Saturday, April 30, 2005


Waarom zou je ook? Als of het iemand is!

Gulden ondergewaardeerd bij invoering Euro

Had ik het er niet over? De dure Euro? En jawel, ook hier wordt het nu toegegeven.
We zijn genaaid. Met zijn allen, door de politiek. In een klap was Nederland 10% minder waard; de Euro had ongeveer 2 gulden mogen kosten, geen 2.20.
En dat hebben we dan weer te danken aan onze oosterburen, die zonodig weer samenmoesten gaan, waarbij de Ostmark gelijkgesteld werd aan de Westmark. Onzin natuurlijk; Oost Duitsland was zo bankroet als wat, in die tijd.
Maar de gevolgen voor de economie bleven niet uit: de gulden werd meer waard (of werd de mark minder waard?!?). Totdat de Euro ingevoerd werd, en de franc, lire en escudo zwabberden. Toen werd ineens besloten om maar een oude wisselkoers voor de gulden ten opzichte van de mark te handhaven.
En daar "genieten" we nog steeds van, mede dankzij de huidige vice premier, Zalm, de toenmalig minister van financien.
En bedankt, he!

Or, internationally speaking: didn't I just mention it? The expensive Euro? And lo and behold! even the central bank now admits that.
We've been screwed. All of us, by those politicians. One stroke of a pen, and The Netherlands lost 10% in value - all and everything. The Euro should have been valued at about 2 guilder, in stead of 2.20.
And all of it thanks to out German neighbours, who had to re-unite, and values the Ostmark same as the Westmark. Nonsense, of course; East-Germany was bankrupt by that time.
Economically, the consequences became visible because the mark lost strength to the guilder. Up to the time, the Euro was about to be introduced, and the franc, lira and escudo were soft as icecream in Death Valley. All of a sudden it was decided to maintain a rather historical rate of exchange for the guilder to the mark.
And up to today, we still "enjoy" the effects of it, no thanks to the current vice PM, Zalm, the responsable minister of finance then.
Thank you! NOT!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Spyware Sue

Probably just because Intermix made money out of it, but nevertheless, it a good start to sue Intermix for distributing spyware.


Microsoft wants screenshots of Longhorn pulled from the internet. This action feeds rumors, that they are afraid for criticism on Windows Longhorn build 5048.
Bohoo, they are big and I am small... but waitaminute - who's big around here?!?
Maybe I was fooled into "There is no such thing as bad publicity" ?!?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

European Union? No thanks!

No - really... Our prime minister, mister J.P. Balkenende, finds adversaries of the European constitutional law "not telling the truth". Generally, I could not care less with what this 'Potter of the lowlands' has to say, but there's something about this.
Wasn't he the guy, that actually opened the door for Turkey to enter the European Union? That country, where you'll punished when you state that the (young) Turkish state committed genocide? That should be part of a European Union where you'll get punished when you state there was no genocide in Germany during the second world war?

Believe me, I'm all in favor of the European Union - I envision a United Europe, just like the United States. But not with all the nitpicking rules and regulations, with all the exceptions to the rule, because some politician promised something to his mommy, or whatever reason.
So, I'll vote against the European constitution as it is now.
I mean, just look at it: 3 parts, counting 349, 382, and 121 pages. On the download link , there's a warning: printing the PDF has the following disadvantages: there will be 349 pages coming out of your printer.
What's wrong with "all people are created equal"? No - our representatives are the only ones, that do not carry their first names, just initials. And their credentials, as well. So, obviously, the dutch representatives are more equal than others.

Let's not forget, that The Netherlands took part in the birth of the european state: at first -right after WWII-, there was the BeNeLux, then the EGKS (1955?), the EG, and now the EU.
So, what did we get from the European Union so far?

- We got the Euro (€), as a result, all prices went up and the money is just awful to see.
- We got European rules and regulations. As results:
* The Netherlands are still paying (far too) much to the European Union, and not getting enough from it.
* We loose the right to create gourmet stuff, like 'rauwmelkse kaas' - non sterilized cheese. The French and English have great trouble with these regulations, too, as traditional products (not just cheese!) are about to disappear. Germans probably have to drop their 'Reinheidsgebot' on beer (a very sensible rule, describing what can be in beer).
* Every local market is still protected: look at the European currency! We (the Dutch) had one of the most beautiful paper bills in the world. Colourful, very friendly for visually disabled people, and hard to forge. Now look what we got. Easy to forge paper money, because every back-yard printing shop should have the chance to print the local currency.

I could go on, but there's some other work to do.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Uitstoot van schadelijke stoffen door het verkeer

De vrouwelijke minister van Verkeer, Peijs, die nog steeds studeert voor econoom, heeft in haar "wijsheid" besloten, dat we maar weer eens langzamer moeten gaan rijden. Om de uitstoot terug te brengen.
Wanner snappen ze nu eens, dat in de file staan veel meer uitstoot met zich meebrengt?!? En een beetje file kost al gauw 50 miljoen Euro per week !
Jawel, twee-en-een-half miljard (2,500.000.000) € per jaar!

Shoot to Kill

Just saw the unbelievable scene on the TV news, where the governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, signs the 'Kill Bill', surrounded by three NRA (National Rifle Association) reps.
Oh well, guess someone could shoot Jeb now, just because he/she felt threatened by him. Wouldn't that be irony?

Monday, April 25, 2005

You would expect...

...some service.
I have another type of tires during the winter; better grip on snowy roads, etc. Really makes a difference, you know! Anyway, of course this means those tires have to be replaced by their summer counterpart about now, and back to winter profile somewhere beginning of November.
Back in the days I paid for my own tires, I had this little shop where I bought the tires. Worked like a charm: just give them a call, make the appointment, and voila. And at very reasonable prices, too!
Nowadays, winter and summer tires come with the package, that is, the lease company (yes, I have a leased car - came with the territory) arranges for the tires to be changed. They made a deal with one nationally operating tire fitter to arrange for storage of the unused set of tires, and the exchange of tires. So far, so good. The speed with which all this operates, was not what I was used to; where I was used to giving a call when the whether forecast signaled it was about time for winter tires, now I had to wait for the tires to be shipped from the central storage to the outlet in my town. I would then get a call (never happened!) to make an appointment.
They changed all that. They've gone modern. You now have to log on to a special web site, and direct your tires to or from the central storage. You will get an email, and then you may call for an appointment.

If only...

Of course, the website is of poor design, and uses typical IE codes; my FireFox cannot navigate through the menu...
Three weeks after commissioning my summer tires to the local outlet, no email or phone call (well, that happened before) I went by ("no appointments needed") to have the sets exchanged. No trace of my tires. Three phone calls later, it turned out the system had suffered an outage, and failed to sent emails. The central storage facility did not know I wanted my tires to be exchanged...

Makes you wonder...
...about their backups. Did they not have a mechanism to have the requests resent? I know, I build that into similar system I design and build. Every step along the line.
...about "progress". It sure doesn't feel like progress, or better service; instead of picking up the phone, and getting things done, I now have to use a cranky website, check my mail, and pick up the phone.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Click, click - done!

The wonders of google/ Three clicks, and I have a blog.