Bookmarked The New Old Home by an author
Rediscovering the home as a production frontier The Yak Collective’s second report, The New Old Home, offers 22 perspectives built around Pamela Hobart’s central thesis: as work returns to the home in the form of remote work opportunities (a trend now dramatically accelerated by pandemic circumstances), we can turn to historical modes of integrated living, reconsidered in light of newer technology, to guide our attempts at co-located life and work.

I need to much more closely read this report. It is very much connected to the things I tried to express during the 2010 SHiFT closing keynote, when I labelled it as MakerHouseholds. A label under which I have done various projects related to making and networked agency in the past decade. There’s a richness in perspective to explore, written by people, some of whom I already follow in my feedreader. (ht Alper Çugun)

The pandemic causes a variety of social ‘firsts’ for me, to take place online. Today it was a farewell party for a colleague at Frysklab who is retiring. On the plus side doing it remote means it’s easier to attend, but it is also harder for everyone to ‘mingle’.

First train trip in three months. The last one was on March 12th to Utrecht. Today I’m going to Amsterdam for a meeting that needs to be done face to face. Face masks are mandatory on public transport, and the railway stations have added signage for it.

Curious to see how busy or not the streets in Amsterdam will be.

New signage on railway station Amersfoort

first train trip in 3 months

pandemic signage at Amersfoort railway station

When exactly three months ago, on March 10th, the national advice became to stop shaking hands to reduce the spread of the Corona virus, I created a spreadsheet to track the numbers for myself. By the 13th we were advised to stay home from work, and by the 15th everything got shut down.

When I created the list I thought we might be in this for a long time, and set-up the table for three months, until today. By the time the lock-down measures were announced my estimate was it would be like that until June 1st. I filled out the last line in the original table just now, like I’ve done every day for the past three months.

At this moment, various measures have been eased, restaurants reopened. Much remains as well. No events, social distancing applied in trains and buses, and working from home until September (but several of my clients already saying January).

The numbers show things have been shifted back to a manageable level. Here’s the graph of deaths per week, against the log scale of the number of total cases tested positive. We’re not done, but we’re not being overwhelmed either. At a equilibrium of sorts.

I’ve come to the end of my original tracking table. Haven’t decided yet if I add another three months to the list.

Het kabinet heeft het Corona dashboard gelanceerd. Het geeft inzicht in een paar van de indicatoren die het kabinet gebruikt bij het beoordelen welke maatregelen tegen de pandemie in Nederland nodig zijn. Het ziet er op zich netjes uit. Elk item is up to date. Bij elk item staat bovendien een link naar ‘meer uitleg en data’. Dat klinkt veelbelovend.

Veelbelovend omdat het lijkt op sommige dashboards van lokale overheden in de VS en het VK waar dat soort links je direct naar de onderliggende data brengen.

Dat is helaas niet het geval, hopelijk alleen nog niet het geval, want de link naar de bron is gewoon naar de algemene website van het RIVM. En het RIVM heeft op haar eigen data site slechts twee datasets, die in de afgelopen week niet zijn bijgewerkt. Dat is een gemiste kans, want er is data genoeg, en het wekt extra vertrouwen en betrokkenheid als het dashboard je direct naar de data brengt.

Screenshot van de Covid gerelateerde 2 datasets op data.rivm.nl

Aan het begin van de pandemiemaatregelen in maart schreef ik al over het gebrek aan data dat het RIVM publiceert, terwijl ze wel dagelijkse nieuwsitems op de site hebben waarin gegevens uit hun data worden gedeeld. Er is niets veranderd in twee en een halve maand, en dat is en blijft zeer zonde. Data publiceren is een integraal onderdeel van de communicatie die bij dit thema hoort. Dat is wat het RIVM nog altijd niet snapt. Het kabinet had echter allang beter moeten weten en daar naar moeten handelen, want het Ministerie gaf eerder rond de corona-app wel degelijk blijk van begrip van het belang van transparantie, en de inzet van data als beleidsinstrument om anderen in de maatschappij mee te activeren.

[UPDATE 6-6] Chris wijst in een reactie op het bestaan van een json feed met de data achter het dashboard. Dat is mooi dat die er is! Het roept echter ook extra vragen op:

  • Waarom wordt er vanuit het dashboard niet naar die data gelinkt?
  • Hoe komt deze data tot stand, is het coronadashboard de samensteller uit onderliggende bronnen, of komt de data van het RIVM?
  • Waarom is de data, als die toch al openbaar wordt gemaakt niet ook vindbaar en downloadbaar via de aangewezen plaatsen, data.overheid.nl, en data.rivm.nl?
  • Waarom is het aantal IC patiënten, dat in dit dashboard zit, op data.overheid.nl expliciet voorzien van een gesloten licentie en niet beschikbaar? De Nederlandse norm is CC0 (publiek domein), maar die wordt hier kennelijk niet gehanteerd?
  • Is er metadata die de datastructuur beschrijft?
  • Waar staan de licenties voor de data?

When I made a visit to East Berlin a few years before the wall came down, my teenage eyes wondered about shopping and customer service.

To visit a bookstore near Alexanderplatz I had to stand in line. There were only a handful of shopping baskets available, and they were mandatory, so you stood in line until someone left the shop and returned the basket. I stood there for a while, and then with a basket could browse the shelves. There were less than ten people in the shop. While many more stood outside waiting.

Visiting a cafe with two others, the tables were all the same size, only the number of chairs at each table differed. We were three. A table with two chairs was free. Next to it was a man on his own, I remember he wore a leather jacket sipping coffee and reading a paper, at a table with three chairs. We asked if we could have a chair, and pull it up to our table. “Na klar”, he said. We looked at the menu. No service came. We waited. No service came. I went up to the waitress and asked if she could take our order. No, she said, “you’re with three people on a table for two so you’re not getting served.” I was stunned. I tried logic, “look the tables are all the same size!”, but failed. In the end we returned a chair to the table with the guy in the leather jacket and asked him to trade tables. He picked up his coffee and newspaper (it was the 80’s remember), and sat at our original table, while we moved to his. Within seconds the waitress was with us to take our lunch orders.

For years I shared these anecdotes as examples of how odd it all was during that visit to East Germany.

Fast forward 33 years, to our pandemic times.

In our neighbhourhood most shops have introduced a system of mandatory baskets. They use it to cap the number of clients in the store to the maximum they can accomodate within the 1.5m distancing guidelines. Outside others wait their turn.

From next week cafes and restaurants can open again, and I see and read how those here in town are arranging same sized tables out on the market square, varying the number of chairs to make it all work, and setting tables inside for specific numbers of people to stay within max allowed capacity.

After 33 years I need to retire my anecdotes from 1980’s East Berlin it seems. It wasn’t odd, it was avant garde!

East Berlin 1987
Walking down Friedrichstrasse in East Berlin, in 1987