TCLP 2009-09-30 Copyright Panel at D*C 2009

This is a feature cast.

In the intro, a correction from Randal on the correct pronunciation of “Kernighan”. Also, Gail Martin interviewed me for her podcast, Ghost in the Machine. We chatted about peer media, open content and media advocacy. You can download the interview or subscribe to her feed, she interviews many other fascinating, aspiring authors on her show.

I’m going to push off on listener feedback until next week. Also, no hacker word of the week for the same reason, the length of the feature.

The feature this week is the recording of the “Creative Commons and Legal Issues” panel from the podcasting track at Dragon*Con 2009, otherwise known simply as the copyright panel. I was joined by Thomas Vincent, Randy Chertkow of Beatnik Turtle, and Courtney Lytle Perry. This is the third time Randy and Courtney have joined me for this panel and it was a sheer pleasure. The audio is a little over driven, we were having speaker issues this year, but I think I managed to get things a bit under control.

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There are no detailed show notes this week. You can also grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

TCLP 2009-09-13 News

This is news cast 190.

In the intro, a reminder I will be speaking at the Maryland Ubuntu Loco for Software Freedom Day on the 19th. That will be at the Miller Branch of the Howard County Library. You can visit that second link to find an event in your area or to register to host your own.

I also share a few thoughts on my experiences at this year’s Dragon*Con including a round of thanks. First, thanks to my follow volunteers: Swoopy, Sam Chupp, Laura Ross, Andrew Wilson, Kreg Steppe and Jonathan Strickland. A special thanks to my room mates for the weekend, the hosts of Technorama, Chuck Tomasi and Kreg Steppe. There wasn’t time to thank them in the intro but I also wanted to thank my friends Chooch and Viv (of the COH Podcast and Into the Blender) who dragged me away from the podcast track to make sure I ate, saw the rest of the con and socialized (mostly with them and their own room mates, P.G. Holyfield and Patrick McLean.)

I documented my experiences at the con extensively on the blog and may still try to sum up my experiences for this year, beyond just that journal of events.

This week’s security alerts are Windows 7 restores a vintage remote BSoD and researchers discover the first Linux web server based botnet.

In this week’s news emulating scarce property in an attempt to improve on DRM, Boyle’s thoughts on the copyright black hole and the Google Books settlement, why motivation may matter to artificial intelligence which reminds me of my own ruminations on love, sex and artificial intelligence, and reliable remote file deletion in the cloud.

Following up this week just i4i’s side of the story about its patent claims against Microsoft.

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Grab the detailed show notes with time offsets and additional links either as PDF or OPML. You can also grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Dragon*Con 2009, Day 4

I had no formal volunteer commitments on the last day of the convention. That is just as well since between checkout and needing to get Chuck to the airport, I barely had time to check in with Swoopy and say good bye. Kreg and I decided the best plan was for me to circle back and pick him up to get going. Re-parking the car would be too much hassle given the wait times for the valet on the main departure day. We wouldn’t gain any real time to either help with the load out or spend a few more last minutes with friends. Not if Kreg wanted to get home at a decent hour and I wanted to push on to a past halfway stopping point for the night.

After almost an entire day on the road, I am now happily ensconced in a road side hotel. I am obviously back online after an entire day off. The wired, high speed internet access at the Marriott is not free. We decided not to pay for another day since the last day we would only need it for a few hours. So I was not able to tweet my departure or post my day 3 wrap up until just now. (I returned to the room Saturday night/Sunday morning at 3AM and was too tired to write it up then.)

I still have much catch up to do but it can wait until I get home. My plan is to head out bright and early. I hope to be home in time to still have half a day to unpack, rest and get a bit of work done. I’d like to get my interview with Randy from Beatnik Turtle out this week, though no promises. I have a total of I think over two hundred photos to sift through, organize, clean up, cherry pick and then post. I have been marking quite a few of my feeds as read but still have a small reserve I do want to work through to get back on the daily posting horse as well as have some material for this weekend’s show.

I may also try to pull together some final thoughts on the con. It also marks the end of my planned con outings for 2009, what I call my con season. I closed with the most important thought in my last post, the one for day three, but there are a few other things bouncing around my brain, quite a few of them just some humor and randomness that I might like to document. Not now, though. Now, I am looking forward to a full night’s sleep, in a bed and a room I have all to myself. I am also looking forward to returning to my family tomorrow who I have been missing very much, especially yesterday and today.

Dragon*Con 2009, Day 3

The first panel I covered in my morning shift was the live What the Cast. This is one of my favorite non-technical podcasts, I find it pain inducingly funny. It is put out by four friends who have been working as staff for Dragon*Con for years. They are all also involved with the writing, production and running of Dragon*Con TV, though not exclusively responsible for it.

If you caught the live show last year, I think this year’s show was even funnier. I do fear that the humor may not work as well after the fact as just hearing it is not the same as also being able to see these four very smarty and witty guys riff. I didn’t see a camera but wasn’t looking too hard. If they release video, watch that if you can over just listening to the audio.

The other panel I supported was the gaming podcasts panel. My dear friends Chooch and Viv were on that panel. Viv was concerned about her last minute substitution for Veronica Belmont who had a travel conflict. For what it is worth, I did not see a single disappointed face in the audience to see her rather than Veronica. Quite the contrary, several fans of the City of Heroes podcast were there specifically to see her and Chooch. The panel itself covered a lot of ground and I think went reasonably well overall.

After my shift, I again joined my friends for shopping in the dealer rooms. We made it through the second of the three. I had a mission, very specific instructions on what would constitute an acceptable tee-shirt for me to acquire for Andrea. I think I succeeded but will find out tomorrow.

I specifically was looking for the expansion of Pandemic, the board game I reviewed on the podcast a while ago and which I have been helping to spread virally (heh) among my friends. P.G. Holyfield found it (sunuvabitch!) and the last box, too. He and I agreed that Viv, who was also looking for it, should have the copy if it was indeed the last one. A bigger sacrifice from P.G. since Viv acquiring it is really more of an excuse for Andrea and I to visit with her and Chooch.

After the group split up again, I grabbed a very belated lunch and took it back to the room. I managed to grab my first nap all weekend after eating. I also was able to coordinate with Randy of Beatnik Turtle on a time to meet and record an interview. It is definitely now a tradition, three years in a row not only has he been on my copyright panel, but we’ve sat down for a series of great interviews discussion indie music, open content, and this year a bit of tech, too. I missed Jason and Tom but totally forgive them given their prior travel commitments.

On the way to searching for some dinner, Randy and I then stopped by the meetup for The Weird Show, a podcast hosted and produced by Mark, the encaffeinated one. I saw some familiar faces and made some new acquaintances. We were late to the gathering and a bit far from the goings on. I totally support the observation made by I think Chuck or Kreg, that if Mark can draw such a large group for an ad hoc event, we need to get a panel or live show into the proper programming for him.

I got a text from Podcasting’s Rich Sigfrit that he was doing geek trivia right after The Weird Show’s meetup disbursed, so we popped in to say hi and check that out. Thankfully, Rich had set it up in one of the hotel restaurants, so Randy and I were able to order some food and participate in yet another awesome, off program event. The Geek Radio Daily guys sponsored this one, putting up a prize for the winner. Due to a couple of technicalities, I managed to snag that prize, a very fine GRD tee-shirt. Also, the lovely and talented Flynnstress announced that due to a very generous donation from a GRD listener, the food and drink ordered by the trivia participants was being covered by the GRD crew.

Unfortunately, due to slow service at the restaurant, no fault whatsoever of the fine folks at GRD, I was late for my next panel of interest. Chuck and Kreg were doing a cast appearance on Clint’s live Comedy 4 Cast. I missed the first half, but did manage to catch their bit and witness them breaking Swoopy into fits of hysterical laughter with the force of their comedy.

The last thing I wanted to try to see was the EFF track’s annual party, the Mad Scientists’ Ball. I gathered with a few friends and we made the trek over to the Hyatt. We were met with an obscene line due to the room being at capacity. We decided to bag it and were going to regroup and hit a room party, one rumored to have an staggering variety of fine, single malt scotch. The marshaling point, Chooch and Viv’s room, turned into a bit of a room party in its own right and we didn’t make it any further. I was very happy to get to spend so much time with my friends Sunday, especially Chooch and Viv.

I think Sunday was the most socializing I have managed in a single day at Dragon*Con in years, most of it unplanned. For me, it is positive reinforcement for a set of realizations I had before and at Dragon*Con. I personally am having far more fun at conventions, even with my volunteer commitments, by letting go of all but my most basic plans and expectations. It has been far more rewarding to follow my experiences where they take me, including the utterly unexpected. There will always be another con or gathering and with enough time, I can get to hang out with all of my friends. Driving myself to distraction though in trying to force that has completely ruined my con experience in the past. This has been a key epiphany, one that has yielded an immediate improvement in my outlook and my enjoyment of conventions over this past season.

Dragon*Con 2009, Day 2

I had the early volunteer shift again Saturday (and will have it again Sunday). I moderated both panels during my shift.

I was incredibly nervous on the first one and chose to stand with a wireless mic and act more to prompt the panelists and pass the mic as needed. The panel was on making your podcast sound better. The panelists were George Hrab, Slau, and Patrick McLean. Two incredibly talented musicians and one of the finest story tellers in podcasting in my opinion.

I appreciate and am flattered by my friends who thought I was an equally qualified panelist but when it comes to audio engineering, I am a dabbler. I do only as much audio engineering as is required to make my show of the quality to which I prefer listening. That happens to be a pretty high bar but I do not think it compares to folks who make their living via audio and/or performance. The skills that I do possess and have developed to an comparably advanced degree weren’t applicable to the topic at hand.

That being said, I was tickled to finally hear what is usually a commonly asked questions panel for podcasters actually cover the mechanics of vocal performance in a way I can apply to what I do. And to hear solid emphasis placed on being passionate and interested in your topic well above and beyond gear, tips and tricks. There was plenty of the latter, too, but the discussion was incredibly well balanced.

I was considerably more comfortable on my second panel. It was the third time for my copyright discussion panel. I was lucky enough to get almost all of my usual suspects from years past. Once again, I was surprised and delighted not only by the turn out for an early morning panel on what can potentially be a very dry subject, but by the excellent questions brought by the audience. Also as with prior iterations of this panel, we ran out of time before we ran out of conversation which I consider a good criterion for a successful panel.

In the afternoon, I finally managed to catch up with friends over lunch. We fought past the insane line for Patrick Stewart to the food court then had to deal with the peak time for the lunch hour. All things considered, we didn’t have to wait too terribly long for a table to free up. The line for Kameel’s was long but moved briskly. I introduced a few more friends to my favorite vendor in the food court, too.

After lunch, the group broke up a little bit with the majority of us heading into one of the three dealers’ rooms to explore. There were definitely some impressive wares on display, maybe a bit better than last year, but so far nothing I felt suitable for bringing home to the boys. Hopefully, I’ll manage to hit at least one of the two remaining rooms and can find something they might like.

The group broke up further still and I got to spend a couple of hours with Chooch and Viv as well as better introducing them to my room mates. They had laready met but briefly at the Technorama live show, Friday night. Viv was even a contestant in the Stump the Geeks segment (she was the only one who stumped us–rawr). Chuck and Kreg left to see Adam Savage and the plan was for the three of us left to play some Pandemic. After chatting for a while, we switch the plan to Monthy Python Fluxx, it being quicker to play. We never did play either game, we had such a good time just talking. As much as we all gather to spend time with our friends, the insanities of the con usually mean actually doing so is the exception far more than the rule.

This year’s Parsecs had an impressive turn out. The steering committee and MCs did an excellent job, improving on the ceremonies on almost every point over last year. The pacing was excellent and the whole affair just felt much more tightly crafted. This despite the one or two unavoidable but easily forgivable glitches. Mostly notably, due to poor scheduling, the wonderful Pamela Gay of the Astronomy Cast was late almost to the point of the program being altered on the fly to route around her absence. She literally ran from the other end of the con, however, and managed to pull off her part of the event, the giving away of several Galileo telescopes, with grace and humor, followed by presenting awards for two categories.

A large group of us gathered for dinner, after, and put up with incredibly loud karaoke waiting for enough tables to clear to seat us all in reasonable proximity. I enjoyed dinner, both for the company and the food. Metro Cafe Diner is one of my favorite spots outside of the immediate con environs.

After dinner, I was graciously invited back to Chooch and Viv’s room, which they share with P.G. Holyfield and Patrick McLean, for a sort of impromptu Parsec losers party. Again, a good con moment, the ones that if you search for them too hard, you never find them. When you stop, relax, and just sort of open up to the possibilities of the con, they just happen. Lots of great jokes, stories, and even the birth of a collaboration between Kim the comic book goddess and Patrick.

As much as I wanted to linger, I made my farewells and headed back to my hotel. My roomies were already asleep but left a night light on for me. (We’re all techies, we do not lack for LEDs and LCDs that serve quite well as impromptu low level light sources.) As responsible as I was being leaving my friends early, now I am feeling a rare bit of insomnia, perhaps brought on by the first bouts of homesickness. Spending so much time with Chooch and Viv actually reminds me of my own family waiting for my return in a few days.

I am hoping part of my lack of drowsiness is my promise to Andrea that I would post often. By filling that promise for the second day of the con, maybe I’ll be able to lay my head down and get some rest before I have to get up, hopefully for another day of unlooked for moments of that elusive social joy particular to conventions.

Dragon*Con 2009, Day 1

We all had an early start this morning. Chuck had to get off to registration to get his badge and Kreg and I wanted to get down to the Atrium ball room to see how the line was for Shatner and Nimoy. The registration line was already quite bad. Shatner and Nimoy had been moved from the Atrium, which is in our hotel, to the Hyatt. We hoofed it over and were able to walk in and grab a seat about a third of the way back.

Chuck managed to get through registration quickly enough to head over to the Hyatt. A few people left our row and we were able to save a seat so Chuck could sit with us. We all agreed, seeing Shatner and Nimoy was pretty much worth the price of admission in and of itself. They were funny, working in some from material they clearly had prepared and ad libbing, playing to the audience. Chuck snagged a bit of video and Kreg had a super long lens on his digital SLR. Some of the pictures he got looked like he was sitting right at the table.

Yes, Dree, Shatner mentioned his stint on Boston Legal. No, he did not say, “Denny Crane”, but he was very charming and Denny-like. I think it counts.

For lunch, I introduced Chuck and Kreg to my favorite spot in the food court, Kameel’s Cafe. I love their falafel and they’ve added shwarma. It was turkey shwarma which I suppose is a bit healthier, though all of their mediterranean style platters and sandwiches come with a good helping of veggies. I’ve never seen turkey shwarma, not even sure that it qualifies as shwarma. I don’t care what you call it, though, it was delicious. Chuck and Kreg clearly agreed because we got dinner there, too, which we ate in the room before heading back to the podcasting track room.

Chuck and Kreg spent the afternoon at the walk of fame, getting photos, signatures and sound bytes. I had my first volunteer shift covering the podcast novels panel and the Dragon*Con TV behind the scenes, both of which were excellent.

We hit a room party, briefly, before dinner. One of the repeat panelists from my copyright panel invited me and welcomed Chuck and Kreg as my guests. It was a nice, quiet party and we enjoyed meeting some new folks. I think we talked a few of them into checking out the podcasting track over the course of the weekend.

After dinner, we sat in the audience for the panel before the live Technorama. That was the live Sword & Laser show with Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. We enjoyed it, they did a great job translating their format to a live event, including interviewing their guest, author Timothy Zahn.

The live Technorama went pretty well. Chuck and Kreg dragged me up for the Stump the Geek segment along with Dave Slusher and Clint Alvord from Comedy 4 Cast. I think the live show went well but I am hugely based as a regular listener for several years. They were already talking about how to improve turn out and tweaking the format for next year. Yeah, I think they are really enjoying their first Dragon*Con.

Many folks arrived today so I was also able to catch up with many existing friends or meet new ones including but not limited to Chooch and Viv, Patrick McLean, Dave Slusher, The Encaffeinated One, and all of my fellow volunteers–Sam, Laura, Andrew and Jonathan. As always, I wish there was more time to socialize and regretted pooping out as some are still partying as I write this. Thankfully, it is only the first day, so there will be more opportunities.

The Road to Dragon*Con 2009, Day 2

Kreg and I had a nice, relaxed start this morning. After breakfast, we finished packing his gear and crammed my little two door to the figurative gills. We made as good time today as I made yesterday.

As we drove into Atlanta, we started to see folks that we were pretty sure were here for the con.  No costumes as of yet, but a higher proportion of black tee shirts and more than one with unusual hair color.

On entering our hotel, the Marriott, there was no mistaking we had arrived at a massive gathering of our native people. In amongst the waiting luggage carts stacked with baggages of all shapes and size could be seen prop weapons and costume bits. Tee shirts with snarky slogans, common and esoteric scifi references, and more than one utili-kilt.

After checking in, we used the brand new habitrail from the Marriott to the Hilton (fresh cedar smell) to get our staff packets from Swoopy and help with whatever set up needed to be done. Tech ops was in the midst of setting up our PA and mics until we noticed them doing it wrong. We gently but urgently shooed them out and set to work. Between Kreg, Swoopy and myself we had it up, running and all the cables neatly managed.

We moved next door to lend a hand with the same A/V setup for the skeptrack. Derek’s mixers has fewer channels than Swoopy’s so we weren’t able to set it up quite the same. Eventually, five of us managed to get a workable configuration out of the various parts we had and tech ops had provided.

It took so long to sort through the skeptrack A/V setup, Kreg and I had to head straight out to pick up Chuck, Kreg’s co-host on Technorama. We timed it pretty well and only had to wait a little bit for him to make his way out to baggage claim. Even better, he traveled entirely carry on so were able to hop in the car and head out for a late dinner.

We decided on barbecue and on the way to a place listed in the GPS, ended up at a different place. It was a little divey but clean and smelled wonderful. The waitress behind the front counter was snarky, but in a funny way, not at all mean spirited. She put up with us coming in five minutes before closing very graciously. The food was amazing and if the restaurant was closer to the con rather than the airport, we’d probably plan on going back again later in the weekend.

The lobby of the Marriott was starting to liven up when we finally got back. We dropped Chuck’s luggage off in the room and gathered up our cameras and an H2. We spent a good hour or so taking some amazing pictures and getting a bit of fun audio. Much earlier in the day, Kreg said he’d seen enough of the con to already decide on coming back next year. He was like a kid in a candy store shooting the few costumes already out so early in the con. Chuck and I almost lost him once. I think his camera may explode by the end of the weekend.

The podcasting track doesn’t start until 1PM tomorrow, but Chuck needs to get up to registration first thing to get his badge. Kreg and I figure we’ll make an attempt to see Nimoy and Shatner at 10AM which may require us to wake up and get down to the Atrium ballroom same time as Chuck sets out for the Sheraton. That plan, of course, may not survive first contact with the con.

The Road to Dragon*Con 2009, Day 1

I am under strict orders from the home office to post as often as I can over the coming week while I am traveling to, spending time at and returning home from Dragon*Con 2009.

Today was spent mostly on the road, after a very early start. Well, very early from a habitual late riser like myself. After seven hours and very little traffic anywhere along the way, I reached Rock Hill, SC where I met up with fellow podcaster Kreg Steppe of Technorama. He is graciously hosting me for the night before we drive together into Atlanta for the convention. He and his co-host Chuck Tomasi also are sharing their room with me at the convention, an act of generosity that made it possible for me to go this year.

I don’t have much else to report from day one of the road trip, other than making excellent time and arriving safely. Kreg and I have been chatting about tech and podcasting pretty much since I got here and probably will continue to do so on the ride tomorrow. I’ve gotten a few glimpses behind the curtains of Technorama and it has deepened my already considerable appreciation for the show.

Chewing the fat with Kreg really reminds me that even though we are five years on from the original wave of podcasters, the community as a whole is still small and pretty tight knit.  The feeling is very collegial as we share tips, experiences, and horror stories. It has been a nice appetizer for the kinds of gatherings and conversations I am expecting over the course of the long weekend.