Geen ongewenste reclame

Je krijgt op een jaar nogal wat direct-in-de-papierbak reclame binnen. Ik ben in mijn gemeente (Grimbergen) op zoek gegaan naar de “Geen Reclame” sticker, maar zowel het postkantoor als het gemeentehuis konden me niet verder helpen. Ik heb dan maar online gezocht naar de juiste oplossing voor een reeks ongewenste reclame bronnen:

Status page for telecom/internet providers

My mobile provider Telenet had a partial outage today. Sometimes calls would go though, sometimes not. Same things with SMS and 3G. I wanted to check if there was a page I could check to see if it was just for me, just for that location on globally in Belgium. You know, a proper status page like Google and Apple have. Or in Belgium, like Combell. It appears Telenet has one, but it’s for the Internet division. They also have a Twitter account that is well followed up. How does this compare to the other providers? Here is an overview of who offers what:

Mobile Telephony/Data

Belgacom Proximus

Mobistar

Telenet (on Mobistar network)

Base (part of KPN)

Mobile Vikings (on Base network)

Broadband Internet

Belgacom

Telenet

Scarlet (part of Belgacom)

Kudos to http://www.ionasj.com/welk-netwerk-voorziet-de-beste-dekking/

Company cars in Belgium: your new taxes

January 2012 marks the beginning of a new calculation of the ‘Benefit in kind’ – the value an employee is calculated to get from a company car. It has a big effect on your taxes. Do you pay taxes in Belgium? Do you have a company car? Read on!

The actual formula can be found here: Arval: Benefit in kind (FR: Avantage de toute nature / NL: Voordeel van alle aard). I simulated this for my own car (Saab 9.3 Cabrio from 2005). It’s clear I need to sell it ASAP. Then I started calculating some other ‘common’ company cars to see what car to buy next. A hybrid? Diesel? Start-stop? So here are some numbers for the ‘cheap’ cars:

 

VVA: goedkope autos

And because you’re right to worry about your company Range Rover:

VVA: dure autos

Conclusions

  • There is a minimum benefit: 1200€/year. Some cars would have been able to go lower than that, like some electric/hybrid ones, the Volvo V40, the Audi A3, the Smart, but no, you are still going to be taxed for those 1200. 1200, so the state considers you to make 100€/month more.
    Concretely: for an electric car, you are going to be taxed as if it costed 30.000€. For the most economic petrol/diesel car: as if it costs 21.818€. If your company has 22K to spend on a car, use it. You can’t save on your tax filing anyway.
  • Accessories and options: they are also taken into account for the price of your car. The leather seats, the GPS pack, the xenon lights… They all count.
  • CO2 coefficient is important, but don’t overdo it. The treshold for petrol (benzine) cars is 115 g/km, and for diesel it’s 95 g/km. You pay more if it’s worse, but you don’t pay less if it’s better.
    For diesel cars: stay under 115 g/km. For petrol cars, stay under 130.
  • Electric cars: you would be surprised. Apart from the Renault Twizzy, which is more of a toy, there are not that many options, and you’re not even sure of the minimum benefit. If the car costs more than 30K, you’re screwed. Hybrid cars: if they cost more than 22K, you will feel it.
  • SUVs: if you have a big SUV (BMW X5, Mercedes M, Porsche Cayenne) or a big jeep (Landcruiser, Pajero), you’re gonna feel the pain. Nissan Qashqai, Toyota RAV4, not so much.
  • Second hand: there is a discount for the age of your car: 6% per year, with 5 years max. So if your car is 6 to 25 years old (after which it becomes an old-timer), the state will take into account 70% of the price it was bought for the first time. But if you bought it second hand? You might buy a 2 year old car for 50% of the price, but it will still be counting for 88% of the price-for-a-new-one. Concretely: if you buy a second hand Maserati, don’t buy it in the company.
  • Super cars“. I know you love to watch Top Gear and dream about that Lamborghini, but I’m guessing that has become something even more of the happy few. If you buy/lease it as a company car, you will bleed in your personal taxes. 20K for that Porsche Carrera (so you will pay +- 50% of that in taxes). 10K for that Range Rover.

As far as I understand it, this is for new ànd second-hand cars, bought or leased by a company for a manager or employee. Let’s wait until some accountants come up with new schemes for expensive cars.

In the mean time: what individual wants to buy a Saab Cabrio?

“I will you in the night” – Idool 2003

At the Pixagogo reunion dinner the other evening, I was reminded by one of my ex-colleagues Steven (‘Beukie‘) that back in 2003 I was having some fun with remixes/mashups. More specifically, I took some vocals of the Belgian “Idool 2003” preselections, and added music to them. To make the exercise more fun, I took samples from the ones that were really musically challenged.

So I went back in my archives and here are the three that I found:

  • “I will you in the night”
    Marnik had translated a Flemish song, into his own ‘impoverisation’, as he proudly announces. Unfortunately, the Dutch “Ik wil je” (I want you) does not normally translate into the English “I will you“.

    I also found back the original clip on Youtube (via partybrigade):
  • “But if I let you go”
    This ‘Pieter’ was officially called the worst candidate by the jury, and that decision is not impossible to understand. He had no tone, no rhythm and bad English. “There snow one like you!” He needed a lot of input of Madonna to make it bearable.
  • “Killing me softly”
    She was not that bad a singer, but her timing was awful. I remember having to cut and trim a lot to align her words to a steady beat. I made it a slow jazzy version with a lot of echo.

Out of that edition of Idool came Hadise, Brahim and Natalia, so it wasn’t all that bad. Still, there was also the girl with the wobbly hands:

Krantenkoppen op popnuuz.com

Een tijdje geleden merkte ik dat krantenkoppen.be verdwenen was. Ik gebruikte die site regelmatig om een overzicht te krijgen van wat er in de kranten beweegde bewoog die dag, “wat ik gelezen zou moeten hebben”. Na enkele weken dacht ik: nou dan maak ik hem gewoon zelf, maar beter. Dus ik begon te experimenteren met het importeren van RSS feeds en het opvangen van het klikken op artikels zodat ik “populaire artikels” kon tonen. De eerste versie was nogal traag dus ik stak er op verschillende niveaus ‘caching‘ in, en de uiteindelijk goed werkende versie staat nu online:

belgie.popnuuz.com – overzicht van Belgische krantenartikels

Krantenkoppen: belgie.popnuuz.com

Ik heb mijn inspiratie getrokken uit zowel krantenkoppen.be als popurls.com . Je ziet een korte inhoud van het artikel als je over de link gaat met je muis (‘mouse-over‘) zodat je beter kan beslissen of je het artikel wil lezen of niet. Er is een splitsing op topics: zowel inhoudelijk (binnenland/buitenland/economie/…) als geografisch (per provincie), en per categorie wordt er een top 50 bijgehouden, alsook een globale top 50. Hoe meer mensen de site gebruiken als nieuwsoverzicht en doorklikken naar artikles, hoe waardevoller de Populaire Artikels in Belgie – belgie.popnuuz.com/pop link wordt.

De bronnen zijn, naast de kranten, ook de tijdschriftten (Knack/Trends) en enkele websites (Clint, Brusselblogt/Gentblogt). De URL laat vermoeden dat er ook een franstalige versie kan komen, en dat is dan ook correct. Ik ben nu nog bezig met het verzamelen van  de juiste RSS feeds daarvoor.

Check het eens uit!

Procreate to win a car

Dodge: baby made on board

I’m getting old, I guess. This ad campaign annoys me. For those who don’t understand Dutch: if you take a Dodge Journey for a test-drive on the Father’s Day weekend, and make a baby on the back seat, then you have a chance of winning a car.

First off: it’s borderline immoral. There can be several reasons to have children, but winning a car shouldn’t be a motivation. Having children is quite a big thing. To make it into a gamble with a prize, feels wrong.

Secondly: the logistics. I can imagine they won’t require the couples to stay in the showroom with the car to perform the act, but where do you park? Side of the road? Public parking? In the garage at home? You’d need to live close enough to a garage. And what about the activities that happened in the car before you entered? What’s that smell? Is that a … on the backseat? OMG! Never mind, baby, we only have an hour, hurry! Close your eyes and think of off-road adventures.

And then the criterium for winning: the baby that’s closest to 8 March 2009 wins. I can imagine some future parents instructing their gynaecologist to have the birth on exactly that date. There’s a possibility for a 20K euro car, so if the baby has to come prematurely, then that’s just how it’s gotta be. And if you have 3 babies born on 8 March, that’s all equally ‘close’, right? Who will be chosen? The one that was born the closest to 12AM? (“Nurse, can, you change that hour of birth? Like one hour later, say 11.53AM?“)

For me this is a campaign thought out on the back of a napkin after a bit too much of alcohol. It should have stayed on that napkin.

DrupalPress: Matt vs Dries

On my left side: Matt Mullenweg:

  • Matt was born in 1984 in Houston, Texas.
  • Amongst other things (see below) Matt is a passionate photographer.
  • In Jan 2003, unhappy with the capabilities of B2/Cafelog, he starts with the development of what will grow to be the hottest blog platform software around: WordPress.
  • In October 2004 he moves from Houston to San Francisco to work for CNET on, amongst other things, WordPress.
  • In October 2005, he leaves CNET too concentrate on WordPress and also launches Akismet, a (comment/trackback) spam detection platform (with plugins for e.g. WordPress).
  • In November 2005 Matt launches WordPress.com, the (free) hosted WordPress provider.
  • In Dec 2005 Matt annouces the creation of AutoMattic, the company behind WordPress.com, Akismet.
  • Matt is cited as #16 on PCWorld’s list of “50 Most Important People on the Web”

At my right hand: Dries Buytaert:

I especially like the ‘spam detection’ detail. If this is the main concern of two of the leading CMS platforms, you can imagine spam is a real problem.

If we extrapolate on the previous similarities, we could expect:

  • something like Drupal.com – a freemium hosted Drupal provider. The free version gives you an instant xyz.drupal.com site with some standard themes (layouts) and plugins. If you want your own domain, or a custom layout, you will have to pay.
  • a Mollom plugin for WordPress – because there is already an Akismet plugin for Drupal
  • WordPress starts releasing ‘distributions’: a special version for e.g. NGO’s, for schools, for music groups. This distribution will contain the latest core of WordPress with some plugins, themes, widgets, pages … pre-installed.

In any case, I admire both guys and hope they continue to successfully lead some of the most promising web software platforms around.

Brudio Stussel : Studio Brussel vs Tien om te Zien

Brudio Stussel: 't Hof van Commerce Studio Brussel wordt 25 jaar en viert dat met een week ‘alles op zijn kop’. Ze lanceren “Brudio Stussel” van 25 maart tot 1 april met een geweldige campagne van de Mortierbrigade. Bruno Vanden Broecke speelt een Tien-om-te-zien producer die probeert de ruwe kantjes af te schaven van ‘t Hof van Commerce (“Zeg ekji oe loatist“) en Belgian Asociality (“Da’k et morgen ga doen“). Heerlijk!


Brudio Stussel: ‘t Hof van Commerce
Continue reading Brudio Stussel : Studio Brussel vs Tien om te Zien

Dag van de download

Dag Van De Download

Met deze actie willen wij een statement maken: stilstand is achteruitgang. De toestand op de Belgische markt dient te veranderen. De gebruikers willen van de datalimieten af, meer concurrentie en betere tarieven voor hun breedband-internet.
Dag van de download

Dit zijn de beste prijzen per GB in Belgie:
Breedband in Belgie: prijs per GB

En dit zijn de meest frappante gevallen van belachelijke data limieten:
Breedband in Belgie: volume rapst op