Jasper's blog on whatever takes his fancy
I am Jasper Sprengers, all-round software developer on the JVM (Java, Scala, Kotlin), currently with Ilionx working at ASML as Scrum Master and developer. On this blog I write about anything that fascinates me about the craft of building software, among other topics that tickly my fancy. I don’t do social media, but you can find me at LinkedIn.

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Rating 5000 photos in one weekend


I recently breathed new life into my photography hobby, treating myself to a Nikon Z6 full-frame mirrorless camera, with two new lenses. I also took out an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, which comes with Photoshop and Bridge. While no photo management software is ideal, Bridge allows you to rate your images with a one-to-five star system. Somehow I had never got round to giving my 5.500 digital photos of 17 years the jury treatment, finding the task too daunting and not very useful.

However, rating your own work can be a worthwhile exercise. It’s satisfying to go back now and again and note your progress. Then the obvious question for a proper geek becomes: what criteria do I use to assign a rating? Here’s what I decided on:

  • Roughly 80% of my photos gets three stars. They are of average quality. Going through a screenful of unrated previews, I will batch-apply three stars with a single click.
  • Five star photos are the ones I like to have professionally printed and framed (given enough money and wall space). They also include images of particular personal or emotional value that needn’t even be good in a technical or artistic sense. Simply the stuff I would be sad to lose.
  • Four star pics are better than average, but don’t quite make it to the top league.
    When in doubt, be generous at first. When you come back later you can always downvote the fives to four and the fours to three.
  • Two stars is what I typically assign in batch to a series which has little emotional value or technical/artistic merit but that I nevertheless want to keep around: backstage photos of a theater rehearsal or the fifty snaps I took when moving house.
  • I don’t give out one star. Anything that deserves less than two stars goes into the trash. Not worth keeping.

I found this system very quick and comfortable to work with. The five stars I usually already recognize when I press the shutter. It’s only the four star pictures I have to ponder for more than a few seconds.

Looking at my efforts of the last seventeen years, I’m happy to observe progress. There are far fewer four and five stars among those earlier years, but that is only because I rated them as my slightly more experienced self. As I gain experience I also expect to become more critical. It will be fun to go through earlier years and see what gets downvoted and ultimately binned.

The Brecon Canal near Crickhowell (Wales), 2013. Lighting could have been better, but composition is pretty good, given my skills at the time.

De gedoemde Corona App


De rijksoverheid geeft de aftrap om in sneltreinvaart een grootschalig uit te rollen softwareproduct te laten ontwikkelen om de nu al ontwrichtende coronapandemie in te dammen. Alle goede argumenten dat dit nooit kan werken zullen niet gaan helpen. De grote uurtje-factuurtje partijen van IT-land krijgen een blanco cheque voor een bij voorbaat gedoemd project.

De technocratische straigh-to-code mentaliteit die ik maar al te vaak ervaar in mijn dagelijkse werk wordt hier weer eens pijnlijk duidelijk. Eerst duidelijk omschrijven welke behoefte we met de software willen vervullen en testbare acceptatiecriteria formuleren is geen hinderlijke onderbreking van het eigenlijke programmeerwerk. Het maakt het verschil tussen doing the right thing en doing things right.

Just another reason to avoid hibernate – revisited


My previous love affair with Scala has cooled a little since I discovered Kotlin, which is my language of choice for new projects. However, I did produce a light-weight Scala library at the time to make JDBC queries easy and transparent, with a gentle learning curve and a minimum of boilerplate. Recently I brushed up a little and upgraded the dependencies. You can find it on my gitlab. (more…)

The future won’t be anything like 1984: it could be even worse


In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighy-Four, English Socialism (Ingsoc) has created the mother of all police states and turned proud England into a wretched wasteland. Suppression and retribution are as brutal as the neglect of people’s well-being is callous. Everyone is a slave but for a tiny elite of Inner Party members. The Party exists only to grow more powerful and its sole purpose and expression of this power is to make people suffer. It is personified by Big Brother, whose image stares you in the face at every street corner. Yet he never appears in public and we can’t be certain he even exists. Everywhere you are watched. Every passer-by, every co-worker could be an agent of the Thought Police. Rumour has it they can read the tiniest involuntary twitches in your face that could betray anti-revolutionist thoughts, as if they can look right inside your brain. Fear is constant and daily life an exhausting struggle to toe the line.

John Hurt as Winston Smith and Richard Burton as O’Brien in Michael Radford’s adaptation (1984)


Programmeren met passie? Please!


Peter de Wits laatste Sigmund column kwam als geroepen deze zaterdag. Ik liep al langer met het idee om eens af te rekenen met het grootste jeukwoord van de afgelopen jaren. Ik hoop dat de Volkskrant deze trouwe abonnee en Sigmund fan dit fair use toestaat…

Peter de Wit in de Volkskrant van 4 aug 2018


Jasper's blog on whatever takes his fancy

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Jasper on twitter

Catching thought criminals in Orwell's analogue dictatorship was time-consuming and ineffective. A.I. will fix all that. Protecting our democratic values has never been more urgent than now. New blog post. https://t.co/tfHNdhGD90
h J R
I expect Mars to be successfully colonized long before we have flawless PDF to Word conversion.
h J R
Don’t tout #kotlin conciseness as a unique selling point. Concise does not equate understandable and if concise is all you care about you should just stick to Scala.
h J R
Hilfiger gives ‘smart dress’ a whole new meaning with new tracking chip. https://t.co/OeB4NEbVQI
h J R
ATDD is really different. Think of it as All Tests Drive Development. New blog post. https://t.co/J7uyHmCXFf
h J R