Forest: A Productivity App

My endless fascination with productivity and apps to improve my productivity has led me to Forest. That is in its essence a rather simple app. You plant a tree, by not using your phone for a set amount of minutes, in which you do work. It feels like a Pomodoro but it helps with distractions as well.

I rather like the idea and started to experiment a bit. My biggest issue so far was that, when the app was running on my phone, I could still procrastinate on my computer. No longer as I have found that there is an extension for Chrome as well.


Coffee & Music

My favourite way to do deep work is the combination of coffee and instrumental music. I currently listen a lot to the Soundtrack of Coffee Talk, an excellent Virtual Novel. Below you can find the playlist on Apple Music. Enjoy!


AI & Health

My day job involves thinking about and researching the way IT and healthcare can be combined. Within that field, AI is an interesting tool where we see a lot of development lately.

A very recent development is the news about AI being used in South-Korea to fight COVID-19.

While this article mainly focuses on the positive, there are others that look less favourably at the way this is progressing. I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. As a security officer for my employer, focussing on information security in our healthcare organisation, I am inclined to view developments like this with healthy scepticism. However, I can’t deny that AI can be very helpful to quickly look through enormous amounts of data (which in its essence is what is being done here).

I don’t claim to have all the answers, I will follow this with a lot of interest, both personally and professionally and hope to see results from this experiment in the near future.

CategoriesCodingPersonal DevelopmentWork

Why I am Learning to Code

In my daily work, coding plays little part. As a consultant, I mainly spend my time researching solutions, planning their implementation and making sure “my” users get as many tools as I can give them to make the transition to that new solution. (Yes, this is a very brief summary of my work)

I might at times be part of the team that designs the software, but I tend to steer away from built-to-order software whenever I can. In my line of work, I can almost every time find software that helps my client do what needs to be done without resorting to developing custom software. Aside from the occational custom connection, that is.

And that is right for my current line of work. In the Netherlands there are multiple tools available for most of the tasks municipalities deal with. The ultimate choice depends mainly on the use-case and the larger view of the information architecture in that particular organisation.

So, why would I want to learn to code then? Excellent question! There are several reasons for that.

Because I want to

I don’t want to sound like a petulant child. But there is something to say for the very simple reason of learning something because you feel like it. I want to learn how to code, so I proceed to do so. I feel this is the prime motivation behind my desire. I like to learn new things.

Because it helps me in my work

In my opinion a good consultant should broaden his horizons as much as possible. In my work for municipalities I did that by going towards other departments and talk with the people there about their jobs. Not only in relation to my own, but to get a broad sense of what people were doing.

And it helps. Knowing why people need a new tool helps me find the best option for them. Just knowing that the wish exists is not enough. Seeing what issues arise from the current tool does.

And I think that learning to code is able to help me pinpoint the issues people have. Not because the actual act of programming is helpful in that, but because the way of thinking and applying logic can be used on people like it is used on code.

It helps me communicate

In my work often talk to tech people. Either because I need their help, or to act as a go-between with tech on the one side and the end-user on the other.

To do this properly, I believe I should know a bit about the tech side of things. I know that tech is much broader than just programming, but it is the biggest hiatus in my knowledge I have identified so it is the first I want to fix.

Coding improves creativity

I solve problems for a living. And while I often can fall back on established practices, at times a more creative approach is needed. And I think coding will help me to spark that creativity.

Besides that, coding can be a creative tool in itself as well. I have some ideas for little side-projects that might solidify as my coding journey continues.