I probably shouldn’t admit this in public, but I didn’t make it to the first set of talks this morning. I had a hard time getting started today, so I had to choose between a morning run and the early talks. The run won, largely because the Global Community track didn’t have a session in the first slot.
But I did get to the conference early enough to have some good discussions with people while catching up on my e-mail (wireless networking is a wonderful facility to have here — I’m glad, though, that I’m running a firewall and antivirus software). I spent a few minutes in the Cybercafe (misnamed — you’re not allowed to bring food or drink in), and couldn’t resist looking at what was on people’s screens. Probably the most common type of site was a news site…what was interesting, though, was to see that most of those sites were not in English. We really do have a global community here at the conference.
The fourth Global Community session was somewhat uneven, and plagued by technical problems.
Charles McCathieNeville (the only person I know with a tri-capitalized last name) gave what I think was a good talk on The Role of Community in Technical Development. I say “I think”, because I spent much of it trying to get the sound in the adjoining room turned down so that we could hear Charles — neither the hotel controls nor the mixer I found on the floor worked. Eventually, a tech person showed up and fixed the problem, but by then, I’d missed most of Charles’ talk.
Robert Scoble talked about weblogs; I would have blogged his talk as it happened, but the server handling my weblog was down at the time. He did a bit of demonstrating, but if I weren’t already involved in weblogging, I’m not sure I would have gotten a strong message from the talk. But since I am, I felt free to disagree with one of his claims of weblogging’s strengths — that Google now aggressively crawls and indexes blogs, and gives them extra weight in the results. I’m not sure that’s entirely good — as an example, whenever I look at my refer logs, I see hits for the phrase “things to do in Paris”. And when I Googled that phrase today, I found that my weblog entry from 25 March 2001 is very near the top of the list of results (it’s the seventh item right now, but that’ll change over time — and as a result of typing this entry, I’m likely to have another top hit). Much as I enjoyed my trip to Paris last year, I am far from an authority on things to do there! My observation led to some lively discussion.
I had to run out during the Sophie Lissonet’s talk on using metadata to support building an educational community, so I have no comments on it.
Lunch today was, again, make-your-own sandwiches, so a colleague and I decided to test the free market and wound up at Duke’s Canoe Club, two hotels Diamond Head from here, where I had an excellent (if slightly overcooked) piece of ahi tuna, Duke’s style. That makes two meals at Duke’s this trip, which is probably enough, though I won’t really complain if someone suggests it again tomorrow.
Having a full lunch made the afternoon plenary session a bit more challenging than it might otherwise have been. Ian Foster gave an introduction to the Grid, and Alfred Spector gave a talk about the need for, and a possible approach to, creating an Architecture for Knowledge Middleware.
And now I’m back in the Cybercafe, feeding my computer electrons and bits. In a moment or two, I’ll declare victory and take the bus over to the Bishop Museum for the conference banquet and luau; fortunately, they’re not just having kalua pig and poi (though I guess poi would qualify as a vegan alternative)!