Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds

The European vote help gave this as the party most close to my opinions together with the local Dutch Green Party and the Neweuropeans.

(I was taught Dutch, English, German, French and some Latin. Strange that it is easier to understand Catalan/Spanish than French, of which I forgot a lot.)

Free George!!!

Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, Greek: Γεώργιος Κυριάκος Παναγιώτου, born 25 June 1963, best known as George Michael the two-time Grammy Award winning English singer-songwriter, is in prison again!

Dutch / the crackhouse

Sign the petition at www.freegeorge.nl.

M. Ward Chinese Translation

Favourite album of the moment: M Ward, Transfiguration of Vincent.


Store Wars

The Store Wars by thenelaware

I am sure there is a message, somewhere...

Music is the Message


Angst is not a Weltanschauung

Since his 1999 debut, Poploops for Breakfast, B. Fleischmann, the Austrian-born minimalist, has struggled to keep his “sensitive guy” electro afloat.

B Fleischmann & Friends - In Trains / They Shoot Music

The album Angst Is Not a Weltanschauung recaptures a bit of that old glory despite the album’s noticeably weak mid-section.

(Austria has a lively electro and rap scene, you should pick up the FM4 sound collection CD series, if possible.)

Discovering Electronic Music

The 1983 film "Discovering Electronic Music" is an introduction to the synthesizers and computers used to create electronic music. The film explains the basics of how sound is converted into electrical signals, the functions of oscillators, envelopes and filters, and the roles of samplers and sequencers.

A peek in history, blissfully unaware of Techno and candy-ravers. (Although, at the end they come quite close - 4/4, four beats, cycle two pitched notes.)

Forth Philosophy 1998

Forth is a weird language, it is a procedural, stack-oriented and reflective programming language without type checking, it was designed as an operating system. Being untyped, it lost to C, thought it has some advantages such as a trivial calling convention, unfortunately often bound to the hardware, and usually it comes with an interactive shell.

A paper on how Forth did over the years: Forth Philosophy 1998 which compares it, among others, to Linux. Forth is still actively used for low-level applications such as in embedded devices and boot loaders. It is part of the GNU compiler collection.


In October 2007, eBay acquired MicroPlace, a microfinance Website founded by social entrepreneur Tracey Pettengill Turner in 2005. Microfinance repayments average above 97 percent worldwide, much higher than American consumer lending repayment rates of around 85 percent.

Microfinance is used for small businesses in developing countries. In some African countries, thousands of tiny carriers are emerging where individual people become standalone mobile phone operators through the aid of microloans. They purchase a single mobile phone and a rooftop antenna that picks up cellphone signals as far as 25 kilometers away.

Other businesses include cybercafes. They emerge, for instance, in places like remote Kenya through the use of mobile EDGE technology where conventional Internet access (dialup, DSL, leased line) is usually far too expensive.

Mobile phones and the Internet also hold out the promise of bypassing, sometimes dictatorial or outright anarchistic, control of the media and empowering the people. Playing a key-factor in the overthrow of despots and the exposure of corruption, another huge problem for developing countries.

Another future promise is the delivery of medical assistance by phone or even telesurgery through the use of Internet devices. Although the prohibitive costs of the latter imply this will probably only be done small-scale through western funding for the foreseeable future.

(taken from The Internet & the Developing World, www.internetevolution.com)


Slashdot Comments

I really like my daily dosage of slashdot. It's where I see what's going on and what's hot in Geekland.

I always liked to read the comments on the articles too. Just because there are always some other sides to a story which I just can't think of, the odd joke is also very nice. However, and yes now I am being an old fart, and this complaint is heard among many popular sites, the forums have degraded from 90% excellent comments, and 10% average humour, to 10% average comments, and 90% excellent humour.

Humour is rated better than excellence? A side effect of the rating system?


Utopia or Oblivion

A book by Buckminster Fuller, 1969, a man concerned with the question "Does humanity have a chance to survive lastingly and successfully on planet Earth, and if so, how?"

The essay that gives the book its title is another key text:

"The present top-priority world problem to be solved may be summarized as how to triple, swiftly, safely, and satisfyingly, the overall performances per kilos, kilowatts, and man-hours of the world's comprehensively invested resources of elements, energy, time, and intelligence. To do so will render those resources - which at the present uncoordinated, happenstance, design level can support only 44 per cent of humanity - capable of supporting 100 per cent of humanity's increasing population at higher standards of living than any human minority or single individual has ever known or dreamed of and will thus eliminate the cause of war and its weapons' frustrating diversion of productivity from the support of all mankind." (p.334)

In one of his other essays, The Music of the New Life, Fuller has flattering things to say about musicians, and even had a view on musicians as programmers:

"Fortified with a spontaneous awareness of general systems theory as manifest in orchestral composition and conductance, music education teachers may be more able to comprehend and programme computers with innately superior competence in such functioning than that possessed by professional mathematicians." (p.54)

This view was actually copied by IBM who, during the sixties, actually favoured musicians for a while as programmers.


Realtà Aumentata


Types are Calling Conventions

It is always a pleasure to read a paper by Peyton-Jones. Let's see what this brings.

Anyway, I am kind-of-stuck with a problem with my compiler: An internal representation which feels it has a trivial representation, but I didn't find it yet.

What is Your Name?

Wolfram|Alpha launched yesterday, it became self aware at Sunday May 17th, 2009 2:14 a.m. Eastern time.

Apart from that, it occured to me that Wolfram actually gave a great gift to the whole world: This is a killer application for math education in the world.

The possibilities for using W|A in a modern classroom are breathtaking.


Hardhack: PIWO, Chuck Norris

Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

Danger Mouse Releases A Blank CD-R

Danger Mouse is a DJ who got a lot of attention a few years back for creating one of the very first mainstream mashups -- mixing the Beatle's 'The White Album' with Jay-Z's 'The Black Album to' create the rather unique 'The Grey Album.'

David Lynch, Sparklehorse, and Dangermouse

He got into legal trouble with EMI about it, which continued with a new collaborative work he created. As a result, his next album, a bipartisanship with Sparklehorse, 'Dark Night of the Soul' will be released as album artwork with a blank recordable CD.

Other artists include James Mercer of The Shins, The Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, Frank Black of the Pixies, Iggy Pop, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Suzanne Vega, Vic Chesnutt, David Lynch, and Scott Spillane of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Gerbils.

The artwork, compiled by David Lynch, comes as a hand numbered hundred page book filled with photographs which provide a visual narrative for the music. It is provided in a limited edition, and will come with a blank, recordable CD-R. All copies will be clearly labeled: ‘For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.’

I personally always bought CDs because of the covers, and because it is a more handy format than MP3s. A problem became that my collection just grew too big to just keep around, and I started digitizing it so I can play it on my iPod. As a lot of people, I found out it is unfortunately easier to download CDs than to rip them (although I have a large number of CDs which cannot be found on the Internet easily -- I mainly have electronic music from pretty much all genres).

It's a good idea to leverage digital products with real art-work. With abundant bandwith, it will become too easy to compile collections of thousands of CDs and just send them to a friend at will. There isn't a lot the music industry can do about this.

The album has a nice lazy sixties, sometimes eigthies, feeling to it, and the added electronica makes it very contemporary. In all, a good rock electronica cross-over back-grounder. Eight out of ten.

(listen to it here)


Rotating Skyscraper

A rotating skyscraper that is to be built in Dubai and powered by a series of 79 horizontal wind turbines.

You'll never, ever, find me in this construction, and I find it hard to believe that they'll ever find people to work in that.

Eric Lewis: Chaos and Harmony

Love it or hate it, it's a good amount of passion.


As a lot of geeks, I am eagerly anticipating the launch of Wolfram|Alpha. Meanwhile, I have to do with this:

Wolfram Alpha previews show the background in Mathematica, but I am actually more interested in how it will perform in just making connections between different ideas in computing science, logic, and, maybe, philosophy.

I don't think they can ever meet all queries. Probably its usage will level out and only the mathematically inclined will use the engine. But still, tremendous achievement already.

I think there's a design error in the system. Someone should once find out how to do this distributedly. Why not use the processing power of the browser instead of the cluster? I.e. the cluster should provide the raw data, and the browser should manage the logical aspect of the queries.

Между Небом и Землей

Didn't they break up yet?


Chouchou is a Japanese music group which exists only in SecondLife.

Brief Memory of NY

I was thinking of NY, just someone I met, briefly. Too US? I guess she's doing well, though. Pending your definition of well-being, that would be. For people you meet on holidays, she was a really driven girl once, and it shows. Best wishes and good luck, it is nice to see someone succeed in what they really wanted.

(Awful, my blog starts to look like a tabloid.)


Man is Dead

"The most important book since Wittgenstein's Tractatus." — (The late) Alan Watts, Philosopher, author of The Way of Zen (1969)

The above critique is a bit of an overstatement; it's a nice historical read. It smells and feels sixties the whole way through, I like the abundant cross-associations. But, like a lot of prose from the sixties: Is it Art, or is it just LSD?


Daya by Samadhi Dance Company

Premiere 'Vizve' by Samadhi Dance Company. Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 8:15pm. Dancestreet, 1e Rozendwarsstraat 10, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Sometimes, rarely, I go to modern dance.

How My Private Personal Journal Became a Bestseller

The story of fourteen-year-old Jamie Bartlett, a girl who writes her journal in story form on her laptop. By accident, she turns her journal in for her Creative Writing assignment, and it ends up becoming a bestseller.

She enjoys all the fame and fortune, she neglects spending time with her real friends, and hangs out with the rude popular girl, and dates the "cutest guy in school", Marco.

This book was made into a movie 'Read it and Weep' for the Disney Channel.

Of course, apart from being the cutest guy in school, I liked the authors name: Julia DeVillers. The word Villers is a french toponyme - a word which refers to a place. It is derived from the Latin word villarem, referring to villas or country mansions; etymological the word is similar to the English word village. Country estates were often given to Roman subjects as gifts or as pensions to higher-ranked soldiers.

As time progressed, these mansions grew to small townships, and the meaning became somewhat equivalent to a place which is at least larger than a hamlet but smaller than a city. There are a few hundred places in France named like this, such as Villers-devant-le-Thour, a village in front of the place 'Le Thour'. Similar spellings exist in most former Roman countries like viller, villar, villiers.

In some places, a viller or a villar, became to refer to a place where a local community would gather for their events. Usually, a large flat open space among hills, or an open clearing in a forest.

Often, people referred to those places with just the shorthand form 'Villers,' two communes remain in France which are just called that.

The French name Devillers is just the concatenation of 'de' and 'villers,' meaning someone who stems from a place, which once was a village or clearing, with the toponyme 'Villers'.

I am Dutch, I was told that my great-great-great-grandfather was a somewhat wealthy road building contractor who came with the occupational forces of Napolean to the Netherlands and remained behind. Then again, it wouldn't surprise me if the poor guy just layed bricks, who knows?

Here & There

A speculative projection of a city.

(through schulzeandwebb.com)

I never owned a navigating device, but a great idea for TomTom?

Zero 7


I am on Facebook

I'm actually subscribed to a large number of sites, but mostly kept that anonymous because I am more interested in what drives the sites (technologically) and what drives the people (sociologically) than anything else. Except for technical sites, that is.

Anyway, check it out. Below, you'll find the link.

Facebook-profiel van Marco Devillers

I switched it to English, just because...

The Road to Big Brother

There is a some noise on Slashdot about the new digital era of surveillance.

Are we heading towards police states? Not if we don't want to, probably. Problem is that policemen have a professional education at best, don't expect PhDs there. They are not statisticians.

All statisticians know that digital data, given large numbers, will only generate false positives, and all real positives are statistically insignificant. The only thing one can do with digital data is falsify real-world positives; how hard is it to get that notion across?


The Curious Case of Roy Sullivan

Roy Cleveland Sullivan (February 7, 1912 – September 28, 1983) was a U.S. park ranger in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Sullivan was hit by lightning on seven different occasions and survived all of them. In his lifetime he gained "Human Lightning Conductor" as a nickname. On September 28, 1983, Sullivan died at age 71, by committing suicide, reportedly distraught over an unrequited love.

According to National Geographic's Flash Facts About Lightning, the odds of being struck in a lifetime is three-thousand to one. If the different events of "being struck by lightning" were statistically independent, the chances of being struck seven times in a lifetime are about one to twenty-two septillion (1:2.2 x 10^24).



I was thinking of getting a kindle like device but Europe is lagging behind in that respect. Not having a 300+ Mln uniform speaking market sure doesn't help.

A nice site: "Feedbooks," the future of paper? With a site like this there is no need to visit a library anymore; if it grows, that is.

Another thought, if ebook readers are supposedly very good for reading, why wouldn't they be very good for writing? Just an easy device where you can write at whim would be very good for professionals, like journalists.


Modern SciFi


Push-Pull Sensor Networks

"Push and Pull in Sensor Network Query Processing" by Adam Silberstein.

I wasn't really thinking about sensor networks, but was looking at how to dissimate data for a small Internet-based project which popped into my head.

Funny, how push and pull models really can influence a design. Somehow, push seems natural for sensor networks since the cost of broadcasting is high, i.e. send-once is the most minimal strategy one can think of. However, pull seems more natural for Internet distributed applications since range-based broadcast cannot be done and pull-only applications cannot be exploited that easily.


H1N1 Appears To Be Transmittable From Human To Pig

"In an interesting twist it appears that H1N1 influenza can be transmitted from humans to swine. Apparently a Canadian pig farmer vacationed in Mexico, returned to Canada and infected about 10% of the swine on an Alberta farm. The swine subsequently developed flu symptoms." (slashdot)

Nine out of ten pigs suggest calling it "Human Flu."

(Sometimes Slashdot is funny)

Stalinistic Cana-chopper

Police in the Netherlands are using an unmanned miniature helicopter to track down the illegal cultivation of cannabis.

The first flight of a newly-designed mini helicopter led to the discovery of a cannabis drying shed and a plant cutting facility. The canna-chopper senses heat and takes air samples out of ventilator shafts and chimneys, it is able to 'smell' THC. The mini helicopter, which can stay airborne for a maximum of eight hours, is used to track down indoor cannabis plantations.

Cannabis plantation is a huge industry worth as much as EUR 2 billion where 80 percent of the marijuana is exported.

I am Dutch, to me, smoking cannabis is something for juveniles and tourists and, in general, a non-issue. I don't smoke myself, it makes me fall asleep or makes me sick, so, well, in my twenties I just gave up. I don't even drink these days since I am solely a social drinker.

Weed is silly, it is deemed illegal because someone wrote that down somewhere at some point; like pork shouldn't be consumed since that is written in the Kuran.

The chopper seems an exercise in transforming our society into a police state. "Uphold the law at all costs" is the new adagium in the Netherlands. I have no sympathy for fools. Change the damned law and legalize, at least we would make money instead of wasting it on non-issues.


Formalizing Common Sense

In this phone interview that took place in front of an audience at OOPSLA 2008, Guy Steele spins a yarn with John McCarthy, the father of Lisp, attempting to find out some details surrounding the language inception in the 50’ and its later evolution.

John McCarthy has been involved in Artificial Intelligence since 1948, a term he coined in 1955. He has been mainly interested in formalization of common sense knowledge. He designed LISP in 1958 and developed the concept of time-sharing. Among others, he has received the Turing Award, the Research Excellence Award, and the Kyoto Prize.

About the conference
Starting in 1986, OOPSLA Conference has proven to be the cradle of many techniques and methodologies that have become mainstream over the years: OOP, Patterns, AOP, XP, Unit Testing, UML, Wiki, and Refactoring. Gaining its prestige with 3 academic tracks, OOPSLA Conference has managed to attract researchers, educators and developers every year. The event is sponsored by ACM.