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.
Mediamatic is currently doing studies in fungus of which this wall is an example:
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:
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.
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.
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!
It has become even easier to find your way to our office in the Coop. Just follow the green yellow line.
And we are accruing more and more birds:
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.
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!
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.
The winter sun hitting the backyard of our North office, makes for some striking pictures:
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.
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.
That moment where you’re texting somebody for the first time and the Send button turns blue. The expectations conveyed with that small indicator about the time to response as well as the type of person on the other side.
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.
After that we went for a board game night at the garden with ample games of Space Alert and Nidhogg.
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.
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.
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.
Nice to see that Peter Robinett is running AMStransit in his office on a spare screen:
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.
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.
To all you who have won awards (and to all you who haven’t):
awards handed out by its organiser who wants to be seen handing out awards to people who want to be seen receiving them. It’s a simple formulae, but unsustainable in a world where more of the demographic that attends communicates over the back-channel. —Jan Chipchase