Archive for February, 2009

Webstock 2009: Peace, love and a eulogy for Web 2.0

It opened with a call for website creators to help save the world, and closed with a call for Web 2.0 to grow up already… In the course of just two days, speakers at New Zealand’s Webstock conference evoked the perils of ecological disaster, suggested that computer games might be able save the world and performed a eulogy for Web 2.0. A heady, visionary blend of themes, attitudes and exhortations – this was Webstock 2009.

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Heading to NZ for Webstock 2009

I’m heading to Wellington, New Zealand on Wednesday to attend Webstock 2009. It will be my first Webstock and indeed my first trip to the land of the hobbits. 

Check out the program here – I’m particularly keen to hear from Ben Goodger (who was project lead for Mozilla’s Firefox browser before he moved to Google where he is the User Interface Tech Lead for the Chrome browser project), Bruce Sterling and Annalee Newitz (longtime tech writer and sci fi blogger at io9) . Actually, the list of speakers is pretty damn impressive, rather than namecheck a bunch of people you can browse the list yourself.

I’m covering the conf for ZDNet and I’m also filming an interview with Annalee which will be published on the Webstock site. Fun! Exciting!   Hopefully I’ll also have time to do some sightseeing in gorgeous NZ. :)

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NEWS09 Presentation: How to get your student publication online

Welcome to students visiting from today’s NEWS09 conference. Please feel free to ask a question or leave a comment. Keep me posted if you decide to try out any of the ideas or tools that were mentioned today – I would love to hear how you get on.

As promised, here’s a copy of the presentation I gave today on How to get your student publication online.

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Laneway Festival responds to critics of its Melbourne event

Just a quick one to point out that Laneway Festival has published a response to criticisms of its Melbourne event on the website here. The piece discusses the problems in some detail, and while it stops short of an apology, it “acknowledges” issues and is “deeply disappointed” that the experience was marred for some festival goers.

I liked that it ended by saying “We would also like to acknowledge that we have had personal letters and we will respond to them all next week when we return from the last three dates of the festival.”

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Smokers welcome at the Laneway Festival, brought to you by Quit Victoria?!

Here’s a tip – if you’re the organiser of a (nominally) smoke free event sponsored by Quit Victoria, it’s probably best not to smoke on the night. Oh, and your staff should probably be trained to be able to give people prompt first aid assistance when required.

The Age ran a story today about disgruntled patrons complaining about the lack of organisation of Melbourne’s Laneway Festival. But I’m surprised it didn’t pick up the smoking angle.  One unhappy punter, jametheil-bane,  posted to the Melbourne Maniacs online community today,  saying that he (I’m assuming gender here) had an asthma attack because so many people were smoking in full sight of security guards.  Worse, he was stuffed around by event staff when trying to find first aid. You can see jametheil-bane’s post about the event here.

The post is a copy of the letter of complaint sent to the Festival organisers and includes the following little gem:

The guard came back and told us that he couldn’t ask the third gentleman to put his cigarette out as the third gentleman was one of the event organizers. Lighting up at a non-smoking event, not 5 metres away from the first aid tent.

Assuming this is true, I’m sure Quit Victoria will be thrilled to hear that.

Update: Ugh, I just had another look at the Laneway website, which proudly proclaims “Leave your lighter at home for Australia’s first smokefree music festival. I think every nonsmoker who attended should ask for their $99 back.

Update 2: The Enthusiast published a detailed story about all the other organisational stuffups patrons experienced at the Laneway Festival including queues and overcrowding. Apparently there’s a petition and a Facebook group for disgruntled patrons to demand a refund. Thanks Angus!

Update 3: Thanks Jason for the link to this awesome Tunebinder photo showing the horrendous queue waiting to see the headline act, Girl Talk. You can read the Tunebinder story here.

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Linux Australia acknowledges some quiet achievers – the Community Recognition Awards

I guess it’s fitting that quiet achievers be quietly rewarded, but I suspect Linux Australia’s Community Recognition Awards flew completely under the radar at LCA. The awards went to:

  • Janet Hawtin: For designing the Linux Australia and Open Source Industry Australia logos and commitment to community development.
  • Alison Russell: For acting as speaker liaison for the conference over many years & compiling the LCA-HowTo for future bid teams.
  • Hugh Blemings: For helping build and maintain the Linux Australia and IBM relationship in support of linux.conf.au over the past 10 years.

Congratulations, winners. :) In case you’re wondering, these awards were given out in lieu of the Rusty Wrench awards this year. Really good to see that LA stepped up and acknowleged the very vital role that behind the scenes volunteers play.

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