Fun, if somewhat pointless 🙂
Fun, if somewhat pointless 🙂
If you haven’t already looked, Singularity is a web conference planned for later this year. It’ll be a large multi-day, multi-track conference involving 100 speakers. What is different though is that the whole thing will be completely web-based. There’ll be no travelling expenses, no hotel costs, no food costs (though cheap-skate events like Flash on the Beach didn’t both providing food either, so maybe that isn’t a valid advantage) and no event hire. Of of this should keep the costs – and so ticket prices – low. Due to the lack of travel, the event also scores “green points”, as it will have a low carbon footprint.
There are downsides to all this though. At a “real” conference, there is a buzz that will be near-impossible to recreate online. The crowds; the venue itself; the speakers on stage talking to; and responding to, an audience sat before them. All of these things set the scene. Then there is the face to face contact with other delegates, the chance to talk to product suppliers, potential customers and the speakers themselves. Finally there are products to try, books to browse and freebies to collect. Compare all that with being sat at your desk at weork, headphones on, watching a podcast and communicating via twitter or comments on someone’s blog. There will be none of the buzz, just interruptions, distractions and boredom will easily set in. Just as sitting at home by oneself watching Lord of the Rings on a 12″ portable TV will never be comparable with going to watch it in a packed cinema, so online events will never be comparable with real conferences.
Of course there is a big advantage to an online conference too. With a normal event, typically one or two people from a company attend due to the costs. With a webcast though, a whole department can sit in a meeting room with a laptop and projector and watch the speech. Whilst real conferences often put videos of the speeches online, the speaker spoke to the audience, not the camera and the video often doesn’t work very well. Speeches designed for online broadcast from the outset ought to work much better.
So all in all, I am cautiously optimistic about this event and will be watching its development over the coming months with interest.
So another “almost great news” announcement from Microsoft then.
So four days ago I signed up for a ClustrMaps map, linked to to the site and waited. After four days, I’ve had a total of 68 visitors (not sure if that is unique visitors, I’ve a suspicion that the majority are me if not). Not a brilliant number, but the amount I’d expect after such a short time. The thing that surprised me though were the locations people were from: various parts of Europe, the USA, Canada and even India. It is all too easy to take the world for granted these days, but I still find it really amazing that someone on the other side of the planet might have found their way here.
So if you are one of those people who live outside of the UK and who have stumbled across this blog, please add a comment to this post to let me know where you are from and how you found me.
Of course in true “emperor with no clothes” style, people seem unwilling to point out the obvious: the web browser is a really clunky naff way of supplying the power of office tools, but since when has common sense ever stopped people? I don’t think it is all a bad thing though, as the desire to run desktop apps within a browser is pushing the development of Silverlight, Flash, AIR and the like. And the collaborative features of the Google spreadsheet program should hopefully push “real” office apps in the same direction. Sometimes a funny idea can have great consequences.