Tax on knowledge

I called with the taxman yesterday to clarify some stuff. I had surmised that profesionally relevant books could be deducted as expenses. Now it seems there is a very fine distinction.

Profesionally relevant books which are being used to remain up to date in a given field of knowledge are deductable. Books which you are using to deepen and widen your knowledge however are study books and these as such are not deductable.

This is of course pure semantics and it can never be proved that you are using books either way, so given an audit just be sure never to mention the word “study” and you’ll be fine.

And to think our government is trying to create a knowledge economy.


Freshly one day back in from San Francisco some adjustments need to be made. The time difference has been reduced from 9 hours to 8 thanks to our splendidly European invention: DST. Along with the time difference there is also a slight difference in daylight and a large difference in temperature (15º centigrade) and precipitation (nearly non-stop rain the past day).

Last view

Adjusting to the superficials will be easy enough, but as after every big trip and after having seem some truly splendid natural and metropolitan vistas, adjusting the mind to a realignment of the world brought about by new experience will be somewhat more difficult.

hAvatar reprise on FOWA

Funny to hear from Cristiano that David Recordon just flashed Four Starters on stage (slide 37 of this presentation) on FOWA in London to demo the concept of hAvatar, a WordPress plugin I developed about half a year ago. And a strange bit of anti-serendipity this stuff happening in London while I’m in SF.

The concept of the plugin is very simple. There are a ton of avatar standards out there the most widely used of whom is gravatar. Gravatar uses an e-mail hash and was acquired by WordPress. There are some others which rely on a <link> in the head of the page or some other convoluted agreed upon standard.

hAvatar does it by following somebody’s profile URL that they leave at a comment and seeing if there’s an hCard on that URL. If there is an hCard there, hAvatar retrieves the linked image representation and displays that. The approach is decentral and uses existing standards and conventions so I thought it interesting enough to build. If there’s interest I can check out the source code and make it run on the latest WordPress and see if there are any bugs that need fixing.

Interesting talk about blowing up the social network and there’s even more possible than what he’s describing, seeing as hAvatar is half a year old. The stuff Open-CI can do with remote profiles and avatars is further along but still rather poorly documented. And I’m missing a big part of the stack which is necessary for notification (mostly XMPP).

P.S. Four Starters is unofficially defunct. Most of our attentions have slipped back to our personal weblogs. We’re looking for a good way to preserve the content there and save it from the spammers.

Uprising tomorrow

Tomorrow I’m going to attend Students for Free Culture. I may not be a student anymore, but I still regularly ride with that crowd and the conference has a great program and is for anybody with an interest in the topic. So, getting up early and taking the BART down into Berkeley. I’ll see if I can use my newly bought Kodak to record a couple of keynotes.

If you’re in the Netherlands, there’s an event along a lot of the same lines called Volksopstand2008(lit.: uprising) where a group of people will gather in the Hague to protest the attrition of privacy by our government and other institutions. I recommend you go, though I’m a bit late in doing so

San Francisco

I’ve always wanted to go there and tomorrow I’m finally going. Some vague plans, tads of serendipity and friends pushing me over the edge were enough to have me book the ticket, I think, only three weeks ago. Tomorrow Lufthansa will take me over an ocean for the first time of my life.

Halfway during the trip there’s a four day capoeira event celebrating Mestre Acordeon‘s fiftieth year of teaching capoeira with a Brazilian festival in Berkeley on Saturday. I’ll also try to get some surfing in and see if I can visit the local tech hubs and meet some people, so it’s not purely a holiday.

If this wasn’t enough to stress me out, today my laptop decided to not boot anymore. So I spent most of the day panicing and restoring a backup, after which everything seems to work again but no clue for how long. Maybe I should try to sneak a new Macbook past customs on my way back.

Take care, I’ll be back the 27th.

Coworking Desk Available

At our nice coworking spot Studio 4 Stagioni we have one or two desks available effective immediately. This poster has been hanging on some select locations around town:
Office Space Advert

The ad is in Dutch, but it says you can get a desk in a creative environment next to the Delft central train station for €85 a month (cost). If you’re interested or know somebody who is, get in touch either here or using the phone number on the ad.