willem.com

Environment on Willem's Blog

Around town in an electric car

Driving the Smart Electric Drive (EQ fortwo)

Nov. 16, 2018
For one week I drove the electric Smart EQ fortwo in and around town. I found out what it's like to drive electrically: fun!

Earlier this month I drove around town for a week in an electric vehicle, a brand new Smart Electric Drive (EQ fortwo). I used it to commute, for my daily groceries and to visit family, friends and customers. What's it like to drive a fully electric car on a daily basis?

Space travelling from El Teide

Visiting Tenerife's volcano at the Canary Islands

Aug. 21, 2018
On Tenerife you'll find Teide, the world's second highest volcano with extra terestial views and a perfect altitude for stargazing.

This summer holiday brought me to Tenerife, part of the Canary Islands, Spain. It's a popular destination because of the climate, but it's also the home of Teide, the world's second highest volcano (7500 m, measured from the sea floor). The incredible views reach way beyond earth, into outer space, the Milky Way and other distant galaxies.

Helping people with free software

Installing Debian GNU/Linux on an old laptop

July 20, 2018
This week I helped a man with repairing and reinstalling his computer with Debian GNU/Linux.

This week a man brought his laptop to the community centre where I help people with computer problems as volunteer. The old laptop wouldn't start anymore and had to be reinstalled. Instead of Windows, I installed a free operating system. I think it is important to tell you how and why I did it.

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).

Something the smartwatch will never have: patina

Wear and tear by the hands of time

Jan. 21, 2018
Patina is often neglected when comparing smartwatches with regular watches.

A good friend of mine had an issue with his Apple Watch, the digital crown lost a rubber ring causing the watch to lose its water resistance. Apple made no problem of it and offered to replace his "device". While it solved his problem, it felt painful to my watch lover's ears. It made me realise the one thing a smartwatch will never have: patina.

Lessons from a takeaway plastic bag

My ever increasing antipathy to planned obsolescence

Jan. 8, 2018
How we're tricked into repeated purchases replacing perfectly fine products just for the sake of change.

About five months ago I got some take away food from our local Asian restaurant. They packaged the food and gave me a plastic bag to carry it home. On my way home I was thinking about the bag. Although it has some nice styling printed on it, it's designed for single use only. What a waste... making me wonder: how long would it last if you would use it on a daily basis?

Commuting by bike

One week (240KM) on the VanMoof Electrified S

Dec. 2, 2017
One week on the VanMoof Electrified S E-bike testing it for commuting and comparing it to a normal bike.

For a few years now, I commute to work using a bicycle. I have lost more than 15KG since I stopped using my scooter. This week I tested a VanMoof Electrified S, an electric bike with an industrial, minimal design. Is it any good? How does it compare to a normal bike? Will an electric bike make you lazy? Read along to find out!

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!

Climbing Mount Etna

Visiting an active volcano on Sicily, Italy

Sep. 2, 2017
Climbing Mount Etna, an active volcano on Sicily Italy.

Last week me and my wife went to Sicily for a little summer holiday. It is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is an autonomous region of Italy, along with surrounding minor islands. It's home to Europe's largest active volcano: Mount Etna. We had a chance to visit this lava spurring monstrosity and it was quite the experience.

All blog posts
Styling on the car is mature and full of customisation options, you can have the Smart look anyway you'd like
Styling on the car is mature and full of customisation options, you can have the Smart look anyway you'd like
Etna is big enough to see it from space (NASA Earth Observatory)
Etna is big enough to see it from space (NASA Earth Observatory)
Installing the disk in the laptop
Installing the disk in the laptop
96 bottles of beer inside the Smart... check!
96 bottles of beer inside the Smart... check!
Alfa One 802.11b WiFi adapter is recognised by the Debian installer
Alfa One 802.11b WiFi adapter is recognised by the Debian installer
Histogram of time and heart rate, showing how long (% of total time) a given heart rate was measured. (blue is electric, red is normal)
Histogram of time and heart rate, showing how long (% of total time) a given heart rate was measured. (blue is electric, red is normal)
Boxes of Heineken 0.0% in the Smart
Boxes of Heineken 0.0% in the Smart
Sawing off rough edges
Sawing off rough edges
Dashboard and charging connector are integrated into the frame
Dashboard and charging connector are integrated into the frame
Clamping the solar panel using server parts
Clamping the solar panel using server parts
Some rocks are unbelievable in size and shape
Some rocks are unbelievable in size and shape
Out in the open: the Electrified S
Out in the open: the Electrified S
Gomadic portable Solar Charger - 15W - 330 x 305 x 38 mm
Gomadic portable Solar Charger - 15W - 330 x 305 x 38 mm
Lacquer finish is fantastic
Lacquer finish is fantastic
The view is spectacular.
The view is spectacular.
Solar panel fixed on the balcony
Solar panel fixed on the balcony
Multitool sawing
Multitool sawing
Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, down at Los Gigantes
Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, down at Los Gigantes

More Environment on Willem's Blog

All blog posts