Category Archives: Day to Day

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

Week Notes #16

This week was another unhurried one, although I’m left with some sense of urgency as I didn’t do all I wanted to focus on.

  • Received a request for a new project offer, for a provincial government, and worked on the offer
  • Worked on the Serbian open data impact study
  • Conversations with several leads and network partners to discuss our respective views on what lies ahead
  • Planned some more conversations like that
  • Repopulated my RSS reader to improve my information diet
  • Enjoyed working outside in the beautiful weather, as well hanging out in the garden with the little one
  • Visited the Big Data Festival, organized by a Dutch Ministry, where I
    mostly valued a session on ethics
  • Blogged a lot, read a lot
  • Visited the local FabLab to fix the humidity sensor on my Measure Your City sensor hub, and attended an interesting presentation there by the national government institute for health and environment (RIVM) on particulate matter pollution measurements from fireworks around New Year’s Eve, using a partly citizen generated sensor network

Back to the Blog, the Numbers

In recent months I’ve referred several times to the notion that I was blogging more than I’ve done since a long time. The actual volume of writing isn’t really important. The actual readership isn’t either (when writing my imagined reading audience is about 3 people, which includes myself). Of importance is that writing is having an impact on my attention, and on retaking the initiative in my information strategies, something I felt I lost through Facebook and other silos. For the first time since a long time I feel a genuine need to write on my blog. Yet, having said that, I was curious to see if the numbers reflect the change. So I pulled some stats together.

Let’s start with the yearly number of postings I posted since I started some 15 years ago in November 2002.

Apparent is that from the start my blogging frequency had a downwards trend. This I feel might be correlated with writing increasingly longer posts, and a reduction of short posts to simply bookmark a link or something as additional tools (such as Delicious or others) became available. In 2011 I blogged the least, followed by the years I blogged least in the entire 15 year period. Those years, at least 2013-2017, coincide with my increased FB usage (2006-2012 I hardly used it at all), but likely more importantly coincides with a reduction of blogging by those bloggers I was a regular reader of as they spent more time on FB and other platforms. In 2014 there is a small bump, which coincides with visiting a few conferences in the spring. A clear break in the trend line is 2018, which already surpasses 2006, even as it is only mid April.

Looking at the average number of postings per week provides a clearer picture of that trend line.

Over the first 7 years the average blogging frequency approaches once per week, which I interpret as my ‘less often, but longer’ blogging. Then a number of years where blogging drops below the once a week threshold, during which years I felt I really should be blogging more. The renewed interest I took in my blog from the last quarter of last year clearly causes a spike. It’s still an open question if that increased frequency proves sustainable. I am at least aware of the pitfall of wanting to write long exposes only, and how to blog more informally and indiscriminately.

The sharp change in the trend line is most apparent when zooming in on individual months. I sharply reduced my engagement with FB starting in October last year, and it is clearly visible how that impacted my urge to blog.

Ironically my renewed blogging fervour mimicks the first year(s) of blogging in the sense that I’ve been writing a number of these postings about blogging itself. Meta-blogging like it’s 2002. So after this self-indulging dive into the statistics of my blog, let me express my intention to focus more on actual topics. 🙂

Week Notes #15

A week mostly spent working at home. After being ill for a week it didn’t feel easy to get back into a rhythm.

  • Meeting with the Frisian open data working group, and its steering committee.
  • Reviewing two country chapters on Netherlands and Belgium of a European research project, and discussing my feedback with the author
  • Literature review for a project in Serbia
  • Documenting material for a Dutch province for handing over a project
  • Discussing the state of open data within Dutch ministries with a colleague.
  • Reaching out to various network contacts for leads and following up those leads, making appointments for the coming weeks
  • Rethinking my blogging approach, adding functionality (wiki, microblog) to my blog
  • Built our daughter a sandbox in the garden

Human Rights

Peter Rukavina sent us another one of his printing press artefacts, presumably printed in his new offices. Recently it was an old map of Europe. Now it was a gentle refresher course on human rights. Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in full.

Useful item enclosed, indeed!

Time for a Return of the Blogroll?

It used to be, when I started blogging in 2002, me and others had blogrolls visible on our sites. A blogroll was a list of links to other blog authors (mine came with little profile pictures of the authors, then an uncommon thing), and mentioning them was both a recommendation for further exploration, and a way to show which blogs you followed and regarded as part of your social network. Then everybody and their cat started blogging, and blogrolls disappeared as they no longer represented anything meaningful.

It seems many blogs have been discontinued, became part of general platforms (Medium e.g.), or outlets. The individual blog seems less prominent and less easy to find than a decade and a half ago.

Given that renewed scarcity, is it time for the return of the blogroll as a social recommendation tool? Or what would be a blogroll-ish 2018 equivalent?

Week Notes #14

A week of forced rest, as I was ill throughout. No work, but did manage to read a few books between naps. Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway (science fiction) and Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free (non-fiction), and Perfume River by Robert Olen Butler (novel). I thoroughly enjoyed Walkaway, and Perfume River was beautiful in rendering the complexity of family relations, history, assumptions and unspoken trauma.

Week Notes #13

Another unhurried week, with amongst others work done on

  • Meeting with a provincial council clerk and deputy clerk about open provincial council data
  • Discussing future collaboration ideas with the Frisian library service
  • Open data working group meeting in Fryslan, planning the next data release
  • Session with the Province of Fryslan on using the fall open data release to support their energy transition program
  • Catching up with a British colleague talking about unhurriedness, and planning a next meet-up of our ‘friends of Tim’ group (we met twice last year in memory of Tim’s passing)
  • Catching up with a French colleague discussing open data developments in France and francophone Africa
  • Discussing a shared list of data sets to be published by all 12 Dutch provinces, representing two provinces in a meeting of 10 provinces and the national data portal team.
  • Discussing the master thesis project a student, Rik, is doing as an intern at The Green Land
  • Revising an open data program proposal for the Malaysian government
  • Reviewing two country chapters on Netherlands and Belgium of a European research project
  • Started deleting my Facebook data, and revising the way I use FB
  • Restored my garden sensor hub in its proper place and started using a ThingsNode to measure temperature in our bike shed, writing the data to a spreadsheet with IFTTT in the way Peter Rukavina documented earlier this week.
  • Announced the Smart Stuff That Matters unconference and bbq for August, in honor of Elmine’s birthday

Measure Your City Sensor Reinstalled

After having the sensor revised as it stopped working having dropped out of the tree during a storm (turned out to be a battery draining firmware issue), I have finally reinstalled the Measure Your City sensor hub. I took the opportunity to spray paint the sensor hut white (preventing the dark grey hut from quickly heating up in sunlight and thus influence the measurements), add the Measure Your City sticker (so passers by can figure out what this thing is), and use a stronger wire to hang it back in the garden.

In the past weeks we used the sensor indoors to measure humidity, as it was very dry during cold spells. From now on you should see the temperature measurements change from about a steady 20 degrees inside, to the day and night rhythm outside.

Started Deleting My FB History

As a next step in rethinking my approach to using Facebook, I have started deleting my Facebook history. FB only let’s you delete things by hand, posting by posting, like by like, comment by comment. Which takes about as long or longer than the original time spent posting or liking. So I am using a Chrome plugin to do it for me by pretending to be me, going through all the delete and unlike links. I’m currently deleting 2014 data, to see how well that works. 2014 is the first full year I posted more than just the RSS feed of my blogposts, whereas 2013 and the years before that until October 2006 basically only contain my RSS feed, which only contains public material anyway.

Week Notes #12

Most of the week was spent at home, with Y being ill (so she couldn’t go to day care). Things I worked on this week:

  • Gave a workshop for a policy department at Province Overijssel, looking for cases where open data helps achieve their own policy goals
  • Wrote some final input for an international 2-year project with libraries,
    which is now submitted
  • Discussed national data infrastructures and other topics, catching up with a Swiss colleague
  • Started collecting some more recent open data impact assessments, such as from Denmark, for a piece of research for UNDP Serbia
  • Thought about course and content for my work in the coming years
  • Reviewed a changed proposal for 18 months of work in/with Malaysia, to implement my recommendations in the Malaysian open data readiness assessment
  • Had our yearly walk and dinner with my old fraternity friends and their families