I’m currently on my way home from the Open Tech Conference in London. Whilst I don’t really have anything to offer in terms of technical ability (my learning to program is coming along nicely but it’s not really at the level where I can do anything useful), it was still a very interesting and informative day.
I very much enjoyed Bill Thompson’s talk on the preservation of information for future generations. The idea of digitising information like books, film, music and more makes perfect sense. Wasn’t that something that was predicted years and years ago – that we would have access to everything ever written from our computers?
I suppose the idea of electronically archiving everything, especially books, resonates with me particularly because Jordan is starting on her career as a librarian and this is where I think the vast majority of her time will be spent later in life as physical book libraries become rarer. Much of her time at the moment is spent borrowing books and other works from different libraries for students. Wouldn’t it be much easier if everything was accessible online (as long it was tagged with the correct metadata)?
Another talk I found interesting was by Tom Chatfield, Alice Taylor and Cory Doctorow that looked at gaming, social gaming in particular, and how it can be used for good. Alice Taylor works in the educational gaming side of Channel 4 which is a part of their public remit output. They create games that teach children and teenagers about topics such as sex, drugs and privacy. You can’t help but think about those awful educational games they had on school computers but some of them sounded very exciting. I might take a look when I get home.
There were a lot of talks about how gamers will perform repetitive tasks for hours on end with only the reward of ethereal items as compensation and hypothesising how this could be put to good use in society.
It was a good experience hearing intelligent people talk about gaming seriously and it’s made me want to look into other more game orientated talks.
I also listened to Dave Cross speak about modern Perl which has given me a few things to look at. His talk was only 20 minutes which was annoying as I would have liked to hear a bit more about the modules discussed. This ties a little into my progression in learning Perl so I might write a separate post about it all.
Overall it was definitely worthwhile and I think I should try to keep up with the tech community with these kinds of events as it helps broaden my understanding of the industry.
So this has been written on my iPhone so please excuse any weird auto corrections. I must say though that the new system wide spell check is a real winner and possibly one of my favourite additions in iOS4!