Hi! My name is Laurens, and I'm an *approximately* (time() - 500246280) / (60 * 60 * 24 * 365.25) years old Dutchman currently living and working in Berlin.

I spend most of my time either at the Technische Universität, where I pursue a PhD in brain-computer interfacing and implicit control, or around my little room in a remote corner of the city, near the Grunewald forest which I enjoy strolling or cycling through especially near sunset.

Noctifer (Latin, "evening star") is where I communicate to the world those little things I sometimes do that might interest some people other than myself.

If you have any questions or comments, pleas don't hesitate to contact me!


Photography Gallery

A selection of pictures I've taken over the years.
Noctifer Photography Gallery



Memini (Latin, "I remember") is an online learning tool that works analogous to flash cards. It allows you to store any number of digital knowledge items, and helps you rehearse them. The knowledge items can be grouped into packages which can be individually included or excluded from rehearsal.

The rehearsal presents you with the title of a knowledge item, prompting you to think about it. The item's full description can then be revealed by a mouseclick. For example, in a package called Astronomy, one could have the knowledge items Asteroid, Comet, and Meteor. If the astronomy package is switched on, the item Meteor may randomly pop up during rehearsal sessions. Upon a mouseclick, the exact definition of a meteor is revealed (and, if you've included it, meteoroid, meteorite... you know, things you tend to confuse or forget).

There are other, similar websites out there. This one is aimed at easy, continuous, everyday learning. Rehearsal sessions by default include every item you ever created, and rehearsal is the first thing that'll happen upon visiting the website.

It's for those interesting tidbits of information we come across every day, but tend to forget because they're not actually all that relevant. It's for the tings you'd like, but don't need to remember. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to update your collection, add a few rehearsals to your morning routine, and you'll never forget a thing.



Hierarchical Overview Tool

Almost every system or body of knowledge can be presented hierarchically, and often such a hierarchy provides a useful overview. One downside however is that there's little room for descriptive text, or else the overview is quickly lost.

This tool allows you to create a hierarchy of items, and uses a flash card analogy similar to the one Memini uses. Clicking on an item in the hierarchy will reveal that item's description. In this way, the overview is maintained while providing quick access to full desriptive texts.

To create a hierarchy, the tool takes a specifically structured text file. Note: This project is quite a few years old. The required input structure mostly reflects what I found easiest to parse back then, not so much what was easiest to use. If this tool interests you, please get in touch and I'll gladly look into updating it!

Online output example

Hierarchical Overview Tool



This is an online tool to record and share your euro coin collection. It contains a database of all national sides of euro coins as published by the European Commission, and allows you to catalogue which ones you have. Additionally, there's a little note-taking field below every individual coin for any other information you wish to take down.

The site is focused on simplicity and therefore it leaves out some functionality. It does not, for example, differentiate between the same national side minted in different years, or by different mints. It's meant for the slightly less meticulous, hobbyist collector.



Noctifer Directory Listing Script

A directory listing script written in PHP. It's a simple, small, and portable script that's a little more convenient than e.g. Apache's default.
  • Supports blacklisting certain files so they won't show up in the list.
  • Shows directory breadcrumbs for easy navigation.
  • Lists size and modification date of individual files, as well as the size of all files combined.
  • A custom logo can be placed in the top-right corner.
  • Randomly changes colour to keep things spicy.
  • Only about 10 kB.

Online example

Download Noctifer Directory Listing Script


Noctifer Directory Gallery Script

A small, single-file gallery script that handles everything you need in order to turn a directory into an online image browser and viewer.
  • Both a thumbnail browser and an image viewer in one file.
  • The browser shows thumbnails for supported image files, and lists subdirectories for navigation.
  • Automatically creates thumbnails of new files.
  • Image viewer can show images at 100% of their size, or fit them to the screen.
  • Image viewer can be controlled by keyboard.
  • Easily customisable colour scheme; two themes are included.
  • Only about 15 kB.

Online example (dark colour scheme)

Download Noctifer Directory Gallery Script


Templates: Essay, Letter, Thesis, Novel

These are some of the LaTeX templates I've developed for my own use that have served their purpose well enough.

The essay template is a default go-to template for any reasonably structured document: It's basically my own layout for the article, with title, subtitle, author, and date fields and a \nonumbers shortcut to disable section numbering for shorter documents (instead of adding asterisks everywhere).

The letter template follows a formal letter layout with sendername, senderaddress, receivername, receiveraddress, letterdate, and subject fields. If a sender's address but not a name is indicated, it assumes the address is simply a city and combines it with the date to make e.g. "Berlin, 17th April 2015" the header. The letter body is structured using opening (Dear ...), closing (Kind regards ...), and signed (name) macros, and a separate command to indicate attachments. If you leave out the sender and recipient fields, the template can basically function as a standard for any type of document that requires a title and/or a date.

The thesis LaTeX template is intended for academic dissertations, and requires the fields author, degree, field (of study), and institute. There are three fields to indicate supervisors: A set of firstsupervisor and secondsupervisor, or alternatively a more general supervisedby field for any number of supervisors. The template includes a cover page, a sample statement of authenticity, an un-indexed summary, a table of contents, and an appendix page.

The novel is a template designed for novels, and includes two new \midbreak and \endbreak commands to structure the story within chapters. It is fixed at 11pt on A5 paper with 1in margins, to get a number of words per line that's usual for novels.

Click on the images below to see sample PDF files.


Download all LaTeX templates


Notepad++ Run Batch File

This is the file I use from within Notepad++ to compile LaTeX files. The script is based entirely on prrao's example on Stack Exchange, but with some minor changes. I changed the cleanup function to remove more temporary files, and only those coming from the current file, and I added one more compilation run. I found that this last run was necessary to have LaTeX take the character length of the inline references into account when generating references to page numbers.

The below download actually contains two files; one for a single-compilation run to save time, and one for a multiple-compilation run when all references need to be in order.

Download LaTeX Notepad++ Batch Files


Dutch language file dutch.idf for isodate package

I use the isodate package in some of my templates. This package does not contain a Dutch language file, but new languages are easily added. I changed a few things in the Danish language file and so created a Dutch one. I have not thoroughly tested it, but copy it to your isodate directory and it should work.

Download Dutch isodate language file dutch.idf


Regex Dictionary Search

This (2.7) script extracts entries from text files (e.g. plain text dictionaries, word lists, etc.) and then allows case-insensitive regular expression searches to be performed on those entries, for those occassions where you need to find words or terms fitting a specific pattern. German words of exactly 35 characters, for example, or funny words in the English dictionary that twice contain either bb or dd:
  • Includes English, German, French, Dutch, and Latin dictionaries, as well as lists of names and computer terms.
  • New dictionaries, word lists, and other text files are easily added and made searchable.
  • Search results are written both to the console and to a text file.

Download Python Regex Dictionary Search


Multi-Dimensional Image Browser

A simple Python script (2.7, uses PIL and Tkinter) that has made the analysis of some visual data a little easier for me. Rather than browsing through image files in alphabetical order, this script allows them to be browsed through in a multi-dimensional fashion. Take for example the following files:
Regular alphabetical ordering would have you browse first through all apples, colour by colour, then through the bananas, colour by colour, and then the pears. These files, however, contain two dimensions: fruit type, and fruit colour. This script makes it possible to jump from the green banana to the green apple with one button, and from the green apple to the yellow apple with another.

I use this primarily to look at the effects of different variables on event-related potentials.

  • Navigate through up to 9 dimensions using the keyboard.
  • Simply supply it with a directory and a file pattern, and the script automatically extracts and orders all dimension values.

Download Python Multi-Dimensional Image Browser