Wednesday, June 21, 2006

more notes on projectile

Pete Hindle wrote:
Hi Dom;

I read your post on your blog about your talk, and I thought I might make a suggestion of doing a short course on presentations. I did one that the Baltic put on, and it was quite useful in thinking about speaking in public - if you want, I'll find out the name of the lady who did that.

Seeing as you are dealing with similar issues, it might be worth preparing a small intro to open source/linux/polytechnic which you could recycle again and again for every talk you do. It wouldn't have to be much, just giving a quick five minute grounding on those issues that your dealing with... one of the most engaging points of your talk was when you started talking about your own experiences with linux, back when you started. It was both funny and educational, and it made you seem less of a fearsome hacker-leet dude.


Hi Pete,

To be honest I don't want to do some lame course on how to talk in public. If I had wanted to I could have ran it very differently. Through my work with the Museum service (2 days to go till I leave) I do actually do a fair bit of public speaking. I can stand in front of a power point presentation with the best of them (given, I usually need a mic, even for a room of 5 people). But seeing as how it was an Anarchist film festival and we were given short notice I just thought it would be best to go on gut instinct. The bit on my blog. Yes its true I wish I had mentioned more about some other tools (jah shaka, ktoon etc), spoken more about the politics of open source, but on further reflection more politics might have actually obscured the film making aspect of the talk too much. I do wish I had challenged the notion of anarchists (well people in an anarchistic context (if there is such a thing)) asking if stuff would run on windows, well, no actually (as everyone has to start somewhere) I wish I had 'facilitated' discussion around the fact that some people did not understand why developers would not want to create tools for the windows and even (shock horror) the OSX platform. But again I only had an hour.

Also I do have various bits and pieces on OS/Linux/Poly (do you think we would have ever been given grants without it?) But yes I take your point and Alan was good to ask 'What is Linux', sometimes I go straight for the jugular on these things. Five minutes in I looked up to a row of confused faces and backtracked, I had intended to save the detail until I had shown people the tools, but next time I would do different. Perhaps a quick verbal abstract to set the scene next time.

I am by no means a fearsome hacker dude. I am still at pre-plankton level on the pd list. The thing is, I feel the north east is currently lacking in terms of artists knowledge and skills with OS tools and exploration of the issues surrounding them, there are people out there that know their stuff but they are far from the majority up here. I'm not sure why this is the case, It may be that there is an over emphasis on professional finish (glossy flyers and everyone wanting the latest version of Director but not having a clue how to use it) or the fact that there has not been anyone shouting loud enough for people to take notice, I'm not sure. Hence The Poly. However it is worth mentioning that yes somewhere down the line we made a choice to go with FOSS but it is not all we are about and we are consciously trying not to have a holier than though approach to it . I see it as only right to pass on any skills gained with said tools and the nature of OS dictates that I share them, it can only be beneficial to learn and work as part of a group. Yes we are trying something very new for up here and we still have loads to figure out but 'given enough eyes the bugs will fall out', err or something like that.

If you want to meet fearsome hacker leet dudes join the Tyneside Linux Users Group (actually I think I am going to invite them to meet in our space once we have some wallpaper up etc) they know their onions.


Ele Carpenter said...

Hi Dom,
I personally dont like blogs so it is with some reluctance that I add a comment to yours... I fear getting dragged into online communication and having to spend yet more time at my computer.. I'd rather go for a walk on the beach.

I enjoyed your talk - so thanks. I've been to several similar talks, and there seems to be two appraches. 1. Basic introduction to open source as a development model, 2. Basic intro to OS tools (usually video or music editing).

The first inspires everyone poltically - but they don't actually know where to begin. The second gives people a practical intro but they don't really understand why they are doing it.

I personally find the intro to the concepts the best way of learning. And I am aware that even the idea of OS (although obvious once you 'get' it) is a huge learning curve. Most people (including activists, artists and anarchists) haven't got a clue.

Perhaps the fact that I've had my phone tapped for 20 years makes me more aware that our communication systems are not ours. This is BIG stuff, politically, culturally, creatively. And I'd like to work with Polytechnic on finding a number of different 'comfort zones' for people to explore, learn, share, and understand what open source is.

I am currently working with Sneha on a propsal for an Open Source Embroidery workshop to introduce concepts of programming crafts and computers.

Your talk was a 'taster' session, mostly revealing a huge new world which people have glimpsed but not really understood. It would have been good for the projectile festival and polytechnic to have worked together to plan an OS workshops at different levels. I'm sure Pete, Sarah and I could have helped out too. But maybe that's for next year.

Happy summer,

dominic said...

thanks for the comment Ele.

Yes The beach is always a better option. I am luck enough to live right next to one.

Thank you for your comments though. This blog was started to discuss things other than technology and the arts but this subject seems to have come up.

I really like the idea of working within and stretching comfort zones. There is a lot of potential in that.

There used to be a program for windows called cross stitch pro. It converted jpegs into cross stitch patterns. It also told you the exact colour codes of the thread to use. I dont think it would actually be too hard to write something like this for linux, the hard bit would be finding someone prepared to build a database of thread colours...

We seriously need to sit down and plan our next series of activities. It would be great if you could come along.

enjoy your summer also, It seems to be shaping up nicely so far.

Hold on, your phone has been tapped?

Pete Hindle said...

I'd like to make that thread database. I think it will fit in with some of my other work on databases/spreadsheets.

And yes, the public speaking course I did was lame.

Ele Carpenter said...

okay - so we're on the beach: in a comfort zone. Pete is making a thread database, Dominic is working on a linux version of cros stich pro. And I am trying to work out my stiches can be translated into code. Do we then invite the WI to have a go?

dominic said...

Yes, I think that the W.I. could get to grips with it (probably better than most). I am slightly worried that If I am writing the code on the beach then the sand might clog up my USB port.

However as is often the way we have been beaten to it! have a look at