Category Archives: blog

Sneak Peek at Wikimedia’s New Bold, High Concept Iconography

Wikimedia’s User Experience team invited me and a few others into the office to be part of focus group concerning a proposed new iconography.

20140528_005
The are two proposed new design languages, and an icon or “mark” for each Wikimedia project.
A selfie with two of the fablous design team, May and YuFei.
Penchant for selfies. Myself (left) with two of the fabulous design team, May (centre) and Yufei (right).

With free pizza proffed, the UX team Jared Zimmerman, May Galloway, and Yufei Liu, (pictured right) launched right into the need for these new set of icons, or “marks” as they are calling them.

  • The current logos don’t scale to 16 pixels square, and don’t overlay well.
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Kleins search for Klajnbohms; an ancestral research trip to Zwoleń Poland

Third Generation
Third Generation
Fourth Generation
Fourth Generation
Fifth Generation
Fifth Generation

With my father, and his father, we went to find my Grandfather’s Grandfather (all on the paternal sides if your keeping up). The most we knew about this 5-generations ago man was a snippet from naturalisation papers –

“Solomon Klajnbaum, born 1880, from Zwolen, a Russian subject.”

On 30 of April 2014, having flown to Poland, we took the last leg to Zwoleń for Krakow, by way of hired private tour guide.

Note: very unfortunately our main camera was stolen later on in Poland, so here I stitch together what I can from camera phones, Google Street View screencaptures, and http://deathcamps.org/occupation/zwolen.html.… Read the rest

The Need For Hacker Conference Yoga

The Need For Hacker Conference Yoga

Postdlf from w [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
]1Postdlf from w [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve take an maintained a daily yoga practice, almost exceptionlessly for the last six months, and without reiterating the standard roster of reasons why, I will just concur that it makes me feel good.

In daily, routine life its easier to keep this practice up, but at events like Conferences and Hackathons finding the time and space becomes more difficult. That’s when I thought I could solve the problem of haivng squeezing in this not-on-the-schedule activity, by putting it on my schedule.… Read the rest

Lessons from Dogsitting: The Necessary Collar

Livrustkammaren (The Royal Armoury) / Matti Östling / CC-BY-SA [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
At age 10 a dog as big as I violently bit me for the apparent transgression of kicking a football in a park. A decade later I perceived losing a friend to their dog obsession. With these strikes against dog-ownership, I became convinced that pet-ownership was immoral. However last month I took on 10 days of dogsitting to overcome my anti-dog prejudices. While the coordinates of my reality were not shattered, I did uncover an illuminating shared philosophical dilemma with canine-kind.

Of all the core dog-care activities – feeding, petting, etc.… Read the rest

2013: Numeric Year in Review

What were significant events or accomplishments in 2013? Let’s review by the numbers.

By JMyrleFuller (talk) (Uploads) (JMyrleFuller (talk) (Uploads)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
  • 117 Yoga lessons at Earth Tribe Yoga
  • 17 key positions replaced by moving from QWERTY to Colemak (and registered qwfpgj.com)
  • 8 new countries visited in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore…
  • Having started a vow to take 15 weeks of Holiday per year.
  • 3 o’clock and Interstellar, my first trip to Burning Man Festival, with Café Negrø
  • 51 conversations with new and old friends that I can distinctly remember when challenging myself to write them down.
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Nuclear Icebreakers For Your Group Meeting

Yamal Nuclear Icrebreaker | By Pink floyd88 a (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
You’re a busy and galactically activated group, but maybe not everyone knows each other, your meeting starts in 5 minutes and you need an icebreaker. Except the concept of such a cheesy introduction is spoiled by painful juvenile memories. The fact is you respect the intelligence of your collaborators inasmuch as you they can be asked open-ended questions – and you earnestly want to pry into their minds.

I sometimes facilitate weekly general meetings at the hackerspace sudoroom, where we have encountered the problem of making more than just cursory introductions, in a non-patronizing way.… Read the rest

Book Review: 23rd Century Romance

23rd Century Romance by Jake Hartnell : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform: 202 pages. Paperback ($9), ePub and PDF (Free). http://23rdcenturyromance.com/. ISBN: 978-1492134237

Imagine a human on Alpha Centauri such that physics dictates that you can never physically be in the same time or space as this human. Now add the twist, that you have a magical instant messenger or Skype connection with that human. Would you consider having a (not necessarily monogamous) relationship with that person? That is the “Alpha Centauri relationship” thought experiment – would you consider having an entirely online having boyfriend or girlfriend? Some would say that despite the lack of physical connection, a meaningful psychological one could still be had, and that Alpha Centauri relationship could be part of a larger mosiac of relationships which could together be completely fufilling, if we do not require partner exclusivity.… Read the rest

10 Questions about #VIAF, #Wikidata and the #World

Gerard Meijssen blogs a lot about Wikidata, and has asked me to answer 10 questions about VIAF, which my bots made 12th most used Wikidata property (as of September 2013). Here is the a snippet of the interview, visit Gerard’s blog to read in full http://ultimategerardm.blogspot.nl/2013/09/10-questions-about-viaf-wikidata-and.html.

Please describe what VIAF is and why it is relevant

We’ve all joked about what it would be like if people had numbers instead of names. The funny thing is though it would be much more convenient to organize our information about people if we did have numbers as well as names. National Libraries have already done this behind the scenes to make the reader’s life easier.

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Wikidata Babel Multi-Language Display Easter Egg

At Wikimania 2013 Hong Kong during a Wikidata presentation, there was a small nod to a hidden but useful feature of Wikidata – multi-language display. Wikidata items are language-agnostic in concept, they are identified by their Q-ID which is displayed in the URL. Depending on which language your interface is set to independent labels, descriptions, and aliases will be displayed in that language. With this feature you can enable the labels, descriptions, and aliases of many languages to appear at once.

This is a boon, because it allows you to better peer into the structural translation the names of over 14,000,000 Wikidata concepts into 270 languages.… Read the rest