I’m in Cork with a posse of eight from DERI, and it’s the night before two co-located events: the WebCamp workshop on social network portability (Sunday) and the BlogTalk conference on social software (Monday, Tuesday). Others that have arrived in Cork this evening include Niall Larkin, Ajit Jaokar, Aral Balkan, Ben Ward, Dan Brickley, Ross Duggan and Stephanie Booth.
I’m really looking forward to the talks, the discussions, the networking, the food, and some positive outcomes from the next three days. And with invited speakers of this quality, I know it’s going to be good.
Unfortunately, I’m missing the Irish Blog Awards for the second year running, but boards.ie‘s Managing Director Gerry Shanahan is representing us as a sponsor. At least I hope to meet up with many of the bloggers at tomorrow night’s optional blogger’s dinner at Rossini’s here in Cork (43 people have signed up).
I’m happy to announce that we have four interesting and varied keynote speakers lined up for the BlogTalk 2008 conference on social software in Cork this March.
- Nova Spivack – Founder and CEO, Radar Networks
Nova is the entrepreneur behind the Twine “knowledge networking” application, which allows users to share, organise, and find information with people they trust. He will talk about semantic social software for consumers.
- Rashmi Sinha – Founder, Uzanto
Rashmi led the team that produced SlideShare, a popular presentation-sharing service that some have described as “YouTube for PowerPoint”. She will talk about lessons learned from designing social software applications.
- Salim Ismail – Head of Brickhouse, Yahoo!
Salim is a successful investor and entrepreneur, with expertise in a variety of early-stage startups and Web 2.0 companies including Confabb and PubSub. He will talk about entrepreneurship and social media.
- Final speaker has been selected but has yet to be 100% confirmed.
You can see further details and longer biographies of the keynote speakers at 2008.blogtalk.net/invitedspeakers. We will also have two invited panel sessions, the details of which will be announced shortly.
So why is BlogTalk 2008 coming to Cork, Ireland? You may not know it, but there are a lot of connections between the “People’s Republic of Cork” and the world of Web 2.0 and social software.
- Tom Raftery, BlogTalk 2008 co-chair, social media consultant, and the person behind the hugely successful Thought Leaders podcast series (interviewing the likes of Ross Mayfield, Loic Le Meur, Dave Sifry, Thomas Vander Wal, Chris Messina, Vint Cerf, Michael Arrington and Robert Scoble amongst many other luminaries) is from Cork.
- Conor O’Neill, founder of Argolon (known for their LouderVoice service), editor of blognation Ireland and Web 2.0 Ireland, and co-ordinator of the Cork OpenCoffee Club (we should organise one to co-occur with BlogTalk) is based in Cork.
- Pat Phelan, founder of Cubic Telecom (whose services include MAXroam), and a proponent of Web 2.0 and telecommunication crossovers, has his headquarters in the city of Cork.
- Web 2.0 guru Tim O’Reilly was born in Cork.
- Sxoop Technologies, the company (Walter Higgins et al.) behind the Pixenate online photo editor, are located in Cork.
- Donnacha O’Caoimh, co-founder of Automattic and lead programmer for WordPress MU (on which WordPress.com is based) is in Cork.
- Blackrock Castle is home to Ireland’s first “social software” cinema, allowing an audience to influence the design of a space mission so as to divert a comet from colliding with the Earth.
- Damien Mulley, organiser of the Irish Blog Awards, winner of the 2007 IIA Net Visionary award for technology journalist, and former chair of IrelandOffline, is from Cork.
- And there’s a bunch of other companies in this space from Cork: waveson, eWrite, Lukulu, Comhar, Beecher Networks and CIX.
So I expect to see more submissions from all of you Corkonians about your social software products and development experiences to BlogTalk 2008 before Friday!
BlogTalk 2008, the 5th International Conference on Social Software, will be held in Cork, Ireland on 3rd/4th March 2008. The event is designed to allow dialogue between practitioners, developers and academics who are involved in the area of social software (blogs, wikis, forums, IM, social networks, etc.). A workshop on Social Network Portability will also be co-located with the event.
The organisers (me included) have just sent the final call for proposals to present at BlogTalk 2008. The end date for submissions is 7th December 2007, and these should be over two pages in length (no fixed template). Reviews will be completed by the end of December 2007, and the organisers will notify successful authors in early January 2008.
As well as peer-reviewed proposals, BlogTalk 2008 will have a number of prominent invited speakers (including Rashmi Sinha of SlideShare and Nova Spivack of Radar Networks, with others to be confirmed).
In 1990, I wrote (what you might call) my first social software program when I started college / was introduced to a VAX mainframe for the first time. In MAP.COM, I used VMS DCL to draw a plan view of the computer room in the UCG Engineering Building, but with the names of users superimposed on the terminals they were logged into. You could be in a computer room, see that user ELEBRESLIN was seated two terminals away, and if you were brave enough, strike up a conversation (and if not with real words, maybe using VMS PHONE!). I didn’t realise it at the time, but Anthony Kelly had written nearly the same thing two years previously in BASIC – his TERM.BAS showed logged-in terminal IDs in bold, and you could then type in a specific terminal ID to find out which user was logged onto it. My own MAP.COM was horrible looking code but it worked and became pretty popular (see V2 at the end of this post)…
In fact, I found yet a third version of this utility (written by Peter Muldoon in FORTRAN, and called PLANT.FOR), which I adopted as my own and kept modifying for another four years. During this time, PLANT»> grew to about 700 lines long, could do multiple room views, supported timed / continuous refreshes, allowed people to create personal display aliases for the users being shown on screen, and even had a baby brother called SAPLING (groan!). In its heyday, there were about 180 people who regularly used the program… In essence, PLANT»> was just a search-and-replace utility, which I reduced to two lines of code in a 1995 cgi-bin version (see previous blog entry on WebPLANT»>).
The point of this reminiscing is that the reason PLANT»> and its predecessors were so regularly used on the UCG undergraduate VAX mainframe is because many people are either (partial) extroverts or simply curious about others (i.e. nosy!). The extroverts will set their process names to something like Gandalf or Johnny B. (*cough*) in the hope that other inquisitive people will be requesting a list of all logged-in users and wonder who they are… It’s much the same motivation that makes people blog or set up social network profiles today!