Archive for the 'Personal' Category

Published by Niels on 07 Feb 2010

Just blogging again

A lot has happened the last couple of years. This has kept me busy and did not leave me with much desire to keep this blog up to data. And just when you think I will blog tomorrow, tomorrow has gone. And when tomorrow has gone, two years are gone.

But while I was enjoying a presentation on at FOSDEM I all of a sudden had the idea that now would be a good time to start again. So I joined and added this entry to this site. Expect more in the very near future. Being on-line feels like fun again.

Published by Niels on 01 Feb 2008

Mmmmm, nerd test…

I am not sure if this is good or bad. I just did the Nerd Test and got the following result:
I am nerdier than 94% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

Should I be proud or crawl back in the basement?

Let’s see with the second test offered at that site: says I'm a Cool Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!

Ok, back into the basement, I have to dust of some comic books…

Published by Niels on 06 Oct 2007


Incredible but true, I passed my aikido shodan test today! It feels really good as most people are convinced I am more of a jiu-jitsu type than an aikido type.

The exam itself went really well. I wasn’t nervous at all and completely focused and relaxed. Although you wouldn’t think so if you looked at my face on the image below. Perhaps that is way people have the perception that I am more of a jiu-jitsu guy.

As far as I know I only made two mistakes: moving a bit too fast on kote-gaeshi and mixing up kata-otoshi and kata-ha-otoshi when asked to perform kata-otoshi.

Next time I hope to take part as Rick’s uke. He unfortunately did not pass his nidan test. But knowing his dedication I am sure that he will put on a great show in March.

A big THANKS! for Willem and Raymond for helping me pass this test and for Rick for still allowing to have a party at his house.

Image of shodan exam

Published by Niels on 16 Jul 2006

Me, the tourist

Yesterday was a busy day and a fun one as well. Being 35 years old and living in or near Rotterdam for the last nine years I never ever have been a tourist there. But that all changed yesterday when we went to a couple of major attractions in this city: the Euromast and taking a tour with the Spido.

It was very nice to see the city from a tourists point of view. Especially from +180 meters up. And viewing the harbor from the water is a lot more spectacular than driving by it on the motorway.

In the afternoon a couple of friends picked me up and we went to a Japanese tea ceremony. It never occurred to me that you could do such a thing in the Netherlands so it was quite a surprise. The hostess made us feel very welcome and I really enjoyed the experience. Thanks Tibor.

Published by Niels on 04 Jun 2006

Wow, that has been a long time…

Just a short entry to indicate that I am still alive. We have been on a holiday to France. The south of France to be precise although a French colleague said we are supposed to view this area as the South-West of France (I could swear it was the South-East, but I will let you decide when I am done writing a weblog about it).

So what have I been up to all this time:

  • Writing a time registration system for my new employer. Since I have little time and we have a new colleague on board that is far more experienced with PHP than I am, maybe only the framework that has been created so far will ever see the light of day. Because I am really satisfied with that :).
  • Re-writing a significant portion of an application for a customer in such a way that it will be ready for a future when I have moved on to another customer.
  • Started creating templates of RUP documentation in the DocBook format. These templates are already available as MS-Word templates from the RUP Toolkit, but I:
    1. Do not have MS Word at home any longer. We are only running Linux here.
    2. I really like open formats. Especially when they are really easy to put in a Version Control System.

    I already made these templates in the Open Document Format (ODF) but thought it would also be nice to have them in the DocBook format. As soon as they are ready they will be published on this weblog.

  • Finally started on the TAFKADR (The Application Formally Known as DocRaider). But will be called GD-Press from now on, which is short for General Document Press. This will be a system to design, create and manage automated documents like reports, invoices etc.

In the following weblog I will tell a bit more on the holiday in France.

P.S.: Kelley Law if you are reading this, I haven’t forgotten about the Gallery plug-in, so expect a log and a message on this soon as well.

Published by Niels on 31 Mar 2006

ViM Rocks!

Just downloaded, compiled and installed ViM 7.0c Beta and I must say it rocks! I still have to get used to a lot of things, but the following items really are good add-ons to ViM in my book:

  • Built-in spelling checker. I had to create the directory $HOME/.vim/spell before it worked, but when it works it works perfectly.
  • Editing files through a network connection (FTP/SCP/RSYNC/etc./).
  • The very fast internal grep.

There are also some things that sound good, but to which I probably am not used yet:

  • Omni completion. I only tried it with PHP, but it did not bring me any joy. It suggested the possible function names to me without any problem, but it did not show the signatures for these functions (parameter lists and return values). But not all possible settings have been explored. It even locked up ViM.
  • Tabbed pages. I find the MiniBufExplorer more convenient. The graphical tabs look awful and the text based ones look to cramped i.e. file names are truncated if there is not enough space and if there are many file than not all file names are shown.

But considering the fact that ViM still has a very small footprint (under 7MB of sources, compare that to that other editor :) ) I must say that this version is really a step forward.

If I find anything new I will put that in a new weblog. But the next couple of days I will probably be busy testing the Code Plugin with the new ViM.

Published by Niels on 18 Mar 2006

Useful links

Google is a great search engine and it has helped me very often to find the information I needed at that very moment. But filtering all the results presented by Google can soon become a tedious task. Not always are the best results for what is wanted presented at the top of the search results. So I always try to find (and bookmark) pages that provide a good overview. And so recently I found two (well, one was presented at SlashDot :) )

The first one is a link to IBM’s DeveloperWorks that shows a ‘reading list’ for PHP developers. The title is a bit misleading because they provide links to common tools, articles, web-pages and yes, even books. I wish they had created this page a month ago. It would have saved a lot of searching.

The second link surprised me a bit. But is really a Microsoft owned page linking to a lot of tools that can be used for .NET development. And the part that surprised me is that they also link to 3rd party tools and even Open Source projects. Do I hear the sound of an air born pig in the distance?

Published by Niels on 14 Feb 2006

Interesting times

As the Chinese proverb says: May you live in interesting times. Normally this is meant as an insult, but for me the current times are interesting indeed. Since it is now official (i.e. all the paperwork has been done) I can now say:

Bye bye old company and hello new company.

On May 1st I will be starting there and I am looking forward to it :).

Published by Niels on 25 Jan 2006

The meaning of…

Once in a while I check the website statistics for this site. They tell all kinds of neat stuff like who visited when and how did they come here. For example it tells that people visited through a link on another webpage or through a search engine. It even tells, in case of the search engines, what the search terms were that lead to here. To my surprise someone found this site searching for ‘ebo no kata meaning’. The only place I ever mentioned the Ebo-no-kata is here.

Being intrigued by this search term I got the feeling that I could tell about my view on the Ebo-no-kata.

Short Introduction
The Ebo-no-kata is a Dutch national kata that is mandatory for every Dan exam. It is performed by two persons where one does all the attacks and the other
does all the counters. There are twenty different attacks divided into four groups:

  1. Grabs
  2. Holds
  3. Punches/Kicks
  4. Weapons

It was created by Mario den Edel and Wim BOersma (EBO :) ) to represent their view on contemporary jiu-jitsu. As I understood it it serves not only as a kata (or a teaching tool, which most katas are), but also as a framework to start technique training from. One of its shortcomings is that it has little ground techniques but that is compensated by another Dutch national kata called the Ne-Waza-Jitsu kata which consists purely of defenses on the ground.

The following items are my personal views and motivations on the Ebo-no-kata. To me the kata is:

  • A great way to start an exam. Both as an examine and as an examiner. As examine it gives you a nice warming-up and a sort of constant factor that can help to overcome nxiety.
  • A good excuse to work on my technical skills. Just take it slow in an constant pace an try to improve my technique. This is how I think all katas should be performed. Fluent, clear and skillful.
  • A good excuse to take a slow pace in training. Perfection does not allow rushing.
  • A starting point to develop technical skills like the correct distance and moving in the right position and direction. My main problem is that the more I learn about that the more a get the feeling that I have to start all over again with my kata training.
  • Discussion material. People often debate the way a technique in the kata should be performed and sometimes go as far as to declare their way the one and only correct way. I think this is a mistake. Their is more than one way to arrive at a technique as long as you can make the technique work for you without using ‘force’.

Like I said I like to discuss stuff like this. So if anyone has more or other viewpoints, or would like more information, I would be glad to hear from you.

Published by Niels on 14 Jan 2006

Boy, does that suck

This blog entry will not be very subtle. So for all Bono and Alicia Keys fans out there:

Stop Reading. I mean it!

Normally I have a live and let live philosophy. But after hearing what Bono and Alicia Keys did to the song “Don’t Give Up” I felt the urge to write a blog.

After hearing the song I came to a simple conclusion: Bono is not able to put emotion into his voice if he is not screaming and Alicia Keys is all bling-bling. And by bling-bling I mean that it is shiny but worthless. She cannot hold a note and always has to ad-lib in between. But to me ad-libbing (can I say that?) is a sign of being a singer of limited capability (unless done by a singer of great capability, ofcourse). The combination of the two sounds really bad compared to the original.

My idea of a cover is always: if you cannot improve on the original then do not cover a song.

A small suggestion to Bono and Alicia Keys: Remove this single from the market and donate the money it would generate from your own pockets. It can’t be that much since no one in their right mind would buy this. So remove it and donate. It is a win-win situation. The charity wins and we win (and you have learned never ever to do this again).

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