Apple adds public transport app to Dutch map service

Apple adds public transport app to Dutch map service

Apple phased in its new public transit app to its Dutch maps feature on Thursday. The public transit function was added to Apple's iOS 9 in 2015 in the US. The Netherlands has become the fifth country with the feature after the US, Australia, Britain, Japan and China. The app allows users to plan journeys by bus, train, tram or metro and also suggests transfers each time the app is used,  taking possible delays into account. A widget shows the status of routes travelled frequently. Apple rival Google Maps has had a public transport option in the Netherlands for some time.   More >

Police investigate alert message failure

Police investigate fault in text message emergency alert system The police are investigating what went wrong with the emergency text message alert system ahead of the Ajax Manchester United football match, after some people received up to six warnings telling them to stay away from Amsterdam. The message read 'Emergency, extremely serious warning. Don't come to Amsterdam. The inner city is full. Watch Ajax somewhere else' and was sent out after police feared too many people were trying to pack into Museumplein to watch the game on big screens. Police had calculated a further 15,000 to 20,000 people were heading to Amsterdam. 'Then public safety could have been at risk,' spokesman Leo Dortland told broadcaster NOS. The fact many people got multiple messages is a fault in the system and that is now being looked into, Dortland said. The message was also sent out to most of the country, leading people to accuse the police of over-reacting. The NLAlert system is supposed only to be used in cases of national emergency, such as a terrorist attack or major fire or in case of extreme weather conditions. #nlalert "to prevent...possible dangerous situations"@Politie RU4Real? If so, why not #nlalert preventive for any possible future mayhem? — R-P (@RdashP) May 24, 2017   More >

NTR axes Great Dictation

It’s ‘przewalskipaard’: TV’s Great Dictation is axed Educational public broadcaster NTR is axing the annual spelling test The Great Dictation after 26 years because of declining viewing figures, the Volkskrant reports. ‘The dictation was an institution for years but now it is past its sell by date,’ NTR producer Willemijn Francissen told the paper. ‘Our language is changing, you can tell from how young people are using it on social media. That never made its way to the dictation. It was too archaic.’ The dictations – which in later years were written by authors such as Herman Koch and Kees van Kooten -  were famously difficult. Hardly any of the famous and not so famous contestants or the people participating at home were able to spell ‘przewalskipaard’ correctly while ‘dedaigneuze’ generated quite a few victims as well. The contest also confirmed the - friendly – rivalry between the Dutch and the Flemish, with the Belgian Dutch-speakers pipping the Dutch to the post in the final reckoning by three wins. Viewing figures for the programme ran into over a million in the 1990s but the last two years showed a sharp decline: from 722 thousand to 368 thousand, the paper said. Presenter Philip Freriks is not happy about the demise of the dictation. ‘The programme has a certain stature and I think it should be handled with care. We should say goodbye to it in style at least. But no. We are being put out with the rubbish and I’m really pissed off about it.’ Freriks brought the format to the Netherlands from France where he worked as a correspondent. ‘It is anti-tv really, slow television: you’re watching people writing. And it works because it challenges people. They are reminded of their school days and they want to know if they still have the ability to do it and if the famous will make lots of mistakes,’ the told the paper. According to Freriks scheduling issues are responsible for the loss of many viewers. ‘But to be unceremoniously brushed aside like this..they almost seem to be relieved to be rid of us.’ The NRT has rejected a more modern version of the dictation but is looking at another programme about language which it will launch in the autumn. There won’t be a final Great Dictation, Francissen said, because the venue – the programme is filmed in the Senate building – is too expensive and ‘you don’t want to hold on to something that no longer works.', the Volkskrant quotes her as saying.  More >

Dutch tree takes to Twitter to talk sap

Dutch tree takes to Twitter to talk about the weather and sap flow A poplar tree in the Dutch university town of Wageningen has been hooked up to Twitter so it can send out updates about its sap flows and how fast it is growing. The 30-year-old tree, in the grounds of the agricultural university, has been fitted with instruments to measure its reactions. 'This means we can continually see how the tree is reacting to temperature, rain and wind from a distance,' tree biologist Ute Sass-Klaassen said. The tree will also be able to 'warn' researchers if it gets 'thirsty' during a drought or if other issues stop its growth. The results will help researchers investigate the interaction between tree growth and extreme weather, the university said. The Wageningen tree is the fifth European tree on Twitter. Ghent University, for example, already has a maple with 432 followers. In one tweet, on May 17, it said: 'So good to be back after this long winter! Finally it's getting warm again and I can grow grow grow and my sap flow flow flow!!' Wageningen's tree will file its reports on sap flow using the Twitter handle @TreeWatchWUR. It already has 644 followers without sending a single message.   More >

Dutch spent €1bn on EU websites in 2016

Apple adds public transport app to Dutch map service Consumers in the Netherlands spent more than €1bn buying goods from web shops in other European countries  2016, a 25% gain over the previous year, the national statistics office CBS said on Tuesday. Clothing and shoes were the most popular items,the CBS said. The figures come from a joint big data project between the CBS and Amsterdam and Leiden universities The survey revealed that more than 80% of EU purchases by Dutch consumers were made on German, British, Belgian and Italian websites with German websites accounting for 50%. Britain claimed 12% and Belgium and Italy were each worth 8% of sales.  More >