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Live-Blogging vs. Live-Tweeting at Conferences [en]

Live-Blogging vs. Live-Tweeting at Conferences [en]

[fr] Live-tweeter une conférence, c'est l'équivalent d'être actif dans le backchannel IRC de la belle époque des conférences de blogs. Il n'y a rien de mal à ça, mais il ne faut pas confondre ça avec le live-blogging: en effet, passés quelques jours, semaines, mois ou même années, qui va replonger son nez dans le fouillis des tweets ou des logs IRC de telle ou telle journée? Comparez ça avec un article sur un blog, qui sera lu, relu, et encore relu -- qui conserve donc sa valeur une fois que l'excitation du temps réel est passée.

One of the things bloggers brought with them when they started attending conferences is live coverage. Unlike the traditional press, which would provide you with a summary of the proceedings the next day, bloggers would be madly photographing, taking notes, uploading, and hitting publish in the minutes following the end of a presentation.

Live-blogging was born.

(For my personal history with it, see my BlogTalk 2.0 posts (2004) about collaborative note-taking using SubEthaEdit and a wiki, and my notes of LIFT06 (2006). Real proper live-blogging had to wait until LIFT’07 and Martin Roell’s workshop on getting started with consulting (2007), however.)

Then Twitter showed up, and everybody started a-tweeting, and more particularly live-tweeting during conferences.

But live-tweeting does not replace live-blogging. It replaces the IRC backchannel, allowing people to comment on what is going on as it happens, and letting people who are not physically present take part in the fun.

(I’m not going to talk about backchannels here: they’re great, but can also have unpleasant consequences in certain situations. A whole series of blog posts could be devoted to them.)

So when bloggers at conferences neglect their blogs and spend all their time live-tweeting, they are in fact fooling around in the backchannel instead of doing what bloggers do, which is produce content which retains value months, sometimes years, after it was published.

Don’t get me wrong: live-tweeting is fine, so is participation in a more traditional IRC-based backchannel. But don’t confuse it with live-blogging.

Tweets of the moment, just like IRC conversations, tend to be great when consumed in real time. But as the days and weeks go by, they become just as pleasant to read as an IRC log. (Understand: not pleasant at all.)

So, dear bloggers, when you’re at a conference to provide coverage, do not forget who you are. Not everybody is a live-blogger, of course, and some produce very valuable writing about an event they attended once they are home and have allowed the dust to settle.

But tweeting does not replace blogging.

Do you think I got my point across, now? 😉

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Judging Talk Proposals for Conferences [en]

Judging Talk Proposals for Conferences [en]

[fr] Très difficile d'évaluer la qualité d'une proposition de conférence basé sur un résumé textuel (ce que je suis en train de faire à présent pour la conférence BlogTalk 2009 qui aura lieu à Jeju, en Corée du Sud). Il faudrait que les candidats donnent non seulement un descriptif écrit de leur proposition, mais aussi un court extrait vidéo (2-3 minutes), soit d'une conférence qu'ils ont déjà donnée, soit d'un "pitch" pour le sujet qu'ils proposent.

Just a passing thought, as I’m spending some time reviewing submissions for the upcoming BlogTalk 2009 conference in Jeju, South Korea.

Just as my proposal was reviewed (and rejected) last year, I am now on the other side of the fence, looking at proposal abstracts and trying to determine if they would make good presentations for the conference.

BlogTalk is an interesting conference, because it tries to bridge the academic and practitioner worlds. The submission process resulting from that led to some interesting discussions last year (academics are used to submitting papers all over the place and are paid for that, practitioners on the conference circuit are more used to being asked to come and talk) and as a result the process was modified somewhat for this year. Practitioners and academics alike submit a short abstract of their talk/paper/research, and people like me (the programme committee) review them.

What I am realizing, doing this, is that it is very hard to imagine if the proposals will produce good talks. I mean, I can judge if their content is interesting or not. I don’t know the people sending in the proposals, so I keep going from “ah, this could be really good if the speaker is competent” to “ew, if the speaker isn’t good this could be a nightmare”.

Already in my long-gone university days, I had understood that content is only half of the deal. Take great content but a crap speaker, you’ll lose half your audience (and I’m being nice).

In 2007 and 2008, I gave a fair amount of talks all over the place and organized my own conference. All this time on the “conference circuit” and amongst regular speakers led me to view it as something quite close to the entertainment business.

So, setting up a conference that will be successful means finding engaging speakers who will be able to talk about interesting topics. When I organized Going Solo (clearly a very different type of conference than BlogTalk, of course), I picked speakers I was familiar with and that I had already seen “in action”.

Back to screening proposals for conferences — of course, if you want an open process, you’re not going to know all the speakers. But how about asking candidates, alongside the written abstract, for a 2-3 minute video excerpt of them giving a talk, or pitching their proposal?

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Eliminatoires suisses du WIF: sponsoring et Suisse allemande [fr]

Eliminatoires suisses du WIF: sponsoring et Suisse allemande [fr]

Avez-vous entendu parler du WIF? Si vous êtes dans le monde de webdesign, vous devriez. En bref, il s’agit d’un concours international de webdesign par équipes qui a lieu tous les deux ans à Limoges, en France.

Les concurrents reçoivent le thème du concours le samedi à midi et travaillent d’arrache-pied durant 24 heures pour rendre leur participation avant le dimanche midi. Une ambiance incroyable et des projets dingues!

Vu le succès du concours-festival, les concurrents doivent se qualifier lors d’éliminatoires pour pouvoir se rendre à Limoges.

Julien Henzelin et Yann Lugrin de Liquid Concept, Yannik Messerli de la Junior Entreprise de l’EPFL et moi-même sommes en train de mettre sur pied les éliminatoires suisses pour 2010.

La préparation va bon train, mais il manque encore à notre fine équipe:

  • un ou des partenaires suisse-allemands, pour que les éliminatoires suisses ne se cassent pas la figure sur le Röstigraben
  • un responsable sponsoring (préparer avec nous les offres et les dossiers, et surtout, approcher les sponsors potentiels et conclure les contrats! — rémunéré, of course)

Si vous êtes intéressé ou que vous connaissez quelqu’un qui pourrait l’être, ou si vous désirez des précisions, n’attendez pas pour nous contacter!

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Mon barbecue se rapproche! [en]

Mon barbecue se rapproche! [en]

[fr] Saturday 11th July: my traditional birthday barbecue will take place by the lake.

Comme chaque année, je complote mon traditionnel barbecue d’anniversaire au bord du lac. Il est annoncé sur Facebook, mais pour ceux et celles d’entre vous parmi mes amis et connaissances qui n’utiliseraient pas encore ce merveilleux réseau social, voici quelques détails accessibles publiquement (je précise en passant à ceux de mes lecteurs que je n’ai jamais rencontrés, ou que je ne connais pas, qu’a priori mieux vaut venir au prochain apéro de l’eclau pour faire ma connaissance ;-)):

  • samedi 11 juillet 2009, dès 18h (oui, c’est le dernier soir de la Cité, rien ne nous empêche d’y finir; aussi, je serai sur place dès l’après-midi pour réserver la place, compagnie bienvenue)
  • barbecue canadien: amenez ce que vous désirez griller ainsi que quelque chose à partager (salade, apéro, boissons, desserts, etc…); je fournis le “matériel” ainsi qu’une bonne quantité de boissons sans alcool
  • amis/famille bienvenus: conjoints, tendres moitiés, enfants, amis de passage ou proche sont bienvenus (à quatre pattes également) — amenez frisbee, boules de pétanque, ou piscine gonflable si le coeur vous en dit
  • idée cadeau: c’est sans obligation aucune, mais comme on me demande régulièrement et que là j’ai une idée, je la partage avec vous: j’ai l’intention de m’offrir pour mes 35 ans un vélo d’appartement (pas très glamour, je sais) — vous me voyez venir? Offrez-moi une pédale, quelques centimètres de chaîne ou encore la poignée gauche du guidon 😉
  • RSVP: merci de vous inscrire, sur Facebook ou bien par e-mail (éventuellement dans les commentaires), histoire que je sache à peu près combien on sera!

Je crois que je n’ai rien oublié! Je me réjouis de vous revoir le 11!

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Today: Backup Awareness Day! [en]

Today: Backup Awareness Day! [en]

[fr] Aujourd'hui, comme le 24 de chaque mois, journée des sauvegardes. Faites les vôtres!

I haven’t done as much as I wanted around Backup Awareness Day yet (and even skipped last month because I was in the mountains at that time), but it will come during the next months.

Backup Awareness Day takes place on the 24th of each month and is the occasion to:

  • do your backups and set up automatic systems to keep your data safe
  • help and encourage others to do so by helping them and blogging about the importance of backups and backup techniques.

If like me you’re having a busy week (busy but good), at least take the time today to:

  • plug in that external hard drive and make sure Time Machine does a backup
  • export your WordPress blog
  • dump your MySQL database
  • if all else fails or is too complicated for you, copy your most precious document folders onto a thumb drive or an external hard drive.

More next month!

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Sortez vos agendas pour juin [fr]

Sortez vos agendas pour juin [fr]

[en] Not much writing, but a few dates. The next Bloggy Friday, eclau apéro and breakfast, my birthday barbecue. And where to sign up if I know you and you want a chance to go out on the lake with the boat.

C’est un peu la panne d’écriture ces temps-ci, non? Trois billets entamés mais pas finis, le soleil qui brille et m’incite plutôt à rester sur mon balcon avec le chat et un bon bouquin, le lac et la montagne qui m’appellent… Envie de faire autre chose que m’asseoir devant mon ordinateur, et de laisser au repos les divers combats qui souvent me poussent à prendre mon clavier.

En attendant, je vous invite à sortir vos agendas et à noter:

  • le Bloggy Friday du 5 juin à Lausanne (c’est vendredi!)
  • côté eclau, p’tit déj le 10 et apéro le 16
  • pour ceux de mes lecteurs qui sont aussi mes amis (en gros, si je vous connais aussi ;-)): mon traditionnel barbecue d’anniversaire aura lieu cette année le 11 juillet (plus d’infos suivra) et si vous voulez profiter des sorties en bateau, c’est par ici (une place de dispo entre autres le 12 juin pour descendre à Genève avant le Bol d’Or)

N’oubliez pas de bien profiter des longues et chaudes soirées de cette époque de l’année!

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Une série de dates [fr]

Une série de dates [fr]

[en] A few dates for local events around eclau.

Ce vendredi, 24 avril, c’est Backup Awareness Day. Publiez un article sur votre blog pour encourager vos lecteurs à faire leurs sauvegardes, aidez vos amis à le faire, et faites vos propres sauvegardes (ordinateur + sites!).

Vendredi 1er mai: Bloggy Friday à 20h, comme d’hab! (Je ne serai peut-être pas là, mais qu’à cela ne tienne…)

Lundi 4 mai: Website Pro Day 4 à l’eclau. On se retrouve dans un même espace physique pour une même mission: se consacrer à la mise à jour ou au dépoussiérage de notre site web professionel (ou de notre présence en ligne professionnelle). Inscrivez-vous ici sur Facebook.

Vendredi 15 mai: P’tit déj de l’eclau, ouvert à tous, il suffit de s’annoncer.

Mardi 16 juin: prochain apéro de l’eclau, notez déjà la date! (Apéro dînatoire, dès 18h.)

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Today is Backup Awareness Day! [en]

Today is Backup Awareness Day! [en]

Two months ago, on February 24th, I hit the wrong “Drop” button in PhpMyAdmin, resulting in the immediate deletion of the blog you’re reading. I didn’t know when I had last backed it up.

The story ends well, though it cost me (and others) many hours (days, actually) of work to get the whole of Climb to the Stars back online again.

I’ve always been careless about backups. Like many of you, probably. We can afford to be careless because accidents don’t happen very often, and as with Black Swans, we are under the mistaken belief that having been safe in the past will keep us safe in the future. Not so. As I like to repeat, the first time a disaster happens, well, it had never happened till then.

So, I’ve decided to declare the 24th of each month “Backup Awareness Day”. Here’s what it’s about:

  • Back up your files.
  • Back up your website.
  • Blog about the importance of backing up (sharing tips, stories, advice).
  • Tell your friends to back up.
  • Help your friends back up.
  • Put in place automatic backup systems.

Bottom-line: decrease the number of people who never back up, or back up so infrequently they’ll be in a real mess if things go wrong.

Now, perfectionism is the biggest enemy to getting things done. Backup Awareness Day does not mean that you have to do all this. Here are a few ideas to get your started (better a bad backup than no backup at all):

  • If Time Machine (or any other regular backup system you use for your computer) has been telling you it hasn’t done a backup in ages, stop what you’re doing right now and plug it in.
  • If you use WordPress, when was the last time you went to Tools > Export to make a quick backup? It’s not the best way to do it, but in my case, it saved CTTS.
  • Do you use something like Mozy to have a remote backup of your most important files? Time to sign up, maybe.
  • Are you working on important documents that exist only on your computer, which is never backed up? At the minimum, pick up a thumb drive and copy them onto it — or send yourself an e-mail with the files as attachment, if your e-mail is stored outside your computer (Gmail, for example).
  • Do you have an automatic backup set up for your database or website? Set some time aside on Backup Awareness Day to figure out cron.
  • When did you make the last dump of your MySQL database? Head over to PhpMyAdmin, or the command line (it’s mysqldump --opt -u user -p databasename > my-dirty-backup.sql)
  • Do you have the backup thing all figured out? Write a post for your readers with a few tips or tutorials to help them along. (Tag your posts “backupawarenessday” — I thought about “BAD” but that wasn’t really optimal ;-))

I’m hoping to develop the concept more over the coming months. If you have ideas, get in touch, and take note of Backup Awareness Day for the month of May: Sunday 24th!

(Now stop reading and go do a few backups.)

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Prochain Website Pro Day: fixons la date! [fr]

Prochain Website Pro Day: fixons la date! [fr]

[en] I've created a poll to help determine the next Website Pro Day -- a day where we meet up, and set aside time to work on our professional sites. Even if you're not in Lausanne, you can take part: work remotely or organise a local hub!

Mise à jour: ce sera le 4 mai!

An Afternoon in San Francisco 85 Après WPD1, WPD2, WPD3 — il est temps de penser à WPD4! Si vous êtes intéressés, vous avez votre mot à dire pour fixer la date

WPD? Website Pro Day:

Si vous êtes un peu comme moi (consultant/indépendant dans le domaine du web) vous avez probablement quelque part un site professionnel qui erre, l’âme en peine, attendant depuis une année qu’on veuille bien s’occuper de lui.

Eh oui, comme on dit, c’est les cordonniers les plus mal chaussés, et les professionnels de la communication web qui ont les sites-vitrine les moins à jour. Pas pour rien qu’on recommande le blog, c’est beaucoup plus facile à entretenir, comme format.

Donc, pour la quatrième fois, on va remettre ça: prendre une journée, la bloquer, lui mettre des pare-feu, et la consacrer à la remise en ordre de notre présence professionnelle en ligne. Pour les Lausannois, je vous invite à venir le faire à l’eclau!

Si la formule vous paraît convenir, prenez donc une minute pour noter dans ce doodle vos disponibilités. Je communiquerai prochainement la date retenue!

Nombre minimum de participants: 2 🙂

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A Week After Ada Lovelace Day (ALD09) [en]

A Week After Ada Lovelace Day (ALD09) [en]

[fr] La Journée Ada Lovelace a été un grand succès, avec une participation dépassant les espérances. Je voudrais remercier tout particulièrement ceux et celles qui m'ont choisie comme sujet de leur article pour cette journée: Jean-Christophe, Michel, Graham, Stéphanie, Baud, et Delphine. On se retrouve l'année prochaine!

Oh heck, it’s been a week without a blog post on CTTS again. Maybe one day somebody will write a WordPress plugin to send reminders to over-busy bloggers like me. I had decided to write a post this morning before starting my work for the day, so here we are: a summary-roundup with a few post-event thoughts for Ada Lovelace Day.

First, it was a huge success. Nearly 2000 people signed the pledge. (Not that many have marked it as completed, but to be honest, I almost forgot myself, and a friend of mine had quite a lot of trouble figuring out how to mark her pledge as completed…) 1400 people signed up for the event on Facebook. On the day itself, #ald09 was trending nicely on Twitter (see Twitter search page screenshot). About 1000 people added their blog post to the Ada Lovelace Collection (the database needs cleaning up though, so if you are comfy with databases and have a little time to space, do let us know). Not everybody signed up everywhere, so the real numbers are somewhere in the middle.

I spent the day on Twitter, mainly (and writing my blog post about Marie Curie, in French). I was really impressed with the number of people taking part in ALD09, tweeting and blogging about it — clearly, the event had critical mass in the blogosphere. Many of the women blogged about were unknown to me, proof of how useful it is to sing our unsung heroines of tech and blog about these women who can then become role-models for more of us. I had a great time hopping from blog to blog reading about the Ada Lovelaces of today.

If you’d like to read some posts, the Ada Lovelace Day Collection is of course a great place to start. People have posted links to their posts on Twitter, on the Facebook event wall, in the pledge comments, and you can also go digging in Technorati or Google blogsearch. And if you have to check out only one of the creations for this day, go and look at Sydney Padua‘s web comic about Ada Lovelace, part 1 and part 2. I guarantee you’ll like it!

I’d like to thank Suw for having the brilliant idea behind Ada Lovelace Day, and organizing it. I’d also like to thank those of you who picked me as their “woman to blog about” on Ada Lovelace Day — I’m very honoured, humbled, happy, proud, and a little embarrassed. So, a particular thanks to Jean-Christophe, Michel, Graham, Stéphanie, Baud, Delphine, who chose me for Ada Lovelace Day, alone or alongside others. Thanks also to Henriette, Lyonel, and Luis who have included me in their posts and lists for ALD09.

See you next year!

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