Joost Plattel

Data-strategist, Founder & Speaker.

London on a double-bike

On sunday the 10th of June I left my parents place on a double-bike. Together with a friend we cycled to Zwolle, took a train and prepared ourselves in the evening for a trip to London. As we took the boat to Harwich the next day I didn't know what to expect as I hadn't visited England before.
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As we talked with locals it turns out it's much more enjoyable if you take the small hilly roads towards your destination. This also ensures more scenic views and much more nature, unfortunately this also introduced some off-road paths which our bike didn't take that well.. (as did we!). Before long we reached London and did a quick tourist route covering the most important landmarks:
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After spending 2 nights in London we went south-east towards Dover and after a couple of days we reached the white cliffs:
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Our tour was finished by taking the boat to Dunkerque, cycling north towards Vlissingen, while staying the night near the beach of Belgium. We averaged around 70km per day. It was a great trip!

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A talk about the many things a little experiment can teach you

On the 14th of March 2016 I gave a short talk at TEDxYouth Groningen, and the video is finally online! I've embedded the video below, it's in dutch but I'm sure the subtitles will be available shortly. My talk is about the all the photos I took so far at 8:36pm. I started without any specific reason, but found out that you could figure it out while doing it as well. I've collected over 5 years of photos and I don't plan on quitting any time soon.

Author's profile picture Joost Plattel

Fixing (LinkedIn) interfaces with Chrome plugins

Online services tend to change their functionality or interaction. Sometimes in a good way, other times in a bad way. Most recently LinkedIn made a little change in the way accepting (and replying to) invites works. I personally use LinkedIn as a address book and leave it alone at times, never inviting people but combing trough the invites. I used to reply with a text-expander snippet too see if a connection is valuable, but this seemed to be impossible lately.

Turns out, I wasn't the only one and Martijn actually wrote a bigger post on the problem. Ofcourse asking LinkedIn is the best way of complaining, but fixing it probably would take them a long time (if they decide to!). So I made a little chrome plugin that easily opens up to 10 new tabs all with a conversation without navigating through hovers and popups.

The plugin is seriously alpha software and way to loose configured, but I put it up on Github so anyone can use it! Disclaimer: I provide no support at all, if you still want it, find someone who can help you! 

Author's profile picture Joost Plattel

Making Waves

So far today has been enjoyable, until around noon when someone texted me with a url pointing to nu.nl, showing an article about the Data Protection Authority telling me it is forbidden for employers to use wearables to track their employees (also on tweakers.net). The research the article points to is actually two companies that run my dashboards. Before I get into details, let me state the following:

  • The privacy of an employee is of utmost importance! Employee first, employer last (or not at all!)
  • The Data Protection Authority is one of the most important organisations in regard to the coming technological expansion, we need them more then ever.
  • The grey area and boundaries existing the current space of law require meticulous investigation.

Now, if you've read the article carefully, you will notice it is still acceptable for a third-party to collect data with a wearable, but showing the data (in any way) to the employer is a no-go. This is something I totally agree with, but it conflicts partially with the requirements of a good employer to take care of their employees. A deeper exploration is required.

The connection between the employee and employer is not equal, which means the employer can force an employee. In my book, this is also a no-go. I've build my dashboards in such a way so this can not be done in any way.

I started developing the dashboards with a discussion in mind, and the first line in the grey area has been drawn. This doesn't mean the discussion is over, as technology and the workplace develop the grey area may solidify if we supply it with enough discussion and decisions. The article is a important step towards a better balance between privacy, ethics, technology and the workplace. Let's keep on discovering!

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Privacy & Gracefully revealing depth

Just a couple of days ago I read a post from Atlassian explaining some new features, but the most interesting aspect was that they explore gracefully revealing depth. To me this same concept can also be applied to privacy, ethics and more problems. Even though it's about functionality, the same can be applied to complexity.

As we are faced with interesting problems about privacy and ethics, would the way of gracefully revealing complexity work for making the right choices or settings the right parameters? I think it does, and that's why I started building gradual privacy, but it doesn't end there, the other way around is also fascinating, as some functions might not be thought of beforehand. This relates to privacy and transparency even more, could we cover all scenarios with these depths? Or how deep are these depths?

Author's profile picture Joost Plattel