Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Oh darn Twitter (2)

When I wrote Oh darn twitter, I really wanted to create this video to summarize it but CollegeHumor was a tad faster. I'll just drop the reel on the cutting floor and just post their Web Site Story.

Friday, June 26, 2009

When visiting Belgium

I often get asked what to do or what to visit when spending a few days in Belgium. Very often Belgium is not the main destination of the vacation. It is a stop on route from Paris to Amsterdam, or the airport of Brussels is the entry point to Europe. So I'll make it brief:

Cities to visit (in order of my liking): Antwerp (Antwerpen), Bruges (Brugge), Ghent (Gent), Leuven and Brussels (Brussel). If you like to visit a modern vibrant city, start with Antwerp. It combines great history (architecture, paintings, museums, culture) with lots of pubs, restaurants and shops. If you like true medieval history, visit Bruges, also known as the Venice of the North. Ghent was the capital of Europe during the empire of Charles V. It is also a happening university town. However the center of student life occurs in Leuven. And yes, you should also visit Brussels. I typically compare a visit to Brussels to a visit to Washington D.C. If you can only pick one city in the US to visit, would it be Washington? Or San Francisco or New York?

What to drink? A visit to Belgium would not be complete without a visit to a couple of traditional pubs (cafes) and sample some of the 8700 different Belgian beers.

What to eat? Did you know French fries originated in Belgium? You won't be able to avoid them. In every town square, on many corners, you'll find a 'frituur' or small place to get a pointy bag with Belgian fries. Try it with mayonaise rather than ketchup, or try a couple of the various sauces on top of it.

Of course try a real Belgian waffle, the famous chocolates, speculoos, a bucket of mussels with fries, shrimp in tomato, eal in a green herb sauce, real Belgian endives or white asparagus.

Belgium is a cycling country. Many cycling champions came from Belgium. You'll find lots of people on a bicycle during the weekend making trip along the various trails. Checkout the fietsknooppunten blog for a sampling of trails and what to see along the trails. Or request the blog author for some recommended trails.

Leave a comment if you have specific questions about towns, seasons or customs.

On Keyboards

When I read the headline today about how Lenovo starting moving around the Delete key on the keyboard, it thought it is about time for some keyboard layout experimentation. I am sure lots of people will be upset about this. I am not. The key input device to a computer has not evolved in many years.

I first ran into this when visiting Argentina : because of the Spanish keyboard layout, it is very difficult to type important internet symbols.

Mobile devices already started experimenting. Take a look at the slide out keyboard of the HTC G1 phone: notice how next to the space bar is the '@' key. No need to shift-2.

An internet / geek's keyboard should have the following keys within easy reach: @ / \ { } ( ) ) , introduce a zoom and search button and make switching between tabs (Ctrl-Tab) and windows easy (Alt-tab).

Picture courtesey of android-phone.org

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

oh darn Twitter

Twitter killed my blog. Not really. Temporarily. However primarily a lack of time and a convenient way to just blurt out 140 characters of opinion have kept me from writing on my blog. I did write a couple of posts on the company blog. Home remodelling, summar planning and a deluge of work kept me from posting to this blog. The light might be dimmer, it ain't out.