March 2009 Archives

My day

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Heading off to bed in a few minutes as I'm feeling rather tired, even though today was actually pretty relaxed. Tomorrow an early shift, Wednesday I'm work the night again so it'll take some special tricks to sleep properly and when I'm supposed to.

That English Dude

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Went to see Nigel Williams with B&H and had a ton of fun. Very witty and to the point, fully using his capability to observe those around him as an outsider and turning those observations into comedy. If you got a chance to go see his show, do so.


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Daddy's got a brand new toy : my ATI Radeon HD 3470 video card arrived just now and of course I couldn't wait to install it. When I did and booted the machine up, I got a 1024x768 screen resolution - which I had before - but the graphics and text was very vague (as in fuzzy). No I hadn't been drinking!

I installed the proper ATI drivers and after a reboot I've got super sharp 1280x1024 resolution, which I must admit, takes a bit of time to get used to. I may switch back to my old resolution later but am gonna test is as it is first. Maybe I'll get to like it, who knows. Next on the list to decide upon is whether or not I'll be getting a second screen as the card does offer two DisplayPort connections. (It came with a DP to DVI convertor cable so I could easily hook up my current 19" Dell 1907FP)

Time is money

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Yesterday was a long but fun day visiting relatives all over the country, which means I'm sort of caught up again now. This evening I'm hopping over to J&M to make them sushi, tomorrow I'm off to see B&H and catch a show of Nigel Williams.

Starting Monday I'm back off to work, on Thursday I've got a meeting scheduled (reminder for myself : 15h30) with K who's a customer representative of the bank to look at the options to renegotiate the current mortgage.

Shipped, Stripped and Clipped

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I just finished updating my schedule for the upcoming month and I'm not looking forward to it at all. Two early shifts, immediately followed by 3 night shifts, what the fuck? It's hard enough to adapt to that change with a day in between, imagine what it'll be now. For those of you that have no clue, try waking up at 4AM on Tuesday, followed by waking up at 4PM on Wednesday, each time taking into account you have to be focused and pay attention at work for 8 hours straight.

In a couple of hours I'll be making a road trip with J/M and T to visit some relatives, should be fun.

Getting annoyed with the fact that Dell doesn't update their order status page all that regular. My parcel was first shipped on the 24th, then the 25th and now it seems stuck at "in transit". I don't mind it being in transit by itself, but I hate the fact that no additional is made available, nor a shipping number that I can track. Ah well... they'll probably show up on Monday :(


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I dig new things, but usually tend to stay away from them for a while to see what's happening and how things are evolving. I value my privacy immensely and as such have not joined facebook,, netlog or myspace. Well, I do have a myspace account, which I never update or use, lol.

A couple of minutes ago I signed up for twitter, to check out whether such a short message system - because that is essentially what it is I believe - could provide something extra for my readers. Right now I'm not yet convinced that it'll add extra functionality/publicity/attention/whatever to the blog but I'm open to test things out.

Right now, I'm setting it up in such a way that a new blog post gets posted to twitter as well (keeping in mind the 140 character limit). I don't think I'll ever consider twittering (or is it tweeting, I'm not really into the new slang) my every move.

Find me here : @friedkitten

Documentary Night

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Luckily I caught wind of two documentaries that were showing on TV and actually recalled that they were on today. I first watched "Six Degrees Could Change the World" about global warming and how life on this globe would change with each rise in temperature of 1 degree. Both shocking as well as informative.

A couple of minutes after that I tuned in for "What's the problem with nudity?", a documentary that runs a series of scientific tests in order to find out whether the all to often shame about naked bodies is inherited, part of our genes or something we grow up with depending on the society we live in.

Unless I totally missed the point, it seems the conclusion is that we are naked (as in not really having fur opposed to many mammals) because our skin acts as a gigantic cooling unit for our brain. On the other hand, we clothe ourselves because nudity is linked to sex and being tempted by nudity could lead to partners splitting up before their offspring (kids in normal terms) is raised to a level where they can stand on their own feet.

You can watch the program at the site of the BBC, but only if you are browsing from the UK (or find a way to make them believe you are there) : "What's the problem with nudity?".


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Do the acronyms SEPA, BIC, IBAN or SWIFT ring a bell? If they don't, read on. If they do, but they make your eyes roll and your heart go into overdrive, read on as well.

If you didn't hover over the acronyms I used above, do so now, it'll help you understand things quicker. However, I'm not about to write a complete essay on the what, how and why of the IBAN conversion, for that I suggest you read up at wikipedia : IBAN.

What I want to write about is the fact that quite often your bank requests a valid IBAN account number and their terminals no longer accept the old BBAN format. However, most bills I still get do not list the proper IBAN or BIC codes which means that I have to contact the issuer of the bill to request such information before I can complete my payment to them. I could simply let them know that I won't be paying my bills till they start adopting the new format, but that would probably lead to nothing as I'm hardly a multinational or government that can strong arm the other party into adopting their way of doing things.

As I had the same problem with the Dell purchase I made yesterday I started looking around on the web for a converter and sure enough, I found one (in Dutch and only for Belgian BBAN's) : IBAN DEMO. I can't give you any guarantees as how correct the tool is, or how long it'll remain online but I converted 5 BBAN's to their IBAN version and they all turned out to be correct. I then proceeded to convert 4 more numbers of which I had no way to verify the conversion right away, and all IBAN numbers turned out to be correct as well when I used them to pay some bills.

If you receive a bill that doesn't list IBAN and BIC, ask them to send it to you. The sooner we all start using the new format, the easier it'll be for everyone.

I want a low card

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This morning I ordered a new video card for my Dell Dimension 5150c - nothing fancy at all, but something that should give me a bit more graphics power than the current ATI Radeon X600 with 128MB Ram that powering the box. I had been looking around for a replacement for a while, but the 5150c model is a very tiny and compact machine which results in video cards sporting low profile and half height brackets can even be considered. And truth be said, there are not so much of those around.

I finally opted for the ATI Radeon HD 3470 Low Profile with 256MB Ram on board + it has support for dual screens. Not that I actually have two screens right now, but I'm not opposed to getting a second flat screen where I can run video or a web browser on while playing World of Warcraft.

I am fully aware that it's not the most powerful video card out there, nor probably the best. If it fits the machine though - big IF there, as Dell only lists the Optiplex 960 as being compatible and NO cards at all for the Dimension 5150c - it will suit me just fine and deliver what I need for a reasonable price. I'm not using my computer to play the latest first-person shooter or cinematographic animations or DVD.

If I wanted to do that, I should have bought a full sized tower 2.5 years ago. Instead I deliberately picked a SFF (Small Form Factor) machine that looked nice and was compact and reasonably priced for what I wanted to use it for. You just can't have it all and I've learned that spending thousands of euro's on top end computers is usually a waste of time and money. Sure, I too like toying around with the latest and greatest but if I think about it, it just makes no sense. By the time you walk out of the shop, your high end gaming machine has become obsolete. Nowadays, I buy what I need immediately or expect to require in the next 3-5 years.

I'll keep you updated as to whether or not I can actually get the card fitted. Which will take a while as Dell doesn't mention their SEPA compliant bank account number (IBAN/Swift/BIC) in their mail, nor on the site. Which means I have to mail Customer Support to ask for something they should have included in the first place. Ah well...

Note : talk about speed - This post was picked up and indexed by Google within the hour. As I was searching for some more info about this video card and WoW, my own blog entry turned up at page three, only being published 56 minutes ago. Sweet!

Chop Chop!

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I've got some rice soaking in cold water, and in a couple of minutes I'll start cooking it to make sushi. I've bought smoked salmon, tuna and (fake) crab (surimi sticks to be exact) as well as nori, japanese rice vinegar, soy sauce and red paprika. Making sushi takes some time but it's so worth it...


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I was heading home when I suddenly spotted something a couple of meters ahead of where I was going. It was about the size of a shoebox, had different colors but mainly gray and white and it slowly moved directly into the path of the car. At first I thought it was a piece of newspaper that had found freedom and was now gently pushed around by a slight breeze. With that first impression I didn't really think about it for but a split second. However, as I was getting closer it dawned on me that it made this repetitive rocking motion, which is something newspapers usually ain't capable off.

Lemme think : gray and white, rocking motion, moving into my path, about the size of a shoebox... Fuck! Erm, I mean Duck!

Indeed a duck had picked the exact same time to cross the street as I was driving along it. I hit the brakes, swerved to the right and... nothing. Not a Quack, not a thud. Newspaper after all?

As I drove along, I looked in the rear view mirrors and saw the duck get up again, stretch his (or her) neck and continue crossing the road. Luckily these creatures are very good at one thing : ducking.

Clothespin Questions


I just got back from the cinema where I saw "SM Rechter". For those unaware about the plot, the movie is based on a true story where a judge is convicted and stripped of all his rights and pension because he agreed to practice SM with his wife. She was the initiating party and asked him to perform these things on her. For the record, they are still living together and still very much in love, even though the judicial system chewed them up and spit them out for following their most intimate and private desires.

Doesn't it strike anyone as curious by the way that a search for the name Koen Aurrousseau or Magda De Herdt results in little to no information about the original case? Sure, back in the days internet wasn't used as much to blog or express opinions but I consider the case to be one of the most important in regards to invasion of privacy.

Anyway, the movie only makes my anger grow stronger, for how this couple has been treated, and for that reason I would like everyone to think really hard about a couple of things. I'm not even expecting feedback or a comment... the mere fact that you've given it a couple of minutes of your time is enough for now.

Question # 1 : Should laws exist to regulate all things in life, whether it is public, private or somewhere in between?

Question #2 : If these laws should exist, who would you consider capable to create those laws and where possible prosecute cases based upon them.

Question #3a : If a certain excess or an extreme case pops up, which is not yet covered by a law, would you want a law to be created in order to stop these excesses in the future?

Question #3b : Even if such a new law could also lead to prosecution of cases that are - for the time being - considered "acceptable" by a (silent) majority?

I think most of my readers already know what I think about the Aurrousseau case depicted in the movie, or how I feel about invasion of privacy and the continuing battle to safeguard the rights of the individual, free speech and free thinking. Anyway, I've left the answers to those same questions in a comment, so feel free to glance over them AFTER you've come up with your own :)

PS : If you come back from the movie and only recall seeing ropes, boobs and spanking, you've totally missed the point and I suggest you rent some bondage or SM movie that was created specifically to arouse you. The SM content is nothing but a clothespin that holds the much more prying and important underlying theme up : do we still have the right to decide about our own body for ourselves?

PS2 : not as unrelated as you may think in these days of digital imaging, video and communication - Surveillance Self-Defense (site created by EFF)

Music makes the world go round

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As I was reorganizing some of my music, I came across a folder titled "DJ Testosterone" that contains 1.85gig of mixes by the same DJ. I had been following her work pretty closely in 2007 and 2008 but then I suppose I lost track somewhere, so I decided to see if she was still in the mix scene and sure enough, she is.

I'm grabbing the last mix of 2008 - "Change isn't just a jingle in your pocket" - and the first one of 2009 - "When does wonderland open" - as I write this, so if her work is just like the old days, I'll be listening to some excellent creations in a matter of minutes.

If you're up for it, point your browser here and enjoy : DJ Testosterone. Keep up the good work, elleinad!

Note : the new Zombie Nation CD "Zombielicious" also is recommendable.

Hit the update button!

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It's been a while since I urged everyone to patch their computers, but today seems like a perfect occasion to get everyone's attention. Take your pick, depending on whether or not you actually use the program and/or version mentioned. Remember to uninstall programs you no longer use - if it ain't installed, it can't be used as an attack vector!

If you don't trust the direct download links I'm providing, I'm also listing the homepage of the software creator so you can hunt down the correct link yourself.

  • Firefox 3.0.7 - download -
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.1 - download -
  • Adobe Flash - download -
  • Windows - Various Patches - download -

It can be quite challenging to keep an eye on what new versions are released, what software needs patching, or where to get those updates. You could give the excellent Secunia PSI tool a try : Secunia PSI download.

It'll scan your machine and report what software is out of date, vulnerable or end-of-life, as well as give you - where possible - a direct download link so you can stay up to date easily. Run it every week or have it monitor your computer constantly, your choice, but I use it on all my machines and recommend it to most of my friends, relatives...

Quick update

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I ordered tickets for the Katinka Polderman show next month, and later this month I'll be seeing Nigel Williams with B&H. Today was a busy day at work, and before I headed off to home I stopped over at my granny who I hadn't seen for a while. We had a nice chat and caught up. I plan to go see my other granny at the end of the month when I've got some time off - she lives quite a distance away.

Just spend about an hour troubleshooting the wireless connection - or rather the lack of one - over the phone when Joco called me and while at first everything sounds alright, the thing doesn't really work as supposed. The computer get an IP assigned, yet fails to resolve any DNS. Flushing the DNS didn't magically solve things, so I'll be heading over there tomorrow to use a hands on approach. I'll be taking my bag full of goodies - laptop, two wireless cards, UTP cable, CD's, Drivers, network scanners and such - with me to troubleshoot.

Caution : Hot Zone

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I just finished a four day course about safety and did learn quite some new things and had other things refreshed. The course actually consisted of three days covering theory, laws, rules and regulations, while today was time for an examination and practical case we had to prepare for and then execute. The exam was a breeze (as it should have been when you had paid close attention during class) and got a 44/45 score but the practical application was something else.

We didn't even get to start the actual work - didn't touch one bolt - when our instructor cut us off and said it was ended because we had ran out of time. Even though we didn't finish the complete test case, we all got rather good scores due to the fact that we worked relatively safe and had eye for a lot of things we should have seen. The preparation was on par as well and we learned the valuable lesson that working in a hot zone is not a matter of doing things quickly, but safely. You can't risk taking a guess or doing things "about right", it just doesn't work that way.

Most of the mistakes made or issues we ran into were no so much safety related, but came down to experience. Ever tried tearing tape apart while wearing two pairs of gloves? If not, here's the answer : it's impossible. Solution : tear them upfront and stick them on your overall before entering the hot zone and wearing gloves. So easy but you just gotta know it :)

Conclusion : While I've not become the safest worker overnight, I'm sure everyone in our group has a better understanding of safety and eye for potentially dangerous situations, which makes the 4 day course worth every second of our time.

Lights Out,


Spot on? Well, the lights did suddenly go out, but I couldn't find some spot following me around, nor a stage to jump onto so I figured quickly that something else was wrong. I was happily leveling my Paladin in WoW when suddenly the spots behind me died, follow within a fraction of a second by my computer. Since the light and outlets are not on the same circuit - yeah, I do know a little about electricity and wiring - that means it can't be a fuse that popped for no apparent reason. It could be several fuses, but that would be unlikely.

I grabbed my cellphone and flipped it open so the light came on, then took the flashlight out of the pocket of my jacket and took a peek outside : darkness in the street and the one that intersects with it. Global meltdown, who knows. I knew I had candles somewhere, so I grabbed one and then realized I didn't have anything to light it with. Funny how simple things suddenly become complicated, ain't it?

About 25 minutes later, the power was back on. I had already turned on my laptop and was about to get ready to borrow the wireless link from a neighbor in the street over when suddenly things came back alive.

Note to self : prepare emergency box that contains several things that come in handy during a power failure, drought or flooding. If I work on such a thing, I can better be as complete as I can, don't you think? First on the list : lighters and candles, and a box in which I can stowaway quite some things without it getting bulky or too heavy. The idea is to hang it on a wall within reach and easy to find. New project :)

Suggestions for what should be in the box are welcome, feel free to mail or leave a comment.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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