Normally I wouldn’t blog about cars – I prefer motorcycles or even bikes. But this one is special. Very special. I owned one when I was a kid, although mine was just a Dinky Toy, of course. But it was the most beautiful car I knew then, even beating the Batcar in coolness.

And now Jaguar has converted a 50-year original E-type into an electric car, that drives like the original, just a bit faster! Too bad I don’t have the money to buy one. But I would love to drive one for a day, somewhere in the countryside on a good summer day…

Ars Technica – Jaguar has restored this old E-type with an electric upgrade

Ars Technica – Jaguar has restored this old E-type with an electric upgrade

Thanks, Ars Technica, for telling me about this car!


Just so I don’t forget it myself: I’m using Grive2 to backup a few hundred files to Google Drive from the little Asus portable. Why? Because I finally took the time to automate the daily readout of our solar panels on that little Linux machine, and I don’t want to lose that information (one little file every day!) should anything happen to the portable.

I found the instructions on how to install and use Grive2 here: “How to sync your Google Cloud on Linux with Grive2“. Basic stuff, easy to execute: ideal for an eternal beginner like myself ;-)

I had to change the crontab entry, because the line in the example wasn’t working for me. I replaced the ‘grive -path /home/wouter/somedirectory‘ part of the crontab entry with ‘cd /home/wouter/somedirectory && grive‘. And that did the trick.

There are other solutions, of course, but this was sufficient for me, at least for now.

PS. Yes, I really should replace that machine with a Raspberry Pi… but that will have to wait until later.

I’m currently trying to automate the creation of datasources in ColdFusion server instances, in order to facilitate a number of migrations our machines and applications have to go through. For the record: this turns out to be reasonably simple, once you get the knack of using the ColdFusion Administrator API classes (if I find the time, I’ll write about that later).

One thing slowed me down: a typical error message without much meaning. This is what I received when recreating (or at least trying to recreate) an Oracle RAC datasource:

java.sql.sqlrecoverableexception: IO Error: NL Exception was generated

I wonder why developers often invent error messages that do not tell us what really went wrong. In this case, it turned out that I forgot to copy a single closing parenthesis at the end of the JDBC connection string. Let’s call that a syntax error, Oracle, and please give a significant message if I mess up! Or is it Adobe’s ColdFusion that is hiding more explicit and clear details about what went wrong?

While we were on holiday in Slovenia, we saw several dozen (if not hundreds) of Harley-Davidson motorcycles on the road and on parkings. Clearly there was some kind of reunion going on during the first week of September. And right in between all those Harleys we found a BMW R1100S on the bank of lake Bled. To top it off, the bike did not look like the almost 50.000 km on the counter: it was spotless and perfectly maintained. I enjoy my F800GT a lot, but the R1100S has stolen my heart – and bikes like this are the reason for that. Congrats to its German owner.

Lakeside in Blad, Slovenia

PS. I couldn’t get a better image of this bike all by itself, since there were too many other bikes around it. A shame, because it was worth a more glorious picture!

The numbers are a bit later, since we were on holiday in warmer (and sunnier!) places a thousand kilometers south of Belgium. But I have updated our solar electricity production numbers, and they show that the summer here was almost average in terms of sunshine: 97% for the whole summer is at least better than last year. I was somewhat surprised to see that, given that August achieved only 92% of what was expected.

Enough of those numbers: let’s just remember that we had very few days with a nice blue sky this summer (I haven’t counted them, but that’s how it feels). The strange thing is that those more or less cloudy days were much warmer than average.

Science never sleeps, new discoveries are made every day, new technologies help refine or review existing knowledge – based on evidence.

Having fallen under the spell of Australia in 2015 I cannot help but pay attention to (scientific) news about this continent and its people. No wonder then that this title caught my eye: “Buried tools and pigments tell a new history of humans in Australia for 65,000 years“.

The result is that we have a convincing age for the settlement of Madjedbebe, and Australia, of 65,000 years ago.

The arrow next to the green plus sig points to the approximate location of Madjedbebe, halfway between Jabiru and Ubirr

In the words of the abstract in Nature:

Human occupation began around 65,000 years ago, with a distinctive stone tool assemblage including grinding stones, ground ochres, reflective additives and ground-edge hatchet heads. This evidence sets a new minimum age for the arrival of humans in Australia, the dispersal of modern humans out of Africa, and the subsequent interactions of modern humans with Neanderthals and Denisovans.

I wanted to know where Madjedbebe was located, having been in Jabiru when we visited Kakadu. It took a bit of searching, since Google Maps has no reference to the place. However, the Megalithic Portal website knows the rough coordinates, and that allows me to imagine that Madjedbebe is a bit over half way on a straight line from Jabiru to the Ubirr site. The arrow next to the green plus sign on the map above should be near the real spot (I have taken the liberty of copying part of a Google Maps satellite photo to create the 32km by 32km map view) .

But much more important than knowing where to find the place is what this knowledge will do to our understanding of how humans colonised the whole world. Not yet a year ago, mitochondrial DNA research pointed to a period about 50.000 years ago for the settlement of Australia (see the references on my page about Aboriginal Art). It remains to be seen how the results of these (and other) studies can be used to compose a coherent view Australian prehistory.

I appreciate the fun one can have at building programs and tools that do something thought to be impossible. Running Java code on a Commodore C64 is such a project.

Back to the Future Java (b2fJ) aims at bringing the power of Java to 8-bit home computers of the ’80s. This project provides a toolchain to cross-compile Java programs under Windows.

You’ll find everything about “b2fJ – Back to Future Java” on Github.