The best parts of BarCampManchester6

BarCampManchester6

I had a blast at BarCampManchester6 last weekend. Thanks to Claire Dodd for putting on a good BarCamp, and what a great venue. The Autotrader office in First street,

It reminded me of the BarCampLondon’s where the venues were purpose build with actual meeting rooms, etc. BarCampManchester5 for example, although in a lovely venue (SpaceportX) lacked the polish of a purpose build office, so we needed to hire chairs and make spaces.

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However that BarCamp will go down in history for starting a number of things. Autotrader was a sponsor and I’m sure that contributed to the discussion about BarCampManchester6?

The other big one is Claire Dodd, who I will freely admit did a lot of the work on BarCampManchester5. Enough to decide to go for it herself – which to be fair is always my plan, hand it off to somebody who makes it their own. This came up in a session later, which I did with Claire about how to run a barcamp. Encouraging others to maybe consider it but also learn from two people who have some experience of doing so.

The BarCampManchester6 went smoothly and although it wasn’t a overnight barcamp, we played Werewolf till 2:30am. You can’t have a barcamp in the UK without Werewolf (I blame Simon Willson for importing werewolf into BarCampLondon1 9 years ago! Maybe I should add it to his wikipedia page?) There were 2 parallel games next to a showing of that cult classic film Hackers (1995! Yes 20years ago!)

I am gutted I didn’t have the guts to follow though on the last game. As the seer but also a lover, I should have gone for the win with my cupid lover but my lover was also the last werewolf. Somehow I convinced myself, the lover connection was too obvious and led the village to kill the werewolf.

Afterwards I skateboarded home kicking myself for not doing it (ok a little drink and skating might have been involved, but I took it carefully, avoiding the clubbers and students going to the warehouse project on store street)

BarCampManchester6

Some of the highlights for me included a few of my own talks.

After looking at the grid for a while, I decided I wanted to do a talk about a few thing, which other talks had touched on.¬† I came with the idea of doing a talk about neurodiversity but felt it wasn’t the right time or place, so substituted it for a talk about the richness of life, getting over rejection and how to be lucky.. Lifting out my own thoughts from blog posts I written a while ago. It was well attended and glad I picked a larger room rather than a small one. A few people commented they enjoyed it quite a bit as it was quite different from the other talks.

Over the first day quite a few people asked what happened to the diversity talk and I said it got rolled into my 2nd talk about being neurodiverse and living with dyslexia. This was much lower attended but there was a guy there who was also dyslexic and explained the coping mechanisms he uses along side my own.  It was heart felt, with me admitting maybe too much, except not the stuff I will one day talk about.

I followed up the day afterwards with a talk titled How to be interesting… Not many people came but those who did, were touched by the blogging one.

Start a blog and update it regularly!
blogging or sharing your thoughts are still very important and really helps when referring to points in arguments. Its still what I recommend to many people who ask me where to start. Like above, the interchange of ideas with other peoples thoughts will make you a more interesting person. Also make sure its regular, otherwise you will loose the momentum or build it up too big in your mind.

Katrina Patel, wrote about her view of my talk. Specially about the same point.

One of Ian‚Äôs points focused on a blog of his in particular ‚ÄėHow to be Interesting.‚Äô Now let‚Äôs focus on point 2. Start a blog and update it regularly!

I’ve dipped in an out of blogging in the past, but it seems that things didn’t work out. I asked Ian this, and it seems that it’s okay to blog about anything and everything.

Yes indeed, this blog is a mash of my own thoughts and ideas, if you can’t write what you really think about, it will always seem like a chore. Hopefully this will aid in Katrina’s personal brand by making her much more interesting. Good luck Katrina and thanks for the post, let many more flow soon.

BarCampManchester6

At some point of Sunday morning, a few of us got wrapped up in a discussion, while waiting for the BarCamp to start its 2nd day about Startup Culture (real unconference/lobbycon stuff). There was a frustration with the emphases on startup culture and its affect on Manchester’s digital scene.

I took this up into a discussion which pulled in my thoughts about needing more social and community focused startups. I felt the debate was quite balanced about the need for profit making startups but deadly against the silicon valley culture of endless profit and continuous growth. I quoted something from Paul Graham about needing to startup in Silicon Valley.

We decided at the end of the session that we should do something about it all. I remembered the Geeks of London when they wrote the hackday manifesto. Its caused a stir but the best thing was, when people got upset they said fork it if you care so much.

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I have to give credit to Teknoteacher (Alan O’Donohoe) who did a nice little session about podcasting¬† in a podcast.¬† He encouraged all of us to record the podcast. So Teknoteacher recorded it on his phone and others like myself recorded it on our devices.

One of my favourite talk of the barcamp was Vimla‘s diversity talk (she had done what I backed out of doing). So good, I convinced Vimla to put in a session at Mozilla Festival along the same lines. Vimla’s rage for diversity was infectious and the people who asked me about my diversity session were all there with lots to say. Vimla’s main point is something I keep banging on about but few people seems to understand.

The movement of women in technology is great and has a long long way to go, but thats only a small part of the diversity problem. Or Diversity is much greater than just male and female. It sounds so obvious but I can’t tell you how many times I have met and talked to people about diversity and they instantly fall back to the women in technology movement.

BarCampManchester6

No! Diversity isn’t simply that!

I even say it myself, what a poor victory it is, if we just add to while middle class women to the existing workforce of white middle class men. Our aim should be the moon not the lower stratosphere. Yes we work backwards but the aim should always be world changing, otherwise what’s the point?

There was quite discussion in the room and some slightly heated things were said (some people should know better, trying to put a hierarchy in place for diversity!), but Vimla kept some pretty dicey discussion on the level. Great work Vimla, look forward to Mozfest.

There were other good talks by many other people including the Happiness talk, Rosie’s Pareidolia and machine learning talk and many more. But Vimla’s talk really took the top spot for me.

BarCampManchester6

The wrap of BarCampManchester6 was full of prizes, which seems to be a tradition coming from BarCampBlackpool. I won something this time instead of being a prize myself (last time a date with me was a prize!). Claire and the team around her did a great job and they got me thinking about doing another BarCamp soon????

Will it happen…? Who knows… but lets say I have retired from running BarCamps 3 times now. Maybe its just time to stay in retirement.

As Claire said in the talk about running your own Barcamp, you can’t help but look at venues and think… This would be a great venue for a BarCamp…

Dyslexic minds in conversation at the #listeningproject

We did it… Myself and Kate!

On Friday  25th October 2015, myself and Kate met in the Media City Piazza where the Listening project booth was located for the day.

The BBC Radio 4 Listening project

After a chat with the lovely producers and some signing of paperwork, we paused for thought while the Director General (Tony Hall) was meant to visit and have a look around before we recorded. However Tony took too long and we pressed ahead regardless.

The BBC Radio 4 Listening project

Once in the booth we made ourselves comfortable, one of the producers explained she would only make hand gestures if things were not clear or the conversation dried up. Of course the only gesture me and Kate got was at the end, telling us it was done.

https://twitter.com/sarahkatenorman/status/647344266113630209/

Its hard to explain what happened in the conversation and I had hoped to linked to the audio files from the blog post (promise to do this once its live). The conversation was fun, interesting and bouncy (my word for dancing from subject to subject in a flow way). As I thought, Kate was a excellent partner in crime and to be honest we could have rolled on for another few hours I reckon.

Talking about time, I was very surprised when we were told to stop, as it only felt like 30mins had gone by in my head. This is certainly something I talked about in this blog entry about dyslexia, flow and time management. We slipped into a mild flow state of some kind.

And somewhere near the end, we both agreed to be taken out of our comfort zones for a weekend/few days.

The gravitas of this decision only hit me after the end of the recording when I thought…

“Oh this has been recorded and archived for the world… whoops!”

The BBC Radio 4 Listening project

It was fun and really enjoyable, I can’t recommend it enough to other people. But honestly it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as fun unless Kate.

Such a great friend! I can’t wait to listen back to the whole conversation and share with the world. This for me is an example of what I was talking about at BarCampManchester6 which I just came back from.

The secret of luck or the richness of life… We took the opportunity and are richer because of this experience. Plus it makes ourselves much more interesting, as it adds to our character and experience.

The BBC Radio 4 Listening project

13 questions you should ask on the first date?

Claire asks what I feel about 13 questions you should ask on the first date.

Now before I start, I’d point out I understand these are conversation starters and therefore will be thinking about them in the context of number 9 – social objects.

A shared experience is a powerful key to being interesting to other people. For example, on the train as I am now, I could turn around the lady across the table and say ‚Äúnice drawing, how did you learn to draw like that?‚ÄĚ The social object would be the drawing‚Ķ Hugh has better examples‚Ķ

  1.  How often would you say you bring notecards to your dates?
    I can’t take this one seriously… is the notecards a social object? Nope…
  2. Are you a Beatles fan or an Elvis fan?
    This question does give you a lot of information, its also a good way to get the person talking. Even if they look at you blankly, its still interesting. If I was to answer, I would mention the fact I spent most of my time with my head in the underground and some stuff about the Beatles, which my friends have heard a few times before.
  3. Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?
    This one reminds me of Oli‘s who would win in a fight at the beach between a Giant Squid and a Bear. Although I think they are silly, I guess that is the charm. I would advise against lots of this type of stuff because it can come across as slightly weird and kind of trivial. Maybe more of a nice ice breaker?
  4. How do you feel about chick flicks?
    Talking about movies isn’t a bad idea, but chick flick might cause slight abuse. What is the last film which made you laugh or cry is a favourite for me.
  5. What’s the best book you read last year?
    Yes this is a good question and I have been known to ask the question while speed dating.
  6. What did you think about ‘Too Many Cooks’?
    Ok this is might get back the response of a ? But if they have seen it, well I guess you can have a laugh or indepth discussion about sitcoms.
  7. What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
    Geez! Really?
  8. Do you love or hate Love Actually?
    This falls into the same area as the chick flicks and too many cooks. Maybe best left alone.
  9. Is Pluto a planet?
    Nice but odd to put in a conversation, and the reply may not be that satisfactory unless you are both really geeky about space.
  10. What’s your idea of the perfect date?
    Ok good question at long last, although it can sound a little creepy
  11. Do you have any allergies?
    Yes a little creepy but actually quite a talking point (see my last post)
  12. Star Wars or Star Trek?
    Elvis or Beatles all over again. After my display of (lack of) knowledge about both at BarCampManchester5, I can really talk.
  13. What’d you do today?
    This is a good question (although I would say it in a different way), open ended and plenty of places to go afterwards. This is the kind of question you should be going for…

BarCampManchester5, you missed out sorry…

BarCampManchester number 5 happened last weekend and I’m still feeling a little tired following a hectic weekend.

I have always said BarCamp is a special thing and recently I have seen less and less of them. I mentioned this in justification for why it must happen. BarCampManchester2 was the last one I was involved in and since then, its gone back to the 9am-5pm events. I have always said its a real shame for a great city like Manchester.

My hope was always to bring back some of the life and joy into BarCampManchester. And I believe we did this… Extremely well. BarCampManchester5 was arranged by myself with a small team of organisers. Those organisers were Claire Dodd and Dave Mee. I felt both would have the network and drive to continue the event onwards and upwards afterwards.

BarCampManchester5

Theres all the usual difficulties with picking dates for the BarCamp weekend but in the end we settled upon the weekend before Mozilla Festival, something I kind of wished wasn’t.¬† Regardless, it came together nicely thanks to our wonderful sponsors and the hard work Claire put into organising most of it.

Don’t get me wrong, we all played our part but Claire reminded me of myself at BarCampLondon1 and 2. Running around trying to manage most things. I learned pretty soon, to relax and embrace the chaos (somewhat)

BarCampManchester5

My only regret was the amount of food and drink wasted, we had a large drop out of people. Larger than I’ve ever had before. So the food orders came through and unfortunately we had to chuck quite a bit of it. We did our best to give away as much as possible to a homeless charity but in the end quite a bit went into the bins. At least no body was upset about the food, as we had food for every dietary type including strict vegans.

BarCampManchester5

Through out the weekend we had talks about a number of subjects, and there was lots of rooms to suit everybody. We had 6 session/spaces in parallel and although they weren’t always in use, there was plenty of room to chill and chat away along side the sessions.

BarCampManchester5

There were some great talks and the spaces really worked as a whole. For example the boardroom or as we were calling it the captains quarters, ten forward and observation lab encouraged intimate discussions about identity, sexuality, sleep tracking, dating, etc. While the engineer lab, bridge and holadeck encouraged less discussion and more presentations. All except the captains quarters had a projector and “ten forward” was even in the same space as the kitchen!

BarCampManchester5

After the evening feast, the traditional of werewolf started with 2 parallel games. Quite a few games past before we were down to 1. Some fun games and before long it was late and there was not quite enough people to play on. We had about 10-15 people stay over and sleep but the feeling of no pressure to go home or push off did stay with people. The last person pushed off about 2:30am.

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Sunday was quieter as usual and the bacon/sausage/egg butties did go down well but once again too many. We were able to change the order for lunch a bit so the amount of food wasn’t as bad. The sessions started to fill up the board and before long the board was full. Obviously people had decided now was the time.

BarCampManchester5

I did a number of sessions mainly on Saturday, and my favorite one has to be the paxman style interview with Tim Dobson about love and dating. Somewhere in the interview I suggested I would date anybody (I’m sure I said something different) and that got taken and twisted into a prize for the ending raffle? Go figure? Why and how I have no idea but Claire was very keen to send me off with one of the barcampers. In the end Chris picked up the star prize.

BarCampManchester5

Other talks worth mentioning included…

Journey to the centre of the gender sphere, Sleep session, Interactive Fiction, Create your first Bitcoin wallet, Can video games be a force for social good and my favorite How to sell without selling out. Especially liked Tim and Josh’s journey of discovery into a more ethical way to sell serverhosting.

Thanks to the sponsors who came through for the event… We even got a special cake for the platinum sponsors – Autotrader. Something to think about if you are thinking about sponsoring next year. Damm the cake was sweet!

BarCampManchester5

Talking about next year… I have said again that I’m hanging up my organising boots. But my hope is Claire, Dave or somebody else is inspired enough to run the next one with their own team. Hopefully BarCampManchester6 in a similar vein as this one. My thoughts is with time, a community of barcampers can/will grow and the demand will call for a new methods to insure the drop out is never as bad again.

BarCampManchester5

Something James suggested to me when I mentioned the problem of drop out in barcamp. Is a pledge to donate to a charity if you fail to show up or cancel you’re ticket in time. Using social pressure is something I don’t really like but actually in this case, it can be explicit on the website and ticket site. Those who don’t do so would have to live with the guilt or could be named and shamed? This seems to abide by BarCamp rules and shouldn’t be off putting for those who really want to come. Heck if you cancel the night before thats better than not at all (we were releasing tickets to the waiting list right up to the last few hours).

I always said it, Manchester deserves a decent barcamp and hopefully this is the start of wonderful things to come….

Am I sapiosexual?

At 4:35am in a trendy loft style office in Manchester’s fashionable Northern Quarter. While waiting for one of the other BarCampManchester organisers to come and take over from my late night stint keeping an eye on things. After the werewolf games are done and most people have gone home. I find some time to do some blogging.
During the welcome talk I made the point BarCamp is a place to indulge your passion and share with others. I then show a quote from Simon Pegg. Then later in the barcamp, Tim Dobson interviews me about my views on dating. He asks a question which leads me to talk  about values and breakers.
I mention intelligence but add the caveat that its not necessarily IQ but rather smart and being thoughtful about things. I was going to mention something I heard the other day which I just couldn’t remember at the time. Sapiosexual
One who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature.

“I want an incisive, inquisitive, insightful, irreverent mind. I want someone for whom philosophical discussion is foreplay. I want someone who sometimes makes me go ouch due to their wit and evil sense of humor. I want someone that I can reach out and touch randomly. I want someone I can cuddle with.I decided all that means that I am sapiosexual.”

I like this description and it seems to fit very well with¬† my geeky personality. Even reading it sends little shivers down my spine. Now thats something I certainly could subscribe to and look for…¬† maybe one to add to my profile? Who knows…

Geek history worth keeping

Early in the evening

While talking to Martin, Sam, Chris and others over the last few weeks. I have been thinking how things have been forgotten.

The history of geek culture seems to get forgotten too often. Recently a discussion about the tech community in Manchester with Martin raised a bunch of questions in my mind.

How much of geek history is still available now? What do I mean?

Great people have said….

‚ÄúThose who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.‚ÄĚ

And to be honest I’m seeing the same thing over and over again in the limited time I’ve been around the geek scene. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing necessarily wrong with this… But no one seems to be documenting the past… Which seems crazy with the amount of social media or in the past user generated content created. But the issue seems to be putting it all together. For example if you search geekdinners on my blog, theres quite a few posts. But its a mishmash of stuff. Look for the same on Flickr (assuming you knew flickr was where most geeks uploaded stuff in the past and flickr had not gone dark) and you get a mishmash again. If your smart you might try the clusters and find the London geekdinners.

Geekdinners.com is actual up for sale at $2.5k. But this isn’t so much my point. In the past we would write blog posts about events (don’t get me started on the blogging) but this is a bit like throwing a pound in a tip jar. Whats need is something to aggregate the blogs, tweets, photos, videos, etc together. Tell the whole story in long form. This is what me and Martin were discussing, and the natural place seems to be wikipedia and archive.org.

I had a discussion recently with Tom Morris who is very knowledgeable about wikipedia. I was discussing the recent addition of a page about myself. But it got me thinking Wikipedia is a great place for the type of thing I was hinting at before.

So I’m going to start filling in pages on Geekdinner, LondonGeekdinners, BarCampLondon, BarCampManchester, Geekup and Over the Air. Hopefully people who go on to write pages about Technights, Social Media Cafe, Tuttleclub, etc will link and reference. Then we can start to trace back events and community efforts. Give attribution where its well deserved and encourage more people to get more involved in shaping the future of geek culture.

What is BarCampEdu?

Campus Panorama

Remember a couple of times in the past I have said this will be the last barcamp I will do.

After BarCampLondon3, I stood up and said no more from me. Others took it onwards and upwards. A similar thing happened with BarCampManchester2 and BarCampMediaCity.

Anyway I’m at it again.

BarCampEdu or BarCampManchesterEducation is a 1 day barcamp held at the Sharp Project in East Manchester on Saturday 16th November.

In the North West of England there has been BarCampManchester, BarCampBlackpool, BarcampLiverpool, BarCampPreston, BarCampMediaCity and that is just the start…

The power of unconferences can be applied to all types of subjects and in BarCampEdu, we’re applying it to further education in Manchester. Bringing together the next digital generation with those in industry now to better understand each other and the opportunities available.

BarCampEdu takes the concept of BarCamp and adds a level of education to the proceedings. When I say eduction, I do not means its a barcamp about education, rather the most of the people in the venue will be students from the major Manchester universities. MMU, Manchester University and Salford University will be all working together and contributing to a great day of talks.

It came about when I attended the barcamp about barcamp (encampment london) Kate a lecturer from City University talked about how BarCamp ticks a lot of the boxes she needs to cover in a year. When I was lecturing, I remember some of the points shes talking about. Each university will get a selection of tickets for there students and staff. The rest of the tickets will be open to the general public.

We are seeking sponsorship to go along side the supporting universities and a few surprises coming soon.

To know more the event, check out the website at barcampedu.wordpress.com. Tickets to the public will go live soon.

BarCamp Blackpool

BarCamps have become somewhat of a rarity recently, not sure why? But I made it to the yearly BarCampBlackpool. BarCampBlackpool is a odd one. So you have your unconference but its about 3-4 rooms/tracks and instead of the overnight, the whole thing takes place in the Norbreck Castle Hotel¬† in Northern Blackpool. This means the overnight doesn’t happen unless you are staying over in the hotel but the bar it generally stays open till about 2am. Then if you got your fill of drinking you can chat/play on regardless till some time in the morning.

Usually I don’t stay over in Blackpool but this year I decided I had enough of zipping out to catch the last train to Manchester. Not in the hotel of the event however because the reviews were all shocking and it was twice the price of my hotel (Hesketh Hotel) just down the road.

Anyhow there were a few stand-out talks worthy of noting.

Freakyclown didn’t disappoint with his unique view on the darknet. Firstly he talked about how to get on to the darknet. using Tor, what kind of things you could buy, how and why wireless is seriously insecure. Lots of questions followed in another good session by the clown.

Jeremy totally surprised me in his talk about how we can be better by not thinking so negative. It reminded me of a number of posts I have written over time including. Richness of Life, Serendipity, Fear of rejection, Familiar strangers, etc. I thought it was great having a more life talk between the technical talks at the barcamp. Tim wrote a blog about Jeremy too.

There was a panel debate which I was a part of around the governments misguided plans to censor the internet or as they say, so they can protect the children. I was on the panel with Tim, Freakyclown and Ben. The idea of a p0rnwall is a joke but it was clear something needed to be done to help parents who did want to protect there children. This post from the Open Rights Group was shown.

Of course we had some excellent games of Werewolf till about 2am. Rather than massive circles, we opted for 2 smaller circles and a higher turn over of games. Heck I even survived quite a few of them and didn’t need to be the moderator all the time. The best moment, was Ben getting revenge on me and me using my snap judgement to kill off Martin in one single moment. Too hard to explain but it was great!

Another good BarCamp thanks to the guys who arrange it…

Woman speakers at conferences

I had the pleasure of attending the one day barcamp nicknamed bracamp… It was a interesting take on a barcamp and although I signed up originally because Laura was a sponsor, decided to go ahead when¬† Hwayoung said she’ll invite me (you know the rules of girl geekdinners, woman can only invite a guy)

Anyhow I ran a session talking about a number of things including what is a geek… Somewhere in the running order I attended something which got me speaking up about woman speakers.

I know this has been all over the news about what happened in a conferences in the states but I wanted to echo Samantha’s thoughts

Diversity in tech is good. And not just for the sake of it, but because we need. more. techies.

I won’t disagree, but its not just techies we need… We need people who think differently…

There are two reasons why a diverse audience and speakers should be at least somewhere halfway down the agenda of any conference or panel discussion: First, diverse speakers represent a diverse audience, making minorities feel more welcome, thus potentially helping with increasing participation. Second, speakers from a different background might (might!) bring a different point of view to the conference, which helps making talks and panels a lot more interesting.

Yes it was a great idea having the girl geeks in residence at BarCampMediaCity and really worked for that event. I won’t lie, its good to see more people like yourself around and at Tech events its usually very bad.

In my opinion, at least “being aware of the issue” and making some effort is okay. If it turns out that no woman submitted a proposal and all the female speakers you‚Äôve asked decline the offer, well, that‚Äôs bad luck.
digging for diversity can also be frustrating. It‚Äôs incredibly hard to convince non-white-males-aged between 25 and 35 to attend any ‚Äėmixed‚Äô event.

Yes I have felt this first hand.

I ran a series of event and for one of the last ones before it ended. One of them was a ignite style event. As you can see all the speakers are male but I tried to balance the speakers with women. I sent emails out and spoke to many woman about taking one of the spots. I must have contacted about 20+ woman for a couple places in the line up. I have the emails if anyone wants to do a freedom of information request on me (go ahead).

I even lost my cool a tiny bit with one (sorry to say and I did apologise moments later) who I know very well and knew could easily do it with a bit of a push, so I gave her a bit of psychological big up and even that didn’t work. I was willing to spend time with the lady in question to make sure she felt comfortable and happy about everything (because it would be the right thing to do), I think I need to find another way to encourage woman to get involved in future.

Any thoughts? I’m all ears… as always!

The next few months are very busy

I knew September onwards was going to be busy but this is getting a little out of control…

As you can see a whole bunch of them take place within or close to Manchester, so luckily i won’t have to go too far… However I’m also looking to finally go to Le Web for the very first time and maybe the Media Festival again.

Its cranking up to be a hectic autumn but hopefully a decent one full of lots of great experiences and people…

Unofficial BarCampMediaCity interview

I’m interviewed on the unofficial MediaCityblog today for BarCampMediaCity.

Here’s a slice of the action…

Next month will see Media City host it’s first ‘Bar Camp’ – an informal conference with discussions, demos and activities all organised by the attendees.

BarCampMediaCityUK will take place at BBC North on the 17th and 18th September, and is the brainchild of Ian Forrester, Senior Producer at BBC R&D.

We caught up with Ian to find out exactly what a Bar Camp is, and what people can expect from¬†BarCampMediaCityUK….

Q. In a nutshell, what is a ‚ÄėBar Camp‚Äô?
A: BarCamp is an international set of user-created conferences (or also known as unconferences). They are open, participatory events and the content of is provided by the people who make the event. Everyone helps shape the event and make it a special event.

Q. What kind of activities and sessions do you expect will be taking place at BarCampMediaCityUK?
A: The nature of BarCamp is that anything can be discussed. People can give a presentation, lead an open talk, give a workshop or tutorial, almost anything goes within the allocated session time.

In the past there has been talks about how to mix the perfect cocktail, how to ride a segway, what is openness, how to inspire your employees to more practical things like a debate different modern programming languages, making use of twitter for marketing, working from home more effectively, etc, etc.

You can read more at the unofficial mediacityblog

Women at a overnight barcamp?

Suzanne Valadon Blogging, after Lautrec

Everytime we’ve tried to¬†accommodate woman at previous BarCamp, we’ve been told “don’t treat us any different.”

It wasn’t till BarCampManchester2 when Lucy really made her feelings known about woman staying over night at a BarCamp. Up till that point it hasn’t really been a problem, but the idea of staying over seemed so shocking that even I was surprised. Fast forward to this month and Samantha convinces me that having a contact for woman to get in touch to ask questions about staying over makes sense to me. To be fair I didn’t take much convincing, it made sense to me for capturing a new groups of woman who might be put off

However in Techgrumps 39 last night, Iris seems pretty upset about the idea of woman staying over night at a event with men. It might have been her lack of experience ever going to a barcamp or the bad description we explained the concept of barcamp with… But then Samantha send me the recent blog post of Tim Oreilly.

We’ve been contacted recently about issues of sexual harassment at technical conferences, including at Oscon, which starts tomorrow in Portland. At O’Reilly we take those issues very seriously. While we’re still trying to understand exactly what might have happened at Oscon or other O’Reilly conferences in the past, it’s become clear that this is a real, long-standing issue in the technical community. And we do know this: we don’t condone harassment or offensive behavior, at our conferences or anywhere. It’s counter to our company values. More importantly, it’s counter to our values as human beings.

I’m starting to wonder if I was too easy going about this all, and actually I’ve just been lucky that nothing like this has ever happened while I’ve arranged things.

BarCampMediaCity has some¬†fantastic¬†facilities¬†including¬†multiple¬†toilets, changing rooms and even showers. It would be a real shame if people didn’t take full advantage.

Northern Quarter Street Party

Fussion Dance and Rhythm UICA Street Party 8-8-09 10

Coming to Edge Street on the 29th April 2011, a 1940s-style street party celebrating the Northern Quarter. Featuring bunting, cake, punch and so much more.

Northern Quarter Street Party wants YOU! There’s lots of ways to get involved. Want to set up a stall? Bake a cake? Make some bunting? Have an idea about something you’d like to do or see? We want to hear from you!

Follow us on twitter: @NQStreetParty

Get involved here: nqstreetparty@gmail.com

An idea which came out of Social Media Cafe Manchesterlast month was the Northern Quarter street party, an idea of Carole Keating. I was tempted to get involved but thought better of it because I don’t fancy the stress of the event specially with only 1 month left.

I’ve been giving Carole my expertise in setting up barcamps with ultra very low budgets, and so somewhat getting involved but at much lower level that I’m use to.

Carole’s doing a great job but theres so much left to do and not a lot of time to do it in, so I’m seeing what the BBC can do to help. If that link up works, then I can be a little more involved.

Anyhow, I’m sure there will be lots more to say in the very near future.

Geeks talk sexy…. *new date* (now on the 19th November)

Excellent photo by hoyvinmayvin – cc: by-nc-sa

Sex and geeks don’t fit together or compute, most would say. However the truth may be the total opposite.

This quarter we take a brave step into the explicit adult world of sex, lies and alternative lifestyles by following the geek world underground.

Join us on the wild ride in to the unknown, in a series of open talks and discussions. Next stop sexy town.

The event is free to attend, but you MUST BE OVER 18.

We have a new date for geeks talk sexy, so don’t miss out, sign up now!!!

Geeks talk sexy….

Geeks talk sexy

Excellent photo by hoyvinmayvin – cc: by-nc-sa

Sex and geeks don’t fit together or compute, most would say. However the truth may be the total opposite.

This quarter we take a brave step into the explicit adult world of sex, lies and alternative lifestyles by following the geek world underground.

Join us on the wild ride in to the unknown, in a series of open talks and discussions. Next stop sexy town.

The event is free to attend, but you MUST BE OVER 18.

Not many people know but every once in a while I do a talk at BarCamps titled “Sex.” I usually do it to be slightly controversial and to bring a certain edge to the talks which can be far too technical for some.

I’ve had mixed success, I think the funniest session was at BarCampLiverpool while the most serious was at BarCampLondon7. (Not sure what that says about the cities)

However while talking one night in the Northern Quarter with Samantha and Joshi about BarCampManchester3 and my plans to do another one. I mentioned the sex talks I’ve done previously and that meme must have stuck in Samantha’s head (I need to get better at doing that). She had a word with Hwa Young Jung over at Madlab (Manchester’s digital laboratory) and bish bosh boof we have a new series of talks and discussions planned for the next few months.

Of course we’re also after knowledgeable and thought provoking guests for the future, so if that interest you, give us a message on twitter.