I have had a talk accepted for Shmoocon 2010, held in Washington DC on February 5-7. The topic, I’m happy to say, will be Archive Team, that little project I got wrapped into earlier this year. This was a talk I had proposed for CCC 26, but their absolutely terrible paper submission site gave me some big trouble and ultimately I had filed it in the wrong place, and the wrong way. So sorry, no visit to Berlin, but one down the train line to a con I’ve been to a few times before.
Shmoocon becomes famous around November of each year as being The Con That Almost Nobody Can Get Into. There’s three rounds of tickets, and to give you an idea of how crazy it is, round number two sold out completely in eight fucking minutes. They’ve got the best and the worst sort of problem – everyone wants to attend, but the organizers don’t want it to turn into a bombastic crowd-heavy morass. So they invent A Number, and that Number turns out to be way south of what the potential audience is. I don’t even try, to be honest – I just apply to be a speaker and if I get in, I get in.
One year I spoke about shooting in the real Colossal Cave in Kentucky. Another time I spoke about the One Laptop Per Child Project, and became (I believe) the highest paid speaker that year because I got a speaking fee but only spoke for about 7 minutes (while helping behind the scenes with the other presentations). I’ve always had a fun time there. It’s run by very good people, and order is maintained by same. There’s a tension between Security and Hacking presentations, like at DEFCON or elsewhere, but I think they do a very good job with the mix.
Here’s my presentation description for this year:
The Splendiferous Story of Archive Team and the Rapidly Disappearing Digital Heritage
The Splendiferous Story of Archive Team and the Rapidly Disappearing Digital Heritage is a fast-paced, context-heavy, hilarious yet intense overview of ways in which digital history has been lost, how it might be saved, and what it all means. It is a manifesto and a narrative about work being done on many quarters by a ragtag bunch of volunteers to gather and contain various lost sites, as well as a fist-waving rant about the downward spiral of over-reliance on the idea of the Cloud and the forfeiting of digital identity to parties truly unknown. Archive Team mascot Jason Scott will cover what’s being done, how it’s being done, and what you can do to help.
Like I said, it’s a pretty hard conference to get into (one round is left in January) and so I promise you there’ll be video footage, just like the other speeches recently. I think this is critical stuff to get the word out about, so I thank Shmoocon for the chance to tell the story of Archive Team and raise some ruckus.
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