The One with the Thoughts of Frans

Archive for February, 2006

Could you pass 8th grade math?

You Passed 8th Grade Math

passed
Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

Could You Pass 8th Grade Math?

I noticed this quiz over at Shelley’s weblog.

Yay, I got all of the simple questions correct. I’m wondering what 8th grade means exactly though, in terms of age.

The hardest thing in the quiz was to figure out that “mode” is called “modus” in Dutch. 😛 Ah well, at least it proves I’m more intelligent than the cactus at my window.

Although… I can’t be too sure of that. I have hands and my cactus doesn’t. So I can only be sure it proves that I’m far above “8th grade”-level. Too bad. I would’ve liked to know for sure that I’m more intelligent than my cactus.

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Unexpected traffic from Google

Apperently multiple people searched for funny tree frans in Google, which resulted in their arrival on this weblog. Sadly I did not offer a funny picture of me with a tree yet, so they probably left shortly. However, I have one and it’s requested according to the big G, so here it is.

Frans funny under a tree branch.

Am I funny under that tree or what? 😛

I hope they realized that they should have been searching for happy tree friends; or at least that’s what I think they were trying to reach.

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Windows Firewall Offended

Apperently the Windows Firewall couldn’t laugh about the joke I made yesterday in which I said it was insecure. When I booted up today, Windows warned me that the firewall was disabled. So I went to the settings and I got this:

Due to an unindentified problem, Windows cannot display the Windows Firewall Settings.

So it gave me a beating and left my data open for virus infections. Perhaps I even got a tiny cold because of it.

The lesson is clear, stay friends with your firewall!

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Canon Digital Ixus 50

Yesterday I got myself this camera. It has 5 megapixels, 3x optical zoom and it’s nice and small. The true kind of compact point & click camera. And it’s bloody fast.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t attempt to create interesting/freaky/funny compositions with it right from the start. But I didn’t read the manual. Turns out I activated the “turn evil and take-over the world”-mode of my camera by accident. It persuaded my laptop to join his evil scheme as his accomplice. They managed to capture me and now I’m trapped.

An image of Frenzie trapped in his laptop.

Someone better come and rescue me. It’s pure luck that I never installed a better firewall than the Windows Firewall, otherwise my laptop would have been able to keep me from “typing” this cry for help.

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Benjamin Franklin was a babe magnet

Benjamin Franklin was a babe magnet. This may not be the most noteworthy of his many talents, but then again, it might be. Of all the signers of the Declaration of Independence, it’s nice to know that the crafty dodger was sufficiently cognizant of the feminine mystique to gain notoriety for being highly attractive to members of the female sex. It speaks well of any male politician to genuinely like women. It’s the old, “Make love, not war” style innovation.

The standard accolades for Benjamin are things like “America’s best scientist, inventor, diplomat, humorist and business strategist.” [1] Yada, yada, yada. Perhaps Monsieur Franklin did indeed accomplish much. But then again, maybe he was just in the right spot at the right time. The more relevant question is what was his philosophy, what was his ideals and aversions, and most significantly, how did he manage to attract all those babes?

Why is this important? Together with Laurel & Hardy, Jack Nicholson and a couple of others he’s one of my favourite Americans. This new information brings him up higher on that list, although the list doesn’t actually exist. It basically turns him from a very interesting person into a rolemodel. 😛

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Random train rambling

Today my dad’s “comrade” was removed. Comrade here means the thing with all the chords and stuff going into his blood. His fluid diet was also cancelled, meaning he can more or less eat normal again. He can almost walk by himself again (currently with such a walker old people use) and just a few days ago he could barely pull up by himself. So everything’s going well.

My father, with the operation and everything hadn’t yet heard I switched to IO (Industrial Design/Industrieel Ontwerpen) and was very positive about the news, as was my mother earlier on.

This afternoon, together with my mom, I took care of changing my parents’ connection to “InternetPlusBellen” (Internet plus Calling), KPN’s new ADSL and telephony offering. You don’t have a normal telephone line anymore, but VoIP instead. Not that you’ll notice any difference in how you call as it’s compatible with old phones via the box which enables the stuff.

Further the internet will remain the same as it is, but the complete package will be € 34,95 per month, thus cheaper. Besides you can call for free to non-mobile numbers in the Netherlands in the weekend, which is not that interesting, but will presumably make a little difference for calling with some family which isn’t on Skype yet. It also includes compatibility with soon to come technology like video telephones and such, but I guess I’d prefer just to buy myself and my mom a cheap webcam and use Skype 2 for that and I doubt my mom would like a phone with all kinds of weird things.

Her own mobile phone she considers just fine and mine with camera and stuff she already considers over the top. Frankly I agree with her, but there are no phones with colour screen and other stuff I like without a camera in it anymore… and besides it has proven to be quite nice at times, although usually it’s just useless because of the low resolution.

So for my parents nothing will change, except that it’s slightly cheaper. A much bigger difference, also included in the package for free, is the WLAN which also comes with the box enabling all the technologies. Secured Wireless Internet Access at my parents, and I don’t have to put any work into it, nor do I or my parents have to pay anything for it since we ordered before the first of March. Can it get any better? 😉

Last Friday I watched Funny Business with Rowan Atkinson, a not too serious analysis of (slapstick) comedy techniques. Having acquired it from an American community of lovers of British comedy, I was surprised to find it was recorded from Dutch television, so Dutch subtitles were integrated in the movie itself. It’s illegal of course, but it’s not like it’s available on DVD or VHS, so my conscience simply enjoyed watching it as much as the rest of me.

Just a little while ago I watched 50 things to eat before you die, something I got from the same community. It was quite an interesting list, although (with some national pride perhaps) I’d say it lacked herring (Dutch style). On the other hand, with Sushi being at 9 and fresh fish at 1, one could argue it’s basically covered by that. On the other hand, I consider it as unique as octopus (Greek style) in a way.

The program got me really hungry so I ate some of my bread, but then somewhere in the 20’s of the list the American Breakfast came along. It certainly looked pretty good, but the one person portion looked like you could eat from it with six people, or perhaps even six third-world families. The mere sight made me feel completely filled.

Right now I’m finishing the remainder of my bread, most notably the parts I put Roquefort on. It’s certainly lacking from that list of 50 things (not specifically Roquefort, just cheese in general), but on the other hand it’s a British list, I’d assume we’d get a different list in the Netherlands.

Typing this on my laptop keyboard in the train I’m making more typos than usual, but Word seems to correct all of them automatically. It makes me wonder to what degree Microsoft is helping people in a habit of bad typing, for example to type “teh” without even noticing it.

Last Thursday I went to Nedtrain with a bunch of other Mechanical Engineering students (switching is no reason not to go on interesting excursions, now is it?) and I basically planned to spend my time in the train going to Nedtrain by talking to Thomas and Ivo. In the last minute however Thomas decided to bring “The World according to Clarkson” with him, which he lent from their “bathroom-library”. In the train however, it turned so that I couldn’t sit with Thomas and Ivo for lack of space and I nicked the book. I haven’t returned it yet and I will not either until I finished it.

That brings me to another interesting thing. Except for Lost and Die Hard, I’ve only been watching British programs over the past two weeks. I’ve mainly been listening to British music (Bowie, Pink Floyd, Stones) and now I’ve been reading a British book. Ah well, it doesn’t mean anything really as just a month ago I was only watching Friends, The Simpsons, reading Jack Vance and Kurt Vonnegut.

And of course I’ve been watching a lot of Dutch cabaret/theater, it’s just that my foreign “efforts” always seem to be so concentrated on one country.

I just noticed my writing is getting a little vague and less comprehensive. I’ve been going on without looking back for almost 30 minutes, so I guess it’s time to stop. I could easily continue typing for the other hour my train trip will last, but I’ll continue reading and listening to music instead.

But another thought entered my mind and I cannot yet stop typing. Since the late 90’s, more people than ever have been creating data, not only textual, but also in (often stupid) home-movies and photographs. Assuming this will continue, one is left to wonder what future generations will take with them from us, as opposed to what we know from the 17th century.

Meanwhile I switched from listening to Pink Floyd to David Bowie. Perhaps it’s time to buy some more Boudewijn de Groot and Doe Maar…

There are simply some more thoughts I have to share. This week’s Lost episode was great. Finally a reminder of why I watched the ending of season 1 in nearly one piece. It had been going downhill lately. Perhaps it’s a marketing scam. Couple of uninteresting episodes to make it all last longer and still get the public focussed by a cool episode now and then, so they’ll watch the ads.

Then some spokesman of the NS (the railways) made a statement about how 86% of the trains were in time to international norms (5 minutes late at most) and like 76% at their own (3 minutes late at most). Internationally it’s apperently still like the third best behind Japan and Switzerland. Like the fuck-ups elsewhere make the fuck-ups here any better. Anyway, that’s not the bad part. The bad part is that he said that he doesn’t get why anybody cares if the train is 3 minutes late. Well, big newsflash for mister moron who apperently does never travel by public transport himself. Nobody cares about those 3 minutes. Their connection which they miss because of those 3 minutes is what they care about. Because then you can usually wait 30 minutes (or 25 actually because you were late) until the next train, bus or tram arrives.

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Illegal downloading

My order arrived today (The Offspring’s Smash, David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs and Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men, which is a book, not a cd ;)).

I just thought I had to mention that except for Pratchett’s book (which was based upon Mel’s recommendation) I probably bought all of them because of illegal downloading.

By that I don’t directly mean that illegal downloading is good, but I do mean that this is the only way I get the control over the media I want (by buying non copy-protected CD’s), combined with the fact that the current marketing methods usually aren’t good most of the time. In fact the last album I think I really bought without having listened to it first in one way or another (including downloading, but also at friends or such) was Slipknot’s self-titled album, which I listened a bit in the record store and decided to buy it. It’s not directly bad, but turns out it’s worse than I originally thought (4 years ago that is).

I suppose this post was sort of hard to follow, which is easy to explain. I’m just typing down an inner battle in the hope to get more clarity of my personal view on it.

I do however think it’s righteous for me to get like a 2000 prints limited album in mp3 form, simply because it’s not available in any other way. I think the law actually states that that is allowed, at least for libraries.

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Internet Explorer mockery

There are a few sort of old sites I wanted to tell you about anyway.

SpreadIE.com is the logical answer to spreadFirefox.com. Firefox helps communist nations, switch back to IE! The content on the site is too obviously fake to be funny though.

Then there’s IE7.com. I consider it quite a brilliant action by whoever bought the domain.

Meanwhile, Opera Mini is the only Opera related thing I’ve been spreading lately. Everybody in my circle of friends already switched to Firefox or Opera, so there seems little left to be done.

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Tied up a few loose ends

The quick quote I basically copied (as an idea) from the MyOpera community forums wasn’t really using its full potential. After trying a while I gave up and used a workaround to point to the comment it quoted from. I decided to check out how they had done it over at Opera. Turns out they did the same. Ah well, at least it works reassuring to my own skills. 😛

Further I had implemented the sidenotes already, but the stylesheet lacked a bit (basically one position:relative).

Last, but not least, I removed a bug from the blockquote source-link script which linked to null if not right. It’s not perfect yet though, as I do want it to show if it’s not a link, but I’ll get to that later. I’ll also extend it to the Q element.

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The Nintendo Gamecube

As you may or may not know, the only console of the “current” generation, disregarding Xbox 360, I’ve really had some playing time with was the Playstation 2. Last week I persuaded Thomas to put his Gamecube in the living room because he hardly used it anyway.

Since then the Gamecube has been used quite frequently by the rest of us, and also by Thomas. The second controller however sucked and was broken on top of that (some kind of “GT-line” thing). A new official controller would be € 35, so I (with consent because it’s not just my money :P) decided to order the cheapest one which didn’t look like it came from the 80’s (i.e. square corners instead of rounded corners). The Piranha controller arrived today and I think I might even like it better than the official Gamecube one. Of course it has to go through some more testing, but if we’d order two more of them, we’d have four good controllers (and a reserve which isn’t very good anymore) and we’d still be 5 euros cheaper off than by buying an official one!

Nevertheless, it has all the faults of the official one. I truly don’t understand why they made the design that way. The green (A) button is huge and the other three “less important” action buttons are just small (less important my ass with the exception of racing games). Every time I’m pressing some button a bit too enthusiastically I press the green one instead. I think this is just a case of “not being like the PSX” gone wrong. But perhaps other disagree with me, who knows. It starts happening less frequently now, but it still strikes me as very unintuitive.

Most importantly however, the low resolution works horrible. I remember that back in 2001/2002 the only reason I preferred playing Tony Hawk 3 on the Playstation 2 was the controller. Seriously. The Dual Shock 2 is superior to everything else, except perhaps a wireless version of it. Already on the 2001/2002 P3 1GHz Tony Hawk 3 was superior in every aspect, except that I never bothered to buy a good gamepad. High resolution, practically no loading times and a much clearer image.

As said before, the Xbox 360 currently looks about the same as my 1.5 years old laptop. So if PC gaming decreases it’s because of one thing only in my opinion: copy protection. Starforce 2, SafeDisk 4… they all seriously fuck up your computer.

Ah well, it’s still a fun machine. But only now near the end and the parts and games cost much less. Would this (now old) console persuade me to by a next-gen one? Nah, at best it convinced me to get a next-gen in 3 or 4 years…

Console and handheld are somewhat related. I was surprised to learn that Opera will be available on the Nintendo DS.

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