Something easy: the meaning of life

Many people wonder: what is the meaning of life? Books have been written about it. By humans. But if you want to figure out what the meaning of life is, you should ask an animal. For example: a lion. Or a Rabbit. Now, what does a lion do to fill his life? Not much, really. The lion loiters in the sun until the lioness has brought him something to eat. Sometimes they seem to fight or do something to get new pups next year. But that's about it. There have been lions for much longer than humans, so apparently what the lion does to fill in his life is enough to get a long track record in history.

Now, how about the rabbit? What does the rabbit do? It lives underground in a den and produces lots of offspring. It's not known that rabbits have paid a large contribution to quantum mechanics. Still, the species has been around for quite some time and there are no signs that they are about to turn extinct.

If you combine all of this and watch at the lion and the rabbit, you see that they fill their time with having fun. Playing with the pups. Playing with the other gender. Fighting with the other males. Nothing complicated. Just having fun. Just playing.

In a nutshell, that's what life is about: having a good time. You'll be dead much longer than you were alive. So enjoy the time you have.
Now, having fun is a broad concept. For the stock market broker, having fun comes close to wrecking his colleagues by outsmarting them. The businessman might get a warm feeling by squeezing people that need his services, thereby stealing all of their money. And of course we have the engineer, who feels best when he has outsmarted his fellow engineer by making a minor improvement to an old machine. The engineer will not make money out of it. He just wants to prove his mind is higher than matter.

I'm an engineer. I need money to survive in the west. But it's just a tool. A means to get some things done. Or to buy parts. But my drive is making things for a euro when it costs 2 euro in the shop. When done it has not given me the remanining euro. I only had the single euro to spend! It's just the feeling that I got when outsmarting the businessman: I did it myself and I was better off in the end. And I learned something!

About the Engineeris Vulgaris

As I told in the main page: I have a lot of interests. Most of them involve some kind of mathematics. Or at least some tools. That's the engineer in me. Or beter: that's me. Being an engineer is nice. You live in your own world and it is not uncommon to be surrounded by fellow engineers. The lot of us want to make, to create, to set a footprint. And we want to have a good time doing so.
For an engineer, engineering comes close to playing. It is a creative task. You need to come up with something new to tackle a problem that may be quite old. This may require some serious puzzling. How does it work? Why did the other guy come up with this mechanism? Why so difficult? Why so serious?

Let's put some smile on that face!

Let's put some smile on that face! That's what the Joker told in 'The dark knight'. In this movie, The Joker is a kind of evil engineer. He speaks softly, but carries a big stick. His plans have a reach of several days (instead of years ahead, for the carreer hunters). Batman is predictable. Almost boringly. The Joker comes up with something completely different. The Joker is a man who wants to have fun in his life. He's in charge of the situation.

In fact every engineer has more of The Joker in himself than of a Batman. If your plans reach out too far, you may get trapped in the quicksand ahead. If you're not prepared to make sudden turns when the situation demands so, better turn into a dentist. Or a politician. We walk the line. But if the line curves, don't expect us to follow the bend.

What I appreciate in the Joker character is:

Where it all comes together

This site, affectionately called 'fruttenboel', is a businessmans nightmare. Lots of ideas. Lots of projects. Lots of (false) starts. Lots of lost money. But that's a narrow minds approach. It's also a kind of Batman approach. Is it a coincidence that Bruce Wayne is ruthless businessman in public and an avenger at night? I guess not. His mind is about getting things straight and making money.

We, the engineers, are more or less the silly cousins of the Joker. We are the guys with the ideas. We are the guys that make the plans. We create the nuclear reactors. We put men on the moon. Our plans were short scoped. We need to be unpredictable.

All of this can be found back in this website. If I come up with an idea, I put it online. The business man can now steal it. And if that makes him happy, it makes me happy as well!
If you can complete my software faster than I can, please do so! If that's what gives you a nice feeling, it makes me happy as well. I'm not in for the competition. I'm in for the creation.

On Fruttenboel you will find some finished projects (not too many, believe me!) and a lot of unfinished. Within a project is a timeline. Many websites present finished projects. There's a clickable link in a navigator frame and when you click it, you see the end result. As if it came from a businessman.
Not here. I start with the idea, the concept. Next I present the options I have and you see the progress. I show you my successes. And my quicksand. See me get out of it. I present circuit boards, design goals, software development in finite steps. I think aloud. It seems that this is one of very few webpages to do so.

Why do I think aloud? Why do I present my ideas, concepts, dead ends, failures and sometimes even my success? I don't know. I think I'm just a Joker.

The real reason of course is that I consider this my kind of fun. I play on the internet. It's the meaning of my life. And it's also to show that being an engineer may be funny but it's also difficult. Ideas don't grow on trees. Following this site, you will find out that programming is NOT easy. It is NOT simple. And I urge you to find it out yourself. Become that engineer. And then, after some years, find out whether you're more like a Joker or a Batman....

Page created on 18 September 2008 and