Hi Dom;Hi Pete,
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.
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.