Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

For those of you who still don’t know it: “weather” is what happens today (and changes sometimes multiple times on a single day), “climate” is what happens over a very long time and is best left to scientists to determine.

Anyway: what is really interesting is that February was a very sunny month here, while December 2017 and January 2018 were pretty dark months.

E-production numbers for our installation during the month of February 2018

Complaining about dark and grey days may be fashionable and helpful to get frustration out of your mind, but in the end the real conclusion is that the Belgian winter was pretty average when it comes to the sun. Just have a look at the numbers at the bottom of the Solar Energy Production statistics: you’ll see that the Winter of 2017-2018 as a whole was neither extremely dark nor exceptionally sunny.

Of course, that’s just Belgium. The weather in the Arctic region as a whole is a completely different story: temperatures are up to 15 degrees Celsius higher than average, rising above zero and thus contributing to the melting of the sea and land ice in the region. As CNN writes:

But one thing is clear: What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. It is Earth’s air conditioner, helping to regulate temperature and weather patterns in the middle latitudes. When that balance is compromised, only one thing is certain — strange weather.

Be prepared!


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I like this post from Signal vs. Noise, especially today (yup, it’s my birthday, and I’m… older than 25, let’s say).

The Bedroom, by Vincent van Gogh, 1888.
Get more details by clicking on the picture.

I think the world puts too much focus on the Picassos and the young phenoms. We overlook the Cézannes. The folks who took a while to experiment on getting better and better and who never stopped.

The thing I take from this is that if you find yourself still experimenting in life. If you don’t have it all figured out. If you’re 30, 40, 50, 60 and still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up…

There’s still plenty of room and time to get better. Your peak is still ahead.

Thank you for the encouragement, Nathan Kontny!

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Here in Belgium, we know a lot about “bad weather” (meaning wind and rain and sleet and hail and an occasional storm). But the last few months are worse than anything most of us have seen – and certainly worse, at least in terms of hours of sunshine, than anything our solar panels have seen!

During January 2018, the solar electricity production of our panels was only 75% of the average of all the previous years… We know the low numbers are not just the result of the ageing of our panels, nor dirt, nor failing panels in the batch, because our friends tell us the same story.

But there’s hope: last Monday was a wonderful, sunny day. Too bad most of us had to spend the day at a desk in the office.

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Just Another One-Liner…

I have added a new line to an page that has been living on this site for many years: the One-liners page is part of my attempt to salvage a bit of good humour.

This one is worth more than a chuckle, at least for IT nerds (thanks, BoingBoing):

What does a Jedi use to open a PDF file? Adobe-Wan Kenobi

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All The Best For 2018 !

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On December 23, 1999, I wrote the first post on this blog. Remember Userland’s Manila? That was my tool of choice then, because it was available online, without installation, and free to try. In those days, I wasn’t ready to produce HTML by hand, and I still don’t want to do that. Picking a blog tool was the start of my study of content management solutions. Remarkably, the Manila website is still up and running, inviting you to start a trial site – I’m not certain where that will lead you, though.

When Userland seemed unable to continue to offer a good service, I started building a copy of my blog on WordPress. I did exactly what I tell everyone to avoid: I migrated each and every post from Manila to WordPress by hand. You see, Manila had this one feature that I also needed in whatever tool able to replace it: a complete, yet simple backup mechanism. The HTML from the Manila backup could be pasted into the WordPress editor without much intervention. That’s how this site remains what it became over the course of the years: a not so virtual memory for travels on the Web – and in real life as well, of course.

Happy holidays!


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“Winter is Coming”? No, yesterday, on the last day of November, Winter arrived in Belgium. We had a few minutes of sun in the morning, and then after 12 o’clock snow started falling. Wet snow at first, and then as the afternoon progressed, temperatures dropped almost to freezing and the landscape actually turned white – at least in the “Pajottenland”. Which is where I happened to be, some 60km from our house. It took me two hours to get back home, over slippery and congested roads.

Waiting to inch forward, around 18:00 somewhere in Lennik (Belgium)

Unfortunately, all that snow also meant that our solar panels fell just shy of producing 55 KWh in November. At least 99% of the November mean is quite good, compared to the previous months.

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