registration for barcamp bangkok is now open! that's right, after a long and winding road, thailand will have their first barcamp this month. apparently, the social lubricants provided by sugree, patipat and sira lubricated enough info out of my head for them to go full tilt. too bad, i will only be there in spirt! goodluck gang!
(click on your favorite unfocused smile to see more photos from my time in houston. the back story to this photo is fairly remarkable. i walked into the Brazilian consulate and discovered that i had forgotten my headshots. with a point to the closest CVS over a mile and a half away, i knew that i'd never make it there and back before the visa window would close. as a buckeye, i knew microcenter as one of the first computer super stores to have fully functional products on display. located two blocks from the consulate, it was serendipity. with a quick "hello, i'm a geek traveling around the world..." mike from the printer section "demonstrated" the printer's ability to print out photos. in less than 15 mins, i was back at the console. THANK YOU MY GEEK BUDDY! YOUR RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS SAVED MY ASS!)
today marks my fourth day in houston, tx and i already feel at home. i must thank erica o'grady, matthew wettergreen, michelle calabretta, patrick and christina kwiatkowski and the mike from microcenter. like a long distance runner, i can feel the weight of every step. i know that this run, no matter how long i'd like to extend it, must end; ever step brings me closer to the finish line. yet, somewhere over the oceans of humanity, i know what i've set out to accomplish will never end. the final jaunt between houston and new york lies the sprint of a lifetime.
while my houston adventure is shaping to involve debauchery, religious, intellectual, artistic, spiritual, social and technological adventures... my psychosis is carefully balanced between the fine line of editing 15 hours of footage and planning out the last two exploratory months.
it's important to note that the next few steps are extremely important. while my travel funds are running on fumes, i still need to balance the acquisition of tickets with the need of cash to pay for these tickets. after much research and soul searching, there are two goals i must achieve
- visit antarctica
- interview the largest open source community in south america (aka brazil)
i'm tossing in argentina for a bunch of historical, logistical, political, and coworking reasons. if you're in buenos aries, you now have a coworking facility to visit - check out Cowork Central. i know i'll be looking forward to my time.
the following is a sampling of events and/or interviews i'm looking to achieve.
Dec 15th - Jan 11, Ushwaia, Argentina
- start my hitch hike to antarctica
- christmas and new years at the bottom of the world
- interview couchsurfers
Jan 12, Buenos Aries, Argentina
- back for a night / layover
Jan 13 - 27, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Andre Avorio, barcamp & open source evangelist.
- citizen journalists
- potentially mozy on over to brazilla or Rio to interview a bunch of government officials / business owners who use open source. (i still need contacts!!!)
Jan 28, Buenos Aries, Argentina
- one last night in Buenos Aries / layover
Jan 29, New York City, USA
- arrive in my home city and couch surf for a week before traveling to an undisclosed location to present my findings.
if you know of someone who has a couch to spare, shoot me a line...
if you're in any one of these areas and would like to meet up. please, contact me...
if you know of any cool organizations that would augment this global documentary, shoot me a line...
if you have access to a government official or educators who promote open source, hook me up...
the midwest is a funny place. i know that every place i've gone and meet a fellow midwesterner, i've always found a feller of good company.
smack dab in regional stereotypes, the east and west look at my home state as a humble populous smack dab in between cornfields and coal mines, to the north a short congressman who's vegan and running for president and to the south, the home of makers mark.
i, on the other-hand know something a bit different. i know that ohio is home to six us presidents (that makes it second to NY to the number of US presidents)! i know ohio is home to the wright brothers, thomas edison, granville woods, charles kettering, blue jacket, and tecumseh.
i know that when the economy of the US is on the rocks, ohio has been on the rocks for a few months longer. i know that when the housing market crashes, i can find a desperate home owners in ohio. i know when ohio votes for a president, that president wins.
i know that ohio is at the heart of it all!
as my skybus descended through the clouds, i saw magnificent fields of crops and never-ending suburban sprawl. when the wheels made contact with earth, the precipitation contacting the plane was sleet. yet i new this was no cold welcoming. i walked out of a warm aircraft and flip-floped my way across a cold tarmac into one of the oldest airports in american history, port columbus international airport.
through the maze of walkways, foot paths, escalators, and ramps, i found my anxious parents, impatient brother and a very slow baggage claim. (in all honestly, the slowest baggage claim is in ahmedabad india. in a town known for their ice cream consumption to be some of the highest in the world, ahmedabad's baggage trollers are greased with sugar and grind to a halt the min any traveler has a destination with a time line.)
...back to columbus... so after a brief recapitulation of the past four months, i found myself in a new (circa 2000) lexus with an electronic navigator and heated seats. though the drizzle, i saw what i knew best, middle america. little did i know that in less than an hour i would find myself knee deep in the muddy river we call the future... surrounded by more questions than answers, i sat in the back seat, chewed on wendy's double patties jalapenoioed cheese hamburger.
slamming a frosty, gulping a dr. pepper and devouring a burger rocketed my shuga levels to another planet. with extremely high levels of fidgety uncertainty, my family and i shook off the sleet and walked into cosi's new GIGANTIC new museum.
COSI, for those of you who are not familiar with columbus, is the center of science and industry. it a commercialized name for columbus' equivalent of a natural history museum. since, ohio developed through the industrial revolution, the monicker "industry" is added for full crowed pleasing affect. too boot, many of the exhibits are underwritten by captains of industry.
in this new iteration of the COSI, WOSU (the broadcast wing ohio state university and home to central ohio's public radio) collaborated in the construction of a monstrosity community TV studio. tucked away in a building open 9 - 5, most of the center was under-utilized... well that was until, this evening when 40 some odd bloggers, tv and radio personalities, newspaper readers, citizens of the greater community, my parents, my brother and i (all daytonion carpetbaggers) got together to discuss one question - "What can we do together that we cannot do alone to make the community better using Social Media."
walking into a TV studio with a ring a chairs and a camera pointed on half of the ring scares many people. it damn near gave me a heart attack, i didn't not expect to be on camera nor did i expect such a group gear up for video documentation. despite the prevalence of camcorders, very few east coast groups have attempted video documentation of their events. too boot, if you've seen a recent picture of me, you'll know that my hobbitin height, bearded facial monstrosity and orange cap always seems to be a bit out of place. surveying the room and seeing many clean shaven folk most in "i just got out of work" attire, i was highly self conscious of a formal meeting with a structured sessions of "we want this" and "can you tell us how solve our problems."
first, up on the wall was a matrix of time slots and locations.
second, i saw a poster advertising the "law of two feet" - Law of Two Feet (also known as the Law of Mobility in settings where participants don't necessarily have the use of both feet) -- a foot of passion and a foot of responsibility -- expresses the core idea of taking responsibility for what you love. In practical terms, the law says that if you're neither contributing nor getting value where you are, use your two feet (or available form of mobility) and go somewhere where you can. It is also a reminder to stand up for your passion. (from wikipedia)
third, i saw the four principles of open space (from wikipedia)...
- Whoever comes are the right people
- Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
- Whenever it starts is the right time
- When it's over, it's over
when the facilitator started speaking, my sugga kicked into overdrive and my fidgeting exploded in excitement... i've traveled the world, and there in front of me, there in columbus, ohio, i was watching the future of news. there in front of me sat a diverse group of community members who had come together to discuss how WOSU and COSI can better serve the community.
in the buckeye state i watched the future of "broadcast" media unfold.
in nyc, i've helped organized many of these open space events, and after a serendipitous meeting of david cohn at BarCamp NYC 2, the two of us bounced many ideas off of each other to work on CopyCamp - an unconference for community journalism. (we are in the process of formulating a grander conversation on how open space conversations can improve journalism - both citizen and professional - for now join the google group and let's corral a few news agencies into thinking that this is a good idea.)
for 15 mins, the group sat around trying to understand the next two hours. as people gathered ideas for conversation, people grabbed a sheet of paper, wrote down their two cents and found a space to do discuss the topic. while i desperately wanted to chat about so many things, i wondered how much would i be perceived as a foreigner. with my bearded hobbitin status in full effect, i wrote something down and waited to see who would pose a topic that seemed more suitable. i didn't have to wait too long to get, andrew, from elephants on bicycles, to propose a topic that sounded like "the future of citizen journalism."
after over staying our allotted time, we log rolled from topic to topic... from trust, to linkage, to content, to business models, to the definition of "broadcasting"... on and on, the room tumbled in conversation from Robin Mizell, copyeditor & former newassignment.net contributor, to mike thompson, director of news and public affairs, to susan meyer director of communications and organization planning at WOSU, to tim eby, station manager of WOSU radio, some upper crust members of COSI's management, to a few guys from the barcamp ohio group... and that's just to some of the more vocal members of the group... there was conversational buy in from so many divers parties.
as we ran through the second alloted time session, many ideas splashed up at us..
- FIRST, continue exploring by hosting more open space events that invite the community to help shape the future. just remember, rome was not built overnight.
- use the COSI/WOSU facility as home base for Columbus's tech community (aka meetups, *camps, more open space events, etc).
- investigate the marriage of freelancers and independent workers within a COSI café (aka coworking). also, don't be afraid of turning to daytime events like "work at jelly" to help crystalize personal relationships. (apparently, an international network of science centers is studying how to keep them self community relevant. if anyone can send me contacts, that would be awesome!)
- open up more WOSU programing for community participation by bringing in community experts (specifically expert bloggers, and not just local ones). comically, when we were talking about "experts" or "bloggers" the criteria came from the same place... people who know their stuff and can accurately augment a show. (btw, one should note that mike thompson, director of news and public affairs already pulls in bloggers to augment his line of pundants)
- point listeners/viewers/community members in direction of online communities that feature topical conversation.
- bring in new media students as interns (aka slave labor) and have them experiment with "professional programming" (i use this term in the looses sense, please see my previous blog post.)
- don't just say it, but embrace it!
- one the shortcomings seemed to stem from the fact that no one was employed 100% to understand the intricacies of new media, community, and exploration. everyone seemed to say, "well, that sounds like a bit of this and that..." yeah, in reality it is a bit of this and that...
in the end what we discussed is nothing new. if you look at talk radio, if you look at community programming, if you look at community centers, or anything that loops community, conversation, and construction - you will find time tested models of engagement. there is nothing wrong with frailty, this is what has placed WOSU/COSI into this position. there is nothing wrong with failure. we must read, write and created or in this case listen, communicate and create. the only way traditional broadcast will survive is to find a symbiosis between a relevant/profitable business model and community - if your listeners are talking, are you listing?
hats off to WOSU and COSI, the facilitators, and community members. you took the leap of faith.... now it's a collective job to find the tussling logs will sustain the weight and carry everyone.
(photo flickr user jpmatth, click on image for the amazing original!)
with my long distance train adventures in north america, i've always wondered how the united states can kick out the jams and revolutionize it self as a leader in long distance transportation. if you've ever ridden a long distance train, you know the beauty of sitting back and letting the conductor do the driving. in north america, it's not always the quickest, but it sure is the most beautiful journey. away from the distractions of modernity and transportation infrastructure, amtrak takes one though the wondrous back road of america.
with a verizon EDVO usb adapter connected to my mac and my mac plugged into one of the few three pronged 120 volt electrical outlets, i'm cruising the country side working away at changing the world.
while the food is hearty, it's really not healthy. the tracks on the other hand are a cluster mess. most of this journey has featured long winding turns on single pair of tracks. stopping for freight or other passenger trains has delayed us by a few hours. ever so often we pass by a freeway, a orchard, vineyard, or small town. inch by inch we craw down the west coast of america.
with the cost of petroleum increasing and gas prices on the verge, i wonder if it's time we take a few pages from the open community playbook and think about pulling our resources together and see if this great nation can spearhead a nationwide conversation on alternative transportation. if you don't know about the unconference, it is a workshop like / peer to peer conference where individuals present issues, problems, solutions or host conversations to the issues surround the central topic.
just imagine if ordinary citizens from around the nation gathered in homes, community centers, schools, etc to talk about what they can do to change their transportation woes?
imagine if each group went to city hall and invited the transportation director to chat with them.
imagine actually engaging them in conversation.
imagine not inviting them, and formulating your own alternative plan and then visiting city hall?
imagine taking a few pictures, writing up a mini-press release and sending it to the newspaper to say "we did it! we're planning another one! we want you to join us!"
imagine if Amtrak riders around the country submitted THEIR ideas and plans on what amtrak could do to improve service... (ie healthier food, wifi, more outlets, etc...)
imagine if they filled in a wiki and promoted it on trains and had people vote for their favorite ideas.
someone should contact my buddy Tomas Purves and ask him to open up transit camp's framework.
this morning, Janet Hawtin sent me the YouTube video above. to my surprise, Juan from Free Hugs has crafted an open invite for anyone to stop by his house and hang out. as a huge fan of people allowing others to work / hang out / hack at their house, this is surely going to be a treat!
not only does it seem that i'll be one of the first "youtubers" to visit, as my Sydney plans unfurl, my last few days seem to be overwhelming! nonetheless, you can count on me to make the best of a limited schedule... if you have any advice, tips, tricks. send them my way!!!
WED NIGHT - 17 Oct
- sleep on bus.
THURSDAY - 18 Oct
- 08h30 arrival at Sydney's bus station.
- morning, find wifi, have breakfast, coordinate contacts. (anyone have recommendations?)
- post-noon, meet up at Pitt Street Mall in the centre of Sydney with juan from FREE HUGS. we will hug people. (thanks janet for the introduction!)
- 19h00, sydney web standards meetup to hear jo kay talk about second life and mick liubinskas talk about "a trillion tiny transactions" (thanks christy dena for the invite.)
ps - anyone have a place for me to lay my head? it appears i forgot to coordinate a proper place to crash?
FRIDAY - 19 Oct
- 08h00 blogger breakfast at single origin. (thanks emily reed)
- Free day to document my final thoughts on australia with nice touristic backdrops. (editor's note - if anyone want's to be my host that would be fan-tab-ioulus!!!)
- Work my way to Juan's house and document any YouTuber's who show up / make our own YouTube video discussing the importance of an "open door policy" - (also see Coworking & Work at Jelly)
- Evening - Dinner with a Barcamp Sydney Organizers
- Spend the night at Juan's house.
SATURDAY - 20
- pack / organize / fret.
- 14h00 depart for airport and subsequently the United States of America. (i can't wait to find out what questions i'll be asked at customs.)
ok, now i'm off to explore melbourne!
Recorded: 7 - 13 Sept 2007
Locations: india - mumbai, delhi, noida, gurgaon
Tags: barcamp, bloggers, interviews, heart capital, civicrm, open source projects, india, delhi, prashant singh, ideafarms, delhi bloggers
Music: April (don't care at all mix) by prashant singh, Abhishek Baxi, amit gupta (the one in nyc and the one in delhi), kurund jalmi, kaustubh srikanth, Kanika Anand, daksh sharma, neha viswanathan, gogesh dobriyal, priyanka sachar, ashish chopra, Kinshuk Sunil, Vineet Agrawal
as i check my global feeds, you should note the following...
- BarCamp Bangkok (google group) is kicking off! (good luck sugree and kenggg)
- kenggg i too miss you!
- tactical tech is hiring for three positions - Director of Operations, Business Development Lead, Communications Coordinator - if i wasn't on this blasted (joking) road trip, i would apply for the business development lead just to roll the dice.
- Open Source Initiative is also hiring! they need a spankin' programs manager to build up OSI's capacity and turn it into a rock star organization.
- thursday, ubuntu gutsy is released and the sydney linux users group has invited me to party with them.
- my friend zadi sent me (via twitter) sent me a "right brain v. left brain" test. not only does the test seem to short circuit my brain, but i'm disturbed by the attention to "detail." maybe my attention to detail is short circuiting the test...
- if you're in australia and if you have an old computer in your closet, consider donating it to IT Share.
- in sad news for all you 'creekers, Brian Jones, class of 96 member, passed away. my thoughts go out to his family. if you're looking for more info on his wake/funeral arrangement get in touch with *kristy* on myspace
lastly, today is day #3 in the northern territory library and it is located in the territory's legislative building. doors open at 10 am. at your disposal, you will find an assortment of global newspapers, a few lonely planets and 10 - 12 computers for public use. if you want to use the computers, you better show up early! within an hour of opening, the schedule for every computer is booked. if you have your own laptop, show up, latch on to their open network and plug-into one of a million and one power outlets. oh did i tell you that the internet is wicked fast?
oh and it's my last day in darwin. now that i've spent a week in "civilization" i'm shocked at the stares and weird looks i get. for two months, i walked down numerous streets not thinking to bits about my hairstyle. now, everywhere i turn i get glances of disgust or comments of hate. it SUCKS to find "civilized" people so self conscious of others. it's a shame there they have nothing else to worry about.
"Let us endeavor to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." -Mark Twain
last night was a blast. my brain is still a little hazy in the number of txt messages sent to friends in the US. luckily, i didn't badger on twitter or any other digital connections for you to follow. while i might be lacking a proper internet connection to upload photos, it hasn't stopped prashanth!
i have to profusely thank everyone who came out. it was a treat to see filmmakers, programmers, and advertising folk all in the same room. i'm just itching to upload all of my photos and feel the flickr love reign in...
tonight is my last night in india.
tonight is also my last night i can stay in india.
it's incredible to think that i landed three weeks ago, fought off delhi/dary belly, resumed consuming dairy, and even ventured into eating bangalore street food. while each step and conversation begs me not to leave, my waistline and bust say it's time to lay down the nan and move on.
while it's hard to have a proper retrospective before departing, i can only sit in bewilderment in the beauty and joy every contact has given me. when i landed, i was at a loss for what would come next. thank you india!
Recoded: 28 july 2007
Locations: amsterdam, netherlands
Tags: documentary, barcamp, devhouse, roomware, amsterdam, andy smith, james burke, geekout, rober gaal, luck of seven
Music: i want you back - the jackson 5
About: imagine you're an artist and you're trying to integrate technology into spacial art. now imagine having to assimilate drivers and code for a million and one system variants. like spiderman, a group a geeks have heard your distress calls and are working on an open-source platform for you to geek out and not freak out. check out the roomwareproject.org for more information!
gwendolyn & joshua kauffman
and roomware devhouse crew
This is a 21st century journey to the intersection of digital and organic communities. Communicating through a digital medium that has no borders, I want to share with you how this new world interacts.
Free culture. After a half-century of broadcast communications dictating the common perspective, people are now reconnecting—one-on-one, peer-to-peer, node-to-node—and proving that traditional copyright and patent restrictions need to be reformed to promote creativity.
Free and open-source software. Software should be a tool, like a shovel. With zero distribution cost, global, boundless open-source communities are competing in a world of co-opetition.
Couchsurfers and bloggers. People—from those who blog their souls to those who reserve their couch for strangers—are using technology to augment real-world relationships and bring modernism back to our post-modern world.
Barcamps, unconferences, meetups, and coworking. The online digi-world uses physical ad-hoc meetings to socialize, share, and advance ideas.
Agents of progressive social change. Inventors and concept peddlers—though not always leaders—change the way we think about the world through technology.
The environment. When we outsource jobs, we outsource pollution, waste, and other negative impacts of consumerism; we need to continue to use technology to educate the public on the true footprint of the products we use and lifestyles we choose.
Happenstance. Receiving a random e-mail, discovering a flickr profile, stumble-surfing across a facebook page, connecting in a café—the world grows smaller with every person we meet, and there is an art to discovering their stories.”
photo by charles hope
i'm packing my bags and heading to SXSW interactive. if you haven't heard of SXSW, it's kinda a Mecca for technologist, programmers, and anyone who's into socializing with notables who like to party. i'm going to promote a few things i've learned, learn a few more things that i don't know, talk incessantly about of on the luck of seven project, hang out with some friends, catch up with old friends at Barcamp Austin, and figure out a thing or two about life.
last year, i learned quite a few things... most of them too personal to tell here (it might make it in my book), but this year... i feel things are different. i'm not sure why, other than i'm 100% more adventuresome and well... i've got a nifty little vlog project! also, if you haven't noticed, for the month of march, i'm vloging every 7 days. on 14 march, my next video will be sent from austria.
YUP! on monday, i'm departing austin and spending a day in the air to attend a salzburg seminar - The New Information Networks: Challenges and Opportunities for Business, Governments, and Media. once on the ground, i'll be moderating a roundtable entitled: Participation, Community, Governance and be on the roundtable Communication, Networks, and Political Impacts. i'm really stoked to be in the same arena as yochai benkler, viktor mayer-schonberger, kenneth cukier, and jo twist.
in the meantime, i'm changing my fundraising tune and for the next three weeks will attempt to rase $2222.00. i'm not sure how i'm going to accomplish this step, but one thing is for sure... if i don't push to rase $2222.00, i'm not going to make my fundraising goals. if you can't donate money, give me a suggestion on were to go or what to see and whom to visit or interview.
this past weekend, i helped host drupalcamp nyc 2. once again, i was in total awe of organic conversations convening to network, discuss and hammer out problems. then this evening, i attended one of the first offical SXSW interactive happy hours, and once again was in total awe. the power of convening is one thing, but the power to network is a whole nother world.
isn't it time that conferences realize that their true value is conversation not broadcast?
on the way out, i had to profusely thank Megan Adams for taking the leap of faith and hosting this party. without fan fair, 60 or so people got together, mingled and chatted about why they would be attending SXSW. as long as i wasn't talking to a recruiter in some snazzy outfit, i was having a blast. thank you SXSW, i'm glad to know that you "get it!"
as for fundraising, we are $164.43 short from reaching $777.77, our first fundraising goal. as promised by my good friend kris swanson, once the chipin widget says $777.77, he will match all previous donations! that's roughly 14 more people!
maybe we'll reach that goal with in the next day or so. tomorrow night, i'll be presenting at the SF vlogger meetup. yeah!?!?! how freaking cool is that!
place your luck on seven and donate today!
thank you weekend donors!
- Sabrina Wells
- Enrique Montalvo
- Michael Meyers <- thank you for your generous donation!
- Andrew Hoppin
yesterday, while my friend assisted in editing my first post, she kept asking me why are people going to care? from her point of view, everyone travels and writes about their journey. why would anyone care about this trip? after thinking about it, she is right i need to detail my rational for topics i will be covering...
the seven topics of freedom
- free culture - originally a book by lawrence lessig. free culture is now a movement to break through the walled gardens of our minds and share information. if you scroll down to the footer, you'll see that this site is under creative commons. what does that mean? just like you have shared information with me, you can take this content and share it. as long as you don't make a profit; you are free to use this work. wikipedia on free culture.
- free and open-source software (F/OSS) - there are many examples F/OSS, firefox, open office, wordpress, and drupal, just to name a few. (more on wikipedia) sadly there are only a handful of profiles and conversations of their products outside of their respective communities. as we will see, the agents of open-source software are diverse, eclectic, and highly lovable.
- couchsurfers and bloggers - imagine opening up your house and letting a complete stranger sleep on your couch? believe it or not, there is a social network dedicated to couchsurfing. as an avid supporter of couchsurfing and people who share their life online, i am looking forward to the network of connections and a wealth of stories.
- agents of progressive social change - if global agents of change are as unusual as my friends, their stories will be pure insanity. here's to the crazy ones!
- barcamp & coworking - are two mimes espouse physical conversations organized through the internet. barcamp is a grassroots technology unconference where attendants are presenters and presenters are attendants. ironically, there is a workplace equivalent, coworking. coworking is a grassroots organized office with café culture. both mimes have demonstrated unbelievable levels of free thinking.
- happenstance - happenstance is the art of random interaction. i bet you are thinking it is not possible to focus on happenstance. if you do not believe it, i will free your mind.
- our environment - nature's beauty is quickly being consumed. i will spotlight locations and the people who are protecting them. my focus will be on the destruction we don't see on the evening news.
as you can see this project is about many things. many of these things i can no tolerate languishing on the back burner. if life is a fickle flame, i must let it burn brightly. last year at this time, i was stuck in a serious rutt. frequently, on my journeys, i quoted former fellow gemini henry kissinger, "there comes a time in every rightly constructed boy's life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure."
for the past few months, i've been hung up on the fact we are losing every element of our freedom. the world i knew as a child is not the same; the world i knew ten years a go is not the same. as the years move on and information becomes entertainment, we are enveloping ourselves in a world devoid of freedom. from nature and property, to rights and intellectual property, i see our lives slipping into an abyss devoid of alternatives.