I’ve decided to break this up into several chunks because the post was getting so long that I fear people would skip over it and miss good stuff.
First up was the “Policing the Media” session with Duncan Black, ie Atrios. While there was nothing wrong with the session, which was quite good and on a subject I’m usually all over, I had a hard time getting into this one. Chalk it up to being sleepy and still having an unfavorable blood/water/Rolling Rock mix.
Next came the “Videoblogging” presentation with Rocketboom’s own Amanda Congdon and Mario Librandi . This was my favorite of the weekend. The inside stuff on Rocketboom was fascinating, especially how nothing is universally loved and the pieces that prompt strong reaction from some often provoke bafflement from others. As Ed notes, many people seemed to be put off at the notion of the relatively high threshold to get into videoblogging, in equipment costs and software costs and time to do it. Around then I got to throw out my piece about the CVS camera cable hack, which prompted more reaction the rest of the weekend than my nickle and dime podcast. As a convenience link to all y’all that I handed my card and told to come here, the video is here and the documentation on making the cable is here. The point I wish I had emphasized better is that you hack the cable, not the camera. If you do it once, any of these cameras will work with it (unless/until they change the firmware to make it stop working.)
For once, I may have helped rather than hurt a session by speaking up, because by pointing out that one can do this cheap the conversation then became about what you could do rather than if you could do it. Lots of people I talked to cited this as a standout session. Amanda was completely unfamiliar with this format and walked in expecting to do a more standard show-and-tell lecture type presentation but immediately adapted to the unconference thing and did a stellar job at it. My only criticism – make Mario talk more! One day he will no longer be able to avoid the spotlight so he might as well get used to it under friendly circumstances, no? One odd quirk – some people seem disappointed at the realization that the whole Rocketboom thing has a staff of several people and that it isn’t just batted out by Amanda filming herself with a tripod. That shouldn’t dissuade anyone. Do what you can with your resources and push the medium. Kids, do try this at home!
Last link on this subject, I swear: here is the infamous lizard video I mentioned and at least one person derided sight unseen as uninteresting. Is it really uninteresting? I report lizards, you decide!
More on next rock.