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Lights on: 1 Week and 3 Events That Filled Me With Hope

It’s Sunday. I finally got the chance to sleep in a bit. In just a week, I was lucky to participate in three amazing events that were started up by three amazing tech/startup communities. It’s probably not something that will be heavily featured in the news, what with the game of political thrones going on and the weather going crazy on us. But at least I can dedicate a few lines on my blog to these wonderful little things that are happening all around us and might even end up being more significant for our future than the latest puppet occupying the throne.

Europe Code Week: Why I Want to See Every European Learn More About How Technology Works

At this year’s Digital Assembly, me and my fellow Neelie Kroes’ Young Advisors were challenged to pick a common theme to work on. One suggestion was to focus on providing every young European with opportunities to start learning coding. Out of this suggestion, Europe Code Week was born over summer.

The key idea is to have one week, November 25 - 30, dedicated to promoting coding all over Europe. By doing this, we hope to put existing initiatives like Rails Girls, CoderDojos and more on the map, spread best practices and encourage more initiatives to be started. The initiative was officially announced three weeks ago by Neelie Kroes on her blog.

The amazing Coding Map of Europe

And I must say I’m completely blown away by the response! Especially by what’s going on in Croatia and Ireland, both countries where we have a teacher ambassador. Coincidence? Don’t think so!

In Croatia, Ivana Ružić, an informatics teacher, managed to get over 800 students and teachers involved in 16 #codeEU events all over the country in a very short time. In Ireland, Young Advisor Julie Cullen, rallied up the CoderDojo community and over 200 Irish organization and even managed to promote Code Week at the Web Summit, Europe’s biggest tech conference!

Safer Internet Forum: Lessons Learned and Observations From an Outsider

A while ago, I was invited to join the Safer Internet Forum as a speaker. Huh, me? I am aware of various safer internet initiatives aimed at children, but as I neither have kids nor work with kids, it’s not really something I think about often. Especially because I imagine I can keep myself relatively safe online.

Still, they insisted I was the right candidate for their panel on youth innovation and creativity. The panel, skillfully led by Ollie Bray (his school has 3D printers!), also featured 14 year old Nina, who has big plans for her privacy related apps, and Albert, a 16 years old security wizard and consultant. Both Nina and Albert really give me hope for the future of Europe. They are what the media should be talking about, not the latest Miley scandal.

My Grandma Is Now Online

I spoke to my grandma over the phone yesterday. When I called, she was just “behind the computer”. I know she’s been taking a computer class at her local center for senior citizens for a while now. But I never expected her to show so much determination and to keep at it. Well, yesterday I was proven wrong when I asked how she was doing and she excitedly told me all about how she now uses a PC every day.

The ABC of Promoting Your Programming Workshops in a Woman Aka Human Friendly Way

You might have noticed that I’m getting increasingly fed up with the lack of women in IT. It’s a fun, exciting, creative and increasingly influential industry, so why does the majority of my half of the population still feel like they don’t belong in this world?

Well, I’ve found some good answers to this question this week. And I’ve got some tips for those who wonder why women aren’t applying to their super awesome coding workshops.

Entering the Digital Playing Field as One, Big European Team

The past few months have been a crazy roller coaster ride for me. A new job at a cool hardware startup that is trying to improve indoor living (on top of my usual blogging about mobile tech, encouraging Rails Girls, running and what not), and I’ve just returned from the amazing Dublin, where I’ve attended this year’s Digital Agenda Assembly as a member of the Young Advisor Expert Group. As with our previous meeting, the best part of the event was meeting up with other advisors, digital champions, all the amazing people at DG Connect, including the unstoppable Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, and many other wonderful people from across Europe.

You can get an overview of how Europe is moving towards a digital future in the video recording of the main #DA13 keynote speeches. For a quick update, you can also take a look at the Digital Agenda Scoreboard below.

Dear government(s), we are running out of time!

While a lot of indicators are moving in the right direction, it is clear that we have a lot of gaps to fill. At the #da13, I was missing more concrete action plans by EU member states on how exactly are we going to do that. And while Neelie Kroes and her team are doing a great job promoting the necessity of a digital single market in Europe, I was taken aback by how local government representatives still think this is something that shouldn’t be rushed. “What’s the hurry? Let’s take it easy. One thing at a time.”

Seriously? I tell you what the hurry is. We (Europe) are in a big danger of being left behind. While I love the different traditions and cultures in Europe, we cannot afford to stick to the traditional (aka painfully slow) ways of doing things if we want to create a competitive digital market in which new ideas and technologies will flourish.

500 Days of Writing 750 Words Each Day

I already blogged about why I write at least 750 words each day when I reached one straight year of regular writing. Today I’m celebrating another milestone: 500 days of interrupted writing. In other words: I’ve just added a Space Bird, the ultimate streak badge you can earn, to my collection!

That makes me quite happy, but also opens a couple of questions. Where to next? Should I continue writing? Try to keep increasing my streak, see how far I can take it?