Photocamp

Post ImageThe next session I am attending is Kris Krug’s first Photocamp (I think there are related sessions), kind of a mini Moosecamp just for photography. Apparently northernvoice is among the most popular tags in Flickr for the week. This is an hour long session, followed by a photo walk to Stanley Park later tonight, so it should be interesting.

  • The number one piece of advice Kris has is to take lots and lots of photos.
  • Derek K. Miller says that being familiar with film cameras teaches you a lot about how to use your digital camera.
  • Almost expired film will give you some interesting color compositions! People seem to really like film, though as Kris notes, it is very expensive.
  • Derek says film is not going to go away, but it will be incredibly niche. No one in their right mind is going to buy a film camera. Kris notes its harder and harder to find places to get film developed now, even at places that sell film!
  • Roland suggests using ShoZu for sharing pictures from your cameraphone.
  • Someone from Flickr is saying that you should have a camera with an adapter ring so you can attach polarizers and the like.
  • Learn all the buttons on your camera! On a DSLR, there is usually a button that lets you preview depth of field changes and stuff.
  • Scoble says for portraits, a good lens is around 100mm. Kris says a 50mm f1.8 Canon plastic lens is probably the best for your money.
  • The shot will be 30% sharper at the middle of the aperature than completely wide or completely narrow. Good tip from Scoble!
  • A typical sensor in a digital camera is 2/3rds the side of a professional digital camera sensor, which effectively makes a 100mm lens a 160mm lens. Someone else notes that the smaller sensor isn’t just a digital thing, it has been around in film too.
  • The camera body is just the conduit for the lens – Kris spends most of his money on the lens instead of the camera. Don’t buy an EF-S lens, definitely go for EF, according to Kris. The good stuff happens in the glass!
  • Another person suggests that there’s nothing wrong with EF-S. A key factor is budget, as there are lots of different things that make a photo great or not.
  • RAW format is lossless, and applies white balance and effects AFTER the fact, so they need to be post-processed. They are also huge files. RAW really means coming right off the CCD sensor, as raw as possible.
  • Kris says to check out VanDigiCam.com.
  • Another tip is that you can rent expensive camera gear!
  • Will Pate’s tip is to pick one thing, and learn all about it. Pick something like “framing” and stick to it. Isolate the variables!
  • Tip: play around with the rule of thirds! Break the shot into a tic-tac-toe grid and don’t always put the subject in the centre.
  • Tip: play with bracketing! That is when you take one shot, then a few more shots at over and under exposure so you can pick the one that works best. Find the bracket mode on your camera and play with it!
  • Tip: consume photography! Look at photos that you like. Take photo walks and you’ll learn about about lighting and stuff, especially if you can go with a professional!
  • Tip: change your perspective! Don’t always shoot at eye level.

I realize that I am very much a point and shoot kind of photographer. I really should read up on all of the sorts of camera settings I can change.

Notes on Community

Post ImageBad news – something is wrong with Megan’s laptop. We took a quick look, and its either corrupt system files or some sort of hard drive failure. Too lazy to switch rooms, so we’re sticking around for the session in this room, which is all about community. So far it seems much more discussion oriented than presenter oriented. Here are some notes:

  • Scoble says to him, community is just linking, and it has paid off in spades.
  • Someone else says making connections is what’s important. Conversations between people is what networking is all about.
  • Your blog: writing yourself into existence – writing about things you’re interested in. What are the conversational topics of interest?
  • Debbie, who is writing an undergraduate thesis on blogging communities, has found that despite the fact that the Internet can cross boundaries of time, space, etc. people end up building networks with people in their same geographic regions.
  • Someone notes that the community becomes much larger through RSS.
  • Scoble agrees with another fellow that the extended community is what is most important and valuable. I guess there’s physical networks in some places more naturally than others. Another lady says that someone has to take the initiative.
  • The process of invitation: how is it different for blogging? Someone notes you can essentially invite yourself, which is different than many other communities.
  • Someone suggests that it’s important to know something about the blogger in realspace (or meatspace).
  • If you don’t blog, you can’t really relate to the feelings and networks that can be created in virtual and then real space.
  • Someone says that to him, community is when the people involved make an effort to know the other members – it’s more than just linking together.
  • Kevin Marks suggests that access is what makes community important; access to experts, thought leaders, etc.
  • Lloyd from Flock wonders how we make the conversation accessible? Maybe its too hard to be part of a community?
  • Comments are an important part of community it seems, very quick almost impromptu conversations.

This has been a very cool session, I like the discussion way of talking about a topic.

Notes on Podcasting & Video Blogging

Post ImageLunch is a meal I generally skip, so I got to spend some time talking to Robert Sanzalone during the break. He’s presenting a session on podcasting and video blogging – here are some notes:

  • Robert says podcasting kind of came from Apple…I disagree, but I see where he’s going with it. Apple has the iPod and rolled in support to iTunes, so they give the impression of being the first.
  • Blogger is a great tool to get people blogging – all you have to do is link an MP3 file. I suppose in the most simple terms, sure, but there’s more to that. You need the enclosure tag.
  • Robert suggests using Audacity for recording and editing, some other audience members suggest using GarageBand if you’re on a Mac.
  • Sounds like Robert likes video – he has used MovieMaker and says it works quite well. He suggests that if you have a digital camera with video capabilities, you can produce videos. I suppose…but the quality there is not so good.
  • Who is your audience? Robert says that’s a problem with the “tech” community, they don’t always consider the wider audience.
  • A video tool/service he likes is vimeo.
  • Another service he likes is YouTube, because it transcodes the video for you. In a way I suppose, but it’s not like you can download the video. A service that does have downloading is Revver – looks like they transcode everything to MOV format.
  • Robert says a service that does some more of the pieces is blip.tv. You can connect it with Flickr too. It still stays in the format you upload it in though.
  • The service that does the best job, according to Robert, is Dailymotion.
  • If Flickr does video, none of the other services will matter – is the general feeling it seems.

Lots to think about with video, I still don’t think we’re ready for it.

Notes on Structured Content

Post ImageTime for another session – Dickson and Megan have gone to a different one this time. Oh, and I notice Scoble’s tablet is actually a newer model than mine (I think…larger screen too). Here are some notes on Bryan Rieger’s session on structured content (this is essentially a Semantic Web concept):

  • Very interesting use of lego to represent how structured blogging produces blocks. Say a block for the title, one for the text, one for tags (which are already a microformat), etc.
  • Microformats: designed for humans first, machines second. Keep it as simple as possible. Solve a specific problem.
  • Developers: support both commas and spaces!
  • Typically a structured blog post looks the same as any other post, which is good for users.
  • Why bother? Some reasons: search, commerce, and many other things we haven’t begun to think of yet…
  • Current structured content types: licenses, tags, reviews, lists, calendars, events, media, people, organizations, etc.
  • Some places to check out are http://microformats.org and http://structuredblogging.com.
  • The tools have to support these formats, and for the user, entering these things has to be quick and easy!
  • We’re creating this content for humans, so why the effort in creating something for machines? Well, one person says it makes presentation much simpler, across various machines and interfaces.
  • Boris Mann suggests this is all about accessibility, and again, the tools have to support it.
  • Bryan says a larger problem than tools support, is why would people do this? We need to get people to want to do this!
  • Are we extending blogging or RSS? Bryan says neither.
  • Someone mentioned that there’s a project to create a structured version of Atom, so you wouldn’t need an RSS feed, as it would essentially be built in. I assume you just throw a stylsheet in front of the Atom document for browser rendering.
  • Interesting discussion about how HTML has already gotten us so far, perhaps the solution to structured content is simple…
  • Scoble thinks the “way in” for structured content is with maps, allowing a blogger to put a review on a map at a specific address.

Finally at Moose Camp – notes on Journalism

Post ImageSo we slept in a little this morning, and we took our time. Compared to past trips, this one has been relatively relaxing thus far! We finally made it to UBC’s downtown campus (entirely underground in case you didn’t know) and got our lanyards. Kind of neat idea – in addition to your name and web address on the nametag, there are four lines for “tags”.

We’re in Mark Hamilton’s session called We’re all journalists now. Right next to us? Robert Scoble with the same tablet pc as I am typing this on. Here are some notes on the session:

  • Some people in the room seem to think that there is great power in having tools that make publishing very easy and always on, while others thing that creates a larger problem of filtering and managing new information.
  • Scoble makes the point that he can write about a product and a week later 3000 people have signed up for that new product, and that this method of distribution did not exist ten years ago. Others disagree, saying the scheme has always been here, we’re just confused with “blogging” being new.
  • Someone mentions the long tail – noting there are three or four bloggers for every topic, and this has a huge impact on commerce.
  • Mark says the democratization of media is very confusing…there are so many different perspectives. He also notes that he has 3.7 days of podcasts on his iPod, and that the creators of those podcasts are not going to stop and wait for him to catch up, they are going to continue producing content.
  • Mark touches on the fear of not being connected – you feel like you’ve missed something if you don’t keep up, or if you forget your camera, etc. Some conclusions he’s had: in terms of mass media, we have never been as well served as we are now, but it still has a whole bunch of flaws; there are so many different and new types of journalism like video blogs and sites like NowPublic; journalists are starting to realize that collectively, the audience is smarter!
  • Journalism right now is messy, just like tagging. Things are changing. Maybe it’s going to be messy forever?
  • Chris Pirillo is wondering whether “amateurs” should be called journalists? What about journalists who go through formal training and that sort of thing? Mark notes that strictly speaking, there is no credential for a journalist, anyone can walk into a newspaper and become a journalist. Chris says, “if I can apply a bandaid, does that make me a doctor?” People are fighting him on this one, but I tend to agree…just because you’re a blogger doesn’t mean you’re a journalist.

Thank goodness for wireless 🙂

Off to Northern Voice!

Post ImageWe leave tonite for Vancouver where we’ll spend tomorrow at Moose Camp and Saturday at Northern Voice. Megan’s flight is a little earlier than mine and Dickson’s but that’s okay. I know I have mentioned this already, but I’m really looking forward to the conference – last year was great, so I have high expectations for this one too. I probably won’t be bringing all the audio equipment like I did last year, but that’s okay, because Podcast Spot isn’t ready yet anyway!

The next few days will be very much related to the conference in terms of posting, so be prepared! Happy Birthday to Andrea and everyone else that I will miss this weekend, hope the party is lots of fun and rated G! In case you’re wondering, we get back into Edmonton late on Sunday evening.

Read: Northern Voice

Registered for Northern Voice 2006

Post ImageI finally got around to registering for Nothern Voice 2006, taking place in Vancouver on February 10th and 11th. The second day is a “regular” conference day with scheduled sessions and speakers while the first day is called Moose Camp, a self-organized conference (attendees plan the day). I am really looking forward to the conference for two main reasons – last year was great, and the list of attendees already looks amazing. Moose Camp should be pretty interesting too, and am I hoping to take part in some fashion.

Megan and I are returning attendees, and this year Dickson is joining us too. The three of us will be in Vancouver from the 9th until the 12th. We don’t really have any solid plans for evenings or the 12th, so if you want to get together let us know! Worst case we’ll do “the tourist thing” on Sunday like we did last year.

See you there!

Read: Northern Voice

Thoughts on the Neoliberal Globalism Conference

Post ImageNow that the Globalism Conference is over and I’ve had a day or so to digest what I took in, I came up with some thoughts and observations. Megan also posted some post-conference thoughts. Here are mine, in no particular order:

  • I wonder how we get young people interested and involved in this type of content. Most people my age don’t even know what NAFTA really is, much less can they form an opinion on whether it is good or bad for Canada.
  • At a conference talking about challenges to American power, it was quite interesting that there were no sessions on China, India, or other up and coming countries. The lack of anything on China surprised me most of all. They are going to be the next superpower, and they are almost completely opposite of the United States. Surely there’s valuable information to be learned from examining the country.
  • I think I have altered my opinion on Alberta’s oil and gas industry. While I remain opposed to sharing everything with the other provinces and getting basically nothing in return, I understand the need for a national energy policy. As long as Alberta is given a very important position in such a policy’s creation and execution, I think it would be wise to pursue.
  • I think education and awareness is the biggest problem we face. Yes there were thousands of people protesting Iraq in front of the Whitehouse the other day, but how many of them have a good understanding of the causes and desires and ideals that resulted in the Iraq war? There is more to the story than just bringing the soldiers home.

I probably took more notes at this conference than I did at school all last week. I figure it’s the kind of thing that you have to take advantage of while you still can. It’s just too bad more people my age didn’t attend, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised – most of them don’t vote either.

Read: Globalism Conference

Alternatives to Integration

Post ImageThe final session of the day was titled Alternatives to Integration with Bush’s America, and included Lori Wallach, David Schneiderman, and Gordon Laxer as panelists. Mr. Laxer spoke last, being the man behind the Globalism Project, and this talk was more a wrap up of the last five years of work than an alternative to Bush’s America. Ms. Wallach, from the United States, spoke first, but definitely stole the show. She was captivating, and had an excellent message to share. I found myself doing far more listening in this final session than writing, so my notes are not nearly as extensive as for other sessions:

  • The bottom line: it’s a power issue.
  • We need to get past the “inevitability” issue. There are alternatives – the status quo is not inevitable as many assume!
  • He or she who writes the rules, rules.
  • In order to effect change, a mass of people is usually required – something revolutionary. And that mass of people needs to first rally around a national issue, so that there is political accountability when taking on an international issue.
  • TATA: There Are Thousands of Alternatives!
  • Neoliberal Globalism is a forcefield.

Read: Globalism Conference

Energy and Security

Post ImageThere were concurrent sessions right after lunch today, and I chose to attend the one entitled Energy and Security. Of all the sessions I attended, this one had the most discussion and was probably the most engaging from start to finish. All three topics presented by the panelists were tightly integrated and related, so the following notes are from all three. Marjorie Cohen talked about Public Electricity in Canada, Hugh McCullum talked about the End of the Oil Boom, and Duncan Cameron talked about The Chamber of Commerce and Energy Security.

  • The main theme of the session was that Canada does not have a national energy strategy or policy of any kind, and that in order to move forward in a sustainable fashion, we need to come up with one.
  • Resource nationalism is common around the world, but not in Canada.
  • There is no Canadian counterpart to FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) in the US.
  • The idea for Electricity Policy is to create Regional Transmission Organizations, so that privatization can occur. Canada has voluntarily gone with this plan, though some utilities in the US have opposed the idea.
  • Global demand for oil has for the first time eclipsed global supply – we are entering the last few decades of the oil era.
  • The oil that is left will be the oil which is hardest to extract, and which has the greatest impact on the environment.
  • More than half of all Canadians heat their homes using natural gas.
  • There was lots of discussion about Alberta’s oilsands. It was said that oil is a national security issue for the US, and Canada and it’s oilsands are the most secure source of oil.
  • American investment controls at least 40% of Alberta’s oil.
  • NAFTA is an international treaty as far as Canada is concerned, and so it supercedes domestic law. This is not the case in the United States.
  • A scheme for nationalization of Alberta’s oil was proposed: 1/3 ownership to the federal government, 1/3 to the other provinces, and 1/3 to Alberta (actually 34%, so they have a veto).
  • The main political question of the next five to ten years: how do we as Canadians share our resources?

Read: Globalism Conference