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The Next Web 2007 – Dinner, Awards Show and After-Party party Recap

posted in Events on June 8th, 2007

The first edition of The Next Web conference featured an after-party that was held at Boris’ private residence in the heart of Amsterdam, five minutes from the venue where the conference was held. While I’m certain that Boris could have rented a huge party area, I loved the fact that he managed to keep the whole thing on a very social level. Basically, it was like meeting some old friends for a quick beer after work. Only difference to a normal “Friday” was that those “friends” were specialists and gurus such as Kevin Kelly, AMS-IX and mabber.com representatives, among many others. The personal aspect, combined with a location that provided users with four (geographical) areas to hold conversations, proved most useful for networking purposes.

This year, Boris decided to rent the famous club / restaurant / all-round great place Odeon, one of Amsterdam’s hottest bars and the main location of the 2006 after party. Great move on Boris part, ‘cause it prevented the group from breaking up too soon. Out of the approximately 500 people that attended the conference, some 150 showed up for the Dinner at the Odeon and, after some small talk, enjoyed a great dinner, with each other.

Prior to the actual dinner, I came across Marjolijn van den Assem, Boris mother and engaged her in a conversation about the conference and the day’s events. Even though van den Assem isn’t your typical Web 2.0 conference attendee, it was obvious that she really paid close attention to what the speakers at the conference talked about.

As luck would have it, I managed to get a seat at the Veldhuijzen van Zanten table that was a bit more secluded that the rest and provided a great environment for interesting talk. I happened to know van den Assem from Boris blog and I have to say that I haven’t had such an interesting conversation in a long time. As a person who is deeply interested in Nietzsche, van den Assem devoted the last 30 years of her life to studying the teachings of the scientist. Her work was recently published in a book called “Seelenbriefe”.

Talking to van den Assem is a cleansing experience; she, unlike others, really listens to what you have to say and isn’t afraid to share her own experiences with you, basically, this is all you need to keep a conversation going for a long time.

Then, at 8 pm, Veldhuijzen van Zanten kicked off the The Next Web 2007 Awards show. The whole experience was great, especially because I got to accept an award that was actually destined for Wikipedia.

Jimbo, apparently, could not make it to the show, so they picked the next best guy, me (make sure to click on that link, it really is worth it!).

After a great Awards show, the real after-party started, but I will let the photographs speak for themselves.

All in all, The Next Web 2007 was as great as the 2006 edition, if not even greater. I learned a lot, met a lot of interesting people and had an awesome time.

Once again, congratulations Boris (and crew) for managing to set up something as kick-ass as this.

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tools of the trade

posted in College on August 28th, 2006

As a student, I find that I have little time and loads of work to do, so I like to streamline my workflow. Part of that streamlining process is my hub to the digital world - my Tablet PC, a pimped out Toshiba Tecra M4 running the latest Windows Vista build.

I strongly believe in the formfactor of Tablet PCs and I expect them to be the standard amongst students in about 5 years - well, I hope so anyway and if prices go down, that might just happen.

Financial issues aside, I know that I’ve had a better learning experience last year because of my Tablet PC. Thanks to applications like Microsoft OneNote 2007 (currently in beta testing), I’m able to take notes during classes. I don’t have to worry about bringing the right set of pens or markers with me, OneNote 2007 (and 2003 too, naturally) has it all. Other great features include the ability to transform ink into text (which tends to work even with my chicken scribble) or enhance an image to make the text inside that image (!) searchable. And if you’re too lazy to write yourself, just take audio notes and listen to the session at your earliest convenience. Feel like sharing your notes? Just export to a PDF and share it with any Windows or Mac user.

Apart from OneNote 2007, I also strongly depend on Outlook 2007, which basically handles my day. Once it’s sync’ed with my Smartphone, I can always see which class is coming up next and where I ought to be. Doesn’t get much easier than that.

No matter what you study nowadays, chances are that you’re gonna use the internet. A good browsing experience is key and as such, I prefer to use Firefox. I don’t dislike Internet Explorer or anything, I’m just a lot more satisfied with the features Firefox offers me.

Studying is no fun if you can’t socialize and since everyone prefers to use a different network (be it MSN, ICQ, Y!, AOL or Skype), I went with Trillian a few years ago and haven’t looked back once. Trillian is truly the hub of my online life, showing me the information I need (Wikipedia integration, information about Timezones for people from abroad) and enabling me to chat without being annoyed by ads about dating sites or car insurance policies.

Apart from those four, there’s also Adode Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Flash, as well as Photoshop and Illustrator. Couldn’t live without any of those really, but the first four, I believe should be installed on any student PC - that is, if you’re serious about getting good grades.

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