| History | 0 Comments

Whether you want to admit it or not, each and every one of us is in one way or the other an important part of creating never-ending events in world history.

Your immediate surroundings and time frame are both within a powerful sphere of influence.

All thoughts and actions cause a massive avalanche of side effects scattering outwards as far as the eye can see.

If you look carefully you can just discern the subtle ripples which are expanding out towards the distant horizon.

Not only do you create the world around you, but you also influence the direction of the ripples and the end result which was always meant to happen.


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| Zarafa | 0 Comments

Zarafa is looking for a top-notch JavaScript visionary to help strengthen our Software Development Team in Delft, The Netherlands.

You are the driving force behind designing and implementing the latest and greatest web-based technologies. You focus on the Zarafa WebApp which is an important flagship product for the future. Through self-initiative and working openly within a creative team of similar minds, you introduce new and exciting improvements to the application architecture. JavaScript MVC frameworks, performance optimizations, authentication and authorization, internationalization, browser compatibility issues and plugin frameworks are second nature to you. Your playground is HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Apache and MySQL, and you have good insight into architecture.

As a Senior Developer you not only take part in the Zarafa development team, but you also improve the way we use distributed agile and scrum development, continuous delivery, modern tooling and software processes. You actively interact as architect discussing issues with testing, product managers and technical support. You act as our technology diplomat for our international development teams in India and Brazil. Your assignment, should you dare take on this exciting challenge, will carry you on to new heights and provide the next quantum leap of your career.

More info ...


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| Family and friends | 0 Comments

Lennart-Gish-23yrsKiffin-Gish-20yrs.pngMaarten-Gish-19yrs.png

Each one is about the age of twenty or so, but who is who?


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| Music | 0 Comments

I saw the movie and I read the book
But when it happened to me
I sure was glad I had what it took
To get away.

– Sedan Delivery, Neil Young


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| Golf | 0 Comments

The beauty of golf is that even after years and years of experience you still can learn something new every day. Here's a tip I happened to pick up while watching golf on the television.

When you are in the sand trap and the sand is soft, it's recommended that you dig into the sand by wiggling your feet to sink down and get a firmer stance. A subtle side effect of this approach is that you end up slightly deeper below the ball compared to a normal stance on firm ground.

In order to compensate this sinking below the ball you need to adjust your grip by choking down slightly, resulting in an inch or two to the top of the grip being exposed above your left hand.

For optimal effect this distance should be exactly equal to the amount your feet have sunk down in the sand. You take a normal swing except that you're gripping lower and the arc is at a sharper angle. You need to strike the ball at the point just above the spot where the level of sand meets the surface of the ball.

Hitting a ball smoothly out of a sand trap taking just the right amount of sand with it is a fantastic feeling.

Kiffin-Sand-Trap.png


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| Technical stuff | 0 Comments

The key to faster technological progress is the more widespread use of free software. While computers and the Internet have already changed many aspects of our lives, we still live in the dark ages of computing because proprietary software is still the dominant model.

After the Software Wars by Keith Curtis


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| Agile and scrum | 0 Comments

definition-of-done.png

This is what I recently posted next to the front door for all of my team members to see whenever they walk in or out of the room. For me it is imperative that everyone realize what the true definition of done is. That way we can better refrain from cutting corners and releasing stuff too early. Basically it is a simple and straight forward checklist to help us do our work better by avoiding the most common pitfalls of software development.


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| Golf | 0 Comments

2nd-hole-early-morning.png

Ideal climate early March inspired me to get up extra early on a Sunday morning to play a round of golf by myself. Too bad I bogied three of the first four holes, but the wonderful nature around me soothed away the slight disappoints. For the first time this year a double-bogie-less round, no birdies though. In total seven bogies and the rest pars for a 39+39=78.


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| Golf | 0 Comments

Early morning and ready to head out to the golf course. The morning weather is perfect and the sky is blue. After my shower I'm feeling energetic and am only slightly stiffer than usual. I bend down slowly and reach out with my right arm, the goal being to lift up the carry bag containing my clothes. Before my hand gets even half way, something in the lower right half of my back pops. Just above the hip towards my third lumbar. Or is it my second lumbar? Feels like it makes some sound, but I do not hear anything. I think oops and freeze in mid-air afraid to move any further. The pain has not yet been triggered, but it will come. I slowly stand back up and then it hits me. Oops double whammy this time. I was really looking forward to a great round of golf and look at me now. Oh well, better luck next time. Four days later and the soreness is receding somewhat, but I still need to be careful. Next weekend I'll be ready to go and shoot a record round of golf.


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| Way of life | 0 Comments

One may wonder what the evolutionary advantage would for being negative in life. Complaining and criticizing at the drop of a hat, blaming others and denigrating your neighbors for no other reason except that they are not exactly the same as you. I am often amazed at how many grumpy and negative people there are out there. Giving up because of obstacles which are not their fault. The food is awful, it costs too much, you cannot trust that guy, what a bunch of snobs, can you believe how stupid she is. Being fixated on how unfair life is and shunning a loving and caring God above because life sucks. Many people thrive on complaining and criticizing, energizing themselves by greedily sucking in that dark energy, hating all around as if their survival depended on it. An outside observer would conclude that this is a necessary mode of human instinct, introduced after millions of years evolution so that the human race can last through tragedy and other terrible events. This could very well be the most important reason why civilization has existed to this very day despite the contrary. Looking back through history, there are many examples of irrational behavior supporting this theory. A good excuse for going to war and destroying your enemies. Distracting the attention away from internal strife and insecurity by unfairly projecting your weaknesses on others, because you are too weak to admit it yourself. Do not look at me because I am pointing at the truly evil one standing over there. See what I mean, it's all their fault not mine.


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| Family and friends | 0 Comments

Today we packed up all of Sabien's belongings into the car, drove up to Amsterdam and helped her move into her new student apartment.

Sabien-student-room.png

Although I felt somewhat sad and know I will miss her very much, I am also very happy for her. She is moving on with her life, becoming independent from us and growing quickly into a young woman we are proud of.

She is the third one to move out of the house. Lennart in the west (The Hague), Marlies in the south (Maastricht) and now Sabien in the north (Amsterdam).

Only one more to go, so I will cherish the time with Maarten while I can.


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| Philosophy and poetry | 0 Comments
five-elements-of-effective-thinking.png

Here are the five elements of effective thinking:

  • Understand deeply (earth)
  • Fail to succeed (fire)
  • Be your own Socrates (air)
  • Look back, look forward (water)
  • Transform yourself (quintessential)

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking


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| Music | 2 Comments

I could be happy the rest of my life with a cinnamon girl.


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| Thought | 0 Comments

What are the odds of waking up in the middle of night and seeing exactly 3:33 on the alarm clock on your bed stand?

Let's assume that you normally go to bed and fall asleep around eleven in the evening and get up around seven in the morning when the alarm goes off.

That comes out to eight times sixty times sixty which equals 28800 seconds that you are sleeping.

In order to make the calculation simpler, let's also assume that you wake up only once in the night.

Therefore, the chance of waking up at exactly a given time (this case 3:33) is one in 28800 which equals 0.003472%.

Okay that may seem like a pretty good calculation, but wait. For those not paying close attention, I've made a fundamental error in my calculations.

Actually, the exact time of 3:33 is in minutes and not in seconds. So upon correction we've got eight times sixty which equals 480 minutes that you are sleeping.

One in 480 equals 0.20% which is a much greater possibility. Normally when I wake up it's not evenly spread across the whole night but usually between let's say 1:30 and 5:00, which isn't 480 seconds but is 210. One in 210 equals 0.47%.

Life is never what you expect it to be, and sloppy calculations make things much worse if you are too careless.


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| Music | 1 Comment

Maarten-exclusive-interview.png

My future-famous son makes the front cover of the electronic dance music magazine.


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| Music | 0 Comments

"Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 21st century..."


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| Golf | 0 Comments

Looks like I will not be playing golf today. Once again the golf course is closed because of the rain. Perhaps I will go there anyway after lunch to hit some balls since it is important that I keep in form. I cannot wait until the climate improves and I can play as much golf as I want, asides from my work of course. Goal this year is to get my game down and halving my current handicap to a three. I wonder if I can manage that. There's a good chance that it can happen if I persevere and keep a positive attitude.


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| Computers and stuff | 0 Comments

When I first got my new Thinkpad T431s up and running, I was all excited about having such a blazingly fast machine at my fingertips.

However, when I started using VirtualBox, I was disappointed how sluggish it ran when trying to install virtual machines. Initially I thought it had to do with SSD, and to no avail I tried various system setting tweaks to improve performance.

There are also a number of settings in VirtualBox that you can play around with, like different chipsets (PIIX3 was the older default option whereas ICH9 supports the more modern machines) and enabling I/O APIC (required for 64-bit guest operating systems, and if you want to use more than one virtual CPU in a virtual machine), but none of that helped either.

This morning I had a flash of insight. Perhaps virtualization isn't enabled in the BIOS, let's go and have a look. On boot I hit the Enter-key, paged my way to the security section and lo-and-behold the VT-d feature was turned off. I quickly enabled it, saved my changes and booted.

Installed CentOS 6.5 within ten minutes, and now it's running like a charm.

virtualbox-centos65.png


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| Agile and scrum | 0 Comments

Technical debt is a very bad thing for software development. As time passes, the more debt you collect and the worse things get. Before you realize it, you have accrued tons of interest. Your whole life starts getting bogged down. You find yourself in an impossible situation, slowly sinking deeper and deeper into the pool of quicksand. Your nose is barely above the surface, and you are taking your last desperate gasps of air. This is often a very cruel disease that sneaks up on you when you least expect it. A good example is trying to maintain legacy code. Or pushing new functionality atop a product that is not yet ripe for change. Focusing too deeply at the details in bug-fixing mode and not spending enough time looking at the whole picture will eventually cause much havoc and suffering.

More often than not, this is caused by doing too much too quickly and having to cut corners in order to achieve impossible deadlines. If you prefer it, you can just keep on sweeping the leftover dirt and dust under the carpet, as if nothing is happening. Sooner or later small bumps will appear and grow larger until they become impossible to hide. You reach a point in time when you cannot keep on ignoring these bumps. Even if everyone else seems to be ignoring them. Human nature blinds us when the so-called more important short-term goals are threatening our comfort zone, and we sacrifice the more important long-term survival for quick satisfaction. Our chances of surviving from one day to the next decrease pretty drastically.

Please, do not cut corners or you will be very sorry in the end. Step back, take a breather and do something before it is too late. Have the courage to speak up and make the world around you aware of it's folly. Unless of course you prefer to sink below the surface of quicksand at an early age, it's up to you really.


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| Work and play | 0 Comments

Zarafa.png
My new job is at Zarafa in Delft.

Here is my first release.


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| Golf | 0 Comments

This afternoon was my first shank free day on the driving range, hurray and congratulations. Glad to have finally shaken off those obnoxious shanks, that's for sure. Not that it was getting that bad, but every time I went to the driving range to hit my usual three buckets of balls, I managed to shank several shots. My goal then was to have a shank-free practice session for the first time this year. I was down to one to two shanks, and a couple times it even came down to the very last few balls. The previous time things were going exceptionally well, but the unexpected hosel clunker abruptly ruined my day with just a couple of balls to go. This afternoon however it was a different story. I got more and more nervous as I reached the last few balls. To make matters worse, it was very cold outside. Shivering made me that much more instable and inaccurate, on the verge of shanking at any second. But one for one I swung that mighty swing and completed a shankless afternoon.


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| Way of life | 0 Comments

We are now all one happy family again. Due most porbably to very intensive usage by all members of our family over a period of two plus years, our previous coffee machine (Gaggia Titanium) kept breaking down. We sent it in several times to get repaired, and finally on the fourth return followed by gentle complaining on our side, they were nice enough give in to our urgings and replace it with a brand-new nicer version (Gaggia Accademia).

Gaggia-coffee-machine.png
Gaggia Accademia


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| Golf | 2 Comments

In my childhood days, my father would often bring me out to the golf course to play a father and son round of golf. In particular, I remember quite well the Salinas Golf and Country Club. We were members there and my father kept his own fancy electric golf cart in a large shed out back.

The 5th hole was a long 175 yard par three with a steep downhill drop of around 75 feet, an out-of-bounds fence on the left past which a bunch of straggling cows meandered around in an arid meadow. In front of the tee box, there were a bunch of trees in the way, so you had to launch the ball high enough in order to clear the tree tops. In those days I was a big slicer and hit the ball low, so this hole was especially challenging for me. Most of the time I'd hit my ball right into a tree or just graze the top and have the ball swatted down to the ground with a thud. I had never hit that green in regulation with my father, and standing on the tee box I was especially nervous.

I dearly wanted to prove my worthiness, that indeed I had become a true golfer, in my father's eyes a hero of exceptional qualities. To make matters worse, my father occasinally prodded me on with a challenge. He said that if I hit the green he would give me five dollars. Wow, five dollars! Back in those days you could buy a popsicle for a dime (ten cents) and a can of Coke for a quarter (twenty-five cents), so five whole dollars seemed like an amazing amount of money to me, true riches beyond imagination.

This challenge where winning money was the name of the game made me extra nervous, drastically decreasing the chances of me hitting the ball very well at all.

My arms and legs felt rubbery and my swing became weak and sluggish due to the extra pressure. However, this process proved to be an excellent proving ground for me, honing my skills of concentration under pressure. Then one day it happened. I teed my ball up extra high, aimed to the left of the hole right along the out-of-bounds fence, and managed to make a mighty swing.

Whack!

The little white ball flew high and disappeared into the sky. Way over the trees. Instead of slicing like it always did, the ball had the sweetest little fade you could imagine. Once launched into the celestial realm, it was now in God's hands.

The trajectory was mathematical in form, that natural parabola to which the laws of nature and physics constrain ball flight. Things looked very promising. Bounce, bounce and bounce, and the ball rolled right up onto the front of the green. I did it! From that day on, my father called me the "Sweet Swatter" a title which I carried proudly and with honor.

Even to this day when I have an especially tricky shot under pressure and need to concentrate, I remember the good old "Sweet Swatter" days which (more often than not) helps me play much better.


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| Computers and stuff | 0 Comments

ubuntu-on-thinkpad-t431s.png

Here's proof that I got Ubuntu 13.10 installed and running on my new Thinkpad T431s.


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| Computers and stuff | 0 Comments

I decided to give the Computer Networks | Coursera online course another go. This is an excellent course anyone can take for free. Last year I tried and made it through about half way, but due to time constraints was unable to complete it. I already know a lot about network technology and the Internet, but a refresher course like this will give me a broader overview and provide insights to the latest changes.

computer-networks.png


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| Music | 0 Comments

Old man lying
by the side of the road
With the lorries rolling by,
Blue moon sinking
from the weight of the load
And the buildings scrape the sky,
Cold wind ripping
down the alley at dawn
And the morning paper flies,
Dead man lying
by the side of the road
With the daylight in his eyes.

Don't let it bring you down
It's only castles burning,
Find someone who's turning
And you will come around.

Blind man running
through the light
of the night
With an answer in his hand,
Come on down
to the river of sight
And you can really understand,
Red lights flashing
through the window
in the rain,
Can you hear the sirens moan?
White cane lying
in a gutter in the lane,
If you're walking home alone.

Don't let it bring you down
It's only castles burning,
Just find someone who's turning
And you will come around.

Don't let it bring you down
It's only castles burning,
Just find someone who's turning
And you will come around.

-- Neil Young (video)


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| Programming | 0 Comments

Completed and solved my first problem of the year. I know that today is only the first day of the year, but why wait when there are so many interesting challenges to pursue in life? Here is what I encountered on the RubyMonk website.

Problem Statement:
Given a 3 or 4 digit number with distinct digits, return a sorted array of all the unique numbers than can be formed with those digits.

Example:
Given: 123
Return: [123, 132, 213, 231, 312, 321]

My solution:

def number_shuffle(number)
  number.to_s.split(//).permutation.to_a.map {|a| a.join.to_i }
end

Tutorial solution:

def number_shuffle(number)
  no_of_combinations = number.to_s.size == 3 ? 6 : 24
  digits = number.to_s.split(//)
  combinations = []
  combinations << digits.shuffle.join.to_i while combinations.uniq.size!=no_of_combinations
  combinations.uniq.sort
end

My solution is not only conciser but in my opinion more elegant as well. Applying Occam's razor principle here, I'll let you decide for yourself


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| Meaning of life | 0 Comments

Hey it's the last day of two thousand and thirteen. Tomorrow it will be two thousand and fourteen. When I was a kid, the future seemed to be eons away. Once just for fun I calculated how old I would be on new year's day in the year two thousand. I'd be an ancient forty-two years old, can you believe that?! We would all communicate using these Dick Tracey walkie-talkie watches. Traveling would be a snap in flying machines just like on The Jetsons, and everyone would have their own personal robot assistant to do menial chores, like cleaning up the house and doing the shopping for you. Only slightly disappointed in progress, past that magical two thousand mark, thirteen years on and more than half a lifetime further, life goes on as usual.


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| Computers and stuff | 0 Comments

After nearly six years, I've finally decided to renew my life by purchasing a new laptop. Portable 14-inch, 8GB, 256GB SSD SATA3, i7-CPU. After I ordered it, I happened to come across a number of negative reviews, mostly complaining about the screen (anti-glare) and so-called lousy resolution (1600x900), terrible touchpad (5-finger), etc. The problem nowadays is that everything is being compared to the state-of-the-art ultrabooks which are way too expensive for me. Many people say that it doesn't look sexy and it still has an old-fashioned vga connector (shame on them). The smaller screens may have higher resolution and better contrast for browsing the web. I need a slightly larger screen so that I can read comfortably if for instance I want to sit downstairs. When in my study room I can hook it up anyway to my fancy 23-inch high-resolution screen so such a shortcoming doesn't matter. Besides, I prefer a solid and dependable machine that will last. For me it's more than sexy enough.

lenovo-thinkpad-t431s.jpg
Lenovo ThinkPad T431s


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| Golf | 0 Comments

I had not touched a golf club for more than three weeks. My last round of golf was such a disaster that I decided that I needed a long rest from the frustrations of golf in order to recover. My life nearly ended on the fifth hole where an easy chip-and-run punch to the green for a possible birdie, transformed itself in a wink of the eye into a needless shank into the water. What followed (sand-trap, sand-trap, over-the-green, over-the-green, chip-and-putt) was a quadruple bogie nine. To make things even worse, a double-bogie six on the next easy par four sealed my fate, and I decided to quit golf, sell my clubs and give the money to some charity.

So it was with some trepidation that I went to the club yesterday afternoon and started my rehabilitation on the driving range. I feared for the worse, and after a short warm up I grabbed my wedge and went for it. Okay recovery, take care of me please. Surprisingly the club made pretty good contact with the ball and I was hitting close to the hundred meter marker. Then I slowly and surely went up the range of irons onto the woods and then at last my good old driver. Not bad, not bad at all.

After three buckets of balls, only two half-shanks and most other shots between the good to excellent range, I felt pretty good. There is still hope. It is all mental anyway, whether I practice or not. Practicing is always good but without a healthy demeanor and solid frame of mind, you can only attain a so-so level of golf.


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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 2067 entries and as many as 1860 comments.

Important events

I graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

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

I first met Thea 6-14-1980 ago.

This blog came into existence 7-21-2001 ago.

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

I began my well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.