Stratego Alive (Dutch: Levend Stratego)

One week in the Summer I work voluntary as a camp leader at a summer camp for children. Each year there are at least three summer camps for different ages. The camp accommodation is located in the Veluwe which is a forest-rich ridge of hills in the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands. Hence a lot of the activities take place inside the forest. Every camp leader organizes some games/events for the children. This year I organized four events.

The last two games I want to share with you. In this blogpost I explain the details of Stratego Alive. In another blog I will give the details about the Smuggling game.

Stratego Alive

Stratego Alive is a variation on the strategy board game Stratego. It is a running game and is to be played in the forest. The group is divided in two or more teams. All teams have their own playing field, i.e. part of the forest, in which they hide their flag, note that the flag must still be, partially, visible . The flag can be for instance a colored towel or an old ripped bed sheet with some colored paint on it. The goal of the game is to capture the flag of the opposing teams.

Every team has at least one game leader. The game leader sits on a fixed location somewhere in the part of the forest of that particular team. The game leader hands out every player a card. On the card the rank is shown and depending on the card also some extra info. The table below shows the ranks. In general it holds that the card with the highest rank wins. If a player wins the player who lost gives his card to the winning player. Both players must then return to their respective game leader, the winning player is to hand in the card of the losing player. The losing player is to obtain a new card.

Ratio Name Rank Info
1 Marshal 10 Loses against the Spy if Spy taps first.
4 General 9
5 Colonel 8
6 Major 7
7 Captain 6
8 Lieutenant 5
9 Sergeant 4
6 Miner 3 Wins against Bomb
10 Scout 2
2 Spy 1 Wins against the Marshal if Spy taps first.
6 Bomb 0 Loses against the Miner. Cannot tap anyone

The Marshal is the highest rank and wins from all other cards, except if it is tapped by the Spy. The Spy is the only character which wins from the Marshal if he taps first. It is to be noted that sometimes children fight over who tapped first regarding the Marshal and Spy, therefore the rule can also be changed such that the Marshal always losses against the Spy regardless of who taps first. The Bomb is somewhat similar to the Marshal it also wins from almost every card accept that the Bomb cannot tap other players by himself and loses against the Miner.

If the rank is equal there are two rules which one can enforce, (i) either the two players exchange cards and return to their game leader or (ii) the two players ignore each other and continue playing.

This is Stratego Alive. This game can easily be themed when the game is to be played into a certain setting, for instance, pirates. You simply change the name of the Marshal to Captain Hook, General to Jack Sparrow, et cetera.

To actually play Stratego Alive there are two required accessories and one optional.

  • required: game cards for every team (see below)
  • required: flag for every team
  • optional: sash, for identification of each team

Game cards

Click on the figure to go to the Google drawing. You can download a A4 paper sheets here with the cards in the correct ratio, to be printed on colored paper. The Dutch version can be found here. Credits regarding the graphics of the cards go to Sjoerd.

Stratego Alive - Cards



Last month I blogged about a template I made for my thesis at the Eindhoven University of Technology. It so happens that the TU/e actually has a \latex house style template for reports. It can not be found threw any public channels, such as the corporate identity webpage of the TU/e. You will have to connect to the network drive \\winstorage\MikTex\MiKTeX29\. Which is accessible from the TU/e network or threw a VPN connection. An example of the package output can be downloaded here. If you want to have the source please contact me.

For now I will just stick with my own template. The TU/e template namely generates some warnings and errors. Furthermore, it is also limited in its capabilities. Of course I can expand it, however, I do not feel the need to do that at this time.

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
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
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
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
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
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.

TU/e LaTeX Template

On the second of June, my birthday actually, I will start with my Master thesis at ASML Holding NV. ASML produces machines for the production of integrated circuits. Using their machines other companies, such as Intel, Apple, Samsung and many more, can create, for instance, CPUs, SoCs, DRAM or flash memory. But this blog post is not about my graduation at ASML actually. It is about my \LaTeX template which I created for my thesis.

The university where I study, the TU/e, does unfortunately not provide a nice \LaTeX template for their students to use. Joos Buijs actually created a kind of template à la TU/e style. However, as geeky as I am, I decided to create my own template. An example of how it looks can be downloaded here, the complete source can be downloaded here. It might be possible that you find a bug or you have a question about the template, if so, please contact me. To give you a heads-up, most likely you will not have the beautiful font MinionPro installed. If so, and you want to compile the source, you will need to remove line 590 (\figureversion{lining,proportional}%) from the class file (thesis.cls) and select one of the other fonts in the main \LaTeX file (thesis.tex).

Most features of the class will speak for themselves some might need a little explanation. The \thSupervisors command for instance can take an arbitrary number of supervisors. The input has to have the format {name} / {Affiliation}, and elements need to be separated by a comma.

{F.A.J. Rompa} / {Eindhoven University of Technology}, {D.S. Addiks} / {ASML Holding NV}, 
{J. Appelhof} / {Embedded Systems Institute}, {S.R.E. Wessel} / {Van der Lande Industries}}

The class also provides a nomenclature. Symbols are to be put in the file ./frontmatter/symbols.tex. In the file the same format is used as the \thSupervisors command accepts with an extra element, namely, {symbol} / {meaning} / {unit}. The unit can be expressed using the siunitx package. Any acronyms can be inserted in the  ./frontmatter/acronyms.tex file which has the format {acronym} / {meaning}Furthermore the class can insert a custom title page. The title page can either be a .pdf or .tex file which is set as \thTitlePageOne{pdf}{./frontmatter/titlepage.pdf}.

To create this class I used a lot of internet resources, especially the Q&A site tex.stackexchange, which is the number one spot on the internet for all \LaTeX related questions. Here follows a list of all the internet resources which I consulted.

The template is ready for use but I will most likely give it an update in the coming months. I tend to make it more robust with use of the etoolbox package instead of the ifthen package.

Almost identical

Sometimes you come across a very interesting or funny video on the internet. I have decided to occasionally post one on my blog.

The video below questions the social stigma behind chewing gum. It does this by an experiment in which two twins, with the same clothes, are placed side by side of each other in a museum. There is only one difference between them namely, one twin is chewing gum. Visitors are then asked several questions. While the outcome of this experiment would seem interesting, one has to take the experiment with a grain of salt. The experiment is namely carried out by Balten, the South American name for Trident gum, an American producer of chewing gum . Furthermore it seems that the twin who is not chewing gum is told to look miserable.

Datacoup is going out of beta

In today’s world, our personal data — location, e-mail’s, photo’s,  and anything else you produce online — is collected everywhere and at any moment. It is being saved and analyzed. Large companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple do this. They do not only use the collected personal data to provide tailor-made advertisements. It is being used to analyze our lives and predict our behavior and movements in the future. For instance, Target figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did [1,2,3]. The data-mining algorithm of Target saw that the girl was buying a specific set of products. It concluded from this that the teen girl was pregnant. Target therefore sent her coupons for baby clothes and cribs. When the father saw the coupons he demanded an explanation from Target why his daughter had received such coupons. Then the truth came out that his daughter was actually pregnant.

On 28 October 2013 there was a very interesting broadcast on the Dutch television program Tegenlicht about this topic. Since companies profit a lot from our personal data, it is questioned if people should get paid for their data and gain more control over it. It was then when I first came in contact with Datacoup. Datacoup lets people choose which personal data they sell. It is possible to connect a number of American credit card vendors and several social media websites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursqure, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, Youtube, Flickr and to Datacoup. Datacoup tries to sell the personal data either directly or trends found in it and that of others. It gives you an overview of your personal data such as your credit card spending, places you have been, age cluster of your friends and how big your data is. The images below give an impression of Datacoup in its current state.

Up to this moment Datacoup was in beta and invite only. Data which user choose to sell, was not yet being sold to actual companies but to Datacoup itself. Till now I made $10.75 with Datacoup, around $3 each month. At the end of each month users receive an e-mail with an update on how much money they made. The e-mail of the month April included an important update:

“An important update regarding payouts to users for data: The amount and structure of payments is changing. We are trying to launch the platform publicly in June. As you know, we are a cash-strapped startup, and we’ve been paying you (our users) out of our own pockets. In order to conserve cash before the launch, we will not be purchasing any user data during the month of May. In June, we will unveil a new structure for payouts to our growing user-base. Our team wants to extend our sincerest gratitude for your participation in the beta, and future participation in the fully-launched platform. There are only better things to come!”

So Datacoup is going public and data is actually going to be sold to companies. Up to this point I joined Datacoup as a personal experiment. I wonder how Datacoup is going to change and how selling your personal data will actually be implemented, works and for how much money it is sold.

Hello world!

Hello world. Often referred to as being the simplest program of a programming language, which illustrates the most basic syntax. I will abuse it, like many before, as the title of my first blog. What will I be blogging about? My tag-line says:

“About everything and nothing”

Meaning that I will blog about things that cross my mind and interest me. This arises the question: What does interest me? I am interested in technology, movies, tennis and ballroom dancing. The latter three interests are self-explanatory however, the first one is not. Technology is a very broad term, Wikipedia defines it as:

“Technology is the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a pre-existing solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function.”

Quiet a mouthful. I will narrow this down to: a gadget, a hobby project or something related to my field of expertise, Mechatronics.

Future will tell about which topics I will be blogging mostly. In the next few days I will update the about page with a introduction of myself.

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