Category Archives: Opinion

Morten’s Rule of Airports

This is Morten’s Rule of Airports, it’s history, and some of its benefits. The rule states:

If [the length of your layover] minus [the time it would take to comfortably get to the city centre and back] is greater than or equal to one hour, then you should exit the airport.

Or for those of you who read nerd:



During an expedition to see my friend Morten in British Colombia, in which I was struggling with travel-stress, I was struck by a story of enlightened travelling genius. Morten told of a tale where a flight of his was delayed at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris by several hours.… Read the rest

Profiles of Inspiring Wikimedians I Met at Wikiconference USA 2014

Wikiconference USA 2014, in New York, just finished, and more than usual this conference instilled in me a lot of motivating social energy. Yes, I did present there, twice, on “Answering Big Questions With Wikidata“, and “Signalling Open Access References,” but more so than usual I enjoyed attending other presentations. On reflecting why that was, I came to realize it was the earnest authentic effort of other Wikimedians, that shone so brightly. These are some of the more inspiring characters from the conference, but by no means a complete list.

Sumana Harihareswara

Sumana gave the opening keynote wherein she talked about implicit versus explicit exclusion.… Read the rest

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.

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… 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
  • 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 ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], 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

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

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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Malaria vs. iPad, 5 years on.

Searching through my draft blogs I find that the earliest is un-annotated, but prophetic collection of quotes I compiled in 2011. They are from Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, that too-strong dose of propaganda that turned me off of the mystique of supposedly messianic  technology. (Perhaps I don’t give enough weight to the fact that it was the first and last book that I read entirely on a laptop). I admit I was – and still am – wooed by the allure of technolust, but at that moment, I stopped seeing computational progress as a deliverance and started seeing it blunt tool, often overdressed.… Read the rest

The distance from a Bikini Carwash

Perusing the Jerusalem last night, unwittingly in my Wikipedia sweatshit, I was asked about my donation this year. On the tail of my positive response I richoceted the question. “Yes,” he responded “you had the picture of the cute girl [on the banner].”

Internal measurements of banner ad effectiveness are well examined in the Wikimedia foundation. If it’s found that pictures of attractive young female editors sell donations faster, should that be exploited. Or is sexism for a good cause, still sexism?… Read the rest