I snapped this photo of a Beck roadcase in the loading area behind the stage set up here on the Yahoo lawn.
There's been some buzz at Hack Day about who the promised "very special Grammy-winning musical guest" will be. Well, the word's out now. It's Beck. He even brought his puppets. Apparently, the puppeteers get their own road case (see below).
So go ahead. Tell your friends — but before you get any ideas, you need a Hack Day badge to get in to the show.
He also gave us his browser "A List," the browsers that adhere to the highest web standards that you should always develop for first:
With the introduction of IE7 and Firefox 2 and the continuing development of Opera and Apple's Safari, Doug sees a new browser war on the horizon "There are now 4 major browser makers," Doug says, "and they will be flooding the web with bugs. So watch out."
He also talked about something he calls "The Wall," which I think is an interesting concept that certainly applied to many of the mashers and hackers in the room. The Wall is what you hit when you push the browser too far. The web browser wasn't designed to be a general purpose application platform, Doug says. You can't expect all browsers to handle massive web services, otherwise you'll cripple users' computers and make them unhappy.
Doug is an interesting guy. In addition to being a deep-thinking programmer type, he's a video game designer, a linguist and a singer.
Yahoo's Andy Baio talks about "The Weird Guy," the person in an online community who first suggests an offline meetup. Every community needs a Weird Guy to facilitate real life activities. He's the guy (or gal) who posts the "hey, let's meet at the pizza place and get to know one another" message to the BBS, or the one who sends around an email asking for suggestions of a date and time to meet.
Andy identifies with the Weird Guy, as the slide behind him indicates. He once tried to organize a meetup among Metafilter members.
Andy Baio, co-founder of Upcoming.org, at Hack Day 2006.
Andy gave an engaging talk about online communities and the unique ecosystems that they create. As the founder of a site that encourages real-life social interaction, he was interested in examining the history of meetups, the face to face meetings that have a strong tradition within geek communities. He thinks that we can learn more about how online communities work by studying how and why these communities come together in real life.
Andy started by talking about the original geek community: amateur radio operators. He gave us a brief history of the HAM radio community and drew an interesting parallel: HAMs are geeks with funny handles chatting with each other over long distances (sounds familiar). HAM radio operators also have their own shorthand, much like instant messenger users.
Some more notes from his talk:
For every online community, there has always been a subset of members that ends up meeting face to face. It's not for everyone within the commons, but people do eventually feel the need to seek each other out for "eyeball contact."
Andy identified three key reasons members of online communities seek out face to face contact with each other.
High bandwidth. Talking to somebody face to face, you can much better infer details like emotion, sarcasm and subtleties in tone.
Trust. When you meet somebody and talk to them, you feel more willing to trust them. Humans are trained to evaluate people based on body language and speech, and you only get that when you actually talk to somebody.
Emotional connection. Having dinner with somebody or engaging in a long talk introduces a level of emotional connection that is totally impossible to find in online communication.
Andy also demostrated that some communities aren't really conducive to meetups. Del.icio.us and Slashdot are examples.
I'm here at Hack Day 2006 on the Yahoo campus. The developer workshops are just getting started. A little late, but we're almost underway.
The first presentation is from Andy Baio, the co-creator of Upcoming.org who is now working at Yahoo. He's giving a talk about social software and communities called "Step Away from the Computer." More on that to come.