"In het verleden behaalde resultaten bieden geen garanties voor de toekomst"
About this blog

These are the ramblings of Matthijs Kooijman, concerning the software he hacks on, hobbies he has and occasionally his personal life.

Most content on this site is licensed under the WTFPL, version 2 (details).

Questions? Praise? Blame? Feel free to contact me.

My old blog (pre-2006) is also still available.

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Geocaching the thrash away


As part of our grand "Get-Some-Exercise-Every-Sunday" masterplan, Brenda and I did two more geocaches this afternoon: Hof Espelo and De grenzen van Enschede - 7. The first one was easy, the second one was a rather long walk, we spent a good 4 hours walking in the end, but it was fun and good exercise.


As is common when geocaching, we took a trash bag and collected garbage while we were walking. We found quite some stuff in the woods, but that effort was dwarfed compared to the few km we walked past a state road. Once you start picking up other people's garbage, only then you realize how many completely antisocial assholes must be out there, the toss just about everything right out the side of their car.

In total, I think we collected 6 or 7 full grocery bags of garbage (emptying them whenever we found a garbage container), with a fair selection of all kinds of things: Candy wrappers, plastic bottles, empty cans (almost all of them some brand of energy drink), three gloves, an empty pack of sugar, car and bicycle parts, empty bags, cigarette packs (almost all of them Marlboro...). We even found a ready-to-go sex kit: An empty box of condoms, some empty condom wrappers, some unused condoms out of their wrapper, an unused condom still in its wrapper, and a comfortable (but slightly dirty) sleeping bag! Really...

0 comments -:- permalink -:- 18:23
Service as it should be: Interstuhl


When I started my studies and moved to Enschede, nearly 7 years ago, I needed furniture of my own. One of the things I have spent quite some time on selecting, was my office chair. Seeing that I spent a lot of time behind my desk and computer, both for hobby and my education, I wanted a good chair, with enough knobs and levers to make me both comfortable and give me ergonomical working place.

After some consideration, I settled on the Ataros A122, produced by Interstuhl. It has shown to be a very comfortable chair and so far I've not regretted buying it (even though it has cost my just under four hundred euros).

However, recently the chair started breaking down. The knob that keeps the back of the chair up broke, leaving the back always in the downmost position (while I want it in the topmost one!). So, after some fruitless searching for a shop that stocked spare parts for my chair, I contacted Interstuhl directly, to see if they could help me.

I was pleasantly surprised by their swift and helpful response, including the advice to replace a second part that was probably also damaged and instructions on how the part could be replaced. The best part, however, was that they sent me the the spare parts for free! I didn't even pay shipping costs. Considering that the 5-year warranty on the chair has already expired a while ago, I consider this superb service. After my previous woes with MSI service, I'm relieved that there still are decent companies with competent staff in this world.

1 comment -:- permalink -:- 15:34
Snowy Geocaching


Since last weekend I have yet another hobby to add to my ever growing stack of hobbies and projects (I'm still looking for extra time to fit them all in, so if you got some spare time lying around...): Geocaching.

As always around New Year, there are these things called good intentions. I usually don't really care about those, but this year Brenda was intent on losing weight. Now I don't really need to lose weight (I have only a bit of a belly), but the main idea was to eat healthier food and get more exercise. Healthy food is always a good idea, and since I'm not doing any sports currently, I welcome some extra exercise (at least in theory :-p).

So to get some exercise we thought of taking a long walk (And no, not with those funny sticks. It's cold enough outside to burn quite some energy). However, to make things a bit more interesting than just a boring walk around the neighborhood, we decided to go Geocaching.

Geocaching, in its simplest form, is using a GPS device to find a cache with hidden treasure on coordinates published on the Internet by the person who hid the cache there.

Coincidentally, I bought a Bluetooth GPS device to use with my phone last year (initially just for Pandora, so I'm glad to be able to use it more often). So, we set out to find the cache "Aan de rand van de wildernis", which is a so-called "Multi-cache", meaning you get the coordinates of the first point and using some numbers you find there (from a traffic sign, for example) you can calculate the coordinates of the next waypoint, where you'll find some more numbers, etc.

After four waypoints (including a nice detour through the denser part of the forest due to a minor calculation error) we found the cache, hidden in the ground! As is usual with caches, it contained some "trade", mostly children's toys. We took a small packet of eau de toilette and replaced it with an "Eco-button".

So, let's see which cache in the neighborhood we'll plunder next...

1 comment -:- permalink -:- 21:03
If everything else fails, I can always become a sewing machine mechanic

Some time ago, I got a somewhat strange gift. An old sewing machine, that had belonged to Moniek's late grandmother. It hadn't been used in quite some time, but José and Moniek thought we could find a use for it. Brenda already has her own sewing machine (a new one, bought a year ago), but when we are both working on some costume, one machine is just not enough (especially when we need different colours of thread).

The sewing machine was quite an old one though, and not used in years. It is an electrical sewing machine (so not ancient), but there is no plastic involved (it's fully built out of metal and weighs a ton). It has no fancy features, but simple and seperate flexible controls (as opposed to newer sewing machines, which tend to have a single lever that selects between various presets). The motor and the general mechanic still worked fine, so there was still hope of getting it into a usable state. However, a couple of parts did not work all that well, so it has been standing unused until today.

Tonight I've taken a bit more time to look closer into the parts that did not work properly and even disassembling parts of the machine. I already knew that sewing machines were complex things, but I was still struck by the extreme density of ingenious constructions crammed into it. Every detail is perfectly matched, fit and aligned, and when you think enough about all the strange rings, holes, levers and other weird things, you can guess what they are supposed to do (at least in most cases).

I still need to do a more thorough cleaning and oiling of the machine, but for now it is functioning quite nicely again. In the end, I mostly ended up just tightening some screws, but I did have to figure out how the the parts work to know which screws to tighten. I haven't actually done more testing than small 10cm seams, but let's just hope that those are representative :-)

1 comment -:- permalink -:- 22:10
Moving out, Moving in

This week is the last week that I'm officialy living in my own room at the Calslaan, I've been busy moving out over the last few weeks. The room is nearly empty now, I've spent my last friday removing the planks from the walls and replacing the plugs by fwall filler (Unfortunately, the plugs did a pretty decent job at staying put, so there are still some remains of them in the wall...).

It's probably no surprise that I'm moving in with Brenda, at her place in Twek. Since she got here own place there over a year ago, I've been "visiting" her more often and often. Since I'm now spending most of my (free) time there, it makes sense to make that official as well. It doesn't feel like that big a step (since the living together part happened gradually), but actually moving in together is still a next step of commitment (which I am happy to take).

We finished most of the moving stuff part a few weeks back, just before I started my internship at Recore Systems. This is the one-but-last part of my studies, after I finish my internship in august, I have only my final thesis remaining (though that's gonna take at least 6 more months). So, the end is in sight, but still not so near :-)

1 comment -:- permalink -:- 15:45
Today was a good day

I just got home, and looking at today I think it is a good day. I started out early with a (moderately boring) class, followed by a practical exercise. This exercise was finished halfway the afternoon, after which I continued to Tim's final thesis presentation. He is the first of "my" Inter-Actief board to finish his education, and more of us will follow soon.

After the presentation, there were drinks. Halfway through, we (the former board members from his year) gave another presentation. It was a short pop quiz about Tim's years at university (in the style of "Dit was het nieuws"). There where lots of embarassing pictures, which led to lots of laughs.

After that, I continued straight to the Pro Deo new years diner. This was a night of good food, good talks and nice people. Everyone had cooked a piece of the meal, in groups. I had prepared tea, coffee, apple pie with a Mondriaan painting on it and cake with DIY topping, all of which people liked a lot. During the evening, there was also an auctioning game, which I happened to win (largely due to strategical bidding, and a little due to luck, since Marijn had adopted the same strategy :-).

So, all in all, today was quit good and I am content. The only thing that sucked today, was that the wind was blowing in the opposite direction all day...

1 comment -:- permalink -:- 02:14
Passed the exam!

Last monday (very early, they thought it was a good idea to plan my exam at 08.00 in the morning...) I passed my driving exam. It was my first try, so I'm quite happy to have passed. So, next Lextalionis, I can also physrep ghouls with a driver's license :-)

2 comments -:- permalink -:- 20:31
Theory exam

Response System Indicator

As you might know, I am having driving lessons since a few months. My instructor strongly advised me to take care of my theory certificate as soon as possible, because that would help in my normal driving lessons. So, even though I have only had ten-ish driving lessons, I had my first try on a theory exam this afternoon.

I had a high goal to meet: When Brenda took here theory exam, she passed with 0 wrong answers. So, my mission was simple yet not so easy: To pass with -1 wrong answers.

I arrived there 45 minutes early (which is quite unusual for me, but everyone kept saying that I should be really, really on time), so I did some more exam practicing while I waited. Interestingly enough, there were absolutely no bicycle parking places at the exam center. I usually hate places that take care of cars only, but I found in particularly peculiar for a place where almost all visitors will not have a driving license (by definition).

Anyway, I tried my best to answer the questions correctly and not accidentally get caught cheating. It's not that I was actually cheating, but the women that sat next to me was totally nervous and sounded a bit desperate, she asked me for an answer for one of the practice questions. I managed to look straight ahead and smile at the surveillant often enough to get to the end of the exam.

After the exam, after a stupid ten minute waiting period (after all, they could have shown me my results immediately after the last question on the tiny display on the answering terminal), the surveillant passed me my results sheet. She confused me by telling me I failed, which turned out to be a mistake on her parted. I had passed the exam with exactly 0 wrong answers, meaning I had indeed failed to improve on Brenda's result. Turns out it is actually impossible to have -1 wrong answers, even though I made up an extra question myself at the end of the exam...

2 comments -:- permalink -:- 17:35
Vaction 2007: Weathery bicycling


Last weekend I returned from my bicylcling vacation through the northern part of the Netherlands together with Brenda. She put up a nice report about our tour, with nice pictures. The tour took us through Overijssel, a bit of Germany, Groningen and even a small part of Friesland! We encountered a lot of nice water, bridges and even a few locks. In Dokkumer Nieuwe Zijlen we also saw Teerling, one of Euros' sailing ships.

Also last weekend, we celebrated Brenda's birthday, at her place in Enschede. Most of the visitors were her family, mixed in with my mother, stepfather and brother. Not a combination that happens often (or at all, before), but it went pretty well.

0 comments -:- permalink -:- 20:23
Driving: Scary stuff


After about a year of "going to", I've finally reached state of "doing": I'm taking car driving lessons. Today, I had my first driving lesson with Harm Hoek (though not from Harm himself, but Michiel, Harm just had a baby last week).

Brenda has here driving license since a while now and she has been able to borrow her mothers car during the last few weeks. For her, that meant a lot of driving practice, for me that meant lots of (helping) navigating and talk about cars and rules and traffic. So, I already had a pretty clear image of how a car is supposed be to operated, what the main traffic rules are and expected to start my driving lessons pretty well-prepared (I even started in Brenda's theory book already!).

Yet, this afternoon I was unexpectedly nervous. It didn't really lessen once I was in the car and I was still a little shaky when I got out. But, I managed just fine and actually drove about 15 kms from Enschede (I think, I was too busy driving to pay attention to the route) in my one-hour lesson (That's pretty slow on average... ;-p).

I think that, due to my preparation, I managed most things quite quickly. However, the amount of things that you need to do while driving did somewhat overwhelme me. Watch the road, watch the speed meter, look in that mirror, look to this road, work the gears, look over this shoulder, look in this mirror, look over that shoulder, watch the traffic, steer!

Anyway, next lesson is in two weeks (going camping next week), so I hope I'll not have forgotten everything by then... I'll be having a different instructor (Hugo) because Michiel will be on his vacation then.

3 comments -:- permalink -:- 22:38
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