March 7, 2019

Frisians work with Microsoft for spellchecker

Filed under: General,Technology by Orangemaster @ 10:48 am

The province of Friesland is working together with tech giant Microsoft to finally get a Frisian spellchecker. Yes, other suites such as Open Office have Frisian spellcheckers, and there’s even plug-ins that the province has been involved in, but having a proper spellchecker in Microsoft Office is the goal.

A spokesperson for the project that will probably cost about 40,000 euro wants users to “no longer be afraid to use Frisian in a professional setting”. The spellchecker should be ready for testing this summer, but nobody knows exactly when it will be available in Microsoft Office.

The province will also be talking to tech giant Apple to see what can also be done to add more Frisian to their products.

(Link:, Photo by Rupert Ganzer, some rights reserved)

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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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July 2, 2014

Apple bans educational game about Dutch slavery

Filed under: Gaming,History by Orangemaster @ 12:23 pm


The City of Amsterdam subsidized a free educational game entitled ‘Road to Freedom’ that was 1.5 years in the making to teach children about Dutch slavery in Surinam. It was produced by the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy and designed by Pepergroen to mark the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

The Afro-Surinamese community in the Netherlands wasn’t thrilled with the game, but neither were the Americans at Apple who called the content ”slanderous and insulting”. A quick Google search shows that Apple is not a fan of anything with slaves in it, like this sweatshop app.

On the one hand, anything too culturally confrontational makes many people from countries with unresolved colonial pasts uncomfortable and on the other, anything that is presented in a game format already downgrades the importance of historical relevance. If I were at school today and someone gave me a flee from a Russian labour camp game, I’d have a real problem with it and so would my parents.

I do get what the makers were trying to do, but unfortunately they have managed to trivialize something that deserves a much better platform. A Dutch friend of mine would say, ‘het idee is goed, maar de uitvoering is klote’ (‘The idea is good, but the execution is crap’).

UPDATE The video we had up yesterday introducing the game has been pulled offline.

(Link:,, Screenshot of the game before it was yanked offline)

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June 29, 2014

Surfbook patent struck down in US court

Filed under: Technology by Branko Collin @ 11:21 am

mark-zuckerberg-elaine-and-priscilla-chanEarlier this year Facebook was sued by American patent trolls Rembrandt IP, allegedly representing the deceased Jos van der Meer.

Van der Meer’s heirs claim that the Dutchman invented the concept of Facebook in 2001, calling it Surfbook. The Register reports that an American jury disagreed in no uncertain terms: “the Eastern District of Virginia jury decided that the patents were “shabby” and shouldn’t have been granted”.

In 2001, a full two years before Facebook was founded, Van der Meer had patented things like keeping a personal diary on the web. Damning evidence indeed if you squint your eyes for a moment and forget that Geocities was founded in 1994 and the word ‘weblog’ was coined in 1997.

On its website Rembrandt IP writes: “[our company] undertakes a rigorous diligence process to investigate all intellectual property it considers for enforcement actions. […] Due to the high level of internal resources needed to complete this in-depth process, we are very selective when determining which opportunities to consider.”

Did their process fail them this time around or did Rembrandt IP expect to lose? Given that they started a lawsuit in January against another tech giant, Apple (PDF), a reasonable person would probably forgive me for thinking that they start these cases for the publicity it generates. (I am not sure how effective a strategy it is to lose your cases).

See also:

(Photo of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg by Elaine and Priscilla Chan, some rights reserved)

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December 19, 2013

Guys from Utrecht hook Apple’s Game of the Year 2013

Filed under: Gaming,Technology by Orangemaster @ 11:07 am

Screen shot 2013-12-19 at 10.51.55 AM

Two guys from Utrecht, Rami Ismail (25) and Jan Willem Nijman (23), created the game app for iPhone and iPad Ridiculous Fishing that has been chosen as Game of the Year 2013 by Apple. The game was based on a film they saw about overfishing tuna. The main goal is to avoid catching fish on your line. If you do catch some fish, then you have to reel them all in and eventually you get to shoot them in the air.

They had months of struggling with other game studios copying and remaking their originally free game, but after eating noodles for four months and going for gold, Ridiculous Fishing took off and both guys are now rich, making 12,000 euro a week, and sometimes 30,000 to 50,000 euro a week. The game costs 2,69, it is selling like hotcakes and there will be an Android version one of these days.

(Link and screenshot:

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May 5, 2013

Dutch programming whiz kid raises the bar that much higher

Filed under: Online by Orangemaster @ 3:30 pm

Problably best known for Puckipedia, 13-year-old Puck Meerburg from Delft has been coding since he was six. Meerburg has developed apps for a range of different mobile platforms already, including iOS, Android and BlackBerry.

Although Puck hasn’t quite mastered the art of giving interviews, which is maybe a lot to ask from a 13-year-old, he speaks better English than many of his adult counterparts. I like the way he ‘slags’ Apple for him not knowing how many copies of his apps he has sold. Apple lets people offer them apps that costs them no money at all to develop, which has hundreds of thousands of people (let’s cut the PC nonsense: mostly boys and men) around the world working day and night like slaves in the hopes of being picked up by Apple who apparently takes a whopping 30% off the top.

The Next Web tells us that, “His latest release, CatStacker is based on the growing hype around, you guessed it, placing items on a domestic cat and sharing them via photographs posted online.”

(Link:, Photo: Photo by William Hook, some rights reserved)

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March 29, 2013

Still to be opened Apple museum changes venue

Filed under: Technology by Orangemaster @ 11:22 am

Back in December 2012 we told you about the Netherlands’ first Apple museum opening its doors in Ureterp, Friesland on 16 March 2013, but that didn’t happen due to space issues at the original venue.

Instead, the Apple museum will be housed in a farm in the tiny village of Orvelte, Drenthe. Picture a quaint Dutch village of 230 souls with a blacksmith, a glassblower, a clog maker, an old fashioned sweets shop and an Apple museum.

We’re all still waiting for the official opening date; we’ll keep you posted.

(Link:, Photo: two of the many Apples cluttering my closet)

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February 21, 2013

Apple Macintosh pen holder as a 3D print

Filed under: Design by Orangemaster @ 5:00 am

Here is an old school Apple Macintosh computer as a 3D pixel art style pen holder for your desk, created by the Sevensheaven design studio. The back of it is the same as the front, with the iconic Mac features.

Some of us remember actually owning one of these computers or using them at school or at work.

(Link:, Photo by Sevensheaven)

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December 23, 2012

Apple museum opens its doors in Friesland

Filed under: Dutch first,History,IT,Technology by Branko Collin @ 12:33 pm

A museum dedicated to the computers of US manufacturer Apple has opened its doors in the town of Ureterp, just East of Drachten in Friesland.

The Apple Museum Nederland is run by volunteers and focuses on keeping Apple computers up and running so that visitors can experience first hand how these machines used to work. The museum is housed at the top floor of a Mac repair shop and is not affiliated with Apple.

On 22 December the museum opened its doors for the first time and it will also be open on 29 December and 5 January. The official opening will be on 16 March, Bright reports.

Macfreak says this is the third Apple museum in the world. The name Ureterp stems from Urathorp and means ‘Upper Village’, as in upstream from the river Boorne.

(Photo: Google Street View)

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December 21, 2012

Steve Jobs’ yacht chained up in Amsterdam

Filed under: Design,IT by Orangemaster @ 7:09 pm

Venus, a yacht designed by the late Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, together with French product designer Philippe Starck and put to water in Aalsmeer, North Holland has been impounded in Amsterdam. Starck claims that Jobs only paid him € 6 million out of the € 9 million fee he was owed by the Jobs family.

“The entire cost of building the yacht was reportedly about $130 million. The yacht itself is between 230 and 260 feet (80 metres) long.”

According to, the boat is literally chained to the dock.

UPDATE: As of 24 December Jobs’ heirs reached an agreement and the yacht has been unchained.

(Link:, Photo of Steve Jobs by acaben, some rights reserved)

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