I spent the day at our (newly extended) offices in Utrecht yesterday. Had to wait for the Vondelbridge to cross the 12th century Vaartsche Rijn canal.


Vaartsche Rijn canal / Oosterkade looking towards the city moat

Had a nice walk in the Kaapse Bossen this morning. A clear winter morning after the first night of real frost. A white dusting of ice crystals on everything. Walked with some colleagues from a client, at the end had coffee ‘tailgating‘ because everything is closed. Nice way of finishing the working year with this client.

Enjoyed a beautiful day Utrecht yesterday with the 3 of us. Having coffee and late lunch outside, walking the streets of Utrecht, was fun to do after so long not doing such outings together.

De Boog brouwerij aan de gracht

The complex of the old Brewery ‘De Boog’ (16th to 19th century, now used as residences) on the Oudegracht canal in Utrecht, seen from the Vollersbrug. Image Ton Zijlstra, license CC-BY-NC-SA

Op 12 maart vindt in Utrecht een bijeenkomst plaats om allerlei organisaties rondom Public Tech en Civic Tech bij elkaar te brengen. Om onze gezamenlijke inspanningen te vergelijken en te kijken waar we elkaar kunnen steunen. Dit stond al een langere tijd op mijn taken- en verlanglijstje. Code for NL heeft nu het voortouw genomen om te zorgen dat het ook plaatsvindt. Rondom civic tech, technologie die het algemeen nut ondersteunt, en public tech, de technologie zoals die door onze overheden en instituten wordt gebruikt, is er wat mij betreft een nieuw maatschappelijk middenveld nodig. Omdat het kennisniveau in de Nederlandse maatschappij en het bestuur bijzonder laag ligt over wat er kan, wat verstandig is en wat niet. Organisaties die in dit gebied actief zijn kunnen door onderlinge uitwisseling en meer gezamenlijk optreden denk ik veel meer maatschappelijk impact bewerkstellingen. Als je een organisatie vertegenwoordigd die ook op dit vlak actief is, kijk dan even op Meet-Up voor meer informatie.

I facilitated two unconferences this week. On Monday with our company The Green Land we hosted a 90 minute unconference on (the future of) open government. It was a sweltering day, without much wind. Held on the rooftop of our office building, we had precisely the amount of shade needed to keep all participants out of the sun. With some 20 people from around our network we compared notes on open government, civic tech, and potential collective action. Having built the program with the group I participated in conversations on public versus market roles, what ‘sticks‘ we have in our toolbox when working towards more open government, and the Dutch Common Ground program.

A group in discussion
Groups in conversation

The program
The program

We ended with a fun ‘open government pubquiz’ led by my colleagues Frank and Niene.

(At CaL earlier this month in Canada, someone asked me if I did unconference facilitation as work. I said no, but then realised I had two events lined up this week putting the lie to that ‘no’. This week E suggested we might start offering training on how to host and facilitate an unconference.)

Björn Wijers demoing, with Dylan, Neil and Julia in the photo looking on

Most of yesterday’s participants returned today to get under the hood of their websites and build something. I didn’t attend in person, but participated remotely in the opening session this morning, and the demo’s this afternoon. The demo session has just concluded and some cool things were created, or at least started. Here are a few:

Frank Meeuwsen worked on an OPML importer for Aperture, a microsub server. This way it is possible to import the feeds from your existing RSS reader into your microsub server. Very useful to aid migrating to a new way of reading online content.

Jeremy Cherfas worked on displaying his gps tracks on his site, using Compass

Rosemary Orchard, extending on that, created the option of sharing her geo location on her site for a specified number of minutes.

Neil Mather installed a separate WordPress install to experiment with ActivityPub, and succeeded in sending messages from WordPress to Mastodon, and receive back replies.

Björn Wijers wrote a tool that grabs book descriptions from GoodReads for him to post to his blog when he finishes a book.

Martijn van der Ven picked up on Djoerd Hiemstra’s session yesterday on federated search, and created a search tool that searches within the weblogs of IndieWeb community members.

That concludes the first IndieWebCamp in Utrecht, with a shout-out to all who contributed.