OpenTech is over and we are now back at home.
In all yesterday’s conference provided a very interesting day of sessions. I learned a great deal about the thinking within the BBC. In particular regarding time-shift television, compression, distribution systems and content on-demand.
One negative point to add about the event – at an early session I agreed to help out with a demo, on account of being an iPod Shuffle owner. It turns out the demo was just the idiot of a presenter taking everyone’s 512MB Shuffle units, mixing them up in a box and handing them back at random to the five of us who had volunteered – the idea being that if you didn’t like the content on the Shuffle you were handed, you could nuke it. If any of you have not seen a Shuffle – there is nothing on them to distinguish them from one another on account of the Shuffle having no screen.
The presenter thought this was highly amusing; I on the other hand did not. He failed to consider that many Shuffle owners use them as USB storage sticks as well as an MP3 player. Also, My new, immaculate Shuffle was replaced with a scratched and battered one. Hardly like for like!
Anyway – after some very precise complaints were lodged, event organiser Dave Green was quick to offer to fund a replacement – a very professional response. However, he also made efforts to try and reunite the five victims with their original Shuffle units – and luckily I managed to hook up with the person who had mine, and as luck would have it, I had his. It transpired that of the five of us, one was actually given his own one back from the box, and the other pair who had theirs mixed up never reappeared. Guess they liked what they got on their second-hand units? I eventually received an apology from the presenter responsible for the utterly stupid Shuffle stunt at the end of the day.
Back to the event, we learned a great deal about Internet-inspired counterculture as well, everything from holding flash mob parties on the Circle Line to using camera phones to stalk Home Secretary Charles Clarke. We saw a dual-booting iPod with Linux on it, prototypes for digital TV recorders, we bought some cheap books from O’Reilly, we saw just how much of our lives now exist in the open thanks to the web and we got an insight into some of the future developments coming out of Yahoo.
In all – a very thought-provoking experience. I look forward to next year’s event.