News

Soundbyte 187: Corner of the Earth

7 April 2015

Because of the Easter Holiday, this soundbyte is delivered one day later than normal, on Monday evening. It’s springtime, a time my dog seems to enjoy the most as the forests and dunes seem to provide an almost infinite playground for her to run, chase other dogs and in general have a great time chasing the many scents. Corner of the earth, by Jamiroquai, fits this time of year and the rest of the soundbyte very well, so hit play and continue reading…

Going Faster!

As many of you know, I have been simracing for many years now. Recently, one of our new colleagues, Marian, started asking me how to get started. So I started sharing my experience with different hardware, from steering wheels to digital dashboards. As he was also in the process of moving homes, building a cockpit had to wait. Last week he showed me a book he had bought to get up to speed on the theory behind racing. I immediately also ordered a copy. The book was called Going Faster! and it’s about the Skip Barber Racing School. Skip Barber, one of the first Americans to race Formula One cars, started teaching other race drivers after finishing his own career, and he has built one of the largest racing schools in the world. He was the first to really openly talk about racing, sharing knowledge and approaching the sport from a scientific point of view. Maybe most importantly, through teaching he actually gained a way better understanding of driving than he had ever had while racing cars. An insight that probably also applies to our profession!

Also, if you’re interested, there is a video that touches on some of the topics of the book on YouTube:

Blogs

It’s great to see that more and more colleagues are starting to express themselves by writing blog articles. I’m quite sure there are many I’m not even aware of, but within Luminis Technologies, Arjan just started his “corner of the internet” to share his opinion about many different aspects of being a ‘DevOps Architect’, starting off with a story about “Azure Blob Storage and CloudIn. Probably cloud hosting infrastructure is one of the fastest evolving areas of our profession and Arjan, together with Raluca and Paul, has recently started working on Luminis Amdatu based cloud hosting service (working title ‘Amdatu RTI’). They will no doubt share some of their experiences building it at the upcoming Luminis DevCon and in further blogs and presentations.

I think it would be a great idea to collect all blogs we write and provide them as an RSS stream on our website!

Tamapotchi

Over the last couple of weeks I have been following the progress of project ‘Tamagotchi’ with great interest. Our colleague Ivo, together with two of his friends Remko and Patrick, have started a project that aims to design and develop a smart pot that helps you take care of the plant inside it. The main goal of the project is to tinker with hard- and software and learn from it. They document their journey in a series of blog articles (#1, #2, #3 and #4).

Apart from being a fun project, it also has a more serious goal, as Ivo describes in this first article: “One of the technology concepts I try to keep track of is the Internet of Things. I believe this will impact product design and society, the way smartphones did earlier. I feel as a designer I need to familiarise myself with the technology and its possibilities. Especially regarding the change it will induce in people’s relation with technology.”

Their journey continues as they go on a search for appropriate hardware, venturing into the world of the Arduino, low-power Bluetooth and various other sensors that can be used to monitor the well being of a plant.

In the third article the group touches on some of the issues that a lot of people have when caring for plants. Ivo writes: “The fact that I occasionally forget to look after my plants for weeks might also add to their misery. I just never learned how to care for plants and I regret that my parents apparently assumed that their knowledge and skill regarding plant care (I don’t remember ever to have seen one suffering plant in the house when I was a kid) would somehow be inherited by their offspring. Plant care is no human instinct though.” Finally he concludes “Plant care lacks instant satisfaction.” So their mission now becomes: how can we make people care for plants and ensure that doing so successfully gives them a sense of accomplishment?

While reading the articles I could not help but wonder that maybe storytelling was another skill that Ivo definitely possessed, as I found myself reading each article as soon as I could get my hands on it. In the fourth article he concludes that he is thinking about letting the plant send e-mails. Maybe our plants should start telling great stories too, and keeping them alive is our only way of finishing the story to the end.

Have a great week!

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