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This is the main page of the site. Archive for 2015.

Happy 2015!

Here's some fireworks filmed in slow motion with the iPhone 6, click on the image to see the movie:

The 240 frame per second slow motion video recording on the iPhone 6 is very cool, if you can find a good subject. If you import the video on the Mac you get an extra file that tells Quicktime where the slow motion starts and ends, so Quicktime Player can play it in slow motion. To other software it's just a 240 frame per second movie. If you want to see the slow motion in other players, you need to share through Airdrop from the iPhone to a Mac, then the iPhone will convert the video to 30 frames per second.

Permalink - posted 2015-01-01

2014 in IPv4 addresses: closing the books on IPv4

Ten years ago, I published my first "IPv4 address use report" over 2005. After that, I did 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. Today, I'm going back to the well one last time and provide an overview of what happened with the IPv4 addresses the past decade, which will close the book on the IPv4 address space as far as I'm concerned.

Read the article - posted 2015-01-01

Should Swiss watch makers attempt a smartwatch?

Matt Richman thinks that TAG Heuer, maker of Swiss luxury watches, shouldn't waste time making a smartwatch:

TAG Heuer’s smartwatch won’t sell. There’s no market for it.

In order to have even a chance of being as feature-rich as Apple Watch, then, TAG’s smartwatch will have to pair with an Android phone. However, TAG wearers aren’t Android users. Rich people buy TAG watches, but rich people don’t buy Android phones.

I couldn't disagree more.

Read the article - posted 2015-01-07

2014 in IPv4 addresses: closing the books on IPv4

Ten years ago, I published my first "IPv4 address use report" over 2005. After that, I did 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. Today, I'm going back to the well one last time and provide an overview of what happened with the IPv4 addresses the past decade, which will close the book on the IPv4 address space as far as I'm concerned.

At the end of 2005, 2056.30 million of the 3706.65 usable IPv4 addresses had been given out: 55%. Today, it's 3592.99 million, which is 97%. Can you imagine driving a car with a tank filled to 3%? Or work on a computer with a drive that's 97% full?

Read the article - posted 2015-01-08

Comparing depth of field: iPhone 6 vs camera

In my post about the iPhone 6 as a camera, I talked about how phone cameras have extensive depth of field (objects near and far are both in focus) compared to regular cameras because their sensors are so small. This is even more pronounced in the iPhone 6 because it has a wide angle lens.

So I thought I'd do some comparisons. This is a photo taken with the iPhone 6. The camera is focussed at a distance of maybe 30 centimeters, so the parliament buildings in the distance are out of focus.

Read the article - posted 2015-01-10

Leuven city hall

Image link - posted 2015-01-13

"no synchronization" in Cisco configurations

This text used to be on the home page, but Cisco now includes "no syncronization" in the default configuration, so it's unlikely anyone is still going to run into trouble because of this, so I've moved this to a separate page out of the way.

When you run BGP on two or more routers, you need to configure internal BGP (iBGP) between all of them. If those routers are Cisco routers, they won't work very well unless you configure them with no synchronization.

Read the article - posted 2015-02-04

My podcast listening workflow: iTunes/Podcasts, Pocket Casts and (not) Overcast

In 2013, I wrote a pretty long story with advice to podcast app developers. Today, someone on Twitter asked me if I ever found a good solution to the "catching up" use case. I guess the short answer would be "no", but did settle on a podcast listening workflow that works fairly well. So let me explain how I listen to podcasts these days.

Read the article - posted 2015-02-05

iPhone 6 accessories

I got two cases and converted the iPhone 5S dock to accept the iPhone 6.

Read the article - posted 2015-02-06

→ The Third User

❝Or Exactly Why Apple Keeps Doing Foolish Things❞, by Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini.

We've been talking a lot about Apple's software quality recently. And for sure, there are issues there. Some people have tried to dismiss these issues by pointing out that Apple has always had buggy software. That's true. I'm not sure which MacOS version it was, but I clearly remember thinking: "please release the new OS soon; I know it's buggy but at least those will be new bugs, I'm so sick and tired of the old ones".

Obviously, doing a bad job in the past is no excuse for doing a bad job today. But it goes deeper than this: not only is Apple's software buggy, it's buggy because Apple is making changes that make no sense to us. Or worse, what we consider to be bugs is actually the functionality intended by Apple.

In this long but must-read article (that's almost two years old!), Tog explains how this came about: Apple is focussing on luring in new users at the expense of long-time users of their products.

Hopefully, the release of the Apple Watch means that Apple is mostly done with radically changing all kinds of things for a while, so the company can focus on making sure all these new and changed features work right in MacOS 10.11 and iOS 9.

Read the article - posted 2015-02-09

Star Trek Voyager

Twenty years ago, on January 16, 1995, the first episode of Star Trek Voyager was broadcast in the US. The series would be on the air for seven seasons. I'm not sure when I started watching, but I ended up buying all 172 episodes on VHS. Every Tuesday I would go to the Free Record Shop to buy a tape with two new episodes for ƒ 29,99, later € 13,61. So I must have spent 1170 euros on Voyager. I was actually about to buy that week's tape when my brother called me on my first Nokia cell phone to tell me an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.

At about 250 grams a piece, this collection weighed in at 21.5 kilos, and I got rid of it when I moved to Spain. However, last week I re-bought Voyager, on DVD this time. The box set weighs 1.25 kilos and cost me € 105.

Read the article - posted 2015-02-15

A battery breakthrough would explain the Apple car

The latest Apple rumor is that they're working on a car. A rumor that is easily dismissed:

The fantastic Apple Car is a fantasy.

But is it? What would it take for Apple to start making cars?

Read the article - posted 2015-02-16

→ How Bad These Snowden Leaks Have Become

Andy Ihnatko, linking to a statement from Gemalto about the alleged stealing of SIM card encryption keys:

Good lord. There’s going to be a monument to Edward Snowden some day and it had better be a damn big one.

Read the article - posted 2015-02-25


Image link - posted 2015-02-28

→ 10 myths about psychology, debunked

Great TED talk about ten myths about psychology. I especially found the one about the psychological difference between men and women interesting. Only 2% of women can throw a ball farther than the median man. The two biggest mental differences between men and women are spatial ability and language. But a third of women has better spatial ability than the median man and a third of men is better at language than the median women. That's only 17% off from being completely identical.

So it's not really a case of Mars and Venus. It's more a case of, if anything, Mars and Snickers: basically the same, but one's maybe slightly nuttier than the other.

Read the article - posted 2015-03-01

The Canon PIXMA MG7550 and the state of printers in 2015

Today, I bought a new printer: a Canon PIXMA MG7550...

Read the article - posted 2015-03-03

More Apple Watch predictions

Unless something really unexpected happens, Apple will further unveil the watch on Monday. I also think it's safe to assume the event will be streamed. If you're in Europe, remember that the time difference is an hour less than usual because the US will "spring forward" to daylight saving time this weekend while we'll be on winter time a few more weeks in Europe. So the event starts at 18:00 CET.

Here are some musings and predictions.

Read the article - posted 2015-03-05

Canon PIXMA printer vs Apple's photo lab: it's pretty much a tie

A few years ago, I ordered some prints through iPhoto. I've also used other services to order prints of digital photos in the past, and those always look just as good as "real" photos, as long as the original file is of sufficient quality. But what about my new Canon PIXMA MG7550? How do photos printed using it compare to photos printed by a lab? See for yourself:

One of these is a print from the lab that Apple uses, the other was printed using the MG7550. Can you tell which is which?

Read the article - posted 2015-03-06

Ooievaar Schiedam

Image link - posted 2015-03-07

The switch to USB-C

A week ago, Apple unveiled the new MacBook. The crazy thing about this new computer is that it only has two ports: an audio port and a USB type C port for everything else. The audio port is like the one in the MacBook Pros: it looks like a regular 3.5 mm headphone port, but it also supports iPhone-style headphones with a microphone and clicker, and with the right adapter, it does optical digital audio out.

The USB-C connector is very interesting. It's backward compatible with old USB standards at 1.5, 12 and 480 Mbps with a simple adapter cable. It also supports USB 3 and 3.1 at 5 and 10 Gbps, and should be ready for even higher speeds in the future. Like Apple's lightning connector, you can plug it in in both orientations. USB-C can deliver up to 5 amps at 12 or 20 V for a maximum of 100 Watts—in either direction. Last but not least, the USB-C port allows many non-USB protocols to be transmitted over a USB-C cable. So with the right cable, a USB-C port can be used to connect a monitor over HDMI or DisplayPort. This uses wires normally used for 5 Gbps USB connectivity. Depending on how many wires are used for the alternate protocol, the USB speed may have to fall back to 480 Mbps.

Read the article - posted 2015-03-16


Image link - posted 2015-03-21

Using a Dell P2415Q 4k monitor with a 2013 MacBook Pro

A year and a half ago, in my review of the 2013 MacBook Pro, I wrote:

although it's great to be able to hook up two external displays, it's not so great to have to choose between the small, but high resolution internal display and the big, but low resolution external displays. I find myself working on the internal display a lot, but when I need more screen real estate I switch to the big external display. I sit relatively far from my external display, so the fuzzy pixels aren't too obvious. The high resolution display hasn't completely ruined regular displays for me, but it's certainly got me coveting an external 4k display.

4k displays have gotten pretty affordable now, do I decided to get one...

Read the article - posted 2015-03-22

The Dell P2415Q fits 2.5 pages of A4

After yesterday's post about the Dell P2415Q monitor, I wondered how many sheets of A4 paper fit on the screen. Answer: height-wise, it's a perfect match:

At 52 cm, you can fit almost 2.5 sheets side-by-side. Interestingly, Apple's Preview application (middle) knows the size of the screen, and PDFs zoomed to 100% are exactly the right size. Unfortunately, due to the menu bar, the title bar and toolbar, the A4 PDF won't completely fit on the screen and in full screen mode Preview zooms to 98%.

Pages (left) and Word, on the other hand, still operate under the delusion that screens have a resolution of 72 pixels/points per inch, and need to be set to about 130% zoom.

Permalink - posted 2015-03-23

→ Keynote '09: Connecting Objects with an Adjustable Line

I honestly thought I knew pretty much everything there is to know about Apple's Keynote presentation program. I was wrong. I didn't know this:

When you want to join two objects with a line, the easiest way to do it is to use a connection line (rather than creating a separate line as a shape). Two objects joined by a connection line remain joined even if you reposition the objects on the slide canvas.

Read the article - posted 2015-03-30

C.G.P. Grey's RSS feed

CGP Grey videos are now available in convenient video podcast form.

This is great. I love his videos, but hunting them down on Youtube is just too much work these days. With a podcast, watching/listening episodes in order (well, once you turn off all of this "newest on top" nonsense) is easy and new episodes automatically pop up. Youtube, on the other hand, seems to go out of its way to make it difficult to watch stuff in order and quickly find new stuff. Apparently, they really need you to go with the flow and just watch whatever video they feel should be next.

This is the link to the RSS feed and this the link on iTunes. Too bad the feed currently only has a single episode.

Permalink - posted 2015-03-30

"Get Your Hands Dirty with BGP" tutorial at next month's RIPE meeting

At the RIPE-70 meeting next month in Amsterdam I'll be doing a tutorial on BGP: "Get Your Hands Dirty with BGP".

This is the "light" version of the regular BGP training that I do several times a year: the theory part will be around 30 minutes and then about two hours of hands-on BGP using the Quagga routing software running in a virtual machine on the participant's laptops.

If you're attending the RIPE meeting and you're interested in participating, please go to this page and send me an email so I know how many people to expect.

Permalink - posted 2015-04-15


Image link - posted 2015-04-18

→ 9 More Mind-Blowing WebGL Demos

After installing the latest version of the Intel® Power Gadget, I noticed that the GPU speed on my late-2013 13" MacBook Pro never really deviated from 0.55 GHz. (Well, except when playing high definition video, then it goes to 0.4 GHz.)

So I found these WebGL demos. It's really unbelievable what can be done in a browser these days. And yes, most of these will stress both the CPU and GPU to the max.

Read the article - posted 2015-04-25

RPKI is ready for real-world deployment

For some years now, the Regional Internet Registries have been rolling out RPKI. The Resource Public Key Infrastructure allows holders of IP addresses to authorize an autonomous system to inject those addresses in BGP. (See here for an overview of how RPKI works and more links.)

I've always thought it would be hard to deploy RPKI in the real world, because it's just way too easy for a certificate or ROA (route origination authorization) to expire. If that then leads to routes becoming invalid and the addresses in question being unreachable, that would be a good example of the cure being worse than the disease.

Fortunately, that's not the case: RPKI is ready for real-world deployment today.

Read the article - posted 2015-04-30

Bring on the 2.5, 5 and 25 Gbps Ethernet!

I'm at the RIPE meeting in Amsterdam this week. Yesterday, one of the first presentations was one from Alcatel-Lucent's Greg Hankins: Evolution of Ethernet Speeds: What’s New and What’s Next.

Apparently, we're going to get some new Ethernet speeds in the (relatively) near future, such as 2.5, 5 and 25 Gbps. I can't wait!

Read the article - posted 2015-05-12

Where's my fluoride?

Yesterday when I woke up, I wasn't worried at all about my fluoride levels. Then I started reading, and I became worried that I wasn't getting enough to keep my teeth healthy. After that, I read some more, and become somewhat worried I may be getting too much. All thanks to dr. Google.

Read the article - posted 2015-05-27

→ I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

I felt a queazy mixture of pride and disgust as our lure zinged out into the world.

It is way too easy to get bad research published and covered in the media, especially about nutrition.

Read the article - posted 2015-05-29

Review: the Braun Oral-B PRO 6000 electric toothbrush—with bluetooth!

I'll spare you the details, but I recently needed to up my game in the toothbrushing department. I've been brushing my teeth with an entry-level Oral-B electric toothbrush for almost a decade, but I thought I could do better with a more advanced one that provides a warning when you brush too hard. (This can damage your gums.) Turns out there's now a model that has bluetooth. After all, everything is better with bluetooth.

Read the article - posted 2015-05-29

→ User agents of change

Allen Pike, "crafter of fine software", writes about how insane browser user agent strings have gotten. Case in point, the mobile version of Edge, Microsoft's new cutting-edge browser:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows Phone 10.0; Android 4.2.1; DEVICE INFO) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/39.0.2171.71 Mobile Safari/537.36 Edge/12.0

That is to say, Microsoft Edge claims to be every computing platform ever conceived - except for Internet Explorer.

The nasty thing with all this useless nonsense that the browser sends to the server for every request is that it takes up often precious upstream bandwidth. On a slow DSL or 3G link this can really slow things down.

Read the article - posted 2015-05-31

The hell that is Disk Utility

A while back, I gave my sister a 1 TB 2.5" USB HDD for backing up her Mac using Time Machine. But somehow she couldn't perform backups anymore lately. The drive contained two volumes: a regular one and an encrypted one. The regular one wouldn't mount and Disk Utility wouldn't repair it.

No big deal, just wipe the drive and start from scratch, I thought—assuming it's not a hardware problem. That was easier said than done. I ended up spending half the day yesterday just trying to repartition that stupid USB drive.

Read the article - posted 2015-05-31

Oude windmolen

Image link - posted 2015-06-03

Customize Safari Reader font

I think yesterday's WWDC was the longest one I've seen at nearly 2.5 hours. Still, there wasn't much to get excited about. Apple Pay is coming to the UK, but not to the rest of the world. Apple Maps transit directions are coming to two handfuls of cities and all of China, but not to Holland. Apple's new news app is also limited to the US, the UK and Australia. The music stuff may or may not be interesting, but I'm afraid it's going to get in the way of simply playing the music I have on my computer and my iPhone.

But... reading the fine print, there is one thing I can get behind:

A customizable font for Safari Reader!

I must be getting old, but I really can't stand what the web has become these days. The trend to have fixed banners at the top and/or bottom of pages gets on my nerves, because that way you can't scroll a webpage one screen at a time. It's also visually distracting. As are the attention-grabbing ads, which are often animated or video. So there's hardly any text I read on the web without invoking Safari Reader.

However, Safari Reader itself isn't all that great: the width of the text is fixed, so in order to get avoid having too many words per line, which makes it hard to land on the next line, I need to keep the text size bigger than I'd like. (Funny, because 95% of web pages use text that is way too small.)

Safari Reader uses the Georgia font, which isn't terrible, but largish serif fonts just don't take advantage of high resolution displays. So I hope that in addition to the ability to configure a nice sans serif font, we also get to adjust the margins in Safari Reader.

Permalink - posted 2015-06-09

IPv6 is faster than IPv4 on US mobile networks

At the NANOG meeting in San Francisco two weeks ago, there was a session on The benefits of deploying IPv6 only. Someone from T-Mobile explained that the latest Windows Mobile and Android support 464XLAT to allow IPv4-only applications to work over IPv6 with NAT64, so those devices now only get IPv6. Other devices only get IPv4, there's no dual stack. At that point, the panelists didn't know yet that Apple is requiring iOS 9 apps to work over IPv6 so those can work through NAT64 without 464XLAT.

Another interesting data point is the observation by Facebook that IPv6 tends to perform better than IPv4, with the margin being as large as 40%:

However, why this is is unclear: the RTTs are the same, yet the performance/bandwidth over IPv6 is better. There was some frustration because Apple's implementation of "happy eyeballs" only looks at the RTT to choose between IPv4 and IPv6, and thus lands on IPv4 a good deal of the time and doesn't enjoy the benefits of that better IPv6 performance.

Permalink - posted 2015-06-17

Skating with my Fothon illuminated wheels

Despite the blister on my foot I couldn't resist going out and trying out my new Powerslide Fothon wheels for my inline skates. I got a 4-pack of wheels with red LEDs:

The wheels contain a small generator that uses the rotation of the wheel to generate electricity for the LEDs, so they come on when the wheels turn. Because all of this slows down the wheels a bit, I'm only using one on each skate. They also come in white, blue and green.

And as always, iPhone slow motion video for the win!

Permalink - posted 2015-07-03

5 minutes of BGP instability after leap second

This July 30th, at 23:59:60, a leap second was added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Dyn Research posted the following graph on Twitter that shows there was significant BGP update instability for five minutes after the leap second occurred:

Read the article - posted 2015-07-06

The music problem

After reading stuff like this and even like this, I'm so glad I didn't sign up for Apple's new music service.

Read the article - posted 2015-07-30

20 years of BGP

20 years ago today, I got my first autonomous system (AS) number, marking my entry in the BGP business. (5399, if you're wondering.)

To quote Ferris Bueller: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." So let's look back and see what has happened over those 20 years.

Read the article - posted 2015-08-15

The world has turned orange!

Image link - posted 2015-08-26

Out with the Trek, in with the Gate

Nine months ago I got myself the entire series of Star Trek Voyager on DVD. Today, I watched the series finale. Usually those suck, but this one was pretty good! It did provide some closure but not at the cost of being an entertaining episode in its own right with plenty of action.

Read the article - posted 2015-09-20

→ GGP, EGP and 25 years of BGP: a brief history of internet routing

If you liked (or missed) last month's post where I talk about 20 years of BGP, you may be interested in this story for the RouterFreak site that covers the history of inter-domain routing all the way from the GGP protocol in the early 1980s to the present.

Read the article - posted 2015-09-24

Flash photography with Nikon's SB-700 flash

It's been a while since I wrote about photography. But I got another toy the other day, and I have a lot to say about it! So be warned, this could get a bit long. The new toy in question is a Nikon SB-700 "speedlight". What we regular people would call an external flash unit, or simply "a flash".

Read the article - posted 2015-10-08

Radio Kootwijk, gebouw A

Image link - posted 2015-10-10

Keyboards, trackpads, mice

There have been rumors for a while that Apple would be releasing new keyboards and/or mice and/or trackpads soon. The rumors were right: a week or two ago they released all three. I had actually been waiting for the new keyboards because the Apple wireless keyboard I got in 2008 no longer wants to pair with anything. So that one is a paperweight now. The big white one introduced in 2003 that I also have still works, but that one won't talk to iPhones or Apple TVs.

So enter the new keyboard, mouse, trackpad. So I went to to check them out. And nearly fell off of my chair as I saw the prices: € 120 for the keyboard, € 90 for the mouse and € 150 for the trackpad. So that's 360 euros for all three. For 20 euros more you can buy a Dell Inspiron 15 3000 laptop!

To add insult to injury, the new laptop really isn't very good from the looks of it. I've heard some people comment that the new full-size left and right cursor keys are actually worse than the old half-height ones because now they're harder to identify by touch. The key travel is also quite shallow, shallower than that of the old one, I believe.

None of this would be a deal breaker by itself, as was looking for an extra keyboard, as I already have a big IBM Model M that covers my daily typing needs.

I had heard about Logitech bluetooth keyboards that will let you switch between three different paired devices quickly and easily before: the Logitech K810 illuminated keyboard for Windows and the Logitech K811 for the Mac. These get rave reviews. The K811 looks a lot like Apple's wireless keyboard, but adds backlighting like Apple's laptop keyboards have. At around 100 euros, this already looked like a much better deal than Apple's new wireless keyboard.

But it turns out there's now also the Logitech K380 multi-device keyboard. I got mine for € 50.

Read the article - posted 2015-10-24

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Image link - posted 2015-10-31

Back button focus

If you've used a camera in the past decade or two, you know the drill: half-press the shutter button and the camera focuses, then press the shutter all the way to take the photo. Should you find yourself second guessing the autofocus system, then you can flip a switch or go into a menu to turn off autofocus (AF) and manually focus (MF) using the lens' focus ring instead. With a single lens reflex camera you'll have a dot in the viewfinder that tells you AF or MF has been achieved successfully. If not, the Nikon D7100 has a couple of extra indicators next to the focus confirmation dot that tell you in which direction you need to turn the focus ring to achieve focus.

For some types of photography, such as close-up / macro or astrophotography, you may find yourself switching to autofocus and manual focus quite often. I'm here to tell you there is a better way: back button focus.

Read the article - posted 2015-11-08

Seagull shot with my new Nikon 55-200 VR II lens!

Image link - posted 2015-11-12

Sinterklaas has arrived

I wanted to try out my new 55-200 mm lens, so I went to see the arrival of Sinterklaas at the Scheveningen harbor. Here in Holland Sinterklaas is a big deal (read about it on Wikipedia), I didn't quite realize how big a deal until I saw all these thousands of kids that came to see his arrival. Of course our mayor Jozias van Aartsen welcomed Saint-Nicolas.

Hold on to your hat, Sinterklaas, it's pretty windy!

Read the article - posted 2015-11-14

How well does vibration reduction on Nikon lenses work?

I couldn't help myself and bought yet another lens a couple of weeks ago. It's the Nikon 55-200 mm VR II. It's a small and cheap tele lens for Nikon DX digital SLRs, and I'll be talking about it some more soon. What I want to do today is look at how good the vibration reduction works.

Read the article - posted 2015-11-23

Nikon's 18-55 + 55-200 mm vs 16-85 + 70-300 mm lenses

A year and a half ago I waxed poetically about the small size and the weight of Nikon's latest collapsible version of their cheap 18-55 mm lens, as you can read in my review. However, since then I've also bought the bigger and heavier 16-85 mm lens, which covers a more convenient zoom range. And then I found out that Nikon upgraded its other cheap kit lens to be collapsible: the 55-200 mm one. So I bought that one as well.

So now I have two sets of consumer normal zoom + tele zoom lenses: the collapsible 18-55 and 55-200 and the more upscale, but still consumer-territory 16-85 and 70-300 mm lenses. So I thought I'd compare them.

Read the article - posted 2015-11-28

Lijn 2 Den Haag CS

Image link - posted 2015-12-05

How many USB-C ports will the first USB-C equipped MacBook Pro have?

Earlier this year I already talked about the switch to USB-C. But I have more to say about the subject, especially regarding the MacBook Pro. This was also posted on the Ars Technica forums.

Read the article - posted 2015-12-06

NL-alert werkt nu ook over 4G bij KPN!

Image link - posted 2015-12-07

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