FOSDEM 2010, getting up to speed again

FOSDEM 2010 (photo by fry_theonly)FOSDEM 2010 (photo by fry_theonly)Racing back to Amsterdam at 270 km/h, time to consolidate my takeaways from this year’s FOSDEM in Brussels. More geeks (5,000+ expected), more lectures (200+) and more topics I wanted to follow: succeeded with OpenOffice, Drupal, and CouchDB, but not with Mozilla and XMPP. A geeky overview of my takeaways.

Clay Shirky as my Sound Byte Hero

I haven’t managed to write (publicly) for some time: new projects kept me busy, either launching, or preparing. But thanks to a tweet by Planspark, I read (yet another) piece by someone who is becoming my personal “Sound Byte Hero”: Clay Shirky. At the moment, Siegfried Woldhek and I are preparing a position paper on how International Development Cooperation will change, as part of a series of debates with existing organisations and the Minister for Development Cooperation here in The Netherlands. So when my friend Tim Bonnemann send out a tweet today “Must-read of the day: Clay Shirky’s “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable”, I summarised the take-away quotes for me.

Passion, the Participatory Web, and the Potentials of ICT

"The Participatory Web - New Potentials of ICT in Rural Areas"“The Participatory Web – New Potentials of ICT in Rural Areas”I haven’t been able to go to the Web2ForDev meetings so far, but have encountered the typical problems of ICT and knowledge sharing in rural areas around the world. So when Christian Kreutz approached me to contribute to a publication by GTZ, the Deutsche Gesellschaft for Technische Zusammenarbeit (German Technical Cooperation), on how NABUUR offered a new way of connecting people and letting knowledge flow, I got in touch with Raul Caceres, who has done amazing work as a NABUUR volunteer, resulting in a United Nations Volunteer of the Year Award, and an invitation to speak at the Nobel Summit on Public Services. Together, we wrote one of the seven articles in “The Participatory Web – New Potentials of ICT in Rural Areas”.

Meeting “my project” and the N2Y3 community IRL

NetSquared already has started. Sitting next to again an impressive cake, the room is buzzing while I write my intro. Rolf Kleef, from Amsterdam, here to enjoy San Francisco for some three weeks, and doing the last little bits with Roshani and Mike of Oneworld US to be ready for two rollercoaster days!

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Back from FOSDEM in Brussels

Mozilla room meeting (photo: Martin Creutziger)Back from FOSDEM in Brussels. In their own words on the information booklet: "4000+ geeks, 200+ lectures, 2 days, 0 EURO". I had two motivations to go there: Brussels is close to my home in Amsterdam and always nice to visit; and I could sit and listen a whole day to Drupal presentations, and get the opportunity to check out some other projects too.

As the FOSDEM booklet says, it’s a gathering focused on lectures, so I got my portion of sitting still and getting powerpoint-poisened in over-crowded and under-ventilated rooms. A lot of people breaking the "show me, don’t tell me" rule. But Brussels was nice, and some of the presentations on Drupal and Thunderbird were useful for me:

Our first Nivocer office is open

Klooster DolphiaWe’ve got our first Nivocer office space this month! My business partner Jaap-André is based close to Enschede, in the east of The Netherlands, and found this lovely former seminary-now shared office building not too far from his home, where we now have our first room and access to facilities in an inspiring setting. A building completed in 1937, but having a pretty rich history of use already. Far away from my Amsterdam home for Dutch standards, so I will continue looking for something closer by. Canadian friends remind me that a two-and-a-half-hour commute to work is not even really rare within the Toronto area, but my 1-minute journey to my home office is quite precious to me still. Meanwhile, Jaap-Andre is connecting his now truly separated business and private life with his recumbent bicycle.

Dear Humane Society International,

Today, I received an action alert from you, through my membership of Care2. It’s great to hear your contributing to the fight against Japanese whaling, but I was somewhat taken back by your approach. You’re asking me to "Help Humane Society International lead the opposition on Japan’s Whale Hunt!". Pardon?

Humane Society's message

Having worked at a desk next to the international anti-whaling campaign team of 2006-2007 of "another organisation", your name wasn’t at the top of my list of anti-whaling campaigns. Frankly, it wasn’t at my list at all, and I’m sorry to say, I didn’t even know Humane Society International existed.

So I wanted to find out a bit more about your campaign. But…