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Creating on Willem's Blog

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How to setup RSS/Atom using NodeJS

Oct. 31, 2020
Using NodeJS I added RSS feeds to my blog as support for feeds can still provide you with value. Read about the

Writing for my blog has been a lot of fun, I receive messages from all of the world about the things I like. Traffic is growing, every month more readers are finding their way to my blog. This week I received a request to support RSS feeds on my blog. I wondered, are RSS feeds still relevant today?

Refining my tablet OS experience

Using Surface Go 2 with 4G/LTE, Debian GNU/Linux and i3wm

Sep. 28, 2020
Installing Debian GNU/Linux on a Surface Go 2 with LTE/4G to replace my iPad Pro as daily driver.

Earlier this year I tried to create my own tablet operating system by installing Debian GNU/Linux on a Microsoft Surface Go tablet. I learned a great deal about what I like about tablets. But I still preferred my iPad Pro, mainly because of its polished user experience. This time I set out to refine my tablet software to replace my iPad.

Some thoughts on touch screen user interface design

Creating intuitive natural interfaces

June 24, 2020
I am working on a new app involving personal health that requires a natural intuitive interface that works well on touch screens. It's good to check out some best practices for touch UI design

Past weeks I have been working on a new app involving personal health. The main challenge is to come up with an intuitive, natural interface that works well on small touch screen devices. But what is it that makes an touch screen interface any good? Read along for some best practices.

Designing an interface for a food ordering page

Striking a balance between powerful options and mobile usability

May 1, 2020
Designing a food ordering page is surprisingly challenging because of the many variables that need to be accommodated on a very small screen.

Online ordering pages are more important than ever before. The COVID-19 virus, the resulting lockdowns and the social distancing rules have emphasised the need for a well-designed webshop user interface. This is surprisingly hard to get right!

Creating a minimal road bike

Recombining and refinishing old parts into a new bike

Aug. 18, 2019
I wondered how hard it would be to make a bike from spare parts I had in my garage

Over the past months I have worked on different bikes, leading to an accumulation of spare parts in my garage. I wondered how hard it would be to make a new bike using these spare parts. I decided to take advantage of this moment to refinish some parts, removing excessive decals in order to create a minimal looking road bike.

Assembling a cargo bike

Setting up the Babboe Big cargo bike

June 25, 2019
How hard can it be to assemble a cargo bike? This posts shares my experience with assembling the Babboe Big cargo bike.

This month our Babboe Big cargo bike arrived, in boxes. The engineer in me thought it was a good idea to assemble the bike by hand. This way I would know exactly about all its parts and fittings, handy knowledge for maintenance. Read along for my experience and some practical tips.

Removing paint from a bike frame

Uncover the aluminium with chemicals and sanding paper

June 9, 2018
Using dichloromethane and sanding paper I removed the paint from my bike frame to create a minimal, raw aluminium look.

There is beauty in raw, unfinished material that is often hidden with superfluous layers of paint. I like things to be true to the nature of the material. My bike was painted black - not bad - but I wondered what it really looked like from a material point of view.

Creating a minimal iPhone stand

Routing oak wood for a custom fit

June 2, 2018
Today I created a minimal iPhone stand from oak wood. I used a single piece of wood to get it done.

Today I created a minimal iPhone stand from oak wood. While it's much faster to buy one online, I wanted one to fit my phone horizontally, with its case on. I like minimal design, so I opted to machine a single piece of wood to get it done.

Off the grid: Working on 100% renewable energy

Collecting, storing and using solar electricity to power my phone, computer and wearables

Apr. 30, 2018
Learning from powering my personal devices using nothing but self generated electricity using a solar panel and power banks.

For the past 10 days I have powered my personal electronic devices (phone, computer, wearables) using nothing but energy collected using a small solar panel. I disconnected all grid-connected chargers. I hoped that by going off the grid, even in such a small way, I would gain insights that enable me to save energy (and money).

Creating the ultimate commuter bike

Riding at 35KM/h with Nexus Alfine 8 and Gates Carbon Drive

Feb. 24, 2018
Creating the ultimate commuter bike by upgrading the Sensa Cintura belt drive bike.

This winter I use a Sensa Cintura bike with a Gates Carbon belt drive as my daily commuter. It's a bike designed to be nice to ride thanks to its sporty lightweight frame. It's also meant to be low on maintenance thanks to the belt drive and Nexus Afline 8 integrated gear hub. After 1800KM in just eight weeks, it was time for some upgrades.

Updating Snake '97

About the challenges of developing a wildly popular game

Feb. 21, 2018
This month I bit the bullet big time: I redesigned the game engine of the wildly popular Snake '97 game. Read about the design challenges in this blog post.

Few years ago my brother threw a beer on my iPhone in an Amsterdam bar. The poor thing didn't like the Dutch brew as much as I do: it died. While waiting for a new phone to arrive, I used an old one that couldn't do anything but texting, calling and... Snake! The idea for Snake '97 was born and this month it was time to update the wildly popular game.

From tree to table

Designing and creating a night stand

Oct. 23, 2017
Creating a night stand from a raw slab of chestnut wood.

Right next to the house were I was born there was this chestnut tree, sadly it died one and a half year ago. When it was taken down, my brother saved me a slab of wood. I intended to create something from it, a nice "do it yourself" adventure, worthy of a blog post!

Clouds below my floor

Building a little datacenter in my basement

Aug. 31, 2017
Building a little datacenter in my basement utilising a very fast internet connection.

At my home I have this crazy fast optical internet connection. It is a 600MB up and down fibre connection which directly arrives in my home (no copper cables involved). It's like a private internet highway. Reason enough to find out if I could do something to make better use of all this speedy fiber galore...

Programming on Apple Watch

Serious about crazy experiments

Feb. 16, 2017
Programming with VIM over SSH on Apple Watch using a bluetooth keyboard

Over the past years I have been no stranger to crazy experiments, but this time I really wanted to push it into the extreme: programming on an Apple Watch. Would it be possible to actually write code on such a tiny device? Why even bother? This post is about the case for crazy experiments, and why you should try too!

iPad Pro as primary computer

testing iOS as primairy development platform

Aug. 15, 2016
Is the time right to use an iPad as primary development platform to get some real work done?

The lack of physical clutter, distracting branding, or blinking LED's makes the iPad Pro a textbook example of minimal design. My despiction of distraction explains my interest in using the iPad Pro as only computer to test if it is up to the task. Is Apple's latest effort on iOS enough to enable it to do serious development work?

All blog posts
First connections made
First connections made
Spray painting different parts into a uniform appearance
Spray painting different parts into a uniform appearance
Contextual keyboards provide a better way to enable textual input. It makes no sense to show a full QWERTY-keyboard if you only ask for a numeric value.
Contextual keyboards provide a better way to enable textual input. It makes no sense to show a full QWERTY-keyboard if you only ask for a numeric value.
Apply grease to bearings like the ones in the front fork + headset
Apply grease to bearings like the ones in the front fork + headset
It’s a tiny computer, but it is incredibly powerful and versatile!
It’s a tiny computer, but it is incredibly powerful and versatile!
Installing Debian GNU/Linux on Surface Go 2 is very similar to the original Surface Go
Installing Debian GNU/Linux on Surface Go 2 is very similar to the original Surface Go
Network Manager (nm-applet) automatically switches between WiFi and mobile broadband connections
Network Manager (nm-applet) automatically switches between WiFi and mobile broadband connections
You can use a Bluetooth keyboard, too - enabling a comfortable distance between your eyes and display
You can use a Bluetooth keyboard, too - enabling a comfortable distance between your eyes and display
Shotwell (left) and Xournal (right) - two very different apps running side by side, looking visually coherent
Shotwell (left) and Xournal (right) - two very different apps running side by side, looking visually coherent
The big 'yes/no' buttons reduce the likelihood of error as they do not require mouse pointer pixel precision
The big 'yes/no' buttons reduce the likelihood of error as they do not require mouse pointer pixel precision
Ready to put all parts together, creating a bike!
Ready to put all parts together, creating a bike!
Three finger swipe to switch workspaces - a trick from macOS - using fusuma you can use multi touch gestures in i3wm
Three finger swipe to switch workspaces - a trick from macOS - using fusuma you can use multi touch gestures in i3wm
The kickstand is very sturdy as it uses two strong metal hinges
The kickstand is very sturdy as it uses two strong metal hinges
Dirty rear derailleur
Dirty rear derailleur
Directly manipulating the on screen elements feels natural - a mouse in this use case would be redundant
Directly manipulating the on screen elements feels natural - a mouse in this use case would be redundant
Modern RSS reader apps offer advanced features to filter and organise different feeds - making you like a ZEN information overload master .... of sorts
Modern RSS reader apps offer advanced features to filter and organise different feeds - making you like a ZEN information overload master .... of sorts
The Back / Hide / Save buttons are near the thumb: they are within range and reaching for them does not cover the contents of the screen
The Back / Hide / Save buttons are near the thumb: they are within range and reaching for them does not cover the contents of the screen
Multiple workspaces are very powerful: it’s like switching TV channels
Multiple workspaces are very powerful: it’s like switching TV channels

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