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July 14, 2015

Apeldoorn plans to pay hackers for finding leaks

Filed under: IT by Orangemaster @ 3:58 pm

Need some cash? As of today if you find a proper security leak in the online systems of the city of Apeldoorn, Gelderland they’ll give you 300 euro for it. However, there are some rules to follow to get your hands on the cash.

– You can’t expose or mess around with employee data
– You can’t damage the system and make it inaccessible
– You can’t post any information you find online

If you’re up for the challenge, hit up Apeldoorn with your security leak by mailing them to incident@apeldoorn.nl, I’m guessing preferably in Dutch. You’ll be asked to encrypt your findings and if all goes well, 300 euro and more could be yours. Let the hacking begin!

(Link: www.binnenlandsbestuur.nl)

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June 8, 2015

Google, KLM and government favourites with Dutch students

Filed under: Aviation,Food & Drink,General,IT,Technology by Branko Collin @ 10:09 pm

klm-plane-steven-straitonSwedish marketing agency Universum has been polling Dutch students on who they want to work for after graduation.

A whopping 12,000 students from 32 universities and polytechnics were asked about their career preferences. Major Dutch companies such as Philips, Shell, KLM, Heineken and Endemol were named, but large American companies such as Google and Apple also made their appearance.

Both law and arts & humanities students named the national government as their preferred employer, followed by Google for the former and KLM for the latter. Business students like KLM and Google the best, engineering and physics students prefer Google, followed by Philips.

Compared to last year, TNO, Coca-Cola, IKEA and De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek failed to make the top 5 in any of the categories.

(Link: ANS, photo by Steven Straiton, some rights reserved)

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April 10, 2015

Dutch speed cameras rubbish with foreign plates

Filed under: Automobiles,IT by Orangemaster @ 10:16 am

Last year a friend asked me to check a series of fines he received from France in French (in error), stating he had to pay the maximum fine for speeding even though he never got the original fines, which were for a lot less. Although an administrative mess, at least French speed cameras can read Dutch license plates. It took the Netherlands until sometime last year to be able to properly read French license plates on speed cameras and stop being the laughing stock of French speed freaks.

However, we’re still laughing stock to anyone that doesn’t have a Dutch, French, Swiss, German or Belgian license plate: the software in Dutch speed cameras can’t read anything else. The Dutch government keeps making lame excuses, while other European countries seem to have figured out how speed camera software works.

This also means that Dutch speed cameras don’t fine the notoriously fast driving Poles, Romanians, Bulgarians and Latvians who probably know all this and not suffer the consequences. It also attracts comments about the Dutch ‘paying for everybody’s mistakes’, as it is easier to nail locals for speeding that trying to decipher a Polish or Latvian address and registration that cannot be easily checked on the side of the road.

Speeding is dangerous, and apparently the Dutch government doesn’t feel that road safety is a priority.

(Link: www.flitsservice.nl, Photo by Heiloo Online, some rights reserved)

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February 25, 2015

The Internet doesn’t replace satellite dishes

Filed under: General,IT by Orangemaster @ 12:51 pm

The ability to receive information in one’s language is no longer a sufficient reason to hang a satellite dish from your flat when there’s access to streaming through the Internet, according to a court in Amsterdam. Satellite dishes are forbidden in many flat buildings because they are ugly yet homeowners’ associations still have problems forbidding them altogether because telling people to ‘go use the Internet’ has its own problems, one of them being it comes off as xenophobic and possibly racist. Dutch and other Europeans have quite a few channels available to them through cable television, but many other foreigners do not and so they use a dish.

The Internet is also not free, so that’s not a good argument to ban dishes and go against ‘the ability to receive information’ according to European law and human rights. The case in question is about a man who wanted to watch Portuguese-language shows. The law says that if there’s enough information in your own language available on the Internet then you don’t need a satellite dish. I’m wondering what kind of Portuguese? Angolan, European, Brazilian, what?

Who gets to decide what my language would be as a foreigner? The only television station with any Canadian French was TV5 Monde, which my cable provider axed a few years ago and it does suck. Would that mean I am allowed to set up a dish? Would the Dutch government tell me French from France is good enough even though they don’t report any Canadian news? What if I didn’t understand European French? Satellite dishes may be ugly, but they do have a purpose, especially if cable companies continue to cut down on foreign channels. Dutch provider Ziggo is about to axe France 2, which has upset the French community here.

(Link: webwereld.nl, Photo by Kai Schreiber, some rights reserved)

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November 6, 2014

Five-year-old trades tablet for sweets with stranger

Filed under: Food & Drink,IT,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:16 am

candies-rdam

In the village of Nieuwe Pekela, Groningen a five-year-old girl in a playground with a pink tablet traded her tablet with a nondescript stranger for a bag of sweets. After the mother hadn’t seen the girl use the tablet for a few days and asked why, the girl confessed she traded it for a bag of sweets. The girl said she saw her mother selling some of her ‘old stuff’ and followed her lead. Mom was not amused and asked for the tablet back through Facebook, saying ‘that wasn’t the idea’. We don’t know at this time if it was returned.

What’s a five-year-old doing with a tablet (pink, no!) at a playground? Why not actually play and leave the tablet at home? What about not talking to strangers who try to give you candy? That could easily have been a paedophile testing the waters.

The Dutch say ‘van ruilen komt huilen’ (‘trading brings regret’), and in this case, it could have been far worse.

(Link: www.dvhn.nl, Photo of Sweets by Rool Paap, some rights reserved)

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October 28, 2014

Joint record data transmission over new fiber type

Filed under: IT by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology together and the University of Central Florida, report in the journal Nature Photonics the successful transmission of a record high 255 Terabits/s over a new type of fiber allowing 21 times more bandwidth than currently available in communication networks. This new type of fiber could be an answer to mitigating the impending optical transmission capacity crunch caused by the increasing bandwidth demand.

The new fiber has seven different cores through which the light can travel, instead of one in current state-of-the-art fibers. This compares to going from a one-way road to a seven-lane highway. Also, they introduce two additional orthogonal dimensions for data transportation – as if three cars can drive on top of each other in the same lane. Combining those two methods, they achieve a gross transmission throughput of 255 Terabits/s over the fiber link. This is more than 20 times the current standard of 4-8 Terabits/s.

(Link: phys.org, Photo by Mephisto, some rights reserved, based on a photo by Daniel Mayara)

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October 15, 2014

Grieving parties must purchase software to fill in tax form

Filed under: General,IT by Orangemaster @ 10:44 am

Roughly translated the Dutch tax office’s motto is, ‘We can’t make it more pleasant, but we can make it easier’, which is often use to preface the exact opposite, as I am about to do.

Some guy’s stepmother dies. Besides coming to terms with the situation, there’s paperwork to be done for the tax office. Many forms have been digitised over the years, but not the one form this guy needs to fill out. In fact, some 140,000 people need to fill out this form every year, but its 27 pages. Our guy says he’ll need to sit down and spend hours figuring it out.

Nope, he can’t send it in digitally. For that one form, he needs to purchase software from one of two publishers who make it for accountants and it costs 610 euro. Our guy is justifiably upset and decides to write to Parliament because sending in most tax forms is usually free. After all the two companies that make this professional software are able to send in their corporate tax forms for free. The tax office didn’t think that people doing taxes for the deceased was a priority, but you wonder why they think it’s OK to force ordinary citizens to buy expensive, almost useless software to fill in one form. Politicians have said they agree, but changing the rules won’t happen overnight.

Tax office cock-ups are a great source of entertainment:

Tax office in Friesland refuses Frisian letter. You can’t talk to the tax office in any other language than Dutch for legal reasons, something we hadn’t mentioned back then.

Tax office tells woman to divorce for benefits. Taxes before bros, thinks the government.

(Link: www.welingelichtekringen.nl)

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September 10, 2014

Dutch ‘scarf guy’, latest social media trend

Filed under: Fashion,Gaming,IT by Orangemaster @ 2:38 pm

scarf

In a fashion/IT edition of ‘Zoek de Nederlander’ (‘Find the Dutch person’), it wasn’t Apple’s new Apple Watch, iPhone 6 or even the band U2 that stole the show at its latest product launch in Califormia, but Dutch IT designer Tommy Krul’s tube scarf, earning him the nickname of ‘Scarf Guy’. Dutch-born Krul is founder and CTO of Super Evil Megacorp in San Francisco and was presenting the new game Vainglory, specially developed for the iPhone 6.

Apple’s on stage presenters are reputed for being casually dressed, and Krul was no exception. For reasons that only the Internet understands his purple ‘infinity’ scarf took on a life of its own on Twitter and Facebook during the presentation. Fake Twitter accounts such as @scarfbro and @purplescarfguy have started up and comparisons to other scarf-wearing celebs such as Gavin Rossdale and Lenny Kravitz (and I would add Benedict Cumberbatch, as himself and as Sherlock) have been made. People want to know if he’s single, but Krul hasn’t provided an answer. All he has said apparently is “I often wear scarves, it’s funny.”

(Link: www.rtlnieuws.nl, Photo of men’s scarf by smittenkittenorig, some rights reserved)

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August 5, 2014

Philips develops headset that reads thoughts

Filed under: IT by Orangemaster @ 10:54 am

Emotiv

Inspired by the wishes and needs of ALS patients who gradually lose motor functions including their ability to speak, “the Emotiv wireless EEG neuro headset uses sensors to tune into electrical signals produced by the brain to detect a user’s thoughts, feelings and expressions in real time.” The headset addresses two major issues of ALS sufferers, namely regaining the ability to communicate with the people around them (friends, family, loves ones) and regaining control over the things around them (TV, lights, Internet).

Patients’ thoughts are registered by the headset, which passes the commands on to specially developed software in an app or tablet. The information is then passed on to specific devices around the house, as shown in the video below. Dutch ALS patients and associations have responded positively to the headset so far, but there’s no ready-to-use version of it on the market yet.

The video is in English, with English subtitles.

(Link: www.bndestem.nl, Photo: emotiv.com)

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June 11, 2014

Government still misleads masses with digital ID system

Filed under: IT,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:39 am

For years local governments have been mistakingly pointing tens of thousands of citizens if not more to an advertising agency called Digi-D in Waalwijk, Noord-Brabant instead of to the Dutch national government’s digital identification system called DigID (no hyphen, and ID in capitals), indispensable for filing taxes and other matters nowadays. In October 2012 10,000 people sent their details to Digi-D. It’s June 2014 and the wesbite the agency set up to tell people about this serious cock-up counted 40,805 mislead people on 6 June.

Digi-D the agency has been around since 2002, while DigID started up in 2005. The government’s game plan has been to strong arm the agency into changing its name, but the agency claims that it would cost them 110,000 euro to change their name, never mind lawyering up for something they didn’t mess up. To make it worse, the agency is being forced to store all this data to prove that it is a nuisance to them, but if ever the data leaked, the government would blame the agency for it!

(Link: www.omroepbrabant.nl)

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