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24th 27 Dinner (Joburg) Feedback

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I arrived early, a small miracle considering the traffic in Joburg, and my temporally incongruous tendencies. (”I’m not late Ma, I’m just temporally incongruous!”)

Was a bit intimidated at first, but after I picked a table to sit down at, it turned out to be really interesting. (Translation: I managed to ambush people with my theories, and they actually understood them!) There was also a surprising number of femgeeks (Girl geeks? Lady nerds?) present.

Eve Dmochowska of Of Relevance took the brunt of the attack. I told her about my concept of decentralizing microblogging and social networking sites into something, (I might have irresponsibly mentioned the word “exocortex”) that works more like self-hosted blogs on the publishing side, and a multi functional aggregator on the reading side. It seems to me like the best way to keep control and to keep your digital identity unfragmented.

She told me about FriendFeed. It’s still centralized, but it aggregates dozens of blogging and social networking sites, and allows conversation about blog posts… away from the blogs of origin. It’s a walled garden, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Craig Nicholson made the evening interesting by dazzling and blinding unsuspecting diners with his new camera. It had purity of function - No video recording, just 17 megapixels of raw photographic power and an exceedingly powerful flash. Apparently we’ve been living in parallel. We go to different sections of the same places and events. I go to AnimeWorx for Anime, he goes there for console games. I go to rAge for LAN gaming and Anime, he goes there to run the Xbox stand. I’m a Linux fanboy, he’s a Microsoft drone. Actually, that’s not completely accurate. He’s a .NET community evangelist. Whether that’s better or worse is left up to the reader to decide.

Heidi Schneigansz of (the under construction and moving to new hosting site) snowgoose.co.za is a new New Media person. She takes personal branding very seriously - enough to have gotten a tattoo. That shows dedication, but what do you expect from someone who has a family history of personal brand building? She also made the point that she’s interested the entire “online geeky space”, rather than just the blogosphere subset.

Rozz Atanassova works in the SMS and mobile email marketing industry, and likes Trigun and bunny rabbits. I should know more about her, but there just wasn’t enough time to engage everybody in conversation.

As for the speakers, we had Ramon Thomas, who talked about Reducing Technology Stress In A Wireless World. His talk wasn’t bad, but he was preaching to the wrong crowd. By all measures, the restaurant was filled to the brim with neophilliac technocentric ubergeeks and ultranerds. These people want to be connected, and already know all about internet and email etiquette.

Jason Hobbs had a fascinating presentation. His communal computing and shared spaces of use study challenges just about every preconception that I had of how Internet Cafes are being used by people in Africa. There are areas where the density of Internet Cafes is as high as 25 within a one block radius, and that rather than for leisure, these cafes are used for survivalism (Jason’s term) and that many poor users are not at all technologically unsophisticated. It blew my mind.

There was also somebody from Symantec to tell us about emerging online threats, but by that time the free wine from Stormhoek was flowing freely, and I wasn’t paying much attention anymore.

The event was a smashing success, and I’m definitely attending the next one.

UPDATE (29 May): Of course a great deal of thanks to the incomparable Simone Puterman, who is the main reason I was intimidated only at first. As a familiar face from SFSA, she not only made me feel welcome, but also introduced me to a couple of people until I was brave (Dutch courage!) enough to introduce myself.

Also, the entire event was Mike Stopforth’s fault, and if I didn’t mention it the first time, it was only because I thought that everybody already knew it.

Any inaccuracies, misinformations and outright mistakes are entirely my own fault, and although I will legitimately imply that they are perfectly vigorous and due to creative license at first, I may eventually correct them if you let me know.

6 Comments

  1. Ramon Thomas wrote:

    Hey Gustav thanks for the feedback. I mostly speak to non-geek audiences about technology. So your comments are valid. If you want something more sophisticated, I have written one article called, Web 3.0 - Why the future doesn’t need us, which you may enjoy.

    Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 17:24 | Permalink
  2. Gustav Bertram wrote:

    For those interested, the article mentioned in the comment above is available here.

    Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 09:52 | Permalink
  3. Mike wrote:

    Awesome, awesome write-up Gustav. Super to meet you and to have you part of the event, I’m thrilled you enjoyed it. Looking forward to seeing you at the next one!

    Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 10:52 | Permalink
  4. Awww, I don’t even get a mention and I was your launching point to introducing you to various people :P

    Anyway, hope to see you soon sometime at a http://www.sfsa.org.za social (like our Indiana Jones movie outing this Sunday at Hyde Park, 17:15 show)!

    Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 11:10 | Permalink
  5. Gustav Bertram wrote:

    Terribly sorry Simone!

    I subconsciously assumed that everybody knew you (and Mike) already, and that you needed no introduction. It’s fixed now.

    I won’t be able to make it to the SFSA Movie event - I’m in Pretoria this weekend in preparation for a meeting at UNISA. I’m telling them all about open content learning materials.

    Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 12:49 | Permalink
  6. Eve Dmochowska wrote:

    I agree with Mike: it’s a great write up.

    Here are two links you might be intersted in as a continuation of our discussion:
    http://avc.blogs.com/a_vc/2008/05/web-discussions.html
    and a response to that:
    http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/stoweboyd/wpeL/~3/300466926/a-vc-web-discus.html

    Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 14:17 | Permalink

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