links for 21 November 2006 – Is IA dying? Kick butt on panels. But wait, there’s more!

It’s been a while between links, so here’s a big list for you to enjoy!

20×2 London


Just for the record, if Kevin ever sends you an email out of the blue and asks you to participate in 20×2. You must say yes.

20×2 is an ongoing project that exists to showcase the creativity that lurks in each of us. Writers, musicians, filmmakers, web geeks and other bon vivants are asked to take two minutes each to answer the question of the day. The results can be as varied as the emotions and reactions they evoke.

Of course, it’s quite terrifying in the lead up, trying to come up with something vaguely interesting that answers a question like ‘Where Am I?’, but you’ll be well rewarded by all the thought processes you go through in the run up, and you get to have a great night out and meet lots of great people, and see some really creative and interesting responses to the question.

I really love this format. I’m thinking of how I can borrow it for other uses!

(I probably should have told you about this BEFORE the event (sorry Kevin!) but I wasn’t quite brave enough).

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Image Credit: agsystems @ Flickr

angry, angry, angry…


A friend told me this morning that apparently anger is the difference between those who survive and those who don’t. That sounded kind of profound. The more I think about it, the more I think she might be right.

I’m not really an angry person… in fact, when I’m angry it’s more than likely I’m just frustrated… but the symptom is anger, so I’ll go with that.

So, why am I angry?

  • Networks – I’m angry at the power of networks. I know… sounds crazy, but when you’re not IN a network, networks can be very intimidating and not particularly inclusive. Networks can be hard to break into. Networks are powerful only for those who are a part of them, and part of their power can be keeping people out – although not necessarily deliberately the effect is the same.
  • Perception – I’m angry that people who are important and clever seem to look a certain way or have a certain energy about them. God knows what this look or energy might be, but there must be something that makes it so easy for people to pass others over as being obviously not important.
  • Self Promotion – I’m angry that self promotion, or the promotion/visibility that someone receives is not necessarily related to the quality or value of work that they do. It’s more often related to how shameless and loud their voice, with amplication effects via networks (see above).

OK. So the world’s not a fair place, and perhaps I should be louder and braver and more self assured… but sometimes I feel as though if these are the rules of the game, then perhaps I’d rather start a whole other game to play.

Image Credit: Maureen Fischinger @ Flickr

MiniBar London (People will share if you let them)

I like this idea. It’s like a short, sharp, Friday evening version of BarCamp with beer.

Well, actually it’s nothing much like BarCamp at all except I imagine a bunch of the same people turn up and more who aren’t so interested to invest a weekend in it. Oh, and who like free beer :)

Here’s how they describe it:

For those who don’t have time to attend a full BarCamp, some of us have come up with MiniBar, a chance to snaffle some free beer while discussing p2p, Creative Commons, web applications, social networking and general Web 2.0 mayhem & fandango.

Despite the pouring rain, MiniBar was very well attended and perhaps because they all knew that John Buckman had a pretty interesting presentation up his sleeve. Or for free beer.
But first, two things that bugged me about MiniBar:

  • Microphone please! The presentation was in a large space, the rain was noisy, and it was really, REALLY hard to hear John speak because there was no microphone! (no, I’m serious). This is a shame, because what I heard of his talk was really interesting.
  • The Very Situated Social Tagging System: this turned out to be stickers that you stuck on your name tag. Very lame. Tagging is part of the BarCamp thing, but can we do something much cooler for next MiniBar please?Like, let people make their own tags and then we can collect all the tags and look at the patterns?Tags are kind of interesting when you see them applied to a single object/person, but they’re not really tags if they’re predefined, and they can be so more interesting when you see them applied to a group, or segments of a group! There are a dozen great ways we could do this without spending too much time or money. Can we do this again but better?

OK. Back to John.

John was essentially telling us about two of his businesses, BookMooch (a site where you can swap your used books for other people’s used books, using the BookMooch economy of points for books swapped) and MagnaTune (a virtual music label where musicians can sell/license their music. It’s also well used for music licensing for films, MP3 players in cars(!), and more) and a little about Creative Commons.

The moral of the story for me was that John could show through these examples that given the opportunity, the incentive and the right environment, people are likely to act generously and to pay for content they value, even if they could get it more cheaply or free for the same effort.

OK. Perhaps that doesn’t sound particularly new or interesting… it’s the last bit – the bit about getting it for free or more cheaply for the SAME EFFORT that I think it interesting.

Check out the PDF download of Johns presentation for more details (you can pretty much make out what he was saying from his slides, which is just as well given the accoustics on the night!)

The next MiniBar is apparently on 15 December and that presentation will be from the Tape It Off The Internet guys apparently… should be very interesting!

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Image Credit: Gareth Rodger @ Flickr