On Monday I got back into work after the couple of days in Copenhagen. I also discovered that the talk I gave in Rotterdam “Designing in the Face of Defeat” about the New Aesthetic has been recorded and you can watch it above.
I spent the entire day working on saba and then rushed over to the A.Maze Indie Meetup. It’s always good to see the usual suspects and the games they’ve been working on.
On Wednesday I started adding sound to saba. It is amazing how transformative an addition sound effects are to a game. That night at the Maker’s Loft we saw the Netherlands losing from Germany, which was made a little less painful by doing it in the company of a lot of Berlin friends.
On Thursday I took the train to Amsterdam and ran into Wilg and Timan who demoed me the custom heigth maps they are doing for Snowciety. If you’re into winter sports, you should definitely check out their app which looks excellent.
That hackathon was the main reason I came back to the Netherlands. We did the annual spring hackathon we do with Hack de Overheid to promote open data, civic applications and be a place where people can go to connect over these causes. The event was a resounding success thanks to the help we got in organizing it and all the people who showed up. The great Michelle Thorn gave a great keynote where she made some good analogous to help structure the activistic work we are doing. A great help to all of us to see the bigger picture and keep firmly in mind the goals we are aiming for.
So much data was opened up again and so many ideas to improve the Netherlands were shared and built upon. The institutions giving away their data is such a stark difference from the attitude I have witnessed in Germany these past months. It is as though both countries are in different world: one in the modern, sharing world where developer mindshare and providing excellent services to your citizens is foremost, and the other in a traditional authoritarian nightmare where permission needs to be asked for everything and is rarely granted by the autocrats. It is probably clear which is which. More information about the hackathon and its follow-ups will be on our blog soon.
My workshop on learning to program was received well, even with the ridiculously short 45 minutes we had to explain algorithmic thinking and rudimentary programming. It can be done. With a bit more time, we could have had everybody do something for themselves too to hammer home the concepts. I will be posting the slides soon and organizing follow-up events in Berlin and Amsterdam to get more people programming. If you are interested, let me know here or on twitter.
Finally we saw the opening of the swinging garden in front of our office, which when the sun is out has turned into a right little piece of heaven. Amsterdam North is seeing a positive development with a speed that I could not have imagined a couple of years ago. It’s affordable, spacious and friendly, totally the opposite to what is normal in city across the water.