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posted October 10 2012
on Appsterdam SF

Robert Atkins on “Effective Communication in Software Engineering”

Join us for our next monthly event @ AppsterdamSF.

  • When: Wed 17, 2012 at 7:00PM.
  • Where: StackMob HQ in San Francisco.

We feel honored to have Robert Atkins as our speaker for this month’s talk. Robert will talk about how communication plays a key role on the success of almost any software engineering project. This talk promises to be practical and thoughtful and I’m sure we’ll have a good discussion of the topic.

Rob’s Bio:

“Robert emigrated to Appsterdam to recover from a decade of enterprise Java development. In that supportive community he is happy to report replacement therapy with iOS and Objective-C is proving successful. That said, there are a few hard-won lessons from those dark days he hopes a maturing iOS dev community might find useful. He blogs about software development, Burning Man-related Arduino projects and horrible telephone company service at and will be soon heard again on the “Welcome to Appsterdam” podcast (”

Here is an abstract of his talk:

“The root cause of every failure in software engineering is a failure in communication. Types of communication failures across various modes of communication are catalogued, it is argued that these are the software engineer’s problems to fix and some practical ways to fix these problems are described.”

We hope you can join us:

Please RSVP at our meet up page.

Your friends @AppsterdamSF.


Avatar of Tara Ross posted September 28 2012
on Tara Ross

PICNIC Festival

This year, Appsterdam hosted the “App Ecosystem Tent” at the PICNIC Festival in Amsterdam. The tent was outside the main venue at the EYE Film Institute, and we partnered with 12 different universities and businesses to put on a three-ring circus of business, education, and app-making. It was an exciting event with lots of energy and innovation …

The post PICNIC Festival appeared first on NOOBTOOLS.

posted September 20 2012
on Paul Darcey

PICNIC 2012 (more from Picnic)

Some more photos from Appsterdam’s tent at PICNIC:

Inside the Workshop area
































iOS Security Talk




Learning from the experts at Big Nerd Ranch






“Speed Networking” – finding employers/employees in just 5 minutes!










Open Data







Pitch Contest



















“Your idea sucks!”



Urban Ecosystem Tours

John UrbanEcosystemTours sm2

John Giusto leading the Appsterdam Urban Ecosystem Tour for the OFF PICNIC activities the Sunday before.


posted September 17 2012
on Paul Darcey


Some photos from Appsterdam’s tent at PICNIC 2101:

Olga Paraskevopoulou

Olga Paraskevopoulou presents “InnoViz – Visualising Stories of App Innovation” in Appsterdam’s tent at PICNIC 


SoftLayer is a sponsor of Appsterdam

Trying out the workshop area in Appsterdam’s tent at PICNIC


RSM is a sponsor of Appsterdam

Inside the Appsterdam tent at PICNIC


The workshop area is very busy

Inside Appsterdam’s Workshop area


Big Nerd Ranch and BounceSpace are sponsors of Appsterdam

Inside the “How to Build a Subversive Sensor and Data Network” session by COSM 


Commons4EU speaker, Melissa Lee

Melissa Lee presents Commons4EU initiative


Inside the Appsterdam tent

Speed Networking: helping employers and potential employees find each other


Speed Networking, Appsterdam style

Speed Networking: helping employers and potential employees find each other


IMG 1286

Speed Networking: helping employers and potential employees find each other


Working hard

Working in Appsterdam’s workshop area


Inside the Appsterdam tent

Speed Networking, Appsterdam style!


Speed networking

Speed Networking, Appsterdam style!


Open Data visualisations

Open Data visualisations


Inside the Appsterdam tent

Inside the Appsterdam tent


Innoviz workshop

Innoviz Workshop: Data Visualisation 1


Mike Lee, Mayor of Appsterdam

Mike Lee, Mayor of Appsterdam, delivers his talk, “The most important minute of your life

Open Data and Mobility Workshop

Open Data & Mobility Workshop

posted September 12 2012
on bolot

Big Nerd Ranch in Amsterdam, Sept 2012

Big Nerd Ranch is participating in a few interesting events in Amsterdam mid-September 2012:

First, we’re part of the Appsterdam App Ecosystem Tent at the PICNIC'12 festival. Come see our talk Perpetuum Mobile: Myth or Revolution on Monday, September 17 at 15:00. Mikey Ward (@wookiee) is leading the guru session titled Beyond Touch: Attitudes in Motion on Tuesday, September 18 at 11:00.

Second, we’re presenting a workshop for iOS and Mac developers together with Apple in the morning of Wednesday, September 19. Developers can register here. Follow @bignerdranch for additional announcements.

Here are the titles/abstracts of our PICNIC'12 presentation and guru session.

Perpetuum mobile: myth or revolution?

Three quarters of the world population have access to mobile phones. The number of smartphones alone topped 1 billion. New uses of mobile technology offer hope in curing diseases and making the world a better place. Mobile devices empower users and app makers. But has the mobile revolution happened yet?

Beyond Touch: Attitudes in Motion
Guru Session

Touch screens are indispensable for modern smartphones. However, they contain many other sensors that could greatly enrich the user experience. Learn how to tame Core Motion, measure attitude (yaw, pitch, and roll), and put them to good use in your mobile apps. iOS programming experience is required. Bring your own laptop with Mac OS X 10.7 or 10.8, Xcode 4.4, iOS 5 SDK, and membership in the iOS developer program (to allow running apps on the device). This guru session will be led by Mikey Ward, with Bolot Kerimbaev and Stijn Oomes assisting.

posted September 05 2012
on Appsterdam SF

How to Implement an Incremental Store in iOS

Join us for our next Appsterdam SF event on Sept 19.

How to Implement an Incremental Store by Matt Vaznaian from StackMob.

Implementing an Incremental Store:
Core Data, Apple’s object graph and data persistence framework, is an iOS developer’s recommended choice for local storage of an application’s data. Recently at StackMob we decided to redesign our SDK and chose Core Data as the foundation.  In this session, I’ll share how StackMob implemented a full Incremental Store, giving developers the ability to use Core Data while it directly accesses and persists data to StackMob’s mobile development platform via a REST-based API.
Matt’s Bio
After finishing his Computer Science degree at UC Berkeley, Matt found himself developing prototypes in the collaboration space at Cisco Systems.  It was here where he got started with iOS development.  Looking to take on new challenges, Matt pursued an opportunity to work at StackMob, a mobile development platform.  As the lead iOS developer, he took on the project of redesigning and their iOS SDK, focusing on robust functionality and ease of use.  He strives to take on new technical and design challenges as he iterates on and improves the SDK.  Living in beautiful San Francisco, Matt spends his free time exploring and enjoying all the great bars, restaurants and recreation the city has to offer.
Twitter @_mattvaz
StackMob is going to have office hours from 5:00 – 6:30 pm so people can come to the office and talk to their engineers. Register here.
After StackMob’s office hours our meet up starts with the usual schedule:
  • 6:30 Networking
  • 7:00 Presentation and Q&A
  • 8:00 Wrap up
Please RSVP in our meet up page.
We hope to see you again.
Avatar of Olga skp posted September 05 2012
on Olga skp

AppsterdamGR: Strengthening our ties

Fellow Greek App Makers, 

Last week we were in Athens and joined the 2nd Athenian Meeten and Drinken. Most of the people we met during our time in Greece were there. Others randomly appeared, and some jumped into an airplane to be there just for the night. The event was successful, more than 40 people showed up, had a talk, and shared their thoughts and views. 

We visited Greece for vacations, but while we were there we could not keep ourselves from meeting you. We wanted to let you know about what is happening in Amsterdam, to show you how the Appsterdam community works and to provide you with all the infrastructure and experience we have about setting-up a network organization and grass-roots initiative. Despite the skepticism and second thoughts some of you may initially have had, we think that it worked. We all enjoyed our night and we all made new friends.

But what is coming up next?
Attending to such an event is only the beginning. It is only a way to prove that you are there, that the tech scene in Athens is vibrant and open to new ideas and collaborations. Continuing meeting on a weekly basis will strengthen your community and help us keep in touch with you.

We would like to keep the conversation with you alive, to have a strong Greek community with which we can share our knowledge, send people over and receive people that would like to visit us for a while. We would like to leverage the Greek start-up scene, empower indies and support those who are interested in working with technology, either by helping them partnering-up with people from the tech scene or by amplifying their skills. 

We do that for the same reason we did it here in Amsterdam. Because we want to reinvent our working, social and tech environment, to make it a place where we want to live and work. Appsterdam does not offer a job, it does not offer money and it will not try to convince you on what technology or platform to use. 

The Athenian Embassy is what you will make it to be - it will support and enable any initiative, any idea that is stemming from the community. It will grow organically, along with the people that will bring it to life.

We hope you meet your peers at the Meeten and Drinken tonight, at Tazza D'oro, and to keep in touch with you all!

Follow us on Twitter @AppsterdamGR

See post updates on theFacebook page.

posted September 04 2012

InnoViz has started mining data. This graph shows information…

InnoViz has started mining data.

This graph shows information about how technology makers describe themselves on their Appsterdam Meetup profile page.

Each node represents a word that is used, the lines between nodes show how often words co-occur in texts. Each node is color coded. Green stands for a platform, orange stands for a word that is linked to a business, blue indicates a term expected from a developer and red is a term from the design perspective of an app. The thickness of a line shows how often two words occur together in a profile description. 

Join us at PICNIC (17-18 September) for a text analysis and word visualization workshop at the App Ecosystem Tent.

More information will be announced soon.

Avatar of Klaas Speller posted August 27 2012
on Klaas Speller

An Update From Greece

A while back I posted a Call To All Greek App Makers. The response so far has been great. There are many very lively tech and startup groups in Greece and people are very open to the story of Appsterdam.

Greece So Far

My trip through Greece has brought me from Thessaloniki to Chalkidiki, Athens and the Islands of Amorgos, Koufonissi and Donousa.

When I arrived in Thessaloniki a few weeks ago I had no idea if there would be a tech community in Greece.

But everywhere I went I’ve met people who are working on Apps, Design and other creative business. I have met people from the Python and Ruby community (the next Euruko will be in Athens), people from the startup scene and a whole bunch of mobile developers and many, many others.

I have had the opportunity to talk to Greek founders and owners of small businesses, employees and freelancers – living in Greece and abroad. It has been a great experience listening to their thoughts and feelings about the current situation and it has been inspiring to share ideas.

The quality of the products and operations I have seen here has been impressive. The level of skill is high and ethos is amazing.

This Week

Coming Wednesday, August 29th, we will host the Appsterdam Meeten en Drinken event at Tazza D’oro in Athens (see map below). We start at 21:00 EEST and will carry on till the last one leaves. So please drop by for a drink and a chat.

The rest of the week I will be in Athens and will be meeting more people and companies. If you would like to grab lunch or a coffee, let me know and we will arrange a time and a place.

I am looking forward to meeting everybody.

View Larger Map
posted August 09 2012
on Robert Atkins

How to bike in Amsterdam

I have never been a cycling enthusiast. Before I first went to Burning Man in 2007 I’d barely ridden a bike since my adolescent BMX. But one of the many awesome things about cycling in Amsterdam is that you don’t have to be an enthusiast.

The only thing better than a great public transport system is one you barely have to use, and this is one of the foremost advantages to living and working in Amsterdam. Even though as a city it has everything, it’s geographically small enough that everywhere you’d want to go is within a twenty minute cycling radius of the city centre. It’s so easy, convenient and safe you’d be crazy to not have a bike as your main mode of transport.

Buying a bike

I wouldn’t know a chainring from a seat post, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned about buying and riding a bike in Amsterdam over the last three months.

Firstly, for regular city riding, you want an “omafiets” or “granny bike"—single gear and back brakes. Amsterdam really is so flat that gears are unnecessary and frankly a bit of a pain in stop-start city traffic. Similarly, back brakes are simple, low maintenance and avoid another cable which would otherwise snag in the nest of bikes you’ll find yourself parking in. A big padded seat and upright riding position make for comfort and a rack on the front for a crate of beer will make you friends that you can then dink on the rack on the back.

If you want a really cheap one you can get something serviceable like the above from the Waterlooplein markets with front and rear lights and a chain included for €80, but don’t do that. I did, twice, and it’s a bad idea for two reasons: firstly, when you look closer you’ll see that an €80 Omafiets is cobbled together out of spray painted rust and hope and eventually parts will get loose and wobbly and you don’t want to deal with that while fanging it down Vijzelstraat post-borrel.

Keeping your bike

The second reason to spend more is that cheap locks don’t. I locked my two-week old bike in front of a café and sat down to wait for a fellow Appsterdamer to arrive; while doing so I saw someone take a bright red chain off a generic-looking omafiets and thought to myself, "That’s a really bright red chain, kind of like mine” as he casually rode off.

Half an hour later when I went to get on my bike to leave, I believe I may have said a rude word.

You have to pay at least €40 to get a lock worth buying. The problem with really cheap locks is there are only about a dozen possible keys for each model and they’re easily defeated. But that’s still not enough. You need two: a chain AND a wheel lock on the back wheel. These are quick to lock and unlock and operable with one hand, but using one by itself is inviting a long walk home.

Or, in my case, since my second bike was locked only with a €15 wheel lock when it was stolen from outside my house one night, a long walk to wherever I had to go the next morning. I managed to hang on to that one for a whole week. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

So, a chain through the frame and wheel and around something that terminates a foot into concrete, plus a wheel lock on the back wheel are necessary to ensure your steed stays where you left it. If a thief wants your bike they’re still going to defeat both of those in a minute, but if they just want a bike they’ll look for something that’ll only take thirty seconds. A sucker’s bike like either of mine, for instance. “I don’t have to outrun it, I just have to outrun you”.

This is the main reason I’d never buy an €80 omafiets again. I’d feel stupid spending the same amount on locks as I did the bike. Might as well spend €200 all up and get something more solid and reliable.


Get front and rear lights for riding at night or in the (plentiful!) rain. These are more for visibility than as headlights, so you don’t need anything fancy. Simple (cheap!) battery operated LED lights are better than dynamos as they’re consistently bright, have no wires to snag and don’t sap any of your pedal power.

Not having done it (well, aside from the prei in the back rack of the first bike I had nicked—yes, really!), next time I would seriously consider getting a can of electric pink spray paint and pimping my bike. This has two advantages: it makes it easier to find in a thicket of generic black omafietsen and the more distinctive it is, the less likely it is to be stolen.

But the most important bike accessory in Amsterdam is…


… a bell. Or air horn. No, LRAD. Possibly a sidewinder missile mounted to the front forks. By far the biggest hazard you will encounter as a cyclist in Amsterdam are the neverending supply of fresh tourists wandering into the bike lanes. You can tell how long they’ve been in town by their reaction upon hearing a bike bell. If they’ve only been there a day they will remain totally oblivious. If they’ve been there a week they’ll jump like they’ve been stung, possibly into oncoming traffic.

I didn’t manage to hit anyone while I was there but came close a number of times, especially coming down Damrak/Rokin, cycling past the Heineken brewery and around the intersections near the Rijksmuseum and the Vondelpark. Just be aware around popular areas and if all else fails, shout “Get out of zee bike lane, you silly tourists!” (in the manner and accent of a French taunt) and you’ll be OK.

Next most hazardous are tourists on bikes. Typically not regular cyclists or familiar with Amsterdam and sometimes even not used to riding on the right hand side of the road, they can be unpredictable and get in the way. Fortunately they’re easy to recognise as they’ll be riding a modern step-through style bike (not an omafiets) in red with “Mac Bike” written on the front. Keep your distance or give them a polite “notification ding” and they’ll pull to the right and allow you to pass.

You have nothing to fear from the local riders. If you do something silly, they’ll overtake glaring at you, shake their head and go on with their mobile phone conversation without the bar fridge perched in their front rack even wobbling.

The absolute last thing you have to worry about riding in Amsterdam is motor vehicles. Drivers know that any collision between a car and a bike is assumed to be their fault and the subsequent fine or criminal proceedings will ruin their life and they behave accordingly.

On yer bike!

So, that’s what I’ve learned about biking in Amsterdam: don’t cheap out too much (especially on the locks), lock the damn thing properly, customise for fun and bicycle retention, watch out for the tourists and have fun riding around the most practical cycling city in the world.