Archived entries for Events

Ad-hoc Collaboration – Brainsjams in DC

I wrote about Brainjams last month, and do so again today to announce their next Brainjams event, this one Monday, January 30th, in Washington DC. If you’re planning on attending this free event, head over to the registration form to claim your seat before they’re all taken.

Bringjams bring tech and non-tech people from all walks of life together to discuss how people actually use the tools many of us are building. Being in DC instead of deep in Silicon Valley should be especially interesting, so I’m doubly sad to be missing this one.

Autographed Books and the TechDev Speaker Series

As I’ve probably said before, one of the great things about working at Yahoo! is the external speakers routinely on campus. On Fridays, our Technology Development Group — some of the same folks behind Yahoo! Developer Network — hosts a weekly TechDev Speaker Series. Today’s speaker was John Battelle, the former Wired editor, Industry Standard founder, highly influential search industry blogger, and author of the new book, The Search.

He read some interesting passages, answered an very generous number of questions, and hung around to sign books. He definitely gave me a few things to think about, including a suggesting that we’re leaving the “poke” interface days (mouse clicks to ‘poke’ around an interface) and entering days of natural language interfaces, where words and concepts drive knowledge exploration.

I’m at work, sure, but it’s not a bad way to spend a Friday. (And I’m looking forward to Saturday too.)

BrainJams Unconference this Saturday (2005.12.03)

If you’re in the Bay Area this weekend (December 3rd, 2005), join us at BrainJams.

BrainJams Events are open spaces where the participants decide on the content of the event within a basic framework that includes one on one knowledge networking in the morning and open discussions on how to best use emerging technologies in the afternoon.

The format for the two morning sessions borrows from Speed Dating and Knowledge Cafes: Talk one on one with somebody in your group for 5 minutes. Rotate to a new person every 5 minutes. Repeat until you’ve spoken with each person in your group. Same thing in the second hour, but with a new group of people and ideas. Before lunch you’ll have shared passions and projects with more than 20 people.

After lunch is a quick Teen Panel moderated by Noah Kagan. We’ll hear how social services, blogs and communities are being used by this demographic.

The rest of the afternoon is for three tracks of quick, user-led sessions. Not demos, but real people sharing knowledge about which tools they use, and how.

It is a chance for new comers and everyday people to learn from the “powerusers” and other real people just like them. It is a chance for people to suggest new ideas for making the tools more useful. It is a chance for us to begin gathering stories of how people actually use the tools many of us are building. … Each session will have a Jam Leader and a Podcaster/Vlogger who will help facilitate the conversation and keep it on track.

It’s looking like a very interesting day full of passionate people. Come join us.

Thanks to Chris Heuer for organizing this, what a guy.

Peter at the White House


Peter at the White House
Originally uploaded by natekoechley.

My brother Peter, who works for The Onion attended the Press Club dinner at the White House earlier this year.


Upcoming.org, Welcome to Yahoo!

The great news continues to flow. Just a few hours ago it was announced that Upcoming.org is now a member of the Yahoo family.

(I stole the “family” phrase from Upcoming.org’s own Andy Baio. I must admit, it’s great to hear people are as excited to join the work here as we are to already be doing it. There is great work going on here, and and it is a great place to work.)

For those that haven’t been playing with Upcoming yet, here’s their blurb:

Upcoming.org is a social event calendar, completely driven by people like you. Manage your events, share events with friends and family, and syndicate your calendar to your own site.

As a side note, I’ve been playing with Microformats for a few things at work. “Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards.” Upcoming.com was an early adopter of these semantic markup structures, so I’m excited to have the experience around now. Of all the types, “events” are the perfect use case for this emerging technology.

Read more about Yahoo!/Upcoming on the ysearchblog, or any of the Upcoming.com guys’ blogs: Andy Baio, Leonard Lin or Gordon Luk.

Information Esthetics (i.e.)

Lecture Series One: March–July, 2005

If I was in New York this spring, I’d definitely check out some of these lectures. Looks excellent, and these topics and critical as unfathomable amounts of information continue to be made available to the world.

Making data meaningful—this phrase could describe what dozens of professions strive for: Wall Street systems designers, fine artists, advertising creatives, computer interface researchers, and many others. Occasionally something important happens in these practices: a data representation is created that reveals the subject’s nature with such clarity and grace that it both informs and moves the viewer. We both understand and care. This is the focus of Information Esthetics.

Information Esthetics, a recently formed not-for-profit organization, has organized a lecture series dedicated to helping this happen more often. World leaders in seven different aspects of sense-making have been invited to speak on topics from typography to visual perception, from charting to electro-mechanical engineering. The goal: to help expose the beauty experts see in their databases, better engaging their whole minds in interpretation; to help inspire art that’s not just decorated with data but makes the data readable, satisfying viewers’ minds as much as their eyes and hearts.

The format of the talks lets us explore more deeply than a typical panel or academic paper presentation. Each speaker will talk for a full hour, we’ll break for a half hour of fine spirits and snacks, then sit down again for an interview/chat led by series organizer and interaction designer W. Bradford Paley. The intent throughout is to delve into the implications these profound ideas have for human communication in general—but also to share some simple techniques that people can immediately put to use in their own projects.

The lectures will take place Thursday evenings in the Chelsea Art Museum at 565 West 22nd street in Manhattan. They are free with the discounted $3 museum admission, and start promptly at 6:00pm on these dates:

  • Robert Bringhurst, March 31 · Typography and layout

    The distinguished Mr. Bringhurst is perhaps the most recognized typographer, a published poet, and the author of the fundamental contemporary work on typography: “Elements of Typographic Style.” http://www.typebooks.org/i-r_bringhurst.htm

  • Judith Donath, April 21 · Social computing

    Dr. Donath’s group at the MIT Media Lab studies intriguing social interactions and produces some of the loveliest and clearest visual representations of these complex systems. She is a well-read and careful observer of fine art. http://smg.media.mit.edu/people/Judith

  • Ted Selker, May 12 · Situated devices

    Dr. Selker focuses on putting intelligence into everyday objects: his invention of the eraser-like IBM Trackpoint device transformed laptop keyboards throughout the industry. His MIT media Lab group continues to expand those explorations. http://web.media.mit.edu/~selker

  • Lisa Strausfeld, May 26 · Real-time charting

    Ms. Strausfeld is a partner in Pentagram, the respected New York design firm. Her dense, readable information displays are well structured, visually rich, and intellectually satisfying. http://www.pentagram.com/people-strausfeld.htm

  • Bill Buxton, June 16 · Supporting creative analysis

    Mr. Buxton is a musician, mountain climber, and interaction designer; former Chief Scientist of Silicon Graphics; and a well-known and controversial computer interface expert. He owns an art gallery in Toronto with his wife and has been developing user interfaces explicitly for designers for over a decade. http://www.billbuxton.com

  • Ron Rensink, June 30 · Visual perception

    Dr. Rensink is one of the world’s experts on “Change Blindness” a feature of the human visual system that allows major changes to happen unnoticed right in front of one’s eyes, allowing (among other things) magic performances to work. He studies human perception, discovering and sharing principles useful in design. http://www.psych.ubc.ca/~rensink

  • Tamara Munzner, July 14 · Large data sets

    Dr. Munzner specializes in information visualization: showing complexities in subjects that range from genetically-determined phylogenetic evolutionary trees to environmental sustainability. Her work is informed by an eye developed under her art-teacher father, and often reveals structure more clearly as a result. http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~tmm

This lecture series is an Information Esthetics production, made possible by a project of Digital Image Design Incorporated. The talks are presented by The Project Room at Chelsea Art Museum by producer/curator Nina Colosi, and are supported in part by the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University.

Generous volunteer efforts support Information Esthetics, including high-reliability Web site hosting by Michael Rosenthal, Web site supervision by Perry Metzger, and (soon) graphic design by Warren Kemp. Please contact i.e.director W. Bradford Paley if you would like to volunteer, be put on our mailing list, or otherwise participate.

If you go, please point me to your notes!



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