Start @ Kalooga

June 30th, 2009

My in between jobs status won’t last for long as I’ll be starting a new job in a few days. My previous employer was acquired by a large firm (about 5000 people) over two years ago, and even though I had a nice working place (with regards to colleges and projects), I felt I needed to push myself by taking up a challenge and to learn new stuff.

So I’ll be working at Kalooga, a small start-up company involved in gallery search. “We” spider the web for collections of pictures, analyze them (by content, text, links, or anything that’s relevant) and enable publishers to show them in widgets on their own sites. This allows publishers to easily decorate their electronic publications with up-to-date, relevant visual content.

The upcoming year, we’ll work on the quality of search results, deal with the unavoidable scaling issues (half a billion pictures is quite a bit) and make sure our clients are well served with usable back-end applications & API’s. The job combines the domain Artificial Intelligence with some challenging web stuff (scaling with a cloud, Services, etc) and I think my background & experience will come well at hand. I’m looking forward to it!

IPhone

June 26th, 2009

Yes! I’m one of the lucky people who managed to get a new IPhone (3GS) in our country at the date of introduction. Now I can swap my Windows Mobile for an other proprietary platform ;) . I’ll let you know how I like it…

Pictures in the media

June 8th, 2009

As the wedding couple I recently photographed is well-known in our country, my pictures were published in (the gossip part of) our largest news paper (De Telegraaf), as well as some national news television shows: Shownews and RTL-boulevard (site & television show).

Below is a paper scan:

Wedding pictures

June 1st, 2009

I was asked to shoot the photo’s on the wedding of our friends. As photography is more a hobby than a profession, I was a bit anxious about it at start; there’s only one chance to get it right. However, I like a challenge and prepared well. I made sure I had plenty of good (and spare) equipment which I know how to handle, and I planned certain pictures/moments during the day. My own photography equipment is quite suited for the job, and I borrowed an additional body from a friend. As the wedding would take place inside a church (low lighting), and we planned on taking a group picture there, I borrowed studio flash lighting and looked like a pro ;) .

I’m lucky the couple is quite used to being photographed, so they know how to pose. The weather was really sunny, so everything went smooth. Here are the first pictures, I’m still converting the others from RAW to something useful:

IMG_0307.jpg IMG_2756.jpg IMG_2786.jpg

IMG_2813.jpg IMG_0391.jpg

EF 16-35

May 17th, 2009

After two years of postponing the purchase, checking for good deals in different countries, re-reading reviews and saving some money, I decided to retire my 17-40 4.0 L lens and get a 2.8 aperture 16-35 wide-angle lens. Externally, the change is not very visible, but I plan to gain speed (more light), sharpness and an additional millimeter at the wide end out of the swap… Can’t wait to get some nice shots…

I’ll sell the 17-40 shortly. In the meantime, I’m still looking for a good deal for a slim polarizer filter, replacing the 77mm with a 82mm thread size…

17-40mm 16-35mm

Jordan

April 27th, 2009

On two weeks notice we decided to visit Jordan for a week of holiday. We figured joining an organized group might keep our schedule efficient with a minimum amount of planning effort required on our side.

Jordan turned out to be a great country; very dry with only a green Jordan Valley, liberate Islamic (all women wear at least scarfs though) and full of ancient, biblical or just beautiful sites…

We hiked a bit around at Wadi Mujib…
IMG_1400.JPGIMG_1434.JPGIMG_1480.JPG

…around Petra…

IMG_1531.JPGIMG_1536.JPGIMG_1570.JPGIMG_1586.JPGIMG_1596.JPGIMG_1600.JPGIMG_1637.JPGIMG_1664.JPGIMG_1657.JPG

…and I could spend weeks dwelling around in the desert of Wadi Rum…
IMG_1799.JPGIMG_1996.JPGIMG_1942.JPGIMG_1974.JPGIMG_1910.JPGIMG_1877.JPG

I don’t plan on going on joining organized tour again… Even though we had a nice group and one spends less time on searching for interesting places to go, arranging short tours or dealing with local hasslers extorting too much money from tourists, it also takes out part of the fun of going to a foreign country, talking to local people and dealing with unexpected or suprising situations. And I thought getting on the road takes some time with just the two of us, multiply that by two or three when there’s always someone to go to the toilet or just getting his stuff ready… Well, as an experienced traveler

See for some more pictures at picasa….

Smallest mp3player ever

April 4th, 2009

iPod

It’s hard to believe the new, tiny iPod shuffle I just got can actually play music in a practical way. It has no display, only one on/off/repeat switch and three small navigation buttons hidden in the headphone cord. Somehow Apple managed to make it usable and look good as well. See how it works at the Apple Shuffle site.

Too bad I’m forced to use the heavyweight bloatware-enabled iTunes software to get it started, but now it’s working winamp seems to do the trick as well.

Update:

The iPod flea seems to be smaller ;) :

So long for Dr. Dobbs

April 3rd, 2009
Over 10 years ago, Dr. Dobbs Journal was my favorite computer-related magazine. The copies would cost at least twice as much as other magazines in the store because there was only small demand, they were flown into our country and were paid in (back then) expensive US dollars. I considered a copy worth its money however, because it contained well-written, in-depth articles of a broad range of issues of the software engineering field. I could spend hours reading it. If I didn’t buy them myself, I always had a nice gift idea at hand…

For at least five years now, I have seen it’s quality declining. The content just didn’t seem so appealing anymore and the magazine became also physically thinner. I still had a subscription; partly because of old-times-sake, and partly because as a working guy and the current €/$ rate it felt well-affordable.

In the beginning of this year I received a notice of a change; Dr. Dobbs Journal would merge with Information week, and in order to keep receiving issues under my subscription, I had to fill out some web page. At first I wasn’t aware of what was happening, but having received two issues of Information Week with a small part reserved for Dr. Dobbs, I’m completely convinced I will not continue my subscription. It’s sad, but I don’t feel part of the target audience anymore :(

Google told me I’m not the only one:

Bozo bit

April 2nd, 2009

Yesterday, my age flipped a new bit. Let’s hope it isn’t the Bozo bit ;-)

The pill for any problem

April 2nd, 2009

New evidence suggests that drugs can help you with any problem;