[the City] has incredible resources of data and information

Recently DataSF launched and I’m not very familiar with the concept, but it looks like a step in the right direction for city based data initiatives more or less in line with the “Cities That Think Like the Web” initiative. I still think the holy grail of reusability for government websites is a bit off and can only be combined with excellent websites and web literacy, but we are making progress.

We could pass the Open City Motion here in Amsterdam but there is in fact nothing in it which is new or contradicts current legislature and initiatives regarding open data and open source. It’s all already in place, it just is not being done (properly).
The biggest problem is that the issue is mudlded by a bunch of directives —is this NOIV or some other initiative?—, a lot of people don’t know what they’re doing and the political will and prioritization from the top is missing.

After a significant enough portion of the populace has become more web literate and one or more election cycles have passed we may get a group that will implement this, but I and my early adopter tech friends can’t really wait for that. So what to do?

Enjoyment of Public Space

Jan Chipchase had asked this question recently in a post on this street scene which already had me thinking.

Enjoy Public Space

Yesterday I was present at a lecture by Dirk Overduin on some succesful interventions around the use of public space.

It’s hard to strike a balance between the use and abuse/overuse of public space. Mostly perceived ‘abuse’ of public space stems from other social problems (homelessness etc.) and regulating public space too rigidly impoverishes all of us.

Looking at the street scene from China, I’m disappointed that we do not have similar uses of public space here. To be able to play tavla on the sidewalk in the city while drinking çay…

Gecekondu on the island at ARCAM is a fun initiative and they have a full program for the next couple of days so be sure to visit them.

Social Drinking in Print

Things are a bit slow in Amsterdam, this being high summer. Having Foursquare (see previous post) and being able to drink some beers in the city now and then does make it a lot more relaxed.

Robert Gaal and I initiated the launch in Amsterdam and it looks like it is really taking off right now. Dutch daily NRC.next wrote a two page spread on the site and quoted me and some others in it. Normally I don’t bother with papers, but I went to our neighborhood store and bought a copy:

Ben in Paradiso, kom ook man

It’s a nice balanced overview piece of the service and the trends towards more ubicomp in your nightlife experience. The big question is, these guys have delivered, will anybody else match them in the foreseeable future?

Local social network Hyves is bluffing they will introduce similar functionality but it begs the question why they didn’t already? I’ve seen this concept come by in briefings more times than I care to count and nobody has been able to get the buy-in and pull off the experience.
And when was the last update of the Hyves iPhone App? Or of the Facebook App for that matter?

In other news: There was some drama recently with people from outside of Amsterdam adding venues outside of Amsterdam and getting rebuked by some people within AMS.

Foursquare’s policy is that anybody who wants to play in whatever fashion should be allowed to do so. The data generated can always be filtered better later on using better algorithms and more insight. Just think twice about friending me if you plan on checking in outside of Amsterdam.

Urban Teleportation Device

I can’t say enough how pleased I am to be riding this bike through the city.

Urban Teleportation Device

I’ve given her a name but it functions mostly as a teleport to a random location in the city where t < 15m. Already being familiar with the topography of Amsterdam is a plus and tearing through the city, riding faster than most people without any effort is fantastic.

Now comes the more difficult task of keeping this bike in this city.