Category Archives: conference

Creative Thursday: Conference commando!

On the way to jazz choir practice, I thought about what I like
creating and when people have called me creative. One of the things
people have complimented me on is the way I hack conferences, from
modding conference T-shirts to posting people’s tag clouds along the
wall in order to spark conversations.

I _love_ going above and beyond the usual ideas of what a conference
should be like. That’s one of the reasons why I’m really excited about
CASCON 2006: as part of the organizing team, I can try out many cool

I’d love to start a bigger conversation around that, and I’d love to
share my thoughts with more people! I think it would make a great
blog. I want to share tips and ideas with participants, speakers, and
organizers. It’ll also be a great place to post my conference reports
and pictures of hacked T-shirts! ;)

I already have a name for the blog: Conference Commando. I came
across the term “conference commando” in Keith Ferrazzi’s book Never
Eat Alone. Good stuff, and I think I’ve got a lot to contribute to
this space.

So I’m going to make it happen! Here’s what I need to do:

  • Make a logo so that it’s not just a boring WordPress install. ;)
  • Set up a blog and JUST START BLOGGING! I can probably install
    Wordpress or something like that on some computer somewhere. Maybe
    Richi will let me virtualhost on
    his computer. I need a MySQL database. Alternatively, I could host
    it on, which is currently underutilized anyway. Yup,
    that’s also a possibility…
  • Extract some of the relevant blog posts from my main blog. For
    example, my notes about the social computing workshop might be of
    interest to organizers. A review of the relevant section in Never
    Eat Alone would be handy for participants, and my blog entry about
    keynote styles would be good for speakers.

Fun! Hooray for Creative Thursday!

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Good things: KMD2004

Quote for the day: An unexamined life is not worth living. –

I come from a technical background, and the almost-sociological
analyses we need to do for this KMD2004 course on Knowledge Media,
Culture and Society actually scares me. That’s probably why I
participate the most in class – I want to test my ideas, even if that
means admitting I don’t understand something or taking a wild guess at
something else.

I’m happy with the critique I submitted today, though. Instead of the
usual bullet points, I spent some time last night and this morning
picking out the main point and summarizing other points in the
article. You can find a draft of my critique at . I like it more
than the terse, almost telegraphic summaries my classmates prepared,
following the text closely. It’s less of a summary than a discussion,
and I didn’t repeat all the points during the main discussion – I just
picked out a few to talk about. I’m happy with it, although I may have
nervously rambled. I guess it’s a good sign that as I explained
things, I learned more, and I realized some of the answers to my
questions! <laugh>

I can’t take credit for another good thing that happened today, but
still. =) During the break, the person beside me turned to me and
asked if my frequent blogging examples meant that I blogged. I said,
“Sure!”, introduced myself, and handed him a business card with my
blog URL. I asked him if he blogged too, and he said that he hadn’t
updated his in a while. I asked how I could get in touch with him
anyway. Upon reading his e-mail address, I mentioned the roleplaying
I’d done in high school, and that turned into a good conversation.
(And he said he was shy! He started the conversation… <smile>)

I turned up at the MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 series and met a few people whom I want to introduce to others, so that was good. Heading over to No Regrets to catch Merlin Mann of 43Folders also netted me a few people I should follow up with.

I wish I could’ve worked more on the IBM stuff, but that just means
I’ll need to plan my morning carefully. And get up early, for once!

It was a good day, and tomorrow will be even better.

An unexamined life is not worth living. – Socrates

(I keep messing up the attribution of this quote! Socrates, not
Aristotle, not Aquinas. Socrates. Must remember; I cite it so often!)

Next thing on the horizon: CASCON 2006

I survived the Toast I.T. Toastmasters Open House. Yay!

The next thing on my horizon is CASCON 2006, IBM’s free conference. We’re still not sure if my research demo is going to get yanked from the tech showcase due to patent concerns, but I’ll be helping out with a social computing panel and Hack Night is a go.

Sign up for Hack Night! Free T-shirt, computers, pizza, hacking into the night… Sweet!

Surviving October one thing at a time…

Random Emacs symbol: gnus-cite-unsightly-citation-regexp – Variable: Regexp matching Microsoft-type rest-of-message citations.

Meeting minutes from KMD2004

Started 2:20 PM
Ended 3:00 PM
Attendance: Dave Kemp, Sacha Chua

  • Talked about tentative plans for lit review. Sacha will probably choose one of the articles from AN map reference, Dave Kemp will do The Wealth of Networks (book) or maybe change his mind. E-mail each other about concepts.
  • Intervention: Press kit about the Experimental Exhibition Laboratory (EEL). Open Source, Open Access grant will fund development of the online version of the gallery under Creative Commons license (Electric EEL). If showing work, then should be released under CC. Exposing people to the ideas that they might not aware of. Gaining attention for? Project launch November or so. We can write the press kit that can be used when the gallery is formally opened in March or so. Press kit for: Eye and Now magazine.
  • Integrative summary: We will provide point form summaries, and maybe one person can take the lead in preparing the summary. Wiki: post an outline or bullet points, try to merge as much as possible. Post a summary. Then post full drafts. Individual structure: 1-2 page summary. Set up wiki. Final paper due week 9, outline up by week 7 (Oct 24). Oct 26 meeting, we’ll try running through five-minute presentations of key ideas, come up with introduction and conclusion. Week 8, seriously start working on the integrative summary.

SACHA: Set up wiki, e-mail everyone by tonight, post minutes

Week 7 (Oct 24) point form up on the wiki, maybe even a summary if you’re feeling really nice
Oct 26* 2:00 meeting run through 5-minute presentations, think about introduction and *depending on symposium
Nov 7 Seriously work on integrative summary, people should be mostly done with their backgrounder articles
Nov 14 submit backgrounder article and integrative summary
Afterwards write intervention piece

Random Emacs symbol: pcomplete-match-end – Function: Return position of end of text matched by last search.

Waiting for the keynote

I am seated front and center for the CASCON keynote, having decided to
run off my laptop battery so that I don’t have to sit near the edges
of the room.

My jeans are spattered with mud (and possibly cement) from the
construction site that I had to walk through in order to get to the
Hilton. The pouring rain wasn’t kind to me, either, and there was an
appalling lack of sunlight at 7:30 in the morning. I guess winter is

Despite that, I am here. In one piece. And suitably well-fed. I may
yet survive the day.

I’ve put up Alvin’s poster in the technology showcase. Mine doesn’t
look so intimidatingly empty after all, what with the provided signs.
If I have to, I can just handwave.

Ah, there’s another thing I forgot to do: print out something
interesting for the back of my laptop. And print business cards. The
lab printer’s broken, so I didn’t get to print them last night.

It begins.

Tips for conference bloggers

Conference reports are a great way to help share knowledge and justify
the expense of conference travel, but attendees are often so busy
learning and networking that they don’t have the time to send detailed
conference reports from the road. Postponing the report-writing to the
plane trip back could mean many lost insights and lost momentum.

Liveblogging can help. With a little preparation, conference
reports can be posted and shared with coworkers and the rest of the
world within ten minutes of the presentation. Ethan Zuckerman and Bruno
Giussani have put together a collection of terrific tips for conference bloggers, which you should read before you head out to your next conference.

(crossposted: personal blog, external team blog, and internal personal blog)