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.  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,  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 ).  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,  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 🙂

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 🙂 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).  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.  But in January I will see both my girls again, and I ‘m looking forward to that a lot.  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!).


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. 😉


And suddenly….

A letter from our lawyer, who handles our joint request for divorce, arrived

The judge has declared to agree with what Petra and I decided, and has confirmed that with a signature

I immediately send the lawyer a confirmation (that we agree with the verdict/decree, which is a sort of final check) and that he can go ahead with registering it with the ‘mariage-registry’ in the city we got married in. This should take about a week, and then the divorce is final.

Call us crazy, but we’re pretty happy about it.


signed, sealed and almost delivered

For most of you it’s been known for a little while now, for some of you this will come as a nasty bit of a shock:

Petra and I are getting a divorce.

Before anyone gets wild ideas about lengthy court battles and endless custody hearings: we will have none of that. We are ending our marriage in mutual respect and friendship, and everything we do revolves around one person: our daughter Femke.

For the time being, the girls are going to stay with me in our house. Once the divorce is final Petra will set out to find a place the girls can live, and I will do everything in my power to help them and support them.

These things are never easy, on none of the persons involved, but I think we’ll manage.