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Creating on Willem's Blog

Snake '97 High Scores

Game inspired art by Zena Van den Block

Apr. 18, 2022
Happily accepting the invitation to attend an exhibition of Snake 97 art works in Antwerp. This was totally WOW!

Last week I received a very kind invitation from a Belgian artist, to attend her art exhibition in Antwerp. The work on display involved the Snake '97 game that I have created. Uttering to find the right words and thrilled with excitement, I happily accepted the invitation!

Using the reMarkable paper tablet

Read, write, think and repeat

May 31, 2021
The paper-like display makes you forget about reMarkable's digital innards, working with this tablet is therefore quite remarkable!

This month I received my reMarkable paper tablet and ever since I have been using it extensively: reading, writing and thinking. The paper-like display makes you forget about its digital innards. Read along for my thoughts.

Art of visualisation

Creating mouth-watering food photos

Mar. 26, 2021
You learn from experts if you have the privilege to work with them, this month I had a chance to help a professional food photographer.

You learn from working with experts and this month I had the privilege to work with a professional food photographer, my brother. Together we set out to photograph the entire menu of Café Carbòn in Amsterdam, enjoying the fabulous food afterwards. Read along for some food photography takeaways!

Three tips to make a content strategy work

Maximise the effect of your writing

Mar. 25, 2021
Consider these three things to maximise the effect of the words you write for your website, blog or company.

When you write for your blog or for your company's website, there are things you can consider to maximise the discoverability, longevity and impact of your writing. Leverage the energy you put in into your words. Today I share with you three of my lessons learned while writing for this website.

Building a product platform

Designing for reusability, flexibility and extensibility

Jan. 31, 2021
Leverage platform capabilities to quickly launch new products, designing for reusability, flexibility and extensibility.

This month I am leveraging platform capabilities to launch a new product. Over the years I have developed the "Lemmid" platform, a set of building blocks that allow me to swiftly develop new products. Designing a platform takes some extra considerations, but if you follow some simple rules you can do it yourself!

Designing my own watch

Timeless timepiece, both functional and comfortable

Nov. 30, 2020
Last month I received my custom made wristwatch from Switzerland, it is a minimalistic mechanical annual calendar designed to be understated and true to the metal.

Last month a very special package arrived from Switzerland, containing my custom made wrist watch. I decided to sell all my big brand watches and have them replaced by something unique, tailored to my personal preferences. This is the story of my watch.

Increase traffic to your blog with a RSS feed

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?

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Two pieces on bench, painted.
Two pieces on bench, painted.
Configuring NGINX to redirect common feed URL's to the generated RSS files
Configuring NGINX to redirect common feed URL's to the generated RSS files
Network Manager (nm-applet) automatically switches between WiFi and mobile broadband connections
Network Manager (nm-applet) automatically switches between WiFi and mobile broadband connections
Like a kid in the candy store - happy me!
Like a kid in the candy store - happy me!
Game graphics elevated to genuine art works
Game graphics elevated to genuine art works
Arranging dishes intentionally to create a pleasing composition
Arranging dishes intentionally to create a pleasing composition
Most parts have torque values written on them in Newton Meter (Nm)
Most parts have torque values written on them in Newton Meter (Nm)
Indexing the gears is easier when you're able to peddle freely, allowing you to precisely set the cable tightness
Indexing the gears is easier when you're able to peddle freely, allowing you to precisely set the cable tightness
Running Firefox (left) and a MOSH/tmux terminal window (right) in splitscreen using the i3wm tiling window manager
Running Firefox (left) and a MOSH/tmux terminal window (right) in splitscreen using the i3wm tiling window manager
Meeting Zena Van den Block: the intimate character of SECONDroom offers plenty of room to connect
Meeting Zena Van den Block: the intimate character of SECONDroom offers plenty of room to connect
Prototype from spruce wood to determine the routing profile
Prototype from spruce wood to determine the routing profile
Configure the LidSwitch (in systemd’s login.conf) to automatically suspend and resume when you close the Surface type cover, I have configured it to suspend-then-hibernate using a timeout
Configure the LidSwitch (in systemd’s login.conf) to automatically suspend and resume when you close the Surface type cover, I have configured it to suspend-then-hibernate using a timeout
Babboe Big, fully assembled
Babboe Big, fully assembled
The Babboe Big, in boxes
The Babboe Big, in boxes
Schindelhauer steer mounted on my aluminium bike
Schindelhauer steer mounted on my aluminium bike
Look ma: me standing next to Snake art! WOW!
Look ma: me standing next to Snake art! WOW!
Placed behind glass the panel works, but its performance is not optimal
Placed behind glass the panel works, but its performance is not optimal
Achieved a nice angle with three legs, suitable for fixture on my balcony
Achieved a nice angle with three legs, suitable for fixture on my balcony

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