In my line of work I need to regularly type the word data. I need to equally regulary type the word date. Or datum in Dutch for date, which coincidentally is also the singular for data.

My fingers often choose the wrong ending while writing. A date ends up as data, and data ends up as date. For the phrase ‘open data’ I solved that by adding an Alfred snippet ‘.od’ which expands into it. This prevents me from ever writing open date.

Today I noticed that a template in Obsidian I had tweaked yesterday threw error messages. I looked at it several times before I noticed my mistake. Where I should have typed date, I had typed data.

I now added additional snippets to Alfred. .d will expand into data. /d will become date, and .D will be datum. (/D I use already and expands into Digital Transformation)

From this data forward I will not mistype date 😉

Favorited The Making of “This Box is for Good” by Peter Rukavina

We received one of these lovely boxes in the mail just before New Year. Such a fantastic project, and what an enormous amount of work, over multiple weeks. Peter’s description of the iterative process and how the process leads to design choices along the way is a gift in itself.

I’m currently reading The Notebook, A History of Thinking on Paper by Roland Allen, which I coincidentally had sent to Peter as a gift before Christmas. In it Luca Pacioli spends a year in Paganini‘s printshop to get the Summa published, in Venice 1494. Let’s just say that several weeks is Renaissance style.

Peter and Lisa intend the boxes to be (re)filled with something and then to be given to someone else. A paying it forward process, that comes with a website to register each recipient. I’ve registered ‘our’ box, as we will soon hand it over later this week.

And, of course, every box needed to be printed with two lino blocks, one for each side. It was a process that spread out over almost two weeks.

All told, each box was printed seven times: one side each with lino-block, then four separate letterpress-printed messages on different parts of the box, and a final numbering run for the unique box numbers. …

Our hope is that boxes get received, refilled, passed on, many times; we built a little website (a Google Form, for now) to allow people to register their box number, so that we can follow their journeys around the world. …

I can say with some assurance that I have never been involved in a collaboration—artistic, logistic, design, spirit—as connected as this one was. Lisa and I can both rightfully attest that what emerged from our collaboration was something that neither of us could have arrived at individually. It was a joyful, intimate exercise in creativity. One we hope to repeat over and over.

Peter Rukavina

The Watsonville Chevrolet car dealership just wrote me a python script to calculate π. I have no idea where Watsonville is, or which one of several in the USA it is, but their website also helped clarify how to deal with red wine stains.

Some companies are adding ChatGPT to their website marketing chatbots. Found via Chris White, it’s clear that not in all cases the boundaries of such bots are well defined. Perhaps because they are directly connected to OpenAI’s service, and only prompted to behave ‘like a car dealer’, rather than specifically trained and isolated instances.

I engaged the chatbot and didn’t want to directly prompt it with something off-topic. I asked about a car, and then built on whatever the bot generated in response. My attempts to take it away from the topic of cars (towards Santa’s sleigh having more advanced tech features than Chevrolet and the infotainment systems the bot praised) didn’t bring much. The bot then aimed to end the conversation, which is when it gave me an opening….

It ended politely with ‘Is there anything else I can assist you with?‘. ‘Anything’ you say?

Why yes, thank you for asking! There is. You can. I’d like a python script to approach the number Ï€ in at least 100 decimals.
Which it wrote for me. “Certainly!”

And then it ended politely once more with “If you have any other questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask!”
Sure thing, ChevroGPT. How about removing red wine stains? Any tips?

Which it again concluded with ‘any other questions?’….

There’s no need to pay for your own ChatGPT4 account, just find a website that uses it to create a marketing bot.

It was our second week of four in Lucca in July 2015. We were there to heal. It was very hot, and we had quickly settled into a rhythm of morning coffee in one of the many tiny streets still following the original Roman street pattern, an early lunch out or quick salad at home before hiding during the hottest hours in our air conditioned apartment, and heading out again late afternoon for wine followed by dinner al fresco or walking the city walls.

One such morning after sipping our coffees we strolled past the square that still follows the contour of the amfitheater that once stood there, down the Via della Fratta and came across the Lucca center for contemporary art, Lu.C.C.A. It had a retrospective of the work of photographer Elliott Erwitt.


Lucca center for contemporary art as seen in 2015 with the Erwitt banner on the facade. The center closed indefinitely in June 2021.

Born in Paris in 1928 to Jewish parents from Russia, after his early childhood in Milan he emigrated to the USA in his early teens just before the second world war. After the war he photographed in France and Italy, and joined Magnum in 1953.

It was a surprise to find this photographer and his work inside the walls of an ancient Tuscany town.
We enjoyed the love of irony and the candid shots of the little absurdities of life. Sometimes it took a moment to realise what we were seeing. His images made us smile, in a year that generally didn’t.

We bought two poster sized prints of Elliott Erwitts photos in April 2021. One the ‘dog legs’ photo, taken in NYC in 1974. The other a 1968 image taken in the Florida Keys. Both we had seen in the retrospective in Lucca. Since having them framed they hang above the piano in E’s home office.

Erwitt died this week at the age of 95. His work will continue to make me smile whenever I walk into E’s home office.


The catalogue of the Lucca Erwitt retrospective in 2015, that I pulled from the book shelves to leaf through today.

We had a fun first visit to the local CoderDojo this afternoon, with the three of us. Y animated dinosaurs and created an earth with wobbly eyes that followed the mouse pointer.


Y working in Scratch on some animated dinosaurs

A month ago, Y had a ‘programming day’ at school where people from De Programmeerschool worked a full day with her class. She liked working in Scratch, so I suggested we visit the local CoderDojo. Next time I think we should try and bring a friend. She invited a friend this time, but there were no more tickets available (although there was still plenty space on-site).

I key-noted at the Dutch DojoCon in 2019, and then became a member of their Club of 100, donating money every year. And today I was able to bring my daughter and enjoy the activities. I first came across CoderDojo in Limerick, Ireland during 3D Camp in 2014 co-organised by our friend Gabriela Avram.

Fall is now really here. The heating system switched on this morning for the first time. That’s three to four weeks later than in recent years (2022: 27th Sept, 2021: 21st Sept, 2020: 26th Sept).