Sent From My iPhone.

No, not really. But I did manage to finally get one. Finally, because it did take almost 8 weeks for me to get the black 32GB iPhone 3GS. That's Belgium for you. When I went to get mine the person behind the counter told me that Mobistar (the exclusive distributor here in Belgium) had sent them 16 pieces that week. That is 16 iPhones to divide over their 7 stores in Flanders, Belgium. Unbelievable how big of a scam the iPhone is in Belgium.

There are two reasons I can think of why this would be.

The first is that Apple makes more money over a 2 year period of time on iPhones sold with a subscription than on those sold unlocked. But several people that are in the distribution chain told me this wasn't the case as a cellphone operator just buys them from Apple at a certain price and then has to figure out itself how to gain back the money through a subscription model via their customers. If Apple makes more money on phones sold with a plan it might be reluctant to ship unlocked "cheap" iPhones to Belgium and saves its production for our neighbouring countries.

Second one is that subsidising phones wasn't, and still isn't allowed in Belgium, although Europe won't fine operators anymore if they do it and soon the law will change for Belgium as well stating that subsidising phones is legal. Mobistar, in my opinion is waiting to sell iPhones as long as possible until this coupling is allowed and then sell subsidised iPhones with subscriptions, on which they obviously make way more money than selling phones without a plan. For all I know they might be sitting on a stockpile of phones only letting out a couple at a time covering it up with "limited availability" on Apple's part.

Improving Scale.

Since its inception I've put more time in Scale than I initially thought I would. It has seen some improvements and can now scale directories too. The code has become a bit more modular and there's even a small preference pane which I added.

You can get it at: http://truncat.com/scale/Scale-0.5.1.zip

If you have more ideas or thing you'd like to see added, let me know in the comments.

Scale Sees Light Of Day

Half a year ago I thought I'd do some Objective-C programming, as it obviously is the programming language of Gods.
Off and on I read a bit and tried somewhat and eventually got a roughly functioning application. But as of last week I put my back in it.

Alright. So I created a really simple application called Scale... all it does is scale images.
Get it at http://truncat.com/scale/Scale-0.1.zip

Features:

* Effortlessly scale pictures by drag 'n drop
* Common preset resolutions
* Support for own custom resolutions
* Handles JPEG, PNG and TIFF
* Seamless updates with Sparkle

Harley-Davidson Gear In Belgium.

No, I don't have the XR1200 yet. But I made a test-ride with it a few weeks back. New bike, rides well, of course. At first though it felt a bit awkward. I rode a Road King before and knew how to sit on it but I've taken lessons recently on a Kawaski ER-6f or so where I was told to sit as close to the tank as possible for better control.

Yeah, when I tried this on the XR1200 it felt as if I was riding one of those fun bicycles with oval wheels. Very awkward, my right legt didn't fit well under the tank and my right ankle was continuously scraping against the oil cap. After moving my bum back to sit nicely in the "saddle" it went smooth. I had fun. It was cold though... so I told the dealer that I'd go for a ride first in my perforated leather jacket and then come back and try one of the FXRG jacket. Wind and waterproof. It even felt bulletproof with the body armour tucked away everywhere.

All geared up I went for the 2nd part of my test-ride and did highway at 130km/h to see whether I'd feel any wind. Nothing. Didn't feel a thing, other than my helmet getting yanked off of my head. I have an open helmet with a little "spoiler" in front... Like a touring helmet. Mind you, I rode a Road King... so it was appropriate. OK, I told myself, this spoiler has to go. I pulled over and yanked it off, which helped my riding a lot. Still though, an open helmet catches wind and I couldn't maintain driving at "high" speed comfortable. This will all get better with an integral helmet.

Back at the dealership I decided to buy the jacket seeing as they were so nice to let me try it out for an hour or so... Plus the fact that they gave me a brand new Harley knowing I don't have a license to ride it (more about that later maybe)

Back home, curious as I am, I checked out the price of the same jacket at the official Harley-Davidson website. Turns out I paid twice as much for it! Dayum. The "shipping" from USA argument to yank up the price a bit doesn't hold up because all of this is produced in China anyway. Alright, let's add 21% VAT and keep in mind that prices in USA usually are advertised without the 6% sales tax (though on this website they were VAT in it seems) that still doesn't justify a 100% price increase. A slight rip-off I'd say, but then again they were friendly enough to give me a bike and jacket to test.

Bottom line is... don't buy Harley gear in Belgium, and tell your dealer that you know the real price. Get someone that travels to the US and back bring it for you. Much cheaper.

What I want is an HD XR1200.

But why? Well, I just started my new job as Smalltalk developer in Groot-Bijgaarden, near Brussels in Belgium. Brussels, being our capital, equals muchos traficos jammos, especially when coming from Antwerp. I knew I'd be traffic jamming of course, taking this job, but it looked attractive so I went ahead with it... keeping the idea of a motorcycle in the back of my mind.

Now that I'm actually _in_ those traffic jams my envy of the motorbikes passing us by every morning and evening is growing on me. So the time has come to decide whether I want to buy a bike or not. The problem is... I really like the Harley-Davidson XR1200. I am a Harley-Davidson fan. It's a new bike, since June. It came out in Europe first, something which got many US bike-lovers upset as this is the first time ever HD releases a motorcycle in Europe first... They say they designed it for the European way of riding, adapted to a european male's weight and height. If I were an american, I'd take that as an insult... but they're right ;)

Anyway, the bike looks cool. I want the orange one (why does that have to be the more expensive colour?) because I'm flashy like that. The problem is that its a naked bike. This also explains its coolness. What also makes it supercool is the way Harley builds bikes. They are _simple_. The look of the bike is simple, the engine is simple. Nothing's complicated on a Harley. No explosion of little bolts and levers and valves and tubes going places making the whole engine look like a spaceship. None of that. Simplicity. Some might argue they're so simple they break down constantly. Right. Moving on. But here's the thing: naked bikes mean hard work. It means you'll be wetter and colder than on other motorbikes, less protected from wind and seemingly more vulnerable on our roads. You're practically getting a free arm-extension driving over 100km/h, clinging on to the handle-bar.

I have to drive 50km to and from work every day. My question to you is... (and not a living soul reads this website anyway but still... ;)) what do I do? Do I go for a new HD XR1200 which will make me look cool while freezing my fingers off... or do I go for the Honda Deauville, or Yamaha Fazer or Honda VFR or some other more comfortable, though hideous, touring model?

I really need that iPhone 3G fund going... because I live in Belgium.

We in Belgium got royally taken up the pooper when it comes to the new iPhone 3G which will hit the stores in 3 days. The new device is some USD $300 more expensive than the previous one for a total of USD $700. Apple thought they could get away with the high price by having cellphone operators subsidize the initial cost of the phone and recovering it through their monthly calling plans. This works quite well because in almost none of the countries the iPhone costs more than USD $199 and more often than not it costs a whole lot less to, with prices as low as EUR 1 for the more costly calling plans. In Belgium though it'll be -- and hold on to your suspenders -- a whopping EUR 525 for the 8GB version and EUR 615 for the 16GB one. That's almost USD $1000.

Why? Because in Belgium we're not allowed to sell phones tied to a calling plan, so the operator is not allowed to subsidize them. This means you buy your phone at full price but are able to use it on any network, not tied to any operator or plan.

This is kind of false marketing because of course we _are_ tied to operators and plans... they just leave you the choice. Eventually you have to choose a cellphone operator and lock yourself there for 18 months. 18 months seems to be the standard contract time for phone plans here in Belgium. It's not like you can switch operator every 2 weeks. So what you get is not freedom, but the choice of which operator you want to be locked to.

Back to the issue, we're paying full price for the iPhone. This shouldn't be a problem really because in the end you pay the same amount of money with the subsidized plans, part of what you pay monthly goes to paying off your phone. Were it not that our calling plans also suck. One would expect them to be cheaper because there's no paying of a phone included, guess what... nope.

30km from here, in The Netherlands you can buy an iPhone for EUR 80, locked to the T-Mobile network, pay EUR 30 a month and get unlimited data. This means you can browse the Internet on your iPhone as much as you like, you won't have to worry about hitting a total-transfered-volume cap.

In Belgium you get to pay EUR 525 for the 8GB iPhone, the cheapest plan is also EUR 30 and gets you a lousy 200MB of data month. 200MB that's about 15 5-minute YouTube clips. The clips you get to see on the iPhone's YouTube player are of a slightly better quality and thus a bit bigger in size.

What boggles the mind is how in The Netherlands they can sell you an iPhone for EUR 80 with a plan of EUR 30/month out of which the operator has to recuperate the EUR 445 it owed Apple _and_ give you unlimited data. Here in Belgium the operator doesn't owe Apple anything for the iPhone as the customer pays for it 100%, the EUR 30/month is fully theirs to keep and still they only provide you with 200MB/month.

This is sad. I hope another operator comes up with a really cool dataplan or something for 3G phones. We have 3 in Belgium: Mobistar who'll be selling the iPhone unlocked at full price, Proximus (the biggest operator) and Base (a minor operator without 3G)

Knowing me I'll probably just pay through the nose for the iPhone, comforting myself I do in the end pay as much as the rest of you. Us belgians just need to find ourselves a really cheap dataplan somewhere in the maze of different plans the operators seem to be offering.

I want an iPhone 3G.

This is the official "Jeroen goes iPhone" fund. Please contact me to send money. Thanks.

Should do more...

I should really do more with this website. *sigh*

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Reinstalled bensch.be with Drupal 6.1. Yay.

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