Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
We headed up there for Moosecamp -- with the exception of the Photocamp track, I mostly hung out in the hallway with the girls, so that Julie could go to sessions. I spent some time hanging with Avi Bryant -- it's only the second time I've met him in person, but he's fun to hang out with, and we're definitely coming from the same place, so it's nice to have someone to commiserate with. This time I also got to spend some time with Avi's partner in Dabble, Andrew Catton, hich was also a pleasure.
Over the course of the few days, we ended up spending a sizable amount of time (in blocks) with Eric and Rose Soroos (and their son). This is another sad instance of people from Seattle needing to go to Vancouver in order to see each other, but that's just how things have worked out. Eric is a camera and Python guy, like me, and we had some fun hanging out an talking. I got to try bolting my 50mm onto my 100mm macro thanks to a cool adaptor ring that Erik was carrying, and for like $8, it's too cool not to make its way onto my equipment wishlist.
We've been slowly getting to know Chris and Ponzi over the last year or so (we first met them at Northern Voice last year). So this as a good chance to get a little better acquainted. In particular, I had no idea that Ponzi is a budding camera freak like me. That ended up making for a fun lunch conversation one day.
I had a bunch of nice personal photos that I shot of these folks (and some others), but the laptop theives have those now. At least Flickr still has some of the good ones.
Ok, on to the topical material.
I thought that the idea of PhotoCamp was incredibly good. When I started looking at the pages, I was kind of jealous of the VanDigiCam group. I'm not aware of anything like that in the Seattle area, much less here on Bainbridge Island. While I enjoyed the sessions, I think that there could have been so much more. There was a wide range of skills in the sessions, and I think that there is a huge amount that you could do. The prospect of a day long Photocamp is pretty enticing, given the right time. I was also astonished to learn that Kris Krug has only been shooting for 4 years. Perhaps there is hope for me yet.
I've seen several suggestions that Moosecamp be after the main conference, and I agree with that. I think that having the structured event up front can lead to a better unstructured event afterwards (although Moosecamp was already fully scheduled before it started). This year the PyCon sprints are after the conference instead of before, and I think that will be better than it has been in the past. We'll know the answer in about a week.
Julie's already written about her talk, and I won't comment, because you won't believe anything I say because you know that I love her.
The Blogs in the Bedroom panel. I had no idea how this was going to go, and I was kind of nervous about it. All the other participants on the panel have fairly interesting situations. Chris and Ponzi had a very public dispute, Maryam and Scoble have a very high and spicy profile, and Jen Wiederick is chronicling her dating (mis)adventures. In contrast, Julie and I don't fight much, we have kids, and we're pretty much non-controversial. It seemed like the audience was much more interested in the other situations represented around the table, which was fine with me. Even so, I thought the everyone on the panel had something to say, and no single panelist hogged the mike. Right there that made the panel better than many panels I have seen (which is too many).
As for the rest of the conference, well, I missed a lot of it, as I was in the kids room for a while. The one presentation that I regret missing was Nancy White's. One of these days I am gonna get to see Nancy go full bore. It's on my list.
That's 2 conferences down, 2 to go.
This weekend marks the beginning of conference season for the Leung family, starting with Northern Voice, where Julie will be keynoting. We will actually be dropping in for MooseCamp, so we'll be around for most of Friday. I'm probably the most excited about the PhotoCamp that's being held during the afternoon of MooseCamp.
Sadly, this means that I won't be at this year's CodeCon. That's a little disappointing because the program looks very interesting this year. Those of you in San Francisco can just show up at the door. I'm sure it will be worth it.
Robert Scoble and Shel Israel's new book "Naked Conversations : How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers" is out. Having undergone the process myself, I know that writing a book is an arduous process, and finishing is definitely worth celebrating!
Julie has a brief story on the launch party for the book, which happened last night. Unfortunately, I was already scheduled to be at OSAF last week, including the annual post holiday party for OSAF and all the other Klein/Kapor non-profits.
So in lieu of my in-person attendance, congratulations to both Robert and Shel, along with wishes not only for some nice royalty checks, but for some great reports of businesses changing the way they talk with us customers.
Looks like we will be going to Northern Voice again. Julie is giving the opening keynote, and she and I are on a panel titled "Blogs and the Bedroom: Blogging and Relationships". We had a great time last year, and boy did we like Vancouver...
Apparently it's filling up fast - check out Julie's post for more details.
This is the second year in a row that I forgot my blogoversary. I only remembered because I was trying to remember something that wrote about a while back. This means I actually looked at the sidebar of the blog and saw the year archives running back to 2003. So that's three full years of writing a lot of posts (this one is number 1456!).
So... happy blogoversary to me, a few days late.
I wish I was as excited about the new Memeorandum as everyone else seems to be. I used the original Memeorandum, and it did a good job of finding the major political stories, and I mean it when I say stories, because most of the primary sources that came up were newspaper articles. The new Memeorandum is doing a little better, because I occasionally see actual blog posts as primary articles. The Technology version is doing a little better at finding blog posts, or perhaps it's just that too many of the bloggers that Memeorandum searches spend their time writing about MSM articles.
If you are interested in what everybody is talking about, then I suppose that Memeorandum is really useful. The thing is, I care much more about the long tail bloggers that Memeorandum isn't picking up. What I'd really like is a version of Memeorandum that lets me specify the starting set of bloggers, so that I could have my own customized, potentially long-tail (depending on who I put in the starting set) Memeorandum. Now that I could get excited about.
[via Napsterization ]:
I know of no other conference that holds speaker sessions (there may be some but I've never heard of it, so please leave comments if there are some). Almost all the speakers came, and the presentations by Elisa Camahort and Lisa Stone were great. I'll update this post with notes from Donna's post, but frankly, every conference I attend could use something like this, were the organizers give the results of the survey from attendees as they registered (context about who's coming and what they care about.. talk about knowing your audience), common sense tips about speaking and the guidelines for running sessions.
I've spoken at my fair share of conferences (I'm in Portland for OSCON), but I've never seen anything like this. And its way overdue, because lots of conference talks could use improvement. If we have to have the traditional speakerful conference format, at least we can work on improving the quality of the speaking.
Tonight I wanted to create RSS feeds of search for blogher and oscon on the big 3 (in my mind) buzz blog search engines: Feedster, Technorati, and PubSub. Here's my review of the user experience.
- Feedster - type the search terms into the box. Hit enter. Drag the XML icon into the right place in NetNewsWire. Grade: A
- Technorati - type the search terms into the box. Click add to watch list. Click view as RSS, which causes NetNewsWire's subscribe box to appear. Grade: B. I had to sign up to get a watchlist (fortunately I did it years ago).
- Pubsub - type the search terms to create an entry in my "subscription stack. Drag the url for the feed into NetNewswire - Grade: A-/B+ Why? Because there's nothing in the search. I have to wait for new posts. I know that PubSub's claim to fame is "searching the future" but I want to have some context too. Plus it seems like there's probably at least one other person out there (Hi Scoble) who setup a blogher PubSub feed already.
eventblogging.com doesn't have entries for these conferences, so it's back to buzz monitoring by hand. It would be great if there was an automated way of doing this...
Update: in the comments Richard Eriksson points out that eventblogging does have an entry for OSCON
Julie's leaving for BlogHer in the morning -- it looks like its going to be really good. I like what Julie's told me about the community orientation of the organizers. It's a shame that I won't be able to go.
In honor of the event, here's list of the ladies in my aggregator:
Gina Trapani's LifeHacker
Mary and Natasha at Pacific Views
This post from To-Done, "How to get the most of your blog reading" went around today.
Let's see how I did on their recommendations
Group your feeds by order of importance. You know, like “Must Read”, “Not So Important”, etc. This helps so much. If you group things by topic, re-group them by importance within your topic group. This makes the less important easier to ignore.
I'm doing this, and the groups are sorted in that order in the NetNewsWire groups list. Because I read exclusively in combined mode, the groups are also partitioned so that there are rarely more than 100 new posts per group (otherwise NetNewsWire collapses them for performance).
Set aside a time (or times) during your day to read. Try and stick to those times as strictly as possible.
Yep, twice a day, once in the AM and once in the PM. I have NetNewsWire set so that it does not refresh. Since I try to read at roughly the same times each day, I use a cron job to fire an applescript that does the refresh so that when I sit down to read, I'll be as close to up to date as possible.
Use “mark all as read” liberally.
I read what I want (or maybe send long posts to an embedded browser tab) and then mark all as read. At the end of all the groups, then I take a pass through the tabs. Use a tabbed browser that can handle the number of tabs you might leave open. This means using NetNewsWire's embedded browser -- sorry Firefox guys, you hang and crash too often.
Weed your reading list on a regular basis. Unsubscribe to anything you consider “noise” as soon as you realize it’s not being read
I could be doing better at this. NetNewsWire has a semi useful dinosaurs function which lets you punt old un-updated feeds. While this keeps the feed list low, it doesn't matter because I only see something if someone posts. What I really need is an attention gathering mechanism that knows if I've read a post or not, so that I could tell whether a feed is useful or not. I'd be willing to do a little work to mark posts so that this would work.
Set your newsreader to check only a few times a day, or if you use an online service, be sure and resist the urge to interrupt what you are doing and check for updates. Maybe to coincide with your reading times.
Make use of services like Del.icio.us, Digg and Technorati to find those diamonds in the rough.
I have two groups of special feeds, one for del.icio.us, digg, etc. and one for Technorati, Feedster, and PubSub searches. Use your del.icio.us inbox to make a reputational del.icio.us feed.
Slow down and read. Spend some time with those sites you really enjoy or those that you find real value in. I’ve found that if I spend more time reading and less time browsing I absorb more.
There are lots of ways to do this -- sometimes I read in place (thank you full feeds) other times I punt articles to browser tabs to read more carefully. Many times I defer the tab reading till the evening session.
Ditch a few link blogs. There are so many blogs out there that are just pointers to original content. These serve a great purpose, but try and find those that offer a unique point of view, or can bring items to the table that you can’t find elsewhere. I tend to follow the link lists of individuals I trust more than actual blogs devoted to linking.
I don't subscribe to linkblogs, except for Scoble's and his is low traffic now.
Keep in mind that if you read lots of blogs in the same space you’ll see things repeated and will be unlikely to miss anything you really should be reading.
Unfortunately, it means you'll see things repeated. I don't want to see the same post over and over. I also wish that aggregators would assemble conversations (threads across blogs) in one place -- that would speed the reading. Otherwise you are constantly context switching between all the conversations.
Understand that a day not paying attention to blogs is a day you can spend doing something productive. They’ll be there when you get back.
Yes, well. Um.
Here are a few tips that I though of while writing this post:
- Only read full feeds. If you are reading lots of posts, there just isn't time to go clicking through.
- If you are a geek blogger, read planets. Delete individual feeds that are up on a planet.
- When I am scanning feeds in combined mode, I read two handed. I use a mouse in the right hand to click posts to tabs. I use a Griffin Technology PowerMate in the left hand to scroll the combined view quickly and smoothly
Marc Canter wonders
What is the proper etiquette for blogging about your wife being blogged?
I notice that Anil never blogs about his fiance. But Ted does all the time.
I'm not sure if there is an etiquette for blogging that your spouse was blogged. I occasionally blog about things that are happening in our family, and you would expect to see Julie pop up in a posting like that. Some people's blogs' are strictly business, so you don't see much about family or friends there.
Beyond that, Julie has a blog of her own and writes posts that I want to comment on, or engages in conversations that I want to participate in. In that sense, I treat her like "any other" blogger who is generating posts with those characteristics. The fact that we are married means that there's a higher likelihood that she writes something which passes through the "I want to post about that" filter. If Julie wasn't such a prolific blogger, then you'd probably see a lot fewer posts.
I know that there's a lot of excitement around the podcasting support in iTunes 4.9. I can appreciate why -- for a lot of people this is going to make podcast content much more accessible, and that's a good thing. Most of those features don't make much difference to me, because I have NetNewsWire. Now, don't get the wrong idea. NetNewsWire also has some cool podcasting support in it, but I'm not using that either. Instead, I'm using NetNewsWire's ability to subscribe to the output of a script, and Clint Ecker's podder.py, which I've modified for my own devices.
I put the RSS feeds for my favorite podcasts into a NetNewsWire group, and subscribe to podder.py. Podder. takes care of grabbing the podcasts/enclosures in that group, downloading them, and putting them into iTunes, where they later get synced to my iPod. The big reason that I use this setup is that I have two iTunes playlists for podcasts. Podcast, and Podcast-short. My modified version of podder looks at the duration of the podcast, and puts all podcasts shorter than a 35 minute ferry ride into Podcast-short. This makes it easy for me to optimize my Podcast listening by location.
The one feature of iTunes 4.9 that looks promising for me is the directory, at least sort of. I drove around the directory a bit, but between IT Conversations and Steve Gillmor, I'm already pulling more audio than I can possibly listen to. There's no doubt that there are lots more wonderful podcasts out there, but my bandwidth is saturated.
An audio version of Julie's Gnomedex presentation is now available. It's like getting half the story because the presentation is highly dependent on her slide/photograph deck, and the synchronization of the audio and visuals. We think that some video is going to go up, but don't know when.
[via Tracking GnomeDex ]:
In the age of ever more blogged conferences, it has become somewhat of a pain to find all the coverage for a particular event. Fortunately, Kris Krug's EventBlogging.com is a solution to this problem. For Gnomedex, EventBlogging provided a SuperFeed for the event, incorporating content from many of the usual suspects, including Flickr, del.icio.us, Feedster, Technorati, and PubSub. I love this one stop shopping idea, and I hope it catches on.
Incidentally, the source that appeared to do the best job of collecting Gnomedex information that was relevant to me was Feedster. Make of that what you will.
We're back from Gnomedex and settling down after all the excitement. Here are some of the things that stuck out at me.
I really liked the presentation on MindManager. Was it a product pitch? Absolutely. But it was a really good demonstration of a mind-mapping tool. I really want one of these, and when I was using Windows, I was seriously eyeing MindManger. But then I made the leap to OS X and that went down the drain. So not only was it cool to see the demo (on a TabletPC), but it seems that an OS X version is in development, which is excellent news.
The panel on Today's Digital Legalities had lots of interesting examples, and Jason Calcanis talked about his principles for dealing with demand letters from attorneys. It was nice that he was sanity checking himself with Denise Howell. Legal stuff always gives me the willies, even though I got a crash course in some legal stuff during the boom. Thankfully, Denise (on behalf of the panel) has been aggregating useful resources. The EFF's Legal Guide for Bloggers got the mention that it richly deserves.
These were the sessions that I actually managed to devote my full attention to. Julie's presentation was really well received, and after that she had a lot of people coming to talk to her, so I tried to help as much as possible (with the kids) so that she could spend time talking. It was really gratifying for me, because she has been working super hard on the talk for a number of weeks.
There's going to be an audio and (I think) video stream of the conference presentations, and Julie will post those when they are available. In the meantime, I've collected some posts about the talk:
I'm obviously biased, but I am really proud (as if I had much to do with it) of her.
I was playing around with the new Technorati Beta, so it was inevitable that I would do a search to see the statistics on this blog. Imagine my surprise to be granted a rank around 3090 or so. That's very flattering, but it just seems nuts to me. This is a very geeky blog (I've had friends of mine who are geeks write and tell me they have no idea what I'm rambling about), and I'm sure that there must be way more than 3100 blogs out there that cover much more generally interesting topics. (I bet they are well written too).
Or is the blogosphere much smaller than I believe, and mostly an echo chamber for computer people?
I've just updated the comments plugin for PyBlosxom with changes for the upcoming PyBlosxom 1.2. If you are working off the CVS HEAD version of PyBlosxom, you can get the new versions here (or via CVS).