OC-Tech: Reflection on Hallway conversations and afternoon

<p>The best part of these conferences tends to be the ad-hoc conversation that takes place over lunch and between sessions. I often wonder if there is a way to institutionalize these types of hallway conversations and make them a more significant part of the conference.</p> <p>This is not to say that the sessions aren't helpful, i think that certainly are. They are the most helpful part of the conference for the majority of the attendees I would think. However, for the more technical folks at these types of conferences, the panel discussions don't generally get deep into the interesting stuff. That happens after the sessions, when the tech people follow up with additional questions and discussion.</p> <p>I had an interesting conversation with Bob Fertig from Democrats.com about data sharing and databases for progressives and dems. We are going to follow up with more discussion this coming week probably. </p> <p>Jo-Lee and Steve Perez from the State PIRGS listened to me talk at lunch about tagging and faceted searches a-la del.icio.us and fac.etio.us and all the others that are popping up. Right now tagging is being used to catalog links or bookmarks or pictures (on flickr). But what if we applied this kind of tagging and faceted searches to our membership databases? Instead of starting out with a rigid taxonomy of issue and activity codes? (I think i will blog on this issue more in the future). What if google started allowing people to tag and do faceted search on top of their normal searching? Why should i have to google search and then del.icio.us tag, why not do it all in one place? As we were talking and searching we found [l:http://grat.uito.us|grat.uito.us] which lets you tag things you want and then your friends and family can check to see what you want and then buy it for you for your birthday.</p> <p>We started talking about FOAF a little bit and Steve Perez pointed me to [l:http://www.barnraiser.org|Barnraiser] a social networking site that is more open source (i have to look at it in more detail later)</p> <p>My first afternoon session was on CMS and fundraising (i blogged it, no reason to go into to much more detail here)</p> <p>Then I had my session which i have also blogged about already.</p> <p>And then i had some more conversation with Bob Fertig, my co-worker Noel Hidalgo and Zack Rosen from CivicSpaceLabs. I also talked to Zack about CiviCRM development and some other CS stuff like the coming iCal integration.</p> <p>The best surprise of the conference was after the conference, and after a vegie burger at the south street diner. I was scheduled to take an 8Pm FungWah bus back to NY. I showed up at 6:57, oke maybe it was really 7:01 and i figured i would try to get on the 7pm. The FungWah had already left and they had cancelled the 8 and 9pm buses. So I got my money, and got on some other Chinatown bus. When I got on there was Ethan Winn, a FOSS developer doing some work on CiviCRM and Chalu Kim from [lk:www.egenius.com] who had given a talk on podcasting that I missed.</p> <p>We had a pretty good discussion about pod casting, the changing dynamic in media and self publishing, and then we ranged into the realm of [lk:creativecommons.org|creative commons] and [l:http://www.identitycommons.net/|Identity Commons], file sharing, data security and more. It definitely made the bus ride more enjoyable. I took a break from the conversation so that I could work on some data manipulation for a client (which will lead to a how to that i mentioned in an earlier post and also a blog entry about data security). When i returned to the conversation due to my battery running out, we talked about headier issues like neo-colonialism, international development, the exploitation of interns in the workplace. Thanks Guys.</p> <p>Good conference OC!</p>