Quick food reviews

Take ‘food’ lightly 😉 Just some notes on edible stuff I buy, basically.

Dinner

  • Go-Tan wok sauce Hoisin, bought at Albert Heijn
    • A brown sweet and salty sauce reminding me of ketjap/kecap, quite nice

Drinks

  • Dr. Pepper Cherry Vanilla (USA, 355ml can) bought from candyonline.nl
    • Dr.Pepper with the aftertaste of Cherry Coke.
  • Tap water (NL, streaming) bought from Brabant Water
    • Pretty much colourless, doesn’t smell either. Not a strong taste, but very refreshing.
  • Proviant Berlin – Orangenlimonade (Germany, 330ml) bought from drankerij.nl
    • reminds me of San Pellegrino Clementina, a ‘pure’ orange soda, not so much sweetened as e.g. Fanta Orange.
    • organic and vegan
  • ChariTea red (DE, 330ml bottle) with organic label and also claims to be fair trade and vegan. Bought from drankerij.nl
    • Rooibos ‘tea’ with passion fruit taste, a good mix
    • 3.4g carbs (all sugar) per 100ml
  • fritz-limo zitrone (DE, 0,2l bottle) bought from drankerij.nl
    • ‘when life gives you lemons, make a soft drink out of them’. Vegan, no other claims
    • lemon taste, but not overly sour, probably a great summer drink
    • 8,2g carbs (sugar) per 100ml
  • Fanta Hương Trái cây (‘fruit flavours’, Vietnam, 330ml can) bought from candyonline.nlQuite smooth fruit flavor, like a fruit punch
    • very green color, reminds me of Fernandes green
    • contains high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners acesulfame and sucralose although I didn’t taste them. 132kcal per can anyway, which seems only a small reduction in calories due to the artificial sweeteners.
  • Kimino Ume (Japan, 250ml bottle) bought from drankerij.nl
    • Rather sour, like acidic 🙂 Probably healthy though.
  • Dr. Pepper Energy (Poland, 250ml can) bought from candyonline.nl
    • Tasted slightly bitter to me at first (due to the taurine?)
    • Dr. Pepper taste is present but it’s not as sweet
    • Pretty good for an energy drink, not as overly sweet/artificial tasting as most.
  • Karma Drinks Lemony Lemonade (AT, 250ml can) bought from drankerij.nl
    • Organic, Fair Trade, 7.9g sugars per 100ml
    • tastes like sour candy with a slight bitterness

Candy

  • Bubs Godis Raspberry Surskallar Skum, bought from candyonline.nl
    • quite big pieces of semi-soft foam-like candy, covered with sour sugar
    • strong taste, quite nice actually though obviously artificial. The sweet fruity taste lasts quite long.
  • Bubs Godis Liquorice/Fruit octopus, bought from candyonline.nl
    • soft, strong taste but not really liquorice. I don’t really like the salmiac aftertaste.
  • Damel Whales (Spain, 1kg) bought from candyonline.nl
    • soft foam, quite large pieces, a bit of a fruity taste (blueberry?) – I read that it’s cola taste. oh well…
  • Mathijs – Droplullen (look it up if you’re not at work 😉
    • soft sweet liquorice, similar in taste to good old ‘trekdrop’. With a funny shape.
  • Meenk Finse Dropstockies, bought from candyonline.nl
    • soft sweet and salty liquorice with a thin layer of fine sugar on top. More authentic, salmiac kind taste.

Chocolate bars

  • Cadbury Time Out Wafer (UK, 6×21.2g) bought from candyonline.nl
    • Similar to a penny wafer or KitKat, quite good but not worth a premium.
  • KitKat 濃い抹茶​ (Strong Matcha, Japan, 12 pack mini double size) bought from candyonline.nl
    • Very special taste: green tea (as can be guessed by the name), and in an army green colour.
    • First impression: not my taste, but at least it’s different.
  • KitKat Apple Pie (US, limited edition, 42g) bought from candyonline.nl
    • White chocolate with a soft and sweet raisin and cinnamon flavour
  • KitKat Birthday Cake (US, limited edition, 42g) bought from candyonline.nl
    • White chocolate with sprinkles inside.

Measure your city (meetjestad)

Recently, I have found good use for my LoRaWAN gateway. Together with a few other enthusiasts I’ve assembled a measurement device for the Tilburg branch of the “Meet je Stad” project.

This project started in Amersfoort, and combines measurements of (currently) temperature and humidity from relatively cheap devices at peoples’ homes. The data is sent via LoRaWAN through The Things Network and ends up as open data on meetjestad.net

This project is also linked to the Future Lab in Tilburg, part of the main public library (the LocHal building). The Future Lab houses a big screen, and the maintainer is looking for ways to fill those screens with visuals regarding the city of Tilburg. Obviously, it would be great to include a visualisation of the Meet je Stad data.

That idea gave me a good excuse to have some fun programming, so I started a GitHub repository at https://github.com/hilvarenbeek/Tilburg-Heatmap and created a map showing the data of the Tilburg. It’s open source, anyone can suggest improvements or even take it and go and create their own version.

You can grab it from GitHub or just look at my version at http://www.marcovandenhout.nl/Tilburg-Heatmap/

The Amiga situation

My all time favorite line of computers is still the Amiga, best known as a series of home computers made by Commodore. It’s still very much alive, with people creating software, firmware (‘Kickstart’), hardware add-ons and emulators (both purely in software and re-created in FPGA hardware).

However, unfortunately there’s also quite a few discussions about who owns what (trade marks, copyrights, …) and about what makes a ‘true’ Amiga or Amiga ‘experience’.

I will not try to answer these questions, or give legal advice, but would like to list some key players, products and useful terms. That way, I hope to make it all a bit clearer to myself and possibly other people as well.

For now, I’ll just make an alphabetically sorted list.

A1200.NET

Creators of new cases (housings) and keycaps for classic Amiga hardware (A500 and A1200 cases, keycaps also for A600). A1200.NET also appears to be trademarked.

A-Eon

Makers of NG Amiga hardware (PowerPC based hardware that runs AmigaOS 4)

Since november 2014, A-Eon now develop Personal Paint for the (NG & Classic) Amiga formerly developed by Cloanto.

Amiga Forever

Software emulation suite by Cloanto, including tools and disk images. A good source for legal copies of Kickstart ROMs and WorkBench disk images.

AmigaKit

Originally (I think) an Amiga store, now also owns the A1200 trade mark in some countries (?). They are UK based.

Apollo Team

Created the Vampire series of FPGA-based hardware. Most versions plug into an actual Amiga and take over part of the hardware with new versions inside the FPGA. Basically, a fancy accelerator. The latest (as of writing) version is standalone, which basically equates to a high-spec classic Amiga (without officially being an Amiga).

Cloanto

Creators of the Amiga Forever software emulation suite who also appear to have the right to distribute the classic Amiga ROMs up to version 3.X and matching Workbench disk images. Also includes a tool called Amiga Explorer to copy files between an emulated and a real Amiga over serial port or TCP/IP. Some Amiga retailers (shops) also sell Kickstart ROM chips with a license from Cloanto which should make them legal copies. Cloanto did NOT make AmigaOS 3.1.4, see Hyperion . I think they also have no rights for AmigaOS 3.5 and 3.9 (Haage & Partner) and the 4.x versions for NG/PowerPC Amiga systems. (Hyperion)

Haage & Partner

Created AmigaOS 3.5 and 3.9, which are updates to the last Commodore version of Workbench (3.1) and require Kickstart 3.1, as well as a minimum of a 68020 CPU and at least 6MB of ‘Fast’ RAM. Still being sold by stores like Vesalia.

Hyperion

Hyperion Entertainment is a Belgian company who claim to have the right to AmigaOS (disputed by Cloanto), and made the new version 3.1.4

They also released AmigaOS 4.0 and 4.1 which is for several PowerPC-based systems, but not for ‘stock’ classic Amigas (e.g. A500, A1200 without PowerPC accelerator board…)

Individual Computers

The company of Jens Schönfeld, who makes some great hardware for C64 and Amiga, and now also claims to have the right to the P96 (formerly Picasso 96) software, used for bigger screens with newer graphic chips (aka RTG). In the press release of december 22nd, 2018, he speaks of (only) one licensee which is Hyperion for their AmigaOS 4.1. However, in 2001 Cloanto claimed to have licensed Picasso96 for Amiga Forever. Meanwhile, there’s also a shareware version (version 2.0) on aminet

How to pronounce female cyclists’ names

This page is just about names. Names of female cyclists from around the world. I often wonder what the proper pronunciation is, and I notice many mistakes are being made, even by professional commentators. So here’s some help in finding the right pronunciation!

15kHz on LCD monitors

15kHz monitors

Most PC monitors made for VGA and later graphics adapters have a horizontal sync of 31.5kHz or higher, but most home computers including the Commodore Amiga line, as well as CGA and EGA for PC, have a hsync of about 15kHz as standard (PAL or NTSC). Many ‘recent’ monitors therefore do not properly show an image from those computers.

The Amiga has different video modes, and for example my A1200 can also output 29.29kHz hsync @ 58Hz vsync (Multiscan:Productivity) over a VGA cable (with a fairly common “DB-23” to DE-15 D-SUB converter).

Here’s my experience with monitors and the signals they take. Note that even within the same model numbers, the electronics can be different so there’s no guarantee that you’ll have the same experience with another monitor of the same brand and model.

Dell P2416D

A very nice WQHD (2560×1440) monitor with Displayport, HDMI and VGA. No ‘tv-like’ inputs, so I was surprised that mine does work with 15kHz signals. Not perfect (upscaling artefacts, interlacing looks wrong) but very usable. I suppose a real ‘flicker-fixer’ would be better, but glad it works.

On A1200:

Multiscan:Productivity (656×480, 58Hz, 29.29kHz) works fine, looks a bit ‘anti-aliased’ probably due to the upscaling.

PAL:High Res (640×256, 50Hz, 15.60kHz) and Low Res (320×256) works great, obvious sharpening artefacts (adjustable).

PAL:Super-High Res (1280×256, 50Hz, 15.60kHz) same as the other PAL resolutions, except that the aspect ratio is a bit weird. Workable on 16:9 setting.

Interlace (‘laced’) modes flicker, and are almost unreadable. Not recommended for use.

Visual Studio notes

Shortcuts

  • ctor<tab><tab> : insert constructor snippet
  • cw<tab><tab> : insert Console.WriteLine()
  • for<tab><tab> : insert for loop snippet
  • foreach<tab><tab> : insert foreach loop snippet
  • prop<tab><tab> : insert property (short form)
  • propfull<tab><tab> : insert property (long form useful when you need to code getter/setter)
  • Ctrl-. : Quick actions
  • Ctrl-E, Ctrl-D : Format Document
  • Ctrl-M, Ctrl-O : Collapse to definitions
  • Ctrl-M, Ctrl-E : Expand current
  • Ctrl-M, Ctrl-L : Toggle expand/collapse all
  • Ctrl-; : Search Solution Explorer
  • Ctrl-Tab : Switch between tabs
  • F5 : Start (with debugging)
  • Ctrl-F5 : Start without debugging
  • F6 : Build
  • F10: Step Over
  • F11: Step Into
  • F12 (while hovering over an item in the source editor): go to Definition

 

.NET notes

Just random notes regarding .NET

  • CLR = Common Language Runtime
  • FCL = Framework Class Library
    • BCL = subset of FCL
    • ASP.NET is a part of the FCL

Windows: Assembly type Class Library produces .dll files / .exe is another type of Assembly. DLLs do not have an entry point (No Main()) so can’t be run on their own.

 

 

Becoming a developer

From business to IT

In my job, I’m making the transition from a business information manager (in Dutch: functioneel beheerder) to a developer. Our company uses C#, Javascript, HTML and CSS and various (Microsoft) .NET technologies. It’s an exciting change and I will try to keep this blog updated with my progress.

Prior experience

I’ve programmed before, but not in C# and not with .NET framework(s). As you can read in an earlier post, I have started to program in Javascript with NodeJS in my spare time related to the Homey home automation device. My OOP (Object Oriented Programming) experience is limited, and while I’ve been involved with the Agile Scrum method from the business side, it will be interesting to learn how it actually works on the IT side.

Learning resources

Besides on-the-job training with help from existing developer colleagues and possibly custom training from IT partners, there is a lot of information available on websites and in books. I plan on listing and discussing them here.

Microsoft certifications

Working in an environment where most of the IT is Microsoft based, it’s probably a good idea to get some official Microsoft certifications.

An example would be the MCSD: App Builder certification which itself consists of several smaller certifications/exams. One current way to get MCSD: App Builder would be to pass

  1. 70-480 Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3
  2. 70-486 Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications
  3. 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions

However, these courses/exams expect multiple years of experience so it may not be realistic to get the certification within one or two years.

External link: https://www.microsoft.com/nl-nl/learning/default.aspx

Online training

These days, there are websites specialized in providing online training, using videos, examples, tutorials, etc. Some are paid, some are free.

Udemy

Paid training in many categories, usually involving pre-recorded video episodes and text-based training materials. From time to time, they have massive sales so you can pick up a course for about 15 euros.

Codecademy

Offering both free and paid online courses, mostly web development oriented.

Pluralsight

IT and Creative online courses

External link: http://www.pluralsight.com

Books

Still a good way to get information, these so-called books are pieces of paper, usually of the same size and thickness, bundled together. IT books usually have lots of letters and only a few nice drawings or photos.

You can also get most books in a digital form, like PDF. Common publishers include Microsoft Press, O’Reilly, SAMS and Prentice Hall. O’Reilly also has a website featuring many technology and business related books (not only their own books), called Safari (not to be confused with the web browser). It also includes video and online training. I have not used it yet, but I have read a few books by O’Reilly and really like them.

Tools

Obviously, a developer uses a lot of IT tools besides learning material. So here I will log what I’ve found and how I’m using them (or why I decided not to).

IDE (Integrated Development Environment)

Most programming happens in text editors. Often, those editors are enhanced for programmers. You can also add useful tools that help with versioning, checking the code, debugging the code and even compiling and deployment. If you have all (or a lot) of that, it’s no longer called an editor, but an IDE.

Microsoft Visual Studio, Community Edition

Visual Studio is Microsoft’s IDE, useful for several different languages including C# and ready to work with frameworks like “.NET”. The Community Edition is free to use for individual developers. Once I will actually contribute to our company’s code, I will have to move to a paid version that can also work with TFS (Team Foundation Server, basically a central repository for all code, the backlog and related documents)

External link: https://www.visualstudio.com/vs/community/

Microsoft Visual Studio Code for macOS

Visual Studio Code is a different product from the other versions of Visual Studio. Still, it’s an editor specifically made for programmers and supports many programming languages. I have installed it in order to develop NodeJS projects in Javascript on my Mac.

External link: https://code.visualstudio.com/

 

SodaqOne version 2 LoRa kit

First try at LoRa

 

I am a backer for The Things Network, but at the moment (december 10, 2016) the hardware isn’t ready yet. So I bought a LoRa node from Sodaq to try and see if I can get it to succesfully send messages to a TTN gateway. Here’s a log so far:

  • Bought kit from Sodaq, connected antennas and plugged in micro USB
  • Downloaded Arduino IDE from https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
  • Set http://downloads.sodaq.net/package_sodaq_index.json as additional board manager URL in preferences of Arduino IDE
  • Installed Sodaq SAMD Boards in Arduino IDE’s Board Manager and set board type to SODAQ ONE with OneBASE SPI
  • Re-plugged USB power which reset the board. A new ‘usbmodem’ port appeared and showed some data on the serial monitor. LoRa settings not yet correct. USB is disabled after a while. red led stays on, yellow led blinks as if showing data. Then all leds go off (sleep?)
  • Reading http://support.sodaq.com/sodaq-one/
  • Followed http://support.sodaq.com/sodaq-one/connect-to-the-things-network/ creating application on https://staging.thethingsnetwork.org/applications
  • Set Arduino monitor to 57600 baud and NL&CR
  • Completed settings. No OTAA activation succeeded yet and no messages.
  • Some hours later, got my first GPS fix. It happened after I opened a window, which may indicate that my windows are coated and bad for radio? Wouldn’t surprise me at all.
  • Second succesful GPS fix was with window closed 🙂 No LoRa activity yet. Probably no nearby gateway, anyway and today I won’t be leaving the house to try elsewhere.
  • Compiled and uploaded current version of the tracker from https://github.com/SodaqMoja/SodaqOne-UniversalTracker
  • Interesting article from someone who also uses the SodaqOne with TTN: https://vanderzee.org/blog/article-160730-181003

Fortitude Pro Cycling

Today the new female pro cycling team around Marianne Vos was announced: Fortitude Pro Cycling. In a way, this is the successor of the Rabobank-Liv team but there are some new names and some riders left #RaboLiv for other teams.

News articles:

http://cyclingtips.com/2016/09/riders-and-name-announced-for-marianne-vos-2017-team/ 

http://www.wielerrevue.nl/2016/09/29/opvolger-raboliv-fortitude-pro-cycling/

http://www.mariannevos.nl/media?mediaId=24486275

Fortitude Pro Cycling, nieuwe ploeg voor Yara Kastelijn

 

The official website is at http://fortitudeprocycling.com

The official Twitter account looks to be https://twitter.com/fortitudeprocyc