Lunch with Microsoft and Sun

I managed to make it to the Geek Lunch. The title of the post was something we were joking about -- the rumour that Microsoft was going to buy Sun because Robert Scoble was talking to Tim Bray.

Naturally, Scoble and I took the opportunity to launch a diabolical Sun-Microsoft conspiracy to... oh, can’t talk about that. Otherwise, discussion included blogging, Atom, taxonomies, tablets, job-hunting, and a general sense of wonderment at being alive in these times where nobody knows what the business is going to look like this time next year. I got to meet a few Vancouver-scene folks that I hadn’t before, so that was cool too. Tim Bray's Ongoing: Short-notice geek lunch

I'm still not convinced that both Robert and Tim are plants inside their respective organizations to stage public battles to re-energize the tech sector…

Lots of folks were out: Andy, Darren, Cal, Stewart, Lauren, Sean, Scoble, John.

Maryam and Shadi were unfortunately segregated to a separate table, leaving us to deal with the masses of food that Tim ordered. It was a clear Geek / non-Geek split.

Now a little summary of what I ended up discussing with various people.

I pointed out to Darren that we hadn't met in person before, but that we went to the same high school and also to university, so I remembered seeing him around when I saw his site again recently.

Darren had recently floated the idea of a weblogging conference here in Vancouver. Sounds like everyone is interested, and Lauren offered to potentially help organize.

I outed Urban Vancouver, the new blogging portal for the Vancouver area that StreamLine is launching in the next couple of days. I've been doing consulting work with them on this.

I briefly mentioned ePortfolios. I'm just getting up to speed with this myself, having been tracking down info for only the last couple of weeks or so. I'm interested in the conference that's here in Vancouver in mid-April. Roughly, ePortfolios are digital collections of information around people. It has applications in education (both K-12 and academia) and business (career pathing and employee profiles). There are aspects of social networking (profiles), knowledge management, and "lifelogs".

I talked a bit about an idea that I had this morning in the shower (when I really wanted some sort of voice dictation thingie to note it down). Basically, it's easier to get a higher search ranking for phrases that include "vancouver" because of its "low search density" (I made up that phrase, I don't know if it's the best).

Other geographical place names, like Ottawa (where I just moved back from) have a very high search density. There is so much content online with the word "ottawa" in it -- from government, to news, etc. etc. -- that it is more difficult to "bubble up" through many irrelevant results that happen to contain the same keyword. As well, all those items (as noted at lunch) aren't generally connected to each other or linking anywhere in particular: it's just this big chunk of content around the term "ottawa".

I spent a little bit of time talking to Lauren about trying to raise Sean bi-lingual in English and German. Sean didn't speak that much German, but he did understand it. Lauren mentioned that he is going to German lessons, and that many of the other parents were actually not bi-lingual themselves, because their parents came over in the 1950s, and didn't want their children speaking German. Now, those kids were mad at their parents, and wanted to make sure that their kids could speak natively to their grandparents. Kate and I are going to be facing this same thing when we have kids.

Finally met Stewart (of Flickr fame) in person. I think I wisecracked a little too much, but I'm not going to torment him publicly, other than to slyly say that I now get the connection between him, cats, and small dogs. He just happened to bump into Scoble in the street, since their office is just around the corner from Urban Thai (food was good, by the way).

Folder Actions might be an easy way to get pictures on a Mac into Flickr, but I still think that Zach Wily is going to add MetaWeblog API and/or Atom support to iPhotoToGallery.

Whew. What with continuing to overhaul the new site here, moving my personal stuff to its new home, and the work with Urban Vancouver, it's been a busy weekend!