Why am I going to Bar Camp?

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Well, it’s a great way to learn. We live in a computer driven world.  I use a computer and the Internet in almost every aspect of my life.  I want to know more.

I’m the kind of person who remembers faces much more easily than names.  I can tell you how to get somewhere, but chances are I can’t tell you the name of the street, unless I’ve made a conscious effort to look for, and at street names when I’m out and about. A lot of the lingo around modern technology is made up of letters and numbers that is utterly meaningless to me.  I want to get a fix on it.  So by going to these kind of events I can start to do that.

I also lived abroad, outside my own language from 2002-2010, and so I missed out on a lot of social banter about new technology.  I’m way behind. (But I’ve caught up with, and passed my OS, web browser, lap top and mobile phone! I need to update and upgrade!)

At one of the first of these kind of events I went to – a Content Strategy MeetUp – one of the first people I spoke with was Gavin Wye (who is organizing the UX Camp I’m going to in October).  He told me he designs architecture. I must have looked pretty blank so he followed it up with: “Do you know what that is?”   “No, but I know you don’t mean buildings.” (or words to what effect.) He came back with: “I design the boxes that everything goes in.”


It took about a day or two for me to figure out what he was talking about.  At the next Content Strategy MeetUp he was the speaker and showed us the sketches he makes when he’s designing a website.  Then I really started to get it.  He also talked a bit about some of his frustrations with copy writers who don’t understand the design and mess up the flow of his pretty pages.   He told us about a writer who deleted some micro text that was key to the flow of the website – something like “now check your email”. I was kinda stunned that a copy writer hired to write web content could be so dumb, because even I know enough not delete something like that.  And besides, if someone hired me to write web content (I wish they would) and gave me pages with text already coded, I wouldn’t delete ANYTHING without first asking if it needed to be there, and why.

So that’s why I’m going to Bar Camp.  I want to see more drawings and more code, and see different types of code, and different types of drawings.  I want to see how this stuff works and more about what it does, and can do, how to use it and what for! Any of it, some of it, all of it! Call it a crash course in digital technology, courtesy Brighton’s Digital Festival, and most of it free!

Yesterday I sat in the Hacks and Hackers meet up and heard about apps for reading the Guardian on your phone, and apps for mapping disasters, riots, bombing and things as mundane as the location of dog turds and pot holes on streets (CrowdMap).  They talked a lot about open data, and how journalists might use open data and mapping.

Last Wednesday I went to the first in Fabrica’s Brave New World series and heard Anthony Mayfield, author of Me and My Web Shadow, deliver a talk on how artists can create and manage an online reputation.

The color editor being used to adjust the
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Next Friday I’m going to Drupal Discovery Day because I keep meeting people who use it, and met a bunch of people at a Farm meet up who were talking about Drupal like it’s the next best thing; and people were talking about why they like it better than WordPress (sorry!); and WordPress fans were saying they’d tried Drupal and couldn’t get their minds round the boxes – so I thought I’d go and check out Drupal and see if I can get my mind round the boxes.

And all next week I’m also going to open studios….sometimes two a day. And the week after, a Word Press conference! (And around that, I’m installing BioDiversiTree at OOTO and doing a Sounding the Seeds workshop there!)

I’ve also seen and experienced digital art that makes my efforts look and sound like something from kindergarten.   I wrote about A Machine to See With but I haven’t yet written about SemiConductor’s Solar Systems which is currently installed at Phoenix Gallery and really is quite humbling to see.

Here’s a film SemiConductor screened at their artists’ talk last night – and made during a six month residency at Nassau Space Lab. No, it’s not real – they placed the images of the magnetic fields in the lab footage – but apparently due to the film’s YouTube presence,  scientists have rung up scientists at Nassau and said: I didn’t know you guys were doing this! 

Next Post: What’s this thing Wake Up Your CaI?

4 thoughts on “Why am I going to Bar Camp?

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  1. I wish I could get that Vimeo to embed – haven’t had that problem before. They changed their embed code to work with mobiles…I used the old code. Someone tell me please, what’s missing from the code I pasted?

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