Picture it: A roomful of people. MacBooks, laptops, netbooks, BlackBerries, iPhones and, uh, pencils flying. Much laughter. The last image projected: Obama is Web 2.0, Harper is Web 1.0.
That was a session at PodCamp Toronto, at Ryerson University in Toronto, from Saturday afternoon. It was an exploration of how government has failed to adapt to the changing Internet, and what has to be done to take advantage of social media within the bureaucracy. I loved it. I learned a lot. Also, the guy next to me ran out of battery power on his laptop, so he plugged into the floor jack, which was under a panel, which was under my chair, and I kicked it, and he couldn’t Twitter for almost four seconds.
PodCamp was fun. I didn’t do the pub crawls and bar meetups, which I suspect is a big part of the appeal for a lot of these folks. But I learned some things, and met some people, and that was cool. As much as I would like to write a long and detailed summary, I think I’ll just leave it at that. To be honest, most of what I heard, I already knew. But I’ve spent 20 years in newspapers, and the information isn’t all that different.
Here’s something, though: A look at the neato stuff Jakob and Mandi gave me. They’re my web friends. They host Nerd Hurdles, which you should go listen to right away, because it’s the best. Jakob is also a multimedia superhero (check out my earlier review of his latest album), so this pile of swag made my day.
What you see here are books and CDs representing a scary excellence. Stained Glass and Shadows Cast By Darkness are stories in small-book form, powerful stuff. The Light May Glitter, though, is my favourite. Jakob ran instruction manuals through Babelfish, from English to Chinese and then back to English, to create the best poetry I’ve read in the 21st century. I can say that because I don’t read poetry.
Seriously, it’s quite mad and very funny.
The music represents a sample of his various guitar-holding personas. There’s a Hawkwindy flamingly telepathic mindtrip called Heavy Moon, two more really cool Urbane Decay EPs, two more Babel discs and what appears to be a non-Christmas Christmas album from Tranzmit. I haven’t listened to that last one yet, because I had to watch Vicki Cristina Barcelona (which is better than I expected), but everything else makes me just insanely jealous of this guy’s musical skill. No, after a moment, I realized I’m just really insanely glad I know him. I particularly like the Urbane Decay stuff, which is Smithy and Curish without being too whiny. Does that makes sense? It should.
My favourite thing of all, though, is Mandi’s Lost button. It’s made from a Bohemian beer cap and features the cast of Lost. You can see it at the top of this post. Gaze upon it. Understand it. If I gained nothing from PodCamp, I at least have this piece of magic.