16 August, 2008

car accident

Hi there!

Some might have heard already how Kenny and /me got involved in a car accident yesterday...

The story is rather simple: we arrived in Amersfoort (where I live), and after dropping of Jos van den Ooever at the trainstation I wanted to show Kenny a bit of the center of the city. Now the center isn't very car-friendly, but we managed to find a little street which did show some promise. So we went in there - and suddenly full stop... We were out for a few seconds, then came by, saw flames coming out the front of the car. I had an airbag in my face, and generally felt like shit.

After we got out of the burning car and the police & firebrigade came, we figured we apparently went into a street which was 'guarded' by a rising bollard. And that thing decided to come up and look around just when we drove over it. It threw the car a couple of metres to the side, totally destroying the engine block. Actually that engine block was totally flipped in the engine compartment! The resulting fire was rather scary, but besides some water damage the goods in the care were fine. The care itself is a total loss, though.

Luckily we're relatively OK. Both have pretty heavy chestpain, most likely due to the seatbelt, but no permanent damage as far as we can tell right now.

So, that's the end of Akademy for Kenny & me ;-)
Not especially great, and I'll have to buy a new car, but alas - we had some kind of special experience, right?

If you're interested in pictures, look on kenny's site:

15 August, 2008

innovation BOF

The innovation BOF went both worse and better than I expected. It turned out to be hard to go from the theoretical level to more practical implications. But the audience was great, they came up with some very useful ideas, which I'll go through in a minute.

But first about the questionare I've blogged about and which I would like the KDE contributors to fill in. It measures things which according to lots of scientific articles are important for innovation. This is mostly kind'a vague, think about concepts like 'formalization' which measures the extend to which the organization uses formal structure & rules to get things done or keep ppl in line. The idea is to see if there are area's KDE is doing bad in, and then figure out what we can do to improve. The full questionare takes approx. 30 min in dutch, and I've removed a bunch of questions, but I can't promise it'll take you less than 30 minutes. It has been translated, and most of you take it in another than your native language, which might make it take longer.

It is very important to fill in all questions. I know this feels targeted to commercial organizations, so you might have to think of a way how this applies to you. Please try to do so, because I can't use incomplete questionares. Here it is: questionare.

In the BOF I essentially went through the constructs, explaining what they did and meant. Some nice ideas came out of the resulting discussion. Here are the notes:

To increase input from users and improve our incremental innovation (bringing a more polished user interface):
- get a 'suggest improvement' menu item in the Help dialog. At first this should report a wish, but in time it should probably point to an ideastorm (Ubuntu's site, Dell's site) like page. We should try to make it as easy to add input as possible.
- basket had/has some very cool user-feedback-gathering tools, it would be great if someone would pick that up. It would be useful during alpha's and beta's go gather (statistical) input.

When it came to the importance of psychological safety, autonomy and involvement in decisionmaking:
- forcing usability on developers would hamper innovation as it's bad for psych safety. It is important to keep things very closely ingegrated - integrate usability in the 'normal' tutorials. The ideas about a new development model, 'always summer in trunk' and such are also smart in this regard.
- related would be the rewarding of innovative ideas. Maybe have an interesting-branche-of-the-week article.
- and to improve serendipity we should keep ideas which didn't work very well around - it does often happen that things which didn't work in a certain context are a huge success in another place.

The final idea which came up was to have 'innovation sessions' at akademy for certain innovations. We could discuss ways of improving the application in major or minor ways, brainstorm about issues etc.

Now I have to think of what needs to be done to capitalize on these ideas, make them happen. Stay tuned for another blog, and of course the analysis of the survey data.

All in all, it wasn't as great as it could be, but it did turn out to be useful. And I've learned something (still have to figure out what exactly).


13 August, 2008

innovation in KDE

Hi everyone!

As most of you know, I'm pretty interested in innovation. Recently I decided I should go and try to do something for KDE in this area. After all, I've studied this topic in depth, and I might be able to put that knowledge to some use.

This will be done in two ways:
- there will be an innovation BOF at Akademy, tommorrow morning, 10-11.
- I translated and reworked the questionare I developed while doing my internship at TNO for KDE. I am asking all KDE contributors to fill it in (sorry, it's huge) and I will analyze the results, see if I can make some recommendations.

So - everyone who is interested in innovation and in identifying and doing something about the things holding it back in KDE - join me tomorrow in the innovation BOF (room 1).

And to every active KDE contributor: Please take the time to fill in the survey! You can find it at the following link:

It includes a bit of an explanation about the why and what. And it'll probably take 20-30 minutes to fill it in. I'll do whatever I can to make that time worth it, I promise!

Thanks in advance.

10 August, 2008

Akademy 2008 - day 1

First: Akademy rocks.

Now that's out of the way, I'd like to ask everyone who has made some great pictures to email them to me. You know, jospoortvliet on the KDE servers. Pretty please?

Further - Akademy rocks, really does. Having fun... But you know, if ppl would send pictures, I wouldn't have to worry about the daily articles having no pictures in them...

Aaah well, luckilly, it's fun here. I think I can say Akademy rocks. And if anyone has things which should be on the dot, besides pictures, please get the ideas to the press room or email danny and me ;-)

Last night was cool, had fun, beer, food (ate too much but that's rather normal for me). Did I mention I like Akademy?

Oh, and take a sec to thank those ppl walking around with these yellow KDE lanyards, as they're working their asses off to make Akademy rock as much as it does!

For those waiting for the daily article - as you might have guessed, it only needs a couple of photos and it's ready.

06 August, 2008

Akademy 2008

Hi there!

I'm going! As I couldn't choose which one of the two next pictures I found visually most pleasing:

And boy, am I looking forward to belgian beers & great KDE company... It's been a year, you know, since last Akademy. Of course I've seen some of you since then, but Akademy - it's just special.

BTW I'll be joining that unconference thing by hosting a meeting about innovation & vision. Most of you probably know how obsessed I am with those topics, and I happen to know a little about it so if you're interested in brainstorming how we, as in KDE, can become even more innovative, join!

I'll also be handing out a questionaire which I developed while doing my internship at TNO, a Dutch semi-government research institute. It is intended to measure how innovative an organization can be and to identify roadblocks for becoming more innovative.