Thursday, November 06, 2008

Failcamp, barcamp chennai, IGF meeting & MAD

Not in a mood to write too many posts- clubbing similar topics into one post.

Quick jump: Failcamp * Barcamp Chennai (BCC2) * IGF * MAD

Failcamp Chennai- 16th November

No one succeeded without failing. Still all of us love to boast about our successes-how great we are and what all good things we’ve done/achieved. Have we ever paused for a while to study the mistakes we’ve committed? Are we strong enough to declare our errs to the world, discuss them in public and learn from it?

Failcamp is one such event, where participants will be discussing their failures and subsequently learn from it. Brain child of Kiruba Shankar, this event is scheduled to take place in Chennai on 16th November, Sunday. Participation is free-go ahead and register at the wiki if you wish to participate. It takes a lot to admit your mistakes-but rewards can be equally higher if you can open up and learn from others how a crisis can also be turned into an opportunity.

Register at

Barcamp Chennai, 18 & 19th October

My first barcamp participation ever, I went there only to get a feel of things. It was held at IIT Madras and because of this event I happened to visit IITM campus for the first time, though I’ve been in Chennai for years now. The event was supposed to start at 9 and when I reached the venue by 9.15 (had to search the exact building in that huge IIT campus) I thought I’m late. But it started only by 10 AM.

Kiruba Shankar kicked off the show by explaining “the law of two feet”. (There’re multiple definitions for this law- In an un-conference, the law of two feet suggests that you use your legs and move on to a different discussion, if you feel you are not contributing anything to the current discussion)

There was a quick introduction round and then the discussions started. Kiruba led a discussion on how we can make more and more people contribute to Wikipedia. I had gone there thinking I’ll share my recent Times of India experience. But then I saw someone had registered a topic Piracy on the paper wiki, so I decided I’ll just join that session and contribute. However by 12 noon I had to leave the venue due to some personal work. Day 2 I couldn’t attend as I was scheduled to go on a trek to Nagalapuram. Still my half day experience at Barcamp Chennai was good- will go with better planning for future events of this kind.

(Similar: My post was discussed at barcamp Bangalore * Manipal Bloggers meet * Spot blogging contest @ MSRIT )

Internet Governance forum (IGF) meeting, Hyderabad, 3-6th December 2008

If you’re unaware of this fact, please be informed that the free form and openness of internet is under threat. Ever since its inception, several vested interest groups have been trying to get some kind of control over the way internet is used. To elaborate a bit on this, governments would like to keep a control on who does what on internet, citing security concerns but at the cost of privacy and freedom of expression of individual users. Business houses would like to control internet in a way that they can make people pay in more and more ways for using various aspects of internet. Hackers and terrorists have their own agendas and end users like you and me want internet to be freely accessible and our liberty, privacy and freedom shouldn’t be curtailed

IGF meeting, hosted by India this year and to be held at Hyderabad next month, is one event where thousands of individuals-representing various business establishments, government agencies and other organizations will gather together to discuss how the sanity of internet can be preserved. Registration to the event is fully free (travel and stay at your expense). If you’re in Hyderabad try to attend this-not sure how many can spare a 3 days of weekdays for this, but should be a good experience even if you can attend for one day. -

Dr. Stephen Crocker’s talk on evolution of internet *

Want to Vote for MAD?

I do not like the competitions where users are required to vote and select a winner. Sometime back there was a famous Vote for Taj campaign asking people to vote by SMS or online to retain Taj as wonder of the world. Some unofficial and unauthorized personnel triggered a campaign, hitting hard on the sentiments of people and making them waste their time and money voting for their favorite monuments. While everyone voted with pride and felt as if they have saved Taj from total demolition, the website owner smartly enjoyed huge sum of money, hits and links.

If any contest selects winners, it has to be based on expert judgment and other well accepted metrics and not by means of public pole. Selecting winners through public pole requires contestants to divert all their energy into ensuring that lots and lots of people visit a particular website and or vote by SMS. So finally, it won’t be the quality that wins, but the quantity of votes you are capable of generating.

Website owners love this idea of people voting to select final winners, because it is an easy way they get lots of traffic to the site, links and indirectly money. Bring in some sentiments based on country etc and people will promote the poll at their own expense and effort.

Well, coming back to “Stables Youth Social Entrepreneurs Competition” under which an Indian Entry by name MAD-Make a Difference, project is listed, MAD is a nearly 2 years old social welfare initiative where they teach children in orphanages etc. Refer their site or this page for more details. If you wish to vote for them go here (you need to register-I don’t like that again-why should I give me details to an unknown site?, just to vote? I should be able to use my Google ID or something)

No offence to MAD initiative, just that I don’t like contests where users vote solely based on some sentiments (it’s from my country, I have to support it) without evaluating other contestants effectively or assessing the motive of the website. Kenny Jacob is a volunteer of this and I am sure it is a good initiative. Please use your discretion.