In the last few months I’ve picked up running again. It’s not that difficult for me to do a 5K a few times a week, but building up to 10K has always been hard. What tends to happen is that Julie and I go on a long trip, and I lose everything I’ve achieved and have to start over. Since we won’t be traveling until November, I figured it’s now or never. I want to reach 10K, within 1 hour. Ultimately I’d like to run the Dam tot Dam loop, a 16K run that passes by our house every year, but that’s a long term goal.
I’ve been looking at getting some sort of GPS device to aid in keeping distance/speed records. That is, until I remembered I’ve got an iPhone, and surely there must be some running app. Indeed there is, and it’s a winner. The app is called RunKeeper, and it’s everything I want in a running app. It keeps distance, speed, history, integrates with Google Maps, and has a ton of social website connectors. And what’s even better, it’s free! There is a paid version, but so far I haven’t found anything I’m missing. I may buy it though, to support the programmer.
I just did a 6K, within my time limit, and it wasn’t even that much of a problem. I’m adding about 10% distance a week, which is what most running schedules seem to recommend. Between this and horse riding (which is actually a very high-intensity sport) I’m definitely getting my exercise in.
For about 2 years now I’ve been using Smugmug for partsofourwebsite. The people running Smugmug remind me of my own company and the way it started more than 15 years ago. A close nit group of people with a real passion for what they’re doing. I recently noticed they now allow you to embed slideshows of galleries in any website that accepts them so I thought I’d give it a go and embed a sampling of our underwater photos. In the not too distant future I also hope to replace most of our current Gallery2 based galleries with Smugmug galleries.
I suppose it’s telling that lately we’ve had more posts about horses than about diving. Then again, a horse takes out a huge chunk of your time. We have to take care of him every day, to make sure he gets enough exercise. Luckily the stable we house him at performs all the heavy work of cleaning the stables, feeding and keeping an eye out for him (and 100 or so other horses).
Julie and I want different things out of a horse. She wants to ride in the adjacent forest, and dressage comes second. I like to learn to fine tune the horse, which is not going to happen in the forest, although I do like riding there. Actually, this is great for Rumba, as now he gets to do different things. Even better, we have another rider who likes jumping, so he gets to do that as well.
Today we had another dressage test at the stable. This is just a stable contest, as opposed to the national level contests (which we also have at our stable, but I don’t do those). It’s mostly a personal thing. You perform a test, and if you succeed you can continue to the next level. The test consists of a bunch of manoeuvres you have to show, and you get graded for each one. On top of that you get graded for overall appearance, style, etc.
I was kinda nervous about this test as Rumba has been difficult last week. Monday during a private lesson he was very stiff, didn’t listen at all, felt sluggish, and just balked at everything I wanted to do. This then turned into a vicious circle, as I got frustrated for nothing working as planned. This continued for the rest of the week, and only on saturday afternoon I got a bit of cooperation from him. But today, it all disappeared. He shined, both during preparation (it takes hours to make him and me presentable!) and during the test. Even before finishing I knew I was going to get enough points to continue.
This reminds me. We also got a saddle fitted last week. This was supposedly a really exciting event, as Rumba has thrown off 2 experienced riders during previous fittings. So everyone was telling us we were going to fly off the horse. We asked one of our instructors (the one that rides him once a week) to ride him first with each new saddle, and she agreed. So when the moment was there, we were ready for a rodeo. It all went up in smoke. There was no rodeo. It was a non-event. He took every saddle without problems, and after 2 saddles we even stopped having the instructor ride. So next week we have a brand new saddle.
So anyways, back to the test. I finished first in my level. Unfortunately more than half the riders did not get enough points. I personally think the judges were a little bit too strict. These are stable competitions, and we were being graded like national competition riders. Silly if you ask me. So for all my colleagues, this is the only time you’ll even see me in a suit like that!
When Julie and I first got together, whenever we went out to the city center of Amsterdam a guy would be playing music on the Leidseplein. Every time we saw him, we stayed and listened, even though he only ever played one song as far as we know. That song was “Stand by Me”. The song got utterly stuck in our head for a long time, and even till this day, if one of us gets something stuck in our head the other hums “Stand By Me” as a joke. So when I saw this video, it really brought back memories. Very cool project, “Playing for Change” . Make sure you watch the whole thing.
I’m on my 4th Mac. I’ve had a Powerbook, a 2nd gen MBP, a 2nd gen mac mini, and now a new Unibody MBP. I received it yesterday, and I’ve been utterly disappointed. Visually it’s very pretty, and it’s extremely fast as well, but it’s got one little problem. The screen won’t stay up! This is really unacceptable, and I’m trying to send it back as I can’t use it like this. What a let down.
For many years XS4ALL was on the front lines of the fight for privacy on the internet. Lately this has been slipping from us, partly because people just don’t seem interested in the topic anymore. We had this movie made to show that the subject is far from gone. Privacy is fast becoming a thing of the past. Now finally with english subtitles (turn on captions in the YouTube options).
16 years ago 4 of us started a small internet company. It was the first ISP in The Netherlands, before anyone even knew what internet was. I still work there, because it’s a very cool place to work. Recently our colo people had a video made, and it just reminds me how far we’ve come in those years.
For a while now we’ve had our eyes on a horse named Rumba. We leased him for 2 months, and this week we finally bought him. He has been vetted, passed inspection, and is now 100% ours.
Today I did my first solo ride on him. Normally we take lessons and an instructor is there to teach you, but part of the fun of owning a horse is that you can just go out and ride when and where you want. It was a very nice and sunny day, and Rumba behaved very well. Next phase is to take him out into the forest thats adjacent to the stable.
Rumba is a KWPN horse, or a “Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands“. He’s got papers with a nice lineage, including a well known father named Great Pleasure. He’s a much higher level than we are, but he was a stable/lesson horse for many years, so he’s used to people fumbling on him. At the same time, as we become better, we will be able to find his old schooling again. This is already happening, as we have him ridden once a week by a very experienced instructor who is bringing it all back up. It’s so much fun!
Julie and I just returned from a 45 day dive trip in Indonesia. This is pretty long even for us. We did 40 consecutive days of diving, and did well over 100 dives in total. The trip took us from Lembeh in North Sulawesi to North-West Papua, Raja Ampat, Halmahera, Ambon, Banda, Alor and Flores. We saw many things we’d never seen before, including Harlequin Shrimps, Flamboyant Cuttlefish, mating Cuttlefish, and much more. We had great company, including fellow Wetpixel Administrators Eric Cheng, Matt Segal and Craig Jones. We’ll soon have a gallery online, but until then read our tripreport which includes some of our images. For dutch photographers Cor is doing a talk about this trip on the next AquaShot evening on April 17.
We don’t need another hobby, but I must admit I like sailing a lot. We went out for a nice trip to Buck Island, a small nature reserve island just off the N/E shore of St. Croix. Thanks to our friends Marjo and Scott, who have a nice sail boat just perfect for these trips!
I just happened to be going through some images to submit some older stuff to iStock and I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. Not when I took it, and not when I added the image to my library. I took this photo of a spider in a web on Banda Neira, one of the spice islands in the Banda Sea where the dutch used to get nutmeg. Look and behold, on its back is another tiny spider, almost certainly a male mating with the much larger female. How cool is that!
It’s always a bit exciting when you get something published for the first time. I just saw the latest issue of Sport Diver magazine at our regular dive shop Cane Bay Dive Shop with two of my images in it. Sport Diver regularly does an image callout to a selection of underwater photographers, and we joined this list a few months ago after they invited. When they asked for some images of St Croix I submitted some, and included some from other places as well. They printed two of my images. Very cool. I hope this will not be the last, as I must admit that Sport Diver pays very well for a dive magazine.
Here’s the two images. One is a Lemon Shark from the Bahamas. The other a Frog Fish at the St Croix pier.
About a year and a half ago Julie and I did a long trip in the Banda Sea. This is when the idea for another trip to Indonesia grew. Eric was thinking about doing a similar trip, from Northen Papua through Ambon towards Flores. We immediately agreed to join this trip, which eventually turned into a double trip. He also arranged for a well known guide named Graham Abbott. So we’ll be heading back to Indonesia for a full month on the Seven Seas liveaboard.
Since we’re in the area anyways, we also decided to take a small group into Lembeh, a well known diving mecca that both Eric and us have never been to. It’s a macro heaven, with black sand bottoms and some of the most amazing macro around. And to top it off, Julie and I will spend a few days in Singapore before the main trip, to acclimatize to the time zone change and catch up with some diving friends.
We can’t wait to start this trip. It promises to be a very rewarding trip and we expect a lot of good photographs. It’s also going to be great to see all our old friends again, as almost everyone on board will be someone we’ve already been diving with.
Julie and I have been doing dressage riding for a few years now. Julie especially has been very interested in buying her own horse. We’ve been looking at a specific horse for a while, but never took the plunge. Recently we heard a possible sale of that horse fell through (they bought another one), and he was back on the market. So we decided it’s now or never. We talked to the owner and have come to an agreement. Unless the horse fails a medical examination, we have bought our first horse. The examination has to wait until we’re back in Amsterdam, as we obviously want to be there.
It’s quite a nice horse, and a favorite at the stable we ride at. It’s actually a mystery to us and others why he’s never been sold. This does make us nervous a bit, but for now we’re confident he’ll pass the exam. One reason could be that he’s can nip at you as you saddle him up, so prospective buyers may be discouraged by that. We think though that this can be fixed by proper fitting material, more personal care, and trust. He has a nice heritage, has performed at levels much higher than what we’d ever reach, and is an awesome horse to ride.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed that everything works out, especially since Julie has already bought a whole library of books about horse care! Here’s a video of him with another rider in our stable riding him in a jumping event.
I never have enough harddisk space. When I travel I have at least 5 external USB disks with me. One for the images I take during the trip, a backup for that one, one with my lightroom database, a rescue disk for my laptop, and usually a disk with movies and tv series for those moments where you dont feel like doing anything else. Lately I’ve also started to take a disk with most of my originals, as fate would have it that im always asked to deliver some specific image while im traveling.
Unfortunately USB is not the fastests, and trying to run both Lightroom and my disk with originals externally has proven to be very annoying. It’s just too slow. My friend Eric Cheng runs a laptop with 2 internal disks, so I figure that would be a good option. Just add a second 500GB harddisk for my image data.
A company called MCE Technologies has a product they call the Optibay that allows you to replace your internal SuperDrive with an internal harddisk. You can either have them do it for you, or just order the parts and do it yourself. Naturally I opted for the latter and ordered a 500GB Optibay. It arrived a few days later, ready for me to install.