Yakking at MooseCamp

So it's pretty late here already (12 am Pacific, though my blog is set to Eastern so it's probably going to say it's after 3 when I post this).

So far Vancouver's a cool place, the Blue Horizon is a swanky hotel and the people at MooseCamp were pretty cool too. When Candace and I finally made it to the hotel yesterday we were amazed at the view. Here are a couple samples of the shots we took on the balcony.

Last night there was a dinner for Northern Voice attendees. We found our way there by Skytrain (which, oddly enough, we boarded underground at Burrard Station) and a bus. The food was good but more over it was great to start talking to the other people coming to the conference. We ended up sitting with Roland Tanglao, Catherine Winters, Dale McGladdery and some other interesting people whose names I can't find at the moment. We all talked about a bunch of stuff and it really helped to make more friendly faces at today's MooseCamp. In the morning Roland led a session on Social Media Diaspora. The real seed of the idea seemed to be about reconnecting with roots and how social technology is enabling that, but it got us talking and thinking about what it means to be part of different kinds of groups and what the repercussions are. Have a listen to the podcast on that page and you can get more of a sense of what I mean.

Tim Bray was one of the speakers in the PhotoCamp session. I talked to him for a minute afterward just to say thanks for the XML insight he shares on his blog. I don't think I always agree with his opinions, but I really like his opinion of seeing the web as one output destination for a content system with an XML backend. Of course he wasn't there to talk tech, but instead about digital camera choices. During the session, Roland Tanglao showed off Adobe's new Lightroom software and Warwick Patterson gave us a walk through his workflow for processing photos to prepare them for the web. Although I don't think I'll end up using the same software as these guys - they're Mac heads and I prefer Linux when I can - it really reminded me of how ad hoc my photo processing has become. I work through large batches of photos for OnBeaches and I automate a lot of it, but each time I come up with new ways that I like. The other part of the PhotoCamp session that stood out for me was Matt Trent's brief explanation of colour space and why it's often best to just use sRGB profile for output.

Later on in the afternoon Catherine Winters introduced us to Catherine Omega - her Second Life avatar. She gave a demo of some of the basics of Second Life and built a table (four legs and a top, not <tr> and <td> tags) right on the spot. I did a little Second Life a few months ago, but I'm still figuring out basics and trying not to look like a tool. Catherine showed us around her island and rode a yak for us. There are some interesting things happening in Second Life with RL consequences. The yak showed up after an event where participants try to help out families in Tibet. There's a little more about the event in the Second Life newsletter, but for full effect you really have to see it firsthand. Basically, buying a yak in SL resulted in a contribution for a family to buy a yak in RL.

At the end of the day I think there was supposed to be a wrap session or some speed pitches, but I never found them. I did run in to Robert Scoble and I got to talk to him in the lobby for free. I really appreciate the fact that though he's got a lot more important people than me that want to talk to him, he's a good listener that's interested in what people like me are doing. Even though that's not much :) . I don't make a lot of time to watch video off the web, but Scoble got to interview the webmaster for the Vatican. That's one I'll be coming back to for the novelty factor if nothing else.

A bunch of us went out for dinner after MooseCamp was over. Jan Karlsbjerg was kind enough to take a carload of us out to Library Square, an upscale pub sort of place. Nice place, good service and good food. After the lot of us had our fill but before our tables were replaced by a dance floor, Tod Maffin took us all over to the nearby CBC Studio for a tour. Wild stuff. I guess I didn't know what to expect but it kind of took me by surprise. There's some radio and some TV handled there and about halfway through the tour I started to notice some of the equipment came from Leitch. There's a personal connection there for me, I worked at Leitch for about a year on the DSK-6801 and DSK-6803. I didn't see any of those keyers in particular, but the idea that my code could be running in there gave me a funny feeling.

All-in-all it was an awesome day. When we started out late in the morning, things didn't look so good. Now, as I sit in the hotel room long, long past tired looking out over the Vancouver skyline, things couldn't be much better.

(Update: Correcting and adding names)

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