Thirty Two Short Films about Reboot Day One

I didn’t get to commute by bicycle — it was pouring rain when I set out to leave and I lack the proper rain slicks to make a rainy bike trip — so I quickly calculated a backup plan involving walking and bus (it takes about 3x as long this way as by bike, proving why bikes are so useful). I overshot the Nordre Fasanvej stop because I thought Nordre was somebody’s name — “Hey, Nordre, pass the salt!” — whereas it actually means “north” (as “søndre” means south). But only by a block. So I arrived at the Kedelhallen early enough that there was still a health stack of name tags in the “P” pile.

On the way in the alley I ran into Dannie Jost and Henriette and it was like Old Home Week. Quite a change from reboot 7 last year where I was able to slink in under the radar; today Dannie greeted me with “I thought you were going to ride your bike!?” There are no secrets.

To save you from an exhaustive blow-by-blow of the day’s events (and to save myself — I have to get up in 7 hours and do it all over again), here are the highlights of my day:

  • Adam Arvidsson condensed a year-long introduction to sociology into 45 minutes. It was brilliant. Now all I need is the same exercise for the other disciplines and I’ll be able to make up for my lack of formal education (always running into problems when people quote James Joyce and I’ve no idea who they’re talking about…). Favourite thought: in the 21st century social bonds are unstable, and we’re continually forced to reproduce them (we can no longer rely on technologies like religion to cement our bonds); in this way we are becoming more like monkeys.
  • Ulla-Maaria Mutanen on “Crafter Economics.” I wish Catherine could have been there — this was a perfect demonstration of the overlap of our two disciplines. Ulla-Maaria’s thinklink project is intriguing. Favourite idea: “learning motivates exchange” (mostly because that’s what motivates me).
  • An early morning exchange with Martin Roell and others where we talked about how the colours of photos in Flickr change with the seasons, and how we could write an app to extract a sort of Flickr Colour Temperature — the aggregate colour of the photos flowing in on a given day — in the style of the terror alert system in the USA.
  • Running into Matthias Müller-Prove again and remembering that he wore red trousers at reboot 7, and intriguing (or confusing?) him with that memory. This year, by the way, he is wearing a sort of “ruddy tan” trouser.
  • A chat with Jacob Friis Saxberg, also an acquaintance from reboot 7.
  • JP Rangaswami — best speaker of the day, bar none; a sort of “Steve Jobs, but with dissonance.” Favourite ideas: “we never used to have privacy, why do we need it now?” and “the way to prevent bad ratings [in recommendation engines] is to do good things.”
  • Steve Coast on OpenStreetMap. A brilliant idea and a tremendous tool for humanity going forward. Steve’s an excellent presenter, too.
  • Meeting up with Felix Petersen from Plazes again, and meeting the “Plazes Portugal” guy — Pedro Custódio who is organizing a conference called SHiFT in Portugal in September (a reason to return to Portugal presents itself as if by magic).
  • A demo by the guys from The Pirate Bay. Except they had nothing to demo because their servers had been seized. And the few questions they received they had no real answers for.
  • Stumbling into a late-night coven of consultants gathered in a circle far from the madding crowd discussing their craft — Ton and Elmine and Martin and others. Fascinating to eavesdrop.
  • Learning that both Olle and my new acquaintance Jonas Bengtsson were both familiar with the erstwhile Canadian television drama Danger Bay (we talked about lots of others things too).
  • A presentation on technology use in schools by David Smith that renewed by faith in humanity. David is a teacher who in most situations other than the one he finds himself in would be sacked for blaspheming; as it is, he is a smart, literate, and conducting an inspiring stealth of networked culture into his school. Bravo.
  • Sitting between Rob Paterson and Rick Segal, two fellow Canadians at the opposite ends of several spectrums.
  • Leaving my laptop at home. I bought a small black and red Stephen Regoczei style notebook at Føtex for 9 kroner on my way to the Kedelhallen; it and my four colour pen served me extremely well.
  • Google Will Eat Itself.

By the time I looked at my watch for the first time, it was 10:30 p.m. By the time I got home it was midnight. I will leave reboot stickers for Oliver on the dining room table and steal off again into the morning before he gets up. Tomorrow, hell or high water, I will ride a bicycle to reboot.

Comments

Pedro Cust's picture
Pedro Cust on June 2, 2006 - 16:12

Hey, thanks for mentioning SHiFT, it was very nice to meet you! And to know that there’s life besides my plazes! ;)

marian's picture
marian on June 2, 2006 - 19:53

We never used to have privacy, why do we need it now?” We also never used to survive pneumonia or childbirth or read books (the vast majority of us could not read). I suppose we don’t *need* to do those things either.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 3, 2006 - 01:19

[…or bosses who actually paid wages as promised…]

That was likely just one of those conference enthusiasm moments we all regret after the fact.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 3, 2006 - 08:18

No, no — this was a serious and thoughtful statement. JP is from India, where the concept of “personal privacy,” he says, is very different.

Ton Zijlstra's picture
Ton Zijlstra on June 3, 2006 - 15:01

Hi Peter,

Tremendously enjoyed continuing our conversations from last year. Thanks for dropping in on our ‘coven of consultants’ late in the evening, and putting in the words that I found myself repeating the next day to several people:
consultants should start billing from the moment they start listening to the client(’s context). Made my brain go whirrrrr, click! Thanks.

Ton

marian's picture
marian on June 4, 2006 - 12:05

I don’t know enough about India to comment specifically about that country. And I suppose it’s useless to direct you, Peter, to books about privacy (e.g. A Room of One’s Own, or Zamyatin’s We). It’s probably also useless to point out that privacy is in many respects a women’s issue, in particular, it’s an issue for women who have western style careers. A lot of men even in societies where privacy is not common, already have rights to time and space that is set aside for work and that they take for granted.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 4, 2006 - 17:48

To be clear — JP’s statements were my favourite for their provocation and unconvention. I haven’t formed enough of my own opinions to support or rebut them. I like iconoclasts.

oliver's picture
oliver on June 5, 2006 - 03:55

In India I was watched like a TV set. It was possibly the most bizarre part of my travels there. Early in my visit I’d yell—that is, after an eyebrow raise and every increment in agression in between had failed, to no effect. Yelling seemed to make me more interesting. Female travelers complained about it especially, I suppose because it’s men staring usually and so the curiosity they experience is probably more than intellectual. FYI I’m not particularly good looking or interesting to look at when I’m not in India, so I very strongly sensed a different attitude toward privacy there.

oliver's picture
oliver on June 5, 2006 - 04:10

I guess what was boggling, in case this isn’t obvious, is that staring connotes or suggests aggression. In a U.S. prison in the U.S. I suppose staring at somebody could get you killed. On U.S. public school grounds it will cause you trouble. That’s not our immediate reaction as mature middle-class adults in civil society, but I think that’s because such staring as happens we understand to be consensual. In India I was stared at like I would never dream of staring at anybody, so it felt nonconsensual and aggressive. I suppose that’s how I found it so easy to yell. I suppose that connotation of aggression just doesn’t exist in India, or it’s been suppressed. I think chimps and dogs read a stare as aggressive, so it looks at least to some degree to be pretty darn instinctive.

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