Scott Hanselman

Going to Foo Camp 2007

May 31, 2007 Comment on this post [12] Posted in Musings | Speaking
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I received and accepted an invitation to go to O'Reilly's "Foo Camp" 07, being held in Sebastopol, CA, north of San Fransisco. Here's the schpeal:

We've invited about 250 Friends Of O'Reilly (aka Foo), people who're doing interesting works in fields such as web services, data visualization and search, open source programming, computer security, hardware hacking, GPS, alternative energy, and all manner of emerging technologies to share their works-in-progress, show off the latest tech toys and hardware hacks, and tackle challenging problems together. We'll have some planned activities, but much of the agenda will be determined by you. We'll provide space, electricity, a wireless network, and a wiki. You bring your ideas, enthusiasms, and projects. We all get to know each other better, and hopefully come up with some cool ideas about how to change the world.

There's about 250 folks going, and the list of "foo campers" is pretty cool. I'm going to have trouble keeping track of everyone, as the all seem so darned interesting.

One important thing about Foo Camp it seems, is that every attendee should be prepared to demo something that they are working on. This is, of course, where paralysis sets in. Here's their list of suggested sessions so far.

I like the sound of these:

  • Islam 2.0 - Understanding the intersection between spirituality and computing...creating 'life services' for Muslims (Imran Ali).
  • Using Improvisation to spur creativity and generate ideas (Kent Nichols, Douglas Sarine)

I'm hoping to record a number of Podcasts for folks to enjoy, and perhaps just conversations with cool people.

Help me, what sessions should I come to chat about? Here's some ideas I have so far...yours are appreciated as I'm only as clever as the sum of all of you. ;)

  • Carrying Water from the River to the Internet Cafe - Is Africa skipping a step on the technology road? How can The Continent avoid Brain Drain and support a new middle class of knowledge workers when there's no infrastructure to support them?
  • Using The Social Web to Improve Diabetes Care - What can the medical industry learn from Web 2.0 to provide better care for those with life-long chronic illnesses likes Diabetes?
  • How Important is NOT-English on The Web? - Will the Internet end up like the movie Serenity with just English and Mandarin? Or perhaps English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, Hindi and Arabic? Is there value in supporting a Web with pages in Amharic? Sioux? Zulu?
  • I left my Brain in my Other Pants or Where do you store yourself? or Techniques and Synchronization of your iLife or Mashing up your Life - Between email, contacts, calendars, freebusy information, documents, medical info, bills, accounts, my life is an exercise in synchronization...without an authoritative source. Who will be my cloud and can I trust them?

That's all I've got off the top of my head...What ideas do you have for me, Dear Reader? If you've gone to this event before, what tips can you offer me?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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May 31, 2007 2:20
Hi Scott,

In the letter above it said, "We've invited...people who're doing interesting share their works-in-progress, show off the latest tech toys and hardware hacks, and tackle challenging problems together."

Curious - did they have anything specific in mind as far as things they knew you were working on?
May 31, 2007 2:22
BTW, I meant to say congrats, this is a great honor and recognition.

May 31, 2007 2:33
LOL, Matt, nice save. ;) I'm not sure what they think I'm working on. I've been exploring diabetes and technology for a while, blogging for a while, podcasting for a while, I'm interested in language, culture (others), travel, blogging. Who knows.

I figured if it's a fluke, I'll just enjoy myself and watch it all unfold.
May 31, 2007 2:41
Scott, congratulations, of course. The topic of Africa sounds really interesting. In my humble opinion the main problem is not the lack of infrastructure per se, but the general economic conditions. Do you know why those conditions deteriorated so much in the past 30-40 years? I saw data somewhere that average life expectancy in several African countries dropped from about 60 years in the 70ties to about 30 years now (this means, among other things, that if you and I were living in one of those countries we likely would not be able to have this conversation simply because we would be dead at the advanced age of 30-something)
May 31, 2007 4:31
Hey, no fair! Seriously, though, congratulations!

I suggest you do something around diabetes. Talk about your pump's UI, how it could be better, how tech makes life better for people, how much more there is to do, twittering your diabetes, etc.
May 31, 2007 4:58
I would love to hear more about life synchronization and "I left my Brain in my Other Pants". I'm getting into GTD and am still trying to figure out how to reduce the number of inboxes, project lists, and action lists. As a software developer, there's also the bug tracker as a source to sync for action items.
May 31, 2007 7:44
All those ideas sound very interesting, but as a Type 1 I'm sure you can guess which piques my interest.

I've been thinking about similar themes recently myself. I keep entertaining thoughts that somehow there is a way to connect all these great new emerging technologies with everyday Diabetes care. The kind that would change my "day-to-day" of Diabetes.

More ways to share information between other Diabetics? Raising awareness to those at risk? Better interfaces between the various gadgets, and the computer (the rest of the world?).

May 31, 2007 15:47
Wow Scott. Can I be envious for just a moment.
OK. I think you can guess which one has my vote. Using the social web to improve diabetes care. I'll bet many(most) of the folks attending have no idea how much is spent worldwide on diabetes care, and what a large proportion of healthcare spending it is.

Did you see my note about <a href=">Adam Bosworth</a> of Google and his talk about putting health into our own hands? I think the social web fits right into the theme he talked about.

Manny Hernandez has started TuDiabetes, and that's the first social network specifically for diabetes that I've seen. Plus there are the sites like SugarStats.comm and that (I think) are part of this new equation.

Lots to talk about. Maybe you'll need to do one of those Pecha Kucha presentations!

Have fun! Try to record some podcasts while you're there.
May 31, 2007 21:44
Where do you store yourself? sounds interesting. Great topic for a podcast as well, though you've touched on some of that stuff before. One particular problem I still struggle with is password management... Do I use the same password for many sites/services (reducing security), use simple passwords (reducing security), write them down (reducing security), or maybe use some third party tool like Password Safe to store them encrypted and protected by a master password on a computer (reducing portability)?
June 01, 2007 22:47
Even as a non-diabetic, I've gotta say that your day of Twittering your diabetes was compelling, shocking, eye-opening and a whole bunch of other 'ing's that add up to a big dose of awareness. There's rich ground there in the nexus of healthcare, narrative, and social bonding. The potential of creating feedback loops between patients, their healthcare providers and the communities supporting each has barely been tinkered with.

Have fun.
June 03, 2007 12:50
The best tip I can offer you, and the best contribution you could make? Easy: Don't go.

It's the aristocracy of this decade. It's bound to be derided in history. It offer nothing... repeat, NOTHING, to anyone other than the aristocrats who can't believe their luck and go. The ultimate ego-trip. Enjoy.
June 04, 2007 6:55
I think that's "spiel" not "schpeal" (hey, you're the one with the "Does Spelling Matter?" post).

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.