Blah blah blah — we talk a lot!

Heh. Two videos (tag:) from our trip to Europe taken during our final night in Paris.

The wine must’ve made us loquacious. Or inebriated. Or both.

Quotes: “Embrace chaos.” “Fail early and fail often.” “Nichefication of media.” “Architecture of collaboration.” “I can’t get enough fois gras.” “I’m Joe, the man of the ice cream.”

Oh, and don’t forget to get your own Nabaztag.

Someone roll me a MeTube

MeTubeSo apparently those crafty cats up at were chattin’ up an open source alternative to YouTube, smartly backed by Amazon’s S3 mass-storage service.

Serve the files with Drupal, passing the media files into the open source Flow Player or aptly-named Flash Video Player, and you’re nine-tenths to bein’ illegal (as they say).

Now, that’s pretty hawt, if I do say so myself.

But, here’s what I pitched to the Flock guys last night at their SF meetup: why isn’t there an extension for browsers that takes any media file (I’m primarily referring to video, but audio support tends to be flakey too), sends it off to some server-side transcoding service and re-embeds a Flash file in place of the original media — that’ll play no matter what system you’re on?

I mean, this would be better than just distributing a player with the browsers… it would actually solve the cross-platform issue entirely (okay, so the Linux folks still need an up-to-date Flash player).

I’ve never been a big fan of Flash (for a number of reasons) but as it’s clearly the most cross-platform compatible format for sending out video and it’s not always possible for producers to generate Flash video, this solution would reside on the client-side, perhaps as a subscription-based service (owing the costs of licensing the all the codecs and so on).

I mean, until we get wide-spread adoption of open source video codecs and formats that are as good as the proprietary ones, this seems like a good stop gap solution. Don’t it?

The yin-yang of FOO and Bar

Tantek and Chris -- photo by Tara Hunt

Much has been made of the supposed sibling rivalry between FOO and Bar, owing to BarCamp’s origins last year as “an open alternative to FOO“.

What I think often goes missing from the story is that the original BarCamp was planned, organized and executed by a small scrappy group of upstarts, only one of whom had previously been to FOO Camp (and who ended up being invited back last year anyway). It wasn’t anti-FOO, it was just different — with different goals and a different raison d’etre.

In fact, I’ve personally reached out to the O’Reilly folks on a number of occasions to try to coordinate our events better and to even ask for favors. On the whole, they’ve been as gracious as anyone with as much going on as they’ve got and personally see no reason to chide them for focusing on their own business interests.

And I think Dave Weinberger‘s post is therefore useful in that he recognizes the value of socially engineered social networking while acknowledging the benefit of the “unbarred” model:

There’s value to an invitation-only party, but it’s not the only sort of party we need. That’s why I’m so happy that the original FOO Camp spurred the invention of unbarred BAR camps that are structured like FOO but are open to anyone. There’s a place for both.

Those who appreciate and have a sense for this duality — of there being both privilege in being invited to anything exclusive and those who, at the same time, can question what they have to offer and why they made the cut — get why both FOO and Bar can and in fact, should, co-exist. At FOO Camp, someone else invites you and you wonder why; at BarCamp, you invite yourself and over the course of a weekend prove why you did.

What I think Tim is still missing out on, however, is that the is very at odds with the competitive angst and jealousy that spurs events like (no offense Robot Robert, but why define your event by what it’s not? i.e. BarCamp isn’t an “unconference” — it’s an “ad hoc gathering” as it says on our homepage). And, Tim, I’d humbly suggest that you consider your own advice:

Stop worrying about what Winer thinks.

The way I see it, a year out, FOO and Bar represent the very yin and yang balance of openness and proprietariness that the open source community and its offshoot industries have struggled with since their inception (which has also been well documented in Markoff’s Doormouse). While one does not need the other to exist, that they both exist, espouse different organizing and ownership models and appeal to different people on different merits is what’s important. This is the reality and benefit of creating non-zero-sum economy where network effects and community rule the day. It’s not one other other, it’s both for one another.

BarCampEarth starts tomorrow!

BarCampEarth tshirt v2

So it is upon us… in a very short amount of time, BarCampEarth will commence, with simultaneous events happening around the world (with many more coming in September!). Taking part this weekend:

Whoa how far and wide our community has grown in a year. Believe it or not, I have a draft saved in my blog from August 24, 2005 titled “Bar Camp Worldwide”. I got as far as linking to an image and writing this line:

So it’s been suggested that Bar Camp spread outside of Palo Alto. In fact, it’s been suggested that it spread far and wide, from the West to the East to across the pond.

How prescient is that?

And now we even have a theme song (thanks Derek!).

Well there you have it. Forty some-odd camps later and it’s come full circle.

So if you happen to be in the Bay Area, you know where you’ll be this weekend:


Todd Davies has put together a tremendous time, starting off with a BBQ today at 6pm. I expect to see you there!

P.S. Shirts will be for sale soon soon! Thanks Miles!

Events that you should be at

In Valleywag style, here are events that you should go to (though no, sorry, they’re not all Valley-centric):

Add these to your calendar.

Calling FUD on Godin

The media we use to represent ourselves has a tendency to consume us.

Or so it would, should we allow it.

Seth Godin says that The prevalance of online video, constant skype connections and the multiple threads of data we get online, combined with the enormous overhead that flying now brings might just change the [value of showing up, of being there in person, of establishing a face to face relationship with the person on the other side] for a long time to come.

Just because we’ve got all these wires and nodes and cables to keep us remotely connected offering up pixelated approximations of the real thing doesn’t mean that that basic desire to meet and to be seen and congregate shall whither. Or that the impossibility of airtravel will keep us from seeing one another in the flesh as often as we like.

Fuck that. Leila‘s right: the time has come to tap innovations, creativity and apply these to air travel and security.

…Even if that means avoiding commercial air travel altogether.

Indeed, the pilgrimages we make in the future may be fewer and further between, but that will be because we’ve built up the local ties and connections to feed our desire to connect to other — with our BarCamps, our Coworking spaces, our Citizen Spaces, across our self-run Munified networks… we will build the alternative infrastructure to support the kind of old fashioned social networking and serendipitous person-to-person reality that we’ve always craved.

The airline industry is one of the last vestiges or a foregone error that’s fought innovation at every turn to its folly. The worse it becomes for passengers, the more it exacerbates the need for something better, something more communal, something more open and distributed. Ironically, it’s easy for me to say on a blog, but I don’t think that the answer is bowing down to the threat of terror — which continually proves itself too slippery to contain… instead we need to reduce the threat and reinvest in our roots and in where we are. BarCampEarth is a celebration of our global community — proudly proving that these loosely-connected tightly-woven local communities represent more than the sum of their parts… and that our ultimate strength is found in the connections we share, no matter whoever, whenever, or wherever we are.

Announcing BarCampEarth

BarCampEarth v4 (final)

Last year, on August 18th, I wrote of BarCamp that:

Next year I expect to see multiple satellite Bar Camps happening the world over, loosely joined via the web, bringing distributed collaboration and culture building to a much, much wider audience. Podcasted, Flickered, wikified, videographied and blogged like mad.

I wrote that before the first BarCamp ever happened. Before 300 people showed up at Ross Mayfield’s new offices… before Flock was shown publicly for the first time… before TechCrunch had 1,000 readers… before the Wired article or BBC feature… before we thought we were in Bubble 2.0. Before snark jumped the shark and the uncreatives got uncommon.

Let’s just say, a lot has happened in the past year.

In fact, a lot of BarCamps and spin-offs have happened (or been proposed) since the original: 4Camp, ArtCamp, BarCamp Paris, BarCampWashDC, BarCampAmsterdam, BarCampAmsterdamII, BarCampAtlanta, BarCampAustin, BarCampBangalore, BarCampBerlin, BarCampBirmingham, BarCampBoston, BarCampBrussels, BarCampCapeTown, BarCampChennai, BarCampChicago, BarCampDallas, BARCampDC, BarCampDelhi, BarCampDenver, BarCampEnschede, BarCampGrandRapids, BarCampHouston, BarCampHyderabad, BarcampJacksonville, BarCampKiev, BarCampLasVegas, BarCampLondon, BarCampLosAngeles, BarCampManchester, BarCampMumbai, BarCampNYC, BarCampOttawa, BarCampPaloAlto2005, BarCampParis, BarCampPhiladelphia, BarCampPhoenix, BarCampPortland, BarCampPune, BarCampQuebec, BarCampRDU, BarCampRDU, BarCampSanAntonio, BarCampSanDiego, BarCampSanFrancisco, BarCampSeoul, BarCampTdot, BarCampUtah, BarCampVienna, BarCampZurich, BarSeder, beCamp, BrainJams30Jan2006, CesCamp, CocoaDevHouse, DCamp (Palo Alto, CA), DHX: Dev House Ten, DrupalCampNYC, DrupalCampToronto, IndieFilmCamp, MashPitDallas, MashupCamp, MicroBarCampParis, MinneBar, MooseCamp, NPTECH Bar Camp, OpenHack Night San Diego, RecentChangesCamp, SeattleMindCamp, SlamCamp, TorCamp1 aka BarCampToronto, UXCampNYC, WineCamp, WoolfCamp… with more to come in the future.

And so it’s with great pleasure and honor that I get the ball going on the one-year anniversary celebration that will be called BarCampEarth. It’s scheduled to take place the weekend of August 25-27, the same weekend as the original inspiration FOO Camp and right before Burning Man. And most importantly, it takes place on every conceivable corner of the globe — wherever anyone who’s interested, motivated and inspired to participate can — and should.

Though we’ve already signed up 20 unique locales spanning the globe, we, the members of the worldwide community of BarCamps, hereby invite everyone everywhere to attend and to participate, in whatever way possible. If you can host a *camp, by all means, do so; if you want to organize a Mash Pit, a Demo Camp, and Tequp… a gathering in your local pub or library. Do so! Or, feel free to tune into the IRC chat, into the Skype channel (ask me to add you), the Google Group, or the streaming video (which Scott of BarCampSudbury is setting up).

Most of all, this is your event to make of us what you will. The BarCamp community has grown and matured in the past year and there’s a wealth of knowledge to be tapped if you’re interested in running your own event. Now’s your chance to ask questions, to seek and build your local community, to connect and to get en-fucking-gaged.

This is BarCamp (video)

This is BarCamp

Ryanne Hodson and Jay Dedman put together an awesome video that describes BarCamp — featuring campers Ryan King, Tantek Çelik, Tara Hunt, Enric Teller (who has his own video), Eddie Codel, Nima Dilmaghani and Jay Dedman. Footage was camptured at the recent BarCampSanFrancisco.

The video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.