Ilse's weblog of random thoughts

Is an e-reader something for you?

I guess my studies have something to do with it, but it took Mark half a year to convince me to give e-books a go. Before I got my Sony e-reader, I was rather hesitant about the idea. Wouldn’t my eyes hurt from reading from a screen all the time? Wouldn’t I miss the scent and feeling of a brand new book in my hands? Would the lay-out be OK? And what about all these fantasy books with maps in it, would these graphics still be visible? Continue reading this entry »


Busted through Facebook!

In my opinion, lots of people are very open when it comes to their discussions and comments on Facebook. I always avoid talking on Facebook about upcoming vacations or trips, not knowing exactly who actually can read it, especially when friends start to comment on it or on photo’s, making the conversation also visible to their friends.

There have been many news items lately about employees being fired over making racists comments or negative remarks about their work or boss. Today, most Flemish newspapers feature the story of an institution using Facebook conversations as proof for sanctioning two students who are believed to have cheated during an exam. Not only did these two act very suspîciously during the actual exam, they also made arrangements on Facebook deviding the exam content between the tow of them and afterwards bragged about it on the same platform. They both received a zero as score for the exam, and the Exam Committee of the Flemish Government ruled that the school could indeed use the Facebook conversations as evidence. I hope the two have learned their lesson!

Mokka Mona Lisa

During our last vacation to Edinburgh, I have had some interesting discussions with Mark regarding art. What is art? Take Damien Hirst’s ‘Away from the flock’ sheep. It’s certainly… well, interesting, but what makes it art?  Or who has the right to call this sheep art, rather than the stuffed remains of Dolly? And what about Douglas Gordon’s ‘List of Names (Random)’. I liked the pattern, the idea, the look of it, but does that mean it’s a work of art? Or Agnes Martin’s ‘Faraway Love’. It’s lovely, but, according to Mark, looks a lot like wallpaper. So why is this art, and wallpaper not? Or perhaps it is too?

To me, this is also art: the Mona Lisa latte art at the Rocks Aroma coffee festival in Sydney. The tones in the pictures are formed by adding less or more milk to cups of black coffee. Ik bet it even tasted better than the real thing.

Athens of the North

Even after a second visit, I still think Edinburgh is one of the prettiest cities in Europe, and rightly deserves it’s nickname ‘Athens of the North’. You find everything there! One can dive into the Scottisch history by visiting the castle and Holyrood Palace, shop till you drop in New Town or the Royal Mile, enjoy nature in the Royal Botanic Garden, the Zoo or by hiking up Arthur’s Seat, or visit one of the many (mostly free) museums, like the National Museum of Scotland or the National Galleries.   Still not convinced? Have a look at some pictures then!

Pies and prejudice

We  are back from Edinburgh, and once again it has been proven to us that the prejudices that most of my fellow countrymen have about Great-Britain are totally wrong! Continue reading this entry »

Still not twittering?

For those of you who are still not sure whether Twitter could be useful for them too, here is a short video about microblogging made by JISC? They have several other interesting videos one web 2.0 subjects, like RSS and podcasting.

Want to know more, then check out this nice overview from Educause, 7 Things You Should Know About Microblogging. And just like JISC, they have more useful info on other topics.

Web 2.0 starts to bark

Now that almost every person on the planet who uses the internet regularly has found his or her way to social software tools like blogs and networking sites, it’s time to expand web 2.0… to the animal world for instance. It seems a Flemish site has found a new niche and launched a social network for dogs, and their owners of course. At, you can create an account for yourself and your four legged friend, keep a doggie diary, join special interest groups, look for vets or dog schools in your neighbourhood, and much more.  The dogs each have a profile, with interesting details like whether they prefer to sleep or run a lot, whether they like to catch a ball, whether they are rather dumb or smart and whether they like to bite or prefer to give you a friendly lick. If you like a dog, you can leave it a message or give it a cookie or paw. Isn’t that much more friendly than all those people throwing food at me in Facebook!

How YouTube can (re)make an artist

The last weeks, there was a huge amount of posts on blogs all over the world about a wedding video, where the happy couple and the whole bridal party danced towards the audience to the beats of Chris Brown’s Forever. It turns out now that the couple forgot that, when posting such a thing on YouTube, they should have made sure they payed royalties. However, instead of taking down the video or suing the couple (who are probably still on their honeymoon, enjoying their global popularity), Brown’s record company opted on adding a link to buy the song on the YouTube page. It seems it was the best option, since it has put the song back into the charts, with a #4 on the iTunes singles chart and #3 on Amazon’s best selling MP3 list as a result.

Sweet, sweet music – part two

So, what about day two of the Suikerrock festival? The weather gods were very pleased this weekend, and gave us another rain-free concert day on Saturday with (overall) great music. THis time I brought my camera, and since I didn’t have a good view of the stage due to all the tall people before me (or am I too small?), I took some pictures of the screens, which turned out not too bad.

Continue reading this entry »

Sweet, sweet music – part one

I went back to my home town Tienen Friday and Saturday, for Suikerrock (‘Sugar rock festival’), named that way because sugar is Tienen’s most important product (and the factory has always been one of the main sponsors of the rock festival). The 2009 edition was once again a big success, with 45.000 people on Saturday. Continue reading this entry »