Week 201

Solid progress on Maguro in Utrecht. Spent a large amount of time over there also to evaluate the PLAY Pilots project’s succes. Started building a prototype that runs more in real-time and on timed events (and all that in a traditional web framework).

Marcus McBride Liberation Fest

Progress on the design framework of Statlas. This week we should see that coming together and look at the progress on the renderer, but I’m getting ahead of ourselves here. I rounded up the research I did on personal mapping platforms that are online now.

Hunk Designer at work

Dinner with Johnny Wonder Jaap was nice, collaboration on the public affairs side of things looks promising:
Stadskantine eten met Jaap

Apps for Amsterdam should come along nicely and we should announce a bunch of stuff this week (or else!). You can pencil in March 12th as the next Hack de Overheid event but don’t tell anybody I told you.

I also went to the Open Streetmap drinks in Amsterdam. Wherecamp EU may take place in Amsterdam, so that would be very good geo news.

iPad, iPad, Blackberry, MacBook, Monocle on half a table: this is THE place

Zero History excerpts

Some Bigend-centric excerpts from Zero History:

There were cameras literally everywhere […] they were a symptom of autoimmune disease, the state’s protective mechanisms ‘roiding up into something actively destructive, chronic; watchful eyes, eroding the healthy function of that which they ostensibly protected.

He was a creature of screens, of bare expanses of desk or table, empty shelves. He owned as far as she knew, no art. In some way, she suspected, he regarded it as competition, noise to his signal

“Bram,” said Hollis, “the singer from the Stokers.”

Milgrim brought out his Faraday pouch, then his passport.

“That’s our Festo air penguin,” Bigend said after a pause. “We’re experimenting with it as an urban video surveillance platform.”

“He says it’s like walking through walls. Nobody can, but if you could, he says, it would feel like that. He says the wall is inside, though, and you do have to walk through it.”

Hires people who’ll go off the reservation, lead him somewhere new.

“He believes that stasis is the real enemy,” Milgrim said, […] “Stability’s the beginning of the end. We only walk by continually beginning to fall forward. He told me.”

Whatever he was, she found she trusted him. He seemed peeled somehow, transparent, strangely free of underlying motive. Seemed used to it as well.

He’d grown up with the unquestioned assumption that America was the home of heroic infrastructure, but was it now? He didn’t think so.

When Bigend talked about London, it felt to Milgrim that he was describing some intricate antique toy he’d bought at auction.

“I thought he was in Toronto.” “He’s in a post-geographical position,” said Bigend.

When you want to know how things really work, study them when they’re coming apart.

“Some sort of seething Swiftian rage,” he said, “that he can only express through pervers, fiendishly complex exploits, resembling Surrealist gestes.”

She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries […]

“He’s curating suits that do retinal damage, these days.”

“Sufficiently perverse and titanic arseholes,” he said, “can become religious objects. Negative saints. People who dislike them, with sufficient purity and fervor, well, they do that. Spend their lives lighting candles. I don’t recommend it.”

“He already believes that that’s how the world is. Show him a wave, he’ll try to surf it.”

“The potential, for one grand exploit, is fabulous.”

This Happened Utrecht #6 Soundbytes

Last Monday we saw the sixth edition of This Happened taking place and —I haven’t seen all, but I’ve seen more than most— I think this was one of the best ones yet.

So thinking what would be an easy way to journal this edition both for me as a writer and for you as a reader I came up with this format. Session division is left as an exercise for the reader.

Going to school in the 90s. By the time they graduated everybody had multiple e-mail addresses, multiple browsers and access to mobile phones.

I took an indulgent three week break just to sketch.

I’ve never seen anybody smell a Microsoft mouse before, touch it to their lips because it was so smooth.

How we husband and harvest computational wood. We water them with a conductive ink at least yearly and then they become computational.

The only way to solve these interaction design problems is by going out there and using the application.

And then bam! there’s the sun.

This is just a very fancy animation to conclude.

Preferences are evil, they are the work of the devil.

Archie and the Bees, our last show or our last therapy session.

I always get inspired by other people.

I’m still using Director 8 and it runs great!

If you work with technology, it always will crash.

I once had a show where nothing went right and I never saw people applauding so hard in the end.

First we do an experiment and then that evolves into a show.

My dynamic is to make it easy to grasp for everybody.

Obama for the World

Staying up all night to watch the elections we finally saw Barack Obama’s victory speech somewhere after 5AM. Though at that moment I couldn’t fully appreciate it, it was one of his best speeches and one ending a period.

We’re only at the beginning and the things he does from now on are those that really matter. Everything until now a prelude of some sorts. It will be interesting to see how his transition goes and who he appoints to be in his staff and cabinet.

In the meantime just to reminisce about how good a campaign he ran, what a phenomenal communicator he is and how he just comes across as a very sympathetic and funny guy, here a brilliant anecdote from the campaign trail. Watch it and then analyze its communicational layering; sheer and utter brilliance.

San Francisco

I’ve always wanted to go there and tomorrow I’m finally going. Some vague plans, tads of serendipity and friends pushing me over the edge were enough to have me book the ticket, I think, only three weeks ago. Tomorrow Lufthansa will take me over an ocean for the first time of my life.

Halfway during the trip there’s a four day capoeira event celebrating Mestre Acordeon‘s fiftieth year of teaching capoeira with a Brazilian festival in Berkeley on Saturday. I’ll also try to get some surfing in and see if I can visit the local tech hubs and meet some people, so it’s not purely a holiday.

If this wasn’t enough to stress me out, today my laptop decided to not boot anymore. So I spent most of the day panicing and restoring a backup, after which everything seems to work again but no clue for how long. Maybe I should try to sneak a new Macbook past customs on my way back.

Take care, I’ll be back the 27th.

Coworking Desk Available

At our nice coworking spot Studio 4 Stagioni we have one or two desks available effective immediately. This poster has been hanging on some select locations around town:
Office Space Advert

The ad is in Dutch, but it says you can get a desk in a creative environment next to the Delft central train station for €85 a month (cost). If you’re interested or know somebody who is, get in touch either here or using the phone number on the ad.

Some legitimate fear

This video on BoingBoing is shocking in its absurdity but hardly unexpected given the current climate. If you pay any attention around you in metropolitan areas in the UK, it is rife with ostentatious surveillance.

What I’m most afraid of is that if we get a significant bombing in the Netherlands, that will be the only excuse necessary to implement these random searches and violations of our civil liberties on Dutch soil. And the populace will swallow it wholesale supported by our MSM.

Terrorism is nothing to be afraid of compared to the complacent fascism hidden in the average person.

10th Reboot – day 2 and on


The second day started off with a talk about Free by Jerry Michalski which reminded me a lot of the topics that I had covered the previous day in my talk. Jerry’s talk being in the main hall made this turn out a lot differently than my talk.


David Recordon followed with a talk about the open web and reminded us that not that much has changed in the last six months since I saw him on the same topic in Berlin. The big social conglomerates that have each other in a chokehold make for glacial progress.

Arduino Workshop

I dropped in on the Arduino workshop which was a very nice introduction into building electronic stuff. Because I was already somewhat familiar and I wanted the freedom to bounce around the conference, I hadn’t registered but I did get some questions in to further my own ideas.

Joshua’s talk proved to be one of the best of the conference —with this great quote— marred slightly by the fact that his partner could not make it for a more complete stage presence. His work and vision how technology works towards freedom is very relevant and interesting though we usually stare ourselves blind at Silicon Valley and the likes.

After the conference we made a yearly chaotic meetup somewhere in the city trying to get something to eat more or less succesfully after which we made our way to Vega. The party in the bar was quickly replaced with a party outside with tipping beers and music where everybody had a great time. Even the arrival of police could not really stop our party.

The next day I was going to get some coffee at Kafeplantagen when I remembered that some people were having a post-Reboot brunch at Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus. I was a bit hesitant to join after having already spent two days with these people but I’m glad I went inside. I got to catch up with Chris Messina, Brynn Evans and Janetti Chon and talk about the differences between the USA and Europe.

10th Reboot – day 1

Reboot 10 is over and in my experience they simply get better every year.

I’d signed up for a session and got slotted on Thursday morning so I spent a good part of Wednesday preparing and running through the story. Of course after having gotten over my early flight and having eaten something at the Laundromat.

My session on Free Economics was filled over capacity while it was meant to be a cosy conversational session. Fortunately that also meant more than enough people willing to participate and add information, so I think it went well and it proved a good starting point for the rest of the conference. My stress relieved could follow the rest of the sessions.

There were a number of other Dutch presenters most notably: Kars, Ton, Ianus and Iskander. Unfortunately I didn’t see any of them present, but I’ll catch up on that when the video’s are posted. Being programmed against Andy Budd meant that I missed his presentation as well, but maybe I wouldn’t have fitted in the completely full small room anyway.

Thomas vander Wal

Thomas Vander Wal’s talk —always nice to have him over at this side of the ocean— gave us some great elements for social software to base our thinking on and concluded with a way to get organizations to think about the dichotomy between keeping information and sharing it.


It was a joy to hear music in the presentation on Tradition by Jeremy Keith. More music is usually a good idea as we would also see in the final party.

On Reboot I never can keep up going to sessions and usually it’s better not to. The interactions in the hallways and the lobby especially during the lull when there are sessions going on are more interesting on a personal level than anything else.


The first day’s talk got concluded by a fun treatment of information by David Weinberger. During dinner it was also very interesting to get a preview of his session from Siert Wijnia about his Fablab and what the commoditization of the production process will do to product design and manufacturing.

Surfing Summer

Mr. Zog's Sex Wax

We had an excellent summer last year surfing on and off on Scheveningen as the waves allowed. This year has been mostly flat, but we had some waves a week ago and end of this week promises some nice swell, so surf is up.

It’s nice to have a surf spot this easily accessible, but I’m curious how surfing in real waves is. So this July we’ll be headed off to Aquitaine or Basque country for a week to check the waves over there.