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 joint.


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.

Week 330

A new coffee place had reportedly opened up in the area and I went out searching for it. Concierge is tucked into a gate on Paul-Lincke-Ufer and they are really nice guys pulling quality shots. It is amazing both that this part of Berlin which was quite barren when it comes to coffee is shaping up so nicely and also that

Concierge Coffee, opening party tonight. Namy, Dutch guy, making a flat white for me.

That week we went into our Open State board meeting where everything is picking up in pace considerably. After that I just made it to the drinks of the Upfront UG which was a lot of fun.

We started ideation and building of an app for the piazza+social media platform which I’m rather excited about. More on that over on the Hubbub blog soon.

I will be speaking at the Retune conference in my hometown on the subject of games with a purpose and our creative process. It looks like a super nice conference and I would love to meet you here.

Roof terrace barbecue

Our office landlords invited us to join them in a celebration on our building’s roof terrace. It’s been a while since I was on one of those and they look like mandatory facilities for anybody living in Berlin. I’m putting it my list of required utilities for the next KANT office.

Kim Chi Fries!!!

Just to prove the awesomeness of Berlin, we just had a Korean food shack opening here (besides the already rather large offering of Korean cuisine that Berlin has). I had my first Kimchi Fries there, which I think is indeed best described as a Korean kapsalon.

Out camping with the fixie

On Friday I just handled a last bit of business for the week and then went off to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MeckPom) for a bit of kayaking and canoeing which is about all there is to do in that part of Germany. It is a state that is trying to cope with severe shrinkage and because of its sparse population lends itself particularly well to forays into nature. I saw lots of animals and their young and definitely learned the difference between a kayak and a canoe. Also: bringing an aeropress can make situations much more bearable.

Spent some time paddling, saw an Adler and now at the campsite making an aeropress with the inverted method while terror dad behind me puts up the tent.

Week 328

Travel is making it hard to keep up writing these notes weekly (or write anything for that matter). So this blog is turning into an expensive affair.

Today's office. Off to Munich in a bit.

Way back when this happened I was in the Netherlands for an appointment that was cancelled and because of that I had to fly to Munich from Amsterdam for a day of workshopping. The next night I flew back to Amsterdam to spend the rest of the week at Hubbub HQ in the Netherlands.

Dutch life

We did our strategic sessions about which I probably have written elsewhere already but this was as good a time as any to revisit this brilliant interview with Jack Schulze. They don’t make them like that anymore.

No one cares about what you think, unless you do what you think. No one cares what you do, unless you think about what you do. No one ever really cares what you say.

Advice to frame and put above your desk.

Got it explained: gay cover band of Black Flag

Today's office

The last day I did a coffee tour of Amsterdam, which is in utter bloom at this moment with Third Wave coffee places opening up literally left and right. I paid a duty visit to BrunsNiks which is one of the best up and coming design firms of that city where most stuff is bullshit.

Today's office

What is also brilliant are the new Hackers and Founders offices of the eponymous meetup group. My old office in the Volkskrantgebouw got evicted because they are turning that into a hotel (like pretty much everything in Amsterdam) so they got together with the neighbors of Bottlenose and some other friends and rented a nice floor smack in Amsterdam city centre. I can’t take any credit for what they did but still I’m half proud of what that turned into.

It is the birth right of every Amsterdammer to cycle underneath the Rijks and that's what I just did.

And that segued nicely into the speaker’s dinner for our Hack de Overheid event (which got a nice press release drop over at Wired thanks to Bruce). The event, the next day in City Hall, was one where all of the founders were present at one and the same location. That already was amazing. After the day was finished I spent the evening talking philosophy with Simeon.

Probably my favorite new addition to the Amsterdam coffee scene. #nofilter

And the next day it was back in the train to Berlin which has added a whole hour because the flooding has damaged a bridge and caused a large stretch of tracks to be dislodged. Deutsche Bahn says that reconstruction will take until December. That may be just in time for next year’s flooding.

App demoes

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 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 319

This week was the week where we were in full sprint for the pilot launch of KAIGARA. Besides that we had a dinner off NEXT with some people involved and some speakers. What I managed to catch from NEXT’s program while working was nothing short of splendid. Bruce Sterling’s talk has been shared widely and I’m eagerly awaiting Anab Jain’s to be published as a video (the slides are already there).

On Thursday I managed to set aside a bit of time to go to the local multiplayer picknick at Amaze. The Amaze Indie Connect is the most fun event of the Berlin game scene and it always gets lots of very cool people to come out. Just sitting at the same table as Terry Cavanagh and Michael Brough left me a bit star-struck:
@smestorp and @TerryCavanagh playing a game in the beer garden! Amaze Indie Connect is awesome.


Just played a bunch of Samurai Gunn. It's an incredible amount of fun.

It was also nice to see lots of old friends who I manage to see a couple of times a year. My highlight of Amaze was to be able to play Samurai Gunn. This game isn’t available yet and the video I’m going to post below does not nearly do it justice. It is one of the most gripping multiplayer combat games I’ve played to date.

On Friday I had breakfast at the Sheperditchi and then on Saturday it was off to Paris for CHI for the designing gamification workshop run by Sebastian Deterding.

Sebastian Deterding wrangling the post-its

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.

Week 317

The week before this on Monday (almost two weeks ago), I went to a lecture by Graham Harman. Notes on that were blogged in a timely fashion.

That week also involved a one-day trip to Munich to present on the work we did for a client there. More on that on the Hubbub blog in due course.

My desk optically flipped (not an Instagram filter)

Thursday I worked at the Kreuzberg Academy for Nerdery and Tinkering next door. I really love how Oranienstraße is coming together as a creative technological hub of import in Berlin.

Endless streams of tourists resume

The rest of the week was used developing Ripple Effect and with maintenance on GidsGame.nl.

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!