Pros and Cons

I’ve had to decline a heartbreaking number of invitations to come to conventions and/or conferences this year. In several cases, I was invited to speak or lead sessions and I just couldn’t do it. Being in a job situation without vacation contributed a lot, where I would have to not only pay my way plus lose several days pay. Being exhausted for a big chunk of the early part of the year also didn’t help, which led to me skipping some things that I could have driven to. Here’s a tally of things I have said no to, every one of which I wanted to attend:

That’s the downside. Here’s the upside: in the latter half of the year with a new lease on life, a new work situation, vacation days and a little more breathing room I’ll be attending more events.

Podcast Expo y’all know about. Converge South was a big blast last time. It’s where I met Amanda Congdon and Mario Librandi, first met Dan Conover and Janet Edens in person, got to hang with Ed Cone and buy Dave Winer breakfast right after he sold Weblogs.com. My video of the event is still out there. I expect to have a good time and will try to make a point to meet and say hi to Elizabeth Edwards, renew acquantances with the Greensboro blogging contingent, eat my body weight in BBQ at Hoggard’s house and generally pass a good time.

I’m also looking very forward to going to Orycon and participating in the programming. I hope to carry the Marantz with me and interview writers and other people there like a banshee the whole time I’m out there. I went to almost every Orycon when I lived out there, and I’ve returned for a few since. When I was telecommuting to Portland, I made it a point to schedule a work trip that coincided with the con (free flight for me). I’ve been back for one on my own dime, but this is the first in a few years. I’m happy to see that they’ve moved the con from Jantzen Beach to downtown. Jantzen Beach is nice and all, but it was a huge drag to try to do anything in downtown like go to Powell’s – particularly if you didn’t have a car. Since they have this great bustling and walkable downtown, it sucked to not be able to take advantage of it. Now you get it both – hang out at the con at the riverfront and also walk across the Morrison Street bridge to Montage (if it is still open), and so forth. I might even try to renew my favorite lunch jaunt – a bus ride down Burnside to Future Fantasy and gyros at Foti’s (again, if they are still open.) I used to do that every week or two and I miss it. Best of all, with any luck I get to see old friends like Jonny X, Mark Bourne, Mary Rosenblum and the whole PDX crowd.

So, all in all I’m looking forward to working a little more enjoyment and travel back in the mix. Doing nothing but working in your home office 70 hours a week is fun and all, but getting out and about and spending time with my friends and internet acquantiances is good. If you see me out and about, come talk to me!

Update: Added dates. Let’s hang out, PDX folks!

EGC Clambake For April 13, 2006

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for April 13, 2006.

Hurry up offense, I get right to it by playing a Jonathan Coulton song; I discuss Videoblogging Week 2006 and my Converge South video; I talk about seeing David Sedaris in Charleson; I profess my love for the Penn Jillette radio show; I talk about the Chris Bliss and Jason Garfield thing and point out that being a bigger technical feat don’t automatically make it more fun; I play a song by Danny Schmidt; I read a quote by Emma Bull; I talk about doing it for love and making money; I play a clip of myself getting interviewed by Ted Riecken; I do a little mike test to demonstrate cardiod vs. omnidirectional; I play a song by Diana Obscura and Damon Young; adios.

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This episode is sponsored in part by AmigoFish. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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Converge South Video (for real)

Had I known it would be five days before it was actually available, I would not have made my previous post announcing this. Sorry, folks. I thought it would be at most an hour or three when I posted that. I guess I can no longer pretend like I had anything to do with Videoblogging Week if it has been over this long before my piece goes up, so it’s just me doing my thing.

My Converge South Video walks the earth! Oh no, there goes Greensboro, here comes the video!

Converge South Video

My entry for Videoblogging Week 2006 has been posted – theoretically. I uploaded it to OurMedia around 5 PM, but 6 hours later it says it has received it but it isn’t accessible. That should change soon (I hope). [Update – OK, it is now Friday and it has finally shown up. Wow.]

This is my video from Converge South 2005. It’s got everything – Dave Winer eating grits, Jimbo Wales getting bbq under a tent in the rain, Amanda Congdon at a wing place, Jay Rosen being Jay Rosen, shots of Greensboro and NC A&T, music and dancing and what have you. I like how it worked with the music, both songs are from the headliners of the music events I saw each evening.

I could have posted it yesterday, but my brother suggested that my original edit, which never used the ambient sound from the camera, didn’t adequatly communicate the vitality of the event. I brought in some of that sound, tried to improve the titles and generally tweaked the edit this morning. Now you get to hear David Hoggard chopping pork butts and fun stuff like that. Here’s a little bit of triva about the sound the party scenes. The chopping noise lines up with the video, that really was happening at the time. However, all the conversation was from a different scene that was too blurry to use but had better audio. I extracted that audio and overlayed it, all the sounds at once. I thought it might make the crowd noise too much, but it worked out perfectly. Even though video editing is a pain in the ass, it’s really fun when it comes together.

Thanks to the Murray Street Band and Alana Davis for their permission to use their music. They each rocked my little house, and I bought CDs from both.

And with that, and 25 minutes to spare, I have just barely managed to participate in Videoblogging Week 2006.

Editing Video is Hard

First pass of editing my Converge South video is done. I took the 43 minutes of all footage (how did I shoot that much?) and edited out the obviously unusable, leaving 17 minutes of potentially usable. Now comes the really hard part. How many seconds of chopping barbecue is enough vs too much? This stuff is hard! The worst part will be the titles. I think the iMovie titling stuff is absolute crap, but you play the hand you are dealt and I ain’t springing for Final Cut just for this.

I have a cup of coffee and I’m diving in. I’m not sure if I’m going to meet my self-imposed deadline of publishing this at noon, but I’m going to try. Wish me luck.

Converge South, Final Thoughts

Now that it’s a few days in the past I can look back on the weekend with a little more perspective. While you are there and a part of the excitement everything seems so powerful and profound. Sometimes a dispassionate reflection confirms that, and sometimes you realize you were just caught up in a moment.

Things that went right:

  • NC A&T was an inspired choice for a host. I enjoyed both the facilities and the people quite a bit.
  • Almost all the sessions I attended were great and there was a lot of energy in all the rooms. You could feel them buzzing, and I loved that.
  • The structured nightlife was a great democratizing force. Often in these things, the cool kids know where to go and most people don’t. If you are a weasel like me, you tend to find these things out but it is a great disparity in information. By having the BBQ and distinct clubs that people convened at, the pockets of cool were not there and it makes the whole thing better.
  • On top of that, all the music I saw rocked my world. Way to go, Jay Ovittore.
  • The food was great, and at least the breakout dinner I was at was fantastic.
  • The mix of people at most places from beginning to end was great. I had a good time talking to everyone, those I knew or knew of and those I was just meeting and just finding out about.
  • The BBQ was great, and I actually enjoyed the rain. I had an umbrella with me, I just never used it. I treated it like a Woodstock situation where getting our asses rained on together was a bonding experience.
  • Even though my thing is egalitarian and I think we are all in this together, I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t get a big kick out of hanging out with Amanda and Mario from Rocketboom.
  • The guy driving the shuttle van was a trip!

Things that went wrong:

  • The podcasting session. Now we know this has to be split up into sub-sessions. I like the idea of making a main session about the higher level stuff of interest to the listeners, and then maybe smaller hands-on sessions for the gear heads (like me).
  • The network access at both the Biltmore and the school was hit or miss. The Biltmore was operational for me, but just barely. It was usable at the school, but a huge pain in the ass and required a big hurdle to connect the first time. I understand what the guy was saying about being compelled to protect the network by state law. Frankly, it might have been easier to bring in a temporary connection like you do for conventions than try to use what was already there, if that meant we could just connect to the damn thing.
  • Maps to the clubs would be helpful in the conference literature. I got lost, I saw other people wandering 2 blocks from where they wanted to be. I walked to the Flatiron in about the longest path you could take without turning your back to the joint. Thank you, random strangers that pointed me in the right direction.

Conclusions:

  • I came home from Bloggercon full of the holy fire, and wanting to do a conference in Myrtle Beach. However, this was much better than anything I could have slapped together and in reasonable driving distance as well. Instead, I think the better thing to do is to organize smaller meetups with an emphasis on “how do I get going on this?” Maybe a group that meets once a month at locations that move throughout the state – Myrtle Beach, Florence, Charleston, Columbia, etc. If we meet at a place with free wifi, those who know can help those who are learning. Bring your laptops and whatever audio equipment you have and we’ll make something work if you want to podcast. Bring your videocamera and teach me what you know. That sort of thing – rather than talk let’s do. Meeting in a big group with like minded people was fun, but I think taking this on the road will rise the tide better in the larger world.
  • For most of my youth and young adulthood, I was a self-proclaimed misanthrope. If pressed I’d say that I generally hated people, with just a few exceptions. I can’t claim that anymore, I have to admit that I love people. I felt verklempt most of the weekend with the power of people giving up a beautiful day to spend it talking to each other and me. Multiple times I teared up while talking to people about the power of empowering the audience. There was an energy that I don’t think anyone could deny and I’m extremely grateful that I was allowed to be part of it.
  • I’ve been hearing about how great Greensboro is for years, and I never quite bought it. I was slap wrong, it is indeed a great town!
  • To demonstrate the power of citizen media, I give the example of my meeting Jinni Hoggard for the first time. Even though I didn’t talk to her nearly enough, I felt like I knew her the second I shook her hand, following her struggles from a distance as I had. I hear a lot of academic blah blah blah on the subject, but knowing her story and that I could have missed her presence on the planet just brought out the power of citizen media and why it is important. All this talk of “bloggers in pajamas” vs reporters is pure horseshit. It’s about people and connection and thank God I got a chance to connect to her. Next time I’m going to monopolize some of her time.
  • More than anything similar I’ve ever attended, the end of the conference felt like a beginning of something much bigger.

That’s the end. Come talk to me, y’all.

Converge South, Heading Home

Last post – whew.

Sunday morning, I got up around 7 AM or so, got ready and packed it up. I checked out of the hotel and called Dave Winer. We had intended to get together at some point the previous night, but we lost each other’s cell numbers. Via late night emails, we had agreed to hook up for breakfast. I woke him out of bed (to my chagrin), but we agreed to meet at his hotel at 8:30 AM which gave me time to drive by the Hoggard’s house and pick up one of those leftover pork butts. Mmmmmm! After a few minutes of chat Dave left Dave to go meet Dave.

The conversation over breakfast was fascinating and very enjoyable (Dave enjoyed it too). We talked about a lot of technical things, some stuff from the world of business and new media and life. Somewhere in there we traded a few personal stories of the things that helped shape us into who we are. I’ve been around Dave before but never one on one in a substantial way so I found that a very different experience from talking to him as one person in a cluster around a table. I got a little video clip of him with a plate of grits that will be put to good use somewhere.

After eating until there was no more eating to be had and drinking coffee until I was on the edge of jittery, it was time to go. I grabbed the check over Dave’s objections. I told Dave that I liked the irony in buying him breakfast right after his sale of weblogs.com became public news. He agreed that was a worthy effort, to get this story in the narrative of our lives, and thus it was. I said my goodbyes, reunited with my frozen pork butt and got on the road.

I got slightly turned around on my way out of town. I was looking for the wrong street and ended up on Spring south and got nervous when it turned into access controlled highway. As it turns out, Spring was actually the correct street and I was in exactly the right place for the wrong reason. While turning myself back around, I saw a stop sign that had under the big word STOP, the graffiti “collaborate and listen.” That seemed too fitting, so the CVS camera was employed once again to capture that. When I edit the video together, I expect that to be the last shot and the one I hold to roll credits over.

The drive home was OK, except for (again) getting confused about which roads met where in Darlington. Because I was looking so hard for signs, I happened to notice a historical marker in Hamlet, SC for the birthplace of John Coltrane. I pulled over and snapped the photo of that because again, it seemed too fitting to not do. As I drove, I listened to my CDs of Alana Davis and the Murray Street Band over and over. Good stuff, good driving music. With the later start and the navigational miscues I got home a good 4 hours later than I said I would.

Final thoughts a little later, and then I’m done with the recap.

Converge South, Day 2, dinner and evening

Wow, this is taking a long time. I need to wrap this up before I forget all the details.

After the last session, I went back to the hotel. I had intended to take a nap but I ended up in IM conversations and phone calls and then eventually I had missed the nap window. I went down and hung out with Dan and Janet in the hotel lobby consuming the free wine and cheese for a while, and then everyone went to their respective hosted dinners. I went to the one hosted by Amanda and Mario of Rocketboom at the Minj Grill. My new buddy Mark was there, as were a number of cool folks. Jimmy Wales and his wife and daughter were also at this one. The conversation was good, as was the food. Before leaving the hotel, Ed said if he wasn’t hosting a dinner he’d be going just for the food there and that I should get the wings. I never get wings but I did and they were indeed fantastic. The only downside is that in a situation like this where you are talking to lots of folks and sitting across the table from people of whom you are a fan, wings may not be the best logistical choice. Still, it was pulled off, I think without disgusting anyone. The liberal application of wet naps mitigated against the faux pas.

We talked a lot about (obviously) new media, videoblogging and IP TV, podcasting, Wikipedia and the new power structures of information. Don Moore at the table has worked a lot in television so we got a lot of stories about how things work inside the building and I got the sense from him that as someone in the know about the present day of big media, he has a lot of faith and anticipation from where the new media are heading. It was a good mix of people and the knowledge coverage was really good – we all had enough in common to have subjects to talk about but we also all had different areas of expertise such that a lot of knowledge came out. I enjoyed it a lot and would be glad to eat at Minj again.

After this, everyone broke up and went their respective ways. Amanda and Mario and I went back to the hotel and did the interview in the lobby sitting around a table. I don’t remember why I felt so confident but I did it zero note style. Usually I have at least a scrap of paper to keep me on track but this was as free as it wheels. I think having talked to them earlier in the day when they agreed to do the interview and having seen the presentation, I just felt it would all take care of itself once the conversation got rolling. Lo and behold it did. The mobile rig did splendidly in its first trip out of the house except for being too noisy when moving the mike from person to person. We talked for about 15 minutes on the mike, a few minutes afterwards, a few more minutes when Ed stepped out of his dinner he was hosting in the Biltmore dining room to talk to us, and then we broke up to get ready for the evening.

I ditched my stuff, made a phone call home, and headed out to Solaris. Amanda and Mario had left first, but by the time a group of us including the usual suspects as well as Antonella Napolitano got down the street, we caught back up with them as they weren’t quite sure where they were heading. We walked there and then a few members of the party realized they didn’t have the ID to get in (and look really young, so there was no wiggle room.) We trekked back and back again, and then we were inside. Even after all that, the show hadn’t yet started. During the walk, I got to talk a lot with Mario who blew my mind with some of the stuff he wants to do. Since some of that includes making independent film, I told him my idea that formed from my talks with John Rogers about forming collectives or cooperatives around the production and how to make your crew working for free actually participants in the process.

The musician was Alana Davis, a performer lots of people seemed hyped about but with whom I was unfamiliar. I really enjoyed the show, even though I moved to the bar area for a while to converse with people. I liked the music but I couldn’t pass up the chance to talk to all these people while I was in the same room with them. I ended up showing several people the CVS camera and talking about the cable hack several more times. Eventually, I ended up having a long and emotional conversation with Mario and Amanda about the fun and opportunities and pressures of what is happening right now with media, new and old. We all sort of mutually agreed that we feel that something special is on the cusp of happening, that there is a window to create a new world with new access to more people, more engagement and less passivity and that a smarter public could emerge from it. Obviously, this includes getting tech out to more people and connectivity out to more people who are presently unconnected, which is a big issue. We also know that if it gets screwed up now, the existing media and power structures will build up antibodies to this and perhaps entrench deeper in a way that immunizes them against changing. That’s the responsibility part. Can a few minutes of dada video daily change the world? I think so, but don’t take my word for it. You can watch it happen.

Unlike the previous night, I took it a little easy on the brews so I was coherent enough for conversation all the way through the evening. In another of the many surreal moments, I found myself in a cluster of folks including Mark, Chris Daniel and Duncan “Atrios” Black in a conversation that ultimately turned to the technology of how GWAR does what they do and the democratizing power of Monty Python. I got my Alana Davis CD signed, got her permission in person to use her music in the podcasts and as the soundtrack to the video of the conference. She really seemed tickled when I told here that at first I got the permissions in order not to get sued, and eventually I realized that anyone that would sue me is someone whose music I don’t give a shit about. It was a good time all around, but eventually I ran out of steam and left. I said my goodbyes and hugged everyone and back to the hotel.

On the way, I got into a conversation about Greensboro nightlife with some random guy and pointed him to various options. Bad luck for him that I was his tour guide, hope he found something fun. I saw a spot right in front of the hotel so I went to move my rental car closer. The band unloading at the pub I was parked in front of had me almost blocked in, but they and the taxi driver behind me guided me out. Now parked right by the front door, all set up for loading up the car and heading out, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the spiritually satisfied but physically exhausted.

To be concluded

EGC Clambake for October 10, 2005

Note to Rocketboom fans – If you can possibly download the bittorrent, please do. There’s a whole lot of you, and all the bandwidth you save helps. When you download a legal torrent, you stick it to the man!

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for October 10, 2005.

This is the special Converge South episode! I talk a little about my very positive experience there; I play a song by Alana Davis; I tell the story of the barbecue at the Hoggard household; I play a song by Bruce Piephoff; I play the interview with Amanda Congdon and Mario Librandi of Rocketboom; I play a song by the Murray Street Band; I welcome a new sponsor and fade out like an exhausted guy might.

This episode is sponsored in part by the fine folks at iPod Observer and Reel Reviews! Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package.

This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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Kevin Converges

I got a chance to talk some with Kevin Howarth at the conference and I agree completely with what he says about Converge South. I enjoyed being in the city and felt like something special was happening. It’s not just that the people were great at the conference, they were great in the city. The A&T students that explained how the shuttle works to me were great, the city workers who told me about the renovation plans for Woolworth’s were great, the random people who talked to me on Elm Street between leaving Solaris and getting to the hotel were great. The guys who helped me back my car out of where I was blocked in were great, the guy who I kept giving spare change to was great. I felt not just comfortable but at home at every point from arriving in the city limits until I left.

Well, except for the asshole who was honking at me while I was trying to figure out which street turned into Highway 220 south. It’s a big street, just go around me, tiny hateful impatient man. That guy can kiss my ass, but everyone else was great.

Converge South, Day 2, lunch and afternoon

I meant to post all these yesterday, but the built up fatigue finally wore me down.

Lunch involved talking to a number of folks, and then seeing Mark from Mount Airy wearing an EGC t-shirt! That was on oddly cool moment. I actually went outside with him and we filmed a video interview about his experience with new media, as a listener to podcasts. Really nice guy. After that, I sat in a circle with Dave, Dan and Janet, Ed and many others whom my weary mind is blanking on. It was brought up at that time something I had been thinking, how nice it was to actually have black people at a tech conference. I can’t remember if there were more than five or so black people at the entirety of the Stanford Bloggercon. The A&T students I talked to were smart and interested and really raring to engage. I hope to see them really knocking socks off soon. I subscribed to my first new blog by an A&T student yesterday. Cobb (who I met while riding in the shuttle van) discusses that he didn’t see any Asian people but that wasn’t such a problem in Stanford, for example. Even if it wasn’t as diverse as the Billy Jack movies told us our future would be, it still felt like a great step to me. My only thing was that not enough students started conversations with me. I did talk to some, but I almost always had to approach them. Was I intimidating or something? I’m a chubby gregarious teddy bear, come chat with me! Chat with everybody, pick our brains for what we already know and tell us what you think we should know. It’s why we all came to you.

After lunch was the Dave Winer led session about tools. There was some interesting discussion. I threw out how much I liked WordPress as an ongoing tool even if the setup isn’t necessarily something a novice can do. Some people said the hosted WordPress solution wasn’t even as good as a default WordPress install on your own system. Some fascinating talk was raised about having a wizard-like interrogation process as the setup on whatever blog system as a new blog is being created, which would do a lot of automatic configuring based on the needs of the blog. Is it multiperson, do you want comments/trackbacks, do you need sidebars, etc? One of the professors of a nearby school (I talked to her but have forgotten her details, my brain was full by then) wants to write grant proposals and get some of this stuff built to lower barriers to entry. I’m all for that, and I’d love to see NC colleges take the lead in those projects. She’s got my card, I hope she writes. Key moment of that panel was the 20-ish young lady student that says she runs three blogs, two on WordPress and one with a tool she wrote herself. I don’t remember if she was an A&T student or a different school but that was so cool to hear.

After that was the podcasting session, led by Herb Everett. I met and talked to Herb a little (and had even listened to episodes of the Beat on the way up) and he is a great guy. However, this session was probably the biggest disappointment of the weekend. Here’s one where you could feel the culture clash of the collaborative and interactive style of the rest of the conference clashing with a centralized college lecture style. The room was buzzing at the beginning and there seemed to be a lot of energy there but it just dissipated quickly. In retrospect, part of the problem was that there were too many constituencies to please them all – introduction of the concepts for interested beginners, discussion of the concepts and issues for current podcasters, details of how to do it across a dizzying variety of platforms and systems. Mostly though, the audience spoke too little and it was funneled into the lecture model, where people would throw out a question and Herb would answer it. Personally, I would have liked it better if Herb had done his 15 minute intro and then mostly served as a traffic cop to allow the audience to talk to each other. There was a lot of knowledge in the room and a lot of interest in the room, and most of that never got out. Next year, we’ll have a better idea how to do it. I suggest having a workshop, much like the hands on thing in the computer lab where they had folks setting up their first blogs. Have a room where people bring their stuff and we make it work, and then remove all that talk from the actual session because there are too many details that aren’t portable to be of interest to more than a handful of the 200 people there. Sorry Herb. If you do it again next year, give me a call and I’d be happy to talk about these ideas.

To be continued

Converge South, Day 2, morning

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.

Converge South, Day 1+

I’m here in the auditorium of Converge South. I had access in the hotel room at the Biltmore but didn’t really have any time to blog. Last night definitely counts as Too Much Fun.

I ran late, forgot keys and screwed things up and generally made a mess of my exit from the house yesterday. I got to the office in RTP about an hour after I wanted to, and it took an hour longer than I thought it would, so by the time I got to campus, parked and found the building it was pushing 1 PM. One of the first people I saw was Ed Cone, with whom I chatted and who pointed me in the right direction. I had lunch and met Dan Conover and Janet Edens , attended the ethics panel with Jay Rosen and then headed to the hotel. After a little downtime and email checking, we headed out to the evening barbecue at David Hoggard’s, which was a complete hoot. It rained like hell and I got soaked, but it was great. Standing in the kitchen talking about wikipedia and new media with a circle of folks including Jimmy Wales was one of those moments that seems too surreal to be real.

After the party, back to the hotel and then to clubs. I ended up just going to Flat Iron and just staying there, seeing Miles Apart, Bruce Piephoff and the Murray Street Band. Good music all around. I stayed to the bitter end, about one hour and two drinks more than I should have. I got back to the hotel at mumble mumble AM, back up at 7 AM and now here I am. Looking forward to the day.

PS – who was it in the hotel that was attached to my iTunes? Sorry I had to reboot. What were you listening to?

EGC Clambake for October 10, 2005

Note to Rocketboom fans – If you can possibly download the bittorrent, please do. There’s a whole lot of you, and all the bandwidth you save helps. When you download a legal torrent, you stick it to the man!

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for October 10, 2005.

This is the special Converge South episode! I talk a little about my very positive experience there; I play a song by Alana Davis; I tell the story of the barbecue at the Hoggard household; I play a song by Bruce Piephoff; I play the interview with Amanda Congdon and Mario Librandi of Rocketboom; I play a song by the Murray Street Band; I welcome a new sponsor and fade out like an exhausted guy might.

This episode is sponsored in part by the fine folks at iPod Observer and Reel Reviews! Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package.

This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0.

Links mentioned in this episode:

PlayPlay

Clambake Episode for August 13, 2005

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for August 13, 2005.

I talk about life in Conway SC, about not getting enough exercise and being too fat; I play a song from the Butthole Surfers; I talk about how doing informal interviews helps my formal ones; we are approaching the one year anniversary of this show; I do my impression of Mike Vizard; I play an excerpt from JD Lassica’s interview with Halley Suitt; I play a song by Casper and the Cookies; I still need photos of your faces; goodbye.

I screwed up the impression of Mike Vizard – that second “what was the point of the whole exercise” is supposed to be “where is the business model in that?”

This episode is sponsored in part by the fine folks at iPod Observer! Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package.

This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0.

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What Happened to the Myrtle Beach Blogging Conference?

Last November, when I came home from Bloggercon in Palo Alto imbued with the holy fire of citizen media I floated the idea of doing a blog conference here in the Grand Strand. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and I got a lot of feedback from people who said they would attend. In fact, I got so much that it frightened me. I was really wondering if I would get more than a dozen or so and if we’d need serious meeting space. Once we crossed the threshold of 50 people saying they’d come, from places like New Jersey and Denver and Seattle I started getting really nervous. If it was going to be that big of a deal, I didn’t want to do it half-assed. All of this happened around Thanksgiving last year, which then meant it was the holiday season and life got in the way.

Early this year I did some of the research about booking space and getting hotel deals, weighing the pros and cons of doing it at a college vs not and that sort of thing. The whole idea of doing this here turns on the idea of doing it outside of the tourist season, when hotels and amenities are much cheaper. Ideally, I wanted to do it late enough in the year people could make use of the beach while being early enough to be out of tourist season rates. That suggested the April timeframe, but because of professional commitments I was tied up in late April and the 6 weeks before. That meant I couldn’t really organize things before and then had a very narrow window afterwards to get it in before Bike Week and other events made it unwise to hold the conference. Ultimately, the timing just made it impossible to do.

Now I am thinking again about organizing such a thing but I have similar issues. The main thing keeping me from getting serious is that this year there are several conferences in this general area, which reduces the fire for me to set one up. I’ll be attending Converge South (Greensboro, NC) in October and the Podcast and Portable Media Expo (Ontario, California) in November and will probably attend Podcastercon (Chapel Hill, NC) in January. Now for me personally, I have to ask the question if after going to 3 different conferences on this general topic between October and January, will I have it in me to organize another one 2 or 3 months later? Is it even necessary? Any feedback is highly appreciated.