Dungeons and Dragons props – Initiative tracker and dice tray

A few months ago, one of my brothers-in-law asked me if I wanted to join his first ever Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Of course I said yes! We played our few sessions now, and I have been making props to enhance game play or make things easier. In a series of a few blog posts I will outline the things I made, and provide considerations and details if you want to make them yourself. In this installment two small wood working projects: an initiative tracker and a dice tray.

Read More

Dungeon and Dragon props – Potions of Healing

A few months ago, one of my brothers-in-law asked me if I wanted to join his first ever Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Of course I said yes! We played our few sessions now, and I have been making props to enhance game play or make things easier. In a series of a few blog posts I will outline the things I made, and provide considerations and details if you want to make them yourself. In this installment: Potions of Healing.

Read More

Comet Neowise from the Scheveningen shore

When I was a kid, I had a cheap refractor telescope and was a member of my high school astronomy club. The Netherlands is, however, one of the most light polluted countries in the world, and it is not without reason that I have a mug with this comic printed on its side:

Translation: “Fokke and Sukke had risen especially early for this. What a spectacular cloud transition!” – Source: FokSuk.nl
Read More

Piano lessons via video conference

Since two weeks we are required to work from home and cancel all social events until further notice to limit the spread of SARS-Cov-2 around the world. This also means that my weekly singing lessons and piano lessons are cancelled. My teachers, however, have adapted the lessons and are now teaching remotely whenever possible via teleconferences. Read on to see how I setup to get good audio quality into the teleconference.

Read More

Tromsø: a beautiful place in Northern Norway

From 12 October – 19 October, my wife and I spent a week in Tromsø (Tromso) in Northern Norway. October is definitely not the busiest time of the year, as most tourists gravitate to either the midnight sun season or the polar night season. Moreover, October is Tromsø’s wettest month, and is notorious for its cloud coverage that hide the northern lights behind a white veil. Nonetheless, we had an amazing time visiting the city and the area. Here are our tips for a trip to this area in October.

Read More

Uniform figures styles in your thesis using Matlab

If there is one thing that I learned from writing a doctoral thesis, it is how much of a pain managing data and figures can be. For example, you may perform a simulation in year 1, an experiment in year 4, and when you write up the journal paper or the thesis chapter in which you compare the two, you need to fetch the right figures and have them look professional, printable, and preferably in a uniform style. Moreover, the figures need to be adaptable to different uses, such as poster presentations, a conference talk or a printed publication. In this article, I will outline the method I have developed for myself for achieving this in Mathworks Matlab and LaTeX.

Read More

A visit from St. Nick

With a modest home recording studio at my disposal and so far no time to really use it, I felt I should do some Christmas greetings in audible format. I ended up recording “A visit from St. Nick”, also known as ” ‘Twas the night before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore / Henry Livingston Jr.

Read More

Setting up a home studio for podcasting

For a few years now I have been thinking of doing something with audio. It was Isabel Curdes on Twitter that set the right example by making audio versions of her blog posts as a trial that triggered me to actually start doing it. I want to set up a podcast / audio blog about things that interest me. There will probably not be an overarching topic other than that. 

Read More

How to clean up your Twitter feed from politics?

Over the past years, I’ve been active on Twitter and been part of the analog photography community on that platform. Unfortunately, my Twitter feed has changed from being photography dominated to being polluted by American and US politics. I was about to leave Twitter for a while, when Craig Pindell suggested I just block out the words related to posts I don’t want to see. This seems to work pretty well. Quite a few people have asked me for the list of words I block out, so here it is.

Read More

Installing BEM++ from source

During my PhD, I implemented a Python+BEM++ alternative of the SCUFF-EM code for the fluctuating surface current formalism for near-field radiative heat transfer.

The developers of BEM++ are very active and maintain the code very well. They also try to make the installation of the framework as easy as possible, and release a Docker installer for Windows, MacOS and Linux. Unfortunately, this cannot be used on the computing cluster of Delft University of Technology, because of the lack of root permissions.

The system administrators do not support installing third party software, so I had to go the long way round and do a complete installation from source code myself. From the Google group for BEM++ it seems more people want to run the code under similar circumstances. Below you will find the steps I took to get BEM++ installed on our cluster, and solutions for problems I ran into. You will probably not be able to just copy the steps one-by-one, but I hope it may serve as inspiration to get it going in your environment. A bit of knowledge about linux and compiling will help you a lot.

Read More