Week 336

Beautiful new coffee place

This was the week of getting a lot of things done and a minor John Boyd obsession. I read the biography by Coram and queued the PhD thesis by Osinga to read as soon as I finish Latour’s Aramis1. Frans Osinga is a rather impressive fellow if you look at his Ministry of Defense webpage. We were joking around that having a design event with him would be brilliant mind-expand. Unfortunately events take too much time to organize so that won’t be happening anytime soon.

One thing to keep in mind from Boyd’s tragic life is to make the decision to either Be Somebody or to Do Something. Most people I hang out with all want to Do Something, but it does pay to keep in mind how it will work out for you personally.

Pit stop

I made a brief stop in Aachen2 before heading to the Netherlands to catch up with local coffee, for some quality time at Hubbub HQ and meeting Amsterdam friends.

Das Wir Entscheidet

To prepare for that visit to the Netherlands I had to kill another two hours at the local Bürgeramt because the Meldebescheinigung I had was not recent enough for some stupid Dutch institution.

Bürgeramt Kreuzberg

  1. This is all a move towards reading more foundational works (I wrote about that here) instead of the pop-sci that permeates everything.
  2. Small towns across Europe are scary places filled with old people and conservatism.

Week 333

This week was a bit more stationary than the last thankfully. I tried out a competitor to Cuppings called Bean Seeker which is a rather terrible app.

That night I attended the IoT Berlin meetup organized by Martin and had dinner with a rather interesting set of people.

IoT Berlin Meetup


I also started playing DOTA2 this week for which there is a working Mac client available and which is a deep but somewhat too hardcore experience.

Cuppings was featured on Fontanel and we got a mention from London’s Best Coffee. Both of those are from people we respect which makes it mean the world to us. It also made us hit top 3 in the Food and Drink category of the Dutch store, which is nice to see (and altogether too easy).

Top Ranking in the paid Food and Drink category


I met Will Perkins and Nikos Green both highly capable people who I look forward to work with (again).

Using that fresh cycling infrastructure

I read up about SpriteKit which is in the forthcoming iOS7 release and should make 2D game programming very very easy for developers. Looking forward a lot to iOS becoming an even more capable platform than it is.

On Friday we tried to attend the inaugural Biteclub which turned out to be too busy if you actually want to eat something.


That Saturday I started to work on the AJI prototype in earnest which is coming together nicely as we speak.

Oslo Bar

Week 332

Oh, this week. This week was how to put it rather intense.

We got visits again from Peter Rukavina and this time Thomas dropped in as well to make it a proper Reboot reunion. I decided to join Peter (Bihr) to go to London in October to attend Playful and Mozilla Festival and potentially Gamecity too which is supposed to be an awesome conference in Nottingham. I’ve never been outside of London so that alone may be worth the trip.

I also had a visit of my old friend Bjorn who I worked with at a company that shall not be named but that was deep in the territory of the bizarre.

Not the thing you want to see if you're trying to catch a flight.

I spent the beginning of that week prepping for a client engagement which got me waking up on Wednesday somewhere before five o’clock to take a hellish cab ride into Tegel airport. You are never driven to Tegel in the same way twice, but I’ll definitely make sure never to take the highway again.

Berlin Projects

Tsukemen Ramen

During the flight I also managed to spill coffee both over my clothes and my laptop and that was all before I even arrived in Munich. That was a rather terrible start of a day that turned out very well. That evening we celebrated our success with a Tsukemen ramen at a local Munich ramen joint1.


The next day we did another day at the client after which having been nicely friend I took an S-Bahn to the airport. Munich airport right now has the best feature ever. There is a beer garden in between the two terminals where you can cheaply load up on a local microbrew before you board your plane. Every airport should have this.

Stij Oomes dropping some proper knowledge. Going to dive into 3D programming today.

Then after having done all of this and with hardly enough sleep I dropped into our weekly Sheperditchi breakfast and then straight into a OpenGL ES course given by Stijn Oomes. Stijn has a PhD from my alma mater and we know many of the sam people even though I didn’t have too many interactions with the computer graphics group at my faculty. We had talked earlier that year about his current pursuit of 3D vision and about the potential of such a workshop for iOS programmers. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day of pure learning with a lot of hands on and a knowledgeable teacher at hand.

That evening I joined the Berlin Critical Mass which is changing for the better and after that I watched Only God Forgives. A brilliant contemplative orgy of violence, shades of which I am seeing in Hotline Miami which I’m playing right now.

Learning to sail unit 1

And the next day I got my first sailing lessons —which I had half forgotten I was supposed to have— and after that I finally had some time to catch up on e-mail. Pretty odd how something that was such a critical part of infrastructure in this part of the world is nothing more than a pass time for well off people at the moment.

  1. Who knew that Munich even had ramen places let alone a ramen place that serves an interpretation of tsukemen!?

Week 331

With KANT we were still figuring out mostly what it is we are doing and seeing as we are neither a collective or a coworking space it was up in the air a bit. I wrote up our offering in a more straight-forward and streamlined way where you can very easily find what it is you may be looking for. In other news we are discussing next steps for KANT in the future but anything on that order is off for at least 6-12 months.

That week I attended the Cocoaheads meetup on the Luftgarten at Tempelhofer Airport. This week the plans for the city to build at least two thirds of that field have been revealed. The 100% Tempelhofer Feld initiative is already preparing their campaign in September and it looks like it’s going to be a long winter. The reasoning of policy makers is ‘How can Berlin afford not to build on this piece of land?’ which is a staggeringly stupid way to frame something if ever I heard it.

New gadget. I had no idea they made cameras this small these days.

I got my Canon S100 camera which is proving to be a lot of fun and is getting me photographing at volume again. Judging from the pictures and the f/2.0 lens it has about the same performance as my old EOS camera with its kit lens but now in a much smaller package. What is also interesting is how accustomed people have gotten to larger cameras and phones that a small pocket cam hardly registers anymore.

I also did some experiments with video mounting the camera on my bike:
Steadycam bicycle rig

I could not bother installing Lightroom again (and definitely not with the Creative Cloud hell) and setting up any kind of workflow, so my current editing philosophy is NONE. Pictures are nominally straightened in iPhoto and slapped straight to Flickr.


Our Friday Sheperditchi breakfasts are getting more and more fun with random friends dropping in. If you’re reading this, we usually have breakfast with KANT at Simitdchi on Friday mornings at 09:00 to get an early start into the day.


And also with the summer lots of people are blowing through Berlin among which Peter Rukavina:
Peter Rukavina

And just to close off with a whole grilled fish:

Week 325

I’m running frightfully behind with these and debating whether to continue writing weeknotes if it means this work is being featured in a total of three places. That seems a bit too much.

Way back then I pushed Cuppings to the App Store.

I gave an interview about Politwoops:
Politwoops in SZ

I built a preliminary Foursquare paper map creating tool.

I was featured in WDR Funkhaus Europa with a small item about Politwoops:

And also a tweet I posted was featured on the New York Times website:
Tweet featured on the NYT

And finally I dropped by the office warming of IXDS who have a brilliant space two streets down from us on the waterside.

And finally that Saturday I had a beer with @pinboard at the Berlin Pinboard meetup.

Week 324

Bicycle madness

Two weeks ago I headed towards Amsterdam where I’ll be the week after next again. I did a massive sprint on Cuppings and prepared my presentation for Sign of Times in Pakhuis de Zwijger.

I worked on a bunch of projects over at Hubbub on Tuesday and on Wednesday I was there again but then to prepare my presentation. That talk went really well despite the torrential rains of the day and I had a great time catching up with the people who had showed up.

I caught up with Daphne on Thursday and wandered around the city a bit looking for good coffe which I found at the newly opened Head First.

Well executed artisanal coffee/roaster play

I finally ended up at the presentations of the Liquid Journalism masterclass and got to talk with Alexander and Laura.

On Friday Kars got married which was the other main reason I was in the Netherlands for.

Week 322

So it turns out I’ve fallen immensely behind with the weeknotes over here, but we did start writing them at the new office now, which should make up for something. Those live at http://kantberlin.tumblr.com/ currently.

What happened that week was a bunch of work and getting a desk from IKEA to work on at the new place:
Upgraded to a small-ish roller desk

The Möbeltaxi driver took us on an interesting shortcut through the old service tunnels of Tempelhof —I am amazed that Moves tracked it as well as it did— which might be fun to do some urban exploring in at some point:
Secret route through the service tunnels of the old airport. Useful when there is traffic which is more or less always.

Back then we were still drinking some horrible leftover coffee brewed in a two step process:
The morning press and filter

And I had a talk for at Bits of Freedom that I sketched out on our brilliant new whiteboard:
I gave the new whiteboard a proper exercising for an upcoming talk

I promised the people future shock and I think I delivered that to some extent.

Week 321

The week before last was filled with theater, a full 9 hours of it which should last me for the rest of the year. I wrote the one negative review you will find of ‘Krieg und Frieden’ as a result of it.

These swinging seats however are quite ok.

I also spent quite a bit of time struggling with German bureaucracy to be able to request a new Dutch passport. It’s always a fun thing to do.

So this morning I got further conformed onto the state's digital grid. Treated like a criminal for no particular reason.

And add to that the fact that I was in the middle of moving offices from Praxis to KANT and you can say productivity was a bit hampered that week.

The new (temporary) arrangement with @fidothe working in the background

I dropped by the Git-Merge event in Berlin which besides hosting the Berlin git community seems to draw out a group of interesting developers. The party they hosted the next day was a great opportunity for me to catchup wit old friend Cristiano Betta who is now an evangelist at Paypal.

Git-merge, from up here you can't see the feral throngs if tourists down below

Week 320

The week before last started out with me still in Paris sampling the local coffee scene which has been improving massively over the past year or so.

Télescope already was nice:
Proper coffee

But with the addition of Loustic, French coffee can finally be taken seriously again:
Very nice place and only open for six weeks now.

Most of these places seem to be run by English speaking expatriates and they are also mostly frequented by the same. This was something I also noticed at my coworking space in La Cantine. It seems that foreigners are a necessary mediator to introduce new things —digital or coffee— into French culture.

That Tuesday I worked at KANT and all of the people there presented roughly what they’re doing at the agency we sublease at Panorama3000.

I was thinking of writing a screensaver that does the live OSM viewer ‘Show me the way’, but it turns out there’s a way easier solution by plugging that URL into the WebView Screensaver.

Shawn holding coffee court

That Wednesday I did a quick ignite for UIKonf on Beestenbende’s design aspects and the next day I was at Heimathafen Neukölln at 06:00 to help them with setup and registration. I managed to catch a bit of the conference and based on the content on stage and reactions in the room, it looks like it was a resounding success.

Going to demo the new Cuppings in a bit at the #uikonf #uikode

The next day I spent working at the office for most of the day, but in the evening I dropped by the UIKode hackathon to show the iOS project I had picked up again that week. More on that to be announced here soon.

Week 318

Unbelievable how many weeks behind I am on these. That’s not wholly intended, but the last couple of weeks have been a bit busier than usual. This was the week of April 15th which I spent mostly in Amsterdam.

I spent a full day with the team on Tuesday working on KAIGARA:
Today's office

I drank very awesome coffee that Angelo had brought back from his road trip along the west coast of the USA:
Angelo got that fresh package from the states

We celebrated shipping some projects that night with Kars and Simon and the next day I was back at Hubbub for another day of work. That night it was off to the Open State offices in Amsterdam for a bit of envisioning with our new managing director. A very solid and constructive session, well catered by our in-house team of Bite Me:
Nicely catered strategy session

My work setup at the brilliant Koko:
Today's office

The Thursday I spent working at the Open Coop and preparing my Python programming course I gave on the now defunct Gidsy.

Friday I took the train back to Berlin and it was confirmed to me again that train companies are stupid. If I take a different train to Berlin I need to pay the difference in distance even if I start and end in the same place:
Had to buy an extra ticket because train people are crazy.

And Saturday I also managed squeeze out a long overdue Recess!.

So lots of stuff and more to follow.