As of today, The Netherlands has become the exclusive test market for the new Disney streaming service, unadventurously called Disney+. The country will be able to enjoy the new service for free until November 11, after which ‘The House of Mouse’ will charge 6,99 euro a month for it. On November 12, it will also be made available in the United States and will have more productions added to it. Other countries in North America, Europe and the rest of the world will surely follow.
People in The Netherlands can also watch their Disney favourites on Android and iOS devices as well as PS4 and Xbox One. According to the screenshots we’ve seen on Twitter (see screenshot), Disney+ is offering Marvel films (Avengers’ Endgame will only be available in December), Star Wars (all the films including Solo and The Last Jedi – a big deal because the first films are not Disney productions), Pixar and National Geographic.
Although all in English, some of the productions also have Dutch audio. No other languages are available yet. By testing Disney+ first in the Netherlands, Disney wanted to weed out issues, which sounds more like beta testing. According to one Dutch journalist on Twitter, the search function does not work, and I agree after having seen the screenshot of random suggestions, based on two or three letters, not even in the right order.
Reactions are mixed, but quite positive, ranging from ‘Why do I have to pay for another streaming service?’ [you don’t, but North Americans pay for many services for the same shows we all get on Netflix], ‘If I buy this for my youngest son for his birthday, I’ll be spending more money on him than my other two kids and that’s a dilemma’ to ‘I don’t need a bunch of remakes’ and ‘it’s all Disney princesses anyway’.
Free is always nice, but the true test is who will stay on after it’s no longer free.
Tags: disney, Marvel, Star Trek, Star Wars, streaming, test market, Twitter
As of tomorrow there will be a 30-year-old elm tree at Wageningen University that is going to tweet about the weather and its health – a Dutch first. It will have all kinds of devices stuck it to do so, but that’s par for the course.
Is it getting enough water, it is being properly taken care of, that sort of thing. The tweeting is of course for fun and to make the public aware of trees and their environment. The boffins taking measurements will also use the data they plan to collect for climate change purposes.
Belgium already has three tweeting trees: an oak, a maple and a beech tree, while in Germany there’s a whole ‘forest’ of them. Spain and Switzerland will have some trees on Twitter in the near future as well.
(Link: nos.nl, Photo of Elm tree by Sludge G, some rights reserved)
Tags: elm, tree, Twitter, Wageningen University
Many of us know that cat like boxes, and if you need convincing, find out about world-famous feline and Guinness Book of World Record holder Maru, the Japanese cat that cannot stay out of them.
Following a Dutch study entitled ‘Will a hiding box provide stress reduction for shelter cats?’, cats with boxes adapted to their new environment faster compared to a control group without boxes. In the end, cats with boxes were less stressed because they had a ‘cardboard hidey-hole’ to hunker down in.
“The close contact with the box’s interior, we believe, releases endorphins – nature’s own morphine-like substances – causing pleasure and reducing stress.” The cuteness factor surely helps the proliferation of Twitter’s hashtag #CatSquare showing tons of people who taped squares to their floors and snapped their cats sitting on them. Then again, a lot of cats did not, but to be fair, some of them looked comfortable sitting on other stuff like comfy chairs.
The obvious exception is the cat carrier because that means going to the vet or getting into a car. The latter we will leave to the dogs.
(Link: phys.org, Photo of Cat in a box by Hehaden, some rights reserved)
Tags: boxes, cats, Twitter
It’s time for another holiday controversy, one that revolves around chocolate Easter eggs sold at Dutch chain store HEMA. The store calls one type of its milk chocolate Easter eggs ‘eggs for hiding’ for the purpose of an egg hunt, but omitting the word ‘Easter’ has led to hate-filled comments from Dutch Twitter conspiracy theorists living in their own echo chamber. ‘The H in HEMA stands for Halal instead of Holland’ and other hateful nonsense is doing the rounds, effectively helping the rest of us weed out the nutters just in time for some online spring cleaning.
Part of Dutch Twitter went down the rabbit hole claiming, with no proof whatsoever, that HEMA was pandering to Muslims by removing the word ‘Easter’ in their ‘eggs for hiding’. HEMA claims it has been calling one type of its milk chocolate eggs ‘eggs for hiding’ for 10 years now because there’s a gold one and that makes them great for Easter egg hunts. After one ‘offending’ picture on Twitter, people jumped on the bandwagon because it sounded plausible if you ignore the pesky facts that get in the way of blind hate.
HEMA sells pork products, Christmas stuff, Easter stuff, Sinterklaas stuff, even head scarves that offends absolutely nobody.
(Links: nieuws.nl, www.volkskrant.nl)
Tags: chocolate, Easter, Hema, Twitter
Starting last week during a high level threat against Brussels that is sadly ongoing, Belgians journalists and others tweeted pictures of cats to follow instructions from the Belgian federal police of not spreading pictures or information on Twitter that would give terrorists an edge as to what the police were doing.
On November 22 Dutch cameraman from Zwolle Hugo Janssen kicked of what was to be a huge collection of cat tweets. Carrying the hashtag #BrusselsLockDown he posted a picture of his cat Mozart, saying ”Instead of tweeting about the police’s movements in Brussels, here’s a picture of our cat Mozart”. Google ‘#BrusselsLockDown’ and you’ll get Star Wars cats, ordinary cats, wild cats, cats in boxes and the usual fare of Internet felines.
The Federal Belgian Police tweeted “For the cats that helped us yesterday, here you go!” with a picture of cat food, as seen above. The current situation is of course no laughing matter by any means and far from over.
Tags: Brussels, cats, terrorism, Twitter
Dutch record label Black Hole Recordings has opened an online online pop-up store where people can get free tracks, ringtones and the likes by paying with a tweet. Started on 11 November, the pop-up store will be online for 30 days. Follow Black Hole Recordings on Twitter at @Blackholerec by placing a tweet with the hashtag #paywithatweet and the article you want, and it will be sent to you for free. You’ll get a direct message about you purchase.
Black Hole Recordings claims this is a world first and sells music and merch from artists such als Ferry Corsten, Tiësto and New World Punx.
Tags: pop-up store, Tiësto, Twitter
Sergeant Fred Stork is a beat cop in Eindhoven and is also on Twitter. He thought it would be fun to sew his Twitter handle, @brigadierSTRYPi onto his uniform, but after a reporter tweeted about needle work, his superiors told him to remove it.
A spokesperson told Algemeen Dagblad: “There are national regulations for a police uniform that an officer may not deviate from.” The spokesperson liked the initiative though and added, “who knows, one day this may be possible. But ‘The Hague’ must first give permission.”
The word ‘brigadier’ in the handle @brigadierSTRYPi means ‘sergeant’ and ‘STRYPi’ is likely a reference to the Strijp neighbourhood which is part of Fred Stork’s beat.
Interestingly, sergeant is the lowest police rank in the Netherlands where the insignia does not consist of stripes, but of a sword over a crown surrounded by laurel.
See also: Neighbourhood cops that twitter.
Tags: Eindhoven, emblems, insignia, police, police ranks, sergeants, Strijp, Twitter, uniforms
Dong Nguyen, a doctoral student in computer sciences is part of a group of researchers at Twente University near Enschede which have compiled lists of words and sequences corresponding with different ages and specific genders, albeit in Dutch for now. Based on almost 3,000 tweets, users simply enter their username into the online programme which calculated age and gender by comparing the last 200 tweets with the words and phrases in its database.
“We note that users use more uniform language from about 35 years and older. There are larger differences between a users aged 15 and 20 then there are between users aged 45 and 55,” Nguyen said. The difference between men and women is apparently very stereotypical.
Tags: Enschede, Twitter