Weeks 313-4

Two week notes in one because last week seems to have been too busy to write any.

Rushing through the snow towards Amsterdam

Week 313 was spent in the Netherlands with a somewhat hectic visit. I spent a lot of time at the Hubbub studio and at the Open Coop.

Today's office

And of course the inevitable five (!) visits to the Village who were serving only Coffee Collective coffees when I was there:

Four Coffee Collective filters, too much choice to go around. Nothing in Berlin can touch this.

Today's office

And that Friday was Free Bassel Day in remembrance of our friend who is still imprisoned in a Syrian prison:
#freebassel ing my friend's workplaces

And then it was an ICE back to Berlin already:
Got the sweet upgrade because NS messed up the direct connection

I did manage to get some good writing in those two weeks. First one piece about why levying a tax on data is not a bad idea at all: Taxing data is not crazy. And the week after that about Jaron Lanier who is a crazy person with some interesting ideas: Who owns the future?

TORREON should be about finished by now. And last Friday we also forcibly launched the German incarnation of Politwoops now with an accompanying Twitter account because the SPD chancellor candidate posted something he shouldn’t have.

Also I’m doing another bout of programming education for non-programmers in Amsterdam next week with a course and a meetup. More on that in a bit.

And I finished my Recess! post.

Week 312

The German police state is up and about

I booked my trip and accommodation in Paris. I’m quite looking forward to see that city again.

On Tuesday we had a big office lunch along with the people from Schnelle Bunte Bilder.

Wednesday we had our weekly German language class.

Language class

And that night I worked late to finish TORREON. A small project that took up way too much time as all small projects do.

That same night I helped a kid in the Netherlands do his maths homework. I think it is standard practice for kids in the Netherlands to share pictures of their homework issues on social media. This time I got caught by one and managed to help the kid out decomposing square roots.

Niels managed to hit another high with his contribution to Recess!. I think it may be about time to create a single serving website for tat serial.

Reading is something I still manage to do quite a lot though I have given up reading articles in Instapaper and have been reading a solid streak of books again. Some friends didn’t agree and they think the solution to this problem lies in craft beer.

On Friday morning we had a meeting with the breakfast gang. My blurb for TNW magazine was published on the open web.

And we closed off the week with a nice game of Citadels.

Citadels. Hail to the king!

Capitals I didn’t visit until 2012

One recap of 2012 which was an odd year what with the international move and all. Still in the second half I managed to get a lot of travel in leaving aside the almost monthly trips to Amsterdam by train. Dopplr unfortunately does not give me a total amount of kilometers travelled for 2012 anymore.

The funny thing is that I visited a lot of capitals of countries that I hadn’t visited before even though I may have visited the country.

To Madrid in February: I had been to Spain often but never visited either Madrid or Barcelona.

To Athens in June: I had not ever been to Greece at all, so this was all new. A lot more fun than Madrid by the way.

To Paris in July: I’d been to France a couple of times but never to Paris yet.

To Helsinki in July: Another new capital and country, a visit which was very enjoyable both because of the company and because of the immense livability of the city.

To Beijing in October: A long overdue visit to China which was even more elucidating than it was enjoyable.

Not to (Canberra) in October: Though I did visit both Melbourne and Sydney which don’t count.

To Moscow in December: A nice combination of business and personal visits and a welcome confrontation with the weirdness of Russia.

Which makes my visited countries map look like this:

Week 301: a flurry of appointments in Amsterdam

Last Monday was the last day in Berlin before the holidays so something of a push here and there to get things to go through. That night we had a vvvv workshop at the studio hosted by Joreg to teach somewhere around eight people the basics of node based graphical environments (the only other one I had used extensively before was Open DX and of course there’s Quartz Composer and Impure Quadrigram).

VVVV workshop. I'm psyched!

I messed around a bit with it and managed to produce this bit of media art. It is very interesting to have the power of DirectX9 under your fingers without having to program at all, though the whole fact of non-programming feels a bit strange to me.

Also there was this bit about the journalistic climate in the Netherlands:

I would recommend anybody interfacing with journalists to be wholly guarded and keep clearly in mind what’s in it for them in the interaction. The way it is played by most actors, it hasn’t been about the uncovering of the truth for a long time.

Tuesday was my travel day to Amsterdam where I wrote a bunch of stuff in the train and had an Open State board meeting that evening.

I spent most of Wednesday in Utrecht at the Hubbub studio. That night I had dinner with Tim de Gier, Loeki Westerveld and Justus Bruns partially by plan, partially by coincidence.

Thursday was also spent at Hubbub discussing business and getting work done. That night I had drinks with Kars and Lieke in a smashing new Utrecht establishment.

On Friday I met Edo van Royen at Studyflow, had lunch with Peter Robinett, coffee with Justus Bruns, dropped by at my accountant, had a beer with Thijs Niks and then drinks at the Open Coop with Lex and Alexander. Having said that: these visits to the Netherlands always tend to devolve into a flurry of errands that barely leave any time to think. That is going to change for the next one.

Carrying four RFIDs with me (down from five) because consolidating their contents is too much work.

Monocle-isms

I picked up a Monocle at Sydney airport for a long flight without laptop (along with a book) and I was a bit disappointed in finding that the magazine hadn’t progressed much since I first read it years ago. It still is that strangely a-political collection of fluff pieces for the spendy class and because of the current realities of print publishing now also brimful of advertorials.

I do read and enjoy (in an odd way) Tyler Brûlé’s Fast Lane column in FT and it looks like Monocle itself is larded with his signature phraseology. A distillation from a single issue:

a country’s ability to [X] says volumes about its identity

The forthcoming generation needs help to be globally competitive

Infrastructure is lagging behind

To his nearby weekend retreat

A far cry from the polished décor and white-gloved service elsewhere in the area

Diplomacy and negotiations don’t just happen in airless meeting rooms

Like all good campaigns it flatters the consumer

The alcohol induced violence that often comes with bars and clubs

Prompting eager entrepreneurs to roll in while the paint is barely dry

The company is eyeing its prospects overseas

The diligent start at the helm of

The name never fails to raise a smile among [X]

[X] is not known for its subtle advertising campaigns

And has bureaux in London, New York and Beijing

Has caused a stir on several occasions

We’re all familiar with the trajectory

The problems are being discussed but significant government-sponsored solutions are yet to emerge.

with help from an expert panel of architects

has been developed by passionate fundraising

[X] feels like a resort

analogue ways of staying in touch are still the most popular

it’s a problem that needs to be addressed by the government, not just enterprising individuals

The architects tried hard to infuse a sense of warmth and comfort.

we need an attitude change

Buyers were successful businessmen with good taste

it must be the most laidback event in the design calendar

it’s remarkable that so little priority is given to the emotional impact of the interiors

the clever spatial design and careful choice of high-spec domestic furniture

The hope is that this is a model to be rolled out

it has also sparked a longing for restaurants where home-cooked, uncomplicated food is served in familiar settings

Week 296: Back in Europe/business

After some weeks traveling to Beijing and Australia, last week I was back in Europe, touching down in Amsterdam Tuesday morning early. I had a very nice flight in from Sydney with the only annoyance being that my laptop had broken upon arrival there. This made me spend half a day of the two I had there in the Bondi Apple Store trying to figure out what the problem was.

The Genius there was less than helpful. Determining that it was my hard drive, he tried without avail to erase it and then load up a new version of the OS. I am more or less pleased that he wasn’t successful in doing that. In Amsterdam I tried another couple of things but finally handed it in at Maccare.nl who without touching it said ‘it was probably the cable’ and the very same day had replaced it for me. Since the Genius hadn’t even managed to erase my disk, I could incredulously resume working from where I was a week ago.

Finally getting my cup on at Koko

Not having a laptop I did manage to finish The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoete and a Monocle on the flights from Sydney to Guangzhou to Amsterdam and the layover.

Once more Vondelpark #wander

Niels van Hoorn from Brainsley provided support (as well as many many friends online) in the form of tools and a place to hangout while I tried swapping fresh hard drives in and out. The following day I handed my laptop in and while it was being fixed, I worked the day in Utrecht where using Chrome’s sign-in feature, I could resume most of my old work on an old Hubbub Macbook. It turns out the cloud is not a lie at all.

This morning's office looking out on Hobbemakade

Thursday morning I got my Macbook Pro back and spent most of the day working at Brainsley’s offices which are small but rather cozy. I dropped by the Open Coop to chat with Lex and pick up my Open State business cards. And that night I met up with some old friends who work now mostly as hired guns in the Amsterdam startup scene for cocktails at the famed Door 74.

Cup of coffee before I go #wander

Friday I dropped by the Village (again!) and then got onto the train to Berlin where I am typing this right now.

Back at the studio again (also: fuck it, ship it) #wander

Week 292: Ignite, GSL, pre-trip prep

I’m sitting here at Beijing Airport writing these too late weeknotes on their free WiFi which is an oddly implemented but still excellent service.

Last week was mostly spent with a scattered brain working on my ignite an various proposals. We had a studio meeting at Praxis to discuss recent developments and issues.

Smashing sun on the terrace

Thursday night I gave the Ignite to a packed Supermarkt Berlin. Thanks everybody for attending and listen to me rave about games for five minutes. Also fantastic to meet everybody in Berlin who I hadn’t caught up with for ages.

On Friday I finished off most of my paperwork before the trip. That night we went to see Werner Herzog read with the studio.

Trying out the GOMPlayer - 케이윌 (K.Will) 이러지마 제발 (Please don’t…)

The next morning I got up at seven to see the market build up and watch the GSL Code S final together with Mustafa Işık and a colleague of his. You are either mildly serious about watching this or you are not. I’d already set up and tested the GOM Player before. That’s the bit of KPop you see above.

It was rather exhilarating to see a GSL event streamed live and I’m glad my light season ticket entitled me to view it. I’ve recently gotten into Star Craft because of Frank Lantz’s excellent “Drinking Man’s Guide to Watching Star Craft” and am greatly enjoying it as a highly complex, dense and therefore less boring alternative to most spectator sports.

Life v MVP - GSL final set one

Week 282: back in Berlin, street games at Play Publik

Wood paneled, 1-2 seated, ICE second class makes my TGV experience of a week ago look decidedly shabby

Last Monday was the end of the holiday with a leisurely train ride from Munich to Berlin during which I managed to chew through a lot of e-mails and revise a bunch of maths.

The rest of the week was spent mostly working through e-mails, meetings and social calls. Netzpolitik celebrated their birthday in C-Base with some nice drinks.

And rather quickly Kars Alfrink arrived in Berlin for the Play Publik festival. You’ll notice some similarities between my personal weeknotes and the general Hubbub weeknotes for last week.

Virtueel Platform published the videos of our talks in Helsinki, so there you have me talking about open data:

With our Hubbub strength over at the Berlin studio doubled on Wednesday we finished saba. After that it was straight on working on buta all the while playing games at the festival.

Best panel discussion ever #playpublik

On Friday I had another additional studio guest with Sebastian Deterding. That was also the day that I experienced the beautiful Our Broken Voice at Ostbahnhof.

Gamification (sic!) discussion with @karsalfrink @ericzimmerman @dingstweets

@karsalfrink talking about pigs

The rest of the weekend was spent working on buta and playing games at Play Publik with nary a moment’s rest in between. It was nice to be finally able to play Starry Heavens by Eric Zimmerman. I and a lot of people had a lot of fun with Hit Me.

Kevin Slavin in Berlin!

The final day there was a presentation by Kevin Slavin and we closed off the event with a massive game of Charge of the Rubber Ball Brigade. There are many awesome pictures online over at Facebook (which is a shame).

Weeks 280-281: Traveling and vacation

Having my mind catch up with me in the garden

The last two weeks, after the brief trip to present in Helsinki were mostly spent on holiday in Avignon and the Alps (with some short stops in La Ciotat and Finale Ligure).

Die Kontrakte des Kaufmanns

Fun was had. Relaxation not so much, but nevertheless, normal service has continued here again this week.

Queda on some 2000m (halfway up)

There's a hole in the road

Gentse Feesten: a fantastic city festival

I spent two days in Ghent a Belgian city that is lovely in its own right, but really shines for a long week every summer when it has its own festival: the Gentse Feesten. I’d been there once before some ten years ago and had a lot of fun there. So Tourism Flanders gave me the chance to revisit.

Long time since I was here. #fiaf12

Gentse Feesten is probably my favorite city festival / large scale celebration around. It manages to string together a wildly varied program in a nice city in a convivial atmosphere. It is nice to see how a festival can offer something for many ages and tastes and be an all round positive experience.

Search & Destroy #fiaf12

This visit was marred a bit by the rainfall plaguing most of Northern Europe this summer which put something of a damper on visitor numbers, but even in the pouring rain, many stages drew crowds and the after hours celebrations on the Vlasmarkt were as special as promised.

Latino Music Experience