Conference Enthusiast

I’ve been accused, by a couple people, of becoming a “professaional conference-goer.” I should point out that the people who say this are people that I met at conferences, and I generally only see them when I’m at a conference, so perhaps they have a slightly skewed view of how I spend my time.

But the fact remains that I do go to a lot of conferences. I prefer to think of myself as a conference enthusiast, though, not an aspiring professional. Most of the conferences I go to are in the realm of tech, internet, digital culture, digital arts, or popular arts. I include film festivals too, because, well, I love them.  Some are more professionally oriented, and some are more social. In both cases, though, my goal is the same: to meet interesting people and to be inspired.

Here are some the conferences and film festivals that I’ve been to so far in 2009:

And here are several that I’m planning to go to, or thinking about going to later this year:

I know, you’re probably thinking, “There are whole months in there with no conference plans at all.” But it’s early, yet, and there are a lot of interesting things going on out there.

NYC IA Summit Redux

An event next week that should be interesting. From Karen McGrane:

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the IA Summit. If you didn’t make it to Memphis (or even if you did) come see New York locals give abbreviated versions of their talks. This event is free!


  •  Cindy Chastain: Experience Themes: An Element of Story Applied to Design
  • Anders Ramsay: Agile For The Rest of Us
  • Christine Boese: Are Human Beings Becoming Dumb Terminals?
  • Karen McGrane: Designing For, With, and Around Advertising
  • Elena Melendy + Rachel Lovinger: Content Strategy Consortium Highlights
  • Nasir Barday: Professional IA/UX Organizations – How to start and run a successful local group or chapter
  • Chris Fahey + Whitney Hess: The Courage to Quit: Starting, Growing and Maintaining Your Own UX Business
  • Whitney Hess: Evangelizing Yourself: You can’t change the world if no one knows your name


Tuesday, April 28

6:30 PM Doors Open

7:00 PM Presentations Start

9:30 PM  Discussion + Networking


White Rabbit, 145 E Houston Street btw 1st and 2nd Avenues

Semantic Web takes root at the IA Summit

At the recent IA Summit, I was surprised and delighted to see how many talks there were about the Semantic Web. Before this emerging technology can really catch on, we will need more Information Architects and Interaction Designers who understand the potential and can design elegant solutions to real problems (both user problems and business problems). In some ways, I wish the conversation were further along, but I realize that it has to start somewhere. The fact that the subject exploded onto the scene in such a big way is a good indication that Web 3.0 is on a lot of people’s minds. 

These are the talks I saw: Continue reading “Semantic Web takes root at the IA Summit”

Content Strategy Consortium

Over on scatter/gather I wrote a post summing up my experience of last week’s Content Strategy Consortium at the IA Summit. It was a very inspiring experience and there’s a lot more to say about it. This event is bound to inspire many posts – here, on scatter/gather, and on the blogs of my cohorts. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here’s some additional coverage of the event:

ROFLthing in the City

ROFLconA couple weeks ago I went to a one-day event called ROFLthing-NYC, put on by the same people that brought you ROFLcon last spring. 

There’s been tons of coverage of it. It was blogged by the New York Times. There are excellent interviews on Rocketboom (and video of one of the presentations). Laughing Squid posted some great photos. There’s even a ROFLcon channel on Vimeo, which has more videos. I think more of the presentation videos will be showing up there eventually. 

I loved all the talks I saw:

Lots of other interesting people were there, like MC Frontalot, Moot, and Tron Guy. There was an annoying contingent of Anonymous, who had the impression that the conference was about them, but they settled down a bit after Jason Scott invited one of them onstage to give him the opportunity to say his bit and be done. 

The whole thing went by way too fast. I hope these guys do another event soon.

Paraflows 2008

Right now I’m in Vienna for a digital art and culture festival called Paraflows. It’s been organized by several different art groups. I will be speaking on Thursday evening, as part of a week-long event called MetaSpace in DiscourseLab. I’ve met lots of interesting people here, already, and the art scene in Vienna is amazing. 

I happened through Vienna for a weekend when I was studying in Prague for my last semester in college. This was in the early 90s, and I remember stubming across a series of video installations in the U-Bahn stations. This was so incredible to me – that a city would do so much to provide very progressive public art. It seems that the tradition has continued and grown, as the Austrian government is very dedicated to supporting new and innovative areas of art, technology, and culture. 

I’ll write more about the conference, after it gets fully underway.

The Internet: Now With EVERYTHING

I have this theory that everything you could ever want is on the internet, or will be soon. In fact, I’m going to be giving a talk in a few weeks at MetaSpace in DiscourseLab, which is a 5-day event that’s part of paraflows 2008, a digital art and culture festival in Vienna, and this very idea is part of the premise of my talk.

In preparation for my talk, i wanted to find a way to generate labels that looks like cards from an old-fashioned card catalog. I figured that there must be something like this somewhere online, but I didn’t know how difficult it might be to find. I typed “card catalog” into google and this Card Catalog Generator was the fourth result, with this explanatory post called Roll Your Own Catalog Card as the fifth result.

I love when things like this happen. So, now I’m going to use this to prepare some of the graphics for my talk and, it’s very meta, but I’m going to have to mention how easily I discovered it too. Thanks John Blyberg!

The Last HOPE: Social Engineering

Here it is, my slightly delayed final post about The Last HOPE. I have a tentative interest in the Social Engineering themes that were explored there. I see this as a sort of “How to win friends and influence people” for misfits. (I include myself in this category). Which is not to say that it’s an entirely antisocial practice.

Of course there were talks on prank calling and other activities which exploit most people’s tendency to trust others and take their actions and words at face value. I have to admit, sometimes this is hilarious, even if it does give me slight pangs of social irresponsibility. Here’s an example of one my favorites from classic (aka print) bOINGbOING: Carla crank calls a cryogenics company. (Nothing to do with HOPE, it just cracks me up).

Continue reading “The Last HOPE: Social Engineering”

SXSW Panels

The SXSW panel picker is live, and I proposed two panels. If you’re going, or you might go, or you just like voting for things, please have a look and consider voting for my proposals. You’ll have to create an account to vote, but it should be pretty painless. Here are the descriptions of the panels I proposed:

When the Semantic Web Meets User Generated Metadata

The Semantic Web promises to make the internet smarter, in part by adding structure and definition around the content on the web. Sounds great, but who’s going to do all the work? As User Generated Content gives rise to User Generated Metadata, turns out it’s going to be… YOU! (Click here to vote for it)

Content Content Revolution: The Rise of Content Strategy

What’s Content Strategy, you ask? Navigation, publishing guidelines, taxonomy, syndication, style guides, UGC strategy, the semantic web? All this and more! Come hear some of the leading content strategy professionals discuss where this emerging discipline came from, why it matters, and where it’s going. (Click here to vote for it)

On another note, I didn’t get a chance to post my fourth (and last) post about The Last HOPE before I went out of town for the weekend, and I forgot to bring my notes. So that will have to wait until I get back next week.

The Last HOPE: Hacker History

The history-oriented panels at HOPE were very interesting, especially for someone like me who was kind of new to the scene. I am particularly interested in the aspect of history that pinpoints the people and moments where someone looked at something, ignored the expected mode of interaction, and made the creative leap to invent a whole new way of seeing, thinking and using the thing.

Continue reading “The Last HOPE: Hacker History”