17 May 2005

PDF Wrapup

I didn’t quite finish my notes yesterday, but the last forum was not incredibly useful, though it was fun to see Ariana Huffington – she was by far the most interesting part of the forum. The part that sticks out most in my mind was Chuck Defeo (Bush-Cheney ‘04 eCampaign manager) trying to convince us that the Bush campaign gave up a lot of control over the campaign to their volunteers, and then Arianna pointing out the “loyalty oaths” people had to sign to get into the campaign rallies was not indicative of an “open” campaign. Another fun part was Tucker Eskew (Deputy Assistant to the President in the White House Office of Communications) make a “strategery” joke. (in a SNL satire of the 2000 debates, when asked to sum up his campaign in one word, Bush said ‘strategery’)

An interesting experiment that they did at this conference is to have a chat room that anyone in the room could post to displayed behind the panel. This was basically used for good, and I can see this being a useful tool in some contexts, but it was not really fully taken advantage of here – I think we could brainstorm some great interactive town hall conferences with this sort of idea. However, the point is that in the last forum, this was somewhat taken advantage of – people started posting silly things, trying to get a laugh out of the audience, which just ended up distracting the panel. I have a shot of them all looking over their shoulders at the display to see what everyone was laughing at. It would have been really useful to put the chat in the background but not on the wall, and a second chatroom on the wall,reserved for questions. Then the panel could answer any of the questions they wanted to – this would prevent people from plugging their own websites or projects in the form of a question, which is what tends to happen when people get to stand up to a mic for questions.

In the end, I think the conference was interesting, but in my case, preaching to the choir. I am already convinced of technologies role in improving and democratizing politics, of blogs role in changing media, and in the need for municipal broadband. I would have liked to hear of Andrews plans for actually running an open source campaign, brainstorming of new tactics and ideas for involving people and giving up control of the campaign in new and powerful ways, but that wasn’t in the cards this trip.

As for me, I woke up at 4:30am NY time, spent an hour and a half on the NY public transportation system (subway/AirTrain), missed my flight by 5 minutes, mostly because I missed a subway stop and had to backtrack, flew standby on a later flight that got delayed for two hours due to a broken seat, and am now in Las Vegas airport waiting for my reassigned connecting flight (that was neccesitated by the two hour delay) back to SF. Since I woke up this morning, I have been traveling for 12 hours now. However, the good news is that I got a few hours of sleep on the plane, and they showed The Incredibles, so I got that going for me.

Also, in case you’re curious, JFK has no WiFi at all, SFX has Verizon if you want to pay, and Las Vegas has free WiFi. Well, now they’re boarding, so I’m off.

Update: - 3:23pm - I made it, just landed 5 minutes ago, and now I’m BART bound. How much public transportation can one person take in one day – I believe I will have hit 5 different systems in 2 days. Thank you for following my short trip, I’ll try to get some pictures up pretty soon.

If you want to see my view on the subway and running for the plane this morning, and my view as I’m writing this, you can see my cell phone uploads on my Flickr Feed. OK, just snapped one of me and my laptop in the airport walkway. Enjoy, and I’ll talk to you later – possibly a podcast soon.

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