notes on the fly from barcamp

(Er…. I’ll fill this out later. Too much going on, and 5 year old kid in tow demanding attention at the same time.)

Talking with Peter K. about Socialtext. Chicken of the vnc: a nifty tool to share screen/keyboard for collaborative authoring. Peter uses it with his coworker Dina in TX to do extreme programming while on the phone & using the same screen. “She’s in my ear and we’re on the same computer”. You use it to both be in the same wiki or use it in a text file. More collaborative tools: subethaedit (recommended), moonedit.

We talk about how conversations happen better when there’s chatter and not all signal. (Humans need noise.) (This reminds me of the importance of longer pauses in lectures/conversation in getting other people to speak and participate.) We get the signal even when it is surrounded by “noise”. There are times when you just want a sentence or a bullet point or a link, “look at this cool thing” but how much more effective a chatty review to persuade you to read the book or follow the link or think about the idea. (Aphorisms are not stories.) People like context.

I talk about translation.
Peter talks about reading news in other languages. We talk about homeschooling.
We talk about science fiction. (Peter asks me “How can there be feminist science fiction? Isn’t that sexist in itself?)

People have used Socialtext to write books (alone or collaboratively) – I think novels as well as non-fiction.

I want to try making a socialtext/wiki space to do a group translation with revisions tracked. I could put my next translation on a wiki and track all the revisions and should also put what sources or dictionaries i’m using in there. And also, I could get steven and lori and that other dude to come on a wiki and we should do our femsf canon panel thing on that. Maybe Peter exudes a magic forcefield — because I suddenly feel like using wikis for everything makes a lot of sense.

I talk about how research, that maps out the blind alleys and wrong turns, or that is simply first-pass filtered raw material, should be online, shared, and searchable. How to manage it as information? It should be judged on different standards (rather than hurting an academic’s professional standing.)

How can all these tools and ideas be applied to literary/creative/critical contexts?


Talking with identitywoman and rashmi about identity & pseudonyms and business personas, public personalities. they both talk about how they figured out early on that you better not put anything personal out there on the net. rashmi thinks maybe something is lost from this. and that there is more pressure on women who want to have a public life, professional respect etc. to keep themselves separate/modular. (This fits in well with what I thought was very interesting about Tiedemann’s book “Remains” and the female character with the modular brain.)
Identitywoman has a TED tshirt on and talks some about working at that conference.

Now I’m playing “jupiter and stripezar and the three space lizards” with Moomin. I don’t like having to fool around making “vroom” noises and pretending to be a plastic tiger space explorer when I want to be talking about stuff and meeting new people. (I play space-explorers through most of lunch, 1 – 2:30. ) Somehow managing. Moomin is behaving beautifully and doesn’t mind being here – he thought the idea of grownup computer camp was hilarious.

Jo calls me! and says she will take Moomin for a while! woot!

Was it peter i was just talking with about styles of being in tech and women in tech. He talks about competitive oneupmanship, do something kickass, but I thought he meant the thing of “if you have to ask, you don’t deserve to know” thing. (he said that Dina also mentioned this as a gender barrier.) I talked about how in woman to woman contexts socially , it is a sign up boldness, confidence, strength and chutzpah to reveal weaknesses, uncertainties, say you don’t know. It’s often not what men think it is. But is like the social phenomenon of “I reveal a secret, then you do, thus we establish trust” except in this case it’s a frank laying out of what needs to be addressed and it’s not bad to ask for help and in fact it’s more efficient if you are working as a group cooperatively. if you are a woman in programming and you say this sort of thing then guys around you then no one respects you! but to the women listening to the men’s oneupmanship thing they sound like blowhards or you catch on later that they’re hiding the fact that there’s something they don’t know, and they go look it up later and pretend they always knew. Not that i’ve ever experienced that while working in tech. hahahahaha. oh, never.


I have not thought at all about lockdown and just kind of don’t care. Whatever. let it be an experiment in trust and hoping no one gives a rat’s ass what’s on my computer and that no one will do anything bad with my passwords, which are probably all on a file on my hard drive named “my passwords.”
Niiiiice little hackers. My underwear is hanging out, is that not enough for youall?



Flickr photo fight between foocamp and barcamp:

Strata really rocks!!!

I talked some with Mary Hodder (in a crazed fan-girl way, I fear). Everything I’ve heard her say is brilliant and right-on! We talked about making a spam-fighting consortium and that it isn’t necessarily a competitive advantage to companies to keep their spamfighting information secret. Instead, that encourages spammers and a climate where spam works.

All the terms Mary and Rashmi throw out are food for thought… “conversant communities” etc… It is clear they are talking about the complexities of tagging on an entirely different plane than most other people in the room. We should be listening to them explain these ideas in detail…


Talking with Niall about making it more culturally acceptable to publish half-formed stuff, research, notes, preliminary results, process-exposing. He way agrees & tells me about a past red herring hullabaloo about reporter notes put online. Now Businessweek is doing it. We talk about reporting, reporters, newspapers and there being room for the developing spectrum of blogging and journalism.

Why does everyone demand wonders of Technorati? I think they are rad and useful… Everyone from there has been great to talk with. I demand that Technorati should vibrate… and it should give me foot massages, and read my mind, and bring about world peace, and cure the common cold…

Deirdre — ruby something… i am missing her talk…

Riana… sitting on the floor with ipod, putting something complicated together and I think chatting in about 10 windows.

Ping talking about security and phishing. He’s in his pajamas. He’s a very clear presenter/teacher. And a clear interesting thinker. People just started yelling “kickass!!!!!” and clapping at something he was saying about password strategies. Pet names. Having the separate password thing in the firefox toolbar. I’m following this but not taking good notes.

javascript faster AJAX thing preloading , lazyloading, smartloading, slimming down. get your user interface usability testing people involved!!! (says rashmi) I’m listening in thinking that Rook might like to know about this stuff . i forget how he did his map application. I wish he were here, he would TOTALLY dig this. he should come to these conferences and gatherings like this!

Waiting in the tiny room for clouds/tagging/identity discussion – apparently it’s the girly room. (What I meant by saying this is that suddenly half the women at the camp were crammed into this tiny room.) I liveblog it. (Intending to go back later and fix stuff and add links, etc.)

I liveblogged the women in tech discussion too but had to leave halfway through just when it was getting super exciting…

Later at the party at my house Laura M. asks if the women in tech discussion was like the one at.. ozcon? she described it… I tried to get her to come tomorrow to Barcamp and we’d trade babysitting for each other but I don’t think she’ll come. She says her company uses Socialtext.

Also at the party someone refers to their computer as “a box that has a wordprocessor in it.”

This one guy talks a lot about materials science, uranium, some incident in WWII with japanese fire balloons or something and a near-meltdown. “And that was the last time they made horizontal control rods with a whatchamacallitthingie and NO CONVECTION TOWER” was his smug punchline. oooookay. He is a mad inventor and security guard.

Some other dude whose name I don’t remember has a weekly sfzine called SF/SF. I said I’d cover whatever SF is read at Writers With Drinks and it was cool to hear everyone at the party go, “Oh! I’ve been meaning to go to that/I keep hearing about that/I really should go to WWD.”

8 Responses to “notes on the fly from barcamp”

  1. Jo

    Seriously. It was like entering an opium den, where we snatched Moomin out of the miasma. Everyone’s eyes were glazed over and out of focus as they reflexively watched our movement through the room. Zzzzzzz

  2. JM

    Well crap. Now I wish I had come up there. Keep on posting so I can live vicariously through you.

  3. badgerbag

    Well there’s still one more day of it. they’re going to do stuff ad hoc after 2pm tomorrow too!!!!

  4. Koan Bremner

    “Why does everyone demand wonders of Technorati?” – I can’t answer for everyone, only myself – but speaking personally, I’d settle for them doing (reliably, and without fuss) what they say they do (specifically, indexing posts and having the posts they’ve indexed show up consistently in searches and the tags with which they’ve been tagged) – as well as either admitting how superficial their ranking mechanism is, or improving it so that it isn’t so superficial. But then, that’s just me.

  5. badgerbag

    I asked that question of a lot of people and got the same answer you give, Koan — or else an answer like, “Because they’re the only game in town, or sort of. Well, actually, they aren’t, but they’re the biggest.” Also got the answer of “People expect them to have the quality of results of Google – but they aren’t there (yet).” It will be interesting to see how they evolve!

  6. Koan Bremner

    Hi Badger – I find myself in “heated agreement” with you! 🙂 Yes, Technorati *is* evolving – but in public discourse, they seem to want to give the impression that what they’ve already delivered is complete – whereas it isn’t. It’s no crime to be developing new systems (far from it) – but it’s disingenuous (at best) to pass them off as complete when they’re not.
    I admit, I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet with Technorati – for the simple fact that Niall Kennedy lied to me, in public, in the opening session at BlogHer, and I don’t take kindly to that. So one of my little missions at the moment is to challenge them to *publicly* state what is *really* happening with their systems and algorithms – and to hold them to account for their response. As you state in your post, there are other people calling them to account – Shelley Powers (Burningbird) has been making her own investigations, and published her findings, at – and there’s a comment by Kevin Marks from Technorati. I’ve replied to his comment (and emailed him a copy) and will be keen to learn his response… if any.
    For there’s my primary beef with Technorati – some of their staff have a habit of posting comments which effectively say “there’s no problem, move along, nothing to see here”… but they tend not to come back and answer the substantive questions that are asked of their algorithms, their performance, their consistency and their reliability. And that really worries me, when so many people set such store by Technorati rankings (as Elisa Camahort, for example, expessed in this post ).
    I don’t doubt that their people are great to talk with (my own experience with Niall Kennedy notwithstanding) – but they need to do more than just talk, unless they want to be written off as a talking shop. In my opinion.

  7. Hip Liz

    “it’s not bad to ask for help and in fact it’s more efficient if you are working as a group cooperatively”
    Didn’t wanna quote your whole post! So settled for this part. This is a big deal in tech, as you say, and a problem far more prevalent among men than women, who are naturally more cooperative and less ego-driven creatures. Interestingly though I have found my career and reputation stymied more by not asking for help enough, because within my corporation’s particular culture, team is first and individual, not. I have philosophical mixed feelings about that but my point is there is workplace social progress, and I believe that the companies within which you get ahead by not revealing so-called weaknesses are the companies that ultimately lag in the market. There’s no time for that sophomoric bullshit! (And yet I can get company-logo golf clubs, speaking of sophomoric bullshit, so go figure.)

  8. crazywolf

    I too believe in the strength of one, but teams have a better view of all the politics of the game. If the wolf trys to take on the elk by its own, its flank is exposed to the flying cougars jumping from the trees

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