Tag Archives: meetup

The first Manchester Quantified Self Meetup

Life logging

I can happily tell the world that Manchester’s first Quantified Self Meetup will be Friday 5th July at MadLab.

Madlab will update their calendar real soon but you can sign up using Meetup.com for free.

I will be giving a talk about my work time, foodfeed.us blog and fitbit to kick start discussions. Of course we’re looking for other speakers to join me and talk about there own experiences in quantified self.

When:
Friday, July 5, 2013 – 6:30 – 8:30PM
Where:
Mad Lab: 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester, United Kingdom

Details:
Manchester QS meetup consists of Show & Tell where people present or simply talk for 10-15 mins about their experience and experiments with self-tracking, quantifying and self-hacking whether it involves devices, applications or not.

This part lasts till about 8:30pm. We then move next door to Terrance or Common, which is an essential and integral part of the meetup, as important as the first part the ‘Show & Tell’. If you can join us, I encourage you to do so. Not only it’s always good fun, the conversations are equally interesting.

Getting people together is what I do

And out came the shots

I seem to be a connector…

I have identified there is something in me which gets excited about getting people together. Its almost like my brain releases extra dopamine at the notion of getting people together.

Recently I’ve been made the social committee chair for my flats (islington wharf). Well I kind of made myself it really. But so far we’ve had one drinking meeting and 2 dinners (last friday dining club). The last one was just last Friday and it was good fun for everyone. 12 strangers around a dinner table made for 8 in the northern quarter on Friday night.

On the way back on Friday night, I walked home with Brian and in my slightly drunken (well only really slightly tipsy) state started to talk about my role in the islington wharf community.

I felt my role was as a connector.

When I first moved to London, I knew no one and lived out in deepest south London (Thornton Heath) with my cousins and aunt. After about 2 years while at college at Ravensbourne Design College, I started to get to know more people via my jobs in Central London and of course the college its self. But it wasn’t till about 3 years in London that things really started happening.

I attended in the early days meetups across London and had so-so success with them (best one was when I met Lucas, who I’m still friends with today). Then I attended a few blogger meetups including one where I met lovely people such as Suw Anderson-Charman. Anyway at some point I attended a geekdinner and was intrigued by the simplicity of it. So when I arranged with Tim O’reilly to come to the BBC, it made sense to throw a geekdinner for him too. At that point was my first go at social organization. The rest is pretty much history but you can read a good account of the geekdinners events in over 5 years of blog entries [1][2][3][4].

During the geekdinners I got mixed up with BarCamp via Ben Metcalfe. Once again you can read all about those in blog entries over the years [1][2]. I built a large body of friends who I could go out with almost any time because at least one or so of them would be out doing something at some point during the week.

But then of course I moved to Manchester.

I moved early which meant I didn’t really know many people, in actual fact I only got to know people who had come to previous barcamps I had run. Then I got to know friends of friends, not many but a few. But generally I was alone like I was in London when I first moved there.

Now I feel after almost 4 years in Manchester and its been a struggle I grant you that but I think finally its starting to click…

Theres something in me which kind of thrives on building communities and connecting people.

When I moved in to Islington Wharf, there was a promise of a community and to be fair there was something but I can hardly call it a community. So rather that sit there and moan about it, something in me grabs the opportunity to make things better for myself and everyone else whos not willing to do something about it. My first party which was attended by only a few people but I did knock on every single door on my level and the level above and below. Most people haven’t even knocked on there neighbors door!

Later I arranged a halloween party which was a lot more successful and afterwards kicked off a whole range of parties and friendships. Another idea later was to start a last Friday dining club. Someone elses idea but executed by myself… I’m also flirting with the idea of setting up a cinema club but to be fair I’m putting it on hold since someones already started one. I got a feeling Ben might need some help with it and I’m not certain of the format (but I’ll reserve comment till I go along).

So what is it about me? I just don’t know… But I won’t stop and I’ll be doing what others won’t.

One of the meetup features I miss

Meetup

I will be first to admit that Meetup.com has some good features, but since they started charging the group origaniser it seems like there has been a move away from its system. The problem is where do you move to? Eventful and Upcoming are my prefered services but there are things like Zevents also. However all of them don't quite have all the features of meetup.

One of the features which I miss from Meetup is the ability to print out signs to attract people to the event when your at the actual venue. Last nights London Blogger's meetup was a small affair but attracted some regulars to geekdinner but I also finally met Jo. Jo printed out the meetup sign and placed it on the long table in all bar one, soho. I certainly miss this.

So I've decide to build a XSL transform to generate one of these for Eventful events. My first thought was to transform the XHTML page which already has microformat data for the event.. But quickly realised that the page isn't XHTML at all, for example my next geekdinner event. So unless I cleaned up the HTML first using something like Jtidy first it seemed pointless. So I started looking at the RSS and ATOM feeds. And there is where I struck gold. In the ATOM feed there is everything you need and more. Unlike the RSS feed which is simple RSS 2.0 with A9 Opensearch and Yahoo Media RSS extentions, the ATOM feed has some google data extention. The schema links no where but contains the event dates, location and more. All defined in nice namespaced elements which means its easy to pull out the data needed for the XSL transformation. I was hoping to adapt the XSL to transform not only Eventful ATOM feeds but also upcoming events. But there syndication is either ical or some odd combined html/javascript yahoo or google export. Which really sucks because its not valid XHTML. I'll post my XSL one I'm done. But I'm also considering a XSL-FO transform instead of CSS and XSL. Although its tempting to use XSL 2.0, I 'm going to resist so people can download it and apply the XSL locally. Humm maybe a simple Greasemonkey script will make this even easier to apply to any eventful event.

So using Cocoon and a simple XSL, you can now see any event from Eventful in a design which can be printed out on a black and white printer and pinned up at the event or before the event. Its not quite the table things I was thinking about before, Instead its a useful A4 poster. To use the service? simply enter the eventful unique code into the url after http://cubicgarden.com/cocoon/eventful/poster/{eventful code}. So here's a list of test events.

Please note you need to view the print preview to actually see the correct poster, because I'm using two stylesheets one for print and another for the screen. Oh and the current XSL is here. Please modify it if you feel the need, its released under a creative commons licence.

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WikiWednesday in London

Wikiwednesday in London was a interesting affair. Its the first time I've ever been and I honestly can't remember how I found out about it. But about 12 people turned up and talked about everything web based. I know the theme for the evening was wikis but I don't think I spent much time talking about them past the intitial conversation with Shelia and a guy whos name which escapes me right now. Anyway before long more people turned up and we hooked up with the rest of the group which were already somewhere else in the bar. Like most events in London there was quite a bit of drinking, some snacks and a lot of good conversations. Before long people were leaving (about 9:30pm) which seemed a little early, but we all got work tomorrow.

Time for some name dropping I guess. Kathy and Nina for there fun and funky atitudes to geek culture. These women make any event so much more fun. I also learned that Kathy is actually from Bristol too, but sadly moved to the rivial city Bath (a very boring place for the young).I know the next geekdinner with Paul Boag is at a difficult time for quite a few people but Nina tried to convince me that I should change the date just for her alone. Nice try Nina, but you will be missed. A couple of stayed till the very end even after Ross Mayfield had left. Lars is one of those guys I've seen on wikis and blogs around the web but never met in person. Me and geez I'm bad with names talked about blogs, rss, aggregation and social networks for a while on the last lot of drinks. I can't remember this guy's name either but he works for Skype localisation and travels back and forth between Italy and England every 3 weeks. Although it sounds great, he admitted that its quite tiring and he never really gets to go out that much.

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Geek Dinner with Tim O’Reilly – Thursday 13th October

Tim O'Reilly



Geek dinner with Tim O'Reilly: Thursday October 13, at the Hogs Head, 11 Dering Street, Westminster, London

Tim O'Reilly is stopping over in London for a few days before the Euro OSCON conference.

The venue is the quiet and chilled out Hogs Head 11 Dering Street, near Oxford Street. We have the whole lower floor which seats up to 60 people and there is a nice cover charge of one pound for the finger buffet, which is payable on the door.

We have the downstairs bar from 7pm till 11pm. Tim is expected to get to the venue about 7:30pm and is looking forward to meeting London geeks and bloggers.

Lee has now changed the geekdinner.co.uk blog. So leave a comment here or on the geekdinner blog, if your interested in going.

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Geek Dinner is back with a bang

So yeah I hear Robert Scoble is back for another Geek Dinner on the 10th December via Ben's Blog. But I've got an announcement to say that I'm currently arranging with Tim O'reilly a geekdinner for thursday 13th October. I'm sure Tim will say yes and hopefully by the time I blog this, he would have agreed already. Lee Wilkins is fully aware of this and is stand by waiting for the final go from myself (just sent him the email).

Obviously he will also be doing some presentations and interviews around the BBC before. So if your a BBC member of staff working on the 13th October, try and keep your calendar clear on that day, so you can either attend a session in White City or Bush House with Tim. If your interested but have never heard Tim talk before, please check out this recommended podcast by Paul

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