April 13, 2015

Drone with asparagus crashes and burns

Filed under: Food & Drink,Gadgets by Orangemaster @ 10:12 am

Having a drone deliver asparagus to your restaurant to ring in the new season on 1 April was a novel idea and a great publicity stunt for restaurant De Zwaan in Etten-Leur, Noord-Brabant, but it didn’t go exactly as planned.

Plan B was landing the drone nearby in case of wind and then taking a walk to pick up the asparagus, but that didn’t pan out either, as the drone went with Plan C, which resulting in a crash-and-burn scenario.

The drone made a stop along the way to change batteries, which went well, but the takeoff afterwards eventually turned into a nose dive and a pile of flambé white asparagus.

I’m already curious as to what delivery method they are going to try next year.

(Link:, Photo of asparagus by Stephan Mosel, some rights reserved)

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April 7, 2015

App tells you to hurry to catch a train

Filed under: Gadgets,Technology by Branko Collin @ 2:26 pm

moet-ik-rennen-app-google-playCan I still catch the bus or train if I start running now? That is the simple question a new app poses. Its name, Moet Ik Rennen?, is Dutch for should I run?

The app, which saw its beta test launch today, uses the location services of your mobile device to find your current position. It then locates the nearest bus stops and metro and train stations, provides you with departure times and if you select a specific line it tells you if you should hurry.

Moet Ik Rennen? appears to be free and is available for iOS and Android. It was developed by four students (initially as a school project) with support from Dutch Rail. Go About is listed as the data provider.

If you still have to wait a bit for your bus (or train or subway), the app suggests a place to get snacks at a discount. Once you have stuffed your face with excess calories you no longer need the app. Yes, you should run.

(Illustration: Google Play / Moet Ik Rennen?)

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March 30, 2015

Drone to deliver asparagus, ringing in the season

Filed under: Food & Drink,Gadgets,Technology by Orangemaster @ 12:55 pm

One-Michelin-star restaurant De Zwaan in Etten-Leur, Noord-Brabant likes to make a splash in spring once white asparagus season kicks off and what better way to do that than having a drone deliver the white gold to your door.

On 1st April (no joke), a drone with a 15-minute battery that needs to fly 12 minutes avoiding all kinds of buildings and bridges according to many rules will drop off a crate of asparagus at the kitchen door of the restaurant. There’s a backup battery and a Plan B to land nearby if the wind is too much.

It’s not the first time De Zwaan and its owner Roland Peijnenburg have marked the start of asparagus season by creating a buzz. They’ve also used a hot air balloon carrying the town mayor and once had an asparagus relay race.

When you mention asparagus in the Netherlands, people think white asparagus and not green asparagus first. Here’s a white asparagus cocktail appetizer recipe for you as well.

(Link:, Photo of asparagus by Stephan Mosel, some rights reserved)

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January 6, 2015

World’s largest Rubik’s Cube solved in 7.5 hours

Filed under: Gadgets,Gaming by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Rubik's cube-fake

Designed by Dutchman Oskar van Deventer, the world’s largest Rubik’s Cube, known as the Over The Top 17x17x17, was solved last November by American Kenneth Brandon.

Besides solving puzzles, Brandon also shoots time-lapse videos and made a six minute one of his solution here below. He also mentions that he has a 7.5 hour version floating around for his hardcore fans.

The Guinness World Records awarded the ‘largest order Rubik’s magic cube’ to the 17×17×17 cube made by Van Deventer in 2011. Van Deventer has all kinds of puzzles for sale, made with 3D printing technology.

(Link:, Photo: Rubik’s Cube knockoff)

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November 15, 2014

Dutchman has Bitcoin wallets injected in hands

Filed under: Gadgets,Health,Technology by Branko Collin @ 1:44 pm

bitcoin-key-fob-btc_keychainAmsterdam-based entrepreneur Martijn Wismeijer had two NFC chips injected into his hands earlier this month, The Telegraph writes.

The chips are to act as encrypted Bitcoin wallets. Wismeijer is the owner of Mr. Bitcoin, a company that distributes and operates ATMs for the currency.

Wismeijer told The Telegraph, “Most doctors will not want to install the implant so a body manipulation artist (preferably not just tattoo artist or piercer) will be your next best bet. Make sure they work according to strict hygiene codes and know what they are doing.”

Parool adds that Rockstart in Amsterdam (a start-up accelerator) hosted an implant session yesterday where one could have a sub-dermal NFC chip injected for about 130 euro. Wismeijer told the newspaper that currently about 2000 people have such implants.

It’s not clear from the articles whether Wismeijer uses the chips to store Bitcoins, keys to unlock Bitcoins or something else.

Check the Telegraph for a video in which the question “does it hurt” is answered. Too scared / don’t want to? Martijn Wismeijer told Parool: “They were the biggest needles I’ve ever seen.”

(Photo by BTC Keychain, some rights reserved)

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September 30, 2014

iPads are ‘means of communication’, not computers or phones

Filed under: Gadgets,Technology by Orangemaster @ 9:44 am

In late 2012 a Dutch court ruled that iPads were not phones and that angered broadcaster RTL Nederland because that meant they would owe back taxes to the tune of 323,687 euro on 664 iPads with Vodafone subscriptions given to their employees for Christmas.

RTL appealed the ruling at the time, and yesterday a higher court overturned the decision and ruled that not only are iPads not phones, they are also not computers: they are “means of communication.” The clincher is that the law also prescribes categories of devices that are applicable to be taxed, including “phones, Internet and such communication devices.”

The iPad is a fancy tin can with a string attached to it that is not primarily used to do all your work on, giving RTL a reason to pop open some champers.


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August 12, 2014

The NoPhone, the no-tech smartphone for addicts

Filed under: Gadgets by Orangemaster @ 10:27 am


There are people addicted to using their smartphones, and maybe you’re one of them. Fear not, you can buy or ask someone to buy you the NoPhone, so you can finally have conversations with humans instead of checking your phone the whole time.

Dutch creatives Ben Langeveld and Ingmar Larsen together with a couple of New Yorkers thought up the 3D printed NoPhone, a black rectangular bit of plastic that feels like a smartphone in your hand, but isn’t one.

According to them, a person touches a smartphone about 150 times a day, significantly reducing a person’s real-life interaction. The NoPhone is like the pen a smoker puts in their mouth to ease cravings.

I bet people would buy the NoPhone for someone else as a huge hint that watching them stare at their phone is annoying. In fact, Langeveld and Larsen made the NoPhone with that specific type of addict in mind.

(Link:, Photo: NoPhone)

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August 9, 2014

17th century book of watercolour paints by A. Boogert

Filed under: Art,Design,Gadgets,Technology by Branko Collin @ 3:39 pm

spiegel-verf-a-boogert-p826 spiegel-verf-a-boogert-p827

Eric Kwakkel found this extensive 800-page book on how to prepare and mix watercolour paints in an online library in France.

It was published in Dutch in 1692 by one A. Boogert:

He explains how to mix the colours and how to change their tone by adding “one, two or three portions of water”. To illustrate his point he fills each facing page with various shades of the colour in question [...]. To top it he made an index of all the colours he described, which in itself is a feast to look at.

The book is called ‘The Clear Bright Mirror of the Art of Painting’ (‘De Klaerlighte Spiegel der Verfkonst’) and is written in plain Dutch. Unfortunately I keep tripping over Mr Boogert’s handwriting, otherwise I might have treated you to a couple of paragraphs. Due to the nature of the work (three colour printing wasn’t available until the late 19th century), it is likely that the author produced only a single copy. And it’s very cool is that this copy survived.

Shown here are two opposite pages of the index (“blatwijser of regisster”).

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July 25, 2014

Sad Dutch Kickstarter projects are sad

Filed under: Design,Food & Drink,Gadgets,Online,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:24 am

The Dutch have had their own Kickstarter site for a few months now and I have seen many interesting projects get the funding they probably deserve. However, they are a lot of ‘non-starters’ on the site because anybody can ask for money and hope for the best without being serious. The projects that get my attention usually fall into four categories: the good ones that usually get funded, the ones that don’t get funded or get insufficient funding, the ones nobody gives a toss about but could be serious, and the jokey ones. Let’s have a look at the last two categories, the losers and the jokers:

– ‘I need a computer to review stuff on the Internet and become a YouTuber’.
How about you get a job? It would go faster, too.

– Two guys want to deliver apple pie to their friend for his 17th birthday, but would rather someone else pays for it.
You can’t find 5-10 euro for your best friend? Ouch.

– ‘I make music. To make these tracks, I need money. You want to spend money on music’
It sounds more like you don’t want to spend money on music…

– Someone want to sell ‘trustee rings’ to prove their ‘fidelity’ and got 1 euro so far.
They have GPS and Wi-Fi to track your partner. Stalker alert!

– A statue for Louis van Gaal, but only if the Netherlands wins the World Cup, which it didn’t.
Nice try.

– Frying up extreme eggs.
Ever since a potato salad got funded, Kickstarter is full of food-related projects.

– ‘A story about a boy that lives in a crappy world.’
Buy a diary, write it down and take up drinking like the rest of us.

(Link:, photo of a lightbulb by Emil Kabanov, some rights reserved)

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March 15, 2014

Marjan van Aubel’s table harvests electricity for mobile devices

Filed under: Design,Gadgets by Branko Collin @ 1:52 pm


Why not make your table top a solar cell? Add in a couple of USB ports and you’ve got a cell phone charger that you could eat off. And that is exactly what London-based Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel did.

Writes Dezeen:

Inside the glass panels is a dye-synthesised solar cell that uses the properties of colour to create an electrical current, in a similar way to how plants use green chlorophyll to convert sunlight into energy. [...] Charging times vary depending on the amount of sunlight present. “One cell needs about eight hours to fully charge a battery, and there are four cells for each USB port,” the designer said.

This reminds me of the bookcase with a memory by Ianus Keller and the table shaped case-mod by Marlies Romberg (story here).


(Link: Bright; photos: Marjan van Aubel)

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