It’s mid-afternoon Sunday 15 May … and I’m sitting at a computer desk at Narita … connected wirelessly (and charging my iPod while I download a new book from Audible.com). The week has been a whirlwind — starting with the blogging workshop on Tuesday and ending with developer day on Saturday. In between, I learned about search and semantic web and microformats … and kept bumping into the same people (heh, and I thought my interests were eclectic). I’ve connected with folks in the UK who are also interested in social science — and will learn more about their eScience initiative (linking this to my Access Grid project). This conference remains a geek’s name-dropper heaven … yet the sense of community (and lack of pretension) is inspiring.
Last year I rejoined this community after an extended hiatus … and I felt even more welcome this year than last. There is a growing focus on the social implications of technology, as evidenced by keynotes. And I have been boosted out of my complacent and “superior” attitude towards mobile computing (ie, web-telephony) as a result. This event — especially when it’s not in the US — is an excellent grounding in the state of the global net.
Next year is Scotland and I hope to be there … especially since I won the single malt “give away” at Friday’s closing session! And perhaps I will be doing more than just speaking at the blogging workshop. A couple of us are already talking about publishing a conference blog … and issuing a plea to presenters to license material via some Creative Commons license. That plea reminded me that I need to do the same thing for this blog (and my class sites as well).
The “bootleg quality” podcasts that I have published so far have been well-received and are allowing the ideas at this conference to extend far beyond the geographic borders of Japan and the psychological borders of technologists (aka geeks). Krishna’s talk on Google News has generated discussion on the Online News list about “the web in the age of news” (flipping Krishna’s frame) … and the microformats session from developer’s day plays into a project one of my students wants to pursue over the summer.
Now I need to get speaker permission for my remaining recordings and expand my server space … download Eric’s css for online presentations … explore Bonjour (was Rendezvous) and SubEthaEdit and get a couple of students with Mac’s to install it so we can demo real-time distributed document collaboration … and, and, and … ;-)