Flow is such a wonderful state to be in.

Published on 20/11/2005 at 22h04 by Hans de Graaff, tags

Hiking along the coast

Yesterday I finally found some time to go hiking again, once more along the coast. Last time I ended my hike at Katwijk, so I continued from there this time, up to De Zilk. The weather was predicted to be nice, with mostly clear skies and some clouds. So, it rained part of the way. Nothing catastrophic though and I was prepared anyway, having taken a rain coat.

I was most impressed with the dunes between Katwijk and Noordwijk, even though this seemed to be the dullest part of the hike on paper. It’s just a stretch of dunes 500m wide and 5km long, but the nice part is that for the most part, unless you opt for the normal path on the side, there are no footpaths. You just wander into the dunes wherever you like to go. I did startle a small deer this way, which ran off right away after I passed by it. I did manage to take a picture of it as it was running away.

Published on 20/11/2005 at 15h49 by Hans de Graaff, tags

No more fitness for me

I finally managed to stop my fitness subscription. Certainly a good decision money-wise, as I have not been going for many months and consequently the monthly subscription was just a waste. On the up side I really helped to increase their margin. I’ve been meaning to do this for some time now, but this is typically one of those things that I tend to procrastinate on, no matter if I put it in my action list or not. At least the monthly payment was a regular reminder.

One of the reasons for not ending the subscription earlier is that it is clear that fitness is good for you, and stopping the subscription seems to be a bad signal to yourself. Simply not using the subscription doesn’t have that effect. You’ve got to love the complexity of the brain. Anyway, I’ve been wondering on and off during the last months about why I haven’t been going. It’s not that I don’t like to work out, as I was playing squash once or twice a week before I got into real trouble with my ACL. It’s just that a fitness workout is just so mind-numbing and dull that it could not appeal to me. Friends seem to solve that problem by going at particular times and watch TV while working out, but that doesn’t work for me either. I can’t concentrate on something that is really interesting, and all the other stuff is just some side entertainment for something that is still dull. There must be a good business plan in there somewhere if working out could be made less dull. Or perhaps I’m just a workout niche market.

Published on 04/11/2005 at 17h33 by Hans de Graaff, tags

I passed!

Yesterday I got a nice thick envelope from NIMA in the mail, containing my official certificate for their NIMA B course. NIMA is the dutch association for marketing, and the NIMA B course is their strategic marketing course. A whole new career perspective could now open up for me, except that I already decided to start a new company where I’ll be the technical guy. Still, I enjoyed taking the course because it is always interesting to look at running a business from a different point of view, and it certainly has helped in the way I approach my current job, where I get to spend a lot of time working with marketing people as we work on innovations and strategy. If anything my SWOT making has improved quite a bit. :-)

In case you wonder, there was no wild party that you missed last night to celebrate, as I already knew that I passed some time ago as the result of the final exam came in. Hmm, in hindsight I forgot to party then as well.

Finally, a shout out to SRM for offering a very good course for this exam, one which, although at times pretty demanding, was a lot of fun to work through, applicable to my day job, and a good preparation on the exams to boot.

Published on 26/10/2005 at 18h41 by Hans de Graaff, tags


Just spending the last 30 or so minutes on getting a simple script to dump a mysql database, I am reminded again that consistency for the trivial things is really nice to have. Consider what the mysql man page writes about using the password option:

       Employ the specified password when connecting  to  the  database
       server.   If  a  password  is not supplied, it will be requested

Ok, so there is an option that can be used as -p or —password and it can take an optional password to be given on the command line. That’s what I wanted, because it’s no problem to include the password in this particular script and including it makes it possible to use the script in a batch operation. So I did something like this:

mysql -u someone -p=something database

That resulted in an access denied message. Having had more trouble with access management, in particular in combination with the mysql-administrator application, I figured this would be related and I spent a lot of time there. Eventually I did find out what the problem was, the -p option actually takes its argument differently from the --password argument. So you can either do:

mysql -u someone -psomething database


mysql -u someone --password=something database


Published on 22/10/2005 at 19h33 by Hans de Graaff, tags

Walking on the Mookerheide

Yesterday was another fabulous autumn day with loads of sunshine and a very agreeable temperature of ~18 degrees. Great weather to spend a day outdoors hiking. I had the NS Mookerheide walk on my desktop for some time already, so we hiked that route, although we shortened it a bit since no-one wanted to hike more than 25 km.

The hike proved to be wonderful, with a large variety in landscape ranging from moor to forest and from farmland to city parks. Since this area is on the edge where the ice came in the ice age, it is very hilly and the path had some surprisingly steep parts. My favorite picture of the trip is of some mushrooms we found, the perfect autumn picture. Large mushrooms. Very large, actually. On Flickr there is also a picture of the mushroom with someone standing next to it to give you some perspective.

Published on 16/10/2005 at 20h15 by Hans de Graaff, tags

New laptop, new network

Today I bought a new laptop in anticipation of using it at my new job. Oh, and because buying a new laptop is fun, obviously. In order to connect both my desktop and my laptop to internet I also had to make some changes to my network setup, including the installation of a new ADSL router. To make things a bit more interesting I also wanted to leave Win XP on the laptop, but make Gentoo Linux the main installation. I’m happy to see that I’m typing this on my old desktop which is still connected to the net (and in fact serving this blog to you), while my laptop is happily compiling some Gentoo packages in the meantime. Many things could have gone wrong this evening, but none did, and I’m happy.

Published on 15/10/2005 at 00h51 by Hans de Graaff, tags

A big day

Actually, today was not so much the big day as was last week Monday. I didn’t blog about it at that time, but that was the day that we secured our initial funding for the new company. While we had a quick celebration, feeling both dazed and elated, we also realized that now things were starting for real, one of the consequences being to turn in the resignation letter at my current job.

Actually my current company has everything on the HR side under control with Peoplesoft, so there is a convenient function on the intranet to announce your resignation. No need to write an official letter and sign it, just fill in a web form and off you go. You’ve got to wonder how often someone ‘resigns’ just because he left his terminal unlocked while stepping out for a moment. In a fit of humanity the form did suggest to talk to the manager first, but I already did so last week, so all that was left was to click on the button.

Which I did do this afternoon.

So now I’m out of a job on January 1st, with the promise to be able to work for my own company, which does not officially exist yet, based on a work contract that still needs drafting. It reminds me of my previous resignation, where I also quit without having much more than a verbal agreement with my next employer. Positive thinking is a great thing.

On the up side this whole development is great news, as we will be able to start the company in earnest! I’m really looking forward to it, and the idea of having your own company is already turning everything upside down. Just today I was talking to a co-worker about buying a laptop for the new company. His reaction was to simply buy it if I thought I’d need it, but it just isn’t that simple. Buying a laptop means cash leaves the company, and there in only so much to go around. Buying a laptop might mean there’s really no money to buy a good development machine/server, based on our current budgeting, so is the laptop really needed? Sure, it would be nice, but nice doesn’t cut it. Is it really needed, that is the question. No, really needed. Sigh. I haven’t decided yet, let alone what kind of laptop I should buy… Wonderful worries to have.

Published on 11/10/2005 at 20h56 by Hans de Graaff, tags

Hollands Kustpad: The Hague - Katwijk

Last Sunday I finally got to test out my new hiking boots in earnest with a 22km hike from The Hague to Katwijk. It was my first hike on the recently renewed Hollands Kustpad. A very nice hike with a lot of variety in scenery, ranging from city parks to estates with English landscape style gardens, and from dense and hilly oak forests to the wide-open dunes along the coast.

Amazingly I only had a few drops of rain, fortunately not enough to warrant wearing my rain jacket. In fact, the weather was really nice as I was able to hike in just a t-shirt for most of the morning. It certainly doesn’t feel like October at the moment!

As usual pictures can be found on Flickr, but here’s my favorite from the trip:

Published on 04/10/2005 at 20h52 by Hans de Graaff, tags

Broken blog

One reason for not posting much in the last week or so is that my blog got broken by upgrading to a new version of ruby. If you think the sidebar looks a bit funny at the moment, then you’ve spotted the breakage. Since I don’t want to downgrade ruby I’m stuck with a somewhat broken blog until a new version if released. I can’t blame the people behind Typo as they were probably caught by surprise as much as I was, but this problem and the ones I had with Rails don’t reflect well on the Ruby release management process.

Published on 04/10/2005 at 19h57 by Hans de Graaff, tags

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