Simyo – Vriendendeal

Simyo is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which is active in several countries. Namely, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and Spain. Simyo, as a MVNO, does not own any network infrastructure. In the Netherlands it uses the infrastructure of KPN. KPN is namely its parent company. Furthermore the company has no offices and solely operates by using the internet.

I joined Simyo in august 2013. Because I wanted to switch to a SIM-only subscription, since my phone, from my previous subscription, was still working fine. From my invoices I figured out that I did not call or text that much. I spent around +/-70 minutes calling or texting and around +/- 600 MB of internet traffic. For this reason I decided that I only needed a subscription which could offer 100 min/sms with 1000 MB internet traffic for a reasonable price. After searching and searching for a subscription, I came across Simyo. I then decided to join Simyo for the following reasons.

  1. It was the cheapest (it really was, my subscription is 13 euro’s, I should note however that it nowadays is 14 euro’s)
  2. It was already at that time, called one of the best providers in the Netherlands by a non-profit organization which promotes consumer protection, the “consumentenbond“.
  3. It uses the KPN network, which, by reputation, is know to be very reliable

A while ago my parents told me that they needed a new mobile subscription and they asked me if I could be of help. Since I am a happy Simyo customer, I advised to go for a subscription at Simyo. At the same time Simyo had started an advertising campaign, called the “Vriendendeal” or in English “Offer for friends”. This campaign was about getting existing customers to tell friends to join Simyo. As an existing Simyo customer it was made possible to start your own shop. If people would then register for a Simyo subscription, using your shop, both the shop owner and the subscriber would earn 10 euro discount on theirs subscription fee.

Naturally my parents did obtain a Simyo subscription using my shop. A few days later my brother also called me, if I could be of help with his mobile subscription. Again, I pointed him to my Simyo shop. Because of these three subscriptions my shop, apparently, was one of the best in attracting new customers towards Simyo. For this reason Simyo asked me, as well as a few others, who also ranked high in selling subscriptions, if they could put a link to my Simyo shop on their main website. I replied that I did not had any objection, however I was skeptical since I thought “oh well, I guess my link just appears somewhere at the bottom of the webpage, but everything is better than nothing.”. The nice thing was, was that I was completely wrong. Namely on Sunday, the 13th of September, the Simyo website looked as follows.

Appearance of the Simyo on the 13th of September 2014.
Appearance of the Simyo on the 13th of September 2014.

They actually had removed the links to their own subscription form and replaced it with a link to my Simyo shop. When I saw it I was really exited. At the end of the day a total of 36 people ordered a subscription at Simyo using my shop. Of those 36, 12 people also activated their SIM card which did boil down to 120 euro’s in discount. As you can imagine I was, and am still, very happy because of this. It is for this reason and the fact that I am just a happy customer at Simyo, I wrote this blog. To thank them for putting my shop on their main website.

In the end I managed to obtain 160 euro’s in discount. Below is the list, I removed the names for privacy reasons.

Testimonial Master’s program TU/e Systems & Control

In November 2013 I was asked by the PR of the Mechanical Engineering department of the TU/e to write a story about myself and how I perceived the master Systems & Control. It would be used as a testimonial on the TU/e website. In the end only a part of my full story was incorporated, below is the full-text which I submitted.

TUe - Testimonial
Testimonial on the TU/e website.

Hello, my name is Wouter Geelen. Currently I am following the Master Systems & Control at the Eindhoven University of Technology. First I will tell you something about why I decided for the Master System & Control, then something about how I experience the Master track and what currently keeps my life occupied.

When I was finished with my Bachelor in Mechatronics (HBO) it was clear to me that I wanted to continue studying. Choosing at which University I wanted to do my Master was a really easy choice for myself for 2 main reasons. Firstly, since I was raised in a small town in the province of Limburg and did not yet wanted to drift off to far from my roots and secondly I did two years of my Bachelor in Germany near Düsseldorf and at that time I still went regularly to Germany to visit friends. Therefor I decided that the University in Eindhoven was best the best choice. However, choosing the master was a really hard and difficult decision. After a Bachelor in Mechatronics there are several possible Masters which you can choose from. In my case there were basically two options: i) Embedded Systems or ii) Systems & Control.

During my graduation project for my Bachelor I created a double inverted pendulum (video) which would be a typical project for students from Systems & Control, but with the knowledge at that time it was a difficult problem for myself. However, I successfully completed the project. After a lot of talking with my former teachers and a graduate from Systems & Control, who helped me with my graduation project, I decided to start with the Master Embedded Systems and that I would choose several Systems & Control courses in my free electives. When you come from a University of Applied Sciences you will have to do a pre Master first, before you can actually start with the “real” Master. I did the pre Master of Embedded Systems, it had a lot of fun and interesting courses. After I finished the pre Master and had started with the real Master it started nagging me that the control courses which I wanted to do for my electives where really hard because of a knowledge gap. Furthermore, the master Embedded Systems also focused really on energy-efficient chip design which I really did not find interesting at all. I am the type of person which just wants to pick a chip from the shelve after which I work my magic on it. For those two reasons I decided to switch to Systems & Control. Luckily most of the courses of the pre Master of Systems & Control where the same as the pre Master of Embedded Systems so I finished it quickly. Furthermore, after asking the examination board of Systems & Control for permission, I could take 3 courses from Embedded Systems with me to the Systems & Control. So luckily that detour of half a year Embedded Systems was not a complete waste.

The core program of Systems & Control covers really all the basics about control engineering and the whole cycle of model based design. There are very theoretical courses but also very practical courses, which, I think is perfect for a University of Technology. You can then namely apply what you learnt in your theoretical courses in your practical courses. You also have a lot of freedom in choosing your electives: i) there are a lot of elective courses from which you can choose from and ii) if there is a course which you really like but is unfortunately not on the list then, if you have good arguments, you can ask the examination board for permission. Which I did as you have read earlier.

For a lot of courses you have to work together with another student or a group of students. Which is nice since most students in System & Control all have a different background, as well in study, as in culture. As such groups get really mixed up, which is good for learning how to work with a very diverse group of people. Also all the Professors excel in their field of expertise, they really challenge you during college. Since the TU/e is a small University you really get to know them and can almost always ask them anything if you don’t understand something. So the distance between you as a student and the Professor is really small.

Inside the master Systems & Control there are several specialization groups. At first I did choose for the Hybrid Systems group. However , during the summer they did merge with the Control Systems Technology group, which made them one of the strongest groups at the TU/e and one of the strongest in control theory worldwide. The reason why I did choose for this group is very simple. During my graduation presentation of the double inverted pendulum I was asked if I could compute the best possible transition between the two controllers. The system namely consisted out of two controllers one for bringing the pendulum in upwards position and one for stabilizing it. At that time I could not answer that question yet, but now and thanks to the help of Hybrid Systems, which combines continuous and discrete systems, I can answer that question! Which makes me feel kind of proud of myself.

Nowadays I am busy with a literature survey about several Matlab toolboxes which help in analyzing and simulation of systems in which wireless networks are involved. Wireless networks are namely increasingly more being used for control systems. To give an example where one could have used a wireless network inside a control system is my double inverted pendulum, namely at the encoder where the two pendulums meet. In that case the encoder at the connection of the two pendulums is not wired anymore. Wireless networks however bring all kind of nasty behavior with them which influences the stability of the system. Furthermore, wireless networks combined with control systems are still hard to analyze mathematically. Therefore there are still a lot of open questions to be answered around this subject.

Motorola Moto G

Recently my Samsung Galaxy SII passed away. So I started looking for a new mobile. I was always very pleased with the capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy SII and did not see the need to obtain a mobile with more capabilities. In my search I came across the LG Nexus 5 (320 euro) and the Motorola Moto G (207 euro) as a replacement. Here is a specification list of my old phone and the two candidate replacements.

Samsung Galaxy SII Motorola Moto G LG Nexus 5
Operating system
Mobile operating system Android Android Android
Version 4.1 4.4 4.4
Display
Diagonal 4,27″ 4,5″ 4,95″
Resolution 800×480 1280×720 (HD Ready 720p) 1920×1080 (Full HD 1080p)
Input method Touchscreen Touchscreen Touchscreen
Display type Super Amoled Plus LCD LCD
Multitouch Yes Yes Yes
Touchscreen Capacitive Capacitive Capacitive
Hardware
System-on-a-chip Samsung Exynos Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974)
Number of cores Dual Core Quad Core Quad Core
Clock speed 1,2 GHz 1,2 GHz 2,26 GHz
Internal memory 1 GB 1 GB 2 GB
Storage memory 16 GB 16 GB 16 GB
Memory card (mobile) microSD, microSDHC  –  –
Sim card Standard Micro Micro
Camera
Resolution back 8 MP 5 MP 8 MP
Resolution front 2 MP 1,3 MP 1,3 MP
Autofocus Yes Yes Yes
Flash Single led Single led Single led
Resolutie camcorder 1920×1080 (Full HD 1080p) 1280×720 (HD Ready 720p) 1920×1080 (Full HD 1080p)
Stabilization Digital stabilization  – Optical stabilization
Connections
Mobile networks edge, gprs, hsdpa, hspa, hspa+, hsupa, lte, umts edge, gprs, hsdpa, hspa, hsupa, umts edge, gprs, hsdpa, hspa, hspa+, lte, umts
Frequency range (mobile) 850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz , 1900MHz , 2100MHz 850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz , 1900MHz , 2100MHz 800MHz, 850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz , 1900MHz , 2100MHz , 2600MHz
Connection (wlan) 802.11 (onb. type), 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n 802.11a, 802.11ac, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n
Bluetooth-version 3.0 4.0 4.0
Other wireless communication Near Field Communication (NFC)  – Near Field Communication (NFC)
Mobile connector 3.5 mm, micro-USB, digital TV-out 3.5 mm, micro-USB 3.5 mm, micro-USB
GPS Yes Yes Yes
Battery
Talk time 8 h  No data 17 h
Stand-by time 610 h  No data 300 h
Capacity 1.650 mAh 2.070 mAh 2.300 mAh
Type Li-Ion Li-Ion Li-Ion
Physical characteristics
Model Bar Bar Bar
Housing (water/shockproof)  – Splashproof  –
Weight 116 g 143 g 130 g
Length 125 mm 130 mm 137,8 mm
Width 66 mm 66 mm 69,2 mm
Depth 8 mm 11,6 mm 8,6 mm
Color Black Black Black

After reading several reviews about the Nexus 5 and the Moto G on the Dutch technology site Tweakers, I decided to choose for the Moto G. The Moto G had come out pretty well out of the reviews and it has about the same technical specifications as the Samsung Galaxy SII as can be seen from the list above. Of course the Nexus 5 has better specifications but, as I mentioned, I was always satisfied about the Galaxy SII and did not deem the difference in price, 113 euro, worth it. My main priority was that all the apps that I use run seemingly smoothly.

Now that I have the Moto G in my possession for a while I can say that for now I think it is a really good replacement of my Galaxy SII. Both the speed and display are good in my opinion. One of the things I really like, compared to my old mobile, is that it — almost — runs stock android. Hence there is very less bloatware compared to the Galaxy SII — because of this I actually installed the custom rom CyanogenMod, but this maybe of importance in case you do not want to install a custom rom on your mobile because of warranty issues. Furthermore, I like the rubber mat back cover, it is really simple and feels sturdy.  Something what I do not like are the buttons, power and volume. To me they do not look very sturdy. This is mainly caused by the fact that they can be wiggled a lot, from my impression, in the housing. We will see if they cause some problems in the future. For now I am really glad that I did buy this mobile.  Below are some pictures of the Moto G when I received it.

Along with the Moto G I bought six screen protectors and an Orzly wallet case, see pictures below. While I am satisfied with the screen protectors, the Orzly wallet case turned out to be a pig in a poke. Firstly the the it seems to be too thin. The back and the front are made of one piece of leather. When the case is closed there is miss alignment with the begin and end. When we lay down the case on top of the table, it does not close by itself. It hovers with a certain angle, also indicating it is too thin. This is even shown more when you have two cards in it. The two card stocks inside the case are also matter of concern. It is hard to get a card in the card stock. You really need to apply pressure to put a card in. When it is used more frequently this might improve. However, I think that the binding of the leather from the card stocks will not hold very long when they are used on a daily basis. Luckily I did not throw my real wallet away yet but I will restart my search for a better casing.

— Update, 2014-06-24 —

I found out that the Orzly Wallet Case was positively reviewed in a video on youtube. I then decided to create, in my opinion, a more fairer video review. I try to point out the positive sides of the case but also to the negative ones. This is the first video review I created.