Sunday, September 06, 2009

My new Gym

As part of an initiative in Copenhagen to give the city a "green pulse" we now have a workout pavillion 500m from where I live. It was finished in the spring, I think. And it made me start working out again here over the summer. Thanks Copenhagen.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Organic jeans, organic jeans everywhere!

Organic clothes has gradually become more available in Denmark. For a while it was mostly tshirts (and shoes, yay!), but last year I decided I would like some organic jeans. I looked and looked, but did not find any. Sad.

I don't shop much for clothes, but this spring I was in Chicago, and stumbled upon a skinstinct shop. Here I finally found jeans made from organic cotton and hemp. I panicked and immediately bought 2 pairs now that I had the chance.

Last weekend I then went shopping with my girlfriend in Malmo and Copenhagen, and found organic jeans everywhere. In Jack & Jones (sold out though), in Nudie Jeans (two pairs, looked nice) and in H&M (two pairs, slightly wierd models).

Sounds promising for next years jeans shopping.

Monday, March 09, 2009

LED lightning slowly appearing

In my parents summer house there are some halogen spots set in the ceiling. It is a wooden, dusty ceiling and occasionally I see smoke coming from the spots. Not nice. For some time I've wanted to replace these spots with LED lamps. Since LED lamps draw much less power and operate at a much lower temperature I figure they are the way to go. Also LED is cool technology - so why not try. I have some GU5,3 halogen spots in the apartment that I can replace first to see what kind of light the LEDs give. Unfortunately the employees in my local shops in Copenhagen look at me with a blank face whenever I ask for LED lamps. Even though there are web-shops, like "prolys" and "danled" I would prefer to see the lamps in action, before I buy them. They are still on the expensive side.

Now Phillips seem to be introducing a series of mainstream LED bulbs - maybe the "mainstream" shops (or even supermarkets) will get these?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Groupthink in the danish patent office.

...or maybe rather "how to prevent groupthink in the danish patent office".

As part of taking an interest in Free Software I take an interest in the much broader field of the "government regulated limited monopoly privileges" that are most famously found in copyright, patents and trademarks. The danish patent office happens to be a front runner in blogging among danish governmental and semi-governmental institutions, and I naturally follow their blog.

While following the blog I have had a feeling that something isn't quite right about the tone and angle of the posts. But only recently have I been able to put my finger on what is wrong.

As the patent office is part of the danish ministry of commerce, I guess I expected the employees to somehow have a philosophy of serving the citizens of Denmark. They may even expect that too, but in practice the only perspective they seem to take is that of businesses. And the only laws and rules they seem to care about are those that benefit businesses.

Recently this was put on a point by a post announcing the yearly conference of the patent office which was addressed to "IP professionals" and in which the poster claimed "it is important to us to hear the thoughts of [our] customers and industry on what you think are the biggest challenges in the future of IP".

This echoed with an article about an american conference about software patents in which the basic division in opinion about software patents was: the lawyers were for software patents, and technologists and economists were against. And the author of that article quite reasonably proposed that patent lawyers have a different world-view because of who they interact with.

"Patent attorneys only interact with those parts of the software industry that participate in the patent system. When software engineers write useful software without seeking patents on it — a vastly more common occurrence — patent attorneys will, by definition, not be there. Therefore, patent lawyers are inevitably going to over-estimate the importance of patents to the software industry."

The same can very well apply to the danish patent office. If they only meet with patent holders or patent seekers in their daily work they will only be exposed to one single point of view on patents. Now if they hold conferences and explicitly ask for the same type of people (with the same type of views) to attend it seems to me that they miss a chance to fulfill the role I, at least, imagine is suitable for a government institution.

I asked if the patent office has any strategies to reach out and get opinions from sources other than "industry and customers" but got the answer "we have to prioritize our resources". I don't think this is a reasonable answer. The patent office is not just an administrator of rules. It has important impact on setting opinions and policies on trademarks, patents and related subjects (example). And in my opinion it therefore has a large obligation to keep policies and opinions balanced in favor of citizens. If the working conditions of interacting much with industry makes this difficult (as it must), the patent office has a double obligation to counteract the tendency to industry-group-think. I hope they will honor that obligation.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2009 New Years resolutions

I partially met my 2008 resolutions. I guess one of my ideas with these resolutions is to aim for something doable, that I will none the less have to put in some effort to succeed with. What do I want to aim for in 2009.

  • Do more blog posts than in 2008. (shouldn't be too hard)
  • Blog about science, economics, politics and the environment.
  • Spend some of my money to make the world a better place (I already joined "The Danish Society for Nature Conservation" - do more like that)
  • Try the Free Software Foundation Europe goals for 2009 - I think I can easily manage the first three points.
  • Prepare better and run a full half marathon.
  • Write more than 1000 lines of code in a new programming language (new meaning a language that I haven't written more than 1000 lines of code in before). I am guessing it will be Groovy or JavaScript.
Actually I also want to visit the dentist more and to buy one of those fancy new Solid State Disk drives that Linus Torvals seems to like (update). But it doesn't quite sound fancy enough to make the list.

Friday, January 23, 2009

2008 New Years resolutions status

Early last year I blogged my new years resolutions here. And before I blog any new resolutions for 2009 I might as well look back at how I did with the ones for 2008. Here goes

  • Blog at least a couple of times per month (preferably once per week) - With 38 posts in 2008 I am slightly over "a couple of times per month" but under "once per week". WIN
  • Run ca. 10 km once per week (in preparation for a half marathon in May) - Much of the year I actually accomplished a ~10km run per week, and I did go to the half marathon. Not with complete success as my knee hurt after 16 km and I walked some kilometers after that. WIN
  • Get to work around 9 am instead of 10 am. Hmm, no great success with that. FAIL
  • Participate in Open Science. No success here either. I left science in the summer, and I never worked on my project in the open. FAIL

Maybe I'll do better this year.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How we can do much better than extending copyright

The american Mickey Mouse Protection Act is coming to Europe...and the OpenRightsGroup have made a short film on what is wrong about that, how it will hurt consumers (like me, and probably also you - anyone who is not a record company executive). Fortunately it also mentions what we could do instead of extending copyright.

The association of danish newspaper publishers have also voiced a well argued and strongly negative view on extending copyright for recordings.