Visit MadSpace in Eindhoven 13-2-2013

Yesterday I had my weekly visit at MadSpace in MadLab in EIndhoven. The hackerspace of Eindhoven inside The Netherlands. The theme for that evening would be about Pleio , what it is, how you can use it and more importantly how the community could contribute. I would also be given some time to talk about my idea about communitizing Harmoneco.

The Prep:
Koen Aben arranged for Pizzas to be delivered so people had a chance to eat something before the presentation. I need to check on the contents of those meetup invitations, because if I would have known about the pizzas I would have left a little space for it :-) This time I brought a laptop with me though....

The Start:
Wim Essers introduced himself and explained how he got in the situation he was currently in. He is one of the cart-pullers and ambassador for pleio ( www.pleio.nl ) . It's based on elgg ( shares the same code base ) and elgg is an open source content management system ( CMS ) . It has some nice features like drag and drop repositioning of content panes and since it's based on elgg, it can be modified in such a way as to fit in any kind of organisation. Harry is not the technical person behind pleio, but his colleague Harry Custers is. Harry would be available to give live support of needed.
Wim talked in length about the hurdles he had to take and is still taking in order for the local government to adopt pleio as their tool to use to share information and co-create. Since local government is tied to IBM and Microsoft as their major supplier due to vendor lock-in, Pleio could be a very cheap alternative for them to use but alas, all is not that simple. Wim is currently actively lobbying to get the tool accepted as the de facto standard and Pleio already has around 45k users and even outside The Netherlands there are more and more organisations using it as a content management system.
After his talk, many questions were asked, also by the local Groen Links politician Hans van Zijl who also showed up. Some ideas were proposed as to where to go for technical support for the tool and how it could grow it's user base. When I think about it, we might have a workshop ( of course led by Joost ;-) ) where we build a plugin in PHP for the pleio platform, we learn how to do this and pleio has the needed extra support.

The Middle:
When I got a chance to introduce my idea about harmonizing with your ecosystem via www.harmoneco.nl ( check the website for more info ) , there was no beamer so we had to improvise a bit, but I think we managed. I put the presentation on the website itself, so I could start from any computer with an internet connection. I think I transfered the idea well enough so the people understood what it was all about. I even got some pointers as to where to go next with the idea ( like integration with local measurement devices and smart home devices ) Ferdinand Veldmans even mentioned that he would be able to have a student work on this for his/her graduation paper.

The End:
After talking with Guus, Tom and Koen we came up with the idea of having a workshop ( name is still needed ) in 2 weeks on 27 Februari 2013. The general direction for this workshop is to create something with an arduino and have it read data and send data to a local webserver where another computer can then retrieve it. Of course I want to use a version control system for any code produced ( GIT ). It should be do-able with just a few parts ( I have some arduino's plus Tom and Guus also got some ). We will do an inventory and start from there.
I would also like to liven things up a bit by taking pictures and creating little movies on what we are doing and how we are doing it. I want to post those things on madspace.nl. I can arrange for madspace.nl to be hosted on my server ( since it's idling most of the time anyway, a classic example of over-dimensioning )

All in all I'd like to thank the organizers of this event again for this evening and good luck to Wim , because his task is not an easy one.