"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).

Questions? Praise? Blame? Feel free to contact me.

My old blog (pre-2006) is also still available.

See also my Mastodon page.

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Dutch Railways gives away free coffee

Snowy tracks

As everybody in Holland knows, the Dutch train service has been "huilen met de pet op" lately. Due to all the snow and frozen junctions, we've seen a few days with next to no train service a while back, and even now when all the snow is gone, there is still an "adapted schedule", due to "logistic problems". In other words, they don't have enough (working) trains to serve all of the schedule, so some routes have reduced service.

Cup of coffee

On the plus side, because of this the Dutch Railways is giving every subscription holder (which includes also includes the "Voordeelurenkaart" and the "OV Studentenkaart") free coffee, tea or hot chocolate at the Kiosks. This is at least the case in Utrecht, probably in more places. However, even though the announcement there said would contain more details about the offer, I can't find it, so I can't tell for sure.

So, if you've got a few minutes to spare on a station this week, get your free drink at the Kiosk!

And, on a related note: The NS is refunding tickets from the dreaded december 20th, 21st and 22nd railway mayhem, so if you had a delay then (or didn't arrive at all) and still have the ticket, go claim a refund!

0 comments -:- permalink -:- 12:34
Hell Weather: Enschede in the middle


Right now, it's totally crazy weather outside. It's no longer raining, it is more like a solid block of water floating around. With multiple lightning flashes every second and a river of water flowing through our street, it's kind of hellish weather. Anyway, I have pictures and a few movies of it (they are a bit fuzzy because of the darkness, unfortunately, I didn't manage to use the lightning as a flash for the pictures :-)


Update: Tipped off by Brenda (Who is in the train to Amsterdam now, I took some pictures of the Enschede Drienerlo train station. Last night, after the rain, a flatmate reported that the water was knee-high in the tunnel under the station. During the night, physics has again proven its worth: Water always flows to the lowest point.

For those who don't know the station, there used to be a tunnel underneat (you can still see a few centimeters of it) that is about four meters high. Yeah, that's a lot of water indeed. Anyway, more pictures (scroll down).

1 comment -:- permalink -:- 22:56
Snowy campus

Just a few pictures I made last week during the snow. And yes, those people are really going to do langlaufing on campus...

Snow Snow Snow Snow

0 comments -:- permalink -:- 13:36

Since the NS (Dutch Railways) have their problems and regularly cause train travelers a lot of frustration, almost everybody has a negative attitude towards the NS and, as the public face of the company, the conductors. Even though I cannot deny the frustrations caused by train delays and other railway problems ("Leafs on the tracks"), I think this negative attitude can be a very undue punishment for the NS personnel.

Even though I don't like some of the NS policies and I still do not see the new schedule being much of an improvement, I notice that most conductors and other personnel try to be as helpful as possible when a problem occurs. Even when the cause of the problem is not even related to themselves or the NS (as is the case when it's usually my own fault :-p).

For example, last week I misplanned by a few minutes, meaning I had no time remaining to buy myself a ticket from Harderwijk to Enschede. Buying a ticket at the conductor is no longer possible without paying a EUR 35 fine first, but I had a dateless ticket from Enschede to Ermelo to bargain with. He allowed me to use that ticket to travel the wrong way, at least until Zwolle. There I would need to convince the next conductor of my pitiful case.

I expected a though bargain with the next conductor, since there was no way for him to test my story. For all he knows, I could be trying to turn a Enschede - Ermelo ticket into a Enschede-Zwolle return ticket with my story. Having bought another dateless ticket as a backup option I was rather surprised when I explained my story. "Sure. Hop in!", were the magic words.

Another example occurred about a year or so back. I was traveling during the weekend, but (as happens to me more often than I'd like) I forgot my public transportation student card only works on weekdays. So, halfway Eindhoven - Utrecht I had no ticket to present to the conductor. Instead of making me buy a ticket in the train (this was before the EUR 35 fine, but a ticket would still be a lot more expensive than normal), she allowed me to buy a normal ticket from Utrecht on to Ermelo instead. Very thoughtful of my wallet indeed.

As you might expect, I totally forgot about that when we arrived in Utrecht. So, just past Amersfoort I managed to end up in the same situation again, with a conductor but without a ticket. Even though I admitted I half-truthfully said I came from Utrecht (from Eindhoven would be fully truthful, from Amersfoort would be cheapest), he allowed me to buy a ticket from Amersfoort instead of Utrecht. Even though this was against train-tariff, the price was about a third of what my original Eindhoven - Ermelo ticket would have cost.

I thought about proposing a Be-Nice-To-Your-Conductor-Day or something similarly silly, but apart from that it probably already exists, it wouldn't be too useful anyway. It's probably a better idea to be a little friendlier to our helpful conductors and try to see them separate from the company they work for. And, looking at the time of the year, perhaps this is suitable for inclusion on your list of good intentions?

0 comments -:- permalink -:- 18:30

I've just been in the train for a few hours, from Ermelo to Enschede. While waiting on the train (delay: 25 minutes), I noticed it being quite cold. Still 3 days away from official winter, it's already below zero in the Eastern part of the Netherlands. The frozen catenary above the trains did result in some nice fireworks of sparks and smoke, but unfortunately I forgot to make pictures...

I did make a nice picture when I got out of the train.


0 comments -:- permalink -:- 10:53
Did you know that...
· · · — — · · ·

The standard Nokia SMS tune (beep-beep-beep, beep-beep, beep-beep-beep) is actually "SMS" spelled in Morse?

Watching a commercial for some kind of skin cream called "SOS skin repair" or something, made me realize this yesterday (in between watching Beauty & the Nerd.

1 comment -:- permalink -:- 23:45
Paintbal & Toothpaste

Did you know that the sound of a nearly empty tube of toothpaste is almost identical to the sound of a paintbal gun, only less loud?

2 comments -:- permalink -:- 01:29
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