Belgian blue stone with white stains.

Here’s a scenario: ten years ago, you renovated your bathroom. As a shower, you chose a walk-in shower with a Belgian blue stone which is porous and is a limestone.

That’s why you have to be careful with products like Antikal. Because they will react with the lime in your limestone. In other words, you have to rinse away the excess Antikal quickly.

But you’re a computer geek and because you have a piece of software that you programmed and are already thinking about, you sometimes forget this.

Thus, a drop of Antikal remains on your blue stone.

A few hours later, that drop became a white stain. Which now really seems to be inside your stone.

Unfortunately, it really is. No matter what you try, it cannot be scrubbed off. Unless you let a professional come and polish a layer off of your stone (which costs about 800 euros, by the way).

Unfortunately, not much later the stains come back. Because the stains are deep in your stone and the reaction ‘continues’. That was 800 euros for a few weeks’ peace of mind.

Now what?

Of course you buy a whole gang of HG products such as HG blauwesteen reiniger, HG grafsteenreiniger and HG natuursteen kleurvlekkenverwijderaar.

You spray it on, let it soak in for half an hour; a little of the stains are now indeed better. But not really.

What actually worked better was the Mr. Proper Magic sponge. That sanded the top layer of that white stain away a bit.

But what worked best after that was a coat of Moeller Stone Care HMK P333 Hardsteenolie.

Your Belgian Blue stone will become a Belgian dark blue stone. But the stains (which I had first rubbed out with the Mr. Proper Magic sponge) are less visible and seem to belong to the stone’s natural life.

Then, after two full days letting the stuff get impregnated, a sticky top layer appeared. I had probably used a little too much of that stuff.

But another heavy treatment with the whole gang of HG products, such as HG blauwesteen reiniger, HG grafsteenreiniger and HG natuursteen kleurvlekkenverwijderaar (all at the same time and soak for half an hour) followed by rubbing hard with an iron sponge, and the sticky top layer is gone.

The stone is actually quite beautiful now. Dark blue.

We moeten

Een eigen Europees leger starten. Waarbij ieder Europees land haar eigen expertise in de groep werpt.

Afspraken maken met Rusland over de energievoorziening van Europa.

Een nieuw veiligheidspakt met Rusland maken opdat er zo weinig mogelijk conflicten in Europa zullen zijn.

Machtsprojectie doen vanuit Europa, met het Europees leger. We moeten opnieuw leren wat het is om aan geostrategie te doen. We moeten dat Europees leger durven inzetten om onze strategische doelen te behalen. We moeten niet verlegen zijn om de wereld duidelijk te maken dat wij zulke strategische doelen hebben.

Het conflict in Oekraïne beïndigen. Want het dient ons (Europeanen) en Russen niet. We zijn beiden benadeeld door dit conflict. We hebben er beiden baad bij om dit te beïndigen.

Durven praten over Europa en niet enkel over de Europese Unie.

Going around media bans

For the people who want to know how to get around the ongoing media bans:

Do a Google search and type in ‘free ssh country‘. Use as ‘country‘ the country where the media is that you want to reach. Take the first hit. Create the SSH tunnel account that is freely available.

In a console (if you don’t have SSH, you can install it with for example Git Bash, Cygwin, etc on Windows. You can also use Putty of course – make a SOCKS tunnel). Note that the username and hostname will be different (the website will tell you).

ssh -D 1337 -q -C -N

For Firefox: Settings->Network Settings [Settings]->Manual Proxy configuration. Type next to SOCKS Host: localhost, and next to Port: 1337. Next check ‘Proxy DNS when using SOCKS v5’. You have equivalent settings in Chrome and Chromium among other browsers.

There are many options as VPN service. You can also search with Tor-browser if you think the secret services want to kill you or something. It’s not very likely, though. But if you are paranoid, then I guess sure.

Tor-browser itself might by the way also work just fine.

How to make a movie from the history of wikipedia images

Install some software

apt-get install imagej wget imagemagick bash

Get a JSON with all the versions of a image on Wikipedia

Let’s assume you want to watch how the invasion in Ukraine took place. That’s this one:

We only need the URL, so iiprop=|url. If you need the timestamp (when was the image file made) then use iiprop=|url|timestamp. A list of them you can find here.

You can use wget or in your browser just do save file as (use RAW data at the top then, for example in Firefox).

Fetch the images

#! /bin/bash

mkdir svg
cd svg
ITEMS=`cat api-result.json | jq '.query.pages."-1".imageinfo | .[] | .url'`
for a in $ITEMS
wget "$a"
sleep 1

Convert them to PNGs:

Normally they are already in the right order. So no renaming should be needed. Else you have to add to the iiprop of the query ‘timestamp’ and then with jg you extract that from the JSON to for example add it somehow to the filenames.

Or just use touch to change the file’s last modification date after wget fetched it and then here you use UNIX find to loop in the right order, and write PNG files like 0001.png, 0002.png, etc.

#! /bin/bash
cd ..
mkdir png
for a in svg/*
# You can come up with a better translation for the filename
b=`echo $a | sed s/svg//g`
convert -density 250 -size 1546x1038 $a png/$b.png

Convert PNGs to a movie

  • Start imagej
  • File > Import > Image Sequence
  • Select the png directory where the images where converted to
  • File -> Save As -> AVI -> fill in 2 frames per second -> movie.avi

Convert into fake-news, propaganda, etc

  • Use another software to insert dramatic background music
  • Upload to youtube for fame and fortune or whatever
  • Buy likes, become a hipster, convert from hipster to influencer

Jeff Hoeyberghs liet een scheet

Het land in crisis: alle hoofdredacteuren van het land schrijven opiniestukken! Duizenden vrouwen gingen naar de rechtbank.

Meanwhile: Op 31 maart 2020 werd België in de zaak Jeanty door het Europees Mensenrechtenhof veroordeeld voor de inhumane behandeling van een gedetineerde met psychische problemen. Artikel 3 EVRM wordt geschonden geacht omdat de man in voorlopige hechtenis niet de vereiste medische zorg had verkregen (link).

Nobody cares.

Ik verwijs naar een blog-post van me uit 2008: Moral indulgence.

Improving Qt

We are a few years further. A few years in which we all tried to make a difference.

I’m incredibly proud of my achievement of QTBUG-61928. At the time I thought I could never convince the Qt development team of changing their APIs. They did and today in Qt6 it’s all very much part of the package.

I want to thank Thiago and others. But I also think it’s a team effort. It might not be because of just me. But I still feel a little bit proud of having pushed this team just enough to make the changes.

I am now at a new Qt bug report. This time it’s about int64_t. I think that QModelIndex should be completely supporting it. Again, I think a lot. And I have a lot of opinions. But I anyway filed QTBUG-99312 for this.

RE: Dat er geen gevaar is, lozh

Ik heb gelogen. In ieder geval ben ik een belofte niet nagekomen: ik beloofde een tiental blogpost die als ondertoon zouden hebben dat er geen gevaar is.

De enige twee die daar aan zouden kunnen voldoen waren mijn blog items over dat onze aarde een rechthoekige blok is en die waar ik oproep om te stoppen met NAVO.

Want nu dat onze aarde rechthoekig is, vallen we er aan onze kant toch al niet meer af. En ook wanneer we zouden stoppen met NAVO, dan vernietigen we onze rechthoekige blok ‘de aarde’ toch al niet meer met onze eigen nucleaire wapens!

Dus, moest de mensheid deze twee blog-items volgen en geloven, dan zou ongeveer 99,98% van alle gevaar voor de mensheid verdwijnen.

Maar de toekomst brengt een nieuwe belofte: Lozh en Vranyo. Want nu gaan we eindelijk eens die sociale media aanpakken. We hebben alvast Trump overal verbannen.


Avast, Qt6 announcing new QPromise and QFuture APIs

Qt published its New_Features in Qt 6.0.

Some noteworthy items in their list:

  • QPromise allows setting values, progress and exceptions to QFuture
  • QFuture supports attaching continuations

I like to think I had my pirate-hook in it at least a little bit with QTBUG-61928.

I need to print this out and put it above my bed:

Thiago Macieira added a comment – 
You’re right
Philip Van Hoof added a comment – 
Damn, and I was worried the entire morning that I had been ranting again.
Thiago Macieira added a comment – 
oh, you were ranting. Doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

Thanks for prioritizing this Thiago.

Versionering van je product, dit opbergen in een versie controle systeem

Het komt uiteraard van één of ander forum. Maar ik wilde dit dus toch eventjes vereeuwigen in één van mijn fameuze ontzettend belangrijke blog posts. Zodat de ganse wereld het voor goed zou kunnen naslagen.

Het is ook belangrijk voor stel dat je me onder contract neemt. Zo weet je te minste wat deze zagevent continu in je organisatie zal zeggen tegen iedereen als advies hierover.

Dat doe ik dan vooral omdat ik best wel wat ervaring heb in wat niet werkt (dat vooral) en ook in wat wel werkt. Het is me opgevallen dat er erg veel geprobeerd wordt met alles waar ik ervaring in heb en waarvan ik weet dat het niet werkt.

Maarja. Iedere project manager wil bewijzen dat hij of zij dat kan bestieren dat wat bewezen is niet te werken. Op zichzelf is dat prima. Dan factureer ik als freelancer gewoon meer en langer geld uit zijn project-budget. Maar niettemin zal ik dus altijd het volgende adviseren:

Ze zouden misschien beter hanteren voor hun versie nummers. Dat maakt het voor andere techneuten eenvoudiger om te volgen:

0.0.z wil zeggen dat het eigenlijk nog niet gereleased is, maar nog volledig in ontwikkeling ligt. Die z ophogingen zijn incrementele stappen voor de ontwikkelaars zelf.

0.y.z wil net hetzelfde zeggen. Maar de ontwikkelaars zijn begonnen met het beoefenen van versionering. Je zou ook kunnen zeggen dat iedere y ophoging betekent dat er een test is gebeurd.

1.0.0 wil zeggen dat mensen buiten het eigen ontwikkel en test-team het product in gebruik (kunnen) nemen. Dat het getest is. Dat het werkt. Dat het stabiel is.

1.0.1 wil zeggen dat er 1 enkele bugfix was op 1.0.0 en dat er enkel die bugfix in zit.

1.0.2 wil zeggen dat er 2 zulke bugfixes zijn gedaan. Nadat 1.0.1 uitgebracht was.

1.1.0 wil zeggen dat er 1 extra feature is toegevoegd aan 1.0.0.

1.1.1 wil zeggen dat er 1 extra feature is toegevoegd aan 1.0.0 en dat er in die feature een bug zat. Of dat er een oud probleem in 1.0.0 zat en dat dat hersteld is. Maar dan brengt men naast de 1.1.1 ook een 1.0.3 uit. Die 1.0.3 heeft niet die 1 extra feature van 1.1.0 maar heeft dan wel de fix die 1.1.1 heeft, gebackport voor 1.0.0 (en eigenlijk voor 1.0.2)

2.0.0 wil zeggen dat er iets gewijzigd is aan de 1.y.z reeks dat projecten die afhankelijk er van zijn kan breken. Bv. een breaking API change (of een breaking ABI). Of men heeft iets weggehaald. Er is een grote wijziging geweest.

2.0.1 wil zeggen dat er 1 bug is gefixed in 2.0.0. 2.1.0 wil zeggen 1 feature toegevoegd aan 2.0.z.

Wil je dat nu in een systeem voor versiecontrole allemaal netjes bijhouden waarbij je de wijzigingen commit per commit en branch per branch en versie per versie en auteur per auteur wil kunnen vergelijken en opvragen, voor om het even welk soort documenten, dan gebruik je gitflow.

Dat er geen gevaar is

Na een zware periode waar ik zelf angst heb gehad, bedacht ik me een paar uur geleden:

Niets blijkt moeilijker te zijn dan te accepteren dat er geen gevaar is.

Ik heb besloten dat dit de nieuwe ondertoon van deze blog wordt. Wat dat juist wil zeggen? Dat een tiental van de komende blog artikels dat als lijn gaan aanhouden.

Clowns to the left of me are prevaricating (uitereraard een verwijzing naar de song die in Reservoir Dogs aanwezig was), is geschiedenis.

Wat was het vorige? Toen dacht ik er vast nog niet zo hard over na. Misschien zou ik dat nu beter ook niet doen? Ik denk te veel over ongeveer alles na.

Dus, daarom de nieuwe ondertitel:

Accepteer, dat er geen gevaar is.

Ik heb hem Nederlands gemaakt. Want de enige groepen die zich in mijn blog interesseren zijn a) jullie of b) misschien staatsveiligheid. Die laatste heeft in dat geval een budget om één en ander te laten vertalen en jullie spreken al Nederlands.

Goed ja. Er is wel wat gevaar natuurlijk. Maar we hebben het eigenlijk erg goed onder controle.

Live backups with VMWare ESXi, and no vSphere

To make live backups of a guest on an ESXi host’s SSH UNIX shell, you need to utilize the fact that when a snapshot of a VMDK file gets made, the original VMDK file turns so called read-only. Releasing the locks that would otherwise withhold vmkfstools from creating a clone.

This means that if you make a snapshot that you can use vmkfstools of the non-snapshot VMDK files from which the snapshot was made.

Let’s get started scripting this.


First get the VmId:

VMID=`vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms | grep $GUEST | cut -d " " -f -1`

Create a poor man’s backup snapshot on $GUEST:

vim-cmd vmsvc/snapshot.create $VMID backup poor-mans-backup 0 0

Create the clones of the non-snapshot VMDK files (the one without numbers after $DISK)

mkdir -p $DST
for DISK in $DISKS; do
   vmkfstools -i $SRC/$DISK.vmdk $DST/$DISK.vmdk -d sesparse

Now remove the snapshots from $GUEST:

vim-cmd vmsvc/snapshot.removeall $VMID

Now, copy the VMX file:

cp $SRC/$GUEST.vmx $DST/$GUEST.vmx

Alternatively you can use ghettoVCB which is a little program that does the same thing.

Automated provisioning with VMWare ESXi

For a Jenkins environment I had to automate the creation of a lot of identical build agents. Identical up until of course the network configuration. Sure I could have used Docker or what not. But the organization standardized on VMWare ESXi. So I had to work with the tools I got.

A neat trick that you can do with VMWare is to write so called guestinfo variables in the VMX file of your guests.

You can get SSH access to the UNIX-like environment of a VMWare ESXi host. In that environment you can do typical UNIX scripting.

First we prepare a template that has VMWare guest tools installed. We punch the zeros of the vmdk file and all that stuff. So that it’s nicely packaged and quick to make clones from. On the guest you do:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/largefile bs=10M ; rm /largefile

On the ESXi host you do:

vmkfstools --punchzero /vmfs/volumes/STORAGE/template/DISK.vmdk

Now you can for example do this (on the ESXi host’s UNIX environment):

mkdir -p $DST/$1

# Don't use cp to make copies of vmdk files. It'll just
# take ages longer as it will copy 0x0 bytes too.
# vmkfstools is what you should use instead
vmkfstools -i $SRC/DISK.vmdk $DST/$1/DISK.vmdk -d thin

# Replace some values in the destination VMX file
cat $SRC/TEMPLATE.vmx | sed s/TEMPLATE/$1/g > $DST/$1/$1.vmx

And now of course you add the guestinfo variables:

echo "guestinfo.HOSTN=$1" >> $DST/$1/$1.vmx
echo "guestinfo.EXTRA=$2" >> $DST/$1/$1.vmx

Now when the guest boots, you can make a script to read those guestinfo things out and let it for example configure itself (on the guest):

#! /bin/sh
HOSTN=`vmtoolsd --cmd "info-get guestinfo.HOSTN"`
EXTRA=`vmtoolsd --cmd "info-get guestinfo.EXTRA"`
if test "$EXTRA" = "provision"; then
   echo $HOSTN > /etc/hostname

Some other useful VMWare ESXi commands:

# Register the VMX as a new virtual machine
VIMID=`vim-cmd /solo/register $DST/$1/$1.vmx`

# Turn it on
vim-cmd /vmsvc/power.on $VIMID &

# Answer 'Copied' on the question whether it got
# copied or moved
sleep 2
VMMSG=`vim-cmd /vmsvc/message $VIMID | grep "Virtual machine message" | cut -d : -f -1 | cut -d " " -f 4`
if [ ! -z $VMMSG ]; then
    vim-cmd /vmsvc/message $VIMID $VMMSG 2

That should be all you need. I’m sure we can adapt the $1.vmx file such that the question doesn’t get asked. But my solution with answering the question also worked for me.

Next thing we know you’re putting a loop around this and you just ‘programmed’ creating a few hundred Jenkins build agents on some powerful piece of ESXi equipment. Imagine that. Bread on the table and the entire flock of programmers of your customer happy.

But! Please don’t hire me to do your DevOps. I’ve been there before several times. It sucks. You get to herd brogrammers. They suck the blood out of you with their massive ignorance on almost all really simple standard things (like versioning, building, packaging, branching, etc. Anything that must not be invented here). Instead of people who take the time to be professional about their job and read five lines of documentation, they’ll waste your time with their nonsense self invented crap. Which you end up having to automate. Which they always make utterly impossible and (of course) non-standard. While the standard techniques are ten million times better and more easy.

I just hacked my Lay Z Spa’s water flow sensor

Yesterday I fixed my Bestway Lay Z Spa. It gave the infamous E02.

Opening up the thing it was. Because in a video the guy explained about the water flow sensor being a magnetic switch I decided to try taking the sensor itself out of the component. Then I tried with a external magnet to get the detached switch to close. The error was gone and I could make the motor run without any water flowing. That’s probably not a great idea if you don’t want to damage anything. So, of course, I didn’t do that for too long.

However. When I reinserted the sensor into the component, and closed the valve myself, the ER02 error did still happen. I figured the magnet that gets pushed to the ceiling of the component was somehow weakened.

Then I noticed a little notch on it. I marked it in a red circle:

I decided to take a flat file and file it off. When I now closed the valve myself, I could just like with the magnet make the motor run without any water flowing.

I reassembled it all. Reattached the device to the bath tube. It all works. Warm water this evening! I hope there will be stars outside.

Niet praten. Doen.

Macron. Niet praten. Maar doen.

Waar Frankrijk mee kan beginnen is hun legertop op te dragen te gaan praten met het Duitse leger. Jullie kunnen ook eens kijken hoe het Belgische en het Nederlandse leger een aantal taken onderling reeds verdelen.

Wat er in ieder geval zal moeten komen is een extreme vorm van funding. Dat zal vermoedelijk niet kunnen met bijdragen vanuit de lidstaten. Dus laat de ECB het geld gewoon bijdrukken. Dat zal misschien meteen de EURO inflatie in gang zetten. Dat willen alle EU economen toch. Niet?

Over twintig jaar is de EU de meest innoverende regio in de wereld. Met spitstechnologie gedreven door massale EU defensie uitgaven. Een beetje zoals wat DARPA voor de VS doet. Niets verkeerd mee.


ps. Je kan al beginnen met dit door het Duitse deepl te gooien als je een Franse vertaling wil.

Still sticking to my guns, about Syria

I said it before, and I say it again: get those national asses out of your EU heads and start a European army.

How else are you going to tackle Turkey, Syria and the US retreating from it all?

The EU is utterly irrelevant in Syria right now. Because it has no own power projection.

When I said “A European Army”, I meant aircraft carriers. I meant nuclear weapons (yes, indeed). I mean European fighter jets that are superior to the Chinese, American and Russian ones. I meant a European version on DARPA. I mean huge, huge Euro investments. I meant ECB (yes, our central bank) involvement in it all. To print money. Insane amounts of ECB backed Euro money creation to fund this army and the technology behind it.

I mean political EU courage. No small things. Super big, huge and totally insane amounts of investments: a statement to the world: The EU is going to defend itself the coming centuries, and it’s going to project military power.

I doubt it will happen in my lifetime.

Doing it right, making libraries using popular build environments

Enough with the political posts!

Making libraries that are both API and libtool versioned with qmake, how do they do it?

I started a project on github that will collect what I will call “doing it right” project structures for various build environments.

With right I mean that the library will have a API version in its Library name, that the library will be libtoolized and that a pkg-config .pc file gets installed for it.

I have in mind, for example, autotools, cmake, meson, qmake and plain make. First example that I have finished is one for qmake.

Let’s get started working on a

We get the PREFIX, MAJOR_VERSION, MINOR_VERSION and PATCH_VERSION from a project-wide include


We will use the standard lib template of qmake


We need to set VERSION to a version for compile_libtool (in reality it should use what is called current, revision and age to form an API and ABI version number. In the actual example it’s explained in the comments, as this is too much for a small blog post).


According section 4.3 of Autotools’ mythbusters we should have as target-name the API version in the library’s name

TARGET = qmake-example-$${MAJOR_VERSION}"."$${MINOR_VERSION}

We will write a define in config.h for access to the version as a double quoted string


Our example happens to use QDebug, so we need QtCore here

QT = core

This is of course optional

CONFIG += c++14

We will be using libtool style libraries

CONFIG += compile_libtool
CONFIG += create_libtool

These will create a pkg-config .pc file for us

CONFIG += create_pc create_prl no_install_prl

Project sources

SOURCES = qmake-example.cpp

Project’s public and private headers

HEADERS = qmake-example.h

We will install the headers in a API specific include path

headers.path = $${PREFIX}/include/qmake-example-$${MAJOR_VERSION}"."$${MINOR_VERSION}

Here put only the publicly installed headers

headers.files = $${HEADERS}

Here we will install the library to

target.path = $${PREFIX}/lib

This is the configuration for generating the pkg-config file

QMAKE_PKGCONFIG_DESCRIPTION = An example that illustrates how to do it right with qmake
# This is our libdir
# This is where our API specific headers are
# These are dependencies that our library needs

Installation targets (the pkg-config seems to install automatically)

INSTALLS += headers target

This will be the result after make-install

├── include
│   └── qmake-example-3.2
│       └── qmake-example.h
└── lib
    ├── ->
    ├── ->
    ├── ->
    └── pkgconfig
        └── qmake-example-3.pc

ps. Dear friends working at their own customers: when I visit your customer, I no longer want to see that you produced completely stupid wrong qmake based projects for them. Libtoolize it all, get an API version in your Library’s so-name and do distribute a pkg-config .pc file. That’s the very least to pass your exam. Also read this document (and stop pretending that you don’t need to know this when at the same time you charge them real money pretending that you know something about modern UNIX software development).

The upcoming NATO top

I said it before, we shouldn’t finance the US’s war-industry any longer. It’s not a reliable partner.

I’m sticking to my guns on this one,

Let’s build ourselves a European army, utilizing European technology. Build, engineered and manufactured by Europeans.

We engineers are ready. Let us do it.

Let’s create Europe’s own military branch

Merkel and Macron should use everything in their economic power to invest in our own European Military.

For example whenever the ECB must pump money in the EU-system, it could do that by increased spending on European military.

This would be a great way to increase the EURO inflation to match the ‘below but near two percent annual inflation’ target.

However. The EU budget for military should not go to NATO. Right now it should go to EU’s own national armies. NATO is more or less the United State’s military influence in Europe. We’ve seen last G7 that we can’t rely on the United States’ help.

Therefor, it should use exclusively European suppliers for military hardware. We don’t want to spend EUROs outside of our EU system. Let the money circulate within our EU economy. This implies no F-35 for Belgium. Instead, for example the Eurofighter Typhoon. The fact that Belgium can’t deliver the United States’s nuclear weapons without their F-35, means that the United States should take their nuclear bombs back. There is no democratic legitimacy to keep them in Belgium anyway.

It’s also time to create a pillar similar to the European Union: a military branch of the EU.

Already are Belgium and The Netherlands sharing military marine and air force resources. Let’s extend this principle to other EU countries.