Month: May 2007

"At first, a theory better explains an event in the world, but then, as more details are calculated with it, it breaks because it can't account for some events or predicts results that are different from observed values. Eventually, as more and more 'defects' are found with an existing theory, these defects give rise to a crisis that is only resolved by a new theory which explains and accounts for the observed phenomena. Software development does not escape this historical evolution."

- Agile Software Development with Scrum, Ken Schwaber.

The trick is getting things to work like they are supposed to work, but that can be a real challenge. Remain adaptive, flexible in many regards, and aware that unpredictable events may define things slightly differently than originally planned.

After having reread the first book of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman I gained much momentum and finished the whole trilogy within a week. Truly a fantastic story. Too bad that Lyra and Will had in the end to be separated from each other for the good of the future of humanity but I guess that was bound to happen considering events between worlds and the way they were supposed to overlap.The subtle knife gets broken (purposely) and there is no turning back, but the dust ceases to drift for no reason at all and all openings to other worlds are sealed off for the sake of keeping history under control.

So why the heck was my mouse wheel causing the Firefox browser to move back/forward in history when I hit the top/bottom of the page?

This aggravating action has been bugging me for some time now, so you can imagine how relieved I was when I found the solution.

In summary, here is what I had to do:

  • Open up the settings page by typing about:config in the address bar and pressing Enter.
  • Filter on the word 'mousewheel'.
  • Select mousewheel.horizscroll.withnokey.action with the mouse.
  • Click using right mouse button and select Modify from the drop-down list.
  • Change the value from 2 to 1

What a relief now that I can whiz my way up and down the page with the mouse wheel without worrying anymore.

Here's a pretty interesting article about the history of TomTom and its amazing product portfolio.

Hey that's where I work (therefore upping the chances greatly that TomTom will be able to maintain its lucrative market advantage on the road ahead, every little bit helps that is)

The Panopticon is a type of prison which is designed such that the observer can see what all of the prisoners are doing without the prisoners being able to know whether or not they are being observed, thus conveying a "sentiment of an invisible omniscience."

So there you are in a prison who knows where worrying whether or not someone is watching but trying to carry on business as usual. Is this possible? Probably.

Not that life is a prison not exactly at least but you never know. People may be watching or not, and who cares about some invisible omniscience, unless of course you are religious and wondering if things will turn out better than you expected.

No prison is permanent. You are the one and only one watching yourself, not being observed by others, only being observed by yourself.

Maybe we might think that we are in prison, but in reality we are not.

Breaking out of this so-called self-imposed imaginary prison is not such a big deal, probably because it is pretty much a mental thing, Close your eyes and open them again, and everything returns back to normal.

Or so one hopes...

Yesterday this giant gorilla escaped from his cage at the local zoo, running around on a rampage and injuring a couple innocent bystanders before being drugged and carried away.


Very reflective of human nature in that each and every one of us has a hidden gorilla inside of us trying to escape. We try to subdue this inner gorilla but it does not always work. When he escapes there is no more holding back, so beware not only for yourself but for those around you as well.

Alright so it is the true owner of the subtle knife who has the unique ability to cut through the thin fabric separating one universe from the other, allowing you to enter one of the infinite other worlds running parallel to ours.

This is a powerful and treacherous tool which needs to be used solely by the wise, otherwise the worlds will be destroyed many times over, for no reason at all.

Do not let this powerful tool get into the hands of the undeserving, for that will be the end of us all, no matter how hard we try to make things happen otherwise.

That is the reason that the child named Will has taken it upon himself to make sure that things happen like they were always meant to be.

"But Will knew without the slightest doubt that that patch on the other side was in a different world..."

This will not prove to be a very easy task, but as readers of this endearing piece of fiction, we remain glued to the edge of our seats in the hopes that good will prevail.

We will just have to be patient and wait.

So there you are wandering around not knowing precisely where you are. Help, where am I?!

Well, thanks to modern technology there is hope. Locating your exact position so that you can conduct matters as expected, efficiently moving on like you never could have imagined, knowing the surroundings and taking advantage of the many possibilities, that's what it is all about.

This is because Web map service a.k.a. WMS comes to the rescue. Nicely said, you know where you are, that's the important thing for now.

For more detailed and interesting information, you might want to check out Ambient Findability.

Just installed Ubuntu on my new laptop from work. Within a flash and without a single hitch. Never expected Linux to be so easy to install.

So this is what I did. I simply added gnome_enable="TRUE" in my /etc/rc.conf file. Now everything works just fine now.

Don't forget to include the following lines in the same order, namely:


Also, in order to disable all that accounting stuff, I added the following line:


When in doubt about these kind of aggravating issues a good place to visit is the web page at FreeBSD GNOME Project: GNOME 2.18 FAQ.

There I was walking with my youngest son Maarten, and it was a slightly cloudy day with the wind hissing through the many leaves in the trees surrounding us right and left along the path we were pursuing together.

Interesting sound, though it didn't quite sound like what one would expect wind through trees should sound like.

"Suppose you are sleeping," I asked him, "and you suddenly wake up in the dark not knowing where you are?"

"You wake up and hear this sound," and I pointed to the many leaves in the trees hissing and swaying, "would you know what kind of sound it was?"

"Could be a flock of locusts, or a bunch of waves crashing down on the beach, or clouds of dust scraping the dry asphalt, or anything else for that matter."

After less than a split second of rumination, Maarten turned to me and said innocently, "sounds like just a bunch of leaves to me..."

I realized then and there that it would take several more years before my son would mature enough to appreciate the nonsense of philosophy that distracts my mind from the messed up reality on a daily basis.

Twenty years ago to this very day I became the proud father of my first child, a wonderful son of whom I have become very fond and thankful.

One of the most important dates of my whole life.

My son is now a man, ready to tackle the many challenges in life. I send him off into the real world with love, understanding and confidence (with my fingers crossed behind my back).

My first day at my new work went fairly well. There is much to learn and many new people to meet. My initial impressions of this fine company are more positive than I could have imagined a couple weeks ago after my first interview.

Young, dynamic, spontaneously informal, comfortably formal, ready for the challenge, let's achieve things as a team and make it happen. Energy that's can be tapped to achieve amazing goals.

The latest and greatest technology will take a while for me to become comfortable with, but slowly and surely this should be the case within a couple weeks or so.

Here in Holland one refers to Mother's Day as "moederdag", without the letter s.

I keep calling it "moedersdag", with the letter s like it is called in English, but this is wrong.

For the life of me I cannot remember this subtle difference of a single letter, and keep on pronouncing it incorrectly.

"Moedersdag," sorry. I mean: Moederdag, moederdag, moederdag!

This month I have been to the fitness center eleven of the twelve days, each time rewarding myself with a nice hot sauna and a good sweat.

Slowly but surely I have been improving myself on the treadmill, making yet another record today. At a slope of 0.5 degrees, I ran a hefty 3.82 kilometers (2.29 miles) in 18 minutes.

Why 18 minutes?

Well, back in the good old days when I was younger and fitter, I would go for 21 minutes (one minute more than twenty just for the heck of it). Just recently getting back in shape I started at 16 minutes, and when that became too easy I moved up a 2-minute notch to 18 minutes.

Makes sense doesn't it?

Maybe some day in the not so distant future I will be back up to the 21 minutes level, but we will just have to wait and see how that goes (don't want to give myself a premature heart attack by accident for the sake of achieving stupid records).

Got my ears cleaned out again at the doctor's office, my yearly activity to fight the inevitable collection of waxy substance that slowly but surely impairs my hearing.

Sorry, what did you say?!

I think I can hear much more clearly now, but am not quite sure. Someone over there folding a piece of paper, subtle scraping sounds of a leaf along the sidewalk, a dog barking way off in the distance.

Much better, thanks.

Starting next week I will be re-acclimating myself to the life of official commuter, traveling to and from Amsterdam on a daily basis.

Total travel time will be minimally: 2 x (10 minutes by bike + 42 minutes by train + 3 minutes by metro + 4 minutes by foot) = 118 minutes, not counting waiting and possible delays.

One of the advantages of sitting so long in the train as compared to sitting in the car in one of the daily traffic jams is that I can finally catch up on the huge backlog of books I have collected in the last couple of years.

We'll just have to wait and see how things turn out.

Are you getting just as worried as I am about the future of Internet radio and all those crazy rulings that the government is trying to impose in favor of the greedy and unrealistic music industry monopolies?

If your answer is YES, then perhaps you should help do something about it.

Save Internet radio now!

"Beneath this colossal fortress, fires glared and furnaces smoked in the darkness of early dawn, and from many miles away Ruta Skadi heard the clang of hammers and the pounding of great mills. And from every direction, she could see more flights of angels winging towards it, and not only angels, but machines too: steel-winged craft gliding like albatrosses, glass cabins under flickering dragonfly-wings, droning zeppelins like huge bumble bees — all making for the fortress that Lord Asriel was building on the mountains at the edge of the world."

from The Subtle Knife (chapter 6: Lighted Fliers) by Philip Pullman

Today is a time to celebrate life in true style by taking my family out to the restaurant Friends.

They claim to offer real original American food, like: Texas Panhandle, The Alamo, Colorado Rapids, Tex Mex and Vegas.

This should prove to be an interesting experience for an American in Holland eating American food ala "Route 66" made by a Dutch cook in the little village of Reeuwijk-Dorp located in the middle of nowhere.

The name Aleph comes from a fictional point of singularity described by Jorge Luis Borges as "a point in space that contains all other points. Anyone who gazes into it can see everything in the universe from every angle simultaneously, without distortion, overlapping or confusion".

See also:

Once again we had decided to make an appointment in order to discuss how events had progressed since the previous time we had met.

Mutual goals, comparing, the differences between then and now. Had it already been nearly one year ago? Maybe more.

When I arrived at the meeting place, the smell of damp wood and uncertain swirls on the floor, I was surprised to be confronted with a visage that had aged much more than the year that had passed. Was this the same person or not?

During the meeting before, he had confessed to me in a confidential moment between silences that although he had not aged for many many years, the next year would bring forth an acceleration of growing older, more and more quickly. Nothing to be concerned about. Or not?

I took my seat next to him and we shook hands. Just let it be. The dying part was about to begin.

Alright then, so let's discuss how events had progressed, the objectives we had predefined and described so clearly on paper, how far each of us had been able to proceed.

When he ripped the pen out of my hand I thought he was about to draw down something meaningful, say on one of the two yellowish napkins lying between us, but that was not to be.

Instead, he used the pen as a kind of pointer, aimed at the most upper left-hand corner of the room, saying nothing for a minute and then uttering something I couldn't quite understand.


I said that the next time we meet it will have to be in this same place, and then we will finally have something meaningful to discuss.

Alright, see you next year. Or even later perhaps.

You can imagine my extreme frustration when upon nearly completing a brand new record run on the treadmill with only twenty seconds to go that I accidentally hit the stop button instead of the increase speed button. I was really on high carrying on the momentum of a fast-paced tempo, and felt sure that yet another record would hit the dust. Oh well, maybe next time.

Who could have ever expected that within one week I would lose one job and find another?

Turns out there there is still hope out there, sometimes when you least expect it.

Random entries

Here are some random entries that you might be interested in:

Recent Comments

  • Long time no see: I remember them, as well. I remember Donald was my ...
    - Charles
  • Bridge to the moon: Yes it was a drawing and my older brother told me ...
    - jpmcfarlane
  • Bridge to the moon: Wow, that's quite a coincidence that we both sent ...
    - Kiffin
  • Bridge to the moon: Hello I was in my teens when Gemini 4 went up that ...
    - jpmcfarlane
  • Back to work: Congratulations Kiffin, I hope it is something you ...
    - KathleenC

Golf Handicap


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 2498 entries and as many as 1877 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.

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

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

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

My mother passed away 3-27-2018 ago.

Started Gishtech 04-25-2016 ago.