Night Store

My friendly neighborhood night store will gladly give me a plastic bag for every item of shopping I buy from them. This is pretty thoughtful and at the same time also pretty short-sighted.
Now there seem to be some places in the world that have banned plastic bags though I’m not sure which ones. It is a pretty contentious issue. It seems to be difficult or something but it’s not exactly clear why that is. We’re one of the technically most advanced societies in the world and we can’t live without plastic bags?

I wasn’t very hungry so instead of my regular döner I got some green pistachio baklava. This stuff is so ridiculously delicious it explodes into pure sugar and pistachio in your mouth and it fills you up pretty fast. I don’t get why you would buy mass-produced candy from the supermarket. If you want to get fat, why not get fat eating good stuff?

Now if  only I could find a place around here that sells künefe, things would get really crazy.

Picture by elifayse


I’ve been blogging in English for a while now and while the stats show a steady amount of readers, I haven’t really had any comments on anything really.

What do you think about the switch to English? Writing English regularly at least has made me acutely aware of how much I still have to learn about the language and how much I need to develop a feel for it.

World Press

A while back we went to the World Press Photo 2008 exhibition in Utrecht with some capoeiras and looked at the pictures many of us had already seen after the first announcement.

World Press Photo

I had prepared a bit for the day by listening to the photographers’ commentaries on their pictures. As is the case with many artists, the artist should not try to explain his art but in some cases the commentary really adds a lot to the picture.

I would recommend Platon about his portrait of Poetin, John Moore about the Bhutto assassination and Brent Stirton about the preservation of gorillas.

A World That Donates As One

Barack’s visit to Europe again makes clear how important it is to people over here who exactly is the POTUS. A lot of people in Europe are interested and invested in American politics and for good reason if you see the effect the American’s actions can have on the rest of the world.

Polls show that Europeans overwhelmingly support Barack Obama and would like to see him in office as opposed to McCain. This makes it extra annoying that our power to influence the process is severely limited. American elections are in a large part dominated by money and the raising of it. Unfortunately non-Americans are excluded from making donations. Something about foreigners not being allowed to elect the American President.

This is of course stupid. The people electing the president are still the Americans. Seeing as campaign financing has been regarded as a form of free speech, don’t people from outside the USA have the right to speak their minds on this matter? I’m sure that if Trichet would look under the sofa in his office, he could find a spare €50’000’000 —per the wishes of the European electorate— to give Obama’s campaign that extra push.

Wireless typing

A lot of raves for the new line of Apple Keyboards also from me. Cris has been so kind to import one for me from London.

This keyboard has improved my workplace conditions massively. It’s a pleasure to sit down at my desk and start typing on it. I’m currently pairing it with my old Logitech MX500 mouse but that is bound to go wireless as well. I may be tempted to haul the whole installation on the road but I don’t want to end up looking like this.


Now I just need to find something to prop up my Macbook much much higher. I’m currently putting it on a pile of UX books, which could be a sign I need to increase my reading speed.

About the sizing issue. The Bluetooth keyboard’s size is perfect. The layout is nearly identical to my Macbook keyboard’s layout, which means I have no switching costs going back and forth. A numerical keypad I would hardly use anyway, and the six buttons above the arrows are easily replaced with the Mac key chords.

Socio-locational disconnection

I’ve been tremendously enjoying the stuff Jan Chipchase writes on his blog both current and digging deep into his archives. A dream job if ever there was one.

His current piece is especially pertinent as the iPhone 3G release with builtin GPS and accompanied unlimited data plans will herald the location based revolution. Many of my friends say that they do not want to broadcast where they are and know where their friends are most of the time. That they would rather get together using premediated consensual communication.

I think in user research you have to adopt the same maxim that everybody lies maybe unknowingly or unwillingly. It remains to be seen how many people will not succumb to the temptation of total information. Broadcasting your location, but even more attractive knowing where your loved ones are at any given moment. The same initial reaction to mobile telephony didn’t prevent everybody I know from getting a mobile phone.

What this will do to the mystery of travel and unknown locations is a whole different question asked by Babak. I think unequality in economic, communications and political circumstances will always keep parts of the world shrouded in mystery.

Linguistic Waves

Talking about catching waves, I had been annoyed majorly by the uselessness of Safari not incorporating any decent URL shortcut function without either a paid for extension or a dreadful input manager hack.

Now Shaun Inman has launched a somewhat more circumspect but more cross platform way of invoking the same functionality: Shortwave. His initial list, though useful is not what I would use the functionality most for in my Saft days. So I’ve added some links to dictionaries I use a lot and some I don’t use that much:

Additions for the linguist’s shortwave are most welcome. Still looking for decent French, Mandarin, Arabic and Russian dictionaries.

Pre holiday wrapping up

The summer may not have brought the best weather but still good times are around. This week finishing off some work before we’ll be going on an ill-prepared week long surftrip somewhere along the French Atlantic coast.

Seasoned travellers as we deem ourselves and busy as we are, we have dispensed with most of the preparation one would think would be necessary. We have some camping equipment, surfboards and roof carriers and lots of good humour to go around. That should be enough for any holiday.

iPhone Queue

That’s also a reason I won’t be getting my iPhone 3G right away like a lot of people are. I’m planning on travelling some more and this device is more of a hindrance and a risk than it is a benefit on the road.

I’m still debating whether or not I should take my laptop. Odds of us finding solid power let alone WiFi are slim and 7GB of CF memory should be enough for a week’s holiday: 1GB/day. And a week of disconnection will probably do me more good than I realize.