Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Cote d'Azur for business

This week I'll be travelling to Cannes. A city in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in southeastern France. It is one of the best-known cities of the French Riviera. It is a busy tourist destination and host of the annual Cannes Film Festival. The population was of 70,400 as of the 2007 census. Cannes is the home of numerous luxurious houses and mansions as well as many high-end gated communities. The city is also famous for its various luxury stores, fancy restaurants, and prestigious hotels.
I won't see any of it... After landing at Aéroport Nice Côte d'Azur, it will be taxi to business partner, meetings, taxi back to Aéroport Nice Côte d'Azur. In and out on a day. Like previous trips to the City, travelling with Blackberrying suits. For some it's business as usual, for me it's less usual still, but I'm getting used to it. It's fun really.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Effective Twitter usage... some insights

I found myself cogitating. Happens often really. While getting a grip on Yahoo! Pipes, I wondered what one could derive from Twitter time lines (feed from a Twitter account). Trying various options of ingesting RSS feeds, processing them and forwarding them again, I found myself on the Twitter track. Twitter is used both by people to stay in touch with their network of friends, and by commercial bloggers to announce new write-ups on their blog. Elaborate insights about Twitter usage were posted by Jeremiah Owyang, web strategist.
Twitterazzi with hundreds of followers are hardly able to know who is who among the crowd following them. Right? Or the one's following hundreds of others? Some balance between followed and following might be a measure for twitter usage. Mashable Let's consider the Twitterazzi sending shed loads of messages, are they merely garrulous or do they have a mission? Are they narrow casting? Might they be deity prophets? What if the balance between outbound and inbound traffic is 100:1? Last but not least, messages versus replies counting 1:100 might be interesting, 1 message out and a 100 replies to others, this might be a sign of a new Apollo at Delphi? Three measures found so far:

  • Following : Followers
  • Inbound : Outbound
  • Messages : Replies
  • Inner-circle : Outer-circle
In the meanwhile I managed to get Yahoo! Pipes working for me and even got Google Charts' API geared towards my needs of displaying numerical feeds. Visualising Twitter usage was just too far fetched in the time at hand. Guess what? Xefer.com managed to build the thing! Using Twitter timelines, Yahoo! Pipes and Google charts API. I must admit they even paid a lot of attention to the visualisation of data (Edward Tufte would probably approve of it).
Interpreting the charts leads to some understanding of the type of Twitterazzo you are looking at. Is it someone rambling all day long, hardly ever replying to others? Might it be someone knowledgeable answering questions? Someone getting messages from others within his own circle, or even from an outer-circle? I'm not finished analysing yet, but for now it's up to you!
Try the tool on your own Twitter profile and tell me what you think!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Multi-tool Twitter

Half a year ago I moved to Amsterdam. Great city, many interesting people, many cultural events, vast amount of bars, ... How to find your way around, how to meet great people, the right places to eat, the places to buy honest ingredients, ..? I put my money on Twitter and got lucky. Twitter got me in touch with new media researchers, promising entrepreneurs, social events, #blog08, ... it even got me interviewed in a large newspaper. Twitter is a multi-tool and I like it! 836 tweets in 3 months got me connected with 50-60 people. 15 of them I actually met in real life. NRC / nrc next journalist Marie-José Klaver interviewed me about the role of Twitter in organisations, specifically about its role as a knowledge management tool.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

@blog08 on Friday 23 October

  • Pete Cashmore, 10th blog of the world, Mashable.com
  • Hugh MacLeod, well known cartoonist and blogger at Gapingvoid.com
  • Boris van der Ham, member of Dutch parliament and blogger
  • Scott Rafer, former-CEO of MyBlogLog currently CEO of Lookery
  • Tim Overdiek, chief-editor of the Dutch broadcast news programme NOS Journaal and blog evangelist
  • Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, well known Dutch internet entrepreneur
  • Nalden, music blogger living of his experimental blog, Nalden.net
  • GabeMac, videoblogger from Madrid
  • Piet Bakker, scientist, Universiteit van Amsterdam

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The role of Local 2.0 in Enterprise 2.0?

Last Friday I attended The Next Web Salon for the second time in a row. Got to meet interesting people and got triggered by the 10 minute presentation by Michael Bauer. Michael Bauer is a local internet expert and CEO of Koano. Michael's presentation, though very short but nevertheless good, was about the future of local. Local as in: Search, Mapping, Ontology, International, Social, Network.

Imagine a web app that allows me as a citizen of Amsterdam to find the kind of places I know and like in Amsterdam when I travel abroad. E.g. Vondelpark in Amsterdam, is similar to, Central Park in New York. A recommendation system based on things you know well near your 'home' to find things near your 'locus' (the place you are).
What would be the impact of such a mechanism in an enterprise context? In large organisations where it's beyond your possibilities to know everything, but you do know your thing. So, what if the coordinates are not geographic, but organisational. Your place in the value chain, business process, organogram, stakeholder network, ... In the pit of my gut I feel there is something good about this... (Photo taken by Anne Helmond)

Is Twitter a useful enterprise 2.0 application?

Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger published their thoughts on Situated Learning "Legitimate peripheral participation" in 1991. A rather theoretical book on how people evolve from newcomers to key members of communities of practice. I remember an example of Etienne:

think of taxidrivers and their radio network. On the radio they get calls from the station and their colleagues. They do not listen actively to the radio, but they catch messages that might be of their interest. Some colleague mentioning a traffic jam, some other problem that they may circumnavigate, et cetera. They are in peripheral mode. When something occurs that might be of interest to other colleagues, they send a message to all others listening. Hence, they become active and center of the network for a short while.
The same goes for communities of practice. Sometimes you are merely listening, sometimes you jump in the center and participate actively. My perspective on Twitter is that it's the web version (of the radio network) of groups of people with a common interest, or practice. As Twitter states:
"people follow the sources most relevant to them and access information via Twitter as it happens"
If Twitter gets adopted by the business community, meaning adopted as a tool in the context of work and learning in the context of the enterprise, it may well become the means to follow what is going on in the enterprise, without being as disruptive as the "Beep Beep: you've got mail" If you think Twitter is just another gadget keeping employees from working, you're wrong! Twitter is the community radio!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Next web salon was great

The Next Web Salon is a small and intimate event for people working on, or interested in, the people, ideas and companies powering the Next Web. Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten from the Next Web hosts these events in his living room. Vibrant athmosphere, slow food, good wine, great people and provoking statements by guest speakers. 3 to 4 speakers get 6 minutes each to make their statement. The remaining time is for discussion, social networking, eating and enjoying wine. A brilliant concept as far as I'm concerned. The evening was like a short version of the FastCompany RealTime events, yup, that's a compliment. Boris and his Next Web mates just do the kind of thing you thought of doing once, but never got to doing it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Just returned back home after four days of work in Cumbria, England. Spent several nights in a unexpectedly nice village called Cockermouth. Named after the mouth of the river Cocker. Home of the lakeland brewery Jennings. Cockermouth's high street, named Crown street counts several good restaurants: The Honest Lawyer, Tarantula and Seven. Not to forget, a pub that feels like home: Bush. Bush offers several beers brewed by Jennings: Cumberland Ale, Sneck Lifter and Cocker Hoop. The latter is my favourite!
Cocker Hoop

An award-winning golden bitter from an all malt brew, with Styrian Golding hops added at various stages, to give a classic hop flavour and aroma. A bitter beer of great character, appealing to those drinkers who really appreciate their beer and are looking for quality. Launched in 1995 as ‘September Ale’, Jennings Cocker Hoop has become hugely popular, particularly with Lake District tourists in summer. The name is derived from ‘Cock-a Hoop’, an old custom of removing the cock (or spigot) from a barrel and resting it on the hoop of the cask before commencing a drinking bout, but was changed to reflect the brewery’s location on the banks of the River Cocker.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Next week:The Trout will be my basecamp

Lovely hotel in a remote area with wireless internet!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A day at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Interviews with the head of the restoring department, a lead restorer for 17th century paintings, a curator/art historian and a physicist. Most of the interviews took place in the atelier (workshop) building. This building was designed by Cruz en Ortiz, who will also be responsible for the new Rijksmuseum. The atelier building is rather white on the inside really. Some rooms have old wooden Cuypers' cabinets giving the clean white rooms character. I'm working on a first draft of an information architecture for the museum's collection: a very difficult job, but an honour to do! I mean, Rembrandt van Rijn's masterpieces will be disclosed by it. I'm enjoying it!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Working in the UK with an international team

Our English project partner arranged for a beautiful working environment: Hartham Park in Corsham.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

In the meanwhile, taking co-ordination to an extreme level

Lightweight women’s double (LW2x) final race for Olympic Qualification, today, Poznan, Poland.
Six remaining teams wanted the two Olympic spots. Perhaps the Netherlands wanted it the most. Kirsten van der Kolk of the Netherlands finished with bronze at Athens. Van der Kolk then semi-retired from rowing, had a baby, named the baby Nike and came back to join her Athens partner Marit van Eupen late last year. They put gold shoes in their boat and started their comeback. Jumping out at the start, however, wasn’t the Dutch. It was Poland with Renee Hykel and Jennifer Goldsack of the United States following closely. This didn’t last long as the Dutch worked their way into the lead with a steady 35 stroke rate pace. In the last 500m it looked like only Goldsack and Hykel had enough to hold on to the Dutch leading pace. What could Poland do? At the line the Netherlands add another boat to their Olympic team and the United States add boat number 13 to their Olympic team. Congratulations Marit, Kirsten and their coach Josy.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Now we're getting somewhere: Thinkbase

Thinkbase allows people to visually explore the relationships that Freebase can expose. Thinkbase employs the Thinkmap visualization software to visually represent the semantic relationships between objects on Freebase as an interactive mind map. Each object on the map is represented by an icon that corresponds to the type of object it is. For example, person, place, movie, song, or artwork. The site uses a two-pane display, putting the relationship map in the left pane, and the Freebase entry for the active node in the right pane. Every node on a Thinkbase map and be expanded to see concepts related to that object, or collapsed to clean the graph of relationships you're unconcerned with. Every map you create can also be linked to via a dynamic share URL. Thinkbase is a usefull visual front end to the Freebase database that exposes the semantic relationships that such a database can reveal in a compelling way. Tools like Thinkbase can help us start to think about what type of questions we should be asking by clearly showing the type of semantic relationships that databases like Freebase excel at finding.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

KM Review publishes case study of EUROCONTROL's SKYbrary

SKYBRARY: A WIKI FOR AVIATION SAFETY KNOWLEDGE EUROCONTROL, an intergovernmental aviation industry body, is committed to making European aviation safer, more secure and more environmentally friendly. That means providing a forum where civil and military aviation specialists can learn from safety lesson promotion and best practice dissemination. With that in mind, EUROCONTROL is now in the final stages of creating “SKYbrary”, a wiki for aviation safety knowledge. Here, my colleague Eelco Kruizinga (DNV) and EUROCONTROL's project manager Tzvetomir Blajev tell KM Review readers about this ambitious and forward-thinking KM project. KM Review Vol 11 Issue 2 May/June 2008 (Melcrum).

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Croquet: deeply collaborative multi-user online applications

Croquet is a powerful new open source software development environment and software infrastructure for creating and deploying deeply collaborative multi-user online applications and metaverses on and across multiple operating systems and devices. Derived from Squeak, it features a peer-based network architecture that supports communication, collaboration, resource sharing, and synchronous computation between multiple users on multiple devices. The Edusim (built using Croquet) on an ActiveBoard or SMARTBoard turns your interactive whiteboard into a 3D interactive virtual environment.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

5 years from today, a web that thinks?

Telegraph (20/03/2008).

How will the internet look in five years' time? According to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, it will be rather different to the cyberspace of today. He envisages an internet in which all information, applications and data are seamlessly linked and interwoven - everything will work with everything else and that will, in effect, allow us to live our lives almost entirely online. Brainwave: The new web will 'understand' the context of searches The new web will 'understand' the context of searches Technology experts call this the "semantic web". At the moment, search engines such as Google place more emphasis on the links and connections between websites, rather than on analysing the specific information contained within them. The semantic web, by contrast, will focus on the meaning of data on a page. Computers will "understand" the context of information and will be able to identify and appreciate the complex links between people, places and data, pulling it together to deliver rich search results and a better online experience. "The semantic web is not a separate web but an extension of the current one," said Berners-Lee. "Information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation."
Would be brilliant to be at this stage in five years time, the question is how much of the internet will be made semantic? Currently researchers are in the lead, but guess what will happen if the Yahoo's and Google's take over the job? Researchers are currently using existing library catalogs, thesauri, descriptions made by the world's museums curators and art connaiseurs - quality content made semantically interoperable. Then the advertising income driven search mastodonts come in and take over... finish the story yourself.

Guide to Information Design Patterns

Christian Behrens an MSc candidate of the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences (Interface Design programme) developed a useful website as a guide to Information Design Patterns.

Information hyper-saturation

We have reached the point of information hyper-saturation. It can become quite a chore to find relevant content online, when there is so much other information competing for your attention. But by implementing attention profiling, it becomes possible to have the services and websites you visit begin to make suggestions for content that you might be interested in. APML is a proposed standard that gives you greater control over your own attention data, and in principle will allow you to selectively record your attention profile - the sites you visit, the search terms that interest you most, the content you most commonly link to - and share it with your favorite websites and services.

Designed for humans first and machines second

Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards. Instead of throwing away what works today, microformats intend to solve simpler problems first by adapting to current behaviors and usage patterns (e.g. XHTML, blogging).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Real Web 2.0: Practical Linked, Open Data with SIMILE Exhibit

Uche Ogbuji, IBM developerWorks

SIMILE (Semantic Interoperability of Metadata and Information in unLike Environments) is a research project developing tools to share diverse collections of data and digital media. SIMILE is a joint project of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the W3C, and it has produced some real gems. One of these is Exhibit, which allows you to produce Web pages with widgets the user can use to quickly comb through large collections of data. Exhibit makes this easy and requires little programming. It is developed by David Huynh, with contributions from others on the SIMILE team. This article explains how the Exhibit Web library allows you to construct functional and visually attractive user interfaces without much work, once you have good 'LOD' available. Linking Open Data (LOD) is a community initiative for moving the Web from separated documents to a broad information space of data. The principles of LOD are very important, but when a Web developer has a deadline looming it's not always easy to put "important" into perspective. Exhibit is one of those tools that takes a grand idea and uses it to actually make a developer's life easier. If you have a collection of information and you need to present it to users so they can easily see it in context and find details they care about, take advantage of the large head start Exhibit offers.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee to Track Origins of Digital Content

K.C. Jones, InformationWeek

Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has received a grant to create a technology that will give users more information about the origins and sources of digital content. Berners-Lee received a Knight News Challenge award Wednesday, during the Interactive Media Conference and Tradeshow 2008 in Las Vegas. Sixteen ideas to fund innovative digital projects around the world were awarded $5.5 million dollars from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. This is the second year of the $25 million Knight News Challenge, which funds digital information innovations that transform community life. Announced at the Interactive Media Conference in Las Vegas, this year's projects will touch people in rural India, the townships of South Africa and on college campuses across the United States, among other places. Berners-Lee's project is a partnership between the Media Standards Trust and the UK-based Web Science Research Initiative, of which he is a director. According to the 2008 Winners Reference: With the copious amounts of information (and misinformation) on the Internet, the public needs more help finding fair, accurate and contextual news. The plan: to design a way for content creators to add information on their sources to their reports, as a form of source tagging. For instance, a reporter could note that an article was based on personal observations, interviews with eyewitnesses or specific, original documents. Filters would then use this data ('the story behind the story') to help find high-quality articles. A reader searching the phrase 'Pakistan riots' for example, might find 9,000 articles. But filtering by 'eyewitness accounts' would yield a more selective list. Berners-Lee, Moore and the Web Science Research Initiative are working with the BBC and Reuters on how to best integrate the tagging into journalists' normal workflow.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How to launch a satellite to orbit?

Discovery Channel is the place to be when you want to stay in and learn something the easy way, cosy laying on your couch. Well, doing so, I learned something about building rockets to launch satellites to orbit. The programme addressed some issues the Japanese were facing during the build of the HII-B (H2B). Japan launched its first satellite to orbit with licenced American rockets in 1970. Since then they chose the path of liquid fueled rockets as launchers. Leading to the first successful launch of a satellite to orbit in 2005 with the H-IIA rocket. 35 years of development! In 2004 they started developing the H-IIB rocket. This rocket is much larger able to carry a much heavier payload. The aim of the rocket is to carry the H-II Transfer Vehicle, or HTV. A robotic spacecraft intended to resupply the Kibō Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) on the International Space Station, and the rest of the station, if need be. Scheduled to be launched in 2009, carrying 16.5 tons. 35 years kept me busy for a couple of days. 35 years spans a full carreer of a space engineer, I guess. So quite some engineers joined and retired during those years. How do they ensure knowledge and experience is retained? In this domain a failed launch means years of delay and millions down the drain. You can't just launch another one the next day... Since 2004 they invested €150 million ($150 billion).

Friday, May 09, 2008

Microformats: Empowering Your Markup for Web 2.0

How to make a website mashable? Read this book and start mashing!

EUROCONTROL launches new wiki-style web site on aviation safety

May 9, 2008. Brussels, Belgium – SKYbrary - a new wiki-style web site which aims to be the single point of reference for aviation safety knowledge was launched today by EUROCONTROL in partnership with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Flight Safety Foundation. SKYbrary provides in-depth information for aviation professionals, backed-up with an attractive search engine. It already hosts some one thousand articles, covering fifteen areas, including critical safety issues such as Level Bust and Runway Incursions. Articles are added regularly, and search words inside the articles link to additional information both on SKYbrary and on external sites. The wiki format means that visitors can contribute both articles and information to SKYbrary. An open discussion forum aims to enhance visitors’ awareness of and interest in safety. With permission from ICAO, SKYbrary includes an ICAO search engine. This will increase the speed at which answers to queries can be retrieved. As of today, key documents including ICAO Annexes (2, 10 and 11) and Documents (4444 and 8168) are included.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Into the wild

I really enjoyed the book by Jon Krakauer about Chris McCandless, he (almost) makes you become the character and live the life of Chris. The movie just got released in The Netherlands, I'm not sure if I'm going to watch. Many movies are quite mediocre compared to the experience the book gives. Then again, Sean Penn made the movie, so maybe...
Based on a true story. After graduating from Emory University in 1992, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters who shape his life.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Skybrary stand at ATC Amsterdam 2008

skybrary ATC Global 2008 took place on 11-13 March at Amsterdam RAI and welcomed an increase in visitor numbers from 95 different countries. skybrary

Sunday, February 24, 2008

DataPortability - create the 'intel' inside

DataPortability - Connect, Control, Share, Remix from Smashcut Media on Vimeo.

Night of the Promising

Saturday evening April 5th 2008: Symphonic Orchestra ATH presents the "Night of the Promising" in the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Library of Congres started a pilot on Flickr

1. Operating a hand drill at Vultee-Nashville, woman is working on a "Vengeance" dive bomber, Tennessee, 2. At the Vermont state fair, Rutland, 3. Retiring a locomotive driver wheel in the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railway locomotive shops, Shopton, near Fort Madison, Iowa. The tire is heated by means of gas until it can be slipped over the wheel. Contraction on cooling will hold it firmly in p, 4. Shepherd with his horse and dog on Gravelly Range, Madison County, Montana, 5. Parris Island, S.C., barrage balloon, 6. House, Houston, Texas, 7. Southeastern Georgia?, 8. Typical southeastern Georgia farm with newly harvested field of oats, 9. Southern U.S., 10. Typical southeastern Georgia farm with newly harvested field of oats, 11. Georgia oat field? Southern U.S., 12. Harvesting oats, southeastern Georgia?, 13. Cabin in southern U.S., 14. Cabin in Southern U.S., 15. Cabin in Southern U.S., 16. House in southern U.S., 17. Spreading fertilizer from 4-mule team wagon, Georgia, 18. Commuters, who have just come off the train, waiting for the bus to go home, Lowell, Mass., 19. Factory buildings in Lowell, Mass.?, 20. Brockton, Mass., Dec. 1940, second-hand plumbing store, 21. Headlines posted in street-corner window of newspaper off[ice] (Brockton Enterprise) ... Brockton, Mass., 22. Children in the tenement district, Brockton, Mass., 23. Detail of industrial building in Massachusetts, 24. Street in industrial town in Massachusettsz, 25. Lowell, Mass., street, 26. Railroad cars and factory buildings in Lawrence, Mass., 27. Detail of industrial building in Mass., 28. Street scene, possibly in Brockton, Mass., 29. [Children with adult in the tenement district, Brockton, Massachusetts], 30. Industrial buildings and a town in Mass., possibly Brockton, 31. [Train and several sets of railroad tracks in the snow, Massachusetts], 32. Massachusetts farm, possibly around Brockton, Mass., 33. Skating, vicinity of Brockton, Mass., 34. Near the waterfront, New Bedford, Mass., 35. Street corner, Brockton, Mass., 36. Industrial area in Massachusetts, possibly around New Bedford

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Procrastinating like crazy

Thursday and cold weather means Ärtsoppa and Pannkakor

Some years ago I worked on a project for SKF in Göteborg (Sweden). I was mainly during the winter months, meaning very cold and dark in Sweden. For the Swedes cold winter weather in Göteborg isn't even cold, since it's in the southern part of Sweden. Way up North is cold as they say. Where cars are connected to electricity posts to heat the engine and avoid frozen oil. If a truck starts driving in the morning it feels like driving on a bumpy road due to the tire being frozen and having a flat spot where it was on the road all night. Maybe I'm a sissy, but for me Göteborg was cold. Lunches at SKF main office were hearty and rich. Every Thursday it was traditionally Ärtsoppa and Pannkakor (yellow split pea soup and pancakes). With the soup you had dark brown bread and Sennap (strong mustard). The pancakes came with Hallonsylt (raspberry jam). After such a lunch one can go outside in the cold again.