Archive for 2006
I’ve gotten to be a part of some awesome things this year, here’s a recap. Last year I started recapping my year, but only made it through the first month. I’ll try and make it farther this time.
Back in ‘05, BarCamp was started by a bunch of techno-hippies (including myself) in SF. In 2006, BarCamp took off. I can’t even tell you all the countries that have had BarCamps– it’s become an international phenomenon.
I got to go to SxSW for the first time this year. On the urging of Tantek I stayed for music. It was probably the best week of my year– the first half was all geekery and free beer. The second half was all music and more music. Getting to hang out with some super music geeks made it even more rocktacular.
I proposed and got accpeted presentations at XTech, in Amsterdam, and WWW2006 in Edinburgh. Since they were in back to back weeks, I made a long trip of it, stopping off in London on my way home. I got to meet a number of people who I’d only know there the Internets.
The strangest moment was when I was giving a developer’s tutorial on microformats at WWW2006 (with Suda, filling in for Molly) and I was going through my typical intro material of “History of HTML”. Of course, as I was doing this, none other than Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of HTML, was sitting in the second row.
I rode Critical Mass on Halloween. If you’re not familiar with Critical Mass, it’s a monthly bike ride takes place in many cities, where cyclists meet in large enough groups to take over the streets. The SF Halloween Critical Mass ride was literally thousands of riders, if not ten thousand. We disrupted the entire city’s traffic for an entire evening.
Finishing Grad School
Nearly two years ago, I moved to San Francisco to study at the University of San Francisco. This morning I took my last exam. I’ll soon be a Master of Science in Internet Engineering.
It’s a very strange feeling. I’ve been in school for most of the last 19 years of my life, and I can’t say how relieved I feel to be done. It’s not that I didn’t think school has been worthwhile, it’s just a great feeling to suddenly have one fewer responsibility.
I’m sure you’re now asking “what’s next?” (hi, mom).
What’s next is taking some time off. Some friends and I have a ski house in South Lake Tahoe for the season and I plan on spending pretty much all of January there. I’ll be around SF, too, but I won’t be working much (if at all).
We’re actually heading up to the house this weekend, too, and I’m skipping my own graduation to go skiing (please don’t say that I should sit through a boring 3 hour ceremony instead of skiing, seriously).
I have a bunch of projects I want to work on. Many of them programming related, others more creative and corporeal. I look forward to just getting to work on whatever I feel like for awhile.
Awhile back Technorati launched a feature that allows you to claim your blog using OpenID. That means that if your blog host can work as an identity provider (LiveJournal, TypePad and others already support this), that’s all we need to be sure that you own that blog.
Starting today, Technorati can also be used as an identity provider. I hope you find this useful.
On a related note, there’s been some discussion lately about how hCard, XFN and OpenID can work together. Expect to see more once I’m done with grad school (less than a week to go until my last exam).
Some notes about recent musical experiences. I’ve been building up a bunch of draft posts, this is me dumping them all out at once.
I saw Mew open for Bloc Party (along with Broken Social Scene and Two Gallants) and really enjoyed them. Then, in early October, I got an email offering some free tickets to see them again at Popscene. I couldn’t pass it up.
Their music is ethereal, romantic and passionate. Their records are mixed so that the songs all flow together. This effect works surprising well both on the album and on stage. It works so well, that my favorite song from the two appearances turn out to be two different songs. Apparently they always play them together.
They’re a Danish group that’s been around for awhile (10 years, I think), but have had a recent surge in popularity.
Juana Molina, is an Argentinean singer-songwriter who blends folk acoustic guitar sounds with technology to create beautiful, rich sounds.
I recently saw her perform at the Great American Music Hall. She performs alone, but you wouldn’t know it unless you saw her. She uses guitar loop pedals, keyboards and synths to create layers of music, all on the fly. She harmonizes with her own voice and guitar playing. The effect is amazing.
This artificial restraint (not touring with a band) creates interesting music. If she toured with a band, they could start straight into a song with no build up. On her own, however, she’s forced to create songs that build on themselves and evolve in subtle ways. Seeing the live performance gave me a huge respect for her as an artist.
The Hold Steady
I’ve been a fan of The Hold Steady, a Brooklyn-by-way-of-Minneapolis band, who’re often described as a “bar band for people who don’t like bar bands”. I like bar bands, especially these guys.
Until a few weeks ago, I’d never seen them play live. Their live show had so much energy and enthusiasm that I think it may be the best show I’ve seen this year (and I’ve seen a lot of shows).
Until last week, I hadn’t heard their latest album. There’s been plenty of hype in the blahgosphere about this already, but I really think it’s one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. You may not like it, but I love it. Their new material manages to combine fat riffs, interesting storying telling and catchy tunes. The result is addictive, as I’m sure my last.fm profile will soon demonstrate.
Stars of Track and Field
I saw Stars of Track and Field open for The Twilight Singers (also at GAMH). I’ve been listening to them quite a bit since then. They combine some minimal electronic, driving guitars and catchy lyrics. I like it. Ali didn’t like their neckware. You’ll have to ask her about that– unlike some people, I don’t let a band’s choice in neckware influence whether I like their music.