Geek picnic and geek in the park

picnic

So to clear things up before things get confusing. I have been planning a geekpicnic for the last month and totally independant of my thoughts the great guys at multipack came up with a simlar idea called geek in the park. But to be honest, its nothing new, I've been thinking about a geekcamp for a good part of a year and there has been geekbbq's for a while now. By the way, the next one is next week Saturday (Saturday 5th August). So what I'm saying is that Geek Picnic (named to be confirmed) and Geek in the Park are not the same and are aware of each other.

So whats up with the date? Well I searched for stuff which is happening in August. The first major free festival is the Notting Hill Carnival is on Aug 27-28th. There's stuff happening on the weekend of the 19th August including the V Festivial, Secret garden party and others. While on the August 26th there is only South West Four and Creamfields which are both pay only event for ravers (I guess I'm over the hill now). Now there is a BBC Prom but I don't think I need to worry about it too much because there's one almost everyday during August. I also had a flick through Craigslist event calendar and Jigsawuk but there pretty quite for August right now.. So generally the 5th and 12th are maybe too soon and I'm not sure about the 19th. But the 26th August looks great except the weather looks to be not so hot.

More to come… More about the Venue and what will happen on the day…

So whats the deal with the speaker? Well there wasn't going to be one… I was actually planning to pull up a couple of the people who will be there and ask them nicely to speak about their passion. Generally the day would be a chance to just chill out with likeminded people and enjoy the sun and food. Depending on the choice of park we could have a BBQ which I would prefer, as it would be a focus point and at least a common talking point. We could have some music from a battery run device and therefore a microphone and amp setup if needed.

Where will the venue be? Like everything I've been thinking about this a lot too. Ideal it would be Hyde Park, which everyone can get to or even Regents Park. But both don't allow you to BBQ. So looking around I could suggest a whole range of other small parks around Holburn, Euston, etc. But they also don't allow BBQ's either. Battersea looks good but I'm unsure about BBQing. You will also notice I'm starting to work my way out of central London which always causes arguements, but I know for a fact Clapham Common and Wimbledon Park both allow BBQ's.

Talking to Sarah (my wife), she seems to think there's no point in doing the BBQ part. Keep it simple and just have a cooperative picnic in somewhere central London seems to be the message. And maybe shes right specially after the geekBBQ which is happening on the same month. So it looks like somewhere in Hyde Park will be fine.

So in summary, It will be a geek picnic in Hyde Park and should happen around 26th August. I'll write it up fully tomorrow and stick it on the geekdinner website.

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Dabbler, at last someones adding distributed to the mix

Dabble beta

At long last dabble has added distributed back into the mix. Dabble can be thought of yet another video hosting service but actually you would be overlooking its main feature. Its more like del.icio.us than anything else. Simply put its a bookmarking service for online video. So no matter where your video sits, google video, archive.org, youtube or even on your own site, you can bookmark it and share it with anyone via dabbler.

In the usual style you can also add tags and create playlists for other people and friends. Its such a simple idea and although dabble is very rough around the edges, I can see myself using this a lot. I actually rememeber this type of service being applied to Podcasts but it was so simple and clever, it actually is a shame it doesn't do audio too.

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Calendaring, oh the fun…

This is a post while listing to the Inside the net podcast titled Calendar Swamp. Leo and Amber interview Scott Mace about the current state of Calendaring and more importantly will we ever get close to interoperability.

So generally Scott offerss some useful tips but doesn't quite have the ideal solution quite yet. Now I'm not saying I do either but I thought I'd outline my current setup which is messy but kinda works.

My calendaring setup

So generally I use Plaxo to sync between all my outlook running machines. It does a good job if you disable some of the things which could be seen as spyware. I also run Thuderbird for my email and have the Thunderbird Plaxo extension simply so my Thunderbird address book is pretty up to date. But I don't sync Thunderbird that much, unlike my outlooks which I sync pretty much everyday for all my contacts, calendar, tasks and notes. I'm still using the free version of Plaxo but I'm going to try the paid for version to see how I like it. The Mobile phone syncs with the desktop PC via Activesync. If Activesync would sync with more than two computers, I would sync it with my laptop which I have done in the past. You will also notice I'm now using Outlook 2007 beta on my laptop, mainly to test the iCalendar, which at the moment I'm not impressed with at all. I did for a while have the Mozilla Sunbird application running and connected to Google Calendar but I didn't use it enought really. The last thing about my arrangment is WebIS mobile sync which is a Windows Mobile Application which syncs directly with Plaxo. Its not free and only syncs contacts at the moment but there waiting for Plaxo to open up the calendar, tasks, etc api's then the price will jump from 12 dollars to 20 dollars. So I'm going to try it out for 30days and maybe disable contacts activesync's contact ability.

So its not a bad setup and things do work but I want to say I've not found a way to fit in Eventful and Upcoming yet. I'm also interested to see how Google calendar does against 30boxes and the new Plaxo web calendar.

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del.icio.us vs. emailing

Michah Dubirko wrote this entry titled del.icio.us, blogging a while ago. I would take it slightly differently, and compare it to email. Since Del.icio.us applied the feature to send friends bookmarks to their bookmark inbox I've been really tempted to stop sending email too but I don't know if friends are getting them or not?

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The Orange project revealed

Tom sent me a link to the guardian article titled Public get to star in Orange ads. It outlines exactly what the Orange project was about. Because of the registration I'll blockquote the important parts.

Orange has turned to Pop Idol-style auditions to find members of the public to appear in an advertising campaign, with the chosen “stars” encouraged to record footage to be put on websites such as YouTube.

Candidates for the ads, which launch on August 1, were found through a text message and press campaign asking for people to take part in the filming of “a secret project in a stunning location”.

The campaign will form the latest stage of the mobile operator's “Animals” campaign – featuring a raccoon, canary, dolphin and panther – with each designed to represent the usage habits of different types of customer.

People who responded to the ads were interviewed and divided into the each of the animal personality groups. For example, dolphins are fun-loving people like Cheryl Tweedy and Charlotte Church, while raccoons are more like Carol Vorderman or Gordon Ramsay.

The four groups of people will be given a Big Brother-style task and the ads will film the different ways they tackle them.

The campaign, created by the agency Mother London, will comprise one 60-second “introductory” commercial and four 30-second spots focusing on the performance of each animal group.

Orange is hoping the posting of “making of” clips by consumers online will drum up word-of-mouth publicity about the campaign.

The ads are being filmed in Spain.

And to be honest it all makes sense when you look at the questions they asked you for while signing up. But generally its a let down and I'm kind of glad I didnt get on it.

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BBC announcements

Rather than comment on what's going on in the BBC, I'll just outline some of the major points. If I feel brave later, I may care to comment.

  • BBC Knowledge, Entertainment, Fiction, Nations and Childrens will now be BBC Vision
  • There will be a new division which sits inside of BBC Vision to encorage Indies input
  • New media is now gone and will now be Future media and Technology (FMT)
  • Radio and Music will be platform netrual and will be come BBC Audio and Music
  • BBC News and Sports will be part of BBC Journalism
  • BBC Finance and BBC People will stay about the same
  • Audience and Marketing will be a core part of what we do everywhere.
  • Creative Digital Simple Open (CDSO)
  • If you don't respect the BBC values, maybe the BBC isn't the correct place for you.

Some observations about the Questions and Answers with Mark Thompson after his higher level speech.

Someone mentions there has always been a Radio and TV division since 1936, whats going on? Mark mentions iplayer, downloading content and talks about how under the divisions people are much more closely aligned. Mark hints at the Longtail of content and how that could inspire programme makers. Mark gets grilled about the 360 degree commisioning process and how it could be unfair to indies. Radio and Music drama could fit in Audio and Music or even Vision, Mark suggests they would sit in Audio and Music. Someone suggets iplayer is kind of dull but also offers a huge training issue which can not be ignored. Bouns are on the menu once again, Mark Thompson and Mark Byford talk about supporting 10% bouns (currently at 30%). Mark Thompson is challenged with a question about local independance and how everythings is heading towards centralisation, Mark mentions how we have 23 CMS to make content for the web. Someone ask Ashley Highfield (head of future media and technology) if the technologies should also learn tradional technology like Radio and TV, he agrees. Mark says the new BBC model will be transisional and that we need to be flexiable, envolve and change.

You can see the offical announcment here now

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Exclusive: London Girl Geek Dinner Short Film by Angela Saini of ITN

Sarah Blow beat me to this exclusive, so I'll just quote her.

The London Girl Geek Dinner short film has just been released.  Here is an exclusive first look at it prior to it going on FourDocs.  It was filmed about a month ago by Angela Saini of ITN who was just fantastic at both directing the video and setting everything up.  I hope you enjoy the video and feel free to let anyone else know about it! 

I hope to see other short video's and films from the girls over at BlogHer after the conference. /images/emoticons/happy.gif

The next London Girl Geek Dinner is to be announced at a later date… it is looking like some time around the end of August/ First week of September.  If you want to get updates of our next event feel free to join the mailing list on www.londongirlgeekdinners.co.uk or syndicate with the rss feed on the site!

PS: Many thanks to Angela for doing the film for us and for her support and also to Ian Forrester of www.geekdinners.co.uk for his ever constant support for the girly geek dinners!

Thanks Sarah! I've been sitting on this documentary from Angela for quite some time now. I think its a fantastic documentary and well worth everyone's time to watch. I'm now interested to see what conversation develops following the documentary. You can also now watch get the documentary in Windows Media and Quicktime formats here.

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Rocketboom 2.0 with Joanne Colan

Tomatoes
Stowe Boyd, sums up exactly what I think of Rocketboom 2.0 Daily With Joanne Colan.

Well, they were able to get off a credible start to Rocketboom 2.0, with Joanne Colan as the Anchor 2.0. She's doing a good job, but its not the same show for me.

Note that she refers to herself as the interim anchor, after ducking all the tomatoes.

Although seeing the bit with Baron seemingly driven mad was pretty funny.

Rocketboom was one of the few video shows that I actually turned to frequently, and it had grown on me. Just like I don't think the Daily Show would be the same without Jon Stewart, I feel the same about Amanda and Rocketboom 1.0.

Tiki bar friday?

I would also add one more thing. What the heck was this weeks casual Friday videocast about? I also didn't catch the whole Amber Mac meme being the next Rocketboom host. That would have been weird but you know what could have actually worked. Amber certainly has her style and its very different from Amanda.

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The new Odeon website

Odeon logo

Something I've been meaning to blog for ages. Finally Odeon the big UK cinema chain has sorted out its terriable website. See its been under a lot of pressure because it was built in like 97 when no one took seriously the issue of accessibility. It had this weird dhtml menu system which only worked on IE and not even Firefox. Someone did make them an accessible version but then Odeon sent in the lawyers and got him to shut it down. Later that year, they opened up an accessable section which didn't work once you wanted to order a ticket. So as they relaunched they have made it so you can actually book without some crazy javascript. However there is one complaint that I do have. The default option is Flash for booking tickets, this really needs changing to something like ajax.

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Street installations

This artist has created fake people and animals, placing them all over Washington DC and New York

I think of it as one step beyond the graffiti of the streets. Mark Jenkins has set a range of installations on the streets of Washington DC and New York. The installations are odd to say the least, but you can imagine what kind of react they get from passer-by. But don't worry, you don't need to imagine it, there's tons of videos with reactions on his Notes from the Underground site. Oh by the way, this was nicely found via Digg.com.

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SVG support in IE 7.2?

Don't know how I missed this in my aggregator but…

Microsoft publicly stated IE will have core engine support for SVG in IE7.x (most likely 7.2)

Honestly, I like to think this will happen, but I got a feeling there will be a clause. Something like support for SVG only works when using a XAML wrapper. Or you will need to enable it in the preferences somewhere.

But then worst that what I just wrote, it seems Microsofts Chris Wilson is stating that the above claim is bogus.

Actually, I did not state that IE7.X will have SVG support. I did say that I think SVG is gaining momentum as part of the interoperable web standards platform, and as such I expect we will add support for it in the future.

As for β€œIE7.2β€³ – I have not heard anyone inside or outside Microsoft say that, certainly not me. It’s a myth.

On the positive side, if Microsoft did some how suprise us all with SVG support, they would be joining the 2D vector graphics party. Firefox had SVG support ages ago now, Opera 9 just launched with even better SVG support and Safari Dev, Konqueror, Seamonkey, Camino and Amaya all have different levels of support for SVG.

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Geek and Geekhag podcast number eleven – The Experience

Me and Sarah discuss a few things in this 1 hour podcast. Some things I've talked about in previous blog entries and others are quite new.

  • Xbox 360 hacked?
  • Sanyo HD Camcorder
  • Movie Piracy
  • Its the experience that counts
  • Snakes on the plane
  • Don't copy that floppy
  • Geekdinner
  • Rocketboom
  • Police with guns
  • Sarahs now British

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Orange are up to something…

The Orange Project

Recieved a email from Orange the other day. All it said was…

We’re creating an something. Something secret. Something big. if you’re interested, click here

This leads to a page with the following details.

On July 17, 18, and 19 we'll be working on a unique project at a secret foreign location and would love your help. You will work as part of a team constructing an amazing installation in a stunning landscape. You'll be expected to get your hands dirty – but don't worry, you don't need specialist skills, enthusiasm is enough. The whole thing will be filmed and broadcast on national television, as well as reaching an international audience on the internet.

If you'd like the chance to be selected for the casting session, which takes place on Wednesday 12 July in London, and to be part of filming this amazing experience, click on the 'next' button below.

This opportunity is available to anyone over 18. You must have a have a valid passport, be free from 16 to 20 July and be willing to pay for your travel to the casting session in London.

If you are chosen for the final project then we'll be paying for you to fly abroad to our secret (European) location and we'll put you up in a hotel. However, you'll have to pay for your travel to Gatwick Airport.

Entry form closes at midday 10 July.

And curiousity may have killed the cat, but I've signed up deciding that I can drop out at anytime if I really wanted to. Anyway, I'll have my camera to hand if I do get invited to the casting session this Wednesday. Oh and for those interested, I signed up as a self-confessed work-a-holic.

update I got my orange email today saying I was not selected for the orange project. Oh well, I'm sure it was something very naff anyway.

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Unboomed, Rocketboom split before hitting the mainstream

I've not really mentioned the rocketboom split, I only found out when I noticed nothing was not being downloaded since the start of July. So I checked out the site and read the announcement

Amanda Congdon has decided to move to L.A. to pursue opportunities that have arisen for her in Hollywood.

We wanted to meet her demands to move production out to L.A., however, we are a small company and have not been able to figure out a way to make it work, financially and in many other ways at this time. While we continue to remain with open arms, Amanda has in fact quit and left Rocketboom. So sadly, we bid Amanda adieu and wish her all the best.

Rocketboom goes on.

Andrew Baron, the founder and creator of Rocketboom, will stay with the company in New York and will continue to produce and direct the show. We are in the daunting process of recruiting a replacement for Amanda.

While Amanda will be sorely missed, we have big plans for Rocketboom and are determined to make the show better than ever.

After Field Week and a week on hiatus, we know that you are hungry for the news! Rocketboom will be back with a news episode and an interim host this MONDAY, JULY 10.

But of course I followed a selection of links from the blogosphere and hit across a selection of, well lets say views and insights. Bear in mind that at the time Technorati's number one search was Rocketboom and sixth Amanda Congdon. First up this great thought from Tom

Amanda Congdon teams up with Cory Doctorow and friends and produces BoingBoingBoom? Quick, someone with a fashionable blog, write about it and tell Nick Douglas – it's a meme-in-waiting!

According to the huffingtonpost Joanna Colan is going to replace Amanda.

And of course before long, a link to Amanda's unboomed site and the now famous upside down map videocan also be found here). Its also worth reading in full Amanda's for the record post and the 180+ comments.

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Last nights geekdinner with Chris Anderson

 Chris talking to Dedrie, Rachel and Chris

Well I'm still pretty speechless about yesterday's Geekdinner with Chris Anderson. Not only was it the most popular geekdinner I've done to date (between 80-90 people came along, not including the @media social) but it was also the most stressful in a good way. Before I go into details, I would like to say thank you to Dr Jo Twist, Rina Gill, Nizam Shaikh and of course Chris Anderson.

What made the geekdinner stressful was the amount of time between announcement of the event and the actual event, which was a total of 7 days. I found a venue the Bottlescrue on Holburn Viaduct which allowed me to have the back room free on a Friday night. The room held about 40-50 people maximum, but there was space outside of the room for overspill. This was great because according to the signups on Wednesday it looked like we may get about 35 people. (The maths I usually do according to most other geekdinners I've done is, take the signup half them and add a few more.) Well this time my maths was badly wrong. Almost everyone who signed up, came along and then some. So we quickly ran out of food. So half way through the night just before Chris talked, I pleaded with the manager to buy more food. And in the end all the extra cash went straight back into more food. Honestly, ask Nizam, we bought everything they had. Nothing was left after the geekdinner, no chips, no pittabread, no crisps, no nothing. So big cheers to the Bottlescrue for doing everything they could and coping under the massive pressure. I'm sure there profits for the night went through the roof. I'm also glad I didn't have to run to tesco and buy tons of stuff.

The only other negative for the night which was also related to the huge crowd of people who turned up, was the move to outside. Outside was fantatstic and the London summer air was warm and inviting. But it also meant traffic and noise from the street. When it came time for Chris to talk, he was always fighting against the background noise of the street and general bar area. I positioned him where I thought it might be best, aka noise behind the crowd but there were so many people it was hard for Chris to shout that loud. I'm very sorry to everyone who were around the fringes who found it very hard to hear him. If we were inside it would be very different and usually at geekdinners, I have a microphone and PA system setup. Oh and for the record, I did try and rent one from work, but they wouldn't let me take it out of the building. So I might have to invest a cheap one from ebay or something.

Ok finally on to the positive and frankly amazing night of fun the geekdinner was yesterday. Chris was on top form, I was worried because Rina did say he had just done 3 talks that day and was slightly tired but was very much up for the geekdinner. Actually talking to Chris briefly, he said he was actually look forward to the geekdinner more than anything else, simply because it was his type of thing. Who could say no to Beer, food and good conversation in a nice London bar during Summer? Anyway he was a little concerned about projecting his voice when he finally got to the venue but was happy to hang out and speak to people after a 45min Q and A. So while the food was being consumed quickly, I hit two glass bottles together and got the talk going.

Now I didn't record the whole thing but Kosso did. So as soon as he uploads the video, I'll link to it. I did however start to record the question and answers. And will have them up soon. As usual there are tons of photos by myself being uploaded to Flickr using the tags londongeekdinner and geekdinner.

I was highly impressed with the amount of new people who turned up and I have to say the percentage of women to men wasn't that bad either.

Thanks again to everyone who came, I'm planning the next one with someone from Amazon for late July. So keep your eyes on the geekdinner site for announcements.

The videos from yesterday are now up.. There a quarter of the size and encoded in Mpeg4. Quicktime and VLC will play it back no real problem.

Chris talks about wired's advertising problem
Chris Anderson on the Long Tail – 4meg

Ask the first question
Chirs Anderson starting the question and answers – 31.8meg

Chris disagrees on Net Netrailty
Chris Anderson on Net Netrality – 13.7meg

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