"In het verleden behaalde resultaten bieden geen garanties voor de toekomst"
About this blog

These are the ramblings of Matthijs Kooijman, concerning the software he hacks on, hobbies he has and occasionally his personal life.

Most content on this site is licensed under the WTFPL, version 2 (details).

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New career addition: Education

I don't really have a well-defined plan for my professional carreer, but things keep popping up. A theme for this month seems to be "education".

I just returned from a day at Saxion hogeschool in Enschede, where I gave a lecture/workshop about programming Arduino boards without using the Arduino IDE or Arduino core code.

It was nice to be in front of students again and things went reasonably well. It's a bit different to engage non-academic (HBO) students and I didn't get around to telling and doing everything I had planned, but I have another followup lecture next week to improve on things.

At the same time, I'm currently talking with a publisher of technical books about writing a book about building wireless sensor networks with Arduino and XBee. I'll have to do some extensive research into the details of XBee for this, but I'm looking forward to see how I like writing such a technical book. If this blog is any indication, that should work out just fine.

For now, these are just small things next to my other work, but who knows what I'll come across next?

0 comments -:- permalink -:- 23:02
Replaced GPG key

For anyone that cares: I just replaced my GPG (Gnu Privacy Guard) key that I use for signing my emails and Debian uploads.

My previous key was already 9 years old and used a 1024-bit DSA key. That seemed like a good idea at the time, but for some time these small keys and signatures using SHA-1 have been considered weak and their use is discouraged. By the end of this year, Debian will be actively removing the weak keys from their keyring, so about time I got a stronger key as well (not sure why I didn't act on this before, perhaps it got lost on a TODO list somewhere).

In any case, my new key has ID A1565658 and fingerprint E7D0 C6A7 5BEE 6D84 D638 F60A 3798 AF15 A156 5658. It can be downloaded from the keyservers, or from my own webserver (the latter includes my old key for transitioning).

Now, I should find some Debian Developers to meet in person and sign my key. Should have taken care of this before T-Dose last year...

0 comments -:- permalink -:- 14:03
New website for "Matthijs Kooijman IT"

Matthijs Kooijman IT

Since 2010, I've been working as a Freelancer (ZZP'er). Of course I registered a domain name right away, but until now, I didn't get around to actually putting a website on there (just as single page with boring markup and some contact information).

Last week, I created an actual website. It's still not spectacular, but at least it has some actual content and a few pages etc. So, with a modest amount of pride, I present: the website of Matthijs Kooijman IT.

For anyone wondering: I didn't put up some bloated CMS, running on a database, but I store my content in a handful of text files (using Markdown markup) and using poole to translate those to (static) HTML files. I keep the files in git and set up a git post-update hook to generate the HTML to make things extra convenient.

Related stories

0 comments -:- permalink -:- 17:07
Winter Efteling :-D

Last weekend, I've been at the winter Efteling. The Efteling opens up for a few weekends during the cold season, with an icy theme. Last weekend was the first. Brenda had been buying a lot of Madras Chicken from Knorr, which bought us six tickets at a discount. We offered two to Dennis and Alice and gave the other two to Suus and Gijs for their respective birthdays.

Monkey Matthijs We also knew about a few other friends (LARPers) who would go in the same weekend, but a whole throng of LARPers turned up last Saturday (about 25 to 30 I think). Apart from that, it wasn't too busy at the park, so there were hardly any lines during the day. I have a nice souvenir picture from the Pandadroom (Panda dream) attraction (since everyone knows the Pandadroom isn't so much fun because the fancy 3D animation, but because of the playground with video games that comes after!).

Since we did about every attraction in the park, my brains were upside down in my skull and I was pretty exhausted when we finally got on the train home. Yet, I was not headed home, since my aunt held her birthday in Eindhoven, which is pretty close to the Efteling. I joined in on the party and was not in bed before 0530.

I went home the next day after breakfast (halfway the afternoon), back to Brenda. As you might imagine, the exhaustion had hardly lessened, so I decided not to get up together with Brenda Monday morning at 0650. Good thing, since I managed to sleep until 1300 for a whopping 13,5 hours of sleep. Didn't know I was that tired...

0 comments -:- permalink -:- 17:04
Folk weekend in Mattstedt with the Gonnagles

Gonnagles logo

Last weekend, I've travelled to Mattstedt, a small village near the center of Germany, to attend a folk festival there. The Gonnagles, a Dutch folk band, were performing at the festival and asked me to help out as an audio technician (since not all of the Gonnagles could attend). Liking the opportunity to do some more sound engineering, do some dancing and hang out with the Gonnagles, I agreed to come along.

Route to Mattstedt

After I said yes, I realized that the Festival was quite far into Germany (5 hours from Enschede, though on the way there, we got caught in a traffic jam making it 7,5 hours, plus 1,5 hours from Amersfoort to Enschede). Still, I shared the car with nice people (Erik and Moes on the way there, just Erik on the way back) and the festival was nice, so in the end it was worth every minute of driving time. Moes, Erik and I also travelled on friday instead of saturday, leaving an extra fridaynight for dancing and saturday afternoon for relaxing.

During the festival, I ended up helping out with the audio engineering of the rest of the festival, instead of just the Gonnagles' performance. There were two audio technicians there, but neither of them were very experienced in setting up a live performance and getting to the bottom of any problems that (always) show up. Also, the rented equipmented wasn't quite top-notch quality, which didn't really help either.

Fortunately, I was able to help out a bit and debug some problems with the PA system and monitor speakers. On saturday, I also did most of the mixing for Cassis, one of the other bands. Apparently people thought I did a good job, since I got a lot of thanks from people who apparently thought I single-handedly saved the festival from horrible sound quality (which would be underappreciating the other technicians, which also worked hard to get everything running).

The festival itself was nice as well. I always enjoy the performance of Parasol, who are very talented, but I also enjoyed the other bands. The weather was good, so I had some nice relaxed moments lying in the sun, I listened to good music, shared some nice dances with a pretty German girl, and just had fun.

So, again next year?

0 comments -:- permalink -:- 16:59
New pet: Pelle the pelikan

Pluche Pelle the pelikan Sanquin

For the occasion of my fourtieth blood donation at the Sanquin blood bank, I got a nice pluche pelikan (which is their mascotte / logo). It got a nice spot on top of one of the speakers on my desk, where it has a nice view of my room.

Are you a blood donor yet? More donors are still needed in the Netherlands, so sign up now!

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0 comments -:- permalink -:- 16:58
Blood donor


As of today, I am officially a blood donor. I've been at Sanquin, the national blood donation organization, this morning to deliver half a liter of blood. I have been there once before, to let them take a small amount of blood for blood tests. Apparently they found nothing obviously wrong with, so I was invited again. Depending on the need, I will be invited a few times each year to give more blood.

Blood donation is something that has been on my "todo" list for quite some while now, so I decided to simply stop delaying and do it a while back. I think that everybody should think of being a blood donor. A lot of of our health care is dependent on donor blood. Since people expect health care whenever they need it, can't we expect people to give blood whenever needed?

What scared me a little, was that Sanquin Enschede is still short of a lot of donors. They are aiming to have another 1450 donors, while they currently have about 5000. Considering that Enschede has over 150.000 inhabitants, that amounts to just over three percent. Surely there are more people prepared to invest some time in this?

So, are you not a blood donor yet? Sign up now! It will only cost you some time every now and then, the people are very nice and there's free drinks and cookies involved :-)

Edit: This used to say Enschede had only 200 donors, but that turned out to be 200 hundred new donors in their current campaign for new donors. In total, Enschede has around 5000 registered donors.

3 comments -:- permalink -:- 16:58


This morning I've entered the next stage of my car mechanic career: I've stopped by the junkyard to get some spare parts for Brenda's car. About a year ago, I broke off one of the door handles from the car (the door was frozen shut, and I underestimated my own strength...). The KIA dealer was happy to replace the handle, for EUR 150 or something silly like that. Considering there was enough of the handle left to operate the door perfectly (after being pointed out which part to hold, mostly), we just left it broken for a year.

A few weeks back, we found a crack in one of the outer mirrors. There was no clue how this happened, but perhaps it got hit by some stray snowball or the winter's cold made it snap. Since the outer mirrors are a failure point for the APK (yearly checkup), we really needed to replace those.

So, this morning I went to a local junkyard, that had an old Kia Pride. It was a ghostly sight, all those half disassembled cars. Some missing wheels, hoods, doors, etc. They had a spare mirror on the shelf, but the door handle was still on the car. I found a blue Kia Pride out back, and after some fiddling disassembled the door handle. I actually quite like this junkyard thing: Not only do you get to do stuff with your own car, you can find out how its done on some other car first, without the risk that you break more stuff while prying something loose.

Just now, Brenda and me put on the "new" parts, so the car is as good as new again (if you ignore the occasional squeeking and creaking, of course), for just EUR 25.

Next up is finally fixing up some rusty spots on the paint of the car, but I'd really like to have some place to put the car inside for a few days for that (lest my fingers freeze off and the new paint won't dry).

0 comments -:- permalink -:- 14:23
Hostel review: St. Christopher's in Edinburgh

Party hard, sleep easy

Last week, I've been in Edinburgh for a few days for a conference on Haskell and functional programming. Since we were late with booking, all the nearby and slightly cheaper hotels were booked full. Since it's likely we'll have to (partly) pay our travel to and stay in Edinburgh ourself, we went looking for a hostel nearby. The first one I tried was pretty close, so we booked four nights at "St. Christopher's Inn". I'll write up a review of the place, since I was rather content with it. A small disclaimer: This is the first hostel I've been to, so I can't really compare it with anything but my common sense expectations of a hostel :-).


St. Christopher's is a hostel co-located with Belushi's Bar at Market street. The bar is a nice bar with slightly alternative (lots of torn out jeans and piercings), but very friendly people. The bar and hostel are heavily integrated, so the reception is behind the bar and breakfast is served there as well. There are two separate bars, so there's usually plenty of room.

The hostel is located on Market Street, which is directly south of Waverly train station. This means you're close to public transport, but also right in the city center and close to attractions like the Edinburgh dungeon, Edinburgh castle and a big shopping center (St James IIRC).


St. Christopher's has a wide range of services. Included with our stay was free breakfast every morning, consisting of bread / toast, coffee / tea and various kinds of cereal. I personally found there was not much choice in bread spreads (Is this a proper term?), just different flavours of jam, peanutbutter and marmite (though I usually only eat the latter with cheese), but that's probably how Scottish breakfast works (and it was still very enjoyable).

There is free WiFi in the bars, which is a nice service if you bring your laptop. There are also a few computers available, but they cost a pound for 20 minutes of use.

There is a lot of useful stuff for sale or rent, like deodorant, toothpaste, padlocks, towels (rent), power plug converters (rent), etc. Most of these go for just one or two pounds, so better than buying them at the airport :-) There is a laundry machine available for a few pounds.

On the first floor, there is a "Chill Room", which has a big TV and some moderately comfortable couches. While we were there, the room was a bit messy, I suspect they recently installed new electric lockers in the luggage room (behind the chill room), which caused a bit of mess. This luggage room offers free lockable cages (bring or buy a padlock) and rentable electric lockers to store your luggage. Unfortunately there is no WiFi coverage in the chill room, so you'll have to do your surfing down in the bar (which might be full and noisy during the evenings).

Room & Beds

I can't say anything general here (I've only seen one room), but I'd expect most rooms to be similar. We were sleeping in a 6 bed dorm on the fourth floor. The room offers space for the beds, but not much else. Fine for sleeping, but less suited for spending the day.

The beds are bunk beds, so you might need to sleep on top. The beds weren't too big (I'd guess they're 1.90 long, since I needed to curl up a bit to fit in) and didn't have the best matrases, but they were ok enough. Linen is included with your stay, so no need to take a sleeping bag.

Each bunk has two cages underneath for storing valuables. You'll need to have your own padlock to lock them. You can buy these at the reception (for just two pounds), but you might want to take a slighly bigger one yourself (one or two of the cages in our room had a broken handle, so they could only be locked with a bigger lock).


In summary, I found this a very decent hostel, with good service. If you have any different or additional experiences, don't hesitate to leave a comment!

2 comments -:- permalink -:- 21:40
Geocaching the thrash away


As part of our grand "Get-Some-Exercise-Every-Sunday" masterplan, Brenda and I did two more geocaches this afternoon: Hof Espelo and De grenzen van Enschede - 7. The first one was easy, the second one was a rather long walk, we spent a good 4 hours walking in the end, but it was fun and good exercise.


As is common when geocaching, we took a trash bag and collected garbage while we were walking. We found quite some stuff in the woods, but that effort was dwarfed compared to the few km we walked past a state road. Once you start picking up other people's garbage, only then you realize how many completely antisocial assholes must be out there, the toss just about everything right out the side of their car.

In total, I think we collected 6 or 7 full grocery bags of garbage (emptying them whenever we found a garbage container), with a fair selection of all kinds of things: Candy wrappers, plastic bottles, empty cans (almost all of them some brand of energy drink), three gloves, an empty pack of sugar, car and bicycle parts, empty bags, cigarette packs (almost all of them Marlboro...). We even found a ready-to-go sex kit: An empty box of condoms, some empty condom wrappers, some unused condoms out of their wrapper, an unused condom still in its wrapper, and a comfortable (but slightly dirty) sleeping bag! Really...

0 comments -:- permalink -:- 18:23
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