Archives for March 2011

Hacks, sounds and Googlization

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Jamillah Knowles | 10:49 UK time, Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Hello Outriders!

The podcast is ready and waiting for you.



This week  I had a rather nice email from Dr Ian McDonald. Ian is a development producer in BBC Learning's own team of Outriders, who research and prototype education's leading edge and he spent some time at the Rewired State hack day at the Guardian. Rewired State hack days are events where clever people get together with some open government data and make things that are amusing, informative or easier to read so that we can understand the data that is released.



I also had a chat with Aisha Yusuf. Aisha sent me a Tweet about, where you can discover podcasts that are new, or new to you. Listening through audio online can be time consuming and you might not end up with something that you like. curates audio online so that you have a better idea of what is available.



In my final tape from the South by South West conference, Siva Vaidhyanathan, a media studies professor at the University of Virginia. He has written a book called The Googleization of Everything taking a closer look at the company we more often than not use to find information online. Siva is not advocating the boycotting of Google or giving up the useful things the company does, but hope to highlight the ubiquity and what it may mean for our online future.


If you have time left over after hacking together government data, listening to your new favourite podcasts or reading Siva's book, then do drop me a line. You can let me know about sites that intrigue you or digital things you may be working on but emailing Outriders at bbc dot co dot uk, tweeting at us on Twitter where we are @BBC_Outriders, or search facebook for Outriders and catch up with us there.



Until next week!

~ Jamillah

SXSW - part two

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Jamillah Knowles | 12:21 UK time, Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Hello Outriders!

This week the podcast holds the second part of our run around SXSW. With so many great people to talk to, it was a close thing to fit this many into one episode.




First up I was wired up to a heart monitor in order to steer the direction of a movie. Sound odd? It is - but in all the best ways. A combination of hard work, sharp writing and awareness of film craft as well as bio-monitoring makes Film Trip a very interesting experience whether you are hooked up to an EK monitor or not.





The Samsung Bloggers' Lounge at the Austin Convention Center was a safe haven to get your lap top out, plan your day and write long form. While there I met up with Stephanie Agresta who was running the lounge and Brian Solis who had been speaking at SXSW and also has a new book out entitled "Engage!"





After recording in two locations and having a strange cinematic experience, it was time for lunch. Rather than eat another grilled cheese sandwich on the run, I caught up with FoodSpotting Co-Founder Alexa Andrzejewski to find out what might be a better thing to nom.





The afternoon was easily filled by almost literally bumping into web creators in the street. Robert Scoble was being mobbed by fans when I drew him away to ask how he manages such a high rate of social data all the time. Steve Garfield was between panel sessions when I managed to grab a few minutes with him to talk about user generated content, news and what was in his bag.





Another interesting look at our internet habits is revealed in David Meerman Scott's book, Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead. If you are wondering what a band making music 45 years ago has to do with current web trends, you may be surprised to find out just how history repeats and how fast that happens in internet years.





As SXSW Interactive drew to a close it seemed apt to look back with the second part of my chat with Peter Blackstock of the South by South West Scrapbook. He told me about how the interactive developments made a difference and what his favourite moment is from the past 25 years.


Exhausted and happy to attend such an event on it's Silver anniversary. SXSW is worth checking out if you are of a digital disposition. Remember to bring comfortable shoes though and that you cannot be every where at once.


Thanks to Colleen Lin for her help on the past two week's programs and to Digital Planet for inviting me to join in on their panel discussion about Creativity and Openness with June Cohen of TED media and Steve Rosenbaum of Magnify.




Until next week!
~ Jamillah


Tales of SXSW - Part 1

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Jamillah Knowles | 21:30 UK time, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Hello Outriders!


This week I've been in Austin, Texas for the South by South West conference SXSW. The event celebrates 25 years this year so we catch up on the origins and chat with people in attendance.



Each year SXSW is split into music, film and interactive sections, naturally we were wired into the interactive panels, speakers, activity sessions and meet-ups. The event is large, with many locations for sessions spread across the city of Austin. So best to be wearing comfortable shoes.


This week's podcast is the first half of our SXSW coverage, with thousands of techies, creatives, founders, designers and writers at the Interactive event, we had to come back for more to fit everyone in.

First up a selection of attendants tell me what they think SXSW is - which turns out to be different but the same for most of them.



Peter Blackstock is one of the editors of the SXSW Scrapbook, a collection of images and tales from the creators, past guests and attendees. Going back to the roots in music in 1897, the book tells a tale of rapid evolution and expansion in first person storytelling. In the first part of my chat with Peter, we talked about how one good idea became a huge event on the geek social calendar.


Naturally at a conference like SXSW you can't swing a LOLcat without striking someone you have heard about online. From the people who run our social mobile applications to the people who research data or make us laugh.



Josh Williams is the CEO of Gowalla, where you can check in and leave tips for friends and other visitors around the word about where you are. The company is based in Austin so the conference is right on their doorstep. No wonder they are actively getting people to check into events using their app.



Benjamin Ellis is a social technologist and entrepreneur attending the conference again and keeping an eye out for overriding themes and future ideas.




Ben Huh is the CEO of the Cheezeburger Network. If you have lost hours laughing at funny cats with funnier captions, you know who to blame. He told me what the Cheezeburger network is planning for Easter and whether or not he is as funny as his sites.


Of course a gathering of CEOs, innovators and creators also attracts journalists - but not all of the media attendees where there to cover the shows for their respective outlets. Emily Bell is the director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, Jeff Jarvis is a professor of journalism at the University of New York. They told me why SXSW is important for people working in media.

That's all we could cram into this week, but next week I'll complete the chat with Peter and have a whole host of people I bumped into here that you may recognise from your time well spent online.

Until next week!
~ Jamillah

Girl tech

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Jamillah Knowles | 10:31 UK time, Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Hello Outriders!

This week we have an all female line up on the podcast so be ready for some tech talk girl-style.



First up - more success from the inimitable Dr Sue Black. The one woman whirlwind is most likely to be found online campaigning to help out Bletchley Park, the UK home of the code breakers and the foundations of British computing. This time around she worked with a team to purchase the Turing Papers for Bletchley. Find out why this is important and the ups and downs of trying to secure a piece of history through an exciting auction!


Thanks to Sue for letting us borrow her image of the Turing papers - you can see more via her web pages and Posterous account.





More tech with a conscience this week.  Rosemary Melchior, Robert Weeks and Willy Wang are all interns at the New York ad agency BBH. They were challenged to do something great and came up with a way for the voices of homeless people to appear online. The project is called Underheard in New York. Rosemary told me how it not only opened a door to communications but also opened her mind about  life on the street.



Last but not least, an opportunity for us all to look into our digital futures and have a say in how we feel our online lives may grow. Venessa Miemis studies the impact of social media technologies on society and culture, she and her team have created Open Foresight. The site combines crowd sourced opinion as well as expert advice to work out and present future visions. It’s an excellent way to think about the things that are yet to come.


That’s all we had time for this week - but next week - providing all goes well, I should be able to bring you a sense of the hectic conference known as SXSW.  Join us for the tech, the people and the atmosphere at the 25th anniversary of the event.


Until next week in Austin, Texas!

~ Jamillah

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