Netherlands and more

Blog about life in Holland (and a lot of other stuff)

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The smartest traffic-light Nov 27, 2016

The present trend of dubbing everything "smart" based on mere presence of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Internet connection is a bit annoying. So we have seen smart washing machines, smart watches, smart smoke detectors, smart toothbrushes and so on. Now traffic-lights are next in line, according to our local press. A news article announces the very first smart traffic-light (slim verkeerslicht) in the country has been installed in Houten.

The crossing with the smart traffic-light. Photo from Google Street View.

You wonder what's so smart about it?

Read on »

Ayreonian craze Nov 26, 2016

Five days ago the mighty Arjen Lucassen has announced on his Facebook page two live shows of his Ayreon mega-project, which got the name Ayreon Universe. The shows were scheduled for 15 and 16 September 2017, with the official ticket sale starting on 24 November at 10:00 CET.

Ayreon Universe. Image source:

He also invited the fans to subscribe to the project's mailing list (something I've failed to spot on time). Those who did would have received a link to pre-sale that would allow them to buy tickets one day earlier.

But the concert organisers have underestimated the zealotry of Ayreon's fans.

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Shadowrise and Myrath at Patronaat Nov 15, 2016

Quick links: Shadowrise · Myrath

Last Saturday was marked by a show by the prog metal band Myrath from Tunisia (Northern Africa). The venue was the club Patronaat in Haarlem, Netherlands. Myrath is unique not only because of its origin, but also thanks to a magnificent combination of heavy sound and Arabic motives and instruments in their music. Furthermore, they have a belly dancer!

But first things first.


The support act was a Dutch band called Shadowrise, which draws one's attention because of the outfit of their singer, Laura Guldemond:

Shadowrise. Laura Guldemond.

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Sound Switcher Indicator 2.1.1 Nov 4, 2016

Sound Switcher Indicator is getting more and more intricate and advanced thanks to the never-ending stream of ideas from the users. The majority of changes in the version 2.1.1 pertain to the configuration file ($HOME/.config/indicator-sound-switcher.json).

What's new

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Fixing whining noise from a DC adapter Oct 30, 2016

I've stumbled upon a cute and convenient DC adapter the other day, with four USB charging ports (up to 4800 mA total), a power socket, and a tablet stand. All of that for less than € 15.

USB charger with power socket and tablet stand.

A bit later turned out there's a pitfall, too: it produced annoying whining noise. The noise was quiet but clearly audible in silence, especially while the adapter was unloaded.

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Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba in Brussels Oct 26, 2016

Last weekend, 22-23 October, has been marked by a colossal event in the Belgian Brussels, lead by the Doshu (hereditary head) Moriteru Ueshiba, a grandson of Ōsensei Morihei Ueshiba.

Moriteru Ueshiba. Photo by

It's a remarkable event in the world of aikido, which takes years of preparations. The last time we were honoured by Doshu's visit to our part of the world was back in 2009 in Almere (Netherlands). Now Belgium got lucky, and lots of aikidōkas came there from the neighbouring countries such as France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal etc.

Just like the previous time I've invited my first sensei Rudik Manukyan, the president of Tyumen Region Aikido Federation (4th dan aikikai).

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