TOP 5 personal traffic irritations
Wednesday, January 12, 2005, 19:09 - Top X lists
Cars that
1. drive in the leftmost lane unnecessarily (in the Netherlands you're supposed to keep as much to the right as possible)
2. drive in the leftmost lane slowly
3. drive slower than the speed limit
4. react too slowly to a traffic light turning green
5. accelerate too slowly at traffic lights

Sex maniac
Tuesday, January 11, 2005, 19:04 - Humor

ONC RPC client
Tuesday, January 11, 2005, 02:34 - Programming
Last week I developed an RPC client to send events from an application on a Windows server to another application running on a UNIX server. The server was using ONC/RPC (RFC 1831) and I had to create a simple console application with a couple of command line parameters.

I hadn't decided yet on an implementation language and I was looking around for available RPC libraries because you do not want to reinvent the wheel by coding the low level communications again. I also had only one week to complete the project.
I came across a few commercial alternatives (Netbula ONC RPC (C++, $750), Netbula JavaRPC (Java, $850), Distinct ONC RPC / XDR for .NET (C#, $1,495 plus $50 per deployment)) and tried them out, but they all had some or more problems.
I finally decided on the open source Remote Tea ONC/RPC for Java.
This is a LGPL library so no need to go through the trouble of purchasing a license for the company. Java is a bit slower than C++ but it does the memory management for you, which is a great plus for a quick and dirty hacker like me :)

I couldn't get the Remote Tea jrpcgen RPC protocol compiler to work on the .x protocol files I received, but after looking at their examples and the outputs of some of the other development kits I created the interface classes myself. Then I coded the main class to do the RPC calls based on the provided command line parameters and a few default values defined in a .properties file.
Soon I had a working Java executable that also turned out to be working correctly!

It just needed a little fine-tuning and today I created the source and binary distribution .zip files as well as the documentation. Another project successfully completed!

Aid for tsunami victims
Sunday, January 9, 2005, 23:08 - The News
Partly thanks to a large TV and radio action on Thursday, here in the Netherlands the amount of money donated by the public and raised through private initiatives has reached over 112 million euro (145 million dollar) which is about 9 dollar per capita.
The Dutch government had already donated 30 million euro (39 million dollar) for immediate aid and has reserved a couple of hundred million euro for rebuilding the areas in Asia and Africa that have suffered from the tsunami.

Nations all over the world have so far provided over 3 billion US dollars according to Wikipedia.
The European Commission will see to it that the EU countries will actually pay up the amounts of money that they have promised.

Why is so much money collected? Of course the enormous scope of the disaster and the sudden and direct cause play a role. But here in the Netherlands we've also had a rough time that started with the assassinations of Pim Fortuyn and recently Theo van Gogh. Those events have led to a hardening society and separation between natives and immigrants. Also the threats of terrorism fed the desire to do something positive together and it seems that raising funds has created some unity.
Hard as it may seem to those directly hurt this news is a diversion of all the negative news close at home. But money can't fix everything. A lot of labor is needed to rebuild completely destroyed villages. And a lot of time is needed to make the pain bearable of losing so many loved ones at once.
Long before that other news will have taken over the headlines in the West and this disaster will be almost forgotten.

And there are still other emergency situations elsewhere in the world, such as Congo and Sudan. The United Nations warns us that we should not forget that estimatedly 1000 people die per day in Congo. That's 365,000 deads per year.
Fighting in Darfur is escalating and the Sudanese region could face a new upsurge in violence despite efforts by the UN.

There is a lot of shit going on in this world!
Sunday, January 9, 2005, 05:42 - Games
As can be seen by the badge at the bottom right of this page I started playing at BlogShares which is a fantasy stock market for weblogs. Players get to invest a fictional $500, and blogs are valued by incoming links.

I like playing these kinds of games and the fact that it handles about real-life blogs makes it extra fun!

Twins born 6 weeks apart
Friday, January 7, 2005, 22:27 - Miscellaneous
A Romanian woman has given birth to a son and is due to give birth to his twin six weeks later in what has been called a medical first in Romania.

The twins were conceived from the same egg in May, but had separate placentas. The mother, Maricica Tescu has two uteruses due to a congenital malformation. Her first child was born on December 11, the second twin is due to be born at full term at the end of January.

There have been about a dozen similar cases worldwide.

2005 Weblog Awards
Thursday, January 6, 2005, 21:59 - Miscellaneous
From now until 10:00 PM EST (GMT-5) on Monday, January 10, 2005, anyone can nominate their favorite weblogs for the 2005 Bloggies.
The Bloggies are a set of 30 publicly-chosen awards given to weblog writers and those related to weblogs.
Everyone's invited to take part in the awarding process, so find out how you can nominate and vote for your favorite blogs!

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