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Diary, January 2001

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Monday, January 1, 2001

Best wishes for the 3rd Millennium

I all would like to which you the best whishes for the third millennium,
which started officially today. Although, I have to admit, that last year new year was celebrated much more than this year. Because of last years disaster which struck our city. Out of piety there was less fireworks than last year. This morning we heard on the news that this night that the city of Volendam was struck by another disaster. A fire in a pub killed at least eight and injured many young people.


The date 01/01/01 is at least as beautiful as 9/9/99. Last year there were many people getting married on the first day of the year. I wonder whether there is anybody who got married on this day, as it is a national holiday and townhalls are officially closed.

Tuesday, January 2, 2001

Handshaking day

Off to work again today. The first day is handshaking day, wishing everybody the best for the new year (or millennium). Some people don't like the handshaking and just stay home.

Tuesday, January 9, 2001


Sometimes, you come across things you can almost not believe. Suneido is one of these: an integrated software development environment with relational database, freely available as Open Source. The download is about 1.6M bytes. The IDE of Suneido is an Suneido application developed in Suneido.

I sign of quality are the references to TEX, Smalltalk and Lisp, and, last but not least, XP (unit testing framework).


The historicity of Jesus Christ

Before Christmas last year, there was an article in a Dutch magazine that dealt with the question whether Jesus Christ was a historical person or just a myth. In the article there were some errors that gave the impression that the author did not know the New Testament very well. But anyway this made me think about the subject quite extensively. Of course, I read Chapters 4 and 5 of "Evidence That Demands a Verdict" (ETDAV) by Josh McDowell. Although these chapters give a good overview of the available material, and quote some famous scholars in the field, the defence of the statements being made does not go very deep. Actually, the book is not more than a collection of notes. Therefore it is not very strange that some of the opponents of the Christian faith have tried to tear it down, see for example: The Jury Is In. I think that the exposition by Jeffery Jay Lowder about Chapter 5 of ETDAV is very good and balanced. Although Lowder is not a Christian, he concludes with:

However, there are other web pages that are far more critical about the historicity of Jesus. It seems that this is one of those subject that you either consider as irrelevant or that you are biased about. I have wondered whether it would be possible to give a reliable, unbaised indication of the historicity of Jesus Christ. I have come to the conclusion that an enormous amouth of knowledge is required. Far more than any human can comprehend. That would mean that any comprehendable argumentation would always depend on statements of authors that have to be trusted without verification. You would need an in depth knowledge of ancient history, and of the languages, cultures, ideas, and convictions of the people in the past twenty centuries living in Europe and the Middle East. So, I would label it carefully as a Seemingly Trivial Problem.

(more on textual criticism,

Eclipse of the moon

This evening, when I put the garbage outside, I saw the moon eclipse. It was around half past nine local time, and the moon was almost completely dark. Not so much red, as they said it would be.

Wednesday, January 10, 2001

A strategy for Clickomania

The clickomania puzzle game has already infected several people around me, which is not so strange, because I have been advertising it. Since I started playing, I already gained some experience. At the moment, I haven't problems anymore to finish a four color puzzle of 15 rows and 14 columns, within a few tries. There is no simple strategy that will work always, I have concluded. Although it is possible to construct many four color puzzles that cannot be solved, they are a small minority of all the possible puzzle. Even with two colours, you can construct puzzles which cannot be solved completely: just fill the squares with alternating colors, then there is nothing to click on from the start. With more colors, it only gets easier to construct puzzles which cannot be solved.

A good tactic is to immediately click on groups of squares of the same color, where each square has a square belong to the group below it or under it.

The natural strategy to work from the top to the bottom seems to work well. But sometimes the strategy to start at the bottom, also gives good result, in particulary if the corners are filled with lots squares surrounded by only squares of other colors. It seems that at the start of the game one should concentrate on areas where there are lots of squares that cannot be clicked on. Sometimes it can be worthwhile to see how these can be untangled, even with bracking up groups higher on the board.

I know there is a little program, which is very good at playing clickomania. I haven't downloaded yet, because I want to find out the "best" strategy by myself. I have been thinking about such a program myself. I guess that this program has a function to assign some value of solvability on each possible game position, and that it does a simple search from the given board position for a better board position. At least that is how I would do it.

This story will definitely be continued, I guess.


The historicity of Jesus Christ (Cont'd)

Just today, I realized that even before you can answer the question whether Jesus Christ is a historical figure, you have to define what you mean with that. Simply stating that it means that there was someone called Jesus, who is the one being refered to by the New Testament writings is not sufficient. In those days the name Jesus was quite a common name. When can we say that the Jesus mentioned in the New Testament writings is refering to one of these persons with the name Jesus? How many of the facts about his life should match, because it is quite likely that not all the stories tolded about him are 100% correct? What measure of deviation do we still accept as being sufficient?

I think that the above mentioned Jeffery Jay Lowder does not believe that Jesus Christ rose from the death, although he does believe that there was a historical Jesus. But can you really hold such a claim, if you do not believe that such a crucial event in the life of Jesus as we read it in the New Testament did not actually happen?

Thursday, January 11, 2001

Andy discovers himself

It seems that
Andy begins to discover himself. This afternoon we saw him sitting in front of the oven looking at his reflection in the glass door, pointing at his nose and hair and at the time saying "nose" and "hair" in his own kind of Dutch. He repeated this several times.

In the evening, when we showed him our family web page with all our pictures. When we asked who was who on the pictures, he started pointing at himself when we pointed at a picture of him. This is the first time that he pointed at himself.

Lately, Andy starts to walk around the table all by himself. He cannot walk freely yet. He also can stand against the couch for a considerable amounth of time now.


Today, I made the first steps in writing click.c, a program for analyzing clickomania games. I wrote a function to play one move called play, and wrote a function testing it called test_play.


Monday, January 15, 2001

God as the principle

This morning, I saw (the Dutch translation of) the book "The seven habits of highly effective people. Restoring the character ethic." by Stephen R. Covey laying on the desk of my boss. I could not keep myself from paging through the book, and looking at the heading, figures and tables. (From certain books you can get 50% of the information by just doing this.) When I looking at the chapter dealing with the second principle, I came across a table describing what happens if people put certain things in the center of the life, and I was asking myself, which one I fitted best. I noticed that I had something of everything of the ten or so thing mentioned. Then I looked if the author also had put "God" in the list. No he had not. I paged further, and came to a figure of a circle with in the middle the word "Principle" and te ten things put around it in segments. Suddenly, this figure looked very familiar, and I remembered having seen it yesterday in church with the word "Principle" replaced by "God" when the speaker put it on the overhead. I wondered whether he had taken it from this book. First, I considered that he maybe got it from some other source, but upon reading some of the text, I noticed that yesterdays speaker had used exactly the same example as mentioned in the book.

(what the message did to me,

Painting by Billy Foley

A few days ago, I scanned a picture of a painting by Billy Foley from the leaflet of the exposition where I saw the painting for the first time. You can compare a cleaned-up version of a image that I got from the 'Beeld en Aambeeld' art galary with the scan (large).

Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Andries E. Brouwer

Today, I found the page of Professor Andries Brouwer through a link on the XP-NL home page, which pointed to some law texts which he made available on his web site. An interesting man indeed.

(Other mathematicians)

Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Han de Bruin

Today, I found the home page of Han de Bruin, another mathematician. Besides many other interesting things, It contained a reference to the image beside here, which although it looks very much like a picture, was produced by means of a computer.

(Other mathematicians)

Thursday, January 18, 2001

Hans Boehm

Hans Boehm did some interesting work on Garbage Collection. His freely available Garbage Collector includes the CORD library for manipulating large strings. It reminds me of an idea that I had a long time ago, about creating a similar package.

Friday, January 19, 2001

Some wet snow

After having temperatures below zero in the past week, now they have gone up again. This afternoon it started to snow. I raised the blinds. With temperatures above zero, the snow disappears as soon as it hits the ground.

Location of the Mir

Saturday, January 20, 2001

A thin layer of snow

When we looked out of the window this morning, there was a small layer of snow, barely covering the ground. There was no snow on the trees and roofs.

Sunday, January 21, 2001

More snow

Looking out of the window this morning, revealed that it had snowed again. A little more than yesterday. There was about one centimeter of snow. And this time there was also snow on everything, not only the ground.

Monday, January 22, 2001

And more snow

Right now, I am looking outside my office, and everything is white. There was at least one inch of snow this morning. Today temperatures will go up again to 5 Co, they said on the weather report. The snow might be gone by the end of the day. I should enjoy it, now it is still here. It might be the last snow of this winter.

Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Year of the Snake, 4698

Happy (Chinese) New year.

Thursday, January 25, 2001

Last will

In todays mail there was a letter from a notary with respect to the inheritance of
my father, which included a copy of his last will. Actually, it did not contain any personal statements, only the official statement that my mother will inherit all his belongings. At the first of this month a law became effective that enforces that the longest living partner automatically inherits all the belongings. Before that day, you had to go to a notary to arrange this.

Friday, January 26, 2001

Getting Suneido to run

I failed to get Suneido running under my Dutch version of Windows 95. Today, I managed to install Windows 98 Second Edition on the second disk of my DX2 66Mhz PC. That disk was bootable, because I am using lilo. After this, I had a very first glance at the Suneido Integrated Software Development Environment, and got impressed by it completeness. It really has everything you need. I haven't starting programming yet, but it will be soon, I guess. The setup of Windows 98 SE did something with my Windows 95 installation on the first hard disk. Somehow, I did not like this, because is seems that Windows 98 SE was doing a lot more swapping. Because it was getting late, I decided to let it wait till tomorrow.


Saturday, January 27, 2001

Multiple bootable PC

Back to the Windows 95 disk that didn't want to boot. I first tried lilo, but that did not fix it. Next, I ran fdisk from a Windows 95 start-up disk, but that too did not solve the problem. Then, I decided, in a last attempt, to run sys in order to make the disk bootable again, possible destroying the Windows 95 installation, but it did not, it fixed the problem. So now I can boot:
  1. Windows 95 on the first partition of first drive
  2. Windows 98 SE on the second drive, which, actually, is seen as the C: drive.
  3. Linux, Slackware 1.2 on the third partition of the first drive, using the second partition as a swap file.

Sunday, January 28, 2001

A special gift

Today was the birthday of a missionary of
the church I attend. This evening, I attended a meeting about this missonary who is abroad at the moment. We listened to a tape and watched some videos. At the end of the evening we could take a book-mark as a memory. These book-marks were made by local people and consisted of a small piece of cloth with embroidery. I picked a grey piece with a purple embriodery, which I had spotted before. Some others remarked, that mine was indeed a very nice one. I asked if they wanted to have it, but no one said yes. I treasured the book-mark as something very special. As a special gift indeed. Looking at it more careful, I noticed that also the back of the embriodery looked nice, showing the craftmanship of the person, woman I suppose, who made it. This made me think about how this gift, and the materials it was made of, had traveled through some remote places in the world, places that I might never be able to visit even.

Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Stephen Covey

This evening, I read an interview with Stephen Covey the author of the book that got in my hand
about two weeks ago. At the bottom of the article it mentioned that he is a devouted Christian. So the phrase "God as the principle" was may not so strange at all, and the speaker was not wrong in replacing the word "principle" by "God". Although Covey did not put it there, he might have done it. In the interview he states that the habits (or principles) are laws given by God. I was also surpriced that he considered the concepts of "moral intelligence" and "spiritual intelligence" to be equivalent, and considers it as the most important form of intelligence. (I have to admit, that I have some hesitations with combining the words "moral" and "spiritual" with "intelligence", but I understand what he means to say.) Somehow, I wonder why he did not write a book with the title "The seven habits of spiritual Christians". Maybe he will in the future.

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