Last tended on 10 March, 2024 (first created 9 March, 2021)

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.

Family
We’re in a steady rhythm since some time. Spring is almost here. We recently celebrated being 25yrs together. Y’s reading skills are 4 years ahead of her age and is increasingly starting her own individual learning journey, making good use of the local library and an e-book subscription. It’s great to watch. I thoroughly enjoy living in our hometown, even 7 years after our move here I’m consciously happy with that decision several times per week.

Learning
During 2020 I’ve revamped my personal knowledge management system (PKM, using Obsidian as tool of choice), and that lead 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. Finally in the past few months it seems to have some more lasting effect.
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 from notes 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. I have been active in the IndieWeb community for a few years, but not currently. Not that I’ve stopped tinkering with the concept and tools, but because there’s not much actual momentum behind it and I don’t get much energy from it. I do think everyone should have their own webspace though, outside of the silos, and that it should be extremely easy to do.
Since the fall of 2023 I’ve been involved in shaping a PKM conference. I’ve helped identify potential speakers and had preparatory conversations with them. This because I wanted to make sure that personal knowledge management would really be the central topic, rather than e.g. the productivity vibe a lot of pkm efforts tend to have these days. Learning and personal interests are more central than productivity.

With E I am looking at the emerging tools and capabilities from various algorithms. As with other topics, that will start with bringing people together in conversation. It is now 15+ years since I ended up in open data much the same way, and how I’ve been approaching other topics throughout. We’re thinking about meet-ups both in person and online.

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 public writing without too much friction is an open question. I am 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. This year I’m try to more purposefully escape making notes for the sake of having notes, and finding multiple ways how to use them in practice better. One thing that I spot as pattern is that my learning notes don’t cover my current work, it’s outside of it. Even though I also learn a lot in my work context, somehow I hesitate incorporating it into my PKM. I wonder why that is.

I’ve noticed that my blogging pace has reduced, partly because of work, partly because my attention being more internally directed I think. Here too it is probably more about getting existing workflows connected so more of it can end up on this site.

Work
I’m fully booked for the entire year. I currently have two main roles.
One 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’m also the lead for digital ethics at the organisation in which the 12 Dutch provinces collaborate. Within that role I’m the secretary to the interprovincial ethics committee that I helped shape last year.

I’m interested in also working and speaking EU-wide on these topics like before, but not yet clear how I would want to shape that. Our team does a lot of work related to the ethics of data. I enjoy that, having done a few years of philosophy of technology focused on the ethics of technology development and use.

Our company team has grown the past three years to 10 people now, and that means my role as an employer and as guide to our team members has grown too. My attention there is on balancing people’s working time, ensuring learning and mental health. After the summer of 2023 we went to Portugal for a week with the entire team, to participate in a training that is relevant to all of us (on working with stakeholder networks and stewarding community around projects), which was fantastic.

I nominally work four days per week although it mostly means Fridays are ‘buffer overflow’ days.

In the past year or two I have noticed that I find the conceptual angles of my work extremely interesting, but regularly struggle somewhat 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 of 2022 to explore that in more detail, but haven’t reached any conclusions yet, so I am still searching. This also ties back to the need I feel to do more with my knowledge and experience towards other/different outputs, that I mentioned above concerning learning.

Voluntary work
The Open State Foundation I chair has been in good shape the past few years. We had some changes in the board, and are currently expanding the number of board members.
I’m the treasurer of the Open Nederland membership association, which brings together makers that use Creative Commons licenses. In recent months I’ve been assisting a little bit in getting the Dutch Mastodon instance mastodon.nl on more solid footing. A non-profit entity is being created of which I will take on the role of treasurer. This way donations for upkeep are easier to account for (they now go to a private individual). It is also a starting point for other activities in seeing what role ActivityPub can have in supporting public discource.

I’m open to other voluntary board positions of organisations that fit with my current thematic interests, EU wide or in the Netherlands.
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
Current interests are (and have been for some time): 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.

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