Notcon in retrospect

08 June 2004

Notcon was, in retrospect, very good. Just-organised-enough, very friendly (even though I appeared to be lacking courage to talk to people – really, it was because I felt stupid) and I found a good deal to ruminate on. Danny O’Brien’s Lifehacks talk was very interesting, even if I’d read the notes from ETCON already – a great speaker and some good topics. James Larsson’s Prawn Sandwich Clock was inspired, and the whole Hardware panel was a wonderful cross-section of geekdom: tinkerers, bodgers, and compscis-turned good. The cameraphone tricknology was really great – nicely implemented and all.

TheyWorkForYou has been praised and applauded all over the web, so it’ll only get a brief mention here, but it deserves more. I’m definitely going to be keeping tabs on it – who knows, might get me being more proactive about politics after all. A mightly impressive project, congrats to all involved.

Other stuff I enjoyed? A better-than-I-expected discussion about blogging, with all expected DaveGreenisms, and a talk about mashups that turned into an excellent copyright discussion. The social software talk was a real disappointment – it appeared to have been jumped by people wanting to talk and bending the rules to fit their project. A shame; hopefully there’ll be a subsequent event to catch up on that.

I guess the thing I really enjoyed was the backchannel. I had a fairly good SubEthaEdit document for the final politics chat (will upload soon), and enjoyed the IRC channel all day – often irrelevant, but some useful insight, most often into what was going on in the other room. I was, if you’re interested, twra2 – my old university alias.

In the end, the whole thing made me aware of the gaps in my knowledge and skills. The former, I can probably append; but I know there’ll be some things I’ll never do. I’m a content person, a design person, an information person. I am hopefully going to learn some PHP/database stuff, and maybe also some scripting, but don’t hold your breath. I’m still learning how to design – both what buttons to push, and what colour to make said buttons. A lot of the time, what I really want is to be artistically creative: the novel is progressing now, so is some music. Sometimes, I feel that I could also get the same satisfaction digitally. Anyhow; this is the path I have chosen, and I like it. I will learn a scripting language when the novel is done.