User:Effeietsanders/Wikimania 2006

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August, thursday 2nd - 2006. Already at about 4 am CEST I had to wake up to get to the plane at Schiphol Airport. First to The Hague Station, then by train to the airport. Of course I was way too early, so had a lot of time to read my LOTR II, the Two Towers :) After a flight of about 1-2 hours (and 6 hours timedifference;) ) I arrived at New York Newark at about noon, to have another two and a half hour to spend on security and my book. Was funny to see that personnel at Newark is just walking in T-shirts, and don't understand why people don't recognize them and don't listen as fast as they should :P. At 1600h I finally arrived at Boston, but had to wait a few hours for Filip on the airport. We agreed to get to the campus together, so we wouldn't get lost :) For both of us it was the first time in the States, so quite an experience.

When Filip arrived, we spent about 15 minutes searching for the subway, because yeah, the Silver line is in the subwaynetwork, so where is the entrance of the Subway then? Finally it appeared that the Silver Line is a bus, although it is in hte subwaysystem. After arriving at the dorms, we spent a lot of time getting to know the other people at out hall, and wondering about those Americans who think that Serbia is Northern Russia, and me US-nitwit, having no clue where in the States Virginia is. :$

August, friday 3rd - 2006. The conference -finally- starts! First we had a talk of Jimbo. I did not expect that I would hear a lot of new things, but he was able to keep my atention during his keynote. His statement that the big Wikipediae shouls pay more attention on quality now they bocome larger and larger, got into the news back home, and it was quite funny. It was not really the first time he mentioned this ;-) Later that day I had a discussion to lead, so I went preparing during the talk of Lessig, for what I was afterwards sorry, as it appeared to have been an amazing talk.

Finally, 14:15h, I have my BoF-discussion about Localization on a globalizing project. The idea was to discuss the direction the Wiki-phenomenon would go. I gave two extreme alternatives: One big Wiki-Hive with all the content gathered together or on the other side a lot of fractioned wiki's with all specialized content. The discussion did not went as planned at all, we mostly discussed about languages, how the barriers between languages could be closed, how people from different projects, different languages could better cooperate. We came to one conclusion, that there should come a mother-wiki, connection all wiki's. That mother-wiki should link to all wiki's on a certain topic. For instance, when we talk about the topic of Amsterdam, it should link to the Wikitravel-article about Amsterdam, the Wikipedia-article (all language-editions) about Amsterdam, the quotations collection about Amsterdam in Wikiquote in all languages etc. Unfortunately we did not discuss who should set that up.

After my discussion I went to the discussionpanel about validation on Wikipedia, which was quite interesting. One speaker was from a encyclopaedia, and explained how they did stuff like validation and factchecking (in short: often and by proffessionals), the other speaker prepared somehow a plan at which validation could work on Wikipedia, but the audience came up with plans to simplifie it, as the original idea needed even softwarechanges etc. It was very interesting that a lot of people agreed that validation should be necaissary, but that everybody had another kind of validation in mind. The last speaker is planning to put the discussion forth on Wikipedia EN.

When all the presentations were over, Filip and I went into Boston by T, as we missed the guide on thursday, and saw some high buildings, old buildings, and those two directly next to eachother. It was weird to see steam coming out of the ground, but that appeared after a few days to be from the central heating. (Don't ask me why people needed heating those days, with about 95 degrees Fahrenheit)

August, saturday 4th - 2006. Day two of the conference. We got a great meal at the conferencecenter, just like the day before and after, and I had to miss again some sessions :( I had a meetup with Annemiek and Oscar about the conference in the Netherlands on september 2nd, the Wikimedia Conferentie Nederland, at about 11.00 am, and I had the task of searching Kim. Unfortunately I could not find him, and got at the orginizersroom, seeing if he would be moderating a session. Well, I did not find out whether Kim would be moderating something, but I got some work to do ;-) I had the horable task of cutting some ID-cards from printed A4's, and did not have the ability to find Kim. I think afterwards, he was still on bed, as he had the night before untill 01.00 am been training w:Calvinball. Uhum.

So I missed the first session, and as we had a meeting on 11.00h, I missed unfortunately also the lecture of Brewster Kahle. I totally forgot by then that at 1230 there was a lunchmeeting of OTRS-people :$, so I was not there by then... At the 1400h-session I was really surprized by the great session of Michael Eisen about Open Publishing. I had no idea that this process was already in this stadium. I learnd a lot here, as I am myself a student in chemistry. After his session I went outside, and got up with some people here and there. We decided the daybefore that there should be a chaptermeetup, of people of the existing chapters, chapcom, and people who are thinking about a setting up a new chapter. We planned it for tomorrow (august 5th) morning at 8:30. So I went also searching for some people to attend to that meetup, to exchange information etc.

At 1600h, the session of Brion was really refreshing. Even I, as n00b, could understand what he was saying, and I really learnt a lot about how Single Signon etc will work, and advice everybody to listen to that recording. It's really worthwhile. But as there were almost no questions, it was sooner as expected ended, and I had the chance to watch a little bit of the Q&A session of some people of the en: arbcom. I hoped to see some general explanation, but unfortunately, they only were attacked on their desicions, and were trying to defend themselves. I asked one question, "What would you advice another wiki who wants to set up an arbcom, to do different from what you are doing?", but got not really a satisfying answer. The only thing they came up with, was "don't do it if it is not really needed". They were unfortunately not able to find things they were doing and just don't work.

After the wrapup there was a small wikiparty at the MIT museum. However it was woerrying at first, as people were mentioning that <21 was not allowed in there, as you can buy alcohol, and in MA it is not allowed to drink alcohol under 21 o_O) after some calls Jan-Bart could assure me that I was welcome too. So Filip, BirgitteSB and Iamnotanorange went to that MIT, walking (some people declared we were mad), and looking for some place to eat "something". That that something was very broad defined became clear when we first stopped at a hamburger restaurant, but decided that it was too full, and then went to some Japanese Sushi-restaurant. Filip never ever ate Asian food, and I usually don't like fishy stuff, but I was forced to eat that sushi ;-). But it was not as fishy as I expected, so I could eat it :P.

When we finally arrived, with a full stummic, at the MIT-building, most people were already there. It appeared to be a really cool museum, very interesting with technology combined with art, and the history of stroboscopes etc. It gave a lot of different views on the Technology. On the way back Filip wanted to buy some water, and he hated bubbles. So he went in the store, together with BirgitteSB, and she assured him that the water was without bubbles. Well, as you can guess by now prolly, it was carbonated :P On the way back Iamnotanorange found a funky party, and stayed there to have some nice night.

August, sunday 5th - 2006. We started the day already quite early, by a breakfest-meetup at Hawkness Commons with the other "people of the chapters". A lot of people were there, people from chapcom, people from the chapterboards and people from elsewhere. We had half an hour only, and it took even all that time just to get introduced to eachother. It was a great experience, and we agreed to continue our talks at 1800h.

On about 900h, we had to run to be on time, and I tried to watch the workshop about Semantic Wiki. After about 30 minutes, I left it, it was really hopeless for me, I did not understand a word of what they were talking about. The only thing I understand from their talks was that "It would become better" that way. Well, not much use to me. So I walked around a bit, talked with people and waited for the boardsession. The keynote of the conference for a lot of wikimedians I guess. Walking on my way to Ames Hall, I came across Danny, and he let me quickly talk with some journalist about my experiences with the Tswana Wikipedia. He said he was gonna contact me, never heard of him again :P.

The boardsession was somehow not what I expected from it. It was mostly looking agry to eachother, and explaining a little bit how and what. I was disappointed that there were so little questions. The only really new thing discovered was the board retreat in october, what is quite interesting.

After a lunch with Jan-Bart and Annemiek of Kennisnet and Mark Bergsma, I went watching the lightningtalks about Chinese Baidupedia taking over content without bothering about the licenses and also some conspiricy theory of Jan-Bart about whether the pharmaceutical industry is writing articles about diseases, so people discover more that they are sick, and people are buying more medicins of them. After all the talks, there was a final ceremony, a lot of thank you's and a lot of handshaking as well.

We had a very constructive chaptertalk at 1800h, however at first there was nobody from the chapcom, and Oscar already left, so I had to get the talk a little bit going. Delphine, Brad and Amgine joined later too, and Anthere came as well, with the new boardmember to be elected coming september. Thomas. We decided that nobody can be better as he, as he is the only one about who everybody has to smile. Sorry Anthere, you will see your child a lot less I guess... (Ohyeah, that detail of the Florida Law makes us having to move the headquarters anyway, however Jimbo does not like it. What about some African country, if they allow children who can't speak yet to be on the board? Sorry to you too, Jimbo, you have to tell your wife and child that you have to move I think...)

After the satisfying conversation, we went to get some food somewhere, but we were with quite a bg group. So we got split up, and about ten people went to some great Italian restaurant (Church Street, if you're local) with oval Pizza (with a capital P). It tasted great, although we just fitted in that small corner with ten people. I met there Manuel, with whom I would have a nice day on monday and tuesday. We had a nice talk at Hawkness Commons with a researcher about the nature of lot's of stuff and how interesting it was to have such a lot of people who can be researched without knowing it. So naive ;-)

August, monday 6th, 2006 We've gotta get out of the dorms today, so packing is priority one. I can get only in my next sleepingplace by 23.30, so I will have to spend the day. I meet up with Manuel, and as soon as we dropped our baggage at the nearest hotel. After a walk through Cambridge, getting some breakfest, we return at Hawkness Commons to try to find Sj, because Manuel was told that Sj would be there by 11.00, and he would be trying to find him a place to sleep. We were back in time, and while waiting for Sj, we met Dror, but also talked a little with Danny - who tried to speak Dutch, and was mentioning he lives in the Sloooooooooooooot, after which he promised, in Dutch, that he would be in Utrecht at september 2nd, although he had no idea what he was saying -, Florence and said hi to Jan-Bart, Mark and Thomas. When appeared that Sj would only be back at 17.00, we agreed that we would go into Boston by T, and Dror left his bag in the Volunteers Room. Delphine was very clear: *Be back at exactly 17.00, otherwise we will close the building*

We went into Boston, and walked from Park Street to Boston Commons, and searched for the Prudential Building, as we were told we could go on top of that building, what is cool of course :) When on top of the Prudential, we had a great view over the city of Boston, and saw what a diversity in buildings was located in Boston. Small and huge buildings next to eachother, just like old and new, but also long roads of European looking houses. At that moment I was aware that what people back home told me about Boston, that it was the most European city in Amarica, had to be true. In the evening we had dinner with Sj, Phoebe and others, and I picked up my luggage and went to my lodging address in Cambridge.

August, tuesday 7th The next day I had agreed with Manuel to get some view of the area, and we went driving with Jon 'maddog' Hall. He brought his Jeep, and took the walls out of it, so it was a very very open car :) There were even no doors in the front, what looks pretty frightening to me at first. After a short while driving from the T we were on the highway, on our way to Minute Man, where I got a lesson Amarican History. It was funny to see how the story was told every time a little bit different, by people with a different Point Of View. However it was not as I expected it to be, just a lot of fields, and for an Amarican place of historical heritage I expected a lot more monumental and commercial use of those places, and a museum. Was a nice museum, with a movie about the battle. The man who was working there even offered a translator, as he somehow thought I was German, and he told there was someone who could translate it real time into German for me. What was very nice, but as my English is probably better as my German, I kindly refused the offer, as did Manuel, his English is good enough as well :).

After Minute Man we went to Lowell, a nice little city with a very interesting history. They had the luck of a height difference of about 30 feet in the river, and used it, transferring through canals, to drive a lot of watermills. They used those to run fabrics of clothing, from cotton wool to material from which could clothes be made of. It was facinating to see how they practically used electricity without needing copper wire and electricity itself, as they did it directly mechanicly. They even managed to build a system to keep the speed of the radars somehow consistant, and the canals were huge and very nice to see. As a Dutch person, I am of course interested to see those canals :)

Afterwards we had dinner in Lowell, and bought an ice cream in a shop nearby. I ordered a 2-cone, and thought to get a cone with two bowls of ice, but astonishing enough, I got the equivalent of about 12 bowls or ice... You understand I had a little pain in my stummic afterwards. But, nevermind, I made it back home, and got asleep for the next day after playing a nice game of Go with my host.

August, wednesday 8th I agreed with myself that I would get up relatively late, as I was quite tired. I toke the T to downtown Boston, and went to the museum of science, which should be very good. After a firm walk (as I went out of the T at the wrong station) I came there, and was very confused by the museum. It appeared that it was splitted up somehow in different parts and in the biginning it was unclear to me which part was what, and how much it costed. After some asking, I decided to buy a ticket for the big "normal" collection, and had a great time with all kinds of technical stories, explanation of physics, chemistry, biology and geography. From racingcars to a demonstration of what lightning is, from computergames (like bagammon) to physical tests with the effect of sound on a surface of a liquid. All very interesting, especially for smaller children, they would have a great time there. The little child in me liked it as well :P.

August, thursday 9th Sad day. My last day in Boston/Camebridge, and I quickly go o the centre of Camebridge to post some postcards to the Netherlands, and buy some food for the way back. When I arrive on the airport, everybody is very stressed, CNN is on on every television, but I ignore it all. Untill I am in the line for my airplane, and I get spome pamflet that tells me I have to throw away my liquids. I was amazed, but just threw away my water, and was told that I should take a flight earlier, as I was early anyway. So I went to NYC one hour early, and while I was waiting in the gate, I watched CNN and saw the reason for the extra security. I was very glad that I didn't had to fly over London... When I arrived in NYC, it was the time that was scheduled to arrive for my original flight. So I was very glad that I took the earlier one, as I could have been too late otherwise, and had to wait a long time to fly back to Schiphol. Lucky me. Others weren't that lucky, as the people who should be sitting next to me were not able to catch their flight, they were coming from Frisco apperently, and because of them, we weren't either, after all. Because while their luggage was taken from the airplane, the weather became very bad, and we had to wait for over two hours on the airport, in the plane, untill the bad weather was gone. Probably they would have made it when we would have waited the two hours :(. But now I had a nice flight to Schiphol, as I had now three chairs, <evil grin>, and more room then I need :) Arriving on Schiphol, there was again waiting for luggage now, as the weather was too bad for personnal to get on the platform, so luggage was delayed. The moral of this story: Although you can leave with rain, arrive with rain, leave going home with rain and arriving home with rain, you can have sunshine in between.