Friday, August 24, 2007


Wikipedia is one of my long term interests. In January 2002 my brother introduced me to Wikipedia, and I started editing and creating some articles. Back then there were only 20,000 articles in the English version! Later I translated some articles between the Dutch, English and Norwegian Wikipedia's.

Although I have never been a major contributor, I did spend some time following its progress. Especially the first couple of years it was very exciting to follow the explosive growth of Wikipedia. I remember one summer holiday week doing nothing else but reading on Meta-Wiki on ideas that were being realized on each of the Wikimedia chapters. In 2005 I even visited the first Wikimania in Frankfurt together with three fellow enthusiasts. We wrote articles about wiki's, Wikipedia and an interview with co-founder Jimmy Wales later that summer in the Periodiek, the glossy magazine of our student association (I mention this because I'm still very proud of our little magazine).

However, after this my interests shifted to other things. Wikipedia had become so popular that it was just too hard to keep up with all the developments, and after three years I also wasn't all that enthusiastic about the milestones anymore. Nowadays Wikipedia remains a minor interest to me, and I always enjoy it when a Wikipedia related article pops up in my RSS reader. My favorite source for this is Wikizine, an independent newsletter on what is happening at the Wikimedia projects. Since I just can't understand why there are only about 700 readers subscribed, I decided to do some advertising for them. If you're interested in Wikipedia, this is a valuable source to keep you informed.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Trip to Ålesund

At ten in the morning we were on our way to Ålesund, a seasided village of which the largest part lies on an island. Being known for the Jugendstil, Ålesunds city image is largely dominated by stone houses built in this style.

When In 1904 a fire burned down large parts of the city, Kaiser Wilhelm II, who had been a frequent visitor to the area, had genereously sent several ships with resources for rebuilding the city. This time, though, the houses were to be build out of stone instead of wood and in the contemporary Jugenstil.

(image by Michael Krautwasser available under the GFDL 1.2)

The girls and me discovered that from the top of the local hill Aksla you can get a great view over the city. You can see this for yourself on the pictures above. Although we only spend three hours in Ålesund, this was enough to visit the Jugendstil museum and get a general feel of the atmosphere.


My parents on holiday in Norway

This year my parents did something they haven't done in thirty years: they spent their summer holiday driving through Norway. And so did we. To check where they were going, we decided to meet up with them at the cabin of Annett's parents. Don't get me wrong, it was the only way we could avoid running in to them on our own holiday.

At the cabin Gaute introduced us to his new girlfriend Runi, and we went fishing with the eight of us. We caught a lot of fish, although my mother caught mostly water plants, trees and other leashes.

There is a Norwegian proverb stating that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. In the pouring rain, Annett's mother, my father and me the next morning took the boat to fetch a net. Because I borrowed effective rain gear, the rain wasn't bothering me at all. Instead it made the fishing experience somehow more real. The sky and the water both had the same gray color, and the only color was coming from the forest: several shades of green, fading to gray with distance. Pretty, in a mystical sort of way.

Afterwards we prepared the fish outside in the rain. Outside, to keep it clean inside. This time Bastian had to share the fish heads with Inu, but he didn't seem to mind. I guess more than forty fish heads is a lot, even for an everhungry Labrador.

Inu had the time of her life. She was constantly exploring the area around the cabin. We didn't bother anymore to keep an eye on her all the time. She managed to fall into the water, and so she swum for the first time. And she lost her first milk teeth. A couple of times we had to put her in the room, because she wanted to play with Bastian all the time. We think of her as the annoying side kick of Bastian. This is too much for Bastian, with his hundred dog-years he just doesn't manage to play so much anymore.

It means a lot to me that my parents know what my life here is like. By the time I post this on my blog, Maarten and Marian have payed us a visit. In the autumn we plan to go camping in the mountains together with Joost and Annieka. Bjørn will probably start working for Trolltech in Berlin, and might go to its main office in Oslo now and then. I'm glad that our advertising of our sleeping couch is paying off.