Category Archives: barcamp

On this page:
  • Ruby versus Java
  • Barcamp explained
  • More thoughts on Barcamp, no answers
  • More thoughts on Barcamp II
  • DemoCamp!
  • Upcoming BarCamp

Ruby versus Java

This is totally cool. I’m in the middle of a geek crowd discussing
Java vs Ruby, but there’s none of that “my language is better than
yours” vibe that often comes out in Linux distribution discussions. I
think what’s cool about it is that most people here use both, so we’re
just figuring out where one is better than the other for something,
and how we can improve things…

On Technorati: , ,

Random Japanese sentence: 彼は2匹猫を飼っている。一匹は黒でもう一匹は白だ。 He keeps two cats: one is black, and the other white.

Barcamp explained

Joey de Villa has an excellent blog post explaining BarCamp. Check it out.

On Technorati:

Random Japanese sentence: 私は犬の方が猫より好きです。なぜなら、前者の方が後者より忠実ですから。 I like dogs better than cats, because the former are more faithful than the latter.

More thoughts on Barcamp, no answers

Dominique helpfully offered suggestions on adapting
BarCamp to the Philippines. He said that
it was doable, but challenging. He asked me the top five people I’d
like to be there. He suggested having interdisciplinary talks by
invited speakers on entrepreneurship, physics, biology, etc. Many of
the Linux geeks who regularly speak at events would no doubt turn up,
too.

I had such a strong reaction against his ideas that I had to stop
myself from being frustrated. I recognized that I felt he didn’t
understand what unconferences were about. I also recognized that I
couldn’t yet articulate the differences between unconferences and
conferences in a way that would make the changes and benefits clear. I
was frustrated, yes, but I was frustrated with myself for being unable
to figure out how to hack unconferences into Filipino culture without
turning the event into yet another thing that divides speakers from
audience instead of creating a community of participants.

I knew Dominique wanted to help me think things through, but the
strength and irrationality of my reaction made me realize that I
needed to first think things over with people who know the
unconference culture and who may have insights into helping a new
community adapt.

I need more insight from people like Chris Messina and David Crow. How
does one hack unconferences into a society’s culture? How can I help
people go from a strongly hierarchical culture to a flatter one? Must
ask Don Marti, too…

I don’t have answers. I don’t even know where to start. One good thing
is that I can recognize when I’m hitting a wall, though. When I heard
Dominique repeat his suggestion for inviting talks from outside
disciplines and I knew I just couldn’t listen well enough to do him
credit, I thanked Dominique for sharing his thoughts and confessed my
inability to discuss things further at this time. I need to talk to
the others first. I need to figure things out.

You know, it’s just _so_ tempting to not think about how to hack
something like unconferences into Philippine society. It would be so
easy to just enjoy the fruits of other people’s labor in a tech
culture that’s starting to take off. But I want to bring these ideas
home…

And you know what? Maybe I don’t need to figure out how to get people
out of their chairs and into the conversation. Maybe I can focus on
just meeting the Web 2.0 entrepreneurs, the connectors who are
reaching out to me and to each other. I’d like to meet them in person
and get them to talk to each other. Maybe I don’t have to think about
doing that this August. Maybe I can do that this December, if I can
afford to go home.

I don’t feel bad about being asked tough questions. I feel bad about
not knowing the answers and not even being able to explain why
something doesn’t feel right. I just need to talk to more people and
try more things in order to figure out what to do.

And I seriously need hot chocolate and a hug, but that’s just because
I’m feeling all lost again… I’ll try to postpone thinking about it
until Friday, as I’m booked until then.

On Technorati: , , , ,

Random Japanese sentence: うちの猫って甘えん坊で、どこでも私のあと着いて来るのよね。 My cat is such a baby, she follows me around wherever I go.

More thoughts on Barcamp II

I personally am not tired of conferences. I am just tired of tired conferences. Particularly the ones with the same group of twenty talking heads saying the same twenty things. – Stowe Boyd

I know public speaking scares the heck out of most people, but maybe
we can get more people into the conversation…

I remember facing two hundred people at one of the PLUG technical
sessions, all quiet as a mouse. I remember feeling _really_ frustrated
by the notion that they might just be there to listen to people talk
(possibly over their heads, eh?), get their certificate and go on with
their lives. Or maybe they were just thinking about lunch. Ah, well.

I want small groups, so no one can hide in the anonymity of crowds. ;)
I’m tired of audiences. I want participants. I don’t want to hear
presentations. I want to be part of conversations.

On Technorati: ,

Random Japanese sentence: 猫はネズミを追いかけた。 The cat ran after the rat.

DemoCamp!

I love going to conferences and geek get-togethers because I always end up having the most interesting conversations. Even though my responsibilities at Toast I.T. Toastmasters meant that all I caught of DemoCampToronto8 was just David Crow ending it with, “That wraps up DemoCamp for the night,” it was so worth the mad scramble across town.

Here’s an incomplete list of highlights from DemoCamp:

  • Ari Caylakyan came along from Toast I.T. Toastmasters in order to see the geek events I go to.
  • Chatted with Olivier Yip Tong on the way in.
  • Carsten Knoch gave me the July 1 issue of the Guardian UK
    that I’d blogged about. A journalist interviewed a bunch of
    UK-based IBM bloggers and the IBMers mentioned me as an example of
    a blogging student, and the article came out online on July 1. I
    met Carsten at Enterprise 2.0 Camp on 2006.07.20, and he went back
    and read my blog. (Awwwwww!) When he read my entry about the
    Guardian, he realized that he had that issue and that it was
    sitting in his recycling bin. What an amazing coincidence! I’ll
    read through the entire thing later to see if I made it into print.
    If so, them my mom will be ridiculously happy to receive a paper
    copy of it for her scrapbook. =) Even if the article isn’t there -
    isn’t that just a nifty thing?
  • Jane Zhang made me promise to blog
    the Social Tech Brewing event this August. The event’s about women
    in technology, and it looks like it will be a very interesting
    discussion.
  • I apologized profusely to Greg Wilson for not following up
    on the introduction to Steve Easterbrook, who teaches a
    course that I absolutely must take next semester and who is
    interested in the social side of software engineering. Greg invited
    me to another meeting at 9:45 AM at the Starbucks at College and
    St. George. (Update: I was unavoidably late and ended up at the
    Starbucks at 10:00 instead of 9:45. Didn’t meet them. Argh! Now I
    look terrible. I hate being late!)
  • Hypothesis: Following Greg Wilson around leads to
    conversations with interesting people. Data point: Hugh Ranalli. I overheard Hugh talking to Greg about computer training in developing countries, so naturally I stepped right into the conversation. (Greg told me to be nice and share! ;) ) Hugh’s working with Digital Opportunity Trust on skill-oriented training (as opposed to tech-oriented; teaching presentation skills instead of Microsoft Powerpoint), and I think that’s just what is needed. I’m curious about the Teach Up, Skill Up, and Scale Up programs he described for teachers, at-risk youth, and entrepreneurs.
  • James Woods had a haircut, which is probably one of the reasons why I didn’t remember his name, but still… He remembered mine and he makes an effort to be good with names, but was good-natured enough to forgive my lapse. =) He told me how he scheduled himself onto a yet-unplanned DemoCamp just to make sure he’d get a slot, and of David Crow‘s funny reaction to that.
  • James Woods introduced me to Vlad Jebelev, who used to be a Toastmaster when he lived in Missassauga. His wife was one of the club founders for a bank-based club.
  • Jeremy talked to me about his work in scientific visualizations – mainly physics and chemistry. His wife’s doing her PhD in biotechnology, so he’s getting interested in that as well.
  • With a little more time this DemoCamp, I got to know Ian Irving through more than just his blog title. “Hi, I’m Ian Irving of falsepositives” wasn’t much to go on last time, especially as I didn’t feel like opening my computer then and there! ;) I noticed the Lotus Notes thing on his business card and we talked a bit about that. Then we ended up in a longer conversation about how to keep track of lots of blogs and the strategies we use, like following influencers, analyzing OPML… Ian has some pretty interesting OPML analysis tools that he should share. =) It would be good to see the intersection of blog subscriptions between your friends, for example… He’s thought a lot about this attention economy, and has come up with a few things to make it personally better.
  • Finally got to connect with Rick Mason. He had stumbled across my entry on networking with Moleskine notebooks. We nearly met at the Flash event on 2006.06.29, but for some reason or another he didn’t make it to that one. We were supposed to meet last week for coffee, but our schedules got full. DemoCamp did the trick!
  • It was good to see Rock Jethwa at DemoCamp. I met him at the TorCHI social the night before and thought he might enjoy the DemoCamp scene. He probably heard about it from other people, too. =)
  • Rock Jethwa introduced me to Goran Matic, who’s also really enthusiastic about storytelling and social computing. Awesome!
  • Simon Rowland actually managed to make it out to one of the DemoCamp parties! =)
  • Andrew Burke joked about his resemblance to Simon Rowland. I laughed and said I’d probably be able to tell them apart by now, all things considered. Andrew and I chatted about Emacs. He said that geek get-togethers in California tend to be Emacs-dominated, while Toronto’s more of a vi city than anything else. I really should have a dinner party just for Emacs geeks.
  • Joey de Villa talked about his recent experiences with AdSense and how Randy of KBCafe is making quite a living off targeted blogs.
  • Brent Ashley collected his requisite two hugs: one coming in, one going. <laugh>
  • Gabriel Mansour and Simon Rowland started talking about Asterisk. Gabriel mentioned the Asterisk + Drupal module. Simon laughed and told him the history of that particular piece – his company developed it. <grin> That was cute!
  • Jedediah Smith suggested that I introduce him as a former mustard factory safety inspector if Web advertising is considered evil.
  • Alan Hietala promised to check out Toastmasters. He’ll be graduating within a few weeks and is looking for a programming/software development job that can take advantage of his interests in visualization and other deep hacking stuff. He’s interested in doing software architecture eventually.
  • Apricots and a kooshy ball!

A very good evening indeed.

On Technorati: , , , ,

Upcoming BarCamp

Reviewing my months-old inbox, I came across a conversation with Justin Wiley about their BarCamp, the geek un-conference I like so much. He told me of an interesting session at one of their BarCamps. The session was called “Refactoring Your Wetware“, and it was all about productivity. That reminded me that BarCamp sessions aren’t limited to computer topics. I’d love to facilitate a session on personal productivity at one of the Toronto BarCamps. I may even go ahead and steal the title. ;)

Another session I’d love to facilitate would be one on networking for introverts, which Richard Eriksson‘s also interested in. It ties in well with the Conference Commando stuff I want to do.

Looks like I’ll be volunteering one of those (or even both!) for BarCampEarthToronto

  • E-Mail from Justin Wiley