Week 245

Running through the proceedings, it's going to be epic

On Monday we ran through the day’s schedule for Code Camping Amsterdam and I did a bunch of work on guadalupe.

That night DUS had an evening about re-imagining architecture at the Coop.
DUS - Rethinking the practice of architecture

Tuesday I worked at the Brainsley offices and went to the Bits of Freedom drinks in the evening.
Debating the finer points of privacy and the justice system

The Next Speaker now also carries my English profile if you need a speaker on the overlap between technology, design and society.

DUS their Ultimaker and their plans for it are rather huge.

I submitted a proposal about data commons to the conference on the Social Cities of Tomorrow by the Mobile City.

Building up Apps voor Nederland

Friday was for the final preparations for Code Camping Amsterdam (write-up here), our largest Hack de Overheid event to date. We had the entire day hacking at the derelict Shell Tower —I wrote about it before— across the water in Amsterdam with great food and coffee and a party at night for another several hundred people.

Evening hacking

Week 244

I had a great time last week working at the Makers Loft in Kreuzberg while our friends of Gidsy were out and about in San Francisco.

Working at @themakersloft today. Awesome studio space.

It was interesting arranging stuff for Apps voor Nederland from Berlin, but eminently doable thanks to modern communications.

Today's office

I also went to see the play ‘Einsame Menschen’ at the Schaubühne. Which was an interesting experience all in all.

Wo lass ich heute meine Zeit?

I also had an experience with Android that probably forever cured me from the platform. What a horrible mess that is. Tuesday evening I took the train back to Amsterdam while making two presentations.


Because on Wednesday I did a project presentation at the Stimuleringsfonds voor de Pers and after that the same night I did an Ignite on Hack de Overheid at Mediamatic (see this picture of me speaking about transparency and see the picture on the projector). Both presentations went very well.

Mediamatic is currently doing studies in fungus of which this wall is an example:
Concentré de Tomate - a study in fungus

Thursdays was a bit more of a slow day after the 12 hour ordeal of the day before, starting off with doing e-mails at the Village, my favorite hangout in the Netherlands.

I asked Vlambeer about any indie game developers in Berlin and they came up pretty short on that count. Anytime I inquire about the Berlin game scene I get Wooga and if people really know what they are talking about they mention the great people at Spaces of Play. In any case, the Berlin scene seems thin and ripe for disruption.

After that it was off to Lieke’s viva. A smashing display of science if ever there was one:
Now officially a Philosophiae Doctor

Super Mario Experience (karig!)

Friday we did some business development for Hubbub with Kars Alfrink visiting over at the Coop and we paid a brief visit to the Super Mario Experience.

@karsalfrink proudly dandy

And oh yeah, on Sunday I moved my office from the Volkskrantgebouw to the Open Cooperatie which has already been my main base of operations for a while now, so I thought I’d make it official.

Minimal Viable Office

Code Camping Amsterdam Imminent

I’m incredibly proud of the team and events coming together in our organization of the biggest Hack de Overheid feature yet. Looking back on the past year, it has been an incredible ride with the various Apps for… competitions and no small amount of personal and professional changes.

At the end of this month, on Saturday the 26th, we’ll be holding a Hack de Overheid event like you’re used to with some notable additions that are going to blow everybody’s mind. The event is called Code Camping Amsterdam, it is part of the Apps voor Nederland program in collaboration with Waag Society and you can register on the bottom of the page.

We’ll be having three internationally renowned speakers whose work alone speaks for itself, let alone their presence on our event. Marietje Schaake is our most favourable representation in the European Parliament but as far as I know a politician of her stature has never before spoke in front of an audience of Makers in the Netherlands before. Marius Watz‘s visual art inspires awe and wonder and I have used his software on several occasions in my work for Monster Swell. Matt Biddulph‘s work and shipped products have been used by most of the people I know and inspired me and I think many more programmers to build more and better.

The location in the derelict Toren Overhoeks is a culmination both of convenience and inconvenience. Just across the central train station, but without any facilities left in the building it exemplifies a once and future state of our cities. Remnants of an age gone by where hackers gather with makeshift facilities to create something better.

After the event there is going to be a party by the Eddie the Eagle Museum a formation famous in their own right for holding the most out there awesome parties in the city. It is a privilege working together with people this competent when it comes to fun and so creative when it comes to convention. See their party description:

The future has found us! And its leader is a code. Our digitally hypnotised desire has led to a world without mistakes, governed by spyware and malware. Humanity is an experiment proved inferior. Let’s crack the code to correct it. Enter the Hackathon and exuberantly celebrate a world without errors! With high, low and no-tech, we are the new Trojan Horses marching in, ritually erasing the failings of the past. Let’s roughly and frantic lose our last human bit with a codefest in the Tower of the Shell.

Finally as I have hinted before, the currency for application contests is diminishing along with the consolidation of the open data platforms and the publication of more and more datasets. If after Apps voor Nederland is over, you follow-up with another cookie-cutter competition, that would be missing the point. That also means that this competition is the best moment to get your datasets out and get attention for them in the ecosystem as it is right now. What will be next? We have some ideas, but we don’t know anything for sure yet. The only thing that is certain: you’d better be there next Saturday!

Week 243

It has become even easier to find your way to our office in the Coop. Just follow the green yellow line.
Navigational markings

And we are accruing more and more birds:
One cool bird out of the coop

The start of the week was busy with preparing and presenting at the RIVM, the Dutch institute for public health and the environment about their consumer portal Kies Beter. Kies beter is effectively a public resource for authoritative healthcare information. It will be interesting to see what role it will play in the coming process of opening up such data. It was a great opportunity to talk and work with the team and see how they see their role.

Also the movie I shot for Fast Moving Targets with my quick note from the Dutch Game Garden was published:

I met with Jaap Stronks of Johnny Wonder and with some friendly people from Dutch broadcasting company NCRV all about the open data revolution and how it can work for them.

Apps voor Nederland continues apace and the event is rapidly approaching right now.

I am in the process of liquidating my superfluous effects in the Netherlands as well as my office in the Volkskrantgebouw. It’s an odd coincidence that just with my leaving (and with the announcement of the re-development of the VKG as a hotel in a couple of years) a bunch of friends and esteemed colleagues are landing in the building. I would have loved to have shared the building with them for the past two years but for me it is onwards and upwards!

Scanner sold, emptiness acquired.

I had a chat with Casper Koomen who is very active with Pachube’s Dutch development efforts. Among other things with an event this Friday called “Breathe Amsterdam”. And I’m preparing an Ignite presentation for next week.

Also my long form review of Phone Story which had been published in the newspaper before has now been published on Bashers in Dutch: ‘Phone Story – Gamedesign als kritiek op onze gadgetlust’ The comments are predictable but I had wished for a bit more in depth response to the problem I see where platform builders as Apple become governments of the space they created. Which is problematic in this case because they tightly regulate expression within their platform that would be legitimate in any other public space.

Epic iPhone Illy coffee maker

The winter sun hitting the backyard of our North office, makes for some striking pictures:
Winter Sun

And then it was off to Berlin to make some more arrangements for the move over there come the new year.

We strolled from Neukölln to the South back to Kreuzberg’s Südstern and Bergmannkiez via the former airport of Tempelhof. That part of Neukölln is developing but before there is anything approaching a comfortable urban fabric, it will be another five years.

Tempelhof Airport itself is becoming a great example of how creating a hole in a vibrant urban area can make space for all kinds of impromptu and impermanent use. The urban gardening plots are just one example of that. The business on a Sunday even with winter approaching is massive with al kinds of wheeled and/or wind based activities taking place.
Reappropriation of the airfield - @edial's plot of land somewhere around here

There seem to be plans to build along the airfield, but that would be very bad obscuring the current urban views into the emptiness. If building is necessary, I would propose to put the buildings on stilts so we can still peer into the Loch.

I deleted my Klout account after reading the polemic by Charlie Stross:
Opt Out of Klout

Week 242

Going on with Apps voor Nederland and culiacan (which is almost done by now). Also did a brief intermediate scripting and renedring moving text for a TA theater piece.

Rennend naar de borrel zoals vanouds - Vice vertelt iets over porno en verticaal bewegen

Went to the launch of Vice Netherlands’ web strategy. A nice event, but a bit too reminiscent of the nineties. After that I briefly visited the Hackers and Founders event as well.


Preparing my move out of the Volkskrantgebouw as well. My home base in Amsterdam will be our office at the Open Cooperatie for the foreseeable future.

MilkyMist video synthesizer}

Friday, I recorded a message from the Dutch Game Garden for Fast Moving Targets, a Dutch online tech news show. I think the things happening at the DGG deserve to be communicated much wider and if I can contribute to that by doing this, I will.

Girl yarn bombing the entire square

After that we went for a board game night at the garden with ample games of Space Alert and Nidhogg.

Lost, again!

I will be speaking at the next ignite at Mediamatic on the topic of ‘Hacking for Social Justice’ (the thing we do at Hack de Overheid).

Japan Ramen

Sunday we started what could be a nice tradition: a brunch time serving of Tonkotsu Ramen at one of the best Japanese places in the city with some very smart people. If it’s up to me, that is going to be a regular occurrence.

Bericht uit de Game Garden

Ik doe recentelijk een stukje over games voor Fast Moving Targets en wat beter te vertellen dan mijn ervaringen uit de Dutch Game Garden. Het is een leuke plek in Utrecht, waar veel gebeurt, maar wat in Amsterdam bijna niet aankomt. Een poging om een brug te slaan:

We doen het in het vervolg elke keer uit een andere studio (dat moet ook wel lukken met 30 game bedrijven) met korte interviewtjes.

Week 241

Apps voor Nederland continues apace as it keeps on doing.

Talks about open data and data journalism are ongoing at a number of Dutch parties. After last year’s attention, it seems that this year various parties are indeed getting serious about it.

Then I went to a talk by Michael LaFond at ARCAM in Amsterdam about the Berlin co-housing movement that he started in part. All the more interesting because I am moving to Berlin in January of next year and we’re already registered at several projects on Wohnportal Berlin, the site he setup. Several of the projects he showed during the evening also have our attention as prospective Berlin living space. My notes for the evening and a more elaborate write-up of the Q&A are up on this blog.

I built a next iteration for guadalupe that is indeed becoming more playable as we speak. I am very eager to invite more people to that play experience sometime soon.

Wednesday we announced the first speaker for Code Camping Amsterdam: Matt Biddulph. We’re really excited to have Matt come over to Amsterdam again.

Went to Booreiland to work on culiacan.

New temporary desks

At long last I posted the pictures I took of people visiting our office with my Yashica medium format camera.

My review of The Binding of Isaac was published in nrc.next.

Long lost glory

Sunday we had a marathon meeting for the constitution of the merged foundation that is going to be the greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts Hack de Overheid and Het Nieuwe Stemmen. I am very excited for the potential of the new organization.

Week 240

This was a short week. Work on Apps voor Nederland and then off to Playful.

Nice to see that Peter Robinett is running AMStransit in his office on a spare screen:
The office now has a glanceable transit screen thanks to @alper's AMSTransit http://amstransit.monsterswell.com/

Hack de Overheid announced Code Camping Amsterdam which is going to be our biggest event yet in a derelict office across the IJ in Amsterdam. Everything is in full effect to organize that.

Playful was great and it’s always nice to be in London for a short stretch. It was a while that I was last in Conway Hall but it was nice to be back. Niels and Kars have written detailed accounts about the day on Hubbub and Bashers.

Great to be back here.

Then in the same weekend (flying into Schiphol in the morning, directly in the car to Germany) it was off to the Ruhrgebiet in Germany to visit among others the Jahrhunderthallen and the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord.

Jahrhundert water tower