Monthly Archives: January 2008


For over 10 years, I’ve embraced an email client..

During that timeframe, the elder VanBergen fought and conquered these demonic beasts with poise, confidence, and heavy optimism.  From the taming of Outlook express 5, to the lashing of Eudora 6.0, across the lands of Novell’s GroupWise, through the sea of Outook Professional, and finally up the hill of the Thunderbird…  Many an email clients have been fought, hacked and re-configured to do my worst biddings.

These days of yore – of olde tymes – of clients and email – are no more.

I have been using Google’s Gmail since sometime in 2004.  However, I’ve almost always used a client to download the messages via POP3.  I can’t really say why… I guess old habits die hard.  Even in the first part of this year I was using thunderbird to pull down my gmail, as well as my RSS feeds.  As Google continues to improve their products and expand their capabilities, I see more of a benefit to going “ClientLess”.  Oddly enough, it was discussions over this weekend with a couple friends (flo, vanlandw) that really got me thinking about this switch.

I now have an iGoogle home page with front page gadgets giving me access to my email, my rss feeds, and all kinds of extra content like Netflix releases, weather, calendaring, and even a pac-man game.  Now, I’ve only been using this setup for about a day now – but so far there are no downsides to absorbing electronic content in this fashion vs. a client.

Google continues to amaze me with their products, and I continue to drink the kool aid.

Google Android

I do continue to amaze myself with how truly nerdy I can be at times… For example, for the last 3 hours I have been diving into the enigma that is Google Android.

For those of you who may not know, Google Android is a mobile phone operating system and software environment. It’s all open source, based on the linux kernel, and primarily constructed with java. With all that being said, Google offers a development kit for anyone to download and use to dive into this mobile platform. And, I must say that it’s frickin’ awesome.

Google’s Dev kit includes a mobile phone emulator that launches and runs the Android environment; and for all intensive purposes it is a completely operational phone. I was blown away at how easy it is to start using the development kit. I installed Eclipse (A linux based development environment), I installed Google’s development kit, and finally I installed the Android plugins for Eclipse to build/open/run software applications.

Mainly I messed around with the phone and tried to see how Android is made. In the end I did end up writing a simple app to just output a ‘hello’ message “From Scratch” to the phone screen.

Long story short – I wish some company some where would actually release a phone that runs Android. I can’t find any information anywhere about anybody even beginning to run Android. Google’s own Android FAQ says “Nope” to the question: “Can I run Android on my current Cell phone?”. Well, somebody better get a phone out that can run it pretty fast. If interested, check out the youtube clip that shows a couple prototypes filmed by Google engineers.

Otherwise, some pics that I took of the emulator that came with Google’s SDK. I want that virtual phone. 🙁

Android Booting up…

The home screen of Android…

P4P in Android…

My stupid program in Android…

Calling Vanbergs in Android!

So you see… does it really get any nerdier than that??? I really can’t say that it does.  At any rate, it’s something to look forward to – and i’m definitely getting a phone that runs Android whenever the hell they do finally come out.

A Big Recap

The last month of 2007 was a pretty big month for me.  I got a promotion at work, the holidays came and went, and for reasons I don’t really feel like discussing – it ended up being an emotional roller coaster.

But, the end of one year and the beginning of another has got me thinking about where I am in life, and just how exactly I got here.  This Unordered lists attempts to bring to light the obvious and not-so-obvious key things that I feel have brought me to where I am today.

  • My Parents. Plain and simple, my parents are directly responsible for who I am today.  Without them, I’m not sure I would have studied in High school to get decent grades, I’m not sure I would have gone to college, I’m not sure of anything – I just cannot imagine where I would be without them.  From my father teaching me to shave and showing me how cool it is to be bald, to my mother supporting me through my first rough report card and teaching me value in hard work.  Every little bit adds up to contribute to the person I am now – which hopefully says alot about my parents.  I’ll always consider myself lucky to have them.
  • My Brother.  I am so glad I didn’t have a little sister.  There’s just something that you get out of life when your little brother is wiling to wreck whitey for you.  (p.s. nobody but Vanbergs can possibly know what that means – But it is literally “Shake n’ Bake” 15 years before Shake n’ Bake)
  • Grand Valley State University.  This is a big one.  I can distinctly remember applying to GVSU and Ferris State University.  I got accepted to both, but Ferris was always my “Plan B” if I didn’t get into GVSU for some reason.  I did get in and the first year at GVSU brought me to Robinson Hall where I built friendships that have lasted ever since.  I learned and matured alot during that first year, and it was a big turning point for me being my first year “out on my own” so to speak.  The next few years at GVSU resulted a quality education, my first I.T. job, not to mention meeting my future wife.  When I really think about it – It’s really pretty amazing how much in my life has come from choosing to attend Grand Valley State University.
  • The “Shitway”.  Not many people will truly understand what the shitway was.  But it played a very significant role in my life.  The shitway could otherwise be known as a Gateway model personal computer, my first.  It was literally a turbo charged 486 with 33 mhz of processing power (100 mhz if you pressed the TURBO button).  Right about now, the average reader is saying “What the ef does that have to do with anything at all, Vanberge?”.  Well, it sparked my interest and started me on the hobby that is computers.  My father taught me alot with that computer.  In the weeks before I moved out to attend college, he and I re-built that computer from the ground up.  We installed a hard drive, Cd ROM, RAM, and he showed me how to use boot disks to format the hard drive.  To cap it all off, we installed Windows 95 on it.  I can safely say that both my educational studies and my career choice are rooted in that computer.
  • Counter Strike.  This multiplayer online computer game showed me a whole new side of myself.  I killed hundreds of virtual people.  I was killed by hundreds of virtual people.  I screamed and cussed at people that I was CERTAIN were cheating and wall-hacking.  I bled, sweat, and cried my soul into that game for more hours than I could even begin to count.  To this day, there will never be a game that I play more than counter strike.
  • John McGovern.  The owner and “president” of the first Company I worked for after graduating from GVSU.  This man is single handedly the most complete asshole I can ever imagine dealing with.  He regularly yelled, screamed, and cussed, and overall iron-fisted the company in no particular direction.  He was responsible for an extremely hostile work environment that affected me even when I wasn’t at work.  It was a deplorable situation to be in – and it still burns my blood with raw fury and absolute malice to even recall wasting a year of my life at that hell hole.   HOWEVER – It was this man’s unfiltered assheadedness that prompted me to quit my job at an immediate rate.  I didn’t have another job lined up, and I didnt care.  All that mattered was quitting that job.  If that man hadn’t been the worst person in the entire charted universe, I might never have left that company.  Which, in turn, would mean that I would not have the job I currently do.  Hence, all the negatives add up to an extreme positive in this case.
  • Research in Motion’s “Blackberry”.  These savvy communication devices have done alot for me.  They began to gain popularity just as I was starting my current job, and I ended up being the main support person for these Blackberries.  In the beginning, I detested these devices with all fibers of all living things.  But the products have improved and they have become easier to support and deploy over time.  This might all sound insignificant, but I regularly interface with top executives and have always been able to help them with their Blackberries.  They know me by my first name, and I couldn’t say that about every other employee at our company.
  • Meijer.   Even though I don’t really shop there for anything besides food anymore, Meijer helped me build a decent starting wardrobe of shirts and ties at an affordable price.   
  • My Friends.  There’s not really any way to put 10 years of friendships into words.  But all my friendships have played a role on the person I’ve become today.  Skateboarding in our living room, stacking picnic tables 5 high, concerts, parties, uccello’s, computer labs, action movies, knockout matches, bachelor parties, heroics, billiards, Lions…  I could go on forever and it just wouldn’t be enough words.
  • My Wife.  While this isn’t much the subject for the internet – She means the world to me and has made me realize how lucky I really am.

Happy new year everyone.