Using some generic machine for presenting

https://twitter.com/danachis/status/665976105715781632

I have to agree, my machine runs Ubuntu which makes using Windows or OSX  weird but its everything else which is important.

For example…

  • I turn off my trackpad and use the trackpoint (nipple if you prefer), so I don’t have to worry about accidentally pushing the pointer when presenting.
  • My mouse pointer has a certain amount of acceleration and is very quick, I hate trackpads with no acceleration.
  • I usually have my own bluetooth clicker because then I know exactly how smooth I need to click and the response my machine should give me.
  • If something goes wrong, I know how to fix it or can debug it.
  • I don’t use presentation notes, and its a pain to use real estate with them.
  • The text is usually too large, mine is tiny because I have great eyes
  • I also hate those bright screens and have to turn it down instantly, plus I have redshift/twlight running usually so I’m not blinded by the screen
  • I can make changes to the slides right up to the last moment
  • Screensavers are disabled meaning nothing will lock, unless I want it to.

I know what its like for the organising team but I have VGA and walk around in my bag with Mini-Display port to HDMI. Its rare my machine doesn’t work with the external projector or screen. I’m responsible for my machine and my presentation, relying on the conference organiser to remember to copy everything and make sure everything works good on the generic machine is unfair in my mind.

Celebrity and Sports Gossip

Copyfight / Lawrence Lessig

Another one of Mark Mason’s blogs… this time 12 Stupid Things People Care Way Too Much About. (a point of clarification, there all really good but this is the ones which really stood out for me)

On the list number 2 – Celebrity and Sports Gossip

These people directly affect your life in absolutely no way whatsoever. Your obsession and investment in them is worse than harmless entertainment, it is a way to live vicariously through the idealizations of who you wish you could be — if only you weren’t so afraid to get off the couch and actually do something. Yeah, there, I said it. Or as Lil’ Wayne once said, when asked if he was concerned that people may look to him on how to live: “If you need a rapper to tell you how to live your life, then maybe you ain’t got no life.”

I almost clapped when I read this one the tram today…

There have been dates in the past who have gone on and on about celebrities. To the extend I wrote on my Okcupid dating profile.

I have little time for the mainstream garbage of pop music/fashion/celeb driven nonsense.

I swear to you the amount of messages I’ve had from women saying something like… I was interested then I read your comment about celebs and was turned off. I usually reply with “yeah well I’m sorry to hear that but it simply wasn’t to be…

It goes for sports too. I can see how you get wrapped up in the moment, heck I have before but I don’t then follow these people on twitter and facebook trying to get a word in edgewise hoping they will spot and say something back. Screw that. There are millions of interesting people who I can have meaningful interesting conversations with, why waste your time?

Maybe I’m missing the huge amount of joy you get from following celebrities around?

I was walking back from Booths supermarket the other day and someone pointed out that the girls sitting opposite the Holiday Inn in Media City UK were actually there to see Jedwood? I was taken a back. Jedwood? Those guys I’ve seen on TV a few times? What did they do again? Oh yeah, pop idol or something? Those guys have groupies? Wow, I really hope they grow out of it soon. Maybe its part of growing up? Although to be fair its not part of my growing up…

I grew up with rave flyers on my wall not popstars or sports stars, not sure what that says about me…

I’m also in conflict about celeb culture, if its for something noble or worthwhile then I can’t complain about it. For example in the internet world the likes of Lessig, Doctorow, Rose, Shirky, Gladwell, Pink, etc are the modern equivalents but it feels different…

Is it about empowerment? When you walk away from a Jedwood concert you feel happy but when you walk away from a lessig talk, you feel empowered… This question is important because as we get more TED like conferences and people pointing the finger grumbling, we need something more concrete to avoid the celeb culture black hole. Even I have suggested in the past that celeb culture might be useful to encourage the next generation and I tend to shift my view on that one everytime I think about it. For example, how can we forget NerdTV. The Charlie Rose of Geeks? Certainly not the Paxman of Nerds…

I guess there are parallels to how Films use to be about the art of cinematography, directors vision, etc. Recently its changed to who’s in your film than the vision and cinematography its self. Dare I say it, maybe its natural conclusion of all things popular?

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…

Conferences and Festivals you should be aware of

Get those laptops out its conference season?

So there are a stupid amount of conferences and festivals in the UK this half of 2008. Usually conference season is not till the 3rd quarter but someone forgot to mention this to us brits. This is a quick run down and expect more details on certain events as and when they come up. I've stopped at June for now but theres more to come.

BarCampScotland/
Found this out via Gareth's blog about interesting events:
Febuary 1st
2nd,
at the Concourse of the Appleton Tower at the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Social media forum
I'm actually talking at this one. So yes its slightly shameless self promotion but also a interesting conference about the changes in the media. The slant will be towards the gemany press, but I'll be explaining why the germany media industry should be engaging their participtors now.:
Febuary 11th
12th,
at the Side Hotel, Hamburg, Germany.

Semantic Camp 2008
Lots of talk about this one, first barcamp style event in London since BarCampLondon3. First one run by someone else besides myself. Good luck Tom, I'm sure it will be a great success. Shame I can't it as it clashes with Suw and Kevins Wedding. BBC Backstage is sponsoring this event, as its just the kind of thing we believe in.:
Febuary 16th
17th,
at the Department of Computing, Imperial College, South Kensington, London.

The Guardian's Changing Media Summit
I'm actually talking at this one (only briefly and then a panel). So yes its slightly shameless self promotion again but also a interesting conference about the changes in the media.:
March 12th,
at the Victoria Plaza Hotel, Victoria, London.

Over the Air
BBC Mobile with BBC Backstage unveil 48 hours of mobile and wireless hacking. There will be more details about this event in the near future. But right now, you want to store this date in your diary because its a Friday and Saturday with yes sleep-over. So this is a chance to really experiment and try out things you've only dreamed about. Even if you've never taken a phone apart, fear not there will be tons of tutorials by leading mobile developers and providers to lead you on your way.:
April 4th
5th,
at the TBA) Central London

Abilitynet's Web2.0 Accessibility conference
A new conference, which I happen to be talking at again. This time with people like Andy Budd and Jeremy Keith. The whole conference will centre around web accessibility in a web 2.0 world. Sounds familiar maybe? Well there was backstage podcast around the same theme recently. Should be a good conference to cover some of the things forgotten about recently. .:
April 25th,
at City University, London.

Futuresonic 2008
I have never been to futuresonic but I hear lots of good things about it. I'm hoping to be talking there with the guys behind the Radio Labs. It also seems to be growing into the UK's answer to SXSW maybe?:
May 1st
4th,
at the Manchester.

Xtech 2008
This time in Dublin instead of Paris or Amsterdam but still a great conference for those involved in the cutting edge of the net. Right after Futuresonic, so I expect quite a few people to catch a flight from Manchester to Dublin on the 5th May.:
May 6th
9th,
at the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.

Thinking Digital
New type of conference, think TED or PopTech but for the UK and your on the right track. I'm involved in this one and backstage is sponsoring the event. Actually codeworks is a BBC innovation labs partner in the north east. The line up is simply amazing and very diverse, just the kind of conference the UK really needs. .:
May 21st
23rd,
at the Sage, Gateshead.

Thinking Digital Geekdinner
A geekdinner to celebrate the thinking digital conference, just a short walk across the bridge from the sage in Gateshead. Food provided by BBC Backstage. Still looking for a drinks sponsor if your interested? .:
May 23rd,
at the Picher and Piano, Newcastle

BarCampNewcastle
BarCampNewcastle, at long last but looks to be a good one following a great conference. Certainly a good reason to stay in Newcastle even longer.:
May 24th
25th,
at the (TBA), Newcastle or Gateshead.

Mashed
The big event of the summer for BBC backstage. Mashed is 1 day of conference and 2 days of open development and fun. Unlike last year, this one is all BBC with a open inviatation for others to join us. Its going to be huge again and unforgetable for everyone who signs up.:
June,
at the (TBA), London

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My thoughts on the 4 event clash on the 21st Feb

Yes I've seen it too.

Now I can shout and rave about how crazy it is having 4 london events on the same night (i did this before), but I'm also one of the guilty event organizers. So I should try and set the record a little straight, because people do seem to think we don't talk to each other.

Me and Sarah Blow from the girl geekdinner's did speak to see if we could avoid clashing on the same day. Now to be fair Sarah had the day first and I was planning the geekdinner for Monday 19th March (I have emails to citizen agency to prove it) but due to the Future of Webapps conference I needed to change the day.

Conferences like Fowa and @Media do have a odd relationship with the smaller events in London. On one hand small events like Geekdinners could be seen as nicking the best speakers from the conference holders, who to be fair have paid for the speakers to be in town that week. It could also be seen as taking people away from the main conference. This is something a lot more real, when you run a BarCamp next to a large conference. On the other hand (the hand I prefer) the smaller events can increase the amount of
people from out of town who come who go to a conference. For example I just booked flights to San Diego for Etech 2007 and left a good 2 days around the start and end to make way for smaller events. I see Etech as the main reason for going but the smaller events where I can actually talk with people and share ideas. If your a conference organizer, this is a bonus because you can keep both eyes on the conference and rely on a trusted small event organizer to do the social event for you. Even better is when the
conference and small event have some kind of cross linking. This was true of the @media social and now the fowa conference. So the point I'm getting at is, I respect the work which goes into fowa and they are happy to recommend geekdinner for the social event. You could say they are sponsoring the event, but I see more like supporting the event.

So with that support, it makes a lot of sense to have the social event on the last day of the conference (21st Feb).

Some would say, hey why don't you merge or partner for the 21st? Well this is difficult because of a number of reasons

  1. Girl Geekdinners and WikiWed have rules, which I would never want to break
  2. There just different kind of events. There's just different vibes and crowds
  3. Girl Geekdinner has sponsorship and we have different support. It wouldn't be fair on the sponsors to mess them around
  4. WikiWed is trying to get off the ground again, it would be unfair to try and partner on there first event for ages
  5. Difference in payment, Geekdinners costs, Girl geekdinners is sponsored. WikiWed I'm unsure about. It couldn't work without screwing someone
  6. Large venues costs a lot of money and time. Enough said really

So we're all in agreement that clashes like this will happen (much that I wanted to go to both Girl Geekdinners and WikiWed).

So the question is how do we try and stop this happening in the future?

Well last time I did propose a Google Calendar. Sarah Blow has been great using the calendar, I've not been so good. Others who I've invited have been simply rubbish. But I'm starting to wonder if a google calendar is the right way to deal with this problem? See the one place everyone uses now is Upcoming.org. I preferred Eventful.com but Upcoming is what everyone uses in London. So your at least guaranteed that event organizers will place there events up there. Maybe my biggest problem with upcoming is the lack
of a actually calendar. It was always hard to see what was on a certain day and if it was relevant enough to worry about.
Now I'm using Outlook 2007, this isn't such a problem but I'm only subscribed to the my events and my friends events. This keeps most of the crap out of my calendar but its not perfect. I'm still relying on one of my friends adding a event which I'm not aware of. Lucky I have a lot of friends on Upcoming so I can get a real idea of whats going on. But others are not so lucky,

Groups on Upcoming.org are reasonable and maybe one way forward. Although right now there not very used. But back to the main point, the fact upcoming is event driven not date driven (you can't click on a calendar anywhere and you can't navigate by dates) is a big problem when trying to pick dates for a small or large event.

So I'm now done.

Does anyone have something I've forgotten or is simply a unsolvable problem?

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Conferences I will not be attending this year

I will not be attending two of the choice conferences this year. Xtech 2006 and WWW2006 which both collide with my holiday to the states. Its a shame because both seem very promising but I'm hoping I can get involved virtually or something. But I'm kicking myself after hearing Paul Graham will be delivering a keynote at Xtech 06

One very exciting bit of news I have is that Paul Graham has agreed to deliver one of the keynote sessions at XTech. I'm very pleased about this, and it follows in the tradition we've established of having interesting and challenging speakers, rather than putting plenary sessions up for sale to sponsors.

I was also hoping to put a paper in for Xtech 2006 about the state of RSS when it comes to Languages but its pretty pointless if I cant be there to present it. Oh well, and just when I'm starting to make some progress with a proposed RSS and ATOM extension to declare language and directionality.

In a discussion on a w3c.org mailing list – Stephen Deach from Adobe said the following.

Yes, you'll need to set direction at the block/paragraph-level to properly initialize the Unicode BiDi rule (and above paragraph if you have lists or other indention). It's probably fine to allow setting dir anyplace you set lang (which would include on span/inlines).

Felix Sasaki sent this wiki link which is really interesting in regards to Bidirectional text support.

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