Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Four Principles and The One Law

Are you still struggling to understand the concept of Barcamp? Maybe understanding Open Space Technology will help:

The four principles of Open Space Technology:
  1. Whoever comes is the right people: this alerts the participants that attendees of a session class as "right" simply because they care to attend
  2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have: this tells the attendees to pay attention to events of the moment, instead of worrying about what could possibly happen
  3. Whenever it starts is the right time: clarifies the lack of any given schedule or structure and emphasizes creativity and innovation
  4. When it's over, it's over: encourages the participants not to waste time, but to move on to something else when the fruitful discussion ends
The one law:
If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet. Go to some other place where you may learn and contribute.

Monday, March 16, 2009

You Are Standing In A Wiki. What Now?

There's been a great deal of interest in Tokyo barcamp but some people still seem to be confused about what it exactly is and how it differs from regular tech events.

One way of thinking about barcamp is to imagine yourself standing inside a wiki. You want to learn, teach and discuss. Barcamp provides you with a small amount of structure in order to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, skills, opinions and ideas. What makes barcamp so different though is that you can "edit" barcamp in the same way that you can edit a wiki. Think about that for a while...

When a group of enthusiastic, open-minded and knowledgeable people are in a small space together for an extended period of time, amazing things tend to happen. Difficult problems are solved, projects are born, minds are expanded. The whole is far, far greater than the sum of the parts. This is the real-world manifestation of Web 2.0. This is self-organization. This is emergence. This is the most intense thing you will ever experience.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bar Camp Tokyo 2009

I've decided to organize a Bar Camp in Tokyo for late May. (See the entry Wikipedia for background on Bar Camp).

Please sign up here if you want to attend: Tokyo BarCamp

You can follow Tokyo Barcamp on Twatter: www.twitter.com/tokyobarcamp

Bar Camp differs from other tech conferences in that everyone must participate. There are no presentations/workshops/discussions scheduled in advance, instead attendees sign up to do events on the day, usually by writing their events on huge pieces of paper on the walls. Also, Bar Camp is free.

At Tokyo Bar Camp expect presentations/workshops/discussions on blogging, podcasting, Perl, AJAX, the theory of hypertext, web spidering, smart mobs, wiki, Ruby-On-Rails, wearable computers, augmented reality, startups, Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Web 4.0, the maker revolution and maybe even teledildonics.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Change Of Focus

Although I will still follow infosec, my main focus from this point on will be building Web 4.0. Somebody has to. The Web is too important to leave to a bunch of dickheads who think Starbucks is cool...

I aim to start with a Web 4.0 Intranet, possibly something running over a Bluetooth PAN. Anyone want to give me some startup money?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tame Goes Wild

For no particular reason I found myself revisiting Tame Goes Wild, one of the best websites I've ever seen. It is simply huge. And very well written. And full of practical information. And it contains 15,825 photos that Joseph Tame has taken over the past 20 years. And it makes me feel very jealous. If I can turn this jealousy into action I might be able to turn Tokyo Robotnik into something decent. (although I'll make sure it doesn't lose its harshness)

Someone (that British twat from Wired and the EFF, I think) once said that you should never look at the Web when trying to do something constructive because you will always find thousands of people who have done it already, and much better than you could ever hope to. Another way of putting it is that the Web is so big that it makes everyone feel small. Thanks a lot, Joseph Tame...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

More Twattering

I seem to be spending more time on Twitter. This is clearly a bad thing. AFAIK, there is no way to receive SMS on Japanese mobile phones. Does anyone know of a gateway that I can use?

Follow me on Twitter, if you really have nothing better to do:

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Staying Safe On And Off Line

The EFF have built a great website about how to be more secure when using computers. The best thing is that it's aimed at beginners.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Reading List

Seven books I intend to read soon. I don't own any of them so if you have them and are in Japan please lend them to me!

The Laurie Lee Trilogy
"Cider With Rosie", "As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning" and "A Moment Of War"
I always think of Laurie Lee as being someone you read at school for GCSE/O-Level English Literature. Cider With Rosie is also a favourite of English Language schools, in fact, I first heard of it when a Spanish home-stay student living with my family was reading it as part of her summer English course. Having said that, My friend Damon Coulter sungypsy.wordpress.com/ swears by Lee so I think I'll probably like his stuff a lot. Lee seems to have lived quite an incredible life, although not quite as incredible as my own.

"The Seven Pillars Of Wisdom"
by T. E. Lawrence
Laurence Of Arabia's autobiography. This is probably the book I am most looking forward to reading at the moment. I'm also looking forward to dragging my family into the desert in a few years time to ride on camels, navigate by the stars, look at mirages and generally pretend we are in a Tintin story.

"A Murder Of Quality" by John le Carré
This is le Carré's second novel. I've recently re-read his first: "Call For The Dead". His early stuff is simply amazing. It's a pity his recent novels are junk.

"The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp" by William Henry Davies
I remember hearing extracts of this being read on the Mark And Lard Show on BBC Radio One in the late 1990's. One extract I remember very clearly is when the author got his foot crushed while jumping onto the back of a freight train in the USA.

The Human Cougar by Lloyd Morain
Morain's hard-to-find book on drifters, hobos and wanderers. I've heard it's a real gem.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Thank Fuck It's Not Friday

Between my two Japanese lessons I had lunch at T.G.I. Friday's. Fuck. Very, very, very grim indeed. I feel so sorry for the staff, they are forced to dress and act like simpletons. I took lunch with a Korean friend called Jasmine and Li, her Chinese friend. I struggled to keep up with the conversation as the two of them speak much better Japanese than me. Jasmine spent several years living in Hong Kong and mainland China so Jasmine and Li's lingua franca is Mandarin, not English. Our conversation was thus a mixture of Japanese and Mandarin, with very little English. I had to think so hard that my brain bled.