Tag Archives: amsterdam

Ploughed Fields

Ploughed Fields (‘The Furrows’)
27 April
In the Vincent Van Gogh museum

No print can ever again convey
close enough to touch,
feel the farmer and his horses
leaning so far out of the canvas
I think they might fall
and out of the corner of my eye
I think I saw a petal fall
from the sunflower.


Day One in Amsterdam was very eventful, and, although I have a huge amount of work to do today, I felt that I owe it to you, loyal readers, to catch you up on the doings.

I arrived here in Amsterdam at just before 6am on Friday. Having not slept much during the 6-hours-shorter night, it took me most of the day to figure out that it was in fact Friday. I think today is Saturday.

My flight was, inexplicably, on time, which threw me off balance a little. After a little confusion, I found a cash machine at the airport and got a train ticket. Three stops later, I was at Central Station, and just a brief walk from the hotel. I decided to walk, rather than get the tram, in the hopes that it would wake me up a little bit. And I could see the hotel from the station as soon as I exited.

When I got to Hotel, my room wasn’t ready. After all, it was before 7am, and check-in time isn’t until 3pm. So I went to the bar to hang out, and quickly started to fall asleep.

The hotel is blanketed in Wi-Fi, and there’s good strong connections available pretty much everywhere I’ve sat down so far, including the restaurants. I hopped on the network, and called my Beloved, waking her up at about 1 in the morning. For those of you who haven’t had this experience, let me take a moment to tell you how delightful it is to wake someone up at 1 in the morning and have them be happy about it. 🙂 I promise I won’t make a habit of it.

When it became obvious that there’s no way I was staying awake any longer, I went back to the desk and badgered the poor overworked receptionist until she found me a room. I came up and immediately fell asleep.

I was woken up at 2pm by a test of the alarm system. I had been warned, by Charel, that this would happen. She happened to wander up while I was checking in. However, I didn’t expect to sleep that long, and so was woken from a very very deep sleep, and didn’t really wake up until I had been outside in the baking heat for about a half-hour, waiting for the alarm to die down.

Now that I was awake, I decided to make the best of it, and I headed off towards the Van Gogh museum. I’m pretty sure I have been there before, but I imagine I was 9 or 10 when it happened, and have almost no recollection of it at all. Van Gogh has long been a favorite. My very favorite of his paintings – at least until yesterday – is Starry Night, which is at MOMA, rather than here. However, after sitting in front of Sunflowers for about a half hour yesterday, I don’t imagine I’ll ever look at a Van Gogh print in the same way again. I’m now persuaded that the phrase “Van Gogh print” is a logical contradiction. Van Gogh’s paintings can only be appreciated, I mean really appreciated, in person. The paint juts from the canvas. It’s not so much a painting as a sculpture in paint. As I said to my Beloved yesterday:

There’s this painting called “Ploughed fields“. Farmer, two horses. Black one on the right, white one on the left. (Their left, not mine.) The white one, when you’re not looking, is facing forward and ploughing. But when you look at him, he turns his head towards you, and his nose pokes waaaay out of the canvas. You can almost catch him moving out of the corner of your eye when you turn away. I’m pretty sure he did.

And the sunflower … well, they were simply unbelievable. I don’t know how to describe it, really. I imagine you can read a dozen descriptions, and they are just not the same as being there. I might just have to overcome my hatred of New York City just long enough to go there and see Starry Night at MOMA.

After leaving Van Gogh, and running into Sander and Laura in the lobby on the way out, I went over to the Rijksmuseum, but I have to admit I’m not much of a fan of that era of painting. A lot of it feels like pre-photograph photography. Some of it was indeed stunning, but most of it was not of a great interest to me. Of course, having said that, I’m also aware that yesterday I saw some of the most famous paintings on the planet, and so I spent a lot of time looking at them, even the ones I didn’t particularly like, because otherwise some day I’d look back and wish I had.

The biggest contrast was that Van Gogh used paint to create texture, as well as being very experimental with color. Most of the paintings at the Rijksmuseum were portraits intended to … well, portray. They were smooth, and for the most part photorealistic, although some of them did interesting things with light.

I had decided to walk rather than take a taxi or tram, partially to save money, and partially so that I could see the streets. I got lost a number of times, and, of course, getting lost in any great European city is at least half of the charm of walking. I simply love the fact that you could live in a city like this and never have to own a vehicle, or, at the most, have a bicycle. Being able to walk or bike to everything you might ever want is, in itself, a reason to live somewhere like this. Not sure I could stand the noise at night for very long, but perhaps I’d get used to it.

On the walk back, I took a slightly different route – that’s another nice thing about not knowing your way around, you discover interesting routes all the time. 🙂 I hoped to stop somewhere to eat, but ran out of money, and nowhere took AmEx. Perhaps I’ll have more luck – or more cash – today. We’ll see.

I took a handful of photos. Perhaps I’ll take more today.

ApacheCon Flickr

When I uploaded photos this morning, Flickr told me that my account had expired. Ok. I went to renew it, and after going through the process to pay with my AmEx, I came to a confirmation screen with two “Pay Now” buttons. I quickly clicked the first one, and too late realized that the first one was a PayPal “Pay Now” button, while the second one, all the way at the bottom of the screen, was for the AmEx information I had just filled out. So this ended up going on my PayPal account, which is tied to a credit card that I’m trying very hard to pay off and get rid of. Very, very annoying.

Anyways, HERE is my ApacheCon EU 2007 Flickr set. If you’re coming to ApacheConEU07, please use the ApacheConEU07 tag on your photos. We’re planning to announce this at the conference. We always end up with a half-dozen variants, and so you have to hunt several places to find photos from other ApacheCons. This is always annoying. So … don’t do that, mmmkay?


I’m in the Moevenpick hotel, in Amsterdam. Both of my flights boarded and left on time, and arrived early. This is the first time this year that any flight I’ve been on has not been late. Freaky.

Took the train from the airport to Amsterdam Central (third stop) and walked to the hotel. You can see the hotel as soon as you exit the train station, and it’s just a short walk along the canal.

Unfortunately, arriving at the hotel at just after 7am, my room wasn’t ready yet. It’s now about 8:30, but it’s 2:30am my time, and I really want to get a nap. Anyways, I’m sitting in the bar, where there’s network, and waiting for my room to get ready. Unfortunately, they don’t guarantee anything until 3pm.

So very tired.

Leaving for ApacheCon

As usual, the moment has arrived, and still doesn’t feel particularly real. Until I get on the plane, I guess.

In the morning, I will leave for Amsterdam. Yes, it’s very early. Something to do with Queen’s Day making tickets hard to come by.

And, no, I’m not ready yet. I’m not packed. I haven’t put the finishing touches on my presentations yet. And I haven’t even begun to get my in the conference frame of mind. This is all rather odd, given that I’ve been thinking about the conference pretty steadily for the last 2 or 3 months. But, it always seems to sneak up on me.

So, I’ll see you there, if you’re going to be there. And I’ll miss you if you’re not.

Oh, and if you’re going to be there, and want to be interviewed for FeatherCast, please try to track me down early on in the conference, so that I’m not rushing around like a maniac the last day or two. I’m sure I’ll be doing that quite enough without any help.

ApacheCon 2007 Europe early-bird rates end Friday

ApacheCon Europe 2007, the official conference, trainings, and expo of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), today announced the deadline for Early Bird registration ends on Friday, 23 March 2007.

With engaging plenary and keynote addresses, technical presentations, informal networking, peer discussions, Birds-of-a-Feather sessions, and entertaining social events, ApacheCon delves into the highly lauded community that develops and shepherds industry-leading Open Source projects, including Apache HTTP Server – the world’s most popular Web server software for more than a decade.

ApacheCon Europe takes place 1-4 May 2007 at the Moevenpick Hotel in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Special Conference Package offers savings up to US$238; Conference passes range from US$450 – US $1,700 with an average savings of US$150 with Early Bird pricing. Trainings are US$350 for half-day sessions, and US$550 for full-day courses. Register today at http://www.eu.apachecon.com/.

With more than 100 sessions on groundbreaking technologies and emerging industry trends, conference participants meet, mingle, and exchange ideas with like-minded peers in a relaxed, community-focused environment. Highlights include:

“Abstraction and extraction: in praise of”: Keynote addresses from Steven Pemberton, Web Usability Expert at CWI and Chair, W3C XHTML and XForms Working Groups.

“Open Source: It’s a license, not a business model or a development model”: Keynote address by Dr. Margo Seltzer, Herchel Smith Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University Division of Applied Sciences.

Full-and Half-Day Training Sessions taught by industry experts, offering hands-on instruction on Apache Projects Axis2, ApacheDS, Jackrabbit, Jetspeed, HTTP Server, Lucene, Maven, MyFaces, emerging initiatives from the Apache Incubator, and widely-deployed standards such as SSL and XSLT.

Popular Developer Presentations on flagship Apache and Open Source technologies, including Geronimo, Harmony, HTTP Server, Tomcat, AJAX, Cocoon, Databases, Derby, Eclipse, Jakarta, LDAP, Portlets, Roller, Security, SpamAssassin, and WebDAV, as well as a look into projects from the ASF Incubator and Labs at the new ApacheCon Fast Feather Track.

Business Track featuring panel sessions, presentations, and case studies that address core Open Source business, marketing, standardization, community-building, and legal/licensing issues, as well as explore broader areas such as the Semantic Web, Web Services, Web 2.0, and mobile technologies.

Sponsor Events and Expo gives attendees direct access to industry-leading organizations such as BlackHat, Covalent, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and the Java Community Process, as well as “first-looks” at new technologies and products showcased by emerging players such as Hippo, Nexaweb, and WSO2.

Special Events include geeking, hacking, and relaxing in the Online Lounge, PGP Keysigning, conference and sponsor receptions, and out-of-the-box public speaking at the Lighting Talks!

Corporate Sponsorship, Exhibitor, and government participation opportunities are available; contact Delia Frees at delia@apachecon.com or on +1 707 765 0823 for more information.

Event media partners include: Apress, CMS Channel, CMS Center, DevTownStation, DigiMedia, European Web Association,
Free Software Magazine, Integration Developer News, Linux Magazine, LXer, Methods & Tools, Open Enterprise Trends, Slashdot, Software Development Articles Directory, Software Development Tools Directory, Software Development News, and Webtech 2007. To become a Media Partner, contact Sally Khudairi on +1 617 921 8656 or sk@apache.org.

Apache Cookbook Training in Amsterdam

I’ll be giving a new training session at ApacheCon in Amsterdam. It’s a three hour hands-on tutorial covering as many Apache Web Server recipes as we can fit in.

After I gave me “20 things you didn’t know you could do with your Apache web server” talk at a few conferences, a number of people suggested that I give it at a not-quite-so-frantic pace, and that idea eventually turned into this tutorial. The talk consists of step-by-step how-tos, solving common questions asked on IRC and mailing lists.

This tutorial is geared to the beginner or intermediate Apache Web Server administrator, but experienced admins may also pick up some tricks that they hadn’t considered before.

Closer to the event, I’ll post a list of the specific questions that I intend to cover.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a laptop with Apache installed, so that they can go through each recipe with me, and have them working at the end of the class. Attendees will also be provided with the recipes themselves in either electronic or hardcopy form.