AS Hometown

Al sinds voordat ik geboren ben was mijn vader eigenaar van het bedrijf AS . Het bedrijf is altijd gevestigd geweest in Hometown en is nu al geruime tijd verhuisd naar de Vosholen. Als men over 'AS Hometown' spreekt, dan bedoelt men AS .

Maar nu is er een kink in de kabel. Een oude bekende heeft misbruik gemaakt van de goede wil van mijn vader om in het geheim een tweede ASbedrijf te starten, genaamd AS Hometown, vlak in de buurt van AS . Dat is niet fijn natuurlijk. Vandaar ook deze blogpost, die hopelijk de naam van het rechtmatige ASbedrijf wat hoger in de zoekmachineresultaten zet.

AS is de echte AS Hometown!

Posted in Dutch | Tagged

Permanence

I've been a bit half-assed about my lifestyle recently, and by recently I mean ever since I returned from Japan. An integral part of my personality is to reject certain things when they become more constant. I don't think this is a flaw, but I'm not sure if it's a quality either.

In any case, this rejection of permanence is the reason I am still living in a crappy apartment in London while having a contractors job. I've ignored all the signals that tell me that I'll be there a while: I love working at my company, and they're happy to have me, the situation with my girlfriend is perfect too and not something I'd want to change. So somehow I've managed to ignore all these perfectly obvious clues that are telling me that I'm not living the life of a suitcase traveler. That idea really disappeared as soon as I bought the massive tv, anyway.

I don't like permanence. Whenever I go back to Holland, usually with intervals longer than 6 months, tons of things have changed in my life since the last time I visited, yet Holland is still the same. Holland does not care about my life-changing experiences. Holland just sits there, calmly laughing at me while it continues its stagnation. Every time I come back here I see the same towns, the same people, and they never change.

There is one thing in Holland I absolutely love: the forest near my parent's house. It's near the lakeside as well and is perfect for walking and cycling. There have been some minor changes over the years, but it's mostly exactly the same as it was in my childhood, when I grew up here. It still smells the same. It still sounds the same. I love being in that forest, and whenever I return home I visit it as much as I can. It's the most peaceful place on earth for me.

Permanence can be perceived as a good thing and as a bad thing. I've experienced both sides but chose for myself to focus mostly on the bad parts. I arranged my life to be as unpermanent as possible in a form of protest against the permanence of the place I grew up in. I've been unpermanent for two years now and I'm starting to see the other side of it a bit more. Permanence is not all bad. It feels good to know that there will always be a place in my life that will never change, that will stay constant as my life keeps changing. Because it will keep on changing, of course.

In fact, one of the first changes I will make, is to add a little more permanence.

Posted in Dutch , Thoughts

Dutch Beach

Summer!

Posted in Dutch , Photography

The fiasco that is the 'ageviewer'

Say you're in Holland and you want to buy some liquor at your local liquor store. The procedure that some stores have now chosen to adopt is as follows: 1. select your beverage of choice, 2. go to the cashier, 3. have your face scanned by a device that decides whether or not you're old enough to purchase alcoholic drinks. This magical system is called the Ageviewer (pardon the Dutch).

Obviously you are thinking right now: "How in the world does that system know how old I am?!?". Does the system run a face recognition system linked to citizen data? Does it do something even more advanced by estimating the age based on facial features? It does in fact none of those things: the image is sent to a company located somewhere else, where a HUMAN BEING stares at a screen the whole day and determines whether the person in the photo is of age or not. Let me emphasize that again for you: in this 21st century filled with wonderful technology like smartphones, augmented reality, instant real-time translation, a global communication network and whatnot, a little old lady is looking at a screen the whole day pressing 2 buttons: 1 for minor, 1 for adult. Three cheers for technology.

Do I really need to explain how utterly ridiculous this system is? Probably not, but I'll do it anyway. First of all, there is absolutely no point in having your age verified by this system if it could just as easily be verified by the person behind the counter. I mean, what's the point of asking someone else to estimate a person's age when you can just ask people for ID? It's not like the photo-identifying 'professionals' have had a university education in recognizing children from adults. Come on... The only purpose I can see for this system is for when the cashier is too scared to refuse the customer or ask for ID. In that case a dummy system would work just as well, since you only have to pretend that the system doesn't let you sell it to the customer. Besides these common-sense reasons there's also a potential privacy issue here if the face-scanning company keeps records of the faces in its system.

This entire project is just a blatant insult to everything and everyone. It insults the store owner by implying he can't tell minors from adults. It insults the people that are working full-time to identify faces by making them do a ridiculously silly task that could just as well be done by a computer. Which leads me to the next insult: this  project is an insult to software engineers who would have been perfectly capable of solving a problem like this. And by 'a problem like this' I mean the problem of effectively verifying someone's age, not necessarily by face recognition, as I can see that would present some very difficult challenges. The whole system is a luddite solution for a non-existent problem. If only they had let some creative hackers loose on the problem, it could have been so much better..

Posted in Dutch , Rant | Tagged , ,

What the..

 

Why hello there Mr. Duck. So glad you decided to pay us a visit. And luckily for you the four cats that are usually found around our house were nowhere to be seen.

 

Posted in Daily Life , Dutch , Photography

Stars are out

Good thing I went out for a walk.

 

 

Posted in Dutch , Photography

Cold Cold Holland

It's freezing again, which means that I am once again too hot. This may sound like a contradiction, so I will explain. When it's freezing my parents turn up the central heating, which creates a fairly nice temperature throughout the house, but in my room (which is directly under the roof) it gets too hot. It doesn't help that I have a PC in the room that's always running at 100% capacity. Today I added this optimization between my balcony door and PC:

No, I did not drill that hole there just for my PC. In the summer that tube is connected to an airconditioning unit. In winter, I can use it to cool my PC and prevent the room from heating up too much. Results so far: CPU temps have dropped ~4C and the GPU fan is running at 40% instead of 44%. Meh.

 

 

Posted in Dutch , Tech | Tagged

Spring!

It's much less bleak today. It felt like the first day of spring. For a couple of hours. Then the sky turned gray again. Keep trying, Holland.

 

Posted in Dutch , Photography