Headlines for Wednesday:

Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
AX@1630-1900 Hang out at the Linux Caffe at Grace and Harbord to talk about open source, student life, innovation, etc.
AX@1900 Mush, the anti-mesh party
ACImprov night with Simon, Leigh, Ali(?), and others

1. Aftermesh: 02:15

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mesh was the best conference that I've ever been to. I got so much value out of it! I would have happily paid for it from my starving-grad-student budget(*) had my research supervisor not caved in and handed me his credit card.

What did I learn from mesh? I loved the keynotes by Dr. Michael Geist and Tara Hunt for both content and presentation style. I enjoyed Phillip Smith's whirlwind discussion of grassroots movements and the Web 2.0. I was fascinated by the not-quite-successful social experiment of a projected backchannel chat in Michael O'Connor Clarke's session on engaging the blogosphere.

But all of those things paled in comparison to corridor chats and afterparties. Those were totally, totally cool, and I'll tell their story after I wake up.

Here are, I think, a few of the reasons why this conference was a spectacular experience for me:

  • Barcamp and other tech gatherings meant that I already knew a few people there, which made it much easier to meet others.
  • Volunteering at the registration desk meant that I could say hi to all the people I knew and make an impression (positive, I hope!) to the organizaton.
  • Smiling certainly helped.
  • Oh, and of course writing down notes in my little black Moleskne notebook. =) That way, I can remember a little bit.

Mentors? Everywhere I turned, I found someone who was not only doing exactly what I want to do but was also happy to help me learn more about it.

I'll blog more some other time, as my eyes are closing of their own will. Maybe when I wake up tomorrow...

(*) Well, not so starving thanks to the fellowship...

Random Japanese sentence: 犬は猫を追いかけようと木に登ろうとしたが、うまくいかなかった。 The dog's attempts to climb the tree after the cat came to nothing.

2. Can I Crash: 17:54

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From a conversation with Chris Messina, Tara Hunt and Andrew Hessel came this mention of Can I Crash (http://www.canicrash.org). Check it out and lend your sofa space to a blogger!

See someone's blog post about Can I Crash?, too.

3. Tagging places, and the power of stories: 18:22

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When I looked at applications that didn't work, I thought geotagging sites like Platial missed the boat. What was the use of Toronto as Canada, for example? But then Chris Messina showed me how he uses Wayfaring, Flickr, and videoblogging to coordinate the search for a good space for coworking. He and a bunch of friends keep track of possible places. They take pictures of addresses and places, and they also take videos for reconnaissance.

Good stuff! That totally makes sense now. I needed his story to figure out how the pieces fit together.

Random Japanese sentence: ウサギの耳は猫の耳よりも長い。 The ears of a rabbit are longer than those of a cat.

4. Agile methods for building communities: 18:34

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Chris Messina totally rocks. He's into building communities through agile methods such as:
  • barcamp, ad-hoc gathering where people can share whatever they're passionate about
  • mashpit, day-long hackathons
  • coworking, or creating places where geeks can work and hang out

Good stuff!

5. Genetic engineering and individuality: 18:52

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Andrew Hessel, Tara Hunt, Chris Messina and I were chatting about biotechnology and open source. Andrew mentioned DNA vaccines, which can stimulate the production of antibodies - so some cells do pick up new genetic material and do something with them, and scientists haven't quite figured out how that works yet. He went on to say that if biotech really took off, we probably wouldn't see the creation of a homogenous master race, but rather an explosion of biodiversity. Imagine all the people who want to have horns or blue skin or whatever else... =)

I thought that was an interesting idea. <grin> Along the lines of self-modification: I probably wouldn't hack anything externally, but a better memory would be really cool.

Random Japanese sentence: 大まかに言って、犬は猫より忠実だ。 Broadly speaking, dogs are more faithful than cats.

6. The world is changing: 18:53

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Another thought from that conversation: Andrew pointed out that we're now less afraid of tangible threats such as lions charging us and more afraid of intangible threats such as bacteria and viruses. I work less with physical things than I do with virtual ideas. At the same time, though, I feel strongly about bringing relationships from virtual to real-world, and I like making intangible things tangible... =)

Random Japanese sentence: 私たちの子供は犬が好きだが私は猫の方が好きだ。 Our children like dogs, but I prefer cats.