Weeknotes 194

Strategic Plan


Work on PLAY Pilots and preparations for Urbanode (actually all week long). Some development on aguascalientes.


Meeting with Amsterdams UITbureau. They are doing some very cool things to promote the city.

Got the business card comps by Bureau Pony which are going to be utterly smashing.

Did a big Urbanode test with James and Peter. Got everything back up and running and talking with each other. Also got the mobile version to work with something of a workaround.

Then worked deep into the night for a release of querétaro.


Did a demo of Urbanode for Kennisland at Melkweg with everything working at base level. An incredible refutation of Murhpy’s Law.

Then went out to a strategic dinner with Hubbub after congratulating Sjoerd Wennekes with his MBA (!).

Lit Menu

I could use some interns for Monster Swell. There’s more than enough work to be done in programming, cartography, journalism, writing, design and assorted. If you think you qualify for an internship send me a sample of your solid work and have your people contact my people.


Coffee with Johnny Wonder. A bunch more work on PLAY Pilots: Bandjesland and preparations for presenting at Open Innovation Festival.


Gave my presentation for Open Innovation Festival at the plenary meeting room in City Hall. That was fun.

Nice venue to present at

Had lunch with front-end superstar Kilian Valkhof with some more than decent coffee.

Syphon Coffee

End of the afternoon I gave a brown bag presentation at Adaptive Path Amsterdam. It was a more informal and updated version of my Civic Duty in a Hyper-Connected World.


Saturday we had Open Data Day at @ouroffice. Turnout was not that large due to a snow storm and Sinterklaas, but we did an in-depth analysis of a soon to be opened dataset.

Open Data Day

The rest of the weekend I played around with installing OpenCV but could not manage to get the python bindings to install on my OS X so I gave up on that1, the Java Processing library also flaked out.

  1. I’ve spent more than enough time in my life chasing down C++ library and linkage errors.

Week 193

I’m writing this sitting in a foggy Village Bagels in Amsterdam looking out onto the snowy streets. It’s been a while, and things are different than they were a year ago.

Last week was a busy one (are there any other?). A bunch of PLAY Pilots integration work getting ready for the release of Bandjesland and some work getting back up to speed with Urbanode.

Monday marked work for PLAY Pilots and Urbanode and finished with another This Happened Utrecht. The fourcelabs guys really swung it out of the park with their presentation on Wip ‘n’ Kip. I also wrote up some soundbytes for This Happened.

Tuesday I went to Hilversum to meet with the friendly people from the VPRO in their awesome headquarters. That night there was the opening of the installations of Mediamatic’s Sensorfest (sort of the Dutch version of ITP) and I did a bunch of data journalism work on project querétaro.

Wednesday I worked all day in Rotterdam at Buro Pony’s offices on mérida and finished the first version deliverable for querétaro. Also announced the third edition of the Dutch Data Drinks.

Thursday I got interviewed by Reimer Meulenbeek for Johnny Wonder about serious gaming (which is getting very serious indeed). We had a strategy meeting with the journalism track of Hack de Overheid and finished the day with a great dinner with professional friends.

Friday I met at the Amsterdam department of Economic Affairs to talk about interfacing with the city and about our presentation for the Open Innovation Festival this week (Friday morning at 11.00 in City Hall). There was a bunch more roundup integration for Bandjesland before heading to Utrecht to go to the opening in Tivoli at Le Guess Who?


It is hard to describe just how much the Bandjesland experience rocked if you weren’t there, but we are going to do our best by at least putting the full tracks and all the recorded samples on PLAY Pilots. Stay tuned for that, it is bound to be hilarious.

Friday also the outcome of the press innovation subsidies were announced and a project we submitted made the cut and we got featured on a large Dutch blog. I am still to formally plan the project and write-up our plans and aims what to do with the money, but rest assured that we will be open, we will deliver quality and that we will take things to a higher level.

Sunday played around with cablegate.wikileaks.org till deep into the night as anybody with an interest in data and journalism is wont to do.

Week 192

A busy week the last one, met with several people busy in the field of open transit data to the point of actively starting projects or planning to integrally solve the problem. Good to see that a lot of momentum (and perceived value) is in that space.

Worked on the integration of Bandjesland for PLAY Pilots.

Gave a presentation Wednesday at Social Media Club 030 which was pretty well received giving an overview of the Location Based Services landscape both in breadth and in history with some hints towards the future. I think this screenshot of Plazes from early 2006 was pretty telling.

Non-Potable Speaker Gift

Got the idea for project toluca and did some initial research and work on that. More of a self-itch relevance thing, but should cause a bunch of attention when it launches.

Mobile Monday Amsterdam posted the video of my presentation at their event. Thanks for that.

I also did a planning session on culiacán at Booreiland, research can start though production should be more of a 2011 thing.

Project querétaro is a hugely relevant data-journalism thing which got the in-depth brief and coding kick-off.

Laptop opladen

Friday the expedition to the VVOJ congres in Ghent started where with a group of people from Hack de Overheid we held a data ‘genius bar’ where journalists could ask their questions and Saturday we did our best to assess and resolve their issues. Interest at our desk was large (and only partially because they thought we were real hackers) and we managed to resolve pretty much all of the issues to some degree.

Stadhuis Gent

Also it’s not on the site yet —it is on the new one—, but I joined Hack de Overheid due to synergies we couldn’t ignore any longer.

Also Saturday in two weeks we will have the Open Data Day and Dutch Data Drinks #3.

Week 191

Last week was the first week that I was back from the Levant. I have notes for the three weeks in between, but I think I’ll skip those (though plenty of interesting stuff happened over there too).

Monday I presented an introduction on data for Mobile Monday, roundup post here: “The Rising Tide of Data on Mobile Monday”

Tuesday we picked up development of PLAY Pilots for the next live game: Bandjesland. And that night an open data proposal we helped author was adopted by Amsterdam, write-up: “Open Data in Amsterdam Center Adopted”

Wednesday and Thursday were spent doing roundup on data related issues (lots of stuff brewing) and further work on PLAY Pilots.

Friday I did a bit of consultancy for a next generation dating startup being spearheaded by three very nice friends.

And part of the weekend was spent preparing the presentation for Social Media Club Utrecht.

Week 187

A short remaindered weeknote (a rather awesome event and dinner packed week indeed):

Monday had dinner with our informal hedge fund association whose members shall stay anonymous. Suffice it to say: they’re a swell sort.

Finishing up my end of the Urbanode, the local systems integration and being the programmer on the ground. Handed that over to Peter Robinett on Friday.

Most of the rest of the week was concerned with preparing my presentation for the Club of Amsterdam on Thursday and then putting the slides with notes and references for that online.

Had a talk with D66 council member Sebastiaan Capel with ideas from my own practice and of the wider tech community on how to improve the state of the city of Amsterdam. I eagerly await his transcript of that talk.

Suit up!

Wednesday I was invited to the Microsoft Design Mind Salon with Bill Buxton, an awe inspiring design mind if ever there was one. After that I went to the drinks of the Design by Fire Event (a great event by all accounts) and caught up with friends old and new for dinner.

Bill Buxton

Thursday was the presentation day with speakers’ dinner. Had an interesting talk with Arjen Kamphuis of Gendo.


Friday I rounded up my administration before my trip to the Levant.


Week 186

A short week returning from Copenhagen on Monday evening.


Visited Booreiland on Tuesday to discuss collaboration on project culiacán.

Did some stuff on Urbanode and got my shots for my trip to Damascus.

Tuesday night the monthly ARCAM lecture was given by Jurriaan van Stigt, write up: Jurriaan van Stigt ARCAM lecture — “Solving these things in a simple and right way is fun. It is our work.”

Jurriaan van Stigt

Wednesday and most of the rest of the week were spent drafting my presentation for the Club of Amsterdam.

Met up with Tim de Gier of Vrij Nederland on Thursday. Good to hear inside opinions on Dutch media and art. Sparked two blog posts on my part which had been due for a while: Ontwerp en complexiteit als journalistieke kansen, How I Twitter.

Sunday Bits of Freedom organized a salon with Eben Moglen, writeup: Eben Moglen — “Will the net empower the center or the ends?”

Weeknotes 185

That was bloody quick

Last week was a short one due to a multitude of other engagements and a weekend trip to Malmö-Lund-Copenhagen from which I returned yesterday.

Project mérida which concerns a collaboration with Buro Pony took up some time and we had a meeting on that on Wednesday.

A bunch of updates on PLAY Pilots were also on the roster and my first (and quite succesful) play at the Stereoscoop during the Film Festival.

Epic Win

An opinion piece I’ve been writing for a national daily has been accepted, but the urgency of the topic has been pushed aside a bit by current political developments in the Netherlands. Here’s hoping it gets published sometime soon.

Wednesday was also the office warming for Lev Kaupas new haunts which was a very lively and entertaining event.

Friend Requests

Week 184

Last week was mostly busy with getting http://playpilots.nl to talk nicely to the Stereoscoop live game and make stuff work (mostly) properly back and forth. Synchronizing physical installations with websites is always fun.

Monday we also saw the launch of Stweetfightr, a game by the friendly people from Carsonified. The mechanic is mostly the same as PLAY Pilots, with roles, moves and turn taking except that theirs is resolved by a straight roshambo mechanic (one which we considered, but rejected).

Quantified Self Amsterdam

Monday I also attended the first meetup of the Quantified Self Amsterdam chapter co-organized by our office’s Maarten den Braber.

The second half of this week was taken up mostly by PICNIC which was a great event again. Criticism aside, Amsterdam should celebrate a cross-over event such as this that combines various disciplines and gets so many luminaries to coalesce within its borders. The conference was great and even better the catching up with various people from across the world.

Dutch Data Drinks

Friday the Stereoscoop was launched oficially at the Dutch Film Festival. I unfortunately could not attend this because I was organizing the first Dutch Data Drinks for Monster Swell. A resounding succes and the first of many events focused on the coming Big Data trend.

P1050479.JPG.scaled1000.jpg (1000×750)
Uploaded with Skitch!

Friday our friends from the Utrechts Uitburo also launched their integration with Foursquare (the first in the Netherlands), something which has been a long time in the making. Writeup: Foursquare Page for Utrechts Uitburo

PICNIC taking a large bite out of the week’s productivity, the weekend suffered (in a good way).

Urban Lenses

On Saturday I sat on the terrace of Two for Joy catching the last rays of the sun, while sketching out a concept model for an ethnographical study of metropolitan minorities in the Netherlands with regards to digital services and informal economy.
This was partly prompted by the Urban Lenses panel at PICNIC where certain panelists displayed an inexcusable amount of cultural insensitivity and simplistic thinking. This is a tendency among many of our colleagues to see their affluent, technologically able, privileged selfs as the model for which to design. Not to mention to see the disconnect between the nation’s policies and its ethnically diverse periphery high streets.
I propose going into these burbs and talking to these people to see what their lives are really like and how they use technology. Think Jan Chipchase but without the permafuck1. A project for fun, but I can’t guarantee we won’t make any profit. Up for it?


You may have noticed the transition of Monster Swell from a static placeholder site to a full WordPress installation of its own. That is the first improvement on that domain for it to become a fully scalable information consuming and producing entity. How that will impact this weblog remains to be seen.

Sunday was occupied by taking the Urbanode integration at the Melkweg to a next step and learning more and more about lighting systems. Also project mérida started with some custom django deployment more on which later.

  1. Don’t worry, you will get tired plenty.

Weeknotes 183

We moved in our new desks and got rid of the old ones. This clears up a lot of space in the studio and we now have a fifth desk open for lease. If you’re design minded and interested in a great place in a creative hub of Amsterdam, get in touch.

New desks!! (Gispen, for you Dutch Design enthousiasts)

Monday I visited the finissage of fashion and architecture at ARCAM and went to the Typekit meetup organized by Adaptive Path.


Tuesday we resumed development on PLAY Pilots to integrate the website with the Stereoscoop game being built by Zesbaans. I spent a good part of Friday at their studio working on further integration and communication between our systems.

Design Problem

Today's View

I’m planning an informal data drinks this Friday after PICNIC called the Dutch Data Drinks. A ton of people I know are busy working with data in some fashion or another. It is about time these people got to know each other and work together.

Wednesday there was a small victory. I’m busy as a local operative for the Urbanode project and working on the intermediary layer between the application server and the club lights. After fiddling a bit in the Melkweg, we got some lights to be controlled by a Python script, which was very nice.

Thursday I visited the Boffel by our Dutch digital civil liberties organization Bits of Freedom who were celebrating their first year anniversary. I cosigned a letter by them against web censorship. After that I also visited a Speed Show of net art curated guerilla style in a local internet café.


Saturday went to see the Next Big Thing exhibition by the Sandberg Institute which was pretty much the archetype of a mixed bag.

Mind the Gap Berlin

Also busy writing a piece for NRC, which is progressing slowly.

Week 182

The belated weeknotes for the last week. My apologies. Another inbetween week, with a ton of events.

Monday was Mobile Monday on design with great performances by Arnall and Webb. Good to see our Dutch friends exposed to real design (i.e. not solving problems). Let’s hope interesting and valuable stuff comes from it.

Tuesday I read into a bunch of arcane protocol stuff for Urbanode and went to a lecture by landscape architect Ronald Rietveld (my notes).

Wednesday I got to talk with some of the chief creative minds in the Southern Randstad. Expect some awesome visuals headed this way sometime soonish.

Thursday marked another bunch of wrap-up and attendance of the UX Cocktail Hours (which were hosted by SapientNitro and quite ace).

(Friday was occupied with more of the above.)