Tags: reboot9




The ninth Reboot wrapped up in Copenhagen on Friday. It was a really enjoyable experience for me.

This was the second year I attended so I had a good idea of what to expect. I remember sharing many of Andy’s frustrations with the philosophical nature of the presentations last year. This year I was positively wallowing in the blue-sky thinking—it made a nice change from the usual tech conferences I attend. Warning: Reboot should only be taken as part of a balanced conference diet.

With that said, I did find myself gravitating towards the more technical end of the spectrum of talks: Anne and Håkon both gave fairly meaty presentations on the tools of our trade: markup and CSS. With my tech appetite satiated, I was able to enjoy the more hands-off stuff a bit more.

I was really looking forward to hearing Leisa’s talk but a last-minute impromptu discussion of OpenID, microformats and portable social networks meant I had to give it a miss. It was, by all accounts, excellent. Methinks we have chosen wisely for dConstruct.

There was a lot of talk about social networks. Most of the discussions were psychological in nature but it was gratifying to see that a lot of people are sharing my frustrations and getting behind the concept of portable social networks using OpenID and XFN.

The nice thing about Reboot is that it can act as a platform for talks that are unlikely to show up on the agenda of a more commercial conference: Stephanie’s talk on multilinguilism and Tom’s discussion of energy consumption, for example.

Reboot had an almost Barcampesque feel to it at times. The micro-presentations and five-minute demos were especially fun in an ad-hoc kind of way.

Mostly, as with all the best meatspace events, the real pleasure came from meeting people. Some of the highlights of the conference involved sitting outside in the Danish sunshine chatting with smart friendly geeks. I had a lot of fun catching up with the great people I met last year as well as adding rel="met" to:

…and many others who were most excellent company and provided me with a surplus of inspiring conversations.

Even when the conference itself was over, I was luckily enough to share the plane ride home with some fellow geeks… fellow geeks also called Jeremy: Jeremy Ruston and Jeremy Stone. To avoid confusion, let’s address the latter by his geological nom-de-plume Jem Stone, the name under which he wrote a nice write-up of Reboot on the BBC website.

Reboot slides

The first day of Reboot 9 in Copenhagen is at an end. It’s been quite an inspiring day: lots of good talks but, more importantly, lots of great conversations with smart interesting people. This is my second year here so today has been a nice mix of meeting up with old friends and getting to meet new people.

This year’s theme is “human”, a typically philosophical subject for this blue-sky conference. Getting into the spirit of things, I gave a presentation called soul. It wasn’t quite as pretenscious as last year’s talk but it was certainly a rambling, haphazard affair. I really just wanted to tie in a bunch of ideas that I’ve been thinking about lately: lifestreams, portable social networks, online activity as gaming… but mostly it was a recruitment drive for Hack Day.

You can download the slides of “soul” as a PDF (with notes).

I was in the first speaking slot and I was very happy to get it over and done with. I had been slightly panicking over this talk and only really got it together during an extended stay at Stansted airport on the way to Denmark. Thanks for the two hour delay, Easy Jet.

Even with the main talk done, I had one more task to accomplish. I foolishly agreed to do a micro-presentation—we can’t call them Pecha-Kucha, donchyaknow—of 15 slides with exactly 20 seconds per slide. I finished the slides for that shortly beforehand and then started psyching myself up for it by hyperventilating and increasing my heart-rate.

I think it paid off. I had an absolute blast, people seemed to enjoy it and Andy asked if I had been possessed by the spirit of Simon Willison.

Oh, and the subject of the rat-a-tat talk was Hypertext: a quick list of tips for improving your links with rel, rev and various microformats. Help ourself to a PDF of the slides.

Update: Here’s a video of my micro-presentation. I was even more incoherent than I feared.