Sunday, June 25, 2006

Goodbye comic passport!

I have to renew my passport before going to New York in July. I'm sort of sorry about that for two reasons: The first is, that in order to comply with international and EU agreements, a new passport containing biometric marks and an RF-chip will be issued from August 26th this year, and the new passport that I will have to get before July 6th will be valid for 5 years. So I'll be stuck another 5 years with an outdated passport. 'Another' 5 years that is, because my current passport is already outdated: I am one of the relatively few people who 'ownes' a Dutch passport that is also a comic book about the entire written history of the Netherlands... writen in very tiny tiny but still legible fine print. Unfortunately, when I renew, I will have to hand the current one. And although I can ask it back (which I always do), they will have to make it 'clearly invalid'—which means that they wil make a big cut with scissors or drill three large holes through it. To rescue the internal images, I scaned my entire passport and save it to my blog. (I was amazed that no one appears to have put this unique passport online yet...)         

Monday, June 19, 2006

Cool Google Spreadsheet... (?)

Google already announced its acquisition of Writely, a web based word processor that enables you to edit, save, share, and real-time co-edit Word (-like) documents through a web browser from anywhere in the world (... eh... you'll need an internet connection), and we already saw Google Calendar (which together with Gmail replaced Outlook for me). Then we saw Google Pages, a great web based web page editor that even my mom can easily use, and the google-labs version of Google Notebook which allows you to annotate (segments of) web pages for public or private use (exactly what I have been waiting for...). But now, Google comes with a google-labs version of Google Spreadsheets, which is, no surprise, a web based spreadsheet program. It's really quite cool and promises a lot for the online word-processor (=Writely?) that they have in preparation. It's limited compared to's Calc program, or Microsoft's Excel, but it's better than the Excel version I have on my PDA: apart from crunching numbers and statistics with an extensive range of math-, stats-, financial-, date- and string-functions, formatting, sorting, importing and exporting from and to excel or csv, it allows me to collaborate with colleagues in real time on a single sheet, while 'talking' to each other with a messenger service as in your Gmail account. Thank god I have a Gmail account! How unfortunate that I don't use spreadsheets a lot, nor do my colleagues... :'( Screenshot Google Spreadsheets (Jun 19, 2006)