Migrated to Pelican

Posted on 13 March 2013  •  Permalink  •  Category misc

When I started this site, all I wanted was a place to pin down my thoughts. Back in 2007, I chose WordPress to be the backend of Code-muse.com. It’s been almost 6 years, my requirements for this site have changed and there’s been some interesting changes in the technology landscape with respect to web development and blogging in these years.

Besides writing down an occasional blog post, Code-muse.com has become the home of Remote Control for XBMC as well. I was getting tired of having to use WPs web backend to edit the posts and pages, and most of the time was copy/pasting text to/from Vim. So I was actually wondering why I didn’t choose to use a static website generator in the first place. Maybe they weren’t as popular in 2006 as they are now.

I’ve took some time to check out several popular static blog/site generators and finally settled with Pelican, a Python based static site generator. I’m not really into Ruby, which is why I didn’t go for Jeckyll or Octopress. I checked Hyde, which looks promising, but there’s almost no documentation for Hyde, whereas Pelican’s documentation is excellent. As far as I can tell at this moment, I am quite content with Pelican.

So here it is; a statically served all new Code-muse.com.

Education (R)evolution

Posted on 23 December 2011  •  Permalink  •  Category misc

The past two months I have gone back to being a student again. Well, at least in the evening hours. Following ai-class.com took a significant part of the time I would have otherwise spent on other personal endeavors such as reading, blogging or writing XBMC remotes, but it was worth every minute. Although the future might prove me wrong, I have the feeling that the internet — after affecting or re-inventing many other fields — is now starting to redefine education as well. Not that the internet itself reinvents something; its of course humans themselves that redefine things using the internet as a new medium. That’s what Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun did with their “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” class.

Salman Kahn’s Kahn Academy was the first pioneer that I heard of that was trying to combine education and the internet in a very useful way, and he’s ever-expanding the number of online lessons you can watch. With 2,700 videos you can learn something new everyday for the next 7 years. Amazing.

Back in August I read on Hacker News the announcement that Stanford is opening up an AI class via the web. For free. I was really excited about this idea and I enrolled that same day. During my CS program at the Eindhoven University of Technology I didn’t really took any of the AI or machine learning tracks, so it would also be a very interesting topic for me to learn more about. How would that be, to enroll and follow a full class through the internet? Would I be able to do a Stanford-level class in my spare time, next to my day-time job? Is this the future of education?

After going through the full class I can only say I liked it very much. The material was interesting, the format was very well thought out, and both professor Norvig and professor Thrun are apt and enthusiastic teachers. To get a feeling of the format, just follow one or two units, do some quizzes or take a look at the homework or exam questions. There were teething problems of course, and obviously an actual live lecture with a teacher and peers is in many ways incomparable to following an online class by yourself. However I believe this is a really good start and gets very close; after finishing the final exam and receiving my final rating, the accomplishment feels the same as it felt when I was attending university.

Summarized, I’ve learned a lot about a field that I had left unexplored up to now, and while doing that I might have also seen a glimpse of the future.

New Title Image

Posted on 03 June 2010  •  Permalink  •  Category misc

I’ve already been living in ‘s-Hertogenbosch for one and a half years now, so it’s about time to update my blog’s header image, because it was still depicting Utrecht, which is the city I used to live. So this time I chose a photo that’s not related to where I live, so I can safely move without having to update my blog’s design. I took this one on my last trip to California; it’s seaweed on one of the beaches along the 17-Mile Drive.

Google Nexus One: YAAP

Posted on 16 March 2010  •  Permalink  •  Category misc

In the past six months I could not put up and resist my tech-innards wanting a smartphone anymore. I had almost bought an iPhone last year, after which I impatiently was awaiting Google’s launch of the Nexus One, only to find out it would only be available in the US the first months after its initial release. I was seriously considering importing one, so this month it was time to finally make up my mind: iPhone or Android.

After reading and viewing many technical comparisons (I especially liked TechnoBuffalo’s review video), I was still in doubt. Although the Nexus One is technically a very capable phone and Android is certainly a promising platform, Apple’s iPhone kind of still kept “feeling” better. Then I found Boy Genius’ Personal Thoughts about Android, which pushed me all the way over to the iPhone camp again. I too am missing the soul in Andriod. The little robot logo is cute, but it seems to me that that is almost the only thing that’s consistent.

So I wasn’t surprised by today’s Gizmodo article stating that The Nexus One is a Total Flop. Well, to me, the Nexus One is simply Yet Another Andriod Phone [1].

[1]But hey, I might have become a little biased, after using an iPhone for the past 11 days.

Background Pictures

Posted on 27 February 2009  •  Permalink  •  Category misc

Now for something completely different…

As many other programmers, so it seems, I like photography too. A few months ago I had a dinner with an bunch of ex-colleagues and friends, from which one of them, Rick van Bijnen, is a brilliant photographer, you can check out his best pictures on his website. I promised him to put up some pictures of my own on the net as well — better late than never — so here goes.

Sometimes in between all of the pictures I take, a desktop background jumps out. So that’s my selection for today (click on an image to download the full size 3008x2000 original): [1]

Flower Flower Flower
[1]Images licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

New Looks

Posted on 13 February 2008  •  Permalink  •  Category misc

I finally found the time to implement a new look for code-muse.com. Many thanks to the guys who created the K2 style for Wordpress, which made my life so much easier to freshen up my blog’s design. For the header, I used the picture that I took while I was on top of the Dom tower in my beloved hometown Utrecht.

Talking of Which

Posted on 16 October 2007  •  Permalink  •  Category misc
Schanskop venue

I am honored to give a presentation at the yearly Fastar/Espresso workshop on Monday the 22nd of October at the conference centre at Schanskop Fort on the hills overlooking Pretoria, South Africa (see picture). I will be talking about two of my blog posts, the three Pillars of Abstraction and the Five Principles of Software Design.

And Yet Another Blog…

Posted on 05 April 2007  •  Permalink  •  Category misc

As if there aren’t enough blogs already out there on the internet. Still, here is my first post to my own weblog at Code-muse.com. To start, I’ll try to explain why I am starting my new blog.

While I am working, traveling, and sometimes even when I am sleeping, I can have interesting, clarifying thoughts — at least, for me they are. The last couple of years I have been carrying small notebooks, wrinkled sheets of paper, large notebooks, and more kinds of paper in some or other form, to write down these thoughts as they crossed my mind.

So I decided, why not go digital with these notes? All those notebooks finally get lost anyway. Besides that, they are a real PITA to search through. Especially for that one topic you are so eager to re-read. That’s when I started evaluating the different options to start making my notes digitally accessible. That would make searching much easier. Moreover, using my notes as a base for a (digital) document would become possible. After several options (considering a Wiki as a viable option too), I ended up looking at blogs. Although being over-popular, I still liked the idea of having a blog. I investigated one piece of blog software further: Wordpress.

Wordpress was mighty easy to install and configure. I had it running in about 10 minutes. Even on my G4 Powerbook, running Mac OS X. While my Apache, PHP and MySQL experience was Linux only. I played around with it for a couple of hours. I was fully convinced. The next day I went and bought Code-muse.com, and here you are: my first blog post. Ever.

Diving into the technical details already, even on my first post, haha. Yes, this is supposed to be(come) a technical blog, but I intended to explain why I am starting this blog…

That is, I want to write down my thoughts - mostly thoughts on software design and development related matters. And a good piece of blog software is, after a bit of research I think, the kind software to digitally order your thoughts. As a free bonus, you can share your writings easily. You can even let people comment on them.

Accepting these bonuses, Code-muse.com is my shiny new notebook.