Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mondovino, interesting movie

Sommelier Jonathan Nossiter's view on the globalisation of wine.

In "Mondovino," Michael Broadbent, the legendary British wine writer and auctioneer, criticized the changes Mr. Rolland had made to Château Kirwan, a middling Margaux estate that now, Mr. Broadbent said, tasted like a Pomerol. He added, "I'd rather have an individual wine not up to scratch than a global wine that's innocuous." It's a sentiment that still has Mr. Rolland fuming. "I think English critics in general — the English are used to drinking older wines," he said. "Michael Broadbent is always speaking about the 1940's and 1960's. It's like they are stopped in time, like old people always looking back to the old days."
The documentary-like movie is about the e.g. traditional French winemakers with a strong belief of wine's terroir predominating its flavour versus modern-world winemakers building strong brands aided by wine consultants, like Rolland. Should winemakers design/adapt their wines to the taste of the customer and the wine critics like Robert Parker or should they stick to tradition, identity and the wine's terroir?

Monday, December 03, 2007


I paid a short visit to Dublin, Ireland. First visit to the city. More visits to come, if the project will be granted to my colleagues and I. Thanks a million to the owner of this internet cafe, 2 euros for one hour and Illy espresso, what else can one wish for...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Semantic Desktop

Google Tech Talks September 28, 2007 ABSTRACT A Semantic Desktop is a means to manage all personal information across application borders based on Semantic Web standards. It acts as an extended personal memory assisting users to file, relate, share, and access all digital information like documents, multimedia, and messages through a Personal Information Model (PIMO). This PIMO is build on ontological knowledge generated through user observations and interactions and may be seen as a formal and semi-formal complement of the user's mental models. Thus it reflects experience and typical user behaviour and may be processed by a computer in order to provide proactive and adaptive information support or allows personalized semantic search. The Semantic Desktop is build on a middle ware platform allowing to combine information and native applications like the file-system, Mozilla, Thunderbird or MS-Outlook. In this talk I will show how machine learning techniques may be used to support the generation of a PIMO. I will further introduce the main concepts, components, and functionalities of the Semantic Desktop, and give examples which show how the Semantic Desktop may become reality.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Canary Wharf

A typical -in and out of London City- working day. Men in pinstripe suits gather early in the morning at Schiphol airport's D-pier. Always a gate with a terribly high number, like 46 or 48, hence a long walk from the passport checkpoint. Enter a KLM cityhopper wait half an hour, enjoy the safety procedure during taxying and then off she goes from Kaagbaan. One hour to check all the newspapers aboard. Steep landing at LCY, 5.5 degrees or more. Wait for the "Doors may be opened", say "Bye!" to the air hostesses and captain, hurry down to the DLR. Change at Canning Town to the Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf. For some of us on the plane this is a weekly trip or bi-weekly trip, go figure. For me it was a first to Canary Wharf, but probably the tenth time to LCY. It was a nice day, with an informative meeting in one of the large buildings out there.
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

Barista Knowledge

  1. Mano dell'operatore (hand of the operator);
  2. Macinadosatore (grinder-doser);
  3. Miscela (blend);
  4. Macchina espresso (espresso machine).
Want to learn more?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Or maybe another kind of break?

One Guinness is like 4 slices of bread isn't it...

Mmmmm . . . . coffee!!

Time for a break, do you agree?

Computers versus Common Sense

Google TechTalks May 30, 2006 Douglas Lenat Dr. Douglas Lenat is the President and CEO of Cycorp. Since 1984, he and his team have been constructing, experimenting with, and applying a broad real world knowledge base and reasoning engine, collectively "Cyc". Dr. Lenat was a professor of computer science at Carnegie-Mellon University and at Stanford University. His interest and experience in national security has led him to regularly consult for several U.S. agencies and the White House. ABSTRACT It's way past 2001 now, where the heck is HAL? For several decades now we've had high hopes for computers amplifying our mental abilities not just giving us access to relevant stored information, but answering our complex, contextual questions. Even applications like human-level unrestricted speech understanding continue to dangle close but just out of reach. What's been holding AI up? The short answer is that while computers make fine idiot savants, they lack common sense: the millions of pieces of general knowledge we all share, and fall back on as needed, to cope with the rough edges of the real world. I will talk about how that situation is changing, finally, and what the timetable -- and the path -- realistically are on achieving Artificial Intelligence.

Monday, October 15, 2007



from fraochaidhe, strange, unusual; frightening, frenzied, manic, mad, rabid, raving, wild
source: List of English language words of Irish origin,

Sunday, October 14, 2007

oSkope visual search

Beautifully made.

Parsnip Chips

Originally uploaded by ranjit
Next to Turnip Chips, there also appear to be Parsnip Chips. Parsnip is a root type vegetable that looks like a white carrot. Carrots and parsnip are actually closely related, though parsnip tastes quite stronger.

Parsnips were eaten like potatoes nowadays, before the potato was discovered as food.

Turnip Chips

Originally uploaded by Captain Suresh
On Gatwick Airport I found a shop selling chips made from all kind of vegetables, including turnips. What are turnips I wondered...

They appear to be cultivated both as root and leaf vegetable. The picture shows the root vegetable. To be specific the italian red head type.

Top tip: the smaller the turnip, the sweeter the taste.

La Défense, Paris

La Défense
Originally uploaded by torpenhow3
In a week or two I'll be back in Paris, a great city in my humble opinion.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Golden Hinde

Golden Hinde
Originally uploaded by eelandco
A colleague and I visited the London office of DNV to work on a project with aviation safety specialists based over there. For some reason DNV London had a ship dry docked in their front yard.

It's an authentic replica of the galleon in which Sir Francis Drake sailed around the world in 1577 – 1580.

DNV and Maritime go back a long way, so it's not that strange after all.

Deep down below

Deep down below
Originally uploaded by Maya Newman
Yesterday I found myself in these tube tunnels somewhere between London Bridge and Gatwick Airport, humid, warm, like sardines in a tin can, ... way outside of any comfort zone.

Work in London

Friday, October 05, 2007

Awarded, such honour

Yesterday I received a phone call from the Abersychan special awards committee. I'm granted with the Honorary Abersychan Anorak of the Year Award. According to his personal assistant, the honourable professor doctor Michael Kelleher will give me the award in person later this year during a special banquet organised in Shap Wells.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Peter van Dijck using Sketchcast to explain an IA idea

Actually an idea he saw presented by Are Halland of NetLife Research, called: Core and Paths: Designing from the inside and out.
After seeing the video I felt kind of good. Why? Because I understood the idea so well. In November 2006 I made quite a similar thing for a client. Not to brag or anything, just to mention that it feels good that the idea isn't that bad at all, according to peers.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Knowledge Cafe, theme: Corporate Wikis

Yesterday I participated in a knowledge cafe by presenting a project I undertook with my colleague Eelco Kruizinga. The project was called SKYbrary, a mediawiki-based reference site for air traffic controllers initiated by EUROCONTROL / Safety Improvement Sub Group, with ICAO and Flight Safety Foundation as participating organisations. The knowledge cafe had over 70 guests that afternoon, from all walks of trade. All interested in learning about the cases presented and the discussions facilitated about corporate wikis. The other cases were Railpedia by Prorail and ING Wiki by ING Bank. The location were the knowledge cafe took place is called "Bomencentrum." A small meeting centre on the premises of an arboretrum annex tree farm. A building designed following Feng Shui architecture guidelines, ensuring it's a healthy place where one feels at ease.
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As a present all participants received a Ginkgo Biloba tree. A beautiful and rather specific tree, in many ways.

How web 2.0 can be applied in the enterprise context and what are the business benefits.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What Was Where?

Today the Beta version of was presented in Utrecht. The site's back-end was built by Toutatis. Wat Was Waar?, meaning "what was where?" is a website for the broad public showing the map of The Netherlands with all places clickable leading to a list of contents linked to that place in a certain period of time. From 1932 'till today. Currently the contents are aerial photo's, old city designs and information about house or land owners. The map viewer shows really clear and detailed maps, based on vectorized maps. Toutatis developed a smart pre-load mechanism, ensuring maps are shown really fast. Lots of ajax is used. Compliments to Toutatis and WatWasWaar.

Friday, June 22, 2007


From left to right: Timo Kouwenhoven, Rene Castelein en Jan-Willem Kouwenhoven.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dr. Jan-Willem Kouwenhoven MD

My brother's PhD thesis: The role of intrinsic spinal mechanisms in the pathogenesis of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, Jan-Willem Kouwenhoven MD.

  • Promotor: prof.dr. Rene Castelein
  • Promotor: prof.dr. ir. Max Viergever
  • Co-promotor: dr. ir. Koen Vincken
  • Co-promotor: dr. ir. Theo Smit

During his research he published several articles in Spine, these are:

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Delphi Summit 1.0

The first corporate summit on the future of IT services was excellent. Plans were made, networks built and knowledge shared. Sitges, near Barcelona gave us a sunny setting.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thessowary Bird

While working on a thesaurus for a client, one of the employees interviewed had some difficulty with the word 'thesaurus' and spoke of 'thesuaris'. My colleague who knows his birds, was triggered and told me about the 'kasuaris' (dutch spelling for Cassowary). Hence the Thessowary bird depicted.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Useful Void: The Art of Forgetting in the Age of Ubiquitous Computing

As humans we have the capacity to remember ­ and to forget. For millennia remembering was hard, and forgetting easy. By default, we would forget. Digital technology has inverted this. Today, with affordable storage, effortless retrieval and global access remembering has become the default, for us individually and for society as a whole. We store our digital photos irrespective of whether they are good or not - because even choosing which to throw away is too time-consuming, and keep different versions of the documents we work on, just in case we ever need to go back to an earlier one. Google saves every search query, and millions of video surveillance cameras retain our movements. In this article Viktor Mayer-Schönberger analyses this shift and links it to technological innovation and information economics. Then Viktor suggests why we may want to worry about the shift, and call for what he terms data ecology. In contrast to others he does not call for comprehensive new laws or constitutional adjudication. Instead proposes a simple rule that reinstates the default of forgetting our societies have experienced for millennia, and shows how a combination of law and technology can achieve this shift. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger is Associate Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government / Harvard University. His work focuses on business, legal, and policy issues of the new economy. He is also an expert on the European Union, especially its regulatory framework and business-government relations.

Corporate summit in Spain

Colleagues reponsible for new business and innovation from Norway, Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom and The Netherlands will meet in the Barcelona area for 2 days. Sunny weather will be the scene for sharing ideas.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


This colourful row of houses is located in Cleator, close to the train viaduct across the Keekle River at Cleator. The River Keekle is a river running through the English county of Cumbria. The source of the Keekle is to be found at Keekle Head Farm on High Park between Gilgarran and Asby. From there, the river moves gradually southwards via former open cast mine between Frizington and Whitehaven to Cleator, where it becomes subsumed by the River Ehen. The river is noted for its occasional abundance of salmon.

Cleator revisited

The largest group of Cleator's citizens: sheep.
Typical view while walking from The Ennerdale to The Grove for lunch. The Grove Court Hotel is run by the family Benn. Situated next to St Mary's Catholic Church and Grotto in the lovely town of Cleator. If you're thinking of having lunch out there, at least have the scampi fried in a light batter. Not like the well known fritters, but more like tempura, so much lighter.

Little Chef, the British answer to the golden arches

Bring your healthy appetite and they'll make sure you leave ready for your journey - wherever you're going. Their aim is very simple:

to be the motorist's friend, serving up quality food and offering great value for money. Expect freshly prepared food, using the best ingredients we can buy. Enjoy a welcoming, informal setting and watch out for some exciting dishes this Autumn like our hot Ciabatta sandwich and the incredible Double Olympic Burger – helping you beat the rush hour (and the hunger pangs).
Each year they welcome 20 million guests, serving: 10 million cups of tea, 12 million rashers of bacon, 13 million eggs and 13 million sausages!


Always nice to be in this street (part of the 595 heading to Workington) in Whitehaven. This was the first time it was sunny, normally we drive out here in the evening or in heavy rain. Taken from the car, while driving on the 595, a picture of the Irish Sea from Whitehaven. Just outside of the Waterfront restaurant this picture was taken in the evening.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Wakey wakey, rise and shine, it's Starbucks time!

Right, Monday morning I'll be at Newcastle Airport again. After customs, fetch bags, through "nothing to declare", half way the hall on the left get some cash, some yards further down check for an interesting read, opposite of the bookstore is the Starbucks for a tall cappucino and a cinnamon twirl or whatever they call that stuff that lasts for a fortnight to digest, all the way down the hall to Herz to get car keys and all the way back to the other end of the hall, exit the building, get the car and leave the airport area ASAP to head for the countryside and relax all the way down to Lake Ennerdale...

Is everything miscellaneous?

DiiGo and Grupthink... tools for tag drafting

Remember the item on tag drafting, well, here's Diigo, with communities sharing bookmarks, clippings, annotations, ... The name "Diigo" is an abbreviation for "Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other stuff." Diigo (dee'go) is about Social Annotation. By combining social bookmarking, clippings, in situ annotation, tagging, full-text search, easy sharing and interactions, Diigo offers a powerful personal tool and a rich social platform for knowledge users, and in the process, turns the entire web into a writable, participatory and interactive media. The social annotation service introduced by Diigo allows users to add highlights and sticky notes, in situ, on any web page they read. Imagine a giant transparency overlaying on top of all the web pages. Users can write on the transparency as they wish, as private notes or public comments. And they can read public comments on the transparency left by other readers of the same page, and hear their "two cents" and interact with them. Grupthink is a similar kind of tool, with a much better name as far as I'm concerned, but less useful. Grupthink caters for communities sharing answers to more or less open-ended questions, like: "Can all ideas be expressed using language?"