this is aaronland

The Submergible Meat Zeppelin and Other London Stories

PaperCamp, the nearby version

There's actually quite a lot to write about the inaugural PaperCamp but I'm not going to do that yet.

There is already a fine collection of write-ups including Jeremy's rock-opera recap of the day's events but I am going to hold off on saying too much until I finish the next iteration of the pocketMMap books. It's one thing to have failed at getting two years worth of papernet talks organized and printed in a handy magazine/book thingy twice in a row now but quite another to not have (new) working code to show for a presentation. Talk is cheap and since it's all still at the stage where we're forging nails to fill the toolbox with, so to speak, it seems wrong to keep talking in the absence of something to point at to be able to say like that, even if it is a false start.

As it happens, I spoke both at PaperCamp and the day before at the Guardian thanks to an invite from Simon Willison so I figured I would simply post both sets of slides here with a short discussion around the larger motivation for each, the idea of creating history boxes, wrapping it all up in the bow-tie of a quiet little feature that's been percolating at work.

Picture 3

Unfortunately, the False Starts department intervened to delay that last bit yet again so it's just me talking words. Again.

Which is to say that although people seemed to enjoy both talks I was very conscious of how close each came to entering I'm So Fucking Awesome! territory. If I didn't cross the line I'm pretty sure my shadow did. I suppose that's the risk and burden of speaking about anything you've worked on for years and years but it is still an unpleasant indicator of a lack of imagination when it happens. Hopefully, there is now a sign-post marking those boundaries that will weather the years and continue to be visible long before I ever get there again.

Which is to say that PaperCamp was otherwise fucking awesome. I am so excited by all the work people are doing and the ideas they are poking around. I remain very much convinced that it is too soon for anyone to bother trying to capital-U understand what it all means and it was lovely to see people rock-climbing the unknown looking for the proverbial t-holds and orchids that usually escape the first pass.

Matt Jones deserves unbridled praise, and a Just Fucking Do It award, for organizing the event and bringing everyone together and for always answering the what can I do to help question by saying: Organize your own event!

If you're anywhere within train-shot of the New York area, I would encourage you to attend PaperCamp NY which is being held in Cohoes at the beginning of February. Josh DiMauro is one of the organizers and the inspriration for the watch and learn slide (below) and if I hadn't just gotten back from London I would be heading to New York to do just that. Who knows, I've done crazier in the past...

Included below are the slides from my presentation. There are no notes to speak of since this was still a time when I delivered talks ad lib. In retrospect that was ... a thing.