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My First BarCamp

I have another first for you all today, my first BarCamp. In a word (and so that you don’t have to read the rest of the post to find out my opinion): Awesome.My only regret is that I missed pretty much all of the sessions and only had a chance to socialize with other people there (not that this wasn’t fun but sort of misses the point of BarCamp). I was stuck at Apple on Saturday and had a personal family thing on Sunday morning. Nevertheless (apparently that’s a real word, cool!) I was there Saturday night until some silly hour playing Warewolf and talking geek and Sunday for lunch (oh my, GoogleFood is good) and finish. Why oh why I haven’t involved myself in this world of real geekery beforehand I do not know, but I can assure you I will be more involved in the future.The sessions I attended were really interesting and the food was awesome but I think the best bit for me was the sense of community I was starting to feel. People I had previously met at Web2 Berlin were there and I felt a strong sense that people do see each other at all sorts of events like this.On a final note, during the session on the future of BarCamps I had an idea that there should be a Student BarCamp. I know all the arguments about not restricting groups down to specifics (thus stifling diversity) but I think students are a diverse enough group by themselves, and I really think there is a strong barrier to entry because of the fear of not being able to hold their own in comparison to some of the giants of the industry. I’m also a big fan of the concept of the ‘youth’ of today are the leaders of tomorrow and thus working with students is really important. I know I was at this (and other) events, but all of my student friends who I tell are a little skeptical about some aspects, and so a nice way to introduce them to this wonderful world might be this…..Anyway, Student BarCamp, London, February 2008 🙂

Drama in Berlin

I started this blog for similar underlying reasons to why I have started many other blogs. Things happen in my life that I want to talk about, not necessarily to any specific people, just in general, and the web is a good space for this.

Specifically, however, it was becuase I was at a web conference in Berlin and everyone else had a cool blog and I really needed to get away from the spaces I was using and start afresh. But why the name? Well, that came from Berlin too. You see, I can’t go away anywhere without some form of drama in my life. All my friends tell me this. Its not always bad, and sometimes really cool, but I never come home without an interesting story to tell.

A few weeks ago I was filming for a new TV show (that is currently on hold due to some conflicts of interest) outside the Apple Store at the release of OS X Leopard. I interviewed a bunch of people, just random people, and it was all very exciting. When I eventually edit the footage I’ll post a link here. I thought nothing more of the people I met, they were just interviewees, I never expected to see them again. Then I arrived at the Web2Open stand at the expo in Berlin, and who should I meet but one and two of my interviewees from a few weeks earlier. How crazy is that. Whats more, it turns out that both of them (hi!) are grad students on a year abroad at Imperial College (where I go to college). In Department of Computing (where I study). Under Maja Pantic (who works in Visual Processing and HCI which I am doing my final project in). Which means I would have hopefully met them at a later stage when doing research for my project. How small is the geek world?!

All this Drama too much for you? I’m just getting started. The conference was great, and I might blog about that another time, but this is about the Drama. I headed back to Berlin-Schoenfeld airport to catch my Ryanair flight back home, last flight out of Berlin that night on any carrier at the airport. All is fine, I check in, proceed through passport control (and so out of Germany) and head to the boarding gate. I was 6″ (through some glass) from the tarmac when the ominous information noise was heard followed by “Your flight has been canceled. Please go home.” What?!?!?!?! Suffice to say that there was madness for about 40 minutes while they changed their mind a few times, then admitted to loosing the aircraft due to fly me home, and finally kicked us out the airport. I managed to find a hotel and a flight back to Stansted the following morning for close to £200, and even so I would still miss college and only have a few hours rest before heading to work. Nightmares! Nothing else, however, could be done!

But wait! The Drama is not over. The following morning, whilst sitting on the train I decided to check for my belongings. Purse. Check. Keys. Check. iPhone. Check. Laptop. Check. Passport. Oh Shit. I jumped off the train as the doors were closing, searched my bag. No Luck. I waited frantically for the minibus to the hotel, running across an autobarn to catch it on the way back to avoid a 20 minute wait. Check the room. No dice. Shit. Back to the scene of the crime, Berlin-Schoenfeld. I ran to the passport office (already almost too late for my flight, which was at an airport an hour away), and saw my passport on the back desk, but infront of me was a crazy looking German lady, and given I speak no german I thought it best to wait my turn. Eventually i recovered my passport ran to the next train, and jumped in a taxi at the other end (instead of waiting for the free bus) and managed to check in (without baggage fortunately) minutes before my flight took off.

Like I said, I always do Drama when I’m away.

Web2Open at Web 2 Expo Berlin

Hardcore iPhone Fans

On the way out of The Store today at about 10pm I saw the most insane thing ever, people planning to queue overnight in almost sub zero temperatures to get their hands on one of the first official iPhones in the UK. I say official, because even one of the people in the small queue already had a hacked US iPhone, so I’m not really sure why he was braving a possible death by frostbite, but there you go.

One of the only women in the queue had never even been into an Apple Store before! Crazy!

So the mania has started, I can’t wait!

Deja-vu and beyond

This won’t be the most exciting first post to my new blog, but I really don’t have time right now to tell all. A bath is running, and I should be writing two essays (simultaniously), but I felt compelled to record my latest experience of that weird sensation know as Deja-Vu.

I was in the Apple Store Regent Street (which is where I work, fyi) and two guys walk in and start asking me questions about this and that, you know, the iPhone (less than 24 hours now!), Leopard, AppleCare, and this huge wave of Deja-Vu set in.

Now I can’t remember the scientific explanation for it, but I know there is a really cool one, which involves something about your visual cortex not processing as fast as some other part of your brain, and thus by the time you visually process the scene some other part of your brain recognises this as a memory (all be it a very very recent one) and tricks you into thinking you can predict the future. Its all very exciting and clever, and I’m probably totally wrong about how it works, but I think I gave it a good shot!