My photo used in Seattle and Ride Sharing article

Last nights Geek Dinner with David Teten

Interviewing Ben at the interview

Ok before I start ripping in to what went wrong last night. Can I just point out that Anina (yes the Supermodel and Fashion goddess) was at the geekdinner and I didn't even realise till she asked a question of David Teten. There's a hour long interview with her at Nerd TV. If I wasn't so damm busy trying to make up for someone not turning up to host the geekdinner, I would have asked her about being a guest at a girl geekdinner or just plain geekdinner. Oh well opptunity missed, unless someone got some contact details for her? Ben? I also regret to say I never actually took any pictures of the event, but I did get 3 good interviews from David, Ben and Tom. Unlike pictures and even audio these will take a bit more time to edit and upload somewhere. I've also promised to show them to the interviewer before uploading them to So expect another few days before there somewhere public.

So on to my major beef for the night. Lee Wilkins. See before this night I've been sitting between Lee and someone who might prefer to be nameless for now about the domain I always thought Lee owned the domain name but he doesn't, actually Nick Swan does. Nick Swan came and offered me the domain because he felt Lee was profiting from the hard work I've been putting into Geekdinner's. He felt it was just simply unfair or maybe unjust? And uptill last night I wanted to just stay out of the disucssion. But then Lee put on the David Teten Geekdinner and didn't even turn up to host the event. I turned up about 8pm to a angry pub owner asking whos charge and about 15 people looking a little lost. David Teten introduced himself to me which was nice of him, but I felt was the wrong way of doing things and so started looking for Lee Wilkins (who I've never actually met). I quickly realise that Lee was not there and didn't seem to be planning on turning up (multiple people tried to phone him). This meant all the food which was ordered would have no one to pay for it. And at 150 pounds worth of food, the bar would not be happy! Hey would you be?

So me, Sarah and Ben basiclly took over and started to host the night. Ben went around and took money from everyone who was still there and Sarah went out and got sticky badges. God knows how but Sarah found stickers at 8:15pm in the area of Leicester Square. Trust me thats some achivement! Anyway back to the geekdinner after finally getting close to the amount of money we needed to pay the bill, the food came out and boy oh boy was it a lot of food. Credit to the polar bear, it was a wide variaty of food and lots of vegatarian food by the way (It was all on seperate plates too). By 9:00pm it was all in full swing with David talking about the concept of the Virtual Handshake (download the book here for free). And honestly David was great, the questions were a little slow to start but before long a conversation was happening. I had to cut it a little short after about 45mins because we had to arrange the Prize draw for a signed copy of David's book, which happened about 10mins later. Davids Talk as I said was really good and caused a little bit of a stir. I was almost tempted to buy his book for 10 pounds right there. I know a couple of people actually did buy it on the night. Its interesting his thinking behind keeping a public and personal profile online. There was lots of debate about how this might be the wrong way of looking at things, but David came back with real world figures and suggested that things may change but not right now.

After all the drama at the start of the evening, things tailed off pretty quickly as people left to get trains home. I know a few people left before the food came out and I'm sorry they missed a good night, but I understand why. It won't happen again if I have anything to do with it.

Ok so I finally got in contact with Lee Wilikins yesterday night via Skype. Lee's partner Jenny went to Accident and Emergency earlier that day. . Yeah I'm really sorry, honestly I do. You know I'm not heartless. But I'm still pretty mad about what happened and stick by what I've said. Once Lee writes a entry or public applogy I will link to it. But I have said sorry to Lee, and hope Jenny is doing better now. I hate talking about what I would have done because were all different and would act differently so I won't. What happens with and future geekdinner's I don't know quite yet.

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Geeking the difference between San Fran and London

San Francisco skyline

Ben's been doing a comparison between London and San Francisco and honestly it sounds like heaven for a geek like myself.

Sure, in London we have geek dinners and there’s lots of opportunities to meet up with other peeps who work at BBC (lunch in the White City canteen, in the local BBC bars, etc). But it’s not every night…

I mean can you imagine hanging out with geeks most of the time when going out? Geez, sounds like good to me, no offense to anyone in London of course but its good to be around like minded people sometimes. Moving on…

The other great thing about San Francisco is the coffee shop culture. It’s 18:30 on a Sunday evening and we’re in Ritual Roasters with our laptops out sipping on large cups of extremely tasty java. And of course there is free WiFi (every coffee shop has wifi). Looking around me there must be at least a third of the café’s cliental using laptops. Having your laptop out in a coffee shop in the UK would not only be slightly unusual but also pretty fruitless – or expensive — as most coffee shops either have no wifi or wifi paid for by the hour.

Wow, if only. Now I hear London has more wireless that anyone else but I swear most of it is owned by BT, McDonalds, Tmobile and the Cloud. Usually if you look around you can find coffee shops near wireless points but its rare. Electricity isn't so much of a problem but yeah connectivity is usual left to your 3G or GPRS phone. On the plus side there is tons of pubs and bars across London, some more laptop friendly than others and they shut about 11pm unlike coffee shops which shut at about 7-8pm (at least in the UK). But Ben's next paragraph strikes a cord with me.

In the UK, we have pub culture – which doesn’t suit me at all. I don’t drink alcohol and I don’t particularly like smokey atmospheres. And there’s only so much lemonade you want to drink. Coffee on the other hand is not only my solitary vice but I’m also quite the connoisseur. WiFi in the pub, I don’t think so… Spending the equivilent of £2 on a coffee and being welcome to sit in a cafe for as long as you like using their chair, table and wifi in London… Forget it.

See its so odd, Ben and me are a like in our distaste of alcohol. I don't know what it is but the only drink I will drink if I have to is something soft with vodka. I will drink red wine with a nice meal but usually I much prefer to have a nice can of Redbull over rocks. And honestly I could happily and would much prefer to go to a coffee shop till late. Coffee shop culture maybe thought of as a American thing, but I'm not so sure because going out in Berlin and other large western european cities has always been a coffee shop type experience. Its pretty cool to go out and drink a few cups of strong blended coffee with friends before heading to a club or party. I'll be honest and say I would happily give up pub culture for coffee shop culture.

I'm very interesting to hear what the San Francisco ‘Out of Towner’ with Ben Metcalfe event will be like on March 2nd. Good on you Ben, but I still can not see myself moving to America any time soon. Canada maybe.

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Geekdinner with Scoble and Dotben

Ben and Scoble pause for a quick photo

So the first Geekdinner I've been to which was on a weekend was great fun. The conversations I had were fantastic through-out the night. I met some great new people and spent a lot with Sheila chatting away about life, XML and the universe. So odd meeting someone so on your level its actually pretty spooky.
The Geekdinner should have been renamed the Geekdinner with Ben Metcalfe and Robert Scoble, Z list meets A list but it works out ok this time.

Anyhow, so it was great catching up with Scoble again. He obviously didnt remember who I was at first but he actually did remember after a couple of seconds once I mentioned RSS and working for the BBC World Service. Can I also say did anyone get a picture of Scoble doing a flaming shot at that champagne bar we all went to afterwards?

The Sheila and Myself at Geekdinner

So this is how the night went. I got to the Texas Embassy about 6:30pm, after finding somewhere just around the corner to park. I was hoping to get my hair cut but it never quite happened due to Saturday football crowds through Charlton, I must remember that next time.
I was at the bar and heard a couple of guys talking about Google Books and it actually turned out to be one of the guys behind Searchengine Watch. I also got talking with a student of Computer Science from De montfort. I and he was concerned that his course was not teaching anything about webservices, internet conectivity or even modern developent methods. And actually I got speaking to another student who had the same problems. Geez no wonder a lot of computer science students have such closed minds to such things?
Moving on. I'll drop out the conversations I had for now, as I want to elaborate on quite a few of them.

So after dinner which was the usual Tex-Mex type thing, Robert and Hugh did a little speech and actually opened it up to the crowd of about 150. The rest of the time was spent talking and drinking. By the time we got thrown out of the Embassy, the plan was hatched to head up to a Champagne Bar in Soho and Microsoft paid for us all. Yeah expensive champagne for about 30+ people, cheers Microsoft. After about a hour or so, we were being kicked out again. So Me, Sheila and Shahid from google ended up at a coffee bar in Soho and geeked about XML and related technologies. Its so great talking out loud about this stuff. XML will rule the world…

The champange bar afterwards paid for my microsoft

There's a Flickr pool for fun photos from the night.

So about those conversations.
Well he's a few I remember, this is good for my own memory as well as it might be of interest to others.

Talking to imp, she told me there was a problem with trackbacks on the BBC creative archive site and even on my own. I assured her that Trackbacks do work on cubicgarden (I get enough spam to know this for sure) but honestly I've never seen any from Haloscan.

I met Tim from dotnetsolutions, he's one of the guys from It was quite late but from what I can gather there doing lots of Ajax type stuff now and leaning on there DHTML past to do creative and useable things. I've not really looked at that site for about 6/7 years but I do remember going there for scripts when Netscape 4.x just came out. That was also the days when I never use to think about cross-browser scripts and web standards. Gald things have changed for the better.

Trying to explain to Sheila what OPML was without any tools except handwaving while walking up a packed Saturday night charing cross road. Chris from Microsoft seemed to think it was a great standard, while I was trying to explain its not really a standard just happen to be the default way to share Blogrolls and subscriptions. I was going to mention XBEL and XOXO but never quite got around to it. I also noticed Uche has wrote a few XSL's to convert between OPML and XBEL and XOXO.

A brief talk and handshake with Dan Gillmor who of course wrote the hughly successful We the Media. I should have talked longer but I was just coming back from the toilet and caught him while he was making a move to leave it would seem. I know the Global voice's people were at the geekdinner but I didnt really get a chance to talk to anyone except Lucy Hoberman (BBC Creative R and D) before we went to the champagne bar and met Nicole. Nicole is a german woman who podcasts and blogs in German and English. We had a very interesting perspective talk about the differences and how your percived when writing and talking in another language online.

Spent quite a bit of time talking to Kosso and Dr Jo Twist about various things.

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Ben and Mena and the internet conversation

ben and mena on technorati

I've been amazed by how the Mena Trott and Ben Metcalfe exchange has blown up. Here's the movie if you dont know what I'm talking about.

So generally Ben was talking on the backchannel of the Les Blogs conference on his laptop. Mena was giving a talk about being civial and gentle to each other. This rubbed Ben and others up the wrong way and so Ben made his feelings known on the backchannel. However Mena saw the comment from Ben where he said Bullshit and procceed to stop her talk and ask the person named dotBen to stand up. Ben stood up and defended his view of the presentation while Mena took it very personally and started to question Ben about what his problem was. Yes she used F*ck and As*hole while addressing Ben.

But please please, go read Ben's complete entry about the whole thing and of course Mena's entry which seems to skirt over the issue a little. Even the Dave Winer has waded into the conversation.

In my usual style, I've got to highlight some of the best comments and views I've read around the whole incident.

Jem stone's post which was the first time I was aware of what had happened. Great picture by the way!

Liz Lawley's comment to Ben's blog entry.

Nobody seems to be acknowleding the huge power differentials that come into play there, and it’s simply *not* the same thing as making comments in the backchannel. For her to comment on and respond to Ben’s remarks are one thing (although civility in her response would have gone much further towards furthering her call for civility from others). For her to swear at him from the podium and and call him out is something quite different.

It’s also worth saying that there’s a difference between saying that a speaker’s remarks are bullshit, and saying that a person is an asshole. One is about content, the other is about personalities. I think Mena crossed a line there.

Ben replys

Ian Betteridge's pretty funny reply to Dave Winer's comment.

Nick S hits the nail on the head. Dave W can dish it out – preferably when he’s got some fauning acolytes around – but he can’t take it. The fact that he can call you a coward for having moderated comments on your blog while not having comments on his at all is typical of combination of hysteria and hypocrisy that characterises half of what he says.

And that he’s now claiming that the invention of the blogosphere is down to him having comments on his blog is classic Winerism. Dammit Dave, why don’t you just go the whole hog and claim the invention of the internet, the internal combusion engine, and gunpowder is down to you too?

Mena on stage

The Register for there usual funny but well crafted entry.

The Blog Hearld for there first piece but for also stiring things up in Sixapart vs the BBC. Please, this is stupid.

A kinder, gentle blogosphere by Stowe Boyd.

Its even been dugged but the score to date is only 3 to date. Well its good to know its all dieing down now.

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