US versus Machester United

An article in the New York Time describes the hostile situation between the fans of Manchester United and Malcolm Glazer after his take over of the club.
I quote:
How do English soccer fans hate Malcolm Glazer, the billionaire businessman who this week took control of Manchester United, one of the world’s most famous soccer teams? Let us count the ways.

There are Mr. Glazer’s personal qualities, which, according to various English newspapers, extend to rapaciousness, ruthlessness, meanness, megalomania, unflattering facial hair and a propensity, The Daily Mail says, for “wearing his trouser waistband ludicrously high.”

There is the way he is said to be saddling Manchester United with debt, using the team’s assets to help secure some £265 million ($490 million) in loans as part of the £790 million ($1.45 billion) takeover price.

As far as anyone can tell, Mr. Glazer, 76, has never been to a Manchester United game, or possibly even to any soccer game. Which might not be so surprising, according to his sister Maria. “He has never liked sports,” she told The Daily Mail.

Football may well be big business in Europe, South America and Azia. But in contrast to the “American way’, clubs have always been lead by people who have a heart for the sport and don’t see it as a tax deduction. Look at the Russian biljonair chairman of Chelsea, who also sponsors a football club in Moscow. I honestly doubt whether the son of Mr. Glazer really has such a ‘love’ for soccer (as the call the sport in the US). I think it has more to do with the will of winning, winning the big buck of the Manchester United merchandise that is.
Maybe Malcolm will learn to love the game, I doubt it. But he better do so because otherwise the fans are going to kick him out or walk away.

European Constitution and the Netherlands

The debate is heating up in the Netherlands. Better said, the debate is about nothing these days but everybody is shouting.
Our government is spending another 3.500.000€ to convince the Dutch people to say “Yes” at the referendum.
The opposition is playing in on our frustration about the EU as a whole. Dead easy of course as we were never asked whether we agreed with all the money going into that bottomless pit.

This is a situation in which our government cannot win and are going to shoot itself in the foot. Every remark they make that this referendum has nothing to do with the Euro, that it will improve our position in the EU, that ‘we’ will get a voice in Brussels because we can suggest new bills to the Euro Parliament, that we have a real veto right on the big issues, is counter productive for me. It reminds me of all treaties they made, treaty of Maastricht, treaty of Amsterdam, treaty of Nice, Portugal and what a mess they made out of it.

Do you want to make a bet on the outcome?

Majors join against global warming

This morning I saw this small message in the newspaper. It says that about 132 US majors have joined in an initiative to get the US to agree with the Kyoto treaty. Good this is that it is backed by Democrats and Republicans.
Let’s hope Bush gets influenced as well.

SEATTLE – Burgemeester Greg Nickels van Seattle probeert te bereiken dat de Verenigde Staten doen wat de regering-Bush niet wil: het Kyoto-verdrag over opwarming van de aarde naleven. The New York Times meldde dat zaterdag op zijn website.

Al 132 burgemeesters, Democraten en Republikeinen, hebben zich aangesloten bij Nickels’ coalitie om de opwarming van de aarde op lokaal niveau te bestrijden.

Zij hebben beloofd dat hun stad zal voldoen aan wat een bindende eis voor de VS had moeten zijn, als president Bush het klimaatverdrag niet had verworpen. Voor 2012 moet de uitstoot van broeikasgassen zijn teruggebracht tot 7 procent onder die van 1990.

Volgens het kantoor van Nickels vertegenwoordigen de burgemeesters bijna 29 miljoen burgers in 35 staten. Donderdag sloot de Republikeinse burgemeester Michael Bloomberg van New York zich aan.

Streaming at home

Recently I bought a Philips SL400i, wireless multimedia link. The spec’s promise me the ability to listen to mp3, mp4pro, pcm and wav audio and divx, xvid and mpeg video. And it works, it works nicely
Philips SL400i
Setting up the machine was dead ease. You plug the scart plug in the back of your TV, audio into the reciever and connect the box to the internet, and off you go.

You can use it in combination with upnp Media Managers like Nero MediaHome, Philips Media Manager, SMC EZ Media Server and Microsoft Windows Media Connect. You can listen to your own mp3 files or watch your videos and pictures which are stored on a PC. But you can also connect it directly to the Internet and use streaming hosts like Yahoo, Live365 and others. It comes with a personal page ( on which you can store your preferences likes radio- & video stations, pictures and java applications.

A nice thing on the machine is that it has a display on which you can see what you are selecting. Otherwise you need to turn on your TV every time you want to change the source. Another nice thing about the machine is that it’s software can be upgraded via the Internet connection. That’s what happened to mine the moment I switched it on.
The bad thing is the limited format support. Real Player is not supported plus some other Media Player formats. Maybe it will be in the future.
Another bad thing is the quality of the upnp Media Manager software. Most of the software is to slow, hasn’t enough options and it can’t be run as a service under Windows 2003. Which I find important. For instance I would like to see to option to play radio streams and to transcode formats. Nero can transform formats but cannot play radio stations, SMC is fast but cannot transcode and Microsoft supports most of the formats, etc.
Maybe someday someone will combine all the good thing into one package.

CIA report on the Netherlands

Major European producer of ecstasy, illicit amphetamines, and other synthetic drugs; important gateway for cocaine, heroin, and hashish entering Europe;
Major source of US-bound ecstasy;
Large financial sector vulnerable to money laundering.

A run for the money

On April 29th Adam Curry finally presented us his long expected ‘strategy cast’. This was going to be the unveiling of the Holy Grail: the future of PodCasting. Was it really?

I’ve been listening to Curry from the first PodCast he made he made last year and I have been enjoying it. It has made me look for other PodCasts and now I’m listening to stuff like ‘The Theory of Everything’ of Benjamen Walker, ‘Earthwatch Radio‘ and ‘Whole Wheat Radio‘.
The fun of this new technology or movement is that it has nothing to do with the big business, big corporations or expensive infrastructures. It is the extension of the open source movement, blogging and means total democracy. Everybody can do it and people are getting into PodCasting because they feel they have something to say and not because they want to sell you something.

Last year, in the spirit of that movement, Adam Curry together with Dave Winer, setup an open directory where everybody could advertise their PodCast. The result was that PodCasting skyrocketed even more and you could read about it in every newspaper.
Soon after that the first cracks began to appear. Up to than Curry had been working mostly with Dave Winer, the inventor of the RSS feed which technology is the core of this movement. Curry went to Florida to meet up with his friends Dave and Ron Bloom to discuss ‘the future of PodCasting’. The PodCast Curry made after that meeting sounded as if something had gone totally wrong. The fact that the PodCast directory was handed over to Curry, all Curry websites were moved off Dave’s servers and Dave name is hardly ever mentioned by Adam indicated that they must have disagree on something fundamentally.

After the ‘strategy cast’ and the news about Adam’s radio contract with Sirius it is obvious that Ron and Adam are trying the steer the PodCasting movement back into the arms of the big corporations and where the money is. If you read the recent comments on Dave website it’s obvious that he wanted nothing to do with that. That maybe one of the reasons for the splitup.

Next step will be that Adam is going to decide, more than what he’s already doing, which PodCast we should be listening to and which PodCasts will be sponsored via his PodShow firm.
Thank God Sirius can only be received in North America and the World is a bigger market than just the US. Let’s make sure that PodCasting is not going to be like those other “great products” from the US, like Disney World, MacDonalds, Coca Cola & SUV’s.

Ratzinger: theologische steunpilaar van Johannes Paulus II

‘Pantserkardinaal’ Joseph Ratzinger (78), al sinds 1981 de onbuigzame prefect van de Vaticaanse congregatie voor de geloofsleer, was de voornaamste theologische steunpilaar van paus Johannes Paulus II. In die functie waakte hij streng over de zuiverheid van de kerkleer en legde hij diverse vernieuwingsgezinde theologen het zwijgen op.

In de jaren zestig zag het er nog niet naar uit dat de Duitser zich tot ideologische scherpslijper zou ontwikkelen. Gegrepen door het Tweede Vaticaans Concilie (1962-1965) stond de briljante theoloog te boek als een progressief denker.

Met vernieuwingsgezinde collega’s als Edward Schillebeeckx en Karl Rahner behoorde hij tot de initiatiefnemers van het baanbrekende theologische tijdschrift Concilium. Hij sloeg om na de studentenrevolte van 1968, waarin hij de voorbode zag van een nieuw Europees heidendom.


Ratzinger heeft maar enkele jaren pastorale ervaring als bisschop. Van 1977 tot 1982 was hij aartsbisschop van München en Freising. Daarvoor had hij aan enkele Duitse universiteiten dogmatische theologie gedoceerd. Onder zijn bewind bij de congregatie voor de geloofsleer kwam in de kerkelijke standpunten over controversiële kwesties als vrouwelijke priesters, geboortebeperking, intercommunie en de vermenging van godsdienst en cultuur geen enkele beweging.

Ratzinger was een van de twee deelnemers aan het conclaaf die nog door paus Paulus VI tot kardinaal zijn benoemd (in 1977). Zijn prominente positie leverde hem in 2002 de functie van deken van het college van kardinalen op. In die hoedanigheid speelde hij een belangrijke rol na het overlijden van Johannes Paulus II. Hij maakte indruk als voorganger in de uitvaartmis.

Ratzinger is de eerste Duitser sinds Victor II (1055-1057) die paus wordt.

Adobe and Macromedia

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq: ADBE) has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Macromedia (Nasdaq: MACR) in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $3.4 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by both boards of directors, Macromedia stockholders will receive, at a fixed exchange ratio, 0.69 shares of Adobe common stock for every share of Macromedia common stock in a tax-free exchange. Based on Adobe’s and Macromedia’s closing prices on Friday April 15, 2005, this represents a price of $41.86 per share of Macromedia common stock.

The combination of Adobe and Macromedia strengthens our mission of helping people and organizations communicate better. Through the combination of our powerful development, authoring and collaboration tools – and the complementary functionality of PDF and Flash – we have the opportunity to drive an industry-defining technology platform that delivers compelling, rich content and applications across a wide range of devices and operating systems.

By combining the passion and creativity of two leading-edge companies, we will continue driving innovations that are changing the ways people everywhere are experiencing and interacting with information.

Adobe is required to include the following legend on any communications that may be deemed to be offering or soliciting material under the applicable SEC rules and regulations:


Adobe Systems Incorporated intends to file a registration statement on Form S-4, and Adobe and Macromedia, Inc. intend to file a related joint proxy statement/prospectus, in connection with the merger transaction involving Adobe and Macromedia. Investors and security holders are urged to read the registration statement on Form S-4 and the related joint proxy/prospectus when they become available because they will contain important information about the merger transaction. Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of these documents (when they are available) and other documents filed with the SEC at the SEC’s web site at In addition, investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Adobe by contacting Macromedia Investor Relations at 408-536-4416. Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Macromedia by contacting Macromedia Investor Relations at 415-252-2106.Adobe, Macromedia and their directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the stockholders of Adobe and Macromedia in connection with the merger transaction. Information regarding the special interests of these directors and executive officers in the merger transaction will be included in the joint proxy statement/prospectus of Adobe and Macromedia described above. Additional information regarding the directors and executive officers of Adobe is also included in Adobe’s proxy statement for its 2005 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on March 14, 2005. Additional information regarding the directors and executive officers of Macromedia is also included in Macromedia’s proxy statement for its 2004 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on June 21, 2004 and Macromedia’s proxy statement for a Special Meeting of Stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on October 6, 2004. These documents are available free of charge at the SEC’s web site at and from Investor Relations at Adobe and Macromedia as described above.

New hybrid Tablet PC/eBook reader on the way?

We’ll level with you: the Tablet PC hasn’t exactly been the massive hit Microsoft hoped it would be.
There’s plenty of blame to go around (pick your pet theory: that people simply don’t want to write by hand anymore, that Microsoft made a mistake by charging OEMs more for the Tablet PC OS than for the regular version of Windows, that everyone did a terrible job at marketing these things, etc.), but there’s speculation that Redmond is getting ready to take the wraps off some sort of hybrid Tablet PC/eBook reader that’s about six inches by eight inches in size (no pics yet, that’s just a generic Tablet PC pictured at right).
Sounds a bit like other mini tablet-style PCs we’ve seen, like Sony’s Vaio U-Series, but apparently these new hybrid tablets will use the same active digitizer technology found in regular Tablet PCs rather than the more traditional touch screens. Assuming this is for real (and it sounds like it is), Microsoft Watch seems pretty sure that Microsoft will be showing off a prototype during his keynote at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference on April 25th.

Staatssecretaris wil meer respect

DEN HAAG – Staatssecretaris Van der Knaap van Defensie vindt dat bewindslieden met meer respect moeten worden bejegend. De CDA-bewindsman, een vertrouweling van de premier, wil dat ze weer met ‘excellentie’ worden aangesproken.

“Het geeft wat meer cachet als je met excellentie wordt aangesproken”, aldus Van der Knaap zaterdag in een interview in de Volkskrant. “Er mag ook best enige afstand zijn.”

De staatssecretaris zelf wordt binnen de hiërarchisch ingestelde krijgsmacht wel nog voortdurend ‘excellentie’ genoemd. Hij vindt dat “fantastisch”. Maar buiten de muren van Defensie is er minder respect. Premier Balkenende hoort het woord alleen als hij met Van der Knaap in een militaire omgeving is.

Volgens Van der Knaap is er te weinig respect voor ministers en staatssecretarissen “die vaak in heel moeilijke situaties moeten opereren.”

De aanspreektitel excellentie voor bewindslieden was tot in de jaren zestig algemeen gangbaar, maar wordt tegenwoordig nog maar zelden gebruikt. Volgens Van der Knaap geeft het woord aan “dat je een bijzondere positie hebt”.


De staatssecretaris ergert zich ook aan de de cultuur van het elkaar aanspreken met de voornaam. Dat haalt volgens hem “de status van bewindslieden helemaal onderuit.” Hij zag een keer toenmalig vice-premier Jorritsma uit een vergadering komen. “Ze zocht haar chauffeur, die over het Plein schreeuwde: Annemarie! Ik ben hier! Dat is voor mij de wereld op zijn kop.”

Fractieleider Dittrich van D66 heeft geen goed woord over voor de uitlatingen van Van der Knaap. “Bewindslieden moeten respect afdwingen door hun beleid, door de problemen in de samenleving op te lossen, en niet door van bovenaf op te leggen dat ze met excellentie aangesproken willen worden. Dit is betutteling. Ik vind dat Van der Knaap zich hiermee belachelijk maakt.”


PvdA-kamerlid Noorman-Den Uyl noemde de uitlatingen van Van der Knaap zaterdag voor de NCRV-radio hooghartig. Onder het bewind van haar vader, die premier was in de jaren ’70, werd het gebruik van de term excellentie formeel afgeschaft.