Paper maps as backup for when the network is down

Stumbled across this picture of a helicopter crew surveying flooding along the Elbe while reading the news this morning: As far as I am concerned this is a perfect illustration of the fact that paper maps have been relegated to being a backup solution for when the battery is empty or the cellular network is down (guess as a helicopter pilot you can’t really afford this). Also amazing how much the military (or paramilitary, not really clear from the picture if this a federal police or an army hel…

Change & rain

It is a bit more than a month that i have left Waag Society and started working for Kennisland | Knowledgeland. Although i have not really had time to reflect it feels really good to work for a new organization (and with new colleagues!!) after almost 5 years at the Waag and there is lots of exiting stuff ahead. However for some strange reason the time i have been at KL more or less corresponds with the period of extremely shitty weather here in Amsterdam, which is best illustrated by this pictu…

Laptop/USA for Africa/textese/forgotten vegetables/NGOs

There are two articles about the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) in the spring 2007 issue of بدون/bidoun. the second one (‘let them eat laptops’ (p72ff.) – not available online) is a relatively serious email discussion about the merits of the project between a couple of academics. the other article ‘glory‘ by Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina) takes the OPLC project as a starting point for a fascinating exploration into how technology is appropriated. It’s one of the best texts i have read in a long…

Welcome to Afghanistan...

I have had my own share of mobile phone operators loosing it a bit when it comes to geography, but yesterdays fuck up by Monica’s provider is equally noteworthy: Yes that reads, ‘have a pleasant stay in Afghanistan’ which is especially noteworthy as she got that message when we were leaving the basement of the American Book Center in central Amsterdam.…

Welcome to Israel!

Today we went to the South of Lebanon, the part that is officially referred to as the liberated zone. This is the area that was controlled by Israel – through the south Lebanese army – until they were forced out by continuing casualties inflicted upon them by the armed wing of the Hezbollah in 2000. after visiting Beaufort castle, a former crusader castle overlooking most of south Lebanon, the Golan and parts of Israel, that was used by the IDF during the occupation as a military base and a form…

The city of the dead...

Tomorrow will see the start of the parliamentary election in Beirut. (The other parts of the country will vote on the consecutive sundays). The city while feeling relatively empty and calm is full of campaign posters and flags. As all of them are in arabic it is hard to to tell what they advocate but the whole thing seems to be centered on persons anyway. By far the most prominent is the face of the late Rafiq Hariri whose party is now run by his son. There is not a single place in Beirut…

My mobile phone provider thinks i am an tsunami victim...

… and has a pretty poor sense of geography. Got my monthly bill from my mobile phone provider (orange Netherlands which an almost completely different entity than the orange operating in Bombay. They just use the same brand identity and parts of the companies are held by the same holding: hutchinson whampoa limited).now getting a monthly phone bill is nothing special, but getting one which informs you have been a tsunami victim an that they therefore credited you with €42.05 for ‘possible extra…