aku-aku: v.. To move a tall, flat bottomed object (such as a bookshelf) by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a "walking" fashion. [After the book by Thor Heyerdahl theorising the statues of Easter Island were moved in this fashion.] source: LangMaker.com. Aku Aku also has another meaning to the islanders: a spiritual guide.
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etcon notes
Posted by dav at 2003 May 6 11:02 PM
File under: Geek

I've put up my notes from the once again inspiring and wonderful O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, in all their raw incoherent glory (at least at the time of this posting, I'll try to clean them up when I get the spare time).

They're actually probably not useful to anyone besides me or other attendees, as I found it difficult to listen and take good notes, while almost always simultaneously participating in the irc chat room via wifi. Wednesday's notes are especially sparse because I was mostly too caught up in the moment of either the speaker or the virtual world of the chat room.

I think some sort of balance needs to be struck between absorbing, participating, recording and annotating (blogging) conferences now that there will always be wifi and power strips available. For instance, you would not know it from my notes, but I found Jo Walsh's and Meg Hourihan's sessions very interesting. However while I can vividly remember the excitement of the moment, I'm now hard pressed to remember the details of their talks because I took such poor notes. Luckily most speakers now have their presentation slides online.

I'm not sure what the answer is although I think being concious of the fact that the slides will be available should help in attention allocation. But I probably won't have time to figure it out soon. Between the conference and spending every available moment with Mie while she was here I am now behind on my work, my household chores, my side projects and just about everything else I can think of. So with that, I move on to the next thing....

Comments:

I'm still really struggling with that problem too. And it's not going away. All students in the grad program I'll start in the fall are required to have laptops and wifi cards. All the classrooms, hallways etc. in the school wifi. That's fantastic in one sense. But then there's the problem.

For me, knowledge of slides being online only slightly alleviates the problem, because (1) the biggest benefit I get from taking notes is that they dramatically aid in my learning at that moment (i.e., I hardly ever look back at them, but I retain a lot more knowledge in the act of taking notes than I do listening passively; but that doesn't seem to happen the same way w/ chatting as opposed to note-taking). And (2) the points that I note are rarely the same points that the presenter focuses on in the slides.

I hope that increased familiarity with such scenarios will improve our ability to optimally juggle knowledge absorption, notes, listening, chatting, Googling, etc. I'll need a few more conferences and classes before I can judge whether this is the case.

Sean

Posted by: sean@cheesebikini.com on May 9, 2003 01:19 PM

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