I’ve always been interested in politics. In fact, I attended the first hackathon ever to be held in a parliament, where I made a website that showed which political parties in the Netherlands vote the same: Vriendenpolitiek .
As a side project, I’ve been interested in Visualising Program Execution for a long time — it’s a recurring theme on this website. I’ve recently been giving talks about this topic, and am working on (for now) internal tools at Brigade.
My dissertation in Computer Science was an interactive programming course, jsdares . In the original proposal, A Novel Introduction to Programming , I propose teaching the basics of programming with a real but reduced language, to make possible compiler and interface features that support learning.
I implemented quite a few of such features, as shown in this interactive essay, Peeking under the blindfold , and in more detail in my thesis, jsdare: a new approach to learning programming . I also gave a pretty detailed talk, covering most of the learnings and history of the project, Building jsdares .
I also tried my hand at teaching functional programming: λ Lessons .
Computers have the potential to improve education, in many different ways. One way is having deeper interactions with the subject matter, such as exploring physics simulations or anatomical models; practising your language skills with dynamic exercises, like a game; or tracing routes of the crusades on a map, complete with stories and paintings along the way.
Now that mobile computers become more usable in the classroom, it is the perfect time to push for more interactive education. The key is teachers, who know best how to engage their students. I had a great teacher who wanted to making learning vocabulary easier by adding images and sounds, based on theories of learning. Together we created Audivididici , a program still used by many students in the Netherlands. Most teachers lack the technical skills to create engaging digital experiences, but know, like my teacher, how students learn best. We need tools to leverage this experience to create great courses.
When studying, I wrote a research proposal for building such tools for teachers, Building and Evaluating an Interactive Textbook Platform . It was a few years later that I actually found a company that was implementing something similar: Versal . For a few years I worked on the core technology that lets developers create “gadgets” that authors can use to create great interactive courses. Some of my work has been open sourced: Versal’s open source repositories .
Wikipedia is too hard to contribute to, so I made an editing interface that is both usable and works with their crazy parser, which I wrote about in Help, I want to change Wikipedia! . After that I briefly worked for the Wikimedia Foundation, where I contributed to WikiLove , which got lots of media attention.
Sometimes I try to take some pretty pictures. Check out my Oxford pictures ; or computer generated graphics from a Raytracer ; or my Analog highlights of 2010 . After first moving to the United States, I wrote about one of my frustrations, and animated it: Nightmare .
I worked on huge multitouch tables at Cantouch ; made a scalable marketplace at Worldticketshop ; created bicycle light art in full colour called PimpMyBike ; made a fun Briefcase computer ; wrote some satire on useless testing, duplication.js ; found some solutions to Self-enumerating pangrams ; wrote about shorter meetings by doing a One-legged standup ; built an online portal for safe swimming in outdoor water for a competition, Zwemmen in Noord-Holland ; built Balloon molecules ; found some Browser bugs ; tried to exploit browsers’ Undefined Behaviour ; made videos for our Last day in high school ; and volunteered at the great technical youth center SCN . For more lists and bullets, check out my Curriculum Vitæ .
In 2008 I made an instrument out of wine glasses. I took some pictures of the Glass harp construction , and some videos, Auld Lang Syne and Sound of Music . They were seen by two artists who were hired by MTV to create a video with glass harps, and they ended up using my instrument, in Make a big effort to sound like MTV .
I also like to play the piano, and occasionally record it: Jerry Martin — The Simple Life ; Legend of Zelda ; Philip Glass — Mad Rush ; Philip Glass — Metamorphosis Three ; Linkin Park — Numb ; Pokémon — Elite Four ; and Metal Gear Solid 2 .