Passport

Today I finally received it: my new passport!!!!!

On March 22 my jacket with my passport got stolen, and now, more than a month later I finally have a new one. Now I can renew my residence permit and buy a new cellphone.

For the moment I have decided not to buy a new Palm yet, although the new Zire looks great.

Anyway, Berry, now I can surely come to your wedding!!!!

Photo gallery

Before I used to have a link on this page to the photo gallery. The photo gallery is not gone yet, and as soon as the site redesign has progressed further, a permanent link to the photo section will appear again.

For now, you can use this message to find out where my Photo Gallery is.

03.06.2003: I have decided to replace the old gallery, so I removed the link.

Back to work

I wrote the last entry on this site exactly four hours before the start of the ‘Festa Major’ en Lleida. This morning I have been working again, so it is exactly four hours after festa major.

We had a great weekend! I think that we have seen all the highlights of the weekend, and in between we took the time to enjoy our free time. We have spent quite some time shopping for clothes. Maybe it was because our wardrobe looked empty after removing the winter clothes and clothes we never ware anymore.

Yesterday we went to a big factory outlet in a small town called Roca de Vallès. For those who don’t know: in a factory outlet you can buy the clothes the factory does not want to sell in the normal shops because of small errors or because the model is outdated or experimental. You have to look carefully, but you can find good quality for a very sharp price.

Unfortunately, the women’s fashion is so horrible at the moment that we couldn’t find anything for Maria José. And all we were looking for was a normal pair of jeans (unbleached), a white collar-shirt and a jeans jacket.

Later on that day, the deception of the morning was balanced by the wonderful show of the Moros i Cristians. First we saw the parade through the city and in the evening they presented in a spectacular way how the Moros conquered Lleida from the Christians.

On Saturday we didn’t see much of the party. We went shopping in town and relaxed at home. In the evening we had some friends for supper. After supper (which was around 1 o’clock) we went to the ‘regional houses’. Just outside Lleida on the fair grounds you could eat and drink specialities from different regions of Spain. It reminded me of the typical evening at Euroforums, where each country presents their typical culinary specialities. Only here tens of thousands people were trying to get the best. We usually hang around the bar of Galicia. The difficult thing is to find your friend in this huge audience.

Besides food and drinks there were also some concerts, of which I only remember that they were horrible. They told me that one of the artists has represented Spain on the Eurovision song contest…

The surprise of that evening was when I noticed someone who looked very familiar to me, only I couldn’t remember why. He came to us and when he started talking I knew it.

Pietro had participated in a few Euroforums and is the nephew of the former Italian representative Marco. He told us that he is living in Barcelona since a few months, and he came to Lleida to party.

Yes, Fimcap is like a small family…

Festa Major

Only four hours left to work, and then it’s party time!!!

This weekend Lleida is celebrating its Festa Major, with a lot of activities. We haven’t decided yet on which activities to visit, but I think you will find us tonight with the fireworks, tomorrow at the regional houses, on Sunday at the castle builders and Monday at the show of the Moors and the Christians.

Anyway, I will keep you all informed… four hours to go!

MTBlogShares extention

Being a user of Movable type and a player of BlogShares, I have been looking to combine those things: it would be awesome to see Blogshares information on my site.

After looking around a little bit, I found MTBlogShares from David Raynes. His plugin lets me publish all kinds of information from BlogShares on my site, but the one thing I have been looking for has not been implemented yet.

So David, if you read this, could you implement this in your plugin for me, since my programming knowledge is by far not as good as yours:

Using your plugin it is possible to obtain the URL of each stock’s BlogShares page. The only thing that I want is a possibility to remove the string http://www.blogshares.com/blogs.php?blog=, so that I have the URL of the site in question.

This allows me to create a list with links to sites I own shares of. As soon as the BlogShares spider visits my site and picks up those links, the total value of the blogs I have shares in will increase, making my shares worth more.

Well, what do you think about this idea? I think a lot of people will use your plugin if you have implemented this option.

Archive by year

As I continue defining the information shown on the main page, I find the list of archives by date way too long.

I have been thinking about how to solve this problem. The nicest way would be to group all dates by year and make a dynamical menu showing the months when clicking on the year. This would requiere some advanced JavaScript, and visitors without JavaScript would still see the whole list.

I went to look for other solutions, and came across Brad Choate: Year Archives in MT. Brad describes a way of creating a page showing a year calendar. I guess I’m going to implement this the coming days…

Weather

Whenever I am talking to somebody in Holland, one of the first questions asked to me is: “How is the weather?”.

The truth is, the weather here is not so interesting as it is in Holland. Over there you never know what to expect, it my rain, it might be sunny, it might be cloudy… everyday something else. Over here it usually is warmer than in Holland, and usually we have a sunny or partially cloudy day. Nothing special.

If you’re still interested in the situation here, please read the weather report on Internet. It appears that there are two amateur radio stations in Lleida publishing weather reports, so you will always be able to have updated data.

Quality of life

Lleida is a good place to live. People who regularly follow my messages on this site already know that, but now an independent source has confirmed this.

The Spanish magazine Actualidad Económica has done a research for the quality of life in the 52 capitals of the Spanish provinces, and Lleida ended on the 2nd place!!!

The have looked at the price of living, mobility, services, educational possibilities, the character of the inhabitants and the political situation. All those factors seem to be alright here in Lleida.

The most remarkable conclusion from this research is the top position of the Catalan cities, with Girona and Lleida on the first two places and Barcelona on the fifth place.

Yes, it’s definitely great to live here!

Passport

Q: How long does it take me to put my signature on a paper?
A: Over 5 hours!!!

To get my new passport, I had to fill in a lot of papers. I did all I could at home and send the whole bunch (request form, photo’s, police report,…) to the consulate.

Last week they phoned me and told that they had sent the whole packet to Holland, but that I still had to come to Barcelona to put my signature on a paper. And this could not be done by post, but had to be done in person at their office.

So this morning I left home at 8 o’clock to enjoy the traffic jams of Barcelona. After three hours I parked my car, I went into the office, put my signature and within 10 minutes I was standing on the street again. Two hours more in the car, and the morning was finished and I was home again.

Still I am very lucky, because since I live so far away from Barcelona, they are going to send my new passport to me by mail. People living in Barcelona are also ‘obliged’ to come and get their passport at the consulate, but for me they are willing to do this favour. The girl at the desk even told me that I don’t have the pay the cost of sending it!!!!!

This must be my lucky day…

The e-mail subscription is back!

Until some months ago, this web site had the possibility to subscribe to the news published on this page. Each time I wrote something new, the subscribers would receive the text by e-mail. Unfortunately, my hosting provider does not allow me anymore to send e-mail.

Today I have added a new solution, hosted by Bloglet. By filling in your e-mail address on the form on the main page, you will receive a daily message with all news of that day (usually not a lot…).

Syndication

Now that I have a wonderful new CMS able to produce RSS feeds, I have been looking for a way to use it. My idea is to create a page showing the latest headlines from some news sources (see the list in the side bar), so that I don’t have to visit each site.

I have found some applications (so called news aggregators) which do this, but until now I haven’t found a good web service offering the same service.

I don’t want to install an application, since I want to access this information both from home as from my work as well as when I am on holiday. My idea is that I don’t have the same bookmarks on all those locations, and by offering a web page the information is always available.

NewsApp is the closest to my ideal I could find, but it lacks configurability and has the layout of an early alpha release.

It’s that time again…

Today is Sant Jordi, the day that all Catalan boys give a rose to their girlfriend and receive a book in return.

Already this morning I could see some people selling roses at the traffic lights, so for sure I won’t have any problems getting a rose.

Maria José does not know this yet, but I also bought a book for her. To me it is not so fair that the boys are ready for €4, while the girls have to spend at least four times that amount.

I read on the Gencat site that Sant Jordi has been celebrated since the year 1456!

Andorra

Easter in Spain is something special. On ‘Semana Santa’ everybody takes a small holiday and leaves town to spend a few days in the mountains or at the beach. You can not imagine how silent and empty a city can get until you have visited a city at Easter.

Maria José and I also planned to go away for some days (but not to Holland), but finally decided that after working so many weekend to make our home perfect and comfortable, we should take the opportunity to enjoy it.

Of course, four days at home is a little bit too much, so to start our short holiday we headed to Andorra to do some shoppings. The typical items people buy in Andorra are gasoline (we made sure that our tank was empty when arriving—the difference in price was €0,10 per litre), sugar (we bought enough), perfumes, cigarettes (unfortunately we don’t smoke), clothes (it appeared that most shops have the same owner, must be a rich guy!!!) and electronics (at the moment we don’t need anything).

We took our swimming clothes with us to visit Caldea again, but after a day shopping we preferred to go home instead.

BlogShares

You might have noticed the BlogShares logo on my web site. This is because last week I started trading on their fantasy blog share market. The principle is very simple:

Instead of buying shares for companies you virtually buy shares for weblog sites.

The value of a site depends on the incoming links. This very sites has no incoming links from other weblogs, so that leaves my website worthless. However, my outgoing sites are worth a little bit, so by linking to other sites, I add value to these sites.

The rest functions just like the normal stock market. Everybody starts with $500 and can buy virtual shares. At this moment my assets are worth $745, which I think isn’t bad, but compared to some big players this amount is insignificant.

Website progress

People who haven’t visited my website might think that it has changed a lot. But after the big step last week things look quite the same. That is because I am going to make the site in three stages:

  1. Contents.
    I have imported all the news items from my old site. The last days I have reviewed them all and corrected spelling errors, updated expired links and categorised the items. It was fun to read everything again, from moving to Lleida to local culture to reconstructing our house;
  2. Structure.
    In the next step I will create the structure: decide which information will be shown, and where does it come. I will start with the main page, and then do the archive and individual pages;
  3. Presentation.
    The last part will be the fun part. In this step I am going to edit the style sheet to define how each page looks (colours, fonts, borders, images…)

Anyway, plenty of work left for the next weeks.

Breaking the law

Yesterday I started installing Windows 98 on my computer WITHOUT A LICENCE!!!

I know that it is illegal, but I have some reasons for doing it. First of all I think that I will only use Windows 98 temporary, and will be able to switch to Linux or FreeBSD soon.

Secondly, Windows 98 is a product that is not supported anymore by Microsoft, and I doubt if I still can buy a licence. But even if I could, I wouldn’t buy it.

So today I entered the world of serialz, my god how I hate this! Especially since I was doing it on my old laptop which was slowing down with each pop-up showing.

Now that I almost finished installing the operating system, it is time to start thinking about the applications I need. I have made this small list:

  • Microsoft Office 97
    Also highly illegal, but I think my computer is just too slow for OpenOffice;
  • WS_FTP Pro
    to copy and synchronise files for my websites;
  • HTML-kit
    to edit my web sites;
  • TopStyle Pro
    the easiest way to edit CSS files;
  • Mozilla or Phoenix
    Everything is better than IE, but I am not sure whether my system is fast enough to support Moz;
  • ArgoSoft mail server
    Since my ISP doesn’t allow me to send mail from my @jeroensangers.com or @fimcap.org e-mail addresses.

Movable Type

The worst part of the site redesign is done.

I just changed the CMS application form the old NewsPro (which is not supported anymore, the creator is now working on Coranto) to Movable Type. Until now I am very positive about MT, I even was able to import all my old NewsPro posts!

The site now shows the default Movable Type layout and design, which is not ugly at all.

The coming weeks I am going to study the Movable Type templates and little by little create my own style.