Tag Archives: conferences

The first thing to go…..

The first thing to go when our son was born in December was not sleep,  but writing posts for this blog. No matter how much I’ve willed myself to jump online and blog, the ink has’t flowed.

Today, the hiatus is officially over. For good reason – I’m at the webstock 09 conference at Wellington Town Hall.  Floating around are provocative new ideas and old ones rehashed. Conversation between real people and 140 character bon mots sound bites on the webstock twitter feed. A  sense of urgency about the state of the world outside cyberspace is pretty evident along with a question about how web designers, et al can lend a helping hand.

I’m going to let things sink in before I write about webstock. Before then I’ve a little catching up to do. Here are some bullet points about a couple of things I meant to write about last year.

  • Wellington ICT helped fundraise for and set up a computer suite at the Secret Level youth centre in Lower Hutt. The suite was officially launched in late November. See “Technology space on secret
  • A poll about how to green your summer features on the Forest & Bird website. Since being relaunched F&B are using lots of online tools to inspire people to get active.
  • The Waikato Management School are again conducting a major national survey of ICT use in not-for-profits. I’m not sure if the survey is still open but find out more about the survey here.
  • Among the Guardian’s top 100 websites from 18 December are a few gems. The list, published every two years, includes new and old. I recommend checkin Zamzar if you can’t read a file and want to convert it.

Okay enough looking back to 2008. From here on in, it’s new stuff.

PS. Rufus is now eight weeks old and growing well. The rest of are adjusting to life with a wee bairn.

Conference watch – heavy duty stuff

To learn all you want to know about Drupal, and probably more, head along to DrupalSouth. The two day event is aimed mainly at developers but there’ll be lots to learn for anyone using the open source content management platform.

I’m wondering if it might be too technical for me, but as I’m currently working on three Drupal powered websites as a project manager or webmaster, I’m bound to pick up some useful knowledge. With CivicActions a sponsor, they’ll be sharing some of their work using Drupal websites for social change no doubt. It might be a situation of learning about things that might be useful in the future, but you don’t know you need to know about something just yet. If that makes sense.

Hats off to Jonathan Hunt from egressive for setting up this event.

Closer to home the programme for webstock 2009 was just released. Next February the 3rd webstock event will be held in Wellington.

The mix of speakers is very broad: sci-fi novelists, an online performance artist, web gurus and online community builders. Derek Powazek, author of the seminal “Design for Community: The Art of Connecting Real People in Virtual Places” (New Riders, 2001) is running a full day workshop on community building on the social web. I read this book a while back and reckon Derek will shed some light on how to engage people online.

Having attended webstock 08 I know next years event will be a buzz: full immersion in web trends, techniques and philosophy with great coffee and a chic conference bag thrown in. Time to start saving for the $895 entry fee.

Event details:

  • DrupalSouth, 1-2 November 2008, Christchurch
  • Webstock, 16-20 February 2009, Wellington

“Spreading the word” now on Slideshare

I’m glad I wasn’t running a session on Slideshare at the Engage Your Community conference. When I went to upload the presentation I made at the conference it didn’t load first time. I tried an hour later, then the next and a day later.

There was no explanation from the folk at Slideshare about any problems with the server, or a personal message saying I’d blown my storage quota. Just a frozen file upload.

I persevered and finally I managed to upload my “Spreading the word” slides for one and all to see. (For anyone interested I’ve also listed the websites I referred to, see details of my “Spreading the word” conference presentation.)

Fortunately, at the conference I didn’t hear of any presenters having any technical problems. A big relief when you’re running live training sessions on web-based applications.

During the breaks I heard about three organisations using blogger for e-newsletters or a website. The free blogging platform is being bent, twisted and turned to meet different needs, at times experimentally.

Each week Community Housing Aotearoa produce a weekly snapshot with original news and clippings for news items. See: http://communityhousingaotearoa.blogspot.com/

The NZ Council of Christian Social Services produce a bi-weekly newsletter with commentary on social policy and news. Previously it was sent out by email only, but it’s now more easily accessible on blogger. See: http://christiansocialservices.blogspot.com/

From SeniorNet Wellington’s homepage on blogger you’ll find everything you need to know about their organisation and courses. Alan has been very inventive working with the limitations of the platform to convey all the necessary information. I particularly like the custom Google Map showing nearby parking buildings and bus stops.

We’ve started quietly talking about follow-up workshops and another conference next year. I’m already looking forward to further learning and sharing.

Less than a week to go….

Engage your community organising team hard at workNext Thursday at least 125 people will be gathering to learn and talk about using the web for their not for profit organisation. The Engage Your Community conference is being held at Massey University in Wellington on 4 September.

The organising team (pictured above) met on Thursday for a final wrap up. Despite the last minute loss of Russell Brown as a speaker, the programme is complete and we’re all geared up for the event.

The main point of the day is to get people using some online tools in computer labs. Everything from running surveys to digital storytelling will be covered.

The Wellington e-rider IT service will be having a simple stand: anyone can come along and ask our roving IT professional Lindsay Hunter about networking, software installations, buying new computers or anything else.

I’ve ordered a $225 second-hand Dell computer from CoinNet on it so that we can do a show and tell if necessary. It comes loaded with Windows XP, but I’ll be loading the open source operating system Ubuntu as soon as I can.

I never intended to have a Windows PC in my possession, but the Dell will be invaluable for late night testing of websites on different browsers. That’s if I can work out how to run both Internet Explorer 6.0 and 7.0 simultaneously – tips welcome.

Registrations for the conference are still open – and possibly still at the early bird rate. Get in touch with Mike Brown, details on the website.

Engage your community conference, the sequel

The Engage your community mini-conference in Hamilton earlier in the year was a great day. About 140 people showed up to learn about and discuss how blogs, social media and other online tools can help community groups. Read my post about the presentation I made at the conference, “Wikispaces workshop notes”).

Based on the success of the first Engage your community event, other conferences are popping up around the country. And more are planned.

Wellington ICT are hosting a conference on Thursday 4 September, at Massey University, Wellington. The programme is out and registrations are open, see www.eyc.org.nz.

On 28 November Rotorua Community ICT Trust are planning a one day event.

I’m doing a short presentation on “Spreading the word” using online tools at the Wellington conference. Then in November I’ll be running my hands-on workshop about using wikispaces.

Other sequels expected to be coming to a venue near you soon.

Business card collection – Connecting Up 08 conference (updated)

The first thing I noticed when I hopped off the plane in Brisbane was not the humidity but the air conditioning. Pretty chilly. It’s something I’ll have to get used to. Representatives from community groups meeting to talk about using ICT in communities are meeting at the Hilton. This means living in a sealed, air-conditioned environment for the next few days.

I’m going to run a business card collection post for the Connecting Up 08 conference (19-20 May 2008). Everyone I grab a card from I’ll throw up their name, a link and a comment, when I can get time.

The Hilton charges $26 for two hours wireless connectivity so I’ve popped out to a cafe where they have free wireless if you buy a cuppa.

Anyway, on with the business card post. In no particular order:

  • Ron from Group 61 is wants to learn about how to find volunteers using websites. His organisation runs a befriending service and organises outings for people with mental health issues.
  • John Y G Fune is Director of the Information Technology Resource Centre owned in whole by Hong Kong Council of Social Services. He has built the centre up from scracth, now employing 30 staff on a heap of programmes.
  • All the way from the Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboringinal Language Centre, Bruce was recording stories of his people and wanted to learn what part the web could play in this.
  • Flying Arts “offer professional development workshops and exhibiting opportunities for regional and remote visual artists and communities”. Ann said she hadn’t met most of the people she communicated with.
  • The IT industry in India put 10% of their income into a charitable foundation. Rufina Fernandes, CEO, of NASSCOM Foundation, runs both digital inclusion programmes and is developing ways to support not for profirt organisations, of which there are at least a million.
  • Today is Vyria Paselk’s first day in her new role supporting partners of the San Francisco based TechSoup Global.
  • I’ve already written about the Doing IT Better initiative in Victoria (see my post from 30 August 2007). Today I met Dean Lombard, an ICT Projects Coordinator, with the Victorian Council of Social Services, who is working alongside Larry Stillman to support NGOs to get online.

Here goes on part two, from the second day of the conference:

  • Des Naude works with Charity Computers in Canberra providing practical support to individuals using techies from disadvantaged backgrounds trained by the organisation
  • As the clubs and student development manager at UNSW Hannah Baral is looking for examples of mobilizing younger people with social media (see Beth Kanters post relaying this question).
  • At the same time I finished my talk on wikispaces, Louise Arkles finished talking about the PhilanthopyWiki, run by Philanthropy Australia. It’s an online encyclopaedia and archive of knowledge on philanthropy in Australia.

Here’s the third and final instalment:

  • I almost spent more time talking with Terry Stokes from Lasa about beer than community ICT, so I thought I should link to a couple of the top breweries pouring in his home town in Wigan: Thwaites and Timothy Taylor.
  • Jan from Dragons Abreast, an organisation promoting breast cancer awareness and education, primarily, through the sport of dragon boat racing, gratefully received a grant for computer hardware recently, but no money for installation or maintenance. What to do?
  • I missed Nigel Sanderson’s session on FundraiseOnline, but we’ll catch up in Wellington. The New Plymouth based company has just expanded to Australia offering its website to keen athletes raising funds for charities.
  • Back in 2004 I worked alongside Amodha from Infoxchange in Melbourne. She presented about the service-to-service software package designed specifically for health and welfare providers.
  • Darrell Burkey is President of Computing Assistance, Support and Education in Canberra. His positive feedback on the Wellington e-rider IT service really boosted my confidence we’re on the right track.

There are more than 300 participants so I didn’t manage to get around everyone, but I did manage to have lots of good yarns.