The dragon in my garage

by Carl Sagan

"A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage"
"Show me," you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle — but no dragon.
"Where’s the dragon?" you ask.
"Oh, she’s right here," I reply, waving vaguely. "I neglected to mention that she’s an invisible dragon."
You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon’s footprints.
"Good idea," I say, "but this dragon floats in the air."
Then you’ll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.
"Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless."
You’ll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.
"Good idea, but she’s an incorporeal dragon and the paint won’t stick." And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won’t work.
Now, what’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all?

Can we jump to the Other?

If our universe is a gigantic computing engine is it possible to jump to the host like in the movie the Matrix?

Suppose I have a VMWare image running on my Windows XP laptop. And in it, is a computer virus. Is that virus able to break out of the VMWare image and jump to infect my Windows XP installation (if the virus is smart enough to circumvent my anti-virus software) AND if we assume that there is no shared network.

Apparently it can, but we have to hack into it and hope we will not cause an intrusion alert which automatically erases the VMWare image…

A first result on tagging

I did a first grouping of the re tagging exercise. All of the stuff I blog on is pretty much personal related (hence the personal blog).


me         | private, idea, thisweblog 
family     | maarten, bali

something like *leisure*

games      | xbox, risk, game
media      | lost, music, video, art, movie, photo, comics, scifi, tv
gadgets    | nikon , synology, kiss, pda, sonicare, gadget, car
hobby      | genealogy, food, travel, coding
leisure    | cool, free, babe, humor

something like *non leisure*

society    | brights, science, politics, green, human, skeptic, indo, socialweb 
knowledge  | howto, news, wikipedia, reference, history, links
home       | finance, baby, household. shop, fashion

something like *digital stuff* (but uhm leisure and non leisure)

blog       | blogging, writing, webmoney, wordpress, review, webgoodie
compie     | software, google, graphics, xara, it, coding 
web        | hosting, webtools, webdesign

It shows the areas on which I apparently blog on. I would need to investigate on why I want to blog on a certain topic. And then improve on my postings posted in a certain topic area since most topics contain a chaos on postings on the topic. This will happen in a later phase. I will also map them on existing ontologies e.g. dmoz or stumble categories. I will also refine them. In a general sense I will need to create a logical pyramid of tags where the top one is tied closely to the reason of this weblog: “me having fun”. It seems however, that not all tags can be tied to that reason.

Outside your household

In my last post on “budget” I wrote about essential logical things which your budget should be based on. And which leads to more structure in your household which you can use for many other decisions (which can lead to improvement).

But your household system (based on the household framework) will not only have effects on internal organization. It will also have effect on the areas surrounding your household.

If you have set the goals of your household  you can e.g. compare them with political party’s and check whether their agenda strokes with the long term agenda of your own household. You can form yourself an opinion on new evolvements in society and business and see if these evolvements are interesting for you, as an household, to participate in. E.g. “green energy” (if that complies with one of your households goals) (and with clear reasons alongside it you can discuss why not or why you want to). Or you could even think of investing in new startups if you think they align with ideas that already live in your household. You can support charity goals if you set these goals within your household framework. You can even prioritize these or let them lead to actual tasks or mini projects within your household.

The improvement will have both an internally effect and an externally effect.

Currently your household is a chaos. You have ideas on e.g. politics. You assume that the party you vote on has a positive effect on one of your personal goals. However you are not sure. Still, politics governs our society. Your household is one of the little spots within this society. So there must be ties. There is a tie between your household and the society your live in. so there is also a relation between the values in your household and the values in society.

The reason that people vote “on someone they find emotionally attractive” is because they have on the first place not organized their household internally and asked the essential why questions.

Households which have set the same goals for society can, as has happened, form groups, form power and later on become an influence in society. A very little intellectual set of households have performed this. But most have really no clue.

All of that will happen automatically when households mature. To mature they will need the household framework.

Why do we need a tv?

If you keep on asking why on everything in your household you will get to the point that you will touch the goals of your household and the drivers for it e.g.

We have the requirement for a tv. In a household this is attached to a part of your budget: the percentage of your budget that you pay on your conscription to your cable or digital tv provider. E.g. you pay 180 euro a year for TV.

Suppose that 180 euro is 0.1% of your yearly budget, then somehow 0.1% of the needs that can be translated to a financial post is what you are spending on “tv”.

So… what is the reason that you want to spent 0.1% of your income on “tv”? Without a valid reason you could just as well throw it away and save yourself that 0.1% (excluding the costs of the original purchase).

The reason could be “fun” or “we want to have fun in our household”. It would be interesting to ask then why you want to have fun in your household although the reason seems to be logical, putting it on paper is a lot more difficult.

Let’s suppose you say “because we are human and humans need to have fun”.

The next step is to find what other things in your household are tied to “fun”. E.g. the amount of money you spend on trips, vacation, magazines, books, movies, concerts, music, gadgets, games or even your pet animal.

That total amount of “things” are apparently the requirements tied to your households goals of having “fun”, or … in a diagram:




Which you then make more complete with more steps. You can calculate the costs of each requirement. You can also calculate the amount of time you spend on each. Once you have done that you have insights in your spendings.

But discussing the individual “watches TV” is not possible without knowing the original goal. You need to prioritize the things which give you fun so you make decision on them in a later stage. Maybe some of the food you buy gives you fun but is it not really necessary to buy it for the reason of “staying healthy”. Which makes it necessary to make that actual split.

These goals you have then collected are not tied to finance alone. It is tied to other decision you make. You can also use it to make decisions on how you want to spend the time in your week.

You will see the amount of time you spend on “gain income”, and the amount of time you spend on “fun”. This will lead to insight on the next steps to take: how to improve your household on finance, time and other aspects, since you can ask “why” on any aspect of your household and then integrate it in your overall requirements diagram.

This is only a very little aspect of the household framework. There are hundreds other “building blocks”.

The fun thing is that the overall hierarchy and building blocks are the same for every household. So the next steps is to put all standard building blocks together in a household framework, which will, in time, appear on

The household framework – brainstorm on argumentation

The household framework will be the next big thing.

So how can I describe it for common people. I am just brainstorming on various amounts of different postings with different angles.

But the most simple approach is just this one: Ask “why” on everything that takes place in your household and repeat it at least five times on each answer.

This is a capability not much people have. People will get irritated. People will refrain from thinking like this. People do not want to put energy in this questions and just hang for the tv watching a soap instead of thinking of more essential questions that could improve your household.

“we need to clean out the attic”
why ? “because we bought more stuff that need a place” (this is where most people stop thinking)
why did we buy more stuff? “because they were needed in our household”
why were they needed? “because we set certain goals which resulted, at the end, in buying these things”
why did we have these goals? “because every household has these goals and we are a household”
why doesn’t have every household has this list of goals at the start? “well they are in our heads because they are logical”

Now tell me: can you describe me these goals? And if you can not why do you not want to? Why do you not want to put these on paper?

The main problem with the above is that it is impossible to ask five times “why” to each other in a household. It results in a fight. The reason for that is that you will run into essential topics within your household. Topics that you have reached a status-quo on during the years or even topics that neither want to discuss because they could involve change. And we all hate change.

You can try this experiment right away at home: just ask five times why :)

Het huishouden Framework en weerstand


Ik heb al op redelijk wat plekken discussies gevoerd rondom het household framework. En bemerk telkens weer de aloude argumenten tegen elk veranderings traject. Het is verassend om te zien hoe de argumenten op huishouden niveau totaal overeenkomen met veranderings trajecten binnen bedrijven.

Ergens begint het in een huishouden op een moment dat er zo iets te sprake komt als “zullen we een centrale agende” neerleggen, of “zullen we een budget opstellen”. Er zijn genoeg huishoudens die dit doen maar er zijn er ook die nog steeds het woord budget vreemd in oren klinkt.

Op tv zijn er programma’s te vinden waarbij families (die in de problemen zitten) een set van procedures en soms tools aangereikt wordt om hun leven weer op de rails te krijgen. Soms gaat het om puur financieele zaken zoals “maak eens een budget” (wat vaak families tot huilen brengt) en some gaat het om niet financiele zaken zoals opvoeding of koken of “de tuin”. Er zijn weet ik veel hoeveel programma’s die oftewel tips en truuks laten zien rondom een bepaald onderwerp of een iets meer structurele aanpak geven rondom een gezin.

Voor gezinnen is zo’n programma nodig omdat, zonder dat tv programma, zo’n gezin nooit er toe zou komen. Vaak is er dan een dringende noodzaak om bijvoorbeeld een budget op te stellen. Zo’n gezin komt er niet toe omdat de weerstand tegen het invoeren van een verbetering te groot is. Er kunnen veel voorbeelden gegeven worden van argumenten tegen verbetering.

Het simpelweg opnoemen van de voordelen van het hebben van een budget helpt niet. Dat is logisch. We kunnen er duizend opschrijven. Maar de weerstand overwinnen om die verandering permanent te bewerkstelligen is niet gebaseerd op logische gronden. Dat is puur mensenwerk. Dat heeft te maken met gevoel.

Voor elk gezin, ook het jouwe, zijn nieuwe stappen te maken. Als je al een budget hebt zou je kunnen denken om het digitaal te doen. Ook daar zijn weer onnoemelijk veel logische redenen voor te vinden om dat te doen maar soms is de niet reeele weerstand te groot. Als je je budget al digitaal hebt kun je denken aan verdere verbeterings slagen. Maar voor elke gezin, op dit moment is op een gegeven moment de weerstand te groot om verdere stappen te maken. Alleen als er een hele grote sense of urgency is om een stap te maken dan gebeurd het (uitzonderingen daargelaten).

Je kunt echter blijven verbeteren. Het eindpunt is er ook: een huishouden runnend op een geintegreerd household framework. Ik heb daar al enige keren over geschreven.

Ik besef echter heel goed dat de argumenten om dat niet te doen, om die stap niet te maken, gevoels kwesties zijn, zonder de argumenten hier te benoemen.

Ik denk dat een apart onderdeel van de huishouden framework zal gaan over het overwinnen van de weerstand. Voorbeelden van argumenten, ontkrachters van argumenten, lijsten van voordelen gekoppeld aan manieren om het household framework te implementeren binnen een gezin, bijvoorbeeld door wekelijks te de winst in termen van geld en/of tijd te laten  zien. Zodat een huishouden elke week merkt dat ze meer tijd hebben of geld besparen.

Enfin, een kort breinspinsel rondom de uitwerking van het household framework concept.

What happened to Cortege, the Outlook Contacts Social Network extension?

For many years now I am searching for an extension of Outlook which lets me place my contacts in hierarchies: families, companies, departments, member of social network X and so on.

Somewhere in 2006 I wrote about Cortege, which provided at least a good step in this direction by providing a visual interface to Outlook to do exactly that:


However, now that I tried to check it again it seems that the website of the product ( has gone away so I conclude that the production of the tool was stopped.

Which amazes me since I think this is the one thing which could improve the life of many people. It could become the next big thing: the graphical contact manager.

So… the last thing I see is version, what happened? Did someone woke up and bought them out?