Category Archives: Day to Day

Day to day finds and observations, not presented at the front page.

Week Notes #24

A pleasant week, with some very pleasant travel.

  • Worked on an outline for a presentation next week at Delft University
  • Confcall on the Serbia open data impact research project
  • Some work on a project for a province, planning a series of interviews
  • Attending a session on possibly getting our neighbourhood to sustainable energy, or at least going all electric (no longer using gas for heating)
  • Discussed a speaking gig in Eastern Europe in a confcall
  • Drafted my keynote for State of the Net before I left for Italy
  • Spent the second half of the week in Trieste (by way of Venice) for State of the Net
  • Rewrote my keynote to fit half the speaking time, and add more actual material from project experience, not just abstractions. Rewriting done in between enjoying Trieste, speakers dinner and great conversations
  • Gave a keynote on Networked Agency
  • A big thanks to the State of the Net organisers and crew, who ensure you’re very well taken care of!

Ritorno a Trieste

It’s great to visit Trieste again. I was here, mostly with Elmine, sometimes alone, in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 as well. Arriving around lunchtime yesterday I lunched at Pepi’s, a small Italo-Austrian place, that I try to always visit when here to enjoy their choice meats with sauerkraut and horseradish. Evening dinner was al fresco, in the very good company of friends and bright new people to meet, enjoying the sunset on the Piazza Unità d’Italia. Yes, I’m here to work, the pictures don’t show you the effort going into preparing my keynote.

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Week Notes #23

Less productive week than I’d have liked, yet still pretty much stress free

Entropy as Power Difference, or Why It’s Always Easier to F Things Up

Since you ask, Roland, I think free commenting platforms are overrun because of the fundamental asymmetry between the energy it costs to make a mess and the energy needed to clean things up. Increasing entropy is always easier than decreasing it. This introduces a power difference in favour of the trolls. Such differences can be lessened somewhat by things like making services paid, or by using less mainstream services (how you use GitHub), better yet self-hosting, or other things that mean an additional cost for entropy-spreaders. Which is why I host my own comments and use outside help only to weed out those commenters that leave additional entropy in their wake (one of the things it does is make the cost lower for known commenters, than for others). Which is also why I’m answering here, and not on GitHub as you suggest. (And hopefully you have something like Webmention enabled so you’ll know)

Week Notes #22

All rather unhurried although the week included a late night working.

  • Finalised the hand-over of a project for a province
  • Finalised and submitted a 6 months proposal
  • Attended a session on the GDPR at the Ministry for the Interior and a conference title ‘uncomfortable facts’ where I enjoyed a session on citizen science
  • Did some preparation for a new project kick-off next week
  • Had the garden done, to add some more green
  • Celebrated a dear friend’s 50th birthday
  • Went for a cycle tour and lunch with E and Y.

WP Values Tracking You At $30 Per Year

The Washington Post now has a premium ‘EU’ option, suggesting you pay more for them to comply with the GDPR.

Reading what the offer entails of course shows something different.
The basic offer is the price you pay to read their site, but you must give consent for them to track you and to serve targeted ads.
The premium offer is the price you pay to have an completely ad-free, and thus tracking free, version of the WP. Akin to what various other outlets and e.g. many mobile apps do too.

This of course has little to do with GDPR compliance. For the free and basic subscription they still need to be compliant with the GDPR but you enter into a contract that includes your consent to get to that compliance. They will still need to explain to you what they collect and what they do with it for instance. And they do, e.g. listing all their partners they exchange visitor data with.

The premium version gives you an ad-free WP so the issue of GDPR compliance doesn’t even come up (except of course for things like commenting which is easy to handle). Which is an admission of two things:

  1. They don’t see any justification for how their ads work other than getting consent from a reader. And they see no hassle-free way to provide informed consent options, or granular controls to readers, that doesn’t impact the way ad-tech works, without running afoul of the rule that consent cannot be tied to core services (like visiting their website).
  2. They value tracking you at $30 per year.

Of course their free service is still forced consent, and thus runs afoul of the GDPR, as you cannot see their website at all without it.

Yet, just to peruse an occasional article, e.g. following a link, that forced consent is nothing your browser can’t handle with a blocker or two, and VPN if you want. After all your browser is your castle.

Week Notes #21

A pretty unhurried week, with a few unexpected meetings.

  • Worked on a project hand-over for a province
  • Looked at how election results in Malaysia may impact the project proposal currently under discussion with the Malaysian government
  • Published my review of the new PSI Directive Proposal by the European Commission
  • Had a project proposal for a province approved, to start in June
  • Started sending out invitations for Smart Stuff that Matters
  • Did some repair planning for a client now that a colleague is ill
  • Outlined a project proposal for a client for the next 6 months
  • Did the monthly bookkeeping and salary payments for our team at The Green Land
  • Started outlining my talk for State of the Net in two weeks time
  • Celebrated our daughter’s birthday with a beautiful garden party

Week Notes #20

An unhurried and fun week.

  • Worked on a project hand-over for a province
  • Discussed and adapted a project proposal for a province I recently submitted
  • Had a team conference call finalising the methodology to start interviewing 6 Serbian government bodies.
  • Worked on the outline of an impact assessment for open data in Serbia
  • Wrote a data protection policy for my blog, as a form of ‘action research’
  • Looked into the needed GDPR changes to my company’s website.
  • Took part in an energising ‘kitchen table’ conversation at the invitation of Ewout Wolff, discussing the internet as it now is, and things to improve
  • Had a first face to face conversation with Bert Boerland of Wunderkraut, exploring shared interests.
  • Provided the final summary at the fun closing event of our Flevoland Smarter program, in which we worked with 4 local governments on specific use cases of open data.
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  • Made some notes and did travel arrangements for next month’s speaking engagement at State of the Net in Trieste
  • Agreed to present the opening key-note at the Dutch FOSS4G community annual conference in July.
  • Enjoyed our garden, and its wildlife, as a workplace, and enjoyed hanging out with the family, amongst other things visiting the local zoo.
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Charity by the Litre

Our local gas station has a charity support system instead of a loyalty points system. Early last week I mentioned it to Patrick when we met in London, in a conversation about the various channels charities have to reach people. He asked me for pictures of the system, and today I needed to get some gas for the car, so I took some.

Next to the cash register there’s a large ‘score board’ that cycles through screens showing charities with the biggest donations, or showing different categories of charities and the accumulated donations this year.

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The ‘scoreboard’ of “Tank & Schenk”, which rhymes and means ‘fill up and donate’. The screen here is showing donations to national charities. At the bottom is the total donated, some 33.000 Euro

When you pay, there’s a tablet on the counter where you get the option to choose any local club/charity or national charity to donate your points to. The local list contains all the clubs and associations in the village and city (like the football club, or the carnival club etc), and all museums, music venues and marching bands in the city and region, as well as local charities such as foodbanks, homeless shelters etc.

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My 40 points mentioned at the top can be donated to various categories. Local music, local sports clubs, local cultural institutions, local charities, and underneath (smaller) national charities

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Opening the list of local cultural groups and institutions

When you select a charity you get a thank you screen that also shows you how much that specific charity already received this year.

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This time I selected the museum in the birth home of Piet Mondriaan, which brought the total donation to 78,41 Euro

Week Notes #18 & #19

Last week I forgot to write week notes, likely enjoying the great spring weather too much in the garden and because several national holidays broke the rhythm of the past weeks. So here’s a double helping.

Week 18

  • Worked at handing over my work at a Province
  • Wrote and submitted a project proposal for another Province
  • Enjoyed time with E and the little one on Liberation day
  • Approached a few potential speakers for State of the Net
  • Decided to throw a small birthday party

Week 19

  • Spent a few days in London
  • Walked around London with Paolo, catching up, discussing work and State of the Net
  • Met with the ‘friends of Tim’, conversing about our companies, asking advice on each others projects
  • Close read the new European Commission proposal for the PSI Directive, in order to write a blogpost on it
  • Met with the organising committee of the Koppelting conference
  • Discussed the results of the work of my intern, who focuses on the ethics of open data
  • Discussed progress and planning with the team and the UNDP of our project mapping the potential impact of open data in Serbia
  • Held my birthday party for the first time in 6 years I think (and got an awesome present from E and the family