Jan Joris

SCO defaced.

Now there's a deserving member of the defacement of the month club! It's not that I would ever condone cybercrimes of any kind, but I guess these bastards just had it coming.

(BTW: My worst nightmare: browsing my employer's web site, and finding it defaced. I shiver at the mere thought... Recognize that, dreamerfi?)
Jan Joris

ING Direct (dutch).

In de NRC van gisteravond een interessant artikel over mijn broodheer ING. Sinds een half jaar hebben we een nieuwe CEO, die in nogal straf tempo bedrijfsonderdelen in de uitverkoop gooit (actief portefeuillebeheer heet dat). Dat levert een fraaie stapel cash op, en daarmee worden andere, veelbelovende, bedrijfsonderdelen in staat gesteld te groeien. En het meestbelovende bedrijfsonderdeel, dat is dus duidelijk, moet het hardst groeien: ING Direct, een bank die voornamelijk in internetspaarrekeningen doet, en in een paar jaar tijd meer dan 10 miljoen klanten heeft weten aan te trekken.

Nu werk ik al jaren voor ING Direct, maar dan wel per uurtje-factuurtje uitgeleend vanuit de centrale ING organisatie. Dat beviel blijkbaar goed, want enkele maanden geleden kreeg ik van hen het spreekwoordelijke offer I couldn't refuse. 't Was nog even spartelen, want zo slecht had ik het nou ook weer niet in de centrale organisatie, maar uiteindelijk heb ik ja gezegd, niet in de laatste plaats omdat het idee bij het winning team van de ING organisatie te mogen werken me erg aansprak.

Enfin; per 1 januari werk ik dus een paar kantoren verderop aan de snelweg. Fietsen lukt dan helaas niet meer (nu 5 km, straks 23 km enkele reis). Vliegen daarentegen des te meer: we hebben datacenters in Engeland, Frankrijk, Duitsland, Oostenrijk, Spanje, Italië, Canada, de Verenigde Staten en Australië...
Jan Joris

The miracle transformation of Tijgertje.

Some of you might have been wondering what the heck happened to Tijgertje, the cat-behind-the-fridge. Well, he didn't just hide a few days, or a week behind the fridge. Nope, it was a whole month. Not the stuff weblogs are made of I assure you, nobody likes a sad story without a happy ending. So, I waited things out till I had something nice to report...

As said, first there was the whole month behind the fridge. In despair, we chased him away from there. Not a smart move: after that he was lost for two days. I was pretty sure he couldn't have escaped the house, and after a long and increasingly anxious search, I found him again: in the crawl space under the living room, snuggling up to the convection heater (first picture). Sigh! I taped the crawl space shut with duct tape, and from then on, he "just" hid under the linen-closet (second picture). Believe it or not, after five weeks, it seemed like decent progress.

Things brightened up from there: he discovered Tieleke's book case, and started hiding behind her books. Sometimes, when the sun shone, he'd even dare to stretch out on a half empty shelf to tan (third picture). Things were looking up! That lasted two weeks, and then the inevitable happend: Tijgertje escaped the house. He sped across the garden, into the park. Gone! We searched for a whole day and a whole night, but to no avail. The next morning, he was still missing, and I began contemplating how I would ever tell this to my little nephew, who had made me promise that I'd properly look after his cat, and make sure nothing bad would happen...

Then the miracle happened: in the afternoon Gijsje (the tabby kitten) walked into the park, and within ten minutes, found Tijgertje and brought him home. Don't ask me how, but ever since the've been best friends: playing, sleeping together, licking eachother (in funny places, too!), and generally having fun (fourth picture). Finally, this month, Tijgertje has become comfortable enough to trust Tieleke and me. He even started napping in our laps (fifth and sixth picture).

I like to say to all friends that promised me that Tijgertje would accomodate to his new people "real soon": thanks for the support, and thanks for not revealing that "real soon" takes values of up to three-and-half months in the real world!
Jan Joris

UPC d'r uit!

Ja! Eindelijk! UPC er uit, en Digitale TV van KPN (KPN's handelsnaam voor Digitenne DVB-T technologie) er in. De kwaliteit is wat minder (minder kanalen, meer storing), maar de prijs is ook veel lager (€ 7,95 tegenover € 15,20).

Voordelen zijn er ook: op de kanalen met een fatsoenlijke bitrate is het beeld veel mooier dan bij analoog, en de radio ontvangst is werkelijk subliem. En UPC kan dus bij het grof vuil, da's misschien wel het belangrijkste :-)
Jan Joris

Fiber to the dad.

It's barely 18 month ago I hooked my dad up to a 256kb/s ADSL line, which he, back then, thought was quite impressive. This week, he hooked himself up to a 100Mb/s fiber-to-the-home line. Now I was the one to be impressed!

A fiber (specs unknown) enters the home through two boxes: a fiber termination box that also does cable radio and cable TV, and a yet another fiber termination box, connected behind the first, that does 8x 100BaseTX and 2x POTS. The service is rated as "between 10Mb/s and 100Mb/s, depending on load". The speeds to known-fast sites I observed today were all between 15Mb/s and 50Mb/s(!), so the ISP does make good on its service promise so far.

Did I mention the whole thing comes with no data limit, no installation charge, and no monthly charge? POTS, radio, and TV are not operational yet, but are expected to be rated similarly. Sharp, eh? Among the 8,000 homes in this town, the pick-up rate was 97% in a few weeks!

Who's paying for all this candy? Well, all the people that are not connected are: it's a 100% government funded broadband showcase. Talk about my tax euros at work! Tell me, why did I ever move out of the house...?
Jan Joris

Nerds on the high seas.

Only for you GSM nerds out there:

I had some fun halfway between Calais and Dover, when we were travelling to England on the fourth of September. The weather was sunny with a calm sea, ideal for GSM signal propagation. In the first picture, I get a signal from T-Mobile NL, quite a distance away. Of course it was unusable, as the round trip delay far exceeded specs. In the second picture, I get a full whammy, ten network signals: three French, three Belgian, and four from the UK.

Impressive, eh? I think I could have made it to eleven or twelve (picking up the odd Dutch network too), but by this time I had been jumping up and down all decks like a drunk monkey so long that people were giving me strange stares.

Do any of you nerds out there known whether current Nokia firmware has a limit on the number of networks it will simultaneously discover?

Jan Joris

Anarchy in the UK!

We just returned from a short holiday in Northumberland (England). Such a civilized nation: tea at four o'clock, excellent English spoken everywhere, and one can buy some music and actually get a chance to listen to it.

Yes, I'm not kidding you: uncrippledware (those shiny things we used to call "Compact Discs" way back in the 80's and 90's, the ones with the "CD Audio" Logo, remember?) to be bought on the corner of every street. Sometimes at a slight surcharge, but nevertheless.

So, I bought all the stuff I've been holding myself back from buying at home. Tally for 2004: CD's bought in the NL = 0, CD's bought in the UK = 4.

Is anyone, anyone at all, in the media industry paying any attention? Please?

Anyway, who cares. I've ripped the whole bunch, dragged them to the generic Linux box that streams my music, and stored the carriers in the basement, never ever to be looked at again.

Back to that Linux box: as of today it streams 5GB of music to two rooms via Fast Ethernet. Next year, l'm going to overhaul it, and it'll stream 40GB over WiFi to the whole house. The year after that, I'm hoping for flat-fee UMTS, and then it'll stream 120GB of stuff to our car and both our mobile phones. Before we get to 2010 I want it to be a 4TB box, and have 500 DVD images stored there full-res.

Do note: this is all present day technology. I could build that 2010 config today, albeit at significant cost. In 2010, it'll be pocket change.

Why does the media industry think I would ever want to go back to juggling discs?
Jan Joris

Byebye, old friend...

The VMS cluster I grew up on (1988 - 1993) appears to have died earlier this week.

It's a real shame, because I still had an account on it, and it was still on-line. After it retired, a friend took it into his home, footed the electrical bill, and let me ssh there over his ADSL line. Several others where also still using it, among which my old boss, and a former room mate that, to the best of my knowledge, was still finishing his Ph.D. thesis on it.

Damn, I'll miss that VMS prompt!
$ submit/noprint/after=tomorrow status
Job STATUS (queue SYS$BATCH, entry 638) holding until  1-SEP-2004 00:00
$ exit
  OLOFSEN      job terminated at 31-AUG-2004 00:00:00.77

  Accounting information:
  Buffered I/O count:              68         Peak working set size:   1664
  Direct I/O count:                40         Peak page file size:    17648
  Page faults:                    403         Mounted volumes:            0
  Charged CPU time:           0 00:00:00.20   Elapsed time:     0 00:00:00.76