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From #13ntc: Stranded…

From #13ntc: Stranded… published on 3 Comments on From #13ntc: Stranded…

It was a lovely conference, even from afar (thanks, Maddie Grant and team, for a great online stream!).

A major storm slammed the Midwest, including my wife’s flight home – which was supposed to arrive around dinner, giving us a few hours together before my red-eye to Toronto and then Minneapolis. Then Alex’s flight home was delayed…and delayed… annnnnnd… cancelled. She got herself on another flight.

Meanwhile, I learned at 8:30 pm that my flight the next morning from Toronto to Minneapolis was also scrubbed. Unable to get through to Air Canada by phone (“Owing to greater than normal call volumes,” normally the bullshit line to end all bullshit lines, was probably true that night), I headed to the airport on spec. Thankfully, the Air Canada ticket agent cheerfully found me another flight – later in the afternoon, but it meant that I finally made it to the Nonprofit Technology Conference, bleary-eyed (I had plenty of company on that score) but intact.

Ticket agents, by the way, put up with a lot of crap for circumstances completely beyond their control. Be nice to them.

Off to the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference!

Off to the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference! published on 1 Comment on Off to the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference!

There’s nothing like getting up while dawn is still having that weird dream where it’s back in high school and completely naked during a surprise math test… and stumbling bleary-eyed from shower into clothing up stairs out the door into taxi and into an airport…

…only to realize the first leg of your flight is domestic, and you could have slept for another hour.

Ah, well. What’s an hour’s sleep when NTC 2011 lies ahead?

At a conference, “fresh” is relative

At a conference, “fresh” is relative published on No Comments on At a conference, “fresh” is relative

Originally published on BlogWorld

The one thing that cheers me up about the fact that there’s only a little more than an hour left in BlogWorld is this: the prospect of seeing sunlight again. Hearing the chirping of birds, the wind whispering on my cheek, the cursing of a driver who just got cut off on the Strip. Aaah.

That said, if I had to be indoors for three days, this was a pretty dang swanky place to do it in.


Swag! published on No Comments on Swag!

Originally published on BlogWorld

I have a suitcase full of yo-yos, inflatable airplanes, T-shirts, USB drives and much more to take home with me tomorrow. What was your favourite piece of conference swag?

Tim O’Reilly: O’Reilly Radar

Tim O’Reilly: O’Reilly Radar published on 2 Comments on Tim O’Reilly: O’Reilly Radar

OSCON has amazingly short keynote speeches. This one, by Tim O’Reilly, is just under 12 minutes long.

And yet he managed to inspire me far more than most 20-minute, half-hour or (god help us all) hour-long keynotes I’ve heard. Starting with a quotation from Harlan Ellison about diverging images of Christ in Rio, he challenged participants to use open-source not just to sell to the enterprise, but to build a better world. The challenges we face together, he argued, need the collaborative skills of the open-source community and the software they’re creating. (As you can imagine, that message resonated with me.)

That parallels the evolution of O’Reilly Media, which has changed from being a book publisher and event convenor to an organization with a strong focus on applying technology in ways that “help good futures to happen”.

His presentation ranged from food carts in Portland to the relief effort in Haiti. If you like the cartoon, you’ll love the movie:

Flocking together

Flocking together published on No Comments on Flocking together

One of the things I’m digging* about OSCON is the community of open-source types itself, and how self-organization seems to happen just naturally. So of course birds-of-a-feather sessions abound.

Our session went very nicely, and now that it’s over, I get to actually exhale and enjoy the conference.

* N.B. – I am not old enough to use the word “digging” without feeling all ironical about it. Also, in not-unrelated news, anyone who calls me a “zoomer” is asking for trouble.