[FM Discuss] TOC 3
adam at flossmanuals.net
Mon Feb 23 23:19:14 PST 2009
the review part 3...
the panel I attended next at OReillys Tools of Change was "A better web
based book". It struck me at this event that the same mistakes are made
in big conferences as small ones. This panel had some issues:
* the panel all were interesting but no one had enough time to
articulate their ideas
* the title sounded better than the substance investigated
* the chairperson was weak
In addition, despite it being a huge event, there was no microphone for
the audience. so when questions were asked from the floor the
chairperson couldnt hear them, and when they did they had to repeat the
question for the rest of the audience. This is really crasy. I think at
'Conference School' on the first day they teach you that you should
always have a mic for the audience. This situation continued for the
rest of the event.
Anyways, the panel was kinda lame. Ben and Dave Gray had some good
moments - they both are very interesting, but they didn't have enough
time to get their ideas out there. Ben from the Future of the Book
Institute had some great lines, and Dave Grey had some interesting
points but the rest of the panel was kinda mummified. Ben stuck up for
books, saying that they represent silent space, and also that they are
'decisive punctuation points' - valuable archives and milestones.
Ben also had a nice rant about e-readers starting to look like books,
the have functionality that emulates books, except they aren't books,
they are the "avatar of books" - almost good enough but fundamentally
not quite satisfying.
Some people from Booklite (an online reader) said they found that page
numbers weren't useful on the web (doh!). Actually, I dont do the
Booklite people justice, there points were quite subtle and I enjoyed
them for that.
Dave Gray is a guy who heads up a site called 'the unbook' -
The discussion is interesting on their list, but I find Daves technique
for producing books more interesting - essentially he uses powerpoint to
author his books. Dave creates his book solely using powerpoint - lays
out the images, applies the text, and then because powerpoint exports to
PDF...print-on-demand ready...the same could be done with OpenOffices
To end the day were presentations by Jeff Jarvis and Sara Lloyd. These I
cant even remember. The Jason Freid from 37 signals took the stage. He
was interesting but I'm not sure how much of his presentation to
believe. Essentially Jason took the line of (to paraphrase
extensively) : "hey, I made a million bucks without even trying, i
didn't need a publisher, i didn't need to know anything, I didn't even
need to write it - it sorta just wrote itself - its easy, you can do it,
i hardly even noticed that i made a million, and y'know - a million is
still a lot of money."
ok. so the points he made that were interesting came down to :
* you might not realise that you have information that would make a good
* if you have an audience already, then a book is easy to peddle
* workshops and books feed into each other
he had a nice line "when you make something there is always a
by-product". I think his point was really to think about what
information you generate doing what you do, and see if you can
'monetise' that. His way of monetising was to write a book about his
experiences in software development and sell it.
Next was the Espresso Book guy (err...I am writing this offline so cant
look up his name). He started strong, coming on like an eccentric
academic, zooming out and making all the commercial blather seem
frivilous. We are dealing with books after all, the technology that
brought us the modern world. It was good until he started going on about
"so we need to protect the book" which lead into a rant in favor of DRM.
Hmmm...I was so enjoyed the larger-picture perspective that I almost
Then, to cap the day. FLOSS Manuals had its big moment - the TOC
Lightening Talks featuring 12 newbies including yours truly. Well, TOC
fumbled the ball on this occasion. The talks were not scheduled until
1930 and then everyone had gone to dinner, and those that didnt were in
other 'break out' events scheduled at the same time. Still, we had about
30 people. I was the only non-suit, championing the FLOSS Manuals "Free
Manuals for Free Software" t-shirt, I took the stage and in 5 minutes
gave a run down on Book Sprints and what we are doing in terms of social
writing experiments. I think I did well, and had good feedback after. I
also met Tim OReilly at the end of it and gave him a copy of the
Bypassing Internet Censorship book.
Then I actually finally felt that I had a place in this context. For the
last day and a bit I had felt a little like an outsider to this event,
and then having the opportunity to talk about what we do was a way of
inserting myself into this context.
Anyways, then I went home...the final days coverage coming in the final
episode of 'TOC a review...'
Founder FLOSS Manuals
German mobile : + 49 15 2230 54563
Email : adam at flossmanuals.net
"Free manuals for free software"
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