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Forget this world and all its troubles and if possible its multitudinous Charlatans… – Celebrating women in tech

March the 24th 2009 is Ada Lovelace Day, the brainchild of Suw Charman-Anderson. Suw pledged to write a blog-post about a woman in tech that she admired, if at least 1,000 would make the same pledge, and since I’ve admired and been fascinated by Ada Lovelace since childhood, and especially after I read the wonderful book The Difference Engine, so I embraced the project, but at the same time I knew that it would be difficult for me to find just a woman in tech that I admire, that is because the list is long, and I’m happy to say that it’s actually getting longer.

In the end it turned out to be quite simple to name one single woman in “tech” that I admire, a woman that I’ve admired for 2,5 years since I met her at the wonderful BlogForum 2 – an initiative that we really need to revive – and almost did at Copenhagen Twitterfestival.

Since 2006 the woman I have in mind has become quite the celebrity, due to her uncompromising and relentless pursuit of the truth in the murky waters of the Danish tech-business, and this year she’s the natural selection, she’s the woman behind the mainstream breakthrough of the blog-media in Denmark, she is – of course – Bizzen/Toften: the journalist and blogger par excellence Dorte Toft.

Love/hate relationship with “tech”
I have a love/hate relationship with my field, the field known as “tech”. Tech is definitely one of the places where change is happening today, and I feel blessed that I’m involved in bringing this change.

But “Tech” is a field that is riddled by paradox. On one hand it’s crawling with greedy snake-oil salesmen, on the other it’s home to the most revolutionary, idealistic and altruistic people ever as well as some of the most wonderful concepts that humankind has ever come up with.

The problem with the snake-oil salesmen, is that, until now, they’ve pretty much got away with cheating their customers, the authorities, the business community and worst, their employees, and a lot of the snake-oil has been sold under the heading that Denmark is number one in tech.

It’s been a constant embarrassment to me, and I actually left the business four years ago, and it took me two years of “repenting” before I felt that could return to “tech”, and today I’m luckily to be employed by a tech-company that doesn’t carry any snake-oil.

Emperor’s new clothes
I’m just going to, briefly, mention the fact that Dorte Toft was the woman that noticed that Stein Bagger and IT Factory didn’t wear any clothes, thus exposing one of the biggest scams the Danish tech-sector has seen to date, but thank you Dorte for exposing these people, so that we can be protected against these predators and making it possible to feel proud about working in “tech” again.

Feminism isn’t “low-status”
What I’d rather celebrate today is that Dorte Toft is a self-proclaimed feminist, even though it’s – in her own words – a field that is “low-status”, and her labour of love “Nærmest Lykkelig I Nørdland” (“Almost happy in Geekland” – something got lost in translation sorry about that), where Dorte Toft has been writing and writing and writing about the benefits young women would have if the choose to join the so-called “though” fields, technology and science, a very noble cause.

I noticed that Dorte Toft also wrote a blog-post in observation of Ada Lovelace Day today. In this blog-post Dorte is pledging to return to “Nærmest Lykkelig I Nørdland”, I’m so, so happy to hear that, Dorte Toft has been toiling away, trying to ease young women into the fields of tech and science, and her work deserves so much more attention than the perpetual Stein Bagger saga.

To all the wonderful women that I’ve worked with, am working with and will work with in the future, thank you so, so much for putting up with us, we need you, and remember how far you’ve come.

When I mentioned to my father how much I loved having female managers, he simply said that he could never ever imagine have a female manager, I was appalled.

Women, “tech” is too important to be left to men
Women please don’t stop now, so that next time I’m in a position where I’m hiring tech-staff, I hope that I’ll receive applications from women. Looking at the number of students at the IT University in Copenhagen I’m quite optimistic that that would be the case.

DORTE TOFT: Please go work on “Nærmest Lykkelig I Nørdland”, I’m waiting for it, unlike the book about “Banditterne i habitterne” (“The Bandits In Suits”) – and remember feminism isn’t “low-status”!

YOUNG WOMEN: We really, really need you in the tech-sector. Tech is far too important to leave to us men, and listen to, and get inspired by Dorte Toft!

Celebrating the Enchantress of Numbers
I’ll close this post with these wonderful quotes.

We may see aptly that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves
Lady Ada Lovelace

Forget this world and all its troubles and if possible its multitudinous Charlatans – everything in short but the Enchantress of Numbers
Charles Babagge, inventor of the Analytical and Difference engines

If you want to learn more about the fascinating life of Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, by many considered the inventor of programming languages, I’d strongly recommend “The Bride of Science: Romance, Reason, and Byron’s Daughter“, “Zeroes and Ones: Digital Women and the New Technoculture” and “The Difference Engine“.

I’m also building a “shrine” to Ada Lovelace on, a result of “mellemrumssingulariteten” which was inspired by a young woman I know, this woman is, BTW., working in the purest field of them all 😉

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BarCamp Copenhagen 8.2: BarCamp Copenhagen Intelligence Agency – Part I

BarCamp Copenhagen 8.2 - one of my bagsBarCamp Copenhagen 8.2 on the 22nd of November 2008 is over, THANK YOU SO MUCH for being such a great crowd.

I’d like to extend a special thank you to the sponsors (Signal Digital, Københavns Erhvervs Akademi,, basementcopenhagen and Toothless Tiger), Ras Bolding and our fabulous team Henriette Weber, Thomas Kristensen, Anders Bendix, Troels Wittrup, Benjamin Wendelboe, Laura Kiralfy and Mark Wubben – you ALL rock, and you KNOW it!

BTW! We’re trying to build a community site at, so check back often for updates

Pre-camp game
I’m a 3 time veteran of BarCamp Copenhagen, and this time I had multiple roles, primary Henriette challenged me to host a pre-camp game, and this article is focusing on how that unfolded.

My roles were these:

  • Co-organiser
  • Co-host
  • Host of pre-camp warm-up – hmm, it was freezing wasn’t it – event
  • Co-sponsor through – reseller of the Nabaztag
  • Speaker (accept my sincere apologies for that disaster of a session, but I did learn some important Xcode/Interface Builder tricks)
  • Webmaster at

Phew! I think that’s about it, no wait, I also found time to be a participant!

For those of you not familiar with the concept, BarCamp Copenhagen is part of the world-wide phenomenon BarCamp, and can best be described as a conference with a twist, a so-called un-conference.

I’ll try to illustrate the differences between a conference and BarCamp below.


  • The list of speakers usually is announced and scheduled
  • Active participation is neither required nor the norm
  • Speakers are invited and often payed
  • Attendees usually pay a fee

BarCamp (un-conference)

  • The list of speakers and the schedule is made up just before the camp starts
  • The audience is expected to participate actively
  • Speakers are volunteering, and access is only limited by the number of presentation slots

Technological treasure hunt, huh?
My major contribution to BarCamp Copenhagen 8.2 was being organiser of the pre-camp warm up.

As mentioned, the task of organising a pre-camp warm-up was given to me by Henriette Weber, she had envisioned a “technological treasure hunt”, and I immediately jumped at the chance, but what to do?

Technology and treasure hunt, we’ll that should be something with GPS, isn’t that something you can assume that people have these days?

After looking into what existed in the market, and even considering if we should try to build our own, I was sort of stuck for at while.

I suspect that Henriette was getting a bit worried, so she sent Mark Wubben to the rescue, and that was great! Mark is probably the coolest guy I’ve ever met, and it’s hard to believe that he’s only 22. Mark is destined for greatness, and I’m humbled by his presence!

I quickly started down an avenue of sending the participants out to research the history of the neighbourhood where the event was to take place, but Mark, in diplomatic terms, told me that that sounded too boring, I instantly agreed, it did sound like a school project didn’t it? I guess my short career as a school teacher had a bad influence on my creativity ;-).

On October 28th I met with Mark, and he made a couple of important points.

  • The game must not be boring
  • The game should be “hackable”
  • The game should be directed using SMS by the game master

We had a great brainstorming session, and immediately we were turning in the direction of spies, conspiricies etc. Mostly because I instantly made the connection to November 22nd and the mother of all conspiracy theories, since November 22nd is the day of the JFK assassination.

So what we came up with was the concept of a spy-game where you were supposed to find an assassin, take a picture and return with it to the headquarter.

The assassin would be meeting with a contact at an undisclosed location, I thought of Nørrebroparken because it has a “grassy knoll” ;-).

The participitants would be divided into teams, and then sent around in the area looking for codes that, when found, should be relayed to HQ, resulting in another hint about the whereabouts of the assassin.

On the 8th of November Mark Wubben and I met to investigate the area, and we found several places that would be suitable for waypoints, we decided that Nørrebroparken would be too far away, since we only had two hours for the game, and wanted 5 hints/waypoints.

I didn’t really work too much on the detalis of the game, after the 8th, but when the 22nd of November approached, I suddenly decided that we needed a website to support the game, and what you can whip together in two shakes of a rats tail using Drupal is just amazing, I had a full community site with full geolocation support up and running in a few hours.

Calls for participation
Approx. one week prior to the event, we issued an e-mail with a call for participation, and people were asked to sign-up for the pre-camp event, this was before I had configured the website, so I received a possitive answer from a few people.

On the eve of the event, I then sent out this e-mail to the people that had responded to the call for participation:

Dear Agent,

You’ve been selected as a prospect to lead a team at BarCamp Copenhagen.

You will be given a mission that requires that you operate as a field agent from 10am to 11:59am.

Any technology you bring can potentially help you, but you’ll need, at least a camera and a cellphone.

There will be a briefing at 10am on November 22nd @Lygten 16.

Until then you can get updates at the site, so check back frequently.

If you choose to accept the mission I’ll need your cell-phone number.

Kind regards
Kim Bach aka. K.ox
BCCIA Director

I received commitment from 4 people, I picked them as team-leaders, so that we would have four teams, and now I started building the website, having specific locations geocoded on the website helped me produce nice maps, so all I needed was to finalise the plot.

In the week leading to the event I had enlisted two of my friends to act as agents, and one of them is an experienced role-player so she helped me debug the game, she suggested that I should get rid of the good/bad distinction, and focus on making it much more confusing what was good and bad.

We met the night before BarCamp and decided that the mission should be for the teams to located the whereabouts of an agent, deliver documents, that they should document the handover of the documents, and return to base. What they weren’t aware of was that there was a second agent operating, and that he should steal the documents and disappear.

Hackable game
As mentioned, Mark Wubben tought me the importance of the game being “hackable”, this means that you should be able to bend the rules, so what I came up with was this:

  • Information about the waypoints would be made available on the website once the teams had departed
  • It would be possible to guess the access-codes, and get the hints faster. I choose these numbers for the 5 codes that should be gathered: 13-21-34-55-89 – does that ring a bell? Not? Well it’s the 5 two digit Fibonacci numbers 😉
  • You could get help if you asked for it

The plot
I ended up with a plot where the participants were sent out to locate field agent Szeba, they would be guided by hints that were given to them once they had gone to a waypoint and located the access code and sent it by SMS to HQ

The mission was to hand over some documents to the agent, and return with proof that the documents were delivered to the agent, and return to HQ.

The twist
What the participants didn’t know, was that I had also enlisted another agent, Petrus. The idea was that the agent would steal the documents once they were delivered to agent Szeba.

On the eve of the evening I met with agents Szeba and Petrus (aka. Signe and Kim, thank you for helping me, you guys rock).

We went over the plan.

Szeba would be at Nørrebro Station at 11:30 waiting for the documents, Petrus would be lurking, wait for the next train, steal the documents and jump on the train just before it left.

We were ready for the game – mu-ha-ha-ha – it will be GREAT!

Stay tuned for the part two of this where you’ll be told how the game actually unfolded.

The picture that accompanies this article was taken by Karin Høgh, it’s copyright Karin Høgh and she has allowed me to use it here. The picture shows one of my bags!

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Planning for Kulturnatten 2008 (Copenhagen Night of Culture) despite elitist selection practices by organisers

Kulturnat2008It’s time for the yearly Copenhagen event “Kulturnatten”, or “Night of Culture”, and I’m basically done planning for it.

At the bottom of this post, you’ll find a list of events I’ve saved to my profile on, unfortunately they don’t have a RSS feed or a URL that I can share, so I had to copy/paste/edit the list :-(.

I’m planning to attend the events below, but I usually stray, and end up in strange places, my recommendation is to just go with the flow, and stay in places longer than you originally planned for, if you feel “good vibes”.

Last year the high point for me, was a visit to the old shipyard crane on Holmen, which is back this year, and Ars Nova in Marmorkirken, which isn’t :-(.

The events hit by elitism
I’ve been a huge fan of Kulturnatten for several years, but this year the organisers has decided to limit the official program, and has weeded out some events that had been running, successfully for several years, for instance the event by IT Politisk Forening.

I’ve been noticing that Kulturnatten over the years has become more and more like a carnival, and that was somewhat annoying, but I think that the strict selection of “relevant” events is an example of elitism.

This being said, the Kulturnat is an impressive show of strength, and I’ll keep on attending, even though I strongly disagree with the new policy of the organisers.

List of events I’m planning to attend:
Kultmusik og magiske videoinstallationer
Kultfænomenet Snöleoparden fylder gården med sin særlige equilibristiske nordiske version af østens musik, alt imens den verdensberømte kunstner Yang Fudongs magiske videoinstallationer tegner billed…

Time: 18:00 – 00:00
Place: GL STRAND, Gammel Strand 48

Lasershow illuminerer facaden på Charlottenborg
Facaden på Charlottenborg er hele kulturnatten illumineret med klassisk italiensk billedkunst. Lasershow arrangeret af den romerske kunstner Livia Canella.

Time: 18:00 – 00:00
Place: Danmarks Kunstbibliotek, Kongens Nytorv 1, Postboks 1053

Konspirationsteorier fra Tempelriddere til 11. sep
Konspirationsteorier er som en virus, der angriber, når immunforsvaret er svækket. Med benhård historisk kildekritik afmonterer Dan H. Andersen nogle af nutidens mest populære myter og konspirationst…

Time: 20:30 – 21:30
Place: Frederiksberg Bibliotek, Falkoner Plads 3

Polkageist Power Party
Nyd energifyldt koncert inspireret af salsa, calypso, funk, rock og balkanmusik sammen med “cool” øko-snacks.
Generel info: handicapfaciliteter, bespisning

Time: 21:00 – 22:30
Place: Det Europæiske Miljøagentur, Kongens Nytorv 6

Social networking /foredrag
Kim Sneppen, Models of Life, NBI

Time: 22:00 – 22:30
Place: Niels Bohr Institutet, Blegdamsvej 17

Herredømmet – Lykke, Thordal, Trier & Zahle
Carsten Lykke, Kenneth Thordal, Tobias Trier & Oliver Zahle pisker stemningen helt i vejret med en vittig, varm og swingende koncert om den moderne mands genvordigheder. Sangenes tema “Mænd forstår a…

Time: 22:00 – 00:00
Place: Frederiksberg Bibliotek, Falkoner Plads 3

Salsa Loca – Kulturnattens hedeste danseaften
Traditionen tro spiller Salsa Loca op til dans. Kulturnatten afsluttes på denne måde med et brag af en fest med livesalsamusik af bedste kvalitet og dans til den lyse morgen.

Time: 22:00 – 03:00
Place: Krudttønden, Serridslevvej 2

See also:

Blogs Kim Blog (English)

The financial crisis: a control mechanism?

Ted Spread Chart - Data To 9 26 08For 10-years the Danish housing market has enjoyed inflatory growth rates, backed by changing administrations in an unholy alliance with the credit-unions, and a seemingly never-ending, and historically cheap, credit, the average to upper middle-class financed their escalating consumerism by “eating bricks” (i.e. taking out mortgages).

Everybody knew it would end at some point, but what is the solution suggested by our politicians? Bail-out packages of historic proportions.

We can’t afford that people loose faith in “our” financial institutions.

Suddenly they’re ours? What has happened the last 10 years is that credit-giving has been based on the premisses that housing-prices will keep going up at super-inflatory rates, and when credit was running thin, we’ll just boost it by allowing people to take out mortgages where you only pay the interest.

This has led to the following:

  1. Higher prices, effectively baring first time buyers from owning a house
  2. No-one can afford to move, because the prices have skyrocketed, seriously limiting the flexibility of the workforce
  3. Now that prices have dropped, you’re left with huge monthly payments, that you can’t afford if you loose your job

Our financial institutions
The Danish financial market has undergone the biggest changes in more than 100 years over the last 10-20 years.

The Danish credit-unions was based on solidarity and they were owned by the mortgage-holders not the big banks, if you look at your mortgage payments, you’ll notice that you pay something called “bidrag”, these days it’s simply a fee, but it used to be called “reservefondsbidrag” (“reserve-fee”), and it was paid back to mortgage holders if the credit-union did have to dig into the reserves, read was running a healthy business.

Why the focus on stock prices?
Personally I don’t understand the huge focus on stock prices. The stock-market is highly volatile, and what is reported in the news is the stock index, which is an average based on a selected few of the major companies, the Danish stock-exchage index is called OMX-20, the 20 refers to the fact that only 20 of the listed companies are counted in the index.

The market cap of these 20 companies does indeed represent a huge percentage of the total market, but they’re also carefully selected based on the performance of the stock, and if one or a few of the 20 companies sneezes the market catches a cold.

The focus on stock-prices will only hit you if you sell, if the companies are healthy they will make a profit, and you’ll receive dividends

Mortgage 101: Why I sleep tight at night
My own mortgage is made up of 60% variable rate, and it’s refinanced every year. Right now it looks like I’ll have to pay .5% higher interest next year, but I think this might change and probably to the better. Why do I think so? The variable rate mortgages are financed by selling of bonds, and since we have a financial crisis that hits the stock market, bonds are in higher demand which means higher prices and thus lower interest rates.

The financial crisis also means that short-term bonds should be in higher demand, making the variable rate mortgages more attractive. But since the short-term bonds are less attractive for the credit-unions, they’re trying to convince the mortgage-owners to refinance or take out insurance, which will make them more money.

I’m keeping my variable-rate, short-term, mortgage.

Take back your financial institutions
I suggest that we go back and look at how the credit-unions originally were organised, owned by the mortgage-holders, based on solidarity and healthy loan giving.

The idea of people being able to finance their house is instrumental in improving the quality of life, a lot of people haven’t been able to afford this due to the inflatory prices and rampant mortgage-giving using creative and unhealty offers.

It’s time to take back our financial institutions and our lives, but also to stop the rampant consumerism and the irresponsible behaviour, that is helping destroy the planet.

The financial crisis: a control mechanism?
Personally I feelthink that the financial crisis is a “control mechanism” on the scale of “The Matrix”. It’s meant to scare us into fearing the future, and since we’ve taken out loans we can’t really afford to pay, driven by irresponsible lending politics, we’re forced to work even harder, and even remain active in the workforce for a longer period.

Hmm, this sounds exactly like what the OECD and The Danish Economic Council, and thus the Government, has prescribed.


The image that is used above is taken from WikiMedia Commons and it shows the “TED spread”.

The “TED Spread” is a measure of credit risk for inter-bank lending. It is the difference between: 1) the risk-free three-month U.S. treasury bill rate; and 2) the three-month London Interbank Borrowing Rate (LIBOR), which represents the rate at which banks typically lend to each other. A higher spread indicates banks perceive each other as riskier counterparties. The t-bill is considered “risk-free” because the full faith and credit of the U.S. government is behind it; theoretically, the government could just print money so you will get your principal back at maturity.

From WikiMedia Commons (

'i dag' (Danish) Blogs Computere og Internet Frivillig arbejde

Ba-Ba-Ba-BarCamp Copenhagen 8.2-Hum-A-Nah-Nah-Hum-A-Nah-Nah

Opdateret den 10-oktober-2008.

Vi har nu fundet stedet vi skal være. Det bliver på Københavns Teknisk Skole på Lygten 16, 2400 København NV. At vi har fundet sådan et fantastisk sted, betyder at vi udvider antallet af deltagere fra 50 til 100.

Så skal vi til det igen, for tredie gang i alt, og for anden gang i år, bliver der afholdt BarCamp Copenhagen (applause).

Det eneste der er helt klart på nuværende tidspunkt er at dDet kommer til at foregå i på Københavns Tekniske Skole, Lygten 16, 2400 København NV (doh!), og at det bliver lørdag den 22-november-2008 fra kl. 10:00 til ??.

Hvis du ser videoen nedenfor så lover vi i øvrigt at “blyanterne vil vende tilbage”, hvis vi ikke finder nogle sponsorer. Vi vil gerne holde BarCamp gratis, men også på et vist niveau, så hvis vi ikke finder sponsorer, så må vi skrue ned for ambitionsniveauet, og i januar var vores prop altså nogle blyanter – fine, jo vist – men vi vil så gerne give jer noget endnu bedre.

Reglerne kender i vist efterhånden, ellers kan i læse dem her.

BarCamp handler om deltagelse, så det der gør BarCamp interessant, er DIG. Vær parat til at dele!

Til de første to BarCamp Copenhagen handlede det mest om præsentationer, men i år håber vi at kunne få mere gang i nogle diskussioner, og måske vil vi forsøge os med et mere workshop eller open space lignende format, smid evt. en kommentar hvis du har nogle ideer!

Vi regner med at have plads til 50 100 mennesker deltagere, og vi har allerede nu 31 tilmeldinger.

Så skynd dig at melde dig til ved at redigere wiki-siden på, eller ved at bruge vores Facebook gruppe.

Ses vi? Det tror jeg nok vi gør!

Læs også:

Blogs Kim Blog (English)

iværk08: Morten Lund: “Amateurs build the Ark. Professionals build the Titanic”

iværk08: An emotional Morten Lund facing the pressAn emotional Morten Lund, faced the press at the iværk08 conference for entrepreneurs in Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark, on September 13th 2008. Morten Lund is a Danish Entrepreneur and Investor, usually associated with Skype, but more recently with the horrible collapse of the Danish newspaper Nyhedsavisen, which he owned a majority stake in.

Morten Lund started out, clearly shaken, and in a most open way, much against the advise of his counsellors, by addressing the press. He did that by stating that he would be accepting, at least 7 questions, from the audience first.

I really, really, want to believe that all that has actually happened, is that Morten Lund has lost a lot – he says all – of his money, and that his considerable ego has taken a serious hit. He’s also very sorry for the people that lost their jobs, and he’s also very regretful about having tried to start-up something in Denmark, which is a big shame.

His story sounds credible, and you can read it on his blog, LundXY: The Day I Woke Up Without Arms And Legs.

Personally I understand, and applaud, that Morten Lund took on the Danish media, they’re in serious need of being shaken up, but why he choose to do it by investing that heavily in a venture like Nyhedsavisen will remain a mystery to me, he must have known that it was a black-hole when he entered, or maybe he just had very, very bad advisors. The reason I’m baffled is that Nyhedsavisen clearly had the best website of all Danish media, but Nyhedsavisen relied heavily on distribution of a print-version, and my first reaction when I heard about Morten Lund’s investment was that it didn’t make any sense.

The established Danish media is a formidable foe, just consider the unfortunate fate of “Dagen”, the previous high-profiled, and very short-lived, attempt at shaking up the Danish media landscape.

While answering the questions from the press, Morten Lund made a very bold statement, by claiming that everyone was “played” by David Montgomery. (David Montgomery is Executive Chairman of Mecom, which owns Berlingske Media, one of the major Danish media conglomorates, and a main competitor of Nyhedsavisen). A statement that can also be found on his blog.

The case will unfold in the days and – probably – years to come, and there’s likely to be a juridical aftermath, even though Morten Lund, according to his blog, is keeping his fingers crossed. The juridical aftermath could become very ugly indeed.

After taking the promised 7 questions from the press, Morten Lund went on to discuss how to start things, which was what the majority of the audience had come to listen to.

Morten Lund – “The Amateur”

Morten Lund has a number of well-know mantras, like “Act don’t talk”, “Network is everything” etc. but a mantra that sort of sums up his general attitude is this:

Amateurs build the Ark. Professionals build the Titanic

Morten Lund takes pride in being the amateur – which literally means ‘lover of’. A get-goer and change-maker, who claims that he really doesn’t know anything – what so ever – about the fields that he gets involved in, but he manages to either find out, or to find people that do, and you can feel the energy and passion when he speaks about these topics, it’s quite contagious, hey it got me blogging again – something neither the Roskilde Festival 2008 nor Reboot 10 managed to do – which is rather strange come to think about it.

Even though Morten Lund says that nobody can predict the next big thing, he believes that the future is all about technology, and that Google is the one to watch. After praising AdWords, which is a brilliant idea, that is making Google tons of money, he asked the audience if anyone could explain the business model of Google to him. Only one raised his hand (me ;-)), so I guess I have some explaining to do, because it goes somewhat further than AdWords. Will blog about it, so stay tuned, but if you’re a regular follower of mine, you might have guessed that it will have something to do with “Pyramids”, hey I might – finally – make my point about that clear.

Morten Lund finished by demoing how to create a brand. After that demo, he will now – at least in the minds of the audience – forever be associated with recorder flutes! Great demo – hmm did they collect the flutes after the demo? Didn’t notice!

I want to believe

Like I said: “I want to believe”, and right now, I hope that Morten Lund, a true entrepreneur and risk taker, will have his name cleared, and that he, in the eternal words of Chumbawamba, “got knocked down, but will get up again”.

OTOH considering what happened last time I “wanted to believe”, I’m not overly optimistic.

The real looser in this case is the Danes. Unfortunately Morten Lund is most likely done trying to do business in Denmark :-(, so somebody else will have to pick up the gauntlet, and take on the Danish media.

Denmark deserves better media than what we have now, and risk takers like Morten Lund are in short supply. His message that Denmark is the perfect place to take risks, since there’s a wonderful social security system to avoid you from falling into poverty, could have been lost in translation – he qualified it by stating how important having that security is, and that we should nurture and respect our welfare society – good call! His point was that Danes really have nothing to fear, so take those risks!

I also did some live Jaikuing from iværk08, you can read it here:
At iværk08 in Forum: Amazing amount of small start-ups working with IT, including a former business partner

Blogs Bookmarks Computere og Internet Kim Blog (English) Resources Technology

OIO REST: RESTful web services developed by the Danish Public Sector

The Danish Office for IT and Telecommunications (IT & Telestyrelsen) is experimenting with so-called RESTful web services, and I’m very happy to hear that, because this is an indication that something finally is happening again, after years of impasse.

Services for the REST (sry) of us

RESTful web services are the predominant implementation model for web services developed by web 2.0 companies, and Flickr are prime examples of services with extensive RESTful web services and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).

A web service is a software service, or API, that software (application) developers can use to provide functionality to their applications, and thus users. The “web” refers to the fact that the service can be accessed using technology developed for the web, like a standard web-browser.

Other technologies for implementing web services exits, the best known is the web service or (WS_*) stack, often referred to as SOAP. REST is, however, much easier to use than SOAP, because it has a GET based interface, meaning that you can query a RESTful service using simple URIs for instance entered using a browser. REST is also much better understood by commercial web developers in the private sector, and the tools they use, eats REST for breakfast.

Here’s an example:

This retrieves the road-code and city-number of the street I live on in XML format, pretty sweet.

What IT&TS has done is that they, two years later, have picked up my idea, so that I don’t have to implement it (well it only means that I’ll never release my own code) ;-).

Concerns that history will repeat itself

I’m pleased, very pleased, and surprised that The Danish Office for IT and Telecommunications (IT & Telestyrelsen) has begun experimenting with such a relevant service, and has actually made some real-word applications available on the web-site.

But! I fear that history might repeat itself.

Something like 3-4 years ago, a sample SOAP service Address Web Service (AWS) was developed by IT&Telestyrelsen, they even had a competition to develop a sample application, and there even was a winner. But AWS never went into production, and the project dropped off the radar, that is until now. It seems that AWS soon will be released for production, and this is great news.

The problem was that I lost faith in AWS, I felt the project had died, so I didn’t really want to develop against it, and I hear the same concerns from others regarding the RESTful services today.

Do we need pseudo-standards like REST?

The RESTful experiments will probably never launch, but with the SOAP/WS_* AWS likely to go into production, we don’t really need them do we?

What we do need is an open and free infrastructure, for instance for eFaktura, it’s way too expensive to use the current providers, so I suggest that the next thing you do IT&TS, is to pick up another of my old projects 😉

In many ways I fail to see the real need for a RESTful service, but RESTful APIs are so much easier to implement than SOAP.

What I’d like to see is light-weight data-formats, like JSON, and JavaScript APIs Google style. The light-weight data-formats are simpler to parse than XML, so I’d love to see a JSON, or similar, version, e.g. something that is closer to the internal representations of data, without going to binary interfaces, even though they’re coming back, for instance through WCF (Windows Communication Framework).

Conclusion: BIG thumbs up! (but it was overdue)

All in all BIG thumbs up to IT&TS for this initiative, keep it up, and stay above the radar in the future, please. We need widely available, and free, services like AWS, and with the competition from Google GeoCoder, which can be implemented with few lines of code – and works with other than Danish addresses, and – that is using it’s own, outdated, copy of data from Kort og Matrikelstyrelsen to provide a nice, URI based service, reviving of AWS, and the new initiatives, were way overdue.

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Æbletræ fylder 2 år – stort til-held-og-lykke og Elvis har forladt bygningen

Elvis Smoking - By Esben ThomsenI går, den 3die April, kunne Æbletræ fejre sin 2 års fødselsdag. Æbletræ er et Internetbaseret, indholdsdrevet, fællesskabs projekt der startede som en idé om at skabe en begynderguide til Mac, men er endt med at være en af de, ja måske det, største Danske online fællesskabsdrevne indholdsdrevne Internet projekter. Projektet er dog, for længst, gået skridtet videre, og indeholder nu artikler om meget andet end Apple.

Historien om Æbletræet, eller MacWiki som det oprindelig hed, er dokumenteret på Wikien, hvilket er ganske unikt, som du kan finde på (jeg bruger – bevidst – den Engelske version – da projektet – naturligvis – som nogle af de første – benytter en IDN (International Domain Name) – nogle skulle jo starte, og det blev os.

Ideen til Æbletræet udsprang af det danske forum for Apple fans,, en gruppe af faste brugere var blevet trætte af at besvare de samme spørgsmål om og om igen, så det blev diskuteret om man kunne skrive en bog eller lignende.

Fra start af var det klart, for mig, at man absolut ikke skulle skrive en bog, men lave det online på Internettet, og jeg havde noget i baghånden, MediaWiki, det samme system som driver Wikipedia – der er åben og fri software.

Første møde blev afholdt den 3-April-2006, og da jeg kom hjem installerede jeg MediaWiki på min server og oprettede de første artikler.

Der gik noget tid inden de andre projekt deltagere forstod ideen, og indlæringskurven for MediaWiki er ikke just lav, derfor opsatte jeg også et traditionelt forum, som stadig kan findes på, og diskussionen flød.

Det er fantastisk at arbejde sammen om at producere indhold, og når man kan se at der er mange rettelser på MediaWikis recent changes, så virker det simpelthen ganske inspirerende, og man får lyst til at skrive mere.

Jeg føler det er nødvendigt at aflive nogle myter, da den slags opstår når folk ikke taler sammen.

  • Jeg har ingen ambitioner om at være leder eller bestemme noget som helst
  • Jeg er blevet beskyldt for at tage Æbletræet som gidsel – det kan jeg ikke se – grunden til at vi ikke er på PHP5 – som jeg helt ærligt – ikke forstår er så vigtigt – er at vores udbyder Site5 ikke understøtter det, og da projektet er baseret på gratis og frivillig arbejdskraft, så har det været svært at få ejeren af serveren til at bruge tid til at få flyttet server

Og så et par ord om hvordan jeg fungerer: jeg bliver stresset af at tænke på produktions-problemer, og i påsken forsøgte jeg at opgradere Æbletræ, det gik ikke helt som ventet, jeg bad derfor om, først at få os på PHP5, derefter ville jeg installere MediaWiki 1.12, og så flytte til Gigahost (hvilket jeg ikke tror er så god en idé), hvis man spørger kan man jo få svar, og jeg venter på min frivillige hjælper.

Fundamentalt hader jeg simpelthen drift, og her mener jeg ikke den første installation, men de problemer der – næsten altid – opstår når man skal opgradere serveren – så vidt jeg husker – så har vi nu ikke haft de store produktions problemer – en enkelt gang var vi nede i 48 timer – fordi Site5 havde skiftet IP adresser.

En grundregel – som gælder al drift – er: “if it ain’t (totally) broke – don’t fix it” – på Dansk: “pil ikke ved noget der fungerer, også selv om det ikke fungere helt optimalt”. At dette så betyder at “change” ikke sker, er uheldigt, men det er simpelthen ikke noget man kan byde frivillig arbejdskraft – så ting tager tid!

Jeg har – længe – forsøgt at få vores server opgraderet til PHP5, men igen – frivillig arbejdskraft skal man ikke presse – man må væbne sig med tålmodighed. Tro mig, jeg ved det – for 3 år siden prøvede jeg at køre et del-projekt i min Frivilliggruppe hårdt, det faldt ikke i god jord – og folk hadede det jeg producerede, men jeg producerede! Siden dengang har jeg væbnet mig med tålmodighed.

Efter 2 år kan projektet dog, sagtens, stå på egne ben, og jeg føler at min fortsatte deltagelse i projektet ville betyde en fragmentering af fællesskabet, der – efter min mening – ganske enkelt ikke brug for endnu et Dansk Apple site, og nøj hvor er det imponerende med de nye Apple fora, som i kan se havde vi et Drupal baseret forum allerede for 2 år siden.

Jeg vil derfor, fremover, ikke deltage i projektet som andet end bidragyder, med mindre jeg bliver udelukket – hvilket jo ikke kan udelukkes (pun intended).

Faktisk er det eneste jeg er ked af, at jeg har mistet en fantastisk god ven – det bedste minde jeg har er dengang vi bagte en kage til brug for Dansk Flygtningehjælps 1000 flere arrangement, og jeg undskylder MANGE MANGE gange for Beyoncé, som blev Skypet til dine sarte ører mangen sen nat.

Det sjoveste er faktisk at vi, mest fordi vi havde en åben proces, blev udsat for en domænehaj. blev registreret af en af den slags personer ,der ikke burde have lov at betræde Internettet, sjovt nok blev navnet jo æbletræ, så fjolset brændte inde med domænet LOL.

God vind kære Æbletræ, det har været fantastisk sjovt! Specielt tak til David, Esben men også Thomas x 2, Wendelboe, Sebastian, Allan, Liv for at have holdt mig ud så længe, noget af en bedrift ;-).

Et par fakta – Æbletræ kører videre, så længe det ønskes. Hvis der er interesse i at bevare navnet, hvilket jeg da tvivler på, så kan det redelegeres, jeg ejer det p.t. I øvrigt sletter jeg aldrig indhold, men da vi ved at dublikeret indhold er noget Google ikke bryder sig om, trækker jeg stikket så snart der er flertal for det.

Jeg er blevet beskyldt for gidseltagning – intet er mig fjernere – jeg er SUPER stolt af at have været med til dette – og det var det jeg kunne få jer med til. Fremtiden tilhører egen-produceret indhold, som man selv hoster og ejer, websitet er dødt! Elvis har forladt bygningen.

Billedet der ledsager denne artikel er en manipulation udført af Esben Thomsen, det er Copyright Esben Thomsen, men jeg håber at dette falder under fair use. Esben kender mig bedre end de fleste, og det “grønne skrig” opsumerer “mig” ganske godt (man kunne sige perfekt)

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The Pod Bay Doors have been opened – Godspeed Arthur and thank you

HAL Sheeding a tear for Arthur C. ClarkeThis week, the world got a lot less interesting, when the visionary, humanist, inventor and author Arthur C. Clarke died. I really considered not commenting on it, because others would be better at it, and the picture from Joy of Tech on the left sums up my feelings.

Remembering a great visionary and humanitarian

Arthur might not be the best writer, but his clear visions, belief in humanity and always good spirit was such an inspiration.

Clarke has mostly been remembered for his two most famous contributions to the collective heritage of humankind:

  1. The movie 2001
  2. The concept of Geo-synchronous communications satellites

The only thing that I feel sorry for, is that Arthur didn’t live to witness the discovery of Extraterrestial Intelligence, which I’m sure is on the verge of happening, and when we have First Contact, I hope that the politicians and scientists read the works of Arthur C. Clarke, before trying to understand E.T., I really feel that Arthur did.

First Contact

I’ll give you an example, and it’s my favourite part from one of his books, “The Fountains of Paradise”.

As is traditional with the novells by Arthur C. Clarke, the plot contains several independent sub-plots, and that is the strongest aspect of his writing, it never gets dull, and it’s filled with humour, and insights into humanity.

The main plot in the “Fountains of Paradise” is really about the construction of an elevator to the Clarke Belt, the geo-synchronous orbit, 36,000 kms from Earth.

But the by-line is a story about First Contact – e.g. the discovery of intelligent Extraterrestrials – a favourite topic of Clarke – it’s also about Artificial Intelligence – the favourite topic of Clarke.

The sub-plot is similar to “Rendezvous with Rama”: Due to universal limits of relativity, you can only travel at sub-light speeds. Another universal law is that the ordinary life-spans are too short even for ET, so ET is investigating the universe using unmanned probes.

Earth, or rather the solar system, is visited by such a a spaceship, and onboard is a computer or more correctly an AI – that is somewhat secretive – but co-operative – and we have so much to learn, like the fact that we’re an emerging level 1 Civilisation, at least in the 22nd Century, where the book is taking place.

Clarke suggested that advanced Civilisations goes through three levels:

  1. Civilisation can control energy on Planetary level
  2. Civilisation can control energy on Solar level
  3. Civilisation can control energy on Galactical level

Needless to say we’re not even a level 0 civiisation right now. When ET finally arrives, some hundred years after the probe visited, he expresses admiration for the achievements of “such a young civilisation.

Well the computer abroad the space-probe, is co-operating and teaching us lot’s of things, without violating the rules about giving away information posessed by a higher level civilisation, so we’re only given hints, like a level 1 civilisation, has mastered the conversion of matter to energy and back – e.g. has things like matter transporters and replicators, like in Star Trek.

That is until someone at a Theological Institute decides to transmit the complete religious scriptures to the computer, it painstakingly analyses it, points out the fundamental flaws of religious thinking, shuts down communication with a comment that expresses disappointment at such tribal manners from an emerging level 1 Culture, and sorry but now you have to switch to direct communications, going to cruise mode, shutting down, bye.

Mind you, ET is 50 light-years away, so everyone was upset by the actions of the religious people, but really it was also the end of religious thought, and humanity could move on the bigger projects, like building the space elevator.

The concept of the Space Elevator was lifted from a Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, that Arthur credits in the closing notes of “Fountains”. Clarke also suggests that it might be possible to build it already in this century, and the concept is well thought out, and actually feasible with current technology, unfortunately the current funding of space exploration, dictates direct military benefits, and the military seems to love chemical rockets, what a shame.

Other contributions

Another important contribution by Clarke, was his 80th birthday special feature, where Discovery dedicated an entire evening to Arthur, another was his series The “Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World”, where he was also dealt with myths and Urban legends, paving the way for the “Mythbusters”.

Clarke deserved the Nobel Peace Price, not least for deciding to live his final many years in war-torn Sri Lanka.

The Pod Bay doors have been opened, Godspeed Arthur

The Imperial Cinema in Copenhagen is showing “2001: A Space Odyssey” on Monday 24th of March oops April 28th at 3.45pm CEST.

Imperial has one of the best cinemas in Northern Europe, expect me to be in the audience, I can’t really think of a better way to pay tribute to Arthur, get your ticket here (link will probably expire soon ;-)).

I’m humbled by your creative vision: The Pod Bay doors have been opened, and my God it’s full of Stars. Godspeed Arthur!

The picture that accompanies this article is from the great comic strip, The Joy of Tech. I dare to claim “fair use”, and why don’t you click here to buy some merchandise, or one of the paintings – I’d love to own “HAL 9000 shedding a tear” as a painting. BTW: I’m not making any money from providing Joy of Tech with such a link, welcome to the future of advertising ;-).

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Getting out of beta: The decade of “search” is over – ushering in the decade of “knowledge”

When “Sergei and Larry” approached Yahoo with a brand new concept of a “search engine”, they discovered, to their dismay, that Yahoo wasn’t really interested in “search”, but in selling ads. So Google was born.

How I discovered Google

In 1998 I was doing a search of myself, e.g. ego-surfing, using my preferred search engine, Lycos, and I was stunned to see that the top hits were Usenet groups that contained my name, several of them in fact, but worse: they had names like kimbach.slut.slut.slut etc.

I was a bit upset, especially since I, at that point, was being sued over violation of the marketing law by a former employer – a case that was later thrown out – but I assumed that they might have created those groups, to slander me, and I was quite sure that it wasn’t me that created those groups ;-).

I took a look at the content of the groups, and they had very low traffic, I only found some spam, which was rare in 1998, and someone who asked the question “who is Kim Bach” – a question I’ve pondered myself, but it didn’t look like it had anything to do with me.

Eventually I contacted the hotline of my ISP, Image Scandinavia, and they referred me to…GOOGLE.

Doing a search on Google, I realised that it had nothing to do with me, but that the groups had been created by a disgruntled husband, and Kim Bach was his ex-wife!

I also believe that using Google for the first time, immediately made me drop Lycos. At that point Lycos actually yielded what I’d label “better results”, but that changed quickly.

Google, originally, cracked “the search code”, and the world changed.

How I discovered Wikipedia

This I also remember clearly, and it’s quite interesting, I googled it – indirectly!

3-4 years ago I was trying find the English word for the type of dog, that is called “gravhund” in Danish, I somehow 😉 knew that a literal translation wouldn’t do, since that would have yielded “diggingdog”, “digdog”, “gravedog”.

So a Google search let me to the English Wikipedia article for Dachshund, and that was what I was looking for!

Seeing Wikipedia was an instant eye-opener, and at that point it hadn’t even dawned upon me, that Wikipedia was pure user-generated content!

Google isn’t interested in “knowledge”

Google won by doing a better job, but now “we, the people” are approaching the world with a concept of a “knowledge engine”, only to discover, to our dismay, that for instance Google isn’t really interested in “knowledge”, but in selling ads.

The difference: “we, the people”, will, surprisingly, transform Google from a “search engine” into a “knowledge engine” as well, no matter what Google does. The algorithm Google uses will give preference to “quality”, at least in the long run, and since “we, the people” are so numerous this will happen sooner rather than later.

Case in point, the best SEO strategy I know of is to create a Wikipedia article, try googling the terms I’ve created Wikipedia articles for (for instance: Kim Schumacher, DB03 and DB07).

You’re brainwashed

Google and the big companies have had us, pretty much, brainwashed to think that we have no say. This is reflected by the response to the launch of the Wikia Search engine, on the historic day, January 7th 2008.

Everyone is trying to compare Wikia Search to Google, and that’s missing the point COMPLETELY, and people should read what Wikia Search are writing:

WE KNOW THAT THE QUALITY OF THE SEARCH IS: “PRETTY LOW” (a polite way of saying that it “stinks”)

The way to help change it, is simply to get involved.

Every-time you do a search on Wikia Search, you’re offered the option to edit a “Mini Article” on the search. A “Mini Article” is just a Wiki article, that explains the search term. The “Mini Articles” will be used to improve the search index.

“Unfortunately” people seems to have been using a search on themselves as a benchmark, meaning that a lot of the “Mini Articles” are links to private and small web-sites, but that reflects the community.

Ego-surfing was also one of the first things I did, and the first hit that could be attributed to me was result number 8, and that yielded the photos I’ve taken, that are in the Flickr pool I created for Sjakket, my former place of work.

Is that my major contribution to the world? Well it’s not that far from it, bordering that I believe that it could be.

Getting involved – choose a community to “work” for

My criteria are:

Not for profit, open, free, strong community, sustainable.

The beer isn’t free however, so you’re allowed to make money, but take into consideration how the money is being made, if it is sustainable etc.

Personally I’ve chosen these organisations

  • Kim Bach . Org – My personal Internet presence with community support (some call that a blog ;-))
  • Netværksgruppen i Mjølnerparken – Volunteer to help inner city kids, of non-danish descent, with their homework
  • Æbletræ – A Wiki-based community site dedicated to serving Apple users with content in the Danish Language
  • Wikipedia – The open encyclopaedia
  • Wikia Search – The open search engine

Currently I’m mostly involved in Wikia Search, I’ve found it really intimidating to be a contributor to an Encyclopaedia, so my contributions to Wikipedia have been quite limited, Wikia Search is much less intimidating, and right up my alley.

Where would you put your money (e.g. time)?

In ten years, Google has gone from no to 16.000 employees, but “we, the people” will, in ten years go from no to 6,5 billion, or how many it is that “we” are in 2018.

Where would you put you money (e.g. time)? It will only cost you time, and you’ll be involved in building a beautiful shrine to knowledge and human achievement.

Together we’ll do Google one better: crack the code of “knowledge”, and the world has changed forever.

Free at last, free at last, oh God almighty we’re free at last.

And “we”‘re hiring! No need to submit a resume, come join the fight!

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