Saturday, 26 November 2005

Molly Holzschlag: London Geek Dinner 24 November 2005 - report and podcast








The London geek dinner for web design icon Molly Holzschlag, which I'd posted about before, was very well attended. Molly's blogged about it, and so has Ian Forrester, engineer not just of software but also of these events (yeah yeah, feeble I know).

I don't know if anyone else managed to get a better quality recording of her speech, but with the high ambient noise level and the fact that my recorder (my trusty Nokia 7710 smartphone/PDA) was about 5 feet away from Molly, it was a miracle that it ended up halfway intelligible.

So here's the (only just about comprehensible, sorry) Creative Commons-licensed MP3 of the speech by Molly and her partner Andy Clarke (I edited out a preamble plus the Q&A both for inaudibility, length plus there some bits which I felt they wouldn't want public):
(playable and taggable right from this blog courtesy of the cool Delicious Playtagger script)
Geekery: my 7710 records in the .AMR format commonly used for mobile phones, which I converted to WAV using Miksoft's free mobile AMR converter and then edited down. I did try to enhance the quality using Audacity before exporting it to MP3, but couldn't get it any better than the original - I'm no audio tweaking expert, any offers to do better or suggestions as to how to clean it up properly would be gratefully received). The pics posted here were also taken with my 7710 - no conversion needed.


The noise wasn't all from the other parts of the pub. I do wish people who go to dinners like these would just shut up for a few minutes while the guest gives the talk - if they want to chat over the speech then why bother attending, they could do that in some other pub and let the rest of us hear what the speaker has to say in peace (yes yes I plead guilty to having talked during other speeches before, myself. But quiet comments are not the same as loud chatter that threatens to drown out the speech or forces the speaker to raise the voice in order to be heard at all). </grump>

As Ian noted in his blog post, I've offered to bring in paraphernalia next time to help with audibility (translation: if you can't beat em, deafen em back) - though mini PA system is too grand a name for it. I've just got a cheapo Shure mike and tiny mains-powered Tascam guitar amp which can take a mic line in (and no I don't really play anymore and I was never much good anyway, though I still won't part with my Strat!).

And this is the inimitable Ian:


As Ian mentioned in his blog, we had a good chat about privacy and anonymity. While I don't think I say anything too controversial, and I never blog about my job, I just feel more able to speak freely if what I say clearly can't be blamed on anyone else but me! Plus, I don't really blog about myself, no personally identifiable information as they say - it's safer to be anonymous, on the stalker front (and I'm ugly as sin and ancient to boot, so really boys I'm not worth your time anyway).


Molly was delightful and great fun, though I didn't get to talk with her much as there was understandably quite a queue of people wanting to meet her. It was nice to see again some people from the last geek girl dinner, namely THE people who were going to these dinner seven before they were trendy (yep apparently they're trendy now), Deidre (who does EVERYthing, OK OK!) and Rachel. And I managed to meet a few other people too so, nicking the photo links from Flickr:
  • Dave "Fat Businessman" Thompson the Cambridge coder and his sister Elly, mild mannered architect by day, and yep you guessed it, web designer by night
  • Chris, yep another web designer
  • Laurent, still getting over not being Canadian
  • Barry, Microsoft technologies bloke and Thigh High Boots fan (though not the wearing of by himself personally, you understand, at least I don't think so...), I won't speculate as to whether the two might by any chance be related!
  • Dave ("NOT David!") the cucumber (or is that an aubergine?) Knell, and Java developer and shopaholic Marina (never did ask, but it's Italy I presume?), both of telecomms/premium rate outfit Coulomb
  • Sheila the librarian, who's got exactly the right idea about tags and taxonomies as far as I'm concerned, look at Delicious introducing tag bundles eh (sorry Ian.. maybe I'm a bit of a librarian at heart. Which is, of course, being geeky, not nerdy)
  • very briefly, Brightonians Jessica and Jeremy, and a few others whose names I didn't manage to get, sorry!
I gather Molly is back in London in February 2006 so hopefully there'll be another geek dinner then. It should be well worth going to. And if you think you're geeky, then you're geeky enough to attend!


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2 comments:

Ian Forrester said...

I couldnt go into details at the time because I really needed to circlate more (although I did spent a lot of time talking to Sheila later). But trust me, were not done yet :)

I'm looking forward to talking about the subject of taxonomies vs folksonmies next time. Hey if you guys are up for it, we could do it at the scoble geek dinner? Or some other time during dec.

Improbulus said...

Another time it will have to be then, Ian! Was good to chat a bit at the Scoble dinner.