Tag Archives: Geek

Vloggercon aftermath

Saturday morning crowd

The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy and fun, with Vloggercon last weekend and RoboGames this weekend. Vloggercon was awesome on so many levels, but mainly for me it’s the people. The videoblogging community is passionate, amazingly creative, and very supportive of each other. Even in the face of stark disagreement, videoblogging humans do come together to interact with 3d flesh and blood likeness of friends we’ve only seen in 2d.

My main role for Vloggercon was making sure we had bandwidth and WiFi to feed to he hungry video uploading and downloading masses. Amazingly, we pulled in 4, yes FOUR, T-1 circuits thanks to Layer 42. That’s a 6 megabit symmetric pipe we had to play with, much more than the inhouse DSL we had for Webzine 2005. Thanks to Cliff, I dropped in a Smoothwall caching web/DHCP server to help with download performance. The caching server meant that if 20 people decided to watch Galacticast at the same time, only one copy is downloaded off the net and the other 19 are served up locally. Even though we had a phat pipe to play with, we were dealing with 400+ video freaks, so it’s never bad to optimize. Feeding the 4 T-1s, we had 3 Linksys 802.11b wireless access points which worked like a charm.

We also had two live web video streams going throughout the event thanks to Alex and Monkeybrains. We had cams in each of the main presentation rooms beaming out the live vlogger love, combined with IRC allowing 150+ people to participate remotely.

Vloggercon was also meaningful because in several ways it was like the next iteration of Webzine. Schlomo booked the Swedish American Hall for the event after seeing how well it worked for Webzine. The 3 presentation rooms roughly followed the format we used for Webzine as well. This was very much a grassroots event created by passionate individuals who believe in independent publishing, being the media, which is what Webzine is all about.

Aside from handling the Internet and WiFi infrastructure for Vloggercon, and meeting tons of amazing people whom I’d only known online, I also pinched off a couple GETV episodes with Irina. There is the Robert Scoble leaving for PodTech episode and the fun Who is Your Secret Vlogger Crush? one. Good times all around.

WineCamp It Was

Originally uploaded by nchim.

This Memorial day weekend I escaped to the foothills of the Sierras for WineCamp, the latest iteration of BarCamp. These events normally involve lots of wifi and laptops with a minimal of “camping” in the tent & woods sense of the word. This was different. Friday and Saturday were spent 2000 feet up on a pimp ridgeline overlooking vineyards and a sprawling resevoir on the property of winemaker Andrew Ferriere.

Several adhoc self organizing sessions came together to warm brains and foster project collaboration on Saturday. I decided to sit in on one focused on storytelling and the use of video. I learn PixelCorps might be a good resource for video projects and people with skills for projects. I learn of StoryCorps, an interesting project where people are given audio gear and encouraged to document their lives. NPR has aired some of the more compelling pieces.

After the brain warming ended on Saturday, it was time for yummy eats and band provided beats. And wine. Much, much wine. When darkness arrived, chill came too and the firepits were the place to be. Sticks were whittled and smores were made.

Sunday morning, the consumate Sarah Pullman from Vancouver grounded 20+ geeks with a Yoga for Geeks session. Soon after it was time to pack up and take it down the hill to the Stevenot Winery which had brunch and wifi waiting for us, thanks to the lovelies at France Telecom. It was really hard to stay inside the dark cool wine cellar working the wifi when the surrounding green vineyard was photosynthesizing up a storm.

Lunch came and went, projects were wrapped up and the final hour was filled with report backs of lessons learned, things liked and things that could change. Thanks to Tara, Chris and the other organizers who put on this magical weekend getaway. It’s times like this that make it great to be a human.

SFiFF Update One

SFIFF | Red vs. Blue
Originally uploaded by lawgeek.

A few weeks ago, local boggerati master Kevin Smokler invited 20 of his closest blogger friends to cover the 49th San Francisco International Film Festival which is happening right now. I count myself as one of the lucky 20 who were gifted a press pass getting me into any screening, yet I’ve been slacking in my duty to spread to good and bad words of what I’ve seen so far. Putting slack aside, here’s the first update on what I’ve taken in.

The first screening I saw was one I had really been looking forward to, Cock Byte: Masters of Machinima, a showing of the best of Rooster Teeth Productions. If you’ve ever seen the brilliant Red vs. Blue series, you’ll know exactly what this is about. Even though my press pass would have gotten me in free, I was too late to get the coveted freebee press ticket for this one. No worries, this was at the top of my list so I popped for the ticket and slid on in.

My expectations were set by the SFiFF program guide which stated, “This Festival program, a sort of Rooster Teeth greatest hits, will feature the finest moments from Blood Gulch Chronicles and The Strangerhood, rarely seen one-offs, outtakes and new work”. I was quickly disappointed when I realized they were only showing a chunk of the first season of Red vs. Blue. Nothing from Strangerhood. No rarely seen one-offs or outtakes. Nothing new. Don’t get me wrong, RvB is good shit, it’s just not something I hadn’t seen before and what they showed was like 4 years old. For the uninitiated, RvB takes place in the game Halo. The actors are all characters within the game environment where scripts and dialogue are made ‘real’. What you get is mostly comedic & introspective dialogue by soldiers who are too stupid to know what’s going on around them. It’s a brilliant juxtaposition of a shoot-em-up environment used as a setting for human introspection and philosophical exploration. Definitely worth checking out a few episodes if you’ve never seen them before.

The Q&A with a couple of the creators afterward was a comedy of non-information. They wouldn’t answer any of the interesting questions (What techniques do you use? What is your relationship with Microsoft? What about copyright issues? How are you making enough money to live on with this?). They came off like they didn’t give a shit and really didn’t want to be there. Whatever, that’s fine. It’s their work, they can answer or not answer whatever questions they want. We don’t need to like them for their personalities if their work rules. RvB is brilliant shit, but why are we seeing 4 year old work in a 2006 film festival when there is plenty of other stuff they should have shown?

Woz is All Wet for a Reason

I got to meet one of my all time heros of the geekosphere over the weekend. While at the Maker Faire, it was pointed out that Woz (Steve Wozniak for the geek newbies) was one of the Segway riders playing polo on Saturday. He’s number 64, as in 8-bit, like the Apple computer he invented in 1976. Funny aside: Number 13 was Victor Miller, the guy who wrote the first Friday the 13th movie. Also a very nice guy. Yes, Jason is all Miller’s fault.

During a break between rounds, Irina and I introduced ourselves to the jolly and amiable Woz. We did a quick GETV interview with him and let him get back to the game at hand. On Sunday, he offered himself up as bait in a dunk tank fundraiser gimmick for the EFF. With the paparazzi furiously snapping away all around him, he smiled and taunted the little kids that repeatedly brought warm rain down upon him. Here’s a shaky video I grabbed of the action.

The Faire is Fun, Freaky

Maker Faire
I checked out MAKE Magazine‘s Maker Faire today and wow. It’s like a county fair but with all the creative freaks and geeks that grew up ripping the voicebox out of their talking GI Joes, deconstructed dad’s Trash-80, scammed free long distance with blue boxes and set fire to anything just to see how cool it looked. No stinky farm animals here but lots of reconstructed and recycled bits of machinery that give birth to something new. Some highlghts: a wooden bicycle with a Razor scooter handlebar and front wheel, throwable LED graffiti, a jolly Woz tooling around on a Segway while playing polo (GETV interview to come), instruction and kits to build your own radio station (fuck the FCC!), tilty table navigation for digital maps, steam powered mechanical computer, robots of all sizes shapes and destructive potential, rude bears, pinball machine utopia!, real time constellations, lots of happy kids building something. Yes, the geeks have taken over the county fair.

Update: This CNET article sums up the atmosphere quite nicely.

SXSW 2006 Wrap Up

SXSW 2006 (Friday)
Originally uploaded by Laughing Squid.

Wow, what a week! My second SXSW Interactive conference and my experience has been amazingly rich this year. I participated on a panel, I judged a dorky fun lunchtime event called Battle Decks, shot 3.5 hours of video (1 of which is of Henry Rollins), met shitloads of amazing, beautiful people, attended some great parties, attended some lame parties and only one kinda weird one.

The panel I was on, How to Add Video to a Blog, was Tuesday morning at 10am. Last day of the conference, first panel of the morning, merely a few short hours after many attendees were closing down the house at the Adaptive Path/Consumating/Odeo and Lifehacker parties. To my great surprise, the panel was packed. Many eager bodies overflowing onto the floor to find out about this newfangled videoblogging phenomena. The panel following mine was on videoblog business models and was only half packed. Seems as more people want to learn about the fundamentals of videoblogging rather than cashing in. Probably because videoblogging is still such a new thing to most people.

Joining me on the panel was Michael Verdi, Schlomo, Mike Slone from Boulder (thanks for the blank DV, Mike), and Sarah Hepola from New York who moderated. Things started a little slow as we introduced ourselves, talked a little about how and why we got into videoblogging and each showed clips of what we do. As soon as we got the audience involved, things got lively and passionate. Many great discussions about the fundamentals (where to host, compression settings, formats, gear, etc), legal issues (copyright, fair use, creative commons), and what really is a videoblog. Before I knew it, the panel was over. Schlomo closed it out with a great little video of he and his mom shopping for a microwave. Fellow videoblogger Richard Snow taped it and hopefully it will find its way online soon.

I stuck around for the vlog biz model panel since this is stuff I’ve been thinking about lately. I was eager to hear from Andrew Baron of Rocketboom about his innovative approach to raising money by auctioning off sponsor slots on ebay. It’s hard not to admit that Rocketboom is the one to watch in the vlog space as they really are blowing up the possibilities on many fronts. Glad to have gotten the chance to meet Andrew and Amanda, whom undoubtably have had a most busy week. Rocketboom is many things, a quirky collection of interesting things done for video, the Amanda brand complete with obsessive fanboys, a passionate community that has lots to say on each and every episode, an expanding empire (Rocketboom.jp just launched, widescreen now, multiple formats and now ad dollars). Ultimately, Rocketboom is just fun to watch.

The parties, oh the parties. SXSW is nothing if not a collection of lubricated social opportunities. Every night of the week had several offerings that would have been hard to navigate if it wasn’t for Dodgeball. The little mobile friend locater service that can, proved invaluable for zeroing in on the action. The Adaptive Path/Consumating/Odeo party was probably the best of the lot, not too surprising as Austin local Ben Brown (now Consumating it in SF) knows the right ingredients to make a great Austin party. They include a big enough venue with a large outdooor area (Velvet Spade), local Austin bands (Peel) and an open bar that doesn’t know when to close. The cute asymmetric slanty haired kids were in full force.

The pretentiously sounding Red Bull House turned out to be a really nice surprise. Yes, you had to be gifted a key, or know a keymaster, or get on the guest list, or find Buzznet Marc to get past the front door most nights, but all the cool kids and even the annoying drunk New Yorkers had no problem getting past this velvet rope. Once inside, there was the open bar serving Red Bull and whatever, of course. The real goods were the geek interactive art installations. First thing is a metal fabricated sculptural thing with little black and white TVs displaying various blinking eyes that would rotate randomly. There was the Octa-Masher which is an installation containg 8 or so cheap painted music keyboards labeled with different roles such as bass, mashup, melody, remix. In the center was a digital video camera that had some sort of 360 degree refractor lens on it hooked up to a projector displaying the human keyboard players onto a circular band around the room. The keyboards apparently were hooked up to Ableton Live and were triggering loops, samples, pitch bending and other such audio juiciness. Addictingly fun!

Then there was the networked Xbox room where 8 players were getting their frag on in Halo 2. Red Bull vodka + geeks + Halo 2 = easy good times. In another room the were a bunch of computers availble for email checking and flickr stalking, though only two seemed to actually have a working Internet connection. Also near here were framed LCD panel displays rotating through party photos. A back room had a DJ decks and some hiphop emceeing going on the last night I was there. Outside was the patio where most people seemed to make social.

Other notable parties include: Fray Cafe at the Red Eyed Fly, always great to hear friends tell stories. The Flickr/Upcoming/del.icio.us party which I missed. Lifehacker at the Side Bar, the Blogger party I never got into because it was SOLD OUT. The South by Northwest party thrown by the Vancouver and Seattle kids at the Iron Cactus had it’s debaucherous moments. The closing Media Temple party at the Foundation where the sound was 30 decibals too loud for any decent conversation. This might have been the worst of the lot, but I missed the frog design party this year.

The weirdest party award goes to the EFF/Creative Commons fet at the Elks Lodge #201. I navigated past the 84 year old cigar smoking war veterans playing dominoes (it was pizza night) to a lower ballroom. Here The Robot Group was getting jiggy with a couple of remote controlled dancing robots while four unsuspecting partygoers attempted to play homemade theremin instruments that played bleepy 80’s midi music while the host added to the cheese with electronic drums.

Too many GETV interviews to name. Look for ’em soon. Also did a bunch for Netsquared.

The people. It really was all about the people. I met so many new people, or people I only knew from the Internets. Obligatory shoutouts: Timoni, cute new redhead flying in from my old hometown. The Vancouver crew, Kris Krug, Robert Scales, Will Pate and whomever else I’m missing. Definitely looking for a reason to make Vanc happen again soon. Baratunde, Tony Pierce, Goodstorm Marc, danah, Halcyon, Pesco. Juba Kalamka, thx for CDs and the deep convo! Always good connecting w/Srini and the Mollys. Videobloggers Chuck Olsen, Steve Garfield, Susan, Michael Verdi, Bre Pettis, Schlomo, Josh Kinberg, Richard Snow and Mike Hudack of blip.tv. All the SF locals I always see of which there is too many to name. Crossed paths with Clay, soon to be daddy of twins. Good luck dude! Final shoutout to delicious OnomyJulia whom made my last night almost complete.

Few Regrets: Missing the midnight Roomba Frogger in first life. Not connecting with Andrew Baron more when I had the chance. So many questions! Missing many panels with friends on them. Not being able to stay for Music.

Bottom line: SXSW is much more than stories and pix can ever do justice. I’ve taken the red pill. I’ll be back.

Geek Rules the Podcast

Geek Rules
My two favorite podcasting hotties, Dana and Julia, have been working hard at making their Geek Rules dating podcast the place to make the hookup. They do a weekly show with dating advice, a guest Geek of the Week seeking a date and even real live beautiful women who Seek-a-geek. These ladies could easily start a geek dating biz and rake in the Hamiltons, but no, they do it for the crazy delicious love of getting geeks the hookup. Funny thing, I’m Geek of the Week on episode 8. If you want in on the hookup action too, submit yourself. I’ll report back if it works for me.

Relevant Sluts

Slut-o-meterPitted against heavyweights like Annalee, Pesco, PT and Antonio, it’s no surprise that I come out looking like an unmolested Sunday School kid. For sanity check, I had to measure against a few people I know something about. My conclusion, the slut-o-meter needs a bit of fine tuning. Or friends are damn good at keeping band camp stories at band camp, if you know what I mean.

Ryan Junell, the monkey from Texas: 7.06%
Irina with 11.11% and her name is Slutsky dammit!
Jackson West at 5.56% Dude, get picked up at the bar and write about it. Or something.
Even Irene‘s purist facade is barely penetrable with a 10.06%
Scott Beale reverses the slut-time-continuum with -9.84%. Yes, that’s a negative!
Even Justin Hall only pulls in a 6.42% and we all know he’s got stories.
Ted Rheingold: 4.55% You’ve got animals to look after, I understand.
and wife Molly pulls not even a point at 0.98%. She most certainly is the PR Diva.

I’ve got your shirt, Violet. Just tell me a size. I have in baby doll and men’s, though not in black. Will you still wear?

Eddie.com turns 10!

Eddie.com Experience

February 23, 1996 will live in infamy. Yes friends, that is the date I registered eddie.com. This domain, eddie.com, has been in my possession for 10 YEARS! Dude, that’s like almost before the Internet was invented. Seriously, I didn’t think I’d live long enough to have had a domain for that long. Wow. As a fitting tribute, here’s my own personal wayback machine of the way things looked in 1999.

Video from GETV Turns 1000

The GETV turns 1000 party the other night was beyond control. Familiar faces filled the bubble along with a cadre of the newly minted internet famous. The Chuck Barris of Flash, producer Rick Abruzzo brought to life a round of not your father’s Jeopardy and two rounds of $25 Pyramid Scheme. Nina Rawkstah, Irene McGee and master of the House of Shields, Schlomo Rabinowitz faces off in Jeopardy. Schlomo took it home by knowing his moo milk from his man milk. Round one of the Pyramid had Eric Rice and our own Irina Slutsky representing for Team Egomaniac going up against David Sifry and Caterina Fake of Team Tagtastic. Round two had Ted Rheingold and Jason Schupp teamed up as the Filthy Pirates pitted against whom, I completely forgot. That ended in a draw, so no Cancun for these warriors. See for yourself. WARNING: Caterina is too cute prying open Goat.cx.

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