I'm headed to sxsw this week, I'll be on a panel on Tuesday, entitled Green software, Really? Following up on the green code ideas from last year. I'm slightly overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that are happening at sxsw and the number of ways to organise the information. I've pretty much packed, so I should head to bed. See you there perhaps.
Recently in conferences Category
I was at TOC08 back on the 11th and 12th February. I spoke on the Tuesday on social software and publishers, giving a talk on how publishers can take their existing book catalogues and turn them into social catalogues tracking the activity happening on the web about their books back into their catalogues. The slides and my speaking notes are on slideshare.
To follow up on this area, Tom's web of data talk is a great summary of how to attach meaning to entities on the web. His 2006 Future of web apps talk gives a good framing around why and how people create content and share it online and how you can interact with that. Matt Biddulph did similar work with thinglink (pdf) and and a talk on weblike design for data. I got interested in the political angle on this and made the European Constitution into a social document via the project talkeuro, I wrote a paper on that work for xtech05.
The aim of the TOC talk was to get book publishers to realise that they all had something which could be turned into a shared object by interacting with their readers directly and not just treating them as buyers. I've had some really nice feedback about the talk from a range of people, so thanks. One last point, this is possible, I didn't say it would be easy.
I've posted my presentation on website psychology to slideshare. It looks at cognitive psychology and how this should be shaping our choices in web development. It is best viewed with the notes on slideshare, but you can review the themes below.
I spoke at Xtech07 on Provenance, looking at the underlying issues of identity on the internet. There is a lot of depth to this stuff and a lot of unintended consequences occurring. I set out to show to myself, partly, that I exist online in quite a rich and detailed manner.
My initial idea was to look at how easy is it to determine I am who I say I am. To make this I started with a single page and followed links, grabbed microformats and did a bit of simple screen-scraping.
It turns out that with only one page and a bit of jumping from site to site following profile links you can make a very compelling picture of yourself and your friends. The background to all of this is rel="me" which strongly links two pages.
For a lot more detail on this, please read the paper on identity and provenance and then have a look at the "What is your provenance?" slides (pdf).
In the talk I show the scraping necessary to find friends, tags, content from the social network sites we all inhabit. I was surprised how easy it was, clean semantic html makes identity scraping much easier. My intention is not to set about stalking people, but to show the possibilities and benefits a service like this might offer. We spend too much of our lives (our CPA) managing feeds when we could be glancing at people. I'll be putting together a demo on idsix.com in June, I hope.
Suw, Kevin, Jeremy and Paul have all kindly made notes on my talk. Between the four of them you have pretty much word for word what I said, who needs podcasts, when you have demon typists, many thanks.
Last week I was at xtech in Paris. It was a very fine week with some great talks and good people. Usually there was more than one talk I wanted to attend at anyone time, which is a good if frustrating position to be in.
The talks which caught my attention, amongst finishing my own talks and chairing some sessions were on a wide range of topics. From hardware hacking and real world to virtual world integration from Matt Biddulph through microformats from Jeremy Keith to scientific visualisation from Frank Marchese and back to somewhere near the real world with Adam Greenfield and Matt Webb. Kellan Elliott-McCrea and Blaine Cook made the world of Jabber finally make sense. The political angle was covered by Suw Charman, Rob McKinnon and Kevin Anderson. Lastly we had saving the world with Gavin Starks
More detailed comments on those in a moment. The hotel were unable to provide wifi for conference attendees, this was a bit frustrating for many people. Those staying in the conference hotel could use the €15 per day internet in your room, but this did not include use of the wifi in the conference rooms. One plus of this is that people attending the sessions actually paid attention to the speaker, but it meant that the blogging and other back channels from the conference were more restrained than they might have been. That said I'd be in favour of no wifi in conference rooms, as long as there was generally available internet access in common spaces. We did the usual and used an Airport Express and shared the one account we did have, thanks Suw.
Some brief notes on the conference sessions follow. The day prior to the conference was a focused day on the ubiquitous web or there were workshops to attend. I went to most of the ubiweb sessions. Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino spoke on the tension in the design world coming from the internet world, the sense of iteration that is present on the internet and her hopes for a change in real world product design. Her talk (slides) was peppered with examples of novel cross over product design and was a great close to the day. Earlier Aaron Straup Cope spoke about the importance of paper in our lives and designing systems including markup to deal with information capture on paper, a nice thoughtful presentation (slides). Claus Dahl gave an interesting presentation about a live application Imity which scans the bluetooth space and then maps the social interactions happening within it, he raised some good points about identity. Matt Biddulph spoke about bridging the space between this physical world and the virtual, demoing some of the work he has done for Nature and showing the Arduino to more adoring fans.
More on the rest of the conference in a subsequent post.
Technorati Tags: xtech
I think I've found the perfect camera and laptop bag, it is a Tamrac Adventure 9. It happily takes my G4 PowerBook in a slot in the back, then holds my 20D, some lenses, including a 70-200 f4 in the bottom. Then in the top space, often neglected on other bags, it holds a geek book (Ruby for Rails), a paper back, some cables, headphones, iPod, and there is space for a few other bits. It is carry on, just, you might need to be careful how you pack, it is narrow and short enough, but the depth is arguably over the max for some UK based airlines.
I've been looking for a new bag, since I started taking my SLR and laptop to conferences. A camera back and a laptop bag is no fun, one is always in the way. Once I'm back from Xtech, I'll write a longer post on how I found the bag. In the meantime I can recommend CameraWorld for those in the UK, no affiliate thing going on, just good prices and nice people. I've bought several of my near dozen or more camera bags from them.
Last weekend I gave a talk at BarcampLondon2, entitled "Time, History and the Internet". I covered a range of issues about how we are living in a very forward looking culture and how this makes understanding the past more difficult. I feel that this is a problem and one that is only going to increase as more and more of our content goes online.
I've slightly extended the presentation and written fuller notes to go with the slides. They are a 15.5MB pdf file Time, History and the Internet. Some people asked to see the slides and some people wanted an MP3, sadly I didn't get round to recording the talk, but the notes should help. I'd really welcome followups from people who heard or when you read the talk.
Yesterday was good fun, some great presentations and a bunch of interesting people and old friends. I'll be putting up a slightly revised version of my presentation tomorrow, I need to check the copyright on one of the images. I had a nice appreciative audience for my session on time, history and the internet, which was lovely.
Some thoughts for next time, better coffee would be appreciated, but there were several coffee places nearby. The free pay for wifi was actually a bonus, as there was sufficient infrastructure so that the wifi only got slower, it didn't crash. I only was there til a bit after 6pm on the first day, so I can't comment on the overnight and Sunday experiences, but catching up today it seems to have been really good. I missed the werewolf sessions, boo.
The quality of the talks I saw was really good, barcamp is open to all and free so on that basis it is to be commended, This was my first and I'd definitely go again. I think there is something about it being free that means people seem to try hard to make a good talk, as you can get in for free anyway. Maybe not the effect you'd expect, but I think the peer pressure makes people speak if they have something to say.
Tom Armitage and I are speaking next week at RailsConf Europe on Everything's interconnected: polymorphism as a design pattern for social software. Essentially telling the tale of how we determined the first order data items in the Nature Network social software application and extrapolating from there to some ideas on how Rails supports application design and vice versa.