A Picture of the
first lesbian couple that was married a few minutes after
12 this night.
Today, because of a change in the Dutch marriage law, the
meaning and value that the law ascribes to my marriage has
changed. Long ago, a marriage was a life-long commitment
of a man and a woman. In the mid seventies,
many people did not like this idea of making life-long
commitments. Instead of getting married, they simply lived
together. Then at some point there was a need for formalizing
this kind of relationships. The law was changed, that if
people signed a certain "registered partnership" contract, then
this in many ways gave the same rights as a marriage. Not
so long ago, the marriage law was changed in the sense
that people no longer had to vow "until death departs us",
and at the same time divorce was made easier. In a process
of many steps, the marriage by law and the "registered partnership"
have been growing together. One of the difference that remains
is that people with a "registered partnership" could not adopt
children, like married couples can. Now, of today, yet another
difference between a "registered partnership" and marriage was
removed. From today, the Netherlands is the first country in the
world were couples of the same sex have right to marry. Until now they
could only have a "registered partnership".
couples now have exactly the same rights as hetrosexual couples,
thus also the right to adopt children. For the homosexual community this is a major victory. But from a different
point of view, you could also conclude that the moral value
of the marriage has eroded over the years, and that it no
longer has that exclusive value that it used to have.
It is quite fair to conclude that the meaning and value
that the Dutch laws assigns to a marriage has changed to
such an extend that it no longer resembles the concept of
the Christian marriage it was once based on.
Already at the time we got married in 1993, I felt that the
value of the legal marriage deviated substantially from
the Christian marriage. For this reason we exchanged
our wedding rings
in the church and not in the townhall.
(In the Netherlands, the legal marriage can only be
established in the townhall, not in a church as in so
many other countries.) Although we did not get married
for the law in the church, it was there that made our
vows (again) and exchanged our wedding rings.
With respect to homosexuality. Now that I have touched
on the subject of homosexuality in relationship with
Christianity, I feel that I should say something about it.
I am aware that this is a very sensitive subject for some.
Some hold the opinion that homosexual feelings and Christianity
are excluding each other. The Bible clearly restrics sex
to marriage, which is defined as a life-long commitment between
a man and a woman. With this it prohibits many sexual
activities that are considered as normal in many societies.
The Bible also states that God created us and that He loves
us. He loved us so much that He sent His son, that we could
be saved and receive eternal life. It was because of His
love for us that He gave us laws to obey in order to
reach our purpose. What about those who want to obey God and
feel attracted to people of the same sex? For those holds
the same rule as for those who are single. Is that easy?
No, it is not! Is it good in the long run? Yes, I believe so!
(Of course, those who do not want to obey God, they may
do what they want. But if they will be happy with it in the
end, I don't know.)
(I am aware that in some churches they think
differently about this.)
Should a government prohibit people who by choice live
a homosexual life-style to do so? I think the answer is
no. Governments should not enforce a certain religion, view,
and such on its inhabitants. But governments have the
duty to protect the rights of the weak. From this point of view,
I am not convinced that governments should grant homosexual
couples the right to adopt children. It is my firm opinion
that for children it is the most ideal situation to be
brought up by a man and woman (preferable their father and
mother) living together with a life-long commitment. I am
also aware that we do not live in an ideal world.
Anyway, it is clearly that I live in a country whoes government
is becoming more and more atheistic.
This night, a few minutes after midnight the first four
homo couples were married in Amsterdam by the major of
Amsterdam, the previous minister of Justice, one of the
persons initiating this modification of the law.
This morning, Annabel and I saw
that our little chestnut tree started
budding. Of course, it is still
about 40 cm high. On Saturday, Annabel did something in the
front garden, and I was afraid that
she had damaged the little tree, but now she had right to say
that she had been careful. I would have felt sad if she would
have killed the little tree.
Last wednesday, Annabel told us that her left front tooth
on the bottom was loose. Indeed it was loose, and I felt I
could pull it out if I wanted. But as all children that
was the least thing she wanted. This morning she told us
that the other bottom front tooth was also loose.
Today is his three and half year birthday. Lately, he is
very interesting in his video tapes. He often goes to the
cupboard to get them out. He knows the names of most of
them. Not really, but he can indicate to which serie the
belong to. Of some he can not really say the name, but he
can "sing" the tune. But at least he can recognize them.
He seems to be so enthousiastic about that he knows the
"names" of the tapes, that he want to show it all the time.
He also wants us to put on a new video tape every five
Some weeks ago, I already figured out how to find the start
of the text. I had discovered that the rest of the file
used the same linking method as used with the data for each
text fragement. When wrote some code to follow this linking,
I discovered that is did jumped right over the text. In the
files I have, it seems that all the text is right inside the
jump. I also had tried to figure out the meaning of the binary
data before the start of the text. It obvousily contains
information about the defined styles and such. And although
I did find some repeating patterns, I did not discover a general
structure by which I could parse the data.
Yesterday, I decided to check the text I retrieved from some
file, with a print out of the file. I also wanted to know how
much time it would take to verify the correctness, as there
are many more files which might need to be converted. With
the first file I tried, I concluded that indeed all the
text was in there. Then, when I checked the second file,
I noticed that some text were not in the right order. At
first it did not look so serious, but then I came onto some
part where there was the text was in many small boxes, I
discovered that there was no logic in it, and that the program
I wrote so far, would be useless.
I decided to study the data following the text, hoping that
it would contain some information about the boxes in which
the texts are placed. Soon I discovered what looked like
the binary representation of doubles. I had hoped to find
some regular repeating structure. I did some find some
general mechanism for which the data was divided up into
blocks, but I did not find it. I did find some repeating
patterns, but they did not repeat at regular intervals. So,
we have to do with variable length records. There are several
mechanism to represent variable length records. For this it is
important to find the start of the records, which I failed to
do so far.
This night, I continued my investigation. Again, I have been
studying the binary data. I found some more structures, suggesting
that there are variable length records. I still did not find
the start of the records. But, I have some strong indications
that booleans are used, to indicate whether additional data is
available or not. With this, I at least could explain some
things with this. Actually, this does give some information
about where the start of the records is not. Once you know
the mechanism that is used for indicating variable length
records, you can see if it is used elsewhere as well. The
people designing the routines to store data into files, usually
stick to one method of representing the data.
I wanted to go to the "XP-NL 5" meeting,
so I went home early. I left at 15:30 from my office, and
picked-up Annabel from school about
ten minutes later. When we drove on the highway from Almelo
to Enschede, there was a traffic jaw going into Almelo. Only
when I saw that the highway going to Amsterdam was closed
due to an accident, I realized that this was not a normal
traffic jam. Immediately, I realized I had to take a different
route going to the meeting.
Around ten past four we arrived at home. There was a letter from the
police department about the temporary residence permit
that we are applying for
Because the letter asked for some additional documents, which we had not
anticipated, it gave rise to some discusions between Li-Xia and I about
how we should continue from this point.
It was only around five o'clock that I left, after Li-Xia had
phoned with some Chinese friends. I decided to take the "Twente"
route to avoid the traffic jam on the highway from Enschede to
Amsterdam. But because this route is not a highway and leads
through many small places, it was not particulary fast. Actually,
there were several traffic jams on it caused by traffic lights.
It was almost an hour later when I was finally driving on a
highway and could make some progress.
While I drove to the west on the highway it started to rain
while the sun was shinning. Because the sun was right above
the highway, the wet surface of the road reflected the light
of the sun, creating a rather special effect. Suddenly, I
realized there must be a rainbow behind me. I looked back,
and indeed saw some fragement of it. Because I had to watch
the road, and could not look at it. A little later the
About ten past seven, I arrived at "the "XP-NL 5" meeting. There were
still some pizza left over. The whole evening was a little
bit an unorganized discussion. At one point we decided to
talk about pair programming, but we ended up talking about
completely other subjects, like project organisation, pressure,
and source code management techniques. All very interesting
things. The meeting was over around 10 o'clock.
I left around 10 past 10.
I had expected my trip home to go very smooth, but on
highway 27 from Utrecht to Amersfoort there was a traffic
jam, caused by the fact that the left lane was closed
for cleaning purposes. But once this was over, we
could drive at normal speeds again. And then just
south of Amersfoort there was another serious traffic jam.
(I had to stop several times for almost a minute before
there was some movement again.)
At a certain point, I noticed that all cars were going
to the left lane. I too followed this example, only
to discover that a few hunderds of meters (yards)
the traffic jam disolved in the middle of nowhere
and soon we were driving fast again. There had not been
any obstacle on the right lane except in the mind of
the people. I have to note that the road was making
a slight turn to the left, so you could not see if
there was indeed some obstacle or not. Rather funny,
if you think about it.
About half way, I realized that I had driven around
my fathers grave as a result of the
detour that I took earlier this evening. It was a little
over midnight that I arrived home.
A long time ago Albania declared itself as the first
atheistic country in the world. Although the Netherlands
does not declare itself as the first atheistic country
in the world, today, another steps was made, which
truely makes it the first mordern atheistic country
in the world. Earlier this month, on the first,
the Netherlands was the first country in the world to
allow homosexuals to be married, and have the same
rights as hetrosexuals. Today, the Netherlands is the
first country to sanction active termination of life
under medical supervision when people are terminally
ill, which is defined as "unbearable" suffering.
Of course, the law prescribes a number of requirements,
but some of these are open for interpretation and not
always easy to verify.
Euthanasia till today was not allowed by law, but
already for a considerable number of years it has not
been actively prosecuted. This a typical Dutch thing,
to explicitely state that although some practice is
forbidden by law, it will not be prosecuted when
certain conditions are met. The law was accepted by
a large majority of the senate ("Eerste Kamer"),
because they felt they were only instutionalizing
a practive that was already accepted by normal by
society. During the meeting in which the vote was
held, a crowed of 11000 people, mainly Christians,
gathered outside, and was singing songs like
"Create in me a clean heart, o God" and the second
verse of our national anthem.
What I know of Albania is that they did not accepted
this kind of laws even at the time that they called
themselves the first atheistic country in the
world. From this, I must conclude that because
the Dutch government accepted these kind of
atheistic laws, the Netherlands truely has become
the most atheistic country in the world.
Almost every Saturday we go to the open air market in Enschede,
which they say is one of the best in the Netherlands. Once in a
while the companies present on the open air market organise
something special for their customers. On the Saturday before
Eastern, this is typically boiled eggs. So, we eat some boiled
Eastern eggs this morning.
We always buy our bread at the same stand on the market.
I noticed that one of the girls that served us, had been gone
for several weeks. When I made some inquiries about this, I
was told that she was now working a maternity nurse. My first
reaction was that that fits her very nice.
As usual I looked at some books in a
bookshop. When I was just
paging through some computer related books, I was very surprised to
find the email address of Peter Apers
in a list of example email addresses on page 472 of
The Art & Craft of Computing written by Steffano Ceri,
Dino Mandrioli, and Licia Sbattella, published by Addison
Wesley Longman Ltd., written in 1997, ISBN 0-201-876981.
We found some cheap frames for the Monet
posters we bought
last year in Decemeber. At home, I tried
to cut one of the posters to the right size by putting the glass
over the poster and cutting along the sides. I discovered that
it is not very smart to put you knee on the glass to fix. In other
words the glass broke, and I had to bring it away.
Just a few days after the new euthanasia law
passed the senate, the Minister of health, welfare and sport told in an interview that
she would not have any problems with introducting the pill of Drion
for old people who are tired of living.
This is a suicide pill named after H. Drion, who suggested it for the
first time when he was the vice-president of some important advisory
counsel in the Netherlands.
About the passing of the law, the minister used the same Dutch words that
Christ had used when He gave his life on the cross ("It is finished").
Although it is not clear whether she used this phrase on purpose,
it was rather painful for the Christian parties who were amongh those
opposing this law.
The rest of the afternoon and some part of the evening, I spend
looking at the binary code. I think, I finally am getting some
grip on the problem of where records begin and end. I also have
discovered a number of records type. Earlier this day, I felt like
I was never going to find any structure. The break through came, when
I tried to put all the data of on record on a separate line. Some of
the lines became very long, but that is not a big deal. It was also
a good idea to collect as much as possible data. I did a lot a stupid
editting, but I think I made some substantial progress. I also came
to the conclusion that what I had labled as pairs of doubles before,
more looks like four long values specifying a box.
Maybe tomorrow I have time to start writing a program that can parse
the data according to the structure I found, in order to verify my
Today, in the congress the minister of health, welfare and sport
declared that she would not used the words "It is finished" if
she had realized the meaning it has for Christians. I think
we should believe that she is speaking the truth. Still,
it can be expected of some one in such a high position to
be aware of such things. It should be noted that she belongs
to the political party that is very strongly pushing the
separation of religion and politics, and turning our
country into a truely atheistic country.
I discovered that my home pages are not accessible anymore.
When you try to open them you get the message '403 - FORBIDDEN'.
This must be a problem with the server. Looking at the NedStat
counter on the
Kabuki Syndroom Netwerk page,
I see that it did not report any hits since April 6.
This morning, I went to collect the four monitors that I
bought from the yearly PC-sale of my employer
to its employees. In the afternoon, I checked the monitors,
and after this I brought three of the four away to be
sent to the Ukraine comming wednesday. The fourth monitor,
a Philips Brilliance 15A12TA, I kept for myself, with
the purpose to hook it
up to our annabel PC if needed.
Of course, I could also use it in combination
with the Thoshiba laptop.
In the past weeks, I worked on a program which can parse the
record structures I had discovered so far. This evening, I
worked on this, solving some of the last problems, and the
program is now able to parse all the records in the file that
I had analized. Of course, at the end it ran into some rubish.
When I looked at this, I could not find something indicating
the end of the records. This means that there must be some
counter in the binary segment before the text segment. When
I looked there, I discovered that the record structure already
started there. In a sense this is bad news, because it means
I have to figure out the start of the recors, which requires
that I have to analyse the binary data from the start of the
Today, I took a picture of the little
chestnut tree in our front garden. Since two weeks
ago, it did not grow much, which is not so strange with
the kind of weather
we had in the past weeks. It also looks like the central bud has dried up.
This evening, I started studying the first part of the
binary data looking for a pattern. I spend some hours searching,
but I think I did have some success. I found a chunk of data
that is preceded by a long (4 bytes) value indicating its length.
The next thing is to verify if this is a repeating pattern.
I have to look backwards into the data.
While we were having dinner, we noticed that
Andy was playing with the kind of measuring spoons that come
with baby milk cans. He was putting them one by one in a slit
of a table. To our surprise, he put them all in the same way.
The definitely shows that he is not really stupid.
This evening, I verified my hypothesis that chunks of data start
with a field indicating their length in the first part of the
binary data. This indeed looks like to be the case. I traced it
back to the almost the start of the binary data. Now, I extend
the program to check if I did my maths correctly.
Annabel wanted to play a game of
memory this evening. We must have not played it for over a
year. I was very surprised when she won the game with easy.
Sometimes she just knew were certain cards were, while I
could not even recall having them seen. Or it must be that
I am getting a bad memory. No, some children are just very
good at this kind of games. I can also remember that in the
past, I often won, simply because she was not paying attention.
It still wonders me, that while she doesn't seem to have any
trouble with playing this kind of game, reading is still
difficult for her.
Understanding is a process of generating
hypothesis and verifying them. Understanding
is thus a creative process.
This morning, before we went to church, I quickly switched
on the computer to verify a hypothesis that I had come up with
last night in bed. It proved to be correct. Sometimes when you
are reverse enginering something, there can be radical changes
as how the different parts are related to each other. While
analysing the records describing the boxes, I had found that
some boxes had some extra piece of data following it. In my
program I have a procedure called parse_tail that
will process this extra part of data. The first thing that
I did last Friday, was verifying my hypothesis about the
chunks of data being preceded by four bytes specifying their
lenght. After fixing a bug in the low level reading procedure,
I concluded that if I would skip ten such chunks of data
starting from byte 840 of the binary data, I would arrive
at the first piece of data with respect to the records
describing the boxes. I also discovered that the first thing
I encountered there was not a record describing a box, but
a "tail" like data structure. So appearently, there were
two kinds of records, namely records describing boxes and
records describing something else. The letter could be records
describing the page dimensions or something like that.
Next, I decided to write a routine sorting all the coordinates
of the various bounding boxes that are stored in the various
records. Looking at this, there were many boxes on the same
place. From this it seems obvious that the coordinates are
given per page. It seems as if the other kind of records,
contained information about the pages. This hypothesis was
affirmed when I sorted the boxes per page. I also discovered
that some bounding boxes were inside other boxes, which seems
to fit with what I saw inside Quark Xpress. It is good news,
if it is indeed the case that all boxes are represented as
such in the binary data.
Then yesterday, I an attempt to discover the linking between
the boxes and the fragments of data, I decided that I wanted
to look at a page where the order text fragments differs from
what one would expect it the text would flow from the top left
corner to the bottom right corner.
The first thing, I discovered that the that page was not in
the file I had been working on in the past weeks. So, I needed
to read another page. I also decided to reorganize the code
to reflect the idea that there are two kinds of records for
the boxes and the pages. I had to adapt the parsing a little,
to accomodate some alternatives which I had not seen before.
Then I discovered that my method of differentiating between
the two kind of records did not work. But then it was time
to go to bed. In bed, I got the idea that the maybe in the
records containing the information about the page layout,
might also contain some number indicating the number
of box records. Then I remembered having see several values
for the last four bytes in these records. The hypotheses was
that this is the number of boxes on the pages. When I checked
this, it indeed proved to be true. So what I labeled as the
"tail" of a record, now appears to be a the header under
which the records fall. This kind of reversals often occur
when you get a better understanding of the structure of a
binary file, while you are reverse engineering it.
In the afternoon, we visited my mother for the first time
last year after Christmas.
We went to visit the grave of my father (where his ashes
are buried), and placed some plants and a small plastic
heart that Annabel made for
her grandfather. His ashes were buried there on February
28. I also took
a picture of the grave.
Just before we wanted to leave, Andy
wanted to go upstairs. My mother explained how he walked
holding his hands to the stair, and then would release
them, so you could lift him unders his arms. He was quite
persistent with wanting to go upstairs. He had not been
upstairs yet. Suddenly, I realized he was looking for
his grandpa. It was upstairs
where he had seen him for the last time in the coffin.
So, I carried Andy upstairs to show him that his grandfather
was not there. When I came down, I explained what he had
wanted to my mother and Li-Xia. We were all a little
amazed that he had wanted to see his grandfather.
March 2001 |
May 2001 |