I was a Barcamp virgin
This was my first time at Barcamp Auckland, now in its fourth year. After surviving the trip through the suburban hell that is Botany Downs, I made it to the venue. Clever young organiser chap Ludwig Wendzich introduced the day, noting that he had high hopes that, unlike every previous barcamp, the fire alarm wouldn’t go off this year. Thirty minutes later the fire alarm went off. The enterprising boy scout John Ballinger leapt up, hollering “I’ve got Gaffa tape” (he came prepared) and quickly covered the problem with tape. Merit badge for you, buddy.
The day is made up of talks put together by the participants. I heard all about Wikipediaphobia – academics who cower in fear of Wikipedia, instead of embracing it; how the arrival of digital TV standards have resulted not in one universal format, but five formats globally. Prior to the arrival of digital, we had two standards. TV fail.
There was the 7 x 5 rapid-fire talks (five minutes each), with some spectacular displays of augmented reality, and a great talk from Mike Dickison on a project at the University of Maryland, US, called A Day Without Media, which included funny quotes from participating students, suggesting that young folk have a hard time unplugging from the matrix. “Email is the only kind of mail I’ve ever sent”. “Sometimes I check weather.com to see if it’s raining outside”. “I only use newspapers to clean my windows”.
I also jumped in the thick of it and delivered a talk on LP cover art (example pictured here) and how Steve Jobs almost killed it, thanks to iTunes and its minimalist thumbnail cover art. The slides are here if you want to take a look.
Five things to do with a bumper if you’re willing to risk getting cut off
This week the iPad, next week the iPhone 4. It's like an Apple invasion. For those who have just this second landed in the country, the hot news is that the iPad goes on sale today, and the iPhone 4 next week. Pricing plans by official distributor Vodafone on the iPhone 4 have yet to be announced, as is confirmation that it will be sold with a “bumper” – a case that protects the exterior antenna.
As the bumper is an aesthetic compromise, we're not convinced that too many iPhone 4 owners will be willing to disguise the fact they’re touting the most talked about phone it the world. So what can you do with a spare bumper? Here’s a quick guide:
- Hair tie.
- Office arsenal (pop your head above the cubicle partition, aim, fire, duck).
- Bicycle clip.
- DIY stomach stapling (cut open your flesh and wrap the bumper around your stomach).
- Nudge the vehicle in front of you when the traffic light turns green.
It's all in the subtitles
Share and share alike
Would an outbreak of cooperation ever occur in the local telco market? That's the question posed as 700MHz spectrum becomes available in the 2015 (or possibly earlier), and a national roll out of 4G mobile services becomes viable. 4G offers data speeds of up to 100Mbps and, as one telco vendor described it to Computerworld this week, it is not so much a “step change” from 3G, but a “forklift change”.
But (oh, you know there's a But) it's expensive to deploy and according to 2degrees CTO Mike Goss, there's only enough spectrum for two networks. Which is a problem in a country with three network owners (OK, two-and-a-half network owners, but 2degrees is getting there).
The answer could lie in network sharing, although according to Network Strategies director Suella Hansen, while mobile operators share cell site and towers, there are few examples globally of them sharing base stations, antennae or spectrum.