Gitbook

Jeg har på det seneste været imponeret af Gitbook.
Det er en ret elegant løsning til at lave udgivelser. Jeg har tidligere set mig lidt om for de platforme, der findes til at udgive bøger – dels fordi jeg gerne vil kunne checke tekst ind i blokke, dels fordi nogle de projekter jeg har været inde i har fået bidrag fra flere skribenter på forskellige platforme, og det har ikke været uden gnidninger, medmindre vi var nede i ren Markdown-tekst eller LaTeX.
Her bringer vi så Gitbook ind. Som navnet antyder, så kan man bruge Git til det, men den webbaserede brugerflade er også rigtigt fin. Og det, der genereres, når man fodrer den med tekst, er meget nydeligt!
Der kommer et ret markant Gitbook-logo på forsiden, men det er også fint til det, jeg bruger det til. Det bemærkede jeg også hos Open Data School fra Virk.dk – man har lavet et inspirationskatalog til brug af åbne data, hvor man kan sige, at det er ret passende, at det foregår på Gitbook – og det var da jeg faldt over den, at jeg bemærkede Gitbook.

Medietræthed

Jeg har et tilbagevendende fænomen, som jeg i en engelsksproget Twitteropdatering betegnede som social media fatigue, en træthed eller mathed som er forbundet med, men rimeligvis nok ikke forårsaget af sociale medier.
Det er ikke første gang. Det er efterhånden blevet en årlig ting og ved nærmere eftertanke måske i virkeligheden i familie med min forårstræthed. Under alle omstændigheder tager jeg med jævne mellemrum en måneds ferie fra de sociale medier, hvilket for mit vedkommende er en vis portion Twitter, en større dosis LinkedIn og et omfattende forbrug af Google Plus. Således også denne gang med start 2. marts.
En gang imellem må man stoppe op og spørge hvorfor. Selv om jeg ikke husker hans navn, husker jeg meget tydeligt en digital fortaler, som talte om, hvordan man godt kan opbygge en stærk relation, selv om man ikke faktisk har andet end det digitale netværk, der forbinder folk. Det er en gammel artikel, så jeg tænker, at det nok har været tale om chat, mailinglister og fora. Ikke mindre interessant var det så, da han gik voldsomt ned med flaget og meldte klart ud, at et fjernvær ikke erstatter et nærvær, og at han ville hellige sig de personlige og virkelige relationer.
Så spørgsmålet hvorfor det føles væsentligt at benytte sig af digitale medier lægger op til overvejelse.
Nogle gange kan man jo mærke, at folk har noget på hjerte – men det meste af vejen er det mere som mere eller mindre overvejede pressemeddelelser for at signalere sig selv. Det formildende ved LinkedIn og dens tilgang til professionelt netværk er, at man ikke har helt så meget jeg-er-en-finkulturel-ekstremsportudøvende-filosofilæsende-psykologiinteresseret-samfundsdebattør-ved-siden-af-mit-debitorbogholderjob, men trods alt anerkender, at det er en personlig reklamesøjle.

Opdatering 17. marts –

Efter sådan et stykke tid kan jeg begynde at gøre mig tanker om, hvad det egentlig betyder. Også nogle erkendelser (okay, bekræftelser) om, hvordan vanerne kommer til udtryk.
Min vane under almindelige omstændigheder er, at når dagen starter, så checker jeg min email og de sociale medier. Jeg følger trods alt tilstrækkeligt mange mennesker fra alle tidszoner til at jeg lige vil se, hvad der er sket siden jeg gik i seng.
Men en ting er, hvad der kommer fra de mennesker, jeg kender – i det omfang, jeg kender dem, naturligvis: Først mine venner og bekendte fra den såkaldt virkelige verden, næste er dem, jeg har stiftet bekendtskab med over de digitale medier. De kommer med mange interessante kommentarer. Men ligeså stor forskel gør det med nyheder og lignende – jeg følger jo trods alt både nyhedsmedier og mange infojunkies. Jeg kan mærke, at jeg føler mig meget uorienteret nu hvor jeg ikke plejer at få de sædvanlige ting ind – også selv om jeg nu starter dagen med lige at checke DR Nyheders app, Den Fri,  de daglige nyhedsbreve fra Version2 og Politiko, Føljeton, som jeg abonnerer på, og RSS-feed fra Lxer – og naturligvis min email. Det er noget andet, og det går op for én, hvor stort et apparat af data, der fodrer én dagligt – og i hvilket omfang man lever i en filter bubble.
Tankevækkende er det, at før jeg begyndte at bevæge mig på sociale medier havde jeg slet ikke det medie- og nyhedsforbrug, som jeg har nu. Så man bliver også dresseret til at se sig omkring – og i en eller anden grad orientere sig efter det, som éns bekendte finder inspirerende.
Jeg brugte Facebook tidligere – og også som del af mit arbejde. Men den indekserer jo folk i en sådan grad, at man ender med gamle skolekammerater og alt muligt andet ros – og det er der jo ikke nogen, der bliver inspireret af. Så det kommer også lidt an på kanalen – eller måske mit syn på den. Jeg opfattede aldrig rigtigt Facebook som andet end et legetøj. Måske var det alle spillene og reklamerne.

Jeg mærker, hvordan jeg får nogle reaktioner i løbet af en dag. I forgårs blev det “moderne kontanthjælpsloft” vedtaget, noget, som jeg ved, at mange af mine bekendte vil have stærke følelser og klare holdninger til; dér havde jeg en følelse af, at hele den rigtige diskussion foregik på de medier – og jeg følte mig meget afkoblet. Da min kone og jeg talte om hendes nye gruppe med undervisning i ungarsk var min første reaktion naturligvis også at sprede budskabet – men det var jo så ikke ad den vej.
Da jeg gik i gymnasiet ville min psykologilærer, når vi havde undervisning om eftermiddagen, holde kridtet som en cigaret (det er først nu hvor jeg skriver det, at jeg finder sjovt, at det netop var psykologilæreren). Jeg ved ikke, om han var under afvænning eller bare havde behovet for det næste søm – men jeg genkender, hvordan hjernen klikker ind i et bestemt gear. Jeg vil ikke beskrive det som en abstinensreaktion, for jeg ser det stadig som et forbrug og ikke et misbrug – men det er i hvert fald i grænselandet mellem en psykisk og en fysisk reaktion, og det er under alle omstændigheder tankevækkende.

Opdatering 25. marts –

Kommunikationsformer – en illustration: Jeg er løbet tør for kaffe og sidder og drikker Earl Grey. Hvilket er fint, men ikke det, jeg gik efter. Det vil være en fuldstændigt almindelig ting at notere på en af de sociale mediekanaler. Nu slår det mig, hvor besynderlig en ting, det vil være at skrive eller sige til nogen.
‘Nu skal du høre – situationen er sådan, at -‘
Never gonna happen. Sjov forbindelse. At jeg skriver den ned her understreger mistanken om, at det bare er en anden måde at… tale med sig selv.

Because illiteracy is cute in politics

Først udgivet på mit tidligere domæne writtenandread.net.

As a general rule, we try not to reward idiots for being it.

And so, logically, people try to conceal the fact.

For some reason, it is acceptable for politicians to adopt ambitious technological policies while at the same time admitting that they understand absolutely nothing about technology and IT issues. How does that even work?

In Danish politics, the political parties designate speakers on a number of topics. The environment, social issues, that kind of thing – and IT. The latter has traditionally been a post rewarded to good party soldiers. They are just generally completely clueless on the issue. In what appeared to herself to be a stroke of genius but to everyone else merely appeared a stroke, Social Democrat speaker on IT issues Trine Bramsen wrote a guest blog post encouraging the ” IT nerds” to start dressing nicely and speaking a language other people could understand. She was relieved from her duties shortly after that, only to reincarnate as the speaker on legal rights issues (retsordfører), where she brought up the idea of banning the TOR network because it hampered surveillance by the police.

I am not an IT professional by any means, but on this topic, I think it is fair to say that I am an informed citizen. And so, it is like being part of the IT Crowd:

Is it supposed to be cute? I mean, it is not like any politician would grin, wave the arms and say Well, it is not as if I understand all this economy stuff anyway. But we have a lot of smart people around. Imagine the prime minister doing that? Or I generally think lowering taxes will improve employment, but it is not like anyone actually knows. Well, it is worth a go.

In my workplace, the decisionmakers I work with who appreciate that they are not completely informed on the issues will simply ask, Is this realistic? – or What are the practical implications of that? – which makes sense. But actually bragging about ignorance?

The latest example which prompted this piece was the trial against Gottfrid Svartholm Warg – also known as Anakata, who some will know as one of the founders of the Pirate Bay (and if not, I very much recommend watching TPB AFK). He is on trial in Denmark accused of having taken part in the break-in on the mainframe of CSC.
But during the trial, all parties showed every indication of not understanding the essential problems of the case, and several times the prosecutor has admitted to not understanding the extent of the accusation. What?

This is the 21st century. Ignorance is ignorance, but acting as if this is an insignificant shortcoming is simply not acceptable .

The Danish Syndrome or why heavy is evil

I have a fetish for statistics, numbers, formulae and technological manipulation.
What this means in practice is that I do online courses to master the intricacies of statistics and R and spend a significant part of my working day juggling (well, wrangling) Excel. Today, I assisted an extremely competent colleague in converting spreadsheet data into a format where Excel would eat it. Small wonder that it was not easy – it was a weird date sorting… bug, I would say, but I am sure some would call it an eccentric feature. So I had dates defined as, say, 50810 to represent 05-08-2010 – the result of an automated data set from one of our systems and the addition of a pinch of Excel magic insisting that 050810 made no sense as a figure, so – 50810.
Which would not be converted into a date.
I converted the dates by asking Excel to add a 0 if the number only had 5 digits, harvest the first two characters with =LEFT, a hyphen, then the middle two with =MID, then a hyphen and ’20’ and finally the last two with =RIGHT. So, 05-08-2010. After that, no challenge.

Not exactly graceful.

It was the equivalent of trying to do origami by cutting paper and sticking the parts together with duct tape.

I wonder why I get so frustrated with the heavy-handed approach. Is it just because of training teaching us patterns instead of manual approaches? Is it because I am from a small country where maximalist solutions are frowned upon? Or is it simply a case of personal aesthetics?

Først udgivet på mit tidligere domæne writtenandread.net

Digital Hoarding

I sometimes feel that I have the online equivalent of people who just shop to have stuff. I have an archive of articles I need to read – print to PDF just to be sure – if I had not deleted hundreds of hours, I would have podcasts to fill this year and the next.

I download Linux ISOs and feel I should keep them because someone may drop by who would need the latest Opensuse, Fedora, Slackware, Arch, Frugalware et cetera.

I find Youtube videos – documentaries, shows and movies I want to watch. I download them just to be sure.

If I focused entirely on all the stuff I have pulled down and have stored, I would be occupied for a month.

I was considering getting a new hard drive – my latest Thinkpad came with the 60 gig drive that was the default when it was new. It may just be a good idea that I do not.

Først bragt på mit tidligere domæne writtenandread.net.

My name is my name!

So as of recently, my name is my name.
That would be fairly straighforward for everyone else, but no such simple things in my household.

I married my Transsylvanian Hungarian wife, now Juliánna Juhl-Johansen Zölde-Fejér, in September of 2007. We merged our names, and my Juhl-Johansen and her Zölde-Fejér came together as something which was ours entirely – and, of course, as some have pointed out, would be a challenge to pronounce correctly in its entirety anywhere. Be that as it may, it is ours, and it is not likely to be lost in a crowd.

However: A while after we were married, she had to get a new passport. And so, she ran into some difficulties. As it turns out, the Danish naming conventions – which had obviously been used, because the state church is actually the name registrar in Denmark – offered some challenges. Thing is: In Danish, you have a first name and a last name. Anything else is your middle name. Not so in Romania – Transsylvania, which was a part of Hungary, is now part of Romania, and no, it is unlikely you can come up with a Dracula joke we have not heard – They have first names and last names. So her Danish name document was rejected. After a bit going back and forth with various authorities on this, we simply pulled out my old last name, and after that was done, I was registered in the public registry as Morten Zölde-Fejer. They had also pulled the last accent.

After our return to Europe after living in the States in 2010, we started the process with my wife applying for a Danish citizenship. Since she was from a Hungarian family, she was not particularly connected to her Romanian citizenship; she had also never been part of the country of Hungary, so being a part of this country seemed equally irrelevant. We had come back to Denmark and decided to stay here, at least until the children are older.

And so, she became a Danish citizen recently, after a longer process. And at last we could actually go through the process of syncing up our names! So the name you see at the top, here – it is actually my name now. Again. Still. At last.

Først bragt på mit tidligere domæne writtenandread.net.