For the fifth year in a row I am an invited participant at Balticon, the annual convention of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. My impressive tenure (i.e. chair warming behind a mic in my home studio for six years this June) has earned me a coveted spot on the New Media track schedule.
My panel schedule this year is lighter than in years past but includes reprisals of two of my favorites. On top of my official participation, I will be volunteering on behalf of the con’s official podcast to help record author readings. This is one of the reasons I love volunteering at Balticon, getting to meet authors of every stripe and level of achievement. As an averred SF reader hearing them read selections of their works in their own voices is excellent compensation for the time and effort spent helping to record them for posterity.
- Brewing Your Own Beer at Home
Saturday, 1PM to 2PM in Derby
“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” – Benjamin Franklin
Our panelist of novice and master home brewers take you through the basics of making your own craft brews at home. They will also explore the DIY philosophy that got them involved in home brewing, podcasting, open source software, etc.
- Copyright in the Digital Age
Saturday, 2PM to 3PM in Derby
What you don’t know is costing you moneyA discussion of the benefits and dangers surrounding cultural production on a globalized, digital platform. Technology has a long history of shaping our cultural arts. Around 1900, technological reproduction had reached a standard that permitted it to tangibly reproduce all known works of art, profoundly modifying their role and effect in the artistic process. Laws were made to strike a balance between an individual artist’s incentive to create, and the virtues of a public domain, where others can experiment and improve upon previous ideas. In today’s “Digital Age”– an era defined by the ability to make copies and share information at the speed of light– art, music and literature that participate in the online ecosystem are being perceived differently, taking on a new aura. Ironically, the artistic material that is produced and shared online; that which forsakes the Barnes and Nobles and Virgin records shelves to exist only in non-tangible form, is now deemed “Content,” rather than art. But “content” implies that it is a thing– that it can be contained, bought and sold. What consequences might this re-branding of art and creative work hold for future generations? What is the fate of our cultural creative commons?
- Open Source Software for Everyday Use
Sunday, 2PM to 3PM in Derby
What we use at home and at work to free us from software giantsDo you feel that your creativity is held back because you can’t afford programs like Photoshop, Final Cut, or Microsoft Office? Our panel of experts have freed themselves from the bonds of expensive closed software ecosystems and you can too. Whether you’re just fed up, want to try new things, or can’t afford to pick up the software you want, there is an open source alternative available to you. Find out what packages our panelist use, how to find software that fits your need, and how to join the amazing communities that spring up around open source software.
Chances are you probably use some OSS, and you don’t even know it. Our panel of open source developers and evangelists discuss the facts and help you find the OSS packages that can free you from outrageously high costs, bizarre licensing practices, and poor interface design. Come and learn ways to save yourself money, improve your productivity, and secure your computer. You don’t have time or money to ignore OSS anymore. Set yourself free.
In addition to my official commitments and volunteering, once again I will be convening the FLOSS and tech geek BoF. My co-host and the producer of the Living Proof Brew Cast and I will probably host the BYOBS for beer geeks and home brewers again though we haven’t discussed the details yet. I am positive it will be by invitation only like last time so come and find either John or I early in the convention to receive the nod and learn the location.