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 Kim Blog (English) Music Resources, Jaiku and Dorit Chrysler – a match made in heaven?

Dorit ChryslerIt’s been a while since I wrote about the Jaiku online service, but it’s a service I use all the time, and I love it.

This is, mostly, due to the fact that Jaiku is filled with people, with whom I share interests, but the people there, all, seem to be more interesting than I am, so I can learn new things, and that is the thing in life I love the most.

One of the things I’m very adventurous about is my music, and another of my favourite online services,, supports that perfectly.

Yesterday a conversation about surfaced on Jaiku:

Jaiku | Det slår mig lige, hvorfor jeg er så vild med Jeg kan holde liv i det ved at gøre noget, jeg alligevel ville gøre: Høre musik :-

Translation: It just struck me why I’m so crazy about I can keep it going by doing something, I’d do anyways: Listen to music 🙂

That is correct, builds and extends your network by comparing your musical preferences to the other users, and it also gives you recommendations based on your listening habits.

Eventually the question was asked: What do you use it for?

This triggered me to use again, something I usually only do once a month, and the feature I love the most, is the similar artist radio.

In April 2008 I travelled to Lisbon, Portugal, and I was so fortunate to attend a concert by Dorit Chrysler, a very talented artist from Austria, that has specialised in using the Theremin instrument, a very strange instrument that you control by moving your hands in the electrical field generated by the instrument, that basically is a bend metal-rod.

So the Jaiku post triggered me into finally ripping the CDs I bought in Galeré Zee dos Bois in Lisbon, listening to them, and then using that to listen the Dorit Chrysler Similar Artists Radio.

And what I dug into, was a wealth of wonderful music, that spans from Opera to Classical Chanson, over Russian Abstract Hip-Hop and even the wonderful Colleen, that I already knew.

Here’s a list of some of the wonderful artists I discovered:

  • Robert – A wonderful French chanteuse
  • Gudrun Gut – German female singer. Original member of Einstürzende Neubauten
  • Ute Lempner – German chanteuse
  • Susanna and the Magical Orchestra – Norwegian act that, for instance, does some amazing covers, especially one of Dolly Partons Jolene is wonderful
  • Meret Becker – Another German singer that has be associated with Einstürzende Neubauten

The list goes on, and I’ll recommend exploring the artists that are similar to Dorit Chrysler, you will not regret it. remains one of the most impressive, and genuinely useful, online services – the list of these services is short, the big three are, to me, Jaiku, and Flickr.

The picture used here was taken from, and is, most likely an official promotional pressphoto, I hope my use here will go under “fair-use”

Blogs Kim Blog (English) Music

As high as it gets: Method Man and Redman in Store VEGA the 14th of April 2008

Redman and Method Man - How High SoundtrackMonday the Copenhagen Hip-Hop community was served a defer than def jam (pardon my “old-skool”), when Redman and Method Man tried to bring down a sold out Store VEGA venue, and sometimes it felt like they might succeed, because the bass and the stumpin’ made the floor bounce.

The wires were heated by a local act, that I missed the name of. The Danish Hip-Hop scene seems to be experimenting with mixing of genres, I must admit that I like the more European approach to Hip-Hop, which means that we have live musicians on stage, this is not a problem for seasoned acts from the States, but few European acts can pull off only having a DJ and 3-4 MCs as the only instruments. The Europeans are bringing some degree of renewal into the genre, and I welcome that, IMHO French acts like Clotaire K and Kalash are the trailblazers, on the tailcoats of MC Solaar, but we can be quite proud of our local acts.

I refuse to complain about the delay in the starting of the concert, it was worth waiting for, and they need to “prepare”, which they supposedly did at “Staden” ;-), well when they finally arrived in a big black van, they went directly on stage, and almost from the get-go, the joint was jumpin’.

I was quite tired, having just arrived from Lisboa, Portugal, and at one point, before the jam kicked off, I was sitting in a corner sleeping, and one of the guards told me to try to keep my eyes open, really I don’t see why, he obviously thought it was Friday night at 5AM…That being said, the guards at VEGA are very professional, and the few times I saw them go into action, they managed the situation.

Well I was so tired, that I wanted to leave early, but when I was about to leave, I looked directly at the stage, and I could feel the energy radiating from the stage and the room, as Red and Method told us CONSTANCE: you have to work as hard as us, we feed on your energy, and they did, and I stayed, I didn’t regret that.

Store VEGA is the perfect size for a act like this, packed, and the lighting crew did a great job, a trick that is common in Hip-Hop is that you, quite often, shine lights on the audience, this was used to great effect, and when they did that the house was jumping, with the exception of the lame mid-section of the balcony, you s*ck! But it gave me a flashback to the time I went to the Ladies First Jam in New York’s Nassau Coliseum, where the crowd was 4-5 times bigger (and 99,9% blacker ;-)), where the DJ tore it up with the floodlights on the audience – that made a lasting impact crater in my cortex.

And the energy on the stage was nothing short of amazing, I love the cool, cool moves, especially when they did “the march” routine, that was so cool!

It’s been a while since I went to a Hip-Hop Jam, and the previous one was the disappointing Busta Rhymes concert in K.B. Hallen in 2006 (hey I didn’t even bother with a review 🙁 hmm seems that I did). Busta is returning this year, but I’m not going to see that. Red and Method delivered what Busta, unfortunately couldn’t, it might have been the venue, but his DJ was wack, and WAY too many hype-men. Red and Method keeps that to an absolute minimum, hey they even engaged in some of the most crazy crowd-surfing I’ve ever seen! Almost as real as it gets

This ranks in the top 3-4 of Hip-Hop Jams I’ve been to, competing closely with Masta Ace and Clotaire K, but I really prefer the hard accented flow of Red and Method to Masta and Clotaire, so I’ve decided that this is number 2 on my list, I doubt that Queen Latifah (<3) will ever loose that crown

Now I’m tempted to will go see can’t go see the Wu-Tang Clan, because they’ve rescheduled from June 7th to July 23rd 2008, I’d like to have attended, not just to feed on the energy, but to share it, because Redman and Method Man were 100% proof, seems like they’re the real deal!

Jeg er ude! Fred! Og ses vi til Wu-Tang? Det tror jeg nok vi gør…

The picture is the cover from the Soundtrack of the movie How High. It was copied from Wikipedia, it’s most likely Copyright Def Jam Records, but I consider my use of it here as being fair use.

Blogs Computere og Internet Hackers Historier/Stories Kim Blog (English) Open Source Technology

BarCampCopenhagen: Party for your right to geek

BarCampCopenhagen LogoAs it might have caught your attention, the second BarCampCopenhagen took place this Friday (25th of January 2008), and there was great energy in the building. It’s evident that there’s a strong interest in having an event like BarCamp in Copenhagen, and it was inspiring, just to try to tap into that energy.

On the practical level, BarCamp was a great success, especially thanks to generousity of Beaconware (Troels, Allan and Kimmy) and of course Toothless Tiger (Henriette and Thomas) and Laura who moderated the “Kangaroo?” sessions, and thanks to the sponsorship from BridgeIT (my employeer), the event could be taken to such a high level, without having to charge the participants.

I must say that I’m amazed by the group of dedicated and interesting people that showed up, this is what they do for a living, but they’re also interested in sharing their ideas openly – thank you all!

To me the greatest moments were that I, finally, got to meet some people, that I’ve been following online, in real life.

If you have to criticise the event a little, I think we had some “growing pains” – in 2006 the event was more intimate, since we could all fit around one table, this meant that we could have more of an “open space” type of event, and that is the format that I prefer.

Civilisation 0.1

I did a presentation – Civilisation 0.1 – a pun on Tor Nørretranders Civilsation 2.0 – and I had some (understatement) difficulty making my points, that most likely had something to do with the fact that I had the wrong audience, since they’re all “believers”. Knowing the audience is, I believe, number one on the list of things to remember when doing a presentation of any kind, so that was sobering.

Since I failed to get my points across, talking about Pyramids, Archs and Fountains, I’ll try to do better here.

My presentation was inspired by this famous quote from Alan Kay:

If you look at software today, through the lens of the history of engineering, it’s certainly engineering of a sort—but it’s the kind of engineering that people without the concept of the arch did. Most software today is very much like an Egyptian pyramid with millions of bricks piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, but just done by brute force and thousands of slaves.

My argument is that we’ve, so far, been building pyramids, but that we’ve invented the arch.

“The Pyramid”, is current ICT businesses, and their monopolistic pratices
“The Arch”, is “open source” and MM(O)C (Massively, Multiuser (Online) Collaboration)
“The Aqueducts” is the “Internet”
“The fountains” and “Temples” are the “things” we can build using “the arch” and the tremendously powerful tools and technologies we have in our hands.

I also tried to make these points:

  • Basic infrastructure should be free
  • We’re busy building “Pyramids” – using brute force
  • Civilisation is still in beta
  • We actually have the power to change things – get involved
  • The beer isn’t free – it will cost money
  • Join the revolution

Like I said, and this was obvious if you attended, I wasn’t too good at getting these points through, and to me, one of the main ideas of BarCamp, is to throw ideas on the table, even half baked ones, and have them tested, and even shot down.

My ideas was mostly shot down, and I got a “Emperor’s new clothes” type of comment: “To build the aquaeducts that feeds the fountains you already need an arch”, and someone else pointed out, that “something” was missing going from “The Pyramid” to “The Arch”, did it just appear out of the blue? I didn’t really answer that too well, my point is that the technological equivalent of “The Arch” has been/is being invented, now we can go build the aquaeducts and fountains armed with that knowledge.

Christian Schade was the most sceptical, I need people like him to question my ideas, so thank you Christian.

I’ve actually done a lot of thinking about this, basically I’m a strong believer in utopian ideas – they’ re getting a bit old, and others are better at getting them across than me.

I enjoyed the discussion we had afterwards, and I think that I managed to sell some of my ideas. It’s really quite simple, don’t wait for the revolution to happen, get involved. Like I said, this was the wrong audience, since they’re all already involved in the revolution.

My presentation did align itself, almost perfectly, with the two that followed, those of Christian Schade and Tania Ellis.

The Digital Divide

I was very pleased to, finally, meet Christian Schade, a person that I’ve been following for some time. I’ve never met him before, and I only knew him because he, sometime ago, added me as a contact on the online service Jaiku. The way he’s using a microblogging service is very similar to the way I use it, he often posts short messages that only he can understand – like a song that he had some sort of association to.

Christian talked about “the digital divide”, and he started out by stating that the difference between the things he was going to talk about, and the things I talked about, was similar to “the glass is half-full” (me)/”the glass is half empty” (Christian). You could say that I’m the optimist and Christian is the realist.

Christian got his points through, and they’re quite sobering. It’s possible that the younger generation is tech-savy, but they’re basically IT illiterate, yes they know how to use their cellphone, but the Nokia N95 they’re carrying around really is an extremely powerful computer, that they’re just using to TEXT each other.

Since the current trend is that businesses, and the public, use more and more advanced electronic solutions – yes: e-mail qualifies as advanced – IT skills are increasingly important, skills that the educational system isn’t focusing on.

So the digital divide is getting bigger, even in developed countries, and no one seems to care, like Christian pointed out, no one has really seriously looked at the problem with the digital divide, since the Dybkjær report, and when that was issued, they weren’t even sure if the Internet should be the backbone of the “Digital Denmark”.

Of course part of the problem with technology has to do with accessibility, and the general computer really is too complicated to be the basic tool of the digital revolution – no-one should have to know what a firewall and an anti-virus program is…We have a great challenge ahead of us, but no-one seems to care.

I later had a long discussion with Christian, and that was great.

Capitalism with a human face

Tania Ellis at BarCampCopenhagenBarCamp was also graced by Tania Ellis, author of the book “De nye pionerer” (The New Pioneers), and her presentation was about “Social business” – new alliances (oops ;-)) between economics and humanism.

Tania started out by showing a picture of the two choices of careers you’ve had since the 70ies, either you’re the poor, “peace and love” hippie or the greedy business man, but could a third way be emerging? A way where you can merge and/or mix the two, achieving balance and the best of two worlds.

Tania has been giving this a lot of thought, and the examples she found were ranging from the relatively well known (Life Straw), to the “interesting” (Solar Powered Vibrators) to the self-contradictory (Environmentally friendly munitions).

After Christian’s venture into dystopia, Tania presented hope for the future, maybe that is an attribute of the feminine? Afterwards she said that having children certainly helps, something that Christian tried to protest ;-).

I think that Tania managed to put words to my ideas, and present them is a structured manner – the “exercise” of writing a book is probably helpful ;-). Seen as a whole, the pre-dinner presentations by Christian, Tania and me fit extremely well together.

BTW, the splash screen on Tania’s web-site is a quote from Alan Kay. It used to be part of the name of my PowerBook, until I discovered that iTunes Music Store doesn’t like long computer-names, strangely enough the fact that I’ve written about the solution, is the biggest driver of traffic to my blog!

After these three Kangaroo? tracks, it was time for dinner, and that was just (sorry or soz as I’ve begun to say recently).

Ruby don’t take your love to town

After the break, I decided to stay truer to my Geek roots, and attended the session “Ruby, Rails <meta>?” by Casper Fabricius. This was a great introduction to Ruby. Ruby is definitely very cool – like Neo cool – and I do love interpreted languages. I got a flash-back to the strangest language I’ve ever worked with, APL – an interpreted language that I have mainly used on an IBM mainframe.

One thing I find interesting is the trench-digging, and categorisation of people based on what programming languages they use – with the possible exception of Perl, I haven’t seen a programming language I couldn’t master with relative ease, and I’m, of the conviction that you need to have some general awareness of the different languages and tools that you have at your disposal. If Ruby can get the job done, quicker and faster, you should be allowed to use it.

Unfortunately Denmark is Microsoft country extraordinaire, and .NET is way too dominant. I totally agree with Casper that Reflection in C# is very hard to grasp, within this field Ruby is pure simplicity, and it is just beautiful.

As with all interpreted languages, there are justified performance fears, but if you can deliver solutions quicker, the benefits might overshadow those concerns.

Casper asked the question: so what can you use all this Neo-coolness for? He didn’t really have the time to answer this, but Ruby is being used to build world-class applications.

If you want to get started with Ruby, Casper pitched the web-based Ruby development environment Heroku, and it looks like a good place to start venturing into Ruby coolness. Heroku is in closed beta, but you might be allowed to pass through the Pearly Gates to Ruby coolness, by contacting Casper. [Casper has made me aware (see comments) that Heroku is for Ruby on Rails development, it’s important to distinguish between the two].


The most surprising presentation of the evening, was the presentation by Henrik Biering of the work NETAMIA has done to develop a single-sign-on (SSO) engine, called net-safe. Net-safe is a standards based, plug-able SSO infrastructure, that also contains address validation etc. Running a successful on-line business depends on correct identification of the users, and having valid user data, also means that the users are better behaved.

Henrik knew what he was talking about, based on the experiences of the huge user base of, which he runs. I guess it is obvious, but it really was an eye-opener to me, correct/valid information of users is extremely important, if you want to run a serious web-site.

Everyone in the room was blown away by seeing how polished a product Net-safe is, and when asked how much it had cost to develop it, Henrik answered: hmm, it was something I did together with my son…Amazing!

Embracing the chaos

Henriette talked about how to get businesses to embrace the chaos of the net, it’s a topic she’s writing a book about, and I look very much forward to it.

Engaging the geek warp drive

After all these sessions, I really needed a break, but when Michael Widerkrantz aka. MC, started rearranging the chairs, I just knew that I had to attend.

MC talked about IPv6, and why it’s important. In case you don’t know, IP is the basic communications protocol of the Internet, and the version we’re currently using, has a build-in limit of the number of allowed network addresses, that we’re about to hit, MC said that a recent session of RIPE, estimated that it would happen in less than two years.

I know just a little about networks, but this was mostly over my head, basically I’m sitting somewhere above layer 7, and just want the network to, ahem work, so it beats me why the ISPs just don’t get started rebuilding the infrastructure for IPv6, before it’s too late.

An interesting side-note is that a friend of mine just recently returned from South Africa, and I found out, because her computer acted strangely, that it was because she had been using IPv6 – as seems to be common with developing countries, South Africa is skipping the legacy infrastructure completely, a legacy that will soon hit us, and the entire digital economy, which today is synonymous with the economy.

Thank you

That concluded the official program of BarCamp Copenhagen, and what a great night it was, the air was literally buzzing with energy. Events like this are important, and I hope that this will get people talking and taking similar initiatives.

Blogs Computere og Internet Education/Undervisning Frivillig arbejde Hackers Historier/Stories Kim Blog (English) NGOs Open Source Resources Technology Undervisning Videnskab

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!

Read more here:

Blogs Bookmarks Computere og Internet Kim Blog (English) Open Source Resources Technology Videnskab WordPress

Weaving an untangled web – The Friend of a Friend (FOAF) project

FOAF Project LogoThe Friend of a Friend (FOAF) project

I really need to “get out more”, since I’ve only just now discovered the Friend of a Friend project (FOAF), and I LOVE it!

The Friend of a Friend (FOAF) project is creating a Web of machine-readable pages describing people, the links between them and the things they create and do.

Say what?

FOAF is an important part of the so-called semantic-web, and FOAF is just a so-called RDF specification of who you are. RDF (Resource Description Framework) is one of the basic technologies of the semantic web, and it’s nothing more (or should I say less) than an XML schema condoned by the W3C for describing resources.

Think of RDF as “the mother of all links”, RSS and Atom actually uses RDF.

The problem with links

So what is that RDF does better than the tradtional link?

When you create a link, you rarely remember to provide important information about what it is that you actually link to. At best you provide an ALT attribute (description) to an image tag. Google actively uses the ALT tag when indexing images, but if the link to an image contained more information, eg. semantics, Google could do a much better job.

Semantics means that you provide information about content and context, not just a link to it. You could call that metadata, abstracts or just “data”.

Many CMSes uses the URI of posts to provide some semantics, it’s often called SEO (search engine optimisation), the URI of this post has FOAF in it, meaning that a link to this article indeed contains some semantics.

A common standard for the WordPress CMS is that it uses year, month, day and the title of the post to generate the URI.

The problem is that this information should be provided in a structured, machine readable and – most importantly – open format, in order to make it possible to provide semantics.

I actually despise the concept of SEO, since it amounts to cheating, the only valid SEO is:
“provide interesting content”

A semantic “you”

A number of standards for providing semantics exists, one of the most interesting, especially in this day and age of social media, is the FOAF format.

FOAF is a format that describes you and your connections to provide semantics about people (you) and your connections (friends), in a standardised way, using RDF.

The FOAF file contains information about who you are, how to contact you, but most interestingly it contains links to your friends, and their FOAF files.

The beauty of FOAF is, that all you have to do, is:

  1. Create a FOAF file, for instance using FOAF-a-matic
  2. Put it on a server
  3. Provide the URI
  4. Make sure that it can be found by others (e.g. by posting a link on a page you know is indexed)

Chances are that the FOAF spiders will have a feast on your FOAF, sooner rather than later.

Create your FOAF file

It’s quite simple to create a FOAF file, all you need to do is go to FOAF-a-matic, fill in a number of fields, generate the FOAF file, copy it to a text-editor, publish it on your web-site.

Below is a screenshot of the FOAF-a-matic page.

FOAF-a-matic screenshot

Take back your profile, it’s…YOURS!

No need to register with social networking sites, your profile is YOURS.

Who owns the information about “who you are”? You do! Should that information be made available in an open format? You bet! RDF and FOAF is the way to go.

And don’t take my word for it, just take a look at the people who are promoting and developing RDF and FOAF…

So how did the chicken cross the road

I’ll provide you with the story about how I found FOAF, since it’s interesting to say the least.

My good buddy Sebastian Lund just recently set up his blog, Silence is deafening, and I’m looking forward to following it, he’s using a beautiful theme, the Dilectio Theme, developed by Design Disease.

Design Disease has a number of free WordPress themes available, and you can test them, when I tried that, their “Lorem Ipsum” turned out to be an article by no other that TBL, timbl, Tim Berners-Lee, Mr. Web himself, and he was writing about blogging and FOAF…


What an untangled web we’re weawing.

Now I need to think of a good URI for my FOAF file, TBL suggests this:

A lot of people have published data about themselves without using a URI for themselves. This means I can’t refer to them in other data. So please take a minute to give yourself a URI. If you have a FOAF page, you may just have to add rdf:about=”” and voila you have a URI (I suggest you use your initials for the last bit). Check it works in the Tabulator.

Ready, steady FOAF

So what are you waiting for? Create your own FOAF file, and start sharing.

And now I’m moving on to explore Tabulator, more on that later…

Blogs Computere og Internet Computerspil Historier/Stories Kim Blog (English)

“You should rather buy a new gadget”

Peek-a-boo from Kullaberg, SwedenThis could have been a much more interesting blog post, about a completely different, and important subject, but that happened in an alternative reality, so this is what you get:

In 2007, after somefumbling” around, in a totally, to me, strange element, I got this “advice”:

“You should rather buy a new gadget”

This blog post, painstakingly, documents that that was exactly what I, Kim Bach, aka. “FJUMMER”, did…

Nintendo DS Portable Gaming Console

I had read an article in Wired Magazine about how you, literally, can shave several years off your, perceived, age by training, and changing habits and lifestyle.

The author had, for instance, used the Brain Training software on a Nintendo DS to improve his mental capacity and youth.

I was intriged, but my purchase of the DS was, eventually, a total impulse purchase. It was triggered by general ignorance, fear of growing up and taking responsibility, I really can’t claim stupidity, just foolishness, meditating on my old mantra “if it feels right, then it must be right” – well, let the record show that it never is – will I ever learn?

Interestingly, solving Sudoku puzzles, which I learned using the DS, actually brought me some of the best moments of 2007.

It should also be mentioned that the DS was a stunning success with the children at the school where I worked, the math-problems and the competitiveness of the Brain Training games, really catered to the children, and I’m sure that regular use of the training programs can increase your ability, to do basic arithmetic, dramatically.

Nike+ Kit

2007 also saw me picking up running. The Nike+ Kit transforms the iPod nano into a tool, where you can track your runs. It’s more that a toy, the genius of the Nike+ solution is the great web-site where you can run against other Nike+ users, track your progress, analyse your runs etc. The community is a great motivational factor, and it even worked on me.

In my first month of running I managed to log 40+ kms, and I could feel how my stamina improved, it amazed me how quickly that happened.

Unfortunately I got a little overconfident, and a small injury that caused me to gear down, I have learned that I should not try to do training that involves rapid changes in tempo.

Olympus SP-550UZ Digital Camera

I was tired of not having a zoom-camera, and the Olympus has 18x optical zoom, but I still prefer my Canon IXUS i5, since I can carry it around all the time, while I did take some wonderful pictures with the Olympus, it’s just too bulky for my taste. Eventually I’ll get a DSLR, but it’s not high on my wish-list, it’s more likely that my next camera will be another Canon IXUS.

Nokia N800 Internet Tablet

It looked cool, and I wanted to get one before a friend. The N800 is an interesting concept, with a Linux based OS, but it’s not ready for prime time. Battery life is it’s biggest problem, and the form-factor isn’t perfect, and I very rarely use it.

Nokia 5500 Sports Phone

Mount Vesuvius “killed” my Nokia 6070 – SERIOUSLY that was what happened, and you can’t live without a “presence device”, at least that was what my rather (understatement) confused mind dictated, as I wrote in a previous post “I was not in my right mind”.

The Nokia 5500 is a Symbian S60 based smart-phone with some clever motion based applications, for instance it has a step-counter, and the music player can be controlled by tapping it, to trigger the motion detector.

Telia Navigator

Extremely well designed GPS solution. It integrates with a 411 online directory, meaning that you can perform searches by name and address. It automatically stores the most recent destinations, and the external Bluetooth GPS device, that comes with a good rechargeable battery, works great with all Bluetooth devices.

The strongest feature of the solution is that it downloads the maps dynamically, meaning that the solution runs perfectly on relatively lowly hardware, with limited storage, I’ve used it with the Nokia 5500, and that is a great combination, the only downside I can think of, is that the solution only works with Telia’s accesspoints.

My favourite feature is the compass mode, and since it doesn’t require download of maps, and you often have pre-programmed your way-points, using Telia Navigation in this manner made me feel adventurous.

Lenovo V100 Laptop

For a while I thought that I could switch to Linux, and the Lenovo V100 is a fantastic platform for just that.

I did encounter some stability problems with the wireless networking support, the biggest issue with Linux as I see it, and that was hampering my productivity, so I’m back with my PowerBook

The Lenovo has been donated to a worthy cause, it’s now being used to control the digital whiteboard at the school where I used to work.

Samsung SP-P310ME Pocket Imager

My projector lamp burned out, but instead of replacing the lamp, I had to get one of the ultra-compact Samsung SP-P310ME projectors. It’s not really suited as a TV, since it needs a darkened room to operate, but I can now bring a projector everywhere I go, it’s amazingly portable, and can even run on battery power. The good thing is that the long life of the solid state technology of the SP-P310ME, means that it will take a long time until I have to replace it.

Nokia E65

Finally I went on the 3G bandwagon, and the Nokia E65 is a sleek 3G handset handset that even supports WiFi. I use the E65 all the time, it’s the perfect client for the Jaiku online service, that I’m sort of addicted to. Did I need a new phone? No, but it felt right, and it’s actually the only, truly useful, gadget investment of the year.

Making 2008 a healthier year

HEY! There are some signs, that I’m not going to be spending that much money on gadgets in 2008, first and foremost I’m actually feeling (mentally) healthy, and all of the purchases above were based on pure impulse (bordering mania), and right now it’s completely under control. And you know: the “advice” to “rather buy a new gadget” I got was “lost in translation”:


Blogs Computere og Internet Historier/Stories Technology

Tak medielicens, nu ved jeg hvem jeg er


“Advarsel”: Dette er jo et politisk indlæg – oh well, nu er valgkampen jo ovre, så man kan jo tillade sig at tale politik igen 😉

Jeg føler mig hensat til fiktionens verden, takket være et brev jeg modtog lørdag:

[…] Erhvervsvirksomheder med mindst én ansat og offentlige institutioner skal betale medielicens […]

[…] Hvis adressen skal tilmeldes, kan i indsende dette brev i den vedlagte svarkuvert. […]

Dette er et udsnit af det rent Kafkaske brev som jeg har modtaget fra DR.

Og det slutter:

[…] Hvis denne adresse for nylig er blevet tilmeldt til medielicens, beder vi jer se bort fra dette brev og undskylder ulejligheden […]

Hvad mon der sker hvis man ikke reagerer på dette, og undlader at returnere brevet, som man bliver “opfordret til”?

Jeg mener ikke at jeg er pligtig til at betale erhvervs medielicens, da jeg betaler privat, og da mit firma kun har en adresse, fordi man ikke kan undlade at have en. Herudover har mit firma ikke udbetalt løn til den eneste ansatte, yours truly, i over 1,5 år.

Der er dog næppe tvivl om at jeg, ifølge loven, er pligtig til at betale erhvervsmedielicens, men jeg orker, helt ærligt, ikke at undersøge om jeg er pligtig til at betale den – for DR Licens har ikke fremsendt reglerne, dem skal man selv finde på Internettet. Jeg har tænkt mig bare at afvente, og “se hvad der sker”.

Noget helt andet er, at jeg ikke mener at det p.t., giver mening at tale om mobiltelefoner som licenspligtige, da man, i praksis, kun kan bruge dem til at hente indhold fra DR, hvis man f.eks. tegner et 3tv abonnement.

Jeg antager at jeg har modtaget dette brev fra DR, enten fordi de sender det til alle ikke registrerede erhvervsvirksomheder – nogle skal jo betale for det skandaløse, og helt unødvendige, mediehus – eller også er det fordi jeg er blevet 3 kunde.

Jeg tror på det første er tilfældet, da brevet er påført et KOB id og en virksomhedstype (ApS).

En ting er sikker, KOB har tjent rigtig gode penge på at agere mellemmænd i denne sag, og fantastisk timing, brevet kom efter valget.

Jo kreativiteten er i højsædet hos etaten.

Tak medielicens, og navnet er K, Joseph K., eller var det Dent, Arthur Dent?