Week 210

@machielse Settling in at @ouroffice. Watch out! This guy's a boss.

Updated maguro and setup new branches and development environments. Finished the latest bits of acapulco.

Streetfighter 3D - I still rule at it.

Tuesday went to our friends at Adaptive Path to listen to a lecture by Andrew Devigal.

Spent a day working at Buro PONY. The guys who also made this very nice avatar for Monster Swell:

We could all use a bit of Good Fucking Design Advice

Wrote a post on Nicholas Carr “Carr’s self-interest” and another one on Color.

Fixed up my fixie and worked a day at the friendly people of Booreiland.

Fixed her up with some shiny blue tyres to match my bag

Also managed to finish Reality is Broken to start directly in Players Unleashed!

Sunday migrated hermosillo to ep.io because djangy despite having promised to run until the end of this month started flaking out already.



I so wish that the icons in the app made more sense and that the flow between states was clearer, but my wishes really don’t matter that much.

Color has flow. You can just keep doing stuff and you go fluidly from one screen to the other even though it may not be clear what every screen is for or why the various elements on the screens are where they are. You can do a lot, it all moves and feels rather magical. It’s more like a game than anything else.

Better yet, the spatial dislocation forces you not to be anal about organizing or sharing or any of the other features photo sharing apps would normally bother you with (and force you to learn). Indeed that is the promise they make: don’t find/add your friends, don’t organize your pictures, just snap away as you will and Colour will take care of all the rest.

This is smart, gutsy, well executed, it promises to Not Make Me Think and I’m almost ready to let go. Almost.

Carr’s self-interest

There’s a bunch being said about Nicholas Carr’s book “The Shallows”. Most notably a lot of print media jumping onto the the Ever-Betters bandwagon. Obviously Carr stating that reading long form print is being drowned out by the internet is right up the alley of the old media in their death throes.

That clinging of the moribund is however just a side-effect.

Carr’s argument is wholly one of self-preservation. If you are an old media and old academia educated intellectual, you will be passed by left and right by those that are able to strike the right balance between the old and the new. Those that use Twitter and Wikipedia to their full extents while still reflecting on their relative merits, those that can process megatons of information every day while doing their best jobs and retreat from time to time still to read a book or write a piece.

In short: Carr has nothing on us and he knows it. The Shallows is a desperate attempt by the older generation to remain relevant in a new world. Ultimately futile of course, but it should still provide Mr. Carr with some temporary currency.

Or as James Bridle puts it in part one of his seven part futurist tome (better than I can, but I hope I may be excused):

I am paying attention, but I am paying attention to everything, and even if my knowledge is fragmented and hard to synthesise it is wider, and it plays in a vaster sphere, than any knowledge that has gone before. —“Stop Lying About What You Do”, James Bridle

Week 209

Last week Monday we saw the final work presentations at the Willem de Kooning Academy. It was a great experience and I was really blown away by the breadth of some of the work presented. Nevertheless it remains a challenge to fit a full data visualization curriculum within the course of 4 weeks. Given the time we had I am very proud of the progress made.

Flat white and calamity Jane

I met an old friend from Delft to talk about aiding him in his architectural PhD doing information architecture and visualization of the concepts in his research. This looks like a great opportunity to bring into practice my thinking and engagement in the field of architecture.

WNL Avondspits Radio 1

Finally, I rushed over to the TMG building to give an interview for Dutch Radio 1 during WNL’s Avondspits show. I ripped and uploaded the interview (in Dutch) to Soundcloud. You can listen to it below:
WNL Avondspits – Hack de Overheid by alper

Those that know me may be surprised by my parliamentary tone (which is a discipline that comes in handy from time to time).

I also put the last touches to the article on Hack de Overheid recapping our event and its success.

Maguro is running strong during its pilot, though small inbalances forced us to do some run-time tweaks. All in a day’s work.

Fuck yeah bavarois

Wednesday, I made my way out to Ermelo to give a workshop for the journalists of the regional broadcasting corporations, the ROOS-dagen. My subject matter —data journalism and visualization— is rather edgy for this crowd which was visible in the turnout. Those few who are willing to run with it, may find though that at the local and hyperlocal levels, a little data goes a long way.

Workshopping for Hack de Overheid

Made it back just in time to congratulate Alexander Klöpping on the book he wrote “Wikileaks: Alles wat je niet mocht weten”.

Blurry burger dinner

Thursday we celebrated our friends’ achievement in organizing the tenth This Happened Utrecht. Organizing ten editions of any event is a feat in and of itself, organizing ten This Happened Utrecht events to the consistent high quality standard of curation, facilitation and audience that Kars, Alexander and Ianus have, is nothing less than formidable.

Through Kars’s curation there are also a number of very nice interactive installations on display to play with on the Neude square for the Tweetakt theatre festival. I encourage you to drop by (free!) and try them out.

Eet keet

Worked a bit more on acapulco, some projects should receive more attention (and this one certainly will). Frideay we also received our soon to be new office mate Joris Machielse.

Statlas is running up to its first public release. Very soon now.

Diefstal van gegevens en geld

Door het falen van de ov-chipkaartterminals van het GVB ben ik iets vaker dan me lief is €4 kwijtgeraakt. Nu heb ik geen flauw idee hoe vaak dat gebeurd is of wanneer en dat kan ik ook niet opvragen op de ov-chipkaart.nl site.

Hieronder het antwoord wat ik kreeg:

Geachte heer/mevrouw,

Dank u wel voor uw reactie van 21-3-2011. Uit uw vraag vernemen wij dat u wilt weten hoe u transacties van vóór uw toestemming, alsnog kunt inzien.

Het is zoals eerder vermeld, helaas niet mogelijk transacties in te zien of toegestuurd te krijgen, van vóór het moment van toestemming. Momenteel wordt er hard gewerkt aan de optimalisatie van het transactieoverzicht. Houd hiervoor onze website in de gaten.

U kunt via de websites van de OV-bedrijven of via www.9292ov.nl uw reizen opzoeken en de kosten ervan noteren. Ook kunt u bij servicebalies van NS en andere OV-bedrijven de laatste 10 transacties uitprinten. Wij willen onze excuses aanbieden voor eventueel ervaren ongemak.

Wij vertrouwen erop u hiermee voldoende geïnformeerd te hebben.

Met vriendelijke groet,

Bas Bos
Klantenservice OV-chipkaart

Ik kan dus niet bij míjn gegevens (die wél twee jaar bewaard worden) en daardoor ook niet het geld terugvragen wat van mij is. Updates volgen, ik ben nu op zoek naar een manier om alle gegevens over mij die bekend zijn bij OV-chipkaart/TLS/GVB op te vragen.

Update: Je kunt bellen met TLS op nummer: 033 – 467 20 00. Ze kunnen je daar niet verder helpen met je gegevens, maar ik zou toch even bellen.

Update 2: Je kunt ook een brief sturen naar: Klantenservice OV-chipkaart, Postbus 365, 3800 AJ Amersfoort. Alleen dan ook niet vergeten een kopie van een legitimatiebewijs mee te sturen. Niemand kan je vertellen of je verzoek dan ook gehonoreerd wordt, maar schrijven mag.

Update 3: Volgens het register van het CBP meldingsnummer 1277300 is het Trans Link Systems die mijn gegevens opslaat teneinde de doeleinden daargenoemd te bereiken. Volgens Bits of Freedom mag ik die gegevens ook hebben (artikel 35 WBP).

Update 4: Nogmaals bellen leert dat ov-chipkaart.nl gemaakt wordt door TLS dus dat mijn brief naar bovenstaand adres uiteindelijk bij hen terecht komt. Dus de volgende stap is schrijven. Updates volgen.

Week 208

A busy and monotonous week with deadlines for many long running projects.

1. Monday saw my last official lecture at WdKA. Students will present their work next week which I’m looking forward to greatly.

2. Worked the entire week for maguro which is going into a pilot run as I am typing this.

Hackers tilt-shift

3. Acapulco saw an initial release but needs a bit more touching up.


4. Hack de Overheid: Apps for Amsterdam edition was this Saturday. I was the host of this event we had been preparing for a long time was every bit the succes we had hoped it would be. We had lots of friends come over and useful applications were created.


I visited the Virtueel Platform book presentation and the Big Brother Awards on Wednesday. Both e-culture and privacy in the narrow sense remain difficult but relevant concepts for me.

Thomas van Luyn kicking off the Big Brother Awards

Week 207

Maguro got its next test and nicely stood up to everything thrown at it.

Designers design

‘PvdA — Altijd in de buurt’ (hermosillo) was put live just before the elections and was announced here and there.

I got called an ‘open data goeroe’ by the VPRO on their hackday report, which I don’t know what to think about.

Japanese Robata! - Kampaii!!!

The rest of the week was spent finalizing maguro functionally and Friday I briefly visited the Infographics congress which was ahem revealing in all its traditional glory. Let’s keep it at that.

Best of show (for me)

A more messy city

We spent last weekend having a veritable blast at the Cognitive Cities conference. It was a great spectacle of familiar faces, a nicely curated program and full frontal confrontations with the city of Berlin.

I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed Cognitive Cities. It was crammed with beautifully designed views onto the city and a chance to catchup with old friends from all over Europe. The Copenhagen crew were present, Rebooters came back from withdrawal and we could congratulate Your Neighbours and Third Wave with their tremendous success in organizing such a conference.

But in the abstraction a lot of the reality was lost, I’m afraid. We are all of course striving to make our ghost boxes better but design cannot be a sterile, clean handed affair. Kars writes a fuller more balanced recounting of the conference, but my feelings are the same.

Urban computing at its finest

Walking around in the real cognitive city of Berlin and seeing the street kids in Neukölln and the party-goers in Berghain, I feel they are not within the myopic view of our design chique clique nor we in theirs. The street is a very messy and creative affair and it must not be disconnected from our digital cognition of it. At least not if we want to have any relevance and create real meaning for a significant number of people.

Ideas how to do this in quality and at scale are forthcoming, but like everything it should of course start with awareness.

Game Over

Week 206

Busily so briefly.


Monday as a fixture was the third session of my course over at WdeKA concerning itself with the basics of information and visualisation design.

Super Julius

Statlas development kicked into gear.

Het begint ergens op te lijken.

The rest of the week was spent working on hermosillo and maguro. The first was launched as http://www.pvda-altijdindebuurt.nl just before the elections of yesterday as the first version of an electoral monitoring platform. A full write-up on which is forthcoming at Monster Swell.

Cognitive Cities - Ben Hammersley opening

Then with everything done it was off to Berlin with partners in crime Kars Alfrink and Alexander Zeh for a weekend of Cognitive Cities and leveling up our skills at that particular city. The conference was ace as was the weekend.