Veni Vidi Vici

There’s an important update regarding my running endeavours.

Yes, I have been logging the miles and tracking my progress. It took me lots of workouts, lots of sweat and pain. But I reached a major milestone! On 27 April I ran the Antwerp marathon. Heck: I ran the full marathon distance! My first ever.

Why would someone be so crazy to run 42,195km? First of all, it’s lots of fun! Yes, it takes a lot of training and energy. But on raceday, you will soon forget about that. It just feels amazing to see people cheering all over the place. The support you get from your family and friends has a big impact too.

I ran the marathon for myself to see what I am capable of. Obviously, it takes a lot of dedication and commitment to reach such a goal. But I am very proud of myself. I don’t want to proof to other people that I am a fighter or a disciplined person. I am not bloating about it. But people keep asking about it. And I notice it does give me respect and self-confidence. And I am so happy with the accomplishment.

So how did it go? In overall good. My time was 3h32, really good for a beginner. The first 20 miles went really great, but then I completely collapsed. I did not expect this to happen. My heart pumped as crazy and my lungs couldn’t keep up flowing the oxygen through my veins. I don’t mind admitting that I had to walk a couple of times. It was my first time after all. Next time I will follow one of the pace makers as I did at the 20KM in Brussels. This really seems to help you dose your energy.

On a side note: at my younger years I have always been a good runner. I really haven’t been doing much of sports during my days at University. But I’m picking that up again. And I want to continue building this up. Note to self: in bits and pieces as everything has to be in balance. That’s the recipe to success.

Breder perspectief

Vandaag op een interessant verhaal over alcohol consumptie gestoten van Ernst-Jan Pfauth (ken hem van The Next Web) en zo gefascineerd geraakt door De Correspondent.

Want we dienen groots en meeslepend te leven. Wie even niet op wereldreis is of onlangs geen briljante roman geschreven heeft, kan altijd nog tien glazen achteroverslaan en zien waar de avond hem brengt. Dwalen door de straten, als Shaffy.

Misschien dat er daarom zo’n alcoholmist boven mijn omgeving hangt. Niet omdat we iets moeten vergeten, maar door de belofte die inherent is aan de drank.

Maar dan de schaamteloze reclame voor de De Correspondent: ik hou écht wel van hun visie! Nieuws gaat altijd over uitzonderingen op een regel, altijd wat vandaag gebeurt maar nooit wat er elke dag gebeurt. Als je de wereld dan uitsluitend via nieuws volgt, mis je dus perspectief. De Correspondent wil zich nu net laten leiden door wat invloed heeft op de maatschappij of het leven.

Ze brengen dus de niet alledaagse dingen, doen rauw verslag en er wordt nog eens nagedacht. Alle wetten die gelden bij de mediamaatschappijen worden naast hun neergelegd. Bovendien zijn ze volledig onafhankelijk en advertentie-vrij en alleen leden kunnen reageren.

Heerlijke verdiepende journalistiek, it seems, en zelfs Arnon Grunberg is correspondent!




So Philip decided a while ago already to pull the plug on It is no longer.

It’s very sad to see his site going.

Here’s what he wrote to me (in Dutch):

Het is nu al een tijdje dat ik er nog iets mee gedaan heb en ik heb besloten om er komaf mee te maken en een nieuwe start te maken. Ik ga mijn website volledig herdenken en er iets nieuws van maken. Hoe dat er zal uit zien weet ik nog niet, maar ik weet wel dat mijn huidige site niet meer in dat verhaal past.

The good news though is that he is rethinking his place on the Web and building it from the ground up. I’m very curious!

Here’s a tribute to one of his best posts. It appeared as one of the last, but it was one of his greatest:

There must always be balance. A personal balance, life balance, natural balance, spiritual balance or the day-to-day daily balance. A scale with alternating weights but a constant average. A perpetuum mobile in the form of a resistance-less swinging pendulum. A gust of air heating up and cooling down as it is pushed up and down by high and low atmosphere pressure. A borderline as thick as a knife’s edge in the middle of the distance between the water levels of high and low tide.

No man is happy always. No man smiles 24/7.

No man suffers always. No man frowns 24/7.

There is value in balance. Adversity grows strength, but becomes fatal without joy. Joy renews mind and body, but loses value and meaning when not challenged.

That was so resonating with me!


So I just downloaded Splunk and I’m getting hands on my MacBook Pro! It was during an IT Service Management training that I first heard of Splunk. No wonder as it has its roots in the IT shop and I met such folks there.

Splunk is a platform for operational intelligence. It processes data and streams, coming from different places. Just like in an IT department where you have tons of servers generating massive amounts of data. So if there’s an interruption for instance, Splunk helps you find find the needle in the haystack. Splunk can help custom reps for instance to mine through the big data.

From another perspective, splunk is also a platform. It’s like a whole set op APIs. It also offers a JavaScript SDK that a front end developer or node developer can build on. And it gets even better: with the web framework toolkit, you can extend splunk’s dashboard features.

Splunk got my interest as it seems to offer lots and lots of goodness for the Web — it’s build on HTML5, Django, Jquery for visualization et cetera. Stuff that a typical  Javascript engineer is comfortable with.

Splunk seems to understand that a lot of data nowadays (Internet of Things) is generated in JSON and that JavaScript works a good platform for this. This doesn’t require you to have classess, methods and properties, but allows you to work with loose information directly.

Still going strong and getting serious about HRM

Well, no more running stats. Yet I’m still disciplined to run the miles. I’m having fun as ever and it’s bloody addictive. Indeed, the Antwerp Marathon is coming quite close now and is just one month and a half away. I suffered from a few injuries here and there, mostly with my left knee. But then I switched to softer grounds. I’m trying to maintain the 40+ regime every week. It’s tiring I must admit but each time it feels like such an accomplishment.

Schermafbeelding 2014-03-08 om 11.14.57As for the tracking, I’m no longer tinkering with MyTracks. I switch to runkeeper and strava nowadays. Why? Richer data, features, the social dimension and so on. It’s logical. But now I know my way around in the Google world too. Runkeeper has some great reporting features. It’s clear and simple and almost all my sporty friends use it. And then well, Strava has segments and all. More importantly: I got myself a Wahoo fitness Blue HR strap. I mostly use it to see how intense my trainings are. I’m not a premium user, so I cannot really set custom heart rate zones and dial in to my workouts for deeper analysis. As for the strap itself: it fits really fits well and the battery should last for about a year. Heck, it’s low energy!

BTLE, or bluetooth low energy, is the new bluetooth setup and Wahoo is one of the first heart rate monitors that is built on this technology. iPhone 5 supports this technology too and so do the apps. The thing is that almost no runner app supports BTLE with Android at this moment. Despite that Android is such a large market, it is only available since version 4.2 I believe. And then of course, your hardware should support this new technology. You could sort of say that Android is behind the curve on this. It is only now that apps are expermenting with the integration of BTLE for Android. Luckily I got my hands on a beta version for Strava (now also Endomondo). It works flawlessly and has reported good data throughout. Apparently runkeeper is going to be supporting BTLE HRM’s in the future for Android too. They do not have a set ETA at this time though.

Eventually I will stick to one app and I’m not quite sure yet which one. Runkeeper has training plans in its newest release and I’m finally getting to grips with Strava 🙂 Using both of them is just not practical.



So I started watching Defiance. Here’s the IMDB intro:

In the year 2046, it’s a new Earth – with new rules. Over thirty years after various alien races arrived on Earth, the landscape is completely altered, terraformed nearly beyond recognition. To the town of Defiance, on what used to be St. Louis, comes the mysterious Nolan (Grant Bowler) and his charge, Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas). As they settle into town – overseen by the mayor, Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz) and filled with residents like the powerful Rafe McCawley (Graham Greene), enterprising lounge owner Kenya (Mia Kirshner) and the ambitious, alien Tarrs (Tony Curran and Jaime Murray) – events begin to unfold that threaten the fragile peace this border town has fought for.

The enjoyable pilot was filled with lots of action, drama, a post-apocalyptic Earth, political intrigue and some mystery. There’s lots of similarities with the themes in the amazing Battlestar Galactica spin-off Caprica: immigrants, races and inequality. It’s adventurous science fiction with impressively rendered monsters and breathtaking views. And well, the story seems interesting!

As the rest of season 1 unravels for me, I hope it can keep me warm for season 2, which is to air in June 2014.


The Intelligent Machine

I love Android cause it moves fast and changes all the time.

It’s still experimental.

One feature I’m especially thrilled about is Google Now. I had no idea what Google Now was until it told me my ETA to drive home. It was a creepy experience, but it had me at hello. I already hinted at it in a previous post.

But I want to elaborate a bit here. I really dig this technology and I’ll explain you why. It’s the same excitement I have felt for Wolfram Alpha back in 2009.

For sure there are similarities with Apple’s Siri. It’s like a personal assistant, but the subtle difference with Google Now is that you don’t need to ask the questions. It will deliver you the answers you need before you even realize.

So yesterday Google Now once again grabbed my balls! It told me how many miles I have walked in January: 51 miles, which is 50 miles less than December. I was just impressed. It’s not difficult if you understand how it does this. Google periodically sends my device’s location data to its servers. That’s all there’s to it and where the magic ends.

There are many more things it does. For instance, it will show me the latest postings for the websites I have visited. Many Now Cards area already out there and Google continuously updates them.

But the thing is: it delivers me what I need. It is context sensitive.

Google Now is like an intelligent machine. Occassionally it asks me questions, like: do you have a regular place of work?. How do you usually get around? Am I interested in weather updates for my location? Do I want updates from websites I often visit? Am I interested in weather updates for work and home?

Yet asking me these polite questions, it doesn’t feel like I’m forced to answer them. And it’s just a yes or a no. That’s all.

Perhaps I must nuance my wordings and call it an intelligent friend. Google is not evil after all, right?

It learns as you do things, it’s highly personalized and can be customized extensively too.

One thing I’m missing is that currently it just tracks my data and that’s all. I want it to tell me what I should eat and do to live a healthy live.

Imagine that it could tell me that I should avoid a certain highway after work due to a big event that is starting nearby. Now that is what we need and that is how Google can keep me surprised until it will become a commodity.

Rapid and continuous software development

There’s something that I’m increasingly paying attention to these days.

And I’m seeing it everywhere: rapid software developments in short periods. It has been an ongoing trend, but now it is more clear than ever.

We are outsourcing a lot of our IT problems to third parties, perhaps in the cloud. This goes hand in hand with the upsurge of short-cycle improvement and development methods such as Lean and Agile.

The last 40 years has seen an increasing speed of application development. In the very beginning, the smallest unit of time for an IT development was one month. And for relatively small things it would even take up to a few months. Then when second-, third- and fourth generation development toolsets came along, productivity increased substantially. Through rapid development methods and tools pilots only take up 1 to 3 weeks. Remember that with traditional methods the prototyping itself would last up to 6 months.

In older technologies it was not that easy to make amendments to new or existing systems. But then Model driven Application Development came along and it said: change happens.  This is what code generation is all about. Compare that with traditional software development, which tried to get a complete functional specification of a system upfront. This turned out to be false. It is always in beta, as the phrase goes in the IT world. It means: constantly under development and never completely finished.

Software development and IT in a broader sense should pick up these ideas from industrial design. In a Ted Talk, Tom Chi, responsible for the Google Glass project, gave a fascinating glimpse into the way Google is working with rapid prototyping. The first prototype – a makeshift object – was developed in one (!!) day. “Doing is the best kind of thinking,” is what Chi told his audience.

The movies of 2013

Just like last year and the year before I’m keeping a list of all the movies I have seen throughout the year. 2013 has been quite busy for me. Hence, this translates in only half of a typical year. Here’s the list, without comments cause I’m just too busy doing other things. But hey, I’m not giving up this blog just yet!

  1. Skyfall
  2. Taken 2
  3. Argo
  4. Warrior
  5. the woman in black
  6. iron man 3
  7. the next three days
  8. epic
  9. meet joe black
  10. three idiots
  11. conjuring
  12. rush
  13. oblivion
  14. now you see me
  15. flight
  16. the way back
  17. side effects
  18. hummingbird
  19. gravity
  20. the secret life of walter mitty
  21. lara croft: tomb raider
  22. zot van A