London geekdinner’s the most popular geekdinners?

London geekdinner top of flickr clusters

I spent a lot of time on Flickr this week, something to do with our BBC awayday presentation. Anyway I was amazed at the quality and quantity of photos. The longtail effect can easily be witnessed on Flickr. But something struck me while looking for pictures of geeks. First if you do search for the tag geek in the cluster format, you will notice Londongeekdinner is 3rd on the right and theres a selection of pictures from the last few dinners. But also if you search for geekdinner, London is 1st. So if you do the maths, according to Flickr's engine. London has the most popular geekdinners in the world?

Looking at Google, the same is also the case. Amsterdam gets a mention at 3rd spot and Denmark gets 5th place. Although Google still thinks I'm searching for gardiner. Google's blog search for geekdinner echo's pretty much what the regular search has. Theres actually quite a few pointers to this blog in the top 10 list. What I find funny at the moment is the lack of American geekdinners, so I thought I'd try searching in Technorati. And believe it or not, only a single geekdinner from north america came up in the top 20 results. The Sussex geekdinner came up first with talk about Amsterdam and other European countries not far behind that. Singapore was also mentioned a few times, which is great to see.

So it looks like London is the popular geekdinner destination right now. I'm expecting this will contuine with some of the great events being aranged in June by myself and July/August by Sarah Blow of Girlgeekdinners. Oh on a side point if you try searching for girl geekdinner in anything, you always find links back to the London Girl geekdinners. There doesn't seem to be any other part of the world doing girl geekdinners.

Talking about Geekdinners the interviews from the last geekdinner are now up on There all in Xvid format for now, but licenced under a share-a-like licence so your welcome to re-encode them.

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Last nights geekdinner with Marc Canter

London Geekdinner with Marc Canter

So how did it go? It was bloody awesome! Marc Canter was a fantastic guest and really went into lots of detail in regards to his next project – The digital life aggregator. There were tons of questions and as usual a bit of a conversation broke out in the cellar bar of the Polar Bear. Marc loves interactivity and started asking questions of the audience which was a little amusing. The turn out of people was close to 35, which is not bad for a Bank Holiday Monday before work the next day. A lot of the regulars were not there due to other commitments with Family over the mayday Bank Holiday. But once again we had a healthy mix of new and regulars at the geekdinner. You know Geekdinners have a good rep when people start attending from another country. No but seriously Eric and Anne were passing through from Chicago and decided to come along to the geekdinner too. Thank you guys for coming and next time someone says I would attend but its too far, I will remind them of you guys who made it from Chicago.

I did do a selection of video recording on the night but not Marc Canter's talk. However Kosso might have the last half of the talk recorded. I expect to have the other videos up online maybe over the weekend once I clear it with the interviewers. One of the weird ones which will go up pretty soon is Me being interviewed by dotBen who is leaving the shores of the UK for the golden shores of America soon. Other videos include Deirdre talking about Content 2.0, Tom and Kosso talking about OPML which has also been captured here. Simon talking about SXSW and how he got there and of course Marc Canter summing up how he felt the night went. There's a whole bunch of Geekdinner pictures from me, Rachel and Lloyd on Flickr using the tag geekdinner and Londongeekdinner.

A big thanks to everyone who attended the event and made it another great geekdinner event. I'm hoping to do one when I get back from the states (June). But look out for the Girl geekdinner on the 16th May maybe at the Polar Bear. There maybe a suprise geekdinner with someone quite big in the web 2.0 world in late May, hosted by someone else. Best thing is to keep an eye on the website for future details. And don't forget to send me a email if your would like to be on the Geekdinner mailing list.

Thanks once again to everyone who attended once agin and a big thanks to Marc Canter who was the mashup meetup tonight. See you all at the We Media Fringe event tomorrow.

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Eventful events turned into signs with xsl

How my posters turned out after printing

Its so funny, I tend to shy away from printed media. But I can see the value in some printed content. So anyway this is the result of my XSL which simply takes an Eventful ATOM feed and transforms it into simple XHTML+CSS for printing (next stage would be PDF). Here it is if you would like to do the same before Monday. Please bear in mind this works with ANY eventful event, as long as you take the id of the event and add it to the end of this url –{eventful id}. Here's a couple more for the hell of it.

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London’s Intellectually Curious dinners?

Food for thought, from Slashdot on Wednesday by an anonymous reader.

Slashdotters are certified geeks, but apparently there's a bunch of other people out there who are very interested in science, technology, politics and culture but they don't want to be known as geeks. A media consulting firm called OMD did a study for the company that owns and LiveScience. They conclude that 60 million Americans can be called “intellectually curious.” Intellectually, I'm curious what that makes the rest of them.

I know for all the progress people have made with the word Geek, people still cringe when I ask if they fancy going to a geekdinner. Its kind of weird being a self confessed geek and seeing geek tendious in other people but they refuse to submit to these natrual urges. So i've been thinking maybe just maybe we would actually attract more people if the name changed. Not to say I'll be changing it, its just a thought that we could actually be celebrating the side effect of intellectual curiousity not the source its self. I guess like celebrating a blogging application rather than the application of blogging?

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One of the meetup features I miss


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

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

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

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

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

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Geek and Geekhag podcast number seven – london geekdinner

London geekdinner

My and Sarah's seventh podcast is now available online. Enjoy and please leave a comment if you've enjoyed it or simply hate it.

This time we mainly discuss last week's geekdinner with David Teten. The good, the bad and the fall out. Sarah decides that the podcast is too long but we decide to keep it anyway. There is also a long advertisement for Papa Johns by Sarah. And finally we decide to go for the Terry and June music as recommended by Adam and Helen (thanks for the mpeg3 Adam).

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London’s Geek entertainment dinner TV

Len, Meredith and Irina

Slightly borrowing from Geek entertainment TV a little, I've started to do short video for the London geek and internet scene. Think of these three interviews as screen tests. In the meantime don't permalink to these files as they may get moved to At the moment there all copyrighted to myself till I get written permision from the people being interviewed that its ok to release them under a creative commons licence. The format used is Xvid which will play back using VideoLan's VLC or any decent mediaplayer with the Xvid codec.

David Teten on his geekdinner (8.8meg) and some links David recommends (0.9meg)

Ben Metcalfe on Social Networks (15meg)

Tom Morris on OPML (20meg)

All the videos are now creative commons licenced and free to download and mashup at

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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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Geekdinner with David Teten on the 5th April

The next geekdinner is on the 5th April with David Teten. Lee Wilkins is the man hosting this time. I will just be attending as an interested geek. I don't know much about David but here's a bit from the geekdinner website (where I recommend you signup if your interested).

David is a serial entrepreneur and CEO of Nitron Advisors, an independent research firm which provides hedge funds, venture capitalists, and law firms with access to a network of frontline industry experts. He is also co-author of The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online, the first business book to how to use blogs, social network sites, and other “social software” to accelerate your sales, recruit star employees, or even find a new job. He blogs on the Circle of Experts Brain Food Blog and at TheVirtualHandshake blog.

It may not be for everyone, but don't worry I have plans a foot for another geekdinner around the end of April, maybe start of May. You will hear about it first here and the newly formed London Geekdinner's Group on Eventful. Don't worry Upcoming fans, Eventful has a nice way to send events to Upcoming, shame the reverse isn't true.

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Geek and Geekhag podcast number six – semantic what?

My and Sarah's sixth podcast is now available online. Enjoy and please leave a comment if you've enjoyed it or simply hate it.

This time we reflect on a few blog posts from me and Sarah's personal blogs. And I attempt to do a short introducation to the semantic web and tagging vs categories.

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Geek dinner with Paul Boag

Paul Boag and Marcus from Boagworld

Another successful and great Geekdinner, this time with Paul Boag from the Boagworld design podcast. This time around I decided to try a local designer doing good stuff for the community. PaulBoag fitted the bill perfectly since I've been listening to his podcast for a while now. Around 30 people showed up and enjoyed the evening with Paul. Now this may seem small compared to the 70 of Dave Shea but its not far off Tim O'Reilly and Molly type attendance. What I found interesting is the percentage of new faces and regulars. It always seems to stay around the same percentage no matter what guest. I've not worked out if this is good or bad yet but we'll see at the next one I guess. Something else which did change this time was the percentage of women. It went down this time which is a shame but I know quite a few women who simply couldn't make it this time.

So as usual people turned up before even I got there which is always a suprise. Paul and Marcus turned up just after myself which was about 18:30 ish. Between 19:20 and 19:45 the bulk of the people came which is usual. And before you knew it the food was being handed out. This was great because usually people ask me when the foods coming and I usually have to say soon, honestly soon. But this time it was so early that it even took me by suprise. I had not even collected the money and given out sticky name tags yet. So I'm glad to say that the Polar Bear will be come the home of Geekdinner unless they have it booked for other events (they have June booked out for the World Cup or something). Its big enough for 100 people and we have complete control over music, noise and the lighting. There's a complete DJ and Mic setup so its possible to record talks and even finally broadcast the speakers talking to the whole room without the speaker shouting out loud and loosing there voice.

But back to the night, by the time everyone had a chance to get there food and digested I had introduced Paul and we were away. Paul's talk was mainly a public reply to Molly's post How to sniff out a Rotten Standardista. I won't recite much of what Paul said but it was pretty funny in parts and it was recorded by Marcus and another person (can't remember your name sorry). I know the Boagworld is planning a special podcast with the recordings they made, so I'm hoping to be linking to the podcast soon enoughPodcast. But after talking about Molly's post and the fact that we look inside of the design community too much, Paul started on Web 2.0. He was convinced its all smells too much like a bubble. Before long Paul was being beaten to death with questions and comments. In the end, Paul had to give in and make it clear that something like smells like a Bubble type site while Flickr before it was bought was not because they at least had a business plan. Honestly Paul was great, he really took it all on the chin and was glad to admit he might have changed his mind a little. Paul also gave a nice talk about how we and the pros are actually making it up as they go along. If we were more honest about this things might actually be better overall. So without spilling any more tasty beans, I got to say Paul was fantastic and Marcus was great too (i can't believe his arm never fell asleep. holding the mic for almost a hour I believe?) I actually closed my eyes at one point and seriously it sounded like the batter of a usual Boagworld podcast. Great stuff and thanks again to Paul and Marcus for making the trip up to London and taking part in a great Geekdinner.

For those who don't know there was a special competition which included a trip to Austin Texas to the South by South East interactive conference (SXSW). Not only did the jammy winner get tickets to the conference but he also got his hotel paid for and flights paid for by the little bit of sponsership which sits on now. The names were pulled out of my grey hat by Paul Boag and Simon won, much to the disappointment of everyone else who entered. Kinda of wish I could have entered myself really too. Simon's already offered to fly the London Geekdinner flag for us and plans to meetup with a couple of people who have already booked there tickets to go. Good luck Simon, have a great time!

I spoke to so many people during the rest of the evening but I would like to say thanks to everyone for coming and making it a great geekdinner. It was less people but it was nice and friendly and there was plenty of food to go around for all. Oh by the way Jen and other vegatarians, the polar bear serves food on single plates so the meat is easily avoidable. Tom asked me if it was ok for a Vegan and I couldn't honestly say yes, but I believe even he was able to find something good and safe to eat. Another reason to stay at the polar bear I guess? Whatever it is, there is a flickr group I set up here and my own photos tagged geekdinnerwithboag here. Can't wait to arrange the next one now.

Oh by the way Simon that lucky guy and Rachel have a good review of the evening too.

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SXSW interactive competition, updated

Taken from the geekdinner website.

We are please to tell ya’ll we have joined forces with the lovely folks @ SXSW Interative to give one lucky Geek Dinner attendee a free SXSW Interactive ticket.

To be in with a chance of winning this amazing prize, in the spirit of the Podcast Geek Dinner on February 23rd, please SMS the word “Podcast” followed by your Name, URL, Email, and Location to 60300.

The lucky winner will be announced by Paul Boag at the February 23rd Geek Dinner. You need to attend to win, if your the winner and did not attend, another name with be drawn from Ian’s Hat!
p.s. standard sms charges apply [this is not a premium rate shortcode!]. no terms and conditions. you win, you get the ticket.

So get txting, and good luck

The thing which has been putting people off is the flights and hotel prices. But its no longer a worry.

Thanks, now, to our buddies at Shopzilla this SXSWi ticket now comes with a return flight, and hotel. Sweet!

Lee was able to get the flights and hotel also sorted for the one lucky winner. So in totally were talking a prize of about 1000+ pounds! Its such a good deal that honestly even I'm tempted to enter but know I can't really. Imagine if I won, people would spam this blog forever with fix. Anyhow, I would enter if you can because right now there is a 1 in about 35 chance that you will win the ticket. Thats fantastic odds and even if you don't win you still get a great night out next Thursday with Paul Boag and the rest of the geeks. Like Lee says, good luck and hope to be pulling your name out of my magic hat.

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The next geekdinner will be with Paul Boag

Paul Boag

The next geekdinner will be next month on Thursday 23rd Feb and our guest for the night will be Paul Boag of the popular podcast Boagworld. The Boagworld podcast is aimed at those who are responsible for an organisation's website and would like practial advice on what they should or could be doing to improve the current site. Paul himself is a well established web designer usability/accessibility specialist and is a founder partner of Headscape which practice Webstandards when ever possible.

The venue has changed once again, this time were at the Polar Bear which is just a stone throw away from Leicester Square. The venue is larger than the one in Covent Garden, and a nicer cleaner deco. I'm also expecting the food will not run out like last time and at only 5 pound per head expect a more rounded buffet with food for vegetarians as well as meat eaters. There will also at long last be a PA system with Microphone for the guest and the Question and Answers session which follows. I'm also able to play what ever music I like at what ever level I like. So if anyones interested I can maybe put there ipod on shuffle mode and play it during the night at a low level.

As always expect a post on soon and its been listed on Eventful and Upcoming.

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London geekdinner with dave shea last night was fantastic

Dave Shea and Me at the Geekdinner

Ok this feels kind of weird talking about my own successes but honestly last nights geekdinner with dave shea was only one word. Yep, Fantastic! I could not have got a better more friendly crowd of geeks in a bar. Thank you to everyone who came along and made it a great success. I spoke to so many people and I can't remember everyones name. But it does not matter because Flickr will do the work for me. This women had the clever idea to get everyone to put up there pictures using the tag . You can also find pictures using londongeekdinner and geekdinner. If you're a flickr type you can also add your photos to the london geekdinner with shea group pool which I have setup.

Flickr tags go offline?

Ian has got some great pictures from the night and a pretty full transcript of the Question and Answers session with Dave Shea. I'm pretty amazed how fast he was able to put this up and that he got all the audience discussion too. Kudos to you Ian. I hope you don't mind that I stole your picture from the website but I did change the licence to Copyright (all rights reserved) and did give you attribution for such a great picture.

There were a couple of complaints but as Sheila and Jen said, Geeks may have the trait of being perfectionists. So the first thing was the venue. I forgot to say the geekdinner was actually upstairs in the crown and anchor, so thats my own fault. But although the venue was is a whole different class from the Hogs head, the space available was about the same. Sheila commented that my spacial awareness was pretty bad, which would be kind of consistent with what Sarah says too. So as you can guess we quickly ran out of room. I only honestly assumed about 50 people would turn up which is still an increase of about 20% from the last one I did with the simply amazing Molly. I counted with the help of the stickers which I ran out of really quickly (sorry to those who turned up late) exactly 68 people. And I noticed some people turned up really late, Dave Green included. So in total we may have had about 75 people but at one point we had 68 in a venue which should hold a maximum of 60. The bar staff did at one point ask me if I was expecting even more people? I have to say I lied. Because of the huge amount of people, my estimate for food to per head was off and I only got food by nicking it off other peoples plates. Someone told me there were sandwiches, spring rolls, etc. But I didn't see any of it. All I got was Chips and some nice sweet chilli sauce.

To be fair to everyone I have to explain what happened. I look at the signups on, eventful, dave sheas blog and upcoming. Then work out a rough number of people who are coming and take off about 10-12 people for last minute drop outs. I usually give the kitchen the numbers as late as possible, in this case last week Wednesday. And as luck would have it, a load of people signed up after Thursday night at the girlgeekdinner. Other things which people commented during the night. The one bar person when there was easily enough demand for two, to be fair this changed about 8pm but it was certainly easier to get a drink downstairs and bring it back up. The sound level was loud simply because there were so many people in a small venue, I think Jen Dixon said I was loosing my voice half way through the night. Was the food as good as the hogs head? someone asked. And lastly charging 6 pounds was a stupid idea (thats how much the food costs) because everyone gives me 10 or 5 pounds.

Ok end of complaints, generally I'm going to solve most of the problems by simply moving to a even better venue. Its called the polar bear and is located between Leicester Square and China town. It holds about 150 people max but I will never go for a event which holds more than 80 because it looses its personal and friendly touch when so many people are grouped into a room. Last night although being slighly cramp, the atmosphere was still friendly and fun.

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