Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Being disconnected ..

.. can be nerve wrecking

When one is away from others and one tries to get into simple contact and that won't work because there is no connection then things can get nerve wrecking. One starts to guess what might have happened and by human nature fear the worst and even more human nature tells one that the worst is also the most probable.

Usually, things are not as bad as they seem at first glance. One should not panic and just breathe easy into the plastic bag to get the hyperventilation to subside. Get a hot cup of coffee and take a moment to be amazed by the items stuck in the vending machine. You probably did not know that these items were for sale anyway and now it's too late!

See that is what I mean: the panic has disappeared.

Anyway, what happened to me? Why this enigmatic entry? I tried to send some email to people who are affected by my previous blog entry. The mail returned without a clear error. Sending a message to my deleted mail address at a former employer eerily returned the same shady error. Were they all fired on the spot?

So, sweat breaks out. Get some coffee and tried again some time later same response. More sweat, more coffee. Even later, another try and the mail went out. Did not bounce. The relief was huge when I saw the read receipts come in. They were still alive.

Eventhough this contact is little more then pinging them it gives a valuable and much appreciated sign of live. Hey people: keep breathing, in - out, in - out, in - out, etc.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Control, control, one can never have too much control ..

.. or can you?

When you have been assigned to lead a group of individual minds that sit in a tight group together and speak to each other without prior permission from you, the Leader. Well, this is quite obviously an outrageous situation and something one should take action against in a direct and harsh way.

But taking this action requires some courage as well as you have to address the group and tell them to stop their subversive behavior. One could address each individual alone and lower the risk of an uprising. One against one is easier than one against a group. He he!

But then, what if there are some non-weaklings in the group? People that can outstare one and maybe even outsmart one? How can one ever have allowed the hiring of such persons!?

If one can not face the group or some or more of the individuals of the group alone then one is forced to stoop to more obscure tactics. Then one must go behind the backs of all and take covert actions. Install microphones, browse through papers laying about on the desks, secretly read through the email. That is the only way to find out what is going on. Gather as much evidence as needed against the most problematic figures in the group and find something that he or she shouldn't have done and then take action. The preferred type of action is through proxy. Let someone else take on the task of punishing or suspending or even firing the culprit. In the best scenario one can even play the innocent role.

'Hey , I would have loved to keep you around, you are a valuable asset in my team, but if someone has caught you stealing toilet paper then it is out of my hands. BTW I would be happy to write a recommendation if you wish....'

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

All right Football then ...

Andorra away: always tough

To bring some distraction from our daily turmoil let's focus on sports. Let's focus on the elegant sport of Football (soccer to some out there).

Our national pride, the Dutch national team, Oranje, will bring joy and fame to our people by going head to head in the stadium of Barcelona against the infamous national team of Andorra...

The post will probably delayed for a day because the postman is playing left midfield. The baker is closed for the day because he is reserve goalie. The match could turn into a national disaster if the central defender gets injured as he is the only bus driver of the nation.

Orange can only loose tonight. Anything less than 10 to 0 would be considered a defeat. Conceding a goal against and they should not be allowed back into the country. But then again most of our national squad live and play abroad.

Just one more reminder:

Andorra away: always tough

Going Dutch has a new meaning ...

.. and it ain't nice.

Since the brutal killing of Theo van Gogh a lot of disgusting things have happened in our dear little country. We have seen attacks on Islamic schools, mosques and churches. All as reaction on the extremist, fundamentalist background of the killing of the not-so-subtle film maker. Then we have seen a day long siege of a house with a couple of suspected would-be terrorists.

Going Dutch (already with a negative meaning) has now a new and even worse meaning to it. The simple minded violent and racist/discriminatory reactions on the killing and these reactions are now the Dutch Way. That in a country that has been so tolerant throughout the ages. At least, that's what we try to convince ourselves of by repeating it over and over again. Death threats to politicians with outspoken opinions are conceived as something normal. Something that goes along with the job. Something they had coming. If they wouldn't have had such an outspoken opinion then they would not have been threatened!. It's their own bloody fault!

Well, this is the atmosphere that still exists. After all these years. We have been so tolerant (lax) that we have allowed sub cultures to grow and grow that defy all that we think is part of our heritage: freedom of speech, equal rights for women, homosexuals, Muslims, Christians, Jews and non-believers, our tolerance. We (the political correct, civilized society) have even disallowed people critizing these sub-cultures. We have allowed these group to live among us, but outside our rules and moral values.

This is what has come to. There is in our society a group that is so easily insulted because they have a low pain level for taking criticism. They see every remark as an attack on all Muslims and all mosques and Islamic organizations.

I know I am risking my life here when I say that the soft approach of the past decades have led to this and that we should now push harder for this group to become part of our society. To be able to accept criticism and also to conduct some internal self control. To accept and practice our constitution. That means equal rights for all: women, homosexuals, Jews, non-Islamics. That means learning our language. That also means that if they feel insulted that they take the legal route and not the violent route.

Let's try to be Dutch again.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The times they are a-changing ..

Bob Dylan was right, in a way. The times are definitely changing. Here, in the lovely, tiny country of Holland things have again changed dramatically. Last week a young guy has killed a Dutch filmmaker, Theo van Gogh, who had a very outspoken opinion and did not have the word 'subtle' in his dictionary. Yesterday he was cremated. Luckily he had his funeral all planned out in detail. This prevented hysterical scenes.

In the course of the last week many things have happened. The alleged killer is of Dutch-Moroccan background and the motive is extremist islamitic inspired. This has triggered a lot of reactions. Theo van Gogh has recently made picture about the treatment of women under the Islam. A quite explicit movie. This (and several not so subtle statements about the Islam) has angered a lot of people and death threats appeared on several web sites. His death now is seen by many as a direct attack on the Freedom of Speech. In a so called tolerant society this is something that caused a lot of outrage. Politicians and many others say that this needs to be stopped and that one should strike hard against extremism.

I agree with striking against extremism, but it sounds a bit too familiar. You're either with us or with the terrorists. Yes, we should act and we must act quick and with clear decisiveness. But we should also try to root out the cause of the problem. These extremist acts can be linked directly to the September 11 events and to recent events in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel / Palestine. It is quite simple: The harder we strike the harder they strike back.

It is a time for thinking and acting, but please do it in the right order.

What really annoys me right now is the events after the killing of Theo van Gogh. Idiots have painted racist slogans on mosques and set fire buildings with islamic schools and other organizations and even a bomb has been detonated. In return a fire was started in a Catholic church. This could go from bad to worse. I think it is amtter of time before something really, really ugly happens. There are more death threats to politicians and other public figures. In return some nice white racists could jumped the wagon and exploit the chaos.

Again: It is a time for thinking and acting, but please do it in the right order.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Crossroads ...

Watch out for traffic coming from other directions

Sometimes you find yourself at a point in your life where you have to make a decision, do you turn left or right or go straight ahead and accelarate into the distance. Or you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile ... Anyway. I have now come at such a crossing where several roads come together and I have to pick a new route into the future. Stay in my current job with colleagues I know well and work with in a pleasant way but without finding full satisfaction in and appreciation for the things I do? Or do I step out and take a new promising role in a new job with a new employer with new unknown people around me? This is my present situation and either choice has its advantages and downsides. But right staying where I am means taking no action which always is bad. Stepping out feels like running away.

However, I have done my best to make changes to my present situation, several times, to no avail. So, I do not feel like I am quitting, giving up. It is not running away, it is stepping out gracefully at the bus stop and getting onto another line going in another direction, the rest of my future.

The part about leaving colleagues, some of them can be called friends as well, that's the part that bothers me most. I have had a lot of fun (and distraction from the less joyous moments and understanding), so I admit that they have been important in my day to day life. Without sounding too sentimental they have kept me going. They and just burying myself in my work, shutting off from the daily, weekly harrassments from those who have made the time bad enough for me to now take the Big Plunge into Uncertainty again.

Thanks to all these people. (You know who you are.)

Friday, October 15, 2004

No politics please, or ...

It's hard to stay away from politics when the influence on your life is so big. This is true for national politics, but also for international important happenings like the US presidential elections.

Yes, it is coming closer and closer. There were a couple of TV debates or struggles, where each of the contestants tried to avoid making any clear statements as that might upset any of the floating voters that they need so badly. A race this close never brings out the best in both candidates or a nice clear cut view of their differing opinions. They always have be so careful with their wordings. Especially in sensitive areas, where moral issues are concerned: same sex marriage (aka partnership), stem cell research, abortus.

Then there is the obvious mud slinging which has now become statistical with number of times the other has voted against the reduction of something and the number of times he has in favor of increasing something else. To me this is pure statistics: only half the facts are given and they use to prove that the world is flat or banana shaped.

So, what's my stand on this? I guess someone would like to know that. (Or not, I don't care). Well, I always look at the United States to see things that will happen here in Europe in the next couple of years. We have seen McDonald's come over and multi-channel TV with the pleasures of daily soaps. So, it is with a worried mind that I look at the money that is involved in the elections for about any office in the US. Money seems to be the deciding factor and not the quality or ideas of the candidate. This goes for both current US Presidential candidates. Neither really has any appeal to me. Like I have read somewhere it is a choice between a candidate that pulled the US into a war and a candidate with a funny hair-do. Well, I then add to that, that it is easier to get a new hair cut then pull out of a war gracefully.

And life goes on ...

Monday, September 27, 2004

Mondays, you gotta love them ...

Nobody likes Mondays. They all say that, but maybe they are all wrong. Monday is a great day. Every Monday is the start of a new exiting week. The chance to make things work, make things work even better. The start of another creative week.

But no, nobody seems to like good old Monday. He is spit out, kicked into the corner. Being called names. Ignored. Outcast. It's the underdog of all days.

So OK, it is Monday again and I am trying to cheer myself up by accusing everyone of being mislead on their Monday feeling. Trying to convince myself that Monday is indeed a great day that we all should celebrate and cheer on when it arrives. But to be honest: Monday is yet another day in the office after a nice relaxing weekend. And this Monday: I come to discover that the program that is to go in production tomorrow has not been tested by any of the users and my concern expressed to the person who might be able to kick some behinds to make people move was greeted by an out-of-office reply: she will not be in for the rest of the week.

Monday is Monday again. I wish it was still weekend.

I pity Monday, because he is and always will be the underdog of all days.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

What about the great days ...

Yeah, what about he great days? I said 14 or 21 or 20. So what about them? Did anything happen?

Well something started on the 21st, but it has not turned into something completely yet. So bear with me and see what happens in the very near future.

Don't hold your breath, though.

The leaves start falling ...

Well as a figure of speech then. The leaves are not falling yet, but soon they should. Fall has started. Wind is blowing. Lots of rain. Temperature has dropped and the summer is definitely over.

It is time to sit back and think about the things we have achieved so far this year and, if we find we have not done enough, we can pull a final sprint to get our production up to scratch. And, well I have looked at my achievements, and how others have thought about them. Then reflected on how others have achieved in my eyes. Had a wry smile and shook my head. Why oh why does there seem to be such a difference in perception of what one thinks of their achievements and what others observe? OK, OK, I should be as objective as possible and not state that I am the only sane person in this world. (Although sometimes I think I am.) But at this particular moment in time I seem to be surrounded with peopple who share my opinion about another person and also, like me, disagree with the opinion that that person has about me. So either we are all crazy, biased or misled or I am a great manipulator (but then said person would not have had a conflicting view of me) or we are all completely accurate in our observations.

This must be a great moment to sit back and take another sip of coffee. Sense and simplicty, as they say.

Friday, September 17, 2004

An award! At last ...

Sure, I always knew I had it in me. But lately, some doubts have invaded my state of mind and clouded over my confidence. But now things have changed!

I have finally received what was coming to me for a long, long time: an award!

The University of Blogging Presents to Roho An Honorary Bachelor of Cheesey Memes Majoring in Self Portraiture
Signed Dr. GoQuiz.com®

Are you entitled for an award?

Your name:


Blogging Degree from Go-Quiz.com

I'm walking on sunshine, woho!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Not much has happened ...

Even though yesterday should have been a very special day, it passed without anything happening. Nothing, zippo, nada.

Just wait then, maybe the 20th or the 21st will bring what is said to be in the stars. Or I might just not believe in it any longer until I feel desperate again.

That could be in a few months time again.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Today ...

Today could be the first day of the real lucky days of September. According to Astrologyzone.com this could be one of my lucky days. (See also this post and this.)

Well, it's almost five o'clock and still not much exiting has happened, but who knows? It is not yet over for today. And then the 20th and 21st are still to come.


Blogging is bad for your health ...

A recent study showed that a group of students that was maintaining a web log was more stressed and physically in a less shape than a group of non-bloggers.

Is this disturbing news or what? Well, it is just one of those studies that we see wuite often. Red wine is supposed to be good or bad every five to six months depending on the nationality of the researchers. French institutes obviously always show the ebnefit of drinking red wine. And the some months later one is supposed to drink white wine. Or beer if the researcher comes from Germany or Belgium.

I just read these reports, or rather the extracted news item. This is always out of context and therefore much more readable, more newsworthy and thus much more fun. It gives yet another smile and a nice piece of discussion food for lingering a little longer at the coffee machine with co-workers.

Coming back to the blogging being bad for one's health. The reason that people were less off with blogging is the bloggers tend to go on and on about things that bother them. In that way they never got over it and the problem got bigger in stead of less by writing about it.

Any how, I will keep on blogging and I'll be careful not keep going on and on and on about little things that bother me.

But then again in five moths time some other researcher will have proven the opposite. Or that we should drink red wine while blogging. Cheers!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Just another day at the office ..

Eventhough I should not generalize I must admit that this morning I did bang my head on the table muttering: Those stupid Belgians! They are not all stupid, but some of them tend do these horrble nasty things that just do not make any sense. Some of them are OK, one of my collegeaus is from Belgium.

So what happened?

Well we have another software project going on, under the ususal time pressure. (One of these small changes, that according to them was a simple case of copy-n-paste: a five minute job, including documentation. My first estimate on the other hand was 160 hours of work. Just a weeny tad more than five minutes.

What really annoyed me this morning that I specifically insisted on having a separate development environment as the present changes would already have impact on the present application and we would not want the users to get all confused, now would we? So what I found out that they have created a mixed developemnt and production environment for me to work in. Users all of a sudden now have an option to select things that are not giving them the desired results, just complete bogus.

And .. oh how we try to deliver quality!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Elections ...

Looking from the other side of the ocean it is difficult to suppress a smile every now and then when observing the Presidential campaigns of both Bush and Kerry. They seem to focus on very few things to get the most attention from voters and potential voters. They cannot say anything to radical or outspoken because they need votes from another group as well. But the race being so tight means that they are even more careful. They both need the same group of voters so they can not step too far apart from that group nor the other candidates opinion.

Also the pathetic mud slinging at each other almost makes one smiles. I think the Republican convention was an ethical low in that sense. Trying to break down the other candidate by looking in a very detailed and out of context analysis of voting in the past seems to me as ridiculous. As if someone can not for some reason vote for a proposal and later against another one that seems to have some superficial link.

But this only almost makes me smile. Because for some reason this country has so much influence on the lives of so many people and countries outside of North America. And then to realise that the Greatest Democracy in the World is being governed by the person with the most money in their campaign, the most efficient PR machine and not by default the Best man for the job, should be more than enough to start worry any person who likes democracy.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

More news on the future ...

I just read the September issue of my horoscope on Astrology Zone and apparently my big day of this onth can either happen on the 14th or 21st or the 20th.

I can hardly wait!

Web design in miniature ...

Now with so many people walking around with these tiny PDA thingies and web enabled mobile phones, the time has finally arrive for designing web sites that fit these small screens.

A List Apart has just published yet another good article on this subject.

A List Apart is one of those sites that you just need as a resource for good web design technology. I must admit that I learned many of the tricks from this site and I use them all the time.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

At work again ...

Started with some new templates for my web-site. Always intersting to play and play and try to see if you can get to the effect that you would like. Most of the time it is just deleting all the frovolous stuff to make it simpler and cleaner to achieve a pleasing effect.

To see my struggles follow this link. The 'Andere' menu item brings you to the second design. Most links lead nowhere.

In time things should improve.

Just another try

And then ...

With the Olympics finished one could wonder what to do now. Well, that is something to think about. Hey, now I can think about something to do. So I have something to do!


Rain and traffic.

OK, yeah, I agree, when it rains you should drive slower. Especially when there is a lot of traffic. You have to be careful and take notice of others.

But there is a limit to the speed drop to which one should be held. If one goes too slow then that car is blocking the way for others. Also abrupt change of speed by braking is just not done. The traffic behind these drivers congests until the point where I drive comes to a complete stand still.

This always happens and most annoyingly right after summer holidays when all the drivers with low intelligence return from holiday and start criss crossing all over the road changing lanes and passing on the wrong side.

There should be a law against it.

At least one.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Well hello

This should be a new start.

Apparently September 21st will be a very special day for me. According to Susan Miller at least. The interesting site Astrology Zone reveals all the secrets for the future. Just go there, unless you don't want to know yet what happens in the future.

Keep a watch out for my posts on or round about September 21st, the world will change big time, at least for me.

For those who are wondering: my sign is Aquarius.

Can't wait!