What are you doing now?
A Now-page is a hybrid between the About page and my weekly notes. The About page says something about my background and general activities. My weekly notes, that only RSS subscribers get to see, talk about actual activities in the past days. This Now page contains the general activities I’m spending time on these days. It contains the things I’d mention if you would ask me in a conversation what I’m doing currently, after we haven’t spoken for a while.
Since early spring everything is open again after two years of varying limitations and temporary lockdowns, which is both great as well as creating a more nuanced set of challenges where you need to decide per case and per person what you might or might not want to expose yourself to. E.g. I went to a conference in April which turned out to have been a superspreader event. I went on a trip to Montenegro with my old fraternity in June, a group of some 70 people, and nothing happened Covid-wise. In July we camped in France (Bourgogne) for three weeks, and did mostly absolutely nothing other than reading. That was great and much needed. As far as E and I were concerned it could have been 3 weeks more. As a result we already decided to keep our calendars free for the entire school summer holiday next year. We also went to Bremen, Germany for a friends’ wedding. Y started her first post-kindergarten year, learning to read and write.
During 2020 I’ve revamped my personal knowledge management system (PKM, using Obsidian as tool of choice), and that is now leading to more purposefully seeking out new knowledge. I’m trying to build reading more non-fiction into my days, and as part of that I’ve re(?)-learned reading non-linearly. Now I’m trying to make good use of that. I’ve also been tinkering with PHP code to tweak how I work with my notes in my PKM, such as building OPML booklists, and posting them to my site. I use a personal Micropub client in PHP that I created, which allows me to directly post to this site and e.g. my company’s site from inside my various workflows and tools, and a Microsub client which allows me to get nearer to building my personal ideal feed reader. Both micropub and microsub are IndieWeb concepts. IndieWeb is aimed at using the web they way I want, and staying in control of how you share information and data. My blog is the public facing focal point of these efforts obviously. In September I will talk about how I do that with IndieWeb building blocks in my WordPress blogging engine at the Dutch WordCamp.
Blogging (since 2002) is as important to me as ever, but I feel a disconnect between my (private) personal learning notes and this blog. Blogging is about conversations to me, and I’d like to more easily encourage them in connection to my personal learning notes. How to properly bridge the boundary between often fragile internal deliberations and more performative public writing without too much friction is an open question. As an experiment I’ve started using Hypothes.is as a public annotation tool, that directly feeds into my own local notes, but also allows others to follow along and respond.
Currently working exclusively within my company The Green Land. The pandemic shut down any World Bank work I was involved in, and I’m still contemplating if and how I want to take that up again. I’m still on their roster. My current work mostly is, for the Dutch government tactical council on EU information policies, keeping track of the many data related EU programmes and regulations with an eye of tying them to Dutch initiatives and representing the Dutch position in Europe. I will be keynoting at the BeGeo conference in Brussels about those topics. In side projects I’m helping to translate that to e.g. the Dutch national geo information infrastructure, a national reference architecture for digital twins, and research agenda’s.
I’m interested in also working and speaking EU wide on these topics again, but not yet clear how I would want to shape that. Our team does a lot of work related to the ethics of data, and I’m moving closer to that in my own projects as well, working on establishing an ethics committee for a client and soon starting a project on AI ethics with a police organisation. I enjoy that, having done a few years of philosophy of technology focused on the ethics of technology development and use, and it brings me closer to some of the work my colleagues have been doing.
The pandemic hasn’t impacted our business negatively, and I feel our team has grown together during the pandemic. I’ve changed and learned much in my role as employer. Last November it was 10 years ago we started our company, we’re now 9 people and extended our office space in April, to better accomodate how we want to use our spaces.
I work four days per week, during the various lockdowns it was half time for extended periods because of having Y at home. In the past year or two I have noticed that I find the conceptual angles of my work extremely interesting, but currently struggle with finding ways to enjoy the actual work connected to it. Some type of shift in attention and activities seems to be in order, but I’m as yet unclear to where or what such a shift needs to take me. I used the summer to explore that in more detail, but haven’t reached any conclusions yet.
The year when the pandemic first hit was a challenging year for the NGO I chair, Open State Foundation, which employs 8 people. Since early 2021 things are in good shape and that reduces the need for my direct involvement.
I’m working on getting the Open Nederland membership organisation, the Dutch Creative Commons chapter more or less, recognised as a public benefit institution under Dutch law. (I’m their treasurer).
I’m open to other voluntary board positions of organisations that fit with my current thematic interests, in the Netherlands or EU wide.
With the new wave of EU regulations on data and digitisation I am interested in weaving the type of networks and community we created in the early open data movement in Europe.
Current interests are: networked agency, ethics as a practice, digital transformation but distributed, self automation, civic tech, machine learning for civic tech and households, seeing my work as (political) activism, European and global developments w.r.t. data as a geopolitical force, personal knowledge management and learning in the networked age.
These interests inform my reading and information gathering at the moment.