Netherlands and more

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

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Sound Switcher Indicator 2.0.1 Sep 25, 2016

It's been more than two years since the last release of the Sound Switcher Indicator (1.2.2). During this period I've been bombarded with requests to allow the indicator to switch device profiles, because most sound cards cannot be otherwise switched to their digital ports, like S/PDIF and HDMI.

So today I proudly present Sound Switcher Indicator 2.0.1, which finally supports profile switching:

Sound Switcher Indicator 2.0.1.

What's changed

Read on » switched to HTTPS Sep 22, 2016

The website is permanently switched to using the secure HTTPS protocol (instead of the former HTTP). Your boss won't be able to figure out what exactly you're reading in my blog anymore.

The lock icon denotes a secure connection.

There's an automatic redirect set up from to, but you may still need to update some links, like the RSS feeds, for example.

Russian store experiences Aug 30, 2016

I've recently been to Saint Petersburg, Russia, to help my parents to renovate the apartment they had moved into. Just for your information, Russians recognise Saint Petersburg as the "cultural capital of Russia" due to its rich cultural traditions, heritage and, arguably, population.

But I'd like to touch on another subject now. For the sake of the renovation I had to do a lot of shopping in a big builder's store. Just because it was big, I preferred to ask staff for directions rather than waste my time looking for the thing I needed.

After so many years of living in Holland I'd usually open a conversation, smiling, with: "Hello! Could you please help me with …?"

Some (un)cultural patterns began to emerge after lots of repetitions of the above procedure.

Read on »

Now official: Shodan Jul 18, 2016

And here we are, almost four months after the exam I officially possess a Shodan Aikido Aikikai:

Shodan certificate.

The diploma has been solemnly granted by Marc Jongsten (who also took the exam) during a short ceremony at Aikido Centrum Leiden.

Read on »

Sun Caged Farewell Show Jul 17, 2016

Quick links: Marcel Coenen & Friends · The Barstool Philosophers · Sun Caged

I've finally nerved myself to tell you about a sad development for prog lovers.

I first learned about the Dutch prog band Sun Caged when I came to Holland back in 2008. Shortly after I've even seen them playing on Walhalla. I must say I was impressed. But three years later, in 2011, the band has released The Lotus Effect (which also happened to be their last album), I was totally blown away as this was absolutely a masterpiece of progressive metal. I can't even explain why, but I deem this album one of the best rock works ever, and I seem to be able to listen to it endlessly.

But nothing lasts forever. I reckon the band has had a bumpy ride, which is none too uncommon considering personalities of creative people.

The American singer Paul Adrian Villarreal has decided to return to his homeland, the USA. Which meant Sun Caged had to disband.

Paul Villarreal.

Another important point is that he also wrote all the lyrics, and it is impressive. I doubt a non-native English speaker would be up to something like this:

Read on »

Packaging overdone Jul 15, 2016

I already happened to receive things packaged in an oversized box, but this one beats all imaginable records.

An online store sent me a Bosch jigsaw blade kit in this box:

Packaging done wrong.