Events this week – NPOCamp and Austin News Hackathon

Cross-posted from http://effaustin.org.

Two great events coming up this weekend in Austin, sponsored by EFF-Austin.

Friday, join us at NPO Camp – a Barcamp for Nonprofits and Techs. We had one of these several months ago, and it was a real blast! The idea here is to bring the nonprofit and technology communities together for a day and talk about the technical challenges the NPOs face, while educating the techs about that world. Last event, we had 200+ attendees forming into sessions and pods; all were lively.  Greg Foster, our newest EFF-Austin board member, has done most of the legwork in organizing the event, with major production assistance from Maggie Duval, also a board member and producer of the annual Plutopia event during SXSW. Sign up here.

Saturday, coders and journalists come together to build innovative news applications at the Austin News Hackathon, cosponsored by EFF-Austin and the local Hacks Hackers chapter led by Cindy Royal.  The day will begin with a presentation by Matt Stiles and Niran Babalola of the Texas Tribune, talking about some of the news apps they’ve been developing. Then teams will form to match ideas from journalists with technical expertise from the coders who are attending. These kinds of events are the future of journalism!  This event also benefited from Maggie Duval’s production assistance. Sign up here.

Both events will be catered by Pick Up Stix of South Austin.

Cory Doctorow in Austin

Cory Doctorow was in Austin yesterday on a book tour for his new young adult novel, For the Win. Cory says he likes writing young adult fiction because it’s for people who use it, not just for entertainment, but to figure out the world. Cory introduced me to another science fiction writer, Steven Brust, now living in Austin. I love the information-dense, visionary, ironic and funny conversations science fiction geeks have, just casually over dinner or drinks. Cory’s not just a science fiction geek, though – he’s also an Internet maven and activist, especially focused on issues like copyfight and freedom to connect. Cory is former EFF online activist and board member of EFF-Austin, which threw an after party, called “Whuffiefest,” following his book signing. Produced by Plutopia Productions, the event had a large and enthusiastic turnout.

This is a busy week

I’ve been interacting with this year’s SXSW schedule, noticing how much programming there is, and how many speakers I don’t know, which is actually pretty great. In the world of social media, we’ve learned how many more great voices there are in the world than we can ever hope to track, so many more of them given the opportunity to reach some kind of following or audience as the barriers to publishing fall away. So much of my information life lately has been exploring to find the various pockets of compelling intelligence within the crowd. SXSW Interactive facilitates that by creating a way to crowdsource the schedule – actual attendees vote on panel suggestions. There’s down sides, if course – people game the system, and you get panels and presentations on compelling subjects by presenters that are inexperienced, or were smarter in their proposal than in their delivery. But overall it’s a great thing, and of course there’s also quite a bit happening on the periphery of the event.

Where am I speaking?

Tuesday night, actually not part of SXSW but a good lead-in, EFF-Austin and Plutopia Productions are sponsoring an event – a panel on the twentieth anniversary of the Secret Service raid at Steve Jackson Games, part of the “hacker crackdown.” I’ll be moderating a panel featuring Steve, Bruce Sterling, and attorney Pete Kennedy (who argued the case). The event, at Independence Brewing, is sold out, but we’ll hopefully be streaming, or at least have video online after the fact.

The day before SXSW starts, March 11, I’ll be giving a talk at “Sharing, Exchanging, Social Health,” an event that takes advantage of the presence in town of many participatory medicine/social health advocates, and gives them a place to hang out. It’s an unconference seeded with a few programmed talks.

With my Plutopia Productions colleagues, I’ll be introducing Plutopia 2010 on Monday the 15th. Gates open at 7pm at the Mexican American Cultural Center. Plutopia is a defining SXSW Interactive event, this year focusing on “The Science of Music,” and featuring Bruce Sterling, DJ Spooky, DJ Strangevibe, Black Pig Liberation Front, Xiao He. The schedule is here. We’ll also have the Edible Austin Food Fest featuring local food and distillers.

Tuesday, David Armistead has asked me to join his core conversation at SXSW Interactive, “Can Social Media Save Business So Business Can Save the Planet?” Here’s a description:

In the era of GM-like businesses, now just past, opaque layers of hierarchy were used to control the flow of information to create an effective coordination of action. But new communications and information technology, including the new social media, now drop the costs of coordination so low business has to adopt them to stay competitive. Except – these technologies drastically flatten the organization and flood everything with radical new transparency, and many firms resist these kinds of changes.

John Motloch from Ball State University will also join us. Should be a lively and worldchanging discussion.

Finally, at the end of the day Tuesday, I’m introducing Bruce Sterling’s talk. I don’t think either one of us has any idea what we’re going to say at this point, but Bruce’s talk is always a highlight of the event.

Austin Non Profit Camp

Here’s the elevator speech: Austin Non Profit Camp is a free, facilitated and participant driven conference that will be the place in Austin for non profits (and social entrepreneurs) to learn and troubleshoot their technology problems in a supportive, collaborative setting.

Here’s where you sign up: http://npocamp.eventbrite.com/

You’ll want to attend if you’re a technology expert who wants to help nonprofits, or if you’re a nonprofit that is grappling with technology (and who isn’t?)

The Austin Non Profit Camp is similar to Aspiration Tech’s Penguin Day events, which were established to bring together open source developers and technology support staff for nonprofits in a friendly, open knowledge sharing environment. The Non Profit Camp is free, and unlike Penguin Day it’s not completely focused on Open Source (because many compelling solutions for nonprofits are hosted solutions like Google Apps).

Working with EFF-Austin and local techs, I helped coordinate the local Penguin Days in San Antonio and Austin. We’ve been talking for two years about doing another one, and when we invited David Neff to work with us, we found that he’d been wanting to do the same. Once we joined forces, the current Non Profit Camp plan came together quickly. Maggie Duval of the EFF-Austin Board of Directors and Plutopia Productions joined us as producer, and Matt Glazer of Burn Orange Productions and GNI Strategies is helping us get the word out. Great team! Sure to be a great event as well.

Sign up at Event Brite, and show up at 10am Satureday, November 14 at ACC Eastview Campus, 3401 Webberville Road,
Room 8000. If you want to present, sign up for a slot – we’ll have two rooms for breakout sessions and several “pods” in the auditorium for smaller conversations.

A free lunch is provided by Pictoric and the fine folks at  Carino’s Italian. Following lunch, we’ll have a keynote address by Holly Ross. Executive Director of NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network).

I plan to have a session on social media, for those who’ve been asking. Join us!