WikiMania 2006, Day One

Day one is over. Brain is overloaded. Very tired. Attending conference during day/evening, then working late into night — bad. Law school dorms with no air conditioning in Cambridge in August — also bad.    (KWO)

Still, much to share. And amazingly enough, I will — at least a bit. There’s something about this conference that actually gets me to blog, rather than simply promising I will. Besides, I’m going to set a new record for responsiveness to Tom Maddox, even if it is via blog.    (KWP)

It is incredibly surreal to be back at my alma mater surrounded by post-college friends and colleagues. What makes it even more surreal is that folks from all facets of my professional life seem to be here, not just Wiki folks. I mentioned having my fingers in a lot of pies, right? Well, all those pies are unexpectedly well represented this weekend. It started yesterday when I discovered that Chris Messina and Tara Hunt were on the same flight to Boston, and culminated at dinner with Greg Elin (whom I first met at the FLOSS Usability Sprint, and who invited me to join him for dinner), Daniel Perry (a lawyer who’s been an important contributor to recent Identity Commons discussions), Tom Munnecke (first introduced to me by Jack Park when I was just starting Blue Oxen Associates), and Doc Searls (who needs no introduction). Also at the dinner: Ellen Miller, Micah Sifry, David Isenberg, Britt Blaser, and Yochai Benkler. Quite a contrast from last year, when I was hanging with grassroots Wiki peeps every night. I’m not complaining, though. The conversation was fascinating, even if we didn’t talk much about Wikis.    (KWQ)

Keeping with this theme, I didn’t hear much about Wikis today, other than my interview with Ward Cunningham. I kept my questions pretty basic, as a lot of folks there had never heard him speak, but I managed to slip in a few probing questions for myself. I asked Ward about the evolution of Wiki culture, and I specifically mentioned the culture of anonymity that he strongly encouraged in the early days, but that seems mostly absent in today’s Wikis. Ward seemed resignedly ambivalent. I asked him about what makes a Wiki a Wiki, and he was decidedly agnostic in his response: anything that facilitates a permissive spirit and mode of collaboration. I’m not sure whether he was being political or whether he truly feels this way. My guess is a bit of both, but I’ll press him on this if I get a chance later this weekend.    (KWR)

I showed up late to Larry Lessig‘s keynote, but I was unconcerned, as I had heard him give his Free Culture speech before. It’s excellent, but he recycles it often. Sure enough, he was doing the same speech, and I started tuning out. Fortunately, my brain was paying partial attention, or I would have missed what may end up being the most intriguing development of the conference.    (KWS)

Larry started talking about the interoperability of licenses, and how it was silly that the FDL and Creative Commons BY-SA licenses could not be relicensed interchangeably, even though the two licenses were equivalent in spirit and intent. He then proposed an interoperability clause as well as a neutral organization whose purpose would be to classify equivalent licenses. His talk was followed by a really good panel discussion between him and Eben Moglen. This stuff is really complicated and important, but it looks like Larry and Eben are serious about working together towards a common solution. Apparently, Jimbo Wales deserves a lot of credit for getting these two to cooperate. Did I mention that I love this community?    (KWT)

Quick hits:    (KWU)

  • I shared a flight and T ride here with Chris Messina aned Tara Hunt. (Chris was presenting on Bar Camp.) Chris extolled the virtues of Voodoo Pad, which apparently has autolinking features a la my Markup Free Auto Linking Wiki idea.    (KWV)
  • Was excited to see two of my roommates from last year: Kurt Jansson, a German doctoral student and president of the German chapter of Wikimedia Foundation, and Juan David Ruiz, a Chilean lawyer.    (KWW)
  • Saw Erik Zachte in the morning, who does awesome Wikipedia work. Erik immediately told me about two cool projects I had never heard of: FON and Wikimapia.    (KWX)
  • Caught up with Rory O’Connor after my session with Ward. Rory’s a filmmaker who came to last year’s Wikimania to make a documentary on Wikipedia. What I didn’t know was that he was so inspired by the proceedings, he decided to release all 13 hours of his footage under a Creative Commons license to encourage folks to mix their own documentaries from the event. Check it out, and mix away! There’s some interview footage of me somewhere in there, and I make a cameo in Rory’s 11-minute rough cut, in the background of Jimbo’s interviews yukking it up with John Breslin.    (KWY)
  • Somehow, I got recruited by multiple Wikipedians to help with the lightning talks due to my process expertise. My expert advice: “Move those chairs into a circle, and be firm with the time limit.” Yes folks, this is why I get paid the big bucks.    (KWZ)
  • Briefly got a chance to chat with Tim Starling about the OpenID integration in Mediawiki. Tim explained that they’re going to unify the user databases across all the different Wikimedia properties. This was further validation that Yoke‘s identity proxy approach is useful. Of course, one of these days, I’m going to have to actually write down what that approach is, so that I can convince people of its utility.    (KX0)

Distributed Flickr

I recently upgraded my Flickr account to Pro and started using it wholeheartedly. I’ve even invited a few folks to join, which is something I’ve never done with any of the Social Networking sites I’m on. Okay, so the digerati who follow this blog are probably yawning right now. (If this includes you, then be patient. I guarantee you’ll find the latter part of this post interesting.) Obviously, Flickr’s been a phenomenon for a long time. But my reasons for jumping on the Flickr bandwagon may interest some, and if not, my thoughts on distributed photo sharing hopefully will interest the rest of you.    (KKP)

Why did it take so long for me to embrace Flickr? Mainly because I’ve got a hacker mentality. I’m also not crazy about my personal data being stored on someone else’s machine. I’d rather hack and host myself if I can help it.    (KKQ)

This mentality has changed over the years, largely due to lack of time and shifting priorities and philosophy. But what really sold me was:    (KKR)

  • I like the basic Flickr information architecture, namely, the notion that every picture has a single unique ID. This simple premise enables you to layer all kinds of organization on top of your pictures, from collections to tags. Moreover, it also enables a photolog view of your life. I haven’t found any gallery software that uses this architecture and hence, that offers these features. Gallery, for example, offers per-album RSS feeds, but not a site-wide RSS feed. Plus, if you want to share a picture across multiple albums, you need to duplicate it.    (KKS)
  • I like the Flickr UI (yes, even the new gamma version).    (KKT)
  • I haven’t been doing a good job of sharing my photos with others, and Flickr is the best service for doing that right now.    (KKU)
  • Everybody’s using it. Usually, the fact that a lot of people are on the bandwagon is enough to drive me away from it. But at some point, pragmatism trumps the curmudgeon in me.    (KKV)

We’re still using Gallery at Blue Oxen Associates, largely due to some special needs. Which leads me to my big gripe about Flickr. Why can’t I use Flickr to share pictures hosted elsewhere? In other words, if I have an image somewhere on the web I want to share, why can’t I “bookmark” it on Flickr a la    (KKW)

This idea emerged from Greg Elin‘s participation at the first FLOSS Usability Sprint. Greg’s team, which included Mary Hodder and Matt Mullenweg, was discussing Fotonotes‘s needs. At some point, Matt brought up the idea of a bookmarking service for photos, and the team started running with it. These discussions helped inspire and influence Mary’s startup, Dabble, which allows you to bookmark video hosted elsewhere.    (KKX)

I’m totally psyched to see Mary take this idea to fruition, but I’d still like to see something similar for pictures.    (KKY)