Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{February 24, 2008}   Random Thoughts NV08

Notes to Self:

In other news, I decided that both of my cool boots should get the chance to enjoy the NV glory.  As you know, I wore the boots I bought on Christmas Eve on Day #1. Which means that the eBay boots made they blogging conference debut on Day#2…. Phillip kindly took a pic for me, I’ll share that with all y’all once it has been posted.

Hmmm.. just noticed that I had typed this up during the session yesterday, but never got around to posting it. Anyhoo, here’s my notes:

Brian‘s section:

  • I don’t have to take notes. Just go here to see all the cool stuff.
  • Wondering what the infinity symbol throughout represents. Brian, can you shed some light on that?
  • Some good points about using WebCT (and other closed course management sites) – students can’t preview a course to see if they want to take it; students can’t go back to the material (in a course that they paid a lot of money to take) after the course is over; students don’t even have access to their own work in the WebCT site after the course is over.

Next dude’sJim Groom‘s 1 section:

  • have all the students writing their own blog, then make one blog that is an aggregate of the feeds of all the students. That way each student can blog wherever they like. Very cool idea.
  • Talking about how easy it is to use WordPress to make a site for students to publish in (rather than just a reverse-chronological-diary type blog): “This is something even a professor can do.” It’s funny ‘cuz it’s true.

1Didn’t catch his name. I suck.Thanks, Brian, for filling me in on the names!

Alan Levine just showed us what Cinderella would be like in PowerPoint. That is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

{February 23, 2008}   Northern Voice – Day #2

Today started with a keynote address by Matt Mullenweg from WordPress1. Unfortunately, while I staked out a good seat for the talk, I neglected to stake out one of the 3 electrical outlets in the room and my laptop battery only lasts for 14.3 minutes, so I didn’t get to take notes while the talk was on. I’ll have to check out all of the other blog postings for more comprehensive notes, but here’s a few things from the keynote that stuck in my brain:

  • “spammers are equivalent of terrorists for the online world”
  • English Wikipedia has 2.1 million entries in total. WordPress users create 4 million pages a month.
  • attention is finite – content can grow, but we only have so many hours in a day and that’s not going to increase, so we need to find ways to filter content

Next, I went to a session on advertising on blogs. A really good discussion about the pros and cons of advertising on your blog. One thing that really stuck out to me, which Miss604 is Twittering about, is that this site2 that scrapes other people’s content off their blogs and then charges $500 a week for ads on their sites. $500 a week for stolen content. That’s just bullshit.

Then I went to the session with the coolest title of all the session – “Fuck Stats, Make Art.” Totally cool.

After that was lunch, which was good because I was starving. The good news: it was a cool make your own wrap thing where they actually had beans (!), the first time I’ve seen any non-cheese vegetarian protein at the conference. The bad news: the beans were gone before I got there. Well, there were beans at the food table that I didn’t go to, but the one I went to was all out. And by the time I got far up enough in the line up to see that, it was too late to go to the other line-up Boo-urns! =(

And now I’m in There Are 50 Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story… a PowerPoint-free presentation that’s dependent on flaky internet. Looks to be interesting.

1Not WordPress. WordPress, not WordPress.
2This is who is scraping content. I didn’t want to give them a link.

{February 22, 2008}   Live Blogging 101

Now I’m in a “how to live blogging” session. I would live blog it, except I don’t know how to live blog… yet.

Update #1:

Programs for Liveblogging:

  • MS Live Writer
  • Scirbe Fire (Firefox plugin)
  • Cover It Live – I’ve seen this one in use; it’s pretty cool
  • Ecto
  • Twitter

Note to self – check these all out.

Update #2:

Check out this cool live blog of Live Blogging 101.

{February 22, 2008}   Next Up: Photocamp!

I’m about to head to the after lunch session – Photocamp.  Back when I got my digital camera, I specifically got one that would allow me to fiddle with all kinds manual settings, as I was under the delusion that I would spend some time learning what all the settings meant so I could take nicer pics.  And, of course, I rarely use anything other than “auto.”  Here’s hoping that Photocamp will teach me something.

And, in honour of Photocamp, here’s a pretty pic, featuring *my boots*, taken by photographer extraordinare, Duane Storey.   Thanks, Duane.

{February 22, 2008}   Moosecamp ’08

Here I am at Northern Voice! I’ve actually been here since 9 a.m., but it’s taken me this long to make my lovely computer connect to the internets. Well, it said it was connected 3 hours ago, but wouldn’t actually let me see any, like, websites. After the fourth person in a row that I asked for help said, “PC? You should just buy a Mac,” I decided to take a coffee break and it appears that the old “turn it off, turn it back on again” computer cure-all worked.

So now that I’m all connected, check out this cool photo of me, taking a photo of my name tag. That was at last night’s Tiki Party – it was at the Waldorf hotel – a place I’ve never heard of that has a super cool Polynesian room. But I digress…. the thing with a name tag at a blogging conference is that you tag yourself, on your name tag. You may remember name tag from last year. Here’s this year’s version:

Also of note, since I’m volunteering again this year, I get to wear a sheriff’s badge.  You know you are jealous!  I’ll post a pic of that later, as I haven’t quite gotten around to taking a pic of that, what with the spending all my time trying to make my wireless work.

What I did take a picture of for all y’all is the building this conference is in.  It’s the Forestry building.  My task as a volunteer this morning was to tape up the signs saying where the rooms are… but the instruction “You can’t tape anything to the wood.”  In the *Forestry* building.  Ya, good times.

OK, I’m going to go grab some lunch.  Free lunch!

{February 21, 2008}   Bloggy bloggy blogginess

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here. The thing you’ve all been waiting for. Northern Voice has arrived!

OK, so I still have a full day of non-bloggy work ahead of me before tonight’s Tiki Dinner, which kicks off the conference. Which reminds me – it’s open mic where attendees can read one of their blog postings and I, being the attention whore that I am, totally want to read something. Does anyone have any suggestions on which of my blog postings would be good for reading in front of a bunch of rowdy bloggers?

Also, to get you excited about NV, here’s a reminder of the highlights from last year’s conference:

Oh ya, and I learned a bunch about blogging and suchlike.

But speaking of my boots, although the ones I wore last year have now retired from active duty, I, fortunately, have this pair and this pair to choose from. Because, really, what’s a blogging conference without some CFM boots?

1Did I mention that I’m an attention whore?

{February 20, 2008}   Oooh, shiny things!

Anyone going to Northern Voice this weekend can add their blog to an aggregated1 feed. That way, you can read all the blog posts of attendees leading up to, during, and after the conference in one handy dandy location (i.e., here or by subscribing to the feed).earring

I sent an email in to add my blog to the feed.

And now I’m all nervous about what I write, knowing that there will actually be a much larger audience than normal reading my stuff. With the potential of gaining me some new regular readers. And I am, after all, a passive-aggressive attention whore. Or at least an attention whore. At any rate, I feel the need to say something impressive. Which means I will now give you… hey, look, shiny things! Oooh, shiny!

Shalu gave me these earrings for my birthday – pretty, yes?

1I nearly just typed “aggravated” instead of “aggregated” here. An aggravated blog feed?

{December 19, 2007}   Double Think

I have been telling myself for weeks that I have a good 5 hour flight to Toronto during which to start planning my course (the one that starts in January). I have also been telling myself that the reason I like to take the red eye flight is that I can sleep on the plane and thus don’t feel like I’ve lost a whole day due to traveling1. It only occurred for me yesterday evening as I was packing for my 11:50 p.m. flight that I can’t do both of these things.

So, which of these did I end up doing on the flight? Neither. I spent most of the time chatting with the very friendly and very entertaining girl who was sitting next to me2. A girl who just so happened to have seen this picture of me from last year’s Northern Voice conference the just other day. Small freaking world.

1It’s about a 4.5 hr flight, plus a 3 hour time difference.
2Although I did sleep for about an hour, as we started to watch the in-flight movie3, which seemed entertaining, but apparently not enough to keep me awake at 2 a.m.

{March 1, 2007}   With Apologies to Darren

Yup, Darren and Anil were in the social pages too:

My bad for cutting it from my previous posting.

{February 27, 2007}   I’m a Vancouver Socialite

So, check out who is in the social page of today’s paper:

Sure, it’s the little free paper, but it’s the social page nonetheless.

{February 27, 2007}   Final Thoughts on Northern Voice

So, I’ve looked at my notes and collected my thoughts from Northern Voice. And pretty much this is just a literal collection of the notes that I took (well, the interesting parts anyway), unprocessed*. Sort of a glimpse into the mind of Bethy at a blogging conference – I’m sort of using my blog as a “brain dump” (and a record of my notes should I want to go back and re-visit them) so feel free to skip this post if you find it less than interesting….

Day 1 was “Moosecamp” – the unconference.

At the end of the session called “Mashups for Nonprogrammers,” I made myself the following note:

Wow, this session is going way fast – lots of info in a short amount of time. I’ll have to check out these sites** to see what they actually do, because I can’t really follow at this rapid speed.

That was my first indication at the conference that I’m a veritable neophyte in the ways of computers.

At “Photocamp” and “Videocamp” I just made a bunch of notes of technical stuff that the pros were suggesting for taking better pics/videos for the web. Nothing really interesting enough to blog about***, but definitely useful stuff for me to use. Highlights included the fact that someone had a waterproof digital camera and someone else had a shiny red camera that takes 8 photos at the same time. Also, the idea of having a pocket camera that you always have with you was stressed… if you don’t have the camera, you don’t get the shot.****

The “Vancouver Transit Camp” session was quite interesting – the presenters talked about a barcamp event held in Toronto where the community of transit users came together to collaborate on ideas for a new website****. The idea was to start discussing the idea of having a “Vancouver Transit Camp,” or, as someone pointed out, a “Greater Vancouver Transit Camp,” as, unlike in T.O., Translink is responsible for transit in the GVRD, not just Vancouver proper. It seemed to me that a key point that seemed to come out of the session was that Vancouver is not Toronto, so a transit camp here would probably evolve into quite a different event than Toronto Transit Camp.

Stats: The Forbidden Love“, IMHO, should win the “best title of any session I attended at Moosecamp” prize, if there were such a prize. Which there was not. But I digress. This session was a discussion on how we don’t need to be ashamed of our obsession with how many people are reading are blog, and when, and from where, and how they found us, and… well, you get the point. The group was a lively bunch and I got a learned about a whole bunch of different stat counters I can try out.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Blogs” provided me with some tips for, not surprisingly, optimizing my blog for search engines. As well, I learned that Google used the concept from academics where how many times you are cited by other authors determines your reputation (i.e., searches are based on who is linking to whom and how often).

Other random thoughts from Day 1 that I felt it necessary to record in my notes:

everyone here seems to be using a mac. either that or writing in a notebook.. like with a pen. on paper.

also, there are a lot of people here using a lot of words (or more often, acronyms) that i totally don’t know. i feel like the least techy person here.

Onto Day 2… the more formal conferency day. First up was an interesting keynote talk from Anil Dash, whose job title of Chief Evangelist at six apart tends to be problematic at Customs.

Then I went to “Blogging 101,” where I could actually keep up with what was being talked about, what with being a techy neophyte and all.

How to be a Citizen Journalist” was a cool session on what journalism is and what makes something “news.” I learned that “reporting” requires you to (1) gather information, (2) filter it, and (3) distribute/publish. Missing any of these keys steps = you are not a reporter (you are either a plagiarist (or writing opinion pieces) (missing #1), a transcriber (missing #2) or a snoop (missing #3). Also cool: with the “Access to Information Act” – Canadian citizens/permanent resident has the right to information for any record under the control of the federal government (and there are provincial equivalents of this act). It only costs you a stamp (and maybe a photocopy fee). And they have to tell you. And they have to do it within a certain time period. Cool. Also cool to know: you can buy a microphone that plugs into your iPod and use it as a recording device, should you ever need to. Also discussed, and echoing what was discussed at a previous session: there are 2 rules of photography – (1) have your camera, and (2) take the picture *****. As well, if anyone is interested in Canadian law as it pertains to photography (like, hmmm… I wonder if I can legally post that pic I snapped of that random at the conference/party/protest/change room the other night), check out Apparently it has a lot to do with whether you can have a “reasonable right of expectation of privacy”… for example, if you are at blogging conference, it’s pretty fair to say you do not have a “reasonable right of expectation of privacy” and so someone can take your picture and post it… if you are in the change room at the gym, however, most reasonable people would expect some privacy.

The “Legal Rights & Liabilities of Bloggers” session taught us all about such fun stuff as defamation, copyright infringement and the like. Good times.

I found the “Why Do We Blog” session to be particularly interesting… there was a presentation by Alex Waterhouse-Hayward on why he blogs and then Darren Barefoot showed the results on the survey he conducted that I told y’all about a while back. And I have to include this photo montage thingy of his presentation, taken by leftantler and posted on Flickr, ‘cuz it’s just too cool for words.

And the last session of the day was a lively panel discussion about “Online Dating,” which drew a big crowd and generated lots of Q&A. And the woman who recruited me to her Ph.D. research study was able to recruit more subjects at this talk, so that was cool.

My random thoughts on Day 2 that I felt it necessary to record in my notes:

There is a lot of multi-tasking going on here. People uploading to Flickr, checking out Flickr, writing posts, etc. while listening to the keynote. Only at blogging conference would that not seem rude!

I ❤ technical difficulties at techie conferences. Blue screen of death on the projector, rather than the slides that the presenter probably spent a long time working on.

Why is everyone using the word “granular” all of the sudden? They are using it to mean like “very subtle differences,” which I suppose the word “granular” does invoke, but I’ve only heard it in the last, say, 4 days, but I’ve heard it about 70 times over those 4 days.

Whew, that was a super long post. Did anyone actually read it? 25 points to anyone who claims they actually read the whole thing.

*I know I promised processing. But I also promised Jorge that I would start using his Footnotz soon. Just goes to show that you shouldn’t believe everything you read.

**these sites = all the sites that they were talking about… which have all been added to the wiki for the sessions, so follow the link “Mashups for Nonprogrammers” if you are interested.

**But apparently the fact that I’m not going to blog about it is interesting enough for me to blog about.

***as I discovered, much to my dismay, at this Vancouver Giants game!

****apparently the TTC currently has an atrocious website and the transit users were like, “hell, we can make a better site than that with our eyes closed!”

*****of course, as learned on my run yesterday, “bring your camera” implies that you should have your memory card in your camera. So, for example, if you take your camera on your run because you know you are going to run by a cool sign that you want a photograph of, it really sucks if you carry your camera there and then can’t take the pic ‘cuz you left your memory card in your jump drive on your desk and so you carry your camera for 10 frigginkilometers and can’t take any pictures. I’m just saying.

OK, so it’s not totally crazy. For example, it’s not as crazy as making your life a Choose Your Own Adventure where your blog readers get to vote on things you do in life so that you end up showing up to a blogging conference in a dragon costume, like so:

So, I’m not that crazy. The crazy undertaking of which I speak is that, starting tomorrow, I am following the Food Guide. For a month. And recording everything I eat. Danielle and another friend of ours, Sheila, who is also in the Dietetics program, have decided to do this since, as dietitians, they will be telling people to follow the Food Guide, so they really should see what it is like to do it themselves. And I, as usual, am tagging along for the ride. I even made my own personalized Food Guide (.pdf), using some of my favourite foods as examples (you can play along at home and make your own personalized Food Guide by going to the Health Canada site). As a female, age 19-30*, I am allowed the following number of servings in a day:

And “Food Guide Servings” are a heck of a lot smaller than what you or I usually think of as a serving. For example, one English muffin = 2 servings. 50g (or 1.5 oz) of cheese (that’s a piece of cheese about the size of your thumb) = 1 serving. And 6 spears of asparagus = 1 serving**. And for you meat eaters, 1/2 cup of meat = 1 serving – that’s just 125 mL or 2.5 oz of beef!

The plan is to record everything we eat and try to actually consume the recommended number of servings. Now, the amount of food that the Food Guide allows us looks like it is going to be a fair bit less than what we usually eat – not overly surprising, seeing as how the Food Guide is meant for the “average Canadian” and I’m pretty sure that training for a half marathon is slighty more activity than the “average Canadian” gets… not to mention the fact that, compared to Danielle & Sheila (who regularly run half marathons, are training for a triathalon, are hardcore utli players and bike to school every day) I look like a sedentary couch potato. So, we’ve decided that if we do, indeed, end up eating more servings than the Food Guide recommends, we’ll try to make those from the Fruit & Veg group. Danielle & I made up booklets in which to easily record all this and I dug through my many boxes of dishes to find my extra sets of measuring cups, as I think we’ll be doing a lot of measuring to figure out how many servings of things we’ll be getting. As well, I’m sure that we’ll be consuming things not included in the Food Guide***, and those things will be recorded and duly noted as well. The point is not necessarily to follow the Guide rigidly (as it is a guide, not a hard and fast program – and we nutritional scientists are fond of saying “things are OK in moderation!”), but to get a sense of how easy or difficult it is to follow the Guide.

As I’m sure you are all *dying* to know how this goes, I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

*I better enjoy this year, as next year I enter the 31-50 age range (omg, how depressing is that!) and I’m only allowed 7 servings of Fruit & Veg and 6 servings of Grain Products! That’s TWO less servings of food every single day! =(

*um, wtf? Who the hell only eats 6 spears of asparagus???

*** coffee, Diet Pepsi, sweet sweet alcohol, I’m looking in your direction

et cetera