Thursday, October 30, 2008

Paper discussion form

I am following the group "visual culture", and even if I didn't have access to the papers originally, I get a very good idea about the quality and issues of the papers presented here. This conference has always used a lot of time on each paper, and also a lot of resources, as each paper has its own opponent. The writer gets 10 minutes to introduce the paper, then the opponent has 10 minutes to present his/her views, and then it's 10 minutes for free discussion.

I love the way this group takes the job of opposing the papers very seriously, something which leads to a very high quality in the arguments. I think this is my favourite conference form. It makes for very stable groups and not much cross-visiting between tracks, but at the same time each person presenting papers get good peer feedback. This way presenting a paper here isn't a way to get more publications, but it's a step towards publishing in other media, books or journals, as the papers get a thorough peer-reviewing during the conference.

13th Norwegian Media Research Conference

This year's media research conference organised the "Norsk Medierforskerlag" is on Lillehammer, and the main topic is television practice and television ethics. Four keynote speakers have been invited, and I am luxuriating in having time to just sit at the back of the room and listen.

So far it's really interesting, and I am remembering why I started studying media at all. Brian Winston replaced Georgina Born, who is delayed, moving his talk on the ethics of 'reality' shows from tomorrow up till today. His well considered and very interesting talk systematically adressed concerns about the 'realness' of documentary and the ethics of reality television that I recognized in that way that you feel when somebody make sense, the feeling of both having things fall into place and being enlightened at the same time.

The second keynote speaker of the day is Robin Nelson, who talks about TV fictions. He is the author of "State of Play," a title that woke me up for a moment. (Well, I was awake already, because he was using examples from Carnivale, one of my favourite dramas.) But no, it was not about gaming or playing, it was about television as in plays, or drama, not as in playing.

Returning to a home

Sometimes, going away can feel like going home. For years, I have been going to international conferences, and have found some in which I feel like home. The Digital Arts and Culture conferences, the Internet Research Conferences, the different game research conferences such as State of Play and DiGRA, these are places where I can expect to meet the people who understand what I talk about, what I think of, and the choices which have led me to where I am as a scholar and also a person.

But sometimes it’s possible to get much more home than that. Today I am in the 13th Norwegian Media research Union’s conference in Lillehammer. It’s a biannual conference, so this has been running for 26 years, so if my maths is right the first one should be in 1982. I started in media studies in 1984. Over the 24 years since that I have studied with, worked with, argued with and laughed with a very large portion of those present here. We have aged and grown and developed in different directions, and more have come to. But that is some of what coming home is like: To return to the familiar place, that which we expect to be unchanged, and find that it both is and is not the same.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A crisp click

My beloved laptop was starting to annoy me. The little tiny dell xps M1210 I got in 2007 was no longer as responsive as it should be. A quick visit to the school's IT office, where they blew the dust out of the fan, gave me back the old fps and the cooling the machine used to have. But still, something was missing. It felt sluggish and unresponsive, impresise and insensitive. This was not my eager little plaything any more.

Until I got the brilliant idea to ask if I could have a new keyboard, mouse and touchpad. The machine now responds with a crisp click as I touch keys still not worn smooth, the touchpad resists the finger sliding delicately over it, and the mouse gives its little message as the key passes the point of registrating my action. Sometimes happiness is a new keyboard.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blogfest in Urbino

I have just learned that Fabio Giglietto and Luca Rossi are a great team when it comes to cooking up original, entertaining and intellectually challenging events. They are also great fun to hang out with, but I knew that.

As a lot of the Academic BarCamp lectures during the Festival dei Blog were in Italian, I didn't get it all, all the time. But the open-source schedule was pretty full:

A BarCamp is supposedly all about self-organisation, which meant that if you wanted to go here and give a lecture, you could. But they had made sure to get some people who were actually prepared, by both using invitations and online scheduling. Still, I had to be quick at the board to keep my original time and place for the lecture.

One of the most interesting observations was how important this event was to Italian media. Fabio mostly, but also Luca, were chased by people with cameras all over Urbino. I only saw Fabio stand still when in front of a camera:

Another interesting aspect was how much the "play" part counted for the festival. It's a cliche how much more spontaneous and playful Italians are than us steady, slow Norwegians, but sometimes those stereotypes do fit. The Italian blogosphere is a lot more interested in meeting, making out, and playing, than our rather slow and carefully considered bloggers. Would we have been able to organise a Twitter game in the middle of a Norwegian small town Sunday at noon? I think not. First, nobody would be there. Second, if a stranger wanted to tie a black thread around a strangers wrist and parade him or her in front of a judge to prove they had found a "follower", it would have been considered weird at best, threatening and offensive would have been more likely.

This was just part of an event where the participants also had to run around in Urbino guided by coordinates and google map from point to point. This is when the second stereotype about Italians decided to strike, and the entire net in that part of Italy collapsed. No fear though. True geeks have satelite links, or girlfriends with 'net connections. So when the "Blog olympics" were done, it was time for prizes. And of course, the media documented this extremely important sports event:

And then there were just a few more interviews, before the event could be wrapped up:

And if you still would like to see my lecture, it is on this site, but you have to pick "barcamp" on the tags over the initial movie, then scroll down on the right to my name, and then cross your fingers that it will eventually show up.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

SEB bank and evil overlords

I have blogged before about my problems with banks, personal numbers and bureaucracy while living in Sweden. I thought I was out of it and had finished with the whole thing. It turns out I am not yet done.

As I left Sweden, I was still waiting for one last payment. I had tried to get the money while I could still take them out from a Swedish bank, so I could finish the account properly, but they didn't arrive. As it was a sum of some substance I didn't want to just forget about it, and by the time I found the money hadn't been paid while I was still in Sweden, it was too late to change method of payment. So, I made a deal with the SEB bank. I'd empty the account from Norway, down until I had less than 100 S kr left. Then they would close the account on a certain date, if it contained less than 100 S kr.

A few days before the set date the money arrived, and I cleaned out the account and cut the card to pieces. End of story, I thought.

Not that easy.

Turns out I in the process of ending it, ended up owing the bank. Not a big sum, about the same as the bank could potentially have owed me as part of the deal to close the account. I was really surprised, I had a debet card after all, I thought I couldn't take out more than I had in the account.

The problem is, I am about to ruin my credit record over a ridiculous sum, because I thought the story was over, so I didn't change the address on the account and hence got no notifications - and the bank didn't agree with me, and didn't cancel the account, and sent notifications to the old address.

So now with the expenses, the amount has doubled several times. What I owed by the time the University in Umeå forwarded my mail is no longer something I could have asked a friend in Sweden to cover, and I need to figure out a way to pay. Of course talking to the Norwegian SEB doesn't help. I need to deal with SEB Sweden, and that I have already discovered several times over is not particularly easy.

Oh well, this is the punishment for thinking something could be easily fixed, and systems are fool-proof. Both assumptions are wrong, at least in this case. So here I go again, the saga of Swedish banking continues...

Still not really real

I just downloaded the copyedited files from Peter Lang publishers. I haven't looked at them yet. It's too scary. It's worse than an exam. Perhaps even worse than getting the evaluation of my Ph D. I am hoping people will read this, I mean, real people, not just five peers who are equally geeky and nerdy as me anyway.

Well, now I know what I'll be doing: Reading my manuscript. Just in case anybody worried I'd be bored, now that I am back in Volda. I am not. Instead I am scared.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Last two weeks

I have been travelling again, and it's been fantastic. Last night was not so fun though, back home here I was treated to some seriously bad weather: full storm, rain and some sleet, planes that were cancelled, busses that didn't arrive and ferries we luckily did catch. So you'll get the reports from Urbino, Venice, Copenhagen and Oslo a little later. Two academic gatherings, several meetings and a seminar is going to take a little time to process and blog properly anyway.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Web stream from Urbino

Not live, but as soon as it's coded my talk, which startet 15.30, will be on this site.

At 16.18 what you can see there is Fabio Giglietto introducing the Blogfest, together with Maz Hardey.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Flickr, the MMOG

These are links and some comments for my Academic Bar Camp contribution Saturday the 11th of October.

Originally designed as a support for/part of the "Game Neverending" (According to Wikipedia), Flickr is designed by Ludicorp, a web-application group designing "playful communication" and bought by Yahoo in 2005.

TechCrunch on Game Neverending: April Fools joke or the game appearing briefly as an experiment? Note that the date is April 2nd.

Packrat on Facebook built by Alamofire.

Pictures tagged green: Dolls, self portrait, handmade postcard.

That last picture is also part of several pools, one of which is the I made it myself-pool

Notes in a picture: And a comment on Flickr policies on the same time. This is about a discussion on cencorship concerning German members on Flickr.

Uploaded video, and comment on the video subject.

Watermark on Flickr

Flickr Community rules.

Groups and softcoded rules:
Dan Hanna and his video presentation of his daily self-portraits through 17 years.
PAD - picture a day - .lollo. and her photostream.
.lollo. addressing her audience.
.lollo. aiming at her audience.

Hit, Miss or Maybe pool and group.

Erling Sivertsen, Associate professor and competent amateur photographer, with an active Flickr profile.

Polite request for behaviour in the comments field from the photographer.

Library of congress' photostream.
From their photostream - ignored group invitation.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Urbino, yeah!

Somebody in Urbino are having fun! Yep, I am looking forwards to going there.