What next for London geekdinners?

Geek girl

I was reading Sarah Blow's summary of the girl geekdinner which happened on the same day as the first werewolf night (shame on you Sarah). Anyway, a quick quote from her entry

If anyone has feedback on the event who turned up then please feel free to give feedback here or on the wiki pages: http://londongirlgeekdinner.pbwiki.com/Ideas
If you would like to suggest a speaker, subject etc then feel free to do so here: http://londongirlgeekdinner.pbwiki.com/SpeakerRequests

I've been meaning to do a simular thing for quite some time to geekdinners. People do suggest guests to me and to be fair I'm not very good at following up. This is usually the case when I don't know the guest well. But that level of tranparency would allow the geekdinner community to take things upon themsleves. I see this as a good thing.

Now I don't know what Sarah said in her speech but I'm guessing she may have mentioned turing london girl geekdinners into a charity? If not, I'm sorry Sarah. But we did talk about it a while ago and I'm sure she won't mind me mentioning it now (i hope).

Why would girl geekdinners and geekdinners benefit from being a charity or non-profit? Well I think it makes perfect sense. At the moment its the work of Sarah Blow on the girl side and myself on the other side. This means it relies on the time and effort of one person. This is cool, but what happens if that one person is too busy, on holiday or I hope not dies. This could mean geekdinners would die or slowly die. Someone might pick it up, like I did with geekdinners but should things be left to chance? Specially with the traction it might have already?

From another point of view what if the person who runs the geekdinner starts to abuse the name? spoils it for the community and other geekdinners? Yes you don't have to be a non-profit or charity to deal with this problem but its at the core of geekdinners is something which I and Sarah think is important. What that is, is difficult to put in words. I guess but its something to do with the next generation and geek culture.

Sarah in her entry titled Techcrunch launch and Girlgeekdinners said this…

The idea of the girl geek dinners was to get the girls/ women feeling happier in a social tech environment and not worry about being the only female there… I was also hoping that by providing a way of getting people to meet each other that they would arrange to meet at such events having been to a girl geek dinner. I hope that this trend continues and that it really does help to bring more females into the industry and for those in the industry to not feel like they are the only ones out there!

So I would say the geekdinners are about self described geeks sharing there passion for what they love in a social environment without the worry of having to tone down their passion.

I heard this great little piece from Alex Lindsey on This week in media recently (had to link to mp3 because flash player doesn't like the sampling rate). The point of the quote is that I never mention geek being linked to technology. Geeks are people who are really into what there into, know the subject/item/thing inside out and would happily talk about it. Geek culture is on the rise and I personally believe this is a good thing.

Geekdinner embodies this rise and says, hey – its all good, go out and socialise too. There should be geekdinners appearing all over the country. Yes Meetup.com is a perfect example. Everyday across the world there is knitting, design, cooking, drinking, etc meetups. But Meetup.com is a commercial company and they want everything to happen on there domain. Geekdinner should or could be the open source version of Meetup.com. Technically how that would happen I have some thoughts but generally yes meetup.com is certainly a good level to aim for. And you know what its not going to get there with a few people doing it off there own back. It needs to be self-supporting. I think thats the key thing about it being the status of charity or non-profit foundation.

More people and companies will feel comfitable helping out knowing its money, time, hard work is going to something bigger than one person. For example, being a non-profit we could finally sort out a wiki. Mayeb have one which everyone could use without the fear of it being owned by one person. Domain names could be paid for owned by the geekdinner charity instead of one person who could sell the domain on for tons of money once it gets big. Not that Nick would do that of course. But you know what I mean. I've also had plenty of offers to help out with geekdinners and this is great but if it was a charity, people could really help out

Anyway, as I said before, it looks like Geekdinners will follow London girl geekdinners into this one if Sarah chooses to go that way.

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My BBC talk at Ravensbourne College


So on Tuesday afternoon, I gave a lecture at Ravensbourne College to a mix of interaction design, broadcast and graphic design students. John told me, it just needed to be inspiring. So I was torn between my day job at BBC Backstage and things I think about daily. So I started with my presentation about what is backstage. I got to the 3rd slide before the whole lecture turned into a dynamic conversation about the BBC. It was fantastic, the students and staff wanted to know where the BBC was going in the future. Along that path we explorered the questions of advertising on the BBC's international facing website and the Microsoft BBC agreement. Miles did say this

I did find myself reminded of John Battelle's description of AltaVista as it was fucked over by DEC (just prior to the sale to Compaq): “a mammal chained to a dinosaur more likely than not will get trampled.

While I don't know the details of the agreement, there were lots of thoughts and worries about the future of non-DRM content coming out of the BBC. Someone mentioned Dirac and asked whats happened to that? There was also a serious debate about why we didn't write our own DRM? The suggestion was that DRM in understandable if we can't make up our mind between DRM and NoDRM at this point. And you know what thats actually a good question, even if we internally couldn't build it. Maybe someone else could have from a netrual position. I've heard good things about Open Source DRM but not seen any marjor adopters. This would be an ideal project for the BBC to trial. Hey maybe even a Backstage Project? Someone (i think miles) did ask what would happen if someone today created a videoplayer which looks and feels like the BBC player which is being worked on? I said we would certainly be interested in it from a prototype point of view and if it was that good, who knows what might happen.

Although most of this could sound like BBC bashing, it was far from that. It was concerned people wanting to understand why certain choices were being made without them and wondering what they could do to make sure the BBC values lives on in some form into the future.

For any students who might be reading, I uploaded the raw html from the cache of my desktop RSS reader. I hope to clean it up a little more in the near future.

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What is google up to?

Googlemail mobile

What is google up to? That seems to be the question on a lot of peoples lips. A while ago they did a deal with Sony, then bought YouTube with stock (this is the intimate details link). Not long ago Jotspot was bought by Google and now Google have launched there mobile gmail service. Its not that amazing, Plaxo has offered the same kind of service for quite some time but alas only for there paying users. However its going to be secure and free for anyone who has a Gmail account. Its a bit of a bum deal if you live outside north america and don't have a all you can reasonably eat data plan. But as the taoofmac describes, this could be the email for the masses. Once they start pushing calendar, contacts, etc through that same gateway, it will be even more useful. I hate to say it but this is what Plaxo do right now.

Generally Google is doing the loosey joined pieces pretty well. You can certainly see how everything will fit together in the future but right now, there very keen to just develop the pieces. There pieces are not always cutting edge and best of breed but there getting traction and gaining users.

Cheers Miles for a lot of the links.

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