Tag Archives: Interest

Friday night’s Minibar meetup

As heavily trailed beforehand, Roo and I popped along to the Minibar unconference in London on Friday.

Interesting. An opportunity to meet some new people, hear a few presentations, and use the free wireless. We were both a bit confused at the fact that they didn’t have name badges for us despite having registered, but it seems that we missed out a part of the process somehow (one site doesn’t pass names to another site / email address which needs to receive them).

It's... Minibar!On reflection, our decision to turn left at the entrance and make for the comfy sofas had a mixed result – we got nice seating, but we were probably a little too far back from the screen and stage to get the most from the presentations.

The main talk was by the creators of Sellaband, a site that allows “artists and fans [to] make money together”. Basically, 5,000 fans or “believers” can invest $10 a time in a band (or 500 can invest $100, or whatever combination) until a fund of $50k exists, at which point the band gets to record an album, and the fans get a copy of the CD. Crowdsourcing. Interesting concept.

There was a talk by Spikesource, who “minimise the risk of using open source software”, making software like Drupal “business-ready” by providing support.

(at some point there was some rowdy individual in the crowd who shouted “boo” when certain competitors were mentioned – but generally this was all in good humour…)

One slightly off-the-wall talk was by a company called Flirtnik, who run a personals site based on tagging… I was slightly dubious of this one, mainly because as soon as you’ve been out with someone you don’t like, you’d tag them “boring” and that would be that for them… hmm… well to be honest I don’t need to look into the site, and maybe it doesn’t work like that.

My note-taking was a bit patchy since we were so far back, and the acoustics in Corbert Place were not fantastic… but I believe Metaweather was spoken about, as was a new search engine with site thumbnails called rouq. The latter I was also a bit unsure about, since it seems to tread all over Alexa’s patch, and I already use the Google Preview extension for Firefox… but worth a look[1]. I think the final talk was the Open Rights Group.

In the crowd, amongst others I met the exceptionally cool Mario Menti, spent some time learning about thingamy from Sig Rinde (who had virtually participated in another recent London meetup), and Jason King, who lives on a boat and has started a new search engine for boat users in the UK (I know nothing about boats, but it seemed like a cool thing to do!). I also observed Roo’s remarkable network, mostly at a distance…

I’ll definitely be interested in going to the next one.

[1] I just tried rouq, and it did both get my blog as first hit, and generate an up-to-date thumbnail, so maybe my initial skepticism is unfounded… although, saying that, the chances of my choosing a link based on a tiny thumbnail are small, I think text is probably better.


I was disappointed not to be able to attend BarCamp London a few weekends ago, so I was interested when another event appeared on my Upcoming radarMinibar (homepage, signup).

I’ll be heading along to Corbet Place in London this Friday night, probably with MacBook and DSLR in tow. My ability to live blog the event will depend on the availability of wifi. Look out for a report later in the week 😉

… I really ought to order more Moo cards, I suppose!

Starbucks cards, the proof

You may remember the discussion a few months ago about the introduction of Starbucks cards here in the UK. Mark Cathcart was good enough to send me a card from the US, loaded with a small sum in dollars, and I can now declare that the system does work internationally. I used the card to purchase a coffee and a muffin on my way to work in Shepherds Bush. I have no idea how they calculated the exchange rate.

I’m still not likely to use a card much, but I’m considering charging one up and using it when I’m in Las Vegas in April (21st-27th). If I remember from last year, there’s a Starbucks kiosk by the lifts, and another on the way from the reception to the conference suite in the Rio hotel…

So, thanks Mark. That was an interesting little experiment 🙂

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Localized tornado

I first read about this on the train on the way to work yesterday… it appears that a tornado ripped the roofs off houses in Farnborough on Saturday afternoon.

This is less than a mile away from where we are – in fact it is only about 500m away. We were in all day and didn’t notice a thing. Amazing.

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Ways to seem "happening"

Sugar Puffs Kellykins Our Kelly suggests adding as many events as possible to your Upcoming.org list, as a way of showing the world how trendy you are.

Mark them as “watching”, or if you think there is the slightest chance in hell you might attend (i.e. if someone lures you out of the house with the promise of chocolate-covered gin & tonics), mark it as “attending”.

It’s a fine plan. Roo introduced me to Upcoming last year. Over the past few months, I did pretty much exactly what Kelly suggests in her post. In fact, I’d really intended to attend as many of the events as I could, but I ran into a snag…

The problem is that events in Upcoming either have to be single-occurence, or span a period – and once you hit the start date, they slip from your Upcoming list. So, if I decide I want to remember to go to an exhibition or play, I have to choose the specific date, or create the event as covering a period of days/weeks/months, and keep remembering that it is still running by looking in my past events list. Doesn’t work for me. Generally speaking, I want to have an event that spans a timeframe, and just keep it in my list as a reminder to “go along at some point”. It shouldn’t expire from the list until the end date.

Ultimately, I only attended a couple of the ones I’d marked, as I didn’t go on the first day of the exhibition / play / whatever and they disappeared from the list.

Nevertheless, I’m going to keep trying to make use of it. I’ve just spotted a very useful list of photography exhibitions that are going to be on in London over the next month. Must add some of them to my Upcoming list, so that people think I’m hip…

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