keeping track of new stuff can be compared to driving a car your whole life and thinking that you are perfectly competent when actually you have unknowingly become a bigger danger on the road than you realize.

Be careful before you accidentally kill your fellow developer who is pair-programming next to you. Like I always say (sorry if I keep repeating myself too much), I am never too old to learn new stuff.

The book is still the early release raw and unedited, but I still found that there were way too many errors and typos. Sure the price was right and I should not have high expectations, but when you get into the flow of reading and are regularly disrupted by unclear and misspelled words, it's a bit of a hassle.

Especially when code fragments are wrong, I hate it when there are code typos. You never know if that is how it's really supposed to be or if it is an error, until you fire up irb or vi, type it all in yourself and (if there are no syntax errors) running it.

For example, seeing '{ :product_id => 2 }' all over the place instead of '{ :product_id => 2 }', now that's pretty aggravating.

Although the English isn't fluent, the contents and descriptions are done quite well and the story-line is very complete. I just hope that in the coming newer releases that the errors will be fixed and the sentences made to flow better.

| Golf | 0 Comments

Somehow managed to make it past the cut and qualified to play in the final round of the International Dutch Senior Open.

Not that I played that great, made many stupid mistakes but managed to hang in there and at the end pulling though with a streak of pars on the final four grueling holes.

My scores were just good enough to squeeze through, I shot a 43+42=85 and 41+42=83 (2 birdies, 5 double-bogies and 1 triple-bogie).

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Complete list.

Saturday, July 11th :
Turns out that my excitement was short lived. Had a terrible third day. 45+43=88 with only 4 lousy pars, two double-bogies and a whole slew of bogies, very frustrating. Better luck next year.

| Golf | 0 Comments

Last week Friday afternoon it was an honor and a pleasure being able to play on De Pan which is one of the most prestigious golf courses in Holland.

Since I will be playing next week in the International Dutch Senior Open, I qualify for one free practice round. Normally the green fee is one hundred euros and you can only play if you are invited by one of the members.

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Thirteenth hole par four at De Pan.

Hopefully next week I will play better than I have recently (pull my iron shots badly to the left or drive duck hooks off of the tee), but most importantly I will take the next few days to relax and prepare myself mentally.

| Golf | 0 Comments

This is how it all started, little did I realize the consequences of my carelessness.

Last week Thursday, I was late for the train home and ran as quickly as I could to try and catch it. Normally a brisk fifteen minute walk, I dashed at full speed and covered the same distance in half that time. This turned out not to be a very great idea. Carrying my heavy leather bag dangling from the right shoulder didn't help things out either. At the last possible moment when the train doors started to slide shut I hurled myself through the opening. My back was jerked out of place in a split-second forceful thud of gravity as my left foot landed inside. Oops and ouch.

Not being able to get out of bed is a bizarre and slightly frightful experience. Fortunately, I have a fantastic nurse for a wife who knows all the ins and outs of patient care, including the helping hands pulling me out of bed as well as the administration of the proper types and doses of pain killers.

Of course I was in complete denial. I'm alright just a little stiff is all. You see, all year long I had been looking forward so much to playing in this famous Rotterdam Open Golf Tournament. I was even entertaining exotic fantasies that I could very well win this thing, and was not about to let some stupid back problem get in my way.

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Little did I know then that I'd never finish because of stupid back problems.

Didn't play that great, but considering the situation (could only swing with my arms with severely limited back rotation) I managed to make the cut by shooting a conservative 39+37=76 (one double bogie but no birdies).

That evening proved to be fairly unbearable, and even my macho brain had to give in to the pain. After all, you need to listen to your body's warning system and accept things once in awhile. Or not?

In the end, it was very hard for me to give in but I was forced to cancel the round with tears in my eyes. Let another happy and healthier soul from the reserve list take my place and appreciate it.

Next weekend is the second most important golf tournament of my golf club, and I do not want to risk missing that because of my being too hard-headed and stubborn.

Hopefully I can get out of bed tomorrow morning and make it to work.

| Golf | 0 Comments

Looks like I've qualified to be able to play in the International Dutch Senior Open this year.

The tournament will take place July 9 - 11 at the prestigious De Pan golfclub, one of the nicest golf courses in The Netherlands.

Here's the email invitation I received today:

Dear players,

Hereby you receive the participation list for the International Dutch Senior Open 2015 at Utrechtse Golfclub de Pan.

http://archief.ngf.nl/static/uploads/2015ngfwedstrijden/idsodeelnemers2015.pdf

We are looking forward to a great tournament!
Met vriendelijke groeten,
NEDERLANDSE GOLF FEDERATIE

Can't wait to play.

| Family and friends | 0 Comments

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Welcome to the real world, Liam!

At exactly 7:06 this morning, I became an official grandpa for the first time. The new baby boy weighed in at a healthy 3638 grams (8 pounds), and his name is Liam Lennart.

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| Vacation | 0 Comments

We had a fantastic trip to Andalusia, Spain. We stayed in fancy hotels and traveled by car to the following places: Granada, Cordoba, Jerez, Seville, Ronda, Mijas and Malaga.

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Check out the photo album

| Vacation | 0 Comments

This is where we are spending our thirtieth wedding anniversary together. Actually, today also marks thirty-five years when we first met which is also a life changing moment for both of us. We couldn't have chosen a better spot to celebrate. This is where we first met.

| Golf | 0 Comments

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I managed to defend my title and I am very happy to have won it again two years in a row with a fantastic first round (after which my handicap dipped to an all time low of 4.2 but only for a day) followed by two so-so rounds: 74+83+83=240.

| Internet | 0 Comments

Yesterday I was lucky and by chance happened to discover that the domain name kiffin.nl was available. So without blinking an eye I claimed it immediately.

For the time being until I figure out a better way to use it, this future famous website can now be reached using that domain name as well.

I've been waiting a long time now for the kiffin.com domain name to become free. Currently it points to an ugly and boring website which hasn't changed in ten years and doesn't do justice to my honorable name.

I have to wait patiently and hope that I can claim it in the not so distant future.

| Music | 0 Comments

Planet Claire has pink air
All the trees are red
No one ever dies there
No one has a head

– The B-52's

| Golf | 0 Comments

For some unknown and crazy reason, I have been unable to putt anymore. This has lasted a few months now, and no matter what I try I cannot shake it off. On average I miss two to four putts per round within just a couple feet. This is driving me crazy and I am desperate to discover what the root cause is. Yes I've got the putting yips and would give anything to find the cure. More than likely there is something loose in my head, some kind of mental block and nothing more. No matter how many extra hours I train on the practice green, it doesn't help at all. C'mon, just loosen up and relax. Stroke the ball confidently straight into the hole in one smooth pendulum-like motion. Do not doubt, just do stand up and address the ball like a man and do it. Time to fill my mind not with what I do not want the ball to do but what I want the ball to do.

Mantra: straight back, straight through and roll it into the middle of the hole.

| Music | 0 Comments

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Remember this album? I must have listened to it at least a million times as a freshman. Love it still.

Now it's a long dark road. Yes, a long dark road. And you know I loved you. Yes, you know I loved you ...

| Agile and scrum | 0 Comments

In his book Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change For Your Technology Business, David Anderson comes up with a a so-called recipe for success.

Basically, it is an ordered list of key steps for the starting technical function manager to follow in order to create positive change and make progress quickly in a volatile and chaotic environment.

The recipe for success looks like this:

  • Focus on quality
  • Reduce work-in-progress
  • Deliver often
  • Balance demand against throughput
  • Prioritize
  • Attack sources of variability to improve predictability
| Golf | 0 Comments

behind-a-tree.png I had a pretty good drive but it was a little bit too far and ended up right behind a tree. The ball was leaning right against the trunk and to make my shot even more impossible the ball had settled right between two roots which radiated out from the trunk like two thick octopus legs. I felt pretty frustrated but upon closer look I noticed something very special. Despite my actions and random thoughts about what club to use, the tree was there in total acceptance in all its natural glory. The bark consisted of curls and other intricate patterns, and other pieces of life like purple and green moss, hundreds of little insects and other beings running around in the minuscule universe. Managed to chip safely into the fairway and par the hole. Have a closer look yourself by clicking on the image at the left.


| Work and play | 0 Comments

Looks like it's back to getting up early again, well actually not that early. It's a great feeling having work and a new purpose in life. Much better than sleeping late and having nothing to do all day but golfing and hanging around the house. Tons of new stuff to learn, but like I always say proudly: I am never too old to learn new stuff.

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Waiting for the train.

The total travel time is: 10 minutes by bike, 5 minutes wait for train, 40 minutes in the train plus 15 minute walk to the office equals 70 minutes, 40 minutes of which I can relax and read a book in the train, so not that bad I guess.

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Walking from the train station to work.

Being so busy the whole day takes some getting used to, but I can really appreciate my free time now like enjoying the evenings and playing golf in the weekend. My golf game is suffering but let's stop taking this sport so seriously and enjoy it as an extra form of entertainment.

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This is the building where I work.

| Spiritual | 1 Comment

Never underestimate the powers of your Buddha shrine. Every time I pass this treasured spot in my house, I let my body and mind absorb its spiritual and healing force. Just a slight glance is sufficient, a moment in time, a sliver of thought.

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| Work and play | 1 Comment

Looks like it's back to work for me. After a short period on the dole, I've managed to get myself hired as a release manager at Blokker Holding in Amsterdam. They've launched a new state-of-the-art ecommerce platform called Nextail and I will be responsible for the software releases. As I always say, you're never too old to learn new stuff.

| Philosophy and poetry | 0 Comments

Welcome to our Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy. The goal of our course is to demonstrate that mathematical methods can be as useful in philosophy as they are in the sciences.

Sounds pretty interesting, so I'll try it out and see how far I get. Hopefully by the end of the course I too will be able to use such mathematical methods in order to acquire more philosophical insight.

Here's a useful reference to keep me going: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

| Golf | 3 Comments

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Thijs, Maurits, Jeroen, Danny, Erik and Kiffin.

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Information

This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2193 entries and as many as 1876 comments.

Important events

Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

Believe it or not but I am 10-11-1957 young.

Began well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.