do companies ‘sell out’ their customers?

Normally I don’t answer ‘blocked’ phone numbers on my cellphone, but since I’m expecting a call from a company I got tempted today. It was (off course) some call center, who immediately asked:

“I’m sorry to bother you, but do you by any chance have children under the age of 12?”

my (logical) answer was:

“I fail to see how that is any of your business”

Now, comes the interesting part about the whole affair: my cellphone number is not listed anywhere. That’s right, nowhere. Sure, I’ve given it to some companies who I do business with, and off course all my friends and relatives.ย  So, how exactly did some random call center get it’s hands on my number? Obviously, the only way they could have gotten it is because one of the mentioned companies has sold out on it’s customers, and there you have it. Could be the telco, could be another company. I doubt we’ll ever find out exactly who.

On the plus side,ย  here in The Netherlands we have something called (translated) “don’t call me“. It’s an online database, and numbers registered in it can not be called by marketers. ( That is law, by the way ).ย  It has worked fabulously for my home phone number , which has been listed there since day one. I just forgot to list my cell in there too,ย  since I’ve never been called by marketers on that one. It’s listed now.

I do feel there should be a law prohibiting companies selling any of their customer information to a third party. Privacy and such. Specially when it comes to e-mail addresses and phone numbers.

a wonderful xmas :)

I had a wonderful Christmas this year ๐Ÿ™‚

On the 24th, my girlfriend Kirsteen flew in from Vienna, where she lives, and she stayed until the 27th. We did the whole exchange of gifts on Christmas-eve, a first for me – it’s more a British tradition I think, and since she’s Scottish … I think I’m converted ๐Ÿ™‚ She liked what I got her, and I loved what she got me.

Otherwise, we did nothing exceptional for x-mas, the usual: stuff yourself with food and watch a ton of movies (I has Blu-Ray).ย  She brought the latest Star Trek movie on DVD (great!), which she got from her friend Amber for x-mas.

Unfortunately, my daughter could not join the party, but that’s life for you. I still have some gifts for her, so she’ll get them later.

New years will involve working for me, one of the tragedies of life as a computer geek.ย  But in January I will see both my girls again, and I ‘m looking forward to that a lot.ย  A trip to Kirsteen in Vienna (and a trip to Bratislava together from there) is in the works. And I’m sure we’ll enjoy that little break very much.


January will also (hopefully) finally bring the delivery of my new bike (picture on the right). I’ve been biking to work since I started my new job at Mirabeau Hoorn in November, it’s a mere 15 minute trip and the first time I’ve worked so close to home that I can bike there. I love it every day (and hey, it’s healthy too!).

Note to self: Dow Jones will break 10,000+ threshold within 2-4 months

Looking at past, future, and current performance of the global stock market, I estimate the Down Jones will shoot through the 10K+ threshold within 2-4 months (probably closer to 2 then to 4).

The Dow Jones Index will continue it’s climb after that, unless some banks go and do something decidedly stupid, and stock analysts start panicking again.

September 1, 2009Permalink 3 Comments

no such thing as a lucky break

Count your blessings, but what if there are none?

Yesterday, since it was a saturday and I have a large amount of spare time in the weekend, I decided to get busy on one of those things I never have the time to do during the week: laundry. (yay!).

So, I loaded up the washer, turned it on, and hopped in the shower. I take pretty long showers ( bite me, it’s the only time in the day I truly relax ), but even so I was kinda suspicious on how fast it hit the centrifuge programm…


I pretty much hit the roof, I jumped so high (still in the shower). So I got out, towled off and started to look. It was still trying to centrifuge the load, but everytime it had to actually put in some effort there was a screaching noise and sometimes a big klunking sound which actually made the darn thing shift half a foot or so.

So, that’s either the bearings, or the gearbox that’s totaly shot to hell. I tried to do another test today, totaly empty (because maybe, just maybe, I didn’t pay attention and overloaded it a bit). The banging / klunking sound is gone now, but it still can’t get up to speed…. essentialy worthless because the wash comes out totaly soaking wet that way. (and no, I don’t have a dryer – always hangdry my laundry)

Yay, I was hoping to save some money andย  start doing something about my house, which is very empty and kinda eary now that Petra and Femke are gone. But it looks like I’m going to have to buy a new washer.

well, let’s hope that’s the last of the crap that goes wrong for 2008, and that 2009 will cut me a little more slack ๐Ÿ™‚


Small update

Just a little update, since I’ve not been around for a while now.

A lot of changes in my life. As you know Petra and I where getting a divorce, and that was final in june. Then the waiting game started, because Petra needed a place of her own. Well, she and Femke moved out a couple of weeks ago, and my place is pretty empty now.

That’s pretty much it I guess, I’m still geeking around, making new friends (no, no new love yet) and getting used to really being single and alone.

Naturally I miss Femke, but I get to see her quite a lot thank goodness, she and Petra only live about a 7 minute walk from my place. ๐Ÿ™‚ (which is really good, or I think I would have lost my sanity by now).

more to come, once I get my life back together.


message to stockholders and financial analysts

I would like to issue the follow message to stockholders and financial analysts:

stop messing up the economy even more!

Okay, pause, take a deep breath, go out into the woods if you have some nearby, or a walk in the park. Enjoy some clean air, the company of friends. Clear your mind of all your troubles.

Think about it, this whole financial crisis started as nothing more then a little breeze. But all that panic behavior and ‘doing what the other guy is doing’ is making that little breeze into a storm that would make an F-5 tornado cower in fear.

So, look around, take a good look at your portfolio, and think about it…. do you really wish to cause your economy more harm then it has already suffered at that hands of analysts. Look at those shares in your hand, do you want to harm the company that you hold little pieces of? I didn’t think so.

Investing and playing in the stock market isn’t a ‘get rich quick’ thing, it requires insight, it requires knowledge. But most of all: it requires long term vision.

So, buy some more shares, those companies won’t go away, they won’t dissapear. Your money won’t vaporize (unless you invest into an obscure company like SCO). Have faith in the very economy you once helped built. So, yeah, the banks messed up with stupid mortgages. Won’t happen again. They have learned, we all have. Shame for those who are loosing their home, terrible shame even. But the world will continue to turn, as it always has. Sounds cold, but it’s true. Eventually those people will be able to buy houses again too.



No, I am not overloaded, though I’m not far from it sometimes, but my trusted mailserver is almost there. All day long there’s been a close to inifine flow of spam, bounces and other junk storming into my mailbox.

As some of you may know, I’ve got a powerful IBM server running FreeBSD here at home under my desk, which handles all my daily internet and e-mail activities. This box is so powerful, that it would not be out of place in the e-mail infrastructure for an Internet Service Provider. I got the thing from someone who had just acquired another company, and since the new owner did not choose IBM as his hardware platform of choice, the thing was obsolete. ( in terms of usability for them, the hardware is great). Well, I was happy as can be with that, since he gave the server to me for free. I can’t afford hardware like that, heck, I can’t even afford a normal computer at the moment (that laptop is take everywhere is of the company I work for, not my own)

Anyhow, even that server has trouble dealing with it all. Mostly because it’s not setup to handle that kind of ammount of traffic, and it’s a little low on the memory department. Sinds midnight it received 845 messages, of which 409 where immidiatly discarded because they where blacklisted, 140 where removed after spamassassin determined that it was indeed spam (spamscore > 6), and 151 where passed through eventhough they where suspected of being spam (spamscore < 6). 99% of those where bounces, and it looks like someone used my e-mail address once again to end out spam. (*sigh*). For me it’s annoying, for my mailserver it’s even more of a drag. A little excersize with the ‘d’ key (for delete) later, my mailbox was cleaned up again, but I’m caught thinking I might have been a little too passionate in deleting stuff. So: if I do not respond to an e-mail you have send: I am not ignoring you, I’ve just been a little careless with removing a couple of hundred messages. I appoligize.

In other news today: everything is pretty much going the way it should: Femke smiles, Femke tries to grab anything she’s not allowed to grab with a passion, and is a wonderfully healthy and pleasant little girl. What more could a proud daddy whish for?

A little bit less spam please, but that’s something the readers of this blog can do little about. ๐Ÿ˜‰