Asked Questions (AQ)

The following sections discuss a variety of questions that I have been asked and would like to elaborate on.

The answer of life, the universe and everything?

Even though Deep Thought was quite concise with the answer of 42, the full answer is quite a bit more elaborate than just that.

I love traveling, reading, hiking, biking, skiing, swimming, scuba diving and generally being outdoor as a contrast to watching pixels fly over the screen. Sometimes I am able to combine these even though most computer screens are not totally sun or water proof yet. Depending on the type of activity, I typically travel with most useful devices like my iPhone, Nikon D5500 or my Suunto EON Steel. Thus even deep below the surface there are computers with me to satisfy my passion for statistics.

Jeroen Massar, Biking
Jeroen Massar, Biking

Nature is a rather important part of my live, which is one of the many reasons I live in Switzerland where there are ample opportunities to enjoy the forests and mountains right around us by hiking or cycling through them. The world is full of beauty though, thus I try to travel quite a bit and see as much as possible of it.

See my A Different Me page for a variety of locations where I had my picture taken. And check out the Where Have I Been? page for the locations I have visited.

Information Filtering: Signal to Noise Ratio

One overlooked but important skill in todays society is Information Filtering. The media (newspapers, TV, radio, etc) are really good at propaganda and social networks just add to the vast amounts of information. Because of the avalanche of information one might not be able to see the actually really important items anymore, as one is flooded with irrelevant information.

Note that 'importance' is context sensitive and it all depends on personal interests.

As information is becoming more and more siloed into social networks that sometimes do have useful information, I am also part of a few social networks (see the bottom of this page for the links to them) Social networks tend to be closed, thus without an account one cannot receive the information one wants to actually see.

The end result is that things I consider important will arrive in my email and I will check those, but others that are irrelevant to me are not even seen thus allowing me to concentrate what is important without being closed off from the world.

Words of Wisdom?

There are a few "words of wisdom" that I like to discuss:

  • Time: the most precious of resources, one has only one life thus use it very wisely. Don't waste your time on others while not spending enough time on yourself, keep a good balance.
  • Respect: likely one of the most important ones: have respect for others, and hopefully others will respect you too.
  • Perspective: Depending on the angle of view, things do change. Good or bad, Jedi, Rebels or Sith, it really depends on who did atrocities or wrongs to you. One might also not be fully informed and thus have a different view then when one would have more complete information.
  • Reputation & Trust: Like it or not, but trust and reputation takes a long to build and can be destroyed with one mistake, thus be good at what one does, be helpful to others, and if problems arise sort them out sooner than later.
  • Minimalism: Less is mostly more. Don't buy things you do not really need, don't put too many features in a tool, don't clutter things up (User interfaces, or also your home), don't buy 10 things if you only need one. A few real good friends are more important than a thousand you barely know.
  • Simplicity: Simple things are easier to explain, easier to repair and have less maintainance.
  • Scale: On the other side of simplicity and minimalism, the large scale of things is hard to understand for most humans, the size of space, land or the oceans, how many humans there are on earth, how many potentional customers there are, how many people one could help, how many stars there are in the sky, how much money is made by large corporations. Scaling is a big problem that needs to be experienced to understand a little bit about it.
  • Read & Learn: Read as much as you can to learn more and more. Learn also from others (those who wrote the books) but more importantly, in person.
  • Create more, consume less: While consuming (be that reading, watching a movie, listening to music, buying clothes etc.) are often things one has to do to relax or to learn something new, try to create more than what one consumes, this will satisfy the artist inside of everyone and also allows you to reflect back and see what you created.
  • Volunteering: Remember that while many functions are theoretically volunteering or non-profit, people are often compensated for their time and efforts. Helping out for many years for 'free', while others are able to perform that as part of their work, creates an unfair imbalance. Interning is great when starting out, but working hard, while others are compensated heavily compared to you is effectively exploitative.
  • Luck: Except for the rather monumental place and time you are born and who your parents and family are and from that your supporting environment, there is no such thing as luck. As birth time and location are the only factors you do not control and largely affect to where your potential can 'easily' bring you and what opportunities are accessible for you. Wrong time and place, and you would have to do a lot more to get where one could go. In the end though, you create your own 'luck': you yourself need to take steps to go places and do the things you want to do. Only very few people will help you in that. As there are only few real friends, do thank them for these opportunities and reciprocate where possible.
  • Control: Unfortunately, even though one would really want to, one is not fully in control of every possible situation. Many things can be controlled, but due to human nature and other external factors, sometimes there is no answer or solution to a problem or why something happened or why an odd decision was made.
  • Knowledge: While one can know a lot, one definitely cannot know everything. Relying on other people or resources can mostly solve that problem.
  • Patience: remaining calm and persistent in solving a problem will allow one to solve any problem, though at the cost of time.

How to pronounce Jeroen?

Unless you are Dutch or Belgian, you likely have not stumbled over my given name as there are only about 70.000 of Jeroen around the world. A similar name in French and English is the name Jerome.

How to pronounce Jeroen [jəˈrun]

If you want to know how you say Jeroen correctly, you can listen to sample on the right. The phonetic spelling for Jeroen is [jəˈrun].

One trick I typically give to folks who try is to pronounce it is by saying "Your Room" but then with an 'n' in the end, this comes pretty close to the real pronunciation.

One can also just call me "Jay".

My last name is a fun one to pronounce as well, depending on the language I have active in my brain I'll either use the more-American pronunciation or the Dutch one, hence, if you hear me say my last name differently, you know now why that is.

Too many Jeroens?

In the Netherlands there are quite a few Jeroens and thus multiple of us would be in the same group of people and one needs to find a nice way to keep us apart.

According to various search engines there are even multiple people called "Jeroen Massar". DNS resolves that issue as I am the only one using the massar.(ch|li|eu|is|us) domains. Social Network accounts that are mine are linked from the bottom of the page so that one can check that those are really me.

Since the 'good old' Amiga and Demoscene days I have been nickname 'Fuzzel' by my friends who always thought I had too much pussy around me: Growing up we had two cats, Smokey and Fuzzy Wuzzy, the latter from which they derived my nickname. As Fuzzel is a semi-common nickname, you'll find me in various places as Fuzzel Squeek, which is in turn derived from Baldur's Gate's Boo, the miniature giant space hamster, pitching a squeek.

It's good to be evil

One of my mottos is "It's good to be evil" or otherwise said "Sometimes it is right to do the wrong thing".

Great food and computing recipes alike have been discovered by accidentally cooking it a bit longer, adding too much salt or crossing the beams as such bad things are not always a contrary to good, especially when one keeps in mind from which point of view one is looking from.

Star Wars is a good example of this. Lets say that you are in their world and you grow up as a Sith, you likely stamp the Jedi as evil as you see them murdering your people throughout the storyline.

It is all about perspective which is heavily influenced by the amount and type of information you are able to get and what you are force-fed. Thank you propaganda.

Discussion Arguments

In a discussion it might seem I am taking a black/white stance, which is quite spot on. I do this so that it is clear what my opinion and knowledge of facts is, thus allowing one to tackle a specific point I am arguing for.

Some people might think I cannot have my stance changed, but au contraire, this can be done given proper technical arguments. Indeed, even if I don't like the idea, if a proper argument is given then I'll be swayed to the other side as a fact is a fact.

Thus next to black and white there are a lot of greys and as can be seen from this page also quite a few colors. I attempt to stick to constructive arguments, this as negative arguments do not move discussions further. Any argument will have various pros/cons and anything can have merit, thus do bring those things up as counter examples in such a discussion.

As such please follow this principle in order to avoid non-productive arguments with me: "Directly say what you want and mean, explain what is wrong, along with reasoning". I believe that it is important to explain arguments as we are not necessarily always on the same line.

A relevant read on this subject is Tact Filters by Jeff Bigler. Some people might jokingly add: "I am not arguing, I am explaining why I am correct" or "It’s not your opinion. You are just wrong".

Any old email addresses?

Like most people who are connected to the the Internet for a while, I have had a variety of email addresses related to various roles or functions. I keep private communications completely separate from the various other hats, like work or hobby projects.

In the following table I've listed old email addresses that I used to frequent by for various roles or functions. I list these so that old contacts and mailing list participants can easily find me again and know that this Jeroen is really this Jeroen.

Email address Where / What / fuzzel@unfix.orgPrivate: still active but usage retired in favor of / / jeroen@heaven.cistron.nlISP email address
jeroen@mitgroep.card.azr.nlWork: Cardiology department of Academisch Ziekenhuis Rotterdam (AZR) / Academic Hospital Rotterdam - nowadays Erasmus MC
t-jeroem@microsoft.comWork: Microsoft (internship)
jmassar@microsoft.comWork: Microsoft / massar@github.comWork: GitHub IBM Zurich Research Laboratory
jeroen@isc.orgWork: Internet Systems Consortium
massar@fsi.ioWork: Farsight Security
jeroen@ipng.nlFun: The Tunnelbroker, predecessor of SixXS
jeroen@sixxs.netFun: SixXS - IPv6 Deployment & Tunnel Broker

Current contact details can be found on my Contact Page.

What is your Favourite Color?

My favourite color is Violent Violet, hex #554488, which is also known as "Crayola Cyber Grape".

You'll typically find slight variations of this shade of violet on sites that run my code, thus if you think "the purple site", it likely is actually Violent Violet that you are looking at.