web page hit counter

Monday, January 30, 2006


One of the ideas for Mashpit Dallas was BarSpy, a DiggSpy-like real time view of an entire Bar Camp as it happens. The idea is that all the captured information in the session (and eventually the entire conference) is timestamped and geolocated and presented in a unified interface. The video stream, the irc chat log, user ratings, contributed links, the speaker bio, the current schedule, everything is marked with the room where it took place and a reasonably accurate timestamp. A sort of Bar Camp Mirror World. Not only does this give attendees (local and remote) a good overview of the conference, it also allows for some very cool "event playback" options.

Imagine this: you're reviewing the video stream from a particular session two weeks after the event. You hit the "auto-fast-fwd" button and the video playback becomes synched to the density of comments in the irc chat log. Sections with few comments fly by, but 10 seconds before a burst of comments, the video slows down to normal speed. Evidently political analysts already do that sort of thing with focus groups, but it would certainly help in wading through 20 hours worth of conference sessions.

But there's no reason to wait till after the event. Let's say the density of session backchannel chatter falls off (or people start hitting the "I'm bored button", whatever) Suddenly, the powerpoint on the projector changes to scenes from Monty Python, thus increasing the overall entertainment level of the presentation. Or let's say things are getting a little too exciting (A python-vs-ruby war breaks out) : calming scenes of kittens appear[1], cooling the tempers of all involved with their cuteness.

Of course, the idea is not to write an entire system from scratch, that's the kind of old-school thinking that gets you a team of 20 developers working for 2 years. There are enough cool tools out there already so that it might just be possible to get an 80% solution together very quickly, I'm thinking in time for a production debut at Bar Camp Austin in March. Or, heck, sooner.

[1] Chris Messina though of the kittens, not me. I'm allergic. In fact, Chris may have thought of all of this, it's kinda blurry. I was exhausted from the day before and a little punchy. But that's the beauty of a Mash Pit. Maybe puppies? Focusing on details is missing the point, we're talking grand experiment in social control here.

tags: , , , , , , ,

You should follow me on twitter here.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Mashpit Dallas In Progress

The chosen topics: "Remote Participation in Events : EventInABox", and "Social Attitude Tracking". This is fun. My mind is mush from the events of the past couple weeks, and I'm doubting how much I'm going to contribute, but it's hard not to get enthusiatic about making events like Bar Camp accessible to more people. The streaming video rocked (thanks guys!), but getting a single remote participation endpoint would have made it easier for people. We'll see what we come up with...

tags: , , , , , ,

You should follow me on twitter here.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Bar Camp Dallas is Here

Sitting here typing in the hallway at Bar Camp Dallas with 50 or 60 of the biggest geeks in Dallas. Putting up the blank schedule board this morning was very scary, but the gratification on seeing the first two presentation tracks fill up within minutes was worth the fear.

For those unable to attend in person, check out the backchannel at #barcampdallas on freenode (and ask about the live streaming video)

tags: , , , , , ,

You should follow me on twitter here.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Bar Camp Dallas, 16 Hours and Counting

Bar Camp Dallas is set for tomorrow at the Infomart, check out http://barcamp.org/BarCampDallas for details. We've got three confirmed product unveilings, and are bumping up against the confirmed guest limit. It ought to be interesting :-)

tags: , , , , , ,

You should follow me on twitter here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Bar Camp NYC, Bar Camp Dallas and Being a User

My focus has tended to be on creating technology rather than using it. Of course, crafting the user experience is part of the creation process, but when I use software I tend to analyze it rather than just sit back and enjoy it. That's changed since I became involved with Bar Camp. Using the Internet to organize people in the real world has put me on the other side of the looking glass, and I'm not always comfortable there. (I often have the urge to rewrite whatever software I happen to be using, which is a distraction)

Bar Camp NYC, though, got me excited about being a plain old user. I've got a dozen pages in my notebook filled with cool stuff to check out (Plus another few pages filled with ideas to develop, but that's a different blog posting)

So far, I've used SuprGlu and ThumbStacks. Spending time describing SuprGlu would be a waste, just check out the Bar Camp Dallas SuperGlu page at:


If you want your stuff to appear on the page, tag it "barcampdallas" using technorati, del.icio.us or flickr and it will show up. If you know of another tag stream that ought to be included, let me know.

Thumbstacks isn't as far along, but still doesn't need too much verbage: It's like Writely for PowerPoint. If you're a fellow Writely addict, you'll go check it out immediately, if you're not, I'd check out something like Writely first then get back to ThumbStacks as it matures.

So, if all that cool stuff is going on in NYC, what might be going on in Dallas? I already found out that Firewheel Design (they of BlinkSale, Web 2.0 Poster Child) is in the area, who else have I missed? What other cool stuff is going on? Come to Bar Camp Dallas and find out...

tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You should follow me on twitter here.