Live from Brussels

Musings from a bored analyst/project-manager.
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Friday, February 27, 2004
TypePad test

Don't ask how, but I got a TypePad demo account. For those of you who don't know, TypePad is a web-based blogging tool based on Moveable Type. You can follow my experiments over at "the other Live from Brussels".

Snowed Under

Due to heavy snowfall half of Belgium (including me) hasn't been able to get to work today. This morning it took me twenty minutes to get to the on-ramp of the highway (normally two), but once there I turned back as cars were coming back down from the on-ramp against the traffic direction, while a large truck was fruitlessly trying to get to the top of the ramp.
According to the radio, there have been 1.100 km of traffic jams this morning!
I just attempted for a second time to get to work: I was able to get on the highway this time, but it took me half an hour to get to the next exit (normally five minutes and never a traffic jam). So I turned around and it looks like I'll work from home for the rest of the day too.
If you want to Skype me... I'll probably be online for a looooong time today.

Thursday, February 26, 2004
More Skype Goodness

Skype is an ICQ or AIM-like application that allows you to make free voice calls to other Skype users with your computer. Now that in itself is pretty neat, but check out what they just announced on their website:
February 23, 2004 – Skype launches free conference calling
Go there, download it and call me tonight... Let's have a Brusselsblog Skype party ;-) My Skype username is 'schenkm', and I will be online from around 20.00 CET until well after midnight CET. I propose 23.00 CET as the best time to try and get a conference call going. That's 17.00 Eastern Time, for my transatlantic readers.

Pretty Cool Hack

Here's a nifty web application I just discovered: Mind World Map. It is a collaborative effort aimed at creating a map of the world by letting visitors of the site decide if a random pixel on it should be land or sea. You can even watch an animation of how they got to the current result. Mindboggling!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004
A Little Experiment

At my work I have been asked to participate in revamping the Skynet Marketing Center: the website of our marketing department where they sell advertising for our portal site I just learned the amount of traffic the Skynet Marketing Center was getting, and I thought to myself, I bet I can make a noticeable spike in that just by linking to it on my blog. So if you please could click on this link for me, just once? Here it is, once more: Skynet Marketing Center.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Look Who's Back

Looks like the hibernation period of the Dog of Flanders blog is finally over! Lots of new yummy anti-idiotarian and anti-indymediotarian goodness over there!

Everything For Free!

Steve "Stunt" Stevaert, president of the Flemish Socialist party, is at it again. Steve has made his reputation by making public transportation 'free' in his home town of Hasselt when he was mayor there ('free' as in 'taxpayer funded'). Since then he has regularily made 'spectacular' announcements during his political rise to the top: abolishing the TV license (but still funding state televison with tax money), free this, free that... But the 'free' busses in Hasselt have always been his 'trademark' stunt.

So for the upcoming elections he has figured out a new stunt: he is going to organise free bus trips to the Netherlands, so that voters can see the 'disastrous' effects of christian-democrat social policies. Underfunded schools, waiting lists in hospitals, high rents... All this so he can continue his purple coalition government (purple is what you get when you mix the red of the socialists with the blue of the liberal party).

The only problem with this is that the Netherlands have only known a christian democrat government for the past nine months. Before that, guess who ruled for eight years? Indeed, a purple coalition! You can probably say a lot about Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende, but that he can turn a 'purple utopia' into a 'social wasteland' in nine months is probably a bit exaggerated.

Any Dutch readers care to comment?