José James’ blend of black magic

31 07 2009

“My goal is to combine all the music I love: jazz, soul, hip hop, blues, funk into one thing. And everyday I’m getting closer to that sound and goal.”

— José James

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Video courtesy of [via LeFtOoO @ Brownswood]


Haque: the revolution is a nichepaper

29 07 2009

In his latest offering, The Nichepaper manifesto, Umair Haque hits the Media 2.0 nail on its head once again. Newspapers are out, nichepapers are in. Nichepapers offer knowledge and insight about one specific topic (cf. Michael Massing). Haque really cuts the mustard when he lists the 8 rules of nichepapers (reproduced here in abbreviated form):

Nichepapers strive to impart meaningful, lasting knowledge;
Nichepapers co-create knowledge through “commentage“, i.e. the art of curating comments to have a dialogue with the audience;
Nichepapers develop topics — instead of telling quickly-forgotten stories;
Nichepapers strive for scarcity: to develop a perspective, analytical skills, and storytelling capabilities that are inimitable by rivals;
Nichepapers develop topics of conversation, not individual stories, and let them co-evolve with readers;
Nichepapers provoke us to think; they challenge us; they educate us in ways that newspapers stopped doing long ago;
Nichepapers pitch topics and stories to the community, and let the best ones snowball;
Nichepapers aren’t about technology; they are tech-neutral, using whatever works best for a given task.

According to Haque:

The 21st century news organization is a portfolio of the different kinds of nichepapers. An Intelligencer for healthcare, a Pioneer for education, a Chronicle for finance and entertainment — that’s what the future of news looks like.

Okay, where can I sign up? In the meantime, why don’t we try to think of another name for this new(s) game? Nichepaper still has a Media 1.0 ring to it. Any suggestions?

UPDATE: Brilliant follow-up post by Alan Patrick – covering everything from bottleneck resources to HobbyMedia and Social Journalism. Wonderful stuff.

Brownswood Bubblers Vol. 4

28 07 2009

On 24 August 2009 Brownswood is set to release their annual “assortment of delightfully obscure ditties and underground heaters that have been clogging Gilles’ record bag and radio playlists of late.” Ladies and gentlemen, start your Google search engines. Here is the tracklist. Worldwide flavor.


1. Mayer Hawthorne – Maybe So Maybe No
2. Souleance – Mañana
3. yU – Fine
4. El Michels Affair – Shimmy Shimmy Ya
5. Lisa Papineau – Rene Thomas
6. The Misled Children & Odean Pope – Dadadun
7. Kafka – The Kafka Anthem
8. Oumou Sangaré – Iyo Djeli
9. Jam Da Silva – Dia Santo
10. Keaver & Brause – Awake
11. Sound Species – Can We Call It Love (with Ahu)
12. New Look – Everything
13. Floating Points – Peroration V Ft. Fatima
14. Lone – Sea Spray

ReCaptcha: digitizing books word by word

28 07 2009

Raise your hand if you are familiar with the work of Luis von Ahn, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Luis is one the masterminds behind ‘Captcha‘, the program that protects websites from automated spamming. Captcha is nerdspeak for ‘Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart’ and looks like this:

Luis has recently come up with ReCaptcha, a two-flies-with-one-stone program that not only stops spam but also helps to archive human knowledge by digitizing “books, newspapers and old radio shows”. Oh, the brilliance.  Here’s how it works. ReCaptcha uses words that cannot be read correctly by Optical Character Recognition (OCR, the standard way of digitizing human knowledge) as Captchas.

Each new word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is given to a user in conjunction with another word for which the answer is already known. The user is then asked to read both words. If they solve the one for which the answer is known, the system assumes their answer is correct for the new one. The system then gives the new image to a number of other people to determine, with higher confidence, whether the original answer was correct.

To see how fast ReCaptcha works, about 20 years of the New York Times archive was digitized in only a few months. 20 years. Read more about it here or watch Luis do some splainin’. I don’t think I have ever been this excited about a computer application since Tetris came out.

[H/T: Judy Sims]

TriKa 3.0 race report: and the winners are

26 07 2009

Bruno Clerbout and Sofie Goos! Thanks everyone for making our third edition such a success. We would also like to thank our sponsors for their support, feedback and cooperation. Special shout out to Trees & David, Wendy & Jerre, Ellen & Pieter, Lieselotte & Jeroen, the Pinoy fam, Joris, Kurt, the ITM massive and the two anonymous reviewers. Much appreciated.

Men’s podium (L-R): 3. Pieter Hemeryck 1. Bruno ‘Bruce’ Clerbout 2. Geert Janssens

Bruce meets the press. I wasn’t able to shoot the women’s podium, alas. My apologies, ladies. Complete results, clickiddy-click here (overall) and here (waves).

More media coverage:

TriKa 3.0 race preview

23 07 2009

A grand total of 210 men, 24 women and 14 relay teams are registered to compete in TriKa’s third annual Olympic distance triathlon in Kapelle-op-den-Bos on Saturday July 25 (5:00pm). That adds up to 276 athletes, a new record. This is also the first year we’re adopting – by popular demand and thanks to some political goodwill – a non-drafting format.

Quick picture of the transition area and VIP area

Here are the race favorites:

1. Sofie Goos (currently Belgium’s top female triathlete, TriKa 2.0 winner)
2. Alexandra Tondeur (up and coming race talent)
3. Joke Coysman (consistent talent)

1. Bruno Clerbout (IM Hawaii qualified and local favorite)
2. Thierry Verbinnen (perennial top performer – gifted swimmer and cyclist) => injured
2. Hannes Cool (young gun, hungry and talented)
3. Luc Huntjes (former Dutch triathlon icon, now unretired again)

See you at the race!

A few of my favorite things in Melbourne

21 07 2009

Fitzroy and Collingwood are two suburbs in Melbourne, Australia. If you tire of the hustle & bustle of CBD, head on over to these neighborhoods for your fill of people watching, fine dining, designer shopping, street art, art galleries and wine bars. All very open-minded and soulful.

Brunswick Street is art with a capital A.

Brunswick Street Art

Throwback Flandrien jersey @ BSC

Dr Follicles barber shop on Gertrude Street

Fine dining @ Cavallero on Smith Street

Breakfast (Bircher muesli!) @ Marios – an institution in Melbourne

Wine tasting @ St Jude’s Cellars

Kelly Thompson exhibit @ Gorker Art gallery

Fitzroy swimming pool – a triathlete’s dream: a 10 lane, outdoor heated 50m pool, with inside bike racks, sauna and steam room. Open year round. Sigh.