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Groningen, home of 'The Google'

Posted on Sunday, April 29, 2007



Nicholas Carr reports about Google's plans for a new server farm in the Benelux:

Google already reportedly runs a big server farm in the the town of Groningen in the Netherlands, and yesterday it announced that it is expanding its Benelux footprint by building a new center in Saint-Ghislain, Belgium. An article in the Belgian paper Le Soir says the company will invest between 250 and 300 million euros in the facility. Construction is expected to begin at the start of the summer and be completed next year. Two of the attractions of the site, according to a Google executive, are the close proximity of a canal (a source of water for cooling servers) and the availability of a rich internet connection.
belgeoblog has more on the story (in Dutch).

To make it all a bit more tangible, I just found a post (July '05) over at the keyhole bbs with some more pictures (above) of the data center from where Google is currently serving us our daily bread dose of search results (at least, here in the Netherlands).

DinnerTV: Eric Schmidt @ Web2.0 Expo (April '07)

Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007


What else with Google Earth?

Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2007

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Pondering this question, I stumble upon an old post over at Google Earth Blog (June '06) where above Analytics2kml is described. Basically, its a Google Earth mashup from Google Analytics web statistics right into Google Earth. Sweet...(why isn't this available straight from the Analytics page?).

Brings me to the next question: when will I have a KML RSS feed to my blog statistics? There seems to be something missing with Google Earth in sofar that currently I mainly end up in Google Earth through some KML link on a standard 2d website. When will be the time when I start up my Google Earth browser right from computer start up...even before I open Safari, Firefox or Mail...? Unype is nice, but it doesn't really do it for me (the fact that it uses a proprietary unype server to link up Skype with Google Earth't sending my user stats to Google enough? Would be a nice gesture if Unype runs a statistics page with full disclosure of the data they log) What else? The embedded Google Earth in a website is interesting, but again, with what purpose...virtually flying...?

The last couple of weeks I have been entertaining myself writing a proof-of-concept python script to visualise my virtual travels in Google Earth in Google Earth. But also here...beyond a proof of concept, the killer app alludes me for the moment (not to mention that the updating of the position through the Google Earth COM API is too rudimentary for the moment to actually make a nice graphic).

(Update 20th May: this turned out to be related to my particular implementation in my python script. Check out my new UGO blog for a better use of the COM API)


Ray Kurzweil

Posted on Monday, April 16, 2007

in case you missed it, this video gives a 23 min run-down of Ray Kurzweil's thinking. Its from February 2005, so its lagging a couple of paradigm shifts, but nonetheless...

Feedburner feed to

Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ok, ok, so I may have accidentally included a Safari-based feed-link a couple of months ago...But guess what...I finally fixed it -> see on the right. If you're interested, please be welcome to subscribe to this blog through Feedburner. Thanks.

Is that NY burning? Darfur in your face!

Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2007

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Its been blogged about quite a lot already, nevertheless I have to blog this because putting Google Earth to use for this purpose is really the way to go. The one critique about this particular implementation where I believe there is room for improvement is the way they put the tool to use to harnasse the collective intelligence. Come on, there is a potential 200 million people out there who together can influence the future course of this collectively suppressed genocide. The #1 thing I should do according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is sign up to a Genocide Prevention e-Newsletter...? Hell, that's not gonna make much of a difference for these people over in Africa!? Why not include a button in the Google Earth layer where I can immediately put my money where my mouth is (even if its a single Euro) in order to help the relief effort, or better, help rebuild the particular village I am looking at at this very instant in Google Earth.

And what about the statistics...Google says it will use this particular implementation of a Google Earth layer to learn about the actual visits and use of this tool to educate about these global issues:

Google plans to track whether use of the Darfur site sparks new community and political action on the internet, taking that as a measure of success.

Make them public...lets see what these statistics are!

Yuri's Night at Ames

Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2007



Couldn't find the party in 2nd Life, did catch a bit through a live stream though. Laughing Squid calls it:

...a really nice mix of space travel expo, Burning Man and Maker Faire at a venue that would be hard to top. I really hope there do it there again next year.

Now that sounds like fun. More images available at here. Nasa Watch (as always) has an interesting perspective on the broader context of Yuri's night at Ames, and how it could bring about change in the way space is presented to the public (focused on NASA but I guess this applies more or less world wide). He also serves up a brief Blogosphere roundup of the party.

How The Internet Could Go From Cyberspace To Outer Space

Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007


BBC brings the following story:

Net Reaches Out To Final Frontier

A programme to kick-start the use of internet communications in space has been announced by the US government.
The Department of Defense's Iris project will put an internet router in space by the start of 2009. It will allow voice, video and data communications for US troops using standards developed for the internet. Eventually Iris could extend the net into space, allowing data to flow directly between satellites, rather than sending it via ground stations.

"Iris is to the future of satellite-based communications what Arpanet was to the creation of the internet in the 1960s," said Don Brown, of Intelsat General, one of the companies who will build the platform.

Arpanet (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), the predecessor of the internet, was developed by the United States Department of Defense.

Expanding Digital Universe

Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Naive as it may seem, I kind a like this cover image in the report: The Expanding Digital Universe: A Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth Through 2010. The Guardian reports... (via).

Thank God For The Internet

Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Not sure where I got the quote from Bruce Sterling that has been sticking with this blog for quite some time now (The future Is Process, Not A Destination) but I just found a new one which again fits well with what I am trying to get my head around here (albeit a bit too long to replace the older one):

"A computer interface for everything in the world: that doesn't sound realistic but that's because i'm a visionary, it's not my job to be realistic! Something like that is going to happen. It's going to be difficult but you're going to do it. And you will be getting a lot of money when you succeed in doing a part of it."
His talk here in Amsterdam recently wasn't all too exciting, especially compared to when he really gets up to steam, like during this one: Bruce Sterling's SXSW 2007 Rant (more where that came from at the SXSW 2007 podcast feed). When you decide to listen to his talk, you might be interested in the following links as well:

FBTO gives its roof a paint job

Posted on Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Dutch insurance company FBTO took no risk and painted its corporate logo on its roof to show up in the next update of Google Earth (Via MarketingFacts, in Dutch). Here is a video entitled 'Google Kijkt Mee (Google Watches Along)' where FBTO marketing manager Paul Koopman explains the why and how (in Dutch). Wouldn't it be handy if Google had a listing online of its planned database updates, just like they did earlier this year down under. I have a pretty large roof myself, which I wouldn't mind decorating if only I knew when to do it.


"...Is it really real...?

Posted on Monday, April 2, 2007


This quote from a song by Luke Vibert (which became my mantra while writing my thesis back in 2000) came back to me when reading below quote from Henry Jenkins from Peter Ludlow in an interview with Henry Jenkins talking about Second Life (via Trevor F. Smith):

The more interesting question is why people keep repeating ""only a game"" so much. If you google ""only a game"" and "Second Life" together, you get nearly 12,000 hits. It is like a mantra that people keep repeating to keep some thought or idea at bay - and I think the dangerous idea that Second Life shoves in your face every day is this: our wealth is virtual, our property is transient, and our social lives are mediated by technology, nomadic, and often fleeting. I think that when people keep saying "it''s only a game" they are really saying "the rest of my world isn''t like this: my wealth is tangible and permanent, my friendships are unmediated and also permanent." Saying "it''s only a game" is like saying "this isn''t how things really are, this is just a bad dream." People need to pinch themselves, because this ain''t no dream. This is reality; deal with it.
More where this came from at an interview with Peter Ludlow.

Space xplo in virtual space

Posted on Sunday, April 1, 2007


Virtual-space guru's build final frontier (via Nasa Watch)

The future is process, not a destination
Bruce Sterling

Everything is ultimately becoming information technology
Ray Kurzweil

Data is the Intel inside
Tim O'Reilly

There is only one machine and the web is its OS
Kevin Kelly

The medium is the message
Marshall McLuhan