Bram van den Heuvel Curriculum vitae E-mail GitHub LinkedIn 8 January 1999 Diemen, The Netherlands

About Me

Hey there! My name is Bram, and I'm a Dutch mathematics student who loves to do fun and interesting projects in his free time. On this website, you can see all about my interests, and you can follow my blog to stay updated about all the new things.

One of my most popular sites is my Rickroll Generator. Here's a live report of how many people have been rickrolled by this website as of now:

2,790,653 rickrolled victims

Activism

Digital Justice

Lately, my focus has mostly gone towards writing on the Digital Justice website. It' a website that promotes several topics like interoperability, software autonomy, right to repair and freedom of installation.

I put a lot of effort into the website: it contains articles, an RSS feed, it's translated into 21 official EU languages, and all the digital rights contain plenty examples to inform you about the necessity and importance of the digital rights.

Digital Justice logo

Take a look at it, and let me know what you think! It's fully open source, so please feel free to contribute more usecases and articles to the website.

Tutorial

How to join the Matrix network

There are humanitarian reasons as well as economic reasons to join Matrix. This article assumes that you are willing to give it a try, and I'll explain to you how to join it!

Privacy and data sovereignty are guaranteed on Matrix, but it can be difficult and confusing to join the network. This is a simple tutorial that will help you set up your Matrix account.

Quick guide

If you can't choose, take the following options. Pick Element on step 1. Pick nltrix.net if you speak Dutch and live in Europe, otherwise pick matrix.org on step 2.

Step 1: choose a client

You have to use an app to talk on the Matrix. It doesn't matter which app you choose, however! All are fine, and all can communicate with each other. Moreover, you can always switch apps whenever you change your mind.

If you want to choose a client yourself, you can find a list of available clients here. Otherwise, let me give you some recommendations.

Element

Logo van Element

Element is the app that is actively maintained by the Matrix organisation.

Platforms: Browser, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS

  • ✅ Usually the quickest app to get the latest updates;
  • ✅ Officially supported by the Matrix organisation;
  • ✅ Supports all Matrix functionality;
  • ❌ Made for programmers and can sometimes be a bit complicated.

FluffyChat

Logo van FluffyChat

FluffyChat is an open source app that is easy to use and very user-friendly. Its functionality is limited, which means it's both easy to understand but also limited in what it lets you do on Matrix. This app is best fit for children and for people who aren't very familiar with social media.

Platforms: Browser, Linux, Android, iOS

  • ✅ Easy to use and pick up;
  • ✅ Simple UI;
  • ❌ Limited functionality.

matrixcli

If you're a programmer who hates GUIs and loves to run direct commands in the terminal for all their commands, then matrixcli is just what you need.

What is there to say? It's a command line client. I bet that Vim-lovers enjoy this kind of client.

  • ✅ Super minimalistic on your computer's performance;
  • ❌ A huge no-no for people who can't program;
  • ❌ The lack of interface can make it tedious to use for some people.

Miitrix

Miitrix op een Nintendo 3DS

What?! You can talk to the Matrix network from your Nintendo 3DS?! That's right, with Miitrix you can! I don't know why you'd want to, but I guess you could.

  • ✅ You can use it on a Nintendo 3DS;
  • ❌ You can only use it on a Nintendo 3DS.

Step 2: choose a homeserver

You are free to use whichever server you like. This server will host your account and your data. Currently, you cannot move accounts to different homeservers, so you can currently only switch between homeservers by creating a new account.

I would recommend one of the following homeservers. Alternatively, you can choose a homeserver yourself. The homeservers from this list should be fine.

Server name Domain Description
Matrix Server matrix.org
  • Official Matrix server
  • Up-to-date guarantee
  • Sometimes laggy because it has too many users
NLtrix Server nltrix.net
  • High-performance free Dutch server
  • Very fast for residents in the Netherlands
KDE server kde.modular.im
  • Powered by a donations from a community
  • Really cares about privacy

Step 3: create an account

Install the app that you chose in step 1. Make sure to choose your right homeserver before you create your account. For example, if you choose the NLtrix server in step 2, make sure that you create an account on the domain nltrix.net. Most apps have matrix.org by default.

Step 4: connect to your friends

If you need help, join the room #matrix:matrix.org. Here, strangers on the internet are happy to help you move forward. Additionally, feel free to contact me at @bramvdnheuvel:nltrix.net for support.

If a friend sent this article to you, they'll probably have an account and I'm sure they'll be happy to help you out. Send a chat request to them, and you'll have your own fully end-to-end encrypted message with your friend!

Step 5: connect with people on other platforms

The whole point of Matrix is that it can even talk to people on other platforms! I'll write articles on how you can connect your Telegram and Discord conversations soon. Once I've written them, I'll post them down here.

You can also figure it out for yourself on t2bot.io.

For now, enjoy your truly private conversations on Matrix!

Internet Meme

I have rickrolled 1 million people

Yes, the live counter on my homepage confirms it: my Rickroll Generator has rickrolled a total of 1 million people. And that's such an incredible amount, that it's worth celebrating! 🎉

I have also recorded this short video. It's both a moment I wanted to capture, as well as an experiment: perhaps these short videos do a lot better on YouTube.

And yes, I know that most people who read this article already know what a rickroll is. If you don't know, find out here what a rickroll is. If you do, then yes: I am fully aware that you're afraid that one of these links will rickroll you, and I am smirkingly smiling upon your fear.

How did I rickroll 1 million people?

At the beginning of July 2020, I made a Reddit post saying that I had created a Rickroll Generator. This is a website that lets you build fake previews and make it easier to get people to click on your rickroll link.

Nothing special, I just thought it was funny. I also thought I could get a funny video out of it at the end of the year, and I did, and I was glad with 80K rickrolls at that time.

Little did I know that this number would soon change. Ooh boy.

Three months later, it was the 1st of April and the internet had decided to go on a massive rickrolling spree. My rickroll generator was pretty decent on the rickroll generator search result list on Google, and people massively created links and rolled the internet. On that day alone, over 116K people were rickrolled with my rickroll generator.

Apparently, this boosted the rickroll generator significantly, and my website is now the #1 rickroll generator in the world, according to Google. (Or perhaps it knows that I'm still the same person when I go incognito mode and it already knows I'm looking for my own website.)

So now, the activity has grown extremely, and the chart below shows how much the activity has grown ever since. This graph shows the activity and success of the rickroll generator. As you can see, it has slowly been rising and getting more and more active. The first spike beyond the graph is from the 1st and 2nd of April, 2021.

Activity graph of the Rickroll Generator

Achievement

TNW, here I come!

I am happy to share that I have been awarded membership to the T500, the group that recognizes the 500 most ambitious people under the age of 26 in the Netherlands who showed outstanding accomplishments in the digital world.

T500 Membership

I can't wait to attend the TNW 2021 Conference, where influential speakers like Emily Weiss, Cal Henderson and Larry Sanger will discuss the future of tech.

If you're going to be at the TNW Conference as well and you'd like to organise a meetup, you can contact me on my e-mail address.

Opinion

Dear politicians of the EU, it's time to decentralize the internet

It does not happen often that one buys over 6kg of tomato cans to express their opinion, but this is what happened to me. And no, I did not buy the tomatoes with the intent to throw them at someone. Instead, the cans were necessary for a demonstration of a decentralised communication network. In this article, I will explain to you what that is and why you should care.



What is that, decentralization?

Last January, I received a Whatsapp message in a group chat on Whatsapp from one of my friends, Sarah. She told us that she was going to leave Whatsapp, and asked whether we would all be down (25 people) to migrate the group chat to Signal, a messaging app that became commonly known for its encrypted messaging and for being a "good alternative to Whatsapp".

To be honest, I was personally slightly annoyed by this. I already have Whatsapp, Slack, Discord, MS Teams, Gmail, Snapchat, Telegram and other messaging apps installed, and the last thing that I'm looking for, is installing another app onto my phone. In an ideal world, I'd have one app, perhaps two, and take care of all my communications through that one or two apps.

At the same time I didn't want to lose contact with Sarah, so I was at an impasse here: do I want to lose digital contact with Sarah, or do I install yet another messaging app on my phone? I thought to myself, I wished that I could use my Whatsapp account and talk to my friend on Signal.

How great would it be if it didn't matter which app you used to talk to your relatives?

I discussed this topic with some relatives of mine, and then the concept of a decentralised communication protocol came up, which caught my attention.

The rise of Matrix

Apparently, there is this organisation called Matrix that has defined a decentralised communcation protocol. The concept of their protocol is that it allows for decentralised, interoperable communication. [1] What that means? It means that I can use any app of choice, you can use any (other) app of choice, and we can still talk to each other on our respective apps!

Or, that's what interoperability means: being able to talk to each other from different apps. Decentralisation means that you don't rely on any company for your conversation with your relative. No-one but you and your conversation partner choose how you communicate.

Website

Markdown Update: I will now use this as a blog

Even though this website was set up to be a personal blogging website, I noticed in the year 2020 that I never actually used it - instead, I mostly resorted to making posts on Reddit and sharing a link to that page. And especially since this website is also meant as a portfolio of my personal achievements, I thought that that was kinda odd.

Recently, I was inspired by the website of a friend of mine, who used a neat Python framework combined with Markdown. The server was extremely light and could easily handle thousands of requests per second, (or something, I don't remember the exact numbers) and it was surprisingly simple. So I decided to make my own version of it.

And here we are! Posts on my homepage can now get much longer: I built a way to view individual posts, and that way I can write super long articles without the older blog posts disappearing.

Why did I built it now, and not two months ago when I actually saw my friend's website? Well, that has to do with the next video that I'm working on: for Noordstar Q1 2020, there's going to be a LOT of information that I'd like to share, but I won't have time to put everything in my YouTube video.

Therefore, I will share any relevant details in a blog post like this one, for all the world to see! I hope you'll enjoy the next post. 🙂

Internet Meme

I built a Wilbur Soot Generator

If you've heard of Wilbur Soot, you may have heard of his fans' joke to replace the last part of his digital name by something that rhymes: Wilbur Foot, Wilbur Scoot, Wilbur Flute or Wilbur Doot. Today, I built a generator that shows a random image of this meme type!

There's not that much ingenuity involved, I just thought it'd be funny to make this. Have fun with it!

You can visit the Wilbur Generator here.


Internet Meme

I built a Rickroll Generator

Have your plans too been foiled several times by rich previews that give away that you're secretly trying to rickroll someone? Well, not anymore!

The rickroll generator lets you build a fake rich preview to fool even the Discord users! Feel free to give it a try.


Bachelor thesis

Noordstar Q2 2020: Bachelor thesis

In the last three months, I have spent most of my time working on my bachelor thesis! Now that it is finally finished, I happily present it to you. Unfortunately, it is very information theoretical stuff, so to make it up to people with a less scientific background, I have made a YouTube video about it.

Alternatively, you can read my actual thesis. Its last version is written in Dutch, but if you contact me through e-mail or Discord, we can talk about alternatives, including the option to have the document translated.

You can find the final version of my bachelor thesis here:

Pseudorandomness on Markov chains.pdf

At the bottom here, you'll find some other links that'll direct you to other sources and places to find more information. Feel free to check them out.


Bachelor thesis

Version 1 of my bachelor thesis is out!

Since the beginning of January, I have been working on my bachelor thesis, an analysis of pseudorandomness on Markov chains. The thesis was inspired by the D&D Town Generator that I built for Noordstar Q1 2020.

The article considers a compression algorithm based on pseudorandomness by encoding messages in a Markov chain and finding a pseudorandom algorithm that walks the correct path on said Markov chain.

Bachelorthesis BramvdnHeuvel versie 1.pdf

This article is currently only available in Dutch. If you wish to read an English version of the article, please send me an e-mail at bachelorthesis@bram.blmgroep.nl, and I will write an English version of the thesis if requested.


Website

Noordstar Legacy Q1 2020

In the last three months, I have been building a D&D Town Generator! The generator is using pseudorandomness to "store" every town, which means that the server can store an arbitrary amount of data - even though it's still memoryless!

In the video below, I give you a short demonstration of how the website works. Additionally, I give a brief explanation of how I built the website.

You can view the website here.