Far Out There

I love stories. There are so many ways stories can be told. A method that has piqued my interest this year are webcomics. A post with my top 10 is in the works, but for now a little sneak peek:

Far Out There is a sci-fi webcomic that is fun to read, looks excellent and is more than 1000 pages into its story so a lot for you to catch up on. Seeing it progress in both story and artstyle is so much fun!


Listening: The Back Page

Today was a chance to dive deep into a new podcast. I had quite a bit to drive today to pick up a wardrobe for my son in the only IKEA in any reasonable distance that actually had it in stock. So I drove nearly two hours (and two back) to get it.

I listened to the Back Page podcast. New to me, it has been around for about a year now and features two games journalists (Matthew Castle of RPS fame and PC Gamer’s Samuel Roberts). They have long talks about certain series, look back at a certain year in gaming or they go wild on their own careers in magazine publishing.

All that is brought with humour, some self-depreciation and a lot of knowledge. Highly recommended!


Apple & Payments

If you have ever been part of the Apple ecosystem, as a customer, a developer or both, you will have noticed that it is walled off quite thoroughly. Payments have to be made within the ecosystem, with no room whatsoever to offer payment options that circumvent Apple.

I get it, partially. Apple wants to make sure they get their cut (despite claims that it is all to protect the privacy of its users). But it is not user-friendly.

Now the Dutch anti-trust watchdog ACM as looked into this for the Dutch market. And while it is probably a long wait until any meaningful change, the first results give me some hope that things WILL change in the future. Let’s wait & see.

CategoriesPersonal Development

A little Hiatus

I will be going into Christmas mode from today. Expect new posts from December 27th. Enjoy some Christmas parody until then.


A LEGO Typewriter

I love to write, so it won’t come as a big surprise that I am fascinated by typewriters. Obviously writing and editing on a computer is much easier. But that does not lessen the fascination.

Recently, LEGO launched a fantastic set, where you build a typewriter. I have bought it and started to build it with my son. It is a great set, and an interesting build, very relaxing.

If you want to read more about it, go to the excellent review by Brothers Brick.



My son dropped my iPad, and of course, it fell on the screen. Luckily, it can be fixed, not by me, I don’t mind working on my PC or laptop, but this is too finicky for me so I outsourced it to an experienced repair shop in the neighbouring village.

The little guy was suitably contrite and has promised to look out better from now on, so the pedagogical part of this problem has been addressed too.

The only thing left is the actual repair, I will drop the device off after Christmas and hope to get it back within a few days. I use it to read magazines, journal articles and to write in my own journal. It also serves as my Todoist hub when I am working. I feel a bit weird without this part of my setup around.


Currently Reading: Asimov’s Foundation

Despite being a huge fan of science fiction I never got around to reading Asimov. I knew the name, of course. And I heard of the 3 Laws of Robotics. I even saw I, Robot.

But I never actually read any of his work. Until now. A week or so ago I started with the first book in the foundation series, triggered by the Apple TV Series foundation that is (loosely) based on the books. I have worked my way to the third book in the series and find it hard to put them down.

Not because of the gripping action, the suspense or the drama, but because they are so different from what I have been reading in the genre. Action is replaced by dialogue, arguments, inaction, and most of all, ideas!

Big and small ideas, about society, how to run it and the role of rulers and those ruled in a society. While not all of those ideas have survived the 80+ years since the first books in the series were written, they make me think. And it has been a while since a sci-fi novel has managed to do that.

I found an interesting thread on Reddit on sci-fi books about ideas and will not lack reading material in the foreseeable future.


So Weird: My own name in print.

My last name is not very special, last time a kind of census was held, 554 people with my last name were counted in the Netherlands. Yet I see it a lot in print, on tv or online. And all that is due to one man, Hubert Bruls, mayor of Nijmegen. In that capacity, he is the chairman of the safety council formed by a group of mayors, a council that supports the national government in an advisory capacity.

I see my own name everywhere, attributing opinions and quotes to me that I have never made. Even now we have been dealing with Covid for so long, it is still a weird feeling seeing this. I hope covid is gone before I get used to it.

I am curious if this is just as weird if you have a rather bland and much used name like Smith or the Dutch equivalent, Smeets.


Yet Another Lockdown?

With Christmas rapidly approaching it almost seems traditional that our government starts to contemplate a full lockdown. That is at least the advice that seems to be given by the Dutch Outbreak Management Team.

It is quite sure now that every measure leaks before the press conference announcing it is held, and this seems no exception. Primary schools close a week early and non-essential stores will close. All to halt the omicron variant of Covid-19 in its tracks.

I am no virologist, so nothing from me about the usefulness (or lack thereof) of the measures that are taken. Only a lament for my kids who now will miss their school Christmas dinner. I hope this will be over soon.


Coffee or Tea?

I preferred coffee for most of my life, but my experiences with coffee in the evening mostly lead to me not sleeping at all, or sleeping very badly.

So I am experimenting with some herbal tea mixtures to sleep better and still enjoy a hot drink at night. I did think about hot chocolate, but that has other disadvantages like huge amounts of sugar. I am very curious to see if this latest self improvement project will bear fruit soon.